Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Windows 7 & Vista-the battlers.

Warily cautious does not even begin to describe my gingerly advances towards the new Windows 7 operating system. Ecstatic techy reviews I have read indicate that Windows 7 is a marvel, Microsoft’s first real challenge to the little tested wonderous experiences I have had of Steve Job’s Apple system. It is not mentioned by Microsoft but it seems that Windows 7 is the new Vista and that is creepy for me.

Vista was my first love and it broke my heart, badly. Tore it into shreds and sent the pieces floating in the planetary ether like rocket debris. I still have strong feelings about my first experiences and encounters with Vista which happened toward the end of 2006. When I used my first work laptop that was to be my work station for the next two years, that bulky Dell laptop on which I blogged some of my best Iwaya pieces when the love for blogging was as pure as a Scottish Christian missionary’s zeal, penned yahoo messenger messages that nearly came back to haunt me.

Ha! How I experienced the first joys of Windows 11 Media Player, learning from Pete’s Mama first that as my windows system was genuine, all I had to do was upgrade. For many months delighting, like a child seeing the phone coloured screen, in the shiftable templates on offer. The yahoo messenger free over the internet phone calls that began a continuing interest in hunting for the perfect headphones. Damn, those beautiful desktop tricks. I loved Vista!

Until the disappointments. The endless ‘hanging’ while processing multiple requests. The endless start-up wait that got me addicted to sauntering out to begin an addiction to coffee, learning the art of making a cappuccino, the foamy mountain reward half consumed before my Dell Vista would let me access my documents. The extinction of some beloved programmes Vista declared beyond the pale and not worthy of use while it was on that Dell. But always, the intolerable slowness like I was waiting on never arriving royalty that anyway turned up with nothing especially spectacular. I was sick of Vista by the time we two parted, several time close to hurling that blames Dell at the wall that survived with me dangerous voyages, journeys on which things happened I have ever yet been able to come to terms with.

Excuse me therefore I’m still underwhelmed by all so far I have read and heard of Windows 7. I have been listening to and following the Windows 7 gospel since July this year and I’m still far from conversion. Chrome Google, Explorer failed to convert me and Firefox has remained my legitimate lover. I’m a lover of snappy beauty but Mormon functionality operates the everyday and this is what I need the most above all. In the chaos of my many universes, I create order in the world of my laptop. Windows XP is not about to be usurped until I know Windows 7 is not just another Microsoft flash in the pan.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Crushing without a guilt...again!...on Tracey Chapman

"Telling Stories"

There is fiction in the space between
The lines on your page of memories
Write it down but it doesnt mean
Youre not just telling stories
There is fiction in the space between
You and me

There is fiction in the space between
You and reality
You will do and say anything
To make your everyday life
Seem less mundane
There is fiction in the space between
You and me

Theres a science fiction in the space between
You and me
A fabrication of a grand scheme
Where I am the scary monster
I eat the city and as I leave the scene
In my spaceship I am laughing
In your remembrance of your bad dream
Theres no one but you standing

Leave the pity and the blame
For the ones who do not speak
You write the words to get respect and compassion
And for posterity
You write the words and make believe
There is truth in the space between

There is fiction in the space between
You and everybody
Give us all what we need
Give us one more sad sordid story
But in the fiction of the space between
Sometimes a lie is the best thing
Sometimes a lie is the best thing

Tracey Chapman

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Eminef-My Rant, My Defence, My Love-letter

You may know me as that Biggie freak, you know. The guy has a Biggie Smalls quote for nearly every situation that I will mumble under my breath, who jumped onto a taxi from Entebbe on a Friday evening, traveling against the grain of heavy evening traffic back into Kampala because my video girl at Eddie Soft had texted me that they had finally got Notorious and I could not wait until Monday. When usually not even the promises of money will get back into Kampala after I have left the city on Thursday evening.

I have fallen out of seeing so many good, old friends because they live in Kampala and I live in Entebbe and they think the best days to meet are over the weekends—Saturdays and Sundays. I will not make the pilgrimage but for Biggie, for The Notorious B.I.G…tell me that Lil’ Kim has made a secret personal visit to Kampala and is on her way to one of our numerous game parks. I will visit my first national game park if that is what it will take to meet the woman who probably, after his mother, knew B.I.G in ways few other people ever got to know him—to meet her and ask her what he was like, what did he sound like in his everyday conversation, what did he like watching on TV, well, I will just about do anything.

But that is about the closest I can ever hope to get to Biggie, apart from the endless versions of playlists of his music that I have made. Finding even songs worth listening to in Duets: The Final Chapter, and damn Biggie fans if you have never listened to Biggie and Pac collabo in the House of Pain song, way, way better than that other celebrated collabo-the Jay-Z Biggie Brooklyn’s Finest—House of Pain is guttural, raw, cutting to the bone like intimations you get from Cadillac Records what it must have felt like to first hear Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and the originals wringing art and song from terrible circumstances that had seen their mothers and fathers leave the South, go stark raving mad in trying to prove I’m also a man.

I’m that Biggie nut. But I also used to be an Eminem fan. Okay, you know I can never just be a fan. Because I just don’t listen to the music. Once I get into some song, some artist, it is all consuming and I got to watch every documentary, every movie they have been in, I got to have the photos and know the lifeline curve and where these songs were recorded and where possible, what was on the brain---genius coruscating, ideas sizzling, like corn popping. That is why I find it hard why some people think music is like polite chatter, something you can put in elevators and pay not much mind to. Music is like the literature I read, life saving. Eminem was and is a life saver.

This is for you who was told that your generation is shallow because you think Eminem is just as important as Shakespeare. For daring to say you think Eminem is the greatest poet of his generation. For trying to articulate how like Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael, Eminem gets your pain, rage, outrage and desire to survive and overcome. Refuse to be broken and that raised middle finger is not just an obscene gesture for you.

Have they not listened to Rock Bottom, If I Had, Guilty Conscience from the Slim Shady LP? Kim, Stan, Drug Ballad from the Mathers LP? I mean don’t Mocking Bird, One Shot 2 Shot, Like Toy Soldiers from Encore speak for themselves? Norm Mailer was right that obscenity and its sanity saving blessedness and you intuitively got it though they are trying to tell you that Eminem is a misogynist bastard, gay-basher, intolerant KK white, and you could not believe it. You have to go through the darkness to get to the light and for you Em was the only one holding the light like no one else could--- so no need to apologise for idolizing him---for the musical hand that got you to bite your lip through a barrage of virulent verbal opposition but hang onto your ideas, put that vodka sachet down and instead outline that business plan you carried around in your head for nearly half a decade, turn away from the betrayal of a brother and the impending one of a lover without rancour and continue climbing instead of letting it drag you down and embitter you age you. How many people can claim to have saved even one life? Em saved yours. It’s enough.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apparently I Used To Love This Song...

Baz Luhrmann Lyrics - Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be
it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by
scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not
understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and
recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked….
You’re not as fat as you imagine. Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing
bubblegum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you Sing Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own..

Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders. Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will
look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than
it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen…

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Trying and Failing

I once read in one of those old historical books I used to love browsing through when I had access to a library other than the one I have created in my house that no man is a hero to his valet. That servant (for the extremely rich) knows that your shit stinks like everybody’s shit and is not dazzled by you like outsiders looking in maybe by you.

I hope it was Somerset Maugham (ps: no wiser writer’s handbook than his Summing Up exists) who noted that even the most courageous general is but a whimpering bundle of human fears before the most timid of doctors who examines him with objective, impartial scientific eyes. For all the general’s honours, he is no more distinguished before the doctor than a slab of meat in a butcher’s shop in Nakulabye. He is there to be studied.

I’m trying not to grumble. I know they say that a prophet will never be accepted in his homeland, but I’m not that ambitious. I’m just wondering if it is at all possible to impress one’s own family members. I have impressed all sorts of people, left quite a few wordless with wonder, but I swear I have never seen any of my own family in the least surprised by anything I do. Even things I thought were wonders I were able to pull them off. Not even the lifted eyebrow of surprise have I ever got.

I mean, is it really possible to impress one’s own family? I’m beginning to think it is not possible!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Mixed Bag, smiley faces, musicmatch!

In case y'all missed it...Lissingmink is back, yeah baby! Check her out at http://lissingmink.blogspot.com/ (PS:Forgive me for not making the link more direct, but blogger has some new coding thing I don't feel so I have to do it this way.)

In other news, someone accused me of promoting mediocrity and second rateness in my other job when it comes to the local Ugandan musicians I promote. I can't even begin to tell you how much effort it is taking for me not to vent here while defending some of our Ugandan musicians who are not entirely crap and unoriginal as I was being lectured they are.

Anyway coincidentally on the same day, I discovered that it is 20 years since "Fran├žois Luambo Makiadi (6 July 1938 - 12 October 1989) was a major figure in twentieth century Congolese music, and African music in general. He is widely referred to as Franco Luambo or, simply, Franco. Known for his mastery of rumba, he was nicknamed the "Sorcerer of the Guitar" for his seemingly effortlessly fluid playing. As a founder of the seminal group OK Jazz, he is counted as one of the originators of the modern Congolese sound," passed away.

I just thought I should mention that too.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Playing Lists

So now I know why I love Biggie, 2pac, Nas, Jay-Z, Philly Bongoley Lutaaya, Tshila, Bobi Wine, Jose Chameleone, Leonard Cohen, 3rd Eye Blind, John Lennon, Moses Matovu, Navio, Jamal, East African Bashment Crew-keep all Goya’s fears on display at bay, dare you to dream for more than you ever hoped, refuse to surrender even with all the odds stacked against you.

IPod your playlist getting you through the day, lunchtime is not too far when you know with the smokers slipping out the building it will be there to carry you till the evening when you can get away once for the night hours that are all yours. Past the shuffle mode chances that you hope will unfurl a song that satisfies the craving of that which you will not allow yourself even think of, though them all is still possibility—you can still say sorry and begin all over, get courage in these walking feet to the person you wronged so badly.

Somewhere in this seemingly childish activity is a deadly seriousness. Music and poems and stories, they tell you, do not change the world. But they are the same people who say there is nothing like the soul or spirit, post mortems have proved it. But you know it’s not true because independence begins in the mind and those ear plugs are not just a fashion accessory for you, they are your secret mass badges of resistance too. You have taken their power and subverted it.

With Biggie, 2pac, Nas, Jay-Z, Philly Bongoley Lutaaya, Tshila, Bobi Wine, Jose Chameleone, Leonard Cohen, 3rd Eye Blind, John Lennon, Moses Matovu, Navio, Jamal, and East African Bashment Crew. You have stopped not just dreaming, you have found your own trenches that will help and even if no one understands right now, it does not matter because you believe in something again. You thought you were broken, you have discovered yourself stronger. Now you know that your greatest victory will not just be refusing to accept what they said was your fate, or enduring, or surviving. It will be thriving and claiming.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Photos of You

I love your out of focus photos because they remind me you are not perfect. I love the photos of you I did not take because they prove to me that it is not I who sees you the way I see you. I love the photos of you when I was not there or not in them because ghostly from this distance I make new discoveries about you. I love all these photos of you I have with me because my seeing eyes will never have enough of looking at you, my insatiable hungers will have never tire of devouring every part of you, when you are away or when I have to be away, they are my anchors into the world of you I have, prove that my goofy smile is not from a private cinematic fantasy---you are a real, you are a part of my world--- and these still photos prove it, your laugh reverberating in the sound files of my ear did happen.

I keep these photos of you, like a mental wedding ring.

Friday, October 02, 2009

My Special Blog of the Day/Week/Year Discovery

http://echwaluphotography.wordpress.com

I don't often go falling over myself because a new blogger is on the block...but I love photos and Echwalu's is one of the best out there satisfying that hunger! I wish there were so many more, or at least I knew where to find them! You have a photo blog, especially one with African content, hit me up. But meanwhile...savour the Afro haired talent at http://echwaluphotography.wordpress.com

Bobi Vs. Bebe...and the winner is!

Why does it always have to be either or with so many people? The question I have been asked the most this week is, “Are you for Bobi Wine or Bebe Cool? And where will you be?” I would rather be at both shows if I could, in fact I just might!

Few people believe me when I say have no emotional investment in what will happen at their respective album launches. I know that whatever happens over this weekend, Bobi and Bebe’s music careers are not going to die overnight. In fact unlike most people, I think that this rivalry they conjured up to spark interest in their launches is a good thing.

You might cynically think that they are doing solely for the sake of getting as many people as they can through the gates. You would be right but I think both musicians have a deeper motive. They need this rivalry to stoke the embers of their creativity, to remind themselves that though it might look like they are atop the heap of Ugandan music, they still have more to prove.

It does not matter that you make the best music or you made the most creative video. You must be able to pull in the biggest crowds to prove your financial worth. They will have none of this snobbish, wrong headed prissiness of artists like Maurice Kirya who claim to be content to appeal to a few. They must be colossuses creatively and bank balance wise.

This is why I find it so strange that anyone should demand I must be a loyalist of one and throw banana skins at the other. Bebe Cool is a self marketing phenomenon in our local music industry whose complexity has never yet been adequately expounded upon and probably never will, at least in what we have passing for newspaper commentary today-shallow politics obsessed. Bobi Wine is a richly unexplored model for what we could term the Ugandan dream come to breathing life and embodied in his life story and the psychological wheels on which musical creativity revolve amply proves this but where will I ever get the chance to tell you in riveting detail the naked fear I have seen in his eyes and heard in his voice, away from the madding distractions he surrounds himself with?

I guess that’s why I’m not one of those who wants to be a flag waver and surrender my fence sitting spread of the land view.