Sunday, March 19, 2006

The TV weepy

Iwaya sked for this. This is the piece dude. few changes but...

In Africa, the death of someone special is a very hard thing to handle. Unlike other people who can callously throw the dead away without a second thought, here we make it a very big ceremony when someone eventually goes to meet the creator.

I try to be an African through and through when I can. When the TV decided it had shown its last movie, I wanted to scream at it, pull its wires and generally cause it to reconsider. But then, such behaviour is not African. It would cast the whole of Africa in a bad light. So I decided to just swallow the expletives I had lined up for it.

At the moment, I was thinking that I could not handle not having TV. How was I going to sit through the day on weekends just staring at nothing? How was I going to start up conversations with Crazy Clyde from the neighbours? It was all so depressing. All the options I could think of were thwarted as soon as they were conceived.

My fears were born of not knowing what lay in the future. I had never not had TV in my life. I grew up watching TV. For crying out loud, as soon as I had my first suckle after birth, I asked my mama where the TV was at. Other kids remember skipping rope and playing cops and robbers; I remember racing home after school to watch Daktari and his pet Judi. Of course most of you will not remember these two most adorable characters but they made my evenings back when.

I will admit maybe I was a little bit of a loner. But what could I have done when everyone else around was more interested in raising dust and throwing stones? I have always been more civilized than your average small town kid.

When the TV died I thought that the rupture was upon us. We were just warming up for another feel-good movie when it just went blank. I can imagine what was going on its wiry head. Probably, it saw us all expectant and not caring what it thought about being worked day in and day out. Had anyone thought of taking it for a checkup lately? No.

Being African, I decided to turn my attention to other things. Maybe, just maybe I would learn to live without the box. I discovered that the dog had grown old. Wasn’t it just yesterday that this thing had come in as a pup?

I noticed that my dad did not come home early anymore. In my childhood, he used to come back after work and give me a piggy back. That was before I really got into watching the box, before I forgot about everything else.

I got a rude awakening. My Utopia was really a desolate wasteland. TV was not all that. In a few short years, I had managed to turn myself into bleary eyed psycho who lived, ate and slept for TV.

This week, we are going to give TV a special send off. We shall call all relatives and in-laws. All friends and people with a stake in the whole matter, namely those who want to sell us a new TV, girlfriends, who’ve been locked out of our lives because of we were too busy watching fiction to give a fig about what building a stable relationship, parents who had given up on having mature conversations with us because we had turned into Homer Simpson and all other such people.

We will talk about all the good things that TV has done, and the bad ones. Come to think about it, there’s actually little we have got out our association with TV. So we’ll be there to say, “so long old pal, it was good knowing you but if there’s any such thing as reincarnation, please relocate to Siberia, stupid box.”

Thursday, March 16, 2006

That’s a thought

Just thinking…y’all seen the Kenyan Bloggers Webring? I bet you have. It seems like a thousand years ago when Jay wrote that post asking where Ugandan bloggers are at. But the truth is that compared to the guys in Kei, we are still playing. Of course, you can’t force guys to go online when they don’t have the means. Most of the guys who post their thoughts have easy access.

The times I have discovered a smashing Ugandan blog and let out a whoop are gems in my existence. That makes me believe that there are bloggers out there hiding and writing for a different audience. Maybe, we can actually have a little heaven down here if they all came into one fold.

Blogging is still young in Ug. Someone told me last week about an experience he had with a boda boda guy; when he asked to be shown to an Internet café, the bike guy went like, “What is a café? What is an Internet?” This happening in the year of our Lord, 2006!

This could mean that even if we got all the available Ugandan bloggers, we would not have the quorum to start something on the lines of what’s going on Kenya side. But it could also mean that we just haven't proven our worth for these blue bloods to come out and play with us. I still think we can start with what we got and build from there.

The months I have been part of the blogosphere have taught me a lot. It’s about the twisted wisdom, the witty remarks, the downright dirty eloquence that will always be found on this space. The fact that this is still relatively new (at least in this part of the world), we have what can be related to a blank canvas, waiting for the first brush strokes. The possibilities are infinite.

Okay. That’s the end of my moment of brilliance. Lets get on with life.

Monday, March 13, 2006

And then some...

Yeah, I know. Someone said my list of fav characters is way too short. Well, maybe I just can’t recall all of them. I’m always reading a book. Sometimes I read just because I know that in the end, the knowledge I’m putting inside my head is going to influence me in some way later on. Sometimes, its just because I can’t sit still in a place without reading a book.

I have discovered that the stories I read are far more important to me than the characters that carry them. Probably, this is born out of the knowledge that they are a creation of the author’s mind and he couldn’t care less if the character is called Marlene or Angel. So I think that’s why I don’t store up lotsa names from the fiction I’ve read.

But I love characters. I love the baddies too. Sometimes, I love the bad guys more than I do the saints coz they get to say all the cool lines and all. I sometimes think Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry was given all the lines that the bad guys should have been saying but again, that film was done in 1971. Backs then, the bad guys were written as dumb. The hero would come around and work hard at looking cool, as though looking cool was the most important thing. Clint Eastwood’s “Come on, make my day” was supposed to be some evil genius’ line. Well. The horse has already bolted…

Some of my best bad guys ever are Denzel Washington’s Detective Alonzo Harris in Training Day, Spacey’s Roger “Verbal” Kint in The Usual Suspects, Robert Patrick’s T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (God, I went around school with my books marked T-1000) and Linda Blair as Satan in The Exorcist. This was the first movie to really scare the living out of me. I had seen Thriller as a kid and thought it was scary. When I was in P6, I sneaked in and watched part of The Exorcist; it put me off horrors forever. But I could not forget the way that chick did her thing.

I liked Nuclear Man in Superman IV: Quest for Peace for his strength and for making it clear to me that the man of steel could get his backside whipped. Incidentally, it was Gene Hackman who did his voice. That voice full of disdain for everything that was not as perfect like him. Jim Carrey in The Mask is really a freak. That dude needs help. Yesterday. No wonder he is always smiling like a fool. No one smiles like that and claims he’s fine up there.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Its one of those days. Bad, bleak, dark, whatever...Sorry thing is that its going to be like this for some time. Trying to find some target to vent my frus on but they all just jumped ship.

So i'll just go and wait for Johnny Bravo.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

People I would like to meet

Over the years, after touring the world of literature, you realise that its easy to just close your eyes and see a completely different world. That’s the beauty of reading; the little boy with no brothers, the pretty little girl who’s daddy is always absent, the intern doctor who is dog-tired but cant find sleep…These all can turn the pages of some nondescript book and find their home. The different worlds in books have their own heroes, guys we’d all want to be like when we grow up.

Don Coleone
Of course, here I mean Michael and his dad. There is no one as cool as Michael Coleone as the avenging angel. Pacino is superb in those Godfather flicks and for that reason, I want to be like the Coleones. Reading the book gives you the edge over the actors you see on screen. What they are portrayed as able to do you can do a thousand times better.

Now that is a chick to die for (no pun intended). Imagine the fire she set off in that Nigerian village when the dudes discovered that for all her fairness, no one could get her! Back in school, while studying lit, everyone’s eyes glazed over when the teacher tried to put into a Ugandan context that woman’s beauty. Now that I have Jesus, I know that her crazy husband-god would not have the balls to try that shit on me. I’m not Ekueme.

Shakes Fimbo
Just Shakes. The guy is a scoring machine. Why can’t the strikers in the Uganda Cranes emulate him. Even if they can’t be as cool as he is, at least they can try to copy some of those shots he’s always taking at the end of the book. The rest of his team mates are just followers. Maybe if I had to take second best, I would go with the Dancing Rasta.

Jack Python
That he was dreamt up by Jackie Collins is not a problem. After all, I actually thought she was a good writer at some point in my life. Of course, there is a time in life when reading a book that resembles a porn movie script is considered very essential. But Mr. Python is a character written with thought. I wanted to be that dude so I could get myself an Angel Hudson too. That’s actually the only reason I liked him; against all odds, he got the bestest chick of them all.

Sonchai in Bangkok 8
Sonchai. Thai monk that’s also the coolest detective in town. Plus he’s not on the take. He is the kind of cop I would dream of being. It’s a dog’s life being a cop in Ug, apart from the life of a traffic cop, of course. But this cop is the best. Bangkok 8 was written by a guy who must have had a vision of Kampala before he sat down to write. This detective was to be seen zooming in and out of the busy traffic on a boda boda. The city has dirty cops, dirty politicians and dirty entertainment. Is that Kampala or is that Kampala!

Gaius Julius Caesar
The first book in the Emperor series is seriously not all that. It is too academic for me. It tries too strongly to tell a story that has no credible sources around anymore and the end result is that it sounds hollow. But Gaius is a real star. From early childhood, a time when his side kick Marcus Brutus tries to steal his thunder, Caesar rides the wave expertly and comes up as victor.

Jack Ryan
Okay, I want to be this guy just because of the way he kicks bottoms. Jack Ryan is what James Bond should have been. The world laughed at this attempt by America to reply to the British super spy but I’m not laughing with those guys. I think Ryan is cool…just that.

All those under rated heroes in books I have read and forgotten. All regular Joe heroes who live on the pages of books such as Man and Boy and The Dark Half… you all rock!

Can't understand

Eventually, even with the most celebrated romances, there is bound to be turbulence. When that happens, people are forced to stop and search themselves and ask that all important question, WTF am I doing here, acting the clown with this here chick?

The dude in the mix realizes that Kansas has gone bye bye when chick over there starts acting strange. She wants ALL his time and all his space. She wants him to drop everything when she steps in the area. Now, what’s with that!?

Females will have to help me understand them better. Coz I’ve tried and honestly, I think I’ve not made much headway. I don’t think I’m going to understand how a person who attracted you because of his long dreads can suddenly start looking unsexy because of his dreads. For crying out loud, only his mama is allowed to make comments about his hair. If you don’t want to hang with a dude who does his hair, what were you thinking in the first place?

And they try all the tricks. They use the tear jerker thing and they use the gift thing. They put on faces when competition shows up and wear their hems higher every time, if it’ll get your attention. Then you turn your head and all hell breaks loose. Suddenly, they own you. It’s the same thing as happens when a chick starts that carrying-her-wardrobe-into yours. When you play the fool, they strike.

Kampala is the city where you get this drama in the fullest doses. The girls are on the prowl. They’ve read their Danielle Steel and listened to all the Mariah Carey they could find. They are in the ‘right’ state of mind. And they are going to get you, no matter what you say. If it happened for that chick in the TV soap, it’s going to happen for them.

That’s how Kampala will be won.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Suprise, suprise

What do you know, in the end, that over rated Cowboy flick did not win best picture. In fact, in the end, only the Best Director award went to Ang Lee. The rest of the top six awards went to, Phillip Seymour for best actor, Reese Witherspoon for best actress and yada yada yada.

So why did the biggest movie of them all lose? Everyone told us that it had to win, after all those other awards it had swept in Hollywood. Can we put it down to fear? Did the grizzly old fellows who sit on the board get cold feet and malice this story?

Everyone remembers how the Christian Right in the US got the Ssalongo prez re elected. They flexed their muscles and America did what they wanted it to do. Did the likes of Pat Robertson tamper with Oscar? If they did, they did it so quietly. Those guys must have learned what it means to give a movie any kind of publicity. They learnt that when they open their mouths to condemn a picture, the Lord’s children would only be drawn the more. Best thing to do is shut it.

The flick that won best picture had not been considered as big deal. Until yesterday. Now, everyone in Kampala is going to be looking for it in the libraries. The guys in the libs are going to have to learn about it on a crash course because in the next few months, a great number of people are going to flock in looking Crash. Crash? What is that? Sounds like a drink. Does it come from LVBC?

But for all its notoriety, maybe, it had a good story. Maybe, it was actually the best movie of the year, seeing as Ang Lee made it. Remember, he gave us Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Fact is, Ugandan cinema operators must be mightily relieved. They wont have to answer questions about “that gay cowboy movie that has made such waves Stateside.”

Instead, Ugandan moviegoers will probably be asking for Crash. Nice diversion, eh? Marion Busingye said last week that Cineplex would probably not show Brokeback Mountain because of the expected backlash. I think it was insightful. Look at the backlash the movie has got t the Oscars.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Life as usual

For a moment, I had a big scare. I tried to open my blog and I failed. I could only get the very first post that put up last year when I started blogging. I could not stop the thoughts rushing around my head; had the bad guys got to me? Had the blogosphere been compromised?

Of course, I was relived when I tried for the tenth time and it opened. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had just been reading the forbidden website and I had been chuckling about the government’s efforts to stifle free thought. Of course, I choose to disregard some of the stuff those guys put up but I am not government so I am not the one who is looking bad in the eyes of Ugandans.

So what is the way forward? Could a time come when even blogging is considered a dying game? Can there be a complete detachment from the political goings on in the country that the guys who write these online diaries stick to writing about their funny shenanigans, to save their lives?

I don’t think so. When you live in Africa, in a country like ours, where politicians get all the publicity that they do, you can’t avoid getting political in your blog.

Sorry to all those who wanted Pr. Peter Ssema. Apparently, the voters looked at him, sitting there on the fence telling everyone that he did not have a political affiliation and they found him wanting. They decided to give their mandate to the guy they could understand. I still think it could have had something to do with the twisted American accent, though.