Thursday, September 30, 2010

Needless Needles!

I hate needles! Good week everyone. This may look like I’m stating the obvious but I know what my pain comes from. I’ve only just had the courage to admit to myself that I have a problem that I find I must deal with decisively. I seem to be having a string of epiphanies of late – oh please forgive me everyone for digressing, but I am seated in the most wonderful chair ever and typing my post out. I’m in a hotel waiting for them to come get me so we can go out and do some work. I was typing my stuff on the bed before the producers called to tell me they were coming to my room to apprise me on what is going on. So I would look like I busy myself all the time, I quickly jumped up, grabbed my laptop, plonked and plugged it at the desk in my room. They came and we talked and they left. I sat down at the desk to work, and leaned back. That was where the magic began! The chair leaned back with me – in a very weird way! The soft back and the leather bound arms (very comfy) moved back with me but the seat on which my bottom sat stayed where it was. Kind of like tilting back without tilting back, and it swivels! I’m stealing this chair! It’s a joke o! But seriously though, I now understand the phrase “That’s my daddy’s favourite chair; he’ll kill anyone who sits in it!” Frieda, better warn the kids, before I render you childless – to be! Anyway, where was I? Needles!

I had some symptoms of malaria, high fever and headache, and had gone to see a doctor for a quick solution to the irritating malady. After observing me for a little while he asked me to go to the laboratory and give them a stool, urine and blood sample. I cringed at the mention of the last sample. I asked him if it was really necessary that I give my blood since the first two should be conclusive enough. He smiled at me very understandingly and said yes. I gulped and shuffled out of the room. I went down the hall to the lab and was met by a very amiable and friendly lab technician who introduced himself to me as Kizito – I wondered if that was the name his mama gave him or a nickname he’d adopted. Anyway I gave him the sheet of paper the doctor had scribbled their usual hieroglyphics on, which he read and then asked me to sit on a nearby stool so he could take my blood sample first. At that moment two very pretty young ladies walked into the room, greeted me and sat down. I looked at them and then at him. I must have had an inquiring look about there being some Hippocratic law regarding a patient’s privacy because he immediately introduced them to me as university medical lab students on their year’s internship from school. Worse still, they recognised me and squealed with delight on doing so. They began asking a barrage of questions about some movies of mine they had watched and questions on whether I had any relationships with any of the actresses I’d kissed on screen. And then the dreaded moment came when I had to extend my arm to be stabbed.

I stared in horror as Kizito tore the syringe and the needle from their wrapping and then the latter from its sheath to attach to the former. I was already up from my seat by the time he advanced towards me with the spirit soaked cotton wool to clean the torture spot on my forearm. This time I was not going to listen to any promises of sweets or chocolates after being killed; I wasn’t that young and foolish anymore! The girls looked at me in wonder – and I didn’t care! I was trembling all over. The thought of the cold impersonal clinical disinfecting attendant smell of the hospital, any hospital, the cold feel of the menthylated spirit and the cold excruciatingly painful piercing stab of the almost blunt steel tearing into my flesh was too much for me to bear. That image defied all reason and logic. It was like an impending death coming to me in the worst possible way – and it was supposed to help me get better! The girls tittered among themselves at this funny sight but when they saw how traumatised I was, sobered up and joined their boss in trying to calm me down. Their soothing words must have had the desired effect on me because I gingerly settled back on the stool, extended my arm, looked the other way, squeezed my eyes shut, further buttressed the closure by clamping my hand over them and begged him not to let me know when the needle was coming. I began stamping my foot on the floor repeatedly to further distract me from the impending pain and when it came, I took it like a man. It was mercifully quick. I looked up from my ordeal and felt like I had just climbed, and come down the Everest. For the first time that afternoon I broke into a smile. I’m sure it must have looked relieved and embarrassed because the girls were still looking at me in amused wonder. I swore them to secrecy and left after promising to bring the other two samples the next day. I hoped I wouldn’t see the girls ever again.

It still baffles me that in the past one hundred and fifty years of modern medicine no advancement has been made towards moving away from the barbaric practice of plunging needles into living bodies. It is as if a powerful and deciding secret council in the medical world is stubbornly holding unto the adage of “no excruciating pain no gain” and making sure it remains enforced on hapless beings like us. I refuse to be ashamed of my hatred for needles. I think it remains the singular reason for my abhorrence of the hospital environment and why, as much as is possible, I try to live as healthily as possible. I mean, look at common leeches. I hear even they are not painful at all when they suck blood from their prey, which sometimes are human. Why can’t these sadists adopt the simple creatures’ method of extraction instead of subjecting us to needless needle trauma? Oti su mi o! The mad man says he has no business with the man who is persistently following him about with a sharpened machete until he begins to look for his head. I refuse to be that mad man so if no one will speak against this anomaly, I will! Have a great week everyone! Once again, away with needles!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Love for the Art

Top of the week to all and sundry. I’m on set at the moment with my mind filled with better places I would rather be than at work. I don’t know why I have a sudden urge to go on a holiday. The strange thing about it is, much of our work actually does seem to outsiders like one big holiday; we work far into the night when others are sleeping, sleep and lounge when most others are working. What most people don’t know is that for every scene that lasts for, say a minute or a minute and a half, an approximate three to five hours’ work goes into making that scene possible depending on how many people there are in the scene.

Usually, when people badger me about wanting to act I smile and ask them why they want to go into it – the fame or the love for it. I think someday, when I become a producer, if anyone accosts me and inundates me with pleas to induct him or her into the world of acting, I will make sure their first scene is a party scene where the main characters meet and have some sort of conversation or specific action to take. Those of my colleagues in the business who read this bit will probably snigger at my sadism, and with good reason too because we all know how full of drudgery “party scenes” are.

The worst part of a party scene isn’t the fact that it takes at least four hours to record a scene (I for one, have once begun one at 9pm and did not finish recording till 4am the next morning), but that one would have to nurse the very same half filled glass of wine or beer, with a strained grimace and faking a conversation with a member of the opposite sex who is supposed to be your significant other in the movie, whom you have silently vowed to never give the opportunity to take “the relationship” further than the confines of the set – you kinda get the clues regarding their intentions when they still keep leaning onto you even after the director shouts cut, and you politely have to remind them that the take is over.

Or maybe a plate of food you are supposed to be carrying but are not allowed to eat for “continuity” purposes. God help you if it’s actually a really lovely dish and the producer emphatically urges you not to waste the “props” as he is on a tight budget, or the miserly props manager – they always are – sidles up to you and begs you with a whisper in your ear to take it easy on the grub. I usually scoff the lot if I’m hungry and dare them to “disgrace” their production by not refilling my character’s plate. You watch that hot sizzling food slowly turn to a congealed mass of dulled brown slabs of meat and sodden vegetables atop icicles of yellowed rice fast stuck in a frozen lake of brown grease. Now imagine going through this routine coupled with the tedious movements, dances (again, heaven forbid that you should forget your sports deodorant at home), all the while trying to look like you’re having an absolutely fabulous time for at least fifteen to twenty times. Finish this gruelling routine, expectantly wait for the movie to come out in six to eight months ,sit down to watch and wait for that scene you laboured in for ten hours straight disappear in two minutes flat with your loved ones about you grumble about the scene dragging on for an unnecessarily long time. Yes I do believe it would make for a fitting welcome to the acting community!

Darn it! I’ve gone and got carried away with my distaste for crowd, especially party, scenes and my desire to inflict them on na├»ve aspirants and forgotten about the holiday I really wanted to talk about. Well let’s hope I remain focused next time and not get distracted by my innate sadistic desires. Have a great week everyone!

PS: Kudos to two of my fave people, Formerly Stealth Reader and Rosa Winkler for getting the quote on my last post correct. We shall sit at a round table with our lawyers and iron out the modalities of reward. Cheerio!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Waiting to Inhale.

Hello and a great week to everyone. Thank you. Your feedback on my impending baldness was very uplifting. I look forward to shaving my head and especially polishing the top my head to be a beacon for all the gorgeous ladies out there – in ten years time! I don’t really have much to say this week except that another feature of my anatomy has come under scrutiny; my eyes and my breath.

Nooooo! Not bad breath – every self respecting adult knows sweet smelling breath is key to being in society; one never knows when opportunity strikes. No, it has to do with my breathing control. I was called in on one of the major sets I’m working in and told I was doing well in my work but for two things. One, I had to control my breathing when I talked and I had to limit the way I opened my okpolo eyes. I understood what they meant as regards the breathing bit. The regime on this particular set is pretty rigid. When one delivers his/her lines on set, he or she is expected to say exactly what is in the script verbatim – no deviation whatsoever. This is hard for me because I never stick to what lines are written in the script. It allows me that devil-may-care irreverence that, I feel, however erroneously, brings out the creativity in me. Truth be told, being a possibly spoilt-brat, I’m used to having my way with directors by delivering my lines the way I choose as long as we both agree on its interpretation. Here, I had to not only say exactly what was in the script, but also interpret them accurately as well and all the while control my breath and stop myself from gulping buckets of air – the lines are oft times long! I have since then had a healthy respect for rappers. Maybe I should take some lessons in rapping in my spare time to cure this minor anomaly. Who knows, I might just be the next Eminem. Belief is everything!

Eyes. Well, my big eyes have been a butt of jokes from primary school where I was called everything from ‘four eyes’ to okpolo (frog) eyes, but that is beside the point. The point is I was asked to control their liberal nature of opening up at will so as not to look overly dramatic. In other words, my past has come back (or is it forward?) to haunt me. “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me right back in!” Who recognises that line, and from which movie? Winner gets a big hug from me! Lol. Don’t worry, I’ll squint my eyes so closely, talk while hardly moving my lips and set my face like a marble slab until those producers bend to my will and beg me to open up my big brownies so the world can be let into them. Nonsense!

Okay, enough jabbering, but, I will let you know how my strategy works out when I employ them next week. Why do I feel like I’m forgetting something? I know I am but I can’t put my finger on it. Well, if this post seems incomplete know that something is missing. One thing is clear though; the silver lining in this whole rant is a potentially huge rapper in the making. Just a few breathing lessons (imagine that, learning to breathe – at my age!) and the butterfly will soon squeeze out of the cocoon. Have a wonderful week everyone.