Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ramblings...

I am walking past the charity shop (the UK equivalent of Naija's bend down boutiques) when a scrap of scarlet silk at the back of the shop catches my attention. It is an old gentleman's dressing gown and suddenly I find myself thinking about pyjamas. Growing up, there was the nightly ritual of the evening bath followed by the change into pyjamas. Initially they were Marks and Spencer pyjamas bought on the infrequent trips to Kingsway and Leventis stores, but as the Nigerian economy deteriorated they tended to be Chinese brands with names like "Golden Bunny" and were bought in the clothing section of the local market. I once owned a scarlet dressing gown, it was not silk, but I cherished it and for some reason, my parents insisted that if we were leaving our bedroom in our pyjamas we had to put on our dressing gowns. I suppose they had picked up the habit during their education here in the sixties and seventies. Struck by the dressing gown, I reflect on how on leaving home for boarding school, I began to sleep in my day clothes and then by the time I ended up in university was mostly sleeping in my boxers..... Boxers were another latterday introduction- growing up it was all Y-fronts or nothing but much later, boxers were introduced and soon every street side tailor in Nigeria's cities were churning out their own take on the ubiquitous boxers....

I've just finished Donna Daley Clarke's Lazy Eye which is a gripping and evocative of black Caribbean life in the UK in the 60s and 70s. On the cover, there is a photograph of two children on Chopper bicycles, which again had me reminiscing about Chopper and Tomahawk bicycles. unfortunately the bicycle on the cover was the red version when everyone knows that only the purple version ever really counted....

Now I'm reading Nikita Lalwani's Gifted which was longlisted for the Booker Prize this year. It's a well written account of a young girl with a gift for maths growing up with her Indian immigrant parents in Cardiff. Reading it reminds me of my Indian classmates from primary and secondary school, many of whom had a similar gift for maths. This of course put unbearable pressure on the few Indian classmates whose maths skills were more run of the mill. Looking back now I can imagine how miserable they must have felt....

Will there be an election in the UK soon or not? The debate is everywhere- will Gordon go for it or not? I think it is extraordinary that the Prime Minister alone can more or less chose when he calls an election, although having that power is no guarantee of success...

Meanwhile in Nigeria, the list of ambassadorial nominees is released and there are rumours that the former PDP Chairman Amadu Ali is pencilled in to become the UK High Commissioner, which, if it is true will be sad. Following the suave sophistication, erudition and impeccable integrity of the Kolades whose term has just ended is a tough enough act to follow without all the baggage that Ali and his wife carry...

Having recently finished Amy Tan's Saving Fish from Drowning (you should read it if only to hear the story behind the title) which is set in Burma, I look at current events there and shake my head and wonder at the injustice of the world. Everyone is cheering from the sidelines but doing nothing concrete to help, now where's Dubya with his missiles when you need him? Restricting visas isn't going to save those poor people when their nameless and faceless military rulers unleash their venom is it?

8 comments:

Ekoakete said...

Hehehe that comment about bend down boutique cracked me up. I would put a charity shop on par with a bdb though. At least the clothes are on hangers...

I was thinking the same thing re: Burma earlier on today when I heard the military was clamping down on protesters. Shame there's no oil there, Dubya might actually have done something.

Jaja said...

Concerning Burma, I ve been watching and wondering when something serious will be done... I am hoping another 3000 dont get wasted like the other time..
I hear they ve got a huge reserve of gas...

Did you get to hear Yaradua at the UN Assembly... what do you think..?

Nearly similar with mine, transitions in sleepy clothes and other wears... Just that my sleeping clothes history began in the local markets anyway :)

Naijadude said...

Do I share a similarity with the sleepy wears?....
Situation in Burma is quite disturbing eh, unfortunately you dont see the Western countries scampering to "stop" it, unless there's something in it for them.

Waffarian said...

I don't know when I last heard "leventis" or "kingsway", for me both bring back memories of buying "minced meat" or the occasional cheese, hehehhe. Ah! the sleeping gown, I remember my mum making one for me when I went off to boarding school, for some reason, it was on the "list" of stuff you had to take with you as a new boarder. I never saw anybody else using theirs though so I soon put mine back in the box!

I've read "the joy luck club",(Amy Tan) it was really good.

I ve been watching tv with fear, I am scared for them. They are so brave.

Abuja Walkabout said...

Amazing about the Ambassadorial post, isnt it? Just when you think you see a glimmer of hope ("change is coming because there's a change in gov"), something like this hits you...

Bitchy said...

In my time it was the Raleigh (or is it Rally?) that ruled. I had a red one. My brother had a blue BMX which apparently made him cooler. Kai, Yukay, you are old oh.

Is Gifted any good? I can't seem to shake my suspicion that it's the "ethnic" angle that worked in Nikita's favour.

By the hoo, I read Lola Shoneyin's novel. To be corny, and somewhat pretentious... C'etait magnifique. See blog Xxxx

kulutempa said...

did you ever read Small Island by andrea levy?

Anonymous said...

Dude like how many books do you read a day. It is quite disturbing, Shaolin monks (of all people) of all people were attacked.