Something(s) from the Caribbean that go(es) bump in the night

It started out as a link I saw on Tobias Buckell’s twitter feed, where he referred to an “Ol’ time Calypso”, called the same thing as one of his novels, “Sly Mongoose”:-

I started going down memory lane, looking at an episode of “Calypso Showcase” on YouTube showcasing  Shadow’s career…

Then I saw it. Apparently, since I’ve come to Canada, Shadow’s put out a calypso called Soucouyant”.

It’s not the only soucouyant calypso out there, either. Links on the side of the calypso showcase utoob vid showed two, three, four, five more…

And I REMEMBER at least two of them. I’d finish rythms to Crazy’s same-titled Roadmarch hit that I *must* have jumped up to in the 80’s, and I didn’t remember anything else about Lord Blakie’s.

Except the LAUGH.

What a way to remember a calypso, about a creature of horror, that came out when you were a “little chile’ “.

I’m liking Shadow’s lyrics best.

Plus, he tends to wear black. Gotta wear black when singing about something sucking the lifeblood outta you. No?

And the oral tradition still runs strong down there; no one’s seemed to have put up the lyrics to any of them. Gotta do like Guanaguanare, the laughing gull, and yank them from a live performance… (

All this when trying to find the calypso featured in a horror-themed life insurance commercial from the same period from Trinidad. I believe Sparrow was featured in one commercial as well. Anyone? “…come leh we play a game o’ card” is a lyric; he fell over a tree branch running from creatures of the night… I think it’s maybe Kitchener waking up from a bad dream featuring a calypso of his, then recommending an insurance company.


I’m a insert these calypsos into my WiP somehow; the main character’s a soucouyant, after all…

EDIT: AHA! Found it! Love In The Cemetery- and it was Kitchi! Memory served me right…


On my writing Non-Western horror

Western horror aestehetic seems to evoke images of persons wearing a lot of black, being goth, black and shadows, monotone colour schemes, and the morose bleached tones in between.

But I don’t dress like that. Yet I seem to be predominantly writing about vampires. I write dark fiction.

My aesthetic leans heavily towards what one would see in films like The Cell; narrative aesthetics like The Caveman’s Valentine. And those draw from non Western, non white things (Caveman’s Valentine may be a fusion with the seraphs that lie in his head, but you get where I’m coming from).

There’s colour. There’s vibrancy. Even if there’s horror, unlife. Like in my writing.

I want to write and have it be as vibrant as The Cell.

That make sense?

Just a thought.

On this “Swarthy-skinned” thingy

I’m cooking pancakes. At 7pm. On a Sunday. And in between checking in on them, I read. And I finally understand this “swarthy-skinned” business I’ve seen bandied about as of late. At the #DiversityinSF twitter hashtag discussions that started a few days past, I noticed this unusual turn of phrase that I’ve never focused attention on before. That’s when it dawned on me it wasn’t referring to sunburn-beet-red folks on ships, it was referring to a skin tone seen on persons of colour. Then the last piece clicked. I saw it used in context that ended my nebuluous understanding, on a “Big Idea” post over at scalzi’s website:-

“Cultures have been clashing throughout existence. It’s not a new idea for a book, but it is pervasive, arguably the fundamental theme of our times: from 9/11 through Iraq and Afghanistan to the financial crises, engendering many cultural responses. Some are overtly on topic, like Zero Dark Thirty, while others are directly influenced (any movie with a swarthy Eastern-looking villain)”

“AH”! I went.

Like not knowing what “Stag & Doe” meant going into my early twenties, until having to do some printing at Kinko’s, (I came To Canada just a few years before, at 14 1/2, after all) I assume it was one of those culturally “late to the party but arrived nonetheless” moments.

Like finding out about watermelon and fried chicken stereotypes.

Or being referred to by the colour, or the specific tone of, my skin.

One of those moments.