Barbadian Publication now available at Cloister branches and UWI Bookstore – Launched at EBCCI

It is sad when the mainstream media of Barbados can ignore important cultural events and thus can parallel the old adage if a tree falls in the forest and no-one hears it, then did it still have an impact or even a sound? This to me is the importance of having as an alternative view, what I call participatory journalism, others call citizen journalism, yet others more may attempt to deride blogging by equating it with Gonzo journalism (started in essence by the late Hunter S Thompson) – but many will generally agree on the term of News-Blog or blogging…

Ariana Huffington has created a new media empire off of it, her website hosts ads from the New York Times trying to inveigle readers… An old institution begging for subscribers at a new kid on the corner? The internet has not just levelled the playing field, it has redesigned it!

Its importance is equally significant in this event where I have nearly been as lax as the Advocate or Nation in recognising important aspects of Barbadian literature – this story was actually back in early December, yet I can now make up for it by telling readers out there how Bim Magazine is back again, this time celebrating the memory of Bajan literary icon, Frank Collymore.

It was only in 2007 when the same BIM looked at the 80th Birthday of George Lamming back in November that year. These publications can be found at both the UWI bookstore at Cave Hill and at all branches of the Cloister bookstore, published by the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination with the Government of Barbados.

The keynote of the presentation launching the Bim’s “Colly” issue was the reminiscences of Lennox Honychurch, an artist who also has expertise with history and anthropology. He took time from restoring Fort Shirley in Northern Dominica to recall his days being shaped by the Barbadian author/actor/renaissance-man Frank Collymore as well as to look at the dichotomies of Dominica when compared to here;-

“…In Barbados there were all sorts of finicky social graces to which the white middle classes of Worthing and Hastings expected them to conform. In Dominica [the Honychurches] could live on a forested hillside in a three roomed wooden house on stilts with an outside kitchen and latrine. They could bathe naked in the rivers and run masquerade and pick and wrap limes and plant tomatoes for the market along with village people who worked for them. But when my grandmother, Beth, was looking for a cheap house to rent in Barbados while the children went to high school, she refused the offer of one in Kings Street or indeed anything north of the Esplanadein case we are mistaken for poor whites” ….

Honychurch’s full article on the man with one of the shortest poems in the world (The moth eath cloth just as seen) is called “The House of Two Islands” where Dominica is viewed like the feral Camargue of France while Barbados is thought of as a clipped English lawn.

There were recollections too from Dr Tony Gale and a wonderful presentation from the Mighty Gabby (shown here now, thought I had equipment to verticalise the perpendicular angle of filming, but the programme does not recognise the Nikon Coolpix L10 movie format – may need to look at getting Quick Time Pro for editing).

Also in this issue of Bim, items from Ian McDonald; Austin “Tom” Clarke; Derek Walcott; Kamau Brathwaite and Monica Skeete – as you see, ladies are few and far. So was advertising, which is another bugbear I have with the current climate of corporate Barbados, unless it’s NIFCA or Crop Over then out come the shekels – but if it’s a cultural or literary endeavour for just its own sake, then seldom do executives lay out the necessary backing for proper undertakings.

One of the last few I can recall is when Aja undertook a world tour of places like Palestine and Haiti it was bankrolled as a grant from then BS&T Chairman [now] Sir Allan Fields. He did not expect anything in return, although the rythm poet made sure to get a tv programme series done on his travels and that DaCosta’s was credited for their goodwill.

Barbados needs to realise it’s all well and good to be the most economically developed country in the Caribbean basin, but it needs to be as advanced in a cultural and literary manner as well, or when global paradigms shift in ways we cannot even conceive of then we’ll be left in the lurch as other territories more into books, art, music and drama and their ancillary devices will sail away in leaps and bounds!

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