Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Na Wa O

Good week everybody. Don’t ask me how I am right now ‘cos’ I’ll probably snap someone’s head off. Is this what producers see in movie shoots?!! It’s like playing chess with forty people at the same time; lose concentration for even a second and your production is delayed for an hour; and I’m just a co producer. Imagine what it would have been if I was the only producer on the set. Yes my friends, I am just helping out with producing and writing on this set in Minnesota just a week before I return to beloved Naija and I’ve already sprouted two new gray ones. Add very heavy emotional stress (which equals no sleep whatsoever) to the mix and you’ll understand if I’m spotted running naked along the streets soon. Anyway I’m saying all this to appeal to you to excuse me for putting out such a short post this week. Pray for me o; I need it! Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Beautiful Women

A good week to everybody. It is an absolutely fabulous sunny day here in Texas Like the director on the movie set I’m working on said, “The sun here wan be like Kano own”. Kano is one the desert states in the northern part of my beloved Nigeria. Unfortunately, as is the case with most work environments, there seems to be an overcast message reminding me that I am here to work and not to admire the place. It is a bittersweet experience I’m having at the moment; the frustration of being so near my family members strewn across the state and not being able to see them, and the pleasure of working with an old colleague of mine, the director Ikechukwu Onyeka.

I don’t know why but I detest talking about my work; it makes me feel like I’m shoving my work down people’s throat or like I’m bragging about things I‘ve done or blowing my own trumpet. Come to think of it, where did I learn these values from, the bible or my parents? My father, he was a very hard worker who liked recognition for his work, and extolled his achievements with a frankness and matter of factness unique only to him. My mum on the other hand is someone who craves anonymity like no other person I know. Not even her right hand knows what the left is doing if she can help it. All she’s happy doing is doing her work and being satisfied in the accomplishment thereof. I suppose then that I am a marriage of the two; I work quietly with fierceness and let my work do my bragging for me. Maybe that’s why I work hard to achieve perfection in my work; so I can have something tangible to be remembered for after I am long gone. What I will enjoy talking about, on the movie set I’m working, are the people I’m working with.

I am surrounded by beautiful women and I’m depressed. Yes, I can see everyone except the boys rolling their eyes in exasperation. “Kalu and his numerous tales of women and sex!” You wouldn’t understand. The issue of my interactions with the women in my life goes beyond the carnal path you questionably minded people think I’m probably going. The subject of women in my life, I find, is deeply philosophical especially when they are three or more in the same place at the same time. You have this constellation of jewels around you, each vying for your attention and you dizzy from ogling at their sparkling lights, not knowing which to settle on; one for all and all for one. Instinctively you know that should you settle on one the others instantly turn to harpies, and the one you settle on, what happens after the first nuptial flight? It either instantly dulls into a relationship or you are labeled a bastard – yes my friend, that is most times the way of women. Settle for settling on all flowers and you’ll need to tread not only very carefully, but also to employ the wily services of subterfuge, for in vain does a fowler set a snare in full view of the bird he preys upon. Needless to pray for Heaven’s aid should you be found out. Most importantly, you remember the one back home on whom you depend. The one whom you have known for years, been through thick and thin together, has drunk garri without sugar and groundnuts with you, the one in front of whom you fart freely, entrust with your innermost secrets and tells you the truth as it is, in love and no guile. You think about her and wonder which one of the jewels surrounding you will go that mile with you. Alas, the desperately frustrated poet cried out, cast out at sea, “Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink!” I am surrounded by beautiful women and I am depressed. Have a great week everyone.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An Ode to 'No More Bullsh**t'

Minnesota! Minnesota! MINNESOTA OOOO! How many times have I shouted your name?!!! Minnesota will not kill me. Sorry folks, a good week to everyone. I was just lamen- sorry haling the weather here, after it just hailed me. Yes hailed; I thought I had seen every kind of weather until I came here. Would you believe that in just a space of the two hours I went out jogging in the park near my hotel this morning it snowed, then rained before falling as sleet? Yes my friends, I watched incredulously as first the snowflakes fluttered down from the sky, the delicate icy lattice settling onto my jacket with the uncertainty of a newborn kitten, and then fall into heavier drops of water, melting through the fabric in ghostly shapes, before bouncing angrily off it in little icy pellets! What was a sweltering 72F/22C – yes, it is for Minnesota, go suck a lemon! – the day before, plummeted to 34F/1C the very next day at 8am in spring! My total respect in all these goes to the original owners of the land, the natives that lived the land for hundreds of years. Those guys must have been extremely resourceful to have raised families in conditions where boiling water thrown into the air instantly freezes, or where a banana could be used to hammer nails into wood. I hail you guys.

Just got back from Atlanta, the city of woods as far as I’m concerned, for the premiere of my lovely sis Blessing Egbe’s movie Two Brides and a Baby and it was glorious! There are trees everywhere! Tall green majestic friendly looking trees, a world apart from the wintry serial killer looking tree havens you find up here in Minnesota. Yes, you guessed it, I do love trees; they give us fresh air, absorb unnecessary noise, absorb air pollutants and maintain our earth’s surface integrity. Mmm, trees… Atlanta has become one of my best cities in the world; it’s very accommodating, is vibrant; one has the feeling that everyone there is young and moving in the right direction. Even the not so young still have a strong zest for life. As a young African man, I felt quite at home there; I noticed there was in the city a strong black and vibrant community, where people did not seem to be apologetic for their aspirations to being successful in whatever ambitions they had, and for having a zest for life. In the short time I was there I felt the vibe of many cultures interspersed with one another, each with a willingness to learn from the others; Nigerian, Jamaican, Ghanaian, African American, White to mention but a few. It was nice.

Drat! I was supposed to talk about the premiere I came to the city for and got carried away. Everything carried me away, even the premiere and the wonderful people who made it happen. Even though we were two, Blessing Effiom Egbe and I – Stella Damasus and O C Ukeje, the other stars in the movie couldn’t make it – we more than made up for the absence of the others. We were like a bag of lit firecrackers, so full of energy and feeding off one another at press conferences, radio and television interviews and photo shoots. Our hosts, Deji and Jide, owners of Snapflix and their crew were phenomenal. Even though we were caught up in a whirlwind of activities and business meetings the minute we hit the ground, that team never for a moment failed to cater to our every need, however ‘whimsical’ –“y’all know I ain’t no diva”.

What I really want to say is I see a new lease of life being breathed into our entertainment industry, not from governments or from large corporations who want to dole out huge sums of money to make great big movies, but from a crop of young Africans, at home and abroad, who genuinely want to affect our world and the rest of the world around us. Africans who want to tell our own stories genuinely, what makes us laugh, what makes us cry. Why we love our pounded yam and egusi soup, fufu and palm butter soup, dodo and agoyin beans. Why a friendly banter between us might prompt a white lady to call 911 or why we fear our parents more than the child services agency and the police combined. I see a departure from the visionless insipid mush to which our movies have degenerated, to a budding industry that takes itself seriously as both a business and a drive to stamp our own Africaness, rich and vibrant, spicy and exotic, proud and irresistibly different, on the global cultural map. I want to be a part of that industry, even if my only contribution to it is by scribbling these measly lines as an ode to it, I want to be part of it if it is clean and genuine. Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Good week tout le monde! Easter’s just gone past; a fresh new year, a new lease of life for us Christians. A sweetheart of mine, ScarletVirgin on twitter – I have never known a name so cynical, going by her scandalous outbursts on that forum – once said that as a child, she looked forward to Good Fridays when she would pile up all the sins she committed for the year, throw them away with Jesus’ death and start afresh the following Monday. I’m not sure what her status is now but judging from her colourful language on twitter, she has either resorted to a daily cleansing with our Lord’s blood or given up entirely on any pretence at purification. My Easter weekend was a mixed bag of work, play and rest. Woke up at THREE in the morning to catch my FIVE am flight to Atlanta, hit the ground running by going straight into the charity work I was scheduled for till I was done at TWO am the next day, hit the shower, got dressed, went to a nightclub nearby, got back to the hotel at FIVE, hit the shower again, got dressed and headed for the airport to catch my FIVE hour 8am flight to Minnesota! I felt so sorry for the pretty onyibo lady seated beside me on the plane – my snoring must have added to the turbulence on the plane during the flight. The rest of the weekend was spent alternating between the bed, the fridge and the toilet seat. So, how was everyone else’s?

Thanks for the feedback on my last post. As always, some of you had me guffawing with laughter, most of whom was the ever irreverent imp Formerly Stealth Reader and her unabashed taste for vanilla milkshake. Yes Formerly, he was that scrumptious, according to Frieda, yes she was there as well, who flirted outrageously with him and even told me she’d give him two babies, to my face! Regarding his abs, well, let’s put it this way; you’d have to claw your way to the front of the queue – and I was with black women. Hopefully you’d still look presentable enough by the time you get there. Then again, there’s something about the panting, heaving, bleeding scratched tigress. Hmm…

I absolutely love the women of nowadays! Gone are the days when I used to believe we men were the predators. You only have to touch the right spot in the female homo sapiens to realize you are the insect in the venus flytrap. Be a horrible lover and you are free from her grasp. Be stupid enough to be a good lover and give her multiple orgasms and you are finished; you have become her antidote for every day, and every stress that comes her way. Unlike us men predators who attack, conquer and move on, perpetual nomads, these predators are smart; they think of tomorrow; they bolster the strength and needs of their prey, nurturing them, fattening them, feeding their ego, stealthily and cyclically guiding them back to the nurturing fertile gardens from whence they came, all the while making them think they are in charge. You only have to see an intruder (their fellow stealth predators) within their marked territory to unmask their true nature. It’s an enchanted spell I tell you and I love it! I have already told God that if there’s no sex in heaven there’d best be something far better otherwise I’m holding up a placard. Yes, I said it! I can’t fear anyone! God created sex and saw that it was good and I Kalu am living proof of that! Where is that nonsense Frieda?! Oya, come here…! Wait for what?!! Shut up! Tempter of me!

Sorry, have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Challenge

Good week to everybody! I’m in better spirits now than I have been in the past weeks or should I say months. What has changed, I don’t know, I mean things are pretty much the same way they have been this year; still looking for more money to solve my incessant needs, Frieda still screeching in my left ear and futilely thinking that nagging me continuously is going to get me to do what she wants when she wants it – she never halla!- or eating from my plate when she has hers right in front of her and calling it love! Life has its small every day tragedies I tell you! Maybe those small tragedies are there to keep us from blowing our heads off when the tsunamis come but then, that’s just me. Why then do I feel different today? I think it’s perhaps the thought that I spent over a hundred dollars today buying only fruit on which I intend living solely on for the duration of a month. Of course I will procure more should I exhaust my supplies. Or perhaps my elation at making my very first successful smoothie from very humble beginnings comprising the most disgusting non-fat vanilla yoghurt, fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, kiwi fruit and bananas blended into a pink creamy tasty smoothie delight this afternoon. All accomplished by the great culinary skills of Kalu Ikeagwu! Mrs Nkem Odewunmi eat your heart out! The reason behind my fruity expedition is simply competition and self preservation.

I had done a movie in New York involving a large cast. It was quite exhausting, mostly because I was in most of the scenes and a lot of them were emotionally tasking. I worked with a large number of people at different times and this meant I met new people all the time, worked towards getting used to working with each individual and just as I would begin to get used to the one, the one would be yanked away and another take his/her position, and the whole cycle would start all over again. Anyway, in one of such instances I, my character, was supposed to have a heated argument with a medical colleague and friend over a medical decision in my office. There were a lot ‘nonsensical’ medical terms in the scene that took some getting used to, so the other actor and I, after introductions, got down to rehearsing our lines. He was an extremely good looking well built white guy about my height and none of the ladies in the vicinity could keep still on account of him. Yes, I did feel a little green creeping in my colour at the sight of this, this fine intruder taking away my shine and having all the girls swooning at his feet. “The true test of why we’re here will show the boys from the men!”, I seethed, supposing him to be just a pretty airhead who was caught up solely in his looks. When we began the dry run (ultimate rehearsals) in preparation for the actual take, and this ‘airhead’ let rip, I was left a spectator in my own scene. Everyone’s jaw dropped, then clapped; nobody expected that performance from him. But, trust your guy na , it only happened once. I stepped up my game sharp sharp! For the next five scenes we did together after that, it was fire for fire, toe to toe, head to head, without ever overacting. It was sublime. I remembered what it was like being with serious actors who take their work seriously, as a craft to be honed and practiced continuously.

My useless director kept dancing up and down with glee! “Kalu! Now I have seen someone who’ll keep you on your toes and not let you get comfortable! Others let you get away with anything but me? I will punish you to get the best out of you!” *itch!

Well this nemesis of mine is going to be on the same project as me in a month’s time from now and I am not going to ‘carry’ last. My fruit regime starts yesterday with a vengeance in preparation for something I’m salivating over – a good challenge! Have a great week everybody!

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Wilderness

A good new year to everybody. Shame and guilt have wracked my being for the longest time – very much like the feeling a deer gets when he’s trapped in full glare, when everyone, including the occasional driver, is screaming for her to get out of the way before the fatal strike. Well I’ll jump into the loop while the swinging arms are still strong. Forgive my long absence everyone. I’ve been in the wilderness for the longest while. I say wilderness because I’ve been so heartbroken over the past few months. Most things I held to be true have come crashing down in a violent flash flood carrying with it some of the structure I had since built. but leaving the foundation firmly intact. People I held in the highest esteem have been shown to me as shells even more desperate than I. Some of my closest friends have been found not to be whom they seem. Rather than feel indignant at this discovery, or be puffed up with self-righteousness, my despondency has arisen from the realization of our vulnerability as humans. We are so frail! The tragic thing is we think we are invincible, that we can do it all – and we can! – but not when we choose to be self-absorbed, choose to use other people for our own needs instead of working with them as a team, and when desperate times befall us, largely a culmination of our lust for life, greed and selfishness, we enslave ourselves to forces we have no business affiliating with. More and more each day I am reminded of my fragility and the need to depend on the one who truly has my back no matter what the circumstance, God, my foundation upon whom I strive to build.

I know I sound rather cryptic but this missive is more of me thinking out loud to myself and bouncing it off of your crania. Frieda does that to me a lot so I suppose some her eccentricities must have rubbed off on me. I have missed you lot. I look forward to more therapeutic sessions with you. Have a great weekend everybody.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Happy New Year?

A good first week of the year to everyone!
I’m back in good old sweltering Naija and it feels good! The normally
insane Lagos traffic that I’ve grown so used to is back and so am I
with my incessant stream of expletives I hurl at slow coaches who are
better off driving in their sitting rooms! God, they make me wish I
had long arms to reach out and hurl them out of my way. They make me
hurl! But that was then, a looooong time ago, some place of blessed
memory, a faded dot in the past. Now, today, a week later, just a week
after the fuel ‘subsidy’ was completely removed by our eminent
president of the people, Goodluck Jonathan, I am now being cursed to
get out of the way by those slow coaches. If Betty had a manual/stick
gear shift, I’d engage the gears half the way, and coast the rest of
the half on neutral - I’d switch the engine off if it wasn’t so
dangerous. These days I mind the calories Betty burns; her food is
very precious to me. I share the concerns of over a hundred million
other people about our future over the hundred and twenty percent fuel
price hike.

The second week of the year, and these concerns are being voiced out today en masse in protests going on all over the country. A labour strike has called for this week and from
what I observe, it is being effected by everyone I know, including me,
well they didn’t say not to work from home. My question is, as I’m
sitting here, how the heck am I going to have to pay over a double of
what I used to pay for just a week ago, that is, doubling my budget
for the rest of the year with little increase on my revenue as at the
moment? That’s not talking about my brothers who have whole families,
have spent a lot over the Christmas to give their loved ones a
memorable holiday, are about sending them off to school and then boom!
Suddenly the money they judiciously put away has to be more than
doubled if their kids are going the same level of education they got a
month earlier. Or the ones who went to their respective home towns for
the festive season only to be told, commencing their journey home,
that fares have tripled. I even heard some commuters had to sell what
belonging they had so they could get home – and that’s not counting
the families.

Well, third week of the year, strike’s over
now and everyone’s back to work. Petrol prices have been reduced by a
smidgen and it’s suffering and smiling as usual for us. I’m in kind of
a daze though, because I’m sitting here wondering what all the fuss
was about, I’m asking what we have achieved with our indignation and
what the point was having all those people who perished in the cause
agitating against corruption. The hard stance and tough talking have
suddenly evaporated and I can’t help thinking about the grass left in
the aftermath of the elephants’ fight.

In summary, I think our world is getting
smaller and becoming more and more complicated as the days go by.
Greater territories than countries are being carved up and shared and
their inhabitants have little say in the matter. Suddenly affiliation
or patriotism towards ones country is like hoping to hold on to job
long enough to see your children through their education, retiring and
getting a good pension thereof - foolishness. Much like the borderless
worldwide web we have come to know and understand, our countries’
economic barriers and buffers are becoming more and more permeable by
the day. The law of governments become subservient to the law of
commerce. The route to survival? Self sufficiency. Every man should
seek some way of starting some enterprise, farming, weaving, some
business of some sort or earn a little on the side, save and invest.
That way one still maintains some sort of control over ones affairs in
spite of the raging madness that goes on around us. Let us begin
looking for the black goat while it’s still daylight. Have a great
week everybody!