Flip Flop Flying

Belize, day 9: Punta Gorda

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Woke up with Buffalo Soldier in my head. Not good. I started talking the lyrics to myself, though, in a posh British World War II army commander voice, and that made it better. Bob Marley is a funny topic. Acknowledged pretty universally as one of the greats, yet also quite annoying to listen to. Over-playing has ruined a lot of his songs. If you are within 100 feet of a beach, you will hear his music. Why did that happen?

Over breakfast, I was chatting with the couple from Manchester, and music came up, and we were talking and this and that and the guy mentioned Coldplay. And he said it in quite a disdainful manner. I laughed, and didn’t mention that, while I know I know I know, I do still quite like them. They are not a guilty pleasure. I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. Pleasures are pleasures. I love Cartoon Heroes by Aqua. I’m not ashamed of that. It’s not a guilty pleasure. I’m not hiding it. Coldplay is a different thing, though. It’s easier to be bold about what other people would see as a guilty pleasure if it’s totally outside the norm of the generally accepted “good music.” (Another awful phrase.) Coldplay, though, are at the uncool edge of the good music spectrum. We, those of us into indie/alternative/college/whatever-you-want-to-call-it rock music, probably love quite a lot of music that the members of Coldplay love. I laughed along with the dig at Coldplay and felt a little sad that I didn’t come out and say all of this then. But, of course, it took being back in my room for me to properly distill this into words. And I began to wonder: what would’ve been Coldplay’s career path if they had released their first record in the 1980s. (Before I go on, let’s just acknowledge that Coldplay is an awful name for a band. But then, so is Radiohead. Terrible name.) So, the first Coldplay album was released in 2000. But if we imagine that their first album, with the same songs, had been released fifteen years earlier, it might’ve been produced a little differently, a bit janglier, and they would probably not had a big hit like Yellow was. That might’ve got to the top 20, but not much more. And their second album would’ve come out in 1987. Maybe a bit more piano, the odd violin and cello here and there. Playing bigger venues. And for the third album, would they have started filling out the sound and aiming to sneak into the U2, Simple Minds market. Or would they have been influenced by the dance music and been kinda like James: an indie band that added a shuffle rhythm and got lumped in with all the baggy stuff? Oh, I could think about shit like this for hours…

Another lazy day for me. I cycled into town, through town, and out the other side of town for a kilometre or so. Just to do something. At Cattle Landing, a small community at the bend in the highway that then goes inland and away from Punta Gorda, I turned around and had a beer at Waluco’s. A bar under a palapa. The telly was showing the 1991 European Cup final (Red Star Belgrade beat Olympique de Marseille on penalties). At the same time, the speakers were playing the Craig David album, Born to Do It.

Lunch at Gomier’s, the great vegetarian-ish place, and back to the cottages for a nap. I rarely nap. Maybe a couple or three times a year. It was nice to be that relaxed. In the evening, we all went out together. That’s Kate and Ian, the Hickatee owners; John and Nicky, the Mancs; and me. We ate average food at Asha’s. They have a great location. It’s a big room, with an outside deck, on a platform over the bay. Like a small pier, really. Great location: ugly as hell restaurant. It looks half-finished. Gordon Ramsay could do with stopping by and sorting them out.

We then drove inland to a sports hall near the airstrip. Last week, Paul Nabor died. He was 80-odd years old. He was an important musician in Belize, and particularly for the Garifuna. His funeral will take place in Punta Gorda on Saturday, and the town is getting ready for a lot of people to come, including Belize’s important people. The streets around the church where the service will take place are looking spicker and spanner. Last night was the first of four nights of music in tribute to Nabor at the sports hall. A little hut in the back corner sold drinks, the wooden bleachers filled up with people, and there was a stage decorated in the colours of the Garifuna flag (black, yellow, and white- sorry, black, GOLD, and white: why is it that people with flags never say yellow, it’s always gold?) with a big vinyl banner showing a photo of Nabor and the words KING OF PARANDA. This first of the four nights featured only local musicians. Things kicked off with a load of girls in traditional dress dancing and singing. That was nice. Then a godawful jazzy reggae band doing Bob Marley covers. The last act we saw before leaving was this band who seemingly played one long song. Ian later told me, no, there were six songs in there. The drummers and percussionists (there was no other musical accompaniment) just didn’t stop or pause between songs. Good stuff.

Back at the cottages, Kate, Ian, and I smoked cigarettes on the verandah and had a chat. It was my last night at Hickatee, my last night in Punta Gorda. It has been an absolute delight to be here and again.

Written by Craig

October 30th, 2014 at 7:59 am

Posted in Travel

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