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Blacktip Island Musicians Dissolve Bands To Form New Supergroup


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.

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Blacktip Island Author Releases Newest Novel

SRF cover 3-D

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:


Apple Books



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.

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And some days the dolphins are a-holes. Happy Wednesday from Blacktip Island!

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Blacktip Island Community Players To Stage COVID-Masked Noh Plays


Blacktip Island’s Heritage House has been transformed into a traditional Noh stage for the Blacktip Island Community Players’ weekend performances of classical Japanese dance-drama. (photo courtesy of Doris Blenny)

The Blacktip Island Community Players this weekend will stage the Caribbean island’s first Noh performances, with all actors wearing modified public-health-mandated facemasks, organizers said.

“The island needs a pick-me-up, and we thought, since no one here can travel, something from the other side of the world would be perfect,” BICP director Doris Blenny said. “I’ve always been a bit of a Japanophile, and everyone having to wear masks put me in mind of classical Japanese dance-drama.

“My brain said ‘Kabuki,’ but my heart said ‘Noh,’” Blenny said. “Noh plays tend to be about ordinary, everyday people, like Blacktippers. We’re staging a mix of traditional stories and some we tweaked a bit to be island-specific.”

BICP volunteers say the COVID-mask requirement caused some acting hiccups.

“Traditional wooden facemasks play a huge role in Noh theater,” Helen Maples said. “We’ve gussying up our sanitary face masks so the actors can portray a suitable emotional range. We did our best to decorate the masks in a classic, 17th-Century style to make them integral parts of the costume, not just modern add-ons.

“We’re keeping the final versions under wraps until our first show, but I can say the sanitary masks were imported directly from Japanese suppliers, so it’ll have that added level of authenticity. And the actors have been working on conveying emotions with extra-stylized body language and gestures.”

Actors say the use of COVID masks isn’t a burden.

“You don’t see the actors’ faces in Noh anyway, so it’s not that much of a jump,” Jerrod Ephesians said. “That pushes us, as actors, to stretch our abilities. And the staging is minimalistic, so the focus is really on the performers.”

Organizers say the performance will a shortened version of classical Noh structure.

“Traditionally, you’d have five Noh pieces, with shorter, comic kyōgen pieces in between, but we weren’t sure Blacktippers’d have the patience for that,” Blenny said. “Instead, we’re doing an abbreviated program of two Noh plays separated by one kyōgen piece.

“We’re starting with a traditional genzai Noh with human characters and events and a linear timeline,” Blenny said. “Then the kyōgen will be the crowd favorite “Persimmon Mountain Hermit,” with a Blacktip flair, followed by a mugen Noh with supernatural creatures and spirits, and time spooling around in a quite non-liner fashion.”

Many in the cast are looking forward to how the performances will be received.

“I can’t wait to see the audience’s reaction to our masks,” Marina DeLow said. “Doing this in COVID masks really makes a statement. Of what, we’re not sure. But it’s definitely a statement.”

Performances will be Friday and Saturday nights for the rest of September in the island’s Heritage House.

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Blacktip Islanders Launch Hunt For Alleged Witch

witch hunt

Blacktip Island officials fear an island resident may be lost in the Caribbean island’s rugged interior after fleeing a barroom confrontation Wednesday night. (photo by Wade Soote)

Blacktip Island residents Wednesday launched an island-wide search for a fellow resident who ran into hiding after being accused of being a witch the night before, authorities said.

“Folks were all liquored up down at the Ballyhoo, and Cori Anders started doing slight-of-hand magic tricks,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “A drunk-ass Dermott Bottoms thought the tricks were real, started hollering about Cori being a witch. Then Gage Hoase and Lee Helm pestered her to heal their upcoming hangovers.

“Others joined in, and next thing you know folks were yelling about tying her up or dunking her or burning her or some such,” Marquette said. “Cori laughed it all off until James Conlee tried to grab her. That’s when she bolted out the door, sped off and no one’s seen her since.”

Some residents expressed concern for Anders’ safety.

“No one’s seen her, or her ride, for a day and a half,” Alison Diesel said. “She could be hurt, or worse, somewhere inland where nobody ever goes. I get hauling ass out of there, but to stay hid for so long? She’s not just sleeping one off.”

Community leaders quickly launched a search for Anders.

“We have the island gridded out in squares, and teams of three and four are searching them methodically for any sign of Cori or her car,” Wade Soote said. “If she’s hurt somewhere, time’s of the essence. I know people’re getting punchy with the lockdown and isolation, but this isn’t like Cori.”

Others were focused on the accusations against Anders.

“Still looking to see if she really is a witch,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Always wears that pointy hat, and she’s got a long nose, y’know. She might be the one who brought this virus curse down on us. If she did, then we gotta make sure she pays. Or at least makes it go away.

“Me and James and some others, we’re beating the bush to find her, put her to the test, for the good of the island,” Bottoms said. “Gonna drop her over the side of one of the boats to see if she floats. Or sinks. I can’t remember which one it is witches do.”

Island authorities urged caution in the search efforts.

“Folks stomping off into the interior alone are gonna get hurt or lost,” Marquette said. “If people aren’t careful, we’re gonna have multiple search-and-rescue operations going on. Folks need to let me do the searching instead of running around like a bunch of fools.

“Just this morning I caught Dermott and his bunch heading into the bush with landing nets and lionfish spears,” Marquette said. “Other people were using beaters to try to drive her toward waiting rescuers. If this keeps up, Cori may never come back. And I wouldn’t blame her.”


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Local Author Releases New Novel’s Cover and First Chapter

SRF cover - high res

Blacktip Island author Tim W. Jackson’s new novel, available for preorder, will be released September 18. The first chapter is available free via the the cover/link to the right. –>

Blacktip Island author Tim W. Jackson today unveiled the cover image of his forthcoming novel, The Secret of Rosalita Flats, in anticipation of the book’s mid-September release.

The book is Jackson’s second Blacktip Island-based humor novel. His first, Blacktip Island, was a Best Book Awards finalist for humor.

The Secret of Rosalita Flats continues the whackadoodle island adventures started in Blacktip Island,” Jackson said. “This cover gives everyone a taste of what the book’s like before it comes out. A literary amuse bouche, if you will.

“No one’s innocent on this little rock, but the names have been changed anyway. Hopefully everyone’ll get a good laugh.”

Early reviews have been positive.

Reader Views says, “From the first few sentences, Jackson’s sense of humor hooks you, and you know it’s going to be a fun ride.” The Manhattan Book Review calls The Secret of Rosalita Flats “a humorous, slow-burn mystery that will consume the reader.”

Local reaction, however, was mixed.

“I’m guess looking forward to reading this one,” Club Scuba Doo dive manager Finn Kiick said. “I don’t really have anything else to do. Worst case, I can use it as a coaster.”

Others were less upbeat.

“Author? That guy’s not an author,” Rosie Bottoms said. “He’s just some half-crazy dive hippy who sits around and makes up lies about us. Can’t believe he’s doing this again, y’know. That last book had the whole island looking for tar and feathers.”

Others concurred.

“I’m still peeved at how he portrayed me in that last book,” Payne Hanover said. “He casts me as some dissolute dilettante again, well, I know where that miscreant lives.”

A few residents dismissed the cover reveal as cheap showmanship.

“Don’t see no book. Just a pretty picture. That somebody else did,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Man wants to impress me, he needs to show the whole damn book he claims he wrote.”

The Secret of Rosalita Flats will be released September 18.

Ebook preorders are available via Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BQCH6TJ) and other online retailers. Physical preorders are available via Jackson’s website (http://www.timwjackson.com/ ).

The first chapter is available free via The Blacktip Times (click cover/link to the right –>).

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August 25, 2020 · 2:12 pm

Blacktip Island Divers Encounter Kraken During Night Dive

A photo of the creature  Blacktip Island night divers claim was a juvenile kraken responsible for attacking them Wednesday night. (photo courtesy of Richard Zerpe)

Scuba divers off Blacktip Island’s Diddley’s Landing public pier Wednesday night claim to have encountered a kraken, a giant, squid-like creature long thought a legend.

“There’s been stories of krakens in the deep water off that coast, but nobody really believed them,” Angela Fisher said. “But that night, during the dive, a couple of us felt something squishy grabbing at our legs. Then, right by the pier, this big squid-thing appeared out of nowhere, all tentacles flailing and beak snapping.

“Joey Pompano pulled out his knife, and me and Alison Diesel purged our alternate airs at it,” Fisher said. “It freaked at the bubbles and inked, and we dragged ourselves up the pier steps quick-like-the-bunny. Scariest thing that ever happened to me on a dive.”

Divers say the creature matched what they know of kraken.

“It was textbook kraken, just smaller and more skittish,” Alison Diesel said. “It must’ve just hatched out. That’s why it was so small. And why no one’s seen it before. And why it spooked so quick. It had to have been behind us during the dive, testing us with its tentacles. Then it went full-Cthulhu when it realized we were getting out.

“I it’ll learn as it grows. That’s the scary part,” Diesel said. “Before long before it won’t b safe to dive on Blacktip. And it’ll go after boats, too. This is way-spooky stuff.”

Some on the island, however, questioned the sighting.

“A kraken? Crack of their butts is more like it,” Tiperon University-Blacktip marine biology professor Ernesto Mojarra said. “If there were a giant squid, and if one were on the reef, there’d be no fish left. And this was a night dive. They probably just saw some reef squid or an octopus.

“And knowing that bunch, they’d been smoking God-knows-what before they jumped in the water,” Mojarra added. “Tentacles brushing their legs? That was probably them kicking the hell out of sea plumes.”

The divers defended their claims.

“I know octopus, and that was no octopus,” Pompano said. “It charged us. Eyes flashing. I could see the beak snapping two, three feet in front of my face. It was like that scene from ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.’

“We reckon it just got here, that’s why no one else’s seen it,” Pomano said. “We got lucky. What if purging a reg doesn’t scare it off next time?”

Several dive resorts plan to capitalize on the sighting once tourists return to the island.

“Sure, there’s no such thing as a kraken and divers are safe on our reefs,” island mayor Jack Cobia said. “But Eagle Ray Cove’s gonna run special Kraken dive charters. For an upcharge, of course. And Finn down at Club Scuba Doo, he sent off a proposal for a Kraken Diver specialty course. He’s just waiting for approval.

“God bless Angela and those knuckleheads,” Cobia said. “When tourists come back, we’re gonna make up for lost time. And income.”

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Blacktip Island Sports Fans Build Human Foosball Court

human foosball

After Blacktip Island’s sole table soccer set was destroyed, game enthusiasts created a life-sized court to accommodate human players strapped to PVC poles. (photo courtesy of Alex Proimos)

A group of Blacktip Island game enthusiasts this week constructed a life-sized foosball court designed to use people as the on-board figures after the island’s sole table-soccer table broke.

“The table football game at Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort finally disintegrated from the salt air, but lots of people still wanted to play,” Payne Hanover said. “Also, a lot of us were looking for a quarantine project, so rebuilding the game in life-sized proportions seemed like the logical way to go.

“Peachy Bottoms at the store donated the plywood for the walls and the poles,” Hanover said. “We set it up by the landing strip—that was the only cleared spot that was big enough.”

Rules are much the same as traditional table football, organizers said.

“We Velcro the on-court players’ arms to the horizontal poles and chuck a soccer ball in with them,” Dusty Blenny said. “They can’t kick the ball unless one of the players outside whacks the pole they’re strapped to.

“We wanted to be able to spin the poles, but we haven’t figured out the mechanics of that yet,” Blenny said. “It’s still on the drawing board, but it involves ropes and pullies and lots of Dramamine.”

Players say the games have gone well so far.

“We use standard pick-up team rules,” Wendy Beaufort said. “Whoever turns up plays, with each ‘player’ taking turns picking team members and assigning them to whichever poles.

“We take regular beer breaks, too, since this is still, at heart, a drinking game.” Beaufort said. “And if more people show up than there are spots on the field, we allow substitutions, too.”

The game is not without its drawbacks, some said.

“Your arms get damned tired strapped to that pole,” Hugh Calloway said. “There’s also nothing you can do to block a ball to the crotch. We keep punking Lee Helm that way, but the dumbass hasn’t figured it out yet and keeps coming back for more.

“With the wall, it’s also tough to light the court to play at night,” Calloway said. “We lined up cars and turned on the headlights, but those 4-foot-high walls block most of it. Payne’s working on scaffolding to hang reflectors to angle the light in.”

Some on the small Caribbean island scoffed at the idea.

“I don’t really see the point, but at least it keeps them off the road. For the most part,” Frank Maples said. “End of the day, I guess it doesn’t make any less sense than anything else does on this crazy island. So long as it doesn’t interfere with airplanes taking off or landing, I suppose it’s harmless.”

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