Thursday, October 30, 2008

Are NAIJA Music Videos Debasing Women?

Public Opinion

This is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot recently.

What actually triggered this discourse was an argument and a music video I caught recently thanks to a pirated 9ice VCD that proudly claimed to contain his Gongo Aso videos. Trust the pirates: the contents were radically different from the cover but that’s another issue for another day.

The argument actually started when a female declared that if she was a music star she’d shoot a music video that would have the guys all strutting around in briefs. Her reason? Guys shoot videos with scantily dressed female dancers in them shaking what their Mamas gave ‘em and reducing their bride price, so to speak. Her scantily-clothed males video concept would therefore turn the tables on men.

Fast forward to the music video on the “Gongo Aso” VCD I talked of earlier. The video in question titled “Call The Police” is from the (previously unknown to me) musician Tustep and features another (unknown) rapper who goes by the name Dagrin. The music video was directed by DJ Tee (again!) with the production efforts of Shayman (of Ko Won Je fame).

The song by itself is a club banger based loosely on the crunk rap style and its lyrics are kinda nice. According to the hook as sung by Tustep:

Pick up your phone make you call the Police / Say this girl she don thief my heart-y oh! / Oh! (x 3) / Where she carry am go? / Oh oh! / She must-o carry am come back!

And he goes on to sing about how the girl has stolen his heart thus making him “tempted to touch” and stuff like that. After the introductory scene by Shayman, we get to see Tustep on a sofa with his girl number one. Then after that, we fade to what looks like the VIP section of a club with about 10 girls in the background each doing her bit of dancing while Tustep addresses the one sitting down directly. But after this comes the controversial part. I’ve gone over the entire lyrics of the song and Tustep makes it apparent in the lyrics that he’s singing of one girl. So how come in the said video do we see two girls running their hands all over him in the bedroom scene?

Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m yet to see a Naija music video which (discreetly or openly) endorses a ménage a trois like this. I just wonder who - Director, artiste or Producer - was responsible for this particular Artistic Direction. (Congrats! At least now our music videos are stepping up! 50 Cent and Ludacris, it seems now reside in Lagos. Or wherever).

The video by itself is not too bad and will trip a guy’s imagination no end but will give women yet another chance to cry foul over their being debased. I’ve listened to several women shout against this form of abuse but it seems their positions are rather weakened by the members of their very same sex. And as one lady told me: if she refused to dance provocatively in a video, there would be 10 other ladies lining up to take her place.

As for me, I take the middle stand. Any woman / girl / lady who chooses to can appear nude in any music video she wants to as far as no one put a gun to her head to do it. But still that doesn’t mean the music video Directors and artistes should start pushing the envelope and blurring the lines between provocative dancing, x-rated scenes and freedom of speech.

I won’t lie: I like seeing skin and rump-shaking but that doesn’t mean every music video should start toeing that line! What’s happening to creativity, for crying out loud?

I’m running a poll about this just to know your views and please feel free to drop comments / e-mail. All views are welcome. But if you were to ask me, I don’t think every Nigerian apparently, is ready for sexually-suggestive videos. Well, people what do YOU think?

We love watching your videos but this rubbish has got to end.

DJ Tee, Tustep, and many others: Please, please take note…

Monday, October 27, 2008

Right Of Reply: Commenting On The Comments Part 2

Dear Anonymous Commentator,

It is with a huge dose of sarcasm and the eternal quest for objectivity that I have decided to handle this matter this way. Normally, being the blogmaster, I could have easily deleted your comments and no-one would have been any more the wiser except you and I. But maybe I deceive myself when I say I am objective. I may have to warn you however that my reply - in exact opposite of yours - will be long.

First, of all, Thank you for helping me stick to my decision not to turn off Comment Moderation in my blog. I’m sure you must have agonized for hours trying to choose the right words to convey your opinion and I’m sorry if good manners and Comment Moderation prevented you from publishing all the swear words you might have used in my blog without my permission. Once again, thanks for unwittingly demonstrating to less discrete Bloggers out there, the immense power of this little invention of Censorship.

Secondly, I usually don’t publish Anonymous comments on my blog. From experience, most of them are usually useless comments packed full of hidden links to spy ware, spam and advert sites none of which I endorse. Whenever I break this rule, you ought to know that either the said comment is apt, harmless, boosts my ego or makes a whole lot of sense. Your comment in this case, doesn’t fulfill any of these criteria but I’ll just make an exception all the same.

On the issue of Kelly Hansome’s (“hansome I repeat Hansome”, according to you - mixed upper and lowercases regardless) Maga Don Pay video, I guess I may have been a bit too harsh on that video. Sorry. Maybe we can safely blame that on my period. Like I said then and will always say, I love the song. I actually HATE the lyrics and subsequently, dislike the video.

I’m grateful for your enlightening me on the location for the video shoot. I’ve watched the said video twice and no where in it was it captioned “Shot in L.A.” so I guess my speculations that it was done in S.A. was a safe one. Honestly I do need to research more or call on people like you when I need such info. By the way, do L.A. chicks hear Pidgin English nowadays? Can they now lip-sync Kelly’s song? And I think S.A. is so much cheaper to shoot in. Remind me to ask P Square…

Since you seem so conversant on the Hansome family matters, I take it you must be very close to Kelly or any one of them so please tell him when you do see not to take my views too badly. So many people dislike Tupac’s “Hit ‘Em Up” even while admitting it is really a great song so maybe Mr. Kelly can take solace in that. And thanks for letting me know the family background too. Was the fact that they would be mistaken as being related to the Clifford Orji family partly responsible for their change of name?

You know, you are right on so many things! I was wrong on the spelling of the name and I admit I mistakenly thought the video was actually called “Mugu Don Pay” but there are several things on which you are horribly wrong. One, every one of us, yourself included, has a criminal mind. The only thing stopping most of us is after due consideration of the consequences. Second, I have never practiced 419 (you won’t believe me anyway, so why bother?) neither do I condone it in any way, the very reason I spoke out about this song in the first place. For you see, this song has everything to do with 419 (a.k.a. Advance Fee Fraud, Yahoo, Obtaining By Tricks, etc).

If you may not have grown or lived in Nigeria long (for example, if you are a refugee) then you must not have known that the phrase “mugu” or “maga” is mostly used to denote a person - usually expatriate - who has fallen prey to the trickery / dupery of an Advanced Fee Fraudster (also called a Yahoo boy in some quarters although this term may soon become trans-gender). Thus when the slang “Mugu / Maga don pay” is used, it actually means an unfortunate person has just fallen victim of the fraudster’s antics and lodged / transferred a huge amount of money (usually in dollars) as an advance payment into the fraudster’s accounts. And if you still don’t believe me, please ask the Nigerians who run your refugee camp. Or better yet, read Charizard’s “THE CHARI AND EXSCHOOLNERD SHOW

I’m taking a lot of pains (and boring most readers here) explaining this because like I said, you may be unfamiliar with these terms. I hope you are more enlightened now to see that your friend’s choice for a song title and hook was most inappropriate to say the least. The same applies for the places in the song’s lyrics where these terms were also used.

For you to then imply that the lyrics “Maga / Mugu don pay / Shout hallelujah” means “Praise God for the breakthrough in my musical career” as you put it is a collective insult to the entire crop of Nigerian audiophiles, song writers, performers and critics like us that actually do listen to music lyrics and not just nod our heads to the beat like you do. And I think you do owe us a very big sincere apology for rating our intellect so low.

You and I both agree on one thing though: we both like the song and I thoroughly enjoy the beat, tempo and flow. Permit me to suggest to your friend that if he’s doing a remix, he might just think of changing the lyrics to say, maybe: “Hard work don pay / Shout hallelujah” I’ve tried it out in the song and believe me, it works. I give the idea to him free of all copyright charges and I don’t even want the credit for the suggestion. I just hope you don’t plan on passing off the idea as yours!

I also agree with you too that censorship should be a personal thing except if you’re a kid who runs around the streets yelling “Maga Don Pay” at the top of your lungs (in which case your father then becomes the Censors Board). And have you noticed that songs with the most questionable lyrics are actually the easiest for kids to copy and sing? I recall a song called “Pickin” by D-Smart last year or so that had kids chorusing for bottles of Small Stout (an alcoholic beverage). But then, I don’t think you’d mind if your little son tells his mom to lick his lollipop, would you? Or asks the maid to take down her drawers ‘cause he wants to give her a real good banging all night, non-stop?

But what am I saying? This reply is getting too long probably because I have a weakness when it comes to brevity and I always write with passion. I also try to be very careful with my grammatical structure and syntax (unlike you), but I notice that like me, you too write with passion. I could easily spot 14 grammatical errors in the comment you sent me (the funniest was you spelling opinion as “opp ion”). Or maybe your cyber-timer ticket was running out and so you had no time to edit and had to beg the café attendant for a few extra minutes to log out properly. There’s no need to feel ashamed about that. I’ve also done it too.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this correspondence with you and I’m glad I could restrain myself from totally insulting you but please may I advice that next time you want to indulge in any sort of exchange with me or this blog, that you please get an ID? It could even be a pseudonym. So many fools like I said earlier happen to share the same “Anonymous” first name with you.
Opinions they say, are like body hairs. Everyone’s got them.

And he who has them a lot especially under the armpits is more likely to stink.

In case you haven’t noticed by the time you read this, I’m bored with replying you so I rest my case…

You are stupid.

PS: Ok, so I admit I’m just being petty but I’ve really wanted to hammer somebody like this in a long time but never got the opportunity!
And I’m still very much open to criticism please so keep hammering me too. I promise to take them seriously so I can keep on improving. Just don’t call me a 419er in them please (that’s what made me mad in the first place if not I’d have shunned the whole thing).
I HATE (hate I repeat Hate) 419.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Make Una See Me See Trouble Oh!

Just when I was on me lonesome chilling, planning my next big review, checking my blogs and mails and doing the blog rounds jejely, I happened to see (with immense jollification I must add) the “1 New Comment Needs To Be Moderated” notification sitting smack dab on my Blogger Dashboard.
In all happiness, I clicked the link and what I saw was the long mail a.k.a. comment published below.
But first some background info. When I wrote about Kelly Hansome’s “Maga Don Pay” video, little did I know the amount of dust it would generate. Now it seems somebody wants to threaten me with L.B.A. (Lyrical Body Assault) and V.B.H. (Verbose Body Harm)! Imagine small ME!
Anyway, in case you don’t understand what the entire hullabaloo is all about, you can click here to see my original post on the Kelly Hansome case. In order as to give everybody a fair hearing and to further demonstrate my objectivity, I’ve decided to publish the Anonymous comment (totally UNABRIDGED and totally UNEDITED) here instead of just discarding it where the original post is.
Not only that, I’m also posting my friend (my proper Internet paddy) TRAE-z’s comments here too for your reading pleasure. After reading them, I’m sure you can see why TRAE’s still my friend and Anonymous isn’t.
So, first from Anonymous:

so you are wrong on so many ways about Kelly HANSOME (hansome I repeat Hansome). Hansome is not misspelled in any way shape or form. It is actually his family last night. His mothers last name is Hansome. His brothers last name is hansome. His fathers last name is hansome and so on and so on. The family last name was orginally orji but they changed it as so many Nigerian families do these days. Sometimes you may find a member of his family who goes by the name of Hans. And the video title wasn't misspelled either. The song is actually called MAGA DON PAY as he does say MAGA DON PAY THEN MUGU DON PAY. The video was shot in LA. As for censoring....if you don't want to listen to a certain song then don't but as for me I love the song. It has nothing to do with 419. As far as I understand he is praising God for the breakthrough in his musical career. If you interpret the song as having 419 undertones maybe it is because you yourself practice or havce practiced 419 and that is the direction your brain wants to wander. The song is hott and we are each entitled to out own opp ion and this is mine!

And TRAE-z’s:

at times we need not take things too seriously all the time. i think Kelly Handsome's "Maga don pay/too much money" is a terrific song. definitely in the class of Olu Maintain's "yahoozee" and Nkem Owoh's "i go chop your dollar".music expresses reality, good or bad. deal with it

Thanks TRAE, I’m about to deal with it.
Expect my reply to the Anonymous assault next post…

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hate It Or Love It

We hate ads. Whenever they come up on the TV or we hear them on the radio or we catch a glimpse of the gargantuan billboards, our first instinct most of the time commands us to either pick up the remote, change the channel or just look away in exasperation.

Now here’s a Newsflash for you: Ironically, we also sub-consciously love ads too! Statistics show that a large amount of purchases we make or services we subscribe to stem not just from word-of-mouth recommendations of friends and family but are also based on the adverts we see, hear and instinctively like.

To cut the long story short, ADs DO WORK and companies, recognizing this, virtually break the bank and sink large percentages of their revenue into their ad campaigns while the advertising companies jostle for their fat accounts.

Most adverts it seems can be broadly classified into 3 categories: ads to die for, ads to ignore and ads that make you slowly die inside. Here are just a few ads which screen regularly on Nigerian TV that fall into these categories especially the first:

Ads To Die For

The BMW 1 Series: This Coscharis Motors’ driven ad takes the award for being one of the most imaginative ads out there. It features two BMW 1 hatchbacks (one white, the other black) each driven by a guy and a lady as they race each other down a highway which winds its way through several stops marked with beautiful scenery.
Now here comes the imaginative bit. Along the way, the sky changes from daylight when the white vehicle is ahead to nighttime whenever the black one overtakes which happens several time in the course of the ad all this happening while the special inner and outer features and selling points of both cars are discreetly shown to you. By the time they both come to a halt at the end of the race the daytime and night sky fuses to form a breath-taking eclipse of the sun.
Imaginative. Brilliant. Beautiful.

Etisalat’s 0809ja For Life: For once, I’m actually putting my skepticisms aside to like the wrapping paper before I actually peek at the gift wrapped inside. Etisalat is yet to launch (at least in my area) so I have no idea what their services will be like but I just LOVE this advert.
I’m talking of the particular one that features Banky W. strutting along a rapidly morphing backdrop of club-lights-inspired colours, a swimming pool and a basketball court singing the Etisalat theme song in that voice that only a Banky W. can have.
This ad is very youth-oriented and I like the bit where he pauses and shows the 0809 tattoo near his biceps while answering the phone. Of course there are several weak points in the ad like the entire basketball scenes and the wacky dancing at the very ending but, IT’S 080 - 9JA FOR LIFE, BABY!

Emvite Super from Emzor Pharmaceuticals: It does look a bit like an amateurish ad and the chick in it isn’t really so hot but she does somehow manage to get 2 guys to chase after her so I guess she’s OK. The setting is simple. Two guys scope out the chick for a while then when she gets into a taxi both of them break out into the race of their lives to track her down and claim the price. One of them of course tires quickly while the other (buoyed up no doubt by Emvite Super) coolly dashes after the taxi, runs up and down several flights of stairs and still presents the belle with a long-stemmed rose without breaking out in a sweat.
My elder bro actually took just one look at this ad and declared he’d rather save his energy and stop and chat up the other two girls whom the guys run past

Stanbic IBTC’s Guardian Angel-type ad: Check this out: You wake up in the morning and see a blurry image of a guy in a suit who has been watching over you while you slept. You clear your eyes and poof! He’s gone! You try to put your foot down on the floor and mysterious hands put your slippers underneath them. This blurry suited guy not only hangs around as you prepare for work but actually sits on the trunk of your car as you drive there.
Spooky, isn’t it?
Well that’s the new wave of Stanbic IBTC’s ad though the overall theme is meant to be that of reassurance and not fear; reassurance that their staff are always watching over you and your affairs even when you sleep (I wish I could actually feel reassurance instead of the usual skepticism with which I view ALL financial institutions).
The place in the ad were I like is the part where you see a busy highway with the corporate male and female “guardian angels” sitting on the trunks of each and every car in sight. It sort of reminds me of a scene from “City of Angels” and must have taken a whole lot of planning and daring to shoot.
And did I mention that the main “guardian angel” actually looks like Vitalis, a guy I used to know in my university days?

Zain’s TruTalk & TruTxt: Compared to Zain’s other relatively weak, ubiquitous ads and despite their distastefully-coloured premises, the fact that commercial is CGI-animated actually does boost its eye appeal. The rapping 3D animated characters are all dressed in hip Naija-styled Hop-hop gear complete with the bling-bling and clutching their cellular phones while the lyrics of their rhymes scroll underneath your screen karaoke-fashion just so in case you should think the words are phat enough to make you want to lip sync them.
This advert is targeted at the young and fly so if you don’t understand all the lingo in the preceding paragraph, then it’s definitely not aimed at you and you’ll probably never understand it anyway.
As for me, I like it just fine coz it’s TRU!

“It Begins With You”: These series of ads became popular with the advent of the “Imagine Africa” TV reality show and each one in the series compels the viewer to first of all imagine a HIV-free generation of Africans. Some of these ads actually portray how circumstances like peer pressure, the lack of proper sex education alongside the communication gap between parents and children could lead to the spread of the disease. Yet another one shows the relevance of going for HIV testing and how by individually dealing with stigmatization, we can better understand how to get along with PLWHAs (People Living With HIV/AIDS).
Now, it’s no use looking over your shoulder or pointing fingers whenever the ads play. Yes, HIV can be conquered in Africa and yes, we can have a HIV-free generation but just like the ad says, “It Begins With YOU!”

MTN’s “Go Start Something”: Yeah, yeah, I’ve watched it like a million times but I still look up anytime I hear the nursery rhyme soundtrack to see that little girl fly up that staircase and “go start something”. I just wish MTN could give us some other very imaginative adverts like this one and the funny “Share & Sell PIN ad (the advertised code doesn’t work by the way) and scrap the “Go Join The Winning Team” and “XtraCool” ads.
The variety and sheer number of people used to shoot this ad and the perfect editing of the hand-clap choreography must have given the Casting crew and Director sleepless nights but it all turned out good in the end (by the way, did you spot the very fat girl somewhere down the line in the street hand clapping chain? She appears and does a little hop - big skirt and all - just after another runs past to fill a gap in the line). Also, the shaky zooming in and out camera effect gives the viewer the impression as if we are viewing the commercial out of our very own handy-cams.
I might seem biased but in all honesty, the telcos and the banks seem to make the best ads nowadays anyway.

Ads To Ignore

Since we largely ignore them anyway is there any use listing them out? Adverts that fall into this category include the commercials for toothpaste, soaps, air refreshners, sanitary pads, food seasonings, tea, chocolate and milk drinks, detergents and any out of a thousand household items which we’ve been using since we were babies, adverts or no adverts.
Loosely bundled into this category are adverts that bear the mark of a Federal Government Ministry (except from NAFDAC of course) and the House of Assembly.
I also once used to like the “Heart of Africa” ads but nowadays I just choose to ignore them.

Plus An Ad That Makes You Die

Yardie’s 7 Point Agenda: If you are happen to be a frequent viewer of the NTA, you’re most likely aware that they keep a handy stack of ads cued ready to roll once they have transmission hitches. Yardie’s Manifesto ad happens to be sitting at the top of that stack right now.
When the broadcast signals fail, NTA gleefully puts on the 7 Point Agenda ad. When the Lagos Network Centre loses the picture, here comes the good old 7 Point Agenda advert to the rescue. When we can only see Ololade Adeniji-Adele or Bilikisu Liman from the Abuja Centre moving their lips without hearing the audio, the 7 point Agenda comes out of the bag once again sometimes also without the sound too. And when the 7 Point Agenda ad fails to play what next does NTA do? Why, they put on the 7 Point Agenda ad again!
Ironically, the ad is supposed to list out Yardie’s achievements but it actually does the exact opposite. I’m honestly sick and tired of constantly being reminded what exactly his administration promised and hasn’t delivered till now.

Politicians it seems, unlike ads will never change…

PS: This list is by no means exhaustive and before it crosses anyone’s mind, I do not seek to endorse any of the products / services mentioned here. As a matter of fact I’d rather watch “Super Story” and “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” without the ads, thank you very much!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

JonXavier Tells All: A VERY LOOOONG Tale of Facts And Questions

Hello peeps!
Ever since I announced I was open to interviews right from my very first few posts, I’ve been waiting for you all out there to do a “21 Questions” thingy on me. What do I get since then? SILENCE!
So mainly inspired by Buttercup’s 10 Facts About Me, Woomie’s Layers Survey, and the Charizard & Buttercup Exam 101 Solutions, here are my own 17 Facts About ME (since nobody’s interested in finding out about me, I am interested in finding out about me!):

1. I am ambidextrous (or rather, I like to think I am)
It’s just a big word that means the ability to use both hands with equal ease. Of course, since I’m not a natural-born southpaw, I’ve had to train my left hand to be almost as good as the right. It’s still the weaker hand though and my handwriting with it is totally disastrous but I’m still working hard to make it just as good as the right. That’s just in case (you never know) anything happens to the right hand, by the way.
Interestingly, Woomie is really ambidextrous.

2. I wear glasses
Yep! The really, really THICK kind (E never reach Coca-Cola bottle levels yet but e remain small). I’ve had myopia for most of my life but I started wearing glasses only about 10 years ago. Ironical because my eyesight used to be very good at an early age (I used to sit in the back of the class then) but latter years saw me coming closer and closer to the board.
Also ironically too, I lost a whole lot of potential friends in University because some of them just couldn’t believe that when they waved at me, I didn’t wave back because I didn’t see them! Some still think I’m a snob till now.

3. I am a Liberal Catholic
That’s actually the way I state my religion. I was born and raised with a good Catholic background but the effects have worn off with the temptations of youth and the passage of time. Right now I’m at the stage of my life when I’m really starting to question things and study theologies I’ve always taken for granted since birth.Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to find out if these things are wrong, I’m just trying to find how they are right. Let’s just say I’m on the long road to religious re-discovery right now.
Oh, and I don’t care if my friends are Anglican, Protestant, Methodist, Muslim or Sango worshippers. I believe we will ALL somehow find GOD together.

4. I LOVE GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS I DO ADORE (you can thank Jay-Z for that one…)
In case you don’t know, I’m just CRAZY about them! Tall, fat, short, slim, wharrrreva! God made them right and then put them in my line of sight. Of course, I like them the beautifuller they come and it’s a definite plus if she has a very rich mind / sound intellect as well. And she mustn’t be much too overweight because I’d like her to still look presentable after having our 4 kids. (Don’t get it twisted. I really don’t mind fat girls though I’ve found a few of them tend to be a tad insecure despite being very smart most of the time).
And I don’t mind short girls too. They are very “portable” and tend to be prettier while tall girls possess those long legs I’m always dying for.
Sigh… I really don’t know what I want but I love you all anyway. Fat, short, slim, you all are just so, so, so cuddly!

5. I’m S-I-N-G-L-E!
Despite what I’ve said about loving girls and all that, I’m very single, chronically so. Matter of fact, I’ve been on me own for 3 whole years now! Let’s just say I discovered heartbreak is one hell of a pain I don’t like dealing with and I’m not the type that does one night stands though I’ve been tempted once in a while.
It’s a tough struggle but I guess I’m more committed to the dating-for-life thing than to just hop in and out. And my being single is not for lack of trying. I’ve boldly asked 3 very wonderful ladies to go out with me in those 3 years and the answer has been N.O.!
Two other ladies wanted flings but I just wasn’t interested.

6. I’m poor and insecure… and frank about it too
That’s the honest truth. I think my financial status is actually supposed to belong to Nigeria’s rapidly-disappearing middle class but my money hardly measures up to my needs nowadays so I tag myself poor. Of course I’m on the hustle to change all that but it’s difficult running a honest hustle in these times. And I just happen to like honesty.
The insecurity bit comes with the poverty and as for being frank; I just frankly told you guys I’m poor didn’t I? I’m very frank about most things, I hate sugar-coating and beating around the bush which I feel are a waste of time and energy anyway.

7. I’m VERY plain
Sequel to 6 above, I’m plain. Matter of fact, very ordinary. There’s nothing ruggedly handsome about my looks or my wallet for that matter and I don’t dress like I stepped out of GQ or Hip-Hop World Magazine either. I’m not the type that walks into a room and lights it up; as it is, you could walk into that room and miss me. I’m just good plain old ME.
Of course I could be very exciting / passionate / funny when I set my mind to it but those moods are rare and far in between so maybe that’s why I’m always attracted to popular, vibrant types. Or maybe I’m just not meeting the right people…

8. I dalk fuddy (talk funny)
When I spoke with a certain Blogger for the first time, she actually asked me if I speak out of my nose! Yeah, I talk like that. I can’t pronounce anything that has an ‘R’ or ‘L’ in it properly (words like “pronounce” and “properly”). And every other word sounds like I’m putting an ‘N’ before it!
Oddly, it seems to be getting worse as I grow older or maybe it’s because I’m noticing it more. Kids can be heartless most times but I don’t really recall getting teased much when I was in Primary school. And in Secondary School I used to be scared to need out nowd in knass (read out loud in class). As you can guess, I’ve turned out to be a very quiet person.
So I don’t do public speaking, I’m usually silent in the midst of more than one person and I’ll never be a broadcaster.
There’s even a Knock-knock joke specially dedicated to people of my kind:

“Knock, knock”
“Who’s there?”
“Adolph who?”
“A dolf ball hid me in the node and I can’t dalk properdy”

It’s not all that bad though. After all, I’ve got an accent!

9. I’m a GOOD listener (no, make that a GREAT listener)
At least most of my friends agree with me on this one. I even admit I am. I’m not the kind of person that tells you I’m too busy to listen to you when you call and even when I do, I usually reschedule and call back later. Maybe partly out of this, I’ve had to listen to my fair share of disagreeable people in my life.
Being a good listener, though an asset with the feminine kind does sometimes have its odd moments. A chick once came to pour out her litany of boyfriend woes in my ear even though I’d told her earlier I was very tired. After dozing off in the midst of the sermon, I awoke later only to see her sitting in the same spot still talking. Weird!

10. I think for a living. And I multi-task easily too
As Woomie once said, I think I think for a living. I think I use 90% of my brain, I’m always thinking even in my sleep! Movie scripts, plays, possible music videos I’d shoot if I was directing, songs, I imagine everything in bright living colours. My brain is a 24/7 media empire. I’m always bursting full of I.D.E.A.S.!
These mental gymnastics also enable me carry out several tasks all at the same time without each one interfering with the other. For example, I could be gisting with you and listening attentively to the radio at the same time. Or typing on my PC and watching Ikechukwu’s “Wind Am Well” on the TV with equal rapt attention. Or my favourite: reading a great book with great music blasting in my ear. There are so many other examples I could give here.
Sometimes keeping up with my train of thoughts can be Herculean for my friends and they do get irritated with me from time to time. Sadly, only my mom understands me.

11. I believe 2 and 2 is equal to 22
Once again blame my over-worked brain for this one. I always seem to have a suspicious mind and I believe almost everything I hear of people (except my friends of course!) Don’t blame me. Having lived almost 30 years on Planet Earth, I’m very much aware that fact is always stranger than fiction.
Of course my 22-mindset has been very useful in smoking out who and who are having secret relationships even if they deny it vehemently but sometimes the most ridiculously open piece of juicy scandal does manage to escape my notice.

12. I don’t have eyes at the back of my head but I’ve got the ears of a witch
Contrary to the notions of my niece and several people that know me, I don’t have eyes at the back of my head. Some of them just don’t understand how I sometimes know very well what’s going on behind me. Let me reveal my secrets.
First, people tend to believe I can only see out of my glasses. How very wrong they are! By one of nature’s freaky quirks, I happen to have relatively good peripheral vision so if you’re making faces at me or trying to hide something out of my line of sight, good chances are I going to catch you.
Secondly, I have the ears of a witch. My ex couldn’t figure out how I could pay her so much attention without skipping a beat in our conversation and yet still later tell her all the gossip going on at the other tables in a restaurant. And it’s amazing the things people discuss when they think you can’t hear them. I guess I chalk up my wonderful eavesdropping talent to that my 24/7 brain I told you of earlier.
Thirdly, I reason very fast. When I hear people speak or I read their characters (which I do very well) I can very easily predict what they will do once they think I’m not watching.
And lastly, it’s my glasses again. They’re anti-reflects and their coating is such that depending on the lighting and how I look, I can actually see reflections of people behind me. Very handy in spotting when someone’s planning a sneak attack on you or if an invigilator is trying to creep behind you to catch you cheating!

I wanted to write something about my procrastinating, but I think I’ll do that later…

14. I watch each movie a minimum of 4 times (except the really bad ones of course...)
First of all, there’s the Casual View, then the Appreciation View, after that the Director’s Cut View and finally the Critic’s View. I’ve even been known to watch “Armageddon” and “Pretty Woman” 20-plus times and still counting.

15. I LOVE entertainment with all my soul
After God, my family, my friends and myself of course… If not, why the hell am I anchoring this blog?

16. I’m Human (So contrary to popular opinion, I ain’t a R.O.B.O.T!)
After all is said and done, that’s what I really am: human. I’m never ashamed to cry or too self-conscious to laugh. I dream, I plan, I practice, I laze about, I succeed, I fail woefully, I fall, I rise again, I fall sick, I recover, I love, I try hard not to break hearts, I shall die, right now I LIVE!
Life is hard but it is fun and I’m not taking any quick way out. There’s no one like me and there will never be. And I’m going to fully experience this one chance I’ve got and show the world just what they’ll be missing when I’m gone.
And as Nas said, “All I need is one mic…”

17. And I’m not afraid to D.R.E.A.M.
And I dream B.I.G. too! I’m not talking about all those crappy stuff our minds come up with at night after a stressful day (which I always forget as soon as I wake up). I’m talking REAL BIG DREAMS. Dreams of my future, my wife, my kids, the legacies I’d like to leave behind when I die (and the loot I’ll leave for my wife and kids as well), everything! I’m just like Trey Songz on that his track “Just Gotta Make It”. All I got is a dollar and a dream and some days I don’t even have that dollar but I’m still dreaming anyway.
To all people of like mind out there: I’ll keep dreaming on, and you’re welcome to share in my dreams anytime…After all a fool at 40 is a fool forever and I ain’t 40 yet.

PS: After this, I’m very much tempted to do a 21 Questions-type interview on certain Bloggers. You guys are just so secretive sometimes, the paparazzi in me wants to smoke you out. And where else is better to start than from my V.I.P. posse.So Woomie, Esquire, Charizard & Buttercup, Aloofar, Lady Koko, Lolu-Kush, Rayo and all the million others that aren’t listed there, I know you guys have done similar things like this before but just you get ready to face the 21 Question Nemesis!


PPS: To all the hardcore MN readers, sorry for the lack of reviews. I’m still suffering from Reviewers’ Block but rest assured I’m going to see the doctor tomorrow. He says my condition is critic-al.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bits And Pieces 5: I’m Still Watching My Neighbour’s Idiot Box

Shortly after my last post, someone hit me up on FB to say: “Ol’ boy, why are you talking as if you wan die. Abi your girl leave you? Remember that people like me are still there for you.”

The message was private so I don’t know who the sender was but Thanks all the same. It would have just been a little bit nicer if I knew who exactly “was still there for me”.

No, I no wan die and yes, my girl did leave me a very, very long time ago but I’m going to be alright. Thanks for all the concern, blogville and here I present my B & P Part 5:

The Ass of an Ass is what?
So, all the conjecture was just that: conjecture, eh?

Plenty has been said already about the N.B.C.’s suspension and eventual release of the broadcasting license for Channels Television for supposedly announcing that Yardie was set to resign from office but I read an interesting piece by Steve Nwosu in the Daily Sun of Wednesday 17th September, which raises a lot of questions to mind.

Apart from all the back-and-forth between the Presidency and the Media, blaming the gist on hackers and all that, let’s not forget that the detention of some Channels TV and N.A.N. staff by the S.S.S. no matter how brief sharply brings to mind the gory glory days of Abacha when the same security arm used to hound staff of Tell Magazine for actually telling the truth.

Looking at it from one angle, Channels truly ought to have verified the authenticity of their stories before broadcasting giving its security implications - imagined or otherwise - and they have paid the price for putting sensationalism before professionalism. So I guess you could say Channels TV made an ass of themselves, right?

However, the NBC’s parodied flexing of its muscles in this way is just downright laughable to me. This was the same NBC that also suspended AIT’s broadcast license for the simple “crime” of being the first media house to give accurate accounts of the Lissa Village plane crash when various Ministers and top Government officials were busy contradicting each other, misleading the public on the actual location of the missing plane and prolonging the anguish of relatives.

Last I heard the Presidency is unhappy with for publishing unflattering pictures of one of the First Kids or so. Who knows? Maybe, the next thing will be for the NBC to try suspending bloggers’ licences for blogging. At least that would give them something else to do (and apart from suspending licenses, what does the NBC do to promote broadcasting anyway?)

As far as I’m concerned the NBC is the ass of an ass. I would have stopped at just calling them an ass but this ancestor of the donkey took offence…

The Esama @ 74
NTA did it again! What’s making me indulge in my favourite sport of NTA-bashing this time? Well, they took up the entire morning of Sunday, September 14, 2008 broadcasting Igbinedion’s 74th Birthday celebrations. Of course I wasn’t so bored as to watch such drudgery but given I didn’t have much choice (haven’t been able to start up that cable TV fund I’ve been thinking of) I had to skip to the channel from time to time.

My personal Highlight of the broadcast was where the NTA reporter was interviewing the Esama himself after the church ceremony and tossed him a question about his happiest moments during the celebrations.

Esama started answering with the usual “every-day-is-a-happy-day” speech politicians know so well when he spotted someone off-camera. After enquiring from no-one in his entourage in particular if that was the Governor (?), he suddenly realized the microphone was still his face relaying his question to the over 40 million strong viewing audience. Displaying dexterity that belied his 74 years, he then deflected the mic down far away from his person and towards the floor leaving the said reporter feeling very embarrassed.

Luckily the director must have read the situation quickly and cut to another scene inside the church. By the time the Esama was ready to do the interview again, NTA decided they had had enough and this time they had the last laugh. They cut the interview on him!

Happy Birthday in arrears, Esama. May we all live till the glorious age of 74.

And while we’re praying Lord, may we never have EFCC-hounded children too. Amen!

So I Said It FIRST!
Remember when I spoke about the under-utilization of ATM’s when it comes to their advertising capabilities? Turns out the words were hardly out of my mouth before the banks finally caught on the idea. How do I mean? Just pay a visit to an ATM belonging to Bank PHB and you just might spot their adverts showing real time on its LCD display in full living colours.

Or at least there’s one I know that does. Went to the No. 53 Gbongan Road branch of the bank to carry out my plastic transactions and was pleasantly surprised to find the “Alfie The Talking Driverless Car” ad showing on the ATM screen. And it plays continuously from the very beginning through till the end until you pop in your card and the transaction menu takes over.

As a title screen clearly educated me, the real name of the ad is actually “Autodrive Version 2” (which is Version 1?) and it was directed by Jorge Rubia for Insight Communications/ Bank PHB and runs for all of 45 seconds.

And as the financial menu told me, my ATM card belonged to an Invalid Account and so I couldn’t withdraw any cash.

I still haven’t learnt the Twelfth Commandment obviously.

Another First
I swear, Sele Eradiri (of Newsline) reads this blog! If not, tell me how come she went about doing a story for Newsline on Sunday, 21st September about enforcing the use of helmets by commercial motorcycle riders and their passengers? Remember I told you the helmet allegations would soon hit Newsline?

Turns out what the helmet enforcement law the FRSC is trying to make mandatory by January 1st, 2009 has long been enforced in Calabar for years now. And thanks to Sele Eradiri and her many years of investigative journalism for bringing the helmet issue to the forefront. Lord knows she’s the only alive person on Newsline nowadays.

And please people, the helmets are for our protection. Having worked with radiology personnel for some months now, I have it on good authority that motorcycle accidents are usually the deadliest.

Pure Water Just Got A New Name…
Also of note on the same episode of Newsline was the product launch of Chi Industries’ ChiSecure Mineral Table Water, the first time ever that good old table water comes packaged in… wait for this… TETRA PAK!

That’s right! Chi Industries latest attempts at re-inventing the wheel now means that high class yoghurts, milk and fruit drinks shall have to suffer the indignity of sharing their cubic cardboard packing with our dear ordinary “pure” water. The ad for this innovative concept (please note the intended sarcasm) shows Nollywood’s Saint Obi all dressed up as Captain ChiSecure, a superhero character who battles it out in a with another disease-carrying superhero when the bad guy tries to infiltrate Chi Water’s much-touted double seal.

Interestingly, before the appearance of Captain ChiSecure in the aisles of the supermarket where the battle takes place, the dirty superhero succeeds in contaminating a bottle of what looks suspiciously like the re-launched Table Water of a competing leading brand with the label carefully blurred out. One would have thought the Nigerian ad companies have better things to do than this sort of underhand mud-slinging they’re resorting to nowadays.

On the plus side, the idea of Tetra Pak-ing is actually good news for environmentalists as it means more use for recycled cardboard and less plastic / PET bottles littered all over the place.

Chi’s table water does have a certain cool factor about it especially in its looks. And just think about it: at a recommended retail price of 70 Naira per liter, you can now fool your more ignorant friends, visitors and neighbours into thinking your fridge is fully stocked with Tetra Paks. After all no one’s to know it’s just water.

Unless you tell them of course.

Happy New Month!