2
Jul

Back to the old school music- Top 10 jams from the 80’s

Oh wy owh why owh why – the earlier post and visiting Val’s blog has made me nostalgic.

Well, when it comes to past-times, the only competition to my love for Arsenal football club is old school music. Val’s thread on oldies brought back some memories…so I’m on the role….

Here’s some of my favourites….in no particular order

Let’s see how old school you are or if you can remember some of these master pieces
HEALTH WARNING: “Some of these songs were hits even before some readers started eating solid foods….LOL!”

1. Lover turn me on (I just got to have yu) by Kashif

This song is only done justice by listening in a night club with a proper sound system…guaranteed to get you off your seat and shaking what your momma gave you…. Kweli Kashif was one of a rare breed.

2. Let’s hear it for the boy by Deniece Williams

I got hooked on this song when the first wave of funky matatus hit the streets in the mid80’s….LOL! I was still in primary school but used to wait for this nissan mat no. 23 to Kangemi for my daily trip to and from school – I think it was called Iron Eagle – and M used to play this song for me every time I was in the mat coz’ he liked me.

3. Saturday night by T-Connection

Now this is strictly pure soul – none of that pretend stuff…..definitely designed for a disco.

4. Just an illusion by Imagination

Nothing more you can say about this track….pure class – I didn’t realise for a while that Imagination were a British group…..apart from Soul to Soul and Loose Ends (which might have as well been Soul to Soul coz’ Caron Wheeler was their lead singer), soul didn’t really jump out at you from Britain….

5. Takes a lil time by Total contrast

Most def one for the dance floor…..

6. I wanted your love by Luther Vandross

I remember this song very well in 83/84 when it hit the air waves – alongside Don’t look any further and thriller….LOL! I think them KBC (or is it VOK) DJs killed it by over playing it like they did Ray Parker Jnr’s Ghost busters….(And don’t ask me how old I was….I loved music from the time I could walk – he says)…. But even now – this track bounces in a club proper.

7. Just got paid by Johnny Kemp

Talk about the king of one hit wonders….kweli this guy got paid after this song and just left for good….LOL!

8. Hot shot (Gor biro like a rocket) by Jimmy Cliff

Aaahh! Gor biro like a rocket – Biro nyamo abandu) – Damn! This was a hit them days AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia were like Man U and Arsenal. Going to a football match at City Stadium or Nyayo Stadium was a big deal (I should right about this on another post….LOL), even if your parents never knew where you were….

9. Pink cadillac (Remix) by Natalie Cole

Whenever I hear Pink Cadillac, it reminds me of Carnivore in the days that proper DJ’s still used to use vinyl (non of this CD and MP3 stuff) – Don’t be Cruel by Bobby Brown was number 1 all over the shop, chicks were trying to dress like Salt n’ Pepa in clubs coz Push it was a big hit, and others dislocated their shoulders trying to pop them dancing like them 3 guys in the Mac Band video of Roses are red….LOL!

10. Trapped by Colonel Abrams

This guy was the bomb…LOL! But now that you think of it….its ridiculous for a grown man who claims to have a military officer’s title to be trapped like a fool in a cage and doesn’t have a clue about what to do….

Now doesn’t that just take you back….LOL! More when I’m feeling nostalgic again.

2
Jul

Must Read: God was kind to Michael Jackson-The unread tribute

In the 1988 documentary film, Michael Jackson- The Legend Continues, the narrator, Actor James Earl Jones, aptly describes the fascination and mystique about Michael Jackson’s collective body of performances as a “Presentation of Showtime”

The only argument that can be leveled against this description of Michael Jackson is that his whole life was a presentation of Showtime, and not just the magic he unleashed on stage or through his signature vocals that brought to life his music that continues to transcend generations of millions of fans around the world.

It’s hard to truly appreciate both the magnetism and the reality of such a statement until you personally experience the magic of an individual who has most definitely earned the right to be considered the greatest entertainer on earth. Not many people had the privilege of witnessing in person, the phenomenon that is “Whacko Jacko”, and for those who did, they will continue to bear witness to a magnificent talent and a consummate professional who despite being deeply troubled, arguably gave up any semblance of a normal life to provide the world with the gift of music that is destined to be immortal in its truest sense.

What can you say about such a person?

The first thing that comes to mind for me is the sadness this brings and the profound irony that in death, Michael Jackson is literally uniting the world as hundreds of millions of fans and non-fans alike from all corners of the world, mourn the passing of the greatest superstar we will ever know, yet Michael died a very sad, lonely and broken man.

A lot has been written out there about every aspect of the saga of Michael’s life and death, and as a shameless fan of the man and his music, I would be lying if I said I haven’t been affected by his demise. Perhaps there’s nothing as therapeutic as expressing in my own words, my experiences and how the man, his life and his music influenced me. Call it my own little Stone Cold tribute to the enigma that is Whacko Jacko!

1988

I went back to 1988 because that was the year my dad surprised us and came back from a business trip abroad with the first VCR the family owned. Before then, I had to be content with wishing that a day would come when I could credibly hold conversations with other kids in the school playground and talk from an informed position of having a VCR at home.

I think my folks were cruel in that by striving for the best for their children, they took us to school right across the rail tracks, to a school where class and social identity was more important in reality, than the performance in the classroom…or at least that’s what it seemed to be.

It was hard to cope in such an environment where kids were talking about stuff I couldn’t even pronounce and constantly bragging about the videos they saw over the weekend, so you can picture the excitement in my household when the VCR landed, particularly since no one expected it.

More importantly, dad had taken his time to pick a sample of some low budget tired movies that escape my mind, as well as a variety of music video collections from well known artists of the day such as Elton John, Phil Collins, Madonna, Julio Iglesias, and to illustrate his tired taste, he didn’t forget his favourites like Jim Reeves and Dolly Parton among others.

While scrambling through our first collection of video tapes with that cheeky contempt that a teenager would have for his parent’s tired and old fashioned taste in anything – there it was – sitting pretty at the bottom of the pile. A double video pack of Michael Jackson – The Legend Continues, and the collection of Videos from his sister – Janet Jackson’s hit album, Control.

Naturally, I homed in on the Janet album…Who wouldn’t. She was hot and I challenge any male teenager or grown man for that matter to deny they wouldn’t get a boner just from watching the videos in that collection, especially the Pleasure Principle, but I digress…. The Legend Continues video did it for me. Dad knew we loved Michael Jackson, and give him credit for not disappointing.

If there was ever any crime for over-playing a single video, I think I can comfortably lay claim to hold some sort of record of over playing the Jacko documentary. I could probably narrate it word for word.

The only comparison I had with the collection of material on that video at that time was the Thriller movie – though some would insist on calling it a music video. I think I had only seen the entire Thriller video a couple of times at a friend’s place or something, but I was more than content that we had samples of both the making of Thriller and clips from the video itself. That did the trick for me, though I decided I was going to collect anything Michael Jackson that I could get my hands on.

Even from watching the documentary, it was very safe to rationalize that my obsession with the man was not a sad monopoly.

I can remember thinking I would never get to the stage of some of the footage on that video of fans crying their guts out because Michael had touched them, or because they simply saw him and he waved, or in some cases, grown people clearly fainting and passing out simply by seeing him.

Pictures I’m told, are worth a thousand words and there was no denying the sheer impact this enigma of a human being was having on fans around the world. No normal person had the power to influence and move people the way Jacko did, but you can probably understand why this is so, considering for example that in the immediate period after his death:

  1. AT&T suggest that only in the USA , 65,000 sms messages were being sent per second.
  2. 22% of Twitter messages were about Michael Jackson.
  3. Google had to block any searches of Michael Jackson to stop their servers from thinking they were under an attack.
  4. The speed of the internet literally slowed down as millions of users around the world desperately tried to look for information

1992

July 31st 1992 was the day that made me realize Jacko was larger than life, and whatever I’d seen of him on video was no illusion.

Through a radio competition a week earlier (being anal about the man does have its advantages you know), I was lucky to receive complementary tickets Pepsi were throwing around to promote Jacko’s Dangerous World Tour. The only major concert I’d been to in my life was in 1987 when Jermaine Jackson and the legendary Franco and his TPOK Jazz band performed at the grand opening concert of Kasarani Sports Complex in Nairobi leading up to the All Africa Games that year.

I wouldn’t have otherwise bothered if it wasn’t the fact that Jacko was on stage, and a cynical part of me wanted to go and find out for myself what all this fuss was about.

My only interaction with Wembley was what I knew from watching the FA Cup football matches being screened on the Road to Wembley shows on TV back home.

The folks at the radio station had said that I had won a gem of tickets and I will thoroughly enjoy myself – but again, my arrogant self thought that they probably said this to every Tom, Dick and Harry who won concert tickets for any gig.

I don’t know what I expected when I got off the train at Wembley Park, but by the time I got to Wembley Way, it was already clear that the party for the London leg of the Dangerous World Tour had started. Folks didn’t seem to mind being fleeced by hawkers lined up through the Way to the arena with anything Michael Jackson from T-shirts, gloves, jackets, and other Michael Jackson costumes, to clearly fake memorabilia…LOL!

Everyone was just excited and swinging into the party mode. After I got comfortable with a few folks I met on the way, we all vowed to hang out together as we were in the same ticket section.

Dangerous World Tour

By the time Carmina Burana, the classical hit by Carl Orff was pumping as an intro through the massive speakers around the arena, there was absolutely no doubt that this was no average show. This wasn’t a tired “concert” that we’ve come to get used to say from wanna be African artists who jump on stage miming backing tracks in a tired and dingy joint in East London. There was method in the madness we were about to witness.

Beforehand, we had been looking at some pamphlets being distributed about the Dangerous World Tour, and I guess publishing the tour facts and statistics was a deliberate strategy to “shock and awe” our asses into the mood. It was hard to understand how Jacko’s stage would require 2 747 jumbo jets to fly it around the world, until you got to see that stage and the sets on it. This was no ordinary concert and the choice of Carmina Burana as a shall we say – blood pressure raising and adrenaline pumping intro did the trick.

No one expected what was to follow in a stunt that we later came to know is called “The Toaster”. Short of looking for the panther that was roaring on stage with a powerful microphone (LOL), everyone was duped to assume that Black or White was to be the first song, as it’s the only song folks knew that Jacko used a panther in the video. The shock and awe was completed with Jacko being dramatically catapulted onto the stage from a trap door amidst a blast of pyrotechnics.

“What the Fuck!” was the only thing I vaguely remember thinking, and right through the first performance (I think it was Jam), I was still in shock and awe. I doubt if I recovered from it as I was dancing my ass off and screaming out “Anasema anataka sambusa” with some 60 something year old white haired guy to my right by the time Jacko was performing Wanna be starting something.

Two things stuck out for me as the concert went into full flow.

First, it was the sound quality of the gig. It was almost like the sound was beating to your heart and you could feel the base pumping as you go. It was loud, but it was not intrusive or annoying. The sound was well balanced and regardless of how powerful the sound system was, it was clear that it was a well coordinated part of the showpiece. I guess the best way to describe this is by saying that you were feeling the music.

The second thing that was crystal clear and in Technicolor is that the young man on stage was the greatest dancer and entertainer you were ever likely to see on this planet. WOW! When they say Jacko’s dancing seems to defy the laws of physics, that was not an illusion or overstatement. Jacko could dance and this was nothing like you saw on the Smooth Criminal or Remember the Time music videos. Seeing it live was out of this planet.

I had my answer all around me to the question “How is it possible that people could lose the plot because of this human being”.

It’s a reflex and involuntary action. You don’t know you’re doing it coz the atmosphere and electricity around you sucks you in. You find yourself hugging the next person and locking into a dance move and you find yourself screaming the lyrics of the song.

You see people around you screaming and crying like babies who’ve just had their favourite toy snatched from them, while other overwhelmed folks who have fainted are passed over your head like a sack of potatoes to the nearest first aid point on the sidelines.

There were other magical moments that linger in the mind especially the quality and meticulous detail that went into creating sets for individual songs and the seamless change in between. The fact that it was happening live in front of the crowd made it more of the spectacle it deserved to be.

I think it was after he performed human nature with the crowd waving (a significant amount of them holding lighters flickering above their heads) when the lights on stage blacked out for a few seconds – and when they came back on – two chaps with huge brooms swept across the stage from one side to the other and then the lights blacked out again for a few seconds. When they came back on, Jacko and his 4 dancers were all dressed in their Smooth Criminal regalia – him the light suit with a blue arm band and the rest in similar Mafioso style suits.

Despite the unbelievable dancing being unleashed on stage – all you could do is open your mouth wide in wonderment with that “how the fuck did they do that so quickly” look on your face. It was unbelievable. As they seem to say in recent years (shows my age…LOL!), it was off the hinges.

I remember thinking Gitonga is totally useless…LOL! Side bar here if I may…Gitosh was a legendary cheer leader in high school and his signature tune that he cheered the rugby crowds with was none other than Smooth Criminal. Gitosh though , with the help of the crowd, sang the entire tune in Kikuyu…You had to love the act, there was no other option. Gitosh even pulled the famous slap on the thigh, a lift of the thigh with a swift jig of the hips in imitation of one of Michael Jackson’s signature moves as the crowd roared “You’ve been hit by, Umegongwa – na Muici Munyoroku!” (You’ve been hit by, you’ve been struck by, a smooth criminal)

But standing and watching the man himself perform the song, Gitosh had no toe to stand on. Jacko was the genius and trying to compare what was happening on stage with Gitosh’s comedy was absolutely no justice to Jacko.

After performing Smooth Criminal, Jacko threw his Stetson into the crowd like a Frisbee after toying with the crowd about which direction he’ll throw it. The person who caught it was mobbed though I think they were prepared to die for it…! and you literally lost count of the number of panties and other items of clothing being thrown on stage.

What was funny is either when he moved to one side of the stage or during a change of set or intermission, someone collected the panties and stuff off stage like they were being paid to do it and it was normal…this was something they were used to and their only concern was probably that Michael might trip on them when dancing so they had to be removed.

The concert did not even attempt to disappoint at the end as during his performance of the last track Man in the Mirror, the stage behind him and to his side was being set up for what seemed to be a rocket launch. It was like a scene out of NASA and what was surreal is that he was performing Man in the Mirror oblivious of what was happening around him with the folks giving an impression that something galactic was about to happen.

People were walking around on stage with headsets and clipboards, giving others different directions etc., before finally Michael was asked to put on what seemed to be a space suit. In the midst of the chaos on stage, what seemed to be a rocket belt was then put on him and a launch sequence was started – counting down to zero. This concert had dramatically changed to a live movie without anyone even noticing.

As the launch sequence hit zero, the rocket belt lit up and the man in the space suit took off and literally flew outside the stadium as pyrotechnics mesmerized the crowd before a commanding voice over the sound system declared “ladies and Gentlemen – Mr. Michael Jackson has left the stadium”.

The only disappointment was that we were later to discover that the person who flew out in a space suit was stunt man Kinnie Gibson and not Michael Jackson, but then again, in between wondering at what point did Jacko switch with the stunt man, how do you not get mesmerized and totally blown in shock and awe of a once in a lifetime show like that.

That was no concert…that was a damn movie…LOL! I concluded on that day that there will never be a show that magically captivates and drives people crazy like that one did. It was one of them moments in life that you think back and say – WOW, I was there!

So what is it about this enigma of a human being who through life and in death continues to captivate people all around the world?

I think it was Quincy Jones who when asked to comment about Michael Jackson’s death said something like (and I paraphrase) “Michael doesn’t come along once in a while or once in a generation. He isn’t one in a million. He is just one. There will never be another Michael Jackson.”

You can’t argue with that, and perhaps one of the consequences of Jacko being just “the one” is that his whole life was a media spectacle. Since the age of 5, he has known nothing else but to live his life in the spotlight. And it’s also no surprise that with his talent and ability to mesmerize he is a global phenomenon in life and death.

Michael Jackson wasn’t just an influence in the lives of those who had the ability to watch his videos or follow his soap opera of a life in the western media. If you traveled to any village in any corner of this planet – whether it was the indigenous communities of the Amazon, or the remote villages say in Jirapa in northern Ghana, or the far reaches of Chittagong in Bangladesh, or the bundux of Gulu district in Uganda – the only globally recognized brand that could rival the global reach of Michael Jackson is Coca-Cola.

Having a soap opera of a life inevitably has its consequences and like many other public figures of fascination like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Princess Grace of Monaco and Diana Princess of Wales, Michael did not disappoint in his exit off stage by going out in a blaze of controversy – almost as if it was part of the plot of his soap opera.

The mystery of his life and how he lived it was therefore a constant fascination to the global media who were always looking for a story to sell, and as drama goes, the more controversial, the better the copy will sell. There was never any doubt that Michael knew how to work the system to his advantage – it was his job as a show man, and he revelled in it.

He was savvy enough to manipulate the media to suit the project of marketing himself, but he was also a true living testament that if you live by the sword, it is very possible that you will die by it.

His latter years in life were shrouded by different scandals, and I think that when reflecting on his whole life and what purpose Jacko served on this planet, it is very unfair to equate his life to the scandals of child abuse allegations that dogged him in recent years. My take on this is that Jacko stood in front of a jury of his peers and answered to these allegations, and his peers acquitted him of all charges – and as much as the continuation of the scandal provides a constant talking point, the man was acquitted and he remains innocent.

The two aspects to his life couldn’t be more contrasting. On the one hand, the only place he was ever comfortable was on stage. He owned the stage and once he was in performance mode, there was never any doubt that you were looking at a genius and a dedicated professional who will stop at nothing to entertain the world because that was the only thing he knew.

The cost of being the enigma he was on stage was that he never grew up, and refused to give himself a chance to grow up – but then again, who are we to judge and lay blame. This was someone who had their childhood totally yanked from them and while other kids played in the park, he was sweating his guts out in rehearsals and on stage, and as a grown man, he never seemed to want to give up on rebuilding that childhood that was stolen from him.

It was that innocence and naivety that eventually signaled the beginning of the end for him with one of the fatal blows being the day that he met a one Martin Bashir. A long time friend of Michael Jackson, the illusionist Uri Geller confesses that his biggest regret was introducing Bashir to Jacko – after Bashir begged and pleaded for that introduction to a sad point of even presenting a crumpled note, apparently hand written by Diana Princess of Wales vouching for Bashir as “good guys”.

It’s my belief that the domino effect of that subsequent Martin Bashir documentary – Living with Michael Jackson – is what landed Jacko on the slab in the autopsy room of the Los Angeles coroner’s office.

Michael had always had a troubled existence behind closed doors – whether it was his dependency on pain killers – or his awkward and non-conventional life choices – but the last 6 years had been an unbearable burden on the man that was to eventually break him down.

“This is it” the series of London concerts at the O2 arena seemed an apt way for the King of Pop to rise from the stooper that dogged his recent life. I must admit, when I heard he was to do 50 shows, the first thought was that it was a ludicrous idea. 15-20 years ago, he used to do 50 or so shows but over a period of 2 years…and frankly speaking, it’s not that he was a spring chicken any more. The dude was 50.

There was also the risk that with his crocked body, maintaining the level and quality of performances that he had previously done was an extremely tall order at 50, and coupled with his recent personal drama and lifestyle, this was going to be a step too far even for the King.

They say God works in mysterious ways and maybe with his sense of humour, God found a way of not only relieving Michael Jackson off his very sad, lonely and broken existence – but he also found a way to preserve his legacy and music in a way that guarantees Jacko will never be forgotten.

God was kind to Whacko Jacko. The man needed to rest and God obliged. Jacko had already given us all his life, and maybe it was time for him to have it back in peace.

2
Jul

So I Went Clubbing, VIP Style

One of the most offensive comments I’ve ever heard was “he said if we paid £40 extra each, we’ll get into the VIP section”. This was one of my friends in a taxi feeling excited about getting off the phone with an “insider” from the club we were going to. Up to that point, I really hadn’t taken notice of where we were going clubbing, I was more interested with what we were going to eat first because I was hungry.

“£40?!”, I exclaimed in shock, “to get into a pub in South East London? You can get a blowjob for £40”.

“That’s for a VIP pass” the argument followed, “And it’s not a pub, it’s a club”.

I’ll come back to this VIP thing in a bit.

It had been a great Saturday that started with us drinking at midday. It’s been a while, but I applied for my overnight visa from er indoors and it was duly granted to allow me to attend a Christmas drink up after a game with my Arsenal supporting friends. Even she knew there was absolutely no chance expecting me back home on Saturday night and promptly granted the visa.

So we sang and made merry, and even thought of opening a book to bet on how many of us would actually make it to the stadium. It didn’t matter that the pub was literally a few minutes’ walk from the Emirates, 5 pm got to us quicker than we could order enough pints. It’s one of those things that always gets you – being in your seat before kick-off is just an elusive bastard.

We quickly got into the cheering rhythm as the first half flew past – with one of my friends who was there for the first time (he supports Liverpool unfortunately) spending most of the time being mesmerized by the magnificence of the Emirates stadium. Seriously, this guy was taking photos of the pitch and the players instead of enjoying the football match. We excused the poor bastard – it was his first time in a proper stadium, one of the best in the world.

The result was disappointing, but I’ll take a point after a European weekday game with our boys coming back with a late equalizer. Everyone was still in a party mood as we headed back to the pub. Those who did not have overnight visas ended up having the traditional ‘one for the road’, and making mental notes for the next time – “make sure your missus sanctions an overnight stay”.

Fast forward a few hours later, and we had been roped into visiting an African club in South East London. When I heard the driver in the taxi being told the address, I said there’s no African club anywhere near that road and it’s a bloody long road with hundreds of nightspots. An African club is not one of them.

So imagine my surprise when they said we need to pay extra for a VIP pass. You see, I have a problem in principle. This whole “VIP status” in clubs or entertainment venues is just taken too far. It makes no business sense whatsoever. Why create second class citizens and try to segregate people in a place that is a shit venue in the first place.

If you’re going to make me a VIP – it better be VIP. Don’t try and entice me with a section of the pub with a few fluffy seats and a huge ugly fuck off bouncer built like a brick shithouse stopping people from entering the fluffy seated area.

I’m still listening to the same dodgy music, still smelling the same sweaty bodies like every other fucker in the pub, fighting like everyone else to get a pint at the bar, using the same dodgy and smelly toilets with the same lollipop selling, chewing gum peddling toilet attendant that’s’ smiling at everyone. If you’re going to make me VIP, make sure you have heated toilet seats, a surround sound system playing jazz fm, a toilet that can wash my ass with soapy water, and blow dry all the cracks and curves that nature endowed on me.

Don’t bloody call a pub a club, and don’t bloody insist that you have a VIP area and tell me that £40 is a discounted price to enter your dodgy VIP area.

True to form, it was exactly the pub I had in mind. And even then, someone was still being nervous about whether we would be let in wearing sneakers.

“It’s a pub for fuck’s sake”, I screamed. I kid you not though, the first bouncer stopped us and told us the dress was smart casual, no sneakers. And our friend instantly took to his phone to try and call his “insider” to bail us out”.

Before he could get his ‘insider’, one of the other bouncers came jumping with joy towards us and crushed me with a huge bear hug which of course shocked everyone at first. Big Ken though, is one of those huge ugly built like a brick shit house bouncers, and it’s understandable why the others were apprehensive. But Big Ken used to work for me in a previous life, hence the joy and excitement from seeing me after nearly 10 years.

“This dude hear tells me I can’t enter your pub” I hurriedly pointed to the offending “you can’t get into my club with those sneakers” bouncer, a huge “fuck you” grin on my face.

“What do you mean”, Big Ken laughingly responded, and turning to the other bouncer, he calmly said “I still call this guy boss. If T (the owner of the pub) found out you were freezing him, he’d have words”.

“what’s this VIP shit I hear you guys charge for the price of giving head” I asked Big Ken as he led us all inside. “And in a pub though these guys think it’s a club”. Big Ken just let out a hearty laugh saying it’s for the amusement of customers.

So inside we were – and even without paying VIP prices (for the sake of self-respect I insisted on paying the normal cover charge at the door) – of a pub I might add – and I must say, I felt like I’d lost a few years.

I didn’t recognize any of the songs being played except for one Rihanna hit, but that’s because it’s on radio nearly every day. In fact, last time I went to a club proper was nearly 4 years ago when I lost a bet to my younger brother’s 23 year old girlfriend and the punishment was clubbing with her all night in Nairobi.

I thought clubbing would be what it used to be like in my day, but the young girl really punished my body (wipe that smirk off your dirty face – not that kind of punishment) by keeping me on a dance floor all night.

Saturday was getting to be like one of those “what the fuck am I really doing here” kind of nights. But my friend reminded me that overnight visas are rare to come by so I better enjoy myself. And this I promptly started to do as I moved my bits and pieces on the dance floor before one of the DJ’s took pity on me and started playing some good old fashioned old school music. To me it wasn’t old school, I’d say late 80s and early 90s, but to the crowd around, they danced to it like it was the golden oldies.

One of the young girls next to me looked like she was still in nursery school and still getting used to solid food when House Call by Maxi Priest and Shabba was topping the charts in the early 90s, yet she was grooving to it like she had been in the music video.

There as another one across the floor who unleashed a scream of joy when the song came on and started the crouching dancing move as if to prove to everyone how fit she was. To be honest, the only thing you could think of with her face right by the crotch of the guy dancing with her was Biggy in Nasty girl rapping “Whip it out, rubber no doubt” – with the expectation that any second, the dude was going to whip his dick out and slap the girl’s face with it.

Believe it or not, when I was in the clubbing business, I came across crazy things, and it wouldn’t have surprised me one bit. I remember a few years back when talking to one of my customers outside in the club box office area, another customer walked out, calmly said hello with a smile and looked around as if checking if anyone else was about – nonchalantly lifted her dress, pulled out her stockings and panties, folded them neatly, put them in her hand bag and went back straight into the club.

And by the way, ladies, if you’re going to wear a mini-skirt, please do us a favour and wear one that doesn’t ride, especially if you’re going to get tipsy and drop your guard. A good miniskirt can look great and elegant (on the right body I might add), but when it starts riding every few minutes and it becomes difficult to tell whether you’re wearing a skirt or a belt, then you’ve got a problem.

We ended up talking with this particular girl and her group of friends and making small talk. With industrial strength speakers determined to fuck up your ears, conversation wasn’t easy at all.

At one point when we were sat in the fluffy VIP seats (yes there was a VIP area, she started telling me her life story – hard to keep job, dodgy boyfriend who doesn’t’ value her, ambitions in life, and why the group decided they needed to party hard.

I was also amused when she complained about the challenges of wearing a miniskirt. Especially when she’s had wine, panty removers, beer and all sorts poured onto her thighs by inconsiderate bastards.

“My thighs are so sticky…” she moaned, almost daring and willing me to feel and see how disgusting it really was.

I thought if only there was really a VIP bathroom for the ladies, she could have actually taken a shower.

Some things never change though – like the dodgy mini-cab driver who hang out all night outside the club and want to charge you an arm and a leg to take you home, especially when you’re all going to different addresses. And the one thing that always cracks me up is when they insist you pay them first before they take you – something I always refuse on the grounds that they haven’t taken me anywhere – how do I know they’re not a murderer like the ones you watch on CSI New York.

As far as I know, the only professionals who get away with collecting fees before the job are prostitutes. Why taxi drivers insist on going this direction I don’t know. Besides, if I actually manage to elude a taxi driver in my state after clubbing, they’ve got bigger problems than me not paying them for the fare.

2
Oct

Wedding Oddities

Weddings are known to be grand, classy, glamorous, sophisticated affairs, where everyone is on their best behaviour. I am sure like me you have attended a countless number of weddings. I am also sure that there are some that stand out in your mind for all kinds of reasons.

Today I want to talk about the other the side of weddings. The bride is expected to behave in a certain way and some things are just common sense. For example it will be highly frowned upon if the bride or groom gets excessively drunk during the reception. For heaven’s sake! It is only a one day affair and surely you can keep yourself from indulging in some of these things.

A few months ago, I attended a wedding where my cousin was getting hitched to a man from a totally different culture from ours. In my culture when a bride is entering the precincts of the wedding ceremony, women start singing in praise of the bride and at the same time mock the groom’s family. This singing goes on till the bride reaches the church just before she starts marching to the bridal song. Well the women singers got carried a bit with all their singing and dancing and when the bride reached the aisle she just shouted at the top of her voice, gestures included ‘Nyamazeni, nyamazeni’. What a way to start a wedding!!

Speaking as someone from a culture that requires brides to be cool, calm and collected on that day. All smiley and holding hands, sticking to the groom like glue. I am always taken aback when I attend weddings where brides are a bit jumpy and all over the place talking loudly and high fiving, no holding hands and leaving the groom to walk around on their own the whole day!!

My friend got married the other day and to say the least I haven’t yet seen such behaviour in a bride. Well as she was marching into the church in her veil held by her mum and dad on either side, she extricated her hand from her mums elbow and started waving at the people she knew who had come for the wedding.

Can you imagine a bride walking down the aisle to the organ tunes of ‘Here comes the bride’ and she is all up waving at people and saying ‘Sasa?’ ‘Kumbe ulicome?’ ‘Enjoy yourself’!!

Then during the reception she came to sit with us for most of the time and left the groom at the high table. I know people have different cultures but that was just a bit too much if you ask me.

Odd wedding dresses

A bride’s attire is a focal point in the wedding. Beautiful as it is, when it is complicated and restricts the brides movement it can be a quite cumbersome to lag around an entire day.

A close relative of mine was getting married deep in the rural areas. Her dress was made in such a way that she could not visit the washroom without external help!

Those who have had the opportunity to get entangled in a bride’s net and all will know exactly what I am talking about. As her brides maids we were enlisted as her close aides for that special day. In the middle of the ceremony she announced her intention to go.

The washrooms were so far away from the house it was not plausible for the bride to walk all the way there and back and we were forced to improvise. So we found a tin somewhere and a private secluded place (very difficult at a crowded wedding!) and we surrounded her as she relieved herself. You could see the relief on her face and in her smile as she returned to take her place in the proceedings.

However, that incident was nothing compared to this wedding I attended in a neighbouring country.

Brides who pass out

The wedding ceremony and reception all went well but it seems that the excitement of the day was all too much for her because during the evening reception she just suddenly collapsed and passed out.

There was a big gasp of shock across the room and when we got to her we realized that she had peed on herself on that beautiful evening gown that had cost a fortune!

With the help of a nurse who was in attendance we managed to revive her somewhat and we helped her clean up as best as she could and she returned to reassure the anxious guests.

The bridegroom who got high

Grooms are not to be left out either.

I attended this wedding where the parents of the boy were elders in a church and did not want their son to go into a come-we-stay affair like he wanted to.

Since they were a little moneyed they organised the whole affair for him to save face in the church. Now this son of theirs was a well known pot smoker and in the middle of the reception, he pretended he was going to use the facilities and we could not trace him for a long while.

People started whispering about his long disappearance and surprise! surprise! He was brought back to the high table all high and happy, about two hours later!! much to the embarrassment of the bride, his parents and the family at large.

Some of the strange happenings cannot be controlled or avoided; I mean those involving bodily functions. But someone should honestly come up with a manual of how brides and grooms are expected to behave on that day to keep guests from witnessing the embarrassments that cannot be avoided.

Shock As Trina Leaves Idols

Surprise surprise Trina has just been voted out of Idols East Africa! Now the final two are Eric and Nichollete.

It’s difficult to understand what Africa is voting for because Trina is obviously a better singer than Nichollete. Maybe sweet personality and composure which Nichollete has plenty of.

Now nobody, not even Eric is safe. Infact I now believe he’s in trouble and Nichollete may very well win. The way things are going, he might even be voted out for his hair style. Reminds me of TPF1 when Alvan was obviously a better singer and yet the final result came as a shock when Linda was declared winner.

As Kirima says, ‘Eric fans also need to watch out for complacency as well and vote vote vote!

2
Jul

Eric Moyo Of Zimbabwe Wins Idols East Africa 2008

It’s finally over.

After the final face off between Eric Moyo and Nichollete Kiiga, Zimbabwe has something to celebrate after their son Eric Moyo won Idols East Africa 2008 in a 90 minute finale at the Bomas of Kenya.

Eric-MoyoEric is a brilliant singer who most certainly deserved the US$80,000 and the Sony BMG recording contract. He got himself, the judges and his mother all teary eyed with Michael Bolton’s ‘When a man loves a woman’.

No blushes for Angie this time. All the attention was for mum and the audience. ‘This is my everything’ which BMG composed for him was just not Eric at all and other than the words, the melody and the flow of the song did not match the magnitude of the moment. And it did not sound any better the second time round after he was declared winner. BMG could have done better.

Nicholette was quite the sweet and soothing songbird especially in her first performance although that is not to say the others were not good. After performing the BMG composition ‘Goodbye Baby’, the judges thought that she sounded very appropriate doing an original. Let’s hope that’s a sign of things to come.

It was good to see the top 10 back on stage although these group performances never quite work. Of all other duets somebody picked a Whitney Houston song for the great pair that was Eric and Nicho. Worse still the West African Idols picked Alicia Keys which the other Eric performed in dark sunglasses. That was painful to watch. Other than that, the solo by Omawumi was really cool. The girl is quite a performer too.

Identity did a good job in dressing the Idols.

1
Jul

Idols East Africa – Top Three

After lots of good food, chauffeuring and pampering from World Earth Day Spa, the contestants were feeling and looking like stars.

Nichollete Kiiga

Nichollete kicked off the show rather flatly with ‘Any Time’ by Kelly Clarkson whom she seems to like so much. Given that it was her own song choice, Nichollete could have chosen something she could handle better. After all she knows her voice well by now.

It was evident she was struggling through the song but TK and Angela Angwenyi decided to sugar coat their comments anyway. The only one who told her the truth about the struggling was Scar.

Her second song ‘The Way You Love Me’ by Faith Hill, which was picked by the viewers was not a good performance either. She decided to sit through it all, which would have been ok if she sang well but she did not.

Scar reminded her that this was the Top 3 and she needed to get out of her shell. I think it’s too late. She’ll most likely get voted out tonight so if there’s any getting out of the shell, it’ll be later when she’s a performing artist.

Song number 3 for Nichollete was ‘Save The Best for Last’ by Vanessa Williams. She looked angelic in white and this in my opinion was her best performance among her three songs. But she lost the song somewhere along the way. And it was still not top three material.

Trina Chisanga

Even before Trina started performing Aretha Franklin’s ‘Natural Woman’, I thought that was a clever song choice and I knew she would nail it.

It sounded like just the perfect song for her voice which Angela accurately described as raspy and sexy.

Maybe that’s why an Aretha Franklin song seemed the perfect song for her to do.

I wish I could say the same about the second song chosen for her by the fans though – ‘Put Your Records On’ by Corinne Bailey. Fans actually chose that song? Considering the large fan base, I’d expect something more widely known. The performance was rather flat and the judges struggled to give glowing comments.

Angie was into the green shoes. TK shouted something I can’t quite recall. Scar as usual said the truth. It was not as good as the previous performance.

Song number three, picked for Trina by the judges was a powerful song for the right girl at the right stage of the competition. Performing ‘I Believe’ by Fantasia, Trina was pretty much like Fantasia on the night she performed it after winning American Idols – complete with the emotions and tears.

Last night I even thought for a fleeting moment that Trina looked a little like Fantasia. The Fantasia of them days not the current one. The power of the song combined with the power of Trina’s vocals and the magnitude of being in the top three all ensured a true winning performance.

Eric Moyo:

Eric Moyo is a crazy one. The good kind of crazy. You’ve got to hand it to him for the sheer boldness and daring, taking on the Michael Jackson’s ‘Black or White’. Who takes on MJ by choice? Eric Moyo.

He’s a natural entertainer and a risk taker. Even the flu he’s said to have had for most of the week did not seem to slow him down. He sang ‘Kiss From A Rose’ equally well with not a note out of place. My loyalties are back with him.

I don’t even know what I was thinking straying to Nichollete who will most likely leave today. He closed the show with the judges’ pick – Elton John’s ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go down on Me’. Good song choice good performance. So he was the best performer and the best dressed contestant. That’s what spending time in the Jacuzzi with two beautiful women can do to a guy. So says Scar.

I read some allegations somewhere to the effect that during the week of Amarra Brown’s eviction, the producers deliberately blocked her voting lines. If this is true, then that could explain a lot. But why would they want to do that?

PS: So if Eric Moyo wins the US$80,000/– how much is that in Zim dollars? He had better start doing the math now. That calculation is huge and could easily take a week to complete.

2
Jun

At Last! African Music On Idols East Africa

For the first time we have seen Africans showcase the beauty of African Music on an African Music talent show. Such irony! The thing is Africans sound better singing African songs and this is what the contest should have been about right from the start. Proudly African. Never mind that yesterday they all sang South African songs. It was good to note too that some of the contestants tried to incorporate something African in their looks either in the clothes, headgear or jewelry. You can always trust Amarra to outdo them all. And at least the presenter did not have pink butterflies on his lapels this time.

I’d always thought that the departure of Cynthia would expose Adiona’s weak singing but it seems I have another think coming. This time round the girl performed like an already practicing musician. She gave her best performance ever since she began her journey on Idols. How African music can transform an African! It’s hard to imagine she’s the same one who murdered Beyonce’s song a few weeks ago! Yesterday she looked and sounded the part and maybe she should stick to this kind of music. All the judges loved her performance. Scar thought it had a beginning and then an end. Duuh! Of course it had a beginning and then an end Mr. Matlhabapiri.

My money is on Eric. The guy is a star performer and a brilliant entertainer as he continues to prove week after week. His song seemed like a serenade for Angie whom he sent into a prolonged blush. She blushed so much she could hardly critique the performance. The audience loved him so much too and got into an even more prolonged frenzy. Only Scar thought that the vocals were not well projected – but those are African vocals Scar! Mellow. If you give the contestants an African theme, are you still judging on the screeching notes that they’ve been aping all along? Scar was clearly not in an African mood anyway. What was raw African authenticity especially in Mukhuluki’s and Eric’s performances translated as bad vocals for this often temperamental judge. And he thought Nicollete’s performance was like kissing a giraffe. Simon Cowel is back.

TK was not impressed with Trina and Amarra’s vocals. He expected better from them judging from their past performances. But what they may have lacked vocally they made up for with the dance moves. These girls can gyrate! Whatever were they upto?!

The giraffe twist was fun to watch. What was that giraffe upto with Nicollete?

Does that independent judge add any value to the show?

2
May

American Idol – David Cook Finally Takes The Title

American Idols, probably the most watched show in the history of entertainment finally crowned it’s winner David Cook at the Nokia Theatre in grand finale fit for a superstar. It was touching to see him get overcome by emotions after his last performance. Maybe reflecting on his long journey on American Idol was just too much for him and he was glad it was finally over.

There’s no doubt both Davids are extremely talented. But I’d always been rooting for David Archuleta through out the season and I still believe he delivered. Cook is definitely a great singer but his performances I thought were a bit lackluster for a grand finale compared to Archuleta who delivered knock out after knock out which prompted Simon Cowel to declare him winner of round 1 and 2 of the 3 rounds. It’s just as well though. At just 17 the boy is too young. He has a very powerful voice but most of the time he just didn’t know what to say when asked questions. But hey! It was not a talking competition.

I think America was afraid to catapult him to teenage megastardom lest he meets the ogre that ate former teenage star’s Britney Spears’ brains. He’s already a star by virtue of his big voice and immense talent but maybe having not won the title will give him a chance to cool off and complete his studies. The youngster had trouble even dealing with the possibility of being crowned American Idol Season 7. Throughout the show he looked mostly overwhelmed – like he would faint at any time. David Cook on the other hand is more mature at 25 years and is better placed to handle the pressures that are likely to come with is new job. I hope their careers will blossom like for some of the former winners of American Idol.

Speaking of former American Idol Winners, I was really shocked at the performance of one Fantasia Barrino on the show a few weeks ago. Talk of change of musical style! She was never my favorite even during her season but at least she had a sweet voice and actually used to actually sing! This time she landed onto the stage with blazing red hair, red lips and red nails and shouted herself hoarse. Whatever she’s smoking she needs to stop. Even Simon Cowel was caught on camera gawking in obvious disbelief. Other past winners like Jordan Sparks and Kerry Underwood seem to be doing much better.