By Duane Jones
For the first 19 years of my life I called you home. You had a huge influence on who I am today. Your mix of North American, British and Caribbean culture makes you like nowhere else in the world. I love that your year-round beauty is effortless to the point that your people take it for granted. I love how it’s perfectly normal to find locals swimming fully clothed at the side of the road despite the fact that you have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. How I lived in a neighbourhood where everyone knew everyone and looked out for each other like family. I also loved wearing a school uniform and how pissed my mom would be at the end of the day when I came home filthy from playing football at lunch. I love your good-natured people and how you manage to stay quaint yet cosmopolitan at the same time. I can find a Louis Vuitton boutique, and a mom and pops fast food spot with fish sandwiches and burgers all on the same block. When it comes to food. Your local fish, souse, cassava pie, steak ums and black rum are all must haves whenever I’m in town.
I hate that you LOVE cricket so much when I think it’s the most boring sport in the world. I also hate that I scratched my mom’s car a number of times while navigating your unfortunate one-lane neighbourhoods. I do however like some of the great car brands you import like Renault, Peugeot and Skoda. But when it comes to getting around, my vehicle of choice is the scooter. That’s of course if it’s not raining! There’s something very liberating about not having to wait for anything but traffic lights when I ride. I can legally zip to the front of traffic and get from one end of you to the other in just under an hour. There’s nothing like the wind hitting your face on a weekend ride along South Shore Road. For an island that’s only 21 square miles I’m amazed at the high level of talent you produce from artists, to athletes, to people in the financial sector. The cultural diversity on the island is a beautiful thing to see but I wish that you had more unity on that front. There is still division among the racial groups that needs to change if you hope to move forward in the modern world.
Your small size and conservative nature is enduring to your many visitors but as a person who tends to think differently than the average person I sometimes felt stifled. I left you to seek higher education abroad with intentions of returning but my life took another path. I now reside in Halifax, Canada with my wife and daughter who I love very much and I hope that I am able to instill the values in my daughter that I learned from you. Halifax has treated me well and I am happy to be here (Yes. Even in the winter). But I will never forget those lazy childhood summers at Loyal Hill with my friends, family and the neighbourhood dogs. For this I love you the most.
Duane is a Bermuda born artist, designer, athlete and hip hop fanatic living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He majored in art and design at Bermuda College and later communication design at The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. Professionally, he started out in the publishing sector working for companies like Nxet Magazine and Duly Noted Publishing. In 2006 he started Glitterati Communications, an independent studio specializing in print design and branding. In 2009 Duane put his passion for hip hop, art and design to good use by starting Be Glitterati Music, a blog that focuses on those aforementioned things. He currently has a full-time position in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University as the senior graphic designer for Med IT.