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.