Join Robert and Linda, the editors of ArtsEtc, as they offer personal takes and twists on culture in Barbados and beyond... Stage Right, Stage Left continues a journey started seven years ago in ArtsEtc: The Premier Cultural Guide to Barbados, their groundbreaking print newsletter. Follow the rest of the adventure online at www.artsetcbarbados.com.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Speightstown—the place to be! (Er, but bring your credit card...)

ENTER. Stage Right:

Let me first say, I am thrilled to see my beautiful Speightstown receiving a long deserved facelift.

I went to an urban school and constantly heard my peers make fun of how far and boring Speightstown is. Although I tried to defend my quaint hometown, I knew in my gut it was nothing compared to Barbados’ other, more lively and attractive towns. But, I knew deep down inside that, someday, Speightstown would be rejuvenated and become an area filled once more with life and activity.

These thoughts ran through my mind one Sunday at a recent NCF Read-In. I sat under the beautiful night sky listening to the words of some of our talented griots, the sound of breaking waves acting as their back-up vocals. There was also Danny “Diallo” Hinds and his young drummers beating rhythm into our souls, inspiring us to get up and dance. (Yeah, right!) It was such a lovely setting for a cultural event, and I could not help but think this is what makes Speightstown unique: The other towns do not possess the serenity to host such an event; they lack the ambiance that makes a literary reading extra special. Sitting there at that candlelit table on the beach opposite the Old Pharmacy Gallery, I had a strong urge to run home and post on my Facebook page: “Speightstown is the place to be!”

At the end of the performances, I was feeling a little parched and decided to go over to the drinks table to purchase something for me and my group, and was most shocked to hear that a Coke or a Sprite cost $5. I’m like, “What the…?!” So, no thanks, I’ll get a juice from the other table instead; probably better for me than a fizzy drink, anyway. Guess what? A CUP of juice cost $5, too. Hmmmm. So, no drinks. Let’s get something to eat, then. I point out what looks like half a roti to the lady behind the table, who informs me that it is a “wrap” and that the price is $8. Has the world gone completely mad? Is this exploitation at its fullest, or am I just cheap? Maybe they should have put that in the advertising email: Walk with your VISA card; pricey foodstuff on sale!

Well, I moaned about it for a little while with my group. And just when I felt a little calmer, a guy, who I assumed to be the curator of the gallery, came over and invited us to “movie night.” He painted such a lovely picture: romantic table for two, complimentary bottle of wine and an interesting film—all against the backdrop of a beautiful moonlit beach. Price? $100 for 2 people. Oh, and bring your own food. WHA’?! Do I get to take the table and chairs home after?

Here’s my own version of this movie night: DVD – $5; wine – $20; table – free; moonlit beach – priceless.

I should probably wait until the recession is over before I post that invitation to “cultural Speightstown” on Facebook—I doubt many people will be able to afford the art, talent or beauty there any time soon. Exit: Stage Left. — Sharifa Medford.

1 comment:

  1. yeesh...Sharifa. Sorry you feel that way. It was an experimental endeavour for us and we had no desire to 'offend' anyone with prices. Our desire was simply to create an environment where arts and arts enterprise could thrive while enlivening the Speightstown area. When oh when will we escape from this notion of Arts in Barbados equals 'free show', a glass of wine, a piece of shrimp and then home to cuddle up to Desperate Housewives...Maybe a collection pot at the entrance would serve better next time...
    By the way...been to the Olympus lately?? No complaints there right...?
    We need to learn to love ourselves and to quantify our images...its ok!!! Really it is!!