The Soundtrack of Our Lives

MJ Earth Song - Pinterest

I decided to compile a list of songs that I believe tell a story of the mood in Nigeria in the early days of the pandemic to date. The soundtrack goes like this:

Earth song by Michael Jackson – This was the turning point when we realized there was a global problem that was spiraling out of control.

New born by Muse – We were seeing other continents waking up to a new world; a new reality which would soon become our own.

Drugs don’t work by Verve – There were rumours fast spreading in Nigeria about Chloroquine and other Malaria drugs being able to cure the corona virus COVID-19. But this led to more (and avoidable) deaths. I need a doctor by Dr. Dre ft Eminem, Skylar – Right now I’m trying to avoid going to hospital unless it is absolutely necessary. There are stories online about people with COVID-19 symptoms visiting regular hospitals instead of calling the NCDC helpline.

Gone too soon by Michael Jackson – The number of reported COVID-19 cases and deaths globally are alarming. My heart goes out to all those who have been hospitalized, the departed and those who have to cope with the loss. Land of Confusion by Genesis – Social media advises one thing and the news stations advise another. Can the Covid-19 virus survive on surfaces for up to 48hrs? Which masks are effective? Can sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol kill the virus? Is drinking alcohol more effective? It was becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish myth from fact.

Locked up by Akon – Lagos state announced a 14-day lock-down on March 29th  which later got extended by another 14 days. I’m currently at home with my family doing my part for society and getting to grips with working from home.

Lazy song by Bruno Mars – It was hard at first but I gradually got into a routine and created a work space with zero interruptions. I can only imagine how many people have bothered to shave, take a shower or change clothes in the last couple of days (don’t ask me).

Something new by Wiz Khalifa ft TY Dollar $ign – During this lock-down I noticed that people online have had more time to perfect their dance moves and partaking in the #somethingnewchallenge (Elbow left, elbow right, shake like a jellyfish then clap, I think). I’ve done mine at home but it will not be aired online.

Don’t rush by Young T and Bugsey ft Headie One – This was yet another song that birthed more creativity among the courageous before-and-after makeover pros across many social media platforms. #dontrushchallenge videos are quite addictive to watch.

Bored in the house by Curtis Roach – With the exception of those breaking the law, everybody who is meant to be observing the lock-down in specific states in Nigeria and states around the world can relate to this song.

They don’t care about us by Michael Jackson – There were reported cases in Lagos where residents complained that the palliative measures were not getting to their households. But the situation seems to have improved as the government is visibly going round to provide essential supplies on a door-to-door basis. Reaching out to over 20 million will be no small feat so a lot of patience from citizens is expected.

In the End by Linkin Park – Some of us are putting our trust in the government and scientists. And some of us are putting our trust in God. In the end we want to come out of this alive – that’s what matters. Staying Alive by BeeGees – With people losing jobs or having their customer base significantly impacted by the lock down order, it’s a struggle to make ends meet. Money makes the world go round. And a hungry man is an angry man. Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins – This has been a time when I have been moved by regular citizens coming out to donate food and drink supplies to communities without requesting government support. Everyone needs to demonstrate love to his or her neighbours and give to those who lack.

Heal the world by Michael Jackson – Spread the love; that’s my appeal to everyone while scientists around the world work towards developing the vaccine to tackle this pandemic. Save me by Remy Zero – We need a saviour now more than ever. Times like this I wish Superman was not a fictional hero. The recent cases reported in Kano state are alarming.

A new dawn by Michael Buble – Hoping for a new dawn very soon for everyone. Do share your thoughts on the soundtrack; what would you change? what would your soundtrack for this crisis period feature? I would love to know 🙂

Image credit: s629photobucket.com

Frowns, Clowns and Lockdowns

covid stay home

Last night while I was in bed I finally felt it (not my wife’s bum, thank you) – that excitement at the thought of writing a blog post just because. The first time I experienced this same feeling was in 2009 but since then it’s been on and off for the last decade in diminishing proportions. Why, I hear you ask? Distractions would be the easy excuse. Let’s say I had a few things to frown about.

I had a string of hopeless relationships, a dead-end job with no promotion prospects, and a highly anticipated sequel to my debut novel which wasn’t writing itself. I lost my mojo.  Just when I thought life couldn’t get less satisfying, I encountered a few clowns who entertained and kept me going.

Shoutouts to the following lifesavers who tickled my funny bone:

Fortunately, things started to pick up in the last 3 years – I met and married my soul mate, got an amazing job, ushered in a beautiful daughter and I’ve added a few lines to my second book in progress (well 3 out of 4 isn’t bad). Fast forward to present day, and it’s been a state of emergency in Lagos where residents have been advised to stay at home for the last three weeks (and counting).

Some things I have learnt/did during this period are: Working from home (didn’t have a choice really); Social distancing (My friends who visit talk to me from outside my gate); Baking a lemon sponge cake (all my top scores went solely to effort); Netflix weekend binge (Money Heist included); Yoga on YouTube (I never heard so many creaks and snaps in my joints before – 40 is no joke) and one of my favourite things I’m doing right now – blogging. It’s good to be back (insert smiley here)!

Image credits: Pinterest

Top 3 text messages EVERYBODY likes to receive

If you are reading this post it’s probably safe to assume that you are doing so via your mobile phone which is the first likely item you wouldn’t leave home without. Aside making and receiving calls we often send and receive SMS or text messages on our mobile phones. I personally don’t send that many text messages, thanks to WhatsApp. But when it comes to receiving text messages, the following are the top 3 (and I stand to be corrected):

  • Successful recharge: Who doesn’t like receiving airtime for making calls or buying internet data? Getting happy birthday messages are ok but put for God’s sake put some airtime on it. Especially when these messages clog up your inbox.
  • Credit alert: Who doesn’t like getting notifications about money coming into their bank accounts? Even if it’s N300 or less than $1 it’s still an inflow.
  • Send me your account number: Now this one is quite an exciting message if it’s from that debtor who’s been owing you money for the last 2 years, or if it’s from a donor whose sending a birthday/wedding/new born gift. But surprisingly the last time I sent this text to somebody it wasn’t for any of the mentioned reasons. Let’s just say that the next time somebody is ignoring your calls try sending this message from another phone number – I’m 100% sure he will call back immediately. Worked for me when one artisan was trying to dodge me 😀

Dreaming of a Cleaner Lagos

I have a dream that one day Lagosians will be able to walk on the streets without holding their noses. People won’t have to play hopscotch over piles of putrid refuse as they walk. Commuters will not have garbage dumps as their companions while queuing at bus stops. I believe Lagos can and will be clean again…green again. If that was Ambode’s vision then it definitely escaped him. The only ‘green’ he had in mind was those rubbish (as in ‘useless’) trucks running up and down Lagos.

When LAWMA was doing the cleaning job I don’t recall Lagos beaming with trash the way it is now. You could see the workers in the early hours of the day and late into the afternoon cleaning roadsides, bridges and their orange trucks were actively stopping to pick up refuse. On the contrary every time I see a Visionscape truck I just see it moving…probably just as an advertising gimmick. Who knows?

It’s therefore no surprise that when it boiled down to the concluded Lagos Primaries the people of Lagos did not come to his aid. Unlike his predecessor Fashola who made a positive impact during his 4-year term and got re-elected, Ambode lost to a rival within his political party APC before even getting a shot at competing with the PDP. It goes without saying that Ambode should have cleaned up his act long before now.

He still has till next year before he hands over to Sanwo-Olu (APC) or Jimi Agbaje (PDP). Let’s see what good he can do for us to remember him by. IBB = Third Mainland Bridge; Obasanjo = Mobile telephony; Fashola = BRT and roadworks; Ambode = ???

The Space Between Us

Living in Lagos does things to you. Even the most patient of hearts can get stirred up by the antics of inconsiderate human beings. Many Lagosians I’ve come into contact with are not keen on queuing even though it is a civil gesture designed to give some sort of order. How else would a cashier know who is next to be served?

On several occasions I’ve had to literally bite my tongue to avoid hurling harsh comments at the following character profiles:

Pull up to the bumper: These kind of people don’t care that their basket, trolley or crotch keeps bumping into my innocent, unprotected behind. They reserve no apologies and they keep dry humping you until you’ve gotten off the queue. Grace Jones can relate.

One Two Step and Slide: These clowns see you in the queue and rather than go to the back of it they just pretend to be oblivious, stand by your side and slide into you like a DM. There’s nothing clever about this behaviour yet it appears to be common with impatient folk in these parts. Big Shaq probably gets me.

Other Side of the World: What makes these people the most annoying is that they impact everyone in the queue – not just me. They come from the opposite end of the queue and start their own queue because the rest of us have zero sense of direction and chose to buy time not groceries. Everyone gives them the look of death and beckon on the sales attendant to ignore them (or else). KT Tunstall knows what I’m talking about.

If you ever find yourself in a queuing situation anywhere in the world please exercise patience and stay in line till it gets to your turn. Doing otherwise is just a cheap way of telling everyone else you’re a complete asshole.

…and if I didn’t manage to communicate then hopefully you’ve gotten some good soundbites out of this 🙂

Kellogg’s made in Nigeria is not so grrreat!

tony tiger kelloggsAs a little child growing up in London I got excited whenever I saw Tony the Tiger on TV promoting the addictive, mouth-watering Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. The cartoon mascot was legendary – moving was such agility, strength and athletic precision when spinning that blue and white striped cereal bowl on his paw index without spilling a drop of milk. I couldn’t get enough of those ads and they worked like a charm on me – I needed my Kellogg’s fix. My mum didn’t disappoint – she took me through Frosted Flakes, Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies.

Years later when my folks and I relocated to Nigeria I was only fortunate to taste Kellogg’s cereals if my mum traveled to the UK and brought some boxes back. With time some local supermarkets began to stock them but at double the price of Nigerian-made cereals. You can therefore imagine my excitement when I recently heard that Kellogg’s was going to made in Nigeria  Whoa! That could only mean great taste at an affordable price. Local competition like Nasco Cornflakes wouldn’t stand a chance. At least that’s what I initially thought.

Analysis of the Kellogg’s Fruit ‘n Fibre experience:

Taste – 2/10 (Like expired, freeze-dried raisins with a side of unsalted Crispix savoury mix – horrible on the tongue and tough to swallow)

Quality – 3/10 (This cereal couldn’t stay crisp in a bowl of ice-cold milk after just 4 seconds – put this slop in your mouth and you’ll be soggy sorry.

Packaging – 9/10 (Definitely can’t fault the foil wrapping for suggesting locked-in freshness. I was utterly deceived.

Price – 5/10 (The price was N1,599 or $4.40. I wouldn’t buy this Kellogg’s variety of Made In Nigeria cereals again even if it was $1).

Crazy Nigerian Rating: 4/10

For the record, I’m all for supporting made in Nigeria goods but I’m not going to pretend that the quality is not wack when it actually is. Kellogg’s (made in Britain) is a brand I love and varieties of which I have had no negative experience, in case anyone thought I was trying to throw shades. This is more like constructive criticism – make the cereals with the same quality used to make cereals in the UK or don’t produce sub standard quality in Nigeria.

Off to enjoy some good ol’ granola.

.::TCN::.

This is Nigeria – a crazy perspective?

Before This Is Nigeria I first watched the critically acclaimed and controversial viral video of Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino (and NOT Danny Glover’s son),my first thoughts were, ‘What the #%*@!’ ‘Oh my…’ ‘Aaaaaaah’ ‘Did he just…’‘Whoa…shiiiiii’ ‘This N-word is crazy!’ (I’m 50% sure it was in that order). This is America is an inch perfect depiction of the land of the free today, after which Americans (black and white) would hopefully realize they are all slaves to the media.

Switch continents and you may have come across the comical This is Africa version on a much lighter note. But it was only a matter of time before one of our ‘bahd guys’ in Naija produced This is Nigeria.This is Nigeria by Falz

This video must be watched by EVERY Nigerian in the world repeatedly, so they stay WOKE! It’s not just another music video. 

Falz, the talented comedian, actor and award-winning music artist, recently came out with a well-timed copy of Donald Glover’s masterpiece but with a full Naija twist. The recipe for this equally controversial concoction included:

  • Killer Fulani herdsmen
  • Missing Chibok girls
  • SARS harassment
  • Corrupt government workers
  • Codeine addicts
  • Big Brother Distractions
  • Yahoo glorification
  • Perverted pastors and more…

Whilst I applaud Falz for reaching the #1 Trending spot on Youtube I also want to give him accolades for capturing the desperately deteriorating values of the country. We clearly lack respect for human life and we are also being distracted by less important things rather than asking questions like, ‘What can I do to make my own little contribution to a better Nigeria?’ Instead the reality is like ‘Every man for himself’ and ‘By any means necessary’. This video must be watched by EVERY Nigerian in the world repeatedly, so they stay WOKE! It’s not just another music video. The last time that I saw something this daring by a Nigerian was during the #OccupyNigeria movement a couple of years ago. The crowd that rallied peacefully at Freedom park was a sight to behold, until it sadly ended when the NLC got gate-crashed the party. The T.I.N video is a wake-up call for Nigerians to snap out of the Matrix. To Mr. Falz I say, ‘Wehdone sir!’

Finally, with the T.I.A video set to cross 200 million views, the only video that could possibly eclipse this is one is a replicated video with the lead subject portrayed by a white dude **scampers off** Enjoy the video 🙂

Infringing on Banana Rights

bananaI want to make an appeal to Nigerian artists who insist on using the derogative association of the male genitalia with the innocent, beautiful, healthy fruit – the Banana in their lyrics. The fruit is already awkward enough with its suggestive shape and length. What pains me is the fact that children sing the catchy, banana-filled songs which invade our radiowaves, cable tv and consequently, our eardrums. Nobody is safe.

A banana should only be going into one place – the digestive system. It should not be ‘falling’ on anybody. I shouldn’t have to worry about a child coming up to ask, ‘Uncle Tonwa, what does banana fall on you mean?’ How am I supposed to answer that question folks?

In recent times, cassavas haven’t had a smooth ride either. Food for thought.

What I did after a Traffic Warden seized my Driver’s Licence (Pt.2)

traffic wardenI have to admit – I didn’t have a plan when I sped off and left the traffic warden eating my dust (and pocketing my driver’s licence too). I was close to my parent’s house so I drove in and parked my car there. At least the car would be safe from impounding, I thought. But that didn’t stop me from looking at my rear view mirror every five seconds for a police bike on my tail. I met only my sister at home and broke the news (okay, that sounded kinda dramatic – to break news usually sounds like one is about to announce something tragic. I digress). My lil’ sister was in shock to say the least, like she had seen a ghost that was equally shocked that I had driven off without my licence. My explanation still left my sister’s jaw on the floor. She went straight into DLR (Driver’s Licence Retrieval) mode and ran some suggestions by me.

After deliberating for a couple of minutes I even went further to call a friend whom I thought would be able to advise me on what to do, based on his own experiences. He told me to prepare to give ‘something small’. We were ready to put the plan into action. We set out in my car but parked it in a corner about 300 meters away from the traffic warden’s spot. We strolled down towards the junction where the incident happened and then I told my sister to wait behind while I approached the traffic warden who was in the midst of a policeman and some LASTMA officials (the boys in black yellow). I caught his attention and he came over to deafen me with his broken English (insert action film music here).

‘Why you run na?’ he said with a smirk in his sweaty face.

‘I don’t want to argue. I just want my licence.’

‘No problem. I have already taken it to the station. You can collect it there.’, and he turned away with his nose up in the air.

‘What?’, I couldn’t contain my annoyance.

‘But oga, you suppose bring sumtin.’

‘Bring what? Look, you don’t want to me drag this matter’. I flashed a special ID card to him at this point. ‘I’ll go to the station and collect my licence’. I started to walk away and then he called me.

‘Oga wait. Make we go one side’. We walked a few meters away from his colleagues and got to way my sister was waiting. My sister greeted him and he reciprocated. They exchanged a few ‘pleasantries’ while I frowned (but they didn’t seem to take notice). The traffic warden insisted again that I should bring something (just like my friend said earlier) and that he would get my driver’s licence back for me. With about an hour of my life already wasted I just decided to part with N1,000 (less than $3) and to my surprise he pulled out my driver’s licence! To think that he lied and never actually went to drop it at the station in the first place. And worse still he asked for a bribe which I was forced to heed in order to get my licence….aaaargh! But the ID card sure got him rattled.

My sister and I walked back to my car and drove back home to gist about the whole ordeal. After that incident no one had to tell me to make a photocopy of my licence – that’s what I’ll be offering any official that accosts me on the road. At least that way I can drive off without ever looking back:)

What I did after a Traffic Warden seized my Driver’s Licence

traffic wardenWhen I was learning to drive in my late teens, the ‘qualified’ driving instructor advised that while driving I must assume that everyone else is drunk. Why? The logic was that if they were actually drunk then they wouldn’t drive properly. This would mean that they could run into me so I would have to be extra alert and preempt unforeseen accidents or close shaves. Unfortunately these words of wisdom didn’t pay off when I (allegedly) beat a non-existent traffic light and got stopped by a drunk traffic warden.

The uniformed clown had actually beckoned the vehicle right in front of me to drive forward so I tailed it closely. Obviously I wasn’t close enough else I would have smashed the warden’s legs. I said to him, ‘But you told me to come’. However he denied it and said he told me to stop. He looked at me in shock when I started raising my voice and so he directed me to ‘park well’ (away from oncoming traffic). He came to the front passenger window and started to engage me in shit-chat (no typo) which I’ve heard all before. It started with, ‘Let me see your driver’s licence!’ Then after I handed it over and he pretended to understand what he was examining, the next thing he said was, ‘Open your door.’

‘What the hell for?’ I retorted.

‘Look here, if you don’t want me to take your car to the station then open your door now’

I turned away from him and stared intently at my two hands firmly placed on the steering wheel, like a racer waiting for the starting pistol to be fired. I weighed my options: He gets in. We drive to the station. My car gets clamped. I pay a heavy fine and bank account bleeds. Total time wasted = 45mins to 1 hour.

I decided to go for my next option – I sped off and let the traffic warden choke on my dust! No money lost. Car is safe. Total time wasted = 3 mins. But as I let the adrenaline wear off it suddenly dawned on me that my driver’s licence was still in that traffic warden’s hand! not a photocopy…MY ORIGINAL DRIVER’S LICENCE – DAMN IT!!! (To be continued)