Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Blogger's dilemma, facebook, football louts etc

I am suffering from the intermittent bloggers’ dilemma- the longer you stay away from blogging, waiting for the combination of something meaty enough to blog about and having enough free time to do it justice, the more things to blog about pile up. So I’ll just have a go- first things first. I finally signed up to Facebook, just to see what all the fuss is about. I haven’t been terribly excited, but perhaps I simply haven’t got into the spirit of the thing….if anyone wants to show me how to do it properly, get in touch, search for Musing Naijaman….

There have been a great many train journeys since I last posted (reminder to self- buy shares in Virgin Trains) including one in first class, courtesy of work which was sadly marred by the entire carriage being overrun by a bunch of football louts who kept the train heaving from Wolverhampton to London Euston. The British Transport Police made a brief appearance and then promptly disappeared; the Virgin Trains staff did not dare to show their faces at all. In the event I finally gave up my unbothered mien, packed up my laptop and book and moved to another carriage. Talk about feral- banging on the roof of the carriage, jumping on the seats, dancing on the tables, roaring out their football chants. They were all white and I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if a bunch of Black or Asian young men had overrun a first class carriage in a similar manner. I’d like to think that the train staff, transport police and other passengers would have been just as indulgent, but somehow I doubt it….

I was able to shut out the soccer louts’ antics for as long as I did as I was deeply engrossed in What is the What, Dave Eggers and Valentino Achak Deng’s stunning tour de force of a novel. I’m not sure if it’s a biography or what, because it’s called a novel and it’s by Eggers- an account of the life of Deng, a Sudanese “Lost Boy” who ends up in the United States- it is equal parts sociology text, history text, novel and utterly unbelievable and unputdownable and heart wrenching. And you must read it, if only to understand What is the What….

I’ve also been reading Patrick Gale’s Notes from an Exhibition, where he skilfully uses the notes from a retrospective exhibition to recreate the life of an artist on the Cornish coast exploring her family’s past and present relationships in a calm understated way that I found very attractive….

And to politics- so Gordon Brown’s liver failed him. One minute he was at the top of the opinion polls, with Cameron destined for the dust heap and the next he was struggling for dear life after Cameron made what the press told us was one amazing thumper of a speech. I was more interested in the quick switch- I assume most people like me had not watched the speech, so what was the sudden switch based on? The pledge to reduce the number of people liable to pay inheritance tax? Or the deal to tax non-domiciled City fat cats 25 000 pounds a year in lieu of tax ? Whatever it was, and I suspect it’s a bit of a mystery to the Cameron camp as well, Old Gordon was forced to swallow all talk of a snap election. It’ll be interesting to see what the next few weeks bring, but I was left musing on the power of the media to frame narratives….

In Nigeria, the furore over the Speaker continued with each newspaper virtually guaranteed to have an article on the latest of Speakergate. The usual tritenesses were being wheeled out- is she the first; it’s all the work of disgruntled elements and so on. All probably true but why do we always have to resort to the age old refrain “Everyone does it”

I was more bemused by the story of Judith Burdin Asuni, or as Thisday put it “The Spy who loved us” Is she really a spy or are there other issues at stake. The murkiness of the dealings in the Niger Delta and Nigeria’s oil industry remain a source of fascination for me. Would that there were some good investigative journalists to piece all the stories together. Who bunkers? Who owns licences to drill for oil? Who imports the petroleum that Nigeria uses? So many unanswered questions and yet the answers float in mansions in Lagos and Abuja and Port Harcourt and London and Maryland and elsewhere….


Everchange said...

i think i just found you. at least i hope its you.

UndaCovaSista said...

What the next few days have brought is New Labour shamelessly appropriating the tory proposals for themselves. Unbelievable! The spin doctors may not be as visible these days (Peter Mandelson/Alistair Campbell, anyone?), but good old New Labour spin is alive and well

I don't get Facebook either. I signed up last month and i dont think i've bothered to log on at all in the last fortnight..

Baroque said...

just wanted to show face...ok, lemme go & read the post now

Ekoakete said...

Signed up to facebook a while back to see what all the hype was about. After the initial flurry of notifications linking me to friends and stuff, it's all died down and to be honest, I'm not inclined to use it much.

I also wondered what caused the switch O. One minute, Gordy was lording it in the polls, the next Cameron looked a very formidable opponent. Btw, Gordy made mention yesterday, of 25 signatories to a downing street e-petition calling for a general election. As of this afternoon, the number of signatories had gone up to close to 6,000. Seems things a just not swinging his way or as The Sun characteristically put it, "He's in the Brown Stuff"

Talatu-Carmen said...

I feel you on the intermittant blogger disease. Having taken a nice long break, I'm almost afraid to come back for fear that I'll start wasting too much time again. And there is so little time in my life to waste these days. I really got into Facebook for a while, I think because I found gads of friends from high school, which is part of the reason I needed to do an internet fast. I haven't signed on for a week and a half now, but maybe I'll get on and try to find you. cheers.

Bitchy said...

I wish British politics would just pause for a second, so that I could catch up. This time last year, Gordon was the hero. I went to Lagos a few times roundabout March, came back, and he was the foe.

I think I saw Cameron's speech - well the cheesy Conservative ad that interrupted last Monday's Countdown. Has anyone asked him to go into more detail? Will all foreigners be taxed? Or just those earning above abcd? And what exactly is the abcd?

Labour is really struggling though. They've sponsored some telephone poll that asks you several questions in order to determine if you will vote Labour and then tries to persuade you to.

These are the things us house-wives/ unemployed folk of Britain are subjected to. Back when I was a busy law school chic, I had no clue that this went on.

And did you see the video footage of Etteh's cronies and rivals beating themselves up in the House?

Waffarian said...

About the Niger Delta, you might want to see this:


Very informative.

Snuffleupagus said...

To help you blog - Simply write less. Then you won't feel the pressure to write so much and keep putting off. You could write on one subject, one paragraph, for instance. We readers do enjoy reading you. So don't give up! I refuse to go on facebook. I hope you enjoy it!

Jaja said...

Politics, i never quite understand much about it.

Uknaij, you know touch that niger Delta chord immediately makes my voice begin to quiver...
Abeg I need a holiday

CATWALQ a.k.a LAGBA-JESS said...

how have i managed to stay away from your blog for so long....?
never againpd


This Asuni story is a rabbit hole and we have no idea how deep it goes. I have avoided it and other Nigerian stories over the last 2 weeks just to allow my brain to rebound from Nija drama. I can't wait to learn more but I doubt that Nigerian journalists will truly discover the depths of this situation....

Norma said...

How do you do it? It seems like your work/job is demanding yet you seem to also find the time to read all these fantastic titles! I'm in grad school and Lord knows time for leisurely reading eludes me. Highly interested in the book recommendations and might be ordering a few off of amazon this week. Thanks.

In my head and around me said...

So many unanswered questions and yet the answers float in mansions in Lagos and Abuja and Port Harcourt and London and Maryland and elsewhere….

This statement deserves an award. Too apt.

Firsttimefather said...

'what is the Wat' is a biography, albeit a highly unconventional one - I think the story is only slightly augmented by Dave Eggers, and more for dramatic effect than anything else.

I love Facebook - it's worse than Crack. Tracked down people I haven't been in touch with since primary school

uknaija said...

@everchange- it is me:-)
@undacovasista- yes o!
@baroque- yuh wekom! (as the Nigerian receptionist would say :-)
@ekoakete- na wa o!
@talatu- thanks for finding me:-)
@bitchy- unemployed housewife eh?
@waffy- thanks for the link
@snufy- thanks for the advice
@jaja- well camp's as good as a holiday no? enjoy the mammy market
@catwalq- thank you- you are an inspiration
@solomonsydelle- They won't , no
@norma- I read when I'm brushing my teeth, sitting on the loo, waiting for a train, walking down a street (yes i'm that guy that nearly bumped into you) etc, etc, every minute that God gives...:-)
@in my head, thank you (taking a bow)
@firstimefather- I do not share your crack addiction sorry. I thought the same about What is the What- but how do you really know? maybe Eggers made it appear that way?

Belema said...

I too cant understand the fascination with facebook .. I too recently joined and I havent returned there since ...oh well !
Nice blog you've got here :)