The Gidiculture Festival

 The Gidiculture festival is billed as the largest beach party in Lagos, but I'm fairly sure that this isn't true. Elegushi beach, with its many shacks, and party goers that hop from shack to shack with that all too familiar glazed look in their eyes, is probably the holder of that title. And if we were to remove the beach from the party, and leave it at outdoors, then the Afropolitan Vibes would be a close second. However that doesn't take anything away from the Gidiculture festival, which is brilliant in its own peculiar way. It could be better, but this isn't a unique situation. All things could be better. Nothing is perfect. It could be better organised, there could be an evenness to the spread of activities, it could decide whether it's a night time affair or a day time affair, and it could import an audience that's actually of a fun-having disposition. Lagosians are a terrible crowd. I know this is a broad generalisation, but you'd think that after spending your money and your time to do something that's supposed to be fun, they'd actually try to have fun, but no. All the fun that was had was insular. There was no great sweep of emotion. There was no "I feel infinite, we are infinite experience" and if you had one of those it was by virtue of your own epicness.

So why was I at the Gidiculture festival? I had planned to go again for about a year - to do what I did there last year - I did a street fashion round up/festival guide/festival review - but this year was a little bit different. I did some hosting for fayrouz, a non alcoholic beverage in these parts that's decided that content development is the best way to get brand visibility. I think it's working. Their posts sweep across my instagram at least once a week, and it's now on my list of drinks that I could potentially crave. This is a vast improvement because 5 years ago, I didn't think it possible.

That's me interviewing a young artist called Dipo. And the microphone is the Fayrouz microphone. I'm still waiting for them to finish editing the show, but once it's done I'll post it on here. Believe that. 

And now we'll move on to the main gist of it all, the bit where I tell you all what happened there. For most of you, the Gidi Culture festival was a one day thing, but for me it took two days. I went to Eko hotel the day before to pick up my tickets and stuff, but while there, I found that there were things happening. Awilo's dancers were rehearsing, and Temi Dollface, Bez, Boj, Awilo, and SDC were getting sound checked. So, I couldn't leave. This is the sort of behind the scenes action that I love. It's one thing to go to an event and have a hell of a time, but it's another to see how it all came together. To be honest, I prefer the latter, the first is always a rather pedestrian affair. 

Ezinne and Team Awilo

A lot has been said to me about thighs. A friend once professed that her Achilles Heel wasn't to be found on her own body but in the thighs of a rugby player. I didn't know what she meant until I looked at Ezinne (The platinum haired one in the bum shorts). Ezinne's legs are powerful things. While leering at her impeccable form a friend that was there with me said, "Look at her legs man! Imagine what would happen if she kicked you?" I'm sure that any kick she delivers will be incredibly unpleasant but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to appreciating them for what they were. And it's not like she got them to feed her vanity. They're part of how she makes her living. Ezinne and blondie on her left choreographed Awilo's performance. When they performed on the night, the hours they put in paid their dividends in full. Many would say that it was this performance that returned some semblance of life to the crowd.

I'm experimenting with colour again. I don't know that you know what I mean by this so I'll explain. I tend to up the contrast, and reduce the saturation, and tone on the camera's settings, but I didn't do that for this shot, and I quite like the result.

Yams of power!
Tension!!!! There's something almost perverse about this one.

And here we've got the main man himself Awilo. I've been dancing to him for maybe 16 years, so it was great to see him in the flesh. He hasn't really changed in all the time that I've known him. His music is the same, and his songs inspire the same fervent bootilicious winding moves that they always have. On some level he gets it. Popular music isn't just about the music, it's about the spectacle. You can't lip sync to a song that everyone knows. You can't be your own hype man and enjoy the sort of permanence he's had in African pop culture. You have to present a spectacle. Every performance has to be an experience. He did well with his line of male and female dancers. What I find most interesting about his female dancers is that rather than go western with girls that represent what foreign beauty is he's stuck to a naturalism that I find incredibly interesting. His dancers are seemingly chosen based on their ability to twerk and gyrate, and they do so with their love handles, and cellulite, and muffin tops. A friend of mine said, "how can she be a dancer and have flab." It's a fair question, but the reality of it is stunning. Chances are that the recipient of your desires and affections won't be some over-photoshopped queen. She'll be like one of his girls, and with any luck she'll be able to dance half as well. And on seeing the bodies of the dancers as they dance like dervishes, she won't feel insecure or shy. She'll get down and dirty with you like the best of them. I don't know that this makes any sense, but then again, these are the ramblings of a madman. Madmen are not known for being straightforward.

When I saw his rat tails - that's what those things are right - I knew that he was a creative someborri. But jokes aside err he needs to make a decision about those things soon. It pains me to say it because I adore diversity in all it's forms, but, it's shocking enough that he's blonde, he needn't stun us to submission with the attachment as well.

Yes, this is them again. They're a wee bit happier in this one, but... Okay I'm going to stop. I can't have you lot calling me baby Perez again. I want Perez money without the Pereziness of it all. It's like celebrity culture without the gossip. Winner winner smoothie dinner. I've got a teeny love handle situation so it's smoothies all day everyday until I get that sorted out.
The Daala Interlude
I didn't remember her name, so I googled bald head Hip Tv, and I found that it is Daala. She's rather stunning isn't she? You're unlikely to forget her face, and this is helped by the fact that she's got a lovely smile.
Daala is a presenter on Hip Tv. Her interesting look has won her more popularity than the average Nigerian presenter. In person, she's universally pleasant, and somewhat down to earth. I can't verify the genuineness of this persona, but it's a good one to have. She was in M.I's bad belle video.

Temi Dollface:

Any Afamzer worth his or her salt knows that I've got a special place in my heart for Temi Dollface and her unique brand of Afrosoul. Many of you have spoken about her sense of style, which draws inspiration from decades long past, but in all honesty that's only the tip of the iceberg. Her voice is extraordinary. I haven't spoken to her about her range, so this is mostly what I've learned from listening to her music. She's a brilliant alto (I think). Where some can only sing in one style, she's got several tricks up her sleeve. She belts, she whispers, she coos. The husk that brings to the fore memories of nights shared with lovers is hers to command, and just when you think that she's down and out for the count, she can falsetto with the best of them. Sometimes, it's a whistle drawing your attention back to her music when you're straying. And at other times it's a breathy accompaniment. The thing that's most impressive about her range is that her talent isn't restricted to the studio. Everything she does on anyone of her tracks, she can do live.

I love this picture. It's almost odd. I think I'm going to black and white it.

Boj is the star of the DRB trio. His voice reminds me of the Palmwine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola. It isn't technical perfection but the gravelly notes go beyond that. When he sings, you think, "This one has a song in him, one day he'll sing it, and it will say something that I wanted to say but couldn't."  

He performed with SDC, who aren't on the blog because there's definitely an Afam and friends vibe going on here. I really like the formal jalabia. I think I'll get one for myself.
The Drone. 

This thing amused and terrified the crowd. I can't wait to see the shots that they (the Gidiculture Team) got from it.

Here we've got Bez, someone else who's brilliant live. I mean, Stupid Song gets me every time. He's a great one, and he told me that he's working on his next album with Cobhams.

That's a great t-shirt no? Who knew that Mickey Mouse could be such a pervert.
The main day
This my friends is Bolaji Kekere-Ekun, who's generally great. I asked him to smile but he refused. So I said, "Why so difficult?" And he said, "Can't you see how the sun is flogging me?" I understood his plight. To be bald under the glare of the sun is no easy task. How can your scalp be the blackest part of your body? The Nigerian sun is not friendly at all.

Wide shot of the festival. Yes, yes, it looks great. Great stuff. Great stuff.

I felt bad for taking this shot because errr levis... She looks great but (Lord forgive me) those are some great shorts. Ah! Ah! I didn't know that it was like that. This my people is Feyi Adesanya, who I love no be small. And those Loza sandals are giving me life. Black is beautiful. Black is really really beautiful.

One shot is never enough so take am again. The poor thing didn't even know that I was snapping her, and I wasn't about to tell her. The spell would have been broken.

This my friends is my face of the Festival. Her name is Makida Moka. God did good. And the wreath is everything and a sunflower.
Here we've got Deyo. We went to school together a lifetime ago. When Deyo found out about the blog, there were no hidden looks or whispers, and there was no judgement. This is my thank you. Some people in your life are no better than scorpions. Deyo hasn't got a drop of scorpion in her, and that's probably why she stands out in this shot. The beauty of her spirit is apparent.

There was a volleyball thing that I didn't watch, and from this you can see why. I will watch Beach volleyball when it's played the Olympic way, but warrisdis? This is not the dream people!! Why are they wearing so much clothing? Why are there men? Last and most importantly, why couldn't any of them actually play volleyball?
Finally we've got Zainab Balogun who's lovely, but she needs to change her sun shades. They were the exact same shades she wore last year. If she was a normal person I'd let it slide, but she's a celeb. Celebrities aren't allowed to chill!
I had a good time, you know? But (This but is a serious but) the team behind the event will have to decide if the festival is a daytime thing or a nighttime thing, because I will not be standing anywhere with nothing reasonable to do for 6 hours for anybody ever again. If it's a night time thing, I'll confidently get there at ten and know that I won't be moving until 4 in the morning. I think these are enough words for now.

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