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Stabroek News

Icon for sale
published: Thursday | November 16, 2006

Tanya Batson-Savage, Freelance Writer


Left: Tosh   Right: Andrea Brown (left) and Paul Bucknor pose with Peter Tosh's Fender Stratocaster M16 guitar. The guitar will be auctioned by the Flashpoint Film Festival on ebay from 10 p.m. Sunday, November 26, to 10 p.m. Sunday, December 3. - contributed

A piece of reggae history will step on to the cyberspace auction block when Peter Tosh's 1970's Fender Stratocaster M16 guitar is auctioned by the Flashpoint Film Festival.

The guitar, specially commissioned by Tosh in 1983, will be auctioned via ebay from 10 p.m. Sunday, November 26 to 10 p.m. Sunday, December 3, 2006.

The Stepping Razor is one of music's most revolutionary figures and the shaping of the guitar into a gun was by no means a cheap attempt at either celebrating violence or seeking hype. Instead, the M16-shaped guitar clicks easily into Tosh's military stance, using music to battle injustice the world over.

Tosh had particular interest in South Africa's apartheid regime, and also sang against socio-economic injustice and advocated black consciousness, as well as promoted the legalisation of marijuana. His biting word play resulting in words like 'poli-tricksters' and 'sh#t-stem' made his music and his performances legendary.

The guitar was first unveiled during Tosh's 1983 European tour. According to the website musicthing.co.uk, the gun may actually have been crafted from an M16 of the kind used in the Angolan war.

Tosh's militant stance had him cast in the light of a man consumed by bitterness, an image his memory still struggles to defy and allow true recognition of his musical contribution.

Mutabaruka, noting that he had been previously unaware of the plans to auction the guitar, said that he does not believe Jamaicans will have much interest in the guitar as we consistently undervalue our history.

"Obviously, I think somebody from foreign going to get it," he said.

Mutabaruka explained that those in Jamaica who could afford to buy the guitar would either not see the true value of the piece or not want to associate with it.

Gun symbol

He explained that the symbol of the gun would more likely be taken for advocating violence rather than promoting revolution.

The guitar was gained by one of the festival's founders, Paul Bucknor, from the late legend's common law wife, Andrea (Marlene) Brown.

Ms. Brown told Bucknor that she, in fact, owned the M16 guitar, which had been locked away in a closet in the United States for the last 19 years.

Proceeds from the sale are in aid of The Penfield Orphans Home and The Cedar Valley Home.

The second annual Flashpoint Film Festival takes place at the Caves, Negril, from December 1-3, 2006.

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