Poets, as most Trinidadians know, are people who write words that rhyme or, if they’re really good poets, don’t.
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Panther’s pain - calypso king reflects on bittersweet reign
For many he was the surprise winner of the 2013 National Calypso Monarch title. A son of Sangre Grande, Pink Panther (Eric Taylor) copped the win singing Travel Woes and Crying in the Chapel.
The defending monarch has mixed feelings about his reign. “It was a nice experience in some ways, not so nice in others,” he said. “Things happened for me during the year but not in Trinidad. I got opportunities to perform abroad but local promoters were not as willing to hire me. This country has a backward mindset that we have to get rid of if we are to progress.
“I don’t know why the government has snubbed me during my reign. Perhaps they perceive me a PNM monarch and not the national calypso monarch of T&T. The government had several functions during 2013, in T&T and internationally, and I was not invited to perform in one.
“Would you believe that the national calypso monarch wasn’t even invited to perform at our own Dimanche Gras here, but was guest of honour St Thomas Carnival. Those people rolled out the red carpet for me. This saddened me, not being shown love or appreciation at home.
“I also had shows in Toronto and New York, and throughout the Caribbean. I was also a special guest of honour at a big show in Anguilla. People up the islands show more respect to calypsonians than what is shown in Trinidad.”
Pink Panther believes that Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (Tuco) could do much more to engender respect for calypsonians.
He said: “As the national calypso monarch, I hope that Tuco would advocate that the holder of this title is ensured of better treatment, including what treatment he must ensure at the airport. You are the national calypso monarch and you have to jostle with everybody in Piarco.”
For Carnival 2014, Pink Panther returns to Kalypso Revue as one of its premier singers.
Pink Panther has been married for the past 30 years and has four children. His hobbies include playing table tennis. He said: I am also passionate about politics. I spent 30 in the public service serving the public as a Ministry of Community Development supervisor, so it is natural for me to want to continue serving my community and the wider public.”
Stating that he likes watching Nigerian movies, Pink Panther added: “I love macaroni and cheese. You could give me that every day. Meat is not my favourite thing. I cannot eat the flesh of an innocent animal.”
A PNM candidate in the last general election, Pink Panther reiterated his commitment to the politics of the land. He said: “The PNM had some nice victories in 2013 and, as a member of the general council and the central executive, this was pleasing. We intend to launch a serious challenge to the government whenever the next general election is called.”
Pink Panther ended by saying: “Be warned. This year I am returning to defend my title.”