Friday, 7 December 2007

On......the search for my biological mother

I feel sorry for adoptive parents sometimes. They spend a lifetime investing financially and emotionally in the well being of a child only to one day hear the words "I wonder what my biological mother looks like". What drives this curiosity that makes an adopted child, such as myself, want to seek out a complete stranger? I find myself, with increasing regularity, thinking about my birth mother. I want her to hold me and to tell me that she loves me. I want to see her cry and regret ever putting me up for adoption. I want to know why she gave up on me when all I ever wanted was her love. I want to know why she failed me.

My adoptive mother has not been particularly unkind to me nor has she violated me in any way. Quite the contrary in fact, she welcomed me with open arms into her home even though she had other children to attend to. I suppose I am just growing older and starting to see things with the eyes of an adult. It is very clear to me now, for example, that she loves her own children a bit more than she loves me. She will never openly admit this of course but she treats them with just enough more favour that I cannot fail to notice.

The dilemma of the adopted child is a complex one. On the one hand you are thankful for the safe environment that your adoptive mother has created and nurtured you in. You are grateful for the opportunities she has given you. You are beholden to them for things that every child should have. Security. A sound education. On the other hand you can't help wondering if your biological mother could have and perhaps should have tried to provide all these things for you as well.

I still remember what my biological mother looks life. To this day she remains the most beautiful woman I have seen. She had beautiful brown skin the colour of earth. Her eyes were luminous and always filled me with hope and optimism. Her voice was like the sound of Benue night, rich and magical. This is how I remember her.

I have found her. My search was not long. She remains where she always was, steadfast and resolute. She is dying though. She needs a series of operations to make her well again. She needs my help. Not just my financial help. She needs my presence. In my mind I can hear her calling for me. I miss my mama. Although she gave me up at the age of 16, I now feel the overwhelming urge to return to her side. I want for us to rediscover each other. I want her to be proud of the man that I have become. I wish to gaze into her eyes again and feel that hope that I once felt.

If you see Mama before me tell her that I am coming. Her name is Nigeria. England will miss me but she will understand.

If you see my mama, Hosanna

Tell am say o, Hosanna

I dey for Jand o, Hosanna

I dey come my village, Hosanna

Friday, 30 November 2007 5s

5 most versatile actors alive
Daniel Day-Lewis
Johnny Depp
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Forest Whitaker
Sean Penn

Top 5 movies that I have seen this year
Lions for Lambs
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
3:10 to Yuma
The Bourne Ultimatum

Honourable mentions for Atonement and American Gangster.

Top 5 best things currently on TV (excluding any reality TV)

The Wire (arguably the best TV show ever made along with The Sopranos)
Entourage - Funniest thing on TV bar none
Heroes - Sort out Hiro's storyline sha it is a bit wack right now.
Grey's Anatomy (although this has slipped a bit this season and I may replace with Lost which is slowly getting back into my good books)
CSI - Consistently brilliant

Special mention goes to 24 which would have made the list if not for the debacle that was Season 6.

Top 5 people that may one day drive me to murder
- Middle lane drivers on motorways
- Malnourished, council estate women, who smoke outside bingo halls and wear leggings.
- People who wear fucking hats in the gym. WHY?
- Twats who use an ATM machine for anything else other than withdrawing cash. There are people behind you! Also those that use multiple cards
- Babangida. The man that made corruption okay in Nigeria.

Top 5 books that I have read this year
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid (Sweet sweet prose)
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Simple. Concise. A master at the top of his game)
The Gift Of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (The best postcolonial novel I have read in a long long time and I include Half of a Yellow Sun in that assessment)
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (This is a translation from Norwegian. You may not read a better novella on the overwhelming feeling of loneliness and solitude)
Matrimony by Joshua Henkin (if you are married, read it. Nuff said)

5 babes that I could gaze at all day
Paula Patton
Scarlett Johansson
Norah Jones
Pam Grier (even till today the ultimate MILF)

Special shout out to Jessica Biel and Rihanna for the sheer beauty of their bodies. Unfortunately their faces did not allow them to make the final cut.

Top 5 attacking footballers in the world
1. Lionel Messi
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
3. Kaka
4. Cesc Fabregas
5. Ronaldinho

Tuesday, 20 November 2007 recent journey to the Edge of Reason

What a complete and utter waste of time that was! Well for the most part anyway. I have been meaning to take the journey for a while now but time was always an obstacle. It was only meant to be a quick trip and I hoped to be back in time for the Arsenal – Man Utd match. Fat chance! I underestimated the journey time to Reason and was caught in Limbo on the Friday before the big game. Fortunately you can get Sky Sports in Limbo so I was able to catch the second half.

SO what exactly was the point of this trip I hear you ask? Well for a while now I have been questioning my very existence and wondering whether or not everything that I thought was real is in fact just a figment of my imagination. I wanted to find out more about meta-epistemology and the canard of unromantic love. The only way I could find the answer to these great uncertainties was to take a trip to the Edge of Reason; you know the place that shares a border with the Land of Craze-Madness. The Guardian advised me that I had to tread very carefully because the border between the two domains is inconspicuous and one could easily find oneself in the Land of Craze-Madness before one realised the difference. That was one place I did not want to end up The Guardian advised.

I had hoped that the journey would be a profound one and that I would return with life-altering titbits that might revolutionise your thinking. Sadly I learnt very little. I have come back with an awareness that my Edge is self -defined and very different from yours. We have all visited Reason at some point but my Edge began where many others had ended long ago. The entire domain of Reason was not as big as I had imagined and I must confess that Craze-madness land looked considerably bigger (not to mention more fun!).

All the locals in Reason were stony faced, hard-nosed and pragmatic. They rarely spoke and they didn’t even answer me when I asked where the nearest McDonalds was! The food was nourishing without being enlivening and their idea of fun was Scrabble parties and Su-Doku nightclubbing. I did meet a nice girl at one of the Su-Doku nightclubs but she told me later (over a bowl of Tofu) that she was not really an indigene of Reason and had crossed the border from Craze-Madness for the sake of a night out. I asked her to tell me more about her land and she said it was a place completely devoid of accountability and rational thought. She hated it she said and escaped to Reason whenever she had the chance. This sparked my curiosity somewhat because a place where accountability lies dormant is surely a male paradise. Just imagine…….I could fuck around as much as I wanted and not have to answer to anyone. Paradise I tell you. But wait….a lack of rational thought as well. Does that not mean that some girl I had two-timed could shoot me without her batting an eyelid? Hmmmmmm…. the land of Craze-Madness. I guess there is a clue in the name. I remembered the warnings of The Guardian and eradicated any thoughts I had of crossing the border.

My subsequent days in Reason were spent with the beautiful Osite of Craze-Madness and we killed many hours playing reverse chess and solving quintic and polynomial equations. We did not make love because despite our intense chemistry I was aware that she was little more than the fabrication of a dichotomised mind. I was not quite prepared to discover the epistemological ramifications of fucking a figment of my imagination.

Anyhooo….. I’m back in the land of Free Will now and as I already mentioned my trip was without fruit. Cogito ergo sum I guess. It appears though that I have acquired some soothsaying abilities during the journey and I can now see into the future. Go back to the first line of this post and I predicted exactly what you are thinking right now.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

On......the memory of Izehi

The next time a major tragedy occurs remember this. You will go through what I call a 3 day wake. On the first day you will digest the news and scour your brain for any loved ones that may have been involved. Who could have been on that plane? Who do we know that lives in California? On the second day you continue to absorb the news and question such mindless disaster. On the third day, you will move on. The tragedy will become a footnote in history and you become zombiefied as the media continues to show you images and drip feeds you with news of the latest disaster. I learnt about Izehi’s death on the third day.

The tragedy in question occurred one year ago today with the ADC crash that claimed the life of the Sultan of Sokoto and 97 others. The news came, as does all Naija breaking news, in fits and starts. Was the plane Abuja bound or Sokoto bound? Where was it’s point of origin? How many were on the plane? The facts and figures changed as the day wore along. After ascertaining that the crash took place in Abuja, I made several calls to friends and family that lived there to make sure that none of them was on the plane. It was a successful headcount and my world was safe again. On the second day I offered prayers to the families of the dead and thanked God for sparing the lives of the few survivors. On day 3, Charles called me from Philadelphia and asked if I had heard. Heard what I asked. That our old classmate, Izehi Oleghe, had been on that plane. He was travelling from Lagos to Sokoto to start his Youth Service. I was no longer a spectator to this tragedy. I was now a part of it.

It is hard to talk about Izehi without resorting to cliché but he had a heart the size of the world. I first met him almost twenty years ago when I started in Atlantic Hall. In a school filled with elitist, snotty nosed kids, Izehi stood tall as the very antithesis of their pseudo-bourgeoisie culture. We shared a mutual love of Asterix and Obelix comics and a lifetime bond was sealed. He remains, to this day, one of the smartest people I have ever met and I will never forget the sight of him standing up on no less than a dozen occasions one night to collect prize after prize. Even when the priorities of a teenage boy started shifting to more carnal matters, Izehi still managed to find a way to stay within striking distance of the top of the class.

In 1994 I made the leap across the Atlantic to come to England whilst Izehi went on to Ibadan to study Medicine. Once distance comes into the equation I become the poorest of friends. I struggle to keep in touch for months on ends and sometimes lose friends altogether. Izehi never gave up on me. Even in the days before e-mail and instant messaging became de rigueur, he somehow found a way to always get in touch with me. I have a large family and Christmas was always spent under one roof. Izehi spent about two Christmases with us in succession and a visitor would have been hard pressed to distinguish Izehi from any member of my family, such was the ease with which he assimilated. He had a very mischievous streak and many of those Christmas nights were spent arguing about the most inane topics under the sun. Like could Superman defeat Flash in a sprint race? Was Star Wars really just a parable of modern life? Who was the best dancer in school? Sometimes he argued just to give his brain the mental workout. Such was the breadth and depth of his knowledge that he felt confident talking about virtually any subject.

He finally graduated as a doctor in 2000 after years of incessant strikes and stoppages. It is sad that the only thing that Nigeria could offer this bright young man was an unnecessary and untimely death. I travelled to Lagos less over the years but we still made a point of seeing each other at least once a year. This culminated in him spending a month in my house the summer before he died. I will forever be grateful for this time that God afforded us. I miss his booming laughter that reverberated through our house and shook the foundations. I miss his gleaming white smile that lit up the world. I miss his big head that was jam-packed with all sorts of useless trivia and information. I miss his brutal honesty and gentle soul. I miss the hours wasted reminiscing about events long gone and faces forgotten. Most of all I just miss my friend.

Dr. Izehi Oleghe (March 15 1977 - October 29 2006)

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

On......3 marriages? or 3 mirages?

He was surprised to wake up with her hand draped against his chest. He could not remember the last time that there had been any post-sleep contact between the two of them. They slept in the same bed, as they had for the past twenty years, with an invisible wall between them. Occasionally a renegade foot or hand would stray into opposition territory. Sleepy recoil usually followed. Perhaps it was the discomfort that had awoken him. Her arm felt alien. Heavy. Sweaty. He wanted her to move but was reluctant to wake this most fragile of sleepers. He enjoyed this brief period of peace. There was no pressure to retort or respond to the quips of another. Tranquillity reigned. But that arm! It was a weight on his chest. He had to take the risk. He bent his spine and sunk his back deep into the mattress. This created a small space between arm and chest. In one movement, he rolled to his left side and tried to wriggle under her arm. His manoeuvre was too swift and poorly rehearsed and he ended up on the floor. He found the carpeted ground not entirely uncomfortable. The carpet was made from sea grass and had been specially woven and imported from Panama. Last year he and his wife had argued at great length over the price. In his sleepy state he quietly thanked her for her ability to discern quality carpets. He extended his hand over the bed and pulled his pillows on to the ground. Sleep at last!


It was not that she was unhappy - far from it -but Adaobi had started questioning her own sanity. On the face of it life was grand. She had been married for eight years and had three lovely children that she adored. Her husband, Chike, had a big job in the city that paid big bucks so they could afford the big mortgage repayments on their big house. Big deal. Life had become a series of chores. She wondered, with increasing regularity, how the path from graduating top of her Stanford business class had led to a beautifully finished oak and granite kitchen. Her aspiring whirlwind career had been replaced by the quotidian beats of suburban life. Still there were many people in worse positions she thought. Mustn't grumble. Mustn't grouse. If only Chike spent more time at home maybe she would have someone to talk to. Maybe if she took a part time job. Maybe when the kids grow up. Maybe if her damn friends didn’t spend the whole day complaining about their bloody husbands. Maybe if she stopped getting these fucking headaches. Maybe…….
The sound of tyres on gravel cut short her mental meanderings. Chike was home and his food was not yet ready. He would not be happy today.


She couldn't recall the last time she had looked forward to a date with such fervour. Maybe it was his inimitable charm. Perhaps it was his endearing elusiveness and apparent worldliness . He travelled all the time and they had postponed this date many times. They had met cordially enough but an exchange of emails and text messages followed, each slightly bolder and braver than the last. After a month, it had become very clear exactly what they wanted to do to each other and the number of times they wanted to do it. She arrived at San Lorenzo's a few minutes after seven and was ushered to a discreet table in the corner. In spite of their electronic courtship, they had actually only seen each other a few times. He was more handsome and charming than she remembered and the dinner was a rousing success. She talked about Venice and DaVinci. He talked about Inarritu and India. They found common ground. He dropped her off at her place and she invited him in for a night cap. The sexual tension of a compatible couple is a terrific thing. They were tearing each other's clothes off before the key was in the lock. The sex was furtive and forceful but no less gratifying. They crumpled into a sweaty heap and slept the sleep of long-time lovers. She woke earlier than he and silently marvelled at his naked body. She betrayed her instincts and started playfully thinking of their next date and beyond. Had she had sex too soon? Were here emails too brazen? What would he think of her? Her eyes fixed on his hands and her dawn light reverie was cruelly ended. She cursed herself for not noticing before. How could she have been so blind? She averted her gaze to the ceiling but her eyes forcefully returned to the single, solitary digit on his left hand. The fresh imprint of a wedding ring was unmistakable…..


Marriage was once sacred. Now they tell us that 1 in 3 marriages will end in divorce. I met a man the other day who was on his 3rd marriage - at the age of 40. Where does it start going wrong? When do people stop trying for each other or making the effort? When do the early joys and euphoria of being part of a collective start turning into a dull routine? When does marriage start becoming so unbearable that you can no longer stand the sight of the person sitting across the breakfast table? When do you stop eating breakfast together? When do dinners start going cold as a wife waits for a husband who is 'working late'?

They cease to be marriages. They become mirages. They mask the pain and the suffering of people who have long since stopped trying or giving a shit. If you are married and you are reading this, never stop trying. The day that your 100% slips to 98% is the day that you start creating a mirage. Do not become a statistic. Yes it can be tough. You will peak and you will trough. But do not treat every dip like a knockout blow. Always find commonality in the things that you enjoy and never forget the reasons you started loving your partner. Indeed, find even newer reasons to love them everyday and I promise you that you will be together until the Reaper parts you.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

On……the Gold Digger: I salute thee

……… Heather Mills heads back to Family court today to hear how much she is entitled to following her split with Paul McCartney. Depending on who you believe the final figure is likely to be anything between £30 Million and £70 Million.


Yes. Between $60 to $140 Million


Do I stutter? As I said, 7.5 to 17.5 Billion Naira.

In any currency that one na money. Kai God o why did I enter this world as a man sef? If I was a babe no one go do ashewo work pass me. 70 Million kpon for four years of marital service. The babe made roughly about 17.5 Million a year. And for doing what exactly? No be say they torture am for those four years o. No be say Paul dey flog am every day with koboko. No, quite the contrary. Film festivals, awards shows, St Tropez, Dinner with the Queen, etc, etc. In fact open any glossy magazine in the last four years and if you don't see Heather shining teeth inside then no be correct magazine you buy. Before you start telling me say na love, don't forget that this is the same woman who, on meeting Paul McCartney for the first time, ditched the poor schmuck she was engaged to - four days before the wedding. Ouch!

My question of the day is a very simple one. Ladies, is there any shame in marrying a rich dude? Biko make una think well before una answer o! Is a man's wealth and success really not an issue for you? I bet your instinctive response is Hell NO! The thought of a gold digging female instantly conjures up an image of some mini-skirt rocking, make-up plastering, high-heel wearing hoochie who has no better prospects other than to marry rich. But why? Why can't you be a successful woman who wants to be spoilt a bit as well? Sure you can buy that Lex by yourself but if somebody can just come and dash you one, will you turn an indignant nose up at it? There is a perennial stereotype that the rich guy is always some craggy, saggy, wrinkled, grizzled, 87 year old geriatric (RIP Anna Nicole). But again to refute this, there are many attractive, successful and personable men who just happen to be rich. Success does not always breed arrogance or an undesirable personality.

Fairytales have corrupted our thinking somewhat. The poor student is always so sweet and whimsical; his love is somehow more genuine than that of the rich dude who is invariably hard-nosed and egotistical. Sometimes there is just no winning either way. It is the same poor student that might be the first to ditch your ass as soon as he has made it big. Na minor dilemma but the solution is simple though. Marry someone with at least a sense of purpose and direction. Someone you can go on a journey with. This person should ideally be somewhere between scrub status and big man level. It is a sweeter life journey.

My guys nko? Can you marry in an attempt to upgrade your lifestyle? There is an increasing number of men who will answer yes to that question. See Kpakpando's hilarious post that addresses this new breed of man. This may sound old fashioned but Atutu wants to be the one to look after you in a relationship. When we go out I want to be the one to pay for dinner dammit. I dunno maybe it makes me feel more like a man. Many guys I know swear blindly that they could not go out with a girl that earned considerably more than them. Well bloody work harder then I say to them! But seriously does this mean that we men subconsciously (or perhaps even consciously) go after women we assume will depend on us? Are we wary of those independent, feisty types that look like they will only use you for occasional gbenshing and nothing more? It explains, then, the prevalent nature of the Gold Digger. The Paul McCartneys of this world could easily marry women who are dooched up in their own right. Yet they seem drawn to these women that enter the relationship with six naira fifty kobo and exit with £70 Million. If they ain't no punks, holla "we want pre-nup, we want pre-nup"….

I will leave you with the online exchange between the woman looking for a rich husband and the mysterious Wall Street banker. She placed an ad on some online dating website proclaiming how young and attractive she was and how she was seeking a partner that made at least 500 thou a year. She had recently dated a guy who was on 250 a year but according to her she hit a roadblock because "$250,00 won't get me into Central Park West". She obviously reached her target audience because a rich guy did indeed respond to her ad but perhaps not quite in the manner she was hoping:

"Your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity ... in fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't be getting any more beautiful!" the banker wrote.

"So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset," he said. "Let me explain, you're 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!"

"It doesn't make good business sense to "buy you" (which is what you're asking) so I'd rather lease"

Suffice to say that the woman pulled the ad shortly after. The shame that should have caught her before placing the ad eventually made a belated appearance. If I was her I would have offered a long term lease with option to buy after ten years. After all Heather Mills only offered four…..
Gold digger: I salute thee

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

On......the story of Nigeria's first astronaut (well...nearly)

Pius Igede was excited. Tomorrow he was going to be the first Nigerian to land on the Moon. He had won the first prize on the Silverbird produced reality TV show, Who Wants to be an Astronaut? In conjunction with NASS (Nigerian Aeronautical Something Something), 24 contestants vied for a chance to fly to the moon. To tell the truth Pius did not even know what an astronaut was before the show began, he had applied only because the application fee was 'just' fifty Naira. His third cousin from his mother's side had reached the final 12 of African Idol and he was determined that he too must appear on TV before he died.

His packing consisted of:

1 tube of toothpaste (Close-up)
1 Goodmans personal cd player
3 CDs (Olu Maintain, Tony Tetuila and 2Pac's All Eyez on Me)
5 Clean St Michael's underpants
5 Slightly worn string vests
1 Bible (King James Version)

Anti-gravity training in Kaduna had been a bit of a nightmare. First of all the special guests from NASA had missed their connecting flight from Abuja and had to travel by road. Secondly the simulation software that had been couriered had somehow ended up in Sokoto. To make matters worse the live screening of the event had to be postponed because Area boys had stolen one of the electric transformers. In spite of this, Pius managed to impress the judges enough to get to the final round.

On receiving the good news via SMS text, his first reaction was to send money to his village and ask the elders to pray for him on his voyage. In addition to the star prize of flying to the moon, Pius had been presented with a cheque for five hundred thousand naira which he planned to use to build a house in his village. Pius’ mobile phone had been inundated with phone calls in the days leading up to the big take-off. He had to explain many times that on this particular trip , there were no way he could buy them soccer jerseys , Ipod Nanos or Nintendo DS. They did not believe him and accused him of being a poser “now that you been don see small money” After a while he switched off his mobile altogether.

The day arrived with much fanfare despite the fact that take-off had been delayed from 9am until 1pm as the various senators and ministers made their way to the space centre. This was a momentous occasion in Nigeria’s history and the event was quite fitting. ThisDay had sponsored a music concert in Pius’ honour and had invited the likes of Beyonce, Jay-Z and Kelly Rowland. Unfortunately Miss Rowland had declined to attend unless something was done about the humid conditions.

The space shuttle was an STS-116 that had been specially imported from North Korea albeit after their aborted space mission. Silverbird were at great pains to explain that this was not a Tokunbo space shuttle because technically it had never really left the earth’s atmosphere - it had merely crash landed about 70000 feet from the ground before actually entering space. After some remedial work by Aba’s finest, Silverbird were confident that the STS-116 was in even better shape than when it was new.

On the day, Pius was beginning to have serious doubts and felt that the training he had received was slightly less than adequate. His brother, Absalom, confided to him that the money he had sent for goodwill prayers had been used instead to perform funeral rites. By the time he walked up the red carpet and spotted a mechanic making some last minute adjustments to the rear wing, his doubts had become a major conviction. He knew that there was no way in hell that he would be entering that thing. Imagine! Somebody who had never even entered ordinary plane sef, they wanted him to go and die for who? Tufiakwa! God forbid! His mother was still alive in the village and he had not yet bore her any grandchildren. The unwavering gaze of the promoters pierced his skin as if to say "ol boy make u no fuck up for here o!" How could he possibly turn back now he wondered? He remembered a film he had watched where the actor had pretended to faint before going on a plane he was reluctant to board. But who would really believe that an ajepaki like him could actually faint? He had once worked as a labourer carrying cement on his back for 12 hours a day. He had not fainted then. Na now him want faint? They go just use slap wake am up. He decided he just had to come clean. An impassioned plea to the gathered crowd would surely carry some resonance. After all could they byforce him to enter the space plane?

About a hundred yards from the shuttle the decision was made for him. Providence, it seemed, was a mechanic named Eric. Eric emerged from the rear of the shuttle with a look of unmitigated gloom on his face. He shook his head in that foreboding way Nigerian mechanics have mastered and announced that the carburettor had blown and that the kick-starter was not responding. He said that the spark plugs had been stolen but were easily replaced, unfortunately the carburettor needed to be ordered from Onitsha. It was agreed that the take-off would be postponed for two days after which they would all reconvene at the same venue. Beyonce complained that she had an awards ceremony to attend the next day in New York and would not be able to perform in two days time. The concert went ahead anyway and nobody really noticed as Pius slipped through the back door. It was the last that anybody was to see of him. Some say he had died in an accident on the way to his village whilst others report that he was now living in Togo under an assumed identity. His house in the village was never built.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007


I have been reminded in recent weeks about the different kinds of friends that exist and how we subconsciously react to the different types. We instinctively know where we stand with a particular friend and what we can expect from them. Some surprise us. Many disappoint us. Everyone essentially has three types of friend; those that love us, those that are indifferent to us and those that hate us. I have tried to break these categories down even further:

There is the type of friend that only belongs to a certain period in your life. This is not to say that you do not forge a close bond with this person. It is just that this friend does not easily make the transition from one phase of your life to another. The classic example is the Uni friend with whom you are inseparable for about three or four years. When your professional life begins, this friend doesn’t always make the jump with you. It is not that you don’t make the effort to keep in touch; it is just that the hedonistic days of yore cannot quite be replicated these days. You both have different commitments now, a family perhaps. You will meet up occasionally for the odd drink but you spend most of the time reminiscing on your salad days. In reality your time has passed.

There is the childhood friend. You have known this person practically all your life and you are as comfortable in their company as you are with family. This person can never form or demo for you. You know their entire family, they know yours and sometimes the over familiarity has given way to contempt as you are not quite as close as you should be.

Then there is the acquaintance. This one is barely a friend but you keep meeting or bumping into them on more than the odd social occasion. You have hardly exchanged more than a few words and no very little of each other but the face is a familiar one and with some perseverance (and desire) this could morph into a better relationship. Be wary, however, of the constant acquaintance. The person that has a host of friends and slaps the back of everybody he meets is regarded as a friend of nobody.

How about the parasitic friend? The one that needs you just that bit more than you need them. There lives are constantly in need of your intervention. You are continually the one providing advice, support and assistance to the parasitic friend with very little in return. When you start to talk about your issues the focus invariably switches back to their lives. This friend can also take the form of a scrounger or freeloader who brings far less to the friendship than you do.

Everyone’s favourite friend has to be the symbiotic friend - your second skin, your brother/sister from another mother. This could well be the same as your childhood friend although not always. You have little qualms about sharing your problems, hopes and fears with this person, safe in the knowledge that the person can do the same. It is the most beautiful of friendships and geographic location is no deterrent to the intensity of your bond, nor is daily contact for that matter. With this person, after a ten year separation where he/she is in Antarctica and you in the Outer Hebrides, you can still sit down, talk and laugh as though the parting had only been ten minutes. If you are a fortunate enough then this person will also be your life partner. It is rare though.

Then we also have a friendship which I confess I have not quite had the pleasure of enjoying properly – the friend with benefits. The friend that you can gbensh with no strings attached! It is a mutual arrangement in which both parties can see other people and still remain friends without the formal arrangement that coupledom brings. Just make sure that you both know what’s up at the beginning sha!

There is a much newer breed know as the Facebook friend. I hate these fuckers. I’ve got about 215 of them, at least a 100 of which I barely know. They want to bite me, buy me beer that I cannot drink, turn me into a zombie and all kinds of dumb ass shit.

Last, but by no means least, is the blogville friend. These faceless (and sometimes nameless) friends follow you everywhere you go and abuse you when you don’t UPDATE!! UPDATE!! They have that most desired of attributes in a friend - the ability to listen. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about taking tango lessons, taking pictures of oil rigs, losing your purse/wallet, creating international academies, analysing the different types of fart, Brownian motion, complaining about dogs, moaning about Nigerian politricks, abusing men or whatever. They will be there to listen and to offer their unsolicited (and usually honest) advice.

I’m sure I’ve missed a few. Please add at your leisure.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

On……the brief meeting between Sherlock Holmes and King Jaja of Opobo

'Extraordinary' exclaimed Holmes one late summer evening in 1882. It had been a fallow period for the criminal underclass and my friend had become quite restive. At such times he was given to sustained periods of cocaine abuse. It was a terrible sight to witness him in those periods and despite my best attempts to wean him from the drug, I could offer no substitute for the euphoria that filled him when he was immersed in one of his cases. He would often go days and weeks without so much as uttering a word in my direction, thus it was with no small amount of surprise that his exclamation met my ears.

“As I suspected the mixture of three parts manganese and two parts bisulphate of barysta produces a compound that is quite potent if used as a sedative"

“Remarkable” I responded weakly. Despite my own scientific background I was admittedly a novice in the field of experimentation.

Holmes slumped into his favourite armchair by the fire and I was relieved to see him reach for his pipe and not the leather case that contained his syringe.

“Today’s criminal, Watson, is an incurably lazy fellow” remarked Holmes

“In the past three weeks alone, I have noted no fewer than four state visits from varying royal families across Europe, each parading as many expensive jewels as they are hoarding official documents and treaties. Yet my attention has not been drawn to any significant cases in the past month save, perhaps, the rather trifling affair concerning the Duke of Northumberland’s missing cygnet. Were I a criminal, Watson, I daresay that I would be the craftiest and hardest working in my profession”

“It is perhaps fortunate then, Holmes, that you are not a criminal” said I “You might prove so successful in your alternative profession that you would be forced to revert to your true one in a bid to catch yourself”

Holmes laughed dryly and continued sucking on his pipe. Our exchange was cut short by the sound of the doorbell and the promise of a night-time guest. Holmes eyes lit up as, moments later, Mrs. Hudson ushered in our visitor, King JaJa of Opobo.

Our caller was a tall Negro who stood well above six feet. His features were typical of the Negro, a wide, brutish face accentuated by a flat, squat nose and thick, protruding lips. He was powerfully built and I found my fingers instinctively tightening around my cane as I recalled the last unsociable visit that we had received from a Negro.

“That will not be necessary Watson” said Holmes reading my thoughts. “I daresay that our guest is here on rather more personable business than our last friend from the dark continent. Although he has experienced a childhood of slavery, I note that our guest is of noble stock in his homeland. Pray, King. Jaja won‘t you sit down?”

“Thank you Mr. Holmes for seeing me” responded the Jaja of Opobo in stilted, heavily accented English “There are several of your esteemed peers who have turned me away at the door at the mere sight of my countenance. I must warn you, however, that my business here is of a very sensitive nature and I would much prefer if I had the opportunity to speak with you in private”

“Dr. Watson is my personal physician and long time chronicler. I can assure you that his discretion is of the utmost eminence and that you may speak as freely before him as before myself”

“Very well, then. I know of your reputation Mr. Holmes and that you are a fair and just man. As an Englishman some of the revelations I make may sit uncomfortably with you. Nevertheless, my presence here is not so much to enlist your aid than to bear witness to the questionable actions of some of your fellow kinsmen.”

“I have had occasion to deal with some very poor specimens of the human race irrespective of their nationality. I can assure you that I will be unfazed by anything you may have to say. Pray continue”

“It would be best, perhaps, if I were to start at the very beginning” our guest said, finally sitting down.

“In my experience there is often no better place to start” said Holmes

“I hail from Amaigbo in Igboland. I was sold as a slave at the age of twelve and was given the name, Jubo Jubogha. I was fortunate enough to learn English to a high degree and began using this to my advantage. I soon managed to pay my way out of slavery and gained a reputation noteworthy enough to allow me become the head of the Anna Pepple House in the Bonny Creek after the incumbent passed away. Our people can be a discordant race, Mr Holmes. Almost from the start of my reign, there was conflict particularly from a rival chief, Oko Jumbo, who headed the Manilla Pepple house. It is sad that this internal strife forced me to break away from the House and set up an independent city state by a river formerly called Ekomtoro in Andoni country. I have since renamed the town Opobo”

“You must be aware that oil- palm oil is enjoying a roaring trade in the Bonny hinterland this past decade or so. Many of the rival chiefs have been forced to deal with the Europeans who live in the coast. However, over the years I have built strong contacts with the British to such an extent that I am now the principal exporter of palm oil directly to Liverpool. In fact it is a meeting with Hatton & Cookson, one of my primary contacts, that brings me to England”

“There has been great unrest in recent years, Mr. Holmes. The thirst for power and riches has turned our people against each other. Greed and envy have become rife in my homeland. The Itsekiri will not even dine at the same table as the Urhobos. Association with one makes you the enemy of the other so you can only deal with either of them through the Ijos. The Kalabaris and the Okrikas will sooner kill themselves then to help the other out. The Ikwerre and the Ibani have not even spoken to each other for a lifetime. This is a most sad state of affairs and the British are using this to their full advantage.

Our guest had managed to work himself into quite an animated state but he declined my offer of a glass of brandy and continued.

“They say the Atlantic slave trade is dead yet many pf our finest sons still go missing. Most of the chiefs have become so powerless that they cannot even mobilise enough men to search fro them. In any case, it is easier to just lay the blame of these kidnappings at your neighbour’s feet and start a civil war. Of late, the favourite British pastime has been to wave a piece of paper under the nose of our kings. In exchange for free trade they are forcing them to abdicate their thrones. Of course half of these kings cannot read the documents in front of them and are being wilfully deceived. They call this piece of paper the Protectorate treaty but who or what is being protected? I have refused to sign the document as it is tantamount to a warrant that will make us serfs on our own land. I have been threatened with bombardment and force, Mr Holmes. My crime, it seems, has been to restrict fair trade which takes precedence over free trade. Never mind the fact that I have created jobs all across the Opobo river and beyond. I have paid all my predecessor's debts to the Europeans and have never resorted to violence despite provocation on several occasions. I fear that my days are numbered, my oracle has already warned of this. However our fight for free trade will continue long after I am dead. The British cannot lay claim to a land that our forefathers toiled so long and hard for. I will no sit idly by, Mr Holmes, I cannot"

“Your narrative is most revealing. However I must confess at being at a complete loss as to how I may be of any assistance to you. I am neither a government official nor in the direct employ of Her Majesty” said Holmes after a short pause.

“Quite right Mr Holmes. As I said at the start, I have approached several individuals of repute, including members of Parliament and Commons in an effort to state my case. Until now, not one person has so much as opened the door to me. I have grown tired of writing letters without so much as the grace of an acknowledgement. No Mr. Holmes you cannot help me but you have kindly given me your ear this past half hour. There are good men here in England who I know will continue to fight the cause of an oppressed people. I am confident that you and Dr. Watson have been greater enlightened by some of the events transpiring in Africa"

King Jaja rose to leave and Holmes rose to shake his hand "I am in great profit for your visit this evening. I only wish that there was more that I could do to help "

We both sat in silence for some time after King Jaja had left. "There goes, Watson, as noble a gentleman as any royal I have ever met. On the subject of Empire, you know that I am a most ardent devotee. Yet I fear that the sophistication of those that we call savages on these lands is advancing at such a rate that one begins to question our continued interference. Invasion is only an attractive option where one has a clear and prescribed exit strategy. I fear that there are dark and bloody days ahead and we may yet rue the incessant expansion of the Great British Empire"

"Anyway" said Holmes springing up. “I have skulked indoors for far too long and I am in need of some mental invigoration. There is a rendition of Chopin's second opus at the Lyceum and if we catch a hansom we may yet be in time for the third act"

Friday, 7 September 2007


The relationship ended last night in almost exactly the same manner it had began - haphazardly and with the minimum of fuss. As with any break-up, the dissolution was down to a combination of several minor factors and one or two major ones. The biggie here was the age old adversary of many a relationship - distance. Any healthy relationship is nourished by the banalities of day to day life. It is a paradox but it is the inanity of life that provide the most fertile ground for communication and daily interaction. The bus conductor that was rude to you, the asshole that almost crashed into your car, the weekly shopping list, all are just as important in the health of the relationship as the trip to Dubai, the meeting with the parents and the beauty of your two bodies colliding. We never had a weekly shopping list but we did go to Dubai together.

The euphoria of regaining my independence has quickly given way to a most dreaded foe - solitude. The weekend already seems like a long stretch of emptiness. What do we seek in a partner? Regular sex? Companionship? Good conversation? Someone to witness your life and achievements? Yes, the human in us constantly tries to rebel against our natural solitude. This is evident in the company we keep and the relationships we seek. Yet even amidst the sweetest of relationships or wildest of nights out, we still secretly crave some personal space or our warm, warm bed.

Solitude or the feeling of loneliness is the bitterest pill to swallow.
I believe that this is the hemlock that Socrates partook, the wine that Jesus drank at his last supper- the vinegar on the cross.
It is a heavy burden, loneliness. The whole brunt of the world with its cares is cast on the shoulders of one person- poor Atlas.
It brings with it a sort of heartache that cannot be described in words.
It is this feeling, the feeling that one is separated from life, from love; this is what kills – not death itself.
No, it is this that is capable of killing the spirit of man.
But I have heard it spoken that it can also give him life, freedom.
It leads to loneliness, fear, to grief, to pain, to anger, to hate, to bitterness and all of these roads lead to death.
Solitude is the beginning of death.
Solitude is the first step to heaven.

P.S No be say I want kpeme o!

Thursday, 30 August 2007

On……the pursuit of a penis: An Atutu™ guide to getting the man of your dreams

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of sound mind, must be in want of a good man. I don’t care how indie you are or how career focused your life is, if you are a woman reading this, your entire wellbeing and outlook will be immeasurably bettered by the love of a good man. Note the adjective - good. This is not interchangeable with the word - Any. Many women are unable to distinguish between GOODman and ANYman. Another day I will write about the difference. For today’s lesson this is a step by step guide to finding and keeping that special someone. If you have achieved the finding part you can go straight to Holding on.

This part is called Not Looking

I believe it was the legendary Professor Peller who said “the more you see the less you understand”. The same underlying principle can be applied when seeking a partner. The more you actively seek a man, the greater the likelihood that your pursuit will be a fruitless one.

Some of my female friends are like “Ah Atutu come and find me husband now” I’m like I wasn’t aware you lost one to begin with. Have you checked behind the sofa? Under the stairs nko? So, no, don’t look. Glam up. Watch TV. Blog. Go to school. Go to work. Do everything except be on the lookout and be amazed by unexpected attention you will receive from somewhere. The woman who gets on best with men is the one who knows best how to get on without them.

I’ll tell you two places where you won’t find GOODman – weddings and nightclubs. The kind you will find at the former like to pose like they are all that, the kind you find at the latter just want to gbensh (which is cool if you are looking for ANYman).

This part is called the first date

You need to make a good impression. Smile. Laugh at his useless jokes, even the ones you have heard before. You need your laugh to be a demure one, practice into a Dictaphone if necessary. Watch loads of 50s movies and mimic the way women laughed in them. Save your belly laugh with the pig snort until such a time when you are on more familiar terms. Don’t talk about what you don’t know. Find out his favourite sports team but don’t pretend to support them too.

Under NO circumstances will you open leg at this point.

This part is called being yourself

By now you have passed the initial hurdles and can start to expose yourself a bit more. There is a limit to how much of you a guy really wants to know. Do NOT, as one girl who I had gone out on just two dates with did, come into the bathroom when I’m taking a shower and proceed to start shitting right there and then. I promise you a man can easily go through life without wondering what his wife’s shit smells like. You must retain an air of mystery.

Oh yeah and if you have false teeth, remove them only at night AFTER your bobo has slept. This will form the foundation of a very successful relationship. This will also ensure that he does not freak out and start pouring holy water on you when he sees you minus teeth for the first time.

Sex is permissible at this stage. You must, however, bring your A game and give him something that will make him come back for more. You need to perfect at least one party trick. If you perform this party trick and his toes don’t curl then you have failed miserably. It doesn’t have to be anything freaky; you don’t have to master the Kama sutra. Just being a darn good kisser can be enough. Explore his body and find out, through trial, how he gets his kicks.

This part is called Holding On

You must always try and keep your man guessing. Be unpredictable. Be irrational sometimes. It is a woman’s prerogative. The moment you start becoming over accommodating, over understanding then Mr. Man will start to take the piss. It is our nature. We will stop trying that extra bit harder and making that extra effort. If we forget an anniversary or birthday, you must let us know that it is NOT cool. You don’t have to go all crazy and shit, but be sure to get your point across.

Trust in a relationship is over rated. One can always recognize women who trust their husbands; they look so thoroughly unhappy. I’m not saying you should ransack his pockets every night but a healthy level of suspicion will go far in any relationship.

The final part, and it’s a goodun, is called Happily ever after

The cardinal rule here is the more you seem to obey, the more you rule. Women are fussier than men. They like things the way they like things. Our needs are fairly basic, food, sex and sports. If you try to over assert yourself, we will rebel. Yes, even if there is no worthy cause. We will try to stamp our masculinity all over the relationship and the war of the sexes goes to Def-CON 5. The most successful relationships are the ones where the man is living under the illusion that he is running things. These ingénues make sheep of their men at the same time telling them that they are lions with wills of iron.

Arguments will happen but be fair and attempt to stick to the situ at hand. A lover’s tiff is merely the renewal of love so make sure that insults are never exchanged. The abuses will be harder to shake off in the make up sex that will ensue. Unless, of course, you are into that sort of thing. Which is fine. Really.

Love is the one thing that can be divided endlessly and still not diminish. So remember to save a little bit for yourself. If you don’t get your happily ever after, and not everyone will, it is the small love you reserved for yourself that will allow you to start rebuilding.

All of these nuggets are not worth a damn until you learn how to distinguish your feelings between need, lust, like or love. I will paraphrase Judith Viorist who has provided one of the most succinct explanations I have read.
Love is the same as like except you feel sexier.
And more romantic.
And also more annoyed when he talks with his mouth full.
And you also resent it more when he interrupts you.
And you also respect him less when he shows any weakness.
And furthermore, when you ask him to pick you up at the airport and he tells you he can’t do it because he’s busy, it’s only when you love him that you hate him.

Friday, 17 August 2007

On......boarding school days

“Atutu” said my mother “it is time”

I languished in the bathtub for a little while longer, knowing that my love affair with clean, running water was about to be brought to a halt. It was time to go back to boarding house.

I contemplated the three hour journey that lay ahead of me and contrasted it to the same ruminations I had twelve months ago before my first year in secondary school. Where there had once been hope and a sense of adventure, there now lay dread in their wake. The only strand of salvation that availed itself to me was the fact that I was no longer the most junior of junior students. Anyone who has gone to a federal school will tell you that your JS1 year is the single most painful, humiliating and downright depressing twelve months that you will experience during the course of your natural life. In fact, a year that consists of a job loss, house eviction and divorce would pale in comparison next to it. I thanked God that at least in JS2 I can now begin inflicting the same sort of misery that I suffered in my first year.

The three hour drive was scarcely long enough. I made a last ditch attempt to feign an ailment of some sort. I spent the majority of the drive racking my brain for any kind of disease that would force the immediate curtailment of the journey. Trypanosomiasis? White malaria? Yellow Fever nko? There had to be something I could convincingly pull off I thought. By the time I settled on kwashiorkor of the brain, we had already reached the gates of hell. The most depressing thing about those gates is that once they were closed, you knew that for the next three months your ass belonged to Federal.

I had arrived just in time for dining hall and, this being the first day, supper was going to be a particular treat. For starters we had entrée of nada with cream of zilch. The main course was a particular favourite; weevils and stones with a small side order of beans. This was garnished with three small black organic substances which, at some stage of their gestation, were known as ‘plantains’

I found the evening’s dinner far too rich for my palate so it meant a trip to Blockys (Bloh-KEES) Island had to be arranged. Blockys Island was an area about 100 metres or so from Dodan Barracks (the dormitory) and was a playground for amoeba, maggots, bacteria and just about any other microscopic organism you can think of. It also had a part time job as a toilet. In my first term, I refused to shit for one week in protest of the sanitary conditions. By third term, I was not just shitting there but I was on a first name basis with all the maggots living in Blockys. The flies did not move when you swatted them, they just perched there and stared back at you. I still grieve to this day over Okoro, my favourite pet maggot, who died in the second term after consuming Senior Okechuckwus shit.

The seniors – CHAI!! - the seniors. They owned the school. Once upon a time, Federal had been run by the principal and head teachers. When incidents of teacher beating started becoming rife, the shift in power became very apparent. Now the teachers just taught, packed their bags and ran to hide in their homes. There was one senior in particular, Senior Nwokedi, who was like Abacha before even Abacha himself. The guy was evil personified. There is no doubt in my mind that had he lived in the Western world, he would have been withdrawn from all educational establishments and evaluated for psychological purposes. He was the kind of guy that would rip off a pigeons head just to watch how it died. As you can imagine we juniors were often the target of his sadism. I will never forget the three boys that he locked inside Blockys island for four hours forcing them to clean the place with just a bucket of water between them. By the time the boys came out, one had practically passed out from the stench of the place. Despite all of them bathing twice a day thereafter, the smell of faeces lingered on their skin and hair for weeks after.

Then there were the girls – or rather the lack of them since I was at an ‘All boys’. There was, fortunately, an all girl’s catholic school not far from us. Every day the girls would pass by the main gate on their way to Mass. If you timed it well you could catch the girls for a chat on their daily sojourn. The older you got, the more confident you became in arranging dates with some of the babes. There was no local shopping mall or cinema nearby so your date consisted of eating groundnut and mango under the evening sky. Sometimes you would rain insults at some of the girls as they were passing by; “Your small breast like five kobo groundnut” “Your scatter-scatter teet like machine gun bullet” – and so forth. It was just good banter and usually the girls gave as good as they got -“Your small prick like James Bond rifle” but one particular day we picked on the wrong girl to fuck with. I don’t know if she was on her period or just having a bad day but before we knew what was happening the girl had scaled our fence and was in hot pursuit of me and three others. She caught two of us and delivered the kind of beating that even an angry mother would struggle to replicate. She later became known as ‘Flo-Jo the husband beater’. Don’t let anyone tell you different, FGC girls were the hardest of a hard bunch.

Garri – almighty garri. It was classified as contraband but people still found a way to smuggle it in. If you had garri to trade then you were the Bill Gates of Dodan Barracks. Even a half cup of garri could fetch as much as two of those Kellogs variety packs that ajebota children used to bring. If it was famine period then the going exchange rate was three Kellogs variety packs. People used garri for everything; they smoked it, sipped it, drank it, ate it – anything you can think of. They made garri burgers, garri sandwiches, garri cakes and even garri stew.

Every night was fight night. We invented pay-per-view. If you could afford the gate fee of NIDO milk or Cabin biscuit then that was as good as a Visa or Mastercard. The gladiators were randomly picked juniors who had no option but to fight against each other or risk the wrath of the seniors. It was pugilism at its worst and I regret to say that witnessing a fellow junior’s head been pummelled in form part of my best memories of boarding house. Then one day it was my turn and they put me against one boy whose nickname was kpako. He was a junior like me but I suspect even some of the seniors feared him. The events of the brushing are a haze but all I know is that I woke up in sick bay the next morning. My mother arrived in the afternoon and swore to the principal that her son would never come back to this school of vagabonds. Despite my pain I managed a smile because that word always conjured up memories of Josco, the vagabond of Eko bridge, from Basi and company.

I was transferred to one Ajebota school in Lagos and it made me laugh that there I was one of the hardest boys in school. I often wonder what became of some of those boys from back in the day. I don’t imagine that they will be on Hi-5 or Facebook anytime soon. Looking back it wasn’t really that bad and if anything instilled some character in me. Unfortunately I still cringe when somebody mentions kpako. It just brings back too many memories.

Thursday, 9 August 2007 the love of two young people missed road

Theirs was a love that had existed since their childhood. As far back as she could remember, Kunle Odemuyiwa had always been there for her. They were both products of broken homes and Kunle was the one male figure that she had as a role model. After Kunle's father absconded, he was sent to a boarding school and she saw him infrequently. Her adoration never waned. The holidays were spent almost entirely with each other and they would spend several hours playing, fighting and talking. He always seemed very assured and this only added to the high esteem in which she placed him.

Their relationship had not been without tribulations along the way. The dynamics of their association undulated with time as two young people came to terms with their feelings for each other and the new sensations that arrived with each metamorphosis.

The love affair proper had begun in their early teens and it was kept quiet for fear of the unwelcome scrutiny. The first time they had sex was a culmination of several failed attempts in which trepidation, shame and nerves had hitherto combined to ruin the occasion. Here were two young people, barely a year apart, who were going through the entire gamut of emotions of the adolescent who has yet to experience sexual intercourse. The first time, as is usually the case, had been no less clumsy and awkward than their earlier attempts. Kunle laboured long and hard before judging the exact location of the desired orifice. Even then, the job was barely half done. His next task was insertion; and he had to do this with the right amount of force to penetrate yet avoid hurting either of them in the process. She, as ever, lay in rigid silence, offering neither encouragement nor dissuasion. The truth be told, she could have lived to her end of days without yearning for the physical consummation of their relationship. On each failed occasion, it had been Kunle's hormonal urges that instigated the attempt. Loving him too much, she had been only too willing to relinquish to him her most sacred of treasures. She secretly abhorred the idea of sex. She considered herself abnormal for feeling this way and her silence was an apology of sorts.

There would be many more sexual encounters but they felt no less illicit and unnatural to her. Their relationship suffered as a result of this. The openness and joy they shared as children had been replaced by hollowness and muted exchanges. By the time Kunle had started university, they were hardly on speaking terms. They avoided each other and spent very little time in each other’s company.

Her mother died shortly after she started university and Kunle attended the funeral. She was happy to see him and they both cried in each other’s arms. The awkwardness of the past few years temporarily lifted by the tragic event. Kunle introduced her to his girlfriend and they promised to stay in touch. They did not.

Many years passed and she was now in her late twenties and a married woman. Her and her husband, Alan, had just bought a house and he was in the attic storing up the miscellany of her old apartment. He descended with a tattered looking photo album which he had bookmarked in the middle with his index finger.
“Look what I found love. An old album of yours”

“My goodness I honestly thought I had left that in Nigeria. They are mostly old pics Alan.”

“Excellent! Now I can find out more about the life that you never talk about”

“I like this picture here, looks like some sort of birthday party. Is that your mum on the right?”

“Yes o! I still can’t believe that you never met my mum. She would have really liked you even though you are an oyinbo pepper”

“How about this brooding looking chap on the left next to you?”

“Oh that’s just Kunle”

“Kunle? Hmm....don’t think you ever mentioned him. Childhood friend?”

“No. Kunle is my senior brother”

This is loosely based on a story I know to be true. Names and events have obviously been altered. I did not remember it until a ridiculous article I read a few months ago. It is, arguably, the last great taboo but how long before laws are being passed to make it acceptable? I fear o.

Sunday, 29 July 2007 film noir beginnings and how I became Atutu

The rain fell hard and the drops felt like lead. It was one of those kinda nights that all you needed was a quarter glass of whiskey and the love of a good woman. The first part was easy enough to obtain so I waded across to the liquor store on 27th and Poplar. I had just wrapped a case involving a well-known actress and her fiance. I'm getting sick to the stomach with them type of cases. Man suspects broad, I tail broad and take a few pictures, things get ugly I grab my swag and bail. 99% of the time the broad IS fucking around which makes my job an easy one.

I approach the liquor store and, even in the monsoon, my car is advanced by two street dames as I pull up. One of them has a face like a bag of smashed crabs so I tell her to hightail it and start negotiations with the cuter one. She looks like a mermaid standing there in that rain. She has red hair down to the back of her shoulders and the lightning reveals a blowjob friendly mouth. We fix a price and I tell her to wait in the car as I get the booze. Could I get her some she says. The nerve of it I think. The rain had eased up some as I make my way into the liquor store. The place is filled with all kinds of filth and lowlife so I quickly grab the liquor and head back to the car. I ain't big on the ol' small talk so the ride back to my apartment is a long and solemn one. As soon as we gets there she asks for a towel to dry her hair. Now I'm not about to share towels with no hooker so I oblige her with the dirty one I use for the bathroom floor.

We get to it and she looks a whole lot better than she fucks. She has a pussy like a hippo's yawn and fucking her is like feeding tic-tacs to a whale. The sex is over before it even starts and I settle for a blowjob off of that sweet mouth of hers. The broad is all teeth and I grip the edge of the chair several times before the ordeal is over. She mistakes my grimaces for pleasure and blows even harder. I'm about to call it a wasted fifty bucks when the door flies open and two goons jump in. I reach for my heat on the mantelpiece but I get clubbed at the back of the head before I reach it. A black pool appears at my feet. I dive in and there ain't no bottom.

When I come to, I'm still in my apartment, half naked and strapped to the chair. The hoods have done a number on me and I'm left with two broken fingers and one good eye. I've taken hits before and I can usually handle the pain, it's all part of the job description. Right now though I feel about as sprightly as an amputated leg. My good eye scouts the room, struggling to focus and settles on a glittering mass of gold and white sitting in the corner near the window. She calls out my name and I manage a response. Shit, the bastards have loosened a tooth as well.

I've visited this scene before. The mark wants some kinda revenge, wants to teach me a lesson for having screwed them out of their inheritance or whatever. Never mind the fact that they did that themselves by fucking around. I spit blood and tell her to go to hell. The goons, who have been standing behind me this whole time, blackjack me again and the loose tooth becomes a missing one. I plead with her to put me wise. If I gotta go at least let me enter the darkness with enlightenment. She starts talking and the more she talks the more I know I’m gonna be shortly wrapped up in a wooden overcoat with a one way ticket to Hades. It all comes back to me. She was part of the 1% that wasn’t fucking around. Business was rough so I set up her up and took the cash. The photos, the phone calls, I doctored them for the sake of a lousy extra couple of hundred bucks. Her husband kicked her ass to the kerb and left her with a bag of peanuts and a toothbrush.

I’m about to be a dodo. I ask them to make it quick but the dame ain’t even gonna give me that privilege. They gag me and get to work on me. When the breaths stop coming. My last sensation is of a long chiv across my neck. In New York they call it a Harlem Sunset.

LONDON. Winter 1980

It’s a boy!!!!! We thank God O!

Congratulations Mrs Poyoyo.

Ehn? Ehn? Jesus what is this scar on his throat? Doctor!! Doctor!! Why are his fingers bent like this? And his penis nko? Are these bite marks? E gba mi o! Doctor!!

Madam could I just ask that you remain calm. It is perfectly normal. Many children are born with birthmarks that appear scar-like. His fingers will eventually straighten and the scars on his erm ….penis are just part of the foreskin.

Ah! Okay doctor. Sorry o! It is just that my husband took me to watch that Omen film recently and I am now fearing any scar or anything on my child’s body. My God is a good God o and the Devil is a liar.

Nothing to worry about love. You wouldn’t believe what that film has done for the anxieties of new parents. Have you decided on a name yet?

Yes……..We are calling him Atutu because of the bitter cold he was born in.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

On.......being broke and loving it

I'm dead broke this month. Bank manager saw it fit to halve my overdraft limit from 2000 to 1000. This was done with such subterfuge that by the time I realised it was too late and my salary had already gone in for the month, effectively wiping of 1k from my available account balance.

You see, I live beneath the line of positive equity, my brother calls it the land of the red. In fact I have not seen any black figures in a while and I have become strangely accustomed to this. I tell a lie, there was that one time my balance bopped it's head above sea level. I think that was in May 2004 when my account had been credited in error. Before I could even breathe the rarefied air of positive equity, my head was slapped back down to the murky depths of overdraft by the brusque hand of the bank manager. Bastard.

This month I have had to re-adjust my budget and prioritise the things I can and cannot afford:

This month I will be able to buy butter but no bread to eat it it with;
This month I'll take a girl on ONE date but there will be no money to treat her with

There will be money for soap but no toilet roll to clean my yansh with;
There wil be money for internet but not broadband and, thus, I will suffer a 56k bandwidth

Bele go shrink, pocket go tight;
I go try find money settle gas, settle phone, settle light

Visa, MasterCard and Amex will all smile with glee
as they assault me with an average APR of 18.3

I have decided that despite this enforced period of cheddar scarcity, the bank manager is actually doing me a favour. He has monitored the trend of my account over the past few years and come to the conclusion that I could do with a bit of a leg up. Think about it, this time next month, I will actually be back in the land of the black. I will be free from the shackles of the gbese that had become an all too familiar bedfellow.

I have also come to find that there is a certain paradise to be found in poverty. It strips you of the artifice in your life and you focus on the fundamentals. For example I have been recently ogling the Nikon D80; a 10 Megapixel behemoth of a digital camera and would probably have closed eye and bought it this month. What is wrong with my current 7.2MP camera I ask you? Nothing. What tangible difference will there be in the quality of pictures that I will take with the two cameras? Well, apart from the higher resolution, faster image processing and superior night acuity - not that much.

Thankfully, because of my brokage, I will not only save my money but can also reapportion the three hours I had earmarked to devour the camera's 87 page manual. I can instead use this time to go for a walk and become one with nature. I am surrounded by woodland and on this walk I would reflect on many things; the unique flying patterns of geese, the peculiar courtship calls of the chaffinch and the various sexual techniques employed by a porcupine when mating [1]

Add to this the number of hours I will save not calling people because of a lack of phone credit and by the end of the month, I could be well on my way to an advanced level of inner tranquility and even achieve nirvana. I could even change my name to Zen which be like totally cool dude.

Yes, I am truly finding a certain bliss in this brokage of mine. Capitalism can wait and so can I; the Nikon D80 goes on sale next month. :-)

[1] Porcupines have soft underbellies and some of the males suffer a spike to the heart when they attempt to climb the female from behind. Tragic but at least the rodents die happy!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

On........the alternative history of Nigeria (as it came to me in a dream)

So I wake up from this dream right and I’m still shaking by the sheer intensity of it. My dreams are usually set in grey Kansas but this one was in full Oz Technicolor. It had dates, faces, names, everything. All chronological too! I ran to my computer and just started putting everything down as I remembered it. Although many of the historical circumstances were far removed from fact in my dream, there was an eerie inevitability about the end results. Fate, it appears, has many modes of transport but only one final destination.

October 1960: Nigeria granted freedom charter on behalf of HM The Queen who remains head of state.

October 1963: Nigeria proclaims itself a federal republic and Nnamdi Azikiwe is named as the nation’s first president

January 1966: General Aguiyi Ironsi succeeds in overthrowing the civilian government and assumes control as Nigeria’s first Military leader citing fraud and mismanagement as reasons for the overthrowing. Several Igbos are promoted to high ranking positions in the military government.

The prime minister and premier of Northern Nigeria, Tafawa Balewa and Ahmadu Bello, respectively are assassinated.

Vast reservoirs of oil are discovered in the Niger Delta area.

July 1966: A counter-coup is launched that succeeds in establishing Major General Yakubu Gowon, a Christian Northerner, as Nigeria’s head of state. Murmurings of Igbo secession begin to gather pace at the perceived injustice that ensues.

1966-1967: In a bid to counter Igbo secessionist sentiment, Gowon divides Nigeria into 12 states. There are reports of widespread genocide of Igbos living in Northern Nigeria.

May 1967: General Odumegwu Ojukwu emerges as the leader of the Eastern block and declares the region an independent republic with no ties to Nigeria. The new republic is dubbed Biafra and a new constitution, flag, currency and government is introduced. Ojukwu amalgamates the oil rich regions of the Niger Delta and Cross River as part of the new Biafra.

June 1967: Gowon responds by placing heavy economic embargos on the new republic. Ojukwu responds by opening trade with several countries including Portugal, Sweden and Israel.

July 1967: On the back of several failed peace accords, civil war breaks out. The Soviet Union and United Kingdom immediately lend their support to Nigeria. In a secret tryst with J Edgar Hoover in Lisbon, Ojukwu receives a pledge of advanced military training and strategy from America. In addition Israel promise to provide the Biafrans with aircraft.

May 1970: After three years of war there is a stalemate. However support grows for the plight of Biafra after wide spread images of starving women and children are released to the outside world. Already reeling from the lack of access to the oil reservoirs, several countries cease to trade with Nigeria until the atrocities end. Gowon bows to public pressure and concedes defeat to Biafra.

September 1972: Gen Mohammed Murtala overthrows Gowon in a bloodless coup, blaming his poor handling of the Biafran crisis. His first act is to launch a full scale invasion into Biafra in an attempt regain control of the oil resources. Major Olusegun Obasanjo, who is retained from the previous regime, orchestrates the attack. Following the death of J Edgar Hoover, Biafra loses it’s strongest ally and it’s major cities are ransacked. Ojukwu flees and the Bight of Biafra is renamed the Bight of Bonny. Obasanjo is feted as a national hero.

1973: Nigeria joins OPEC.

February 1976: Obasanjo and Mohammed are targeted in an abortive coup led by Col Dimka. Mohammed is assassinated but Obasanjo survives and regains command of Dodan barracks. He pledges to honour Mohammed’s plan to hand over to a civilian government by 1980. The announcement is made over the radio so unfortunately no one can confirm if his fingers were crossed when he made the promise.

March 1977: General Olusegun Obasanjo puts on fifteen pounds in just 12 months at Dodan barracks. He blames the lack of active warfare and a decent gym in the area.

1979: Six political parties are granted candidature. Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s National Party of Nigeria narrowly wins the presidential race ahead of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s Movement of the People party. Fela vows to re-contest in four years time.

August 1983: Shagari wins a second term in a landslide victory. Fela tries contesting again but is imprisoned on a trumped up charge of smuggling currency.

December 1983: Major General (aren’t they all?) Muhammadu Buhari stages a coup d’etat (another one?) and replaces the Shagari regime with the Supreme Military council (SMC). Newly minted senators and ministers are cast aside, many of whom never enter the political sphere again. Till this day, their tears are still falling for the measly three months that they were afforded. Bloody military partypoopers.

1984: Buhari and his rather intimidating number two, Tunde Idiagbon, launch a series of no nonsense policies to eradicate corruption and disorder in Nigerian life. The principle scheme is dubbed War Against Indiscipline (WAI). There is zero policy for drug trafficking and an arrest on sight policy for anybody publicly urinating, littering or defecating public property. The number of dread locked madmen roaming the streets drops markedly.

August 1985: Buhari’s best chum and number three in command, General. Ibrahim Badamosi gets tired of his buddy’s dithering and figures he can do a better job. He cites the misuse of power, violations of human rights by key officers of the SMC, and the government's failure to deal with the country's deepening economic crisis as justifications for his takeover. Remember this one people because we will come back to it.

1986-1987: Babangida approves severe pay cuts in the public sector. Nigeria enters into a period of austerity which it arguably never recovers.

1988: There is widespread rioting and public uproar as the dollar hits the five Naira mark. “Our money done become shit money” was a placard that stood out prominently at the time.

1989: After huge external intervention, General Babangida promises to return the country to civilian rule “soonest possible” The address is made on live TV and it is confirmed that he was not crossing any of his visible appendages.

1990: Gen. Babangida’s promise of civilian rule fails to materialise. Replica Argentinian jerseys with the name Diego Armando Babangida and the number 10 emblazoned at the back fly off the shelves.

1991: The dollar hits the 20 Naira mark but Nigerians are either too dumb to notice or too numb to care.

1992: Election time (finally!) and Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola is the overwhelming winner of the June 12 presidential election. Shina Peters represents the 777 party but fails to register a single vote. Babangida throws his toys out of the pram and claims the whole thing was rigged, rigged I tell ya. The supreme court say “Yes masser” and throw Abiola in jail; a fitting reward for the best electoral campaign Nigeria had ever seen.

1993: Babangida ignores the domestic riots and calls from the Western world to release Abiola. He uses Nigeria’s strength as an oil producing nation to stave off the empty threats of economic sanctions.

January 1994: For the first time in history, Nigerians put aside ethnic and religous differences in an effort to reinstate MKO Abiola as the rightful president. The unions collude to bring oil production to a standstill. Abiola is released from prison and Babangida crosses his heart and hopes to die that he will handover “soon”

June 1994: Amidst econimic uncertainty, the Super Eagles become the first African team to lift the World Cup after defeating Brazil in 3-2 in the final. Rasheedi Yekini scores a hat-trick in the last match thus equalling Gerd Muller’s record of 10 goals scored at a single World Cup. Clemens Westerhof is immediately granted full Nigerian citizenship and offered the job of sports minister. He refuses.

August 1995: MKO Abiola is sworn in as president of Nigeria. The outgoing defence minister, Sani Abacha, is sent into exile. He escapes to America where he is mistakenly shot dead by a hunting party who mistook him for an oversized, human shaped bat.

1996: Ken Saro-Wiwa becomes the third African to win the Nobel prize for Literature.

July 1998: President MKO Abiola dies after heart failure. His vice president, Baba Gana Kingibe, is sworn in as president.

February 1998: Fela Anikulapo-Kuti is awarded a posthumous lifetime achievement award at the Grammys.

1999: To much public incredulity, the now retired Olusegun Obasanjo contests in the presidential election flying the flag of the newly created People’s Democratic Party. He loses out narrowly to Olu Falae who represents the Alliance for Democratic party.

2000: Olusegun Obasanjo re-enlists with the Army with the ultimate aim of staging a coup and seizing power. However, he is forced to wait two further months to hatch his evil plan as his old uniform no longer fits, and a custom made one is on order from Switzerland. He feeds his pigs as he waits for the FedEx to arrive.

2001: Field Marshall Olusegun Obasanjo (NCC, RSM, PHD,ABC, 123, BBC, etc,) gains control of Aso Rock. He promptly resigns his army commission and leads the country under the guise of a “civilian”. Nigerians fail to notice the difference as they are all too busy sending txt msgs wiv their nu fones. After all, they say, a president that gifts cellular telephony to the masses can’t be all that bad.

2003: President Obasanjo or Sege as he insists on being called (just call me Sege) is quite enjoying this democratic lark as it actually affords him more flexibility than he had as a dictator. He sweeps the election and gains a second term.

May 2007: Despite Obasanjo's efforts for a third term election, he reluctantly hands over to the newly elected president, Umaru Yar'Adua. The new president gains instant kudos by successfully rising from the dead, Lazarus style. The world waits for him to form his new cabinet.

July 2007: The world waits a bit longer... any second now

January 2008: The world gets sick of waiting and after much meandering Yar'Adua becomes the first President ever to occupy all 40 ministerial positions at once. He specially advises himself, bodyguards himself, baths himself and can even write his own speeches himself.

Nigeria is fortunate to have him.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

On......the art of making a successful Nollywood blockbuster

I was going to write something on Nollywood(hate that name) but remembered that a friend of mine had forwarded this to me a while ago and summed up everything I could have said far more eloquently.

My wife and I are keen watchers of Nigerian films and are always tickled by the inescapable similarities that seem to spring up in virtually every other movie. So here is your very own blueprint to making a Naija film. Follow these golden rules and you too can tap in to an estimated £120 million industry.

1.It is unthinkable that your protagonist goes through this film without some kind of family intervention. Even if he is currently without a family, he has either lost them at an early age or will magically acquire a new one during the course of the film. If I'm watching a movie with Russell Crowe in it, I am not concerned about his relationship with his mother nor do I particularly care if he is regularly sending money to his brother in the village. Too much information!

2.When a character is deported/returns from America, he will immediately adopt an incomprehensible dialect This dialect is unique to Nigerian films and contains a disproportionate number of Rs , every other sentence ends in 'men' and affords a liberal use of expletives. This clearly means you have been to America. The character will also be decked up in a variety of tank tops or equally skimpy outfits. There is obviously not enough cloth in Yankee to make complete outfits.

3.Every polygamous family is doomed. Stepmothers in particular are to be avoided of you want to survive in a Naija film. The minute you hear stepm.... fade, just fade. She will kill your ass.

4. Jazz, Jazz and more jazz. If in doubt, the obligatory 'Baba Alawo' scene will answer many plot holes and keep our movie ticking along. Jazz is also an invaluable tool in explaining any irrational behaviour. Oh that madman? Na jazz. Oh he started beating his wife? Na jazz. Impregnated his sister's cousin's youngest daughter? Jazz, Jazz Jazz. For mental disorders in Hollywood, read Jazz in Nollywood.

5.No matter how rich or succesful a character is, their office must not exceed 12 X 9 ft in dimension. The decor is something straigth out of Carpenter's monthly with square edges everywhere. During the course of the movie, that same office will also double up as the bank manager's office, baba alawo's shrine any indeed any other interior location you can think of.

6. Stella Damascus Aboderin must cry in any movie she is cast in. If you do not include this in her contract, then you are wasting the woman's talents and you might as well cast someone else.

7. Similarly Ramsey Noah must have facial hair in all his films. No Ramsey I don't care if it makes you look fine, the part requires you to be a Tibetan Monk godammit!

8. Every flashback must be in either black and white or sepia, preferably with a dream like effect. Without this we are obviously too dumb to differentiate past events with current ones.

9. No one ever loses or gains any weight in Naija films. 20 years later abi?...abeg just pour small powder for my head. My diet is exactly the same and I have not succumbed to middle age spread. I now have six kids but not the waistline to show for it.

10. Do NOT under any circumstance try and incorporate special effects of any kind. They will fail miserably. If you want to make a movie about a man who flies or shoots thunderbolts from the tips of his fingers, think again or move to Hollywood. Don't forget to close the door behind you.

11. And finally whatever you do, NEVER NEVER cast Nigerian children in your film. Child actors are notoriously bad but Nigerian child actors deliver lines in a manner that makes you just want to slap them and curse their parents.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

On…….the very subtle differences between an oyinbo party and a Naija party

Oyinbo party: The host is central to the success of the party. A good host is at once flitting from guest to guest, introducing them to one another, telling anecdotes and is quite rightly, the centre of attention.
Naija party: The host, if you even now her name, is just another face at the party. If a quick poll was taken, roughly 40% of guests would have no idea who was actually throwing the party. All that they know is that they heard a party was happening in Wembley sha and they decided to 'show face'

Oyinbo party: Invitations are sent out a month in advance with at least two WORKING numbers that you can RSVP to. If you do not RSVP then it is presumed that you are not coming. Even close friends will not attend unless in possession of an invitation.
Naija party: Heenvitation is by word of mouth only or if you are lucky via Facebook. A lack of heenvitation is not a deterrent to attend the party. Ivs are for wusses.

Oyinbo party: The start and end time are clearly stated at the onset. You will find most guests arriving no more than half an hour after the start time and well in advance of the end time. The more charitable guests will even stay behind and offer to help with tidying up.
Naija party: The start time is night. The end time is morning. If you like tell people to come at 5pm that is your business. It is not uncommon for people to still be trooping in at 2 or 3 AM. Ending the party is usually the only time the host avails herself to the guests. Yes that distraught, haggard looking person begging and pleading for you to leave is actually the host.

Oyinbo party: Guests are generally mingling and genuinely trying to learn a bit more about each other. "How did you meet ?" is a particularly good ice breaker.
Naija party: Guests could care less about meeting other people. You will have landed with a posse of no less than 4 or 5 and your immediate concern is looking fly. If needs be you are quite happy to spend the whole night/morning posing, moving your shoulders up and down and drinking. The boys will huddle together in some corner smoking, drinking and laughing way too loudly. They will inevitably be discussing Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United. The occasional lone ranger will wander from the pack and actually speak to a girl. It is a temporary measure to obtain her number before he returns to awon boys.

Oyinbo party: The neighbours are preadvised that a gathering will be taking place and things might get a tad noisy. Post-gathering, the host will send round a bottle of wine to thank them for being such good sports.
Naija party: The neighbours are the last to hear of any party. This results in a cold war in which you become the most hated person in your apartment block/street. Unless of course your party is in East London in which case your neighbours are also Nigerians and are drowning out the noise from your party with their own music.

Oyinbo party: Guests are asked to bring a bottle of wine with them
Naija party: Guests leave with a bottle of wine

Oyinbo party: There will be a selection of hor's douvres and finger food.
Naija party: There will be cooked food that people will still be devouring well after midnight.

Feel free to add a few more……..

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

On.......the (sometimes) banal act of sex

I was moved to write this after reading the new novella, On Chesil Beach, by the unwaveringly brilliant Ian McEwan. The book is set in the 60s and centres around a young, recently married couple who are about to consummate their marriage on their wedding night. How quaint I thought. The fact that there once existed, not quite fifty years ago, an ideal to save oneself until marriage. Nowadays when a girl doesn't give it up after two dates you dismiss her as frigid and go home for a wank. Similarly is there still such a thing as a virgin bride? When was the last time you were at a wedding when someone didn't snort incredulously when the bride walked down the aisle in a white wedding gown? At one wedding I attended recently, one member of the bride's party had to be forcibly ejected after breaking into a fit of convulsive laughter at the sight of the bride in white.

My mind inevitably harks back to when I lost my own virginity and the perilous circumstances that surrounded my decision to go with an older woman (she was 17, I was 15). You see the thing is, as a 15/16 year old boy you are walking, talking phallus with a slightly higher IQ and a time bomb attached to it's head. You are quite liable to explode at any second. At that age you are convinced, well I was anyway, that the whole world is having sex. Everyone, that is, except you. Your mates, even the efikos, are all paragons of sexual conquest. You listen in quiet awe as they describe the most intimate parts of a girl's anatomy, nodding sagely with familiarity whilst silently cursing yourself for your own inadequacies and lack of experience. Thinking back now, it was all just a pack of lies. You know this because you perpetuated the very same lies. You practiced them, you rehearsed them to yourself, you recited them with such conviction that, shyeet, you damn near started believing in your own damn sexual prowess. And it was easy too! That clumsy fumble up Ada’s skirt in the back of your father’s car became a forty minute shagging session in which you made Ada come four times. The twenty second kiss that you stole behind the Form four block with Nike became a blow job in the toilet. And so on.

I marvel now at the creative output of the teenage boy. I playfully wonder how many Booker winners would have emerged in the last decade had that collective tempest of creative imagination been better harnessed. We are barely talking ten years but times have moved on somewhat even from then. You best believe that today’s 15-year-old boy is not only shagging more girls than you ever will, but also he is even down playing the event to avoid the scorn of his mates over the quality of some of his conquests. No such luck for us back in the day. Even if the girl you were describing was a complete munter, she got just as much airtime as the finest girl. Yup that’s right even wor-wor girls need love to. Matter of fact you had a far better chance with the wor-wor ones. Y’all know who you are.

Seriously though, far from being some bitter old dude who didn’t have enough sex in his teens, is there not something to be said for the couple in On Chesil Beach? Is there any value to be had in waiting a bit longer for your first sexual experience? I for one was distinctly under whelmed by the huge anticlimax of my first sexual experience and indeed many since. You soon come to terms with the fact that as pleasurable a pastime as it is, it is perhaps no more or less fulfilling than eating large amounts of chocolate. There happens to be considerably less cleaning up afterwards as well. The emotions, the sensations that sex evoke are very much ephemeral. They are so fleeting and often unsatisfactory, particularly if you are woman.

I have a brother who at last count had slept with roughly 200 different women. This is extreme but I still fail to see the enrichment in his life and indeed would argue that each experience has been a mild case of vampirism as it has sucked away a little bit of his ability to feel. To each his own but I would advise, with humility, that people should place far less emphasis on this most hollow (no pun intended) of leisures. Ladies do it for the right reasons and more importantly with the right men. I promise you if he is worth it he will hang around waiting. Men I have no advice for you. Half of you would not have finished reading this and would have stopped at the word wank because you were reminded you hadn’t danced you daily five finger shuffle. The other half are probably going off for a fuck. And I don’t blame you, that’s where I’m headed too.