Lagos Hotspots: Vapoursssssss

09:54:00
If you're looking for a place to get gassed this weekend then no filling station will do, I've got just the place for you. Lagos' hottest club for all smokey adventures is Vapourssssssss.

Located on the island's mainland this random convention is the creation of the perpetually high interior designer, We-Ain't-Got-No-Ventilation.

When you walk in head straight to the Bauna - a bar which is also a sauna, and order a Champ-Vape; You'll literally watch as the stuff drifts up everybody's nostrils but yours.

Be that as it may, this place has everything: A bottle factory, midget shaped chairs, cupid fountains, at least two members of the almost famous boy band DRB dressed in a bong costume - they're both the pipe, and your future son.

Join in the fun on the dancefloor and you'll bust a move to the truly spectacular sounds of DJ Dead Sauce and light skinned Idris Elba. I all but guarantee that you'll never have a better time in the city.

Happy days,
Afam

Our bodies are sacred. All and any violations are Intolerable.

15:03:00

It would not be incorrect to say I never intended to write this article. At least not today, and certainly not this way. I cannot say when I'd have written it, but I like to think that I would have at some point. There are some issues that are far too important to be left uncovered.

A friend of mine has been met with a disaster so great that it has shaken me to the core. When I heard of it, I was wounded. I am wounded still. In between violent fits of disgust, confusion, anger and sadness, I thought that it would be wise to clear the blog's usual programming, and write about something that cannot be written about enough: the continued triviality with which many men treat the bodies of women. It seems that too many of you are in need of instruction.

Some of you beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics have come to believe a dangerous thing. You have listened to a villain who has made a villain of you. I for one never listen to villains or degenerates. I always feared that if I listened, even a little bit, I may be convinced. A man who allows himself to be convinced by the argument that he has the rights to use and abuse another's body without their explicit consent is no man at all. He IS something less than an animal.

Our bodies are sacred. It doesn't matter the part. If I tell you that you may only touch the polio vaccine scar on my right shoulder, then that is the only part of me you should touch. To do anything else would be a violation. I will not easily forgive you. My reasons are simple. There is nothing that is more profoundly mine than my body. I was born with it. I have carried it with me for 26 years. If you disobey the rules I set regarding its treatment you deny me my humanity. I become something less than you. This is why there is no such thing as a small liberty when it comes to my body. Even the slightest feel could drive me to complete distraction. Every violation no matter how small is a very big deal. I find that the same is true of most of us.

This friend of mine hugged a mutual friend of ours goodbye before she left a gathering of young people as the polite are known to do. He took the opportunity to slip his hand in her shirt and he didn't stop there. His hand continued its lightning quick journey till it slid underneath her bra. Once there, he took the opportunity to grab her breast and squeeze her nipple. She was so shocked that her senses departed from her. When they returned, she grabbed his hand, pulled it out and said, "no!" The miscreant was not perturbed for after that he asked her to come outside with him. His dedication to villainy and shamelessness is almost worthy of praise.

After a night spent blaming herself, showering, and scrubbing the offended nipple more times than a nipple should ever be scrubbed, she sent him a text in the morning. She said, "dude, I know we were joking around but you grabbing my nipple like that was TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE and I’m really upset." The villain was so committed to his scoundrelism that he didn't have the good sense to apologise properly. He said, "Loool sorry." She couldn't believe her eyes. I imagine that she thought, "How is it that I scrubbed my nipple with great violence and gnashing of teeth only for this harbinger of misfortune to laugh out loud?" She typed another reply. She said, "why are you LOLing? This is serious and I'm upset." And he said, "Ugh! I already said I'm sorry. I don't see what else I can do."

His replies were so atrocious that I was very nearly driven to madness.

To that she said, "You could not try and trivialise it by lolling for starters."

A reasonable response in my opinion.

He said, "Ugh! Why are you doing this?"

And then he proceeded to ignore the rest of her messages. It took an angry phone call from a friend of hers and the threat of exposure to get a half serious apology out of him, but the damage had already been done. It is unlikely that she will ever speak to him again, and that is a shame for she has the unique fortune of being Oxbridge grade clever, rather good-looking, and terrifyingly wealthy. Now she's telling everyone who knows her well enough to ask, exactly who he is, and what he did. If he is not more sorry than he has ever been in his life for this crime against her humanity by the end of the week I shall be very surprised. The next time I see him, we shall have some very strong words. It is not in my nature to let a molester of women roam the streets. He must be rehabilitated.

Convert the molesters you know as soon as possible. We must use everything within our considerable means to ensure that they see the error of their ways. Even a stint in jail isn't excessive.
Afam.

Cos' Angelina and Brad are no more... Take some words

23:46:00

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Georges Biard

I'm a little too interested in gossip. I would feel guilty about it if the same weren't true of most of you.

I was sitting in the car, miserable at the fact that my twenty minute drive home from work had somehow turned into a scene from a disaster film. The Lagosians on the road today drove like they were fleeing some great non-existent calamity, forming lanes where there were none, and swerving like they were avoiding rivers of lava. When I got to the end of the traffic, I was shocked to discover that it had no rhyme or reason. There was traffic simply because there was traffic. There was no accident, or bottleneck or police checkpoint. This is one of the many reasons why I say that no one is capable of understanding Lagos. In Lagos, madness is so common that I do not think that any are unafflicted.

It was in the middle of this great inconvenience that I heard the news that Angelina Jolie had done the unthinkable. She'd filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, citing irreconcilable differences. It was a thing I believed impossible.

Hand on heart, I believed that they'd be together till at least one of them died, and maybe not even then. It seemed unlikely that people as pretty as they would ever do themselves the disservice of parting.

Hollywood has proved itself again. If Brad and Angelina can't make it then I do not think that we should expect any other couple to. They seemed to be there for each other through thick and thin. She loved him when he lost his looks, and he loved her when she lost the things this misogynistic society would call the signs of her femininity: her breasts and her ovaries.

The flames of love that originate in that city are so fickle that they're unlikely to last even a second. I suppose it is a shame that they are now the couple that loved and had that love end with a document that says, "No! Our differences are too irreconcilable for me."

Happy Days,
Afam

The Lagos Weekender: Of Alice, Hans and Renee, and Whispering Palms

00:03:00
The weekend began like most before it. There was a week and then it ended. It went the way of most things in creation.

Friday
 
At this point I was two Long Islands deep in the sauce.

On Friday night, I ditched the Avengers for friends I'd made long before we became companions. Starmix had an Alice in Wonderland themed party in Ikoyi, and that ended in Vapours, a club of no great distinction. I danced enthusiastically to bad music. That I had a magnificent time says more about the quality of the company than it does about the club. Avenger 1 was meant to join me but he went home to change and fell asleep in his car. I suspect that he may be narcoleptic.


Saturday


I went to a workshop on style and confidence. Denola Grey was speaking. His rise through the Lagos media ranks has been so impressive that I believed I'd be missing out if I did not attend. The young man did not disappoint.
Have some Avenger feet why don't you

A few hours later, I met up with the Avengers at Hans and Renee. The cup of ice-cream I had made me unwell but I had it coming. When the lactose intolerant defy the rules given to them by their unique constitutions discomfort is to be expected. There was a rumbling in my tummy going boom badda boom badda boom but it was bearable. I clenched my butt cheeks and hoped for the best. We sat there for a little while after drawing up blanks when we thought about where to go next before we decided on Liquid Hub, a wine bar in Ikoyi. Avenger 1 fancies himself the connoisseur, so he made the choices. We don't get along wine wise. He likes his wines full bodied and tart, and I like mine sweet.

From there we went to dinner at Pattaya. Avenger 2 and I, brothers in lactose intolerance were quite finished after that.

Sunday

Avenger 1 and I went to Whispering Palms and it was glorious.
This is what I call the full body un-look. At that moment I feared for my hat and my glasses. It wouldn't have done me any good to get to Whispering palms both bare headed and blind!


I believe I made a funny. I like people who laugh at my jokes.
We tried their newest concoction: A Coconut milk and Malibu creation, served in a coconut. It is the most delicious drink I've had this year. Avenger 1 looked at me and said, "C'est Magnifique!" English completely incapable of expressing his excitement.

We concluded things at Funky Town. Avengers 2 and 3 joined us. The beers flowed as we made merry. I find it surprising that I dance more now than I did when I was younger. I suppose it is that I no longer care who may be watching.

Happy Days,
Afam

Lagos Adventures: When Starmix turned 25!

17:22:00
This is not Starmix, but that is me behind her. I must remember to thank Feyboo for the Bow-tie. I do not remember where any of the others are.
Forgive me if this one is a little rusty. I have not written about an adventure in some time. It is not that I didn’t have any, such a thing is impossible when you’re me. It is that everytime I tried to put something to paper, I was wracked with the fear that it was sub-par. This is well documented in the most recent addition to the writer’s journal. I’m overcoming my fear that my creative endeavours will never be quite good enough for sharing. I have let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

There is a girl in the world that I call Starmix. She’s named after a bag of Haribo sweets that she adores. However, even she is ignorant of the fact that she’s just like them; a variety of delicious confections, each one of them more delicious than the last. She’s one of the treasured few who I allow to breeze in and out of my life as they please. I ask no questions and she tells me no lies but we find happiness in every moment that we share.

When I heard she was having a birthday party from someone other than her I was struck with depression. “Could it be that Starmix has finally tired of me?” I thought. I do not know how such a thing is possible for I am uniquely lovable and lovely, but such things have been known to happen from time to time. I entertained thoughts of a Friday night spent alone before I remembered who I am.

I am Afam, the nerdy, the weird and the shameless. I subscribe to no standards that I do not set myself. I was going whether she liked it or not. There was no way that I would deny her the pleasure of my company simply because my invitation got lost in her head. Knowing all of that I made a well timed phone call, wishing her a happy birthday so charmingly that I was moved to tears. “Afam! You are truly great!” I exclaimed with tears leaking from my eyes. Ah! I tell you. It is not an easy thing to be moved by your own words. My invitation followed ten minutes later.

I was not happy with my costume, a boring to death version of the Mad Hatter. I would have loved to do more, but my imagination did something incredibly Lagosian. It failed to come to work when it was most needed. I am appalled that I managed to go to a costume party looking rather presentable. When Papa Afam looked at me dressing up in front of the mirror and smiled, I knew that something was wrong. If you’re going to a costume party and you do not manage to offend the sensibilities of the half the respectable people in attendance, you have failed miserably.

I walked in with all the confidence I could muster which is not very much at all but I hid it an overwhelmingly jovial expression, smiling as if I was under the sway of a pharmacy’s worth of drugs. I find that doing so is much more interesting than taking the drugs themselves. Drugs have a rather awful tendency to age a man far more quickly than time would dare. They are the most ruthless companions.

Everything was laid out beautifully, which was a shame because an hour after the party was due to start, only a mere handful had managed to turn up. I didn’t mind this too much. It’s the same way nobody minds when the profits are high and the staff are few. There is more booze for everybody.

One long Island Iced tea later I was deep in conversation with a terrifyingly interesting fellow called Seb. There was no topic that he did not broach. He even dared ask me about my tastes in film! A subject I only discuss when I genuinely despise the person I’m talking to. It is never advisable to talk off the ears of the people that you like. If you do, you’ll only have the people you truly despise for company, and that would be very bad indeed.

He said something like, “I’m quite thrilled with the Alice in Wonderland theme. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the truly satisfying film I saw the other day. It was so good that I had to commit it to both my memory and my hard drive. What sort of films do you like?” I was so appalled that I took his number immediately and demanded that he meet me for a game of squash as soon as he was able. As for my answer, I said, “questions are hardly ever indiscreet, it is the answers we must be wary of.”

The place had only just began to fill when the heavens unleashed a flood upon us. We fled indoors, and Starmix being a brilliant host got the waiters to hand out plastic cups and bottles of Henessy. I know of no better way to make people forget that they look like drowned rats than a near limitless supply of the amber stuff. As it is incredibly rude to turn down drinks that you do not pay for I made merry with my peers for an hour, after that every drink was placed on a table on the side, for people with stronger constitutions than I.

I didn’t know how drunk I was until it was time for the speeches. I listened as some of her best friends said words so full of niceness that the guests started to weep. Starmix is so marvellous that if I decided to dedicate a paragraph to her good qualities you would be very sad indeed. The vast majority of us are too detestable to bear the descriptions of the good. I came to the rescue instantly. I grabbed the microphone like a Nigerian Kanye West, and spoke my mind.

The Speech!

I said,

I have known the celebrant longer than any of you here. I was there when she was baptised, and I ignored her every Sunday that followed. At church, my mother, Mama Afam would say, “there’s Starmix, you should go say hello.” I always refused because back then I was more than a little bit of a snob. I believed myself too cool for everything and everyone. Starmix was no exception.

It wasn’t until I was 19 and in love with one devastatingly alluring girl called Frog. There she is over there. If I had a dollar for all the rejections I suffered at her hands I would be too rich to describe.


I turned to her boyfriend, an undoubtedly fantastic fellow and said:

Riba, you’re a very lucky man to have her, but I remain in the wings. If you drop the ball I shall pick it up and dunk it. She’ll get a proposal within a week.

Turning to the crowd:

I pursued that girl further than anyone has ever been pursued in this life or the next. It was Starmix that propped me up when all of this was going on, and that’s when I realised how strong she is. There is no burden I have placed on her that she hasn’t borne, and she’s so generous with her strength that she’d help me lift a feather if I asked.

If there’s anything that you need to know about her, it’s that in Manchester she could frequently be found in Sankeys dancing with reckless abandon. She loves a drink more than she’d like to admit. And she’s one of the best people I know. Yes, that means she’s better than most of you here.

I believe that there was some clapping after I was done. Some people chanted, “Rambling Madman!” I basked in their praise and lifted my head high knowing that I had blessed them with my brilliance. I felt like a living example of that Bible verse, “Let your light shine before men so they can see you works and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 I believe.

It should come as no surprise to you that the night ended in a ghastly club that reeked of cigarettes and bad behaviour. I for one danced like I was in a palace, with great flair and stamping of feet, for it had been too long since my Starmix and I had danced together. The entire thing was so enjoyable that I didn’t mind dropping her home. She will always be worth the fuel.

Happy Days,
Afam

Style and Confidence: The Afam Perspective

10:55:00
I've been telling myself that I need to get out more. After all, it’d be impossible to cover Lagos or anything at all for that matter if I didn’t leave the beautiful nest of Mama and Papa Afam. They have a truly spectacular home. I am a happy guest. I imagine that in a month or two we’ll be bickering like a couple of of sister wives, but even that seems attractive from where I’m sitting. You bicker with the people you love. It’s when the bickering stops that you should worry. 

I spoke to my friend and colleague of sorts Denola Grey about it and he invited me to a talk he was giving. He didn’t say much about it. I didn’t know what it was about, who it was for, or who he would be talking to. I left all of that up to fate. It seems a little unwise now, but if things weren’t clearer in hindsight, I would be in dire straits indeed. 

As luck would have it, it was a workshop about style and confidence called the Woman Within. When I saw the title I cringed a little inside because it seemed like something tailor made for transexuals. It wasn’t. It was a workshop about style and confidence put together by Anka. 

It was so good a listen that I decided to write about it. 

Style and Confidence: The Afam Perspective



They used to tell me at school, that I dressed well. Back then, how you put a look together was nothing compared to the brands that provided the pieces. Fubu, South Pole and Sean Jean I wore them all. If it fit, I despised it. I do not know if I was a moron, or retarded, to not see what I was: a skinny to the point of illness youth, swimming in fabric so voluminous that anyone would assume I was the owner of a bend down boutique down the way. 

I was 14 before the situation improved a little. Fubu gave way to Gap, and South Pole settled for Marks and Spencers. There wasn’t anything to it. I grew tired of the durags and baggy clothes that I thought made me look like an insane vampire with severe skoliosis and understood that there were benefits to be had from looking like a daddy’s boy. I wore the clothes he bought me with fastidiousness, and when I asked him for money he would smile at me with a look that said, “that’s my boy!” At this point in my life, I had all the confidence of a slime. A sharp word from anyone would have me in pieces. Underneath all of that, there was a little boy inside. This guy was hilarious. He loved to read. His choices of books weren’t wise or clever. If there was a book, he’d pick it up and be finished with it within the day. Some like Lolita, made him feel devious, and others like Artemis Fowl, he read because the idea of an scheming Irish genius who had a talent for annoying fairies was very grand indeed. He lived shorts, mismatched socks, and sandals. There were a few odd shirts that he loved too, and he wore those till they crumbled. 

Things changed again when I was 17 with a pair of shoes. Papa Afam got me boat shoes from Timberland. I loved them, and the way I wore them showed it. They were surprisingly durable and adaptable. It should come as no great surprise to you that I’ve had at least one pair at any given time since. As I write this I have three, although two are in serious need of replacement or surgery. 

Those shoes saw me through my A-Levels and with them came some new additions. A bucket load of shirts, a pair of damn good too expensive jeans, a discovery that shoes without laces were better than shoes with laces, and my first sweatpants. Everyone of them had a story: where I bought it, who gave it to me, or who I stole it from. And that added to my story. My clothes carry with them a bit of my history they show to whoever looks at me. They are friends of sorts. I keep them about me for as long as I can, and mourn them when they have to leave. Some of them only last a season, even fewer of them last a half dozen seasons, and some of them you pick up once a decade and it’ll be like they were always there.

When I dress up, I am a slave to myself. It doesn’t matter that I look like a clown, It only matters that I look like a clown I can live with. Reading this you may think that I don’t obey dress codes but that would be wrong. I observe them as fastidiously as I can, but even then there’s only so much I can do. If the theme is hip-hop from the nineties, I will not wear a durag or a bandanna or Timberland boots. Everyman must have a floor. Those things are beneath mine. 

For someone who dresses as simply as I do, a lot of thought goes into what I wear. I do not believe I’ve ever simply worn something because it looked good.  

After a quick shower, I pulled on a burgundy t shirt from H and M, tucked them into a blue pair of Topman trouser joggers, and rolled them up. I have never really explained why my trousers are often cuffed just above the ankle. It is a habit that is borne of two things. In the first instance I despise the thought that anything could crawl up my legs and destroy my treasures of manhood. In the second, it’s an affirmation of purpose. If the day feels like one of the ones where I’ll be active, running up and down town as I build a life and a business, my trousers will be rolled up and I’ll be wearing trainers. I stuffed my feet into my black Nikes, grabbed my blue ralph Lauren receding hairline protector and left. 

I didn’t care about how I looked. I didn’t stop in the mirror to affirm myself. I didn’t need to. When you dress like yourself there’s a confidence to it. You don’t ask for the opinions of friends, you don’t fret and fidget with your sleeves. You just are. This is the most important thing. 


After 26 years on this particular planet, I know more about who I am, than I ever did. There is no way in this life that my clothing choices won’t reflect this. Of course there are situations and moments where even with all your quirks and eccentricities you must conform. However, I don’t mind these, because at the end of the day, I am not the clothes on my back or the brands I can’t afford, I am myself. 

Letters to Ogilvy: But why the hell would you cheat?

18:11:00

Some of you old afamzers may remember Ogilvy, my partner in love and other disasters. He's the only one I know that's as hopeless as I in all affairs of the heart. Still, we remain optimistic looking for shared dreams of flowers, chocolate and valentine's with other people. It is a truly depressing thing to find yourself single on February the 14th watching Love Actually with your best friend. It is how we have spent every Valentine's day since 2007.

We haven't emailed  in the past year because we lived in the same city. Emails were replaced by games of chess with a glass of wine in a lonely flat somewhere in Pimlico. Now that I've more or less moved back to Lagos our traditional form of correspondence has picked up.

Dear Afam,

I couldn't possibly have imagined that I would one day be friends with such a fart of creation. You left London without a word or a whisper. You literally just buggered off in the middle of the night. I was sick with worry.

When you receive this email, reply at once! I have been struck by a calamity so great that I fear I will not live another day if it is not resolved. Sophie and I are done, and I am undone.

Yours,
Gil

Dear Gilly-weed,

You know all too well how I feel about goodbyes. I do not do them. It is better to arrive without fanfare and leave without celebration. Before I left I was struck by a wave of anxiety and melancholy so great that I looked at the moon and said, "Oh moon! What will become of this paltry life of mine?"

Praying to the moon was a near fatal error. She didn't do me the honour of answering my question and the moment I set foot in Lagos I was accosted by my mother. Her motherly senses immediately accused me of being a practitioner of the occult. She whisked me away to a Church to cleanse me of my sins and had me apologise to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit while she stood beside me taking notes.

Finally, how are you and Sophie done? She was perfect for you. It was you wasn't it? What the hell did you do to that poor girl?

Afam

Dear Fam-Biscuit,

I literally died laughing. You should know better than to look to the moon for answers. I hope you have properly atoned for your Witchcraft and Wizardry. The security of your soul in the gilded mansions of heaven is of the utmost importance.

You guessed rightly. The disaster was of my own making.

I was out with mates at a club, when my drunken eyes descended on this angel! I descended on her like a man possessed. I was like, "What's your name? what's your number? I don't know who you came with, but you're leaving with me." We dashed back to mine in a haze of lust, and made the beast with many backs.

In the morning, I chucked the adventure off to manly exuberance and forgot all about it. It took a month before the loathsome event bit me in the arse. How it bit me I dare not say, but what should I do?

Yours in depression and anxiety,
Gil

Dear Gil the master of foolishness,

It is incredibly irresponsible of you to leave the story half finished. I was using it as light reading while I dropped a juggernaut of a shit in the toilet. It was the only thing that kept me from wailing like a dying pig. Now, the people in my office are looking at me funny and suggesting that I eat more vegetables to lubricate my systems.

I will attempt to help you. My African sensibilities give me a slight edge when apologising. You must alert your parents about the situation and show up with them at her doorstep. When she answers the door all of you must prostrate yourselves at her feet and give apologies so profound that the very skies part to bless you.

Yours should be something like this:

Soph, Babe, you're the light of my world. Without you everything is meaningless, colourless and ultimately pointless. I cannot, no I will not persist another day if I haven't got you. I was a complete idiot that night for not only did I get more drunk than a man should ever get, I ravaged another who was not you. In my defense, I was so drunk that I believed she was you.

That, I think will be enough to undo the harm you have done.

Yours in Youthful Optimism,
Afam

Dear Afam the sufferer of numerous ailments of the brain,

I am at least 90% sure that you are an idiot. What sort of advice is that? "I thought she was you?" What sort of villain would say that? I'm not nearly as treacherous as that. I shall send her some flowers, daisies and profess my undying love. Roses are really much ado about nothing. Only the unimaginative would send a girl the same flowers that every woman on the planet is given at least once in a reasonable life.

I'll end the note with something like this, "If you are not too long, I will wait for you forever." It's an Oscar Wilde quote. If she doesn't come to a decision quickly I'll return to the wilderness of singledom and ride every pony that will have me.

Your stupid plan snapped me out of my phunk, and returned me to sanity. Am I not Ogilvy the dashing? I have my whole life ahead of me, and I have the benefit of being both beautiful and good. If she refuses me I shall find another in a heartbeat.

You really should eat more vegetables. If you don't your journalism will take you to some great wilderness and they'll have to force an elephant to give you an enema, after which you'll get a bacterial infection and die.

Many thanks,
Gil

Dear Ogilvy,

Any type of love life that you like, have it! Come back to me when you've got real problems.

Love,
Afam. 




Lagos Hotspots: Three Hundred and Fifty-Five

00:02:00
Source: Gidilounge.com

If you're looking to get numerically done in this weekend, Lagos' hottest spot is three hundred and fifty-five. That's a three, a five and an extra five.

Inspired by the collective mind fart of New York's Time's Square and a negative budget, this lounge is managed by a bespectacled prison warden who specialised in potions at Hogwarts before being expelled for dabbling in the dark arts.

Their wahalarita is so toxic that it'll have you, on the brink of disaster without knowing for certain if you're a mouse or a nymphomaniac mouse with a penchant for Malborough Reds.

This place has everything: green fairies, no fewer than 20 commenters from bellanaija.com and that fat mainland guy that no one invited.

So come on over! This weekend, they're having a tournament game of Wiz - Ojuelegba or Tekno - Pana.

The bouncer is the ram that you didn't kill this Eid and the password is Big Cassava.

Happy Days,
Afam

Pizze-Riah and the Race Question

19:28:00
Source: tukesquest.com

If I ever said this to Feyboo in person I'd blush and then die of shame. She is the salt of the earth, a friend for the end of all things. It would be futile to ask myself what I have done to deserve her, because I know in my hearts what the answer is - not a thing. I count our friendship as a sign of my good fortune, and I am glad that the lot of you are not as lucky. If you were she'd have less time for me and that my friends would be my definition of a travesty.

Over the years we've developed a tradition. Once a month or thereabouts we meet up for a chat that lasts hours. Even when we're in company we find ourselves alone and talk about the things we have both missed. The conversation is easy and the words are sweet.

Last week we went out for dinner at the Pizze-Riah, but even before we had our first bite of what many call the finest pizza in Lagos, a cloud hung above our reunion.

When we arrived we were told there were no tables but that we should wait because they were setting up some more. I wondered aloud if the clientelle had always been so white. Feyboo brushed it off and attributed it to the luck of the draw. We sat at the bar, increasingly aware that the setting up of a table shouldn't take so long. After a little while we went outside to find that the tables that had been put up had long since been filled with people lighter than we. It was then and not a minute before that the racist question appeared in my head.

We started considering other options but kept an eager eye open for the draw of their pizzas was simply too strong. Soon enough we were repaid. A man and his friend were soon to vacate, so we moved to claim the table, but were quickly detained. The table that was barely empty had also been taken by a pair both lighter than we. A waiter had set it out for a man and his mate, who were nowhere to be seen when we first walked in that Thursday evening.

Hungry and angry, what some may call hangry, the question about racism appeared again. Could it be that the best pizzas in Lagos were strictly reserved for people lighter than Feyi and me?

I made for the exit determined to leave. Forty-five minutes had passed and we still had no seat. It was only then that a waiter perked up and sat us quite far on a table out of sight of the grill.

I asked it again, the question about race, but it lingered even longer than before. The pizzas were brilliant and the conversation sweet, however it isn't they I think of when I remember that date. It is the questions asked thrice about an evening not nice, that stay with me to this day.

Happy days,
Afam

Daniel Wellington sent me a watch to review! What da What? - A crystal story.

10:31:00
There comes a time in every bloggers life when they blow... This is a lie. Most of you idiots should quit while you're ahead, and leave it to us madmen. Seriously, I don't want to read about how your reconnection with your African history has led you to disturb your ancestors peacefully resting in the after life, or look at pictures of you in some outfit that you really shouldn't be caught dead in.

I've done it again. I've literally buggered the beginning to thy kingdom come and I am not a good enough writer to fix it so I shall make like a goldfish and begin again.

I did not imagine that the good fellows at Daniel Wellington would ever find the good old, very neglected and under loved blog and think, "It'll be fantastic if that chap called Afam gives one of our watches a review." But that's exactly what they did! They emailed me about it, and I actually shat myself. They asked me if they could give me a watch for a review that they wouldn't influence. My eyes turned to dollar signs immediately. The plan was to pick the most expensive one, bang off a truly atrocious excuse of an article, and put the darned thing on Ebay. You know what they say don't you, "a watch may last forever but cash money is the king of all possessions."

I just made that up. Nobody says that. I apologise. It's 2am and the mosquitoes are making a meal out of me. Empathise with a brother.

When I got the watch, I realised that I didn't actually know how to review a watch. The only thing I had to say was that it told the time with fairly decent accuracy. So I decided to document my first day with it, doing all the things that I tend to do on a normal day.

https://www.danielwellington.com/global/dapper-st-mawes

I was sitting with the dogs when the watch appeared out of thin air at midday. They say that this is what happens when Santa drinks too much eggnog and passes out on a stranger's couch. It was so fresh and clean that all we could do was stare. That's what you do when something looks like a million bucks and it doesn't cost nearly that much. As for why Poopy 3 looks like he wants to become one with it, I have a few theories.
  • Poopy 3 thinks he's an swarovski crystal not a living breathing pooping responsibility. 
  • Poopy 3's sexual frustrations have uncorrected his head. Poopy 1 (the purple poodle) is distinctly out of his league. She's infatuated with Poopy 2, the tall dark handsome dog over there. 
Either way, I was not prepared to deal with him so I went swimming with some dolphins in the ocean. 
 https://www.danielwellington.com/global/dapper-st-mawes
The stainless steel watch did quite well in the water. It's good old water resistant self didn't let a drop of water in, and it didn't get misty or anything. The dolphins were thrilled to have it grace their nostrils. They liked it so much that I lent to them for a hot minute. It was at that very moment that I thought, "Daniel Wellington, so cool that even the dolphins want a time piece."

I couldn't let them have it for too long though. I may be the 2013 male recreational swimmer of the year at the University of Manchester but I'm not nearly good enough to chasing after all the fish that swim in the sea. I extricated myself from that potentially troublesome situation and went home to treat the pets to some piano forte.


My masterful rendition of the insanely difficult, "twinkle twinkle little star" was so exquisite that even I was moved by it. My heron like piano playing was so moving that I began to question my initial thoughts about the proposition. "You can't possibly put Daniel on Ebay!" I said to myself. "He's met Poopy 1 and 2 and 3. It isn't good to introduce the pups to too many watches. They'll grow up to be degenerates and demons with trust issues."

After I came to that realisation, there wasn't much left to say or do. Daniel and I went on a magic carpet ride on a magic Chinese dragon.

https://www.danielwellington.com/global/dapper-st-mawes

It's a match made only in dreams.

If you like the watch or any watch on their website, I've got a discount code for you: theramblingDW for 15% off. 

Happy Days,
Afam.

Key Notes:

Why am I a clown?

Well, the idea of standing and posing in front of a camera fills me with dread. If something stresses you out, you've got to find a way around it, and that's what I did. Because I thought the pictures I took of me wearing the watch were horrendous, I decided to have my crystal manifestation wear it instead.

Where are all these crystal things from?

In the Afam household, there's a glass table filled with little bits and bobs from all over the world. We went through a crazy swarovski phase back in the noughties. We were buying more crystals with more dedication than a meth addict. Everytime dad went somewhere he'd get something new, and then he'd come back, and we'd argue for hours about where to put it. In my family, we bicker about silly things like that, but it's one of the things about us that I think is sweet.

What's more?

I like the watch. In the beginning I knew that it looked nice, but that wasn't enough. I like the things I wear to come from somewhere and have some meaning. I can tell you a story about everything that I have. Since the Dapper St. Mawes and I have been together, we've been to three countries and suffered and smiled in all of them. We won't be parting anytime soon.


All the Things wrong with Project Fame Season 9

12:00:00

I will begin this one which is meant to be about Project Fame by talking about the Nigerian iteration of The Voice. You cannot talk about talent competitions in Nigeria that involve down on their luck singers looking for a come up without mentioning The Voice because that show changed everything. The talent on it was exceptional, and it was produced so well that I wept with pride and patriotism. Before it, I didn't believe that we could produce reality television that was truly worth watching.

When I heard that Project Fame West Africa was returning, I was excited. I thought that they would be infected with the same National Pride that I felt and deliver a product that was miles better than the mediocrity they perpetually stuff down our airwaves, but I was wrong. They've stuck to their formula with the tenacity of the truly addled, and there is no one in all the world that is more confused than I am.

I went to a live taping of one of their shows over the weekend. It wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I need more than an "it wasn't bad" evaluation to be worth watching, especially if you're going to take three hours of my Saturday. What did they do wrong? Don't worry. This is why I'm here.

They had a comedian to hype the crowd before the contestants came on, but he really wasn't much of a comedian. If in 15 minutes, you tell three jokes that are capable of making me laugh out loud, then try as I might, I cannot see what the point is. I wouldn't have found him particularly offensive if he hadn't ended his set with what I can only call an abortion of a joke. Rape is not funny. Telling a joke that implies that it can actually be enjoyable for all parties involved is rude to the point of idiocy. The joke went something like this. A woman was kidnapped and taken to the great outdoors by her abductors. Her tied up husband then had to listen to her pleas for help which became tinged with notes of pleasure. At the end of it, she said, "Thank you kidnapper." Very good. You win all the laughs.

The show has two presenters, Bolanle Olukanni and Joseph Benjamin. With regards to Bolanle, I have no complaints, but things are not so easy with Joseph. He chews his words with so much enthusiasm that I'm sure they contribute to his recommended daily intake. I was so convinced by the end of it that I have started doing the same. My spaghetti limbs could do with some padding.

One thing that sets the show apart from most is the band. You see, with most shows like this, the singers are the only ones in the competition. In Project Fame, the band is competing too. What else am I supposed to think when the band is frequently so loud that the singing is lost?

It was all fairly dull until Dapo took the stage to deliver a cover of Michael Jackson's Liberian Girl. I cackled with glee because epic fails are usually even better than flashes of brilliance. I can't really tell you how I knew it would be bad. Let's just say that the universe told me. It's the same way it tells you when to look just before the class clown falls off their chair. He came out in this poorly bedazzled jacket that most of us would save for Halloween, and at least four dancers who got their wigs/extensions from either Donald Trump or a mangy horse. Their choreography was the sort of thing I'd expect to see in a musical about the underwater princesses (cafe au lait ladies aka mammy water sisters) of an underwater kingdom. From where I was sitting, Dapo was a victim of sabotage. I almost pinched myself for finding it hilarious, but I thought the better of it. Cheap laughs are scarce. I'll take what I can get.

Life is finite. When the hours disappear they're gone forever, and no amount of prayer or magic will ever get them back. Fun should be treasured wherever it is found because it is incredibly brief and almost intolerably rare. Project Fame will have to decide how it's going to achieve this. It could either decide to be so consistently bad that it is hilarious, or so good that naysayers like me have got nothing bad to say about it. As it stands the juice of Project Fame isn't worth the electricity your television will eat while you watch it.

Weekend Villain: Funky Town, Project Fame and Obalende Turn Up...

04:07:00
Weekends make me insecure. At the start of the week, I typically tell anyone who'll do me the favour of listening that I'm perfectly happy spending my weekends at home, but come Friday, I can't sit still. My mind races through all the options like a crazed cheetah, and I remember the friends I haven't said what's up to in years. It's Friday night fever at it's worst.

Anyway here's a fairly detailed summary of my weekend as it occurred to me while I watched the U.S Open. 

Thursday

My weekend started on Thursday. It was a rather bizarre beginning. My cousins who are definitely not of age, asked me to take them for drinks at Churrascos. I don't have any real problems with Churrascos other than the fact that their stuff as overpriced as their service is rubbish. I've come up with a solution for the latter. Whenever I need something, I stand up and yell, "HEY!" I shout so loudly that my voice can be heard from across the lagoon. It isn't exactly polite, but it's better than sitting unattended for the better part of an hour.

This is the only picture I took at Churrascos. I don't know what's so interesting about my shoes, but whoop there it is.
Churrascos was good. Who knew that a 14 year old and a 16 year old could be fun? Kids really do say the darndest things especially after a mojito or two... or three.
The sister and I, mid dance at Funky Town.
After that I popped down to Funky Town with the Avengers. The Avengers are the friends, C and E. Funky Town is a brilliant bar that we found with cheap drinks, amazing service and a cracking DJ. In Funky Town, you come as you are, and dance as you like.

Friday

The Avengers and I started things off early with brunch. Brunch is important after a night out because that's where the blank spaces in your memory are filled, and the best laughs are had. A hangover shared between three is a hangover beaten.

I sped down to the mainland to pick up my suitcases because Royal Air Maroc didn't afford me the privilege of arriving with them. There'll be more on that later. I have to recover from the stress of flying with them first. Some of you will think, "Afam, why Royal Air Maroc?" If you're one of these people, I'll tell you what my grandfather said to me this weekend. "We may not be a very rich family, but we're an intelligent one." If I spend too much on a plane ticket, I'll catch the Oh my God, I just spent too much money disease. I fear that condition like I do Ebola.

When that was done, I sped back to the Island and popped into the 90s Baby Road Show Pool and Movie Party. The moment I walked in I knew I would be out in under ten minutes. There isn't much that frightens me more than alternatively dressed young adults who don't seem very skilled at conversation. When I go to a place and the people there don't look like they know what it means to have a good time, I thank God for my Kia. I said hello and congratulations to the people that put it together and bounced.

The Stranger Game Night is a Lagos treasure. It's N1000 to take part and N800 for a glass of wine. I had several. I do not believe that board games were made to be played without drinking. It was fun in a way that few things are. I struggle to find the words that describe it best. There were no illusions or pretensions. It was easy. I was home by 11:30.

Saturday
Let's see. There was a family lunch at Spice Route. The food was good and there's no better company than the people who are programmed to love you. My grandfather gave a lovely speech and I bullied my younger cousins. Two of them call me uncle and the most troublesome one asks me to drive him around so he can play pokemon go. Whatever stress I give them is well deserved.

A bunch of us fled the scene of the dinner to see a live taping of Project Fame West Africa Season 9. You'll be reading about that shortly. It's the next article after this.

As if all of that weren't enough, there was an Avengers meeting at our HQ, Funky Town. We answered the age old question, "How many Heinekens does it take to get you plastered?" The answer is, when you're having a good time, no one's counting. One turns into two, two turns into three and they bleed into each other after. A bottle on the table is a bottle for all. We were so high on life that when C said, "let's go to Obalende, E and I kept quiet and nodded like it was a good idea.

I have no idea what the bar we ended up in is called, and I doubt that I'll be able to find it again, but it was an unexpected dose of happiness. At the places that I usually frequent, people spend more time on their phones than they do dancing. The most telling thing is that I didn't stop to take pictures or snapchat. When you're really engaged in the present, those things don't occur to you.

Sunday:

The Avengers and I met up for a team debriefing at E's house. From there we went to Dominos. The Chicken Suya Pizza there is a waste of life. I shall not be repeating the error. Karaoke at Beer Hugz is similarly bad.

Home seemed like a good idea after that.

Writer's Journal: Lessons from Top 5

19:15:00
Chris Rock and Rosario Dawson in Top 5

Grandiose foolishness is a difficult thing to admit. In light of this, I will not declare that the reason for my silence is foolishness.

The lessons that life tends to teach are without compare, greater than any that can be taught in a classroom. They come to us in flashes, unexpected moments of truth. Those who listen and learn enjoy a certain level of contentment. Those who don't are struck with unique confusions that are incomprehensible to any but they themselves.

My grand confusion was that I had come to believe that I could no longer write. This, after one of my tutors, Roger said, "Afam you write really well."

His delivery was casual, but the words struck me like a bell. It was validation beyond any I'd heard before.I was struck dumb. My mouth squeezed out a thank you, but my hands froze. Everytime I wrote, I'd see the old white man who spent two decades at Reuters looking over my shoulder and wonder if he'd approve.

Every attempt to write something led to new failures and frustrations. They didn't even have the kindness to be selective. A paragraph about Ryan Lochte was as difficult as an essay about Lagos. All the while, I felt as useless as a spayed bitch in heat.

As I write this, there's a little monster kicking my chair. He's singing let it go as loudly as his pre-manly tenor will allow. I would be apathetic about his behaviour if I wasn't sitting between an Emporio Armani watch wearing man whose girth could have used an empty seat beside him, and a Nigerian business man who seems to be the brains behind a liquor smuggling operation. He has this list that says, Star - £1000, Gulder - £1500.

I was about to start gnashing my teeth and whining internally, when I remembered a line from Top 5, a film that Chris Rock both acts and stars in. His character said something like, "just think of who you want to sound like and copy them."

I did one better. I opened the copy of Anna Karenina on my phone, and began to write.

The Curious Incident of The Lochmess at Night Time

04:29:00
Source: Chan-Fan (Wikicommons)

Ryan Lochte is a rather interesting character. For the everyday man on the street he is a reminder that there is a God. If he had been as clever as he is handsome, he would have joined the league of truly enviable gentlemen. As things stand he is the Olympian no one aspires to be. His peers will likely stay silent about his most recent gaff, but there are few things less attractive than a person caught in an unnecessary lie.

On Sunday, the news on the worldwide web was that Lochte and his friends survived an ordeal. Their taxi was stopped by armed robbers. The highway men reportedly pointed a gun at Lochte's head and did the your money or your life routine that they're infamous for. Lochte said: "whatever" and proceeded to part with his wallet but not his phone or his credentials.  In his words:

"We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over … They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn't do anything wrong, so — I'm not getting down on the ground.
And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, 'Get down,' and I put my hands up, I was like 'whatever.' He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials."
I have not yet met the man who says whatever when a gun is placed against his forehead. It is something that only the truly suicidal would dare, and from what we've seen of Lochte I'd say that he lacks the introspection necessary for such grim tendencies.

When Lochte and his team-mates got back to the Olympic Village, all reports seem to indicate that Lochte told his mother of the ordeal. Lochte's mother, Illeana then told USA Today and possibly Fox Sports Australia. Two hours later, Lochte gave an interview to NBC's Billy Bush where he told his side of the story.

It should come as no great surprise that the Brazilian police took the story very seriously. Brazil has not been cut any slack when it comes to the Olympics. Leading up to the Olympics the vast majority of the coverage they received painted the South American country as the child that dreamed too big. All we heard about was their unreadiness for the games. They had to follow it up, and they did so with great flair.

Their investigation proved that Lochte's moonlight robbery wasn't a robbery at all. He and his mates violenced a filling station and were apprehended for it. They reportedly paid $400 to get out of the jam. How that incident turned into a first class example of banditry, I'll never know. It's the same way I'll never really know if Lochte is who everyone says he is: America's sexiest douchebag (Jezebel), a scaldingly hot goon (Hairpin), more bimbo than bro (Slate), sex idiot (30 Rock), dumb (New Republic), the sweet, loving, irresponsible, foolish boy (The Guardian), most embarrassing Olympic athlete (Houston Chronicle).

Happy Days,
Afam

Minor Contemplations:

It will be interesting to see how his sponsors react to this one. You can't really spin your way out of CCTV.

He needs a crisis manager yesterday. Clubbing is one of the swiftest routes to an empty pocket. Lochte may swim like a fish but he also drinks like one. It'll be a shame if he drinks it all away because chances are his multiple streams of income are drying up.

 







Notes on Class Appropriation: Is there a Falz Paradox?

15:19:00


An article called The Falz Paradox by Oris Aigbokhaevbolo was shared extensively by the Nigerians I follow on twitter yesterday. Falz is a Nigerian musician who won the Viewers' Choice Best International Act at the BET Awards last week. While his music is popular, he's perhaps just as famous for his hilarious use of Pidgin English and what some would call a local Nigerian accent in his instagram sketches and some of his songs. 

The article was supposed to be a review of Falz' first album, Stories that Touch, but it strayed. Littered with sentences like, "Falz has it both ways, whipping out his 'abroad status' when it serves, turning local when it helps (which is maybe how he received a curious Best Street Hop nomination at the 2015 Headies)", it seemed to suggest that Falz is guilty of class appropriation. 

It asked the following question:

"Since in the Nigerian imagination the local accent is lower-class, could Falz' act be one of class appropriation?"

Being Nigerian is a tonic. It means that I come from somewhere. Whatever anyone may think of me, I have a home, and I have a people. For better or worse, I claim all aspects of it: the good, the bad and the ugly. Every Nigerian has this right. There is a world that only we Nigerians can understand. There is a language that is our birthright. In as much as it is mine, I claim no ownership of it. I dare not say to another Nigerian, this part is mine and that part yours. It is here that I think Oris Aigbokhaevbolo's critique of Falz fails.

We are all fortune's fools. The qualities that we believe to be the birthright of the "lower class Nigerian" become ours the moment our bank accounts bleed a sufficient amount of zeros. Although privilege is assigned by birth, it requires more than breathing to keep it or even earn it. After all what good is an expensive education if your continued unemployment strips you of every perk of wealth you've ever known? And what good is a sophisticated accent if your neighbours cannot understand your foreign tempered words? 

When that happens, we have a fail safe, pidjin English. There is no Nigerian who doesn't understand it. It is not the defining characteristic of the poor or the average. It is a language more unifying than Ibo, Yoruba, or Hausa.

Just as potholes are present from Okokomaiko to Ikoyi's million dollar streets, and frequent power outages are no great respecter of address or pocket, Falz' music is a jack of all classes and a master of none. The same can be said of all musicians who have ever been described as good. Does Fela's music not ring out from BMW's and Danfo's alike? 

Falz' song, Soldier, has done more for me than D'banj's Pop Champagne ever could. I have never popped a bottle and not starved for it. It is far easier to listen to a brilliant song about a woman dealing with the advances of a man she does not want than it is for me to listen to a song that glorifies a lifestyle I cannot presently afford. 

All products of creativity have one thing in common; more often than not, they live and die by their quality. When I listen to Falz' Karashika, his privilege is moot. He could be a rabid dog and I wouldn't give a damn. The only thing I care about in that moment is the song's quality, and I think the same is true of most people. 

To infer that a Yoruba accent and a glorious mastery of pidgin are things that would constitute class appropriation is to call soaking garri class appropriation. It is stupid to a spectacular degree. 

Other Notes:

When you write a critique please be wary of the use of absolutes. I'll refer you to the article.

"For Falz, the sole disadvantage of his class shape-shifting is that for such a gifted rapper, he'll never be an MI or an Olamide (two rather good Nigerian musicians). Falz will never command a class... He'll never be rated as highly as those two."

If you do not know the future as clearly as I know that 1+1 is 2, do not pretend to. If you have indeed looked into a crystal ball and seen that Falz will never be as great as M.I or Olamide are, please bring that crystal ball to me so that I can inform it that there is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain. 

One More Note:

Music is entirely subjective. No matter how much you may believe that you are the sole articulator of the thoughts of the masses, it only gives people like me cause to believe that you're a profound snorter of lizard shit. 

Final Note:

I do not think that it is in fact possible to appropriate a class. When you can wake up rich and go to bed dirt poor I do not see how it is worthwhile to talk about class appropriation. If Falz became destitute tomorrow (a distinct possibility) would it still be class appropriation? 

Happy Days,
Afam




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