Monday, February 28, 2011

Murray Street and Prostitutes – Your Questions Answered

Ever since I started writing for Outlish, I have been getting tons of fan e-mails from readers across the world.  Most of my fan mail comes from Nigeria, where not only have I developed an especially big following, where I also keep winning the lottery without even entering. Now that’s star power! The bulk of my other fan mail is mostly from people in Trinidad wishing to know “exactly where I work on Murray Street” and “what time can they come see me”
It seems that some people have misinterpreted my Outlish ‘bio’, which says that I “work on Murray Street” to mean that I am somehow involved in prostitution. At first I was very angry, and I started writing a very angry e-mail to all those people saying, “Hey I don’t know anything about prostitution. I am not some prostitute working on Murray Street. I am a writer working at an advertising agency on Murray Street. I write ads for a living”. Then I stopped and realized that perhaps I shouldn’t blame people for making that assumption.
I figured… if I can help my new Nigerian readers pay to have their millions of dollars safely transported out of the country so they can buy food for starving children, then perhaps I can also help answer some questions my Trinidadian readers have about Murray Street.
So here goes.

E-mail #1: The 18-year-old
Hey Darryn,   
I turning 18 this week man (on the 18th). Me and some partners looking to make a turn by a place that have girls nah. You know what I mean! Some Veneze! LOL. But I was thinking if you know a good place except for just Murray St? Recommend a good place Nah. We can’t go on Murray St.

Dear Steven
Happy Birthday! Your 18th birthday is indeed a time to celebrate. It signals the point when a boy becomes a man, with his own independence and freedom to chart his own destiny. What better way to celebrate it, than in the company of those forced into a hopeless life of sexual slavery and servitude.
First of all you should be aware that there are no brothels in T&T – even though there are lots of brothels in T&T. Confused? You see brothels are in that strange Trinidadian zone of things that exist, yet don’t exist. Also in this zone are homosexuals, AIDS patients, atheists, and people who think Soca is sh*t music.
Secondly, I am not sure what criteria to use to judge a “good brothel”. Are you looking for a place that has adequate seating at the bar, or maybe a big restroom and bedrooms, with no windows and as little light as possible? Or is it more from a feng shui perspective, where you are looking for a place that doesn’t generate vibrations of guilt and shame and remorse?

E-mail #2: Why do prostitutes look sad?
Dear Darryn,
Why do the prostitutes on Murray St. always look so vex or depressed all the time? On TV you see prostitutes on the street in places like New York and they are always laughing and smiling. I wish the girls on Murray St were like that.

Dear Rodel
Well try putting yourself in their shoes and think about what may be depressing them. Try this.
I am a sad looking prostitute because:
a) The coffee machine in the kitchen is not working again and I need my coffee!
b) Somebody “borrowed “my stapler and didn’t return it!
c) I.T. hasn’t fixed the printer as yet and I have lots of work to finish.
d) I am sexual slave forced into a life of abuse and danger and made to stand on Murray St. and have sex with the likes of you for the profit of others!
Which one do you think it is Rodel?
For further reference: Things that are not like how they look on TV:
  • Jumping through glass windows. 
  • Picking a lock with a credit card.
  • Firing a machine gun with one hand.
  • Picking up a prostitute on the street who turns out to be Julia Roberts.

E-mail #3: Legalising prostitution
Hey Boods,
I am putting together a proposal on behalf of the Coalition for Progress outlining the case for prostitution in Woodbrook, and elsewhere to be legalized. I would really like it if you could help out with this?  Can you do an outline as to why you think prostitution should be legal? Thanxx so much.

Dear Brianna,
No Probs. Here are the main reasons I feel prostitution should BE legal:
  • Prostitutes would be able to increase their prices and earn more money (No pimps owning them).
  • Prostitutes will have more control in deciding who to have sex with.
  • Prostitutes would be able to safely report crimes against them. 

E-mail #4: Protesting prostitution
Dear Resident,
A nefarious group of individuals with an ungodly agenda are attempting to promote open sex in the streets of Woodbrook. If you are opposed to this blatant attempt to undermine the fabric of our community please make your voice be heard and come out at (name and location removed) and help stop them. God Bless you.
Mark Whitey
Jesus – “I am the way”

Dear Mr Whitey,
I am in full support of your campaign. I do NOT think prostitution in Woodbrook should be legalized because:
  • Prostitutes would be able to increase their prices and earn more money (No pimps owning them).
  • Prostitutes will have more control in deciding who to have sex with.
  • Prostitutes would be able to safely report crimes against them. 

Darryn Boodan
Jesus –“I love you long time Mary Magdalene”

E-mail #5: Painting the prostitutes
Dear Darryn,
I am ‘Richard’ – Master artist. I am working on a series of paintings exploring the narratives of the prostitutes on Murray St. My aim is to capture the story of these women from a post feminist, post modernist, post colonial, post independence viewpoint and within a pre-cambium, futuristic, neo classical subtext.
Would you be willing to collaborate on this project? Perhaps you are familiar with my ‘Chinese Worker’ exhibition at Alice Yard?
Richard – Master Artist
I am the light. I believe in the light. I am one with the light.

Dear Richard – Master artist
It is truly an honour to receive your email! I am indeed familiar with your “Chinese Worker” exhibition held at Alice Yard last year. I have to say I was deeply moved and impressed by the way you expressed the anxieties, hopes, dreams , and struggles  of the Chinese immigrants in Trinidad by your canvas depicting “a Chinese worker” – just standing there. It was just amazing. Not to mention the tee shirts for sale with the ‘Chinese worker’ image. Brilliant!
I am sure that you will treat the women on Murray St. who must surely have complex and tragic personal stories with just as much creative flair.
I believe our society overlooks people like these women. They are caught up in a web of personal tragedy, and organized crime. ‘Exploitation’ seems to be the only word that defines their existence.
It’s nice to know there are people like you who are willing to help them tell their story. I would love to be part of your project. I can see the poster now-“Prostitutes @ Alice Yard.”- It could be like, images of prostitutes and we could sell tee shirts with pics of the prostitutes on it! Cool!
I am not pretentious. I am not pretentious. I am not pretentious.

E-mail #6: Sex slaves and Emancipation
Dear Darryn,
Ok I just got off the phone with (name removed). What the f*ck is wrong with you?!! How could you send an Emancipation Day Greetings press ad to the client, with pictures of prostitutes on Murray St in it and write sh*t about how there is still slavery in Trinidad and how there are more people living as sex slaves than there were African slave labour!!!!!!
Do you know what will happen if we loose this client?!!! It will be your ass your ketch I am telling you now-I am fed up cleaning up your sh*t!!
I have attached the changes the client wants. You WILL make these changes and do this ad EXACTLY as the client wants it and have it done by 9 a.m. tomorrow morning!
If not Darryn, so help me you will be working on the road with the hoes and them!! You hear me!!
Creative Director
(Name of Company removed)

Dear Q
Changes made. Please see attached.

Well that should clear up any questions that I can answer about Murray Street. Keep those e-mails coming.

originally published in Outlish Magazine 2011 

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