Archive - December 2017

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Our holidays in photos: Sun, sand and animals
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December in review: Year’s end
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Knick knacks of the past for the future
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G.L.i.B – bed:The Carnivorous City
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G.L.i.B-bed: Everyman
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G.L.i.B -bed: Born a crime
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Creating one of our own
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95% Western, 5% Local

December in review: Year’s end

Perhaps December would have turned out great if one unexpected inconvenience hadn’t marred the celebratory mood it heralds – the fuel scarcity menace. Everything hinged on the availability of this dark, flowing liquid. It was priority, and practically took over our lives and the impending Yuletide.  Nevertheless, four books passed beneath my voracious gaze – Persuasion, How to spell Naija in a 100 short stories Vol. 2, Excuse me ! & Born a crime.  My 9- 5 job hummed along  uninspiringly. Not that I expected anything less; the signs have been there for quite a while. I even wrote and sent off the monthly report earlier than usual as requested by the boss. My exercise routine included three days of bicycle – riding once we went off for the holidays, and hurray I had material more than enough to post beyond the required monthly target of my blog. Goodbye 2017;I sure won’t miss you much.

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Knick knacks of the past for the future

Spring cleaning has never featured in my life in recent times. I don’t subscribe to designating a set time to unclutter my life of clothes unworn for months or unused paraphernalia of a hobby, passion or trend long forgotten. No time for that. And in any case, my asthma disorder lacks the patience to outlast a deluge of dust and rubbish for a prolonged period of time. I happen upon a confused multitude of closet, cupboard or wardrobe in the course of my life’s movements, deal with it immediately and keep it moving. I declutter in bits. Like a stage play in acts and scenes but not all occurring in one huge block of time.  And that’s how I tackled my shelf of books just before the holidays set in. A space I had been procrastinating on.  Of course, I spent too much time mulling over relics of different times of my writing, reading and formal education life. I barely finished cleaning and clearing out before the first sneeze and a slight wheeze both burst out almost at once, the combination leaving me gasping for breath. But the ensuing discomfort was overshadowed by the pages of memories I clutched within my palms – old short stories and articles I had written, compact books I had read only once, workout pamphlet, forgotten items that would be worthy of my scrutiny. And who knows what else that scrutiny would result in? A trip down memory lane? Definitely. Reminder of some really good creative times? Oh yeah. And unwittingly insert themselves into my plans for a memorable and intriguing 2018.

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G.L.i.B – bed:The Carnivorous City

This was amongst the first set of books I read at the beginning of the year. But somehow, a post about it never made it onto the blog. Kindly read this article with that knowledge in mind. The title didn’t quite do it. I was just equal parts pissed. I didn’t know about the book and thrilled at the same time that I happened upon it the day I decided to buy my first set of novels for the year.  I was also ashamed to call myself a reading fan of Toni Kan’s. Of course, I hadn’t read any of his work in years but he was a Facebook friends and I followed his online news magazine – sabinews. I had been following him since his Hints Magazine days.  Soni is missing – the first line of the book – rang in my head throughout the time I was buried between its pages. Those three words determined every and any action of the plot, subplots and its characters. It shaped and unravelled the novel.  Half way through, I came to the sad realization that I might never ‘meet’ the larger- than- life Soni. His spirit, his words, his energy and love for life I felt in his family members, the friends he made , the life he built…I also wanted to witness him firsthand after all the reported speech from those who knew him.  However, I was consoled by other aspects of the book. The familiarity of the physical locations, except Mushin. They were relatable and I could almost point to the exact site of the lighthouse restaurant as I drove around d the area a few days after.  Asaba also brought its own nostalgic feeling- ogogonogo market, etc- even if I had been to the Delta State capital only twice. Sometimes, the author’s style was sudden, unexpected; other times I was intrigued, entertained to bits ‘switching from English to Igbo…’ At no time did he come up short of my expectations of his creativity. Whether in its simplicity or complex structures. He kept me entertained, educated, engaged… Of course”more

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G.L.i.B-bed: Everyman

Everyman ends his life the same way; it’s the details of how he lived it that makes the difference. Back in school, Everyman was a play listed amongst required reading for one of my English drama course. I remember most of its contents in sketches(plays didn’t pique my interest back then), save for something about everyman billed to die and give account of his life. I think. Everyman ‘s life ends the same way; it’s the details of how he lived that’s different. This faded memory propelled me to this little red volume of work which I devoured in less than two days. “Alive with literary brilliance” according to the Sunday Times, it truly was with Roth’s magnificent writing style, evoking a constellation of emotions – sometimes simultaneously, other times one after the other. Based on a particular man’s life and his relationships and subsequent actions with family, friends and colleagues, it deviates from the play which uses allegorical characters, each personifying an abstract idea. The time lapse between my reading of both genres of the title , as well as my preference for prose over plays  tilts this compact volume heavily in my favour. The bonus being its well- written delivery.

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G.L.i.B -bed: Born a crime

Hands down my favourite stand- up comedian of recent times. His performances are not just witty or laugh-out- loud funny but also intelligent and pass on messages that deal with different aspects of the society – political, social, religious, trending news , etc. He can stretch an idea for so long and his art of mimicry is award worthy. This book , an autobiography, was as though I was sitting in on one of his sets – laughing at his jokes about his upbringing, learning  of his life as a coloured person in South Africa, and the boundless love of his mother. Though only sobering thoughts prevailed in the sections where apartheid’s evil, divisive, destructive and inhumane characteristics took up considerable space. Trevor Noah may be coloured with a loving, free – spirited, rebel for a mother, but the effects of the system still shaped his childhood.

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Creating one of our own

Excuse Me! by Victor Ehikamenor is my current reading journey. I’ve been pretty patriotic, with selected Nigerian authors, this year. Eight pages ago, he experienced his first Christmas abroad. It was a lonely, frosty affair. No brightly clothed children roaming the streets like back in his village on Christmas day like he had expected. Or the aroma of celebration, tinged with the scent of onions & tomatoes & fried meat. The emptiness of London’s Christmas and the frozen snow were alien holiday traditions to him. Four days back, the children and I went to the cinema to see the movie, Coco. As we waited for the feature to begin, we endured 25 minutes of Olaf’s Frozen Christmas. Five minutes in, I marched up to the nearest staff to find out if we had wandered into the wrong hall. Amidst apologies, he explained the situation. Part of the production. Coco was next. Blah. Blah. Blah. What crap! And no one thought to inform us until I asked. Returning to my seat, only then could I make sense of Olaf’s roaming the earth, collecting different pieces of Christmas traditions for Anna and Elsa to fashion out theirs. For almost two decades, an unspoken tradition – converging at our mum’s at the end of every year for the holidays – has reigned supreme. We trickle into the familiar ambience of our childhood – brother/sister, spouse, offspring, baggage – and the screams of welcome upon sibling sighting sibling, cousin embracing cousin. Christmas décor. Hot pipping Ukodo (momma’s style) on a day like this after church. Father Christmas with gifts for the children after breakfast. Camaraderie and catching up with siblings. Shopping in each other’s suitcases. Relentless eating/drinking, playing and bickering amongst the children. Incessant, never – ending chores due to the sheer human traffic.The outings to family, friends and play parks temporarily dotted around the city. The feeding on the 26th. The mini – vigil, thanksgiving on the 31st… It’s a week of festivities, family, fun, frivolity…One worth looking forward to every year. But not this year; at least not for me, my beau”more

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95% Western, 5% Local

Until the dance routine tapered towards its end, I struggled with the expression of that emoji in the animated movie of the same name – meh. Meanwhile, all around me, at untimely intervals, there were spontaneous eruptions of excited screams and woohoo that got me thinking: Were we all watching the same opening montage of the children’s Christmas Carol programme? Or was I the only inconsiderate parent amongst super – supportive ones? Forgive me but I refuse to act delighted by a pedestrian performance with less than mechanical accuracy and the corresponding enthusiasm. The vibe I received from the participating children was: Let’s do this and get it over with, and try not to miss too many of the choreography while at it. Their faces were wiped clean of the emotions you’d expect from people who were the cynosure of all eyes – happy, excited, smiling or laughing even. It was as though they were carrying out a chore. And very few people are happy while doing chores. These didn’t have the expression of intense concentration or focus on the task at hand (Some of them had their eyes trained on their fellow dancers to ensure that they were executing the right moves at the right) Bland. Bland. Bland until the routine was almost completed; until some of our local flavour of dance movement were infused into it. The kind the children could relate to, were comfortable with, and executed effortlessly, even if it was just for a few seconds only. The fleeting change was instant in the fluidity of their movements, the hint of relaxed facial muscles, the trace of reveling in this part until it was back to foreign choreography which seems to have replaced any form of traditional dance display which once enjoyed centre – stage in children’s school programmes such as this. Not unlike the advent of Nollywood when the language of preference was Igbo (with subtitles for a wider reach) and the acting prowess of the actors shone through – original, closer to reality, true to us because the actors expressed themselves in their native tongue. A”more

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