The Wine of Astonishment

Nazma Muller meets her match in a Jamaican night-club


Trinidadians pride themselves on their ability to “wine” (that sexy dance with the rotating hips). So imagine how a proud Trini girl feels to find herself outclassed in Jamaica. Nazma Muller on the ultimate humiliation.

Ah change meh mind: Trini gyul cyan wine.

I had to face facts, and my second night in Jamaica was as good a time as any. Jamaican ghetto gyul rule de dancefloor. One night at the Mirage nightclub in Liguanea, New Kingston, and I was devastated. Dem gyul mek mi feel shame di way dem ah move dey waist. My  all-purpose Trini wine was impotent in the face of such prowess.

We got to Mirage around midnight. Two young ladies stood by the door almost wearing pom pom shorts, slashes strategically incised across the derrière to expose undergarments, had they been worn. Security was tight, scanners and probing male hands in use. African Star, a popular ”sound”, was wrapping up a rock steady and ska session, moving into hard-core dub (a rarely used term here) and then popular, commercial “reggae”.

From the safety of the upstairs bar, the uptown squad looked down, sipping very expensive drinks (a club soda cost J$40). With a “Lord, have mercy!” Beenie Man’s Big Up And Trust boomed from the speakers, and six young girls strutted into the open space below the stage. They were staking claim to the floor for the night. All were befooted in gold-and-white sneakers with three-inch soles. Two of them had apparently gotten hold of an old Union Jack flag, cut it in two, and made their get-ups from one half. The cloth had either run out on the thicker of the two or she’d had a fight with her seamstress: her “batty-rider” took a sharp nose dive from the hips, baring cellulite-filled buttocks atop similar thighs. She and her smaller clone took the lead, pigeon-toed. The rest of the crew milled around.“Thickness” put one hand to her head, braced her knees, squatted, and started to move. It wasn’t a wine really, but a kind of oscillation/rotation with some gravity thrown in. Rude, yes. She went down, came back up, bent forward, rolled her behind, then started over.
“That’s the new dance?” I asked, awestruck.

“Nah, mon, dat just arbitrary wining,” my host said, dismissively.

Oh.

A tall “blonde” in black jeans with a five-cent-sized nose-ring decided to get in the act. She put down the Red Stripe beer she’d been sucking, and started “bubbling” (arbitrarily wining), in a slow, ganja-inspired way. Then she went down. Spread-eagled, face down on the floor, she bubbled horizontally. Two feet away, a Soul Train wannabe in knee-high boots did her number with a poker face. Later, I got a stern warning to contact her agent if I wanted to publish any photos of her. I responded with a frightened nod. It came naturally.

On the seven o’clock news the following night the announcer closed with: “And in the Mirage nightclub last night, a young man was arrested for possession of ammunition.”

So we went to another nightclub, just to prove armed party animals are a rarity. At the Cactus Club out in Portmore, women wear plastic and/or leather and men heft ten-pound rings. I spotted two Chinese guys I’d seen at Mirage. They turned out to be Japanese selector Ryo Skywalker and deejay Rikki from Osaka — Rikki can’t speak English and Skywalker could only manage “We stay in Kencot, bad boy area.” (Grin, grin.) Bandanas tied around their heads, one jeans leg rolled up to the knee, they stood out like neon signs, despite out-of-time attempts to groove. Skywalker plays dub at a top Osaka club called Digital Base. He whipped out his call card box with a flourish. “When you come to Japan . . ” he grinned. Sure, I told him. If I survive Jamaica.