Friday, November 15, 2013

Don't drop the soap.

Fear not for even one moment that Ackeelover Chronicles is, by extended absence, Fukushima'd. Or that I must be in some kind of sympathy drunkenstupor (German) alongside Rob Ford, Toronto's immediately identifiable bellicose burgermeister.

Few things gnaw at the insides of a wordy mutha, such as myself, like denying a trend of thought. At the moment, my ruminations are weighty, prolific as grass and twice as dense. So much so, that sanity behoves me to also regard miracles in minutiae - profound, if only in the interest of balance.

It's at times like these that I tend to clean out personal clutter. I find stuff, saved for one reason or another, that  stirs ... thoughts. Today's purge-pick was an unopened box of soap. A stolen memento from some hotel on my long and winding road.

You can deny pulling a similar heist if you want to. Okay then.

I really should've figured out sooner that the minimalist sanserif promise of clinical-skin care on the outside, was foreplay for something enticing on the inside. Satisfaction guaranteed was implicit as the font went bold to announce
 - massaging soap bar.

Then fine-print, directing - for bath ... in case you had other ideas.

Here was a spa in a bar. The sort of form-and-function design Q must've considered equipping Bond with. Y'know, for those moments when he's compelled to share his bathtub.

Back in my reality, I was tempted to take it out and get it wet. Apply it to wherever I felt an ache. That pining impulse to lather up and capitulate to "une expérience douche et bain unique."

I chose instead to shroud it in a "souvenir" instapic filter as an aesthetic exercise. Then I put that thang right back in the box. Where it remains, chaste and vulnerable, awaiting release and a maiden immersion, in service of a soothing cleanse.

Right now I really wish I had pilfered a pair.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pin's balls.

Chance encounter of the nostalgic kind. The bar had a band and a relaxed clientele having a good time, doing what comes naturally to bargoers. My impression's based on the thuddy din and just-so lighting levels, dedicated dancefloor, kempt commodes and crisp exit signage. All surrounded by tables and darting whites-of-eyes.

Gaudy graphics didn't distract my focus from the beer taps, rather, they became that trigger of ancient memory which punctuated the audio. Distinct, yet not out of place. I turned, having walked right past a banquette of beckoning relics. Analog sounds, steel-balls-rebounding-off-rubber, tinny bells and clacky levers. Regression to times of misspent youth.

Then and there, I greased up the ol' pinball swag, pelvic hip-snap and double-finger technique. And I didn't care who saw.

It wasn't until after I'd racked up the night's most prodigious score that I began to appreciate the inherent esoterics of this throwback moment. Nevermind that the machines were manufactured by relatives from a long-lost gaming branch of the Williams family.

Some people hear voices, others see signs. Mata Hari did her thing to my left. But these particular tableaux crackled with cryptic significance for me and my semi-private alter-egos.

Leave aside for a minute my earlier personification of ... Pin,
on CTV's Neon Rider. Way too literal.

Asteroid Apophis - or Comet of Doom, and imagery in the word Blackout, taken separately or together, rule this night, and prove enough to justify the coins it takes to put my balls into play.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kingston Paradise in Toronto.

St. Jago de la Vega and Kingston had not yet met in their prophesized sprawling merger. Growing up in Jamaica, my cardiology would routinely spike on the commute between bucolic and bustle. To the extent that even now, there's nothing better for my heart than a hit of citypulse.
My latest sortie saw me emerge from a summers-end Muskoka sequestration. A few probing enquiries, and I headed for Hogtown's TIFF 2013. In this era we're still speaking about that cavalcade of prestigious cinematic unveilings, and the familiar frenzy of the red carpet.

But now, also, parallel fledgling festivals aligned with it.

The Caribbean Tales Film Festival occurs on the fringes of this frisson. The timing is advantageous to showcase the maturing output of Caribbean related filmwork, adding its own diasporic glam to the scene with contiguous scheduling and spicy spectacle. Shorts, docs, features, workshops and symposia.

TIFF Artistic Director, media-master, mogul, mullah Cameron Bailey, himself of Barbadian heritage, makes a natural patron and ally for the eight year-old CTFF, incepted and run by Frances-Anne Solomon, a proud Trinidadian film-maker.

Having missed sold-out TIFF screenings of Steve McQueen's acclaimed "12 Years a Slave," which ended up a clear winner of the top accolades, I had to re-focus. I was drawn out by a desire to see how my Jamaican friend, Mary Wells fared with her movie "Kingston Paradise," making its world premiere.

Five years prior we had pored over early footage as she shaped a working edit. At the time, final cut seemed ... remote.

In the tradition of Damian Marley's anthemic song "Welcome To Jamrock," Mary's cinema verité visuals of this island paradise bely the Iberostar propaganda of Tourist Board commercials.

And make no mistake, this isn't gratuitous invitation to indulge in ghetto-voyeurism or re-hash Jamaican political tribalism.

At core, this is about a couple's struggle for self-betterment. A capitalist's dream in a setting where there's little capital to go 'round. Driving taxi in this town requires more than a hackney permit. Chris "Johnny" Daley energetically portrays Rocksy. He hustles condoms and phone-cards but is readily seduced by a Syrian businessman's conspicuously crisp Mitsubishi Evolution.

Hollywood might've required a grand heist, but JAH-llywood finds gold in a petty auto-thief, complete with bumbling sidekick.

Camille Small, as Rosie, is Rocksy's main squeeze, complicit in methodology but not end-game. She's an art-lover and supporter of "woman work" who is not deferential to agressive testosterone. Unlike some of her predecessors in Jamaican cinema, Camille manages to infuse Rosie's pulchritude with an eloquent subtlety.

Everyone's heard of Trenchtown. Well, there are several comparable "garrisons" on the Kingston city grid. Mary credits gratitude to the people of Southside, which is in East Kingston.
Here, shambles of a once-grand downtown show systemic neglect, and every available space is adapted to accomodate the population therein. Supporting players are shrewdly utilised to rivetingly depict the day-to-day business of survival.

In the mechanics yard, gappy Clovie ("I thief but I never go jail") and pretty-boy Maltado deserve mention. So too does the ambiguous, dare I say, androgeny of the marginal players. During a prolonged de rigeur cop chase sequence one delivers, sans dialogue, haven for our hero, and the other nails what may be the most stylish onscreen come-uppance I can remember.

Wisely, Mary avoids padding the dialogue with cliche epithets and common themology. My Spidey-sense is that there was imput from her actors to this end. The result is believable dialogue which, of necessity, benefits from subtitling in service of the colloquial narrative. This allows the viewer to digest the all-consuming socio-economic reality at his/her own pace.

In Kingston, there's no avoiding this.
Perry Henzell's "The Harder They Come" (1972) will always serve as a blueprint. To this day THTC one-line take-aways pepper popular culture. Kingston Paradise has its share of those too, with at least one standout deadpan delivery certain to mash up movie-houses from Kingston to Toronto
Then of course there's the music. Award winning composer John Welsman, an honorary Caribbean if there ever was one, dials up the decibels. Combining original score and contemporary vocal tracks, this Canadian demonstrates a clear understanding of Jamaica's bass imperative.

The first thing Mary asked me after the well-received screening, which led to the all-important CTFF 2013 audience choice award, was - what do I think of the film's commercial prospects?

Well, after driving around Kingston with her, not too long ago, I do know she could use a new car.

I predict here and now, she won't have to steal one.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Parables Of Riddick.

Installment three of the Riddick juggernaut opens today. The Vin Diesel publicity machine is in overdrive, selling a labor-of-love that's been soon come long time. Vin has fast and furiously found time to service other projects in the intervening period. I see in the society columns this includes starting a family. Nice.

Vin's navel-string connection to the Riddick mythic remains his most personal. My own brush with this franchise-of-the-moment remains resonant with me too - nine years after the Universal extravagance of The Chronicles Of Riddick.

Director of both films David Twohy, a man with the air of a New England rambler, makes a noteworthy foil to Vin's engagingly temperate braggadocio. By my observation, he's a Science Fiction fan. Casting for Chronicles was an intuitive process to the point where we were encouraged, in between gym visits, to name our own characters. Previously nameless lifer-convicts in the middle third of a sprawling, futuristic, extra-planetary adventure.

I called my guy Sniper. The unthinkable Washington D.C. shooting mayhem was recent memory. I stole the vacant soul of Jamaican born Lee Boyd Malvo for backstory. Director comments in my DVD extras keep that angle alive for me, despite much of the screen evidence falling by the way.

I'll have no spoilers on the new Riddick 'til I see it, so read on without fear. The Crematoria arc was very time-consuming to shoot but we got some stunning otherworldly footage. Backlot security was tight but there was a controlled stream of visitors. Like Vin's sis, his mom and kids belonging to Vin's twin bro.

One special day I had my own daughter with me. Coming back from lunch there was an unexpected gathering on our working soundstage, but all film-making activity had ceased. Vin's bullhorn baritone led cast and crew in a Birthday serenade, surprising her, and me, with sixteen candles in a cake. This raised the bar for such milestones in my neighborhood.

Riddick keeps good company. I had camaraderie with Judi Dench, Thandie Newton, Alexa Davalos, Keith David, Colm Fiore,Yorick Van Wageningen and others, while working among a filial cadre of local performers enjoying the bombastic profile of high-level production. It was here, during the hurry-up-and-wait interstices, that I tasted rare humility in Scrabble, which vied with Poker for pastime of choice.

Not to mention Snoop (then) Dogg hit-up da after-party in L.A.

Vin gifted me a VHS copy of Multi-Facial, his first short film. It features a diamond performance from an actor with more versatility than some recognize. You get the feeling he could do virtually anything with direct efficiency, power and charm. Like the best of America's husky heroes.

Makes me wanna send Riddick to go Rambo on Syria.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Buffalo Soldier.

Does anyone else think that Barack Obama's face is beginning to mirror Madiba's?

Watching how descendants of ancient Mesopotamia affect the pulse of the world, over the last several decades, reveals a fascinating arc on the global-collective timeline.

Today, the now familiar, twice-elected American President stopped in Sweden on his way to Russia's G20 summit. But it is a looming U.S. intervention in Syria that's on everyone's tap-touch notebook-list of questions. 24hr News is in feeding frenzy.

Looking behind Obama's eyes, framed by mini Mandela-moles which I hadn't really noted before, and the lighter shading of the skin stretched over high cheekbones, I intuit a secure conscience. Gut-level diaphragmatic relaxation from reflective, reflex points-of-origin, convey confirmation in his assured speaking voice.

Words string together fluently, admirably directed by a cultured synaptic highway to his Harvard-incubated legal-eagle brain.
(Or brains, for I do believe Michelle was his tutor at one time). Visualizing tort tutorials and formal debates, and imagining academic requirement of such people, I was moved to tweet (@actualApophis) - "#Obama is in his wheelhouse."

During recent election cycles in the U.S., my comments were frequently challenged with the somewhat desperate query "Why do YOU care so much about OUR politics?" -

This is why.

America doesn't simply elect a commander-in-chief. How often do we speak of the "leader of the free world?" Barack Obama, who's in close generational synchronicity with world-citizen Ackeelover, acknowledges the greater global context.

We're watching the 44th POTUS attempt to wield a big stick while walking softly. He's deft and had better be. A deliberate delivery, comparable to Mr. Mandela's own metronome, communicates contemplativeness. And just like in his honest commentary to the Press Corps on the Martin/Zimmerman verdict, there was no teleprompter to lacquer over nuance of thought or expression.

Nelson Mandela, whose legacy will be that of peace preferring, pragmatic revolutionary, understands how to fight for the cause of right, even when defence requires a pugilist's punch.

Perhaps, as he himself avers, Obama may yet prove "unworthy"  of the Nobel Peace Prize, but to my mind, win or lose in the war of worlds, this most scrutinised second-term leader speaks like his African counterpart, confident of his Buffalo Stance.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Invasion Of The Kiwi Apples

Forget any Chinese grand-design for economic world domination. The real concern for global equilibrium is a blatantly expansionist aspiration, emanating from the apple orchards of Aoteoroa.

Before I'm accused of taking a swipe at our New Zealand friends, detour to the pre-eminent grocery emporium in your 'hood.
Head for Produce. Casually dangle your smartphone or recording device by your side, and surreptitiously document the blinding array of premium apples on offer.

If you've made it this far the rest is simple deduction.

Familiar Red, Golden "De-lish" and Granny Smith varietals have long been complemented by Braeburn and Gala. When Fuji and Jazz showed up, it seemed a statement of intent. What better stealth to exploit/export, than such a proven seduction.
Keen Spidey-sense engaged, it fell to me to flesh out this exposè.

Opportunity presented itself on my weekly supermarket mission. There before me, was a motherlode of evidence. Intuition aided the selection of four specimens from the smörgåsbord, then home to conduct a random taste-test, aimed at the core of the matter.

It's fair game to begin at original sin. Which I'll suggest, makes a more evocative moniker for the obviously named "Eve," a classic apple-shaped fruit. Deep ruby skin, firm, tempting ... tart.

You get the general idea - a bite built to chew on for an eternity.

The crunchy, super-sweet-an'-dandy "Smitten" had me at hello. Yet, mindful. "Must-not-succumb, to the Succubus of this fruit."
Weakness could mean rehab. A.A. ... Appleholics Anonymous.

I hadn't bargained on "Envy." When mind-games are deployed, subordination is complete. This is a subtler, can't-eat-just-one, crisp-biscuit. With these apples hanging from his tree, this lucky grower must be in huge demand. Haters will hate ... hence, envy.

My image of New Zealand benefits from a single Auckland trip. Muriwai Beach, Rotorua, Kauri Wood, lambchops, honeybees. These are romantic indicators, and clearly the Apple lobby has
co-opted the power of Kiwi Love as aggressive market strategy.
Those pesky plastic stickers are the slippery slope to PLU porn.
Preferences do differ of course, but "Divine" proved to be merely that by comparison. Still, I won't let it dilute my due-diligence.
Waiting in the wings is "Ambrosia," promising sex by suggestion. And from there it's onto the "Southern Slap," which will require a proper re-think in the wake of the Paula Deen snafu Stateside. 
Those of us living in up-the-way Ontario, facing this invasion, can choose to be a cultivar-collaborator or join the resistance.
I'll reveal how I lean after I've studied the entire seasonal tease.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Window on Valencia. España: Parte Uno.

So, this is where paella comes from ... Ibiza is offshore too.
Bankers from here funded Christopher Columbus in 1492.

Valencia visit was a long time comin', beckoning as seabreeze.
Plenty citrus. But in early season, just tart oranges on the trees.

A road-blocked tent-event held us. Only those on foot shall pass,
y los perros out to walk, seeking communal privy patches of grass.

What's that famous line about the rain in Spain, and where it falls?
My rewrite says, on promising, unfinished, football-stadium walls.

Valencian settlement record is storied of conquest, varied, long.
Now, shiny streetcars signal a future, bright, electric and strong.

Much to see, so little time, a common traveller's lament or prayer.
Strategic wall stencils promote escort to the city's seamier layer.

Lost-in-translation syndrome. I read streetsigns wrong all day.
Some seemed to instruct tourists to divert and route another way.
Of course that's not so, Valencia's design caters to a visitor's fun.
The Arts and Sciences City complex has everything under the sun. 

La Opera and El Museo lavishly testify to quantum Euros spent.
I would've seen more attractions but the weather wouldn't relent. 

The mall over the road was shelter and food, lunch fast 'n' terriffic,
after a tour of Europe's most elaborate Aquarium Oceanographic.

Muppet Gonzo, Idris Elba, Apophis, Isaac from The Love Boat.
"Hey where'd that come from?"- as you re-read what I just wrote.

Well, I met there a friend, a big part of the trip's enjoyment factor.
The names are assignments for Iñaki, Spain's finest Voice Actor.
Having been, seen and conquered, and become part of the lore,
a resolution for a not-too-distant summer, return to see more.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pinkie and The Blues. A Daydream.

You don't see these color combos on this blog very often.
More de rigueur for Ackeelover Chronicles are earthtones and Jamaican accents. Well, that's still my go-to aesthetic I can assure you, but now is summer, and the gris of Canadian winter has lifted to reveal Rembrandt's pallette. Everywhere.

Colors stir imagination, so expect retailers to combine tone and tint with font and product placement. This day, I experienced a spontaneous waking daydream thanks to a well placed, simply conceived, plastic serving tray. As I passed through the add-on aisle (that inescapable, build-a-shelf, trinket heaven near any check-out), my music-matrix cued up a familiar guitar intro.

A rare silent "Q" had suggested my default to B.B. 'n' Lucille.

Implicit allusion to hickory and mesquite in the motif evoked a backyard spread, in which I'm feeding fictitious friends from a focal firepit. My apron, a joke gift which should have gone out with the wrapping but stuck around to become part of my shtick, bears the word "horngry," flinging flirt on the flames.
Alas, the line moved sharply, undermining the process of talking myself into the $3 purchase. Still, I couldn't get The Blues outta my head. Further on up the road (intentional reference), I'm still going over my playlist for when opportunity presents itself.
B.B. King appropriately segues into Bobby Bland, another B.B., and back, before Bland a.k.a. "Blue" gives way to pink. 

"Pinkie" had parked the statement whip outside Old Navy.

Precisely where her audacious bumper was in my line of vision.

Ignition. Then a lingering look at innuendo before pulling out. Slowly. The confluence of blue and pink in my fluid, freestyle daydream, makes me wish I'd dropped a trey for the tray.

 As a sort of ... dreamcatcher.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gently coaxing Apophis.

Okay. You know it and I know it. In these times it's not uncommon to record oneself in a sex act, tactically leak teaser megabytes on myspace or tumblr, then sit back to await that TMZ call.

I get the temptation, and reserve my right to join the insanity at a future date - if I choose to go that route. But for now, I'm onto something better. I'm pandering to humanoid survival instincts and encouraging us all to unite for the sake of this planet.

No buzzwords here. Sustainability. Carbon Footprint. Save a Tree. Nah, I'm in the biz of asteroid deflection now. You heard me.

Yep. Marvel Comic stuff, to go along with my uber-envy of Robert Downey Jr.'s current gravity-defying career trajectory.
A couple of erstwhile, redoubtable astronomers, who are avid Stargate fans in their real lives, have been in touch with me to help save Earth. Roy Tucker and Virgiliu Pop spearhead an ambitious mission to succeed where SG-1 apparently didn't. They're taking the fight to Apophis and Ackeelover is boldly going along for the ride. Wicked an' wild, Dr. Strangelove style!
Regardless of bookie-odds favoring "close shave" vs. "apocalypse," this is a brilliantly simple plan. It's a nice change from routine satellite maintenance, and, a potentially potent, organic response to extraplanetary threat. Yet, it all amounts to nothing without Youtube and you. And me. And Roy. And Virgil.
How can this be?, you ask. Has the world gone mad? Uh-uh, this is about destiny, empowerment, and the right to stand up to the Universe and say, "don't hurl any more large baked potatoes at me, son!" A Rockethub campaign has begun. I've been told Apophis himself is aware of this and anticipates the engagement, especially as many doubters have become distracted and complacent.
Pundits are by nature sceptical and may scoff, but plenty suggests that Apophis has not been rendered harmless. It's frightening to think who may ape this orbital terrorism with nefarious intent to enslave, rape 'n' pillage. Yes, pillage - and rape.

I don't have to spell it out for you. Baddies ain't PC.

Since it'll be hard to re-convene any SG-1 team to full-effect readiness (certain to be filibustered in Congress anyhow), the onus of responsibility shifts to egalitarian Tau'ri social media.

Radically apolitical, Crowd-funding is socialism and capitalism simultaneously. A "liberal" approach, which looks "conservative" nex' to all dem fancy nuke options. (Use favorite buzzword here).
Aaaand y'know what? Jaffa Kree! - it juuust might work.

There's a perfect point in everyone's life to look inward with steely resolve and ask of your soul, "should I risk everything for want of a coat of paint?" Yes, we are at that point - spare the paint, spoil the globe. Ask any Siberian. Vote Yarkovsky! (see links).
(N.B. - Apophis, not to be underestimated, is said to have a complicit twitter host @actualApophis. Stay informed - and, should there be a sex tape, it's likely to surface there first.)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

One of those moments.

Over the course of a single lifetime an inquisitive soul will have seen countless day-to-day occurrences, some of which remain imprinted on the brain for years. A passing observation may trigger a rush to judgement or make you ponder cause and effect.
Looking, and being aware, is how we develop or confirm intuition and cultural perception. Photographs are useful in preserving psychological reference data, but seldom fill in the matrix.
A recent rummage through some adolescent mementos turned up two snapshots taken on a mid/late-Seventies New York City trip. The view, across what I remember as 6th Avenue, stopped me cold in my tracks. A man was kneeling in front of a restaurant, apparently planting one the sidewalk. Pedestrians ambled by with nonchalant, seen-it-all-before, cursory regard.

There was more interest from one tan-suited businessman with a briefcase, and an impressionable island-boy visitor to lower Manhattan pointing a pre-digital camera through gaps in traffic.

Back then, the Big Apple was a very different place compared to the post-9/11 NYC of today. Neither of us, it occurs to me now, thought that this could've been an Islamic posture of devotion.

In fact, my read, ignoring the possibility of my own ignorance, concluded this was a victim-of-the- streets in the static throes of a mental-breakdown. And I was there to record the moment.

I'm still uncertain what I witnessed. Mr. Brown-Suit approached, tentatively poked and voiced what seemed a caring inquiry. Reaction unforthcoming, he shrugged and moved on. A couple New York minutes and I was on my way too. Never to forget.

Everyone knows that Avenues on the Gotham grid run on a North-South axis. Streets go East to West. This inconclusive detail keeps my memory murky, because Mecca, from there, should be somewhere to the east of Long Island.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Do The Wurm.

I enjoy running, kicking a football, or riding a mountain bike on a Whistler Mountain trail. Fresh air isn't overrated, and hitting the gym, if only to stretch, remains a very effective way to actively entertain myself. Someone else may choose solitaire or collage, but ever since the world was conquered by digi-chip electronic networks, there's so much more to do.

Apparently, you can make pretty much anything at all in iOS. Multi-level gaming works for many. Others just use their devices to chat. This week I made generative arte moderne via Wurm, a fairly new graphic-design app - that kinda fell in my lap.

(Wurm in my lap? - dem couldn't call di ting Boa? #cheaplaughs)

Well, effort number one sucked me into a virtual vortex every time I touched that iPhone5 screen. The wondrous results reminded me of dreamy aboriginal art I'd seen in Melbourne, even though I began this first Wurm-sesh with colors chosen for more of a Jamaican/African association.

Immediately apparent was the array of possibility. Clearly, as much time would be spent on "creative" (that "insider" noun), as would be spent deciding exactly when a doodle was done, a finished product, worthy of any metropolitan galleria.

My follow-up effort produced a frantic, chiffon-esque, macro-print ... or a cellular deconstruction of an elite chocolate mint, depending on which of your senses is keenest at time of viewing.

Right from jump I found manipulating an image to make what I wanted, to be more difficult than interpreting the results I was getting. That's when shit got real. Sauciness emerged from d'art.

It may be just the boy-brain thing, but I can successfully identify horny scenarios in the suggestive lines of certain masterpieces. If it is true that reading inkblots presents insight into personality and mental wellness, then, I give myself over to the doctors.

But, I'm bringin' my Wurm wit' me.

If you've ever seen The Shroud, or Selassie in a cloud, or even St. Peter (Pan?) on a pilgrim's potato chip, then you've played the shape game before. No place for the sanctimonious.

When the mind's eye told me not to be so specific, freeform fingering (you were warned) on the smooth palette yielded randomly stimulating backgrounds. One such caressing, in opaque swirl, became a roiling, apocalyptic, smokiness.

It got me thinking of Armageddon. And North Korea. So I threw words at it and put it up on Ackeelover Chronicles.

Voila, my first Wurm-ogram. Take that, Kim Jong Un.

Independently developed by Anna Oguienko of Toronto, Canada, Wurm is a cool app-tool for playing Rorschach recognition. Then again, and just as likely, it could simply be an artsy play-toy, providing confirmation, if any was needed, that ultimately ... peeps is gonna see, what they wanna see.

Use sparingly, as prescribed by a professional.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure.

Diggin' deep in the personal archives is the quickest way to maintain a presence on a blog when there's no time to write.

When I was much younger my family had a cottage in the hills of the Parish of St. Catherine. It's cool up there. We had expansive views to the North, received radio signals fron Cuba, grew coffee bushes and enjoyed the uncommon fruit of the Rose Apple trees.

The nearest town is Sligoville, said to be the first village peopled by freed slaves in mid-1830's Jamaica. History here is very close to the surface of contemporary observation and one can feel colonialism in the mists that regularly cosset this mountaintop.

The verdant vegetation was/is tropical and lush, with ferns of various description growing like weeds in the fertile soil.
One day, and several days thereafter, while fulfilling my gardening chores cutting back an encroaching fern thicket adjacent to our stony driveway, I happened upon what probably used to be someone's refuse heap. Whoever it was had a predilection for European preserves and Irish beverages, judging by containers I found clustered just below the surface of the dark earth.
My interest in archaeology was nascent at the time, but rooted enough in my sensibilities for me to cherish the finds to this day. I share them here without too much verbal embellishment for they speak loudly by themselves, as tangible vestiges of the colonial yesteryear I frequently reflect on in my musings.
Worthy of note is the prone, round-bottomed bottle embossed with the "Medicated Aerated Waters, Belfast, Ireland" assertion, and the salt-glazed crockware jar which simply proclaims that it once held I. C. Hoffmann's "Rassberry Jam."(sic.).
I often wonder if that early spelling of Raspberry influenced the development of  well known, colorful Jamaican expressions.
Ackeelover Chronicles will continue ...  

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ugli. Produce of Jamaica.

In Canada it's mid-winter. Wild berry season is faint memory. Nothing succulent will bear on bush or tree for months to come. For those of us raised on the perpetual bounty of the tropics, finding familiar fruity favorites can feel like a Survivor quest.

Just as the spice trade of yore seduced European tastes, so too does NAFTA's econo-facilitation of exotic imports, from unfrozen parts, keep mouths drooling when farms and farmers freeze up north.

Enterprising brokerage, serving Canadian multi-cult reality, augments produce shelves in supermarkets. The ubiquity of Jerk condiments simply isn't the whole food story, so I, for one, choose to head for the fruit displays. My new Bodum juicer has been working overtime since Christmas, and it's kept me in a citrus frame of mind.

I target various types of Orange, Grapefruit, Honey Tangerines, even Tangelos. This time the scavenger hunt yielded Ugli.

No surprise, this fruit is named for its appearance. The somewhat scrotal crumple of the external rind may be visually unbecoming, but it's an easy peel, and, nectar within is touted as being more sweet than tangy.

Ugli is a unique hybrid of Grapefruit, Orange and Tangerine. I'm told it's now grown Down Under, but this is another of those Jamaican originations the world has taken to, and a Jamaican company remains the primary patented producer.

Clearly I'm not one to ignore analogy. I find it difficult to resist extrapolation - beyond reproductive innuendo, into the realm of cultural association itself. As Jamaican in metaphor as it is in genesis, perhaps there is philosophy bred into this fruit.

Out Of Many, One People is Jamaica's motto, mirroring the composite chromosomal makeup of Ugli. Similarly, aspects of Jamaica's socio-schizoid geneology can give one impression while being something else entirely.

Fortunately, stripping away superficial layers ultimately reveals a thing of beauty. The smaller of my two fruit, suitably splayed to expose a suggestion of proto-labial fecundity, cried out to be instagrammed atop Uncle Rick's hand-crafted cake-stand. The larger one I juiced and guzzled, despite finding it not quite as sweet as propaganda promised.

Citrus lends itself easily to grafting, to wit, it's not unusual to pick Oranges and Lemons from the same tree. Come to think of it, this does beg comparison to certain complexities of the contemporary Jamaican zeitgeist.

The good. The bad. And ... the Ugli.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It's Apophis. Did You Miss Me?

Ackeelover Chronicles boasts more than a passing fraternity with the mind behind the campy malevolence of the larger-than-life figurehead Apophis. Fans of Stargate SG-1 know this.

It's a-propos therefore, that this is the established bulletin-board for his intergalactic communications whenever he's in da 'hood, or just feeling the need to talk, as Gods sometimes do.

I read the news today. Oh boy. There it was in black and white. Potentially Dangerous Asteroid - Apophis Bigger Than Thought. But then, I could have told you that. Try nuh miss the memo.

Apophis writes ...

"Nok tel Tau'ri ... it's no secret, having appeared in your global press, that I'm preparing my 2036 assault on your planet. At the moment this involves careful reconnaissance consisting of a series of orbital fly-bys, starting with the one today, should you care to look. Now showing in select skies near you.

My plan is a work-in-progress. Tactics have been altered a bit, since Americans always seem to be able to figure things out. I'm aware that proximity of my orbit has set Australia ablaze yet again, a consequence of having to dodge a careening North Korean satellite. Some people shouldn't be allowed to drive.

It amuses me no end to see the enduring fascination you have with the stars. Star Wars sequels and Star Trek icons Kirk, Spock, Sulu and Uhura. Of course there's Stargate too, what with tweeting O'Neills, an undead Daniel Jackson, pin-up Samantha Carter and that Dark Knight shol'va, Teal'c.

So, prepare for some Goa'uld revenge. The right to carry semi-automatic assault rifles can't avert this strike. Apophis is not scared of Bruce Willis ... and as an unrelated sidenote, since Kanye West has implanted his symbiote in Kim Kardashian, another suitable vessel is needed for my dynasty to continue.

Kree, hol shek ... Apophis (on twitter @actualApophis)

Every effort has been made to preserve veracity in translation. No liability accepted on the part of Ackeelover Chronicles. Any resemblance to persons living or dead purely coincidental.

Don't shoot the messenger.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year, 2013 Style.

"(If you) don't know your past, y'don't know your future, ..."

That light-but-heavy hook-line from Tomorrow People by The Melody Makers, along with New Year's Day, the soaring rock standard by U2, always feature high on my January playlist.

Time didn't stop last year. We're all still here, with apologies to Syria, Cote d'Ivoire and Sandy Hook. I'm home, with my customary Ackee and Saltfish, while America stares down a rapid-fire succession of fiscal cliffs, and Canada sees past, future and protest in Theresa Spence.

2012 turned out to be The Year of The Gangnam. A Psy tsunami soaked the planet in a smile, and Canada came good again; leave it to Bieber - and Mark Carney. It's a good thing predictions are speculative 'cos what comes next could be even sillier than my reggaefied Gangnam to di dollarstore, Party-Castanet Riddim.

Yes, I've seen the signs. An overdressed monkey roams Ikea in Toronto. Siri usurps social intercourse, and "Christianmingle" could become a recognized English verb, via tele-advertising.

Dictionary: "to Christianmingle" - the act, or sound, of religion and social-networks merging with the-urge-to-merge.

My parents met in New York at a New Year's Eve party in 1953. It could be said this represents my earliest genesis, and each year with a 3 since has proved prosperous, with Positive Vibration. Kismet. Numerology. Superstition. Obeah. Callitwhatchawill ...
Today, 2013 already has me feeling like a sweepstake-winner.