Mark Lee

About Mark Lee

Editor, author and writer with career spanning print, radio, television and new media.

Once upon a time a village harvester named Remy went out picking grapes. But they were sour, so he squished and dumped them in a bucket with water and honey thinking it would be nice like the lemonade that he had invented the week before.

image
Bongo thinks the world's not level. What's he been drinking? (Courtesy www.email-marketing-reports.com)

However, Remy fell asleep and forgot about the sour grapes in the bucket with the honey. A few weeks later, his friends Denno and Geddys invited him to shoot wild boar and they used the catch to have a big jerk feast for the whole village.

They were wondering what they’d drink with all the pork and roast yam when Remy remembered the sour grape mush he had planned to use to make vinade. (In those days, grapes were known as vin.) When Remy looked into the Spanya jar he was surprised with what he saw. The vinade had taken on a new colour and was frothy. He wondered whether it was still drinkable with all the froth that made it look like when he peed, so he dipped his index finger in the broth and licked it with his tongue.

Mama mia he thought. This is delicious. Thus he became the first Jamaican to vote. Remy called Denno and Geddys to taste the vinade and they too thought it fantastic.

“We can’t let the villagers taste this or it will be done in no time,” said Denno and Geddys. Remy agreed. So they decided that they’d go down to the stream and get the village water to go with the jerk. So while everybody else were sipping spring water, Remy, Denno and Geddys were imbibing vinade in Remy’s hut.

Remy started making vinade and having parties to which he invited close friends and Buster, the village chief. They all had a ball and pissed all over Remy’s yard when they had drunk.

Denno and Geddys were a bit jealous of Remy’s newfound fame and influence so they started making vinade and inviting friends over. Then one day (or was it night) Denno and Geddys had a bright idea, why not open a shop on their lawn and sell the damn thing; everybody would love it.

They opened a little place and soon all the men in the village were in love with vinade and stopped working for the day at noon, to drink and piss all over Denno and Geddys’ lawn. Buster noticed that the village was running short of food and people were getting into fights that stemmed from arguments at Denno and Geddys’ lawn. So he tried to figure out how to fix things.

First he decreed that people should only go to Denno and Geddys’ after 6 o’clock in the evening. That had a little impact and harvesting went up by a peep. But things got out of hand again as the fellows would drink until dawn and not turn up for harvesting.

Buster decreed that Denno and Geddys should begin using some of their intake to fund the village’s food purchases from the neighbouring town.

Remy had continued making his vinade which he shared at home with Buster and others and nobody thought his parties were messing up the village. Buster himself had some grand fetes where he served vinade, which he paid Remy to make. (This is how Remy’s liquor came to be known as vintage because it was commissioned by the Honourable Buster).

Very soon, because the village became known for Remy’s and Denno and Geddys’ brew, the neighbouring citizenship would roll into the village on Friday nights for a weekend splurge of jerk pork and vintage.

When the ordinary people saw the fame of their village and wealth of Denno and Geddys, everybody began making “the original” vintage which they served at backyard parties to which they charged a small entry fee. There a fellow who everyone called Bongo, maybe because he used to drum a lot, and he had a vaps similar to what Denno and Geddys had got when they opened their lawn bar. Why not collect all the various vintage from all the small producers and have a big club?

He opened the club and collected the village vintage and promised all the little people fifty per cent more money than the value of their vintage every weekend. People would carouse at any time of day or night at the club and slack off from harvesting. Even the village priest who often told the children of the value of hard work and how, “by the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread”, got into the vintage act saying the gods approved it because the people were happy and it was bringing in a new stream of revenue.

At first Buster said nothing, maybe because the village had got famous many of the people used to drop off a bottle of their vintage by him so they could tell friends that he had a bottle of their stuff.

But Denno and Geddys and a few other lawn owners – for some people opened lawns and were forced to contribute to the food import bill – began complaining that they were paying for a good chunk of the village’s bills, were restricted in opening hours and others were doing the same business and not doing anything for the community. In fact, some of the villagers, had come borrowing from Denno and Geddys and the other lawn owners to pour into the club.

Buster took a while before he reacted. Finally, he told Bongo to come and talk to him and bring in his income statements. Bongo sensed where this was leading and issued a statement to the village scribe that Denno and Geddy and the lawn owners wanted “to mash up their business because poor people making money now”.

Buster got some village guards to go over to the club and collect the documents and warn that Bongo and company would have to begin to contribute to the kitty like everyone else in the vintage business.

But Buster was fearful of what the villagers in the club might say so he decided to set up a commission to make recommendations and called on his old friend Remy to chair it. The village scribalists had just hired a new trainee who they sent to the news conference that Remy called to outline his work plan.

“What is this all about?” the trainee scribe asked?

“Sour grapes,” replied Remy.

The first session of the commission opens next week.