The talking yam
How to speak black country (yam yam tutorial)
Winters will pass, giving way to springs, summers, and autumns, which will strip the leaves from the trees and shorten our days once more, just as the Trump Administration has deprived us of hope. Wall Street executives will purchase new Mercedes, BMWs, and Bentleys to celebrate the year’s gains or losses – it doesn’t matter; they’ll always get their bonuses – and, every now and then, 55 percent of those of us old enough to vote will line up to elect a party of lobbyist-worshippers to protect their interests in Washington while ignoring what matters to the rest of us.
Unless he amends the Constitution to allow him to stay in power, we will eventually get rid of Donald J. Trump: The Talking Yam, Cheetoh Face, Mr. Midget Digit, The Philanderer in Chief, either by vote, impeachment, indictment, or when his term or two (please, good Lord, no) expires.
I’m beginning to believe anything is possible, including having to put up with our Tweeting Twit wearing costly worsted pinstripes and turmeric-colored pancake makeup for more than eight years. Steve Bannon describes him as invincible, and he may be right. Drumpf, for example, has a longer shelf life than Strontium-90 (a radioactive isotope produced by nuclear fission with a half-life of 28.8 years.) Drumpf’s impact will endure for decades, having infiltrated our nation’s soul and psyche in the same way that nuclear waste hidden deep inside Utah’s abandoned salt mines threatens our environmental future.
I’ve been thinking about the books I read as a kid, especially the myths, folklore, and fairytale collections. For me, one of them stands out: Milton Rugoff edited and Joseph Low illustrated The Penguin Book of World Folk Tales. It was given to me by my dad, and I still have it. It was recently discovered in a dark corner of my office bookcases.
It’s a large book with small print and fascinating wood-cut illustrations, a bright pink cover, and a drawing of a man cutting off the seven heads of a rampaging dragon with a sword. It’s really cool. One of my favorite color combos is hot pink and light orange, which I still use today.
I recall being a little overwhelmed by a book with so many words and just black and white illustrations.
But I thought I could pick the stories that looked interesting, were short and easy, and were funny.
‘Talk,’ an Ashanti story about a man digging in his garden one day to take some yams to market, was my absolute favorite. “You never weeded me, but now you come around with your digging stick,” the yam chastises him as he digs. “Get out of here and leave me alone!”
Doc akh the ham & the talking yam
The Yammering Yam is an oral story told by members of the Ashanti Tribe of Southern Ghana, West Africa, in circles. There are several different versions of the story, which were mainly circulated in West Africa and passed down through the generations through storytelling. The Atlantic slave trade, on the other hand, extended the tale to the Caribbean and beyond.
The story has been translated into English, but many of the story’s original, uniquely African elements have been lost. In modern editions, the yam has been replaced with a papaya or sweet potato to appeal to a more modern audience. The story continues to involve a growing number of characters who join Kofi or the farmer, who previously acted alone, in running to the King.
The Papaya that Spoke, Chris Smith’s The Sweet-Talking Potato, and Angela Shelf Medearis’ Too Much Chat are just a few of the stories that have been adapted from The Yammering Yam.
The talking yam
When you exit Peckham’s Rye Lane station, walk a few minutes up the road and you’ll see the entrance to the K&S Arcade, which is right next to Khan’s Bargains. Halfway down, you’ll see a small glowing sign that says YAM Records when you look into what appears to be a rabbit warren of shops and stalls. This is one of a slew of new independent record stores springing up in Peckham, and it’s proving to be a cornerstone of the vibrant scene that’s sprung up in the city in recent years.
On a Saturday morning before they open up, I go down to meet with the boys. The Shop is divided into two parts, one with record crates and the other with two listening stations. The guys are slowly sprucing up the place while nursing hangovers from the night before, just like me. We progressively warm up as we converse, the fuzz lifting and the dialog flowing. People from other units come by to say hello, and the first diggers of the day quietly enter the shop and begin rummaging through the crates.