Where to begin- perhaps with an apology to the readers who have dropped by and left in disgust at my tardiness in updating. I must say that this blog business is hard work especially combined with a fulltime job and extracurricular activities. Maybe I should explore blogging as a fulltime job. Perhaps as a starting point it would be useful to know how many of you would pay to read the musings of a naijaman…..
The past few weeks have seen me in the English Riviera (I bet you didn’t know there was one) staying in a wedding cake-like seaside hotel, with a view of the sea and a promenade and elderly residents straight out of an Agatha Christie novel. At times it smelt and seemed like the last time the hotel had had a refurbish was way back in the days of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Unsurprisingly, there were few, how do I put this delicately, ahem, faces of colour along the seafront but I did not feel unwelcome at all….More challenging was the battle to find a cash machine that worked. In my haste fleeing London I had neglected to extract enough loose cash and found myself wandering the streets of an English seaside town searching for a functioning cash machine. In the end I had to get cash from the hotel reception, although thankfully I did not have to write a cheque- they did accept cards….
One afternoon, as we sit on the terrace of our hotel on the English Riviera, having lunch, my colleague realizes he needs some information from his office in Cambridge. Not having a Blackberry, he rings the office. He struggles to get through and when he finally does, there is no-one to give him the information. He knows that it is in his email box and so he rings his brother in India and in a few minutes, giving instructions over the phone, his brother accesses his email account and extracts the relevant information from his e mail box. Engrossed as I am in reading Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat at the time, I can’t help but marvel at the fact that it was easier to get information from India than from within the UK. The internet and the ubiquity of mobile phones have made this possible…. Friedman’s book was good reading except for the fact that his flat world seemed to exclude Africa most of the time and he did not really address this gap….
So while I was away, Tony Blair bid us farewell, leaving tears, sniffles and sniggers in his wake; Umaru Yaradua told us he owned 843 million naira, leaving Nigerians torn between applauding his transparency and querying where a former university lecturer, albeit one from a wealthy family had amassed such wealth….we in England saw the last of cigarettes in public places as the ban came into force yesterday, even as we battled the new threat of terror attacks in Britain…
On the smoking ban- a word of warning for the English. A Scottish colleague tells me how stinky pubs and bars in Scotland became after the ban on smoking in pubs came into effect there last year. Apparently, the stench of cigarette smoke was soon replaced by the stench of unwashed sofas and carpets and unwashed bodies. Most publicans apparently had to invest in air fresheners….
In other news Chimamanda Adichie was short listed for yet another award, the James Tait Black and the current edition of Eclectica features writing from two Nigerians Molara Wood of Wordsbody and Ike Anya of Nigeria Health Watch . Also of interest is this
http://www.african-writing.com/ and this