Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The post that I was too tired to name

We descend into the bowels of the restaurant- it is a fairly simple, yet sophisticated place somewhere in the west of London. We are soon seated, and have just had our orders taken when I spot her- her face immediately familiar to me from the days spent glued to CNN in hotel bars and lounges, when satellite television was the tenuous link that seemed to sustain my connection to the outside world after the price of Time magazine and Newsweek and the Economist all soared out of reach.



Here, years later, I am seated at a table in a restaurant just a few feet away from her. She is in full flow, commanding the attention of the others seating at her table, and as I glance at the rapt faces, I realize that this is what might be called "a power table". There are two UK ministers, I soon realize, at the table and as the conversation heats up, I hear the words: Darfur, Rwanda, Millennium Development Goals and social entrepreneurship flung in rapid quick fire succession around the table. It is all I can do to concentrate on my dinner, my friends who have kindly invited me out and my own table and our conversation.



I whisper to my friends "It's Christiane Amanpour", mortified that she will hear me, but am met with fairly blank faces. It's only when I screech "and Mark Malloch Brown" that they become interested- the former UN mandarin and now minister in Gordon Brown's government of all the talents, has the day before been in the news- the Spectator and the Evening Standard.



The third face that I recognize is James Rubin, former aide to Bill Clinton and Amanpour's husband, and then across the table from him, Shriti Vadera whom I later overhear being introduced to someone as the "most powerful woman in the UK government" She smiles bashfully but I do not hear her demur….



Later sated on our dinner, we walk to the Underground- me on the way, happily regaling my friends with all these details. How, one of them asks me, do you know all these people…how indeed? On my way home the question continues to plague me…



An interesting harvest of books these past few days- finally I get round to reading The Kite Runner and I, almost to my surprise enjoy it. It opens my eyes and tells me new things and is beautifully written and yet in some ways I feel that it lacks soul. Perhaps it should have been stretched out a bit more



On Chesil Beach is another much-hyped book which I get round to finally reading. I enjoy it so much that I immediately go back to the library for another McEwan- this time, Enduring Love, even though it's only available in large print. Although I enjoyed the latter, I thought the former was more accomplished….

Poor Gordon Brown’s government seems to be lurching from crisis to crisis and the Prime Minister’s face shows the strain. Watching a BBC documentary on Blair’s last days in office, I almost found myself nostalgic for Blair....

Meanwhile the Tories rub their hands in glee, like schoolboys who can’t quite believe their luck....there's something almost school-bully like about their gloating that I find distasteful, or perhaps it's the fact that I'm just biased....

Nigeria makes the front page of the Financial Times at the weekend with a story about Chevron and Shell being implicated in the Ibori corruption saga...at about the same time, several Nigerian topshots are mentioned in an investigation into corruption at Siemens in Germany...perhaps the chickens are finally coming home to roost....

Congratulations

to Molara Wood of Wordsbody for honourable mention in the Commonwealth short story prize

to Chimamanda Adichie for making the IMPAC prize list

10 comments:

Talatu-Carmen said...

Wow... it must have been hard to concentrate...

joicee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joicee said...

Wow....you actually saw Amanpour...Cool
The chickens are definitely coming home to roost...The allegations about Siemens bribing officials in Nigeria doesn´t surprise me at all,I guess ´cos they have got a history dodgy deals in their portfolio. What is really funny is that doesn´t seem to make headline news here in Germany ...

OverWoman said...

Seriously, who doesn't know Amanpour?

I am just waiting to see what becomes of the whole Shell-Siemens-Chevron, Nigeria-Corruption angle.

CONSCIOUSNESS said...

yes cuz'!!

...bless up ‘urself again for coming with that real talk!!…accolades before now mentioned are reiterated - for you are doing an excellent job catering for the thinking folk…well done and thanx again!!!

…what a sight you were privy to (lucky for some ain‘t it…lol)…your intrinsic desire to address the question about your knowledge of principal political and journalistic elite resonate similarities in my own affairs…being one brought up on the notion that the pursuit of intellectual elitism (without snobbery) was far greater than materiality, I was highly privileged to be exposed to the Newsweek’s and Time’s back in the day…only to realise that referencing such material socially was perceived not `cool’ and the MTV generation I belonged to would rather we discuss diss tracks and the paternity of some preggers bimbo…suffice to say I dumbed it down…mate! Your strength of character is not in question here (your blog negates that) but I beg you - NEVER DUMB IT DOWN…!!!

…Shell, Chevron et. al…who is the bigger fool?…the chap who impoverishes his own by measure of his short-sightedness and GREEEED or the corporate’s who exploit the mental inadequacies of a corrupt leader…I believe the man who deprives his own is the uber-fool…

…’fam! Keep up the good work and refuse to EVER DUMB IT DOWN…

‘nuff repect!!

Peeeeeaacccceeee!!
C!!

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

ah, an update...

Ibori, siemens, corruption, politics... all the factors that make a news junky like me gleefully happy!

Anyway, I hope something positive comes out of all this mess. It almost seems as if someone waited for OBJ to leave office and then passed off sensitive information to al the necessary institutions around the world...

I wish...

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

I need to just trail you where you go so I can see what you see...
That woman is my idol...one of them at least

Jaja said...

U saw Amanpour??? hmmmm

UndaCovaSista said...

James Rubin is on Question Time right now. Not as exciting as seeing all those peeps in the flesh tho', i guess...

Miss Natural said...

how do pple not know amanpour? wow. that is a power table for real...give me those people any day instead of mindless celebrities