Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy New Day…etcetera.

If there is one day guaranteed to make me feel a bit squiffy, it’s New Year’s eve.

I don’t know why. Partying doesn’t seem to help; the sight of revellers snogging in all their party finery only makes me even squiffier, sadder maybe. It’s like looking at piles of dust and old bones. And church, well, joyous old bones, yes, but bones and dust nonetheless.

I suppose that’s morbidity for you. I have always held a fascination for the morbid.

But, that’s not really it, I don’t think. It goes beyond my daily morbid fascinations. It surpasses all those introspections, the navel-gazing in which one is supposed to indulge today. I just feel really odd. It is as if I do not deserve my life somehow – and yet, I am not ever satisfied with my life. Not really. They is always something I could be doing better. Ha, more like I could be doing the WHOLE thing better if there was only enough time and you know, if I was a better person. Which I am not. So, of course, I am stuck in squiff like an ant in thick custard.

No, it’s not that either.

You know, I am not sure what it is, because if you think about it, technically, it’s just another day. In the course of my existence as a mostly nocturnal writer, I have crossed the midnight threshold more times than I care to count; oftentimes, two letters in the same word are written on two different days. I hardly notice. But New Year’s eve just imbues things with a lot more meaning than it should and this is annoying. I hate that it takes one day to make people sit up and take notice. I hate that on the day, a year’s worth of experiences for me, seems distilled into a drop, an essence. This is a careless way of viewing the world surely – the human mind and humanity is so fickle – how can you trust what you feel on one particular day and why should it govern, as it seems to, your resolutions about the coming year?

Eugh. I digress again. I am not certain that this is what I meant to say either. Sorry. I told you I was feeling squiffy.

Maybe I don’t really feel this way any more. This year wasn’t a bad year for me. I had you guys and I didn’t hate myself so much and I actually made some progress in my writing because I stopped dreaming and started doing. I am well in myself, my family is alright and I do have much to be thankful for.

Maybe all this contrariness  in feeling is just my mind remembering that it is supposed to feel that way. A habit, rather than a fact.

But my point is, do I have to be uber thankful with everyone? Surely, it’s like showing love only on Valentine’s day when ideally it should be spread out throughout the year. Do I have to go through the vortex of other people’s emotions and gratitude and reverence and debauchery today? Do I have to be swept along in the murkiness and muckiness of humanity?

Can I not just slink once more past midnight without all the bells and whistles?

So, I have decided.

I shall throw away all man-made constructs like time and years. I will throw off the weight of forced gaiety and  reflection. I will try not to think about the fact that with every breath, I am farther away from innocence and no nearer to the amount  of wisdom I desire. I am going to avoid looking through the drop of last year’s essence because I know that it will magnify areas which I should most likely forget. I am going to put on some music and dance.

Tomorrow, I will wake up and be grateful for a new day.

And I will try as usual, not to mess it up.

Happy New Day everyone!

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A Christmas Tale: On courtship and Karma

Back when the Hubster and I were courting…

Wait, before I start, let me just say that if you have just laughed at that you have betrayed your origins to be from species other than Homo Igboticus. It doesn’t matter if your name is Aloycius Nnemurumkuja, I put it to you right now that your mother needs to tell you some truths; you are not Igbo. For every Igbo child knows that Igbo people do not ‘Date’ or ‘Hang out’ or any other term that implies the time-wasting in couples so prevalent in this age.

We court. Everything has its purpose.

If you are coming to my house, it is not merely for the pleasure of my company but to taste my food. If your hands linger around my hips, it is to measure that they can bear more sons than you care to count. After all, those millions of seeds you carry about in your sack must be cultivated so that your ancestors will not visit you in your dreams.

Courtship is a dance that goes way beyond what you see in Nollywood films. If proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten, the language of  courtship is the ukpaka’s rich, meaty texture in said oil. It is an acquired taste, not for children. If music be the food of love, then courtship is the rhythmic jingle from the waist beads of an obu uzo egwu dancing to the beat. If all this I am saying is not making your blood hot just reading them then obviously courtship is not for you. Go and let the man take you to get  Mr Biggs ice cream or chop kanda  from Mama Cass. Go on. See if I care.

As I was saying, back when the Hubster and I were courting, I played my part to perfection by sending him on Herculean tasks. Tasks at which the mighty Anukili na Ugama might have baulked.  It was not wickedness. It was part of courtship. You tell me how you like the gap in my teeth, I send you to find a pair of shoes made from the foreskin of a castrated gorilla. It is just how it works. To do him credit, the man always returned with the things I askedfor which is one of the disadvantages of marrying a fellow journalist. We have people. I thought knowing a thief in Kibera was something but nothing tops having a gorilla-foreskin guy in the middle of London.

So, I’d set tasks and he would knock them down, and I’ll set bigger ones and he’d do those, and then I got on the WWF ‘Enemy of the Planet’ list and stopped sending him to procure parts of animals. And one day, as I was racking my brain to come up with a straw to break the camel’s back, and failing that, the actual hump of the camel, he said to me: “All these things you’re doing to me, I am going to marry you and my child will do them to you.”

I shouldn’t have laughed.

This morning, my son (whom we shall from henceforth refer to as ‘This Boy’ ) woke me up by hooking an index finger inside my mouth, pulling me upright and making me go out in the pouring acid-rain of London, in 6 degrees Celsius weather to buy him some milk. He also insisted on coming so I had to dress him in the dark knowing that to put on any lights so soon after reluctantly waking would render me blind for the rest of the day. I forgot my phone so I didn’t get a photograph, but this is my illustration of how I looked:

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1) Bear trapper hat. Because I am not nearly ugly enough in the morning.

2) Scowl. Maybe some drool.

3) White turtle neck. It was like a beacon in the dark. And I’m arty dah-ling.

4) Pompoms: This Boy is like a cat with string.

5) Skirt. I don’t know why as the coat was long enough and the skirt was barely a there. The waistband was on my bum to attain this length.

6) Leggings.

7) Boots. Actually, now that I think of it, I was wearing blue wellies with multi-coloured dots. This Boy is like a cat with dots.

8) Milk.

And This Boy skipping happily in his padded rain suit.

I have never seen the shopkeeper serve me so fast.

The moral of the story? Courtship is good, but Igbo women please be lenient this Christmas so that you will not reap what you sow. And if you do prefer to do the time-wasting dating thing, then for the love of God, don’t order a whole chicken when he takes you out. You don’t want to know how that will turn out ‘karmically’.

Thank you for waiting!

So, I have let this blog kinda go in the last two months. Na writing matters, please forgive me. I am back now. And just in time too! It’s Christmas! Ahhhhhh!

I really should have done one post for every day of Advent but I could never find the time. Oh well. I am writing the next post now which will go up between noon and 1pm GMT tomorrow so, happy reading (and retweeting, Facebooking, Google plus-ing).

In defence of Tonto Dike as a creative being.

Eh-hen. They have come to see what I am talking about.

I didn’t want to put a post up when the whole hullabaloo was going on over Tonto’s two singles ‘Get High’ and ‘Itz Ova‘ released about six to eight weeks ago – I didn’t want it to get lost jokes about how she was responsible for earthquakes and such, seeing as I have no proof of those.

But in the light of her latest offering, I thought it was topical again so here goes.

I’ll start by saying that I’m neither a fan nor a ‘hater’ of Tonto. This is important because it means I am probably the only unbiased person in Nigeria on the topic of Ms Dike. I don’t care one way or another about her tattoos, or the fact that she seems to have gone several shades lighter since the start of her film career; I am not one of those people who cares about the ‘message’ she is sending to young people by either, since I assume young people are not stupid and her brand is pretty clear. Her accent makes me frown a little but that’s purely from a broadcaster’s standpoint. I am aware that she would sound more intelligent if she was not concentrating so much on sounding American (?), that it’s difficult  to understand what she is saying.

Now that’s done, my point is simple; Creative people gotta create.

Tonto for whatever real or imagined flaws she has, is a creative person – an actress. Her job is to keep us entertained on film. She’s simply chosen to take her talents elsewhere. Did she sleep with President Goodluck? No. Has she declared herself the risen Christ? No. Did she steal from public coffers or stick a smouldering cigar up her fanny on live television? I don’t think so. (Am I giving her ideas? Maybe.) All she did was choose another medium of self-expression. And Nigerians HATE her for it. Dare to dream? Please. Stand still, Tonto! We’re trying to laugh at you.

While I understand and respect the rights of anyone to critique material in the public domain, I think the critique should be about the material presented. The level of vitriol or praise should also be proportionate and separate from perceived personal – as opposed to professional – failings . It is hard, I know.

The defence might be that a lot of people fail to see the difference in the two parts when it comes to someone in the public eye and thus, might consider their reaction to be honest, when to the rest of the world, it is obvious that we – Nigerians- revel in hyperbole. Observe:

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Ridiculous. Funny (and sometimes insensitive in the wake of tragedy, but I guess people had to find a way to do the flooding and Aluu4 jokes seeing as nobody in their own families were affected).

Reading comments for her videos on YouTube, people implore her to ‘Stick to what you know’ but how else are you supposed to know what you’re good at if you don’t try? And how else are you supposed to grow as an artiste if you are not allowed to experiment?  We complain about the quality of our artistes and their portfolio and yet we hate them when they try to diversify or better themselves. Ah-ahn! Which way Nigeria?

Yes, she doesn’t have the best voice and her tracks are rather auto-tune heavy, but it’s not any more than most Nigerian ‘musicians’ use in their songs – which we see it fit to bump and grind to on weekends. This isn’t even her first rodeo, she has had more natural-sounding songs, like this one with fellow actress, Patience Ozokwor.

She isn’t the first creative to try two or more media in the world; James Franco has his hands n so many pies, it’s like he’s the oven, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Juliette Lewis are both rockstars on the side, Dawn French is a writer and Onyeka Owenu and RMD went into politics – yes, I said it. Politics is ‘creative’ industry. Before you film purists attack me for comparing Tonto to people with ‘actual talent’, may I please remind you that society  – and possibly you, purist person – did not always look kindly on the aforementioned people trying other things as well. They had to prove themselves first, hence the comparison.

Moving on. We should give the woman an award. Heck, she’s succeeded where even people like Zik and his fellows failed. No food? Nepa messing you about? No money to treat your malaria? No problem! Tonto’s tracks are available for you to bond over with your sick child. Why pay tithes when you can indirectly pay Tonto for downloads? Nigeria was united in her singular hatred of all things Tonto; all the hackers, fraudsters, robbers, serial porn-viewers and any bored youth with access to  the internet put their talents towards one purpose in the days that followed the release of her singles. President Goodluck is still struggling to create jobs but this woman did it in one day!

Let’s make 17th of October our Unification Day, to hell with Independence.

And for an artiste whose currency is controversy, she’s laughing all the way to the bank. In the words of the woman herself:

Poko poko baby!

Now who wants to get high?