Thursday, 3 December 2009

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR GOOD WILL…GREAT PUBLICITY



BY WANA UDOBANG
It is the season of good will they say, a time to reflect, a time to give back, time for many a charity event and most of all the celebrity’s publicity dream. This Christmas all around the world B-list celebs and soft porn actresses will be going naked for PETA(People for the ethical treatment of animals) instead of wearing fur. A-listers will be dumping their SUVs for energy efficient automobiles and strutting down Hollywood green carpets in a bid to endorse the tree hugging revolution. Even here in Lagos a charity gig is to any celebrity the equivalent of juicy opium laced hypodermic needle to a junkie’s pulsating fresh vein. They go hand in hand without saying. It’s difficult to surf through any website, walk through any office without being accosted by a charity poster or leaflet plastered below with brand names and its celebrity attendees.

I am one of those who has always been entrenched in the charity sector but never really felt the need for known names to endorse a cause but just the support and voices of as many human beings need be. I remember a designer friend of mine who had gotten a corporate body to sponsor her Christmas charity bash. I received a message from her seeking my divine charity wisdom on which poor groups of societal rejects should get the residual proceeds from the ball. Just after the grand worth of table tickets had been purchased, the plush venue paid for, the three course dinner, the event planner fees, the photographer fees, videographer, ushers and of course some fashion memorabilia had been purchased too. She was contemplating between the children and the widows. With my divine intervention, the children took precedence and her market value soured to astronomical heights. I doubt if she knew who the children were or were they stayed though. The most important thing was the glitterati were there, fashion was celebrated and charity had graduated with a first class thesis.
Recently I was forced to a press conference about another good will event which would take place over the weekend. I watched the celebrities as they undertook their mandatory promotional photo sessions. It was the same routine. I watched them give their clichéd interviews to television stations desperately seeking content and then waltzing away just before the premeditated dialogue between the proprietors of the event and my hungry gutter press comrades would commence. There were divine explanations for the project. I didn’t bother asking because I would probably have humiliated myself or the supposedly dignified saint in front of me. I stared as him intensely. I knew he could read my thoughts. Not to say that social ills had its own ladder of hierarchy, but it was a recurring theme in my head. Within the spectrum of rape, hunger, abject poverty, education, child slavery, Dafur, HIV, Liberia, orphans, book drives, Rwanda, Katrina, Tsunami, downs syndrome, mental health and cerebral palsy, you choose to paint the streets of a neighbourhood instead!

I was still waiting to see if I would hear about urban development and its correlation with economic mobility of the people and hopefully some increase in the gross domestic product of my great nation. But then I didn’t. I realised my inner skill as a spin doctor would have come in handy at this point. I would have even added words like rural rehabilitation, gentrification, revenue generation and equity.

This idea I still thought was ingenious. The project manager makes his mark. Every passer-by sees his work. His résumé is on display. And the paint distributor, his name is engraved on the wall, literally. The state administrator’s wife will also be there with a large pair of scissors to officiate the happenings of the day.

As for the celebs, some will lose out. The Z-listers will not be caught on tape. It’s only those that got good seats on the planning committee that will reap the rewards of the PR avalanche.

One of the superstars in attendance came up to me and said, “I’m not even in town that day but you know now, we have to play the game”. He was right though, the more lenses and print sheets you could infiltrate, the better your chances of winning. I called a friend who was participating in the event and asked his true opinions about it. He claimed that he wasn’t going to judge anyone and as far as he was concerned, someone was doing something. He was right; at least someone was doing something. But he took me back to a conversation I had with the afro beat musician Seun Kuti, and there was something he said that always resonated with me. “You don’t have to carry all the cameras in the world to show that you want to give pipe-borne water to a village in Africa” he added that when you want to give you shouldn’t expect to get anything back.

For me though I might not be beautifying my neighbourhood this charity season but I will be at the Grace Ushang vigil. She was the student who was raped to death in Borno state during her national service. Im not soliciting your celebrity though, I just want your humanity. I do sound like a self-righteous sod I know, but as they say, comment is free.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY



So it all started with a little bit of boredom and well facebook too. The girls and I previously had this debate about superficiality and how personality never got you a first date.
But as you can imagine that debate didn’t exactly come to a halt. So, me being Ms super duper ideas, I said we might as well find out to satisfy our curiosity. Ok, it wasn’t the most original of ideas but I figured “what the hell” we might as well try. There the girls were, still itching to know what the idea was.
Well I figured we create a new facebook profile with a perfect beauty, see how many people accept her invitation without questions, and maybe see how many guys would start sending marriage proposals without a clue who she was.
I know, not that grand an idea after all ehhh.

So the creation of my new alter ego started. she was into singing and performing plus she was a God fearing girl who liked to meet people and had fun. Oh less I forget, did i mention that she was in an open relationship, a dead giveaway that she wasn’t very much of a real character.
We found her photo on some Naija singles online dating network. She was everything I wasn’t, her legs stood at akimbo. She wore this outfit that accentuated her small waist and rounded hips. She still had that space between her thighs that everywoman died for. Her breasts were pert, they defied gravity and you could tell that they still had that giggle to them. She wore lose waves on her hair and her skin was like melted chocolate, like me it wasn’t dark or light but that world of two places. She genuinely looked like the girl next door but a perfect and effortless one.
So now Kike was born and every Naija popular jingo in cyber space wanted to be on her page.
After the first fifteen or so invites, everyone started adding her themselves. She was poked by a super producer, she got complements from an underground rapper and she even acquired some emails and phone numbers. Voluntarily of course
I vividly remember some guy telling her
“you have something that most naija girls don’t have, the looks. And I can make you a star”

It was going good so far but our little project was still lacking something. So Ms super duper ideas decided to take it a step further.
Pick a subject, send him a message and wait. But now the question was this, who was going to be the subject? I was always intrigued by the stereotypical and megalomania cal world of pop stars and somewhere deep down, I thought wouldn’t it be fun to flirt with hmmmmmmmmm????
The girls were a bit hesitant but I knew they really wanted to delve into this world just like I did.
Our pop star had been selected at random, he had a hit song, well he was in the spotlight at the time as well and there hadn’t really been much press news about him. Somehow, he made the perfect illusive pop star.
I sent him a message saying “hi I see you’r single, hope im not being too forward but I reckon we could chat sometime”.
His reply “you don’t seem like a typical Gidi girl but lollll forward is cool”

I could just cut and past the transcript but that would just bore you silly. We flirted a bit in the first couple of messages but before I knew it, behind my supposed egomaniac pop star was a real person. We talked about his chick drama and how it bothered him that he ended up looking like the bad guy at the end of things after stating his intents from the start.
I told him it was never a great idea mixing friendships and pleasure, and in the end he concurred. He gave me his phone number and email addresses. We moved from facebook to yahoo messenger. I had graduated from cyber stage one to stage two. Now I was falling. I recall hearing about the loneliness of pop stars and how their worlds had been turned insane by fame and phoniness. I started thinking I was his new haven and escape. He told me about himself, the dude behind the hit song, he was smart, he made fun of my slow typing. I replied “ I am dyslexic”.
He told me he would prescribe some Ritalin until I told him that Ritalin was for children with “attention deficit disorder”. Our conversation glided towards intellectual sparing and he still made fun of the fact that I couldn’t spell my own condition.
It was 1am in the morning and an hour before, I had already forgotten that I was meant to be someone else.
Earlier that day I asked him which he thought was more important physicality or personality? He said the physicality sparked interest but the personality was what sustained it. For a moment I wondered if I wasn’t her would he have this same sort of conversation with me?

We still chatted for the next hour; he was sensitive, human and had an incredible witt.

The bile in my stomach started to churn from the guilt that floated through my veins. I started thinking, I had to tell him I wasn’t the girl on the profile but I was enjoying this cyber release we were experiencing. He was smart so he caught up real quick. At this point my hypothesis was about to come to a dramatic end. He said his friend believed my profile was fabricated. I knew I had been caught and it could work either way.
I could just log out or jump the gauntlet and take the fall. I tried to explain that it was a little project and he was chosen at random but somewhere in the middle, the hypotheses went out the window and two souls had a connection. It was too late, he already thought of me as a fraud and a bit of a psyco actually. “I mean who does this he said”. I was still trying to convince him that people met in strange ways. He replied “this is such a f…..d up way to meet”
I could feel the blood boiling through his veins from the other side of my laptop screen. His anger had past maximum temperature. I felt his fury the same way I felt his passion. He had given himself to someone and I had committed a sacrilege with is mans soul. I did my best to apologize but the deed was done.
I still remember when he said my messages made him smile and he didn’t think there were good people left out there. My toes curled and I had that irritating lip biting look that every girl had when they had butterflies for the first time.

I didn’t sleep throughout the night. I bit my nails till they bleed, I think the churning in my stomach was about to turn into diarrhoea. My guilt and nerves had incapacitated me. I called him the next day, apologising profusely and ultimately revealing myself. He told me I didn’t need to do that. I was on his face book page and my cover was blown. He knew my name and surname. It meant he had glided through my photos when I added him. He was a pop star but still he noticed me.

He said he had accepted my apology but somehow I knew it wasn’t over.
I tried talking to him after and telling him a bit about myself but he wasn’t interested. I think he was already broken and betrayed. Somewhere deep down I wished he would see me as the same girl from our days in cyber heaven. I still longed to make him smile but I couldn’t. I guess in the end I experienced a cyber eclipse with my muse.
Everyday I still wonder, if I sent him the first message as me, what would be the story?
My curiosity propels me to wonder what really changed, was it because my name was different or I looked a little different?
I guess in all actuality, behind kike was me. I am her and she is me. Some might dispute just a different looking version but in essence I had always been the same person all along. The whole conversations were completely true and genuine. The only fib I told was about my profession, well that was for identity protection.
This all takes me back to the beginning of my story, remember the conversation between the girls and I, about physicality and personality, I’ll leave you to be the judge.

Monday, 9 November 2009

ART SPOTLIGHT WITH IBE ANANABA



Ibeabuchi Ananaba graduated from the institute of Management and Thechnology in Enugu Nigeria in 1999 with a degree in Fine and applied arts. Though he majored in painting, he also has a love for music, jokes and sketching. He recently had an exhibition at the Goethe institute in Lagos called "Against All Odds". The works exhibited, showed his skill using the ball point pen to make etchings which eventually become portraits. His work was somewhat surreal and a visual delight to observe. We at the basement hooked up with him to understand his art just a little better. He says he grew up with an ambition to touch lives with his creativity and that has never changed.



When did you decide that you wanted to become an artist

IBE ANANABA: As long as I could remember, I took the decision way back in my childhood days.
Growing up sketching was about the greatest fun for me so it was easy for me to decide.


Your latest exhibition at the Goethe-Institut was called “Against all odds” and it was inspired by the TY Bello song “Ekundayo”. Enlighten us more about the story behind that project

IBE ANANABA: I think there's a little misconception somewhere. AGAINST ALL ODDS wasn't inspired by TY BELLO's song, rather TY Bello's song- 'Ekundayo' inspired "THE VESSEL - Tribute to Mama Ekundayo series.

The first time I listened to the song I felt touched by the emotive touch TY gave the song through the English words I could hear because it was mixed with Yoruba. Then again I saw the picture that TY took of her which poked my heart to decide I just have to do something with it. I later rang TY to actually tell me more about Mama, I also shared my intent and asked for the rights to use the image which she permitted me and mailed me the picture. TY told me she realized how empty she’s ever been after meeting Mama. She got to meet her in Kogi State (Nigeria) while working on a photo project on orphans around Nigeria. She said Mama’s personality and her simple fragile yet strong nature ministered to her being through how free, humorous and playful she was. One of the things Mama mentioned that was shocking was when she (TY) and her team asked Mama what she thinks should be given to her to support her orphanage and she (Mama) mentioned television. They
asked her why TV and she explained that her kids often times go to people’s homes in the evening to watch TV, that she enjoys seeing them happy together. TY also said Mama’s joy and gratitude was unbearable when they provided the TV for her orphanage.

She was a selfless being that gave hope to so many lives through her calling. She had a big heart to have opened her home since 1969 to run an orphanage. As at last year, it was reported that about 470 orphans had passed through her orphanage in a documentary that I watched. It’s quite hard to comprehend in an environment where embezzlements and other negative news headline the tabloids. So for me, this sheds light on CARING for one another which should be an integral part of our value system because we need to care for ourselves if we must develop as a people. This still falls in line with my proposition of advocating for
hope by directing the mind towards optimism.



Back to the Mama Ekundayo series, 'THE VESSEL -Tribute to Mama Ekundayo' is a series of three works that goes beyond appreciating Mama Ekundayo and her amazing story to actually emphasize on the cause she stood for while she was alive which basically borders on CARING. She died some few months back.
May her soul rest in peace!

You work with less traditional materials, why did you choose the ball point pen as your medium? Are there any other materials you would be interested in working with, that you have not delved into yet?

IBE ANANABA: As an artist, I open my mind to work with varieties of art materials. I experiment and I enjoy it like I enjoy my favourite food. I work with the known traditional mediums like oils, acrylics, watercolor, charcoal and the rest but for a while I've been working more on ballpoint pen. But of course there are so many materials I'd want to experience like oil bar and some more.

As regards the ball point pen, the first attraction was when I saw my elder brother (Ugo) constantly using pen to “mess up” the back pages of his exercise books with some cute enviable drawings and I followed up. Then in my drawing class in first year in higher institution, my drawing lecturer gave a rule not to bring erasers to drawing classes. Somehow I understood he was getting us to build confidence with only pencils but it was misunderstood by many of us why all of a sudden erasers can’t work hand in hand with pencils anymore.
I stuck to the rules (for class assignments only) but secretly wished I could break it at that tender stage but the liberty came shortly afterwards. The mastery came as a result of so much interest and constant practice, and then a black pen became a part of me. Afterwards, I lost my cool when I set my eyes on Enyinnaya Ihediwa’s pen portraits. Enyinnaya is a phenomenon. He's an artist although he studied architecture. His creativity goes beyond his course of study to catering, interior decoration, writing, singing and some other aspects I’m yet to discover. He opened my third eye to see how far I can play with the ballpoint pen. He’s the type that makes work look like play. His attitude drew my attention to dig out the hidden confidence in me to handle this medium. That first experience of setting my eyes on his ballpoint pen work made me realise how much I can affect the world with my ‘alternative hand writing’.

It might seem like ballpoint pen is the only material I work with but it's beyond it. Let's say it's my most-used medium for now. With time I'll concentrate on some other stuff but that'll be when I must have made a great mark with it and decide to move ahead.


It is quite difficult to earn a living in Nigeria purely as a visual artist, plus there isn’t as much corporate investment in the arts. What is your take on this and what do you think can be done to promote the works of artist more in Nigeria?

IBE ANANABA: The state of art in Nigeria, in my view, is like a light yet to shine. People are beginning to appreciate things and getting to open their minds to ideas. If you look at some locally made music videos, you’ll appreciate the new breeze. Somehow it might seem cheap but then the fact that one realizes he/she has to make a mark or even dare to attempt is a pointer to sunny days. Beyond the visual arts, the music industry is growing as well as the movie industry. Together they help uplift our image but then I think the need for the government to see the potential and give a heavy support is crucial.

My suggestion would be foundational. It has to start from the grass-root level. It has to start from the school curriculum. The awareness and appreciation needs to be taught and emphasized from a tender age. People need to be well informed so they can function with a liberated mindset. Art in my days in school was mostly misinterpreted. Art goes way beyond what people think it is. Art transcends entertainment and ranges from informative to educative and even therapeutic. Art, one way or the other, influences our way of thinking, living and behavioral patterns which makes up our culture. It explains and shows our heritage and identity.

Living a well balanced life also would help in preserving our artistic culture. Some term it as a waste to take time from the daily crazy hustle to explore art while some don’t realize its essence. Some know how to travel far to appreciate a sight seeing while some fail to see the need. A balanced lifestyle helps open and equip the mind on how to preserve what is yours.

I also think strong campaigns that reinforce the essence and importance of our artistic culture and the need to preserve and promote them are also very important, campaigns which reach the masses through different media that grabs people’s attention. Other programs like trainings could help out too. You know we also need to bear 'quality' in mind too.



Quite a lot of young popular contemporary artists are graduates of art schools in the east of Nigeria. Take a look at the likes of Nnena Okorie, Joseph Eze…Besides the Oshogbo arts movement; do you think there is a deep cultural link between the East and the contemporary art scene at the moment?

IBE ANANABA: (Laughs) I think it's relative. It depends on the angle you're looking at it from. For me, yeah, quite a lot of young popular contemporary artists are graduates of art schools in the east of Nigeria but we must also recognize the fact so many are graduates from art schools in the north, south and west also. The names are too long for me to start naming. Limiting it or concentrating on the east would raise lots of questions because you can't rule out others. With that mentioned, the deep cultural link spreads beyond the east. Maybe the media makes it seem so but believe me, it's broader than that. Some 'Bad guys' (permit me to use that term) represent the Uniben, Auchi, Yaba, Zaria, Unimaid art School and lot more.



I once spoke with another visual artist who said that one of the major problems that artists suffer is that they refuse to collaborate with each other. What would you say to that?

IBE ANANABA: Well, I see sense in what you are saying. The major problem is between ego and ignorance. I'm yet to figure out the factor that has an upper hand between the two. You see, most times we sit and tell ourselves or wish for development or growth without collaborating. How can we grow a body without combining our different strengths? I mean, many of us are so myopic concerning this issue. Sometimes insecurity sets in too which i think is caused by complex. You see the reason I said art has to be included in school curriculums seriously from a tender stage, it would help expand minds and fuel the zeal to see beyond all these stumbling blocks. Majority of us live on our own islands, we hardly connect although in recent times i think we're beginning to notice a shift. It might be slow but it's good at least.

My suggestion is for us to admit first of all, then open our minds to learn. We should move around, travel around, play, experiment, try and look into other fields...beyond arts, you'll be amazed at what would inspire your work outside what we call art. See technology today, You see products that do more than what we know them for. You see a phone that is also a camera, that is also a music device and so on. We need to realize the fact that we can't have it all on own all the credits.


Most people view the world of visual art as very high brow culture and thus claim that the average Nigerian would be unable to appreciate it, essentially closing it within its elitist bubble. What would you say to that?

IBE ANANABA: It's an unhealthy one if you ask me. Let's look at it this way, art or visual art is part of a culture. As a human being, you have eyes, you appreciate things, things visual appeal to you and it's not just you alone, people around you too. Everyone has the right to appreciate. Art appreciation is not only for up-class people. It's just that majority of people who are associated with the consumption value it more than others. Then they see the business angle of and invest heavily in it. This, directly or indirectly makes it look like as a 'status thing' rather than part of what adds to our cultural identity.

Another major factor (in fact this should've been the first) is the state of economy. We are still battling to stabilize the basic needs of life so art appreciation becomes secondary or not even in the picture. The need for shelter, food and other basic amenities overshadows art appreciation for a large number of people that make up different socio-economy classes.




A number of artists have had exhibitions in the past where a piece of work claims to have been bought, however gallery owners and the exhibition organisers do not take a deposit and the prospective buyer eventually decides not to buy. Have you ever had a similar experience? Plus what do you think is the main problem that artists are experiencing with regards to exhibitions and sale of their work?

IBE ANANABA: It's actually funny and same time not funny but totally silly. In my case I experienced in my first joint show in 2003, some guy who walked into our exhibition hall and tagged a work and we never saw him again till now. I later heard he left the company where he claimed he was working for when the company was contacted.

The problems artists are experiencing with regards to exhibitions and sale of work are many. Let's start with the IDEA. Many overlook the idea. First thing I ask myself in an exhibition is "what's the idea behind the exhibition". What is the artist saying?...What does he/she want me to take out?...

PLANNING is another factor. Many artist think it's all about hanging works on the wall and putting prices on each purely for sale. Sale is so sexy (please don't get me wrong) but an exhibition goes beyond that.

Again is presentation of the art show. Presentation is all part of it. In fact a major part because if you cook a delicious soup and serve it in a poe, you scare the hell out of me. We should work presentation of an art show/works into plan.
Next comes CURATING. A curator should be part of an art show. A curator knows how to assemble different works of an artist to drive home the idea of the exhibition and not just pack works from the artist and put up for view. A curator should help plan and oversee the process/project.

PACKAGING is another major part we fail to take seriously most times. Good packaging attracts attention. Poor packaging is a perfect repellent. Packaging is part of the project and should be taken seriously.

AWARENESS is another great factor. I noticed a lot of us (artists) shy away from marketing with the belief or excuse that "a good work speaks for itself" so that part suffers. Asides producing the works, an artist should make sure that awareness is created so that people would know about him/her and what's coming on. He/she doesn't necessarily have to do it by him/herself. One could subcontract that part. To put it clear, one has to hire someone to do all that for him/her.

MARKETING is also another issue that artists are poor at doing. Just like the awareness bit, an artist should have a manager that does that. In this part of the country or world, many artists double as marketers, promoters, curators etc but letting some responsibilities out would help a great deal in follow ups and other engagements.

PATIENCE is a virtue we run out of easily. If there's an idea...a good idea, the best thing to help realize it so well is to have patience and work it through. Again, like I mentioned earlier, lots of artist bear making money in shows in mind and forget to tidy the conceptual bit of an art show. An artist can decide to have a show with works 'not for sale'. I was at Kainebi Osahenye's show titled TRASH-ING at CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts,Lagos). Kainebi made a bold visual statement with a piece of installation of burnt cans of drinks that talks about consumerism titled CASUALTIES. The work evokes a sort of jarring feeling while looking at it. I was admiring his guts then another artist wondered if Kainebi would be able to sell that piece. That moment I was disappointed because that artist missed the point. The work might not be for sale, or might be or it could be for awareness sake. So with this I think we should concentrate first on our idea and
how to make impact with what we create knowing that attracting big pay comes with the quality of thinking behind producing the work.

IGNORANCE deals with us a lot and lack of awareness. Most of us don't really consider what happens after sale of an artwork. We mostly don't sign an agreement with whoever buys our work to let them know the do's and dont's. Someone buys you physical work and uses it for something else, maybe a campaign or book cover or whatever without your consent. Professionally, it's unethical. Lots of us don't even know our rights. All we're focused on is just to get the money.




Would you like to collaborate with any other artist both visual and other? And Why

IBE ANANABA: Of course I'd like to collaborate with many artists- not only visual artists.
I think as far to collaborate on a project merging visual and performing arts and so on.
It would be challenging and would open my eyes to see new grounds, who knows...
I'd like to collaborate with as many visual artists as possible to see the outcome of combined strengths.
My first art show here in Lagos was titled DOTS IN MOTION. It held in 2003 at Quintessence, Falomo, Ikoyi. It was a joint with a friend - Chamberlin Ukenedo. We've seen as many art shows and felt like doing something new. We collaborated and served the public some drawings to feed on. Chamber even exhibited some sketches on alternative surfaces. It was my first time showcasing ballpoint pen drawing on a large scale and the reception was shocking to us. In 2005 i had another joint with my elder brother Ugochukwu Ananaba titled LINES AND REASON at same place. Two brothers coming together to serve some kind of fresh drawings again was a bang! You see, that's the strength of collabos. Collaborations are great if one knows who he/she is compatible with or if there's a great idea and it's planned well. It's like listening to WE ARE THE WORLD. If it was a visual piece, Quincy Jones would be the curator

What are your side hustles?

IBE ANANABA: For now, practicing my art is the main side hustle. I deeply do my art for the love. With this in mind, I got myself a job I work as a Senior Art Director at Insight Communications Limited so I fight real hard to create time for my art. it's not been easy but I have to do it or else my art practice suffers. It is a job that always task the brain and gives you room to create. It has helped expand my mind and opens a window for me to get a grasp of how the human mind could be influenced by what we think and create.

What inspires you to make art?

IBE ANANABA: Everything around me, could be people, music, jokes, a scenario..name it.
The power of imagination. The hunger to affect someone's thinking and feeling.

Which piece of your own work have you been most unhappy with?

IBE ANANABA: i can't really remember. But I know it resides in my sketchpad somewhere.

What are your dreams for your work and career?

IBE ANANABA: My dreams for my work and career goes from touring the world showing the outcome of what God's gifted me with at major museums to challenge, inspire and shape people's mind to having my own cloth label because of my love for fashion illustration.
I also would love to publish books, catalogues of my works for younger generation to learn because I learnt from so many artists. The ripple has to continue for legacy sake. I'd love my hard cover books to make respected libraries and homes around the globe.
I wouldn't mind running an art foundation where kids would come and their minds would be liberated at a tender stage to understand the importance of arts in our lives and communities.
I'd love to erect my dream home with proceeds from my art practice.
I'd like to retire and rediscover myself, catch lots of fun in art practice and appreciation

Have you ever been moved to tears by a piece of art? What was it and why?

IBE ANANABA: Yes I have but it wasn't visual arts, it was the performing art. I was moved to tears in church when the choir ministered in a special way that touched my heart. The feeling was divinely soothing!


What keeps you going?

IBE ANANABA: Wow!... a lot. I fear God.
Hope keeps me going.
Chilling with friends and loved ones.
Power of imagination. i imagine a whole lot so when I'm in that state, it's 100% bliss.
Listening to good music. Drawing, enjoying jokes....I mean, a whole lot.


Which piece of art in the world do you wish you made?

IBE ANANABA: Dem plenti o!!!! I wish I painted lots of portraits done by late Damian onyekuru.
I wish I assembled the CASUALTIES by Kainebi Osahenye.
There's a sculpture piece I wish I made titled THE GYMNAST by Richard Mac Donald.

check out his blog www.ibeananbart.blogspot.com
check out his website http://www.ibeananaba.com/

Monday, 2 November 2009

ZOMBIE NATION



BY WANA UDOBANG
I must admit I miss my old life. The insular protected shell that cased me and my madness. The times when we fought with our fists in the winter ice for individuality and freedom of expression.


I remember buying a pair of ballerina shoes from Barratts and then wearing them everyday for the next three or four months till the soles were split opened. The same goes for my skinny jeans and even my braids. We prided ourselves on how long we could use an item for and how well we could pull of the grunge look.

I’m in Lagos now and it’s a lot different from the way I left it. It’s a social anthropologist’s dream, but its an ex art student’s worst image nightmare. Everything is a clone and if you join the resistance to zombie nation, they have got it in for you. Believe me; they will take you down at all costs. The tactics usually goes thus, “what’s up with the colour clash” “how come you haven’t done your hair”, “this seems like an interesting look but you know you can’t keep this behaviour up in this town”. Oh and there is the one I love the most. It always comes with a wild look of bewilderment and reprimanding. “Ahn Ahn what is going on here. I’m really not a fan of this, NO MAKEUP? Babes you cant keep doing this, sorry to say but I am seriously not feeling this at all”

There are also the people you meet in random places, deluded with the idea that they have been annointed with the gift of style from above. They usually proceed to approach you with an authority that seems somewhat divine. Think of it as a halo tiara, with a badge that says “the annointed style guru”. One always recognises their regalia from a mile away. They are decked up in skinny jeans, a tank top and a waist belt. Accompanied with red earrings and a red clutch purse to boot .They usually start of saying “I love your look but I really think you should have worn some heels”. They always remind me of deliverance pastors who claim that the Lord has directed them to pray for you and deliver you from the spirits constraining your unborn offspring’s future progress. Sometimes I just want to choke them to death with their waist belts till they scream . But then I remember where I am and my reply is usually a smirk with one side of my mouth.

Who am I to think I can withstand the pressure. Even my designer friend had been taken down. She was my personal poster girl for the free world. She designed clothes that were works of art. They could stand on any runway next to Galliano and Gautier. This girl was raised by the only rebel republic (School of Oriental and African Studies) left in Britain and I couldn’t believe she had gone to the dark side in less than a year. Really, the school was filled with yuppies and rich men’s kids that felt so guilty about their privileged backgrounds, they had to turn against the system that made them in order to feel a bit better with themselves.

I remember our days hanging out at the SOAS bar. She was telling us about how her aunt said she looked like a very ill junkie. Her aunt said “where did you get this piece of rag on your neck from”.

You see I had dreams of my girl as the next Vivian Westwood and I would find her the ultimate Naija Indie darling that would be her Chloe Sevigny. Though I would have killed to become her very own heroin chic, then draped in one of her backless Aso Oke ensembles, that was not going to happen anytime soon. As a juicy size twenty, I would have to search relentlessly for the muse that I would live vicariously through for the rest of my days. She warned me though that it wasn’t easy here. The society was going to annihilate our bohemian aesthetic limb for limb. I told her via email to be strong. She couldn’t let the side down. We were the last of the bunch left with a puritan mind and all she said was that when I come I would see for myself. If one of the last living prodigal fashionistas had been broken who was I, to think I could survive in this abyss of convention. In this new world where the length of your Brazilian weave dictated who got in or who stayed out, how was I meant to stay afloat.

I’m still trying to hold my placard up high that reads “I will not succumb….I will be free”

These days I cant carry the same hairstyle for more than two weeks and I have a resident pink Pashmina just in case they think my lower back or shoulders may cause offence (sometimes you think a war is about to break just because of a little cleavage. It isn’t exactly my fault that my glands over secrete certain growth hormones) It’s been seven months so far but I’m getting a bit worried that its only a matter of time before I to will become one of them.

But you know how the saying goes “if you are in Rome do as Romans do..” though at times I wonder what if im not from Rome.

Maybe its just time to grow up. Even Isabella Blow killed herself and was buried with her haute couture headpiece. I reckon this was a sign for things to come.

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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

MOTIVATIONAL MADNESS


BY WANA UDOBANG

It’s been said that we purchase more self help than literature. Religious or secular, those gems move faster than any Saro Wiwa prize winning stunner would any day. So face it we sell more motivational books than pains taking works of art. I know more people that would quote “Ginger Jargon”, like it were the lines to a bad Nollywood plot.
When a major telecoms company starts importing motivational gurus as a ploy to solidify its status as the number one premium telecoms brand, you know the motivational disease is about to become about to take a life of its own.
I accept we all need a bit of quick and cheap therapy resulting from our collective state of mind. But how much of it can one really stomach before you start wearing incontinence pads due to a leaking backside.

Just drive through Falomo in the morning or underneath Ikeja bridge. You will feel the urge that wells up inside of me intensely on a daily basis. The urge to pound a hawker to a pulp with a pirated copy of “The audacity of hope”,then pin him to the ground with a kung fu style hand stroke to his throat as though about to rip out the jugular, (or maybe just an artery) with my thumb and middle finger, then I would say “how the hell can you have any reason to hope”. Don’t even get me started on the audacity part. But then the thought of a night in Area F police cell places me back on a path of clarity, with a simple nod through the car window, I signify, “I am not interested”

I am often intrigued by titles like, “unlocking the chains to your inner success” or “accelerate your destiny” perhaps “ the power within”. Not like I have ever opened any piece of extended motivational epistles to actually ingest or even masticate its content, but there is this perplexed feeling that resonates strongly within and it goes thus; how many times do you really need to be told that “preparation is the only means to success” or “you have to take risks and go the extra mile”, “focus” and one of my personal favourite’s ,“put up a middle finger to the world and just do what makes you happy".
My neighbour says he is a motivational speaker. He looks as jaded as his mongrel Hans. He merchandises weight loss products as a side hustle and I my mother says he awaits his father’s death so he can own the semi condemned property he inhabits which smells like putrid waste. I suppose his motivational strategy is to work as the property caretaker and sooner or later, he will unlock the chains, release the power within and inherit six flats built on a plot of land.

Recently I saw a children’s motivational series authored by one of Nigeria’s premier gurus. I heard a certain state government was about to make it an official part of its educational syllabus. What happened to the McMillan English text books with its stories like Ali and Simbi. Whatever happened to “Eze goes to school”. I thought all kids needed was just a bit of a moral seminar at the end of a story and wham… Bang.. we could go out to play. Pretend you are cooking with flowers and leaves, or play table soccer with bottle tops and buttons. I never realised they needed to be “gingered” as well to unearth the CEO that laid deep in their poor naïve and innocent souls.
Between flashes of insanity and lucidity, I do wonder what a replicated life of sixties America would feel like. Sex, narcotics and rock n roll, or as my favourite rapper puts it “sex, church, wine and bread, we are trying to be one with the environment”. What more motivation could one ask for?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

ACCENT AND PREJUDICE



BY WANA UDOBANG
“When you move to Nigeria, you won’t have any problems; phonetics is already in your favour”. That was all I ever heard. Never realising, that the foreign accent would eventually annihilate every fibre of my achievements and multiple personalities I toiled so hard to attain.
I met a girl schooling in the north of England who baffled me with a very potent American accent. Another friend of mine grew up in Warri, schooled in England but of course she speaks like a Yankee valley doll. Three words best describe this phenomenon. “ONLY IN NIGERIA”.

A few months ago at the radio station where I work, we ran a competition called the next radio superstar. The alchemy of accents and dialects surpassed my very own powers of impression and impersonation.
As a Don Juan of accents and dialects, if I must say so myself(I do about fifteen to twenty accents in total..don’t mean to brag), this degree of R rolling tongues and squeaky vocal cords brought me to my knees. Already considering handing over my crown as I was way too advanced for a tiara, I thought to myself, eight years in the land of queen and country? Does that legitimise my twisted tongue. Or doesn’t it?
I watched one of the numerous reality TV song contests, whose audience cuts right across West Africa. The male presenter was a nice young dark skinned man who sounded like he had been doing a bit too many commercials for such a long time. His female co-host was the young beautiful British/Nigerian lass who looked very appropriate for television. And yes she did have a strong Brit accent .
I’m not big on conspiracy theories but at times I do wonder, Is this imperialism revamped? Or could it be an upgraded strata of post-modern neo colonialism? Where “The Phonetics” has become the preferred apparatus used to disseminate this finely tuned ideological impetus.

Living as an immigrant in England, I completely understand the intense sense of identity that comes with the accent. The more of a cockney I sounded, the more working class they thought I was and essentially they felt I empathised with their proletariat revolution. The same went for my posh tuffs who thought of me as a little less “scum of the earth” the more I sounded like I had a plum in my mouth accompanied with a stiff upper lip. I hate to admit it , but it made my life a lot easier when I started to get conversant with the fact that my accent would become my all access pass through every socio-economic/political tribe.
Former Mr Madonna, Guy Ritchie has forsaken his posh accent in order to be taken seriously as the king of cockney gangster flicks. The same can be said for Britpops Damon Albarn. Although theirs works in the reverse as they subscribed to the gritty talk to authenticate their street credibility rather than be perceived as over opportuned bourgeois pedigree. For us Nigerians, it’s just a little different.
I work on a breakfast show where I speak with my Brit chick accent and then I get a bit carried away as a New Yorker ghetto hood rat. So yes, i receive my conviction and say guilty as charged.Of course I have to sprinkle a bit home grown flavour just to ease the guilt of my foreign tilt. So here I am getting increasingly irritated with phoney phonetics. I stare at my generation with disdain in my eyes and venom on my tongue, while I offer myself to this city of fourteen million as the imperial sandwich to be consumed. Who knows, even the holy sacrament divine.

Monday, 19 October 2009

STR8BUTTAH ON FIRE

In our quest to communicate the underground, here is a new video from one of our favourite hip-hop groups. They go by the name STR8BUTTAH. They kept the video gritty and guerilla. Here is FIRE for your viewing pleasure


Sunday, 18 October 2009

SNEAK PEAK "COCONUT ISLAND"

here is a trailer for an animated show we stumbled across. Lets know what you think

Sunday, 11 October 2009

THE MOULD



BY Wana Udobang

Recently, my friend and I were having our usual chit chat and banter on our way to work. Yes it was within the 5am hour. We somewhat delved into the clichéd relationship subject as we always do. But this time round it was more about him. During the conversation, we covered the omnipresent subject of cheating, how women cannot be trusted and the ever so important “there are no good girls around”.

So yes we did cover the bulk of the relationship hemisphere. But then we went further and he started disclosing the reasons why he has to marry his current girlfriend. With intense conviction in his tone, he said to me vehemently “she is fine, a top class student and I know that she is going to be successful”. He did strangely over emphasise the word “carriage” stating there was a way that she carried herself that was very proper. To top it all of; his girlfriend as a package is something he will not let slide. I was so perplexed by the number of boxes one human being could tick, that I had to ask in bemusement, “So do you actually love her” Of course he did, though he got a little caught up in the packaging and how good it would look beside him in his grand scheme of things.

He showed me her picture on his Blackberry and indeed she was pretty. The girl next door, with black hair and a side parting. I could tell that her makeup was always muted or earthy toned as the experts call it, probably consisting of black eye liner, chocolate brown lip liner and gold eye shadow. She would never dye her hair blond but just admire yours. Would never cut it either just a little trim every now and then. I couldn’t help it but had to open my big mouth and ask. “does she like wearing jeans and tops a lot?” nothing less was expected but a resonating yes.

Nothing about this was a discovery or revelation. I had heard this before. As the saying goes “if I got a penny for every time I heard this….” However, the thesis always came in its multiple versions. The most familiar interpretation is the one that claims there are girlfriends and there are girls you marry. It sounds a little confusing at first but believe me its not that grand. Girlfriends excite you, they thrill you and they are always fun and apparently it doesn’t have so much to do with sex. But , the girls you marry are proper. They are appropriate. They come as a package. They are like my friend’s girlfriend. They are the “MOULD”.
This mould got me thinking about the others that break it. Those that have voices decibels higher than normal it becomes a little inappropriate. The ones, who grow afros, dye their hair in two tones and chose professions with no obvious financial security in mind.
So yes it got me thinking and my natural instinct was to take it to the facebook masses and it all boiled down to the same result “take heart, there is someone out there for you guys”. They did forget to add that chances are they are only ten percent and they are already gone.
As they always say, packaging is the way forward to stay ahead in the game. These days, they call it “Personal Branding”

Thursday, 8 October 2009

DIARY OF A CHURCH PROSTITUTE



By Wana Udobang
I can never forget my days as a church prostitute, mind you it wasn’t intentional. We just had a few problems here and there. Like every other Nigerian family desperately seeking and hunting down the good lord to cleanse us of all our gigantous afflictions. Name the church, I had been there. Christ Embassy, Latter rain, Zoe Ministries, Agape worship center, Christ faith tabernacle, Mountain of fire RCCGsssssss and even Synagogue. Of course I had my field day at all night mosquito vigils, deliverance services intercessory prayer meetings and oh less I forget the forever staple fund raising ( toilet fund, chair fund, pulpit fund and even carpet fund). At this point my mother implored her skills as a former parish woman’s society member to head the toilet fund committee into the eventual erection of the major under bridge church toilet. The church was situated in a dilapidated building under Ikeja Busstop Bridge.
There were forms for prayer requests and special deliverances. Paper cost money and exorcising special demons also incurs its very unique charges. There was Ogechi who made her hour long confessed after her deliverance session. She claimed that she was a mermaid and had very long hair in the spiritual realm. She said she drank over hundred litters of water a week which was given to her by the queen of the coast and so in the physical realm ( earth slash Lagos slash the face me I face you where she resides), she is somehow incapable of consuming fluid. Then the plot thickens. She had a tee shirt which she wore everyday and for some majestic reason was unable to take it off. Now Ogechi was free from her afflictions and the numerous demons that tortured her family, all for a price of course and some holy pure water.
The pastor always dried to spin me around during his sessions just before the end of the Friday vigils service but I became tagged as the stubborn candidate. Apparently I wasn’t opening my heart enough to embrace the temporary psychotic episode that came with the intense wave of the holy spirit’s special anointing. With its anointing came its very absurd physical manifestations. The body usually starts contorting into different positions, just before the part where you start spinning like candy swirls. But most importantly, there is the “cabashing” in tongues which ends with a collapse to the floor. Then they wake up at the end of the vigil sometime around 6am in the morning. My general interpretation was this. It was a chance to do the routine and take a long nap just before the closing prayers.
There was the church situated at a dark corner alley way somewhere in the center of Agege. I remember the leader seizing my gold earrings after a prayer session saying the demons had gotten to me through the earrings. He asked with a very stern look on his face “who gave you this earrings”? My mother responded quickly saying it was hers and he had to let it go as he realized demon infested or not, we were going home with our gold trinket.
My week was always full; I had immersed myself in all their activities. Monday prayer meeting, Tuesday deliverance service, Wednesday midweek service, Thursday choir practice, Friday night vigil and of course Sunday service. Saturday had something going on but I choose to take a day off.
Then there was synagogue. I was staying with my cousins at the time so this really wasn’t out of choice. Back then it was just a tin roof held together by vertical planks. The congregation prayed ferociously and waited as early as eight in the morning till five PM, just to touch the hem of Josh’s robe. (TB Joshua) It was a bit overwhelming and bewildering to watch, but most of all I just couldn’t fathom spending my whole Sunday under a tin roof with people that smelled of different concoctions they drank and rubbed for strange ailments. After a few weeks of attending, I realized that Pastor Josh was their Jesus. He was truly their messiah. They had substituted “Temitope” for Jesus in quite a lot of popular praise songs and they eat special eggs to get pregnant. They took baths in the gritty stream nearby as a certain kind of spiritual cleansing. Unfortunately, even this became a bit too much for me.
Sadly, this all led to an amazing collection of angst riddled rock album. I was raised with an atheist as a father and my mother only became catholic because they were the best schools for your children to attend. Without a doubt her sense of faith was a bit warped as well. After a few years of my sojourn into the world of rock lyrics and new age Babel, still uncured of all my very many issues, depression and self loathing to name a few, I decided to delve back into the world that I knew best. Despite the stories of child molestation, sexism, and fanaticism.( reading purple hibiscus didn’t redeem the sect either) rosaries, incense and novella prayers were still my one stop destination.
Though I now categorise myself as one of the few finally emancipated from dodgy Pentecostal sects, I still get a bit confused by certain things. I always thought all men were equal in the eyes of the good lord.
Why does every page in the daily devotional “Rhapsody Of Realities” has a picture of it resident “jerry curled” pastor, Chris Oyakhilome or his wife Pastor Anita?
Why do all his trainees have “jerry curls” too?
Why do they call Pastor Adeboye Daddy?
Why do most Nigerians practically worship church leaders?
Are we building a nation of cloned Zombies?
Or are we already operating on a certain alkaline battery shoved into our backside?
As my favorite angst riddled lyric says “not all of us are heaven sent, and there was never meant to be only one..hey megalomaniac, you are no Jesus, hey you are no Elvis…..wash your hands of your sins maniac step down.
I sure hope the good lord sees all of this.

Monday, 10 August 2009

15 commandments for putting your man on “lock down” – Naija style… By Wana Udobang and NK Aniebo

In the past we’ve heard all the do’s and dont’s of how a man should be and should not be treated. Some of them are common things we all know, some of them are things you find out as a result of one or more failed relationships. If you find yourself evaluating previous relationships, and wondering what you should done or not done, this commandments are the perfect guide as to how to handle your man in future relationships… keep and open-mind, life is not that serious so have a laff....
NB: These commandments are strictly for SINGLE females dating SINGLE men. All those dating married ARISTOS, sorry we are unable to offer our services to you at this point but feel free to refer to our 1st and 2nd edition of how to be the perfect naija wifey, sum tips might be useful to y’all.
1. Thou shall be very dependent on your dude…Ensure you collect money for your credit, hair/nails, personal upkeep and of course the 10 percent monthly due for the cost of being a girlfriend. This monthly due can come before or after he pays his tights. Allow him pay for all your outings, including outing with your girlfriends. All those independent “I pay my own bills” babes, foggerrit…the guy will nicely take advantage of your “niceness”
2. Thou shall not waste credit on your man…ensure he calls you all the time and when he fails to call, make sure you give him a lecture on how your friend’s boyfriend calls her all the time…and she doesn’t even use the 10k per week credit he buys for her…don’t forget to add that he needs to act like a MAN. That would surely get his blood pumping
3. Thou shall be a long fings babe… they say the chase is better than the catch… put the nigger on some serious long fings yeh… no sex, no excessive hanging out, no PDA, no family and close friends introduction, no sleepovers. Keep him in the dark as much as possible
4. Thou shall not do excessive phone calls…all those 247 talks, texting and BB pinging is a relationship breaker… Ignore calls throughout the day, and if you must answer calls keep the conversation to 2-3 sentences (ps- ignore any subsequent txt asking you what is wrong).
5. Thou shall not ask questions like “do you still like me ” or “do you miss me” “what are we doing” “where is this relationship going” “are you ready to get married” – this will make you seem like a very desperate attention seeker…
6. Thou shall deny being his GF in public… warn him in advance to NEVER introduce you as his GF – that way if he turns to have another GF, you wont be disgraced.
7. Thou shall not take taxi or bus when your BF has a car. Ensure you use up his fuel and energy as mush as you can.
8. Thou shall not be sensitive…quit sending all those romantic text messages, early morning “I miss u” phone calls… or “you complete me”...this will surely lead to the demise of your relationship
9. Thou shall be a nagging peperempe/serenren girlfriend…look as hot as possible and nagg as much as you can, this will surely keep your man on a lock down. PS 100k Brazilian weave is a must. Do not attempt using highly flammable “Darling Yakee” products.
10. ....................................
11. Thou shall not allow him play video games during hangout sessions. He can do such nonsense in his personal time
12. Thou shall not let him know too much information about your life or past…you must show that he should work hard to earn you trust. All that being an open book rubbish will not get you anywhere. It just makes you look like you have serious issues
13. Thou shall ensure that there is still an ex-boyfriend lurking behind plus others on the queue…he has to understand that you are hot commodity in very high demand. Plus actually you are stepping down your P to be with him. If he doesn’t realize that being with you in what makes him shine, then sturves aint right
14. Thou should ensure that he is doing everything you want and bending over backwards….ie birthday presents, Christmas presents, spontaneous presents and any present presentable …..simply because ultimately you are worrrrrrrrrrrrrritt…
15. Now this is the penultimate….if you break this commandment, there is a likelihood that you might be single sometime soon. However if you break it consecutively you will actually be lonely for the rest of your life. Infact you are finished..
THOU SHALL NEVER TELL A MAN “I LOVE YOU”
Just don’t say we didn’t tell you…though they say good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere

Monday, 22 June 2009

14 DAYS OF DARKNESS

Here is a documentary style drama created by us at the basement.The story follows a young woman's experiences as she discovers she is pregnant on one December first. The story is dramatised through her audio diaries that last for fourteen days. click the play button, listen and enjoy.
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Tuesday, 9 June 2009

NEW SERVIC ES AVAILABLE

Here are some jingle and voice over samples that we at the basement have posted for your listening pleasure. We now script,produce and voice audio adverts at a very competitive rate. We also produce audio books, documentaries and radio plays...We can provide anything audible at your service. The number is call is 08029796404 or email guerillabasement@yahoo.co.uk

VIVA LA DIVA
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SAX APPEAL
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MTS
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MEEL HOME STYLE
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DAN AND WANA PROMO
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MAKE ME A SUPER MODEL
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CITY PEOPLE
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CAMARA STUDIOS
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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

IN CONVERSATION WITH THE AFROBEAT RISING SON

Here is the a new interview from my series. Its a conversation with afrobeats new rising star Seun Kuti. Son of the legendary Fela Kuti and brother to Femi.He as a directness that he is unapologetic about and i definitely enjoyed talking to him. This is a conversation with Oluseun Anikulapo Kuti.


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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

LAMENTATION

We found a bit of a comedy podcast in our basement vault. We listen to three women(two Nigerian and one Kenyan)lament on London life.lets set the scene, its a very cold day and the heating doesn't work.....
This is Lamentation

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Monday, 4 May 2009

THE CLINIC

Here is another experimental piece of audio. The clinic's narrative depicts a real situation but still withholds key information from the listener with intrigue. Hope you enjoy delving into the world of the basement because we had fun making this.


Tuesday, 28 April 2009

IN SEARCH OF THE SPOKEN WORD

This experimental audio feature takes you on a personal voyage into the world of a spoken word poetry enthusiast. So click the media player, listen and enjoy.

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Monday, 27 April 2009

ME AND CRISIS AT CHRISTMAS

On a traffic free journey from Opebi to Maryland, it’s easy to loose count of the roadside beggars as their heads plunge relentlessly through your car window. Being a typical Lagosian accompanied with my invisible placard that screams “Hustle is my trade” I can’t even describe how easy it is to become increasingly desensitised from the world in front of you. Simultaneously, life as a Londoner is not very much of a departure. I can recount how many times my friends and I have dismissed most homeless people to being mere “piss heads” and “scag heads” alike.(alcoholics and heroine addicts).

This Christmas I decided to volunteer at a Crisis center where they care for homeless people during the holiday season. My first job was to work the floor otherwise known as speaking with the guests. It wasn’t an easy task. Some were still quite high, some withdrawn and some just didn’t want to talk. But then I met Robert. He was 60 years old, decked up in his Ecko hoodie and Arab scarf. Robert was an alcoholic and had been coming to the crisis center for over 10years. He had two children Maria and Benjamin from his previous marriages. He hadn’t seen them in a very long time. Actually he didn’t know where they were .He told me he was a Mod(Modernist) back in the day and took part in the Brighton riots between the Mods and Rockers. He still had his purple vesper but most of all he was in love with Bob Marley’s music.

Then there was Drummer. He had curly hair and olive skin. He asked me where I was from and I said I was Nigerian. Then he spoke to me in Yoruba “Do you understand Yoruba” I replied yes. We started conversing in both our adopted tongues from then on. (he is Itsekiri and im Ibibio) He then proceeded to ask me with a lot of sarcasm in his tone “Are you doing work experience because Nigerians don’t usually do this type of things”. I told him it wasn’t work experience and it was something I wanted to do. He eventually started praying for me and thanked me for all my help. Drummer had the demeanor of an “Alaye boy”, he was cheeky, funny and everyone in the center knew who he was. He showed me his prized possession. She was a recorder called Philomena. During my shifts I got to know more about Drummer. He lived in Surulere and studied Art and Design at Yaba Tech. He looked like he was almost forty. He came to Britain in the 1983 on a six months visa and now he was sleeping in a car park in Shepards Bush. He told me his mother and siblings lived in Hays and they had severed ties with him due to his debilitating alcohol problem.
I met Karl an Italian bloke who once used to be a lawyer. There were people who used to be bankers and had lost everything due to the credit crunch. They only had enough money to cover their mortgages for about four months and they were on the streets afterwards. There were kids who were transitioning from foster care to adult hood. There were too old to be in foster care but were not able to care for themselves either. There were a lot of Polish men and women who came to Britain when the labour market was on the rise. The recession had caused a rapid decline in their field of work, and now they were left with nowhere to go
At the center offered them a hot bath, a haircut and a hot meal with lots of tea and coffee. There was even a voluntary masseuse on deck. Most importantly we kept them company over the holidays. At the end of the night we found some guests spaces in rough sleepers centers but others had to go back to the street. The interesting thing was that they were all immensely grateful and some made cards and thanked the volunteers individually.
I cried after every shift. I cried when Drummer played amazing grace on with Philomena (his recorder) and I cried when a skinhead, tattoo clad guest came over gushing thanks and praise to me and a couple of other volunteers. Most of all I cried because I realised I still had a long way in mastering this art they call humanity.

Friday, 10 April 2009

WHEN YOU KNOW ITS TIME TO LEAVE JAND

1 When you have a BA, MSC, MA, MBA and you are still working in customer services….stop telling people that you are trying to gather experience cos CS don’t really do much on your professional CV. Oopsy …I forgot to mention those with two BA degrees

2 When you are having visa issues and you apply for a PHD or join “investment banking” in a dire attempt to stay in the country( sorry guys credit crunch mania )

3 When you find yourself telling everyone that you are celibate because you want to see how serious a guy is about you (stop deceiving yourself…the other name for that is lack of man)

4 When you have to travel from south London to North London to collect Indo Mei noodles and groundnut from your friend that came to visit from Nigeria ???

5 When you are staying with different relatives every week, assuming the perpetual housegirl role as your contribution to the household and sleeping on the floor. Those of you that carry travelling bag as fashionable handbag….take note cos WE KNOW YOUR P(trust me there is spongecase, pant and anything you need in there)

6 When you find yourself applying for a job in McDonald’s and you actually get rejected

7 When you start dating people that you end up warning your friends about the way they look before you introduce them.(because sometimes anything is better than nothing)

8 When you start fare dodging on the underground and looking for the stations that don’t have barriers in order to avoid buying a £6.00 travel card

9 When you start fighting for MAN…..all those girl fighters in the work place and the KOKO bar…TAKE NOTE

10 When you start growing dreads because you cant afford to get a haircut anymore…. dudes that claim to be expressing individuality…LONG TINS BROV

11 When you start asking people around you to answer your phone anytime it rings…I need not say more. Oga landlord is asking for his rent…Meanwhile did I miss out the bailiffs from your unpaid British gas bill…houses don’t warm up by themselves you know.

12 When you bust out the calculator after having launch with friends…..sometimes it feels like a GMATs exam on the launch table

13 When all you listen to is “wine am well” 247 and you watch BEN, OBE, AIT international, Nollywood channel and Nigerian homevideos online…Time to audi, no?

14 When all you do is complain about how hard life is when anyone calls your phone…. Always sayin “JD is Hard, nuttin dey for here” WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE ?

15 When you find out your library card stops working because you cant afford to pay your school fees (as in monthly payment not even yearly)….Warning to those taking years out in between semesters…cos home office aint gonna renew dat visa. So you might want to consider UNILAG cos Ghana cost duch too.

16 When all you do is talk about Nigeria and surround your room with city people, true love and Genevieve magazine and you haven’t even been there is 6 years….Again time to go …No?

17 When you get overly irritated by public display of affection or people holding hands on a busy train platform when your trying to get home after a horrid day of work

18 When you find yourself clinically diagnosed with depression….is not only a white mans illness after all now …INNIT THO..

19 When you start auctioning all your possessions on ebay……it does get that bad

20 Finally If this applies to you, YOU ARE FINISHED…To all those who have been affected by the credit crunch…No more bonuses, cut salaries/budgets and redundancies…Our SPECIAL condolences go out especially to Lehman Brothers UNPAID INTERNS who still got disposed off in these times of economic crises … All road leads to where?... you said it..9jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa….as my Yoruba brothers and sisters will say “ELERU GBE ERU E JADE”

this note was brought to you by leeville girls.This does not nessasarily reflect the opinions of the writers but was based on extensive field research.

30 COMMANDMENTS TO BEING THE "PERFECT" WIFEY (NAIJA STYLEE)

1. Thou shall NOT be a LONG TINS BABE (you know what I mean?)
2. Thou shall not lack in boobs, yansh and hips. If you must, please lack only one and find a way to make up for it.
3. Thou shall NOT be a down to earth, real or ride or die chick. I.e all those ruff, rugged and raw “tell it as it is” girls, NOT WERKING.
4. Thou shall not have dew hair (All those afro/afro-kinky “soul” sisters… FORGET IT).
5. Thou shall not be a non-church goer. Ladies, for extra credit, be an usher, Sunday school aunty or PRAYER WARRIOR (This applies to other religious sects)
6. Thou shall not go to club to find husband... YOU GO JONZ!!
7. Thou shall not drink hard liquor or beers. Stick to 2 glasses of wine, IF YOU MUST DRINK ALCHOHOL.
8. Thou shall not have un-manicured nails (It has to be French manicure acrylic nails).
9. Thou shall not have daddy issues (victims of divorced parents and dysfunctional families … keep it to yourselves).
10. Thou shall not go without makeup (i.e. caked foundation, studio fix but ensure that the make up has a natural look which is purple lip liner, pink lip gloss and chocolate/natural eye shadows)
11. Thou shall not lack culinary skills. Perfect the art of egusi, ogbono and all variations of rice. Home Economics is in order
12. Thou shall not be a “posh sturvs”. Sushi or lasagne…uh ..really?
13. Thou shall not knack ya head when you have a weave. Futhermore, on no account should you be caught scratching and flicking the condiments into thin air. That is simply DISGUSTING.
14. Thou shall not do any strange degrees, such as development, journalism or medical genetics. Ladies, stick to law, engineering, accounting, business or pharmacy.
15. Thou shall not have a sense of humour or try to even be funny (note: SARCASM IS A NO NO)
16. Ultimately, thou shall not go past a first degree, maybe masters (PHD IS AN ABORMINATION)
17. If thou must study a masters, please please, remember to dumb down when hanging with his friends.
18. Thou shall not disclose too much of yourself. You will seem needy
19. Thou SHALL NOT have a sex life or sexual imagination prior to meeting him. Let him “teach” you.
20. Thou shall not listen to anything other than r’n’b or hip hop (common is pushing it). All you World music and rock chicks, NOT HAPPENING MATE).
21. Thou shall NOT an independent woman. (all those “I can pay my own bills” bullshit… Basically , LONG TINS). Refer to commandment one!
22. Thou shall not be opinionated or well informed (WARNING: This might come off as intimidating. Besides, no one likes a miss know it all).
23. Thou shall not go to any obscure University. Please stick to Kent, Leicester, Nottingham, and Reading. (WARNING- YOU WILL END UP ALONE).
24. Thou shall not be overly friendly. All those social butterflies and jovial. Personalities…BEWARE.
25. Thou shall not be anti-social when it comes to his family. You have to GET IN THERE FULLY.
26. Thou shall not explore any originality when it comes to fashion. Stick to T.M Lewin, Hawes&Curtis, pointies or kitten heels, and jeans – Abortion belt always puts the icing on the cake. To complete the look, don’t be seen without your thick framed rectangular glasses (YOU SHOULD HAVE GONE TO SPECSAVERS).
27. Thou shall not hunt in packs (warning to girls with bossom bodies that cant be separated
28. Thou shall NOT be loud. Keep your voice to a minimum always
29. Thou shall not appear to be having too much fun on the dance floor. When it comes to dancing, keep it simple (Dutty winders and grinders, ITS NOT HAPPENING).
30. Thou shall not think about breaking this next commandment. The ULTIMATE, IF NOT YOU ARE FINISHED.It Will be an OYO STATE (on you own) FOR YOU FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. LADIES PLEASE PLEASE AND PLEASE DO NOT GO TO THE BEDROOM WITH ANY WRAPPER, NIGHT SHIRT, WHITE TOP GEL OR SHELLY ON YOUR FACE. If you must Do all the above, LADIES, BURN THOSE GOLD AND BLACK HAIR NETS. Girls, we are all guilty of owning a hair net or 2. And we know that all the commandments before suggests that you must be a babe on P constantly. You have to FIND A WAY TO WORK AROUND THIS HAIR NET ISSUES. Statistics dictates that one in two marriages FAIL due to this.