Pavilion Parade by M V Muhsin
October 21st, 2012 by Admin

Windies Fiesta and Cricket Culture

The Gayle led rap ‘Oppa Gangnam Style’ dance routine featured in last week’s Parade drew much attention going by the feedback received. As we write again the number of hits on the U Tube site for the Windies World Cup victory lap dance continues to rise and now stands 175,511.

Saji Cumaraswamy, who lived at Cross Street Kandy, but now a distinguished Grandma resident in London writes “I do enjoy their game, because they enjoy it so much themselves. A story. 1940s. The West Indian team passed through Colombo on their way to Oz, I think. Always by ship, in those days. They played some exhibition matches with a few local teams. One at Asgiriya which was then a delightful country-club pitch. The great three W’s were there-Weekes, Walcott and Worrell. We all went to see these amazing guys. Very festive atmosphere. Weekes went in, smashed his sixes, and came back. Walcott followed— same story. Then everyone looked for the more diminutive Worrell. He was discovered, in a stupor nursing a hangover— or to put it bluntly, drunk as bat, in the dressing room. It was hilarious! “

That levity and bacchanalian tradition is still part of the unpretentious and cavalier culture in the Caribbean. It’s refreshing.

Music and dance is legendary

That music and dance go with West Indian cricket is legendary. In Jamaica it is an integral part of life.

Some time ago I was checking into a hotel in Kingston and music was piped into every corner of the lobby. It was coincidentally Bob Marley’s

“I don’t like cricket, oh no, I love it.”
And to the Reggae beat it went as follows:
Don’t you cramp me style,
Don’t you queer me pitch
Don’t you walk through my words
‘Cause you ain’t heard me out yet.
And I say, I don’t like cricket, oh no, I love it
I don’t love reggae, oh no, I love it

There is beat in everything thing they do: the receptionist rhythmically moved her hips and arms singing softly to the music as she handed me the guest card and room keys; and the porter with a swing and spring in his step, helped me with my bag. I realized that if I did not respond equally to the beat I was surely out of step and place! So I clumsily followed suit! The Porter says: Hey man, you are Sri Lankan right?, Oh! We love you guys, man; when’s M&M comin’ here, can’t wait to see them again!” M& M, who? I ask. Don’t’ you know them? shame on you man! It’s Malinga and Murali!

Walsh’s career studded with sensation

That evening I made my way to Cuddy’z which many describe as at the ultimate in Sports Restaurants and Bars. It is owned by the famed West Indian Courtney Walsh who captained 22 Test Matches.

He led the record for the most Test wickets until our own Muralitharan broke the record. Walsh’s career is studded with sensation. Wikepedia records that for starters in school he took 10 wickets in an innings; and when he made his Test Match debut against Australia the fast bowler took a ‘complicated’ hat-trick dismissing the last Australian batsman in the first innings and with his first two deliveries in the second innings he took two more scalps! Howzaat for a Hat-Trick?

As one enters Cuddy’z one is dazzled by the state of the art technology with multimedia screens – over 55 of them — streaming the latest events. Sports memorabilia adorn the panelled glass cases.

The Menu is made up of dishes that reflect sports themes: for those who unlike me are not teetotalers, the Googly Rum and Coke catches the eye or the Yorker Gin ‘n Tonic.

For starters there are the Play-off platters; Coin Toss; Fair catch and Cuddy’z Hat Trick.

For Soups there are many choices but Spinners Red Peas Soup immediately whets the palate! And as Salads go there is the Caribbean Clash Chicken, Howzzat, Power Play Twenty20 (full or half size), to choose from!

The Main course has an engaging array that leaves you wondering : Foul Play, Cuddy’z 519 Burger, Grand Stand Jerk Burrito and Record Breaking Jerk.

Courtney Walsh – a gracious speaker

Courtney Walsh, now at 50, was gracious to talk about his admiration for Sri Lankans and their dazzling cricket as he recalled his debut in One Day Internationals against Sri Lanka in 1984 played in Hobart, Tasmania.

Meals and drinks aside, the Sports Bar is a ‘happening place’ where juke boxes and live bands on occasions play your favourites as they did on our visit. But it’s a place for reminiscences and sing songs, as we sang together the adaptation of the Harry Belafonte perennial:

Down the way where the skies are grey
And the rain falls daily on the umpire’s head
We’ve arrived under Captain Clive
The cricket team Englishman fear and dread
But we’re glad to say we’re in the UK
West Indian batsmen can bat all day
And if your stumps are found half way down the ground
That means the West Indians are back in town.

As we left the Rum ‘n Coke Folks after a sumptuous cricketing fiesta there was one last refrain from the 1950 Egbert Moore’s Calypso:

Cricket lovely cricket,
At Lord’s where I saw it;
Yardley tried his best
But Goddard won the test.
They gave the crowd plenty fun;
Second Test and West Indies won
All together now in chorus –yelled one at the bar:
With those two little pals of mine
Ramadin and Valentine!

As we left Cuddy’z, one of the patrons asked: hey man, have you heard this one:

Once at a celebration, after the Windies fast bowlers had demolished England, a cricketer was asked by a waiter what he would like to have. The batsman answered: “Ah doesn’t drink and ah doesn’t smoke.”

The waiter returned with one dozen drinks and one dozen cigarettes!

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