Postcolonial London: Rewriting the Metropolis

By John McLeod | Go to book overview

1

Making a song and dance

Sam Selvon and Colin MacInnes

'Calypsos sung at Lord's', reported The Daily Telegraph and Morning Post on Friday 30 June 1950. Underneath a photograph of nearly a dozen jubilant West Indian cricket fans dancing on the grass at Lord's cricket ground, the newspaper's reporter described the vivid scenes of jubilation which had followed the previous day's historic victory by the West Indies over England in the Second Test, the first to happen on English soil:

the invading spectators formed in a group and, led by a guitarist, broke out into a rhythmic calypso (a West Indian impromptu song) extolling the great achievement of their team.

Other spectators, instead of hurrying to the gates, stood silent and amused. Above the continuous hum of excitement from West Indians at the far end of the ground the words of the calypso carried across the hot air:

This match will stir our memory.
We hope it will be noted in history;
All through our bowling was superfine,
With Ramadhin and Valentine …

The same exultant party later continued its celebration down St John's Wood-road and out of sight. Then Lord's, the green arena deserted, once more returned to its characteristic calm and dignity.

The calypso, known both as 'Cricket, Lovely Cricket' and 'Victory Test Match', was composed at the game by Lord Beginner (Egbert Moore), a popular figure in the calypso tents of San Fernando and Port of Spain in Trinidad since the late 1920s (Rohlehr 1990). Legend has it that Lord Beginner arrived in London with his friend and fellow calypsonian Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts) aboard the SS Empire Windrush, which docked at Tilbury on 22 June 1948, with 492 Caribbean migrants aboard seeking a new life in London. Kitchener was also at the Test Match. In a

-24-

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Postcolonial London: Rewriting the Metropolis
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Making a Song and Dance 24
  • 2 - London, England 59
  • 3 - Living Room 93
  • 4 - Babylon's Burning 126
  • 5 - Millennial Currents 158
  • Coda 189
  • Bibliography 195
  • Index 205
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