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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Farafina online

The edition of farafina I spoke about is now available online. Here's the link.

Friday, September 28, 2007

In search of the perfect meal

>>Mma Foodie
Strange week of extremes, Mother Nature rolled over many times showing me her many contours, a reminder that each moment is precious and must be embraced.

It is with this at the back of my mind that l do solemnly urge you not to waste life eating bad food, especially if you have to pay for it! I am in constant search of great places to eat and it seem Abuja is fact becoming a food lovers haven. There are no multiplicities of pretentious little holes with rude waiters and people preening and posing in barely contained insecurity whilst paying a fortune for fried morning shat such as abound in Lagos. The good places are few but by god they are good. Last week l was in Abuja for some meetings and since most are done post 10pm in the Abuja market square i.e. Nicon Noga Transcorp Hilton l find my afternoons free so I went in search of great food.

>>Inside WAKKIS
I had been introduced to WAKKIS 8 years ago by Makin Soyinka who for all his sins can be trusted to know excellent cruise and wine. I ate there every time I visited Abuja until El Ruffy relocated them. Last week I found the new location on Aminu Kano Way and I was enthralled by the building. I always suspected that whoever owns the place also owns a good head on his or her shoulders. Constructed like a one story covered gazebo with part thatched roof and glory to god stabilized soil bricks. The huge windows and cooling bricks negates the use of air conditioners so what you have are long ceiling fans blowing lovely vegetation cooled, sunlight kissed air all around. The kitchen is open and set right in the middle of the restaurant without any cloying cooking smells. The menu is Indian meets Hausa, I ordered giant marinated, clay oven flame grilled prawns. My friend Remi ordered tandori chicken whilst Jide had lamb with a double sauce one curry based, the other with yogurt. All to be accompanied by plain naan for me, buttered for Jide and garlic (no comment) for Remi. What l like about Wakkis apart from the architecture, décor, ambience and ventilation is the polite efficient staff, the freshness of the ingredients used in cooking and the real 9ja pepper sauce they can whip up as an aside. If you want more naan or sauce, you get more at no extra cost ba chikena ba!. They make a mean Chapman, the tandori is priceless and the grilled prawns which comes on a no nonsense stick is succulent, drips in juices and grilled to palate pleasing perfection. I left foolishly full but happy with the world and my space in it.

>>brownie& ice cream ChezVictor style
Next day l was at CHEZ VICTOR. Jide had told me about this place owned by a Nigerian lady and her francophone African husband. Jide is a food suspect as he has a penchant for eating squiggles but he is also adept at good food and can whip up an incredible breakfast spread, his obè ata baked beans should be bagged and sold.

We drag our newly migrated to Abuja friend Veronica, a connoisseur of all things tasteful to Chez Victor. Essentially because she is paying, one of our fun bob rules is that life must be enjoyed to the max without odious nouveau riche tendency to throw money at it. You might also call us cheapskates, Na you get you mouth.

Now read my lips, you MUST eat at chez victor when next in Abuja. Located on Ganji (I think) street on the ubiquitously names ministers hill, this restaurant is a food lovers delight. Great location, interesting art on the wall, nice décor. The waiters are slow and there was the queer incidence of ants on the table but absolutely fabulous food. Chef Victor is the husband owner and the magician in the kitchen.

Where should l begin, first up was the bread rolls whilst the food (takes time, worth the wait) is prepared. These rolls; white, brown, whole-wheat variants were warm and freshly baked in-house. Jide is teetotal, Remi can’t handle alcohol and Vero and I were not drinking but I did note an excellent selection of pinot and chardonnay, French and Chilean I think. Then the soup arrived, fresh lobster, crab and spices (forgotten which as I neglected to take notes and the buggers were giving plenty attitude when Jide called to get details for me), I swear to you that all my nerve endings tingled in joy, it came with lightly fried prawns in the most sublimely unfloury batter sitting atop sliced vegetables dipped in some wicked house made dressing.

>>My shoulder of lamb & Carinella beans
My main was shoulder of lamb slow cooked in Moroccan spices, served with rice and a choice of two sauces, Even the plain chips and chicken Jide ordered (he came late) was fantastic.






>>My Chocolate desert
Desert? All incredible, all made from scratch. yes l am lactose intolerant, that's why god made living bitters. I had trio de chocolat, which must be ordered with the meal as it takes a while to prepare. It comes in a little bowl with white chocolate powdering on top. As you cut though the powder and dark chocolate crust, it breaks into the most warm, moist, rich and syrupy chocolate sauce; the taste is pure orgasm.


>>Apple tart & Ice cream
Remi and Vero had equally delicious apple tarts and Jide's lowly brownie and ice cream was gourmet standard. Chez Victor is excellent and although a little pricey (nothing compared to some yeye places in Lagos) it is worth every dime for the passion, art and beauty brought to cooking.




>>Jide Chips & Chicken
I didn't visit Al basha this time around but l also rate it high and I hear they have maintained the standard. I don't mind the tuna salad at British council either.

For Nigerian food, Makin took Jide who then assures me that Rosies' is the place to go, I mean you have to give it to a good quality buka where they have wine glasses and can start pounding yam fresh at 11pm. The amala I hear is as it should be, soufflé like and the soups cut across many ethnic divine with nama (meat) which is slaughtered and cooked on location daily.

>>Yahuza Suya
Talking about nama, don't leave Abuja without buying suya of whatever variety from the Adetokunbo Ademola street located YAHUZA (not to be confused with yahooing or yahoozee). It is to die for. Even the sugar-sniffing shrimp and pepper soup eating (7 going 25 year old daughter of jide) yanrinbo beg to have it brought in.

Whatever you do don't eat at Nicon, Noga Transcorp Hilton, its is a glorified American hick town diner that thinks it is the savoy, tut tut tut!

Fast food? What's that honey?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Message From The Grave (Re: last story from the city of god)

Goke and my brother Mighty had both been student editors in the university of Ibadan and kept in touch on and off through the years. Mighty sent me this haunting email Goke had sent to him in 2004. I have taken liberties to remove names of people and institutions concerned, as Goke is no longer here to give consent to such revelation.


MIGHTY!!!,
Good writing always excites me. My colleague who saw me exclaim while reading your mail asked if I'd won a jackpot? I guess that's what happens when a mail reads like a LUDLUM in the beginning, a GRISHAM in the middle and you get a conclusion that a SHELDON would envy!!!!!!
Your revelation about the state of Journalism in the country didn't really surprise me. During the about 6 months I spent with (top Nigerian newspaper) I wasn't paid a dime and my articles and reports were being published weekly. According to them (said newspaper) had a policy of not paying those on probation!!! I found it hard to believe that some of the writers had been around for over a year without confirmation and salary!! (now deceased editor),the present business editor was in this category then. I actually got 2 brown envelopes before my exit!!!!!

The truth is that creativity, most of the time is its own reward especially in this part of the world!! The thrill I used to get in seeing the articles I conceived published was comparable, to my mind, to the joy of a woman who has just delivered a baby!!!! A lot of guys wish they could write you know!
Incidentally I got an article off about a month ago after three years of literary inertia. It was meant for publication in our newsletter this month. I was actually a pioneer member of the editorial board but I had to leave when I was moved out of Head Office. A member of the board met me for the first time at our TGIF last week and said he had not read such a brilliant piece like that in a long while!!! Thank God the thing still dey for body o!!!

I would really love to have a column one day like (Nigerian sports icon). But the time is not now. I was able to write the article mentioned earlier bcos my job function now affords me some time to THINK!!! That's a luxury when you're in operations in a bank like (now merged into a super bank brand).You resume 7;30 and if you can leave before 9 p.m you count yourself lucky! I'm in the Clearing department now and we run shift and that's why I'm replying your mail at this hour of the day(3a.m) But I should be moving to the branch again very soon as a Customer Service Manager. That would mean no time again for the little things in life that mattered the most(Do you remember the lyrics of the other hit in "dance with my father"?-'buy me a rose on your way home from work.....')
Life is a series of trade-offs. You can't eat your cake and have it.

Greetings to madam. Hope we can get together in the near future somewhere cosy to reminisce about our days in UI etc.
I'm really proud of you and I've always told anyone that cared to listen you were my protégé at UI. Who no like good thing????
fond regards,
MAHATMA.

Man In The Mirror

I encountered him at a recent trip to the airport to pick up a post Accra vacation Shrimp. Very agitated as he walked into the throng at the arrival lounge, he broke free and made a beeline for me. Funmi right? Yes right. Look Funmi, people listen to you and you have got to do something about all these people who paint Nigeria bad outside of Nigeria. They ruin all our work (he owns a tours and travel coy). What happened l asked as my eyes continue to search the crowd whilst my mind sighed at this unofficial ombudsman thing. I just came from SA he continues and there was this stupid Nigerian on SABC who was saying bad things about Nigeria, people like him should not be allowed on TV and countries whose stations air them should be sanctioned by Nigeria! I smiled inwardly at yet another expression at our militarization, then explained why that approach would be puerile as l caught a glimpse of an energy force hustling towards the door. The Shrimp was here.

I remembered him a few days later when l read a newspaper report that the Nigerian government is planning to ban or sanction foreign news media and TV channels who air bad stories about Nigeria and consider severing some levels of relationship with countries where such emanate. I laughed as l was clear in my mind that someone out there was just exercising his or her vocal cords in the presence of a friendly journalist. The mantra of the business of new is "if it bleeds, it leads." Bad news sells, especially bad looking news from a country that you already have a poor opinion of. Same bad news sticks because few other kinds of news or story or movie is coming from a multiplicity of other directions especially from within that country in formats and techniques that meet basic standards of journalistic ethics, creative ability and technological flexibility. We will never get balanced (dislike that word which has come to mean rabid censorship and influenced fence sitting) view of Nigeria from sources outside of Nigeria. Frankly it is not part of the business of media to be fair. It is however part of the business to report, analyse and serialize everything and anything from a myriad angles in vibrant global media environment. Translation, if we tell our own stories, analyse our own news, produce our own movies and distribute our own information with intellect, creativity, wit, knowledge and applying increasingly cheaper but effective technology we can have alternatives to the current stream of unending bad stories. However it is true that a lot of bad does happen and its no use asking that juicy bleedy news be ignored by those who profit from it. We must face the task of fighting corruption (l stand with those who believe that corruption should become a capital offence, it is mass murder), entrenching the rule of law and its enforcement, building infrastructure and capacity, reducing inflation, increasing access to non crippling credit, job creation as well as holistic education, agriculture and health reforms which are the building blocks of a prosperous society. That way, some of those bleedy stories will reduce automatically, a lot less of our people will go into economic exile and you know what, we actually wont care so much what the rest of the world's media chooses to say because good news travels quick and fast. Ask China and India.

On this issue of Nigeria's bad international image and world's unbalanced views of Africa, the latest edition of Farafina is a must read. I particularly like Yemisi Ogbe's piece. It is guest edited by the deliciously smart (firmly on the list of younger men l want in my virtual harem). The magazine gets better with each edition.
Monday, September 24, 2007

Story from the city of god

I dialled the number, I knew what awaited me at the other end but perhaps I was hoping for a miracle or I was just.., I dialled and l encountered it. A dense unbroken silence for what seemed like an eternity I let the silence envelop and force my mind into acceptance. The strangeness of the simultaneous finality and vibrancy in that silence seared the truth in my heart. Goke was gone. Our last encounter had been fierce. He was trying to get me to place some money in his bank even as I sat on the floor after a shoot, sweat breaking through my heavy makeup and reacting against my studio lights dehydrated skin like werepe (itching powder). The crew, guests, I and the people who need help who come and wait for me at the station were all tangled up in a tired knot of humanity. He was an old friend from university and had waited 4 hours whilst we shoot the show in a fancy car and a sharp business suit trying to get a huge deposit off me. "Look Goke I snapped, do l look like the sort of person who puts money away and waits on the interest? I am trying to build something here man and every dime goes into it, why are you people still looking for deposits after the consolidation, shouldn't you be working with us to build capacity and strengthen our enterprise? I'd expect you of all people (he had been a student editor, a poet and a journalist) to know how hard it is for the creative to also sell, distribute and publicize his work."

Yes I know Funmi he had sighed but it will take a while for things to change and l wonder myself if this is what I should be doing, did I sell out? Should I have stuck with the media and movies instead of going into the bank? Why did you, I asked? You know, stability, money, its not easy for us guys you know. I know my brother I said but it is not easy for anyone. However I don't think you should leave, surely it is the universe that has lead you into banking. As you become more successful, just hold on to your core values and understanding of our art and industry so you can help build a vibrant industry. The industry needs bankers, lawyers, marketers, promoters accountants and all who get it. You get it man so you should stay. Now don't ask me about deposits, get your people to agree to a ballpark sponsorship deal on this show or any other I have in my portfolio or just structure financing for our projects. Yeah we can do that Funmi he retorted as he hugged and agree to stay in touch. He died this weekend, struck by a hit and run driver whilst standing near his office in Victoria Island, the second such incidence in two weeks. The late accomplished sports administrator Pat Okpomu" two young adult children were similarly killed a week before. You see, vehicles can come at you at high speed from any angle in the city of God, nobody was arrested.

Here's looking at you kid

This is why l like Daily Trust, pity the distribution is not wide in southern Nigeria

I have compulsively begun to read Ishaq Modibbo, this is why. Note his spot on opinion on the attempt to "ethnicize" ETTEGATE.





Then there reports like these:

But why print the opinions of this "person"?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Today on the floor of the house












Please madam speaker, RESIGN NOW

Why Now?

Been in a bit of a spin, too much happening too rapidly stretching my mental and physical capabilities. Yesterday, it all went into a painful slow motion as without warning l was abandoned rudderless and totally clueless. My love, my man, my super hero left with all the promise of almost certain world domination we had harboured.

Yesterday Mourinho left Chelsea, my glorious, edgy, corky, arrogant, stylish, and sexy torn in the flesh of the British football establishment left. Oh how they celebrated, my enemies, two six foot plus females, jumping for joy in my living room gloating not just at my loss but at Arsenal's 3-0 victory. They claim it is a sign that the gunners are set for greatness this season. Truth be told that l was never a great fan of Chelsea's brand of mercenary football and that Russian always unnerved me but Mourinho in his brilliant, ego charged, sexily accented insouciance made Chelsea exciting. I have a huge crush on him and l don't care where he goes next, like any self respecting groupie l will go with him. All that talk about a clause preventing him from going on to a premiership team and a £10million pound settlement just deepens the drama. Pity about the wife.

Saints and Sinner All

Talking about the wife, one of the giants is addicted to Big Brother Africa 2 and assures me that the brain curdling exercise in voyeurism is worthwhile. I hear there is an adulterer, a tease, a tart, a fool, plenty of gossip and full frontal sex. How fabulous! I caught a few hours yesterday and did see the chemistry between Richiana (Richard and Tatiana), which is of course doomed to failure, most affairs end that way. A man who is unfaithful to one will be unfaithful to all, if he falls in love, he should do the honourable thing and end with one before going on to the other. If he falls in lust, that's a whole different and very familiar game usually called kulumodi by the other giant. As for the girl Tatiana, I hear she that she was raised a Jehovah's Witness?

As l watched Richiana steam up my screen I wondered if the wife was watching and how she must be feeling, most importantly, has she drawn up the divorce papers? If on the other hand it was all a ply to get rid of her anyway, she must stay and make his life miserable but only if she can get that hottie brother of his into the sack too. The Ghanaians with the fake American accent is a disgrace to his lovely, down to earth and genteel people.

My experience with Ghanaians especially the men is that they are genuine, calm (otherwise known as slow in 9ja), and real, whachumacalhim is an aberration, a preening, fake ass, gossiping wimp. Right Charlie? The full frontal sexing South African girl Lerato is just an insecure lump of flesh over compensating with aggression, stridency and stomach churning tarting. Cover that arse gurl! Eish! Ofunneka our sister is doing the respectable 9ja female thing, cooking, cleaning and mothering, the mind numbing landscape only broken by occasional dancing and flashes of her rather attractive athletic body. I no blame am bo, if she try any of that lerato/Tatiana stuff, na stones go welcome her for Muritala airport. Maureen? Who dat? The other girl in braids from Zimbabwe l think, is a manipulative, nasty piece of work, albeit a smart one. Maxwell, good riddance and Cody, please cut that air and wash your scalp. Who should win? Don't know, don't care, what l worry about is why the heck am l watching, commenting and even tempted to join in the texting. Whoever the babalawo of the creators of BB is, l carry yansh for you.

Weekender

Finally, must see theatre at terra this Sunday in Lagos. Will be looking hard to see which of you crazy bloggers l can identify.
Monday, September 17, 2007

This might interest you



Dear Friends of TED,

Now this is exciting. A powerful, 2-minute TED video has just been given star billing at YouTube and I need your help to get it to spread further…

The video heralds the launch of Pangea Day, called for by 2006 TED prize winner, Jehane Noujaim. For the next 24 hours, it is being featured on YouTube's global home-page as well as all nine of YouTube's international home-pages.

Maybe it's just me, but every time I see this trailer, it sets my spine a-tingling. I hope you'll take a minute to view it, rate it, write a quick comment about it and then blog it, or pass the link along to friends. Each of these actions will have a multiplying effect and will help us reach out to thousands of film-makers around the world who we need to submit content for possible inclusion in Pangea Day

The project is taking off, and its ambition level is spectacular. On May 10, 2008 - Pangea Day - Jehane's wish will come to fruition as sites in New York City, Rio, London, Dharamsala, Cairo, Jerusalem, and Kigali will be video-conferenced live to produce a 4-hour program of powerful films - supplemented by visionary speakers, and global musicians. The purpose: to use the power of film to promote better understanding of our common humanity. A global audience will watch through the Internet, television, digital cinemas, and mobile phones.

A powerful advisory board has come together to support the project. It includes:
JJ Abrams
Lawrence Bender
Nancy Buirski
lan Cumming
Ami Dar
Cameron Diaz
Goldie Hawn
Vik Muniz
Clare Munn
Eboo Patel
Alexander Payne
Meg Ryan
Deborah Scranton
Jeff Skoll
Philippe Starck
Yossi Vardi
Kevin Wall
Will.i.am

If you're interested learning more and/or helping out, please send an email to Pangea Day executive director Delia Cohen (delia@ted.com). More details are available at the project's beautiful website created for us by Avenue A/Razorfish:
pangeaday.org.

Now enjoy the film!

Very best,

Chris Anderson
TED Curator
Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Now read these

Ha, I finally have it. My ultimate super hero persona, think I should go on secondlife and design an avatar to match. She'll have catwoman's style, no cape please (watch Incredibles again), Queen Amina's bearing, Funmilayo Kuti's Spirit and Mma Ramotze's wit and soul. What? You don't know Mma Ratmoze, Perious Ramotze, the first and only female private detective in the whole of Botswana! I had heard about Alexander McCall's famous series on the female private detective of Botswana, I stopped short of buying the books a number of times plagued (shame on me) by some pseudo intellectual aversion to "soap lit" (just created that). It was after listening to that part of Chris Abani's TED talk about the majority of people learning and forming opinions based not on some high faluting scholarly work (great such as these may be) but on Popular culture. Imagine a TV talk show anchor getting beyond herself tut tut tut! I bought the first in the series in Johannesburg (prefer the African covers) and was transported to the innocent lazy afternoons of my youth when l would read countless (would love to collect them now) numbers of Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming and James Hardley Chase series without any embarrassment.

Mma Ramotze is the deliciously fat (why should a super hero be slim?), eye wateringly witty, winsomely resourcefully, smart and ingenious private detective of Botswana, the only lady one, nay the only only one. She applies herself to the noble cause of finding out the truth about knotty issues like runaway husbands, rouge doctors, fathers and missing children whilst drinking her excellent bush or driving her tiny white mini van. We are with Mma Ratmoze through her own personal battles and the unique extremes of Africa, the beauty and the beast all in a warm comforting funny journey. You may cry and laugh but I dare you not to like Mma Ramotze, the only lady private detective of Botswana. She is better than Miss Maple, better than Hercule Poirot and certainly more sensible than that James Bond. Never has female empowerment come in a better package. Now who's going to make the movie? I love it.


At what point did you embark on life as you know it now? Do you recall that crossroad? What would life had been if you had taken a different road. Are you happy on this path? I remember my crossroad year, not that I knew it at hat time. One decision to follow my friend to visit her friend's boyfriend in his office in July 1994 and I took a turn for the life I know now. What if l had not gone with her? What if I didn't argue with the men that day and never wrote that first script? What other life could l have had?
Reading the Ceiling by Dayo Forester is fascinating in this respect as it follows Ayodele down different paths from the crossroad. We meet Ayodele as a young 18-year-old school leaver determined to do away with her virginity on her birthday. Four different men, four options, four life paths. Down these roads, we encounter junctions that enrage, enmirth, exasperate and sadden us for Ayodele. Peppered all along the routes are the realities of life for women in Africa, the comic, the tragic, the triumphant. My favourite Ayodele life path sees her a stubborn struggling teenage mother and eventual wife in polygamy. It is her most fascinating and strangely most empowered life path. The book drags a bit at the beginning but takes off by first life path and keeps you going till the end. I like it.
Monday, September 10, 2007

YIPEE

Jeremy's got first look at the spanking new domestic wing of the Muritala airport in Lagos. It looks fabulous, ha! Hope renewed. Must fly to Abuja with Aero just to experience it.

We won didn't we?

Saw Okocha exercising at Proflex on Friday, said hello and got on with exorcising the bag of cookies from lunch in preparation for the forest gateau at dinner. Reluctant football convert Bose walks in Saturday and declares, "so did you see the match? The pitch was awful and Kanu slapped someone but didn't get booked, anyway we won". Sunday and I'm tying my gele to attend a burial, ran out of excuses to dodge it so a bit snappy when football mad Tayo bounds in beaming, we won, we won! Look out into the street we won! I looked out and there is a throng running towards the highway in jubilation. It's been a weekend of football action. Personally, after following Nigeria through 3 world cup finals, two Olympic games and two All African games as well as years of close association with the working of the Nigerian Football Association and Sports Ministry l am at best ambivalent about it all. My ambivalence is self-preservatory, l no wan crase.

Lets go out and celebrate Tayo charges, all six foot of youthful energy radiating in my direction. I wouldn't have minded going out to celebrate with her, always game for any extra joy l can squeeze out of a day but l have this bloody burial to get to and l cant get the image of a conversation l once had with a young footballer who had wanted me to help him speak with someone who could get him into the under 17 team out of my head. It went thus.

FI: How old are you?
Player: 15 years old
FI (observing his recently shaven gemu despite his brief stature and determined to have fun with him), look my brother, l cant help you if you don't tell me the truth o, tell me your real age so we can know how to package you.
Player: okay aunty l am 19 years
FI: oya try put small
Player (shifting from foot to foot and smiling conspiringly back at me) l be 24.
FI: Na you biko so how you wan make we do am now? you too old, if you be 19 now, we fit manage am but 24, mba mba my brother.
Player: l beg aunty Funmi, na so dem dey do am o, e get people wen l know we be my mate, wey don enter team o.
FI: e fit be so but me l not fit help you, abeg no vex.

He left and l never saw him again except for a few appearances in the national under 21 team.

And the girls?

BTW the Falcons, who are consistent African champions, consistent world cup qualifiers and consistently badly treated, will begin another quest for the world cup in China on Tuesday. They are in the toughest group against three of the top five teams in the world. Last time l watched them live at this level of competition was at the world cup in USA 1999. This is part of an article l wrote on the conversation l had with the Falcons coach at the time, Ismaila Mabo
Friday, September 07, 2007

Something for the weekend

On Madam Speaker

I have been inundated with requests to comment on the ETTEH wahala having been reticent because l wanted to read between the lines of often-politicized reports and perhaps to speak with madam speaker through her media rep who is a friend. I admit, I am prepared to give women the extra benefit of the doubt because l know they are often pawns in high stake political horse trading. What "the boys" (newsroom and male politician parlour gists) had told me about Etteh was not flattering but then the boys hardly have anything good to say about most women, you should have heard what they told me about Iwealla and Ezekwesili whom I personally found to be fabulous ladies.

As I began to make up my mind on the Etteh issue, I ran into my friend Ibim Semenitari publisher and editor in chief of the new investigative business magazine BUSINESS EYE. An 18-year veteran, Ibim is one of the most highly qualified, feared and respected business journalists in Nigeria. For her new magazine, she choose not to accept support or partnership with corporate, private or government moneybags so she can have editorial control and not be used as a mouthpiece or tool to fight dirty battles. Ibim has my affliction, an unwillingness to use what ya mama gave you, a tendency to air strong unpopular opinions and facts and a refusal to be cowed into conformist, butt scratchingly irritating default, "good women choir" respectable woman mode. Her path is naturally tough, she is a strong intelligent woman, and she will crack it. So it was that we began talking about madam speaker and Ibim showed me this article she wrote for her magazine. I read it and end of discussion, Ibim says my mind.

Still on the topic, this is Yeni Kuti's take on it during her NEW DAWN appearance.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Tucking shop

So schools in. l take the shrimp to her fancy school navigating between the ozone depletors. There is the usual display of latest IT bags from the summer holidays on yummish mummies and gadgets on alpha dads. Then she came in, perfect make up, perfect suit, perfect bag. She hisses at the class teacher, why have they cancelled the tuck shop? We live in Ikoyi and have to leave home at 6.30am, what do you expect my kids to eat for breakfast? All said in the most perfectly affected accent. The harassed teacher, without a hint of sarcasm says, fruits, and then they can eat a quick breakfast in school or in the car before school starts. What do mean fruits, they can't eat fruits in the morning, and they eat at the tuck shop. I looked at this smartly dressed woman and wonder what kind of breakfast can be available in a tuck shop? Then again l looked at the children and noticed that a number of them were either obese or on the first rung of the ladder.

This conversation goes on for a while with the teacher trying to juggle demanding children and even more demanding parents. I decide to come back and see her at a sane time. The school had cancelled the tuck shop because the children will not eat their packed lunch preferring the over sugared, over salted brilliantly advertized sawdust on sale in the tuck shop. Given the resources available to most of the kids, you can feed an average family for a week on what the kids spend at the shop. I had noticed last term that the shrimp had started coming home with her lunch half eaten or not eaten and her bag full of empty shiny wrappers of candy, chocolate, biscuits and crisps. I stopped giving her pocket money, l had always packed regular locally made snacks and drinks and fruits with her meals. The cancellation of the tuck shop was therefore welcome. That is until she came home yesterday after school and declares l don't like school anymore (emotional blackmail). Why darling l asked? Because you only give me one small biscuits and drink, why can't l have sprite and Pringles and crisps and gummy bears and waffles and mars, so and so and so all have them! All at once?
L'ekan na? (I've taken to speaking both Yoruba and English to her every time and everywhere) I asked in alarm, yes mama they do and you don't let me have what I want! I am so sad (pulling a face and rolling her eyes). I laugh, immune to her theatrics and emotional blackmail and proceed to explain why she can’t have most of it and to negotiate what she can have. As I did this I realized the tuck shop is not closed, it just relocated to the pantries at the homes of the children.

Guess I'll open mine too with homemade honey cookies, honeyed coconut balls, plantain chips, groundnuts (no not peanuts) and kulikuli along side fruits, Ghanaian chocolates and South African raisins
Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Òrò pa èsì je (matter kill comment)

My friend Dayo Ogunyemi took these pictures on Falomo Bridge Ikoyi yesterday. An appropriate caption defies me so over to you smart folks, how would you caption this, and in the nature of our hard to explain realities, how would you describe this.



















Monday, September 03, 2007

Balm on manic Mondays

Another manic Monday, I'm not in the mood to talk about our many "the rich also cry" wahala. Today I am going to walk around with a smile plastered to my face no matter what, l will not assimilate, I will not process and I certainly will not comment. What l will do is my usual Monday at the cinema ritual with my co conspirators' Remi and Jide. Why Mondays? Ticket is half price, popcorn is free baby! Cheapskates? Na you know o. Now Jide is a walking film encyclopedia, heck walking everything encyclopedia, the oversabi so and so. Remi is the delightfully dizzy, clueless one always asking you to explain a scene right in the middle of the film. I am the anal one studying the movie and compulsively quaffing bags of sugared popcorn. How will you recognize us? Jide is the eccentric one in his daily work uniform of black jacket, pants (Armani only, owns only 2 pairs by choice and will only replace them when threadbare, usually every decade since they are Armani) and regulation white marks and Spencer shirt. He harasses Remi everyday to begin doing a men's' black and white capsule work wardrobe applying her unique sense of cut, structure and detail. Remi is of course always in black skirt and top or the occasional kaftans, never trousers, never jeans. I always dress like an upmarket bag lady and harass Remi to go back to making monochrome jersey dresses and top. We are democratic film snobs, as we only demand that a film be true to itself, its genre and high production values. We will watch anything from anywhere and in any language as long as it meets those non-exacting criteria.
In an ideal world I and Jide would only got and watch movies at cinemas like the brilliant Ritzy (strange name for a place so cool and edgy) in Brixton. Now that is a true film lover's cinema. An upstairs bar, lounge, restaurant and bandstand. Comfy sofas in the seating areas. A wildly diverse (they have organic dark chocolate in Soya milk shakes!) food drinks and sweets menu. The films shown are just as intelligent and diverse from smart blockbusters to art house Indies usually preceded (on opening night) with some kind of gig. I always travel from whatever part of London I am to see movies at Ritzy.

Back to Lagos, it is Silverbird for me, granted it has a brassy, trashy aura but l like it there. I prefer it to the nu metro one at PALMS, which is just soulless and colourless. They both show similar movies and the selection is all round (understandably) poor in quality but at least Silverbird has a happy energy. So today, we will go and watch Rush Hour 3 (poor selection to choose from remember?) We have seen everything worthwhile on the line up sometimes more than once. I usually don't like to watch movies again unlike Jide who sees each at least twice and then buys the DVD of the exceptional one.

Recently we added Ratatouille to the buy in DVD list. Yes I know, animated film about rats in a kitchen? Improbable is the tamest word I can find now. The thing however is that ratatouille is bloody good; first, it is from Pixar, love Steve Jobs, love Incredibles. The animation is excellent, the dialogue is funny, the characters are a hoot and an improbably plot is made almost believable. I love it.


So as I pull out my sweater, (gosh, why is that cinema always so cold) on my way to a work lunch, I am mentally preparing for my Monday cinema out with my friends. Of course l will smuggle in extra food, (doesn't everybody?) Silverbird has no soy latte and ginger muffin (hint hint).

I wonder if the rush hour duo can stretch the joke to cover a 3rd movie, I shall have the answer in a few hours