Saturday, March 15, 2008

Quick round up

I can't believe I haven't posted in over a month, but life has been such a whirl that I am only just stopping to catch my breath. In any case it's all good- as my old boss used to say "If you think your job is stressful, try being unemployed"

They walk in hand-in-hand, the bucket of popcorn delicately balanced in her other hand, he clutches the drinks in his. They take the seat in front of us, exchange a light kiss and begin to chat in low tones. I can't help but overhear- their accents are strong- his is Latin (Spanish or South American), hers is Eastern European. As they murmur their endearments in heavily accented English- their only common language, I think how this is one of the things I like about London...

On the train again, another day, I am seated opposite a middle aged man and woman. I try to read the body language- not husband and wife I think. They begin to talk as the train pulls out and the picture emerges- he is the chief executive of a company about to merge and she is one of the directors. They are on their way to a retreat with the staff to update them on the merger. They appear relaxed as they talk over the events for the unfolding day, but when she leaves to get a coffee, I notice he discreetly swallows a tablet from a bottle marked with the brand name of a popular tranquilizer. I realize that this seemingly powerful man is so nerve-wracked that he needs medication to help him along. I suppose a chief exec with shaking hands is not the most reassuring of images. His colleague slips back into her seat and they continue their conversation- she is none the wiser....

It is near midnight and I am chatting to my friend in New York when she says "Oh, our governor has implicated in some prostitute using mess- and his wife is standing beside him as he gives the press conference" We wonder why the wife has to stand beside the man at the press conference. Personally I think the woman should say "Yes I'll support you and stand by you privately but you are going to face those cameras ALONE"

My ambivalence towards Obama and Clinton is slowly undergoing a shift not least driven by the "everything plus the kitchen sink" approach of the Clinton campaign, with Ms Ferraro's recent comments particularly annoying. I am reminded of the aphorism that a prejudiced white liberal is probably more insidious than an out and out right wing racist...A friend sent me this link, which in many ways reflect some of my own feelings..

And I think Michelle Obama is an incredible asset.

I've enjoyed the Rose Tremain books that I have read- there's no doubt that she is an accomplished story teller, able to spin out a yarn that holds you, but my reading of her lates book The Road Home was less satisfying. The story of an Eastern European immigrant to the UK, I could not shake the sense that Rose Tremain had decided "I am going to write about immigrants", which laudable as it is ultimately in my opinion undermined the story...

More satisfying was Dayo Forster's Reading the Ceiling. I was browsing in Daunt's one weekend not too long ago when I stumbled across the book in the Africa section- I immediately bought it, thinking Dayo might be Nigerian. In the event she was Gambian but I was struck by the similarities in the society and culture and even the food. It's a well-written story of a young middle class Gambian woman and her growing up and employs an unusual literary device which kind of worked- I won't spoil it by saying any more...

I've also just finished David Profumo's Bringing the House Down, his account of the scandal (he hates the word) that brought his father John Profumo down as Minister in the 60s. Written from his perspective as a child, it's a good book, although I sometimes felt he was showing off with big words and Latin and French phrases- the product of his first class degree from Oxford or Cambridge. That said there was something honest about it that struck a chord..

I'm behind on Nigerian politics-but thought that the compromise candidacy of Vincent Ogbulafor, the new PDP chairman was a good thing. He'll certainly be less abrasive than the immediate past chair, although his recent call for all Nigerians to join PDP was slightly worrying...

9 comments:

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

Nice to have you back...

Why is it important to the public that the woman shows public support? I wonder about it sometimes... It would be really funny to have a wife lose control in a press conference and slap her apologizing husband... maybe as he is saying " but for the tremendous support of my wife and family.."

It will change the confusing montony of a miserable woman standing there.. morose, not knowing what to do with herself or where to look..

Morountodun said...

Not that I condone a married man engaging in prostitution but did he need to lose his job?

Re: Michelle Obama, in a different world she would be the one running for president. In fact judging from Hilary's example may be in eight years she will...

in my head said...

I agree with you. The wife should not have to face the cameras. Just goes to show you that politicians and the society are full of bull.

The society because they demand it of her. Had she not been standing there, the media would have been agog with that development.

I envy you the ability to read so many books. There is simply no time now. What with constant traffic...In fact, the other day, I rebelled against this lack of time and read several pages of my novel in 3-hour traffic from Lekki to the mainland even though I was the one driving.

Chxta said...

Nice to have you back.

I can totally identify with what your old boss used to say about being unemployed since I was unemployed for three months between my resignation from my last role, and my current role. There were times I felt like taking a running dive into the brown Thames...

Yes, I love the multiculturalism of London, and when I eventually move back to Naija, it is one thing I would definitely miss. It's a tragedy that the politicians and the Home Office (by their actions) are trying to kill that multiculturalism...

Personally I think it is the wives who succumb to the media pressure to appear reassuring that are most likely to succumb to the (more intense) private pressure to end the marriage a while later. I think Eliot Spitzer's marriage wouldn't last for another year.

I am extremely ambivalent towards the US election. It would only get interesting if Obama wins the Democratic party nomination, then sit back and enjoy your front row ticket to the greatest case of character assassination since Joan of Arc...

Talatu-Carmen said...

I agree on the wife thing. By all means support him in private if you have that strength, but to stand behind him with that pained expression... it just hurts.

On the Hillary/Obama thing--yes, I started out liking him more but thinking she was a fine politician. Now, I have developed a repugnance to her and her campaign. I'm not naive enough to think that the media does not have a powerful force on moulding my emotions.... but still...

oo said...

Still don't buy the "Hillary is evil" spiel...and yes, I too would like Obama to win. But I think its only fair to be objective here, the woman really has done nothing concrete to deserve the "righthandwomanofsatan" label that everyone has now deferred to. Last week there was the Hillary-Ferraro bit, now the Obama-Wright saga, these things are not always black and white (pun intended) and I wish we could just inject some real objectivity back into the debate.

Anyways, nice to have you back UK, can't help wondering if the infrequent posting is your way of putting your loyal readers in rehab -- slow detox (I hope not.)

-oo-

JOLLY ROGER said...

HOW DO YOU DO... LANGUAGE

Ours

“Oi you fucking cardboard cut-out cunt bag. You, ya lying pokey arsed little gobshite blowing yer pip sqweeky mouth off at me, faggot. I deck yer now, fat faced dick-billed knob-jockey.” Is considered bad language.

“Thy’s hedge-born whoreson hath influenced thou’s own clot poled, tardy gaited, pig-nut, heavily cockered, maggot pie of a foul knave’s rat‘s bain. Alas it perturbs any such resurrection to even Judas’s urchin.” Is considered good language.

But who decides?

Namely this guy called Mr Oxford and his friend Mr Hypocrite who consider what they choose as words being the antithesis of language. Disregarding any improper word until it’s been in circulation for a number of years, verified by numerous source texts with atleast three circle jerk meetings held phyically discussing it relevance. When they finish tossing it about and put it in. Anybody who’s anybody hardly uses Cowabunga anymore.

This, so it seems is where we’re at, listening to people in stone buildings telling us whether spazmo is an actual word, or whether you toffs are useless spazmos can be pluralized in it’s common usage.

...MORE AT www.lifestyleguides.blogspot.com

NigerianDramaQueen said...

good book recommendations. will look them up!