Flaskaland
Thursday, September 19, 2013
  Adventures in Paradise
The true story of how Chris Blackwell's yacht was named and why God
has a sense of humor:

The public might be suitably impressed hearing stories about what
they imagine to be high-ticket yachts, often christened with and
honored by bearing the name a beloved female. The scenic backdrop:
tropical islands with azure and turquoise waters.

"The Lady Blanche" was one such vessel. The Blackwells as you might
suspect from their original settlement in Jamaica were a certain
distance from the throne. Actually, in the real world of British
royalty of the time, they were farther yet. As despite any family
heritage, devotion or services rendered to their crown or homeland
England, any success in accruing wealth, or provision of nearly any
contribution, the family accepted the fact that they would be somehow
excluded from "real society," meaning "real nobility." For the simple
fact they were Jewish. The family emigrated to Jamaica in the
"colonies" where Chris was raised. After a prolonged political
uproar in Jamaica, with much social unrest, Chris gave away his big
pink mansion to one of his reggae stars (I think Jimmy Cliff) and was
a bit of an unlanded aristocrat for a while, the family now
dislocated in residence almost in the way that the Cambodian "boat
people" of the times were, and it seemed wisest to eventually
relocate in Nassau the Bahamas. In this instance, Karl Marx would dub
such a relocation "the flight of capital."

Chris named the new yacht for his mother, and the name with the noble
connotation was sometimes a poignant reminder, conjuring up a certain
image of devotion to a mom who suffered by never having achieved the
recognition of official nobility. The price is paid when the
distance from the throne is far.

After the christening of the boat, Chris discovered there was,
however, already another ship well known about Nassau named "The Lady
Blanche." This one not a sleek moneyed yacht but a derelict tub
dipped in pea-green paint which was a floating brothel.

This was not the pea-green boat of your nursery-rhymes. This tub
reeked of cigarettes, rum, and cheap cologne. For a certain sum,
local men could be treated to their idea of a romantic cruise on thin
unsheeted plastic mattresses as the boat ploughed through the still
evening waters of the harbor. And should you draw too close to the
boat at the dock, there's a French woman peeing at the curb in public
while carrying on a conversation with a male companion who has his
hair combed too nicely. All I can say is, when love isn't involved,
there's only prostitution.
 




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