INTERVIEW 10
ISLANDS
ENGAGEMENT

Barbara CUT new
00:00 / 06:12
 
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Barbara Sedassy Transcript

B.  Actually I was in Belize…

S. Belize?

B. ..which isn’t an island but it’s on , er, it’s on quente Caribenia in the heart of the Caribbean Basin. And it was Black mainly – Black and English and Creole and Spanish speaking but it wasn’t an island but I would live there.  I mean I lived in other places. I lived in Hawaii too. 

S. If you had to describe Hawaii or Belize in colours. If I made you pick specific colours what do you think you would pick? What would come into your head?

B. I suppose it’s that turquoise sea. 

S. Mmm , yeah.

B. The aqua-blue sea probably. I mean the flowers, like the flamboyance and various things but I lived predominantly in Belize city most of the time. I was out sometimes doing some work on the islands.

S. Would you say there’s a difference? I mean UK is an island as well… ( where Barbara lives now).

B. It’s a big island. I don’t think I would choose to live on a small island. Hawaii is much bigger than it looks on the globe, you understand?

S. It is very interesting that Island mentality though; whether there’s a difference between people who live on an island and people who live on the mainland. 

B. Well, in someways Belize is a bit like it (island mentality). You know on the radio they’d say Belize en quente Caribenia , in the heart of the Caribbean Basin and it was, you know, it was next to the Caribbean and you were very different then.  I don’t know how it is now because when I lived there there wasn’t American money in Belize, well there’s hardly anywhere where there isn’t American  doing their awful does, um, now, but certainly then I think there was a good simplicity I quite liked. It was a very small place in some ways. I think it was one of those many places in the world that says (it’s) “the size of Wales”.. 

S. ( laughs)

B. .. in population. But um, so, and a lot of it is jungle, a lot of it is not lived in.

S. I’ve not been to the Caribbean at all so it’s really interesting for me to find out what people’s, um, what it’s really like. I’ve got plenty of friends who have been but I haven’t.

B. When I lived in Belize I was living a bit more like … I wasn’t a tourist in any way, shape or form. We didn’t have electricity. Most of the time we didn’t have electricity. And it grows, it grows some .. then again it’s not like this now, but it grows one of the lowest, well not the worst, dope.  It people was said that people could smoke all day. But people would only buy enough for a joint. You didn’t have cigarette papers.  There was a particular kind of brown paper bag that they used!

S. If you could pick your favourite meal, what would your favourite meal have been, and who would have been there, and where would it be? 

B. Well I did have some friends who ran a restaurant and I did some signs for them eventually. They were, um, they were .. you see it was quite different in that you’d get some sort of tamale type things. I’ve just forgotten what they called them, but like tamales. You know where you grind up corn and you cook it in a banana leaf. You know that sort of thing. That was really … I mean any food was delicious.  I mean rice and beans is what you would have and there would be people having .. what other street food? Oh, they’d have shave ice. 

S. Where would you say you get your identity from? Your cultural and physical identity from? 

B. I think the thing is I was at Art school in Falmouth for a number of years and I think, you see, as Art students you’ve already put yourself outside of normality. You know, I um.. and travelling ..The person I originally travelled with she used to  live in California and has spent years as a belly dancer. She was from California but I met her when I was living in French Canada where my brother was with Miguels – that’s why I went there and various things happened and I don’t know if I take my identity from anything particularly.  

S. So was there a lot of live music around? Was there dancing? ( in Belize)

B. There was quite a bit of crappy music but what you did have was Juke boxes. I loved juke boxes. There was quite a bit of live music. There was a guy called Nelson Diamond who, and I used to work the door at his club, and he used to play, he used to play these songs for me, which was very nice.