They have just finished a huge celebration of the life and music of Fela at the Barbican Centre in London. Fela's music is like Miles or Coltrane - it is music of the spheres and of the firmament. Millions of people turned out for his funeral a decade ago in Lagos. Millions more now have his compositions burned into the hard drive of their musical being. Fela's music is perhaps the first African classical music of modernity - huge multilayered experiments in sonic communication. In Nigeria, Fela's music remains celebrated by the underdogs and politely ignored by the ascendant classes. Fela will be danced to in a 1000 years time, if there are still humans then.
Friday, November 19, 2004
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Sometimes you fool yourself into thinking that in the age of the Internet, Gigabyte hard-drives, blogs and mobile telephony the world has moved on and there is a general increase in knowledge and awareness in the world. Then along comes Bob Geldof once again to prove the contrary..
I am a Buddhist and strive to attain a karmic state of peace and non-violence. However, Geldof, along with Sting, are two people who I really would love to punch repeatedly in the face until they look like a pile of beetroots overtrodden by Arsenal's global fan base. Never has such a self-righteous git graced the interfaces of global media, with such a pea-brained perspective on the universe. I guess one can only expect so much from a failed pop star (famous for a song called I Dont Like Mondays), but to repeat the patronising and utterly asinine lyrics of Band Aid's Feed the World ('do they know its Christmas?') for the ethnically cleansed Darfurians (African muslims the lot) is beyond cretinous.
Is it only me who thinks that Geldof should shut the fuck up?
Back in Nigeria, and back home after a couple of weeks on holiday in the UK. Home is becoming an increasingly relativised concept however – it is no longer a specific place, but more like a collage of zones and moments that come together in my thought-body rather than inhere in the world. Home is the intense green light of the trees as it was refracted by the autumn sun in Cambridge last week. Home is the sound of my mother laughing and the creak of the floorboards at my folks’ house. Home is sitting in Mildred’s restaurant in Soho, sinking my teeth into a veggie burger. Home is sitting in the Renoir cinema with a snack, just before the arthouse film starts. Home is the endless fussy details of Radio 4, UK tv adverts (going through a golden age at the moment). But as we left Abuja airport and drove into an intensely beautiful sunrise over the hills, with mist shrouding the landscape here and about, home is also becoming constellated within Nigeria.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Sublimely ridiculous story in todays Guardian about a school which put 'theory not fact' stickers onto a biology textbook on darwinian evolution under pressure from local creationist parents:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1346678,00.html (Im using a mac at the moment and dunno how to put links in).
Been back in the UK for over a week. It makes me think of Heidegger's concept of Sorge (care) being back - there is a layer of general care here that doesnt exist in Nigeria - care for the other. Even though the news is of rising homophobic attacks and train crashes, it is the response to these events that is interesting: so much earnest attention on prevention. In Nigeria, if a bus load of people die in a crash, no one ever knows their names, let alone think about how to avoid it happening again. It is an Act of God or force majeur that cannot be interpollated.
Going back to London is both lovely and difficult: so many people to see, so many things to buy. Trouble is, I've been sick for a week with a stomach virus. I managed to see a bit of Cambridge on a trip with my dad (glimpsing but not having time to go to that treasure house of stolen culture, the Fitzwilliam Museum), and a bit of the fabulous new Selfridges designed by Future Systems in Birmingham, but most of the time I was laid low by pains in my stomach and light-headedness. My holiday has so far been an experience of fragility of being, hanging by a thread while close to fainting with the world drifting away