Don’t call me a cock-blocker

I don’t want to seem like I am bashing him, you know? I don’t want it to sound like I have anything against him or anything. After all, who am I to judge? Everybody has their weaknesses. Everyone has their dark side. Granted his is uniquely weaker and darker than most…

But he paid his debt to society and I think we should stop holding his being in prison against him. Moreover, there is a school of thought (and maybe they have a point) that argues that we are a bit unjust when treating drug dealers. They ask, how come we don’t punish the buyers, too? Isn’t it the buyers who tempt people like him to start selling drugs?

Okay, well, it IS true that the buyers in this case were little children, but the decision to sell coke outside a schoolyard was not born out of evil — it was born out of cowardice. There is a difference.

Besides, it wasn’t that bad. As the subsequent fraud conviction proved, he wasn’t even selling pure coke. He was mixing it with maize flour, so he didn’t do as much damage as if we had initially thought.

I’m not saying what he did was not bad, it was reprehensible, and I condemn the act as much as you do, but he really had very little choice. His circumstances forced him to it. There was hardly any other job he could find after the sexually-transmitted leprosy caused his fingers to drop off. 

It was a terrible sight to watch him try to get by after that happened. Especially when the scabies got onto his ass and he couldn’t scratch it without hands. The poor man drastically needed the money to get some sort of treatment.

And he wasn’t getting much from his job. His business was doing very poorly. Demand for a gigolo dries up when it is discovered that he has both leprosy AND scabies. Very few women are that desperate. In the end the only clients he could get were men, until the scabies destroyed the last fleck of commercial value his ass had. 

And then his family abandoned him at his time of need. His kids didn’t even want to be associated with him. All fourteen of them turned their backs on him. They all said the same thing: That they would not help him just because he abandoned them when they were born and kicked their mothers out. Literallly kicked them out. He assaulted them. 

But they say the tendency to wife-battering is congenital—that you inherit it from your father— so I don’t want to judge him just because he beat up on every girlfriend he ever had. Okay, some would say “beat up on” is a overly mild way of referring to abducting someone, locking her in the pit latrine all day long and only letting her out at night so he could whip her bloody, but these seem like the acts of a sick sick man. He needs help, not condemnation.

All I’m saying is he seems to have put that all behind him now. He looks like he has changed. He even bathes regularly these days—certainly doesn’t smell as much as he used to. There are much fewer flies around him. You cannot fail to notice that. So, if you ask me about my friend, who slipped you his number at a party last weekend, and seemed  nice, and you wonder whether you should call him, I guess I would say, I don’t really have anything to say against him.

Bad Idea Redux

 

Ideally what the Sunday Vision publishes in the magazine every week should be the seventh draft of what I originally wrote, but time has kept getting shorter and shorter, and I have been cheating—that is why you find so many silly grammar errors in my column these days, (thank you so much for reading it, by the way. Thank you every time I see my paycheck).
This last week was the closest I came to a full seven redrafts in months, because I had initially written twice as much as the paper needed. I had to cut it down to 500 words without losing the ire I was trying to express.
Well, I don’t think I succeeded. I lost the ire. But since the internet gives us all a second chance, may I try again?

You must be acquainted with the phenomenon known as Small Man’s Complex, even if it is not by name, because there is a virtual epidemic of it going around. It is probably an unfortunate by-product of the era of peace and development ushered in by Muhwezi and his friends, because now that we have hotels and restaurants and such, we need askaris to guard them. And that is what small man’s complex is. What the askari suffers from SMC is a situation where a person with inadequate amounts of esteem in himself latches on to a little bit of authority and uses it to irrational excess against, well, anyone he can find who he thinks won’t hit back. It is bullying, in short.

A recent example forms the crux of this rant. Presenting: One Evening at The Supermarket.

The offending object:

Since I lost my wallet a while ago and because I lack the discipline to get around to replacing it when there are makeshift alternatives readily available, I have, of late, been carrying my cash, cards and miscellenia around in a book. Yes, a book. I slip banknotes and ATM cards between the pages.

 

It is an excellent book, yes, thank you for asking. It is called Last Chance To See, by Douglas Adams and Michael Carradine. I bought it second hand at the taxi park.

Which means that it is also an old book. It is dog-eared, frayed, tattered and weatherbeaten and made even more so by the fact that I have been carrying it around as a wallet for over a month.

It was the only object in my hand on the evening I entered a supermarket in the Ntinda Shopping Centre.

The Offence:

As we walked in (I wasn’t going to buy anything, I was just escorting someone) I paused for a second at the baggage check counter.

At most reputable supermarkets, those which respect their customers and therefore opt out of insulting them, I raise the book for the baggage check personnel to see that it is all I have in my hand and they graciously pass me on, either with a friendly smile, or by actually saying, “You don’t need to check that, sir, not unless you want to. You don’t? Well, then enjoy your shopping experience, sir.” And they wave me on.

The Offending Staff:

This baggage check man at this supermarket was not gracious. He called me over to insist that I leave my book with him. Now, still under the misapprehension that I was dealing with a professional, I offered a little joke. I sniggered that if he would not trust me not to shoplift in his store with the aid of my little paperback, I won’t trust him with its contents. I proceeded to remove the cash from the pages of the book, and the cards as well. When I began to extract two CDs from between the pages, he stopped me again. To assert that I have to leave the CDs, too. It was at this point that I realised what was happening. Either of two things:

The first thing: He thought I was anextremely cunning and unscrupulous villain, who is desperate to steal and cannot be trusted to enter a supermarket with open shelves while in possession of two CDs, let alone a whole paperback novel. If he lets me in with them I will certainly find something to hide and pilfer. In short, he was determined to call me a thief.

The other thing: He knew that he had no reason to suspect that I was on a mission to shoplift whatever tiny shelf item they have that can be secreted in the sleeves of a transparent CD case. He was just throwing his weight around. He wanted to assert what little power he had even if it had no consequence at all.

I know the prudent thing is to give such idiots what they want, but like I said, I wasn’t there to shop. The person I was escorting had already disappeared into the store. I had time to argue. So I did.

I was forcefully asking the man what the hell he was smoking when a uniformed girl, thinking she was coming to his rescue, said something about how they couldn’t let me in with a book because they sell books on their shelves.

The Oafs:

You are gasping, aren’t you? And you are not sure if it is with shock, or indignation.

It is so imbecilic because even if you chose not to consider the advanced decrepitude of my book, the store sold mobile phones as well, and they weren’t stopping anyone from walking in with their phone. Not even me. And I had two! Yes, I roll with two phones. Don’t hate, though. One is a katorchi.

By now I was quite peeved, so I turned to look for the customer service desk, only to find that it was right next to the hulabaloo, and the service rep was right there, ignoring the incident of customer dissatisfaction brewing right next to her.

I didn’t expect her to do much, actually. I wasn’t dying to get in to her store with Last Chance To See.  I would be as comfortable waiting outside, but I wanted my nerves soothed. I turned to her, hoping to hear words like, “I’m sorry sir, but there is nothing we can do. It is just store policy. We mean no disrespect by it, I assure you.” At which point I would say, “Well, teach your man how to talk to people. He is obnoxious and rude.” Get the response, “I promise I will have a word with him.” And then I would be mollified and I would continue to enjoy shopping at Quality.

Instead all I got was a glassy-eyed look and a few mumbles.

“Listen, this whole baggage check issue is very delicate. I know you can’t let people walk in with bags. I know you can’t trust your customers and that you have to assume they are all criminals before you can let them in. It is a sensitive matter. But you should at least try to handle it with some finesse, with some class, instead of just letting this oaf insult us to our faces!”

Glassy eye. Mumble.

I wasn’t a customer that day, and you can rest assured I will never be. They have a competitor across the street anyway. Nice people who smile when they bag your groceries.

 

 

Hatari! Miniskirts!

I have been on leave and, as elaborated in my previous post, been broke, so I have not had a lot of time on the internet with the rest of the world. This therefore caught me by surprise. I just walked into the internets and look what I found in my news inbox: From the Ghanaian news editor of AfricaNews in Accra came this story, headed: 

Miniskirt row rocks Uganda

 http://www.africanews.com/site/list_messages/20561

I did a double take, because I thought for a moment I had misread the words and the sentence, which would be correctly read as “Miniskirts rock in Uganda” or “Rows of miniskirts in Uganda rock”, came out skewed.

Nope. “Heated debate” has apparently “erupted,” says the story, on “whether women should be banned from wearing tight miniskirts in public or otherwise.”

I would expect heated debate to erupt on permission to wear tight miniskirts in public or otherwise if it were, say, Capital FM deejay Alex Ndawula in question, but women? Why should we do anything but encourage them heartily?

This reason has been given by the cabinet minister responsible: Hot chicks are a traffic hazzard, he says. 

“The country’s ethics and integrity minister s spearheading the call because women wearing them distract drivers and cause traffic accidents.”

Him again. Lord. Does this guy ever do anything except just sit there and ask for it? 

Thus spake James the Ethical: 

“You can cause an accident because some of our people are weak mentally. If you find a naked person you begin to concentrate on the make-up of that person and yet you are driving.”

Sounds like he is speaking from experience.

James didn’t answer the obvious question: Why not just pull over and park, you moron? 

Nsaba Buturo is flying the Ugandan flag high, representing this great nation all over the world wide web, ensuring that this noble republic gets a mention in “Wierd News” “Oddly Enough News” and “Funny News of The Day” segments around the globe. They are even making fun of us in Zimbabwe, Banange!

 (right at the bottom)

And who would have thought Buturo would get on BET before Bebe Cool?

 

Foreign Policy Magazine said Ugandan Drivers, Beware The Miniskirt Menace!

“The BBC notes that Buturo is seeking to rid Uganda of its many vices, and inappropriate dress is just one of the many indecent items that appear on the minister’s list. Among others are theft and embezzlement of public funds, sub-standard service delivery, greed, infidelity, prostitution, and homosexuality. But I guess miniskirts were the low-hanging fruit.”

 

I liked that.

 

Oh, snap. Look! 

http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/news/Buturo_to_name_sex_workers_and_their_clients_71764.shtml

I need a drink.

 But before we close, there is a quote from a pro-miniskirt activist in the story that started it all: 

“I wear miniskirts a lot. I am not comfortable in long skirts because I have nice legs. The only thing that makes me comfortable is miniskirt. I don’t support it (ban), where are we going to put them because we have bought them and those selling them have paid taxes on them too,” young Sylvia stated.

You bloggers don’t talk intarekcho things also you

 

It is a collosally silly piece of journalism that blithely ignores dwanyama.blogspot.com, thisisafrica.wordpress.com, citizenuganda.com, owerahabits.blogspot.com and others, and choses to pick on the lunatic fringe of the Ugandan bloggers who sometimes talk politics —the guy who says we says we should be ruled by priests  and the pretend-communist who wants to massacre Americans— to illustrate an alleged derth of political discourse in Ugandan blogs.

There are so many things wrong with this story, not least of all the writer’s dishonesty in failing to inform the readers that he is himself a blogger who posts pictures of his family and their birthday parties, talks about his day to day life and writes about about his favourite books.

Then there is the glaring lack of research. It is the layman who thinks that the bloggers who comment with live links on Cheri’s blog are the only ones blogging. There are other Ugandans out there who blog. If you were a journalist about this, and not a spoilt and lazy hack, you would have done a simple google blog search.

But Carlo had the post first. Take it away, Carlo

 

And some comments so far:

Dennis D who attacks the elite(am i right? am i right?) just to remain relevant.

Angry about being misrepresented by the media? Welcome to the world of mediocrity that is Uganda’s media.

Secondly, he quotes SAGE, a “clever” blogger. Do they know each other outside the blogosphere? Do they share the same beliefs? Can he be objective and neutral when quoting him?

And for someone who is encouraging a “patriotic” blog-style (whatever that may be) why use an irrelevant, unknown American as your focal point?

This was a petty piece of journalism, akin to walking into Rugby Club on a Saturday afternoon and scolding the people there for not being at Kimeeza. There is nothing wrong with a fun hobby, Dennis.

Other blogs have began to appear:

What is with all this intellectual bullshit? What I find intellectual might not be intellectual to you? For example, your failure at being an objective reporter have significantly reduced my view of your intelligence. Does that mean I should stop reading your blog or the Monitor for that matter?

Does the reference to the American make the article or the points therein more believeable?

Ugandan bloggers, you’re at liberty to write about anything, yes anything, and that includes things you do in your bedrooms, how people are suffering under abject poverty… or how shower hour is so good to watch in the morning.
It matters, it really does and its makes blogging a worthwhile experience and reading your blogs a pleasure.

I will post comments in support of Dennis “Countryboyi” Muhumuza’s article as they appear.

This just in, in support of Countryboyi: Felix wonders how the world will know about these things if we don’t take the initiative and expose them!

Look at the issues affecting out society..the corruption at every level, the suffering in the North of the country no one has ever mentioned, the “deals” peole are cutting at the highest levels in office. We coudl do something to expose these things! Expose them to the world.

Vintage. Classic. Or just Old

The problem with music these days is that they just don’t write it like they used to. Musicians these days have lost the art of crafting lyrics, that’s what the problem is. In the past, in the golden days, the days of the oldies, indeed the golden oldies, song writing was an art. These days it’s all fluff and bubblegum. Disposable trash. Trash indeed.

I mean, look at this example from one of the greatest songwriters in history (Prepare to be astounded by Lyrics from a masterpiece!):

He opens by asking, “How you gonna do it if you really don’t want to dance? By standing on the wall?”

It is a rhetorical question, of course. You can’t answer that. That is why the band pre-empt any response on the part of the subject being addressed by barking:

Get your back up off the wall!

That’s right! You cannot do it if you really don’t want to dance. You need to get your back up off the wall!

And just to emphasise this profound statement, the band repeat it. 

How you gonna do it if you really don’t want to dance? By standing on the wall?

Indeed. Many times in life we stand on the wall, and wonder how we are really gonna do it. There is only one way to do it. We need to …

Get your back up off the wall!

That is why the immortal words of these poets continue to inspire us, generation after generation:

Get down on it! Come on and get down on it!

If you really want it! Get down on it! You gotta feel it

And they nail it down with a resounding finality by saying, “Get Down. On It.”
That is why Kool & The Gang are legendary, that is why those words ring throughout history. None of these hollering whippersnappers of these days can pen a lyric half as sophisticated!

The great thing about the musicians of the past was that they were real artists. Not just singers, but artists! They didn’t just sing about simanyi shaking kabina and drinking, they sang about ISSUES. For example, look at ABBA, (also known by Capital FM fans as The Abbas). Take the example of their opus, Dancing Queen. Look at how they weave together such an arresting story, so rich in detail and so compelling that it is almost visual: We can all relate to the persona in the song!

“You are the Dancing Queen, young and sweet, only seventeen
Dancing Queen, feel the beat from the tambourine”

Can’t you already feel the texture of the environment they describe? Don’t you almost smell the air, and doesn’t your hair stand on end? Isn’t it as if they reached into your mind and said exactly what you were thinking?

You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the Dancing Queen!

No one in your so-called modern music has even come close to such poetry!

Who dares to stand against such a mountain of evidence? Who, in their craziest dreams, imagines that they can surmount this towering mountain of evidence that the songwriters of the past, the lyricists of the seventies were cream that makes the clowns of these days look like rotting cat faeces? Excuse me for using such a disgusting image, but, like the singers I admire so much, I go for the most powerful metaphors. For example, remember the genius of Boney M?

“Daddy, Daddy Cool. Daddy, Daddy Cool. Daddy, Daddy Cool. Daddy, Daddy Cool” they sing. “She’s crazy like a fool. What about it, Daddy Cool.”

And then they switch suddenly in a thrilling twist and say, “I’m crazy like a fool. What about it Daddy Cool.”

And I haven’t even mentioned that complex intellectualism of Freak Out by Chic, but I think I have made it clear.

Yes. Music these days is trash. Music of the old day is unimpeachable.

Dirty word Akon

By which I mean Fuck Akon.

Fuck him and his grubby white vest-wearing, nasal-squeaking, tar-baby looking, conflict diamond-blinging, lying child-molesting self. Fuck him entirely and without consolation.

No, I didn’t want to hear him sing: I could care less about his singing. It doesn’t even move me enough for me to dislike it. It’s just there. I actually palpably hate T-Pain, but Akon barely merits discomfort.

He is a ringtone. A tinny, clangy, unremarkable ringtone.

Fuck him and his tinny unremarkable ringtone singing.

It wasn’t the singing—I was even planning on taking headphones and an MP3 player to the concert so I could jam to Game Theory by The Roots.

It was just the concert. I had a VIT: A Very Important Ticket, that would give me access to the coolest parts of the concert premises, including the area where the upper corporati would mingle, like a knot of sitting ducks, just waiting for me to assault them with my business cards. I was very eager to take this opportunity to build business contacts through social networking or, in other words, charm my way into getting people to pay me.

Like Timothy Bukumunhe. He’s rich and I’m broke, a situation that is unjust and in deseperate need of remedy.

The VIA (Very Important Area) also promised endless streams of exotic liquors and I have never tasted Amaretto.

I was going to taste Amaretto, man! Now, because of some spoilt statutory-rapist prima donna I have missed my chance to find out whether or not it is better than Safi Pineapple.

 

 

Oh, update: In this office: There was a brief discussion about recent reforms introduced by Raul Castro in Cuba, reforms such as allowing people to buy Microwave ovens, DVD players, mobile phones and personal computers.
“That was a cool place to be broke in,” said Nigel. “Even if you don’t have anything you can be like, ‘Hey, it’s the law.’”

(In case you didn’t hear, tell 27th)

 

The Inquiring Mind

The question of everybody’s mind is, of course, Where is Akon?

Or maybe it is How many times do they frisk Project Fame’s Ian Mbugua before they let him into the building? You know if he could get a weapon onto the premises there would be some furniture moving around, but I can’t believe that one checkpoint is enough. The size, number and rate of pulsation of the veins in his head belie a level of frustration that would not be held in check by just one check point.

I am willing to wager that there is a special squad of security chaps assigned to him to make sure he does not try to sneak—well, does not succeed in sneaking a catapult onto the show again.

Or maybe it isn’t that. Maybe it is Why the hell does Tvangirai even want the job of cleaning up Mugabe’s mess anyway?

Or maybe it is Why don’t they make coffee Weetabix? Why should they bother anyway? We already have those coffee sweets—the ones which you suck on and get caffeinated well. I need a couple of those. There are people in this office of mine who think Red Bull is alcoholic. Imagine.

Or maybe it is Can I have the Obsessions who are not Obsessions anymore? They laid off even more, I understand, so this means that there are ex-Obsessions out there. Can I have them? They could water my houseplants and run errands and stuff. I mean, what else are they going to do? They were members of a line-dancing & lip-synching troupe. What else are they qualified for?

Or maybe the question is Just how hot is Angela Angwenyi? At all?

I just wanna feel your rhythm

And now for something completely different– addressing the issues of the day.

When addressing issues with a view to finding workable solutions to nagging problems, we need to bring forth those who have a stake in the welfare of the communities for open dialogue, because as the great Aristotle said, “An issue discussed is an issue discussed.”

One of the leading causes of social unrest in Uganda today is neighbours with loud radios. Loud radios which they play when we are trying to sleep, or to rest, or to read or to be intimate with our spouses.  I am sure most of you out there know what I am talking about: you are in your room with your wife or some similar woman, being romantic, then the mood is suddenly shattered by the sounds of rap music blasting through the walls.

Anyway, in the studio this evening, to help us understand the issue better, we are pleased to welcome The Neighbour With The Loudest Radio in Uganda to the studio. Welcome.

NWLRIU: Thank you. First of all, I would like to say, good evening to all the listeners out there. Those who are listening to me at my home, and those who are in the surrounding buildings who can hear by virtue of the volume of my radio…

Host: Let us get right into it, Disco. The first question, the question that is on everybody’s mind right now. Are you deaf?

Disco: Thank you for that question. I am glad you asked that because it gives me the opportunity to address a very common misconception about us. A lot of people think that the reason we play our music with the volume up to maximum even late in the night or early in the morning is because we have hearing damage and are unable to hear the music if it is played at a normal volume. Many people think this. However, I assure you that it is not true. I am not deaf. Yet.  I may become deaf in the future from prolonged exposure to loud music, but as of now my hearing is quite normal. The reason for the loud volume is not being deaf. It is being local. We are local. That is why we play music at full blast.

Don’t call us, we’ll call you

I was just visited by an upcoming local artist a couple of moments ago, an earnest young man who brandished his CD at me in a way that seemed both deferential and aggressive– he kept calling me “sir” (as he very well should) but his manner showed that, if he wasn’t satisfied that our meeting was fruitful, he would be back.
Usually I deal with ULAs in the same way: polite and professional. I ask for a contact number and a copy of their music, then thank them for dropping by. When they are gone, I listen to it with my colleagues. If it is good, we wait for it to become a hit, then activate the hype machine—we hunt the ULA down and proceed to overexpose him with flurries of cliché and jargon and airbrushed Megapix photospreads. It is how we keep our bread buttered.
The rule is never be rude. Because, after all,

HE Bobi Wine
You never know.

I remember very well — I was at my desk in the middle of a Yahoo Game when the receptionists called me and told me a man with dreadlocks wanted to speak to me about this song of his called Akagoma.

The dude who was just here today may turn into a future Bobi Wine, but I hope not. It’s nothing personal, but I don’t want to see him ever ever again.

Well, I wouldn’t mind actually seeing him– What I don’t want to experience is to smell him again.

Because the man stinks. The man stinks with an excruciating and intense potency. The man stinks to make capillaries burst open and die. The man stinks as if his underarms were infested with the souls of dead witchdoctors. The smell is not just bad, it is evil and malicious. It is aggressive. It pounces on you and tries to ravage you like a large angry dog.

While he approached I nodded and smiled and uttered meaningless niceties (all the time trying not to inhale) and I kept inching away. But the further I retreated, the more he approached until… well, let me illustrate: When he arrived I was at my desk, front and centre, in front of my computer. By the time he finally left, I had inched and inched and inched away so much that I found I had rolled my chair all the way past the edge of the desk and was sitting in the corridor.

I have suffered for his art.