Archive for ‘Steve Moonsammy’

July 27, 2008

I love a rainy night.

Well here we are a week after my last blog entry with lots of news and personal water under that oh so strained proverbial bridge. Let’s start with the weather as we are now well into the rainy season which is my favourite especially since, unlike winter in other places, you don’t die if you walk outside in swim trunks. We are at the very edge of the hurricane belt so we don’t really ever experience the worst of the inter tropical convergence zone but we have had some pretty spectacular weather this past week. On Saturday I got scared out of my skin when Cascade got hit by what felt like a microburst with the sudden arrival of torrential ran and winds so high they toppled a few trees and blew my dining table on the balcony back two feet.  Still is there anything better than being at home in the rain or listening to the sound of raindrops on nearby galvanized iron roofs?

 

I shall ignore the serious business of news for the time and pledge more of an effort to blog this week and move on other things. My personal life has taken a huge swerve into better waters and I have been feeling really great about things this past week. Being me, however, I am just waiting for the iceberg to slam into my hull. Ah well, if it does maybe I might have a few good clinging onto a board moments.

 

The trick for me is learning to at least step a foot out of my comfort zone. As Steve rightly pointed out there isn’t much chance of anything if my life consists entirely of my place, work and the supermarket with almost zero detours. Good Lord! I just realized Steve said something that makes sense. I guess the whole world really has gone mad.

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June 6, 2008

Happy Together

 

 

It has been an interesting week thus far culminating with me sitting here nursing a sore throat and a fever. I don’t handle illness well and I tend to take a strange approach to handling it. When I woke up this morning convinced that someone had forced me to swallow a tennis ball coated with glass shards I went into my normal mode of action. I downed as many pills as I could drank several cups of coffee and headed to the shops. I bought every medication known to man, several gallons of gatorade and a slim volume of poetry by Rimbaud. My solution to such health dilemmas is to follow my Mum’s advice….over medicate and read something interesting. If this entry is a bit disjointed you can either blame it on medication or Rimbaud…much the same in the long run.

 

Wednesday I hosted a little soiree for Peggy which turned out rather well. I decided that I was not going to stress myself with elaborate plans and thus even the cooking was approached with little or no plan. I had purchased about $1,000 worth of stuff for the party the day before and basically tossed the whole plan out the window. Peggy and Steve arrived early and we simply engaged in excellent conversation ignoring the arrival of others. At some point Peggy managed to make a Rajasthan beef dish and I cobbled together a quick tiger shrimp and mussels balti and some basmati rice. It also learned that my cousin Satu Ramcharan was also coming over in addition to Alvin, Binky and Kavir. All I know was that the evening turned out to be a lot of fun with Peggy and Satu keeping everyone entertained. I had never spent any time with Satu before but apparently the gene thing makes for great company so the three half caste cousins fitted together perfectly. Things were so animated I never actually got around to serving the Haagen Dazs. Who knew that Steve would be so interested in  politics that he and Satu would almost have to step outside to have it out? I tell you he might be my friend but he is also a cameraman and they are a strange breed.

On Thursday, with my fever beginning to start I had my old friend Monique Tosello-Pace over with Peter and Naz for another smaller soiree. She is here from France and sadly my state of health and burn out from the previous night resulted in us just having roast beef and watching Hitchcock’s The Birds . Still, it was good seeing Monique again if only for a brief time. At least we managed to consume the Haagen Dazs that was unused the previous night.

 

Back to the murders tomorrow as I have to work ( I believe we have had 10 since I last wrote) but there may be changes in my work situation coming around the corner. I know that I will have to have both Peggy and Satu over again soon and, if I am lucky, perhaps I can have Peg do a short reading from Jahajin for us. I have said many times in this blog that I am not a family kind of guy (except for my immediate family) but having known for decades that Peggy was something special I am now wondering how I could have not noticed Satu. Are there other interesting half-castes in my family ( and we all are) that I could have overlooked? 

 

The final good but not surprising news is that when I bought the Rimbaud I asked the sales clerk how Jahajin is selling and she said “really well”. Apparently certain people in this country can still have great taste.

 

February 11, 2008

Back to Black

 

Well my mental pall has lifted quite a bit so this may result in a rather rambling and disjointed entry today..not that most of them aren’t…but this may be more so. There was no entry last night because I actually got enticed to go out and socialize by Binky/Jason/Vesh. He is probably the only person who can actually get me out of the house once I am settled in after work. As might have been predicted his “hang out for a hour” turned into frolic through Port of Spain into the wee hours. As it turns out Alvin was stuck at work so it was just me and Binks which was a lot of fun and I think I needed a bit of mindless fun.

Of course going out that late when I have to work on Sunday is never the wisest of ideas but sometimes it is good to throw caution to the wind for the sake of mental health. Nonetheless,  I was not a pretty sight this morning as I tried to get myself ready to head to the office. I was also faced with having the company jeep parked at my building with a shredded tyre that decided to suffer catastrophic failure as I pulled into the gates of my compound last night. Thankfully, the ever handy Steve came and took care of it for me. I may be good at some things but changing tyres is not one of them. At work it was one of those Atacama dry news days which leaves anyone compiling the newscast on the verge of tears and reaching for the valium bottle. Thanks to some creative work on Melissa William’s part, though, it came off quite well in the end despite the fact a bit of delayed video meant that her voice was in 3 back to back stories in the first section.

Now that I am coming out from under the depression a bit I am thinking a lot about various aspects of my life to see how I can improve them. I am content with my television and writing jobs so I can leave those alone for the while. I really should be taking better care of myself physically so I will try and start the gym and be a tad more conscious of my diet this week. We’ll see how long that lasts. My family, sigh, well let’s just say I can’t do anything about them. I love them all but it is best if I stay in a constant state of denial. My love life? Hmm..if I had any real semblance of one or even a poor semblance of one I might be able to work on it. Right now it is a bit like being put at ground zero on Sept 12, 2001 ,given a trowel and being told “put it back up”. My judgment in picking people is my ultimate failing as given a choice of 5 perfect choices and one completely ridiculous one I will always pick the ridiculous one. Do you know how whenever a hurricane is bearing down on an area and expected to arrive at any minute they always show some fools out surfing – when it comes to relationships I am one of those fools. Not sure how to address my colossal problems in that area but I guess I can try a few things. Other than that I have the best group of friends anyone could conceivably want. Best of all I don’t think anyone else has such an well rounded bunch in terms of ethnicity, gender, orientation and personality.

Had a nice relaxing evening watching the 50th annual Grammy Awards to see how my girl Amy Winehouse does. I think she is the most amazing talent to come along in a long time and inevitably that sort of creativity comes with personal turmoil. I hope she can pull through her difficulties but with that much talent she may end up imploding. I watch her and I see Janis Joplin redux. I truly hope she stays around for a long time though, if she is sounding like that and writing music like that at 24 who knows what wondrous moments lay ahead?

I have a day off tomorrow ( finally) and I plan to use it to finish off my Curacao chapter for Fodors so I can stop stressing Doug Stallings my editor and put in my invoice. Off to bed now..well as soon as Amy wins Album of the Year..which ..unless they are all deaf..she will. n501560998_313463_6705.jpg ( me and my bitches on the beach)

February 1, 2008

Nose Breathing

Generally speaking, my reflections on work are of a happy nature full of musings about bonhomie and getting news out on time. Today I had one of the worst days I have ever had at work and it is in no way related to the newsroom staff. Given I have been producing news since Moses was in nappies I am not in the habit of taking criticisms of my judgement lightly and I am especially not fond of being found essentially faultless but having to now face the prospect of working even longer hours in my indefinite 7 day a week work schedule. Were I living in an option free world i might be in an even worse mental state than I have been in since earlier this evening. I will not give the details of my experience here but, while I recognize that others may be under stress, there is no need to spread the stress to innocent bystanders. Enough said…I am a professional and will handle my problems in a professional manner.


Moving on to other subjects. I am now counting the hours for Carnival to end and get the hell out of my face. The traffic, steelpans parked in the roadways, flocks of JCBs ( just come backs) and hordes of tourists clogging my HiLo is driving me crazy. I almost want to say “welcome to Trinidad now hurry up, sleep around and go the hell back where you came from”! I have been feeling a bit down this evening because of the aforementioned and my general mood lately so I think a list would do me good. Let’s talk about my list of things I don’t need in my life of late..here is Vern’s list of things not needed on the voyage:


  1. 1. Condoms or anything even remotely related to sex.

  2. 2.More soca music

  3. 3. Another peep from the Mondeo

  4. 4. Anybody new in my life under the age of 30. I am still dealing with the slew I have.

  5. 5.More junk in my condo.

  6. 6.Drama of any sort not related to a film or theatrical production.

  7. 7.People who think that pondering what fete to attend is really an intellectual pursuit.

  8. 8. Freeloaders.

  9. 9. Jesus freaks explaining to me why I have to be saved.

  10. 10.More work.


That has me feeling much better already. Someone should write a book on “Blogging as Catharsis”.


Other than that in news of  friends … Robin is off to Guyana and Brazil for Carnival ( the Amazon not  Rio), Omar/Grommit is in Tribe fete, Astrid is in bed, Binky and Muz are home ( I assume), Steve is also in Tribe fete and Peter and Naz are in places unknown..though they are in Las Vegas for Carnival.


I hope tomorrow is a better day and i must say thanks to my cuz Peggy for making more sense than I have seen in a long time.

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January 29, 2008

Guyana and the aftermath

I have only been to Guyana once in my life and that was to cover the last elections for ieTV along with my cameraman and close friend Steve.  We hit the ground running and even in our short stint there I felt there was something different about the place. I am saying this because of the recent horrific massacre and because to me it reveals that Guyana’s great beauty and limitless potential is undermined by a troubled past that has left permanent scars. It seems clear that the demented gang leader and his cohorts who committed this shameless act of barbarism are the actual cause but they are, to me, symptomatic of a deeper crisis in Guyanese society.


Guyana is a land that is riven along racial lines. I remember telling Steve in Georgetown that race seemed to permeate the society in a much more disturbing way than it does in Trinidad. Especially in the election period I felt there was a ticking bomb of racial division that could go off at any minute. In Trinidad we talk race but ultimately, despite the fact that the populace votes along racial lines, there is a bonhomie that descends the minute politics is out of the way. Play some music, serve some food and Trinis don’t care what colour the next person is. In Guyana there is a divide that seems a normal part of regular life. It is partly understandable as years of Forbes Burnham’s regime left the Indian community isolated and distrustful of the African population and the African population sees the Indians as the gouging merchant class. It is an age old story. Given the fact the victim’s of the weekend massacre were all of Indian origin and the gang in question was, even by the account of the BBC and AFP, of African origin I can only imagine this will prove a setback for any move towards a détente between the races in Guyana.


The Jagdeo government is fighting an uphill battle right now to placate people living in rural communities..especially those of Indian origin who comprise his power base…that he can protect them. With more protests and road barricades today he has to convince his supporters that he will be able to protect them from those who would seek to harm them. Ultimately, he probably does not have much to worry about as it is highly unlikely his people will defect to the dreaded PNC.


The saddest thing about the whole situation is that had Guyana not been dragged into the mire by Burnham and his ilk Guyana might have been not only the richest country in the region but a virtual social paradise as well. It is sad how one bad leader, whatever his race, can destroy the hopes and dreams of an entire people and leave them drifting for years trying to rebuild their shattered society. It is a cautionary tale for us all.


I noticed an interesting phenomenon today when i glanced at my blog stats..there was a huge spike of about 300% in readership almost entirely attributable to people wanting to read about what happened in Guyana. I was even more surprised when I noticed that typing in “Horror in Guyana: in Google had my blog entry as the top choice. It seems that the Guyanese Diaspora  is hungry for information about their homeland. Like relationships, where there is interest, concern and love there is the possibility for a brighter day ahead. The concern that Guyanese have for their homeland as seen only from hits to by little blog tells me there is hope for great things ahead for Guyana.


Other than that Carnival week is making any movement in Port of Spain a headache-inducing ordeal. The fact that T&TEC the power company decided that rush hour was the time to block lanes of traffic so their trucks could engage in the essential business of hanging Carnival banners over the roadway still leaves me speechless. The normal 5 minute drive from Cascade to ieTv took 55 minutes. Merry Monarch my backside.


I am hoping that Alvin and Binky make my place their home base for Carnival as I just love their company. Last Carnival was wonderful because, despite the fact i was working, I had them both here putting on costumes and I even dropped them on Tragarete Rd to join their band. I am also waiting for Astrid to call because I told her she can stay here as well because it is convenient for with her various party attendances. Grommit indicated that he will remain based at UWI…so I am comforted to know Kensington Court will not be a flop house but a great Carnival lime. Off to bed now…T&T Fodor’s should be done tomorrow. img_4058.jpg

January 28, 2008

The crazy season heads for a climax

Carnival is a week away and it is now unavoidable even for those such as me who make every effort to ignore it this year. Today was the Panorama Semis so getting anywhere in Port of Spain involved circuitous routes weaving in and out of back streets. Apparently every year Carnival comes as a complete surprise to the police as I found myself driving down several streets only to be met with barriers. It seems that putting a sign at the top of the street saying “Road Closed” is beyond their capabilities. Given their abysmal crime detection rate and inability to curb our crime spree I really don’t know why i am surprised.


Work was the usual and I managed to read  the 6:30 news without stalling or falling down dead..so I guess that was good. We had a good selection of stories and I was happy I was able to get some video of Guyana to do a follow up. I have to say Melissa Williams is young ( as anyone is compared to me) but she will one day be a very competent Head of News as she is scarily organized and has a great ability to get info on any breaking story. Ria Rambally did a few stories too and I think her potential is astounding. She voices very well already and is getting pretty handy at stories as well..for someone who is just a hair over 20 I really don’t know what to say.  Oh sure, she tried on her Tribe carnival costume in the office ( it looks like a tribute to the corbeau) but that is just a reassuring sign of the ebullience of youth ( and I swear Melissa did not try it on and I do not have photographic evidence of same).


I am still working at putting direction back in my life by changing the roles that different people play in my life but it is proving harder than I thought…I may have to go back to my old blunt ways. I simply cannot afford to have people or situations push me back into that dark place I experienced recently. I know what i have to do and as Sister Paul taught me…it has to be done or else I cannot progress in life.  On a bright note I am pleased to say that the people who genuinely kept abreast of how I was coping made themselves evident very quickly. The list of those who were concerned is amazingly short but rather telling..I will not embarrass those who didn’t bother but I will say that Peggy, Urse, Ric, Richardson, Robin, Binky, Kirby, Alvin, , Mark, Melissa, Giselle, Steve ( who was angry I didn’t call him) and Astrid are on my A-List now…not that the benefits to them are great..but still. And those who I didn’t tell are certainly excused.


And to my Fodor’s Editor Doug Stallings …who I know will never read this..thank you for being your usual understanding self.

January 26, 2008

Horror in Guyana

Today was dominated by the horrific murders that took place in Guyana. Yes, it was , of course, our main news story but it also affected us all on a very personal level. It is not hard to imagine that T&T could descend into that sort of morass of crime and lawlessness fairly easily as well. That is not even to mention the shock of knowing that 11 people including 5 children were brutally killed while resting in their homes.

 

For those not familiar with the story, it might be best to just excerpt from Agence France-Presse:

 

“Gunmen with assault rifles shot and killed 11 people in a Guyana village early Saturday, in an attack police blamed on a criminal gang whose leader has threatened widespread violence.

Protests erupted after the shootings, as thousands of people faced off with police and soldiers and set fire to tires on a major thoroughfare, raising concerns of further violence and ethnic tensions.

At least five of the victims were children, said Divisional Police Commander Leroy Brummel. Three survivors were hospitalized with gunshot wounds.”

 

it seems the heinous act was committed for an even stranger reason:

 

“The attacks followed reports of telephone threats by Rondell Rawlins, said to head a gang of some 20 heavily armed black men he organized after breaking out of prison in 2002.

Rawlins reportedly threatened widespread violence after the disappearance of his pregnant common-law wife, which he blames on police.

Police say Rawlins is responsible for a series of murders, robberies and kidnappings in the past years, including the slaying of an agriculture minister in 2006 and the abduction of a US diplomat in 2003.”

 

Melissa Williams was on the story from the moment she came in  and despite us being unable to get the President of Guyana on his mobile she managed to get exclusive colour pictures of the victims as them lay dead in their homes. This led us to an interesting dilemma. Do we withhold the gruesome evidence of the scene, do we show it but blur it or do we actually show it raw to the public? After careful decision we decided ( well i guess I had the final word) that we needed to show the true horror of what went on. We are almost inured to crime as a society and having it happen in Guyana  made it even less real. By showing the shots of dead children and parents the real horror was so in your face the public would understand how awful a situation it was. I am comfortable with that decision but why our editors used the same short clips of Georgetown to cover the rest of the story rather than the ton of footage they had available and why they did not show the protest pictures ( one of which is in this entry) I do not know. I watched the newscast as Melissa read and was somewhat annoyed that the story was weakened by the use of repeating file footage shots of downtown when I know we have footage of President Jagdeo ( after all Steve and I were there shooting it)  and today’s still shots of the protest. I will have to bring that up with the editors tomorrow. Both Melissa and I were not happy with that situation as we spoke when i dropped her downtown after the news.

 

Other than that not much to report today. Chatted with Alvin, Binky, Robin, Omar, Astrid and others who shall remain nameless for the moment. There was some idle chit chat that suggested Iggy would pop over to my place with Nicole this evening but the poor thing was not feeling well despite my clever purchase of a bottle of Shiraz to amuse her. So Iggy is in bed now, Grommit is in South at a birthday party, Alvin and Binky are probably drinking and dancing somwehere, Robin is in his four poster bed snoring and I am home blogging…all is normal in the world.

 

Oh great i just too the “how straight are you” test for guys on Facebook because I saw that Binky too it and I have now been informed that I am straighter than 0% of my friends…it isn’t my fault I moisturize every day and use an undereye cream!!! Dammit. 

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January 22, 2008

Getting out of gear

Well it finally happened me and The Hearse are finally reunited after a month apart. I must say after paying the mechanics and taking control of her again it was a very strange experience getting used to her feel. Whereas the Suzuki is light and nimble getting the Mondeo onto the road felt like steering my living room. I was immediately conscious that I was guiding 2 tons of metal on the road.  Turning required minutes of planning and trying to estimate the back of the car which is about 18 feet long almost requires a navigator. The low driving position also took a while to get used to. It is funny how quickly one can get used to a different vehicle. It is nice having the comfortable suspension and  automatic shift though so I am getting used to her again. I was still sick today, sicker if anything, but I had agreed to produce the news today for Vashtee and figured I would just sit there fevered until the planned news meeting at 8pm.  The news was almost done and I dashed off in the Suzuki ( wasn’t comfortable with the Mondeo yet) to pick up Grommit and drop him to the Cascadia Hotel since he had no other way of getting there. Got back in time to see Giselle had her newscast and take more pills as my fever was ramping up again. Somewhere in there Tony decided that there was no point having a news meeting if Vash wasn’t there and we had two cameramen out so we postponed it till next week. Typical of us. That meant I could return the Toco keys to Robin and pick up Grommit at the hotel to drop him to catch his taxi as the hotel is only a couple of minutes from my place. Sitting here now wondering what will happen if I let the  fever keep building..will I spontaneously combust? Perhaps I will melt into my chaise? I suppose it is best not to explore some possibilities as brain damage seems a more likely outcome. I find fevers fascinating as I invariably think back to other fevers i have had in my life. There is something disturbing yet oddly fascinating about the jangly nerves and the galvanic skin response that fevers induce. I find there is an almost sexual quality to the feeling..not quite …but there is a definite nexus. Sad to see that actor Heath Ledger apparently committed suicide today at the age of 28. Even in the most apparently charmed of lives there  may be demons lurking.100_4263.jpg

January 17, 2008

South – The Final Frontier

Yesterday was a bit of a wash as far as work went since Anand Ramlogan had to cancel the interview he had called to arrange. The car will apparently be ready “by the weekend” although that is not exactly inspiring me with confidence. I want to get away to Toco and the thought of having to drive the jeep-ette for 2 hours makes my nerves jangle. Speaking of which ( nice segue Vern) I had to drive to South Trinidad last night to attend Bunny’s birthday party at his club.

While normally the prospect of not only passing the lighthouse but also the Caroni River fills me with mortal dread the drive to get there was not too bad. Grommit was meeting friends there so the company made things pass faster and the directions for how to get through the maze of overpasses was quite useful. There was some idle chit chat from Steve that he would meet me there but that never materialized as he called to say he was fasting for a wedding and couldn’t drink. Given he is  not the least bit religious I put it down to the things guys do for women. In any case I made it to Space – La Nouba on time.

Selwyn “Bunny” Persad and Maureen have been wonderful friends for many years. When I was at 95FM we worked together on several promotions and we hit it off immediately. I worked with them on their Raftabout Fete on and off for several years after that and we have always kept in touch as much as possible. In the last couple of years I have been too busy to work with them on things but I was happy for the opportunity to attend Bunny’s party. It was a surprise party and Maureen amazingly pulled it off perfectly. Bunny prides himself on knowing exactly what is going on at all times but apparently didn’t notice the scheming that was happening in his own club. When he entered the champagne room and we all did the requisite “surprise” I was fearful that he might have pulled a gun and mowed us all down…such is the danger of surprise parties.

After the initial shock subsided the champagne started flowing and never stopped. It being South the chosen culinary accompaniment was, of course, curried duck, paratha, channa and potato and stewed chicken. Surprisingly, it went well with the champagne. It was not my usual crowd and I am sure I was the poorest person there as some of the names I was hearing were prominent business names. I understand that some of the kids of these people have been known to drop $20,000 on a single night of partying at the club. Presumably they have drivers to get them home. And while we celebrated in the VIP area upstairs the crowd built quickly on the dance floor below giving us ample opportunity to gander at the beautiful people of South having a whale of a time on a work night. Granted, it was a very young crowd but it was also a school night…as i reminded Grommit around 11:30 when i was ready to leave. Champagne never has much of an effect on me but based on the slightly glazed happy face Grommit was displaying I realized that 15 glasses of bubbly has an effect on him. In retrospect he really was upstairs more than he was downstairs.

As a lovely final gesture we were also presented with Space VVIP cards before we left complete with our pictures on them..and here I was thinking that Bunny’s son was taking a portrait shot of me because I was looking good.


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January 11, 2008

The Wrong Foot

Today was one of those days when i really wish i could have stayed in bed all day..for various reasons. I woke up late with a terrible pain in my back and realized it was close to 1pm and I had a 2:15 interview with the Opposition Chief Whip – Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj. I dragged myself out of bed, powerpuffed 3 cigarettes, swigged a cup of coffee, hurled myself into the shower, threw on my clothes and ran..well more limped..out the door. I got to work with just enough time to put on my makeup and then it was in the studio for the interview. I managed to hide my back pain from Mr. Maharaj  but I noted he was staring at my feet quite a bit. After i finished I packed up my stuff and got ready to head out to take Omar on a couple of errands. It was only upon entering the jeep that I noticed i was wearing two unmatched pairs of shoes. Thank heavens my feet don’t show on camera.

I got home, changed my shoes and then got Omar for the great haircut adventure. While he is fond of his carefree hippie image it was becoming a distinct possibility that National Geographic might descend at any moment to explore the world of his hair. So off we went to Sharol to do some tress amputation. It was a fairly painless procedure numbed by Sharol’s usual chatter. I really adore her and she does a mean haircut. After that it was time for me to head back home to nurse my back since I am working through the weekend and have a vague plan to go to the Wicked in White Fete tomorrow. 

My mind is in a strange place lately with uncompleted work, a semblance of a social life and general questions about where I am heading. Perhaps I can try and explain the swirl in greater detail in a future entry.
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