Sun | Jan 16, 2022

Gordon Robinson | The essence of understanding

Published:Tuesday | May 7, 2019 | 12:00 AM

In Apocrypha, our fantasy land beyond the clouds, the water-cooler topic of the day was renewed street protests and an attempted coup in regional friend Vargoilzuela.

There, a half-Chinese-looking opposition politician named Wan Guava had declared himself president and had waged a persistent campaign to overthrow elected President Nicka Mango. The Mango versus Guava bout was the talk of Apocrypha.

Guava called mango a t’ief and a dictator. Mango called guava an upstart and a traitor. It was grist for the plot of a perfect romcom.

“Underneath di mango tree

Mi honey and me can watch for di moon.

Underneath di mango tree

Mi honey and me make boolooloop soon.”

Apocryphans wanted to know which fruit to choose. Prime Minister Andrue Polemess (formerly known as ‘Pollmess’ but name changed by election deed poll) told Parliament that the Apocryphan government hadn’t chosen Guava. “All government has said,” Andrue insisted, “is that Mango’s election was invalid.” He came somewhat undone when the opposition’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Li Onna, asked him how he could explain the contradiction with the government’s vote to accept Guava’s ambassador. Andrue asked Li to deliver the question in writing. It seemed he wanted to see more of her.

“Underneath di moonlit sky

Mi honey and I can sit hand in hand

Underneath di moonlit sky

Mi honey and I can make fairyland.”

So Li consulted Oma and asked him how she could better make Andrue understand. Regular readers remember Oma, retired politician and PhD in logic who, like a moon, was bright only in the dark, but solved political problems with parables. Oma told Li the story of the drunken crooner and his piano player.

“Dino was a crooner who liked to tipple a bit too much for his own good but was always able to perform. One day, while rehearsing for a concert, he seemed a little more wobbly than usual. So Ken, his pianist (pronounce that slowly and carefully, please), asked him, ‘You ok, Dino? You played golf today?’ Dino slurred ‘yeah, I had a little action. I was looking for a ball in the woods, and a snake bit me.’

‘Asp?’ asked Ken sympathetically.

‘No,’ answered Dino, ‘in the foot.’

‘Were you all right?’

‘Oh, I was alright, but it took the snake all day to lose the hangover!’”

Li wasn’t seeing the connection, so Oma explained that when someone is trying to pretend they don’t understand the question, they use words that have only one meaning. So Li write to Andrue, asking him to make a choice once and for all. She wrote, “Is it Mango or Guava you want? Or will any fruit do?”

Mango, banana and tangerine,

sugar and ackee and cocoa bean;

When we get marry we make dem grow

and nine little child in a row.”

The first James Bond film, Dr No was filmed in Jamaica in 1961-62 and featured many Jamaican bit players, including Margaret Lewars, Reggie Carter, Chris Blackwell, Keith Binns (yes, ‘Binnsy’ of horse-racing and insurance fame), Eric Coverley, Louis Marriott, Count Prince Miller, Byron Lee, and one of the Old Ball and Chain’s favourite men, Carey Robinson. But the star we all remember is legendary beauty Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder’, who emerged from the Ocho Rios sea on to the beach singing Underneath the Mango Tree (Bond soon joined in), adapted from and to the tune of Under the Coconut Tree as performed by Miss Lou and Eric Coverley (modern arrangement by the great Peter Ashbourne).

Almost 60 years later, Bond, in the form of Daniel Craig, is back in Jamaica. This time, over 500 Jamaicans are expected to be engaged on the film, including production and technical personnel, extras and walk-ons. But the question haunting every Jamaican is who will be 2019’s Honey Ryder? If producers travel to Apocrypha and ask Andrue Polemess, I bet dollars to donuts his pick will be Li Onna!

Peace and love!

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to