By : Curtis Morton
The way I see it, we have to be very careful about calling people nicknames.
Now, some years ago, I wrote a song which has been recognized as one of the finest pieces of literary productions ever to come out of Nevis.
Now for that creation, I have to thank a number of persons. Yes, I wrote every word of the song but I got some serious assistance in the research process.
Firstly, my former boss (now deceased), Crispin Fahie, gave me a document with 500 nicknames which he had secured overtime, referring just to people living on Nevis. He had made this one of his unique hobbies. He was an interesting character. He had another hobby of collecting nails and whenever he found them, he would take them home. He said that served two proposes: They could not harm anyone and they could be put to good use. He once told me that he built his fowl house, using nails that he had found!
Well I newa!
Back to the nicknames, thing: I also got help from some ‘scouts’ who I asked to check out communities across Nevis and bring all of the interesting nicknames that they found.
In total, when I sat down to write, I had collected over 1000 nicknames. The headache was to determine which ones will actually make it into the song.
Sixty-two names made it into the song.
An even bigger headache was to learn a song with sixty-two different nicknames. It meant that each chorus was uniquely different. It was a difficult song to learn. I sang it in the shower; when I was walking; when I was riding my motorbike…I mean, everywhere I went, I was learning the song.
Yet still on the big night, I forgot a nickname or two but unlike GINGER, I did not panic, I just put in some nicknames to replace those I forgot.
After all, who would know the difference until after the show?
However, that experience taught me something. There were some persons who got upset because their particular nickname was mentioned and there were persons who got upset because their nickname did not make it in the song.
Well I newa!
I understand that FADER CRAB was at the semi finals and when he heard the other nicknames, he was roaring with laughter but when his was mentioned, he asked: “Wha trupitniss da bwoy dey ah do?’
Ginger pointed WILLY NATTA to me in town one day and WILLY NATTA approached me and said: “Ah gine put lawyer pon you. You went go put me name in a sing!’
Well I newa!
KANGAROO, on the other hand, a now deceased fellow villager, told me how disappointed he was that his name did not make it in the song.
“I thought that we were friends,’ he lamented.
Interestingly, one evening after singing the song in St.Kitts on an OBSTINATE show, the renowned King Obstinate sent a messenger to ask me if I could sell him the song and he would pay me $1,000.00.
I took it as an affront. First of all, the man did not have the courtesy to approach me himself. Secondly, as much as $1,000.00 meant then, I was far from impressed and thirdly, my labour was not for sale. If the man had asked me to give him the song, I may have considered it because I understand that he would have rewritten it to include Antiguan nicknames.
So we have to be careful when we call people nicknames. We should seek not to offend and hurt people by name calling. Mind you there are some strange persons like Anthony HAG Browne. He doesn’t want anyone to call him by his correct name which is Anthony. He wants to be called just HAG.
Well I newa!
That reminds me of a cricket match I watched at Grove Park several years ago. The two umpires were RAT and HAG and one of the batsmen was CHICKEN!
Hey, let us be careful with this nicknames thing.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?