Earlier this week a friend and I went to the cinema. We were there early, so we sat in the bar, catching up on our respective weeks: among other things, we had both become adherents of ‘clean eating’ (mostly wanky smoothies and lots more veg, as far as I can see). There was a lot to talk about. We were in a little bubble of friendship: happy, comfortable and relaxed.
And then we were not.
One table over sat a lone man – younger than my me and my friend, I reckon (he had that slight goofiness of youth around his eyes, still) – with a bottle of water and a small plastic bag containing something else. I did not notice him until my peripheral vision picked him up, rising. A few seconds later he was at our table. “Is this seat taken?” he gestured at the chair that had my bag and scarf on it. “Um, no?” we answered in unison. He sat down. Friend and I continued to have a chat, our voices lowered, our backs a little straighter, conversation a little stilted. It’s hard to talk about a guy you think you might fancy or your upcoming dental surgery, when a stranger – an uninvited one at that – is sitting literally inches away.
Last Thursday night I finished Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. If you follow me on Twitter, you would have seen an outpouring of emotion of the most sickening sort; a kind of fawning that one can only ever get away with once or twice a year, max. If I have only two opportunities to do this sort of thing in 2013, then I’m glad I chose Americanah for one of them. It is a beast of a book: by turns achingly subtle and then sledgehammer obtuse, funny and warm and witty and devastating in small and large ways. I loved it, utterly and completely.
TODAY’S FORECAST: HIGH INCIDENCES OF RAMBLING AFTER THE JUMP.
Hey, blog-friends. How’s tricks?
It’s just over a month since I was last on these pages, and I can only apologise. What caused this unplanned hiatus? Nothing special, not really. I’ve had a lot of work (paid-for, demanding) on, plus I’ve tried to be a more social creature, trying to touch other 3-D human beings from time to time as well. I tried to blog, honest. But then I realised how tired I was at the end of most working days, and then I thought about how much effort was required of me to try and be funny about handsome dudes, or not be boring about a London encounter and I grew weary. So I became later and later. And prioritised fun (but paid) work over writing fun (but voluntary) work. End result is blog neglect. Soz.
Is this the worst summer ever? Let me summarise all your angry, inarticulate thoughts: it is, yes. I am the ‘palest’ I’ve been for May in my life, and I have forgotten what my bare legs looks like. I am constantly tense. I have not sneakily perved on boys from behind the safe space of my sunglasses. I have not sat in a park of an afternoon, aimlessly gazing at squirrels and happy dogs and excitable children. I have taken to painting my nails in the most garish of colours to try and incorporate some vim and pep into my existence. I am (extra) angry that Britian colonised Nigeria, thus making London the obvious choice for my parents back in the early ’70s. I have cursed both my umbrellas like they are sentient beings. My scarf is a constant companio,n and last week I wore 100 denier tights. I am cold. I am miserable, and I hate everything.
Naturally, music calms the beast.
It’s been kind of a great few months for solid singles. Across the genres I naturally favour, I have heard stuff to make the spirit soar, to excite, to really make you forget that it was hailing (!) in May. So I decided to make a handy playlist and try and summon this bloody summer. It’s quite a good playlist, if I do say so myself: a mix of (lucky?) thirteen quality tracks with solid, interesting vocalists, group and solo efforts, remixes and samples, old and newish. I’ve called it If Summer Never Comes because I have a poet’s soul and nobody can stand all this grey wetness and not become even a little maudlin. Be aware: it’s super-chilled out, so if you’re looking for straight up hard bangers, then you need to move on, right damn-diddly now.
Here’s a photo of how I feel when I listen to these songs (photo from two weeks ago, when the sun came out but it was still only 17°C. This life is a long-term trending hashtag called “#LoweredExpectations”. Apologies for hashtagging outside of Twitter.):
Will this playlist manage to induce summer? Who knows, man. But even if it doesn’t, well, let’s put on our Classics and have a little dance, shall we? Playlist after the jump.
My sister is contemplating ‘going natural’ with her hair. I did my Big Chop about 30 months ago, and tried not to be that natural girl, you know the one: she feels the beautiful coils and kinks growing out of her head and starts singing about “touching Africa and coming back darker” and generally being a pain in the arse. I am by nature a fangirl, prone to bouts of outlandish excitement, but cutting off all of my relaxed hair at a particularly enjoyable, confident and comfortable time in my life means that I genuinely consider it to be one of the most important decisions in my life – emphasis on the word ‘consider’. It’s not quite up there with, I don’t know, deciding to study journalism at university, but definitely not on the same level as choosing to try Sainsbury’s maple and pecan crunch cereal one day last year. Both decisions have enhanced my life, you understand, but in very different ways.
Hey, boos! It’s been a while, no? Have some Apology Music, from the excellent Alice Smith:
Happy Friday. How’ve you been? Has it been a productive week, full of kicking ass and taking names? Hope so. But still, thank goodness it’s over, eh? I like work, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t ‘like like’ it, not the way I do the contours of John Cho’s face, or the specific hardness of Taye Digg’s abs, ya dig? Sho nuff. Enough preamble. You know why you’re here. Whether you had a nice easy week of work serendipity, or a tough, bruising week of everything going wrong, this is for you. Unclench, friends – it’s The Friday Pretty!
Let’s begin with this anonymous hottie, found via the indefatigable Tumblr, which always hunts out and presents hotties for TFP. What is your name, Unknown Handsome Person? We like the cut of your jib. From the effortless denim-on-denim to the trendy but-not-too-trendy frames of your spectacles, from your sideswept hair to your no frills tin coffee cup, from the insouciant expression on your beardy face to your awful leather bracelets – we like it all. Hey, boo. Hey.
We have reached the apex of this unnecessary blog series! This is my final unsolicited diary entry about my recent work trip to Cameroon. If you want to read about my six-hour car journey from Bamenda to Yaounde, as well as my time at the airport, then the stick around and click after the jump. If you don’t, what the hell is wrong with you, man? What, you think you’re too good to read my unrequested thoughts about a trip no one forced me to make? WELL, SCREW YOU.
Ahem. I’m just feeling emotional about this coming to an end, I guess. Day 7 below the jump; lord alone knows when next I’ll blog. Goodbye, Cameroon – it’s been real.
Hey diary-readers! I can tell you’re all agog to see the (almost) final part of this unsolicited Cameroon diary. Settle down – it’s here. I’ll just saunter on this road of saying not much for a couple more lines while you get ready to either take off or read on. Today’s entry covers an amazing town council with a visionary leader and excellent deputies and the most delicious grilled fish I’ve ever tasted (sorry, Ma). Only one more day/entry after this. I know. Be strong, padawans.
Day 6 after the jump.
Yeah, so here’s Day 5 of the unsolicited Cameroon trip diary; in which I wash my face with Eve Lom cleanser, talk to young and older women about their political ambitions, and marvel at the staying power of MUA’s £1 nail varnish.
Days 1 and 2 entries are here, and Day 3 and 4 right here. Today’s entry is after the jump.
Okay. No internet for a few days, but here’s Day 3 and 4 of my Cameroon diary. Forgive the solid blocks of text, I was going to add my hastily taken photos but it’s taking forever to upload so I thought eff it. Be warned, Days 3 and 4 are long-winded. I ramble. A lot.
More after the jump, if that’s right up your rue.
I’m in Cameroon for work. Yes, Cameroon, in West Africa. For a week. Let me just twerk real quick…
Anyway. Internet is spotty at best, so why not give you a quick, unsolicited semi-diary of our time here so far? I know. You’re welcome.
Ramblings below the jump.
This month marks four years of writing and posting stuff at Yoruba Girl Dancing. Much to the happiness of my ego, you have read these entries, following from that initial wordpress.com URL to this swanky ‘proper’ site. Some of you are regulars (hi!), some wander in by accident, via Google Images, or one of the places I write for (hello!). Some of you come for specific things: the book club (remember that short-lived adventure?), Black Thursdays/Fridays (it may yet return), and of course, the big mama, The Friday Pretty (you dirty bastards LOVE that shit). All in all, you’ve clicked more than 500,000(!) times. More than 200 of you have subscribed for email notifications. There are hundreds of Facebook likes. You’ve tweeted and retweeted links in the thousands. You’ve followed me onto Tumblr. You’ve said hey in the damn street (hey, boo!).
My thoughts on these things:
Almost a year ago, Jay Smooth posted this oddly poignant short story on his Tumblr.
Last week, I went to Rotterdam on a work trip. I was in the city for literally 24 hours, and took a couple of tram rides while there. This is a small selection of the various wifi network names I came across while on tram journey from Marconiplein to Rotterdam Centraal. I wrote them down as my phone refreshed connection data, and they appear verbatim: caps, spacing and punctuation remain intact. Me, I love Kauri the best – he or she just does not want to share that wifi. You get a separate network, you bastard guest; suck up the hospitality. Meanwhile, Robin? Because I cannot determine tone in a wifi network name, I’m going to go ahead and hope those ‘bitches’ punch you in the throat.
On Sunday night, I went to see author Taiye Selasi read from and talk about her new novel, Ghana Must Go. She was ace – witty and warm. Also she’s a stone fox, with the deep brown complexion and cheekbones of a goddess. I got to ask a question (yeah!), and she smiled at me and now I have a new crush, and I love her so much. Ahem.
Anyway, last night was also momentous for the meet-cute that almost happened between me and this cute dude on the street. Yeah, me. Stay focused and stop laughing. I broke it down over on my Twitter at the time and received so many @-replies that I reckoned I’d just screengrab my tweets and put them on here (with a little commentary). Prepare yourself for The Greatest Love Story That (Almost) Was.