What measure is the Fool who stares
into the Nameless Face of Talking Death
and inquires as to its true identity, history and genealogy
while ignoring his own rapidly fading chronology?
I am the seed of the everlasting Reincarnation of O Cangaceiro,
Acolyte of the Agent of Death Valley, that Master Midnight Robber,
And the Vicious Veteran Vivisector The Ocean Raider.
First was the Word, the Word became Flesh, the Flesh became Spirit, the Spirit became Legend and the Legend became the Reincarnation.
When he spit his verbose vitriol upon the steaming sod
Sprung forth from his saliva Warriors of the Word
Like King Cobo, the Mellancolly Marauder,
Son of Pretty Boy Floyd, the Artic Avenger,
Rob Roy, Double D – Destruction and Death,
D Spectre, The Chaos Bringer, The Robber Queen
And my partner in rhyme, the Wrathful Wonder Woman.
But as I stand before you, his one true son;
Behold the Midknight (of the Talking Death) and run!
With my bombastic brethren, we formed the Mystery Raiders,
The most dastardly band of desperadoes to ever perambulate the streets of the Port of Pain.
We set up a base in the heightless regions of the Hill of Forgotten men
Turning left at the roundabout of destruction.
Every Carnival we congregate under the Savannah Big Tree
From there we launch our alliterative assaults on the unsuspecting citizenry
Grammatically, metaphorically and stylistically
Regaling them with the great bad deeds we have done
We make corporate bandits bawl and devastate politicians.
Simply put we humiliate the competition
It is our duty as self respecting Robbers to show up those imposters
who gain notoriety by stealing bus passes from old ladies and candy from babies
We set up a University of Robberology
Where all Pretenders can come to see
If they have what it takes to become
Masters of Metaphor, Regents of Robberdom.
We archive the words and deeds of the fallen warriors
For the benefit and use of future masqueraders.
We do this before politicians start lying,
Before the conquistadores start pillaging,
Before Rock of Ages was a pebble
In 1995 I joined the Mystery Raiders
By 1997, I was the Hound from Hell
By 2000, I was the Phantom Menace
And became the scourge of this nation
Until I was exiled to the cold in 2001.
In 2006 I returned, having extirpated my equilibrium
And took over the mantle from the Reincarnation
In 2000, we annihilated Armageddon as the Robbers of the Apocalypse
In 2001, we destroyed dictatorship as Robbers for Democracy
In 2002, we stole the elections, with Vote for Yuh Robber
In 2003, we requisition the road as Ye Robber of Marli Street
In 2004, we liquidate your loan as Robbers and Bankers of Trinidad and Tobago
In 2005, we stood up for Real Robbers with Robbers against Crime
In 2006, we sent the Reincarnation off to Valhalla with Tribute to Brian Honoré
In 2007, we poisoned the environment with Hellter Smelter
In 2008, we deconstruct de construction with Made in China
In 2009, we menace the masquerade with Weapons of Mas Destruction
In 2010, we will unleash the Vengeance of Moko upon this land.
The Carnival Masquerade use to be the quintessential form of show and tell.
But, in our day, we show more and more and tell less and less.
The Word is Power and Mas is Life, Power is the Word and Life is Mas.
But we say less and less in our songs and in our costume, and we give up the power we once had.
The Midnight Robber is Powerful Words, He is Wordy Power. He is Living Mas.
When you put on the cape and the hat, when the whistle blows, you become the Power of the Word. Once that happens why would you ever want to stop?
***(BTW WE SHOULD ADD):
Fédon Honoré is the son of legendary Midnight Robber, the late Brian Honoré (aka Commentor). Before his death, Commentor kept alive the Robber artform which involves a Carnival character who has aggressive oratorial skills Fédon is playing with the Mystery Raiders for Carnival this month. This is what he looks like:
Photos by Andre Bagoo
FOR more information on Mystery Raiders, contact Anthony Collymore (bandleader) at 625-0188 or Fedon at 756 5987 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This/discourse/has/no/start(middle)nd is an interview series featuring the responses of Trinidad artists to a set questionnaire. FIND out more and see the full list of interviewees here.