Monday, December 31, 2007

Mista Fanutastiki & Me

Apologies are in order.

I have been sick (malaria plus flu plus basic body crash as a result of the incessant traveling). And I am in Lagos, as are a number of the (few) people in this world that I would give an arm and/ or a leg for. It was also my mother's birthday (think embarassing and downright hilarious karaoke party planned by yours truly), Christmas day, and my birthday (3 days ago. Yes, do feel free to sing "Happy Birthday" to me in your mind!) in the space of one week.

Before the year is up though, I want to blog about something. And have only just been hit by what feels to me like the best way to blog about the issue that I have now decided I am ready to blog about (in as discreet and non tongue-twisting a manner as is wise of course).

One thing I have never done, in my year and 4 months as a blogger, is share a work of fiction (however small) that is mine i.e. that I wrote, and then edited, and then ripped, and then re-wrote. And tonight, I have decided to copy and paste a small section from an as yet unfinished short story that I churned out sometime in the summer this year.

If you know me personally, or have been a regular (of sorts) on my blog, you will know that for a long time I thought being a writer of fiction, that is, adult, contemporary, cultural, and more specifically Nigerian, fiction, was the only way to go. Why? Because it is the form of literature that I connect best with, that inspires me the most, and that is able to (literally) blow my mind when it is done right. (You can see my 'A Nigerian, Afropolitan, African Brit' post if you're curious.)

But this year, I discovered (slowly and painfully) that, though fiction is where my heart is (and probably always will be), it is not the form of literary expression that comes easiest to me. In fact, you could say that, because I love (and desire to be) an afficionado of fiction (pardon the poor pun), it is the one area of expression via the written word that I find excruciatingly painful whenever I (after a long and tedious process of gearing myself up) decide to dive into it.

Before I go on and on (as I am always wont to do), I will stop myself from going into a detailed breakdown of the excerpt below's history. I will not talk about the (now abandoned) short story it was supposed to be a part of. Neither will I tell you about the day I forced myself to hack at it to the point where I felt (for the first time ever in my life) ready and content enough to read it aloud to a room full of talented (and inspiring) writers, at the head of which sat Chimamanda Adichie (whose 'Half of a Yellow Sun' was one of the above-described works that did (seriously) blow my mind). I know some of you will probably disagree with what I have just said, and whilst you are very much welcome to, [please insert Paris Hilton voice here] whaaaat ever!)

What I will however say about this excerpt is that I am putting it on my blog because I have finally met my own real life Mista Fanutastiki. And whilst he has nothing whatsoever in common (aside from his 'fabulousity', in my eyes) with the Mista Fanutastiki of the piece below, I wanted and (in a weird way) needed to put this scene up here. Perhaps because it will help him get to grips with how I feel about him (even though he knows it, because he literally does blow my mind, my heart and my everything)? Perhaps because it will help him understand why this razzo has gone from calling him "Mr. Fantastic" (in those cheesy moments) to calling him "Mista Fanutastiki" all the damn time (even in public!!)? And perhaps because in some weird way, it could potentially force me (especially as the New Year approaches) to grab hold of this talent I know I possess, but am as yet at a loss as to how best to turn into a fruitful, satisfying and seriously lucrative (kerrching!) career.

In exchange for this however, I must ask that you, as always, let me know exactly what your thoughts are (be honest, be brutal) about the blurb below. Perhaps I am a sicko, but because I truly am my own worst enemy, there is nothing I revel in more than a word or sentence of (constructive) criticism that points my attention to something that I hadn't even noticed in myself! :) I really do live for such moments.

Have a fantastic and blessed New Year everyone! And I'll be seeing you in 2008.


B. Xxxx


Still Without A Title, Or A Home, Or Even A Short Story To Call Its Own

At the centre of the hall, the bride was being plastered with filthy naira notes. Her groom danced beside her, sweating profusely, enduring similar torture.

Gele and aso oke-decked bodies, gyrated and towered over them. Men in their white, crease-free agbadas. Buxom women readjusting their red and gold, or blue and gold, aso ebi (that indicated whether they were with the bride’s or the groom’s family). Their faces, plump with good food, champagne, London’s Dry Gin, betrayed their complete oblivion to the sweat trickling down their necks, mingling with coral beads, gold, and diamond necklaces.

Loud drumming and music, courtesy of Ibadan’s finest Fuji band, filled the room. Onstage, the self-acclaimed Fuji Fantastics shimmered in silver shirts and tight black trousers, the drummer and saxophonist sported crew cuts and sunglasses, the guitarists, an array of Afros, of varying heights and widths.

The lead singer, resplendent in a white waistcoat and matching trousers, bellowed into the microphone. “Wo n pe mi, Mista Fanutastiki. Patty people, I say, Gerron Down! Oyaaaa! Jo fun mi!”

His back-up singers wriggled their waists and hips in short silver dresses, the sparkling tassels on their wrists flaying in time with their long black hair.

“Jo, jo, jo…” came their reply.

Ceiling fans, swiped lethargically through the air, displacing balloon bouquets and streamers, doing little to quell the damp on the foreheads and underarms.

The room was like an oven, already preheated. Poised, to brown a chicken.


You may, at this juncture, feel free to rain a tirade of insults on me (for making all that noise, or for being a lazy bugger), because it really and truly does end here ;) Xxx

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oh My Goodness, I Can't Think Of A Title! This Has Never Ever Happened Before!

I have been doing something that I rarely do, but which I enjoy immensely whenever I get the chance to do it. I have been reading my old posts. Posts which were written not too long ago, but which were generally (heck, always) conditioned and influenced by whatever I was going through at the time.

It's been a long while since I wrote a post like 'Boys Can't Cry' which got all my favourite blog people thinking and talking and sharing their own experiences, and doing what I love them for --> eventually changing my perspective. I have been feeling for a while now that my style as a blogger has changed. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was, but today I think I have. Hardly any of the posts I've put up since the summer have been thought-provoking. Why? Because I began to keep my thoughts to myself, without really realising it. And even though I was still giving a lot away about my life and the way I live it, I was merely retelling events without really providing any insight into them, into how they affected me, or how they changed me. With my old posts, I always gave some insight into my personal perspective. Even when I was strong-headed, as with 'Boys Can't Cry' and when I was remorseful and humbled, as with 'Boys Can't Cry Part Deux'. (Can I just add that I am an equal opportunities employer on the boo hoo front these days?)

I can't say for certain why it is that I stopped sharing the part of my personality that (before you accuse me of bragging, scrutinise the evidence abeg) was easier to connect with and more popular than the part I currently focus on right now (my sense of humour and my ability to laugh at absolutely everything that happens to me). Perhaps I thought I was giving away too much and that it was dangerous? Well it was a bit. I learned that lesson very hard and very fast when I saw the impact my addiction to the "self sharing" opportunities provided by my blog had on the relationship I was in at the time. Perhaps I also haven't really been allowing myself to mull over my emotions, thoughts and perspectives of late, as I was wont to do in the past? I have found recently that whenever I sit down to blog, I can't help but throw all the personal bits out the window. Literally! Like with my posts on India and on France, there were so many thoughtful observations I wanted to make (and share) but just never did. It was like I just couldn't bring myself to get personal, and I didn't know why!

When I sat down to write the previous post, I actually wanted to talk about how impressed I was with India, how moved and inspired I was to see a country with such a similar history to ours forging ahead with the full effort and support of its people. I wanted to talk about all the things I learned about Hinduism and the impact that's had on my personal approach to Christianity, the immense respect I have for this much-ignored faith (well in the West anyway) which is probably primarily responsible for the huge sense of morality that pervades every single Hindu and the way he lives his life. This by the way I really believe is so closely connected with the fundamental differences that I noted between Nigerians and Indians. There is a strong strong sense of right and wrong in India, which we have completely lost in Nigeria. I felt safe when I was there, in a way that I would never have thought possible given its status as a 'developing country', and in a way that I so desperately crave to in Nigeria. This is not to say that Indian tour guides do not use their sway with tourists to extract extortionate sums by way of commission from shop sellers, or that there is no corruption in India. Far from it! But there is a difference between their (mental and moral) corruption and ours, and I don't know if I have been able to put my finger on just why that is, not since I came back, and definitely not now in this post.

India has so many of the problems we have! We (Nigerians) often feel cool about the fact that we have 250 ethnic groups or whatever the figure is. We often use this as an excuse when talking about the leaps and advances made by our neighbours in Ghana for example. But our differences are nothing when compared to the differences (ethnic groups, kingdoms, languages, religions) that prevail in India. And just as we are, Indians are VERY much victims of the colonial experience. In fact, in my opinion (shoot it down if you will, you're more than welcome to because I am no professor) they were changed and affected a hell of a lot more than we were. Walking around the Colaba and Fort areas alone in Mumbai, was enough to convince me of this. I would look up at the top of a beautiful beautiful Victorian building like Bombay University or whatever it's called, which could easily be planted amongst the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, and would stand out only because of its exotic Mughal features and little else! And I would feel like I was in England, but in a dirty, rundown, faded and unkempt England that had brown rather than pale people running all over the place. The architectural and other (now rundown) remnants of their colonial era are still very much a reminder of just how strong a presence the British had in India. Imagine how angry, repressed and altered they must have been! Fine, this applies especially to Mumbai and not at all to areas like Udaipur (that were never touched by the British), but it made me think!

In a lot of the traveling I have been doing, I haven't just been meeting Italians, and stuffing my face, and fending off mosquitos. I have been learning. Learning so much about myself and thinking so much about my country. Making comparisons all the damn time, pissing people off with my incessant observations, and becoming more and more determined to connect better with the place that I call home and with its many many MANY problems. And it has been amazing!

Gosh! This wasn't supposed to be this long. I had planned to stop 3 paragraphs ago with a sentence or two promising to make the effort to share more of myself. Blogging just hasn't been the same for a long while and I have been feeling very dissatisfied and disconnected. But I'm just glad I have finally begun to work out what was missing. Now this doesn't mean you'll be getting any insights into topics like the amazing, wonderful person I have recently let into my life in a way that I am not yet able to define (apologies to any nosy parkers). But I am definitely going to try and give more of me. Xxx

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Coconuts, Cows, Mosquitoes & Geckos

Each time I had the urge to blog, it was impossible to get to a computer, or to get to one with an internet connection at least. In India, there was so much to tell, but no bloody internet anywhere, and even when there was internet, I was charged an arm and a leg for it and would have been foolish to do anything other than check my email and spy on friends on facebook. The problem now though is that I possess the memory of a gold fish, and have been in hibernation for the last 3 days doing nothing but watching Friends and Frasier re-runs and my X-Factor (Go Rhydian!) recordings over and over again, so my recollection of events might be somewhat... ummm... warped.

One thing I remember wanting to talk about was the "animal situation" in India. As one who hails from the tropics, I am not unfamiliar with mosquitoes, neither am I unfamiliar with a sighting or two of goats or cows in allegedly 'urban' areas. What I am unfamiliar with though, is fearless animals, animals who don't give a shit (or a rat's ass) about humans. Mosquitoes that dive nose-first into your eyes when you are wide awake and staring right at them, dogs that attempt to cross the road without looking left or right, goats that refuse to heed to a driver's loud horns, crows that steal food from restaurant tables in broad daylight, pigeons that quench their thirst in swimming pools, and cows that do whatever the hell they want whenever they bloody well want to. The cows were unbelievable! Not only did they take strolls on busy roads in city centres, they took up prime car-space on the motorway. And on narrow country roads, they wouldn't budge, not even when they were hit by the hard, metal body of a car. Slowly, we grew accustomed to the following sounds: car door + cow trunk (oomp), car door + cow horn (boonp), and car door + cow snout (donk): neither of which was very pleasant.

In Kerala, farm animals were not as prevalent, perhaps because fish, crab and lobsters ruled the streets in that region. Oh and coconuts too! Kera La means "land of coconuts" and my goodness there were coconut trees everywhere! I was about 10 the last time I drank from a coconut - my brother and I begged our mallam to climb one of the trees in our backyard. He hacked at it with his huge dagger/sword thing, we stuck 2 straws in it, and after one or two slurps, our time was up. In Kerala though, coconuts are different. It took me TWO HOURS (slurp, pause, slurp, gasp, slurp, hold stomach to stop the swishing, slurp) to drain the coconut I was given, and after that I decided I was done. My struggle with the coconut was on a houseboat in the middle of nowhere, and I had nothing else to do, which was why I kept it up.

Gosh... the houseboat!! Yet another thing I wanted to talk about.

To get to the houseboat, we drove from Kochi to Alleppey, and into a yard with very exotic-looking bamboo houseboats. Within 5 minutes, our luggage was on board and we were off. The crew introduced themselves - there were 3, the driver, the engine-master, and the chef (who was skinny - that we took as a good sign). We were out in open water, on the backwaters of Alleppey, and it was beautiful, breathtaking in fact. There was nothing around but water, it was completely silent. I made a note in the sacred 'Where To Go On Honeymoon' notepad that I keep in my (insane) mind, (and am ashamed to say make regular amendments to). 15 minutes later though, 'Houseboat on the Backwaters of Alleppey' was scrubbed right off the list! There was nothing to do on the bloody boat! There was no way I could get online (duh!), the 3 books I had brought on board were non-fiction (dull), in French (I wasn't in the mood), and in pre-1890 French (hello?) and I was starting to freak out. Zozo on the other hand was ensconced in 'The God of Small Things' and I was kicking myself for having recommended it to her, as she had subsequently lost all interest in speaking to me. So I sat there, on the boat, watching the beautiful lake and the beautiful birds and the beautiful multi-coloured dragonflies go by, sipping my coconut and twiddling my thumbs.

We pulled into a narrow stream for lunch, I bargained with 2 fishermen who rowed up to the boat to sell langoustines, we set sail again, and then the SUN came out. By evening, I was blacker than night (the boat was shaded so I don't get how it happened), my allergies had kicked in (I am either allergic to nature/ water/ natural water because they showed up unannounced 2 days before when we swam under a waterfall in Kochi) and there were mosquitoes and geckos everywhere. It was incredible! The sun went down, we sat in the armchairs, and one by one, mosquitoes appeared, and as they did, so did the geckos. The highlight was when a gecko lost its balance mid tongue-stretch, and dropped onto Zozo's chair, which sent her flying and screaming and brought all of our 3-man crew running to apprehend the danger. Once dinner was over though (think sweaty, sticky, harassed Bitchy eating the most delicious langoustines ever with a drippy drippy nose! Yuck! Yum! Yuck!) we locked ourselves in our bedroom where thankfully we had air-conditioning, and then shivered all night long (because the sheets were too thin).

I should write a movie script about my time in India - it would put Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell to shame! It was so bloody funny! I'm afraid my re-telling of it hasn't painted quite as funny a picture as I would've liked. I want to write about Mumbai next, but I am going to stop here because this post is already very long and very dull. I seem to have lost my blogger's mojo!

Crap! Xxx

P.S. Both photographs are mine. I am no longer a pilferer (I don't think this word exists) of images from google!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Phoenix

Farafina is pleased to announce a reading tour by award winning writer, Chika Unigwe, author of The Phoenix.

The readings will be at:

Jazzhole, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos (Saturday, 8 December 2007 at 5pm)

Quintessence, Falomo Shopping Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos (Friday, 14 December 2007 at 5pm)

Bookworm Bookstore, Victoria Island, Lagos (Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 5pm)

Cafe Salamander, Aminu Kano Cresent, Abuja (Tuesday, 18th December 2007 at 4pm)

Admission is free so there's no excuse. Go! Click on the flyer below in case I got any of the details wrong. Xxx

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tiger Tales From Rajasthan

The life of a globetrotter is not a piece of cake. I am tired, heck, I am bloody exhausted. Racing around Rajasthan and its neighbouring states for 10 days straight was great in the beginning (even though Delhi was dullsville, and the Taj Mahal was beautiful but disappointingly hollow). Safari in Rathambore however, was the highlight. Briefly (yeah right), it's a mountain reserve that houses a family of 5 Bengal tigers and millions and billions of deer, antelope, kingfishers and owls. Our first 4-hour round in the safari jeep produced dozens of photos of the millions and billions of deer, antelope, kingfishers and owls. By the end of it, I was seriously irritated. I was freezing (we had declined the offer of a blanket at 2pm in the afternoon, when we set off with the sun blazing down on our ears, necks and backs), I was covered in dust, and I needed to pee. Zozo on the other hand, was on a high from all the great pictures she got of spotted deer, samba deer yak yak yak. We got back to our "luxury tent" (which would have been fine had the temperature not dropped to 6 degrees celsius that night - who thinks about thermal underwear when packing for a trip to India? Not Bitchy, that's who!) And then they dropped the bomb - that we would have to go on safari again the next day, at 6AM. I was so irritated I wanted to shoot someone.

The night came, iced our butts right, and then left, and we found ourselves setting off (long before the crack of dawn mind you), back down the same stretch of mountain where we had seen nothing but millions and billions of deer, antelope, kingfishers and owls the evening before. At that hour, even the deer had pissed off and moved elsewhere. We drove around for hours and hours, I came dangerously close to killing someone, and then our guide stopped to show us a tiger paw print on the dirt road. "Woo bloody hoo" was my response, as the day before, we'd seen print after print that led nowhere but to more deer and more owls. Zozo and I had even become convinced that the Ranthambore staff had a huge tiger-paw stamp that they went about with when no one was looking, so as to keep gullible visitors like the lady sitting behind us in our jeep (who prided herself on being the owner of 15 cats) excited. So anyway, we saw the print, the guide and driver put on their excited faces and we begun the wild chase for the umpteenth time. An hour later, things began to slow down again, and I fell asleep with my eyes wide open. Next thing I knew we sped up a clear stretch of the mountain, and they stopped the car. And then the guide pointed down at a haze of orange and black that was so far away I had to go from optical into digital zoom to get a shot. The strange thing is, that even that tiny glimpse of tiger-behind was exhilarating. But then it was so far away! We were at the top of a mountain on one side, and it was at the foot of the mountain opposite, which was separated from ours by a river! The tiger too was camera shy and kept stopping behind huge trees! It was exhilarating, but it was frustrating.

As I soon found out though, the guides at Ranthambore were not in fact phoneys, they really did know what they were doing. Our guide jumped back in the car when it looked like the tiger had had enough of us, and told the driver to speed off in the same direction that the tiger was headed. I didn't think this was going to go anywhere. The tiger was so far away. We sped back down the mountain, came to a clearing which was level with where the tiger was, and stopped. Across the massive river, the guide had a much better view of the tiger, but then I couldn't see it because Zozo's big head kept getting in the way, and we weren't allowed to get out of the car in case any of the other tigers were close by and/or were hungry.

So I sat in the car, we all sat. The guide told us to be dead quiet, and we obeyed. The next thing I heard was "he's coming this way", and before I had time to react, the most incredible animal I have ever seen in my life was walking out of the river and was standing right in front of me. Okay, not right in front of me, but he was barely 2 metres from our jeep! And he was so beautiful, so incredibly beautiful that none of us said a word. No one moved, no one blinked, all we did was take picture after picture after picture of this gynormous tiger that we had at first thought was camera shy, but which then swam across the river to get his moment in the spotlight. It was phenomenal. I was speechless. (And I'm not even an animal-enthusiast. The bulky British guy sitting behind us cried!) The tiger walked past the front of our car, and then carried on into the forest. The whole thing must have lasted about 3 minutes, but the feeling of awe didn't leave us for days, not even when a dog lunged at my foot and almost bit me in Jaipur, and not even when a bigger, scarier dog chased Zozo in Udaipur several days later. (That's a lie, we completely forgot about the tiger at both those moments - I even phoned the hotel staff and threatened them with a law suit. Okay that's a lie too, I phoned them and told them to lock the dog up which they kinda forgot to do, and then I got our travel agent who was a 'big boss man' to tell them off.)

We are now in Kochi (in Kerala) and have left Rajasthan behind - thank goodness! After Ranthambore it was palace after fort after fort after palace in Jaipur, Deogarh and Udaipur. And it was HOT too! Hotter than Lagos. Possibly even hotter than Dubai (during the 5 minutes that I walked from the plane to the airport in June en route to Beijing). We saw several temples too - the most beautiful being in Ranathkpur between Deogarh and Udaipur. Unfortunately I have no pictures of that amazing temple as by the time we were seeing it, we were so sick of taking our shoes off and getting our feet dirty just to see holy walls covered in pigeon shit, that we declined to pay the 200 rupees for a camera ticket, expecting to be out of the temple within 5 minutes. What a mistake that was, we were there for an hour! But I do have a picture of the tiger, and this I believe, is going to be the first ever photo of my own that I have displayed on my blog in the year and however many months that I have had it, so please cherish the moment.


Bitchindini Xxx

Click on the image to see it in all its glory

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hot Child in the City

Ok so I'm in Delhi, and so far there has been only one monkey.


But... Remember Rukks? The friend I mention once in a while? The girl with the warped fashion sense who used to leave really mean comments on here? The first friend to tell the truth about that skank-ass weave I had done by Feline in Smackdown vs Raw? and moaned about in Pants On Fire?

Well... Rukks has a blog now! Yaay! Please read it, it'll make you laugh. And whilst I was not too pleased about her blatant THEFT of my name concept, I decided to go ahead and do the "good friend" thing anyway.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mosquitos, Monkeys and Me

The conversation in the post below was not at all a scene from the rom com that some of you have now conjured up on my behalf. It was in fact very embarassing, and then very awkward, and then downright hilarious.

After the Italiano's question (i.e. where I left off) I burst out laughing. I laughed my head off, he burst out laughing too and then we carried on with our silly conversation.

Did he mean what he said and did I then ruin it by laughing my head off? I don't think so.

Did I want him to mean what he said? No I did not. As you may have spotted by now, I am a brat. I want what I can not have, and then when it begins to look like I am about to get it, I stop wanting it. Obviously the above isn't always true, but this time, I am ashamed to say, it was.

I'm terribly sorry if my post was misleading ;) You should know never to get excited by anything that comes out of my mouth/ fingers. I am a joker! I thought that much was obvious. If you feel lost/ cheated/ confused, I apologise. But I will make up for it with the juicy (try hilarious) posts that I'm sure will follow in the next few days. I am off to Delhi tonight, from where I will be traveling around Rajasthan and then Kerala for 3 weeks.

I refused my GP's offer of anti-malaria medication on the premise that I am Nigerian and thus naturally immune (don't ask how she accepted that bullcrap). I have recently discovered however that the mosquitos in India are not at all the same as the weasly bugs flying around in Lagos. They are muscly. And I am worried.

I also received a video clip (see below) from a friend reminding me of the news story I heard about (but ignored) whilst in Paris - apparently Delhi has been overrun by wild monkeys which have been harrassing and terrorising the local population for ages now.

Doesn't this promise to be a fun trip?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

L'Italien, Un Serveur et Des Cheveux Faux

In as brief a manner as possible (yeah right), I am going to tell two different stories.

The first, is about how I came to discover what the problem was with the Italian.

And the second, is about how the Italian came to discover that my silky long locks are not in fact mine.

On Saturday, several hours after my darling E-Weezy hopped off the Eurostar and after we stuffed ourselves silly, I got a call from the Italiano inviting us to dinner with him and some other Italianos who were in Paris visiting him. E-Weezy and I arrived at the restaurant in Montparnasse (that was such an unnecessary detail wasn't it?) a little late, as per usual. After a somewhat lukewarm (try frosty) reception from the other Italianos who looked mighty shocked to have two dark-skinned senoritas descend unannounced upon their dinner party, we sat down and the outrageous flirting with Oga P began. I did all the right things, I tossed my hair left and right, fiddled with my fingers, batted the eyelids... the works! I believe E-Weezy even took notes on her blackberry. It was a masterclass in flirting, of the sort only to be witnessed once per lifetime.

Half way through dinner (which I thought was going very well) I noticed that the Italiano's hand (he was sitting across from me) was under the table. I then noticed that the girl sitting to his right (across from E-Weezy who was sitting to my left) also had her hand under the table. Now, even though I have never ever been good at statistics, it was pretty damn obvious (without having to crane or stretch my neck) that there was absolutely no way their hands could be where they were, and not be touching.

At that, the evening took a turn for the worse, I lost my appetite, and E-Weezy was forced to listen to me moan and groan for an extensive period when we got back (slightly earlier than planned) to mine.

The second story I am going to tell played itself out in front of my very perplexed eyes not too long, a mere three hours ago in fact.

After 2 days of ignoring the Italian, trying my hardest not to flirt or laugh at his stupid jokes, I was forced to spend the afternoon alone with him today as the other girl in our class left yesterday. We went to the brasserie round the corner (because he is in love with their sausages), argued over whether to sit inside or outside (no prizes for guessing where I wanted to sit) and then ended up sitting outside. The waiter, who is very friendly (surprising for Paris isn't it?) bounded over, and began to chat to us. He moved the heater closer to us because I moaned to him about the cold. And then, he turned to me and said (in French) "Your hair will be okay, yes?"

I froze. After a sneaky glance at Oga P (who was looking very confused), I somehow found my voice and said, with as big a smile as I could manage, thinking that would silence him - "Yes it'll be fine, thank you".

But NO he wasn't done.

"So they are extensions yes?" he said next, with a huge grin on his face. I can't remember now what the word for extensions is in French, but I assure you that it was not a word that the Italiano knew.

Again I glanced at him, again the perplexed look.

"Yes" I said.

The waiter continued, "Oh I can't wait to tell my friend. She is black like you, but from Senegal, and she pays so much for her hair from Brazil. I can never tell that it's fake. Where is yours from? Brazil too?"

"No, California" I said.

And thus the conversation continued, ending only after I had explained to the waiter, Oga P and all the other patrons in the establishment, the differences between human and synthetic hair, and Brazilian and American hair, and my reasons for choosing to go with American rather than Brazilian hair.

The waiter eventually left, I thought for a split second that a heart attack was on the ascent, but then the Italiano turned my attention to something else, and we continued our chit chat.

We talked about several things, even about my hair, and then he said (completely out of the blue), "Tu as un fiancé à Londres?"

"No I'm not engaged!" I said, even though I understood perfectly well what he meant (his French is hilarious. He speaks Italian, Spanish and English and so throws in whatever European word he chooses when he can no longer be bothered, simply because he knows whoever he is speaking to will be able to work it out).

"Do you have a boyfriend in London?" he said again, this time in English.

"No," I said. Then, in as light a tone as I could muster, "And you, you have a girlfriend yes?"

To which he said "No".

To which I said "Huh?"

To which he said "Huh?"

To which I then said "But your friend that my friend (meaning E-Weezy) was speaking to on Saturday, wasn't she your girlfriend?"

And what was his reply?

"No, whatever gave you that idea? She's one of my best friends."

I didn't know what to do at this point. I didn't know whether to go into the hand-holding, or into my spying and subsequent rage when I saw what I thought I saw on Saturday.

And so I kept quiet.

And then he said, "So you don't have a boyfriend in London? How come?"

I told him how come.

And then he said, "So basically, what you need is a boyfriend like me."


And there dear friends, is where I have decided that I am going to stop. But before I go, I shall leave you with two words, and two words alone. And they are...

Hot (and) Cake!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Italy vs. France - La Lutte Des Amants

I came to my blog just now with the intention to tell a big fat lie about a situation that currently plagues me, but I find that for some bizarre and completely inexplicable reason, I am compelled to tell the truth. (This' a first innit? Teehee!)

I have spent the last week in the company of two very good-looking, very intelligent gentlemen. As you may have worked out from the title, one is Italian, the other French (actually I thought he was Brazilian when I first met him, as he's half Asian).

The problem here is not that I find it difficult to flirt with two men at the same time (on the contrary, I am reveling in this current 'predicament'). No, the problem is that the Italian doesn't seem to want to play anymore!

Now, as one who is accustomed to a regular stream of admirers (hyuk hyuk) I am astounded! Astounded is too weak a word. I am flipping flabbergasted! As I said to my dearest Misan via email the other day, 'How dare he not like me? Is he crazy?!'

The Italian (who Misan insists on referring to as 'Oga P' simply because it gets on my nerves, and because she dislikes his name) confuses me. He spends the entire weekend with me, takes me to beautiful place after beautiful place, and then to a fantastic jazz club (which so happens to be where I met the Frenchy - am I naughty or what? Hmmm... Perhaps this is why he isn't interested. Anyway...) He insists on walking with me to my apartment every single time we go out, moves me out of harms way even when it's unlikely that the granny approaching on her bicycle could do me much damage. Then he invites me round to his, cooks me dinner, agrees to watch 'The Bodyguard' with me even though he insists it's a very stupid film and he knows he will be forced to spend the rest of the evening translating it into English for me. He insists I stay for ages and ages, until I'm literally falling asleep, and does all manners of other sweet things etcetera etceteroo.

But then... Nothing!

Now if the Italian were the basic ugga-bugga Naijaman sort (i.e. "Me man, you woman, man want woman, woman must want man" etc), or the sleezy Joey Tribbiani-type Italiano, things would be far less confusing. But as luck (or disaster) would have it, he's the complete opposite! He's a flippin' hippy, who just also happens to be a gentleman.

Moving on very quickly to the Frenchy. He makes me laugh to no end whenever we see. When we met at the Jazz Club, I was still yet to buy a mobile phone, and so he made a huge show of writing his number on my hand so that I'd be forced to remember him the next day (which was absolutely hilarious, and so not as cheesy as it sounds). He took me to a football game yesterday (even though he knew I would be bored stiff) simply because he wanted to see me but had already made plans to go to the game. He constantly asks me all sorts of questions, and is particularly anxious about my 'friendship' with the Italian. And yes, it is very clear that the Frenchy would be happy to get kissy kissy with Bitchy.

But... Bitchy wants the Italian!

To be honest, she wasn't entirely sure she wanted the Italian until the Italian began to act as though he was indifferent to Bitchy, at which Bitchy promptly began to flirt with the Italian like a wasp on heat! (Gosh, I'm such an idiot) And if you've been reading this blog long enough to remember my 'Flirtatious' post, you will remember that Bitchy is an unwitting flirt, and thus when she does take the decision to actively engage in flirtatious behaviour, is quite frankly, ridiculous to behold.

Sigh... I'm almost tempted to give up, but it's just so intriguuuueing. I am a hot cake! How can this possibly be happening?

N.B. I will not take kindly to comments that make mention of the lard, cakes and other such things that have been discussed in previous posts. The size of my arse is completely besides the point. If anything, it should be working to my advantage. It certainly would be in Naijaman territory. Perhaps I should just stick to the breed I know ey?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Le Tektonik... Bouges Tes Fesses!

The things I do for my blog (and my internet addiction)...

The apartment I've been living in since Wednesday doesn't have any internet connection. My landlord (who lives in London but is currently in the middle of nowhere in rural Ethiopia) had implied that there would be several 'open' wireless networks that I would be able to tap into with ease. I did find the open networks, but then the signal in the flat is far too weak to open the simplest of websites (even when I was stood precariously atop a stool on Wednesday night, holding my laptop up to the window in a moment of sheer, pathetic, desperation. Don't ask how I thought I'd be able to use the internet from such a bizarre position).

Today, I decided I just had to get online, and so left my flat at 12.30 (bloody early on a Sunday for me) with my Mac in tow. Within the first 5 minutes of my search, I begun to despair as Sunday is apparently a day of true rest here in Paris. Nothing was open! 45 minutes later though, I am now happily installed in a chic restaurant called 'Le Fumoir', which is next door to the Louvre, eating a delicious (but ridiculously expensive) brunch all on my own, whilst choking on thick clouds of cigarette smoke, just so that I can have the pleasure of complimentary internet for at most an hour.

Am I sad or what? (Teehee!)

I have been eating so much food here in Paris, that even my vocal chords have been affected, according to my mother. The first thing she said when I picked up the phone yesterday, was "You sound fat". How she managed to detect this over the 6,000 miles of crackly telephone wire between us, I will never know. But Maman, who knows me like the back of her hand, has a knack for these things, and there was just no use in denying that in the space of one week I have become a walking tub of lard.

I am however a tub of lard with a newfound appreciation for graphic novels. Here they're called Bandes Dessinees or something like that. In FNAC the other day, I randomly stumbled upon an entire floor of the things. The first one that caught my eye, had the picture of an African girl on its cover, which of course meant that I had to open it. And I'm so glad now, that I did, because it is absolutely hysterical. The Aya de Yopougon series is about an almost incestuous little village in Cote d'Ivoire, where young girls who dream of becoming hairdressers chase after old men, or sexy Parisiens, whilst their mothers storm out of their households when children fathered by their husbands turn up. (Sound familiar?) It is just hilarious!

Oh and it's helped with my French too!

I went to Notre Dame yesterday, which was a teeny bit of a let down. But I insisted on seeing it even though Paolo (more on him later... ) didn't want to because he had been equally let down a couple of years ago. Even though I've been to Paris several times in the past, I've never made it to Notre Dame for some reason, and so it was an absolute must this trip. After 20 minutes in it's dark, depressing interior, we were back out in the Ile de la Cité, on our way to Saint Chappelle. The latter turned out to be gorgeous, and was thankfully worth the metal scanner and impromptu frisk at the hands of two very unfriendly policemen (St Chappelle is in the middle of the Gendarmerie, for some bizarre reason). On to the Conciergerie, to see where Marie Antoinette was beheaded, and then to the Latin Quarter for the most divine crepe I have had in my entire life - chocolate sauce, cocoa liquor, whipped cream and coconuts. (Can't you just hear the lard swishing as I type?)

Paris is absolutely fabulous! We went on the Bateaux Mouches on Friday (another highlight in Paris that I had never before taken advantage of), and even though it got so cold that I wanted to bite my fingers off just to stop the pain, I still felt all swoony and inspired and poetic and cheesy riding along the Seine and looking at all the gorgeous gorgeous architecture. Ever the bimbo, I was forced to act as though I'd always known that Paris was in possession of its own Statue of Liberty. I knew the French gave one to America okay, it just never really occurred to me that they kept one for themselves! Christ, perhaps I shouldn't be admitting this in public?

I also have to report that I received my first "holler" in Paris. Finally! If you're wondering what the hell I'm on about, basically I left New York thinking I was the most gorgeous thing on the planet because everywhere I went, somebody "hollered" at me. They'd walk towards me in the street, and then just when they were within earshot, would go, "Mmm...mmm... God bless ya sister!" "Have a good day now, you pretty thing!" I even got the occasional business card, and a couple of hollers from umm... women. And it wasn't just the unemployed layabouts in Misan's ghetto doing the hollering by the way, it was also chic sophisticated folk. The height of it was when I had a shop assistant in Macy's (a beautiful, beautiful specimen of the male species) follow me around for 3 hours. By the end of the 2nd hour, he was modelling clothes for me (obviously not female ones, these were for my brother), and showing me item after item, just so I wouldn't leave. When I finally checked out at his till, he subtly implied that he would be "clocking out" too in a few minutes, to which I replied, "Uh... Have a nice day.

But anyway... in Paris I have been somewhat astounded by the Frenchman's unwillingness to acknowledge my hotness factor. And it has been a rather painful climb back down to Planet Earth. Thankfully though my floundering ego has been salvaged this weekend (Woohoo!) The first of my hollers came, unfortunately though, from a street-side Tektonik maestro! I suppose I should have been flattered, but umm... I just wan't. If you have no clue what Tektonik is (probably because you are lucky enough to reside in another more normal part of the world), have a look at the video below. Le Tektonik has taken Paris by storm. I'm not kidding! French people are usually so chic, that this new stage in their sociocultural development is just bizarre... it's beyond bizarre, it's absurd!

I don't think this gentleman is very good at Le Tektonik, but then this is what the pros look like to normal eyes. Xxx

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

La Cochonne Stupide et les Gâteux Parisiens

It has been so funny reading the comments from my previous post. Now I understand why the French are so touchy about their language. Everyone butchers it!


Tomorrow, I will be leaving my box of a hotel room for (fingers crossed) a much nicer room at an undisclosable (?) location. Et alors, il faudra que je dise "au revoir" à St Germain. Ce quartier de Paris est très beau, mais il y a trop de patisseries. Trop trop de patisseries. Les patisseries sont partout, et elles sont toutes petites, et toutes remplies!

(After poking at other people's french, I hope I haven't just embarassed myself there. Teehee! - Basically, I said I am having trouble with the number of patisseries in this part of Paris - St Germain dés Pres.)

Picture a very cold Bitchy (it's been absolutely freezing everyday thus far) walking briskly on the dewy streets of gaie "Pareee". Wispy white fumes are flying out of her trembling mouth and enlarged nostrils. She moves quickly, desperate to reduce the 15-minute walk to school to a 5-minute one (because it is 8:55am, and she was supposed to have left the hotel at 8:30, but was for some reason unable to do so - perhaps because she has never in her life been able to walk out the door at the correct time?)

Anyway, where was I? ... Bitchy! Trying as hard as possible to walk at her absolute quickest, wanting to pee (because the weather is far too cold, and icy weather for some reason makes her want to pee), but being accosted at the same time. Accosted, I say, by millions of trays on either side of her, trays lining the street, lurching (almost) out of their display cases at her, trays laden with goodies, mountains of goodies, volcanos of goodies, oodles of the good stuff! (In this case, the good stuff is so good that Bitchy thinks the only appropriate way to describe it Naijanized speak would be - "the bonz stuuuuurvs"? Ou peut-être, le bon "sturvins"?)

Palmiers, meringues, macaroons, eclairs, tartes, pies, baguettes, brownies, quiches, biscuits, cookies, the colours, the crusts, the crumbs, they hit our favourite bitch, bang, bang, bang, one after the other. They slap her upside the head, slap, slap, slap, window after window.

And thus the scene continues... Until 15 minutes later, when at 9:10am, Bitchy arrives in the classroom. Late, apologetic, breathless, hungry and desperate for the loo.

The first time this happened, on Monday, I was just gobsmacked. At first I stopped to stare, but then decided that the only way to make it to my destination would be to fend off the vicious images by putting both hands up on either side of my face, and picking up the pace. All I could do was swear at myself for having chosen to arrive at this very phase of my life, in the city of supreme bakers and chefs.

What was I thinking?

You see, not only have I been somewhat lax on the exercise front since I left Lagos, I have also been nursing a bit of a holiday paunch since my New York trip. Why? Uh... Possibly because I spent a large part of my time in New York eating?

In New York, I bought confectionery everywhere I went. I tore at my map until I found the infamous Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street. Dissatisfied, I made Misan abandon a taxi that had been hard come by (we must have waited in the cold for about 20 minutes?), just so that I could go to Butter Cup Bakeshop (Magnolia's sister bakery, on 52nd & 2nd). And dissatisfied still, I went on to Dean & Deluca on Prince Street, thinking that if there was a group of people whose taste I could rely on, it was my sisters from Sex & The City. I went to zillions of other bakeries as well, including The Little Pie Company on 14th & 9th in Meatpacking!

In short, each time I walked past a bakery, I went in.

At the end of my stay in NY (several thousands of calories later, and after a humongus (sp?) wastage of time), I concluded that New York's reputation as the home of brilliant cupcakes, desserts and cheesecakes, was not at all deserved. Ask me how the hell it took so long to arrive at that conclusion, when right from my first encounter with a flaky, floury, flavourless Red Velvet cupcake at Magnolia Bakery, it should have been crystal clear? (The folks at Magnolia could do to learn a thing or two from the Hummingbird in Portobello, or Peyton & Byrne in Soho - two of London's finest!)

What I wish now though, is that I could go back in time, wipe all that American fat off my... uh... slate, and begin afresh. Malheuresement, cela ne serait que possible si j'étais un génie ou un scientiste fou! Paris? C'est ridiculeux! I am literally stuffing myself at every opportunity - you would think I had never seen food before, or (if not for the beautiful white coat that protects me from the terrible weather) that I was some poor, starving African child who had only just left her motherland for the first time ever in her life! Que, je suis un cochon! During my coffee and lunch breaks, I have gorged like a freak (or a ravenous lioness if you prefer) on mountains of goodies. Today for example, I tried a cake (the name of which I have now forgotten, urrrgh!) which was so soft and just sweet enough, but with a lovely brown crust and crisp corners. Hmmm... C'était delicieux! Chei! I am ruined. And from tomorrow, I will have my own fridge ("un frigo"). And what does one do with a fridge in Paris except fill it to bursting with cheese and foie gras?

E wo!

What's this little piggy to dooooooo?

*NB - One of the pictures in this post is rather deceiving. I have not yet encountered a single cupcake in Paris. Perhaps it's too simple a confection for the French? Hmmm.... Je vais commencer le cherche pour un 'cupcake' Parisien à demain.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

La Belle Salope Dans Un Hôtel Moche

Just as there are loonies on the loose in New York, it turns out that there are crazy people on the rampage in Paris. I am yet to encounter them, as I only arrived this afternoon, but my friend assured me this evening, that they are everywhere. Unlike their North American cousins however, they don't howl or dance or kick things in the street. They look like boys, young boys, young boys dressed in street gear. Apparently their madness only exhibits itself (think screws loosening rapidly) when poor unsuspecting females respond to their snappy, fiery questions. I have been told not to say "Pardon" or "Excusez-moi" or anything of the sort when (not if) I encounter this rabid species. My instructions are to walk away and blank them completely, or babble back at them in rapid English. The latter, apparently, will be almost as effective as a bout of pepper spray (which by the way I also carry with me - a gift from my very paranoid Maman).

The end of my brief stay in New York was rather eventful, but not in the way I had anticipated.

The Saturday that followed my last blog post brought with it a mission to Ellis Island, which we aborted barely 10 minutes into the voyage due to an unforeseen and completely unexpected battle with a disgruntled, ageing nincompoop at the Post Office, which lasted for close to an hour. At one point things got so heated that I thought he said "Alright Bitch" to me (when in fact he said "Alright Mitch" to the guy next to him) and began to roll up my sleeves whilst plotting the best route via which to launch a hefty slap in his direction through the bullet-proof glass barrier that separated us. (Yeah right! I would probably have injured myself if I'd made any such move. I did get very angry though - at least that part is true!)

Also on Saturday, I managed to catch a showing of Tings Dey Happen, Dan Hoyle's one-man play at the Culture Project, which turned out to be hilarious beyond belief. I hadn't expected to enjoy it, after scanning through the lame signboard erected in the theatre's waiting area. I believe its title was something like 'Pidgin for Beginners', and its contents ranged from ennervating entries like "Dey = To Be", to equally irritating ones like "Na so? = Is that true?" But from the moment Dan (think skinny white guy with a rather odd/ overly-expressive face) walked onto the stage, my two compadrés and I found ourselves howling like a bunch of cheetahs. Aside from a lady behind us (the only other Nigerian in the room), it was pretty much our shrieking and laughter reverberating around the room the entire time. The oyinbo audience just did not get it. I suppose they either hadn't come prepared to find humour in the dark dank subject of the Niger Delta, or were having as much trouble understanding Dan's pidgin as they would a Korean monologue (and it probably didn't help that their hair colour was predominantly grey too - me thinks they were mostly retired university intellectuals/diplomats plus spouses/partners). The range of characters (of all shapes, sizes, tribes, accents) played by Dan was truly impressive! My absolute favourite was Sylvanus, an obsequious, opportunistic Port-Harcourt man with a wonderfully Igbotic (sorry, 'Eastern-Nigerian') accent who served as the humorous stage manager/assistant between scenes. But all the others were so well done, even Asari-Dokubo!

Obviously the sketches weren't just about humour, as all the characters together provided an eagle-eye view of the different interests at play in the ongoing Niger-Delta crisis (even though much-needed portrayals of at least one swindling state governor and one oil-company big dawg were notably amiss). But I'm afraid that's as far as my socio-economico-political analysis is going to go for now, (a) because my specialty is fluff, not serious topics, and (b) because the weird wireless here in Paris has slowed my Macbook down to an excruciating pace! I really hope these people aren't sending me a virus!

After Tings Dey Happen, came dinner and belly-dancing at L'Orange Bleue, a vigorous street-fight with some Latinos who stole our cab (using words though - I would never let anyone violent near my hair), a spot of clubbing (who says that?) and then a very piggy, very lazy Sunday, followed by a near flight-miss.

And after a very busy week in London, I am now in Paris, where it is almost 10pm and an alluring (albeit stingy and disappointingly flat) pillow is calling (nay, crooning) to me.

Bon Nuit Xxx

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Big Footie in The Big Loonie Apple

So that myth about America being the place to go if you're one of those women who finds herself shunned by Britain's fashion industry because she wears a Size 9 (UK) and above, is bull. I have searched high and low, from Gucci and Louboutin all the way down to frigging Payless, and so far, have only one pair of shoes (beautiful, beeoootifoool boots) to show for all my effort.

If I'm being honest, I have allowed myself to get side-tracked along the way. If ever there was a shopping Mecca, New York City is it. In the last 2 years, friends have told me again and again that if anyone was born to inhabit Manhattan, it was me. I thought they were joking, even exaggerating, and so never made the numerous plans to visit with the true intent to see them through. In the last 2 years, I have planned to come to New York five times, and I never managed to make it until last week.

Now, I see that my friends were preaching the honest truth all that time, and that the only thing my Doubting Thomas/Pharisee methodology achieved was to deny me of what some might even say was my birthright. I LOVE it here! I get more bang for my buck, nightclubs I stroll into have Mark Ronson DJ-ing casually on their decks, hair stylists are so skilled they make me dazzle like Hollywood royalty in under 40 minutes, and there are shops and restaurants on every corner!
I have been having a blast!

I couldn't live here though. The first reason being that the city would bleed me dry and I would find myself homeless in under a month. The second reason (... almost forgot this one) being that I love London (even though I am a little peeved having now discovered first-hand that all us Londoners are victims of daylight robbery, day in day out!) And the third reason being that there are too many crazy people running all over the bloody place!

On Friday afternoon, whilst on a jolly meander around Madison Avenue, the latter realisation was a little too much for me to handle. I had just spent 8 hours on a gruesome Virgin Atlantic flight, during which my insomnia kicked in, and during which I was deprived of a bottle of water for the first TWO hours we spent in the air. Why? Because the airline had lost a passenger. I kid you not - they made everyone sit in their seats for 2 hours, ran around counting us as though we were sheep in a barn, before eventually accepting defeat and making an announcement to the tune of:

"It appears we are missing a Ms. Maggie Gyllenhaal. Dear Passengers, if there is a woman sitting next to you, whose name you do not yet know, could you kindly tap her lightly on the shoulder and say "Hey, Are you Maggie?" Even if she is asleep? We would really appreciate that. Again, thank you for flying Virgin Atlantic. The crew will now be passing through with some refreshments for you."

I also got to witness two very dramatic scenarios in which oxygen had to be pumped up the nostrils of some passengers, and as you can imagine, was more than exhausted when I finally touched down in Newark, which I then discovered was a whole hour away from bloody New York City. E-Weezy who was with me all the while, but who had snoozed like a baby through drama after drama on the entire flight, became the voice of reason at that point, as I was more than just a little "tetchy".

Back to the mad people walking around New York. There are hundreds of them. In my time here I have seen more creeds and colours of loonies than I thought possible. They are everywhere - uptown, midtown, downtown. And they are not just mad, they are barking mad!

To illustrate, on Tuesday afternoon, I was sitting in a cab at a red light, en route to the Meatpacking District. I was watching a lady struggle with her blonde toddler and a pushchair on the sidewalk, when I noticed a tall black man in a blue beanie strolling in their direction. He had a Samuel L. Jackson (on a crazy day) bounce to his walk, and he had huge beady eyes, and little tufts of grey hair all over his neck and chin.

Dude in the blue beanie bounces over to two big blue bins. He lifts the lid off the first one, looks to his left and then to his right, and spits into the bin. In my head I'm thinking, "What the hell is this man doing?" He then goes to the next blue bin, lifts the lid, and does the exact same thing. Then he walks to the crossing, where my cab is still sitting, kicks a trash can (they don't say dust bin here) until it falls over, and stomps across the road.

The lights change, my cab begins to crawl, and as we inch closer to the blue bins I see the white stickers on their lids with the words 'United States Postal Service'.

Even though I think it would be uncharacteristic for the tramps in London to do that kind of thing, I doubt they would have much luck propelling their saliva through the tiny slits in the red Royal Mail boxes. Why? Because we have a postal service that plans for such eventualities! New Yorkers I am afraid to say, do not. So in a few days' time when I get back to London and begin the tedious sift through my mail, I am pretty confident that it will be saliva-free. And even if it isn't, I will be so wonderfully stuffed from my gynormous bites of crazy (but deliciously juicy) apple, that I doubt I will care. Xxx

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Land Is Green

This is such a positive message, on a personal and a national level.

I know you heard it yonks ago, but we need constant reminders never to give up hope.

Happy Belated Independence Day!

(You know I'm always late)


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bolanle And The 3 (Actually, 2½) Wenches

I have finally finished reading a novel that I began two weeks ago, and which I rather deceptively put on my 'Bitchy's Been Reading' list last week (albeit no one noticed) even though I had barely read the first two chapters. The list below is supposed to imply that the titles piled prettily in that corner of my blog have been gorged on and dissected by yours truly. But in fact, this has often not been the case. Take 'The State of Africa' for example. Have I finished reading it? Nooope! And does it look likely that I will go back to it anytime this year? Nooope! Or 'Riding the Iron Rooster' - Did I get past the half-way mark? No I didn't. And am I ashamed to admit it? Nooope! It's not my fault if I get all excited at the prospect of diving into a new book, only to find after the first 10 pages that, well-written or brilliantly-researched though it may be, it does not set my pulse racing, I do not connect with its characters or contents, and I find myself having to stifle a groan whenever my fingers reach for its rectangular form, despite my desperate pleas for them not to. (nota bene, my fingers appear to be the only bones in my body capable of acting on a guilty feeling)

Moving on swiftly from the revelation that I am just a big, fat phoney, I want to talk about 'Seed' - currently Item No. 2 on my list.

Aeons ago, Yukay, who I both admire and envy (my throat is the body part for feelings of jealousy), blogged about Lola Shoneyin. He didn't dedicate an entire post to her (though he has never dedicated an entire post to one singular subject), and it was only a very simple statement like "... and word on the street is that phenomenal poet Lola Shoneyin's debut novel is on its way", but there was such enthusiasm in that statement that my curiousity (think twitchy knees) was aroused. And so I started googling. (yes I know I have a problem. Please let's not lose focus?)

Anyway, on Lola Shoneyin Dot Com, I read as much as I could read on Yukay's favourite poet, and even read an excerpt from 'Seed' I think. But then I found that I was forced to leave it at that, as no dates for publication or anything of the sort were forthcoming.

Fast forward about three months, to two weeks ago, when I was sat in the agency in the midst of shitty task number three hundred and thirteen. Rooting around in their database, I stumbled upon an electronic folder marked 'SHONEYIN'. I thought I was seeing things, so I opened the folder. And then I became giddy with excitement. I became more than giddy - I was near on epileptic! I couldn't control myself! I completely forgot for several minutes that Dildo the dog was sprawled mere seconds away from me. I opened the file on impulse, read the first 3 paragraphs, and then shut the window guiltily when it suddenly dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, interns were not supposed to feast on precious, unpublished, uncopyrighted material without authorisation?

I looked around the small office, like a kid about to dive sneakily into someone else's cookie jar, and thought...

Bloody hell I want to read this thing! I want to read it now!

But what if they say NO?

But what if they say YES?

But what if they say NO and then I go ahead and then they catch me and fire me and take out adverts warning all potential future employers in the teeny tiny publishing world in Britain, the United States and beyond, to stay away from a freak of a girl called....

To cut the story (which is becoming so bloody long, I do apologise, even I am getting tired), I asked if I could read 'Seed'. They said YES and were delighted that an intern would show such active interest in one of their authors. Why? Because they are truly lovely lovely people and not the ogres I may or may not have made them out to be whilst I was working for them last week - I tend to take a lot of liberties with my story-telling, but hey it makes for good reading dunn'it?

They even let me print out a copy so that I wouldn't have to strain for hours at the tiny computer screen. And two weeks after that fateful day, I am finally able to say, that 'Seed' is just brilliant. Absobloodylutely brilliant. It is so quick, and so snappy, and so spunky, and so full of energy, that everyone and everything in it is so fantastically alive. I felt like I was watching the scenes in High Definition - not that I have yet born witness to this new wave of technology, but you know what I mean. It was everything I have imagined the High Definition experience will be, and more.

I have a tendency to give too much away when I talk about a novel like this, and so I don't want to delve too deep. But Lola Shoneyin is just so subtle and so crafty and so delightfully wicked! I love her! She has taken a scenario right out of three quarters of the Nollywood movies sitting on shop shelves in Awolowo Road and being peddled on the street in Kilburn by dodgy Chinese ladies, and has turned it into a work of sheer brilliance. Characters who, if moulded by anyone else would be so placid, so bland, so lacking in depth, are so cleverly nuanced (I said 'nuance' when talking about McEwan didn't I?) The evil older wives (who I have termed 'The Wenches' in my title) could so easily have been blacker than night, without the slightest redeeming moment or feature. But slowly and subtly, Shoneyin peels the layers off each of them, even the evil-est of them, until you are left going "HA! Good for you! But oh! How terribly unfortunate. Pele!" Even the hideous husband, whose ailing digestive system is described in the most repulsive yet laugh out loud gobsmackingly hilarious way, had a moment of sheer frailty and utter despondency towards the end, so frail and so tragic, that I felt moved to weep for him. Obviously I didn't weep, because I still thought of him as a bumbling idiot, but Shoneyin made me want to weep, even if only for a second, and that was what was so bloody fantastic about her novel.

Another thing I loved about 'Seed' was the grand, poetic dialogue that ran through the entire novel, between characters who Shoneyin tells us unequivocally from the start, are all illiterates. It wasn't until I begun to read 80% of the novel in one straight sitting yesterday afternoon, that I realised that these people, who failed to detect the hilarious sarcasm directed at them by other 'educated' individuals, were speaking to each other in Yoruba. The wives (all except for Bolanle 'the graduate') insisted on addressing their husband as "My Lord". In scenes between the 3 wenches and their own mothers or relatives, their speech was infused with such drama, with such rich imagery and structure that they could have been characters in a Yoruba parody of Shakespeare's Macbeth, or even The Bible!

Just look at this...

" 'Keep your mouth shut Iya Simisola! It is a sin to speak evil of those who are led by the Spirit!' Iya Ade warned.

'You dare tell me to shut my mouth?' Iya Funmi took a deep breath and stood up. She turned her entire body round to gaze down at Iya Ade. 'You worm. From what mound did you crawl? If not for the mighty rains, would the pigeon and the turkey find themselves shuffling for shelter beneath the same awning? You talk about sin? Did they not teach you that bearing false witness is a sin in your church? Or does the Bible you brandish like a hatchet not say that?'

I love love loved it! And I'm sure you will too when you get to read it in... Oh I don't know how many months' time. Teehee! I am so chuffed that I got to read it this early, and so excited too! Nigerian literature is truly blazing ahead at break-neck speed. Helon Habila got it soooo wrong when he said this is "the year of the Nigerian writer". This is the decade, no, the century of the Nigerian writer. Our people are taking over oh! Xxxx

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Happy Ending

I'm listening to 'Happy Ending' by MIKA right now, which is possibly one of the best songs I've heard in a long long while. On a whim this evening, I thought - "Isn't he playing in London soon? Hmmm... Perhaps I'll buy tickets?" Unfortunately it looks like I'm a little too late for that, as his myspace page informs me that all his London shows, which (wait for it) aren't till December, are completely sold out!

I can't believe it. I am in so much pain. Not just because I think he is absolutely fantastic, but because if I hadn't been such a moody billy goat a few years ago, I would probably have been able to call him up 5 minutes ago and request tickets from him myself, instead of being forced to stage a dramatic mourning session in the middle of my living room for the benefit of my very irritated brother.

Five years ago, on a random school day, my friend Zozo (who you may or may not remember from my rendezvous with The Jigga Man) came to me, and asked me if one of the boys in her art class could paint me. At first I thought, "Uh... Why?" but then decided I'd hear him out. His name was Mica, and I had no clue who he was. I was new to a school that was smack bang in the centre of London, and all that was on my recently-liberated mind at the time, was hopping from club to club and shop to shop like some mad, energised bunny on heat!

So I went to the Art building, to meet this Mica. And in walked the skinniest boy I had ever seen! He had these huge eyes that kinda drowned out the rest of his face. His cheekbones were so high and so pronounced that he looked a little like a ghost, but a ghost with an exotic past life, if that makes any sense.

Anyway, Mica and I chatted for all of thirty seconds, in which I began to think that being painted by a lanky emaciated boy in the year above me, might not be such a bad idea. He then said that he wanted me to wear something specific whilst he painted me, and that he hoped I would like it. I can't remember exactly, but I think Zozo was also in the room, and she gave me this funny look that made me just a little apprehensive.

Mica walked into a side room, and then came back in holding what was, and still is, the smallest, tightest corset I had ever seen in my life. I gave him a look that implied that I thought he was retarded. First of all, there was no way I was going to be able to fit into that thing. And furthermore, there was no way I was going to stand in the middle of a very cold, very large room, wearing it on my not so toned, not so flab-free body, whilst this strange boy (who had made the corset by himself, with me in mind - I was flattered, but just slightly freaked out) painted me! I was pretty slim back then, but exercise was a very foreign, nay, alien, concept to me, and I much preferred to maintain the illusion that underneath my regulation-imposed school clothing was a fabulous, sculpted, trophy-worthy bod!

So I said "No" to Mica. And he looked like I had just destroyed him or something. He even sent his Art tutor to me a couple of days later to ask if I had changed my mind. Apparently the painting couldn't work without me, and it was going to play a huge part in his A-level portfolio.

Still, I said "No".

I never found out what became of his portfolio. I think in the end he used a girl in his year as his model. But even though our school wasn't exactly a gynormous one, I rarely saw him after that. I think he tended to keep a low profile, and I did so too at the time, so aside from one awkward "Hello" or the other when we walked past each other (like once a month) on our way to classes, I didn't speak to him again.

Anyway, before you get the wrong idea and walk away believing (as I may or may not have led you to believe) that this guy, who has now become a global superstar had some kind of unhealthy fixation with Oluwabitchyola, I think it would be best if I shared one teeny detail.

I was the only black girl at our school. And I was a black girl with very long, very sizzling black braids. I don't think it was me he wanted specifically, I think it was my skin colour, and my hair, and what he thought would contrast brilliantly against the corset and the backdrop he had created.

So if you were looking for a story that would have me gloating at the end, as having once been the object of desire of someone who now has a No. 1 under his belt, and who is probably the sexiest Rock god to hit the British Isles since Freddie Mercury, uh.... I'm afraid you will have to look elsewhere.
This and 'Love Today' are my absolute favourites. And 'Happy Ending' of course. It's so weird because even though I barely knew him, I am SO so happy for him!

Monday, September 17, 2007

On Dildo's Beach

Here sits Dildo, mucking up my beautiful view with her big behind!

Dear Blog Folk,

I would like to thank you all for the advice about Dildo. I am so pleased to report that she has not been to work since that very first day. Yaaay! And NO I did not lace her lunch bowl with laxatives or arsenics or anything of the kind.

Despite this good news, I can't seem to stop craning my neck over the border of my desk everytime I hear the door open. The barricade I put up under my desk last week is still very much erect, and despite two scuffles and word-exchanges with the office cleaner, it looks set to stay that way - especially after the little 'moment' Dildo and I shared last week - barely a few hours after I wrote the post below.

After my tattle-telling session with The Big Boss on Tuesday, I soon found that the habits of Dildo's owner, and Dildo's owner's partner, were not going to die so easily. Every single time they left their room to come out into our communal area, they left their door open, and a few minutes afterwards, their not-so-little furry friend trotted out to see what it was they were up to. (Apparently she doesn't like being left alone. I felt like yelling "Who bloody cares?!!" but bit my tongue).

Round about 4pm, I was given the joyous task of printing labels. With little or no ceremony, I typed the labels on my computer, and clicked print. I then stood up, preparing to make my jolly way over to the printer, when I noticed that a big furry body was SPRAWLED on the floor barely a metre away from my desk. I could not believe it! Raw, untamed panic built up inside me with alarming speed and I sat down abruptly. You see, I have always known that I was afraid of dogs. I knew this the day my mother turned up with two puppies and let them loose under our dining table. I was about 8 at the time, and although I didn't cry, I did curl my knees up under my chin and secure my feet firmly on the same small square of chair as my buttocks! But alas, last Tuesday, I was no longer a petite 8 year old with short, easily bendable legs. I was a ... {insert words to describe a truly stupendous goddess with a not so small butt, and some not so easily bendable legs} ... And I was panic stricken.

Dildo lay on the floor, unperturbed, preening herself, kinda like Cleopatra on a chaise longue, smack bang in the middle of my route to the labels I had so diligently typed out. I sat at my desk, fiddling with the barricade in the hopes of making it look even more impenetrable to the canine eye (what do I know about doggy IQ?), wanting to storm out, but rooted to the chair by my fear, desperate to bawl like a baby, but mindful of the need to maintain my 'professional' countenance.

Gawd, it was awful!

I really thought I was going to spend the rest of the day glued to my chair, until Dildo grew tired of the 'Isn't it fun torturing Bitchy?' game she had been playing all day! As luck (and GOD) would have it though, Cee came along (she has now become my favourite person in the office, a knight in shining armour, some would say), and sensed from my... um... wobbly expression that all was not so good in Bitchy's hood.

So she got down on all fours, at which Dildo promptly rolled over onto her back (she really is a diva), and began a laborious tummy rub of the stupid dog. Apparently Dildo is a sucker for all things massage-related, but she won't accept rubs from just anyone. She accepts them only from her friends, and only on those days when she requests them. In short, rub her at your peril! Whilst Cee rubbed and rubbed, and imparted all this information about the cranky dog that I had been told was "only a harmless bunny-wunny", I walked to and from the printer, picking up my labels, grabbing envelopes, and berating myself for signing up for the stupid job. Only I could have chosen to work for FREE in an office where a temperamental/ menopausal/ possessed DOG reigned supreme! I walked around lunging at anything in sight that I thought could possibly be of use to me during the remaining 90 minutes I would have to spend in the office, as I vowed at that moment, that I would not leave my seat, not once, not in the event of a runny nose, a water spill, or other such eventuality... not until it was time to go home.

Till next time... Xxx

P.S. Re Title, It was supposed to be a lame pun on the title of Ian McEwan's book. I had actually intended to give my lengthy verdict on 'On Chesil Beach' (months after everyone else, yes, I know!) but somehow all that got lost in the painful memories from last week that came flooding back. Condensed to just a few words, it goes something like this - "What is all the fuss about??" Fine, the suspense in the novel (which I think should even be classed as a novella) is fantastic, and McEwan brilliantly leaves his reader dangling in the air with such unrestrained abandon, and in such an easy manner that many have tried and failed to emulate. But, I am still not convinced that this is a work of literary genius, or that it is deserving of the Booker. Think about it - Is this the best book you ever read? Is it even close?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Working Girl's Woe

Bitchy sent the email below to a group of beloved friends this afternoon, and just now, on her way to bed, decided that she would share it on her blog. She decided this for 2 reasons. First, because she is aware of the fact that she has not blogged in a while, and is afraid that if she persists in being lazy, she is unlikely to ever blog again. And second, because she needs many hands on deck to help her deal with a very serious problem.

For the avoidance of confusion, you ought to know that Bitchy signed up 2 days ago as an "intern" with a leading literary agency in London. She was looking for something with which to pass the time between her sojourn in Lagos and her forthcoming globe-trotting stint. For 2 days, Bitchy has played the role of a receptionist whose activities include letting delivery men into the office building, answering the office telephone, trudging up 4 flights of stairs with a large sack of post in tow, replying to emails that the agents are too busy/irritated to respond to themselves, and standing at attention in anticipation of the arrival of clients before ushering them into the office and offering them cups of tea/coffee/poison.

This was not the role she signed up for when she filed her application. Bitchy was told by the lead agent that she would get the chance to read and edit manuscripts. Many, many manuscripts. That she would drown in stacks of them and retire home a happy bunny every day. But after her first 2 days, Bitchy finds that she is yet to come within even a hair's breath of a manuscript!

She has been deceived.

*Start of Email*

"This whole job thing is just turning into one terrible Ben Stiller-esque comedy show. First I'm getting tongue paralysis from stamp licking (I've worked out my own form of revenge though.... If an envelope I weigh needs 42p of stamps, I put a 50p stamp on it. Ha!) And then today, I got the brilliant news that this guy who works in the office next door (which for some reason keeps open the door it shares with us all the damn time) is coming back tomorrow, with his HUGE grumpy DOG!!!

Can you imagine???? And guess WHO sits beside the open shared door? ME!! I.e. Bitchy, who is TERRIFIED of dogs. I'm so scared. I've been praying all day for some kind of miracle. Please join me. I want the thing to drop dead over night.

What is wrong with these British people? A DOG in the office???? And they didn't even tell me about it when I applied!! I rejected another agency simply because they had a dog. And I hate how they act like you're some kind of gremlin from PLUTO if you say you're afraid of/ don't like dogs!!


*End of Email*

Dear Blog Folk,

Please join Bitchy in praying for the infliction of a sudden and inexplicable but completely curable and easily treatable illness on said massive dog, which threatens to make her miserable experience even more miserable from tomorrow morning onwards. Apparently Dildo (that's not its real name, although it's similar enough) is an aggressive dog with a strong distrust for strangers. She is huge and barks like a lion. She is also the queen of the office and saunters from one corner to another unhindered. If opposed she has been known to growl and pounce. But, as Bitchy has been told, "she wouldn't hurt a fly" and her "pounces do not hurt"!!!

After the long consultation process with friends that ensued when the above-inserted email was sent, Bitchy decided that she will be leaving this job on Friday.

But first, there is the issue of the DOG to be dealt with.

Oh and before you go calling her a spoilt brat for the umpteenth time (*cough* Rukks), DID she mention that she isn't even being PAID by the agency for this slave labour?

***** UPDATE *****

Dildo is in the building. She arrived at 11am. So far she has done nothing but BARK ferociously at the poor office cleaner who through no fault of her own passed in front of Dildo's door a number of times whilst doing the vacuuming.

Bitchy has barricaded herself into her desk which, as she discovered, is high enough for Dildo the dog to crawl under if she so desires. Bitchy's dust bin, some lever arch files, and some cardboard boxes that she only just emptied as part of her post-sorting duties, have come in very handy.

Bitchy has also reported (subtly of course and in as non-whingey a form as she could manage) the gentleman whose dog Dildo is, to her boss. The gentleman refused to shut the shared door when Bitchy asked him to this morning. And so she went to the top!

The door is now shut, but Bitchy's barricade is still up. She is taking no chances.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The 'L' Word

An hour ago, I watched 'Stranger Than Fiction' - the movie starring Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffmann. It made so happy, I wandered about my house and into every bedroom singing/murdering The Darkness' "I believe in a thing called love" at the top of my lungs, in a ... umm ... husky (but very sexy) falsetto.

A few days ago I watched 'Out of Africa' - think Meryl Streep and Robert Redford frolicking in the Kenyan Savannah, on Safari, slaying lions and harvesting coffee beans.

A few days before that I read Khaled Hosseini's 'A Thousand Splendid Suns', which is possibly the best book I've read all year. The only reason I didn't blog about it then was because I didn't think I would be able to do it justice. That, and the fact that I was being lazy... as usual.

But anyway. What do these movies and books have in common I hear you ask?


Storybook love.

Fairytale love.

Not the love you get told to make do with simply because it does not exist/will never find you/would only be within reach if you intended to shack up with a white guy!

(By the way there was a lot more to these stories than the theme of love, but this is my blog, and I am allowed to overlook things like tragedy, war and burqas for the sake of making a point.)

Some weeks ago, I got a phone call from a friend I hadn't spoken to in a long while. My friend lives in New York and has a job that pays him shit loads of money but which robs him of basic privileges like phone calls and birthday cards, so this call from him was a rare and precious opportunity. We talked about his life, same old, and then about my life, crisis crisis help me please. His response to my crisis (please don't roll your eyes, I really was distraught) was that I should get real, and that happily ever afters do not exist. He then set about talking me through all the couples he and I had ever had experience of - friends, parents, parents' friends. We leafed through the dreadfuls, the only speak when they have to's, and the we're doing okay, at least we're friends, but this isn't what we spent those nights in our teenage beds longing for's.

Needless to say, the picture wasn't pretty.

At the end of our conversation, I decided to step back, be real, and stop arguing. Who was I kidding thinking that a happily ever after was sitting in a pot at the end of my mud-streaked rainbow, just waiting to be discovered? I grudgingly accepted that there was no happily ever after waiting patiently for me. No perfect pairing. No half with which to form a seam-free whole. And for a while, I got by thinking like that.

And then I went and did a foolish thing. I spent a week doing little else but feasting my eyes on Cleopatra and Marc Anthony, Scarlett and Rhet Butler, Clark Kent and Lana frikkin Lang!

And now I've gone back to being me.



And pretty damn stupid.

Now please, forget for a moment that you now think of me as a very silly, very naive little girl. Forget that, and answer my one very simple, very basic question:- Surely every love story out there cannot just be the by-product of some writer's overactive imagination? Would anyone really be so cruel as to create something so easily believable and so wonderfully desirable, when they know that such a thing could never be? Would they?

What does a girl have to do to get her hair washed beside a babbling brook around here?

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Nigerian Afropolitan African Brit, with Stalker Tendencies

A while ago on The Afro Beat, we talked about the article, 'What is an Afropolitan?' which Misan found in a random magazine - Only Allah knows where she finds all the things she features on our site. That said, I think she's about to fire me, as my contribution lately has been... um... non-existent, and I'm now about to make matters worse by implicating her in a controversial discussion on my blog.

Back to Afropolitans. Very briefly, they are

"the newest generation of African emigrants... Some of [them] are ethnic mixes, e.g. Ghanaian and Canadian, Nigerian and Swiss; others merely cultural mutts: American accent, European affect, African ethos. Most of [them] are multilingual: in addition to English and a Romantic or two, [they] understand some indigenous tongue and speak a few urban vernaculars. There is at least one place on The African Continent to which [they] tie [their] sense of self: be it a nation-state (Ethiopia), a city (Ibadan), or an auntie’s kitchen. Then there’s the G8 city or two (or three) that [they] know like the backs of [their] hands, and the various institutions that know [them] for [their] famed focus. [They] are Afropolitans: not citizens, but Africans of the world."

The article, with other such paragraphs like that, and sprinkles and dashes of scenes with lounges playing Fela Kuti, made it sound like being stuck in cultural limbo was a groovy thing! And several of us cultural nomads were quick to embrace the label - Yes, we're sad. Sorry! We can't all be cool! And if you'd read how funky the writer made Afropolitans sound, you would've wanted to be one too!

Now, one problem I have faced, in my quest to become a fiction novelist extraordinaire, is my inability to identify closely with the Nigeria that I so desperately want my writing to be linked to. I don't want to be just another writer, I want to become part of that exclusive club (stop rolling your eyes) of African and more specifically Nigerian contemporary writers. I want to sit at round tables with the Chimamandas and Sefis and Helens, and smile like a saturated honeybee at the army of awestruck readers in front of me.

I want it, DAMN it!

But there is an obstacle - I am too much of a cultural nomad to be able to tap into their source. I don't speak any Nigerian languages, I've spent a pathetic amount of time in my hometown, I know nothing about the traditions of the place I call home (and I'm even talking about LAGOS where I spent the first 12 years of my life now, not even the village), and most of what I know, I know from wikipedia!

As part of my "quest" to join Naijawriterhood, I have been spending a lot of time stalking the club's existing members. A good number have become friends of mine, which I'm so pleased about as they are truly great people, but there are others whose books I am still yet to read.

One such other, is Uzodinma Iweala, he of 'Beasts of No Nation' fame. I know I will never read his book because I am too much of a chicken to read anything that features the word war or child-soldier on its cover sleeve, but I have read his article, 'Stop Trying to Save Africa'. That by the way is yet another article that we featured on The Afro Beat! - This one though I “found”, before you assume that Misan did. I was just too lazy to put it up myself so asked my friend to send it to her.

In 'Stop Trying to Save Africa', Uzodinma wrote, and I quote, "There is no African, myself included, who does not appreciate the help of the wider world, but we do question whether aid is genuine or given in the spirit of affirming one's cultural superiority... Every time a well-meaning college student speaks of villagers dancing because they were so grateful for her help, I cringe. Every time a Hollywood director shoots a film about Africa that features a Western protagonist, I shake my head -- because Africans, real people though we may be, are used as props in the West's fantasy of itself."

I remember reading this at the time thinking, "You tell them my brother! Put those condescending weirdos who think we're a bunch of hungry monkeys in their place!"

A few months ago though, I saw him featured in Granta's Best of Young American Novelists and became a little confused. But then I put that down to an editorial error.

Yesterday however, I came across this - an article entitled 'Am I American Enough For You?' by none other than Uzodinma Iweala, and I became more than just a tad confused. Now, I know it's dangerous to do this on the world wide web, but hey he's a public figure, and it's not my fault that when I googled him on a random afternoon all sorts of things about his life, his mother, siblings etc, blasted onto my Safari screen!

In 'Am I American Enough For You?' Uzodinma writes about an experience with a hostile immigration officer when he returned to the States from a brief holiday in Nigeria. He uses this experience to shed light on the typical American attitude to children of immigrants, like himself, who can call no other place but the United States, home. At one part he writes,

"On a personal note, I have been told countless times, when I've been critical of the United States, "If you don't like it, you should just go back to where you came from." My response: "You mean to Potomac, Maryland?" "

I went back to the 'Stop Trying to Save Africa' article yesterday after reading that, just to check whether or not I had imagined that Uzodinma was the same person who put himself forward as the proud harbinger of truth on behalf of his continent in that piece. I then emailed the 'Am I American Enough For You?' article to Misan (my wise and trusted friend :-) You can't fire me anyway, I came up with our name) who said, "Perhaps this is the curse of the Afropolitan? We wear many masks"... Or something to that effect.

I have now spent much of today pondering my status as a Nigerian and as an Afropolitan. Uzodinma's conflicting identities (although they don't really conflict, I'm just trying to make the story sweet so that a few people may decide to comment), really made me wonder about us Afropolitans, and about our internal confusion. Is it really possible that he feels as strongly about his status as an American as he does about his status as an African?

I have enough trouble trying to hold onto my Omo Naija identity as it is! And while I feel very strongly about my status as a Nigerian, I often get despondent when I realise how far removed my life is from the authentic "Naija" deal. My status as a Brit, is even worse. Forget the fact that I will soon have spent more years of my life in Britain, than in Nigeria, to me, the status starts and ends with the red passport! I mean I’m glad I have the passport, otherwise this year’s planned globetrotting would be a total nightmare, but that’s as far as it goes!

So now I ask - Will I ever be able to turn this confusion (it’s really not that drastic, but you know Bitchy loves her some melodrama) into something amazon-worthy in the way that someone like Helen Oyeyemi has been able to? Heck, she’s never even lived in Nigeria and she knows more about Yoruba culture than I do! I'm beginning to think I must've spent the first 12 years of my life with my eyes shut tight by the way! How did I live in Lagos for that long, and turn out to be this clueless?

Or should I just stop poking my nose in at what other writers are doing, and get on with writing my own story? I’ve tried that too by the way, and my friends and family have laughed their heads off at my stories! Apparently they are lacking in "authenticity".

For now, I think I will just go and take a nap. But any answers on a post-it or sticky would be much appreciated. The pretty one's head hurts. Xxx