Diary: Saturday 27th May, 1995: Mooretown in Portland. In the entrails of Jamaica. Mooretown is the home of the Portland Maroons. The town is set next to a little stream cutting deep into the generous and well-endowed green hills around it. Poverty strikes the first note. The Anglican Church is a ruined gothic revival thing, made of condrete. It is painted black and white, perhaps to indicae the relative simpicity of the after-life. But that church is gone and dead. The graves have been covered with vegetation. Someone is waiting in the bus-station. Before you enter mooretown there is a vividly coloured building which is the church of the most popular healer in Jamaica. He is thought to have great powers. But the building was silent as we passed. Had I come at a different time (Kevin Lynch what time is this place?) the building would have been bellowing with enthusiasm. It was Sunday. As we emerged from our car in the centre of the village, we heard the wailing warnings of a preacher whose tiny little yellow church on the hill was filled to bursting. At the centre of the village is a concrete monument to Nanny of the Maroons, one of the national heroes. A delapidated concrete staircase leading to a plateau with a placque. On top of the monument a group of young boys and girls, very conscious of their clothes watched a cricket match. We walked up the hill past the small yellow church from which a melodic harangue emerged to a group of middle-aged men on the other side of the Cricket field. A boy was bowled out with great decision. A handsome man sized us up. He wanted support for his venture. He showed us his idyllic garden full of luscious fruits and plants. In the middle of this rich garden stood a small shack.


The reason I was here was to talk to Colonel Harris of the maroons who wanted to generate some economic activity in the village and thought he should do this by building a museum. A museum to celebrate the life and ways of the Maroons. Colonel Harris lives in the centre of the village on the main dusty road in a concrete house, or rather a concrete accretions of spaces. On the way here we had given a lift to a one-legged man. It now turned out that this man was “the major”  who led us into Colonel Harris’ front room. The furniture in Colonel Harris’ front room was arranged much as it would have been in a storage room. Half of one dirty flowery couch was set agains the wall and inaccessible because of the way the piano was placed in front of it. The television was stacked behind Colonel Harris’ chair and the walls were arbitrarily or contingently splodged with religious slogans and old faded family photographs. Colonel Harris voice was beautiful and what he wanted to talk about were all the small events and habits that made life in the maroon village so wonderfully unspectacular. He spent half an hour describing a boyhood game. The museum would become a glorious monument to the everyday. But we were accompanied by a man-eating German baroness, an architect. She onwed a hotel in Portland, The Jamaica Palace Hotel. She had ddesigned it herself. According to local legend she had spent time in prison for building a hybrid castle of nostalgic european references from money which belonged to the Esast German State. She would have been funny if she was not frightening. She stood for arbitrary energy. The power to enrich oneself at all cost. She had offered to design the museum and wanted to take a Greek tholoi as her model. Sha wanted something African she said. She was going to manufacture Maroon history in order to create a sense of authenticity (these are her words) which she believed essential to the tourist experience.