At COT Printers, sometime in the last week of July 1982 a planning committee with Nigel, Claire, Bob and Jeffrey for the upcoming Kadooment is in progress. A few drinks soon produced a cart used to move paper around the office. A wooden box arrived and was nailed to it. Someone had Blue paint and the name that has become a legend in Koodment was born.
A car tape deck, two small speakers, a cassette tape made by the Music Producer and two car batteries provided the music system. This was the year of Jack, The List, Mr. Harding Cant Burn, Sugar Made Us Free, all of which have become classics.
Monday morning about a dozen revelers arrived early. The Blue Box Cart was quickly filled with Rum, Beer, Tequila, ice and a few soft drinks. Most of us went out the night before so we needed few hours minutes to recover.
That year the parade went from the Garrison to the National Stadium. The initial plan was to pull the Blue Box Cart to the Garrison and consume the contents of the cart and listen to our tape. As was the custom in those days the show started late, very late. Someone suggested that we should move the cart to Belleville. I do not remember why but it seemed like a good idea. We tried to leave but were stopped by the NCF as we were not an official band. We returned to the field and an official sticker was stuck on the cart. This time there was no stopping the Blue Box Cart and its supporters. Off we went on a journey that 33 years later is still going.
No other bands were on the road and the radio stations, who had live broadcast points along the route, were looking for something to talk about. What better topic than a bunch of white Bajans pulling a drinks cart with a tape deck blasting forth the road march?
We picked up Elizabeth and Michael at Belleville along with a case of Amstel Beer and continued on to the National Stadium. The officials were only too glad to let us on stage. What happened next made the Blue Box Cart an integral part of Kadooment.
Auntie Olga was the MC for the thousands of patrons in the stands, and trying to be politically correct, was trying to describe what could be in the cart. Just then someone took out a bottle of rum, put it to his head and took several gulps. Steve put on the Amstel Beer box, and little else, and climbed on top of the cart and showed that white people can wuck-up. He was joined by Claire.
The next year we were official and went as Sailor Mass. We built the cart to resemble a boat and steered from the back. A good idea but not a practical one as the driver could not see where he was going. This resulted in a few off road experiences. Once again we brought the stadium alive. This year Claire managed to get on top of the speakers.
Thankfully John Skinner got involved and built a new and bigger cart. It was worked on at Bay Mansion which was opposite The Carlisle. Good planning that. This lasted for many years and with each year the size of the band grew.
Every year a theme was chosen. Someone went to Abeds and picked out a bolt of cloth. When you paid up (Less than $50.00) you were given a yard to make your own costume reflecting the year’s theme. It is amazing what a few rums can produce in fashion design.
Mark painted murals on the cart depicting the years theme. It is a pity that these were not saved. We were also becoming more organised. We now had 2 tapes, a small generator, big amplifier and speakers and a small locked cabinet to hold things. We also carried a spare tyre and jack that may not have lifted the loaded cart.
Over the years, I have many good memories, some of which cannot be repeated here.
The year of “Brekin Loose” (in honour of Winston Hall and friends) Cesar arrived in a Police van with handcuffs on. That year we built a cage on top of the cart and some of us “Brek-out” in the stadium.
Someone dressed as a chicken chasing a reporter around the Stadium and …
At Bay Mansion having a box of Corn Flakes and tomato juice for breakfast. After just leaving the Carlise.
For me Crop Over was more than just the Blue Box Cart. I enjoyed going to the Calypso Tents and The Calypso Finals. Nigel and I got on stage several times with Mac and RPB. Bridgetown Market and the Party Monarch at Barclays Park were not to be missed. For many years I supplied radio communication to the NCF as an important part of their communications network.
There is always a lot of discussion as if Kadooment has got better or not. Everything changes, and the Blue Box Cart has evolved. I saw this new generation on this Kadooment Monday evening I know that they had as good a time as we did 33 years ago.
Please add any memories in the Comments section below. My brain’s ROM (Rum Overloaded Memory) cannot remember all.
Thanks to Michael McKenzie for providing valuable pictures and information.
You can click on the thumbnail images below to see a larger image with captions.