Saturday, September 24, 2005

all over now.

washed out, cried out, whipped, tired, out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

dead ringers

"a demon is on the prowl tonight."

I lost another friend today. We did not quarrel. He’s dead. At 24. that’s the second best friend I have lost in four years. We were originally six and now two are dead. It’s unnatural.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

courting the madness of the crows

There are not many songs, whole albums even that I can bring myself to write of, let alone think, as possessing a wistful sadness and indisputable touch with reality. I keep such poeticisms when I’m describing books. And books no less than Tender is the Night or maybe a Hemingway late efflorescence like A Moveable Feast. Yet I’m using those very words describe This Desert Life by the Counting Crows. I never thought before musicians could be classed as geniuses. That popular art could transcend its cheap button entertainment. But these guys have proven me very wrong. The depth of the things they talk about, how so simply and memorably they say them is awesome. Its like listening to a Keats poem sung.

A song like I wish I was a girl. It’s a whole novel in itself. There’s the woman’s side of the story and there’s the man’s. Although it’s a man singing, by virtue of the fact that the writer/singer was in creating mode, somehow he manages to be a man and woman at the same time. To be androgynous. First he tells us the woman’s story. He sings about how, “the devil… tells you I’m not sleeping in my hotel room alone. With nothing to believe in you dive into the traffic rising up and it’s so quiet. You are surprised and then you awake.” Powerful feminine emotions of suspicion when a woman believes a man is going way not to better both of them but to leave her for good are being touched upon here. Yet how he how so divinely makes them sound simple to decipher and understand and yet by explaining them so simply he makes them more eloquent by this simple way of phrasing.

Then the man’s part in this story of emotional discordance comes in. He knows how much he’s hurting her. She does not believe he’s going away to make their fortune because of his past treatment of her and admits, “For all the things you’re losing, you might as well resign yourself to try and make a change.” He’s doing this “going down to Hollywood, they are gonna make a movie from the things that they find crawling round my brain” for her but he doesn’t believe he’ll not fail her when he’s gone to Hollywood and he’s encouraging her to get ready to dump him. He wants her to hurt him and not for him to hurt her again. Yet at the same time he moans, “I wish I was a girl so that you could believe me,” because in spite of how sure he is that what’s he doing is for her own good, he can’t “shake this static when I try to sleep.” The static is his guilt that maybe he really wants to leave her and he just can’t bring himself to admit that he ants to leave her and she doesn’t deserve the treatment he’s putting her though. And all this before we are even in the middle of the entire song!

Reams of novel paper covered in less than three minutes. Incoherent emotions of months’ gestation as neatly drawn as the curve of storm on a weather graph. Before this extraordinarily nuanced song is over, the man will have traveled a whole lifetime’s arc of experience. He will have come from excusing his callous treatment of a woman who truly loved him for his work to admitting that he was doing this all for his own selfish ego to a lonely and pained realization of what he has thrown away. And yet to top if all off, he knows he can’t go back even if she could take him back, she might actually want to take him back, but he must stay away from her for her own good. He’s moved from being a selfish prick to a selfless saint.

This is just one song, ladies and gents! This is the range and greatness of one miserly track on a whole album full of such in depth, wonderful songs. Genius is strange and wonderful and there is no better album to get and listen to and wonder at it’s mysterious and beautiful working.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

new government policy?

i have come to painful but i think true conclusion. my government hates me. my government does not want to see me become rich. my government is delibarately holding me back. i have proof.

we are always decrying that our government has no policy. only of late have i figured that this government does have a policy. the policy is to keep the citizens as poor and in need as possible. hear me out, this is no typical rant.

the number of taxes imposed on the citizenary have been going up consistently for four years now. a letter writer in the new vision newspaper put it succintently that "the absurd taxes imposed on every aspect of people's lives." that is part of the government policy i for one have only began to discern.

the thing with these taxes of the last four years is that they are all targeted at all the new sources of income making that the citizenary has tried to come up with. the telecom industry, the communication sector especially when it comes to tvs and radios. property investments. film making that was making a one legged attempt to get off the ground. in fact, let's talk about that film industry.

there's a rumour i heard that i think best shows how determined this museveni government is against people making any money for themselves. this was during the filming of the last king of scotland based on giles foden's weak novel. the filming was taking place in kampala mostly and entebbe. anyway, the rumour goes that the film makers came with a budget that included something like 200,000shs for extras who were going to be ugandans. 200,000shs is a hell of a lot of money in uganda.

well government functionaries stepped in. i would like to say museveni stepped in. hell, i should say museveni stepped since nothing happens in this country until he says so. there would be a collective holding of breath if mr. museveni demanded it. anyway, government stepped in with an objection. they pulled the film makers aside and informed them, "u can't offer that amount of money to these extras."

"goodness, why?" the director Kevin McDonald and his financial advisor asked full of concern, "we are so sorry. we did not mean to insult the workers of your great country. we shall come up with a new offer immediately to better their earnings."

the government functionary, who remarkably resembled the evil nsaba buturo, stamped his lttle foot and barked back(yes, barked), "no! no! u ignorant white men. don't you see? 200,000shs? what are a dollar a day earning ugandans going to do with all that money? that is too much money! reduce what you're offering immediately. like to 80,000shs."

and so it was.

what we don't know is where the balance disappeared to. though we do have a good idea that a government functionary pocketed much of it.

as you can see the government taxes are aimed at keeping ugandans who try to get rich by thinking up new legal ways of making money down. the taxes are so heavy that once the payer has done with them he is in the exact position he was in before he thought up of the new business that was supposed to make him rich.

if people are rich, people have more time to think. if they think, they'll realise what a lousy government rule we have endured and want a change. and a change is exactly what this governemnt does not want. so u can see. the government policy is to keep people poor and stop them wanting a better life for themselves and their fellows. not smart or pretty, but effective.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

nakivuubo place

it was like returning home. i have not had this much enjoyment since i began working like this morning. no, i don't spectacular reportage to bring back. no news from dimly lit rooms of brief noontime romantic interludes in a sun blazing working day (another time those ones). i did not walk into a police shootout this time (that happened to me once, but another time that one too). nothing like that. a simple miracle happened to me this morning. i will not even hesistate to bring in a religious term. an epiphany.

i went back to nakivuubo again. not to visit. or to work. i passed through by pure accident. the taxi i was in decided not enter the new park (the evil ways of dastardly kampala drivers who never keep their word) so i was forced out. the taxi happened to stop right in the heart of nakivuubo. and i got out and walked about.

i was stunned. i was breathless. i fell in love again. i did! i realised i went into this job precisely because i always wanted to be here. in the center of the world where all the action is and it is in nakivuubo. laugh out loud if you want or what. nakivuubo is the center of the world and let me tell you what i saw.

nakivuubo in miniscule. that's it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

girl shit

i was told this story by a friend. she was at a picnic and like true wannabe corporate yuppies, the girls and boys got down to playfully tossing about food crumbs and water at each other. this one couple got everyone's attention because the girl emptied a bottle of passion fruit juice on her boyfriend's clean sparklingly white gucci tee-shirt. then she laughed and ran. everyone laughed and followed this unfolding drama.

so the boyfriend picks up a bottle of soda too, fanta orange thankyou, and chases her. not kiddish i don't want to catch my girl too fast chase. a grim faced, whatthefuck-i'm-going-to get-you chase and-you'll-see-pursuit. she was laughing, but he wasn't. he caught up with her and punished her too. no, he did not batter her face into cubist angles. he looked her up and down, remembered how she was why they had got to this picnic late and the reason why they got here late and emptied that motherfucking fanta bottle in her hair.

the teller of this tale tells me that the picnic ended there and then. guys excused themselves quickly saying, 'see u chaps.' but not before hearing her, despite his pleading and saying he did not mean it, commanding him to 'shut up now if you still want to be my boyfriend in the next few minutes." apparently she had been to the saloon that afternoon.

now i wonder, why is it that girls always have to issue severe ultimatiums like that?

Monday, September 05, 2005

all shook up

this probably is going to make me seem like i've been living under some rock, maybe more accurately a cave in tora bora but what the heck. i just started listening to tupac. no, no, i know who he was. had heard a few of his songs on on fm stations. the sweet easy to listen to interchangeable stuff like california love. that doesn't inspire you to want to know more about the guy. even watched quite a few of his films like poetic justice which made me want to watch everything he had ever acted in, not disappointed in that quest either. but i had never really listened to tupac before.

and guess what, the first album i get to listen to is all eyez on me. reaction: nearly as shattering as the first time i watched the doors film by oliver stone. the thing i'm still trying to get over is how someone whose life (from the little i know) was so fucked up and disorganised could produce such logic, such precise order, and most surprising of all, all the wisdom in his lyrics. i'm still trying to figure that out. it's abit like reading spoonriver anothology and on checking out edgar lee masters' life, find out the guy died broke and bankrupt. i mean, i thought having so much wisdom is supposed to help you fix yourself a nice little nest egg? anway, am raving here and i better get back to tupac world, yes, he's that large.