Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Momentous Day

Yes, of course, TODAY is........ Bob Marley's birthday
.

Those of you who foolishly base your understanding of such key events in world history on me and my blogs may have been misled on this point. It's true, my party to celebrate the great man's birthday last year was nearly a month late, on March 3rd, because I was unfortunately out of the country on the date itself.

Today is also...... Chinese New Year's Eve. There is a steady rumble and pop of fireworks all around me already - and it's only 9am.

All the best for the Year of the Rat!! Gongxi facai!!

28 comments:

Mothman said...

Did I ever mention that when I was living in Jamaica I was once bitten by Bob Marley's drummer's girlfriend's dog?

Do you want my autograph?

Froog said...

I do recall that everyone in Jamaica claimed to be somehow connected to Marley - at no more than two or three 'degrees of separation'.

The dog is arguably an additional 'degree' in your case, so not much kudos for you! It would have been far more impressive to have been bitten by the girlfriend.

Of course, 'coincidences' of this kind do become enormously more likely on a small island, especially given that Marley probably had many drummers in his career - and I'm quite sure that all those drummers had many, many girlfriends.

The British Cowboy said...

I don't know if I mentioned my favorite Bob Marley moment to you before, but it occured in Blondie's, the bar where you watched the Patriots beat the Rams in the Superbowl when I lived in Carlisle, PA.

2001-02 was a momentous year, not surprisingly. From moving out to the sticks for a job, to 9/11, to getting fired, to deciding on going to law school, to moving to Nashville, much happened, and,a s ever, much of the memories focus around a bar, at that time Blondie's.

Anyway, September 2001 was a somber month indeed. I remember being sat in Blondie's one weekend evening, sipping my beer, and watching the concert in memory of the 9/11 victims on the TV there. Along the bottom of the screen, they had the subtitles turned on. I cannot remember the artist, but some reggae singer was performing Redemption Song, my favorite Marley number.

It was then I got the first belly laugh I can remember having since the 9/11 attacks. Across the bottom of the screen came up the lyric "How long shall they kill our profits..."

It just seemed to fit the commercialization and economic panic of the time perfectly. I started laughing loudly, and was looked at very oddly by many of the other customers.

Mothman said...

No kudos? Bummer!

The girlfriend gave me 100 dollars cash in compensation and some antiseptic. I'll leave it to your imagination as to what I would have liked to have given the fucking dog...and it wasn't Tabasco sauce.

Actually, I was really surprised at the depth of anti-Bob Marley sentiment in much of Jamaica. The ONLY time I heard one of his songs being played was in a taxi in Montego Bay where the driver was clearly playing-up to the (mostly white) audience. The phrase "Him Roast Breadfruit, Man" followed by that uniquely Jamaican wrinkle of the nose was how most locals seemed to react to the name 'Marley'. The words 'Prophet' 'own land' and 'not recognised' spring to mind. Mind you, West Indians seem to have taken the 'Mother Country's' proclivity to resent and belittle the success of others and elevated it to a major art form.

Local 'musical hits' in Jamaica at the time included such sublime delights as "Me Wan' Punani...Me-Me Wan' Punani" (a catchy little 'tune' that still rattles insanely around my head in moments of extreme stress).

I can see why the Cowboy uses the prefix 'British'... Oxford seems to have done a superb job of imbuing him with that famous British sense of Black Humour and ability to laugh in the face of adversity. Given the depths of patriotism unleashed by the September the 11th terrorist attacks I am surprised that he just got 'funny looks'!

Talking of funny looks in the USA I once had a hilarious conversation with a woman in Houston shortly after Princess Di snuffed it, when (hearing my 'accent') she said that I must be in deep mourning. I told her that personally I didn't give a toss as I was an ardent republican. It tickled her pink to find out that we had the same political parties 'over there'...

Froog said...

You were in Houston, Mothman? I thought you disdained to set foot in The Great Satan.

I was also in the States at that time, and had a rather similar experience - though without the killer 'Republican' punchline. The American wife of a British friend I was visiting was amazed and shocked (and later, I think, somewhat disapproving) that I hadn't heard the news immediately.... and was completely unmoved by it when I did. It was, I think, a good time to be out of the UK.

I have a happy memory-loss associated with my (probably one and only) visit to Blondie's for that Bowl. I recall we had decided to do 'turnover shots' and both teams were fumbling way more than average. I think there was one near the end where the original call was overturned on video review, but the shots had already been set up for us by then, so we drank them anyway. I think that might have been No. 10. My recollection of anything else about that game (the teams, the score, the MVP) is extremely blurry, not to say non-existent.

Froog said...

A further note on my experience of Carlisle, PA - which you might have been unaware of, Cowboy. I went through a Twilight Zone mini-nightmare of fearing that I might be trapped in small-town America indefinitely: it did prove worryingly difficult to leave. The Greyhound stop had recently closed down, so I was forced to take a local bus into Harrisburg. It only ran a couple of times a day, and the one I eventually managed to catch was, for some reason, about 2 hours late. Even then, my troubles weren't over. There was no bus service from Harrisburg back to DC either, so I had to wait until the evening for a train, which made an uncomfortable dent in the wallet.

And I had a 'date' of sorts in Arlington that night - so spent my afternoon vainly trying to contact her from payphones to reschedule.

Ah, the life of the budget traveller!

The British Cowboy said...

Mothman - I am British. I moved here to the Satan when 25.

As Froog knows, I have gone very native in some ways over the last 13 1/2 years (and I turn 39 today...), in that I am a gun nut, a US sports freak, and various other insanities...

But deep down I am still a cantankerous, cynical Brit, who sulks all weekend if Villa lose.

Froog said...

Happy B'day, Cowboy. I'm not sure that I'd ever known that before.

Another good reason for you to come and work in China: there would be a very good chance of your birthday falling during a (one week, officially; two or three weeks in practice) national holiday.

But I guess you have to be moderate tonight and save it up for the weekend.

Any progress with 'the singer'??

The British Cowboy said...

Discretion, valor, nothing really there, bad idea all round, good friends etc etc etc

Mothman said...

Happy birthday, Cowboy :-) Sorry to hear that you had to do the J.G.F.C. with 'The Singer' on this momentous occasion. Turning 40 is the real tear-jerker, in my sad experience (I vaguely recall...it was a while back). Did our paths cross at Oxford or were you there during one of my tropical idylls? I am encouraged to find that even mein host did not know that you were a fellow Limey, you poor sod.

I must have visited the Evil Empire thirty times or more, Froogy-babes - courtesy of Phillip S. Goldson 'International' airport having been built on the old municipal rubbish dump. Such was the resulting instability of the ground that they were unable to extend the runway to take trans-continental 'heavies', so I have always had to fly to Belize via an overnighter in either Miami or Houston. Thus far I have resisted the urge to kick one of the obnoxious 'US Imm and Natz' people in the slats, but it has been a close-run thing on occasion. The presumption that I WANT to be there under any circumstances - let alone actually be so masochistic as to stay there illegally - always gets on my tits. (Having said that virtually all of my best friends in Belize are Americans - and they can't stand the place either,oddly enough... The US sems to have the same problem as the UK - a number of sparks of pure genius immersed in a great mass of puddingness...and it also exports its finest).

Talking of sucky government, this year what passes for the 'Government' of Belize finally sprung the cash to dig out the crap at the leeward end of the airport and refill it with more solid stuff. So I gather that direct flights from the UK will soon be possible - and the good ol' US of A can go screw itself after years of screwing me. Yay :-)

One day, if I ever have the cash and time, I might even take the Fyffes banana boat that leaves from Southampton and arrives just a few hundred yards from my property out there...Flying has become such a bloody nightmare nowadays that the prospect of a 'slow boat to Central America' holds a definite appeal. Do any go to China nowadays? 11 hours to Bangalore (and that in-flight entertainment console jammed on 'The Dukes of Hazzard') is about the longest flight east that I could take nowadays. Beijing? Forget it... The college tried vaguely to get me to go out to Chungking (?)a while back, but (apart from the flight and a touch of Yellow Fever) an old friend's tales of her mother remembering that the ink froze in the inkwells when she was at school there gave me major pause for thought....freezing cold is not my bag, as you may recall.

Do you recall the origin of the phrase 'J.G.F.C.' dear Froog? The Long-Legged Aristocrat whom I boffed under the dining room table at the home of one of your fellow Corpuscles? The only girl whom I have ever met who could keep a straight face while saying "we've got a castle in Wales - but we've got a better one in Scotland". Her tales of blowing away lusty would-be teenage swains while doing the 'Sixth Form Switch' at a major 'boy's' public school gave me a major insight into the twisted female psyche...J.G.F.C. stood, of course, for giving a boy the 'Just Good Friends Crap' - as in (imagine breathless little voice and heaving proto-bosom) "I hate to hurt you Philip (or Mark or Jehosophat or whoever) but I want us to be...(pause for dramatic effect)...JUST GOOD FRIENDS..."

Mothman said...

Cowboy, now that I look at it again it was your birthday that Froog didn't know, wasn't it, not your birthplace? (duh) I guess that little things like your accent (among other minor clues) might have given the other game away...

Froog said...

Shane MacGowan played a gig in Toronto (with his post-Pogues band, The Popes) towards the end of my year-long sojourn there. I think, in fact, I may have delayed my departure by a few days in order to catch him.

I doubt if he's ever been back since. He showed up about two or three hours late, apparently already very drunk - and having supposedly come straight from the airport after a delayed flight and then some protracted hassle from over-zealous immigrations officers. "They seemed to be worried I might want to stay in Canada," drawled Shane. "Why the fuck would anyone want to STAY in Canada?"

This was not a remark calculated to win the affection of the domestic audience - but fortunately there were so many Brits, Paddies and Yanks in the audience that he got away with it.

Froog said...

I think the Cowboy showed up in Oxford in the late '80s, and became a more-or-less permanent fixture in the Union Bar. I got to know him when I was back there teaching in the early '90s. You did indeed meet him on a number of occasions, Mothman.

He has fond - or, at any rate, vivid - memories of his first encounter with you.

Cowboy: "So you don't smoke, you don't drink - what are your vices?"

Mothman: "I collect hardcore pornography."


He was setting himself up for it, of course, but that is just a little more candour than is usually considered appropriate for an initial introduction.

The British Cowboy said...

You missed out the "don't gamble," Froog...

It was the Temple Bar, if I recall correctly.

The British Cowboy said...

Oxford 1987-90. Warwick 1990-91. Back to Oxford (as a student) 1991-92. Taught in Oxford 1992-95.

Mothman said...

Ah, yes...now I remember you, Cowboy. How is your beautiful and charming Irish-American lady? I recall that we both worked for the egregious Norrey Parmer in the dim-distant days before a colleague persuaded me that employing tutors was more fun (and more lucrative) than being one.

The fun has been taken out of porn in the UK now that it is not merely legal but positively compulsory. It was a good line to sift out the gentlemen from the players though :-) My days with my fiancee became numbered when - at a particularly DIRE party full of her extended Croatian family - an exceptionally boring couple asked me what I did. I told them that I produced Hard Core Porno Movies. It turned out to be 'er indoors' uncle and he was unamused. So was she when she found out... The words 'Matches', 'Heaven', 'Not Made In' (yadda yadda) spring to mind...

I drink quite a lot in Belize, where the rum is plentiful and cheap - and I kid myself that my liver feels better, like the rest of me. Out there if they catch you on some remote jungle road under the influence weaving to-and-fro to blat tarantulas (not that I do you understand;-)) they drive you back home and take your car to the cop shop overnight - and make you walk in or hitch a ride to get it. Now that is a truly great nation.

I am encouraged to find that the Cowboy has become a gun nut. Not everything about the Evil Empire is so terribly evil.

Froog said...

Croatian? Did I miss out on that fiancee??

So, you're only a part-time teetotaller? Much like me and my asexualism - I only practise it on planet Earth.

Mothman said...

Same one...did you not notice the un-British dark brown eyes; excessive altitude and long, dark hair? Okay, so her ethnic cleansing only consisted of getting shot of me, but the principle was the same. All of her numerous relatives on the female side had names like 'Caravan Sandwich' and bouffant hairstyles (the male ones anyway). In those days they were all just 'Yugoslavians' but since those naive pre-latest-massacre days I have come to realise that they were probably a bunch of sodding Ustashi...or maybe Chetniks. Yes, now I come to think of it there wasn't much evidence of genuflection so they must have actually been bloody Serbs. Another reason to hate them :-)

Somehow it doesn't seem appropriate to drink alcohol when in mourning. Or when in the UK - which is pretty much the same thing. I get depressed enough here as it is...and the EXPENSE in the UK, my dear.

The British Cowboy said...

My beautiful and charming Irish-American lady is now my ex-wife...

And is mothman an homage to Watchmen?

Froog said...

No pop culture references from the Mothman, I think - not his style. He is an entomologist who specialises in moths.

If there are any websites devoted to moth pornography, he probably created them.

Mothman said...

I am sorry, Cowboy - I didn't know about your wife. It's a painful business under any circumstances, I do know.

The 'Mothman Conspiracy' I have heard of (but have no idea what it is!) But I was there first. As Froog correctly states, popular 'culture' leaves me somewhat cold. I am afraid that I am of the mould of the 60's High Court Judge and his (in)famous question as to the identity of The Beatles...

I do, however, have a pretty cyclopaedic knowledge of the insect order Lepidoptera...and of hard core porn, as our host points out. Ron Jeremy and Vladimir Nabokov are my heroes :-)

Froog said...

Ah, that old "And who, pray, are..." chestnut. I have blogged about that as well - have another little search on Froogville, Mothman.

Have you ever contemplated creating a moth pornography website? There could be a money in that.

I was out drinking with this crazy American guy last night who raised the question, "If you had to wear underwear made out of living animals, which animal would you choose?"

He suggested that texture, agreeableness of wriggling, and inability to maul your privates should be the main criteria. His preference was for geckoes. "They're soft and boneless. And they write so nicely." This then provoked a 5 minute discussion about how many geckoes you'd have to sew together to create a pair of briefs with adequate "coverage". It was that kind of evening.

Froog said...

Erm, that should have been 'writhe', of course.

I shall now be plagued by dreams of emulating the elegant style of great gecko novelists.....

Mothman said...

's been done...sort of. Wasn't the chief protaganist of 'Wall Street' named after aforementioned reptile?

'Moth pornography'?!?! Jeez, you need to get out more, Froogy- Babes... though admittedly I have spent more hours than I care to remember looking down microscopes at moths' private parts.

Wasn't this thread originally about Bob Marley?

The British Cowboy said...

Mothman was a superhero in Watchmen who became an alcoholic after costumed vigilantes were banned, also suffering a nervous breakdown. He became a rather sad character, all in all.

Thanks for the kind words. It wasn't fun, but in the long run all for the best.

The Nags said...

Have much enjoyed reading this thread and trust that you are all well!

Froog said...

Aha, Mr The Nags, so you have joined us at last! Welcome, welcome.

I may have to start up a thread just for you - so you can leave us some of your racing tips once in a while. It would be nice to have a little flutter on the St Leger or the Derby... rather than only being able to wager on mah jong, cockroach racing, and how many fingers this guy is going to blow off with that firework.

Mothman said...

Cockroach racing?!?!

Jeez, life in Beijing is more dire than I had imagined...