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Monday, 27 June 2011

Life For Rent

My hairs stand on end like an electrocuted dog's would, whenever I hear a certain Dido song.
The lyrics seem to hit quite close to home.
Ironic, because they actually deny the existence of such a thing in my life.
Either way, I always sing along with gumption and gusto:

"I haven't ever really found a place that I call home,
I never stick around quite long enough to make it..."

Okay, but who am I kidding? I know I have.
As a person who spent 8 years in medical school (and by extension, in Enugu state) without enough funds to do anything more than breathe and on the rare occasion eat, I had NO CHOICE, the Coal City was my home for a quite a good while!

You see, I got into University a tiny 15 year old who was proud of his academic achievements pre-tertiary education, but was unwilling to work hard enough to garner any further laurels. After all, nobody (except for my immediate family and my secondary school academic staff) really cared how smart I was.

In a way, I felt experienced: I already knew what it felt like to be top of your class when push comes to shove.
But I had gotten into university hoping to get to know what it felt like to be on top of, er... other things. Hopefully, with a lot of pushing and shoving too!

But psychologically, somewhere at the bottom of my mind, I found it hard to commit.
(Though not to exhilarating phenomena like "love": I always wanted to experience that. I grew up thinking I was unworthy of any positive affection so I practically threw myself into love with anyone who, in my estimation, seemed to have walked out of a fairytale, hoping that said real-life princess would kiss this green-eyed but brilliant frog into princely stature and comportment!)

Rather, I found it hard to commit to friends, to fellowships, to classrooms, schoolwork, assignments, a career...

Bottomline, I found it hard to commit to a future.
Because, what is a future if not the sum total result of the actions carried out in the past?

I never really took up chess. I was scared to lose to better players. And I had already heard of 5 year old chinese maestro chess players. I didn't want to be humiliated. So I stayed playing with amateurs, sticking to being the gargantuan piscean in a minute mere.

I tried taking up basketball for a few minutes. But being small, nerdy, unpopular, cross-eyed, and having poor eye-hand coordination did little to ensure the longevity of such a venture.

I never really committed to The Abiding Word Gathering, a school fellowship of like minded souls that I had stumbled unto: I didn't like the intrusions and the regular, constant unsolicited advice and the having to call everyone 'brethren' and being answerable to elders, pastors and the like.

I did not stay with AIESEC, an international organisation that I had joined in my early years in University. Partially because the branch on my campus was suspended for a while, but mostly because I DETESTED the dreadful nickname they gave me.

I didn't seek out people to be in my 'crew'. I even resisted those who sought to roll with me. I was gonna hand pick the coolest dudes, when the time was right.

Just not right now.

I didn't ever want to lose.
I wanted to be the best (and more specific, I wanted to be WITH the best).

And in so doing, I would say I killed a certain part of me before it was even birthed. An abortion in so many ways.

Because normal people play games that they occasionally win and lose, normal people hang out and befriend other normal people. Normal people joined fellowships, clubs and what-not. Normal folk did a whole lot of stuff that normal folk did.
But I refused to.
It was almost as if I felt I was abnormal and had made a subconscious decision and more than a few repeated and overt attempts to stay that way.

So I was lucky that music found me.

Truthfully though, it can be said that we found each other.
I was just this kid who had so much bewilderment, so much pain, so much angst. Nothing could soothe me more than music that moved me.

I never saw myself as anything more than a lonely little kid, stuck in a drab room, slaying his inner demons by straining his vocal cords to keep up with the powerfully sustained notes of Celine Dion's rendition of "All By Myself"...
I never saw myself as anything more than someone who loved music so much that he could sing along to EVERY song that played on the radio (at the time) word for word, note for note, ad-lib for ad-lib.

It just so happened that I ended up being friends with people who will end up being some of the biggest artists in Nigeria, though we didn't know it at the time.

It just so happened that I had memorised the rhymes I had been doodling in my notepad and once, when called to 'rap' for some guy who 'heard that I can', spat out some lyrics that I am rather ashamed of (at least, right now), but which had the effect of driving him ecstatic.

It just so happened that that guy eventually became a 'Director of Socials' in my school. And he did all he could to make sure I performed at every social event he could create.

And to some extent, I did commit.


So, at the end of the day, it IS funny.
How we never see things coming, but we find out, when they do, that this is EXACTLY what we have been waiting for all our lives.

But the question is, "why wait?"

That Dido song is, in my opinion, trying to say that we should embrace life and not live it like it is for rent. Else we would deserve nothing more than we get.

Much as I agree with the morals of the song, I however believe that our lives ARE for rent.

Only thing is, our Land-LORD actually EXPECTS that we live it to the fullest.

That way, He never regrets giving it to us in the first place.

So, people, let's go out and LIVE...
'Cos there's no time like the present.

It's your boy,
Fly Fellow, y'all!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

'Axe' your "Mummy"

Okay. So I am something of a small time celebrity at this point. I mean, I have all of 210 facebook fans, two-thirds of which are actually my facebook friends who I conned into 'liking' my, er, 'music page', www.facebook.com/LACEdaFlyFellowMusicPage. (Officially, facebook calls it a "fan page" but if I call it that, my friends may not look too favorably on the idea of signing up to being plain old Leslie Ezeoke's "fan", and might actually only 'like' the page just so they can post spam and hate mail on my wall! I sure know how to leave well alone!)

I also have a nice little low budget (but rather effective) music video which has started playing on a lot of tv stations (Yes, to my astonishment, even MTV Base! With my second consecutive video release on limited MTV airplay, I must have set some sort of record in my local government area, or in my village at the very least!) I cannot describe the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I get pinged every once in a while by people saying "I am watching your video on soundcity (or some other station). Nice one!"...
Hey, what do you know? I CAN describe it!

But the thing about me that people should know, is that I have a certain habit which I doubt can be changed by anything short of phenomenal stardom. That habit is this:
I love to walk!

"Walk?" some people are wondering, incredulous and disappointed that I have nothing more sordid, suspicious or sinister to share. But you don't understand. This is not walking like, y'know, putting one leg in front of another to get from the living room to the bathroom when one is drunk and understandably uncoordinated. This is (to quote Coach Calhoun from 'Grease', my favorite childhood movie), "long... distance" walking, "cross... country" walking!

I mean, I once took a girl on a date and, when she got tired of us walking back from the restaurant to "where I parked my car", it still took her a hundred naira bike ride to get to the parking spot (which, it turned out, was at my house! Either the car drove itself back home, or I walked all the way to the joint! In my defense, I'd say I have never really trusted that vehicle in the first place. For a so-called japanese car, it consumes more fuel than Charlie Sheen does alcohol in a hill-billy wine tasting carnival!)

But really, I have crossed cultural barriers, time zones, even climactic regions on these feet. And one thing I can tell you is this: whoever wrote the song "these boots were made for walking" was not talking about standard-issue Timberland boots! I mean, 2 hours of trudging and I'd have turned any brand new pair of 'timbos' into slobbering Pavlovian canines: tongues hanging out and looking hungrier than somalian children in a united nations poster.

And the reason I like to walk is that it brings me as close as possible to other people's reality. (That and the fact that there's a higher possibility of bumping into a girl I'd like.) I get to see things I wouldn't ordinarily see if, instead, I had driven from point A to B. I guess I can say trekking simply keeps me (and, sadly, the soles of my shoes) very well uh, 'grounded'.

And that brings me to the topic at hand: a few days ago, I was just minding my business, y'know, doing my usual footwork, trying to get from A to B when someone shouts my name. Now, if the person had said "Doctor!" I'd have known it was someone I should quickly tell "I'm sorry, I'm rushing to work, all enquiries should be forwarded to my office and we'll do our best to get back to you within 10 working days..." But instead, this person shouted "LACE!" and at that point, I did what any self respecting recognition-thirsty upcoming musician in search of self-validation would do: I stopped and waved.

Long story short, dude walked up to me and commenced the absolutely futile task of making me remember who he was and where it was that I had met him. I scrutinized him up and down, from head to toe, and nope, he did not have a pair of stunning knockers. How he expected me to remember him while he was lacking such a vital prerequisite was beyond me! Anyway, just when I was about to get bored of our discourse, he said "Saw your video, nice job!"
Well, that bought him another 5 minutes of my time.

He made good and ample use of said time to inform me that, upon reviewing my music career, (as far as he could see), the only thing that separates me from established acts is the fact that I don't have a sugar mummy! He went on to inform me that every big male artist has one. (For reasons best known to my legal counsel, it is not in my best interests to name anybody. Something about libel and liberty of speech or some other legal nonsense...)
Well, I am allowed to cough, right? And if my cough sounds reminiscent of words like "Darey" and "Soul E", I cannot be blamed, can I?
I should think not!

Now, I like sugar (and even mummies) just as much as the next man. I might even like giving certain kinda mummies a certain kinda sugar even more than most.
But for me to get a sugar mummy? That is just awful!

I mean, I have promised myself that the lowest I'll ever stoop is to become a porn star. After all, somebody DID say I should find a job that I enjoy and I'll never have to work a day for the rest of my life!
But for me to get a sugar mummy? That is just awful!

Call me idealistic, but wouldn't the whole point of being a rap star be to become so rich and famous that you can bag glamorous women?
Now this dude, in a vain attempt at becoming chummy with me, is trying to advise me to bag glamorous women, in order to become so rich and famous that I can then become a rap star!? That is putting the cart ahead of the horse if you ask me!

Besides, it didn't work for Mr Kevin Federline (nee Spears, lol,) so it DEFINITELY wouldn't work for me!

But given time to adjust to the idea and recover from the er, culture shock, there actually might be something to his advice. After all, women have been climbing to the top for centuries simply by letting men climb on top of them.

And the balance of nature has had to find a new pivot: So many women have climbed to the top that, in the grand scheme of things, the average lad is at the lower rungs of the ladder, while the average lady is exactly where they have always wanted to be. On top.

Would it be so wrong for me to do the natural thing, what every endangered specie facing adversity in the course of time and space has done? Try to adapt?

So what if adaptation means finding a sexual partner who might not exactly be to my physical specifications? (I mean, for a guy who literally dated his right hand until he turned 16, I shouldn't be too picky, should I?)

If it means that it helps me find a little lubrication in this hard, rough adventure I call my life, it should be worth it, shouldn't it?

I had been so tortured by the decision-making process that, last night, I had a dream (or was it a nightmare?) Anyway, during what we doctors call rapid-eye-movement sleep last night, I was chanced to be close to an overnight Nigerian music superstar and I was asking for his take on my newly found dilemma: "To be or not to be (with a sugar mummy...)?"

Why this warped, crooked, labyrinthine brain of mine had to have me asking a little kid for advice on love matters, (no matter how much of a 'whiz' he is), is just beyond me.
But I guess my dream must have gotten a lot of the dynamics of my dilemma mixed up.

Because, as soon as I asked the young man the troubling question:
"So what do you think? Should I get a sugar mummy?"

All the moron could come up with was this:
"Oya, axe your mummy... Toh badt gon!!!"

Needless to say, I woke up in a hurry!

Its your boy,
Fly Fellow, y'all!