Saturday, 29 October 2016

Football, Sugar & Life

Yesterday I watched with pride my son win a tournament trophy with his U13 football team, as well as an individual best player award for top striker. Teams from as far as France took part, a real festival of football.  Nostalgia as I remembered all those early trips to the park, teaching him and his younger brother how to do step overs, countless football training sessions at Millwall FC youth club, kick around in the garden.

I played a lot of football growing up, the only sport we had available to us, saw nothing playing for hours in the local park. Simple times, didn't matter if the ball was pumped or flat, didn't have football boots. We played with abandon, the thwack of the ball our soundtrack. The freedom of childhood.  In my sons I see myself, what I was as a kid, the desire to run free, to chase the wind. God bless the child.

***

I went to see a friend last night, around 11.30pm. I'd been out for a drink with ex colleagues, guys and girls who I'd become really good friends with. They still think I'm lying when I say I'm in my mid 40s, say I carry on young, look younger even. Told them next time I'll wear a suit and a fedora suit, look older and distinguished :) My dad used to say "shhh, don't say the years, be it".  Never quite understood that, but as I grow older and draw from my wealth of experience of life I begin to get it.  You should be your age, life expects this of you. By all means live to the fullest, make mistakes. But learn from life. This way one remains "young", always ready to find out stuff one doesn't know. Hope I never lose the twinkle of curiosity.

See I lost track there, where was I?  Yes, went to see a friend. He answered the door, sweating like the proverbial Christmas goat (ask me to explain later). Drenched the fuck.

"Dude wha gwan fi you? It's almost midnight?"
"It's my blood sugar innit, it's over 20.1"
"20.1?"

He's Type 2 diabetic. Said sometimes his sugar levels gets so high his body slips into Type 1. Only to bring in down is very intense exercise otherwise its body pain and sleepless nights. The living room was strewn with bar bells, cycling bike, training mat, skipping ropes. I just sat looking at him work out, thinking how crazy it is that he is a prisoner to his condition. The irony is he's now super fit, mid 50s, best I've seen him in years. Dude was never one who didn't care of himself, feels very unlucky suffering this. Reminded me of diabetes amongst the men in my family and how I really have to take care of myself.

I'm borderline hopeless when it comes to my diet. I eat good, lots of veggies and stuff, but I'm prone to chocolate and biscuit binges. Luckily I cycle a lot so stay generally on the side of good health. But these things can't be taken for granted.

When he was done he measured his blood sugar again. A perfect 10. We rolled some marijuana and smoked the night away. Life is short

***

Was a bit frustrated when I was out yesterday. The bar we were in was rinsing out big bomba claat tunes, the DJ on his 1s and 2s hardcore. quality quality choons, Drake, Beyonce, some reggae, lots of newer rnb and stuff. But zilch in the way of a dance floor to shake a leg. English people like to hold a pint and chat too much, let good music go to waste. I was twitching like a mutha, the bass rocking my soul.

Frustrating

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

London, Sugar & Slavery

Oh the joys of half term. Remembering to take time off the right week, finding bits and bobs to do. Trooping 3 boys and a toddler around East London costs a pretty penny (£4.10 for a Panini? £1.30 for a Cookie? should have listened to the wife and packed lunch). And so we bundled into Museum of Docklands, a fine establishment packed full of London's maritime and economic history


The scale and intricacy of maritime trade, from the tools used to measure and weigh of goods, optical instruments made for sea faring, to the different roles involved is breathtaking.  This was full blown commerce, stocks, bonds and very unfortunately the trade in Black African lives.  Its easy to forget that most of the wealth that built London Docklands and fueled the growth of 18th/19th century London as an economic power house was off the backs of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Colonial rule.  Sugar, Spices and coffee poured in from the far flung reaches of the British empire.  The East Indian Company was one of the first corporate entities, equipped with an army and its own government, ruling India with an iron hand, with exclusive control of the Tea and spice trade.  A period of fantastic wealth and abject misery for those forced to produce it.  One shudders to think that a mere 150+ years ago my status in the London society and ability to move freely would be questioned.  Very scary.

list of slaves ships, their captains and owners and their "cargo"


Thankfully the English saw the light, and with the help of European and African abolitionists (freed slaves, Quakers, humanitarians alike, numerous arguments in Parliament) were able to end this awful inhuman racist trade.  Never again.

Because of this history of Slavery and colonialism London is a very important city in the African/Caribbean diaspora, a reflection of our shared common Black Experience.  Many of us wish it was not so these circumstances, but this is the experience we share, one from which we can only but build a brighter future for ourselves and our children.

I know this guy and his son (middle, left), attended same holy communion class as my son




Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Where's the frigging manual?

I can come across all whatever next, what nonsense, but this billboard had me smiling, too accurate. 

Where is the fucking manual?

When I and the wife had our first son (a.k.a Mr block head) he wouldn't latch on to wife's breasts, did this nozzle numb motion thing (ey?!).  After a few hours I was in panic mode. This fucking newborn monkey is going to starve to death and my mom's gonna say it's my fault. I went to the nurse front desk, demanding formula milk and a Bacardi and coke. Head nurse looked at me with a smile, ignored my request. We walked back to room and she explained the 411, broke down the science. Patience people, he is actually feeding.

Suffice to say we couldn't get him off for days after that, I swear I even heard a belch


Lloyds Bank Advert, Billboard next to Lidl Catford

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

We Are Big Metadata

I work with Big Data. back-end software modules crunching through gigabytes of data, endless, repetitive bog standard data. financial transactions, direct debit payments, mobile data, download/upload requests, instant messages. Big server machines spitting out an endless stream of information rich Metadata.  Repetitive updates to the what, when, how and why of data.  Remote 3rd party systems permanently connected to gobble it all up.  Half the time I have no idea the end-use of this machine generated "data about data".  Big Metadata.

Mostly destined for Expert systems that decide your life.  Approved for Credit Card? Big data. Refused a Mortgage? Lower Insurance premium, higher, contract renewals. This shit informs it all.  Fairly mechanical.  I dread the day Real AI type systems can hook in directly.

And then the marketing departments come to play.  Metadata says 1 in 3 people in your area are accident prone.  "Our records show You were recently involved in an accident ..." "Sir, we are an international charity and we ...".  It's been going on for time, but now next level because of the expert systems.  Ever tried to get a call center manager to explain their decision to decline X?  They have no idea how it was reached in the first place.

What is quite new is the Social Network, source of Big "Non-transactional" data, the sort of data that controls narrative.  Narrative, at best subjective.  Consider this OK Cupid summary on Race and Attraction (2009 - 2014)


Black men rate Latina and Asian women over other races, Black women get a bad deal all round. Black women love their men regardless of whatever.  Apart from the frivolity of the data, albeit very dangerous data, it records zero nuance.  We don't know anything of the background of OK Cupid members (location, social, cultural, political, financial).  But they will argue it's hard numbers innit? We are expected to accept it, challenged to prove otherwise.  Do you actually know how many people are actively signed up to OK Cupid? It says nothing of the quality of the data.  A stopped clock is correct twice a day.

Yet such information increasingly plays a part in marketing drives, media campaigns, local news even.  I can be cold and logical as I try to make sense of this data, even offer a plausible reason for it.  But what is it's psychological effects on the sensitive mind?  Who's narrative is it?  Be careful who you let control your narrative.

Where the data is "Open" it can be of extreme value.  Consider this NY Times 2015 article, "1.5 Million Missing Black Men".  It makes for very cold statistical reading, the sort of information that can only be gleaned from hard number crunching.  Who knows what conspiracy is behind it, but one thing's for sure, the numbers are crazy

And for the love of God don't link you debit/credit card details to your social data

***

Speaking of Conspiracy.  If you don't know Dick Gregory you gotta get informed



32 minutes into the video .. "I'm still trying to figure out, where do Albinos go after high school?" loooool! :-))) I'm still laughing, can't breathe, daddy-o is so random

Monday, 17 October 2016

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ



Sa Neter is a funny guy, love his coarse ass.  Hotep Bitches!

My Mother laughed when I showed her this video yesterday "these people are lost, of course it's Jesus! they need prayers".  I smiled as I looked around me. My parent's living rooms full up of statues and pictures of White Jesus TM, the local Catholic church is full up of the same.  The church one cracks me up because English people don't even go church anymore, the irony being they introduced it to the African colonies in the first place.  But I get the nuances and can make distinctions, really I do, Jesus preaching the message of forgiveness, communion and brotherly love.  In that respect he shares similarities with Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey, the freedom of mind.

I get all that but do you?  Is Jesus a real thing or symbolic to you?  faith over logic?


Interestingly most respondents to the survey rejected Jesus because of what he looks like.  What if Jesus was African?  It's a very powerful subliminal that particular image in the video, a deep psychological association to racial origins we think of when we picture Jesus.  I can't utter any word about our African Traditional Religious beliefs without my folks crossing themselves multiple times and accusing me of falling in with the Idol and Devil worshipers.  Discourse and friendly argument is not tolerated, it's that deep how Christianity has rooted in our culture. Viral. White Jesus has truly won.

if any of my cousins in Nigeria share another "prayer of the day" image of Jesus and white doves on WhatsApp I'm slapping someone

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Shazam

great app! especially for those radio shows when the DJ can't be bothered to announce the artist of the song just played, or you know the artist but not the song. been on shazam for a minute and I've got the most eclectic collection of songs (really did I shazam that?), most not my usual stuff, but when the beat/groove catches you? you just gotta know


"kiss me under the light of a thousand stars" ~ wikid!









I snooze therefore

lazy sundays

Got up with a start, remembering my youth had a football match at Midday. The 9 year old was sat on sofa with his siblings, watching Cartoon Network.  "you're supposed to wake me up!" "but Dad, you were sleeping heavily? shrugged me off" "what has that got to do with ...".  I smiled, bless him, must have thought I was dead ass tired to be roused. Me and my funky sleep patterns, going bed at 3 am after watching movie after movie (and endless YouTube clips).  Well it ain't like one's got work the next day..


Maybe it's a man ting, we dudes needing less sleep when we get older, not raving so much anymore.  With women it's different, they can sleep hours and still go bed normal the next night. Me? If I do 8 hours I won't sleep for a whole year.  I jest, I always try catch up if I've done late nights for a few days, like kip on the sofa when I should be watching Arsenal vs. Swansea.  bwai, the sweetest kip those afternoon naps, shot of Rum, fall off the planet into some deep snooze. That's when the youth try their nonsense, putting rolled up paper in your lips and stuff.  Used to do that to my dad till he give us some licks.  It's kosher, if you gonna drop off snoring mid afternoon you gonna invite pranks from the kids.  Luckily they ain't got as far as filming me (they will get dead off ! lol, no, I'm not Daddy Ogre)

Friday, 14 October 2016

#BlackErotica: Bare It All - Skinful Ways


Been following Author/Photographer/Blogger Velvet Lenae on tumblrinstagram, her website for a while.  Decided to buy her book Bare It All by Velvet Lenae | Erotic Short Stories, Poems and Images and must say it didn't disappoint one bit.  Her excellent camera work captures her subjects in beautiful erotic poses.  Just got it so will comment later on the poems and stories, but all in all I like.  Only criticism is the large format it came in could have done with a hardback cover (I think it does, possibly available on Amazon's American store)

http://velvetlenae.tumblr.com/post/151470693149/accessorize-follow-my-tumblr-for-uncensored


Definitely one for your coffee table (dare to be different?)

#LifeDeathChicago

Man! been a wonky week, temperature drop, cycling to work in the cold, no gym time. life and all it's distractions.  nah, it's been a good week still. Watched a couple movies on Amazon prime, did some paper work needing attention.

Song of the day, "Mr Officer", Jeff and Fess featuring Eric Roberson.  Soulful crooning over very thoughtful lyrics on the Police brutality against Black men and women sweeping the USA.  Lovely production.

Very much needed!



Hip Hop used to be the voice of the Youth, uplifting, conscious, combative.  Even NWA back in the day had "Fuck the Police".  Now it's all been co-opted by the Media Corporate, black boys spewing pure poison on wax, wearing dresses, getting fucked up in the club.

Yes, there's a place for debauchery and bullshit in Hip Hop, but in these very strange times we desperately need the young voices articulating the pain on the streets, furthering the discourse.  Thank god for Kendrick, J Cole, the like, but it's not enough.  Get Drake off our airwaves already.

1

***

Also watched "Reggie Yates: Life and Death in Chicago" on BBC iPlayer.  Not good at all.  Trailer below but watch the full documentary.



It's incredibly difficult to comprehend what is happening in Chicago, the death rates by Police and Black-on-Black crime at epidemic levels.  America and their fucking gun culture.  It's almost like Lucifer and his angels of death dwell among our Black brothers and sisters in Chicago.

It is truly scary, and given the ridiculous number of dead in Haiti following the hurricane, you can be forgiven for thinking all of this has a Spiritual/Millennial dimension, like something terrible is going on.

There must be a reason for all of this.

***

http://superheroesincolor.tumblr.com/post/151794120398/superheroesincolor-thenerdsaurus-13th

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Cognitive Dissonance

Ever held a belief you cannot let go of?  Even when you finally know different? Eyes wide shut?


Many have been manipulated/forced to “hold a core belief”.  Sacrosanct, emotions laden, lack-of-evidence proof.  All belief is rooted in mysterious source doctrines, in most cases handed down by a Supreme Being. Etched in Tablets of Stone, (un)questionable, unverifiable.  

Many will kill the challenger to protect the core belief.  The 72 virgins, the paradise of the afterlife, life everlasting, world without end.

Amen

Amsterdam: Retrospective

I remember sitting on a marble bench along The Damstraat, stoned as fuck, topping up my melanin in the warm Sunshine.  Completely Zen (and off my rockers).  I turned to my dude

"Son, for real, I can't live here, everyone and everything is too fucking chilled"
"Why? I love the place"
"Nah man. Noticed how we ain't come across a single argument or fight? too surreal"
"You've lived in London too long Brethren, too much hustle and bustle in your life"


I forgot those nice shoes on the coach *sigh*


cheesy paper



use natural tobacco


Depression And Anxiety: The Elephant in your room

It's seems of late I'm seeing more news articles, items and documentaries on depression and anxiety.  It's nothing new, don't think there's an upswing in depression (I could be wrong, don't have stats), but more people are coming forward to discuss it, especially in our UK Black African and Caribbean community.

Caught a fantastic BBC3 documentary on iPlayer "Why are black people more vulnerable to mental illness?", featuring a favourite blogger Keith Dube.  A vital watch if you have access to BBC iPlayer


Two things struck me watching it.  There are a lot more teenage/young adult Black people suffering from depression that I previously thought, the second being the reasons for brushing it under the carpet were not unique.  I'm very guilty of the second.

family
"I've been feeling really shit of late" 

family response
"Why? buck up, man up, it will pass" 
"Go gym innit, you're not exercising"
"That's white people tings, allow that"
"Get a job, you'll be fine"
"Pray to God, it's a spiritual attack, go see our Pastor"
"A holiday away from London will sort it out"
"You need to make more friends, get out a bit"

and such stupid nonsensical responses to that effect.  Not once did any of us suggest expert counselling, change of lifestyle, anything useful to the person suffering the depression.  Talking heads talking pure rubbish.  In effect failing the family and the community.  We don't go crazy overnight and get sectioned under the mental health act (another Elephant in the room), someone somewhere saw the genesis of it and chose to brush it under that carpet.  such responses mean our people suffer in silence, the vulnerable scared to be labelled bonkers and weak.  The lack of support at the grass root level, economic stress, racism, makes it all the more ridiculous that we don't mobilize and protect ourselves. Charity begins at home you know, cyan turn a blind eye.  What? you gonna pretend you don't see it till the men in white coats turn up at the yard? you nah see wha wrong fi that?

With all of the above being said I'm glad the youths are coming forward and speaking.  Was especially heartened to see the rapper Kid Cudi speak on his battle with depression, and with people like him speaking up we will start to see a change in our entrenched traditional attitudes to depression and mental health.




God bless our children.  Support them, and for God's sake give good advice or find someone who can.

***

ps: this song got on my nerves back then :))) but still fresh. cheeky grin as I type this bit

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Amsterdam To London

The only time I ever blog these days is on the bus. This is slightly different cos I'm on a bus from Sloterdijk station, Amsterdam to London Victoria bus station. Quite lucky cos I missed my 8pm bus but managed to get a 10pm one. 15 hours boy! Now you see why air travel is better. Or maybe I'll drive next time, cross the border before brexit kicks in :))

Amsterdam was in fine form, plenty of late autumn sunshine, Central station area buzzing as usual. It's been 14/15 years I visited last and the weather is good. The coffee shop as dope as ever (no pun). Even got a chance to hire a bike and ride round the city. These people are crazy efficient, separate lanes for cars, trams, buses and bicycles. We cycled around, cutting across the canals, settled for bulldog coffee shop (who comes up with these funky names?). Lovely black/mixed race lady running the place gave us the menu and I settled for a gram of amnesia (I kid you not lol) and a gram of super haze. Told her I'd have asked for her hand if I was Muslim. She filled us in on what to see and where to go, general banter and laughter at our millions of questions. 

Things are definitely more expensive than in London. Bloody burger King meal was €6.55, I was like whoa! But the ambience is great. We finally found a wok restaurant, Vietnamese, to have dinner and chase away the munchies. 

No crazy stories this time, fairly pedestrian, but it was nice, a good off the cuff weekend break. 

that was long :)) 

sweet dreams and see y'all on the home side of Europe