Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Smackdown VS Raw

What is it about ghetto salons that invites cat-fights, bitch-blows and all other such teengs for absolutely no reason whatsoever?

I'm sitting in a rather Jamo-fied (i.e. Jamaican-manned but African-owned) establishment on Monday afternoon having a rather skanky full-head weave (my FIRST thank you very much) stitched to my scalp by a very glamorous and very butch Jamaican feline, when a similarly butch, but not-so-glamorous (and alarmingly hairy - by which I mean facially hairy) Jamaican woman marches in.

First, she makes a fuss about having to wait longer than 10 minutes to have her hair done. Did she make an appointment pray tell? Nooope. Are there any free members of staff walking about doing nuttin? Nooope. But she kicks up a right fuss.

She's asked to be patient by the Kenyan owner (who by the way was arrested a year ago for running a BROTHEL in Mayfair... yes you now know the salon of which I write. I can't believe I still go there when desperation calls. Father forgive me!)

After huffing and scheeuwing, not-so-glamorous Jamaican woman takes up the empty seat next to me.

I don't give her more than a second's glance. I can smell the fire seeping out of her nostrils. Lady wants trouble and is surveying the room for something (or someone) to pounce on.

I get lost in my Equity Finance Textbook (riveting stuff!!) and 10 minutes later hear her say "Excuse me?" I know for a fact there's no way she's talking to me, so carry on being riveted by my riveting equity sumting.

Chinese Dude (who does the manicures in the place. It really is a market place... I kid you not!) calls to the lady doing my hair (i.e. very glamorous and very butch Jamaican Feline): "Feline... she taalkeeng too yoou."

Feline turns round to look at very butch but not so glamorous and alarmingly facially hairy Jamaican woman - let's call her 'Hairy Chin' for ease of reference.

Hairy Chin ignores her gaze, and so Feline returns to her work i.e. sewing skank-ass weave onto Bitchy's head.

Then Hairy Chin yells: "Oh so you gat de eyez too look me now wooman?"

[Kindly read italicised statements with a conk Jamo accent, unless otherwise stated, from here on end]

Feline: "I wurk in fraant of me! Nat behind!"

Hairy Chin: "Whatchu mean ya werk in frant? I calling to you, you ignaar me. Now you say you wurk in frant? Scheeeuw!"

Feline [Addresses Kenyan butt-kissing owner]: "Controool yar castumer Kenyaaan"

Hairy Chin: "Whatcha mean controol yar castumer. You'z mannarlessss! TYPICAL Jamaycan! Typical!

Feline [Slams skank-ass weave onto Bitchy's lap. Pushes back stool violently. Stool falls over]: "Who you teenk you is? Who de frig you? Udder castumers sarry, but FACK youu wooman! Yooseless! KENYAN controol yar castumer! Kenyaaan!!"

[Kenyan scuttles over]

Kenyan [read in Kenyan accent]: "Feline please. Feline calm down. Che!"

[Feline and Hairy Chin are chin to chin, puffing out heaving chests like gangsters buffing up for a street fight]

Chinese dude [read in Chinese accent]: "Feline. Easy Feline. She maykeeng trabble you Feline? I show har dooor Feline!"

Hairy Chin and Feline yell Jamaican profanities ("Frig You!" "Fack You!" "Blaady Appity Teeng!" "Yoooseless!"), spitting in each other's faces.

Chinese Dude and Kenyan get caught in the cross fire, eyes half shut, fearing being blinded by the venomous saliva.

The struggle rages on.

Hairy Chin is pulled out by Chinese Dude and Kenyan - This takes a while as Hairy Chin weighs more than the two combined.

Feline slams back down onto her stool, yanks skank-ass weave off Bitchy's lap, and returns to her stitching - shaking and enraged.

Bitchy leaves the establishment an hour later.

Bitchy returns home and cries to the Yote on the phone.

Bitchy's hair SUCKS!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


As part of my movement for the cultural enlightenment and emancipation of Bitchy (or OluwaBitchiola as I was christened after the razz outbursts of last month) I went to see Bamako.

Before I went, I told the Yote of my intention. He replied - "that's a little arty farty for you".

In Yote speak that meant "You won't enjoy it. Why on earth are you going?" but unfortunately at the time we were speaking I'd forgotten to put on my translator hearing-aid, and so didn't heed the advice of the wise one.

To cut a long story short, the Yote was right. I did not enjoy it.

Several people have already benefited from my long tirade about what a terrible film it was, but I would just like to share my view with the world in case Stephen Spielberg or Spike Lee voices a similar opinion in a week's time prompting a 360 degree revolution in world opinion on Sissako's project. And we all know I won't get any credit when that happens.

I suppose my take on the movie could be considered overly critical, so permit me to explain my starting point. Here are a few things I believe about cinema and the medium of film:

1) A film should be an experience, be it a pleasant one or not.

2) If a film is being shown in the West, it should be judged with the same criteria applied to all other films showing in the West, regardless of its origin. Meaning, the film should not be patronised with praise given simply because of the fact that it is based on Africa, set in Africa, and made by an African.

Bamako basically follows events in a makeshift courtroom where the plaintiff is Africa and her people, and the defendant is the World Bank, the IMF, the G8, multinationals and all such other Western powers/corporate entities. The courtroom is in a rural compound attached to some houses, and the inhabitants of said house carry on with their comings and goings as if the courtroom were not going on in their backyard.

Whether or not my synopsis is factually accurate, that is sha the general plot. Reading that, you're probably thinking (like I foolishly did) - "Wow, that sounds really interesting!"


Bamako had all the potential to be a captivating and clever film, but instead it was the dullest thing I have seen in a long time which sent me to sleep THREE... I repeat... THREE times. I would say that's a remarkable feat, given that it was only two and a half hours long.

The movie is basically one cleverly-worded lecture after another. There is nothing spontaneous or real about what happens in the courtroom. The lectures (I'm sorry... "testimonies") after the first ten minutes become tedious and snore-inducing. Sissako ought to have asked himself why it is that such lectures (on poverty, globalisation, debt, emigration, poverty, globalisation, debt... you get the picture!) are rarely given in blacked-out theatres. Perhaps its because in such environments, even if the speaker is the most enthralling specialist on the planet, the viewer's chemical faculties are more easily triggered, and he will fall ASLEEP?

None of the 'clever' elements in the film were introduced subtly. You could almost hear Sissako screeching "Look at me!! Aren't I clever?" with every multi-layered/quirky maneouvre. To illustrate... at the start of the film, to make it clear that the inhabitants of the backyard were going about their business as though the courtroom was not there, he showed the madame of the house having the straps of her top tied by her house-boy, in the way your mother/girlfriend would ask you to "zip her up". I thought that was clever until he showed it happening AGAIN on Day 2.

What else did I hate?

The Arguments.

Africa was depicted as a pathetic shell of her former self. I had problems with that depiction, but not (before you suggest it) because I'm some misguided Afro-centric nationalist who deplores any impression of the motherland that departs from the imagery of her beauty and riches. I had a problem with the depiction because it was simply incessant whingeing.

Yes, Africa is in a terrible state at the moment... The situation is more than terrible, more than bleak, I get it. The white man robbed her of her man-power through slavery, broke her spirit through colonialism and emptied (and continues to empty) her coffers through World Bank/IMF-sponsored economic policies. I get that too. Africa has been crippled by the West. Yes, I get that. Most of us who have ever looked into this issue for longer than 2 seconds (and who will probably be the only ones to ever go out of our way to watch the film) know all this.

Because we know all this, we also know that poverty, disease and desperation are not the only things that define Africa. We know that some of Africa's territories are breaking away from the cycle of desperation despite having to face these very obstacles the individuals in Bamako whinge about for so long. We know that Africa will get nowhere if her people are encouraged to sit on their asses and mope and moan about how badly they've been wronged by the West. The West knows its wronged us (well the powers that be do) and the West will continue to wrong us if we don't get our shit in gear or start taking matters into our own hands, and instead persist with the kind of attitude promoted in Bamako.

Another thing we (viewers) know is that Africa's 'citizens' share a considerable portion of the blame that the movie lays so shamelessly on the West. Our contributions (I speak not of crooked politicians alone) are/were instrumental to the huge mess Africa is in now. What Sissako implies through Bamako (Hey! That rhymes!) is that Africa has every right to blame the West for her misfortunes, and should keep on doing so for every single misfortune that arises from here on end!

Is that the message of progress? To sit around waiting for handouts from other sovereign nations when we will soon be (and in the case of Ghana, are already) celebrating the 50th anniversaries of our own sovereignty? Even though this may look like I'm trivialising the past (and continuing) sufferings of Africa, I can't help but be reminded of road accident victims in Lagos. You hit Mr. Passerby with your car, take him to hospital, foot the bill, and then get a phone call a week later from Mr. Passerby saying that his mother is sick and you must pay for that too, and another call a month later saying that he can't find work because times are tough, and so you must pay for his child's schoolfees.

To the optimistic or perhaps more academic eye, it may not look like that is what Bamako was doing. But to me, it did.

The only way I can think to conclude is to say that perhaps Bamako wasn't intended for an African audience. I don't think it can have been. Firstly, because it provides a purely unconstructive forum for 'victim' mentality which is the last thing Africa needs. And secondly, because it is just too damn boring for any African to sit through.

Bitchy is retiring. Feel free to pick holes in her long-ass argument. Shey BlogWorld is all about free speech? In any case she can handle a show-down on the comments page, so bring it on.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Coobie and The Boob Lady

I'm sitting with my mother in a lounge in the airport. We're talking, and laughing, and enjoying my last hour in Lagos, when a pack of ghetto-fab people arrive. One's face is buried beneath waist-long dreadlocks, another is in a tight muscle-top (through which a blossoming pot-belly is visible from certain angles), another has tribal marks on his face, is wearing a cheap suit, and clearly doesn't belong. All are wearing sunglasses - the airport as you know is indoors.

I can see Mother's thoughts running through her mind. In a former life, I believe her name would have been Snobby Snobberson. She later confirmed that she was indeed thinking something along the lines of - "Who the hell are these? And why on earth are they sitting so close to me?"

Five minutes later, a similarly decked out party arrives. Mother mutters "Dear God... More of them?" Luckily no one else hears. From their exchange, it is clear the new invaders are friends of the earlier party. The all-star female cast in Party 2 is glittering under the weight of bling, bling and more bling. The quiet one in their midst is obese, to say the least. She squeezes herself into the seat beside Mother with much difficulty, and her spare parts breathe a sigh of relief as they seep over the chair's wooden base. She too is in sunglasses. She too is blinging.

The 'quiet one' in Party 2 is Mo'Nique a.k.a. Miss Parker.

The member of Party 1 in the 'tight muscle-top' is Cuba Gooding Jr.

Mother has no clue who they are.

I do. But I act like I don't.

Mother and I retire to a café on the 1st floor of the building. Through its greasy windows we see the members of Party 1 and 2 mingling and chatting more freely amongst themselves.

Cuba needs to take a leak. He walks, with tribal-marked/cheap suit dude by his side, through the hall. No one gives him a second glance.

The toilet facilities in Murtala Mohammed are not to his taste.

He walks back through the hall seconds later, and returns to his seat in the lounge (which is run by a private concierge company, not an airline, for those who are confused).

Cuba is restless.

Minutes later, he's off again. The toilet is out of the question, so he goes on a jolly meander. He looks from side to side, watching and waiting, watching and waiting. He moves very slowly, deliberately so.

And then... a Lady in Pink approaches. She is well-endowed. Cuba looks pleased. She hugs him, he does not resist. They remain thus, with her heaving bosom pressed up against his 'pecs', for an indecent amount of time.

Then Lady in Pink skips merrily on her way.

Others, having observed the scene for a millisecond or two, continue their buzzing and busy-beeing.

Cuba stands, hands on hips, ignored, but patient.

He waits.

Mother and I leave the cafe. We say our goodbyes. I walk through the passport and luggage checking facility (if it deserves to be called that), emerging hot and bothered on the other side after being frisked by a neanderthal in a mouldy brown suit.

Mother makes for the exit. Sneaking a peak at the muscle-topped man whose name she believes to be "Coobie", she finds him enveloped in a crowd of six or seven admirers.

Coobie is radiating.

Mother smiles to herself and makes a mental note to tell me of Coobie's eventual triumph.

Monday, March 05, 2007



Lagoons, Palms, Creeks, Beaches



Okadas, Pedestrians, Policemen, Politicians

Rape, Robbery, Murder, Violence


Rallies, Riots, Uprisings, Teargas, Koboko, Fire Power, Alaiye, Armies