“And the song,” I asked. “Is it of your own composition?”

“Yes, man. In my island I’m noted for my celebrated performance. It’s your pleasure to meet this evening no less a one than Mr Lord Alexander in person.”

And he held out a ring-encrusted hand with an immensely long, polished little-finger nail.

“Perhaps, though,” he went on, “as I’m seeking to make my way in this country, you could help me into radio or television or into some well-loaded nightspot.”

“Alas!” I told him, “I have no contacts in those glowing worlds.”

“Then at least speak well of me ,” he said, “and make my reputation known among your friends.”

“Willingly. Though I have to tell you that I don’t care for calypso…”

“Man, that’s not possible!” He stood up in his flowered pants aghast. “Surely all educated Englishmen like our scintillating music?”

“Many, yes, but not I.”

“Now, why?”

“Your lines don’t scan, you accentuate the words incorrectly, and the thoughts you express are meagre and without wit.”

“But our leg-inspiring rhythm?”

“Oh, that you have, of course…”

Colin MacInnes, “City of Spades”.

About clivedav184z

Chief theatre critic for The Times. Twitter: CliveDavisUK Facebook: Instagram: clivephotos
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