Saturday, 1 January 2011
Bumping into calypso
Have been bumping into calypso quite a bit recently, including in Sam Selvon's excellent novel about Trinadadian immigrants in London in the '50s and '60s. Great slang in this - "I was coasting a lime by the Circus", "a nice piece of skin waiting under the big clock" - and a really touching account of fresh-off-the-boat hustlers trying to get by in a freezing-cold and not exactly welcoming London, with the British "diplomacy" (ie behind-your-back racism) making things tough, but not as tough as their own womanising and hedonism.
Not sure if the book actually picks up on the rhythms of calypso, but the music's definitely good for 'storytelling' so I wouldn't be surprised. I can see why Stanley Brinks is keen on calypso. With him it can even turn into a pretty amazing communal thing where a rock crowd is totally won over by it. Looking sharp man!