Thursday, May 19, 2005


Yeee hah!

One of the mysteries that beset me when I arrived here was the local addiction to Country and Western music. I hate Country and Western music, and couldn’t see why this otherwise beautiful place should be despoiled by it. I may now have the answer, and will document it here in case anyone else is equally puzzled.

It seemed so strange that a style of music peculiar to the United States should have taken hold here, given that the island has never been under US control, has never had any significant American military or civilian installations, and is not a major tourist destination from the US.

I am told that it is because, when the work situation here became really poor in the 1950s, a lot of Saints went up to Ascension Island to find jobs there, which were mostly in or related to the air base. That brought them into contact with Americans for the first time (don’t forget there was no TV here until 1998), and what they saw was new and seemed exciting. Hence it became fashionable to adopt American ways.

As far as I can tell, most American servicemen (and women) like ether Country and Western or Rock & Roll music. It’s just my bad luck that the Saints on Ascension encountered the former group. Otherwise this island would have a really good musical history.

As it is, we are forced to listen to music which has absolutely no cultural relevance to St. Helena whatsoever. It makes as much sense as listening to Gangster Rap in Cheltenham or British Folk Music in New York City (which, incidentally, I’m sure, people do).

I may set up a charity to reform the island's musical taste - please send Rock music CDs to ......

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