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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, February 27, 2010

TWF Diaries Lost in Time

Tuesday June 1st 2009
Early start, I was vexed with Bayo’s sloppiness with the costumes ending up in a strange ugly Betty sokoto sofe and monkey jacket ensemble plus wacko Pocahontas plaits. We travelled out of town at dawn and were in the village bright and early.
The entry into the village was emotional for me as I went back to the summers of my childhood in Ida Ogun village with my wealthy but distant cocoa farmer grandfather and the extended family. The sight of the growing plants and food, the smell of the earth and chill of the air made me choke on my memories.

We arrived to a village saying a collective fervent prayer to God in an apparent daily praise and worship ritual. They received us very warmly without a trace of the apprehension and fear we got accustomed to in other states and communities. The women in particular were warm and happy. Even our new armed policemen were relaxed; we had said an emotional good bye to our machine gun wielding MOPOL officers in Benin at the border of Ondo.

What was disheartening though was how dirty the village was, something the community should be able to organize to fix.
They have no toilets, water or electricity so they defecate on the footpaths around the village and the paths to the farms and forest.

I thought they should do less praying and more fixing but then one must understand that the combination of the scarring of the past and grinding poverty has robbed the people of dignity and more.

On dignity, the hunter Ogunjimi, ode aperin, arinpa ogun ogun a gbe o (learnt that today) is a very regal, beautiful looking man in his thirties l imagine with the stillness born of spending so much time in the forest and a rich cadence of voice any broadcaster would envy. He also has the innate, wry humour of his people.
Born in the village and raised to follow the family tradition of hunting, he was very intriguing.

The people were all pretty outstanding actually, the hunters wife was sweet and had the most beautiful smile, the loquacious Ebenezer who claimed he could disappear but could not be a councillor, the work proud palm wine taper Godwin and his shy wife, the old mama, the boy who looked like a runway model, the children.



There was the curious thing with a sudden rash which came upon the sound guy Jeff and suddenly l saw my own skin welting up as did everyone except the darker skinned Nigerians. The non-Nigerians panicked and l got teased about being oyinbo but l assured them it was probably some insects’ bites and will disappear by end of the day.


Lunch time was revealing as the village gathered around our vehicles expectant until Bayo decided to start giving out to the children the biscuits and drinks the Iyeye had given us in Benin.
From now on, we must feed the people, especially the children in the communities we shoot.

What was also quaint was the way the entire village got in on the shoot, contributing, acting, doing great waka pass and watching without obstructing.
It is interesting how diverse the cultural and ethnic mix is and the harmony of their lives. Are the idanre people more accommodating than others or is it just that poverty, religious and fuelled political tensions have not overcome the natural order of things?

Afterwards we went to the state house to interview the governor and his wife which was pretty pedestrian except that this first lady was open, friendly and not power drunk also the governor appeared earnest and genuine in his intentions. Time will tell.
Lesson to self; use self-depreciation and humour in interviews no matter how serious the subject or interviewee.

Afterwards we drove to Idanre hills, racing against the fast fading dusk light. Idanre is magical, you turn around the corner and bang, you are gob smacked by the sheer majestic beauty of the hills and the architecture of the ancient buildings around.
This should be an upscale health spa, beauty resort or something proving income for the state and employment for the yobs hanging about.

The crew from Cape Town where particular blown away by Idanre declaring it more spectacular than table mountain.

After all that, we finally finished and returned to a dinner reception by the state’s commissioner for information Ranti Akerele, an old friend and colleague. I left the crew in a party mood suspecting that the boys will be getting lucky tonight whilst l retired to bed a little sad dreaming about the lost potentials of this place and many others we had been to.

Lost in Time airs on TALK WITH FUNMI tomorrow Sunday February 27th on Africa Magic 6pm Nigerian time 7pm central African time.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

TENKA

My friend is mad, it’s not her fault she was born that way. Now if she had had the good sense to request of the discharging angel, a posting to a different country, perhaps things would be a lot easier for her but she got posted to Nigeria consequence upon which she wears her madness like a protective glove to maintain her sanity. I love her dearly, I too am mad.

One of the smartest minds l have ever encountered. She has that irritating mathematician’s ability to break complex problems into simple component parts but an unfair additional creative gift and energy. These when added to a compulsive perfectionism and 6 feet of fierce femaleness does make for a rather formidable woman. But, the thing is, with her mad scientist’s mind, keen creative spirit and unbending perfectionism, she can produce near perfect solutions, products and services, a Steve jobs if you like.
Not that this is any use in an environment where only the most banal, puerile, ordinary, unimagined and down right cretinism thrive.

Why am l talking about her. Well, her latest lets find a solution to a societal need is her fabulously illustrated children’s book, a first step in an audacious, fun, engaging cultural confidence building multi media education project.

The story behind the production of the book is a book waiting to happen but l am a living witness too the toil, dedication, detailed research, attention to details and bull headed determination behind the production TENKA.

It is delightfully, richly illustrated and begins the odyssey of the mischievous TENKA whose character is derived from the famed Ijapa of Yoruba folklore.

I showed the shrimp the advance manuscript and she read it back to back asking to be taught the songs.

Although its beauty is tactile, TENKA is written in a way that requires that the parent read the book with younger children so its not a pacifier but a tool for involved parenting. It’s Tales by moonlight for the modern nuclear family.

I love it.

NIGHTS ON A CREAKING BED

I sometimes have what we call brain touch or how else can l justify the fact that Toni Kan sent me this book when it was published and l didn’t read it until now?
I have been mad busy the past 18 months but still, abeg Toni no vex o. But why should Toni vex, it is my own near loss if l had not read this bloody good book.

The Massa and l have recently been looking with keener eyes at the work of Nigerian authors for our own evil, world domination plans. So last week he suddenly says “have you read nights on a creaking bed”? I said damn! I‘ve been meaning to, Toni must think l am a prat or that l didn’t like it and am being diplomatic. You should read it, its good he said in usual understatement.

I started yesterday; l finished it today, in-between meetings and other engagements.

It’s a fabulous book, spare, intelligent, involved, evolved and turgid. Toni is a gifted storyteller, nights on a creaking bed is a must read.
Monday, February 22, 2010

Five quick questions for FI on 9ja Hip & Hopping

So why didn’t you edit out the bits with Toni Payne in the 9ice interview seeing that they are now separated?

When we filmed, they were still very much together and in love and spoke so glowingly one of the other. Perhaps I secretly hoped that showing them what they meant to each other would remind them of what they may have taken for granted, as we all tend to do in relationships. It can’t be easy on a young couple with a baby who also have to grapple with fame, self-actualization and the expectations of other people. They were very happy together at the shoot. I feel for them and I hope they resolve it. Ultimately it is their call and I wish them both happiness.

Why the choice of 9ice for the hip hop edition?
We planned to have 9ice, Dbanj and Wande Cole. I love 9ice’ originality, Wande talent and Dbanj’s artistry but tying down three very busy musical stars for an all day shoot was not easy. Dbanj had to travel unexpectedly, Wande Coal came late and it rained cats and dogs on that day so ID was kept waiting for a long time. We are already getting requests now from other musical starts that want to be in series 2 now that they see what it will look and feel like. We have exciting plans for series 2.

What is written on your tee shirt why the choice of costume?

Sisi Eko, (Lagos Babe).
It was Bayo Haastrup’s styling. I wanted to wear something hip but still age appropriate and cheeky. The Deola Sagoe tight tight tee-shirts are hard to pull off and the designers club bedazzled jeans was fun with the bottoms turned up showing the impossibly high structural wedges. I could barely walk in them so I took them off between takes.

Is your singing really that bad?
Absolutely

Who is the musician planning to contest for governor whose name 9ice whispered in your ear?
Wouldn’t you like to know;)
Friday, February 19, 2010

TWF Diaries 9ja Hip And Hopping Shoot

INTRO
What l didn’t do last week when l started the TWF diaries is tell you that each episode is not shot in the order it is airing so l will be doing a lot of back and forth in time.

So even though Makoko was the first and hardest shoot, it will not air until week 13 but it was on the morning of the Makoko shoot l that wrote down my fears and anxiety. I wrote this

“l will write twice a day now. It is the dawn of a new day. Almost a decade later, l am moving to the next level as we start shooting TWF today. I am scared and strangely calm too, so much has gone now and l fear that l may have lost something in translation or appeal to audience. Is the show going to be too abstract, too serious, too produced, too western? I didn’t sleep much but l woke up at 4am and went downstairs and saw the devotion of my family and friends, my sisters are cooking breakfast for the 30 man crew along with the cook, maid and nanny and taking care of my daughter whilst my brother is sorting our my hair extensions and Bayo is arranging the clothes. I feel humble and grateful and strong. I can do this.”

The 9ja Hip and Hopping shoot

Tuesday May 19th 2009
Long shoot today but an illuminating experience. 9ice is a really nice, decent young man. It feels like that because there were so many textures and layers to one story and one day.

It started with the aggro with Bayo over costume, I ended up deciding what I’d wear as l have more or less over the last three shoots. I was sleep deprived and cranky so, everyone is avoiding me. We set out eventually for 9ice’s house in Abule Egba and commenced on the long shoot complete with rains and thunderstorms and loud generator noise.

Poor Jeff is going out of his mind trying to perfect his sound. The house is modest and a mixture of where he and his wife Toni are right now. Their 5 month old son Zion is a gentle happy child and a spitting image of his father albeit much fairer. They have an interesting looking set of boys around in the house with Toni being the only female presence. Toni is cool.

After the house, 9ice, Toni and Zion rode in my car and we drove through Oshodi, Mushin and Akoka to ID Cabasa’s original studio in his parents’ house. A bit surreal for me as l grew up and spent part of my early years in this neighbourhood.

ID is a very smart and gifted young man. There was also 2 phat and his happy face and the model turned engineer and a motley collection of characters. We met ID’s mum who was shy and sweet. The bond between ID and 9ice seem fostered by the years of toil and hardship together building a mutual respect and dependency that is touching.

After Akoka, we stopped for lunch and drove to Nu Grotto in VI for the final shoot. Whilst the crew was setting up, l decided to take the boys to Chocolate Royale for drinks and a bite. The bouncer refused entry to 9ice, ID cabasa, 2phat and the other boys with us. I was livid and tried to speak with his boss who turned out to be an even more clueless Lebanese girl. The Nigerian staff were appalled, l told them off, matched the boys in, had very expensive drinks and ate fried
sawdust then returned to Nu Grotto.


Wande coal joined us for the final shoot in the technically challenging interior of Nu Grotto, complete with our waka past cast of UNILAG students positioned as diners and clients.

It all ended on a high note with Denrele Edun appearing in all his royal madness after the shoot along with a group of friends.

Home late, showered and in bed, its 1a.m but l am too fired up to sleep, spent an hour talking through my anxieties with Remi Lagos on the phone, dropped off with the phone still in my hand.

Postnote
My opinion on the separation of 9ice and Toni Payne? Watch the show
this Sunday 6pm Nigerian time on Africa Magic and you’ll get your own
insight then l will tell you what l think next week. Have a fab weekend.
Thursday, February 18, 2010

RANDOM MEMORIES (coping strategy whist I wait for lunch at work)

A GREAT TIME
Ayeni the great (love that name) and his crew invaded my office on Tuesday to interview me. It is not often I enjoy being interviewed. Too many interviewers are unresearched, unprepared, unconnected and uninterested. Actually, he is not an interviewer but a mobile multi media machine, an adapted to the Nigerian reality Ryan Seacrest cum Simon Cowell. Ayeni is ambitious, innovative, energetic and fun, that guy is going places.

ON BLACK SISTERS STREET

This is one of the best books I read last year. I met the author Chika Unigwe at TEDex Euston and she packs a punch in presence and delivery. She strutted on stage in four-inch platforms, miniskirt and red shirt, her full locks contained even as her eyes shone with private mirth and intellect. I instantly liked her.

Her talk about her own personal struggles in a new country post inter racial marriage and her conquest of these as well as her audacious research for the book was delightful and inspirational, can’t wait to see the video on TEDx Euston. I had to read the book.

The story of four prostitutes bond by common tragedy and inevitable hope. It is a well-observed thoughtful and unflinching journey into a world of dashed dreams, death, wanton callousness, love and redemption. It is girl power without the cheese and artifice. I really like it.

AT TEDx EUSTON

Last December, I fell down the stairs in a London flat. It was 6am, I had worked all night and was tip toeing down in the dark so I don’t wake up my hosts who already think I am the most antisocial workaholic house guest ever.
It was the night before my talk at TEDex Euston. I had tied myself up in stitches getting ready for the talk, as I knew how much work Ike Anya and Chikwe Ihekweazu had put in to make it happen.

I also understand how important it is to have a licensed off shoot TED event such as this focused on African issues and people. I am hoping that they will be able to do a Nigerian version such that we not only hear the stories of the truly inspirational people amongst us but the outstanding ideas, projects, concepts, inventions and productions they have come up with.

I was told my talk was great, I thought other speakers were fantastic right before I blacked out from the fall the night before or was it a combination of cold and hunger as I felt much better after a fabulous curry at Rasa.

NO MAGA

I met Godwin when I delivered a talk at the University of Ibadan a few years ago, he was a student leader. I thought he was one to watch and he has maintained communications with me since then through many interesting job experiences all related to his passion about change. He and yet another outstanding young person Gbenga Sesan are behind the Microsoft supported anti cyber crime song maga no need pay. The video was recently released.



I was supposed to be in that video (why pray tell?) but was ill when it was shot so you’ll see a little girl wearing a tee shirt with my name on, something which I find worrisomely pleasing.

It is directed by the totally cool Kemi Adetiba and features a number of stars and celebs. It is a good initiative, now we just have to fix the underlying socio economic causes of cyber crime.

A SLEEK SHOOT

Yesterday, Sleek magazine did a photo session with me for a special Nigeria at 50 project they are working on. I usually don’t enjoy shoots as they can be tedious but despite my near debilitating exhaustion, we had a blast. video
Monday, February 15, 2010

Five quick questions for Funmi

Hello people!
Happy valentine in arrears!
Hope you had a nice one. It was a great day for me and Ignite Media team. Her new show, Talk With Funmi aired yesterday on DSTV’s African Magic at 6pm Nigerian time. It was fun watching the first full edition with Funmi and her friends amidst foods and drinks (Winks). After the show, I had this quick interview with FI. Enjoy and always visit this space for more.

Why didn’t you ask governor Fashola questions about the allegations?

The show was shot in May 2009 when there were no allegations or any sort of ill will towards Mr. Fashola. Lagos was in Euphoria about the visible infrastructural improvements, better living conditions and dramatic drop in crime rate.

TWF is not a news programme or a news magazine programme. To achieve the sort of post production we desire it, our turn around time is long so we cannot be specific as political situations change rapidly in Nigeria. If we had asked questions specific to whatever current situation exists at filming time, events would have overtaken it in a week or so and the show would be stale. Everything I asked him was relevant for all times but also true to the time of filming. It’s like asking Obama about health reforms when he just won the elections and his approval rating was sky high.

We put this into consideration in conceiving the show, thus TWF is designed to be a timeless capsule of the stories, people and situations as exists in Nigeria today. The stories are allowed to tell themselves whilst the viewer makes independent opinions.

Finally the intent with the Fashola show was to humanize a public servant who had proven that Lagos could be organized, a peep into the man behind the office. We choose him because he is unusual in our climes and l can tell you that in other states we visited, Lagos was the peoples' yardstick for performance.

I am afraid people often want me to be Amanpour plus Oprah. I am neither nor desire to be. I am unapologetically and enthusiastically Funmi of Nigeria with challenges peculiar to Nigeria including the fact that no network in Nigeria will pay for nor hire me or anyone else to do any production nor will they air it if I didn’t walk a considered apolitical line. This production has been a long lonely road requiring everything my co- travellers and myself have and more. We are pioneering and laying foundations to be able to do a lot more.

But should he not be investigated? What about the many parts of Lagos where improvements have not reached? Did Lagos pay for this edition?

Technically, that’s three questions…
Yes Fashola must answer to the people at all times, he said as much himself in the interview.

Same yardstick must also be extended to all including the house of assembly membership.

We did speak about the as yet untouched areas using Makoko and Tawka Bay as pointers, he gave detailed explanations of their plans which we can hold him to at the end of his tenure. We have future editions shot in some of these areas.

No Lagos did not pay for this or any other edition of the show.
I think that because Mr. Fashola is not a great orator, many people did not listen to the substance of what he was saying which was very sublime. We indeed took out hours of conversation because he is too technically detailed in his explanations to maintain interest. We managed to retain his contentiousness and purposefulness. He was believable, admirable but vulnerable all at once.

Most insightful answer to a question you asked him?
As we came out of his car, he revealed that he is very shy and a poor mixer. It is very obvious that he is a bit of a loner and an intellectual. I think these factors may be partly responsible for some of his recent troubles with political colleagues. A drawback that his intimate relationship with his predecessor and astute politician, Asiwaju Tinubu, who is fondly called governor emeritus helps compensate for.

The other one which was not in the final cut was when in the dinning room he revealed in a very pained voice his regret that he is unable to spend as much time as he would like with his children especially his 9 year old and his fears that he will miss on their best years.

Why were you wearing a Chelsea tee shirt?

Up blues! My allegiance is skin deep though as I wish we could have the glory days of Stationery Stores, Bendel United, and Shooting Stars back.

Unnecessary piece of information you’d like to share?

I ate during the interview, it was edited out as I don’t eat pretty as you’ll find out in a future edition.
Friday, February 12, 2010

TWF DIARIES

I have kept a detailed diary on and off most of my life but the idea for a diary at this pivotal point was inspired by my friend Remi Lagos who bought me a beautiful note book and wrote in her sprawling bold prints “to our dearest aje in peace, love and happiness from olodo, with the very best wishes for now and always”. The note pad was titled love, I have filled that and I am currently writing in the next one also titled love and will then move to happiness.

I wanted to write my thoughts down to quieten my mind at a time of deep fears, anxiety and change. It got worse, it got desperate and then it got demented after which one becomes fearless and strangely at peace. What will come in the following weeks are my exact thoughts and feelings as written at each point during the shoot of TWF.

Sunday May 17th 2009

Up at 4.48am with a sore throat and cold.
The house is abuzz. My sisters, the Nazi (my cook Bose) and Toyin (our maid) were making breakfast for the crew and I.
Bayo (make up artist, friend, stylist, mother hen) walks into my room with the different costume changes and matching accessories for the day. I sit in my underwear, drinking my start the day tea and reading my research as he hems the corduroy pants for the football field. Segun my brother and dresser styles my hair, whilst our improvised stylist’s assistant, my gorgeous 6 foot plus super model like sister Lawunmi arranges our bags.

60 minutes later, they have eliminated all signs of illness or fatigue from my face and I am in my personalized Chelsea football shirt and amended corduroy pants. Downstairs, Brian, Mike and Jeff (technical director, DOP and Sound Engineer) from Cape Town are whining about the lack of coffee.
Bayo quips “wetin dey do these oyinbo, we no dey drink coffee for here o, abeg make una give them kola nut jo”!

Chris (director, producer, slave master) is nobody’s daddy and is going over his meticulously arranged order for the day. He has insisted on doing a technical recce of every point we would be filming to the irritation of the governor’s people. Chris is also a bit cranky because we don’t have all our equipments in from London.

We wait for a go ahead from the governor’s people, each in his and her world, only Bayo appears relaxed but then he had eaten his usual breakfast of puff puff covered in sugar downed with one litre of processed orange juice and a shot of brandy.

We get the go ahead and leave in a convoy at 8.20am, with Tony my fitness instructor turned body guard fighting with Bayo and Segun for who should be in my personal space. Why any of them thinks l require extra protection in the company of the state’s governor is beyond me.

We arrive at the newly finished Teslim Balogun stadium and I sit in the car reading a book and trying to detach from the drama around me as Chris and co determine best positions.

The governor’s football playing buddies start to arrive and I know a number of them quite well, as I used to spend many weekends watching them play. That was almost a decade ago, the years show. I have a panic thought, does it show that starkly on me too? But then I think, I was in my twenties then and whatever damage a decade has done cannot be ruinous yet, that is still coming.

Suddenly the governor arrives and everyone jumps to attention. Of course things never work quite as planned but I have spent my career being quick and adaptive so I deftly step in his path, impaling his security and protocol details with my eyes and will and start talking with him telling him exactly how we prefer the shoot to go.

Even though we sent a detailed show plan, they still thought we only wanted to film him playing football. We were determined to film him playing football with me whilst we conversed. I don’t play football so it became an impromptu football lesson. I am lousy at it, he is a sport.

There is a Super Sport crew around led by my friend Felix Awogu with whom I had a lot of fun covering the Athens Olympics, so I grant a quick interview, a reminder of my sports journalism days.

We leave the governor at the pitch and drive to the State House to set the stage for our lunch and interview. I change quickly in the living room and Bayo and Segun eliminate the exertions on the field from my face and hair.
Fashola returns a few hours later and foes upstairs to change after which he and I have an interview over lunch. It was the best part as it was more controlled and he was very revealing.

The man eats moderately and healthily; I couldn’t eat much during the interview but down my fish, rice and dodo quickly after the interview.

Then begins the dramatic part, Chris has designed an elaborate plan where two advance cameramen will be on okadas at specific points on his planned drive path so they can capture the way the convoy turns beautifully at those points whilst another camera will be in the car with us and the sound engineer at the back.

Great, except that the specialized truck from the governor’s convey although luxurious is not comforable so Jeff has to contort his 6 foot 3 frame and bags of precious equipment into the boot, whilst Brian hand holds a camera on an improvised steady cam in the front seat with the governor and I squeeze into the remaining space. Not the easiest shoot but we pull it off with Jeff in near rigour mortis and Brian’s shoulder frozen. I have a crick in my neck and lord knows what pain Fashola was concealing.

At the final location –Sky restaurant of the Eko hotel which has a great view of Lagos. The advance production team of Seki and Ife are jittery and I know something is wrong. We had designed a citizen’s panel to consist of a youth, a person living with disabilities, a professional woman, a Lagos indigene and so on. Most don't show up, Dr. Abiola and Danlami are late; we start trying to find last minute replacements whilst the governor waits, his guys getting impatient. I figure the guests think all politicians are late, well not this man, and not this crew led by the slave master.

It turns out well enough in the end and I am very impressed with the governor who is unused to a film environment but has had immense patience and affability with the tiring and tedious processes.

Afterwards I go with my posse to Terrakulture to chill out and perform my 3rd change of costume, hair and make up for a special birthday event for Bobdee, Ovation’s larger than life publisher, led by Bayo, Segun and Tony. These boys are insane causing a stir as we walk in.

I retire home at 1am and take off the make up, flatten the bouffant hair and step out of the tight dress. I see my red, exhausted demented eyes staring from a face waxen with pain and exhaustion and a nose expanded with tension as snot runs out. I pop my hormonal relaxant and smile, one down, 14 to go. Tomorrow I will not look like this, I have Bayo and Segun.
Friday, February 05, 2010

So what can we do?

It started around about this time last year, l lie, it started perhaps two years before that or maybe it started a long time ago. l don’t know. We know a lot these days but we really don’t know anything do we?

I sometimes sound mad but l am comfortable with my near insanity knowing as l do that technically l am in a population demographic majority. We are all mad but undiagnosed. And why not? Aside from an absentee president and the insane drama around what should be done about that situation, there is the attempt to impeach the one clearly successful governor in Nigeria, the fuel crisis, the worsening power situation, the corrupt and ailing banking sector, comatose manufacturing sector, an errant bomber, simmering religious tensions and professional kidnappers who nearly make Niger delta militants look tame.

There is also a lot of good to great things happening but that is not my focus today.

One of the limits of my madness is a refusal to engage in those draining diatribes on Nigeria and what is wrong with her. It’s a tried, tested and continuously failing cop out.

l have sat in the company of bank MDs who stole billions of money, ruling party leaders who manipulate the electoral process and steal billions on naira, pastors of un taxed mega churches where all the above pay staggering sums in tithes and contribution and listened in disbelief as they all moan about bad leadership and the Nigerian situation.
I have often mentally checked my teeth for visible spinach; perhaps the joke is on me?

So make l for no crase finish l ask simple questions like, “so what do you think we should do” what is within our own control immediately and how do we build on that? “What will my role be in that”? Usually, the conversation goes no further because l sometimes think both Nigerians and foreigners have a morbid fascination with Nigeria’s undeniable failures.

Why a person who doesn’t know me thinks its’ polite to greet me with “Hey Funmi, so why is your country so messed up?” then go on to describe in graphic details the latest news of calumny from Nigeria is beyond me. l don’t meet anyone and dive into the latest tale of horror from their country since l am informed enough to know that individual cases does not represent the nation nor can l interpret their experiences completely through the prism of my own cultural yardsticks. Even with dire situations like Congo, my enquiry will be more of seeking understanding and extending solidarity than a rampant need to gleefully inform me as though l too have not read the papers today. But foreigner l allow, sometimes people need to see others in a bad light to bear the ordinariness of their own existence.

Don’t get me wrong, l daily have many moments of an intense desire to supervise a Jerry Rawlings like clean up. If l thought that everyone will join a match for us to physically go into many a political or business leader’s office, lift them off their usually fat arses, roll them in their agbada or wrapper and dump them in the river Niger, l would.

So what should we do? I can give you an answer as to what we should do regarding my industry, no, wrong word, there is no industry just incestuous deal making, l can tell you what we should do about my sector. I say we to be inclusive of not only the players but also the spectators in this roman lion fight arena that our situation sometimes feels like.

So one of my 2010 things is an invitation called “so what can we do” for different sectors. You can send me your thoughts or someone else’s thoughts, thesis, ideas or inventions.

I will also tell you about individual projects, people, ideas and developments that may interest you and help dispel some of that sense of otherness, non contribution and non viability that perhaps underline our hopelessness and consequent emotional haemorrhaging, the source of our collective undiagnosed madness.

TWF diaries

Wait a second!
l started talking about what began last year but did not begin last year ko?

The TALK WITH FUNMI project started in 2007, we got on the road May 2009, since then l have known no peace.

l understand now the look of gentle reproach on the faces of many of my industry colleagues when l told them my wild idea, they thought l was frigging mad but were too polite? scared,? concerned? to tell me.

I did eventually find a few other similarly afflicted people to come along with me on this monstrous unending glorious journey that TWF is.

Typically the real stories are behind the scenes, maybe l will tell them one day, especially when time can add perspective, humour and insight. But l will share digestible bits in my TWF diaries.

It has nearly killed us, we have alienated friends and family, it required everything we had and didn’t have but we have created something really special, something which l suspect is going to take on a unique life of its own. There are two of us who really are at the heart of TWF along with our often-exasperated gang but for both of us the reason we are doing it is because we don’t want to “die wrongfully” and TWF is one of our contributions to that desire. There is a million miles to walk and we have taken the first bold steps.

TWF debuts this Sunday February 7th on Africa Magic at 7pm, my diaries debut on www.talkwithfunmi.com on Monday. The show is also coming soon on national TV in Nigeria.

The Cat’s Weekend

You wont believe me but l don’t like going out except dancing with my friends where l dance shamelessly and “shayo” bottles and bottles of water to everyone’s confusion.

This weekend promises to be hectic. Although l have malaria, wild horse will not drag me from;

Ijy’s wedding
It’s our first TWF wedding!
Ijeoma Onw…. is my dear friend and ex new dawn ladies panelist whom l foolishly persuaded to leave her job and join our wild TWF experiment. Whilst on the road, we let go of one production manager and hired a new one who had to quickly fit in. l too thought Emmanuel was rather tasty but the pressure on the road blinded me so l didn’t see him move in on Ijy or was it the other way round. I was the last to know but 8 months later these two madly in love people are getting married this Saturday and l will be giving a cringe worthy toast. Hehehe!

Congratulations you two and Ijy, don’t forsake the sisterhood o, we want all the gory details of married life right after the honeymoon.

Femi Kuti’s Grammy party at Tribeca

Because l like Femi’s music, because Tribeca is the best and hottest club in Lagos, because l admire Ahmed’s tenacity and focus, because l am pleasantly surprised by Charles’ business courage because l can wear micro shots and dance and be an agabya without repercussions.

MNET’s face of Africa

Because it is there.