The Final CourseWednesday, June 16, 2021
Celebrating The Life Of Colin Hylton
For Colin from Poet Tanya Shirley
Silk, scarf, sandals, florals,
hat — check,
cock of the head,
a dip back and aGirl,
long time me nuh see you.
You know he's arrived.
He's at home anywhere:
fancy function, gold-rimmed crockery,
opera, pinkies in the air.
Switch it up selector!
Afro beats, psychedelic strobes,
body raves, vodka swooshing
in plastic cups — he's there.
Switch it up selector!
Sound system perched on the road
side, men sitting on crates, mountains
over shoulder, mannish water bubbling
in a pot close to the ground — he's there.
Bruk, bruk, bruk it down, wine, wine
wine we a wine, ben down, stay down.
Lighters in the air
who is now in the centre of the dance.
even as he stood out, he fit in anywhere.
Give him the beach, a five star hotel
or a villa in the background, a table
and friends ready for kalooki — he's there
ready to laugh, ready to win, to knock
despair out of the air.
He will tell you how he switched
from accounting, swapped spreadsheets
and cold cubicles for the fire of a kitchen
where his hands whisked miracles:
passionfruit cheesecake converting
the unbelievers, death by chocolate
cake; oh holy rum and ganache,
the gospel of irreverence in every fork
full of anything he laid his hands on.
Pumpkin bisque met Red Stripe,
East met West and when oxtail
was still humble, he showed herlasagna
and she's never been the same.
Who else in Jamaica had snakes
in their restaurant? So a date was
was food and thrill and the guilt
was a guise we journeyed through
until we stumbled out the ivy draped
gate holding our date a little tighter,
a little more aware of the rumblings
of joy in our bellies, in our hearts.
He made us more alive.
Colin catered a function with his whole
being: first checked the setting, the guest
list, the perceived palates, desired vibe.
Then went to market, the drawing board,
the place in his mind where genius resided.
I can see him now in the garden
picking hibiscus for garnish, gathering
fresh herbs, the sun playing dandy shandy
on his smooth skin.
Like a hummingbird, he flits from stem
to stalk, pulls up sweetness for us.
The table spread like a painting, colours
bursting, aromas stirring in the breeze.
Who makes their boudoir a feasting place?
who taught us the intimacy of friendship,
how in our togetherness, we ward off death.
This is no dress rehearsal.
Colin, will always exist
in the moments when we remember
how he lived like fire, like the earth,
like the sea, like every force of nature
that can never be destroyed.
For Colin from Nevada Powe
A Shout Out from the Inner Circle...
Living out loud and proud before it became fashionable, he encouraged us all to stand in our truth.
He Colinised friends and food from all over the world with his erudite wit, flair and panache; cooking a legendary social pot of food, people and experiences
Always stepping out as if emerging from the pages of Vogue Hommes with bold colors and flashy accessories.
He knew how to live!
A walking contradiction of a very private person, yet very public persona. A man of the people who spoke to anyone, but was also a playful snob. Fierce loyalist and bitter enemy. Could love you passionately while self-righteously holding a decade long grudge.
Educated and literate beyond imagination, he could wax lyrically on almost any topic. For the curious and adventurous Colin Hylton, life was an abundant experience to be shared.
The adventure and celebration begins and ends at his table.
In his name, let's seek the best within us, find the courage to stand as we are, and live life to the fullest.
Loved by some, missed by many, respected by all.
Standing up and standing tall.
Colin Saint Aubyn Hylton
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