East from the public dock Munning Street meanders uphill for about a quarter mile where it connects with Barrack Street at the base of the hill which is at the center of this three by a half mile island. Here sits a Briland landmark - the Vic-Hum Club. Albeit nondescript, it has been the entertainment and social rendezvous for this tiny island of 2,000 people for 50 years, and has hosted an impressive array of international celebrities.
It opened in 1955 by two of the island’s prominent sons, late brothers Victor and Humphrey Percentie Sr. Currently managed by Humphrey Percentie, Jr, the Vic-Hum also claims to be a museum.
As you enter, it’s like walking into history, history of music and sports. Literally every square foot of wall in the outer bar and lounge is decorated with colour printouts of entertainment and sports figures, including three albums by the popular group of the sixties - Percentie Brothers -Victor, Herman, Anthony, Humphrey and vocalist George Nixon. To further cement its fetish for memorabilia, on the top shelf of the bar sits the largest coconut ever grown in The Bahamas and perhaps the world - 33 inches in diameter - a symbol of the club and a talking point for tourists for 31 years.
The back section, unroofed, doubles as a mini basketball court by day and a dance floor by night. Here, with a historic ambiance of wall pictures and paintings, also is a ping pong table.
Entertainment Harbour Island Style
All Bahamian entertainers over the years have done shows at the Vic Hum. Among them Tony Seymour, Wendal Stuart, Count Bernadido, The Beginning of The End, The Mighty Makers, Smokey 007, King Eric and His Knights, Al Collie and the VIPS, Ezra and the Polka Dots. In 1967, Charles Carter launched the Family Island segment of The Young Bahamian Show at the Vic-Hum.
In 1952 the group did its first recording, being among the first in The Bahamas to produce an album which included mostly folk and calypsos, some of which were original songs written and composed by Humphrey.
The band consisted of bongo box guitar played by Humphrey, and meraccas. There was no electric amplification then.
The two lead vocalists were George Nixon, a nephew of the Percenties and Tony, the only surviving Percentie, who is now active in the Church of God.
Tourists still come to the Vic Hum for entertainment, but a resident live band is no longer the main feature. Daddy B, the dee jay, however, has a powerful mix of Bahamian and international sounds that keep the club throbbing nightly until 2 a.m. Occasionally, in the club the Soulful Groovers from Nassau is featured.
Brilanders refer to him as “Hitler,” which is a misnomer. Although outspoken and vociferous, this strapping man of six foot two bears no similarity to the diminutive despot.
Percentie is affable and accommodating. The 51-year-old bachelor says he is ready to enter frontline politics and hopes to run for the North Eleuthera constituency which includes Harbour Island and Spanish Wells. He no doubt will assure that the Percentie signature remains on the Vic-Hum, Briland’s landmark, for another half century.