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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Reality

Everytime peeps from overseas come here for a festival or carnival, they start to talk about their plans to come back home to live and work in the great nature isle etc. All the bbq smoke, the sweet looking women in tight jeans and the constant partying goes to their brain.

When I studied in London there was a group of mostly older law students who we limed around, mainly at London U (anyone ever go to a ISH jam in Baker St ? ) . Most of them returned to the Caribbean.

Lisa AGard is now VP of legal at TSTT, Mia Mottley is Deputy PM of barbados, Allison Demas is head of the Copyright oRg of Trinidad of Tobago, Lisa Adrien is fine fine fine...:-), Petrus 'Papo' compton used to be AG in St Lucia but now is a minister with a new portfolio, Gregory Georges is now CFO of West Indies Oil for Antigua and Dominica, Arden Warner is in Tortola somewhere practising law.

Of those Gregory georges is Dominican and he lives in Antigua. I didnt know any Dominicans of my generation who went to University outside of the Caribbean and returned. Denise Robinson lives in Bim and Eustace 'Boogy' Fontaine is more English than plenty Englishmen.

Thing is, other Caribbean islands have a wider depth of jobs available for trained professionals and unless you have some maverick entrepeneur in you or are very very determined, Dominica can be scary. The country has potential but many people want to build their lives and families on reality. And when you are done studying you are usually broke and needing to make money.

A padna of mine has been looking to come back for the last ten years. The better the food he eats when he is here, the more concrete his plans get. Carnival is his next stop. Should be fun.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Tired

Really am. I am off to Trinidad to the COTT Music awards on Thursday. mainly to press the flesh. The other company I am involved with, PixnPhones, pretty much started the mobile content supply business in the Caribbean. We work closely with the music societies regionally to pay them royalties. COTT now has an affiliate relationship with ASCAP which makes it easier to get access to R&B and Hip Hop content.

The Caribbean music business is chaos. The main distributor in Trinidad, Earl Crosby, basically said its no use stocking new CD's for sale. Piracy eats up coin.

We have started trying to move some of the artists digital but its tough because the rights assignment is something most composers even are not used to. And there is no recording rights association for artists in the Caribbean.

So we deal with CCL on one front, The record labels on another, and the content aggregators on another hand.

In Dominica, we are looking at WCk closely. Just finished looking at their latest album which is very promising. But the band does not have a manager and that is a priority as it can be potential chaos if they dont get someone professional.

We are hoping that we can convince the Trini market to organise itself as they are capable of leadership. if we can get a recording artists association then PnP can acquire master rights in bulk rather than dealing with all the artists and their managers individually. The societies are with us on this, but it still needs to be negotiated.

If all this is confusing, dont worry, it just gets me tired.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Culture is all we have

Its that time of the year again. Independence.

from what I wonder.

I can tell you that our base culture, a combination of everything under the sun from African to European to Carib, is stronger than anything I see in the Caribbean. And its not about music only or painting. Its about a lifestyle thats just natural. Its actually beautiful to witness.

maybe its lack of development which does that. The minute you have more hotels, more fast food chains, more nightclubs, everything becomes less natural, less discovered. and more expensive.

I rarely fly the flag. politicians and vagabonds are usually the first people to declare their love for their country, usually while they try to screw you. the rest of us, well it happens through our actions, and not through our words. the ordinary man who supports everyone through his daily work is more of a patriot than a politician who will actively serve to treat his cronies better than others.

anyway, Dominica has some major questions to ask itself about independence. Most of our income was from a protected relationship with Europe which we scream to regain, brokered by England. Our current dependence is on Cuba, China and venezuela. Our macro economy is being run by the IMF and World Bank. And our major export is people.

There is little or no independence in all of this. Just signs of continued inferiority complex.

Our real independence is reflected in the strength of our culture. The minute we lose that, the country is lost totally. It defines us as different. It defines us unique and powerful.

Viva Dominican culture. Its our real independence.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Look joke

I cant help find it funny that the Cricket World Cup might be 'pulled' from the Caribbean and given to the backup ICC country, South Africa.

Unlike many West Indians I dont look forward to the World Cup here. Dominica is lucky that it didnt get any games. The exposure of our country to the microscope of the world would reveal some very nasty bugs.

But thats not the real issue. Most big sporting events are excuses for bobol and exploitation and eventual disaster. Hosting any WC is like having a house party for someone else at your home, who pays you to get the place ready, and then proceeds to tear it up and leave you to clean up.

The Caribbean needs to improve for itself, not to host some event where the real beneficiaries are already some of the best off people in the region.

And that ultimately is my biggest beef. The social and economic problems the region face are not going to be helped at all. This is going to be another case of help yourself.

So help yourselves to South Africa ICC. I really hope so. And for West Indians who might be embarassed if we dont host the World Cup ? Think of the economic repercussions of all the white elephants if we do host it. Unless of course you just want your aunty in the UK or US to see how nice your country looks on tv after they edit all the other stuff.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rainy day

torrential rain falls, for around 30 minutes at a time, and then it calms down.

I am in my second home, at the office, laughing at an article I am writing. If people dont have my sense of humour I am in so much trouble. Then again does it matter ?

We have a client who I'd really like to succeed. She is Cuban and when we showed her the concepts we prepared for the launch of her business, she cried. The brand name we came out with was actually the name of her fathers band in Cuba, a name which was famous and which died when he did.

Sometimes you come across clients you like beyond the buck and really want them to have success. And it shows in the work you do for them. For those of you reading this and thinking, does this mean you dislike some of your clients ? Well, not dislike, but clients dont stop being part of the normal chain of human beings we interact with. They are simply paying us money ontop of everything else.

So you have some you like more than others.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Tip

Ok we reverse launched a product called The Tip. Its a weekly publication in Dominica, free. Effectively a free paper. We have alot of stuff in there, mainly listings, tv guide, coupons etc. The effect will be interesting.

We know the papers locally are going to scream. We are doing a press conference tomorrow to launch even though the actual first distribution happened on Wed.

We wanted the product in the market so the consumers could understand where it was coming from and also not be in the dark about its qualities.

Its actually a nice product and though its not under pressure, it will face the usual small country challenges.
So thats what we have been lookin at over the last few days.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Cyah work

Every morning I see groups of women walking and running getting fit. Meanwhile Caribbean man drinks and eats to his heart content. Usually what happens is Caribbean women outlive us, while we seem to have more fun. Maybe we are playing to the stereotype of Caribbean woman keeping things going while Caribbean man just has a ball.

Look at Carnival. You couldnt get a more one sided picture. Women working hard for months to get their figures into shape. Men, couldnt care less because around that time, any slob in a costume, or even without, can get a sexy looking woman to rub up on him.

Actually, thinking about it, its year round.

The real thing though is that Caribbean man starts looking real bad when he gets to 50 plus. All kinda problems when stud man turns into dud man. Meanwhile Caribbean woman keeps on trucking.

Now lemme go get some bakes and codfish.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Damn

Its after lunch. I had fish koubouyon, in a yellow butter sauce with pepper, dasheen, yam, and lentils. All washed back with some fresh passionfruit and grapefruit juice.

And I am supposed to function after that.

Anyway I am at my desk and getting rushed by a client for a TV edit, and by another client who is launching a campaign in another island in November, and I am thinking of sleeping.

Organising for a radio appearance in the morning on a popular am show to promote a new publication we are launching. I like radio. Noone can see you and work out the obvious lies that you tell.

anyway...back to fighting sleep.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Boys Nite

Well in between waiting for a great idea for a name for a new plastic surgery brand I can as well tell you about Boys Nite.

For the last three years a group of us get together every wed night for something we call boys nite. No women are allowed because women complicate male - male communication. thats a legitimate reason btw.

Boys nite rotates between about four - five houses, usually starts at 9:30pm and the host is supposed to have drinks and food ready. By food, we dont mean sandwiches. It has to be a full meal, cooked by the guy who is hosting. We all drink alcohol, and a boys nite session is usually hell on anyones alcohol. The guys will drink whatever is left.

The main people are Daryl, a car dealer, Geoffrey , Cliffy and Ali who are all work colleagues of mine, Billy, who is actually an international cricket umpire (look it up if you dont understand), Cleve, who is an engineer and night club owner, Ashton who is a TV cameraman, and David, who is an IT repairman and car detailer.

The talk is usually part psychiatrist, part sex therapy, part old talk and politics on island. But its like a club with invisible rules.

Blouse and Skirt

Sometimes I feel really stupid about taking work seriously in the Caribbean. I read blogs by people who come to Dominica and want to go into Zion and smoke some herbs and think I should be writing about that to.

But its kinda mixed up to explain. The guy who grows up in a concrete jungle gets tired of it. The man who grows up in Zion, gets tired of being in the middle of it too. Well, not tired. Dont know how to explain.

When you get past the fact that the country is beautiful and fresh food and water are plentiful and that the pace is 'yeah mon", you still have to make a living. And if you are ambitious and still dont want to be slap bang in some cubicle hell in the US or Europe, or even in some open plan designer nirvana dreaming of that fettucini lunch the company is goin to pay for, then you could be screwed.

Anyway, Dominica is one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean, but it still has its pluses. Jamaica and Trinidad have way too much crime, trying their best impression of 'I am first world', and Barbados feels strange. I could do a one liner assessment of the rest of the Caribbean but in short, Dominica is sweet. But its not supposed to be an entrepeneurs starting post so why am I here ?

Answer is I love the island. But I cant settle for Zion and planting corn and tomatoes. I can get them for free though. Anyway, like I always wonder how English people dont go nuts having to travel underground in a train without speaking to a soul, I am sure people must wonder how anyone can get better off than just middling.

After all that I will tell you what its really like to try to get fresh meat or fish on a Wed for our weekly boys night lime (a lime is a get together). next post.
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First Post

Ok. this is my first blog post.

Its Sunday and I am in the office at 10:20 am which is not good. I am going home in a sec anyway. I live in the Caribbean island of Dominica and am married with two children. Thats not as settled as it sounds by the way. This myth of stress free Caribbean life is not true and then you add the wife and two kids equation and everything is the same as any big city existence.

Used to live in London and have lived in Massachusetts and for a stint , New York as well.

Dont miss any of them, mainly because of the cold.

I also dont get a chance to read anymore, listen to Robbie Vincent on the radio or to laugh at 606 live commentary. Or get a chance to visit the Strand book store. Or go chill out in barnes and noble and pretend I am about to purchase a book that I really intend to speed read through.

I am a director in an ad agency and a mobile content and services company. Sounds sexy, but I am a working director in both. I think it would be sexy if I were just popping in once a month into either company but sadly they need my contribution.

Anyway, I am hungry and I am off to eat some breakfast.