The late American pathologist, Dr Jack Kevorkian, was best known for physician-assisted suicides. Dr Death, as he was often referred to, believed in terminally ill patients’ right to die; putting the incurable out of misery and sometimes debilitating pain. He once famously stated, “dying is not a crime.”
Assou Square, I think he was talking about you.
Like some of Kevorkian’s rapidly deteriorating charges, Square is now a shell of itself; brittle and fragile with no hope in sight and in desperate need of a mercy killing. No offense.
By all accounts, Square was once a robust young thing, brimming with promise and a vibrant future ahead. My aunts often regaled me with stories about the good old days when you could purchase a bounty’s worth of ‘koshonie’ for a mere 25 cents. In fact when they were upgraded to a whopping 50 cents they made off with a king’s ransom!
They were terrified of ‘Toes’ and the other masqueraders but like mini masochists they would return year after year. Our own Star Editor shared his beloved square tradition of going to an early matinee at the nearby Gaiety before heading off to the festivities. Once there, he and his friends would clamour for the once seasonal treats of apples and grapes, along with home-made ice-cream preserved by salt. Yes apparently, Toni is from the Stone Age. He also remembered the popular ‘roll and tumble’ which initiated many of our menfolk into gambling long before lotto machines and casinos became de rigueur. Then again those were also the days when kids were actually kids and not the jaded pseudo-adults they are today. But I digress.
I too have a few memories of Square. By this time, chinks were already showing in the armor. It had become a haze of smoke from the now ubiquitous chicken and rum, music so loud the bass reverberated in your chest, and some suspect, rusty rides courtesy of Rambally’s. Good times.
Later on when the rains came tumbling down, assou labou was born, along with young women inappropriately attired in boots and hooded fur lined bubble jackets, presumably bracing for that still approaching Saint Lucian nor’easter.
Throughout the years, Square has moved from its namesake Columbus Square to Cul-de-Sac, Vigie, a brief stint at the Beausejour Promenade, and even
Pigeon Island. This year it was back at Vigie, like a once victorious, now aging prize-fighter on the downside of his career, refusing to hang up his gloves because he still has one more bout left in him. Before reality hits him like a first round knockout punch.
It’s sad really to see a once flourishing national pastime relegated to a few makeshift plywood huts with a sheet of galvanize thrown on like an afterthought, a few lackluster patrons refusing to let this relic be put out to pasture, and the once petrifying ‘Papa Jab’ barely drawing a cursory glance.
Of course as usual this year’s event has been said to have elicited many positive responses and was a resounding success. Surely the Creative Industries can do better than that. But these are the same people who brought us the other galvanized icon that wore out its welcome several queen shows ago.
Maybe the two of them can be laid to rest together where they can trade tales of their glory days, back when they actually mattered.