Friday, 12 December 2008


Our very own Isi has written a collection of stories called Eko Dialogue which made gripping reading for me. I was at once caught between laughing hard and saying "this is so true".

I hear you say: "explain the title of this post". Ok. I tried negotiating with her: my proposal was that I take 80% of the sale proceeds as my management fee (she has not yet agreed that I manage her, in fact, she is adamant that she does not want me); the company that I will specifically set up for the management will take 10%; my existing business will take 5%; and I leave her with the total of 5%. Is that not how it's done? I wonder why she's being so unreasonable.

For copies call: 0702-808-9176 (Please note: this number will change when she agrees to my proposal).

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Akwa Ibom Witch Children


This was sent to me today by a friend. It disturbed me and brought tears to my eyes; I could not even view parts 2 to 6.

Is this Nigeria? Are we worse off or better off in our country where people tie down children accused of mental illness as if they were goats? Is this a sign of the lawlessness that pervades our country? Do we need English men to come in to save us from ourselves, and our children from us? Is this our own 'Spanish Inquisition'? If the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile could get it out of their system in 1478, why is Nigeria like this in 2008? Is it a failure of leadership?

Sunday, 23 November 2008

The Best of Harri

I’m passing through Laspapi’s living room a couple of weeks ago when I accidentally knock down some paperwork, newspapers and several CDs. On picking up, I notice the CDs were similar promotional copies of the same song titled ‘No more Yahooze’, a title that grabs my attention. So I take one of the CDs with the intention of telling him and… well, now you know ‘Papi, if you ever get to read this post.

As soon as I collect my car at the airport I slot it in and the song strikes an immediate melodious resonance with me. I play it over and over, making private fun of the intro:

Phone rings.
Girl: Hey Baby, how about that Gushi you promised me?
Boy: Oh no! Things are a bit tigh' right now, can you call me back next week?
Girl: Nest week? No more Yahooze?

Now, I’m one of those unrefined ones who mostly listen to the rhythm and beats in music, with the songs and lyrics complementing the experience if they were lucky, however, "> it strikes me with it’s intelligence and style. For some reason, it reminds me of Gladys Knight’s Midnight train to Georgia, in which the refrain sometimes takes the lead and then everything ties together like one of Einstein’s theorems. I remember also blogville idol winner, Abbie and her voice.

I recognise my limitations (yes, even I have one or two) and I know I am no song critic, so I decided to share the song with my friends because I still listen to it everyday, doing an Internet search so I could get a link. I got his MySpace page where Harri Best shows his photo, well cut ‘pecs and all. (The link I use is You Tube but a Google search for Harri Best reveals a lot). I was in the process of making fun of myself, sharing that the only reason he looked like that was because he had not had pizza for lunch and Chinese for dinner like I did that day. Then I took a closer look…

This is Harry! Laspapi’s Harry. They were best friends at Baptist Academy and he was so small-framed then. Once I saw him in London and he remained his pleasant self. He sings? And so well?

Good luck Harri. May you get to the top and then become my claim to fame.">

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Confessions of a Weary Traveller

I find it difficult to believe that I have not blogged for almost 3 months. A myriad of reasons but the prevailing one is laziness. I was always going to post something ‘today’ or ‘tomorrow’ until it all gradually became remote. Even my one-year anniversary in October went unheralded. Ok, I do believe I’ve now beaten myself up sufficiently.

So I’m in an airplane last week on the way to Lagos awaiting take-off. The woman next to me is reading a newspaper and then makes a phone call to her friend to proclaim ‘Jesus is alive’. She obviously sees Obama’s election as a celestial event. I was initially fearful because I had been unfortunate enough to have sat next to another bible-reading, fervent-praying, wildly-gesticulating woman on a trip in June, who ended up having an argument with two other passengers and three crew at different times, leaving me wondering about what I might have done to deserve the torture of my allocated seat. Why do I always end up with these people? In truth, the Jesus-is-alive-cos-Obama-won woman turned out to be really nice if you could ignore the ‘praise Jesus’ and ‘God lives’ that she interposed with every sentence and we chatted for most of the trip.

Still on divine intervention, I had my iPhone with me and realised I did not have the pin with which to remove the sim card, so I could change to my Nigerian sim. I was loath to ask the crew for a sharp object for fear of being labelled ‘Taliban’ and simply wished I had a toothpick. I looked down and right by my foot was one of those individually wrapped toothpicks. Now, you’ve got to bear in mind that this was a freshly cleaned plane and we were yet to take off. I spent the entire flight vainly looking to see if I’d find another. My own miracle!

I will not even talk about the two spoilt kids who screamed and cried for four hours right from before take-off. It was all I could do not to get up and slap them upside the head, and then their parents too if they deigned to complain.

And the stupid girl who spent 15 minutes complaining to the Stewardess as she could not get a space in the overhead compartment right over her seat. Does it take a Stewardess to explain to a Nigerian that the lockers are not allocated?

Lagos was fine as usual. I was distressed about the Uzoma girl’s story as it was just breaking when I got in. On Wednesday I visited the Trade Fair, which reminded me of how much deterioration has taken place, six hours for a return journey that should have taken one, on arrival running a gauntlet of mainly aggressive Igbo traders who were selling clothing and footwear seconds all over the Fair grounds.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Then, and now

1. Then, I used to sport an afro and it was a running battle with my father not to have it trimmed. Now I cut my hair very low every week, stopping just short of completely shaving my head

2. Then, I loved cars and as a teenager when my father sent me on an errand with the car I would look to drive through the most congested streets I could find in Lagos. Now I wish I could afford a driver although my love of driving has not diminished

3. Then, we ate any strange food combinations as student teens – moin pie (bread with moin-moin [bean cakes]); banana pie (bread with bananas); ice cream sandwich (need I tell you the ingredients?); bread with sugar cubes; bread with groundnuts; bananas with groundnuts. Now I just try to exercise portion control

4. Then, I drove my car left hand twisted forward over the steering wheel in a proud display of my wedding band. Now I drive left hand twisted forward over the steering wheel in a proud display of an empty hand

5. Then (last June), I looked at my fish live in the tank before I authorised its slaughter (its called ‘kill-and-go’ or ‘shoot-to-kill’ or ‘point-and-kill’ or something).

Now my gut hasn’t gone down after forgetting my portion control policy in devouring the catfish washed down with Star Lager

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Don’t You Just Dislike That?

I have succumbed to the quite forceful (thanks, dscr?be) and gentle (what a voice Abbie has) prodding to update (having just discovered from the link that they may be one and the same) and when deciding what to write, I discovered something about myself today – my posts are always symptomatic of my moods. I have 3 or 4 posts swirling around my head (with apologies to ‘in my head and around me…’) at any given time, however, some just do not sit right with me to publish, depending on my mood, no prizes for guessing what my mood is at the end of this post. For you guys who see shrinks, I think I just qualified (as a shrink, that is), so let’s negotiate.

Those who read my previous posts about ‘irritating habits’ and ‘revolting habits’ know that there are some things that just, well… irritate me. I don’t think I’m pernickety, I certainly hope not, but some things just do a rumba on my nerves, especially when they’re oft repeated.

Here goes:

1. Women who violently pat their scalps in order to salve the itch caused by their weaves or attachments. You see them everywhere; in shops, while they're driving, walking down the street, all over the place. They also always appear to be of African extraction (someone please correct me if I’m wrong). Why, friends, why? If it itches that much, it means you have dandruff or fleas or ticks or something. Why not simply take off the weave and shampoo the hair, or don’t wear it, you’ll give yourself a brain haemorrhage. Am I being simple?

2. Long posts, some of which are made less attractive by being published in 8 point font size. Come on, one gratification from our posts is when others read them, so how do you think one would feel after spending 30 minutes and aching eyes reading one?

3. Music on blogs – I listen to an eclectic collection (remember the iTunes tag?) and would not impose my taste on anyone, besides, listening to music puts me off reading and I get tired of stretching to turn down my speakers each time. I must confess, though, that I heard Gongo Aso for the first time on Sha’s blog, even then, I think it would be a good idea to get one of these players that do not start automatically.

4. My pet hate – people who do stretching exercises on plane aisles. My ex-wife used to do that and it embarrassed the boxers off me (probably why I’m still traumatised). I agree that we did a lot of those 10 and 11 hour trips to Florida, LA and Texas, but come on, grunting down the aisle after 1 hour of flight time? I feel there are places such as in front of the emergency doors where one could surreptitiously stretch, anything other than that appears to me to be an attitude of ‘notice me’, which doesn’t say much for one’s self-esteem.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Do We Need Pre-Nups?

You’ve met the woman of your dreams, or, for that matter, the man. (S)he’s charming, sweet, sensitive, supportive, romantic and hard-working. As an added bonus, (s)he’s tremendously good-looking and also has a good job. (OK. Here’s where the alarm bells start ringing – how come (s)he’s available, are all the other men/women walking around blindly which enables this extremely eligible (wo)man to fly below the radar? For the benefit of this post, we’ll ignore those wretched alarm bells).

So you’re a practical so and so and decide a pre-nup is a good idea. There might be tears ('it means you don’t love me'); there may be lies ('poor (wo)man, how can I convince you not everyone is like that?'); there will be reassurance ('it’s just a crying shame that you haven’t met the right (wo)man'); there can be reverse psychology ('my family may not be wealthy...'); there certainly will be indignation ('what do you mean? How dare you? My father had 50 times what you have before he died'; or 'before someone duped him out of £50 billion'; or 'before my mum fell ill and he spent N75 trillion on her treatment abroad'). How do you navigate these obstacles?

…Or, maybe you still believe in the goodness of human nature, you being love-struck and all and thinking: what the heck is this fellow writing about? Where has he been? What sort of shady characters has he met? Pre-nup kó, pre-nup ni (in other words, don’t talk to me about pre-nup). Anyways, I have nothing of value that a future spouse can lay claim to if things go sour, at the most, a DVD player, a house and a car.

Did you just say nothing?! You may end up finding out that ‘nothing’ becomes ‘everything’. Ask Lanre who is now stacking shelves at night in the supermarket after he lost ‘nothing’. Ask Louis who has developed physical complications after mental illness when he lost ‘nothing’. Do ask “Sade” who felt she had to emigrate to Canada when she lost ‘nothing’, which included her erstwhile husband instructing a solicitor to claim a half share of her house on the day she was supposed to complete a sale, after he walked out and said he wanted nothing to do with her and her house.

Maybe we should use the case of Mr and Mrs Crossley to bring it home. In the UK, pre-nups are not as binding as in the US, however, this is a very interesting case. I quote a magazine: Mr and Mrs Crossley ‘were independently wealthy at the time of their marriage (indeed, Mrs Crossley had accumulated £18 million from three earlier divorces {that’s $36m to you folks across the pond}). Their marriage … had the benefit of a pre-nuptial agreement. When Mrs Crossley sought to extricate herself from the agreement in order to bring financial claims against her fourth husband, the Court of Appeal rejected her claim, making it clear that this was exactly the sort of case where a pre-nuptial agreement should be truly binding’.

A true example, albeit an extreme one. Your thoughts?

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Mommy Tagged Me

I’m wary about these tags and was doing the slump-over-desk-wearing-a-somnolent-face thing then got curious about the sort of music I have on my PCs. I’ve got about 12gb worth, however, I mostly listen to music while driving (not enough relaxation time – I think I might have murdered sleep in my past life).

The rules…

1. Put Your iTunes/ Music player on Shuffle2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER WHAT

Tag 5 people

Tired of being alone – Al Green
[this one na lie]

Thinking about your love – Kenny Thomas
[all that love dey fear me o]

(Some song I listed as Track 4) - Orlando Owoh
[whatever it says, I agree with Orlando’s chemical-induced comments]

Instant Replay - Dan Hartman
[no, no – too tired today]

Jam on it – Nucleus
[I need to find a loftier purpose, I think]

She’s gotta have it – Al Yankovich(‘s version of Shaggy’s It Wasn’t Me)
[no comment, omg!]

Keep it coming – KC & The Sunshine Band
[even I get exhausted…]

Bass In the Planet – Planet Rock
[probably true in a convoluted way]

Hip Hop Hooray – Naughty By Nature
[na wa o]

WHAT IS 2+2?
Through the Years – Kenny rogers
[even I cannot put a spin on this]

The Lion Sleeps Tonight – The Tokens
[if I had one, this would have been so true]

Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight
[that song rocks – maybe it’s midnight train to t… (don’t ask)]

Sweet Mother – Skepta (Rap Version)
[my mum would laugh herself into the ground at this]

Second Time Around – Shalamar
[ain’t going to happen]

Do The Hustle – KC & The Sunshine Band
[ha. Chineke. This thing na oracle o]

Coupe Bibamba – Awilo Longomba
[your guess is as good as mine]

Just a touch of Love – Aurra
[been there, done it]

Lucille – Kenny Rogers
[Allah seriki!!!]

Ashikeke – George Jahra
[Ghanaian song - rythmic]

Instrumental – Nigeria National Anthem

Stay Just A Little Bit Longer – Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs
[God forbid]

Laffy Taffy - D4L

I tag Omosewa and Sherri (because I know they go under the radar with these tags and escape)

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Goodbye Yesterday, Welcome today…

I remember the Nigeria Police Band singing that song to welcome back the Nigerian Commonwealth Games contingent at the then Ikeja airport many years ago. A song I find particularly melodious but have not been able to get the lyrics to it. If any of you smart ‘uns out there know the words please send them my way.

Yes, Lagos was interesting as usual. Some rest, a lot of noise (from electricity generating sets and vehicular horns and vocal chords that have had no modicum of training or temperance all their lives), to too much pounded yam and much more Star lager. Someone remind me to work on my gut.

The bane of the self-employed – I had spent my last week before travel and my first week on return on intensive work – and another few days just laughing my head off at the various comments about my last post: Inde, Afro, QomC, Standtall, ‘Sewa, Mommy, Fresh, Uzezi, Pink, Darkelcee, Allied, Doja, even In My Head… (that enigma), came out to play. I think I should go away more often. I miss you all ( I sound like a politician), well…some of you, I’m back now and will be doing the rounds and posting more often.

There, indeed, is broadband in Lagos as I was reminded and Laspapi even sports one in his bedroom, but if you knew the way he works, you would commend me for the courage of being able to kick him off his laptop the few times I had to check my office mail; and you will never catch me at an internet café. I would have taken Darkelcee’s invite to use hers, but she did not give directions…

Monday, 12 May 2008

A Present For Aijay

I had wanted to do this for about seven months now, ever since I started blogging, however, time and events always seemed to conspire to put it on the back burner.

You know how you see people's 'names' on blogville and you sort of know them by their comments and with where they visit, Aijay was one I was reminded of by frequently seeing a car drive by with a personalised registration that closely matches her name although I had never been to her blog pages before today and our paths did not cross on blogville.

Again, a few weeks ago, I saw a post by someone I cannot now recollect, asking 'where is Aijay?', and I was reminded to write this. It took this long because the car would not 'sit still' until a couple of weeks ago when I went to make some purchases at Staples the stationers, and i saw it parked. Took a quick picture with my phone, and now, here we are Aijay, a present for you.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

I Met A Bird

So it was bank holiday weekend. It also happened to be one of those weeks when I realised I was not being productive, only marking time. I was looking forward to the holiday (only in the UK would one look forward to a one day holiday with so much craving).

So I carried myself to Switzerland for the weekend, did a jiggle between Geneva and Lausanne, even found time on Saturday to make a boat trip across Lake Léman into Evian in France (the weather was not bad and the view good – snow-capped mountains and all),

where I met a bird, as I was sitting by a mobile snack stall with a couple of friends, having a beer, ice cream, apple juice, water and burgers, in no particular order.

The bird flirted outrageously with me, her friend very close by. I wondered to myself: how times change. Look at me sitting down with an indulgent smile on my face, doing nothing but enjoying the attention all the same. Had this happened years ago in Lagos, the bird would already be on her back, or in my hands.

What is it with these birds in the West that they do not appear to have a fear of man, I wonder?

Monday, 28 April 2008


I was tagged by guerreiranigeriana to do this. I had not intended to be involved in any tagging because they reveal too much unless one decides not to be truthful, but being sure no man has ever said no to guerreiranigeriana, I do not intend to be the first.

The rules:
1. Link the person who tagged you - just did
2. Mention the rules in your blog - doing that right now
3. Tell 6 unspectacular quirks of yours - OMG!
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them - the fun part, but how do I know who's been tagged before?
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged - with pleasure

1. In public places, I always sit at the back or with my back to the wall, except when not possible: in church, in restaurants, seminars, parties. I like to see what's going on and am paranoid about people just walking up behind me

2. I dont like surprises (a spinoff from 1.) - no matter how pleasant, they make me apprehensive. If you're buying me a Lear Jet, just tell me, dont take me to the hanger to show me (chances are I will refuse to go with you anyway)

3. I dislike guessing games. Dont call me and ask: 'guess who's speaking?' Dont ask me to guess who you met on the way to work today (for crying out loud, there are 65 million people in the UK today and counting)

4. I think women look much sexier dressed than undressed. Nothing like a well-dressed woman to get the juices flowing and you thinking about tearing her dress off

5. I like cars. When I become a millionaire, I'll probably have 20

6. The sound of children playing always fills me with bliss

That's me done.

I tag lighty; sherri;; sha; omosewa; darkelcee; tobenna

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

To Marry Or Not?

It seems to me there is one seemingly never-ending season of nuptials going on, which leads me to wonder at the veracity of the institution. I’ve been there, done it and can tell you it’s one of the few acceptable modes of procreation (and, in a some cases, breeding). Some people claim companionship, however many individuals end up being more lonely in a marriage than out of one, so I will not include that point. Others claim love, something that is so relative and so totally subjective, it is impossible to adequately define.

For a man, being in his 30's and financially secure is not necessarily a prerequisite for marriage, and the fact that he does not propose to a woman does not mean he wants to play the field, he may simply find marriage to be a scary commitment, especially if he lives in the west where wives are wont to kick their husbands out of the marital home.

I do have to be honest, though, in saying that there are some axis a man would revolve around which are not conducive to being single, especially big money circles. Men here tend to believe that the support of a good (‘good’ being the operative word) woman is essential for a man’s stability of mind and coolness of head. But where will you find a ‘good’ woman that will stay sweet? That will not transform into Cruella Deville? That special woman who will not change after she digs her talons into you? Don’t get me wrong, I swear they’re out there, they just seem to be very good at hiding.

For most people all over the world, marriage is seen as a sort of progress marker and in some cases, their partners as accessories to be shown off for their worth and their looks, not for the companionship and lifelong partnership they're supposed to provide. Again, at a certain stage in life, a single woman faces an uphill task, so the itch for marriage starts in their 20’s (bearing in mind women are a lot more mature than men of the same age, anyway).

Women seem to see more romance in the wedding ceremony than men. Of course, they also look for a good man to share the marriage with, but here’s the crunch, they’re not as fearful when getting into a committed relationship as men. Indeed, women have been known to point out the male fear of commitment as a sign of immaturity. The concept of a ‘good’ man also seems to change from that of a ‘good’ woman – secure, confident, it helps if he is solvent, a bonus if he is a romantic. Does that man exist? If he is, does he enjoy being a playa? Has he already been snagged?

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

End of Days?

Not too long ago, I received a flyer from the Border and Immigration Agency of the Home Office, to the effect that from February 29, companies that employ illegal immigrants would be committing a big offence which carries a hefty fine. Companies are expected to confirm immigration status before employing, a practice that unfortunately gives too much power to the occasional bigot in human resources.

I have also recently come across TV and newspaper adverts proclaiming the vileness and criminality of illegal immigration. On January 28 Channel 4 News reported “a huge increase in foreign arrestees throughout the UK. Police forces throughout Britain are at ‘bursting point’ as they struggle to cope with an influx of migrants…”

Between 2003 and 2006, the Metropolitan Police (covering the London area) reported a 49% increase in arrests of illegal immigrants; Hertfordshire 61%; South Yorkshire 65%; Gwent (Gwent? Where the heck is Gwent, for crying out loud?) 673% (no, it's not a typo - 673%). It appears that illegal immigrants that moved to rural areas because the authorities there seemed more ‘gentle’ are now flocking back to seek the anonymity of the metropolis.

I discussed this trend with some friends, the general consensus being that since Britain opened up to Eastern Europe and Polish, Slovak, Bulgarian, Romanian, etc. migrants came in offering cheaper labour, illegal immigrants are no longer tolerated. One dissenting voice said even the Polish are returning home as the golden fleece now seems well and truly jaded.

The above argument does not work for me though. How about across the pond in the US? Most of their police forces are now undertaking ICE (Immigration Control and Enforcement) courses, which they would not have touched with a barge pole a couple of years ago, even those that resisted it before have signed up with a resultant backlog of 92 forces awaiting their turn. The new policy seems to target their Latino population across huges swathes of Texas, LA, Arizona and Florida. Some forces such as those in Houston now verify the immigration status of anyone they stop, even a traffic stop for a broken tail light.

What is going on?

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Scent Of A Woman

A few days ago while skimming through sha’s post, I noticed that, in her own inimitable way, she was on a warpath against those women who plaster pictures of themselves with some new bloke they just met, all over Face Book. The post struck a resonance with some thoughts which had been embroiled in my mind since I had a conversation a few weeks ago with someone quite close to me.

The gist of his idea is that nowadays, as soon as they meet a man, some women go quite primeval by cocking up a leg and ‘pissing’ all over him in order to scent-mark him. I mulled over the concept and on reading sha’s post, wondered if pasting a new flame’s pictures on face book, especially when not reciprocated, can be regarded as scent-marking. I also don’t believe I would like to be scent-marked, under any circumstances.

Do women really scent-mark men? In romantic life, I can imagine that they could, same as men may scent-mark women, but at play? And at work?

What purpose would scent-marking serve when the next woman can just walk over, cock up her legs too (I really like that picture) and pass urine over the active mark, thereby masking the existing odour with her much stronger and more recent one?

On a parallel vein, I would like to share some marriage anecdotes that were sent to me a while ago…

* So many options: Poison, sleeping pills, hanging, jumping from a building, lying on train tracks, but we chose Marriage, slow and sure!

* A man who surrenders when he's wrong, is Honest. A man who surrenders when not Sure, is Wise. A man who surrenders even if he's Right, is a Husband.

* Men want 3 qualities in wives: Economist in kitchen, artist in home & devil in bed. But they get artist in kitchen, devil in home & economist in Bed.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Adufe, ololufé mi (Adufe, my love)

Adufé, a few days ago before I left you to go to bed, I looked deep into your eyes with the promise of a long day tomorrow. We were happy with each other. I knew I would be getting up early in order to mount you and let you do what you do best – drive me crazy with pleasure, a special delight that would last almost three hours tomorrow at the crack of dawn, and another three in the evening. I was a content man.

When I got up in the morning, I prepared myself quickly and rushed to your side to begin our enjoyment. To my fury, you had been raped overnight. The forces of darkness have struck again, my jazz-wielding friends have done what they do best – come out under the cloak of darkness to defile the pure. Otá aje; omo oju’orola ri, to bimo, t’oso ni Olaniyonu Olawumi (enemy of industry; one who has never experienced wealth but gives birth and names the child 'wealth has problems, I desire wealth').

My journey was long and my time short so I did not have much sentiment for you that morning. I made am instant decision that my affair had to be with Abedó. This had not been my plan. As you know, Abedó is thirsty, loud and wild, and always tries to bring out the feral in me, besides, I prefer for our liaisons to be at night; nevertheless, it was she that accompanied me on my journey to Wokingham that morning.

As I take you to hospital the next day, I muse that you have been besmirched. I also ponder whether to share this with my blog friends, decided to because of the trend in recent posts about male violence against females and wondered if this would be classed as a violent act, since it was perpetrated by a woman. Is it even the more violent as money is yanked from my wallet to pay the excess charge on your insurance (Americanised version: deductible – thanks, Sherri) for the replacement? Incredibly, some ask, what did I do, as if it takes one person’s actions to turn another evil, as if evil actions can ever be justified in any way.


For the next few days until Adufé is well, my darling Abedó, you will give me passion during the day and at night. You are magnificent as well and have your own particular skills, quite untamed. The man that tries to tame you will probably end up broken.

Spare a thought for Akanké, the ageing tart. She is the craggy one that gets dumped on, she is second-hand and still trying to be relevant, is now jaded and menopausal, but perhaps still gives some pleasure to the desperate.

PS Adufé is now well and back from hospital

Monday, 10 March 2008

Presidential Suite

A friend called me today to tell me this story (you know me and my naija’s at the airport stories). She had a guest who came in from Nigeria Sunday and who, when questioned at immigration about where she would be staying, said: “Presidential Suite”. The answer, of course, made her an immediate candidate for further close questioning. She was pulled into an interview room and asked, ‘presidential suite where’? To which she responded “Presidential Suite Liverpool Street” – I’m guessing she’s now referring to London’s Liverpool Street market just off Bishops Gate in the city).

Please, please, don’t even ask why she gave that retort. I’m inclined to believe that this was an extension of our nigerian ‘big-manism’, or, in this case, ‘big-womanism’, when we feel the more important we make ourselves out to be, the more respect we will attract.

Four hours later, and after intensive questioning including a meticulous strip-search, when they probed and poked places where the sun ‘don’t’ shine, they let her go.

The story above reminds me of a personal one. One of the closest friends to my ex-wife, who lives in Maryland (I know her well too as we were all at the old Unife together) had an older sister coming in from Nigeria for a course sponsored by her employer – the NNPC. As we are wont to do as Nigerians, she did not wish to pay for the hotel and sustenance for which she had received a foreign exchange allowance and decided to stay with us for the 6 weeks. I did not know the woman and kicked up a fuss about living with strangers, however, my ex did know her, having met her a few times on visits to her friend in Lagos before we all migrated to our various new countries, and it would have been awkward for her to say no.

Several peculiarities accompanied the woman into my house, one of which was her propensity to stand over me during my dinner if she wanted a favour and I said, ok, please wait until I finish dinner; and she always wanted a favour, and I always said ok, please wait. She would simply stand beside me until I finished dinner, which was extremely disconcerting, especially because she was over 6 feet tall and big to boot. Another was her staring at you for about 30 seconds after you spoke to her, like she was lost. After a couple of days, I was filled with enough disquiet to bring it to the attention of my ex. She had noticed some things too, all of which would take up too much space to put down.

The most annoying thing was that as a Muslim she insisted on playing tapes of the Holy Quran in the living room at 5am every morning. So I gave her a small tape player for her religious duties, but no, she was determined to use my music system with the resultant effect that the deep bass reverberated throughout the house like an avalanching rockslide every morning and we all came awake. I explained to her that low frequency sounds tend to carry and are louder elsewhere than from where they originate, to no avail, it was the big system she wanted. So I endured sermons in Arabic for six weeks, the noise bouncing off the walls like some techno party.

It all ended on a funny note though. Towards the end of her stay, my ex had earned a degree of freedom from her, as she now seemed to know her way around London a little. So she decided to go to Liverpool street market, yep, the same one from where you can buy ‘disposable’ shirts at 4 for £10, and wrist watches at 3 for £10. I described the train journey to her (indeed, I worked on Bishops Gate at that time, but since she wanted to get there for 12 and leave around 4pm, I could not help) – 'get to Elephant and castle, take the Northern Line to Moorgate station, ask anybody, Liverpool Street is literally 5 minutes’ walk'.

At 11.30pm that night, my ex had started to worry, as ‘sister’ had not returned. I could not care less and was only counting down the days for her to finally leave. Then the phone rang. It was her and after a confused 3 or 4 minutes, my ex passed the phone on to me:
I think I’m lost, she says.
Where are you, I ‘goes’.
I don’t know, she says.
Look around, I goes, there must be something
I think it’s a train station, she says
They have names, I says
It says, Canta…, Cantry…, Cantarry…
Spell it, I says
She spells Canterbury! I said: you’re in Kent. Then, we lived in Thornton Heath in Surrey, which is essentially South London. Apparently, when she got to Elephant & Castle, rather than go for the Northern Line to Moorgate in London City as I described to her, she asked a man who, in being helpful, thought she was going to Margate in Kent and prescribed the relevant trains for her, 85 miles away.

Friday, 7 March 2008


My last post was one for which I had to carefully balance my argument as well as my comments, being conscious of those fearful ‘independents’ out there – you know who you are, you modern-day dinosaurs and tigresses – sherri, florida, g-nigeriana, desy, isi, indecent one (who would pour hot water, or was it oil? on laspapi's head), sha, afrobabe, allied, catwalq, anon gal, 30+, nicky, for the love - dare I continue?

Whilst I was not surprised by the bias of some comments, some totally astonished me. I mean, sherri agreed with me! I’m still doing joyous back flips and excited cart wheels. The flip side of that was onome: now, this was a woman I was in love with, her poster hangs over my bedstead, my phone ring tone sings ‘onome, onome’, if anyone was going to agree with me, it would be her. Always so temperate, always came across as very nice. Did she agree? Not only did she react ferociously, she informed me she has withdrawn her approval for me to hang her poster in my room. Talk about unrequited love. Onome, that’s it for us, I have discovered a new love that omosewa kindly pointed out to me in the comments section of the previous post, maybe she will love me as much as I loved you.

Thank you for the offers of alabukun, anadin extra and isi ewu. I don’t want to sound like an ingrate, but only the isi ewu will do, especially since I feel better now. For those of you who ignored the fact that I had sandpaper down my throat and nevertheless, demanded an update (erm, uzezi), I will attend church this evening to beg for the spirit of forgiveness.


* Knowing you’re going out tonight and getting into bed at 10.00 pm anyway, for a nap.

* Two very young boys (12, 13?) selling gala and handkerchiefs under the blazing afternoon sun on Ikorodu Road at Maryland, arms across each other’s shoulders, and laughing

* Seeing old friends after 20 years and you continue where you left off

* Being able to sleep with both eyes closed

* Watching your children grow

* Going to bed without any consideration of when you will get up

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Heads, You Lose; Tails, You Lose.

I’m probably going to need some crutches to sustain my balance by the force of some of the reactions I will get to this post. I particularly look forward to the responses of the fiery ‘independents’, you know yourselves and, though sorely tempted, I will not mention any names – I do not feel particularly brave.

This post has been prompted by the expectations of women that men be more romantic. A few men, it must be recognized, work really hard to be romantic in their relationships and I believe they succeed, and I doff my hat to you. For the rest of us…

Women state they yearn for men to be more romantic, loving, tender, devoted, warm, gentle and adoring, yet there is also the expectation for us to be these strong, testosterone-fuelled ‘mighty igors’ who go to work all day, hunter gatherers that provide for the home (although I readily acknowledge that the equation has changed somewhat since many women work and contribute to the home). As a man, especially in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, you are expected to work. I lie. You are expected to GO TO work – none of that working from home modernist trifle. That’s why housewives vastly outnumber househusbands all over the world, and although the concept of the househusband is slowly gathering acceptance here, your life is in the hands of the almighty if you are a househusband in Nigeria because you will be viewed as a dosser. Even some of my fiery independents mentioned above would baulk at the idea of their partners being househusbands.

I imagine one of those pretty, muscle-bound male models they use in the glossies going down on one knee in front of a woman with a single red rose gritted between his teeth, then getting up to make breakfast for her in bed, preparing the children for school, doing the dishes, preparing himself for work – he will spend two hours in front of the mirror, I guess, eyebrows have got to be plucked, trimmed, shaped and sleeked back perfectly - going to do an honest day’s job at the office, getting back home, doing the ‘how was your day honey’ bit, serenading his partner with one or two Teddy Pendergrass songs (ok, ok, Ne-Yo or Mario – I’m old), preparing dinner, finally having a shower. Of course, those are enough to turn a woman on, however that man is simply a figment of my imagination.

So many men turn into Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde so they can fit the image described above. A friend who used to live in DC and about whom mutual friends complained because he was a totally changed man when his girlfriend (now wife) was around is a case in point. I witnessed it first hand on a holiday and thought he had become two people. This was a chap who was the life of any party and the joker in any group but was reduced to saying just ‘hi’ to his friends when his girlfriend was about. I mean, literally, “hi”.

An acquaintance used to lie to his wife that he was driving mini cabs (kabu kabu) nightly. On his way from wherever in the early hours, he would go to the cashpoint for some money and drop it on the dining table with whatever coins he had in his pocket, to appear like the night's takings.

There are also so many men who lie to their partners in order to go out: they lie about overtime, working nights, about some friend having a disaster, having to go view a property in ‘Manchester’ (your choice: England or Massachusetts), about a friend being suicidal, therefore, they have to stay with him awhile, all because they feel they will not fit the ‘romantic’ mould should they simply say; I’m going out Friday for a few hours. Women seem to see this type of man as more 'romantic' because he has not said: I'm going out for a few drinks.

God save you if you’re in actual fact a starry-eyed male individual when you think you’re being a romantic. Years ago, I heard a woman say to her female companion: “I’m really sick to the back teeth of Tunde; as soon as I get in, he starts rubbing himself against me like a cat. Can’t he just leave me alone and look for a girlfriend or something?” This was said in a church, mind you

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Irritating Habits

A few weeks ago, I put up a post about revolting habits and one of the comments, from 30+ I believe, suggested I put on a warning sign for readers. 30+, you know I love you but one would have thought the word ‘revolting’ was enough of a warning.

For these irritating habits, no warning is needed, they are just as described on the label: things I find irritating and sometimes annoying.

Media Words
Some words have crept into the Nigeria media usage, which makes me just want to ‘commit’. Words like:
* ‘sanitize’ - “…in a bid to sanitize…”
* ‘actualise’ – “he wanted to actualise his mandate…”
* ‘mobilisation fee’ – “the company collected a 50% mobilisation fee…”

Contemporary Language
* ‘Basically’ – how I have come to dislike that word
* ‘To be honest…’ – spoken by the patently deceitful
* ‘Let me have your digits…’ – said mainly by men of a certain ilk to request a woman’s telephone number. Digits? Next, you’ll be asking for binary numbers. Are there some people out there who actually respond to that sort of request?
* ‘I just came by to say “Thanks for stopping by my blog/Thanks for stopping by/Thanks for your comments on my blog”…’ – for crying out loud, just return the visit as a matter of politeness, if you find it interesting and engaging, by all means leave a comment, if you don’t, quietly slink back to what floats your boat, but do not visit some person’s blog simply to say “I just came by to say thanks for stopping by my blog”. Gosh, it does annoy me so!

* People who ‘flash’ you in order to speak to you. I experienced this a lot in Nigeria and they even flash me from Nigeria in London. I just look at the sky in wonder and beseech God to provide me with an answer to why anyone would want to speak with me but ask me to pay for the experience. The last time my family member ‘flashed’, I called her deliberately and asked why she could not invest N500 to speak with me. I continue to thank God that the people I know now do not do that.

* Nigerians who clap when a plane lands in Lagos. If you need to say a prayer of thanks, why not do it privately? If you want to congratulate the pilot for bringing the plane down in one piece, why don’t you inform a steward who will let the captain know? The amazing thing is that these same passengers will not clap on their return journeys to London or wherever.

* Our people who buy food e.g. roast chicken from Selfridges to take to Nigeria (hmm…London chicken, tasty!). Many years ago on a trip to Lagos, when it was still fashionable for the airlines to deliver your luggage one week after your arrival, I went to the airport to collect my bags and you will never believe the stench in the hall where the luggage were left. It was like a sewer run riot. I immediately remembered an ‘aunty’ who had told me a few weeks earlier that she got roast chicken from Selfridges to take to Nigeria, and trying to persuade her that chicken in Nigeria is actually tastier was like pulling teeth without anaesthetic.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

How Not To Get Into Trouble

I had wanted to update the ‘I knew I was in Trouble’ post for a couple of days now but could muster neither the physical nor mental capacity; what with spending my working day chatting, driving, atimes dealing with the obnoxious, telephoning and sometimes actually working, the evenings are a sort of recuperative wind-down-in-front-of a news, sports or nature channel before bed. Except for most Fridays. And Saturdays.

I ‘listened’ to the comments on that post and found them to be wise counsel, so I limited my involvement.

Mr A was arraigned at Uxbridge magistrates’ court on the Monday of last week and, though he had some friends present as well as legal counsel (who thought it prudent to allow the state-appointed solicitor to continue with the case), was not granted bail because when coming into the UK, he had stated to the immigration authorities he would be staying in a hotel – thus, no fixed abode. So off to Sutton prison he went and was assigned a prisoner number (I never even knew there was a prison at Sutton).

By the time the case came up last Friday, the prosecutor had Mr A’s life on paper – educational institutions he attended (in Nigeria!), age (52), employment details, everything. It was instructive that she (prosecutor) tacitly acknowledged that he was not suspected of being a terrorist but someone who made a stupid mistake, and the law had to take it’s course.

Mr A, on a trip to the Philippines last year, had purchased the offending belt because he thought it was ‘funky’, looked young and was ideal to hold up his jeans. Unfortunately for him, it was a survival belt with a knife, fork, tin opener, nail clipper, lighter, torchlight, pen, etc; you know the type, bona fide James Bond material. The only things it did not have were toilet paper and WMD. Sadly, one of his friends who’s been here 14 years had seen him retrieve a ‘weapon’ from the belt days before his depature, commented on the belt being unusual and Mr A responded that it was his ‘travelling belt’, yet did not have the sense to point out the inherent danger.

The judge found him guilty, sentenced him to the minimum 14 days in prison and released him as he had spent the mandatory half (7 days). He left for Lagos the same day.

I called him last night to commiserate and offer my sorrow, if only he knew my blog friends had instructed me to ask if he wanted the cutlery for live chicken and amala. He seemed happy but said: emu London yin dani o, eni rimi nibe mo (hold on to your London, you will never see me there again).

Friday, 25 January 2008

I knew I was in trouble…

…today Friday, January 25 2008, 8.45pm –

- when I received a text from a young friend’s wife saying: “Uncle Jinta, it’s me, B, please call me back, very urgent”. My phone had rung twice displaying a ‘withheld’ number which I never answer unless in a foul mood (and though still in the office, my mood was not foul, after all, it’s a Friday). I consider if you really want to speak with me, you will display your number. Then it rang twice again, displaying a number I did not know. Call me bizarre but if I don’t know your number, I still do not answer the phone unless my mood is dark. I keep all numbers: friend, foe, antagonist, ex-wife, beast, lover, ex-wife’s lover, the wife of ex-wife's lover, assassin, just so I know who to avoid and those I would really like to speak to, etc. I’m also paranoid about taking unknown calls, thanks largely to trauma, which is another story entirely; but I digress.

I had not been in the office all day and got in at 6pm to catch up with my paperwork, respond to e-mails and listen to my phone messages. When I saw the text, I had a premonition that it would serve as a disruption to my Friday beer drinking, but because B is someone I like, I called her back…

“Thanks for calling me back, I could not think of anyone else to call”. I said: before you go on, I do not like surprises – you know my ticker’s weak from the continuous battle with my lovely ex wife who’s determined to clean me out if she can’t kill me with jazz, heart attack or high blood pressure – and I do not like bad news. If anyone’s dead, go bury them, I don’t need to know who it is and if you want me to contribute to buying a coffin, heck, I’ll even pay for the entire coffin and all arrangements, just please don’t spoil my Friday.

“No, no, it’s not that. You know Mr. A was due to return to Nigeria at 12 noon today, he was not allowed to board the aircraft and was arrested at the airport. His wife just made a frantic call to me from Lagos. I tried to call W (my husband) but his phone’s off”. Which airport? “I don’t know”. Why was he arrested? “Oh, his wife wasn’t too clear, but it appears he had a knife and a fork hidden in his belt, he was informed that he has to go to court”. A knife and a what…? Hidden where…?

Now, I had met Mr A, W’s uncle a couple of times on his 9 day trip to London. He appears to me to be a responsible middle-aged very slightly built gentleman who is an engineer in one of the bigger private companies in Nigeria. We even had a Star Lager swigging, marinated chicken and Kebab scoffing send-off for him last night at the Gold Coast Bar and Restaurant, a Ghanaian concern which is local to me at home and at work in South Norwood. I like him. I promised to visit him on my next trip home and he, in turn, promised to exact revenge for me getting him drunk.

This does not make sense; do you see why I do not like surprises? Right now, I’m still thinking of how it concerns me and I have concluded that, whatever happens, W has to come out of hibernation before any movement. I’m literally on my way out the door to do my Friday thing, will be meeting friends at Mahogany something or the other in Lea Bridge Road.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Snake Girl

Someone sent this to me today and I was at a point between fascination, fear, witnessing the impossible, more fear, amazement and more fear.

What do you think?

Friday, 11 January 2008

Revolting Habits

I’m not a queasy person and will steadily look at and tolerate things that would make most people grimace, cringe or wince with discomfort; however, an incident occurred lately that got me thinking of repulsive habits.

1. Last Saturday I went to West Ham, to a place I normally go to listen to my taste of Afro hip-hop and r‘n’b. It’s not exactly an upmarket place but it suits my quest for anonymity. I stood hugging Remi and fondling Stella (for the uninitiated, that is sipping Remy Martin brandy and using Stella Artois beer as a chaser).
Then this giant of a man comes and stands right in front of me, so close I can smell his three day old sweat and my arm brushes against his back each time I took a swig of my beer, which does not appear to bother him. He looks like Idi Amin and stands like Mandingo so my inclination to tap him on the back and request he find his own space was cowed. I glanced back and a couple were standing there; I would have invaded their space had I moved back. While I am contemplating how to deal with this colossus and looking at the back of his head with the huge folds of skin where the head joins his shoulders (he has no neck), he suddenly plants his fingers behind his head, uses thumb and middle finger to part the biggest crease of skin and scratches away at the now exposed crust with his index finger…I could imagine the flakes of previously imprisoned dead matter falling into my brandy and I felt sick.

Found my way home and could not eat for thinking about disgusting habits.

2. On my way to work in the tube about 12 years ago, I was absent-mindedly looking at this well-dressed couple. The man was picking his nose and sucking the contents into his mouth. Ugh! I took a hard look at both of them and wondered why a woman so elegant did not see anything wrong with her man’s actions and, as if to answer my question, she dug her elbow into her side, pointed her index finger toward her face, proceeded to pick the bogey stuck between the corner of her eye and the bridge of her nose, and, I kid you not, put it into her mouth. That was the first time I saw that done and the last time anyone saw me in the London Underground.

3. A disgusting habit here is spit cleaning. That is when someone puts his or her finger to their mouth to obtain some spittle in order to clean a mark on their body. Years ago a girl tried to help me clean marks to the sides of my face caused by tears streaming from my eyes because of bitterly cold winds, with her own spit, mind you, and my reaction was fierce. I’ve seen mothers use spittle to clean marks on their children. Ahh! I feel sick.

4. About public loo hygiene. Let me tell you ladies out there, when you go out, about 70% or more of blokes using the loo do not wash their hands afterwards. I don’t care what we say; I see it, every time, and stand in wonder. This probably happens with the ladies as well, however, I’ve not been fortunate to find myself in a ladies’ loo yet. Clubs, pubs, airports, restaurants, bars, everywhere, dirty, grubby, MRSA infected fingers are coming out to embrace you.

5. Eating loudly. I have an acquaintance here that chomps through food like he’s just been released from Guantanamo or Kirikiri. I’ve tried the power of suggestion several times and even told him outright a couple of times, but he appears to take offence when I correct him. Suffice to say, I cannot eat when he is.

That’s my list of disgusting habits. I felt a little unsettled so I thought: why go through this on your own when your blog friends are out there to share with?

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Prose To Darkness

When I noticed some blogs with comments moderation enabled I wondered why, in the interest of free expression, one'd need to do that. I recognised the fact, then and now, that out there are some who cannot employ temperate language when they feel strongly about something, when angered or when they take an issue personally, as we all tend to do from time to time. I also know that some comments left may be totally inappropriate, way too personal for this medium or may even border on blackmail.

With the above in mind and even though I totally validate the reasons why some will moderate their comments - there are too many unhinged people out there and, believe me, I've seen and met my share - I resolved never to moderate comments on this blog. I can literally see a couple of my friends in blogshere raising their eyebrows and saying: you wait, you'll eat your words and I think I agree with you because, as I write, I feel it in my water that you're right.

What has influenced my thinking is the knowledge, acquired over the past two years or so, that we have less to fear from those people I described in the first paragraph than those who are hidden from us, (some of whom smile at us in reality and are our best friends at work and at play, and who we share our stories with and they know most things about us, the ones who really understand us, them), those with really ulterior hang-ups, total dead-beats with sinister chips on their narrow shoulders fermenting evil machinations and wallowing in the stench of their murkiness.

I have broadly divided visitors to various blogs into separate categories below:

1. The Curious – they just ‘surf’ (how I hate that word) and look around various blogs. Like reading a newspaper, they do not leave comments.

2. The Passive – this category mostly wander unto your site by linking to comments you leave at other sites. Some leave comments, some do not. Some come back, others stay away. Some want to come back later to blogs they find interesting but cannot find the path with which they navigated to the blog, as has happened to me. Some ‘stalk’ your blog in a not unpleasant way.

3. The Active – some who know you only on blogshere, virtual friends with whom we develop friendships and affections for their writing styles and ideas, others know your person. At other times, we meet virtually and become friends in reality. Mostly, they leave comments, sometimes they cannot be bothered.

4. The Baddies – this group have some things in common apart from the love of darkness. They generally think they’re clever; they monitor your blog so closely they could be your shadow. They’re around so often they could be stuck on with super glue. They never leave comments but follow your ‘trail’, seeing what you’ve been up to and trying to determine your next move. They are always there, rabid little heretics who may actually be deaconesses in church; greedy dead-enders slinking around in darkness. If you listen closely, you can hear them clicking on to your site. I can see you! Oh yes! Every time you come to my site I smell you, you leave a rancid bovine smell when you log off, much like your paraphernalia of jazz you thought you were hiding from me. You, daughter of darkness, the daughter of an abomination of a mother who knows both husband and boyfriend, killer of Abel and his first son, importer of jazz, the bad fruit does not fall far from the rotten tree. I smell you. Every time you come on, you leave a nasty taste in my mouth.