Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Paying the price in sleep, Naija food, politics and catching Ms Adichie's eye

I'm back again, feeling sleepy and permanently tired, the way I imagine that many working mothers feel- I've just finished The Invisible Woman a fictional account of the life of a mother of three young children written by Lucy Cavendish, a journalist, and one of the pervasive themes is how permanently tired she feels .

It's been quite a weekend, had friends visiting from the US and spent some real quality time with them. It's great to have friends who know you from way back when, who you can just chill with.

First night having gone to a drinks party earlier, we were gagging for Nigerian food and so we headed for Angie's on Harrow Road. I tried ringing up beforehand but the phone just kept ringing and ringing and ringing, so we decided to take a chance but it was closed (only temporarily I hope.) Grrr......looking for Plan B we headed for Bukka on Kilburn High Road. I'd never driven there before- it used to be one of my favourite hangouts when I first arrived here. Friday and Saturday night often found me there with a bunch of other "economic exiles" drowning in the nostalgia of Star beer, pounded yam and egusi with orisirisi and Naija music mixes spun by Jimmy the Baldheaded guy, blotting out any other realities. Sometimes Mike Appoh the highlife king would be singing all the old favourites from Yellow Sisi to Love Adaure to Taxi Driver and we would dance till 2 am and then catch the night bus home. After a while I stopped going, I'm not sure how or why, just drifted away. Perhaps I'd settled into the reality of my London life and needed the injections of nostalgia less and less. Probably the same way I stopped making the pilgrimage to Brixton to buy Nigerian newspapers and magazines.

Anyway I always used to get the tube to Kilburn and then walk down to Bukka. Driving from Harrow Road we emerge into the middle of Kilburn High Street and I have no idea if we should turn left or right. I hazard a guess and say left. We drive for a while and I'm confused. We see a middle aged man walking on the pavement and he looks Nigerian so we stop to ask directions. I'm still asking him what direction the station is in when my friend cuts in and asks "we're looking for Bukka" He smiles and points us in the right direction but we still end up missing it. Finally we pull up and realize why we missed it. It's been done up with picture windows and is all white and minimalist and is now called Faze 2. We park and head in where we see the second pleasant surprise- there are photographs of black nationalists from Marcus Garvey to Kwame Nkrumah lining the walls. Who would have thunk my party loving Naija brodas had any social awareness?

We order and have a nice meal although the stew is firehot. I go to take a piss and there the fine-face falls apart. They're obviously still working on it but surely even if construction work is still going on, some basic cleaning could still be done? I dissuade the ladies in the party from using the loo there and we head home where we sit sipping wine and chatting into the early hours and then everyone fades...

The next day I don't get up till midday and by the time I meet up with my friends and catch some late lunch, the day's gone already. The weather's gone all cold and showery again and I end up losing yet another umbrella....

Gordon Brown seems to be in political hot water over his scrapping of tax discounts for pension funds ten years ago. Apparently he had ignored advice from civil servants to do so. I'm no Brown fan but I find the timing rather suspicious. It'll probably be a good thing for Labour if he has to fight for his seat rather than be anointed but I'm pretty certain that barring major upheavals David Cameron may just be riding to power in the next elections. Labour is completely suffused with what I call the arrogance of power- which comes with being in government too long and so will probably benefit from some time out....

Over in Naija, the drama continues as the elections draw nearer with court cases and counter suits and sudden deaths and the rearing of violence - Simon Kolawole of Thisday had some useful pointers on how to prevent rigging (or at least stop PDP from rigging too much) http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=74432

I just finished Another Hour on a Sunday Morning by Julia Scheeres, a searing account of growing up in a Southern Christian family with two adopted black brothers. The violence and emotional abuse that they go through both at the hands of their parents and at the Escuela Caribe, a "Christian" camp for delinquent kids in The Dominican Republic made for disturbing reading. It was well written with beautiful language and vivid imagery but I felt there was something missing. I couldn't place my finger on it, but it didn't grip me...

Some Nigeria events coming up- an art exhibition by the daughter of the late lamented poet Christopher Okigbo at the Brunel Gallery http://www.soas.ac.uk/gallery/tappingintotheknown/home.html, a panel at SOAS on the elections this evening http://www.soas.ac.uk/events/index.cfm

And we receive honourable mention from Ms Adichie http://snipurl.com/1eyp2 even if she no longer reads us :-)

16 comments:

-- said...

Funmi Iyanda's blog only started in October 2006. Ms Adichie stopped reading blogs very recently.

Everchange said...

That's so funny! About Chimamanda reading about herself on blogs

GirlWifanAttitude said...

What’s all this by the way, because Ms. Adichie stopped reading blogs does it mean everybody in the blogging network should fold up and run to a corner and cry? Abeg, make I hear word, Ojare.

It’s sad that she has stopped blogging and it is pathetic that someone said some nasty stuff about her, this is not nice at all and we shouldn’t do this to one another, instead as 9jas we should support her whenever we could, but let’s move on.

By the way, Uknaija, you blog is really nice, just discovered it.

Keguro said...

I am back to blogging in a modified, and, arguably, more idiosyncratic way.

Chameleon said...

Angies has closed down permamently...

theres another nice place opposite the Marriot in Kilburn/MaidaVale... the name fails me now.

the art on their walls is also for sale.

TRAE said...

i'm with GirlWifanAttitude completely!

rianda said...

To the 1st commenter: I get what you say. Ms. Adichie has included the sporadic blog of a TV host that has been in existence for only a few months in her Blog journey over a number of years! MoorishGirl I get, UKNaija I get. I don't get the need to list Funmi Iyanda's blog. But I guess Superstars have to stick together.

Mr.Fineboy said...

Great post!

Bitchy said...

Ooh just finished reading Chimamanda's article. Did you ever diss her work on your blog?

P.S. HOW can Angies have closed down permanently without any warning? I got takeaway from them 3 weeks ago!!

Monef said...

Man I miss London, the ability to find a Naija restaurant that actually has decent food and doesn't look rat infested!

Must be quite a shock for Chimamanda to have read about herself in the wild, wild west of blogging. No rules, no accountability, no repercussions...a dangerous cocktail to be sure

sokari said...

Kilburn - my old home and I remember Bukka - cant believe the dump is still going - ate there once (lived on Messina Avenue) and never again. The standards of Naija food joints in London have been slipping lately! Now when I am in London I go to my brother or niece for my fix of home cooking!

t said...

uknaija, you like dis Adichie girl o.

Anonymous said...

Hen hen? If he like her nko? She get talent and is witty. I sure say many men like the girl. UK, if you be straight guy wey never hitch, go on soun. I gat ya back.

oo said...

Ah UK, I concur with anonymous o... since you love to read and Ms. A loves to write, sounds you could both possibly get on the same 'page'no? ;) j/kidding. Seriously though, Ms. Adichie is not only brilliant, she is also a very lovely person. I would probably be miffed too if I ever became the subject of blogossip.

-oo-

uknaija said...

On the Adichie question yes o I like the babe. Pretty, smart, successful, talented, what's not to like?

If anyone has Ms`Adichie's e mail, pls feel free to pass it on. I shall borrow liberally from oo's toasting sheet- Baby you like to write, I love to read, let's get it on...
@keguro- welcome back to blogville
@Chameleon, a beg remember the name quick o
@bitchy - No I never dissed her as you can see from other comments I'm a big fan
@mr fineboy- love your blog even if it might end up getting me sacked, rolling on the floor laughing at work
@monef I feel you
@Sokari long time no see. Some of us have no choice without brothers and nieces to cook Naija food for us- or can you introduce me to yours?
@t,anonymous and oo- see opening sentence

sokari said...

Ah - then they would be too busy to cook for yours truly:)

Last weeks Pambazuka Review of African Blogs:

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/blog/40723