Tuesday, 22 December 2009

I missed Toni Kan

I had planned to attend the reading for two reasons:


I like Toni Kan. I have followed his works since he was a writer for hints. He is for me, a male writer that successfully writes like a woman. And his recent book: nights of the creaking beds: that’s a very good one. My second reason was Teju Cole. While his words at NEXT follow me and I admit that he is a brilliant writer, this was that my reason for wanting to see him. My friend has a huge crush on him. So I was going to confirm if he was crush worthy. Unfortunately, Nigeria, Nupeng, Pengasson, deregulators and all those responsible for fuel scarcity had other plans. I have been unable to move about for the past three days. No fuel for car, no fuel for generator, no fuel for stomach: can it get any worse?

So I missed the reading but I hope it went well and I hope I get the chance to meet Teju somewhere else.

PART TWO


Nollywood and Repackaged films.

In my last write up, I should have added that some of Nollywod’s enemies are within.

These repackaging moving business is getting really bad. I didn’t realise how bad until I recently bought a pair; you know they come in two parts now: Eg. The wrong woman 1 and 2. Followed closely by The return of the wrong woman 1 and 2. These two movies or should I say four movies are the same. It’s unfair to say the least. Unsuspecting consumers are spending their hard earned monies buying four movies when really they are buying two or is it one. Outside Nigeria, the movies are simply being split into 4 parts but trust me, 3 and 4 are the same as 1 and 2. It’s actually quite confusing. Some old movies are being resold under different titles.

At silverbird the other day, I noticed a movie shot some years back-‘Enslaved’ had now become ‘Voices.’ It is mostly marketers that are guilty of this practice as independent producers have not sunk that low (may they never). I suppose it’s a survival tact but it’s fraudulent. They are simply scamming the unsuspecting customer. Nollywood has become tough and if a practitioner cannot no longer survive, this may be the time to bow out gracefully.

It is certainly not the time to devise devious means to cheat Nigerians. It gives the entire industry a bad name.

So if you know anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who is into this practice, please tell them to desist. Artsville is watching!



Tuesday, 15 December 2009

NOLLYWOOD AND ITS MANY ENEMIES

The minister of communication; Mrs Dora Akunyili certainly tops the list of Nollywood Bashers. Every time she talks about Nigeria’s problem, she is quick to attribute it to Nollywood. All Nigeria’s image problems lies with the fact that we’re making Juju films, she couldn’t be more wrong. In the past few years, Nollywood has produced mostly love stories, I would even welcome a movie bordering on rituals just for a change. Yes we had our session of rituals. It’s the way it works; one person starts a trend, succeeds, everyone else follows till someone else breaks the trend. Hollywood is particularly guilty: They came with NEXT and PREMONITION and DÉJÀ VU etc, and then for a while, the Directors all visited Africa, LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, BLOOD DIAMONDS, CATCH A FIRE etc. Now they’ve all gone surreal: TIME TRAVELLER’S WIFE, GAMER, 2012 etc.


Mrs. Akunyili is minister of information, an extremely sensitive position, before she can inform people, she must first be informed. All she needs do is grab a few copies of Nigerian movies from Idumota or sit facing Africa Magic for a few hours and she’d know a bit about Nollywood. It’s a bit embarrassing every time she makes a statement in error. In a recent statement, she blames Nollywood for the movie District 9. She says if we had been making movies about how Nigerians contributed towards ending apartheid, then District 9 may not have been made. Is she for real? The director of District 9: Neil Blomkamp clearly stated that he believes most of the crimes perpetrated in SA are by Nigerians, he’s probably never seen a Nigerian film.

Nigeria’s infamy is from corruption and internet scam, nicknamed yahoo, yahoo. And that’s the image she’s trying to clean, where does Nollywood come into the matter? Only recently, Amnesty International just accused the Nigeria police of extra- judicial killings stating that they ‘kill at will’. Someone will probably blame Nollywood for this development.

Even if we were making juju films as claimed, is this why my green passport is scanned a thousand times by immigration officers outside the country or why the guy in the bus in Germany shifts beside me uncomfortably, clutching his bag tighter. Or why the shop attendant in Dubai immediately becomes more alert when I mention that I am Nigerian. I bet they don’t even know we have a movie industry in Nigeria, all they remember is the number of crimes that have been perpetrated by Nigerians in their country. Why then is Mrs. Akunyili bent on blaming Nollywood? Only months ago, she asked Nollywood to help her rebrand Nigeria, now she turns around to rebrand Nollywood

The minister would do well not to tongue lash the Arts for it is the Arts that has saved Nigeriá’s face and given us global recognition. It is Uwem Akpan’s book that was selected by Oprah for her book Club, Asa who has gained acceptance world wide, I personally heard her on radio Leicester, Femi who has been nominated for the grammies, Chimamanda Adichie who has won several international awards, Lancelot Imasuen who has been featured on CNN and Genevieve Nnaji who was featured on Oprah.

But it is not only the minister that hates Nollywood. There are several websites dedicated to just spew venom on Nigerian movies and particularly at more successful producers. Most members of these sites are Nigerians in the diaspora or more specifically, Nigerians in the United States. Someone summarised their problem as beef(Nigerian English for envy) We succeeded where they couldn’t. We didn’t wait for them to return home with their Harvard or nursing degrees(not sure how nursing would help develop the country), we went ahead and produced an industry out of absolutely nothing. With most of us self-taught, we wrote scripts with candles, powered equipment with generators and made movies that have left the world gaping. How did we do it? Everyone is seeing the opportunities and potentials, except these set of Nigerians. South Africa, realising that winning the Oscar(Tsotsi) is not the all and all, have decided to go Nigeria’s way by creating Jollywood which they say will compete with Nigeria’s Nollywood. Ghana’s Gollywood is also following closely behind with the full support of their Government.

I was invited to a film makers workshop in Berlin based on a Nollywood script. The participants couldn’t believe my script had been shot as a feature film, they all wait for grants, grants that may never come and their dreams will be buried with them but in true Nigerian style, we found a way out without waiting for the Western Messiahs to come lead us right.

Nollywood has given me as a writer, a platform to be heard. I am privileged to write both screenplays and literature, while I enjoy both, in writing literature, my audience is mostly Western and I am forced often to look back to be sure that they are following me as I paint my dear continent black but with Nollywood there’s a freedom to be you.

Nollywood has also contributed towards bringing back the middle class in Nigeria. An average practitioner lives comfortably, travels round the globe, most times without having to pay for tickets.

While this profession will always attract its fair share of criticism, for most of the critics, it’s not aimed at bettering the industry, it’s sheer envy and hatred, they would give their left arms to see it fail so they can continue to feel justified for some of the conditions they live under abroad. Loads of them have tried to do it ‘better’ and few if any have succeeded so far.

While some movies make you cringe, some send you reeling with laughter or with tears. I choose to celebrate those ones.

Apart from Joy Isi Bewaju’s review of Guilty Pleasures and Molara Wood’s review of Figurine, a lot of what you read online is sheer balderdash. Ini Edo’s hair didn’t match her figure or Mercy Johnson should go learn how to kiss. These for movie reviews?

I read several reviews of Clint Eastwood’s ‘Invictus’: Some by critics and some by viewers. It left me with a prayer: Lord send us some intelligent critics in Nollywood. Chikena!



Thursday, 12 November 2009

Nollywood takes a leap!

I saw Through the Glass. I liked it but what I liked more was Stephanie's Okereke's tenacity. I doff my heart for her. She has really done well. Survived a near death accident, went to New York film School, made a film and saw it through cinemas. It grossed 10 million, the highest any Nigerian film had ever done. And then came the Figurine, that just left me feeling good for a long long time. Well done Afolayan and the entire team of Figurine. Good job. Not just the movie but the entire package, He thought out of the box, took a big risk but it paid off. He has taken Nollywood to a whole new level. The movie is still in cinemas and is expected to gross even more than Stephanie's film.




The next big one is Guilty Pleasures. It's already out in America but will be hitting the cinemas in Nigeria from the 29th of November. It is a must watch. Not just because it's from Emem Isong and Desmond Elliot, both of whom are my family(lol, yes, I know I am name dropping) but because it's really great. It thrills you from start to finish. If you don't watch it for anything else, you must watch it for Ramsey's Stellar performance. He deserves an oscar for that one, he was at his best.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

DISTRICT 9 AND THE NIGERIA FILM AND VIDEO CENSORS BOARD

Just a quick question,how did the movie get past the bulging eyes of the Nigeria film and video censors board? They censor Nigerian movies before they are released into the market and foreign films before they are shown at cinemas so how did District 9 get past them to be shown at Silverbird cinemas?
The things D9 said, we dare not try a quarter of it in Nollywood, Censors board would ask you to yank it immediately so why did they approve D9 for the general public. Is this a case of double standards? Wouldn't it have been simpler to simply dissaprove the movie from day one than to now run round banning it?

A one time winning short story of the commonwealt short story writing competition was titled: Bill Gates goes to Hell. The States or Gates family decried the title, and the award had to be withdrawn so everywhere people do not take kindly to their names being used negatively.

I think it was highly irresponsible of the movie makers particularly at a time when emotions are still raw from the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. What exactly was neil Blokamp hoping to achieve by this? To start a war? I know that as writers, we want to make a statement but they are subtle ways of saying things. The use of the name Obasanjo was a very cheap jab. But I guess Neil has gotten his cheap popularity.

Friday, 18 September 2009

OPRAH MAKES UWEM AKPAN ONE OF THEM


Say you're one of them, a book I am still searching for, has just been chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her book club.

This is great news, particularly as the sales of the book will sky rocket. Nigeria will also instantly claim him.
" He is our son" our leaders will be quick to say, in the same way that they cling to Obama, forgetting that he received little or no recognition from here.
Even after Akpan won the commonwealth writers prize earlier this year, very little if any coverage was given to him.

It is the first collection of short stories Oprah has ever chosen and she says each of the stories left her gasping.

Congratulations to Father Uwem Akpan for a well deserved recognition and Congratulations to Oprah as well for choosing this great Nigerian talent.


Wednesday, 9 September 2009

WORLD BANK SUPPORTS NOLLYWOOD

Succour seems to have arrived for the ailing industry-Nollywood. According to a report in Punch newspapers, World Bank will be disbursing $20m to Nollywood and the Music industry in Nigeria.

For Nollywood, the money will be contributed towards funding movies, training for existing and newcomers in the industry and also for distribution.

Distribution has been the major setback in the industry. Nigerians are ready to buy these films but apart from a few outlets, they are hardly available for purchase giving pirates a chance to reign supreme. Africa magic, a cable station dedicated to African films also benefits hugely from the lack of a proper distribution network in the industry as thousands of viewers subscribe to the station.

The Nigeria video and film censors board early in the year came up with some plans for distribution but these plans are yet to be realised. It is our hope that World bank will keep its word despite the many challenges they are bound to face.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Ramsey Nouah




















It's not what you think.





Absolutely amiable are the first words that come to you when you first meet him. He has no airs. None.
Ramsey Nouah is one of the A-list Nigerian actors. His good looks and suaveness make him a favourite among the women. The screen has the ability to make humans look larger than life, but on set, Ramsey is like the rest of us, eating ordinary food and doing ordinary things. He is also very corporative, doesn’t spend hours arguing with the director or complaining about some irrelevant details as most of the stars are wont to do. Mr. Nouah just gets on with his job.He has a good word for everyone often accompanied with a smile. Ramsey can’t resist music, whenever he hears a tune, he swings to it often causing laughter among the other cast and crew.
Mr. Nouah is so real you completely forget he is a star until the director screams ‘action’ and he transforms into a completely different person depending on the character he is playing.
Ramsey Nouah was born in 1973 and has been in Nollywood for ten years. King of Money (1993) was his first movie. Ramsey has worked hard at his craft and the difference between his first movie and his recent ones are very obvious. He is happily married with kids.
Nouah does not like the press and avoids them as much as he can. However, Shllye Shonoike of WOW magazine succeeded in squeezing a long interview from him. The magazine is on news stands and has a sensational looking Nouah on the cover.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Pete Edochie Kidnapped?


Pete Edochie, popularly known as Okonkwo from his great performance in 'Things fall apart' has been reportedly kidnapped in Onitsha. As at press time, no demand for ransome had been made. Recently, there have been several reports of kidnappings in the Eastern part of the country. Now that a popularl person has been kidnapped, one hopes that the coverage it is already generating will force the government to beef up security in the nation.


Nollyarts sympathises with Edochie's family and prays that he will soon be returned to them unhurt.


A more detailed report on Edochie's kidnapped can be found here.

Say you are a child witch.

This piece can be found on nigerianstalk here.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

An update of some sorts

  • I have been wondering what the Nigeria film and censors board was up to before the advent of Nollywood and Cinemas-they censor movies shown at galleria and other places too. I think they do more harm than good. Why does the Nigerian government always look for ways to drain an already drained people? Everyday they introduce new taxes.
  • The Association of movie producers(AMP) is conducting it's general elections next week. The tussle for presidency is between Teco Benson and Paul Obazele. And it is a real tussle, you would think they are contesting for Yardy's seat.
  • The Nollywood Glo ambassadors have just returned from SA where they went to shoot a glo commercial, I understand that they had fun. In my next life, I will be an actress.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Still on Tolu Ogunlesi

He's got to be the most popular Nigerian youth on the internet. Just google his name. Tolu has won numerous literary awards and has been invited for workshops and seminars and fellowships. He works hard, that one and it is surely paying off. Artsville congratulates Tolu on his achievements and urges other young writers to emulate him. Something I heard Muhtar Bakare say, it isn't neccessarily the most talented that gets published but the one who works the hardest. Whatever you do, don't stop till you get there.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Zik Zulu stands up for Nollywood

Eddie Iroh recently lashed out at Nollywood, Zik Zulu responds to him here. When you live in a glass house,they say you cannot afford to throw stones. It amazes me when other writers criticise Nollywood writers when we know that their works are not any better. I see it so many times on blogville, blogville writers condemning Nollywood writers when they themselves have never been published. If you post your story on a blog, that is not publishing, it's posting. If you think it's that easy and you are that good, go get published!

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Nigerian Books versus Nigerian Films


I am privileged to work in both industries. Yesterday I chatted with Eghosa Imasuen, a friend for whom my respect grows daily. His first book, ‘To Saint Patrick’ is a fantastic read. Unfortunately the book has sold very few copies. When he tells me how many copies have sold, I cringe. It is less than the number of copies ‘Reloaded’ sold in a day and ‘Jenifa’ perhaps in an hour. And so my question is why are Nigerian films selling so much and books not at all? Getting published in Nigeria particularly for new writers is almost as hard as crossing the ocean on foot.

In a brilliant interview by Eghosa here, he insists that Nigerians read. I share the same sentiments. Inspirational books, Business books, Novels, just name it, Nigerians are reading it, ask the boys at Yaba, how many Sheldon’s or Archers they sell in a day or stop by Laterna and watch the crowd. I think it’s been a very wrong notion that Nigerians do not read, unfortunately we have come to believe this, even the publishers which is why I think the books are not selling. The people behind it consciously or subconsciously don’ t really think that it will sell. They have created hurdles in their minds that don’t really exist. I also think they don’t see it as a business, perhaps they consider it charity. The marketing of books in Nigeria is terribly poor, I doubt that more than one percent of Nigerians are aware when a new book is released. All praises to Facebook. Farafina seems to have been waiting for the social network as that’s what they mostly rely on now. Take the 9writers tour, I have not heard it announced once on radio, nor seen it on TV nor read it on print, it is only online. While the online audience is huge, this is Nigeria, we do not have power supply, I personally have not had electricity in a week so how are we expected to access the net?


When one of Adichie’s books was released in England I happened to be in London and saw the posters in lots of places, train stations, buses etc. ‘Half of a yellow sun’ is recorded to have sold 40,000 copies in the U.K. alone. Farafina releases a book, sends the information to a few people on facebook and then waits for a miracle. It sounds to me like a crazy plan. I know that lack of funds may be a major factor but in business, you have to spend money to make money. Which is why I doff my hat for Nollywood guys particularly the Idumota guys who practically made Nollywood, They pumped their money in, pushed the movies out there and now several people are reaping the benefits. Several of my writer friends are trying to cross over because while our first love may have been prose or poetry, nobody wants to write a book that nobody’s going to read. Personally, I prefer to write screen plays because there I can be anything I want to be,I can choose to write about love, beauty, religion, anything at all but when writing literature I must remain guarded, I am forced often to write to type, in style, in language, in everything, constantly glancing over my shoulders to be sure that my (western) audience is following. Nollywood has set me free but I want books to do the same.


The publishers should repackage not just the books but the presentation of the books to the public, Nigerian writers and readers have been made to believe that our books must run social commentary or be historic to succeed particularly after the success of Adichie’s half of a yellow sun. While that is a good thing, it can get tiring and boring. Our novels are presented like academic books, the readings are so boring you wonder why you would spend 2 hours of your hard earned time getting bored. A book is a product like any other, it has to be well packaged, advertised and made available to the public.


It’s very embarrassing to hear about the poor sales of books particularly when one knows that it can do so much better. If we could read pacesetters, African writers series, I don’t see why we can’t read any other one that is made available.

Friday, 8 May 2009

GO, NOLLYWOOD,GO!




A Unesco study has rated Nollywood as the second largest film producer in the world ahead of Hollywood.
http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=45317&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

This has generated much debate with some people arguing that quantity should not be a deciding factor but quality. While this may be true, it is also true that coca cola isn't the healthiest drink, yet its sales amount to billions daily. Quantity certainly is important.

Nollywood has done very well for itself and single handedly so. There has been no government support, very little bank support unlike other countries who don't even have an industry as large as ours.

The industry is ours to build, to nurture till we can beat our hands on our chests and say, yes we did it. Nigerians should stop taking the easy way out by constantly criticising but instead should task their brains a bit and profer solutions. The industry has been recorded as the largest informal employer of labour in Nigeria, at a time when a big telecom firm like Zain is laying off 300 staff in one day, and several banks have slashed salaries, we should be grateful that we have other industries and devise ways to build on them.

The industry offers huge opportunities for employment, for investments, and for Government revenue. Unfortunately, the outside nations are recognising these opportunities more than Nigeria is. Criticism is good but only when constructive. Nollywood has been reported to be a million dollar business, now is the time for us to work together and make this even bigger than it is. The capital market has crashed and the banking sector seems to be on its way down too, even the oil sector seems to be faltering. What may sustain us in the country may be the entertainment sector of which Nollywood is a major player.

Nollywood has major challenges: piracy, distribution and perhaps most importantly the lack of a film village. Businessmen, banks, conglomerates, govenment agencies should identify these challenges and profer solutions that would see both parties smiling to the banks.
Hollywood worked because Americans made it work, and Bollywood as well. It wasn't left to the practitioners alone, as many as could contribute did, with some building film villages, while others provided funds and others battled piracy.

This attitude of Nigerians to constantly reign negative attacks on almost everything is no longer fashionable if it ever was.

The whole world is in recession, now is the time to embrace anything(legal) that may keep us afloat. Agriculture remains largely untapped, instead of expending one's energy hating on Nollywood, one could try developing Agriculture.

Artsville congratulates all Nollywood practitioners and fans for building this amazing industry.
It can only get bigger and better. GO, NOllYWOOD,GO!

Monday, 4 May 2009

The book tour

I must be the last blogger to put this up but better late than ......

Friday, 1 May 2009

And we overcame.

A Nigerian Police station.

Bursting Out!

It's 2am.We are by a poolside. We have been setting up for almost six hours for this scene. The extras are all dressed, the music is ready, the director seems satisfied but just as his is about to shout action, it starts to rain. Heavily. The scene is cancelled. We'll have to do it another day.


Edikan!

The part 1 was shot last year, it was going to remain as a one part film but well wishers in the industry advised against it so we went back for a part two. The church we initially used has been dismantled. We improvise. It's not a high budget film so we film in Surulere and its environs. Not a very good idea as generator sounds are crazy. From 7pm it's almost impossible to shoot. Several times we have to beg the residents to hold out a few more minutes before putting on the heavy machines. Some comply eager to be of help, some think we must be crazy.

In lekki/Ikoyi, almost all the generators are sound proof. So many things divide the island from the mainland and it isn't just water.


Despite the challanges, we finished both shoots. Now I know why they write To God be the Glory as end credit.


'Bursting out' is a romantic comedy. 'Edikan' attempts to redress the issue of child witchcraft in Akwa Ibom state without sounding preachy.


I am happy to have been a part of both productions with such great cast and crew.



Monday, 20 April 2009

This week on Artsville.....


The thing around your neck.


This month Chimamanda does it again with her new book; The thing around your neck, a collection of short stories. The book is published by fourth estate and is available for purchase online at Amzon.
This month also Emem Isong hits the screen again with Guilty pleasures an intense love story. The movie is produced by Emem Isong and Desmond Elliot and it stars: Ramsey Noah,Mercy Johnson, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Omoni Oboli,Marjid etc.Guilty pleasures is not yet available for purchase but the trailer is making webwaves.


video

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

A Nigerian wins commonwealth writers' prize


Akwa Ibom State born Jesuit priest; Father Uwem Akpan has won the Commonwealth writers' prize for his debut book: 'Say you're one of them.' 'Say you are one of them' is a collection of five short stories about the painful experiences of children in five different African countries: Kenya,Rwanda,Nigeria,Benin and Ethiopia. These horror experiences are all narated by children. One of the featured stories was shortisted for the Caine Prize. Uwem Akpan has received much praise for his work. Say you're one of them is published by Abacus.
Below is a full list of this year's winners;

Best Book
Jhumpa Lahiri (UK) Unaccustomed Earth

Marina Endicott (Canada) Good to a Fault

Mandla Langa (South Africa) The Lost Colours of the Chameleon

Christos Tsiolkas (Australia) The Slap

Best First Book
Mohammed Hanif (Pakistan) A Case of Exploding Mangoes

Joan Thomas (Canada) Reading by Lightning

Uwem Akpan (Nigeria) Say You're One of Them

Mo Zhi Hong (New Zealand) The Year of the Shanghai Shark

Friday, 6 March 2009

Still on Slumdog Millionaire

A friend of mine just drew my attention to Reuben Abati's article here-http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/editorial_opinion/article02//indexn2_html?pdate=060309&ptitle=Slumdog%20Millionaire%20and%20Nollywood (sorry blogger wasnt accepting the link, had to copy and paste.)

I knew someone was going to make the comparison, I just didn't think it would be him. It is a well written piece as most of his articles are but what exactly do they mean by this:
'If the Indians can do it, Nigerians can do it too. If we want to rebrand Nigeria, that is what we should be doing. Slumdog Millionaire is a great branding opportunity for India.'

How exactly is Slumdog millionaire a branding opportunity for India? what is it branding? The slums? the crime? the abject poverty? the child prostitution? etc. I have never been to India but this is the image I now have of it,thanks to Slumdog millionaire. Is this the same way we want to brand Nigeria; to show the corruption, the crime, the juju, the lack of power supply, the inefficient police etc. Because we would have to show the dark side of Africa to win an Oscar. Tsotsi- the South African film to win one did and so did City of God-the Brazillian film.
While these things exist in these countries, they also exist in the West, but I am yet to see a movie depicting and possibly exagerating the teenage knife crime in the Uk.

To win an Oscar, dear Reuben Abati and Toyin Subair, while a good story, directing etc may be important, what would be most important would be to show the darkest side of us. Binyavanga Wainana puts it perfectly in his article 'How to write about Africa'.
Nollywood needs to up it's game as they very well will, but it won't be in an attempt to win an Oscar, it would be first to give its audience a better experience which they deserve.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

British Council is SWALLOWED up at NIGHT by CREAKING BEDS




Last night, Sefi Atta and Toni Kan read from their books at the British council. Sefi from her two books: Lawless, a collection of short stories and Swallow, her second novel. Both books are published by Farafina. Toni Kan read stories from Nights of a creaking bed, also a collection of short stories published by cassava republic.

I was not expecting Toni Kan so I was happy to see him: two for the price of one. The two authors are quite different. Toni kan, vibrant and loquacious while Sefi sat demure and calm. Lawless and Night of a Creaking Bed are both set in Lagos and in this the two writers find a common ground. The conversation is centred around Lagos. In one of kan’s stories, a man attempts to move an electric cable off a Lagos road and gets electrocuted. Kan explains that this is an extension of real life as he actually experienced such a scene while driving past some Lagos suburb. He was convinced the man was new to town so he decided to build a story round it. Who touches fallen cables in Lagos? Sefi is shocked that Toni drove past, coming from abroad she thinks one should stop. Who stops by a corpse in Lagos? Only if you want to be the next corpse. Toni says.
Both writers chatter on for a few miutes about their fascination with Lagos. Toni says he will almost always write about Lagos and while Sefi does not say so, she confesses it’s their shared love for Lagos that drew them to each other.
Toni is asked to review swallow. Fortunately for Sefi, it is a good review, one of the few she has gotten for the novel swallow. Toni extols it and says other critiques must be talking about a different swallow. Atta rises to her own defence advising reviewers to put more energy into writing their works than condemning someone who is writing. We are informed that she doesn’t read her reviews. I think it is a good idea and decide that I too, will not read my reviews. No need to get a heartache.
It was a good event, well organised. Farafina surprised me by keeping to schedule. It was also well attended. Sefi continues to read at at Terraculture on Friday, the 27th and at quintessence on saturday the 28th between 3 and 5pm.

Monday, 23 February 2009

On the Church




Okay, I know this has nothing to do with Nollywood or Arts. Thinking about it, perhaps it does as the noise pollution caused by the church is affecting my creativity.
I wonder if life in Nigeria has not been made difficult enough by the government , that the citizens should choose to make it harder. There’s barely any electricity as such there is no water as it can’t be pumped(that is for those of us privileged to have boreholes).A friend of mine says each compound in Lagos is a local government; you provide your own power supply with a generator, your water supply with a bore hole or well depending on which part of town you live in, your own health care by self prescribing your own drugs: headache? Grab some paracetamol and if symptoms persist after three days, try agbo. So you are lying in the heat worrying about water to have a bath in the morning, being feasted upon by mosquitoes and then the church piano starts humming. It’s 12am and so you think it must be the rat that accidentally touched some chords, but you start to hear voices, softly at first then as if suddenly determined to sing louder than the angels, the voices increase. You get up, your hope of getting any sleep completely gone.
There is a church beside me driving me crazy. There is always one service or another, day and night. If it is not women’s fellowship, it is men’s assembly. In January, they had service every evening. Not only do they constitute such terrible noise pollution, they take up the entire parking space made for occupants of the street as it is a small street and the church happens to be big. Now they are building a church three times the size of the present one just across me. They have taken up more than half the road with gravels/sand making parking and driving through very difficult and of course some driver bashes my parked car. I have finally had it and complain to the church, they blame it on the contractor and offer to pay for the damage. That’s a laugh isn’t it, Like I employed the contractor. I don’t take their money.
My question is this: This blatant disregard for the next being that is often exhibited by these churches , is that not in itself sin? How do they stand there before an altar and raise supposed holy hands in worship knowing that the blasting noise is causing many people despair? Is the core of Christianity not love, love and love again? The government would do well to ban all churches from operating in residential areas but I doubt it would be President Yaradua or Governor Fashola as that would probably cause a religious war. It would have to be when a Christian is in power , let’s see who the fanatics would have to say about that.
Two of my neighbours attend the church and by so doing have endorsed them so I fight a lone battle.