Vital Supplies (VS) … (an Update)!

Way back in the day, a pack of salted nuts, (as far as I recall), qualified as VS … sure there have been pretenders, Viagra, “Crix and Cheese”,  comes to mind in particular, due to some extensive marketing campaigns, but it always comes back to basics.  Simple really… in the panyard everyone basically stays around for hours, either learning new music, getting drilled, or just enjoying the ambience of watching musical talents strut their stuff.  The salient point however remains “stay around”. If there are no doubles vendors, Mickey Dees, or Starbucks (yeah right), nearby then it comes right down to your salted peanuts. It gets so when you put a grain on your tongue you can count the salt grains before they melt. This then was my dilemna,  after not having played pan for about fiftheen or so years, I find myself trying to pick up a tune in three weeks for the Labor Day Panorama competition in NY.

Steelband - Caribana c2k10

Prior to arrival at the panyard, I  spent a  memorable couple hours on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn. Great place, lots of antique shops, lots of cultural experiences waiting to happen, and I visited a Contemporary Art Exhibition featuring Herbert G. Bennett (Trini), and a couple artists. Nice, quaint, wine was indifferent,  but there was a digital piece on canvas that evoked the spirit of carnival in all it’s glory.

Around 6:30 pm I touched base with my cuz, Wally who helped me out bigtime on my last TnT trip – I picked up a camera bag and headed across to the panyard.  Once there I asked if there was room  for players etc, etc.  If I was a “crackshot” we’d talk payment but as a genuine, proven  “skater” I just settled for getting my personal tenor tuned, (Sally just turned seventeen and still hasn’t been broken in properly) . What followed however is a text case in “How not to test the water before you jump in”…

Sally - Tenor Pan

 Watching the number of “babies” in the panyard should have been my first warning.  Not “babes” as in “BABES”…  but literally “babies”… there was one young girl, proficient as hell, who couldn’t have been either thirteen or ten, give or take a couple years. It quickly went south from there…  the first thing my “tutor” asked was what type of tenor did i play… “the high C” or the “low C”… shabbaruffledshivermargaritatimbers…. that should have been enough of a warning right there… back in my time most tenors were just standard 4th and 5ths without the low “C” note…. plus no-one (well not the pawns),  needed to know the notes … you could pull the music a lot easier just by taking the visuals, and listening… well I  found visuals don’t  work quite as well if people have pans with different note patterns.  Thankfully your Robinson Crusoe was an overachiever and at some point had picked up on the notes, scales and such, so it was a shortened learning curve…. but nothing can hide the lack of raw musical talent or the robotic stiffness (yes, my tutor went there)…. which led me to hurriedly revamp the VS list for the modern panman.  Let’s call it the necessities, a workaround, or worse case, an upgrade of sorts! So here goes… 5 hr energy drink, gum, pack of Advil, and last but not least the ubiquitious iphone. I’ll break it down… the energy drink will handle the long drive back to the apartment… think about it, practice doesn’t finish before midnight. In fact the first hint of a break was delivered around 11:30 pm. Those energy drinks are about to make my life a lot simpler, Red Bull, NOX5 , and the cherry flavored stuff in the little bottles. The gum, for me is high priority,  and the Advil I know will come in handy. The iphone however is the lifesaver… i’ve already taped the music and will be listening to the tune all day… very nice, modern touch… yeah, till i can remember the music, and see the notes mentally… don’t get me wrong, the peanuts and the Polo Sport cologne remain viable options, but who knows, maybe with an improved VS list I may actually be on my way to making the wicked sweet runs I love to hear on Panorama night.

3 Responses to Vital Supplies (VS) … (an Update)!

  1. h nep says:

    now i see why every year i remain only planning to learn to play pan but never going! don’t even have a damn i phone! i liking and looking out for more!


    • Hi Neppy,
      the pan scene is amazing …. after “Pan by Storm” I was hooked… decided to jump into the fray this year and as always its a tough as hell mountain to climb…. but the personal benefits are unreal….. hope I stay the course :0)

  2. deDonmama says:

    Well I just happen to be on your FB and realized, you have other blogs. Loved VS. You have a great visual style of writing that reminds me of episodes of Everyone Hates Chris.

    Tell us about getting Sally tor fall in love with you. Did you get through Panorama??? Hey don’t leave us hanging………


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