Category Archives: Randoms

Eh-he, where was I sef?

So, the last we spoke, I was heading back to the UK. Did I mention with a baby in tow? Yes, I have myself a very Yankee baby but who even begged me? In this Buhari/Brexit/Trump economy I went to go and have another baby. Nappies are expensive. I am just wondering why we cannot just do the old thing of getting a shit-eating dog to clean up after babies the way people in the village used to. Think about it. First you save the Pampers money, then, you don’t bother buying dog food because the baby has enough to keep the dog going. Win-win!

And, it’s good for the environment too. Triple win!

Anyway, what’s been happening with you guys? Gist me. I am slaving over the 19385th copy of my novel because I cannot afford to misrepresent myself and my ancestors at this my age. Oya, over to you. I am coming.

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Random song of the day: Big Head

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.

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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.

 

Throwback: Birthday playlist. Also Chris Mba is a sexy beast.

Now what kind of Nigerian would I be if I did not introduce my son to the only version of ‘Happy Birthday’ he should ever sing? Or these other fantastic songs that coloured every birthday party in the eighties/early nineties?

What  birthday party songs do you remember from your childhood? Let  me know  your birthday party playlist in the comment box!

And finally…(Thank you Waffarian for this!)

Anyone that tells me that Chris Mba is not a sex god is a liar and God is watching that person. Look at the manly forearm vein. Those superhero shoulder pads, sleeves well rolled. See that Soul Glo’, sef. Thank you Kessing Sheen! Whatever, man. Chris Mba is a legend.

Igbo dads and dangerous phalluses.

Once upon a time I was heading out to study for my final university exams with friends when my father called me back.

“Nwunye,” he shouted after going through the names of the other twelve of my siblings.

“Sah?” I answered, because I am a good child.

“Where do you think you are going at this time of night?”

“I am going to Ogo’s house, sah.” I looked at my watch. It was 5 pm.

“Which Ogo?”

“Ogo my friend, sah. You have met her sah.”

“I have?”

“Yes sah. She has big…brains sah.”

“Ah, the big-brained Ogo. So what are you doing in her house at this time of the night eh?”

“We are studying sah. Me and Ogo and Chiamaka and Ifeoma.”

My father grunted, picking  vegetables from his teeth with a toothpick. When he finished, he popped the teeth back into his mouth. “Okay. But this one you are always  going to study with those girls…” He fidgeted.

“Sah?” I bristled, thinking he was calling their character into question. Did he not remember who they were?

“Just know I don’t want any daughters-in-law. I want sons. Sons-in-law.”

I caught many flies in my mouth on the okada to Ogo’s house that day.

Yes. This really happened.  I remember relaying the story to my study group when I got to Ogo’s house. (And for those who are wondering, yes, I did attend university from home. If you’ve only known me as an adult, you’ve just had an ‘Ah-ha’ moment because shit just made sense.) My friends thought it was funny. Me, I was just dazed that my square to the power of infinity dad knew about lesbianism. I didn’t dwell too much on this though because I would have started to wonder what else he knew and my imagination cannot handle things like that. Every generation likes to think they invented sex after all.

But this is what I do not understand.  This is the same man that flogged the brown off my skin because I went on a date with a guy at seventeen. It wasn’t even a date if I am honest. Okay, it kinda was. But I was in my second year of university and for chrissakes it wasn’t like I lay down on the road and had sex with him. That came much later. I wouldn’t recommend it by the way. Vehicles are a bloody nuisance and Nigerian grit gets into cracks like you cannot imagine. Sometimes when I sneeze, a little bit of sand and coal tar comes out.

A good Igbo girl is not supposed to think of guys other than as things to beat in school which is unsurprisingly easy.  (Yeah, I said it. Heh heh!) Not even when the boys in question are your cousins. You get to a point when your breast buds appear and all male cousins suddenly become off limits.

You spend the next few decades learning that men are the enemy. You spit when they talk to you, your put-downs are legendary and if they touch you, it’s hi-ya! and out pops their eyes. Your parents applaud you, chaste Virginia, you. At what point are you supposed to stop using them for target practice and start seeing them as potential mates?  It was a wonder I even tried that first date on for size. (Such was the level of my inexperience with humans of the male persuasion that the first date became the start of a two-and-a-half-year stint.)

I know I have said all this before, but things keep happening that make my jaw drop. Some Igbo parents can really screw up their female kids.

At what point am I supposed to consider giving you (if I desire it) sons-in-law as opposed to daughters-in-law? After all the scare stories about the beastly nature of men, their dangerous phalluses and their fickle-mindedness in dealing with the consequences of their sexual actions (pregnancy, disease. Pregnancy.), when exactly am I supposed to think “Hmmm. I’d like to jump on that dangerous phallus and snare me a diseased baby or two?”

Cover up, close your legs, don’t whistle, don’t sit on a man’s thighs, don’t laugh with a man, he’ll think you’re cheap, don’t whistle, don’t wear rings on your fingers if you’re not married, don’t go anywhere once the sun sets, don’t be arrogant, don’t correct a man in public, don’t raise your voice, don’t argue and my personal favourite , don’t drive – he’ll think you’re feeling too big, then who’ll you marry?

No wonder some women cry at their weddings. Lucky me, I didn’t. My dad did though. Huge, splashy, snotty tears and much hysterical sobbing. My mother looked as if she wanted to give him Snickers bar.

I guess he was just relieved I ended up with a dude.

This is what working in my house sounds like.

Yesterday one of the mums in the new playgroup I tried out with Tot asked me what I did and I told her.

“Really? How do you work? What does he do when you work?”

“He plays by himself,” I said.

“Oh.” I could see her regard me out of the corner of her eye, trying to consider whether the ‘worthiness’ of being an’ artist’ outweighed her suspected neglect of my offspring. And whether – maybe – she should call someone.

“What language is that you’re speaking to him?” she asked instead.

“Igbo. It’s a Nigerian language.”

“I read a book about Nigeria recently,” she started slowly.

“Yeah?” I responded, knowing what she was going to say.

“Yeah, it is called ‘Half of a Yellow Sun.'”

Of course. “That’s about Igbo people.”

“I thought it might be! My goodness. Do you know, I knew nothing about the Biaf…Biafra? at all before that.”

I knew then she would not call social services. And I thanked God for the book which had enlightened her.

But to answer your question Mother-at-playgroup, this is what it sounds like when I am trying to do some work. I forgot the recorder as soon as I put it on which is why it runs for as long as it does (3 minutes). It was meant to be shorter.

It starts off with me reading back what I have just written after I switch on the recorder, hence the bit of silence from me while Tot babbles on.