Had some good news last night, just as I was leaving work. My phone rang and I took it out, answering casually, lazily"hellloo?"..... Is that Uknaija? the crisp, clipped voice said- It's Y here from Company Z.... It took a while for the words to register and for me to realize that this was a very important telephone call and a company topshot at the other end of the phone. "I was just ringing to let you know that we thought your proposal was the most credible and innovative and we will be going with it? We'll be sending out detailed paperwork tomorrow but I thought I'd let you know" And then the voice goes on to ask..."Are you surprised?" Am I !!!! "I'm stunned" is my response. The timing couldn't be better as I'd had a bit of a blip at work this week.....
On to the library where I bagged two of the books that had long been on my hit list- Gautam Malkani's Londonstani about a group of British-Asian "rudeboys" growing up in Hounslow and Monica Ali's Alentejo Blue set in a Portuguese village. Both haven't had great reviews, but I'd read an excerpt from Londonstani in Prospect a while ago and was intrigued by the experimental language in which it was written- a mishmash of Cockney, African-Caribbean, South Asian and hip-hop gangsta slang. I'm about halfway through and can see why the reviewers weren't so excited. It's a great and original theme exploring what it means to be a young British Asian man in London in 2006, but you can't help feeling that the author's trying too hard to over-analyze and extrapolate and theorize at the expense of the credibility of the story and the characters. And you can tell that the author writes for the Financial Times-he litters the book with economic phrases and arguments, sometimes putting them in the mouths of his characters in a way that detracts from the story. Perhaps he needs to write another non-fiction book outlining his economic theories. Nevertheless, it's an interesting story so far and gripping enough to keep my attention and the insights into another immigrant culture are valuable. I'll finish it off over the weekend.
To celebrate my good news I went with a friend to dinner at this fab new restaurant- we had lobster, potato and rocket salad to start and then slices of duck breast with caramelized endive in a peppercorn sauce and turnip gratin. The main was fabulous with the bitterness of the endives cutting the rich duck meat but also softened by the caramelization process; and the peppercorn sauce providing a spicy counterpoint to the richness of the creamy turnip gratin. Washed down with glasses of cold crisp, white wine, sitting on a quiet terrcae high up above the city, it was another delightful summer
On the radio, a representative of Muslim Brotherhood declaring that Israel has no right to exist as a nation, despite several attempts to make him modify his assertion, he is adamant. Meanwhile Israel thanks the international community for "giving it permission" to go ahead with its Lebanon campaign, and declares that everyone still in South Lebanon must be a terrorist as they had long been given notice to evacuate the region. As if it were so simple. With attitudes like these, it's unlikely that there will be progress made in peace talks. Sad but true.
Even sadder and more depressing is the news of the brutal callous murder of Funsho Williams, the grey bearded affable engineer who had consistently for the past ten years made no secret of his ambitions to rule Lagos State. Stabbed several times and then strangled in his own home by unknown assailants in spite of a heavy police armed guard, the news this morning was an ominous portent for politicking ahead of the 2007 elections. The Inspector General of Police has vowed to track down those responsible, but I can't help thinking of the long list of unsolved murders- from Chief Bola Ige, the late Minister of Justice assasinated in his own home to Chief Dikibo, Marshall Harry- and how we were also promised that "the perpetrators would be brought to book" One of the prime suspects in the Ige case today sits in the Senate as a "Distinguished Senator". Until we entrench accountability, the principle that actions have consequences, into our national life, we will sadly continue to see brazen instances of murder such as this.