Today’s song is brought to you by the small children in our old neighbourhood in Nigeria (holla Onwubuya street!). They used to sing it whenever they saw the big kids, anyone they did not like or anyone they could outrun, coming – which pretty much added up to the same thing. They were just troublemakers. You’d see them in their home dresses and shorts, barefoot, playing ‘swell’ or rolling tyres with sticks, happy as clams and out for blood. They’d abandon their games in a heartbeat once they sighted prey.
They sang it for me once. I held my gleaming forehead high and walked on, pretending not to hear them. I went home, looked in the mirror and well…let’s just say it’s pretty hard to un-see once you’ve seen my forehead. It’s awesome and awe-inspiring. Look away children, look away.
You are probably thinking “But they’re children!” Yeah, of the corn. Village children are on another level with those Igbo language skills. They have a song for EVERYTHING. A village child can insult you here and your ancestors will feel it in the underworld and bite their fingers in regret.
The way I see it, my mother owes us kids therapy money for this ten-head thing she ‘gifted’ us with. And I mean, even to the third generation; all of her grand kids have it. The song is below.
Onye isi ya ka nke m o
Nee ya ka ona abia.
Isi ukwu bianu were oche,
Nee ya ka o na abia.
S/he whose head is bigger than mine
Look! Here s/he comes.
Big Head! Come and take a seat,
Look, here s/he comes.
I tried to get my other sister, Pastor, to do the gospel remix version but she cracked up around the ‘Big Head’ bit. You know what our people say. ‘An old woman becomes uncomfortable when dry bones are mentioned.’ Guess it hit close to home for her too.
So I took this test last year that is supposed to tell you who you write like – for kicks of course. It was winter. I was bored, I went on Facebook and it was there. Normally I wouldn’t bother with such tests, believing as I do, that everyone writes as themselves even when the idea has been done to death – everyone is unique. This time I took it. I put in a sample of my writing, something short and I got ‘Chuck Palahnuik’. (Just embedded the badge over there —–>)
“Who the heck is Chuck Pala…Pala…how do you even say this name sef?” I tsked, went on Amazon, bought one of his books and became a believer. Yes, algorithm you are indeed all-knowing. Who am I to reject your results? Chuck Palahnuik is awesome! Thank you very much.
The novel I bought was ‘Haunted’ (Amazon says I bought it on March 31st 2013). I am still scraping off pieces of grey matter from where he BLEW MY MIND. Chuck Palahnuik, man. I see you. You complete me. You had me at ‘This was supposed to be a writer’s retreat’.
I have since bought and read ‘Fight Club’ (which the film is based on. I have not yet seen it but I know who’s in it), I am reading ‘Choke’ and have ‘Survivor’ stashed away for Christmas when all the fake cheer becomes too much and I want some good old psychological, mind-bending shit so that I don’t lock my parents in the basement and torture them by withholding their coffee and making them watch Corrie.
‘Haunted’ for me is still my favourite Chuck Palahnuik book because…well…you never forget your first. It is based on a group of people who answer the ad to a writers’ programme that reads: Artists’ Retreat: Abandon your life for three months which becomes the overarching plot that links the stories. The 23 short stories are the writers’ back stories, each one as unique as a fingerprint and twice as horrifying. People are known to have passed out or thrown up when Chuck read ‘Guts’ at book tours. The whole thing is totally mad. Dark, crafted, hilarious madness. The man knows his stuff.
What’s my point to all this? I don’t do book reviews on this blog. I guess the point would be to say, don’t place too much stock in quizzes if you’re a writer. Do your own thing but do keep an open mind. Sometimes, it leads you down unexpected paths and your life is much richer for it.
I just heard the Tot belting this out. I asked what he was singing as I have never heard it before. See if you can guess what it is:
His dad has just verified that he’s played this tune. Now supposing it was something full of the B-word and the N-word or even – God forbid – the C-word? Ha!
Kids sure are sponges.
Someone just sent me this video of American bluegrass band, Henhouse Prowlers performing P-Square’s ‘Chop My Money’ in Abuja and I just think it’s awesome – the energy of the people in the room especially, their appreciation, just made me break out in goose pimples.
See for yourself.