The Blacktip Island Literary Society this weekend will stage a series of readings and performances celebrating the life and works of British Romantic poet Walter Savage Landor. (photo courtesy of Payne Hanover)
The Blacktip Island Literary Society Thursday announced its plans for the inaugural Walter Savage Landor Literary Festival, honoring the obscure British Romantic poet and his alleged ties to the small Caribbean island.
“A lot of people never heard of Landor,” festival organizer Payne Hanover said. “We’re all about giving him some love. His work, by itself, is largely unknown today, but he was a huge influence on the next generation of writers, including Dickens, Browning, Yeats and Ezra Pound. Never mind Pound was a complete nut job there at the end.
“As for the local connection, people don’t realize he spent his last days on Blacktip Island,” Hanover said. “History books said he died in Italy, but we’ve got island records saying that was just a ruse. He gave his creditors a head fake and sailed for the Caribbean. Blacktip Island was a Brit Rom hotspot back in the day.”
BILS members praised Landor’s work.
“Critics loved him. The public, not so much. And that sucks,” Alison Diesel said. “He was the bomb in prose and lyric poetry. His Imaginary Conversations are lit, especially the ones between Marcellus and Hannibal, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and Diogenes and Plato.
“People don’t remember he was tight with Coleridge,” Diesel said. “Dude had the connections and the chops. He and Byron had no use for each other, but we let that slide—he was a Blacktipper. We’re all Romantics at heart. Except for . . . well, never mind.”
The society plans readings of Landor’s work at various sites around the island.
“We’ll have scheduled readings at the Heritage House, of course,” schoolmaster Barry Snapper said. “But there’ll also be surprise pop-up readings at bars and resorts all across the island. Flash-mob style interpretive dance performances, too. Some of them on scuba.
“You really don’t have a true appreciation for Landor until you hear Dermott Bottoms stumbling through, I Strove with None and Twenty Years Hence on the Heritage House steps,” Snapper said. “It gave me chills during rehearsals.”
Island residents are looking forward to the weekend’s festivities.
“Don’t know nothing about poetry, but they talked me into helping by telling tales about the man,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Had total contempt for authority. I like that. He’d fit right in on Blacktip.
“Had a mouth on him, too,” Bottoms said. “Dude could piss off the Pope without half trying. We gonna have a two-day booze-up and get in fights to celebrate his life properly.”
Antonio Fletcher’s tuba provides the signature sound for Blacktip Island’s newest band, formed by members of other popular island musical groups. (photo courtesy of Michael Coghlan)
Members of three popular Blacktip Island musical bands this week left their respective groups to form a new supergroup in an effort to grow artistically and create a unique island musical sound.
“We’d been playing the same beach music schtick for years,” The Social Morays’ lead guitarist Gage Hoase said. “We needed to stretch ourselves musically. Tourists loved the stuff, sure, but there’s no tourists now. No one on the island wants to hear faux-Buffett, and me and Marina got tired of playing it.
“We were hanging out offstage at last month’s Battle of the Bands at the Heritage House, shooting the breeze with other bands, and realized Payne and Jessie felt the same way,” Hoase said. “We all wanted to do something totally new and different. We settled on a mix of oompah and ska. We call it ‘oomp-ska.’”
Joining Hoase in the new band are fellow Social Morays drummer Marina DeLow, TURTLE!!! bassist Jessie Catahoula and Young Jacques and the Double Hose spoons-and-beer-bottle virtuoso Payne Hanover.
“We’d all gotten stagnant,” DeLow said. “We gelled pretty fast, though, and played our first gig at last week’s book-launch party. Oomp-ska’s an odd mix, but it works. You just have to give it a few minutes. It grows on you.
“The toughest part was agreeing on a name for the band,” DeLow said. “Then Payne and me realized we’d garbled out the same Frenglish phrase in our respective high school French classes, and both got sent to the principal’s office for it. Gage and Jessie laughed, and now we’re Qu’Est-Ce Que F*ck Que C’est?”
The group also tapped into undeveloped talent on the island.
“We really needed a tuba to get the right amount of ‘oomp’ in our sound,” Hanover said. “That’s where Antonio Fletcher came in. We knew he liked to play his tuba by himself at night, and we knew we had to have him. He gives us that rock-solid foundation to jam from.”
Audience reaction was positive after the band’s debut last Friday.
“I laughed at first, Hugh Calloway said. “But then the rhythm hit and people were dancing like crazy. The sound grabs you. It’s irresistible, really. One minute I was rolling my eyes, the next my feet were moving to the beat, something between a polka and a rumba.”
Music critic Rusty Goby praised the band’s output.
“The individual elements may be derivative, but the final product isn’t,” he said. “This is something totally new and unexpected. It’s Blacktip’s unique musical sound.”
In related news, The Social Morays, TURTLE!!! and Young Jacques and the Double Hose will be auditioning new members this weekend.
Blacktip Island Weather
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Precipitation – – –
Air Quality Excellent
Tim W. Jackson’s latest humor novel, The Secret of Rosalita Flats, was released this morning. (cover art courtesy of Ebook Launch)
Local award-winning author Tim W. Jackson today released his second Blacktip Island novel, The Secret of Rosalita Flats, via all major book distributors, his personal website and Cracked Spines, the small Caribbean island’s independent bookstore.
According to the publisher, ‘The Secret of Roslita Flats follows a man trying to sell a football-shaped house he inherited, while dodging Blacktip Island’s quirky collection of con artists, smugglers and ne’er-do-wells. There’s also the matter of sharks showing up every time he gets in the water. If he can’t figure out what his dad was mixed up in, he may be stuck on the little rock forever.’
“It’s a comic mystery for anyone who’s ever dreamed of chucking it all and running off to the Caribbean,” Jackson said. “If Northern Exposure knocked up Margaritaville, their kid would be The Secret of Roslita Flats.”
Early reviewers praised the novel.
The Manhattan Book Review said, “The Secret of Rosalita Flats is a humorous, slow-burn mystery that will consume the reader. The dialogue is sharp and clever, the action timely.” Reader Views said, “From the first few sentences, Jackson’s sense of humor hooks you, and you know it’s going to be a fun ride.”
Local reaction was less glowing.
“He’s got some nerve, calling us ne’er-do-wells,” divemaster Alison Diesel said. “He’s the quirky one. Because of him, the whole world thinks we’re a bunch bat-shit yahoos. It’s totally bogus, him keeping on writing smack about us.”
Others were more pointed.
“I’m gonna release that book. Right upside his head,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Warned him about writing another one, making me look bad, but he didn’t listen. This time, he’s gonna look bad after I’m finished with him.”
The novel’s first chapter is available as a free download via The Blacktip Times and on Jackson’s website.
The Secret of Rosalita Flats is available for purchase at:
Jackson will host a launch party tonight at Eagle Ray Cove, with free drinks and music by island supergroup Qu’Est-Ce Que F*ck Que C’est, formed this week by former members of Blacktip Island bands The Social Morays, TURTLE!!! And Young Jacques and the Double Hose.
A portion of the proceeds from all Blacktip Island novel and short story sales goes to the Coral Reef Alliance.
And some days the dolphins are a-holes. Happy Wednesday from Blacktip Island!
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Precipitation – – –
Air Quality Excellent
Greetings from Blacktip Island!