Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Monochrome set

London is daubed a drab grey and smothered of light. I haven't been in the UK in January for a few years and I feel it. I miss the brighter shades of harmattan Abuja and the warmth. Although I have my camera with me, I can't drag myself to take a single picture. Meanwhile, I have been busy exhausting myself catching up with friends, cinema, shopping etc. Babel I didn't like (too contrived and incoherent), the Last King of Scotland is worth seeing (I liked it better than The Constant Gardener, which is a similar tale of muzunga complicity in Africa - Forest Whitaker is majesterial); Perfume on the other hand is a fantastic film - more tempting as a critical allegory of the society of the spectacle than the book, and a visually phantasmagoric feast (how did they film those bridge shots?). Dustin Hoffman has a delightful cameo role...

Despite the cold, London continues to fascinate and beguile. I meet a man who has the rights to Botox in India and wonders if I'd be interested in working with him (a move to Bombay - now there's an idea), I bump into dear friends (in Mildred's, where else?) who just happen to be in town (they live in Barcelona). How weird that I chanced into them the last time I was here. I meet up with a fellow naija-blogger and realise that I'd already met him (how strange to glue person and blog together again). I am browsing in Foyles when a man nearby asks for a book called Transmission but he doesn't know the author. I tell him how to spell Hari Kunzru. Moments later, he has the book in hand and smiles at me as he leaves the shop. 'My friend is negotiating an option on the film rights.' Then there is always so much to admire in the sartorial sways of London fashion - a smart looking Asian woman with a stud in the middle of her cheek, a peroxide blonde at Euston with 8 inch foam platform shoes, a ferocious looking white man in Greek orthodox garb at King's Cross, a well-fed tramp in comfy jumper (almost everyone must think the same thing when looking at him), a man with a fantastically well cut hounds tooth trench coat on on Regent's Street etc. I slurp down mushy peas on the bus (a little rude I know, but I was famished) - a handsome olive skinned man asks me with a quizzical air what I am eating. I explain the joys of mushy peas in winter time. It turns out he is from a kibbutz very near the one I stayed at all those years ago.

Even when its cold and seemingly unyielding, London offers itself as another form of reality in a thousand ways, through chance encounters such as these. Pathways open up into other ways of knowing and seeing all the time here, if one can only remain alert to the possibilities and the potentialities. But amidst all this, I miss my wife.

Meanwhile, today, my mom is 60, 140 miles north of here. The champagne floweth, and will continue too for the next few days (all the best socialists love the stuff). To the shires, in a couple of days..


Anonymous,  2:13 am  

You're married? Why did I think you were not older than 25?

I love London... Wondering if I'm ever going to be able to let go of 9 years' worth of stuff here and do the big move back to Lagos. Maybe when its time to get married... hehe xxx

Uche,  3:38 am  

Happy Birthday to ur mom! And how come ur wife didn't travel with you?

Ur post just surmises the saying that there's no place like home.

Uche,  3:45 am  

Happy Birthday to ur mom! And how come ur wife didn't travel with you?

Ur post just surmises the saying that there's no place like home.

Anonymous,  9:25 am  

Champagne socialism... What's the difference between a socialite and a socialist again?

Styl Council 11:36 am  

Delightful reading jay!! As i read your post, a smile began and got wider and wider and i thought YES, now that's MY London!!!

Anonymous,  12:49 pm  

J, You should go and see Blood Diamond. The trailer and imagery does not portray a correct picture of it. I thought it was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time; not too Hollywoodish about Africa, very real and Dicaprio impresses with his SA mercenary role.

It's quite brutal at times but TIA. It made me want to go back.

Anonymous,  1:44 pm  

probably because she hates winter, especially winter in London. I am sure it is because of that.

But then why assume that the wife must travel with HIM? If this Nigeria hasn't changed this particular wife, I don't think she will just travel with J just for travel sake. I wonder how her fire-brand of feminism going down in Nigeria.

you write beautifully.

J, please ask B to get in touch with me.


LM,  2:33 pm  

You are married????? (Echoing bitchy's surprise). How neat is that! You should talk more bout ur wife. Any kids? I am somewhat new to your blog but do you actually answer questions we ask???????? If not, please re-consider, it's called bonding with your audience.

I do miss London meself, although nothing save a trip to the cinema (and not even clubbing!) and the dash to Tesco or nearby high street will usually drive me out of the house around this time. I'm due for another trip. It's been almost 2 years since the last one....

Anonymous,  4:43 pm  

Nkem, just the last two letters

Jeremy 12:55 am  

bitchy - the picture on my blog is about 9 years old - so I was only 28 at the time.

Uche: my wife didnt travel with me cos we're a bit poor at the moment - plus she hates the cold.

Nkem: the difference is that a socialite is a socialist with money.

Tobs: I keep meaning to see it but so far its not working out.

Del - fantastic to hear from you. Can you email Bibi with your email address etc (go to bakareweate.com for her address).

IM - yep I'm married, but I try not to drag Bibi into the blog too much - she wouldnt like it. No kids just yet. Do you live in Nigeria?

Anonymous,  5:19 pm  

Happy belated birthday to your mum.

Anonymous,  6:00 pm  

A socialist with money? That particular species is extinct, I believe.

Happy birthday to your mama. Cherish her.

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