My Favourite New Blog

outside the linesMy brother's blog. The first Junkanoo blog I've come across. At least for now it's Junkanoo.And yeah, I'm biased. So what?It's got some great posts already, like this one:

Red, white and blueI can remember the first times I actually rushed, though. In fact I remember the year before that, when my parents thought I was too young to rush. I was three weeks shy of my sixth birthday. I was dying to rush - Adrian, my cousin, had rushed that year with his father, Uncle Johnny. Mark, Adrian’s brother, and I were still too young, though. You have to remember that junkanoo was different back then, it was rougher - or so our parents told us. I don’t think junkanoo participation was accepted among the middle classes they way it is now - none of my friends at school did it, and my other Grandmother, Grammy Lilly definitely didn’t approve. Then again, she was Brethren, so that doesn’t really say much.Anyway, that year Mark and I were still too young. Mummy and Auntie Sonja (Mark and Adrian’s Mum) made it up to us by making us costumes as well, so that the three of us could parade around in a mini junkanoo on Christmas.I remember that costume so well - just shirt and pants mind you, but still, my first junkanoo costume. Red, white and blue. Uncle Johnny rushed with the Westerners, one of the last traditional, old time groups to survive (in the old days, groups would form out of neighbourhoods - the Westerners came from the Virginia St area, by St Mary’s Church).Red, white and blue. In those days, old time junkanoo groups would come would come out with everybody wearing a pasted shirt pants and hat with horizontal stripes of the same colours. The decorative costumes were carried by individuals for the most part in those days.

And this one:

Making it to Bay

I guess what I resent most is that when we debate and argue about what is more important to junkanoo, the history or the future, because that’s what the debate is really about, we are putting the cart before the horse. The question shouldn’t be “How important is scrap to junkanoo” but rather “How important is junkanoo to scrap”.What I’m getting at is you can’t assume that just because you spend ten months preparing costumes, music, dance and performance for the parade, rushing is more important to you than if you spend ten minutes throwing together a scrap costume.The feeling is the same both ways. Scrap or big group, no matter what the cost, you’ve got to make it to Bay. I’ll tell you a story.I always thought the funniest, weirdest thing to see was a drummer rushing down Bay beating a burst drum. You don’t see it that much these days with all the Tom Toms and what-not, but in days gone by you’d be sure to see several burst drums being played in scrap and in the big groups. I could never figure it out - especially being a drummer myself - why would you continue to rush when your whole purpose for rushing - making music - was over?I didn’t get it.Until one New Years parade.

And this one:


Junkanoo Themes are a big thing these days. For last year’s parade, a special ceremony was held where group representatives announced their themes and read the synopsis, a “short” description of the theme. Well, I wasn’t there, but looking at the official record of group entries, some of these synopses were three and four pages long!Not like back in the old days when the theme was three words or less: “Arabian Nights”, “Egypt”, “Bahamian flowers”, and was taken from world geography or Bahamian nature. Nowadays, the theme alone is a few phrases long - “World Religions: Icons, symbols and practices of the major religions around the globe: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.”I especially like to see the contrast between the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day themes. The New Year’s theme always has to be more flexible. You see, on New Year’s the theme has to accommodate those costumes that are being recycled from Boxing Day. Of course everyone says they build all their costumes fresh for New Years, but … The funniest Boxing Day/New Year’s Day pairing was from the year Nelson Mandela was freed. On Boxing Day, the PIGS came with “Let my people go: free Mandela, free South Africa, free the world”. On New Years the came with “Law and Order: we done let everyone go Boxing Day, now we got to lock them back up!”