Saturday, September 29, 2007

Trading Hearts Pt. 2

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of

Five years later

With an expectant air, Natasha piloted her black Lexus SUV down the winding driveway of Emerald Bay House on the west coast of Barbados. Seated in the passenger seat, her sister Kim halted flipping through a folder to stare out the window at the luxury villa.

“Wow! Can you imagine what it must be like to live here?” she gasped as they circled a fountain and halted under an elegant archway. A white Range Rover with a King Properties logo emblazoned on its side was already parked out front.

“Well, we get to do the next best thing, look after it,” Natasha grinned as she grabbed her bag and exited the vehicle.

If nothing else, Natasha’s breakup with Matthew forced her to focus on what she wanted to do with her life professionally. With her ex-boyfriend out of her life, she was alarmed to realise how much she had lived for him at her own expense. Armed with a first degree in Management, she decided to specialise in Property Management at the Master’s level. Having developed a love of real estate from endless summers of tagging along with her father to clean the pools of the wealthy around Barbados, it felt like a natural progression.

The next step was to convince her parents to transform their small operation into a larger one that would also offer more specialised services to villa owners. Using computer-aided facility management software, Natasha explained how they could act as liaisons between landlords and tenants, address maintenance issues, advertise vacancies for landlords and perform background and credit checks on tenants.

With the contacts made through their pool cleaning business, the Taylors were able to develop a small client list and steadily build a name for themselves in the property management business. To villa owners who spent most of the year outside of Barbados, Taylor Property Management became the company in whom they could trust to secure short term rental agreements for their luxurious homes.

When King Properties, the most successful real estate developer on the island, called to commission her company to manage the newest jewel in its crown, Emerald Bay House, Natasha had wasted no time in visiting the villa. To manage a property for the real estate magnate was an offer she could not afford to refuse.

Natasha removed her sunglasses and gazed in awe at the Colonial-style house. Despite having several luxury properties on her client list, she had to admit Emerald Bay House was in a league of its own. The imposing, two-storey coral stone building sat on about an acre of landscaped gardens and manicured lawns.

The horse-shoe shaped house was accentuated by four central columns that rose majestically to its grey slate-tiled roof. Four strategically-planted cabbage palms added a stately touch to the entrance of the house. Through the half-opened oak front door, she glimpsed the cool marble tiles of a foyer and beyond that the shimmering blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.

“What’s that noise?” Kim asked suddenly, and Natasha recognised the buzzing of an electric saw coming from the back of the property.

Following the sound, the sisters rounded the house and entered the back garden through an archway of bougainvillea.

“Damn, does he come with the property too?” Kim asked as they regarded the tall man operating the saw machine under the shade of a tree.

Clad in a pair of faded, low-riding jeans, work boots and protective eye goggles, the man appeared to be in the process of constructing a gazebo. The solid muscles in his honey-toned back strained as he brought his weight to bear on the lumber he was cutting.

If the back view is anything to go by, the rest of him should be equally delicious, Natasha thought breathlessly.

“This job is looking better by the minute,” Kim grinned mischievously, and her sister rolled her eyes.

At that moment, the sawing stopped and the women heard footsteps approaching. Stealing a final look at the mystery builder, Natasha turned to see a middle-aged Caucasian man in a business suit heading in their direction.

“Ms. Taylor? I’m Brian Goddard, Managing Director of King Properties.”

After returning his warm handshake and introducing her sister, Natasha extended an arm towards the house.

“You’ve really outdone yourselves with Emerald Bay, Mr. Goddard. I don’t think we’re going to have any trouble finding persons wanting to lease this property.”

Goddard smiled. “Normally we don’t outsource property management but trying to keep on top of our leased properties is taxing our people. I heard good things about your company and decided to give you a try.”

“Well, thank you for the vote of confidence. You can rest assured that we have the resources required to maintain your property.”

“Ah, that reminds me,” Goddard said, indicating the man who was working diligently on the gazebo. “I know you have your own crew but Michael Austin will be around for a bit finishing up the gazebo and one or two other things. He’ll be staying in the guest cottage till he’s done.”

Goddard turned away to call Michael over, and the man pulled on a t-shirt before approaching. Natasha got a glimpse of rock hard abs before they disappeared beneath the shirt, and beside her Kim gave a low whistle. “Doesn’t he remind you of that hot rapper, what’s his name?” she whispered.

“Common,” Natasha whispered back, thrusting out her hand to greet the newcomer.

Although he was covered in sawdust from the crown of his closely shaved head to his boots, there was no denying that Michael was flat out gorgeous. Natasha tried to hide her reaction when his large, slightly rough hand enveloped hers.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Austin. The gazebo’s shaping up nicely.”

He smiled broadly in thanks and Natasha caught herself staring at his full lips and white, even teeth. “Please, call me Michael. I’ll try not to get in your way. Mr. Goddard figured every garden should have a gazebo, and I want to put in a small play park as well,” he replied enthusiastically, his voice deep and melodic.

Natasha nodded dazedly, a bit overwhelmed by his closeness. Since Matthew she had neither the time nor inclination to pursue a relationship, and her reaction to this stranger took her by surprise. She was almost tempted to reach out and brush some traces of sawdust from his neatly trimmed mustache and goatee.

Natasha was relieved when Goddard offered to show them the interior of Emerald Bay House. Pulling herself together mentally, she excused herself and followed her sister out of the garden. Before she rounded the corner, Natasha stole a backward glance, and her heart beat accelerated when she saw Michael staring straight at her. He gave her a slow smile and waved goodbye. She nodded politely and continued under the flowery archway.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday romance - Trading Hearts

Well, peoples, I'll be out again for short period and you know I like to leave you with a little reading material. It's a romantic short story called Trading Hearts. It's a little on the long side so I'll be posting bits of it over the next week or so. Hope you like.

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of

“I can’t believe my favourite sister’s getting engaged!”

Natasha paused from fixing her hair to toss a makeup sponge at her younger sister Kim, who was lounging on her bed.

“Will you please shut up!” she begged. “Even if it were true you’re bound to jinx me. And I’m your only sister, fool!”

Kim caught the sponge deftly with a laugh. “Jinx, what? Your boyfriend of eight years is taking you to dinner at one of the most expensive restaurants on the island. Your birthday is two months from now and your anniversary was months ago. Connect the dots, Tasha!”

Natasha checked her hair and makeup for a final time and sighed. “Well, I’m just glad Matthew and I are getting a chance to relax and talk. He’s been so stressed out lately with the case he’s working on that we’ve barely seen each other.”

Securing the final hairpin in place, she stepped back to take in her attire. She didn’t clean up too badly, if she said so herself. Her burgundy-coloured natural twists were styled in a chignon, with tendrils framing her face. She smoothed the skirt of her black, low cut cocktail dress and twirled a few times for her sister’s benefit.

“I told you the little black dress works every time. You look hot, sis, or should I say the future Mrs. Natasha Taylor-Sealy?” Kim teased.

Kim slid off the bed and kissed Natasha goodbye, and the elder sister gazed happily at their reflections in the mirror. Despite the seven years’ difference in their ages, the Taylor sisters could pass for twins. They shared the same caramel skin, oval face, pert nose and lush lips. Although she was only 18, Kim was almost the same height as Natasha and both sisters could fit into the same size eight clothes.

Fifteen minutes later, Natasha navigated her Suzuki Alto through St. Lawrence Gap. At 8:00 p.m. on a Friday, the popular entertainment strip on the south coast of the island was packed with locals and tourists venturing to their favourite watering holes.

She blew her horn to alert a group which insisted on walking in the middle of the street and pulled into the driveway of La Bonne Terre restaurant. No sooner had she halted the car under the awning of the converted plantation house than a valet rushed over to escort her from the vehicle.

I could get used to this, she thought happily as a statuesque hostess came down the winding front steps to greet her. As the woman led her through the dimly lit restaurant, Natasha admired the exquisitely decorated interior of the dining hall. It was obvious that no expense had been spared to transform the former residential property into a fine dining establishment.

I hope Matt brought his chequebook, she mused, as the hostess halted at a table overlooking the ocean.

Matthew stood and pulled out her chair, and she noticed gleefully that he appeared nervous. “You look beautiful, Tasha,” he said.

“You don’t look too bad yourself, babe,” she flirted, eyeing his athletic frame attired in dark slacks and a green silk shirt. Natasha put aside the menu offered by the hostess and intertwined her fingers with his. He smiled weakly and sipped from his water glass.

After a few minutes of small talk, she decided to cut to the chase. “So, what’s the occasion, love? Are we celebrating my birthday early or something?”

Matthew released her hand and sat up, a serious expression dawning on his face. “Natasha, I…we needed to talk, and I wanted to do it somewhere nice.”

She signalled to him to go on.

“I’ve been offered a position as a junior partner with the firm.”

“That’s fantastic, boo!" she squealed with joy. "Congratulations! You must really have impressed the hell outa them, ‘cause you only joined the firm a year ago. Wait till I tell my parents and Kim!”

He nodded impatiently. “Look, Tasha, there’s no easy way to say this. We…I can’t see you anymore.”

It took a few seconds for his words to register in her brain. “Excuse me? Wha…what you mean?”

He took a deep breath and continued. “I’m getting married, Tasha. I didn’t want you to hear it from someone else. You know how fast news travels on a small island.”

Stunned, Natasha could only stare at the handsome face of the man with whom she thought she would spend the rest of her life. After a few seconds, she released her grip on the white linen table cloth and sat back. She could feel hot tears stinging the back of her eyes and blinked rapidly, clearing her throat.

“And you thought it would be a good idea to break the news in a fancy restaurant where you thought I wouldn’t make a scene, right?” she hissed angrily. “What the hell is this supposed to be, a f**gging last supper?”

Matthew was taken aback. “I don’t mean to hurt you, Tasha, but face it. We haven’t been on the same page for a long time.”

“Stupid me, I thought we were on the same page for the last eight years,” she retorted hotly. “Do you know I actually thought you were going to propose to me tonight?”

By this time, couples at nearby tables were staring in their direction. Out of the corner of her eye, Natasha saw the hostess approach and she waved her away. The woman gave Natasha a worried look and retreated.

Matthew had the decency to look ashamed. “I’m sorry, Tasha. I didn’t mean to mislead you. Things just…happened.”

She cut her eyes at him, furious. “Apparently. Who the hell is she?” she demanded. He lowered his gaze. “Eve Whittaker,” he mumbled.

Natasha frowned, trying to remember where she had heard the name. When realisation dawned, she laughed bitterly. “Eve Whittaker? As in the daughter of the head of your law firm? You’re kidding, right?”

She cut in before he could respond. “I get it now. This is about your damn job. You’re trading me in for that mousy little girl so you can get ahead in Daddy’s law firm. Does your fiancĂ©e know you’re using her, you social climbing bast**d?”

He glanced hurriedly at the neighbouring table, and the couple averted their eyes. “Will you lower your voice? There’s no need for insults, Natasha.”

“No need for insults? I gave you eight years of my life, supported you through
five years of law school, helped your mother take care of your little sister and brother when you went off to St. Augustine for two years, and this is how it ends?”

“Look, I’m grateful for everything you’ve done for me, but we’re just moving in different directions.”

She gave him a disgusted look. “You mean I’m not bourgeois enough for you, right? My father cleans pools for a living and your mother works at a bakery in ‘town. Are you gonna ditch them too because they don’t fit in with your new lifestyle?”

Tears welled in her eyes and Matthew moved to take her hand. She pulled away angrily and got up from the table. “Go on and enjoy the high life. I hope it’s worth throwing us away.”

Natasha left quickly before he could see the tears streaming down her face. On the way to the door she passed the hostess, who came forward with a wallet in hand. Natasha wiped her face with the back of her hand and eyed her curiously.

“Your dinner companion dropped this in the parking lot on his way in. I didn’t want to interrupt earlier.” She handed over the black leather case with a sympathetic look on her face.

Natasha hesitated before taking the wallet. Then, gathering her resolve, she opened it and removed Matthew’s debit card.

“Do me a favour, please.” She handed the bank card to the hostess. “Break open a bottle of your most expensive bottle of champagne and send glasses around to every table, courtesy of Matthew Sealy at Table 6. He has a lot to celebrate.”

The hostess regarded her quizzically. “You do know our most expensive champagne is $5, 000 a bottle?”

Natasha shrugged. “He can afford it. He’s marrying into money.”

Recognising a woman scorned when she saw one, the hostess gave her a slight, knowing smile and headed to the cash point. Natasha calmly keyed in Matthew’s pin number, which had been entrusted to her in happier times. After signing her name on the receipt with a flourish, she sashayed out into the night to retrieve her car from the valet.

More to come. Have a good weekend!

Lt. Cordle's in command

This is long overdue but congrats to the first female captain of a coast guard vessel in Barbados, Lieutenant Fernella Cordle, who is in command of the newest addition to the Barbados Coast Guard, HMBS Leonard C. Banfield.

Here's a story written on Lieutenant Cordle a few days ago by the Nation Newspaper.

Cordle in command

"I GO OUT THERE every morning and I'm like, 'Wow, that is mine, I'm responsible for this!'"

Lieutenant Fernella Cordle is talking about her "baby", HMBS Leonard C. Banfield, the newest addition to the Barbados Coast Guard's fleet which arrived early on September 6.

Cordle, the first female captain of a Coast Guard vessel, saw the delivery through from Holland (where it was made) to Barbados; and from all indications, it was a smooth one.

It was a labour of love for this humble 32-year-old who is quite modest about her accomplishments.

She has already formed a bond with the vessel which measures 42 metres in length and boasts some of the most modern technology around.

Though Cordle doesn't have any children of her own, as yet, she desires to one day; and taking care of a US$6 million ship is certainly good practice.

"I remember the price tag and I think about how much is at stake if something should go wrong. That keeps everything in perspective," she told the SUNDAY SUN during a recent interview.

Cordle, who has been in the Coast Guard for the last 13 years, credits her achievement to everyone who has ever had a hand in her development as she climbed the ranks of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF).

Joining the Coast Guard was the last thing on her mind after graduating from the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic where she studied electronics. She said: "It was something that just happened."

She didn't want to go to university right away; but she didn't want to stay home twiddling her thumbs either. So her brother, who was already in the BDF, suggested she join until she made up her mind as to what she wanted to do.

The initial training was so tough that Cordle wanted to call it quits but she stuck with it and her perseverance paid off.

Everything that happened career-wise after that was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time, she said.

She went for training in 1997 at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, England, handling vessels of various sizes, and studying meteorology, oceanography, communications, navigation and other areas.

After that, she returned to Barbados and joined HMBS Trident as the navigating officer, a post she held until 2003. Cordle then moved on to become the operations officer where her duties entailed coordinating and managing the maritime operations on behalf of the commanding officer of the Coast Guard.

"That was a nice job but stressful. We worked 24 hours a day and if I was responsible for them, that meant I also worked 24 hours a day. Even though I am not physically there now, my mind is always still on them: what they are doing, if they are okay.

"I remember when they had counter-narcotic operations, I was always aware that I was sending people's children, husbands, brothers to sea. I always made sure I saw them before they left and when they returned to ensure that everybody was good," said Cordle, who has been accused of mothering those under her command.

Following her stint as an operations officer, she went back to Britain for higher training in the international sub-lieutenant's course which included navigation, communications and ship management.

It took her longer than she had originally planned, but in 2006 she took about a year off to attend the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, where she pursued studies in linguistics and management.

When she went back to work, Cordle assisted the command of the Coast Guard in the move from Willoughby Fort to HMBS Pelican, the new headquarters at Spring Garden, St Michael.

Then the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself. Right after Cricket World Cup this year she got an offer she couldn't refuse.

"The commander said to me, 'How do you feel about being captain of the Leonard C. Banfield?' I said, 'Yes, sir' because I wanted to go back to sea. Being on base and dealing with the admin problems and all the personalities can be very tiring, more stressful than being at sea where you just wonder about the water and the boat.

"At first when the commander first told me I was a bit hesitant because it was the first one [of a new fleet] and it is a whole lot bigger than Trident which I can drive and was familiar with.

"She [the Leonard C. Banfield] is more modern than the Trident too. I had a lot of apprehension, fear and confidence issues but the guys here, my contemporaries believed in me and that was sufficient, along with the fact that the commander, headquarters and Government (because the Prime Minister had to sign off on it) believed in me. So I said if all these people believe in me why am I doubting myself?" said the Spooners Hill, St Michael resident and former Coleridge Parry School student.

So she packed her bags and went to Jamaica for training with the command team. After that, they went off to Holland for further training on the Leonard C. Banfield and with Cordle at the helm, they brought her home.

Cordle somehow managed to keep her big news a secret from her family and friends until she returned from Jamaica probably afraid she would jinx it. But when she finally broke the news, they were too excited to be mad with her.

Although she can't get away from it, she doesn't like being referred to as the first female captain. In her view, anyone could have got the post - male or female.

"It is too much pressure being the first female captain. I don't want that to be an excuse or a cover. We have other females here and the guys would say the females who are here are special because they fit right in. You retain your femininity but when it comes to doing a man's job you still have to do it and you do it to your best.

"When I first joined the BDF, I was not treated any differently than anybody else. I went through the paces just like everybody else. This promotion could've happened to anyone. It so happened that it was me. My colleagues are happy for me and we celebrated, we still have some more celebrating to do. With anything, there will be detractors but you just prepare yourself for it," she said, adding:

"There is a female ship captain in Jamaica and she was the first in the CARICOM region. When I was in Jamaica, I had the time to talk to her and she told me what it was like. It was good to have somebody else who understood what I would go through."

The Leonard C. Banfield not only has a young captain but also a pretty young crew of about 14 men. For the next few months they, along with Cordle, will be training on the vessel and familiarising themselves with its systems. Their first real mission probably won't be until early next year.

Although Cordle has reached the rank of captain, it hasn't gone to her head; she is still very much open to the opinions of others.

"It isn't a case that I'm captain now, so I know everything," she said.

Her schedule will be quite hectic as she and her crew ensure that local waters remain safe. It won't leave much time for family or a social life.

"You have to make time. That is why family is so important and when I do go home even if I don't switch off completely, I spend time with my family, my partner and his family.

"I have two years full command of the ship after that; the high command will determine if I will stay on. The BDF is pretty forward thinking when it comes to women and I think they understand that the biological clock is ticking," she said laughing.

While Cordle doesn't like words like "pioneer" or "trailblazer" she knows she has achieved something pretty special, paving the way for other women in the Coast Guard.

"There will be other females and if my opportunity is going to afford other females the opportunity, then I'm all for that," she said.

Links + bits

Hi, peoples. It's been a rough week so I've only been able post links on the issues I wanted to bring to your attention instead of discussing them at length. I have a few more for you today.


Ansa McAl's not giving up
Perceptions of corruption are relative...
Last of the Jena 6 freed
Myanmar cuts internet

In terms of what's happening in Myanmar or Burma...what are the powers that be at the UN and similar organisations doing about this situation? I can't claim to know much about Burma, but beating down monks and other civilians in the street and invading monasteries in the night don't cut it in the 21st century!

In the link above I read that the UN's Special Envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari is on his way there, so we'll see what happens. I don't advocate countries meddling in other countries' business, but you wanna bet if certain citizens of the world were at risk in Myanmar troops would be headed there? All I know is that there's no room for this type of tyranny in a modern world.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rihanna makes her catwalk debut

I told you all that Rihanna would be a shoo in for modelling. Canadian label Dsquared thought so too, and yesterday in Milan Rih-Rih made her runway debut for Dsquared's twin designers Dean and Dan Caten.

I'm not sure if this is for bed or for the street but it looks hot.

Girlfriend looks like she's singing 'I'm too sexy for Milan' in her head...

Rihanna poses with designers Dan and Dean Caten.

Good stuff, except the hairstyle doesn't do her justice and if you listen closely enough you can hear her chest screaming for mercy....

Hal Linton Live (cardiac arrest)

I came across this video of Bajan Hal Linton performing his hit Cardiac Arrest at the Limelight Cafe in Bridgetown. The audio is a tad low but still enjoyable.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Poll results + new poll

On the question 'Do you agree with the mass suspension of students at the Garrison Secondary?', the majority of voters agreed with the action taken by Principal of the Garrison Secondary School, Matthew Farley.

I hear an inspection of the male students at the Garrison Secondary is coming soon. Let's see how they fare.

For our new poll, let's take a look back at a story I linked to yesterday, which reported on the recent appointment of retiring director of the Urban Development Commission (UDC), O'Brien Trotman, to a newly created post of "urban renewal adviser". You can see the full story here and here.

To those of you who're wondering 'so what's the big deal?', it's no secret that Mr. Trotman is a Barbados Labour Party stalwart and a Minister of Government in a former BLP administration. I'm not naive enough to think that politicians won't look out for each other, but the whole thing is a slap in the face to those persons qualified in urban planning or simimlar fields who didn't have a chance to apply for the post. Tell me if I'm wrong, 'cause I sure didn't see the post advertised.

Not to mention, tax payers now have to foot the bill for another large salary along with that of the Director of the UDC. And what's the Adviser going to do anyway? I doubt new director George Edghill needs anyone to hold his hand while he acquaints himself with his new post. Besides, he has his own staff, a parent Ministry and a Permanent Secretary to do that. Lord, save us from these politicians....

Anyhoo, let's hear from you; 'Do you agree with the appointment of O'Brien Trotman as UDC's Urban Renewal Adviser?'

Mid-week links

Sol ain't making sport at all
T&T President Max Richard's worried about younger generation
Tropical Storm Karen considered 'harmless'
So much for a peaceful demonstration
Are you 'loving' your pet to death?
I always knew Bill O'Reilly was an idiot

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rihanna continues to be a 'bad' girl

Reports are that Rihanna gave a commendable performance Saturday night at the Molson Amphitheatre in London, Ontario, where she headlined alongside Akon.

In her S&M inspired get-up, Rihanna performed a 14-song, one hour set for an appreciative audience. You can read a review of the concert here.

Well, Michael Jackson had his glove, Madonna had her cone-shaped corsets and now Rihanna has her dominatrix outfits. I can't wait to see how she's gonna remake herself for album number four....

Friday, September 21, 2007

One year of blogging!

Well folks, tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of Cheese-on-Bread. What started out with me tinkering on the computer has turned into a part-time job, haha. It's been great sharing with you in the last year and I want to thank you all for your support.

Have a great weekend!

Friday fun: Ten Bajan music artistes the world should know

Although many Barbadian artistes, e.g. the late El Verno del Congo, Nicholas Brancker and Arturo Tappin have been making their mark on the international music scene for years, we must admit that none has attained the 'household name' status of Rihanna. Although the only thing Barbadian about Ms. Rih-Rih these days is her parentage, but I digress....

If nothing else, Rihanna has shown the world that Caribbean singers have a wider range than calypso or soca (no disrespect of course to Rupee, Allison Hinds, Machel and others!) Although I understand the marketing concerns that encourage the record companies to pigeon-hole artistes, who says we can't operate outside the box, right?

Anyhoo, here's a list of 10 Barbadian music artistes who I feel have a lot to offer the world. Please feel free to comment on any others!
10. Philip Scantlebury. Front man for the local alternative rock band Masala, Philip (pictured sitting at front) has also provided vocals for bands such as Le Groove, Acoustic Blue, Suave, The Toni Norville Band and Strategy. His band's newest single Beautiful Surprise is just that.

9. David Pilgrim. The brother of Barbadian lawyer and actor Andrew Pilgrim, David released his sophomore album Island Soul in 2004 and one of his tracks, Not Entirely Sure, is still in heavy rotation on Love 104.1 FM.

He is reported as saying that "R&B, jazz, and rock have so many different modes, but people tend to think of Caribbean music as mostly dance music. I want to change that, both rhythmically and especially lyrically", and he achieves that goal with his fusion of reggae, calypso and soul music.

8. Ayana John. Beauty pageant contestant, Digicel Rising Stars finalist, actress, chantress, songwriter. If there's one Bajan artiste who's hard to pigeon-hole, it's Ayana John. She has shown her vocal versatility by putting out a number of songs ranging from hip-hop and r&b to soca, including the infectious love song Guns ‘n Roses and Bajan Story (with Buggy), which earned her a nomination at the 2007 Barbados Music Awards. Keep on doing your thing, girl!
7. William White. When I first heard William White's single Rain from his album Undone, I was singing it all day. The blend of Caribbean rhythms, pop, rock, funk and jazz will hold your attention from the first note. Kudos to Love FM's Samud Ali for playing William's music!
6. Jomo Lord. Jomo Lord is definitely a local talent that needs to be shared with the world. His infectious, alternative sound is still uniquely Barbadian in its lyrical expression, and hits such as Losing Faith, Free, Understanding Joseph and Lingo will keep you grooving.

5. Kimberley Inniss. Ms. Kimberley probably knows what it feels like to be 'always the bridesmaid and never the bride'. Placing second in both the Digicel Rising Stars and Courts Superstar Search comopetitions would leave most persons dejected, but not the persistent vocal powerhouse. A capabable producer and songwriter, Kimberley went on to wow Barbadian audiences with hits such as My Hips, Free, Freak on Da Floor and Carnival Symphony, and is at the forefront of the new wave of female soca artistes likely to go mainstream. I guess she got the last laugh....

4. Billy Kincaid. Hip-hop urban artist Billy Kincaid isn't afraid to try new things. His collaboration with soca maestro the Mighty Gabby in 2005's We Live On blew locals away, and earned him his second Barbados Music Award for Best Hip- Hop Single in 2007.

He has also shared the stage with many popular local, regional and international artists, such as Rupee, Edwin Yearwood, Toni Norville, Fat Joe, Lloyd Banks, Buju Banton, Anthony B, Luciano, Morgan Heritage, and Third World. With his videos on rotation on the local music video countdown show Roamin', Jamaica's Hype!TV an MTV's Tempo, it's only a matter of time before world gets to know this musical treasure.
3. Danah. If you didn't believe that electronic/acoustic pop and gospel could go together, then the group Danah will make a believer out of you. The soulful, stirring voice of lead singer Dana Ward and the stylings of guitarist David Thomas have earned them the honour of opening for Gospel acts Ron Kenoly and Donnie McClurkin, seven local Flame Gospel Awards including most influential group of the year, and two Marlin Awards (Caribbean Gospel awards). Rock on and God bless.
2. Kite. If you're visiting Barbados anytime in the near future, don't leave without checking out the local rock band Kite. Band members JJ Poulter and Brian Marshall deliver the goods on tracks such as Firefly (featured on an episode of CBS' The Ghost Whisperer) and Beautiful Sky, taken from their new CD 13 Degrees North. This Kite definitely deserves to fly.

1. Hal Linton. Hal Linton nearly sent Bajans into Cardiac Arrest for real with the release of his debut album Spirit, Life and Love in January this year. The tracks Supernatural, Hey Love and Smile also burned up the airwaves in the region.

At this year's Barbados Music Awards, he won Best New Artiste, Song of the Year for Cardiac Arrest (beating out Rihanna), Songwriter of the Year and R&B Song of the Year. I expect even greater things from Mr. Linton in the future.

Special mention must also be made of local songstresses Shontelle Bryan, Marissa Lindsay, Tamara Marshall, Rosemary Phillips; reggae artist David Kirton and all our soca're all world class talents.

Pray for peace today and every day

Barbados joins the rest of the world today in celebrating International Day of Peace. At midday, bells will signal the start of a minute's silence for peace, and the public and private sector have been asked to allow their staff to observe the period of silence at noon. Persons have also been asked to wear white and/or blue in support of the Day of Peace.

A peace march and rally organised by the Universal Day of Hope Trust, Barbados Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, Barbados National Peace Council and the African Methodist Episcopal Church will proceed from Jubilee Gardens at 3:30 p.m. to National Heores Square.

For those of you in Barbados, you can visit one of the following churches:
St. David's Anglican Church, St. James Parish Church, St. Stephen's Anglican Church, St. Leonard's Anglican, St. Michael's Cathedral (mass from 12:15 p.m.), St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral (mass at noon), and the Baha'i National Centre.

Peace be unto you all.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An evening with Eric Jerome Dickey

Last evening, I headed up to Cave Shepherd Vista to check out the launch of Eric Jerome Dickey's new novel, Waking with Enemies. It was an entertaining evening, and I decided to post up a timeline of the activities:

4:55 p.m. - Arrived at Cave Shepherd Vista and was surprised to see so much parking still available. Then again, we Bajans only seem to be early for functions at the Stadium or Gymansium....

4:56 p.m. - Called my sister to see how far away she was. She was about two miles from Worthing, stuck in traffic. Assured her I would keep a space for her in the line.

5:00 p.m. - Bought Waking with Enemies (hardback retails at Bds $56.65). Asked the pleasant cashier if it was okay to take pictures during the book signing/reading.
"Sure," he replied, "Eric is so nice. He won't mind at all."

5:03 p.m. - Ran into a friend who was working at the event and we chatted. No other fans were in sight. Browsed the store in the meantime. Dang...Land bags are expensive!

5:08 p.m. - Three other excited ladies joined me at the area roped off for the book signing. We chatted for a few minutes about our favourite books.

5:15 p.m. - My sister finally arrived. She knew one of the other ladies in the line and more female bonding took place. We were joined by an ecstatic Astrid Bovell (above), one of the seven lucky ladies who would get to tour the island with Eric on Friday.

5:19 p.m. - A Cave Shepherd employee informed us that we would have to show our receipts for the purchased books and they would have to be placed in bags. Made many copies of Eric's novel were on display that anyone could snatch one and jump in the line to have it signed.

5:25 p.m. - Realised I had bought part two of the series. Sis went back to the cashier to buy part one, Sleeping With Strangers.

5:27 p.m. - Crowd increasing. Towels with the slogan Waking with Enemies were handed out to fans.

5:40 p.m. - A Billy Ocean tune started to play. Fans watched the main door expectantly.

5:45 p.m. - A hostess welcomed fans to Cave Shepherd. She invited persons to sample the cognac, chocolates, fish cakes, rum cake and wine available outside. After waiting for over half an hour, many persons didn't want to lose their place in the line.

5:50 p.m. - Hostess interviewed fans. A stills photographer and cameraman began shooting footage of the crowd.

5:56 p.m. - Lots of laughter, wine drinking. Some of the fans asked others to hold their places in the line and went to sample snacks.

6:03 p.m. - The lights suddenly dimmed and a red strobe light came on. I hoped the lights would be turned back on or my pictures would suck. In the dimness, a voice is heard outlining Eric Jerome Dickey's biography.

6:07 p.m. - Bright disco lights started spinning and Eric Jerome Dickey entered from another direction, not the main door. As the crowd applauded, the old R&B hit Stroke You Up played. Smiling and laughing, Eric greeted the fans. Flash bulbs went crazy, and he said it was okay, "the paparazzi can get their pictures".

6:10 p.m. - Applause died. Eric was ushered to a seat and was interviewed live by Natalia Peters of Starcom Network. Natalia asked about his books, which were "full of suspense, thrills and erotic moments".

6:15 p.m. - Fan interviews began. A fan asked what was his inspiration to write his novels. Replied that he enjoyed creating characters and developing their profiles.
"You may not agree with what they (the characters) do, but you'll understand what motivates them to do what they do," he added.

6:19 p.m. - Another fan asked who were his favourite authors. His list included Maya Angelou, Walter Mosley, Ed McBain, Langston Hughes and Stephen King.

6:21 p.m. - His advice to wannabe writers was to read widely and attend creative writing classes, among other things. Other questions inluded his favourite character from his books (Gideon from most current novels) and when his next novel would be published (not sure, maybe following year).

6:25 p.m. - Eric read an excerpt from Sleeping with Strangers, which sounded highly entertaining. The enraptured audience listened politely, laughing from time to time.

6:35 p.m. - The book signing began. Each fan (above) had a brief chat with the author and posed for photos.

6:45 p.m. - Had my turn. He remembered my name from the question and answer session. We chatted briefly and he gave me a kiss and hug. A nice end to a wonderful evening.

Happy Independence Day, St. Kitts & Nevis!

Cheese-on-Bread extends congratulations to the Government and People of St. Kitts and Nevis, who are celebrating their nation's 24th Anniversary of Independence.

Check out this very inviting article on St. Kitts and Nevis. Makes me want to pack my bags. One question, though...what on earth is Arawak chicken?

Region bids farewell to Sir John Compton

Today, almost all of the region's news outlets feature stories on the funeral service of the late Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Sir John Compton. Following is the lead story from the Daily Nation in Barbados:

A HERO, LEGEND, freedom fighter and a politician of the highest quality.

These accolades and many more, in speeches and song, were accorded to the late St Lucia Prime Minister Sir John George Melvin Compton yesterday, as the Caribbean bid him farewell in a four-hour funeral service in the Immaculate Conception church in the capital, Castries.

The service was a unique celebration which blended solemn hymn singing and uptempo music, and stirring tributes reflecting
Sir John's 81 years, most of which were spent in fruitful and distinguished service to St Lucia and the Caribbean.

Barbados' Prime Minister Owen Arthur described Sir John as "a greatly beloved patriot" who belonged to the higher echelons of Caribbean heroes, while governor of the Central Bank of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, Sir Dwight Venner, in the eulogy, credited Sir John as being "by far one of the most outstanding ministers of finance in the Caribbean".

Sir John's widow, Lady Compton, spoke of her husband's passion for the common touch, noting that Sir John came from "an era that one came to serve and not be served".

"He never lost his humility," she added.

From early morning St Lucians from all walks of life braved the sweltering heat and lined the streets of Castries to pay their last respects to the man regarded as "the Father of the Nation" or "Pa Pa".

There was sadness and joy among the thousands who had gathered outside the Parliament buildings as the body made its final journey to the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception church.

An oak casket draped with the national flag was drawn on a simple wooden platform at the back of the truck familiarly seen chauffered by Sir John.

"He was a very nice man to me, like a father. He did a lot for St Lucians," Princess Elvonvenus of Vieux Fort told the DAILY NATION, as she wiped away tears, while the ceremonial parade made its way from Parliament buildings.

The service, which began around 1 p.m., reflected some of the favourite things the former leader enjoyed, ranging from the dedication of two of his favourite hymns, Amazing Grace and What A Friend We Have In Jesus, to the strains of this year's calypso monarch, Menelle, who sang a remix of her Still Holding On – a tribute to Sir John's last election victory at the polls.

Hardbeatnews and The Jamaica Gleaner also reported on the funeral.

Rest in peace, Sir John.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hollywood baby boom

It seems that the stork is working overtime in Hollywood these days. No sooner had celebrity moms such as Desperate Housewives' Marcia Cross, Felicity's Keri Russel and movie actress Naomi Watts delivered their bundles of joy than a whole new crop of famous ladies announced their pregnancies.
Halle Berry is pregnant with her first child at age 41. More power to her.
From the look of things, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon is due any day now.
Word on the street is that Jenny from the Block is about three months pregnant. These pictures sure make it appear that way.
Crossing Jordan's Jill Hennessy is expecting her second son in November.
And songbird Christina Aguilera is giving young motherhood a try.

Congratulations to all the expectant mothers!

The mansion that Manning (supposedly) built

A few weeks ago, I received some photos which were allegedly taken at the controversial $148 million Prime Minister's residence and diplomatic centre recently constructed by the Trinidadian government.

I've been scanning the internet trying to find out if they're legit, and I came across two articles from the Trinidad Express with exterior shots of the building. You can check here and here. I don't know, somehow they don't look the same to me.

Ironically, someone sent me the same photos claiming they were of Ilaro Court, the residence of Barbados' Prime Minister. Well, since I haven't heard of any massive renovations at Ilaro Court and since I've actually seen the property I can safely say these photos weren't taken there.

Anyhoo, I decided to post the pics anyway for a laugh, 'cause wherever they were taken, I don't know what in the King Louis XVI hell the designer was thinking....

Sidebar action: Poll and videos

Hey, peoples. I thought that our poll for the next week could focus on an incident that occured at one of our secondary schools yesterday. The backstory is that Principal of the Garrison Secondary School, Matthew Farley, suspended about 200 students because their clothing was deemed inappropriate. Those suspended were third to fifth form girls who had not complied with the school's deportment rules. You can read the full story here.

Our poll question is: Do you agree with the mass suspension of students at the Garrison Secondary?

In terms of the videos, over the next few weeks we're going to be alternating between music videos from the soulful Alicia Keys and queen of hip-hop soul, Mary J. Blige. Keys will be releasing her next album, As I Am, on November 13, while Blige's new album Growing Pains will hit shelves on November 20. Enjoy!

Tuesday links

Cast of Fox's Prison Break:

Matthew Farley ain't making no sport
Barbados Underground looks at the school choices of Bajan parents
Sir John Compton to be laid to rest today
Pesticide blamed for 'health disaster' in French Caribbean
Jamaicangirl comments on the new Golding administration
USA: The Bahamas, DR, Haiti and Jamaica have a 'major' problem
YBF update on the Jena 6
Just Jared posts fall tv premieres schedule

Monday, September 17, 2007

59th Emmy Awards

The stars were out in their glory last night at the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. As expected, it was a big night for The Sopranos, which won the Best Drama award. My girl America Ferrera won best actress in a comedy series for her role as Betty Suarez in Ugly Betty.

And the groundbreaking miniseries Roots, which chronicled the history of a black American family, was saluted as it celebrated its 30th anniversary. Roots star John Amos (Who can forget his line "My name is Kunta Kinte!") and other cast members were treated to a standing ovation.

Click here to see the complete list of winners.

Of course, everybody's eyes were on the red carpet, and some of the guys and gals didn't disappoint.
Ugly Betty star Vanessa Williams usually makes a statement at these types of events, but this time I'm not quite sure what she's trying to say....
America Ferrera was far from an ugly Betty.
I can't recall the last time I set eyes on Blair Underwood. Where you been hiding, dude? He was accompanied by his wife actress Desiree DaCosta.
My favourite CTU agent Kiefer Sutherland looked quite dapper.
Queen Latifah put the red carpet to shame.
Omar Epps of House MD and his pregnant wife Keisha looked picture perfect.
Poor Paula Abdul. It's because of outfits like this one that those rumours got started....