Meet The Natives

WHAT do you do when five South Pacific tribesmen turn up on your doorstep?
Well, you offer them a traditional Manchester welcome – glasses of Vimto all round.
Chief Yapa, Joel, Posen, Albi and JJ live a simple and happy life on the paradise island of Tanna.
But they flew half way across the world to take part in a new Channel 4 series called Meet The Natives.
Programme one at 9pm tonight sees them arrive in London before moving on next week to Manchester.
They stayed for a week at the Harpurhey home of mini cab driver Ray da Sliva, wife Julie and their two children.
As you’ll see for yourself, mixed race couple Julie and Ray (pictured below) were brilliant hosts and fine ambassadors for the city.
It was Julie who broke the ice with that offer of a special local beverage.
“We drink a lot of Vimto, so would you like a glass of Vimto…to try?”

The islanders are not backward in coming forward.
They ask Ray: “You are a black man like us. Did you marry a white woman because she is a good cook?”

A jet wash causes great excitement – it’s something else they have never seen before.
“Now I can see that a car is like a human being,” comments one of the men.
“They have to shower frequently and wash their bodies with custom medicine.
“Then every so often you have to clean out their insides.”
Ray and Julie soon warm to these wise men and both sets of natives gain a real understanding of each other.
But the visitors struggle to comprehend some of the entertainment on a night out in Manchester’s gay village.
“There was a man, but they made him act like a woman. We found this unusual,” reflects one of the tribesmen.
“Julie says they are called trannies.”
Chatting to Julie yesterday, she told me: “I don’t think they’d ever seen a transvestite before.
“It was another eye-opener for them.”
There’s a news story in today’s MEN – the online version is here – with a TV feature to follow next week.
Update: The online version is here.
At certain points, you wonder whether Meet The Natives might be one huge spoof.
And at other times you’re stopped in your tracks by the profound comments the men from Tanna make about our lives.
Their main mission is to meet Prince Philip, who they believe is the son of their god, and persuade him to return “home”.
Do not miss.

Tanna Island

The Natives Are Restless
Welcome To Manchester