Taylor made for entertainment
From Regent Street to the ICC CWC 2007
By Dwayne Fowler
Stabroek News
May 10, 2007

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COMMAND PERFORMANCE? Mello, AKA Joseph Taylor, inset, takes centre stage during one of the 2007

The horns sound loudly, toot toot, and the raucous crowd roars in appreciation. Miles away the voice is loud and clear, "Is I is Taylor, I's got the people lively, (pauses to sell a customer a cell phone accessory) yeah is me Taylor." This is the world of Joseph Taylor, Regent Street small businessman by day, entertainer, well whenever the opportunity presents itself especially at cricketing venues across the region. Here, Joseph is just for formality as his legions of fans know him only as Taylor. While the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) here has been trumpeting the success of the Guyana leg of the tournament, it is people like Taylor the entertainer who played a significant role in ensuring that the fans were given their money's worth at the Providence Cricket Stadium. But to understand the man behind the numerous costumes, outfits and masks one must understand his beginnings in this world of entertainment. For Taylor, it all began over ten years ago on that busy commercial strip called Regent Street during the peak Christmas season. To Taylor the festive spirit was not evident enough. "I seh this ain't really look like Christmas so I decide to put on a Santa suit, pour some beer in a new potty and go about the place livening up people."

The Santa suit was understandable but exactly what a potty full of beer had to do with Christmas cheer was not immediately evident, but that is Taylor.

He plays by his own rules where entertainment is concerned. Shoppers, fellow vendors and even storeowners who began supplying Taylor with costumes all bought into this new act. Taylor says from Regent Street he took his act to the local matches of the regional cricket competition as he is an ardent cricket fan and felt that local cricket or at least the atmosphere it is played in needed spicing up. Leaving it to Taylor, everything in life would have more spice it seems. Taylor says his first noisemakers were a whistle and a "piece of tinin" which he used to create a ruckus at one cricket match and when the fans responded by hammering out a catchy rhythm with plastic soda bottles, a new culture was born. He now has a new noise maker which he claims to have 'invented', the device fashioned out of an air horn and a bicycle pump although he is keen to preserve the details on exactly how the 'cricket horn' as he calls it was made.

The first commercial entity to take note of the advertising potential of this act was the local distributor for Carib Beer Ansa McAl, which approached Taylor with the idea of painting his body in the colours of Carib and entertaining on their behalf at cricket matches.

This, Taylor says was a dream come true. "I always want entertain and to be paid for doing it, what else could I ask for?" The actual painting he says takes only 10-15 minutes and is done by a friend who for his efforts gets a complimentary ticket or two to whichever match is being staged.

SAYING HELLO TO MELLO! Schoolchildren say hello to Mello during a visit to the National Stadium at Providence to view one of the Super Eight matches.

He has since been advertising for Pepsi and lately Digicel at different cricketing fixtures and says it rewards him handsomely.

But he says his crowning achievement was being selected to be Mello, the official ICC CWC 2007 mascot at the Providence Stadium. That experience he holds above all others as he was literally front and centre when Guyana was on show to the world. For this he thanks the Guyana Cricket Board who recommended him to the LOC who in turn recommended him to CWC 2007 for the job. He still carries around photographs from the matches at the Providence Stadium and gladly shares them with the accompanying story to whoever would listen. With the cricket hype subsided, at least for now, Taylor is back where he is in his element, on Regent Street amongst friends and fellow vendors doing all he can to retain his billing as the centre of attention. He chats, laughs, tells funny stories, and tantalizes his friends all the while earning a living as a self employed small businessman.

This father of two, one boy one girl, adds at the end of talking to Stabroek Sport "In my case, it pays to play the fool" and who can doubt him. Play on Taylor, Play on.