Thursday, 30 April 2015

too cool to fax

techie things. Been sitting next to an ergo looking slick black printer for over a year and never figured how wonderfully advanced the little shit is. I usually print the odd document, only walking up to it to collect stuff. Then my dad calls asking I fax him a document. Fax it? Oh yeah fax (been a while).  Did printer have a fax function? Vague memory, but damn if I know what it is. It did say all-in-one. So I stand there like a good lemon, trying to work out its futuristic display console. Trying to look cool with it too.

"copy", "print", "scan", "email" (ey?!), "make tea".

But where is the darn fax button? I poke around, simply not getting it. I write the most complex software but can't work my printer! I'm wishing I read the bloody manual. About to give up I press email. The shit whizzes into life, display shows visual instructions on how to scan and email. Fax is so 2012, keep up people!  It's a breeze as I place the document and tap in papi's email address.

You know, the fuckers could have labelled it "scan and email". Now gotta figure out if it actually makes tea


Happy International Jazz day


No, I ain't making up, it is an official day declared by the UN. Don't ask, I'm sure there's a good reason it's on 30th April. Ironically I was on the barefoot contessa's blog yesterday enjoying the incredible Kamasi Washington, a new young modern aggressive free jazz artist, wondering why jazz don't get no shine.


Flying Lotus and Kamasi were responsible for the string arrangements on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly album, very talented brothers.  Listen to his epic new album "The Epic" on NPR:



So I hoped over to iTunes to see who's banging. Hmm, didn't see a lot of negus heads like Kamasi on there. OK, I'm being black bourgeois, but browsing on there you'd think jazz was a exclusively white music genre. No wonder it ain't saying nothing to the kids.  Or is it?

So who exactly is celebrating International Jazz day? Or was J Cole right with the below?:




(Jeez chrome! You gotta turn everything into a discussion about race! What? Yes! the fcuk outta here!)

OK, maybe, just maybe I'm over-braining ish. Enjoy the day. Listen to some good Jazz

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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Baltimore, circa 2015

the iconic ..

.. and for a bit of hilarity (click to enlarge)


The idea of a Cellist playing music on what was recently a bomb site is kinda .. strange? no? But in a way it makes sense.  It's like a reclaim of the space so to speak, restoration of normality. You can argue that those who use bombs to settle scores, spread terror, seek parity, whatever, are beyond redemption.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Authenticity .. A Way of Life

chill pill taken. sorry guys

Really interesting convo from one of my fav YouTube channels DeadEndHipHop, the topic of discussion being Does Authenticity Matter in Hip Hop.  So does it?



ha! really heated discussion. for a certain generation Hip Hop was/is a way of life. I suppose the entertainment aspect is a lot stronger these days.

1

Institutionalised by institutional lies

"I am a black African, as black as the moon, blacker than the heart of an Aryan, a proud monkey, you eager to terminate my culture"

It's a misquote, but I'm like a government author. I don't exactly know what I'm blogging about, my mindstate is borderline fucked up. Lost my office entry card (third time this year), library wrote saying I owe them dollars for books I don't remember borrowing, outstanding parking fine, text message from Barclays bank saying I'm over the overdraft limit,  my bicycle still in repair.

"everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth" - Mike Tyson, circa 19+*

I remember feeling conflicted, misusing my influence.

Kendrick Lamar, The Blacker The Berry (single cover art), To Pimp A Butterfly (2015) #Kendrick #Lamar

Monday, 27 April 2015

The blacker the berry

It's impossible not to feel a rage about the spate of extrajudicial of black people in the USA. Ferguson and the rage it unleashed made zero difference, no lessons learned. New instances of police abuse against black men and women reported daily, the brutality sickening, unrelenting. The irony of it is the presence of Obama in the white house. The police, agents of the state, systematically absolved of any wrongdoing, protected even when the evidence is clear.  Sometimes you want to switch it off, the distress of it all. Twitter and the rest of the Internets were alive with the Baltimore protests, numerous accounts of racial abuse and beatings, a lot of them unreported for fear of being targeted by the police. I read with dread, a populace completely under the cosh.

Unless you are a black person in the western world you will never understand the feeling of impotence and humiliation racial profiling can cause. It's like they try to bait you, try your intelligence and patience. But if that was all.. it would be a different discussion. The killings you can't defend from.

It's like the 60s all over again

if these walls can talk

Game of draws, uneventful 0-0. Didn't expect Arsenal to beat Chelsea, should have put dollars on that draw. A good laugh always. My young sons support the blues so there's always a bit of rivalry when the two play. Jovial promises of coke if either side win. I'm an admirer of the beautiful game, zero interest in silly tribal rivalries (except for Tottenham, hate em with a passion, associate them with the murderous Israeli army. Yiddish army. misplaced projection? whatever, fuck em). So yeah, an afternoon of father and sons, bonding.


loving you is complicated! loving you is complicated! loving you is complicated! loving is simple emotions, so I stopped loving you cos loving you is complicated.  I stopped believing in love so now I'm free cos loving you is complicated!

Beautiful Monday, gonna see if my bike's ready

Saturday, 25 April 2015

if you can talk you can sing, if you can walk you can dance



The language of music is the language of the spirit.

Daara-J, a Senegalese hip hop live music group, remain one of my favourite crews. Their critically acclaimed 2003 album Boomerang still gets bumped in the whip, a masterpiece in rap and live instrumentation. Being described as "one of the hip hop albums of the century" and winning the BBC R3 best African Album of 2003 is no mean feat.  I remember seeing them live during a WOMAD music festival a few years back and they were as live on stage as they came across on record.  Damn! I've not been to a festival in a minute!

Daara J are a prime example of the universality of music.  Makes no difference if you don't understand their native Wolof or French. As Talib Kweli raps in the song African Dream, if you can walk you can dance (note to self, read award winning book by Marion Molteno of the same title)



"these cats drink champagne, toast death and pain like slaves on a ship talking about whose got the flyest chain". Talib didn't mince no words on this one, heavy!

enjoy

goodness gracious the papers!

See, can't trust hipsters.  Mr. bike dude still ain't called to give me a status update, despite the two messages I've left.  How difficult is it to weld a broken bicycle frame?  We agreed £45, but at this rate I'm sure he's gonna come up with some reason why it has to be £100, exotic aluminum weld he's had to import from Switzerland or wherever the fuck.  I just want my bike back, cha!


I don't earn enough papers for all this shit!  I tempted to go to Lewisham college and take a welding course. Hm, might throw in plumbing, car mechanics, electrician and double glazing while I'm at it. The bane of my life, broken fixtures and fittings.  My boisterous sons have mashed up everything in the yard with their football and I've run out of gaffer tape.  Everytime I get a quote for some shit that needs fixing I get pissed.  £250 for broken glass, £450 for some shit in the car that goes crank crank each time I change the gears.  If I don't get rich in the next couple of years?  I will fucking rob Abbey National (broomstick-in-black-bag pretend gun and all).

Surely it was cheaper to sort things out back in the day?  I've got a headache

***

Still on the theme of money .. enjoy (ya bitch)

Friday, 24 April 2015

Captain's Log #200

Morning blog people, hope you all slept well? I should have done like you and gone to bed early, now I'm paying for it. Cue endless trips to the kitchen, black coffee ..

Post #200! Yay! I'm sure it's a significant milestone (like noticing the black erotica post has 69 views, lol). Fuck it, everyday is a milestone. With that said, TGIF, music.  Can't get enough of J Cole's Apparently.  Didn't fuck with it at first but the shit's grown on me big time.  Very musical number, with rapping and singing, heartfelt lyrics




"Aim for the stars and I shouldn't have missed
But I was riding on fumes so I stopped by the moon
Now I'm sitting on the hood of this bitch
Like thanks for the view"



had to update after spotting and spinning this after listening to another Reggae mixtape. Nah, no slackness, despite what the video cover says ;~)

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Africa is not a country

Watch some CNN the other day while waiting in a client's visiting lounge. Depressing affair. We Africans are not having a good news time. Battered by our fellow brothers in SA, dying in the thousands off the shores of southern Italy, lawlessness in Libya and Somalia, terrorism all over the place... the litany of bad news the core stock of 24 hours rolling television. Block reporting as if that is all Africa is about. Put me in a right shitty mood for the meeting. They could've put on cartoon network or mtv (sic).



But it's not all bad news and if you listen to news away from the big networks there are good things to be heard. Music festivals in Mali, farmers in Kenya trialing mobile micro payment systems, economic summits, transition of democratic power (a first), bit and bobs, under reported as usual. 
BBC world service through the day and the odd Nigerian radio off the TuneIn app, counter balance things. Africa is not a country.

***

Nsibidi .. The Igbos of Eastern Nigeria did indeed have a writing system, (more here and here). Still trying to find time to get into it, my Igbo writtens having been learnt in Latin alphabet system (pig latin I call it lol).  I vaguely remember a reference to it in Igbo language classes, but it was never taught.  Igbo, like many African languages, is a tonal language, not captured very well by the Latin system.  E.g. the words egg, cloth, cry all translate to "Akwa".  This makes it often difficult to figure out what word is referred to outside of context of usage.

It's fascinating how, across the diaspora, African tonality has been syncretized into the English language. Take the word bad, only black people will find a million ways to use it.  Hmm, maybe English needs some ideographic treatment.

Something new to learn.



***

Russia is a country though ...



UK Government propaganda or bloody good journalistic reporting/documentary making? You decide

Parents vs Teachers b/w Priests

On my way to parents teachers evening today, always fun. Knowing my rascal year-7 11 year old dude I'm sure there some bollocking to be had. He's the type who always gets caught, Mr have-the-last-word-talk-too-much. Brilliant at maths just like his old daddy (my awesome genes, what?), way way better sports man, football and rugby nut. Gets that bit from his mum, as she's want to boast, "I played rounders for my school!", like this Nigerian heads is supposed to know what rounders is.

I don't even remember my parents attending anything. Having appointed that I was to be the Catholic Reverend Father of the house (what is it with middle kids? older brother the doctor, young sister whatever married off), I was duly shipped off to some village seminary secondary school. Never to be heard of again, cane wielding priests, no parents teachers required.


No I wasn't a troublesome kid, ok the odd every morning fights with my siblings, visit to classmate's family to apologise for cracking his skull (i shook the desk he was standing on).  My dad got it into his head one day that 11 year old me would make a good priest. Dunno, maybe atone for his sins, he never goes to church that man. That didn't work out very well did it? I loved the school, straightened me out of my London ways, taught me my local language and the Bible. Like morning and Sunday mass and prayers and novena 365 days of the year for five fucking years! I can quote verses in my sleep. Got quite sick of the church in the end. Ha! made me the atheist I am today (OK, still retain some belief, just in case, you know, judgement day convo with Saint Peter and all). No it wasn't that bad, it was a very good tough school and I learned a hell lot there. Glad I attended.  

Will try visit next time I go to Nigeria

reminiscing about snatching the crown

"so ahead of my time even when I rhyme about the future I'm reminiscing"

OK, I'm not that afro-futuristic but I'd love to be that deterministic about my future self. It's like when you plan changes, you hardcore project, mentally picture yourself in the new situation, kinda like you've always been there. I suppose like a boxer on judgement night, trainer yelling in your ear "Go get em Son! We got this". We'll see.

So why all this psycho babble? Seasons and hedging. I've been at my work place for long, lots of work changes happening, albeit covert. Cost cutting with zero consultation, more strategic senior appointments in the Delhi and New York offices. I put forward my candidates for this year's university interns, top management barked hard.  "For £16K we can get a senior software developer in India".  The commitment to education is something I and the old management worked hard on, with the internship and graduate schemes. In no uncertain words we've been told to hands off, the recruitment policy now the realm of the Americans.

Don't wanna be caught unawares, like redundancy and stuff. Been around the block enough to recognise the signs

***

"while silly nigguz argue who's gonna snatch the crown, look around my nigga, white people have snatched the sound"

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Bitch don't kill my vibe

Transitions, delicate things. A change of state. solid to liquid, bad to good, full house to empty yard, good kid to maad city. Some people handle transitions well, grounded in reality. Others? Shit can be strange.

So I'm outside having a cigarette with my mother-in-law. It's mothers day and she wears a certain sadness, memories of her recently deceased mum. I suggest she take a trip to the cemetery to lay flowers. She shoots me this quizzical, guilty look. Leans forward and whispers

"I have her remains in the loft"
"You what?"
"Shh! the urn init, it's in the loft"

I am straight mortified. "Do your daughters know this?". Mumbles about some shit or the other. She's holding onto her dead mother.  Is what happens when a culture increasingly moves away from traditional religious burial rites. I don't want to be cremated anymore! I'll be religious for my burial. Get Father Eustace, the Shaman, obeah man in the market, sheikh taliban, whoever. Don't want to end up in a fucking urn in the fucking loft. I will straight up haunt

When I die I want niggas doin drive-by's with my ashes in the car

Monday, 20 April 2015

my bike is being fixed by a hipster b/w bumpin' in the whip

*silly blog title*

Didn't realize how much it cost to get an Aluminium weld done on a snapped bicycle frame. Quotes came in from £70 to £100.  Welding Guild cut me slack, I'm a lowly paid overworked software developer, just wants to ride his bike :)) Finally found a dude to do it for £45.  Hipster white dude received my bike at the workshop, face full of beard, bomber jacket and skinny jeans, pineapple fragranced cigarello dangling from his lips, looked like one of those who makes Aluminium Art in his spare time. Expected him to launch into bicycle-babble lol!


I'm uber hipster

Yes, I was tempted to jack it in and fork out a few hundreds for a new bike, but that is too easy.  We in the United Kingdom have this culture of chucking stuff away at the first sign of damage. Many a Nigerian is making a good living fixing up and shipping slightly damaged TVs and Fridges back to the Motherland (don't ask about quality control), straight from the recycle centers of London.


***

My faith in Hip Hop is being renewed by a new wave of real life/socially conscious mainstream rappers.  In a genre flooded with pseudo studio gangsters and Drake clones (I like Drake), rappers J Cole and Kendrick Lamar stand out.  Lamar even more so for his musical bravery, delving into P-Funk and Jazz on a rap album.  I know, I know, but we've kinda ended up in this musical landscape where today's Hip Hop sound is all auto-tuned out, euro-thrashed, anything new making you raise an eyebrow.  Me? I'm good, like my music taking a chance.

I've had 2014 Forest Hills Drive and To Pimp A Butterfly on back-to-back rewind.  Excellent albums.  I had all but given up on the mainstream and their releases go to show you can take a chance on music with a message, people want to hear non-braggadocious shit too.







Shout out to Fly Lo, main producer on Lamar's album, dude is out there with his music and his thoughtful visuals (video below always gives me the creeps)

Friday, 17 April 2015

Nouveau rich and Vladimir Putin


It had to be an evening of documentaries. I fired up BBC iPlayer on the TV screen and made it so. If I'm gonna plunk on the sofa and cane the whole evening I bloody well have the right to tailor my viewing (sod terrestial TV and cartoon network, go to bed kids!). iPlayer is a great platform, maybe light on real edgy shows, but there's always something for everyone. Bravo. Right, what did I watch?

Yes, a couple random property shows. What's with the super rich and mega basement extensions? A lot of houses in the streets of Chelsea, Kensington and Mayfair areas are listed, the only planning permission granted is letting residents build underground. Deep underground, like two/three floors deep. Some crazy impressive structures, swimming pools, gyms, offices, cinemas etc. Unfortunately a living nightmare for residents as the building work takes like two years to complete. A few of which have had collapsed. And all for what? Some of the residents only stay like 3 months of the year in these houses. Blame the nouveau rich, Arabs, Russians and Chinese sovereign funds. Them and greedy property developers driving up London property prices. Most expensive city in the world to live in.


Still on that tip I find and settle for a Reggie Yates documentary on modern Russia under Vladimir Putin. Crazy, crazy fish bowl mentality on display, from Putin appreciation cults to hardcore far right nationalists. Reggie's come a long way from CBBC children, but nothing would have prepared him for this. Brave guy, attended the biggest scariest nationalist in Moscow, openly got subjected to intense racist views (a guy told him he was a mongrel), was pawned by nationalists claiming very dodgy "tolerance" (they put his attendance up on Facebook and Twitter). Not a nice lot.

Great insightful documentary. Only crazy non white people go to Russia. Oh yeah, some refugee from DRC Congo got knifed in the stomach, apparently a daily occurrence for a lot of migrants, knife crime on the rise.