The heathen in me

…has something to say, so before you sharpen your pitchforks and assemble your angry mob, THINK! “Where can I get a pitchfork in Nigeria?” If you are thinking Game, you may be out of luck. In order to protect myself, I may or may not have preemptively checked their inventory. But just so you know, I go to church, willingly and I’m secure in my relationship with God.

    Here is the thing. Church is not always friendly. There I said it (holds a defensive stance). I sometimes find church folk scary and wonder, if what they are drinking is spiritual or cool aid. When my mind is idle (or maybe when its alert) I can see many troubling things in the Nigerian church system.

    Surprisingly, it doesn’t really bother me when many preachers get treated like rock stars. It takes real (sometimes fake) spiritual investment and sacrifice to become revered and that is no easy task or joking matter. However, I am driven to misbehavior every time someone insists that the whole congregation rises up to clap for the pastor. Or that the previously given applause wasn’t good enough for a man of God. This always coincides with the sermon about not putting men on pedestals. Can I tell you a secret… sometimes I do not mind standing, but the call to rise never fails to make me weak in the knees.
    In Nigeria, many pastors are notoriously unable to keep time. Between the ‘amens and ‘hallelujahs’ you start to notice that the sermon is a whole hour overtime. On the one hand, if the Holy Spirit is on a roll, you’d better get out of his way or get knocked over. The flipside to that is discipline. Pastors should have enough discipline to write a sermon that is effective within the restrains of time. Some churches try and pull a get-out-of-time-limit-jail move by not having a set closing time on their program. They aren’t fooling anyone.

    The bible says that ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’, but what is its stand on the fear of ushers. Is there a special school were ushers go to get trained by the SS? The moment you shut your eyes or attempt to sneak out, they pop out like Kurt Wagner and threaten you with the holy fire in their eyes. They also wear white gloves, which to me is code for: we won’t leave any fingerprints behind.
    Then there is the whole language thing, which I am guilty of doing in the presence of newcomers. Why does each church seem to have its own language or dialect? It is made up of slangs and phrases known exclusively to its members. And everyone seems to have the preset, grunt, squeal, yell, response that seems to only alienate outsiders. Someone will ask if you know the Nazarene or ‘see the light’. Cut to you doing a frantic google search on your blackberry (who the heck says Nazarene anymore?) or worse an agitated phone call to PHCN to ask about the light, all because you lack a preprogrammed response.
    Bono said, “I often wonder if religion is the enemy of God. It’s almost like religion is what happens when the Spirit has left the building”. I think he might have a point, does that make me a heathen? (Returns to defensive stance. Cue the angry mob)


This isn’t news

    Finding and reporting news in Abuja can be a thankless job. So every now and again I take time off foreheading* a brick wall to laugh at the things I cannot change. In my Zen state, I can completely overlook the many obstacles to my existence as a news correspondent.
    I can now find lateness amusing. So what if the host of an event operates on ‘African time’. I also absolutely don’t care if they don’t thank or reference the media in their awful speeches or that they continue to make the president their guest of honor for everything. It is perplexing that the less likely he is to show up, the bigger his picture in their program. I would tell them to get over themselves and invite a reasonable alternative, but that would involve caring on my part. And I’m all out of that.

    Sometimes I wonder why they say that the president is heavily represented by his proxy. For the sake of clarity, what the heck does ‘heavily represented’ even mean? And can someone be lightly represented? In my jaded experience ‘heavily representing’ is code for some dude, who shows up 2 hours late and has no idea what is going on, but gets to sit on the high table .
    In the spirit of not caring, I will also stop mocking all excessively long high tables. It really doesn’t matter to me, if there are more people on the high table than attending guests. I will accept the words of all suck-up-MCs who claim that everybody is equal but give special recognition to rich people in the audience (I happen to be familiar with George Orwell’s “some animals are more equal than others” concept) But hey! If anyone ever walks up to an MC after a conference and says ‘I like the way you called my name, here is a million naira!’ I will give up sarcasm.

      Just once I would like someone to walk up to the mic and say “Screw protocol**” before jumping into a well writing speech. But I know that that would lead to the collapse of this reality and I am not yet brave enough to meet Walternate.

      Now as stated above, I can forgive almost anything, except Personal Assistants. PAs are antiprogress robots. They give me adult night terrors and make me consider the merits plunging 50 feet of the nearest 50 feet building… on a good day.
      In a logical world, a journalist is the best friend of a PA, if only for the purpose of mutual job preservation. My six month old niece can tell you that providing reporters with information is the easiest path to free publicity. But logic, is on permanent vacation and sass and attitude are her substitutes.

      And for your pleasure, here are my greatest hits of PA rejection confusion:

        Me: where is the conference hall?
        PA: There are many conferences going on!
        Me: I’m talking about the one for your organization (she was wearing their logo)
        PA: (suddenly suspicious of my ability to read minds) who are you?
        Me: I’m with the press (holding up my card)
        PA: there are many conferences going on which do you want to attend.
        Me: Can I take a look at the program
        PA: These are only for guests.
        Me: I just want a quick look.
        PA: you can if you register for the conference
        Me: Okay, how do I do that?
        PA: It costs 10,000 naira.
        Me: I ‘m part of the media!
        PA: (After thinking for a few seconds) 8,000 naira.
        Me: Can I look at the program?
        PA: (while clutching a stack) there aren’t anymore.
        She was hoping here stupidity was contagious.
        Me: Can I have one of the free carrier bags.
        PA: No they have finished.
        Five minutes later with me still standing there she gives one to some guy.
        Me: Hey, I thought you said that there were no more
        PA: He said that he is our boss’s friend…
        Me: So that gives him the power to create carrier bags out of thin air?
        PA: (blank look and then disapproving look) he said…
        Me: I heard you, I’m not sure you understand English (is what I should have said but I just walked away… I usually just walk away)
        Till PAs become human, I will continue to report from trenches inhabited by people who think muting their phones is tantamount to suicide. While listening to proxys who ‘heavily represent’ others who were too smart to show up.

        * Foreheading: the act of persistently striking and object with your forehead.
        ** Protocol: is a set of guideline or rules that demand the recognition of all important personnel at an event. This includes interrupting the program to acknowledge latecomers. If a speaker cannot remember all the important people he/she says, “All protocols observed”.

Suicidal traffic jamz

The Open Road

5 secs b4 hitting major traffic

    I know that the moon has historically been linked to madness, but from personal experience the sun and a little Nigerian daytime radio can be equally maddening. Nothing to scary, just an almost uncontrollable urge to ram the nearest car and forever end the possibility of our hearing trash. It’s an act of kindness.
    I can’t really dispute many of the song choices on Naija radio today, after years of Chichi of Africa [God rest her career…PLEASE] quality has gone way up. Unfortunately, 90% of the radio personalities remain seriously lacking in the charisma, talent and originality arena. I personally doubt the accents of anyone who isn’t Dan Foster and at this point his accent should be a little watered down (Can I get a witness). Also if I hear the phase, “It’s your boy, DJ blah, blah, blah” one more time I might just, declare it open road rage season. You need to earn the privilege of being called my boy, you no talent, faceless time waster, shut up and play us a song. The only thing more annoying than this is when they cut up a good song to deliver stupid snip bits like, “it is now 14 past the hour,” or “that was Jimmy Jatt” duh he said his name like eight times during the song, is it so hard to turn the song down a little and talk over it? And in the same way stupidity begets stupidity, fake accents has opened the door to a whole new collection of fake accents. Where does it say that ‘must have foreign accent to call in’, Huh?
Road Rag4

The view

    Thinking of the radio news is unpleasant, In reality listening to it is down right painful. It’s a lot of action music followed by someone talking really slow as if the audience is retarded and has ADD. They reel us in with the news theme song but because we are retarded the news is kept slow and short. Like this (think slow fake americanish/englishish accent) ACTION MUSIC “The Ni g e r ia n gov er n ment has an nounced no sc h o o l tom or row” ACTION MUSIC “t h is is be ca u se the y want u s hap p y, s o t h at th ey ca n s t e a l o ur mo n ey…” ACTION MUSIC” chi l d re n le ar n not thing in sc h o o l…” ACTION MUSIC “be ca us e t hey are bus y sell ing g oods on t he st re et…” ACTION MUSIC. I just can’t take them seriously.
    Then we come to the ads, which are proof that not even a fleeting thought is wasted on sales. Their negligence would give Don Draper and the entire Sterling Cooper staff a synchronized heart-attack. It’s advertising at its most basic form, jingles (not to knock jingles). Since the introduction of jingles to Nigerian ad men, it has become the standard. Forget tiresome statistics and research into what people want to hear, lets sing about our products. Lets make grand inexplicable statements like “the very best,” or “trusted by the world” and “the number one,” without any supporting evidence. Worst still I believe non-jingle ads are done in one take. Editing, what editing? They serve as a reminder to the public of the higher quality of jingles.

Road rage 2

Still in Traffic

Road Rage3

Losing it now

    Look, radio remains constant after the invention of TV and the Internet because it is beloved. That’s why it perplexes me why certain “musicians” continue to abuse it. For goodness sake do the honorable thing like Banky W and write your own lyrics if you must borrow a beat. Yes Alaye, I’m talking to you. First of all respect the music, then find a girl you actually have a chance of meeting in this lifetime and pay her to sing the chorus to ‘Lagos State of Mind’(rip of Jay Z’sEmpire state of mind). Wait Alaye, are you even from Lagos? Let the song make sense, Seriously, “These streets will make you feel brand new, bright lights will inspire you” …really…REALLY? What streets, you mean those dark patches that surround the huge holes on the road, is that what your calling streets. Of cause the streets make you feel brand new they are as old as Moses and the What Lights? Somebody tell me cause I need the inspiration to not kick Alaye’s ass. That’s all I’m saying.