My interest in Def Poetry in the past has been limited to Bassey Ikpi. Thanks to a friend, I got forwarded a link to this video by Shihan.. My def poetry love just went up a notch… Found the full text here. Enjoy.
Between bites of peri-peri chicken and sips of Coke Zero, my friend Des asked me if I was happy. She – amongst all my long term friends – complains the least about my propensity to wall them off from the reality that is in my head, but from time to time she insists we meet to ‘catch up’. These meetings haven’t happened a lot recently – thanks to her juggling a return to full time employment with an energetic three year old, and travelling. Skipping merrily through town, as she is wont to these days, she asked if I was up for a bite and a drink, which I accepted. We ordered the usual – a platter to share, bottomless drinks and sides of rice and settled in to talk about the minutiae of life, and all the quotidian pleasures we have enjoyed in the year so far. Then – out of the blue – she asked if I was happy. I suspect I managed to side track her question by rolling out my usual spiel about life being what it was – normal and mundane without anything out of the ordinary.
Mulling over that conversation again, I realised that on this one occasion, I had probably been as truthful as I possibly could. Most of the time life has either dealt me hands that have made me deliriously happy, or left me bogged down in the deep, dark depths of despair.
For the first time in a long time, though I know I am not deliriously happy there is a measure of contentment at how much progress has been made. Given the way the year’s panned out, I reckon that is enough to be thankful for…
Note: If a few of the following characterizations seem stereotyped and larger than life, they probably are. Others more intelligent than I have chalked it up to Time, and how it conflates memory and reflection into a blended – often distorted – whole.
Given the marked paucity of females in my sector of the industry, I was amazed a few days ago by just how many women have left their marks – both in positive and negative ways – on my career till date. I am coming up to what would have been the eighth anniversary of my resuming at my first job – if I had not packed my bags one November morning, deciding I had had enough. In the main, I find that five women stand out from that phase of my life:
It was supposed to be the weekend that banished my 2011 troubles from memory and got me to let my hair down – something I admittedly do not do often enough. There was the small matter of needing to send in my passport to Mama Charlie’s lackeys for an extension to my residence permit, as well as navigating a week of water survival training (given my well documented aversion for large water bodies).
The plan was simple – jump on a flight to London and party hard. There was to be a surfeit of beautiful, intelligent women, pepper soup and music from back in the day. Surely nothing much could go wrong with the MO? Unfortunately everything did.
First off – uncharacteristically – I failed to get all the relevant details about the venue before leaving and ended up having to make frantic phone calls at Heathrow trying to locate the bus stop. This left me feeling drained by the time I arrived at the venue.
Secondly, my shocking inability to dance left me hugging my seat for dear life, meaning all the wonderful fabulous women around were left hugging the floor by themselves.
There are lessons to be learned.. My social skills need an upgrade, if the girl sized gap in the five year plan will be closed out. From the looks of it, my dancing skills (or more strictly the lack of them) needs reviewing ASAP.
Days like these make me miss NCLC more and more… Sigh…
I finally completed Julian Barnes’ 2011 Man Booker Prize winning book – The Sense of an Ending. Considering I felt both previous Booker Prize winners I read earlier in the year – The Finkler Question and Midnight’s Children were not easy reads, I was pleasantly surprised to find I liked this one. In addition to it being ‘readable’ [and that was the subject of a furore which threatened to engulf this year’s awards] I suspect I liked it because it explored the conflation of memory and reflection, a genre of books I’ve been drawn to since I read Teju Cole’s Open City.
My favourite passage is a reflection on time and how it paints the past in a different, less sure light.
… how time first grounds us and then confounds us. We thought we were being mature when we were only being safe. We imagined we were being responsible but were only being cowardly. What we called realism turned out to be a way of avoiding things rather than facing them.
Time … give us enough time and our best-supported decisions will seem wobbly, our certainties whimsical..
The following was instigated by a discussion on Twitter with @Sir Fariku on the case for football as a compelling metaphor for a bloke’s dating life and the Brothers With No Game series on Which Footballer Are You?
In the 1997 movie ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding‘ directed by P.J. Hogan, Julianne Potter (played by Julia Roberts) finds herself facing a conundrum of sorts. Her long term friend, Michael O’Neil (played by Dermot Mulroney) informs her a few days short of her own 28th birthday of his impending marriage to Kimberly (played by Cameron Diaz). This should be great news, except for the small matter of a pact between Julianne and Michael where they had agreed that if they remained single till they turned 28, they would get married to each other. She also believes (rightly or wrongly) that Kimberly is the wrong person for him to get married to.
This conundrum is eerily similar to the situation which faced a certain Mr Kenneth Dalglish in the summer of 2010. Rafa Benitez, had just led Liverpool football club to an utterly deflating 7th place finish in the Premiership against a sordid back story of boardroom unrest, player dissatisfaction and an overall feeling of malaise. Messers Hicks and Gillet, our very own American shysters, seemed intent on running the club aground, not helped by the millstone of money owed to a certain nationalised bank. When Rafa Benitez was moved on, what was a bad situation became life threatening when a shortlist of replacements was revealed – a certain Mr Roy Hodgson was being promoted by the English paper as a safe pair of hands to guide the club through what were truly dark times. Legend has it, that Kenny was so dissapointed by the shortlist that he immediately offered his services as manager as he felt he could do a much better job than those being considered.
Any football fan of some pedigree would recognise the parallels here. Just like Julianne and Michael, ‘King’ Kenny and Liverpool had a long and distinguished connection, one that made him feel compelled to throw his hat into the ring to ‘save’ the club. Both the King and Julianne Potter, fell prey to what I describe as the Dalglish Conjecture – the (right or wrong) belief that there is a duty owed to a close friend to intervene in their affairs to prevent the occurence of a fatal mistake. At its core is a commendable, if not entirely altruistic, sense of loyalty that somehow concludes that the greater good is served by the sacrifice of ones independence on the altar of loyalty to a friend.
In the more general case, I find that this conjecture occurs fairly regularly between guys and girls who are long term friends and have developed an understanding that seems to be lacking in the various potential mates they fall in with. One party often concludes that given the inefficiences in the various hook ups they get into, it would make a lot more sense to step into the breach and offer their ‘services’ as a potential dating partner.
Given the foregoing, I therefore present to you the Dalglish conjecture:
Given any interaction universe U, populated with elements ei, each having a unique time-dependent intrinsic spin function Si(t); for any two elements with identical but opposite spin frequencies in a state of mutually non-intrusive interaction, if the near field intrusive interaction coefficient ku is less than 1, the optimum interaction state of both elements is a mutually intrusive one.
Unfortunately, this is only a conjecture and is unproven. Any implementation of this in a real life dating situation is entirely at the users’ risk.
For memories which refuse to lie down and die…. But for which we cannot hold on for forever.
[…] I don’t want to look back and wonder
If good enough could have been better
Every day’s a day that’s borrowed
So why am I waiting for tomorrow […]
One Sunday in December of ’76 as the dry, dusty harmattan winds dumped a fine layer of dust on a sleepy village, two best friends who had not seen each other for the better part of three years were meeting up under the shade of a kola nut tree, squarely placed in the centre of the court yard of the unpainted cement building that housed one of the ruling families in a little village nestled underneath the overhanging rocks of the Somorika mountains.
The men in question had been partners in crime, as they painted the small village red a few years before. Forming a fearsome central defensive partnership, they had been the foundation of the all-conquering village football team. Women (and free kai-kai at the local drinking spots) were a few of the trappings this revered status brought them, and like all full blooded thirty-something males, they had milked their lofty status to the maximum. They also had the fortune in those days to have parents with some education, and thus had been pushed and prodded until they had completed their A-levels and gone on to University – Ai to UNILAG, and Og to UI.
Something though had happened in between – Ai had somehow acquired a worldview shattering transformation two years into his UNILAG experience, and had become rabidly spiritual, complete with speaking in tongues and the other trappings of militant charismatism. Og on the other hand had fallen in with the folks at the Student Union and had become a radical of his own, only with a more political slant.
Underneath the tree, the animated conversation slowly segued into an attempt to unpack the changes that had happened in their individual lives in the period they had not seen each other. Og was incredulous, and perhaps a little dismissive of the fact that a full blooded young man could suddenly become able to resist the lure of free women, beer, and a reputation for playing the town. Ai tried his best to explain the spiritual changes that had happened in his life, to little effect.
That innocuous conversation underneath a tree was the first step in a chain of events that would bring Ai in contact with a delectable lass from the village next door. Whilst visiting cousins in the village next door, Og was told about someone who had shattered academic records all her life, and was attending the University of Ife on a Federal scholarship. She also had a reputation for being a hard nosed SU member. The next time Og was in town, he asked to meet her, and when his missive was repelled with a stirring master class in evangelism, he mentioned he knew just the right bloke with enough spiritual fervour to match the young woman’s potency.
Two years later, Ai and said lass would get married in the local Anglican Church amid much pomp and pageantry- she swears the marriage register was signed at 11:36am; all he remembers is saying the I-do’s and whisking her off to a whole new life.
33 years, four children (less the one who the genes took), multiple quarrels (including at least one week where one party packed out of the house), and six academic degrees between them later, they are still together, reasonably happy and still share a laugh at Og’s antics. Somewhere in between they would become my parents.
The evening before the morning I am due to fly, I stay awake till the wee hours of the morning tossing and turning on my bed. There is the reality of the unfinished business between TheB and I that needs sorting out one way or the other; and that thought, scary as it is, leaves my mind accelerating into overdrive. These could potentially be game changing events I am about to unleash, if I grow the balls to go through with it. History suggests that it will be yet another dumb squib.. One way or the other, there has to be some clarity I reckon