Wednesday, 3 June 2020

On the backseat screaming don't stop

Getting the words right
One of the useful things about the Internet has been the opportunity to sort out the mondegreens that I had learnt over decades. Songs that took my fancy that I tried to learn by ear but never got the words right because inflexions, accents, tonality, and variations could change the way words sound apart from the necessities of musicality.
I notice that a lot in Yoruba music, the words are tonal, but when put to song can change so much that if the context is not known the meaning will be completely lost. I will leave that analysis to linguists.
When Kenny Rogers died early this year, I remembered some songs that I took the time to playback on the turntable, stopping after a few words as if taking dictation, I thought I had it completely with Lucille. The refrain of the song is one example of how wrong I was. I think my dad had a record executive for a friend because he sometimes came home with a clutch of vinyl albums and that became the framework of my musical reminiscences.
My version
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille,
Before wrong the children crapping with feel, (This seemed to make some sense to me.)
I've had some bad times, lived through some sad times,
This time you dishearken nor heed, (I really thought dishearken was an antonym of hearken)
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille.
The lyrics [AZLyrics – Lucille]
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille,
With four hungry children and a crop in the field,
I've had some bad times, lived through some sad times,
But this time your hurting won't heal,
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille.
Hearing right and speaking better
There are too many songs that suffered a mangling from my either my hard of hearing or my trying to make a sense of what was being sung. Now, if a song sweeps into memory, I do not assume I know the words, I immediately search for the lyrics and compare with the total recall, I have, smiling and glad that no one caught me out like when I did not know how to pronounce bronchitis, yacht, or beau correctly.
What is strange is, I can remember each person who helped me out with getting those words right. I would think because I mainly sang to myself rather than to an audience, my mondegreens were karaoke gold dust.
I may as well shoot my gun
Earlier today, from one thing to another, I found myself searching for Ray Parker Jr. one of his songs that caught my ear, I heard on the cassette tape recorder and player of my neighbour. Let’s Get Off from his album, The Other Woman, sounded like Let’s Get On, I put it down to the quality of the recording.
Reading through the lyrics today, all he had to say was Parental Guidance steamy windows stuff. How was I to know? Yet, if you do have a lover, you probably and definitely want to do everything there and more. To say I have been promised more than a night of passion would be to put a finer point on a suggestion not too polite.
Poor teenaged Tevin Campbell whose amazing voice gave life to words of straight alluring whilst having an uncertain disposition. Not that we care anymore, the love songs lose their gender specificity whether babe, woman, man, lady, lover, and honey, whoever you squeeze is deserving of the songs you want to share. Ours is My Funny Valentine, someone does shed tears to it. [Tevin Campbell – Can We Talk – YouTube] [Anita Baker – My Funny Valentine – YouTube]
Let’s Get Off, Ray Parker Jr. (Courtesy of AllTheLyrics)
Don't know, what's come over me.
Since we met, I've had this fantasy.
Of you on the backseat screamin' don't stop.
Just before the good part, I wake up.
Oh honey - to dream just ain't enough
Gotta have the real stuff.
C'mon baby - we can rock 'n roll each other crazy.
Give it to me, nice and slow
All of it, make me beg for more.
We love each other, so it can't be wrong.
Let me have it all night long.
If you feel the way that I do then let's get off.
If you want it bad as I do let's get off.
Sittin' at, my TV set
Watchin' dirty movies, and diggin' it.
Lookin' at the folks behind the green door.
Only make me want you more.
Oh, I wish that you would stop playin' games.
Can't put out this flame.
Oh, you got me burnin' up.
Give it to me, nice and slow
All of it, make me beg for more.
We love each other, so it can't be wrong.
Let me have it all night long.
If you feel the way that I do then let's get off.
If you want it bad as I do let's get off.
Ever since, I was a little boy.
Always liked to play "ridin' cowboys"
All you gotta do is holler "giddy up"
Cause I can take it, no matter how rough
Bang bang - I may as well shoot my gun.
Cause that's how the West is won.
Hey you! I mountin' up for round two.
Give it to me, nice and slow
All of it, make me beg for more.
We love each other, so it can't be wrong.
Let me have it all night long.
Get up, just me and you.
Come on let's get off.
If you want it bad as I do, let's groove.
Come on let's get off.
Please don't make me stop. No baby,
Till you make me bop.
Just warmin' up - I don't wanna stop.
Till you make me bop.
Oh! - me and you.
Come on let's get off.
Let's groove.
Come on let's get off.

You don't need to have a say

A traffic jam of events
Activity on Social Media can easily make you lose focus. I am most active on Twitter, unusually prolific on my blog, with at least a blog a day for 90 days. I do not do as much on Facebook, though The Nigerian Nostalgia 1960 -1980 Project which is a private group is quite a resource of personal, community, and national histories. Instagram requires my capturing something of interest on my phone camera and adding a caption to it.
There is a lot going on around us, the Coronavirus pandemic still rages with all the restrictions keeping us all in our huts even in this global village. Police impunity in Minneapolis has kindled civil unrests all over America with sympathetic activities around the world. Racism remains a pox on our humanity, accepting occasional palliatives but somewhat impossible to eradicate.
In Nigeria, we are counting with horror gender-based violence girls, ladies, women shot, raped, and murdered. Everything is coming in like a torrent and this is by no means an exhaustive list of things too concerning to ignore.
Discriminate and select
The world seeks a different kind of leadership that there are no men to step up to and provide it. Egos colliding with machismo leaving needless deaths in their wake.
One can be tempted to pitch in here and contribute there, lending a voice or opinion, doing the minimum to appear engaged whilst not committing to much, the ease of being a keyboard warrior is a salve to the conscience, giving a sense of satisfaction on the basis of good intentions.
I have tried not to attempt to spread myself thin on any of these issues, the matters on which I could offer a useful viewpoint I do my best. Not everything needs my contribution, there are other flagbearers with better thought out perspectives, it is not a competition to find relevance or validation. There is a modicum of sophistication avoiding the ‘Rent-a-view’ bandwagon.
Manage what you take in
The wisdom to it all is to have a filter, some discernment exercising caution with healthy scepticism, trusting your judgement and testing every assertion with reliable and reputable sources. It is critical not to be swallowed up in the miasma of the unrelenting news cycle or be dangerously led astray with bizarre conspiracy theories as there are many seeking the gullible to deceive.
They who can make you believe absurdities; will make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire. Be alert and be on guard.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Attention Extermination

One can easily be driven to distraction,
Maybe caught in exasperation,
When the vagaries of communication,
Have no context of precision,
You strain for some clarification,
Something with the slightest indication,
From the jumble of crude expression,
Making sense or comprehension,
Whilst I strain with consternation,
Avoiding such deserved condescension,
I seek and yearn for explanation,
Though won’t expect elucidation,
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition,
Of every past and recurring conversation,
Each exchange exudes more frustration,
Please, catch me away from this condition,
Ere a match sets off a conflagration,
Dare one wish a spontaneous combustion,
Get a mob for a defenestration,
An arrow strikes to gruesome exsanguination,
As they make the wildest assumption,
That you’re gifted with prognostication,
In their bizarre imagination,
They pine for your appreciation,
But for my grooming and compunction,
I will let go with utter vituperation
In truth, there is no solution,
To everything representing confusion,
For which on simple reflection,
Has capacity for a better exposition,
Being a man of toleration,
With the quest for peace and determination,
It’s a cross, a test, a life’s audition.

Monday, 1 June 2020

From Prides of the past to the future

Prides without marches
June is considered the Pride Month even though my local pride in Manchester is one of the last in the Europe, taking place in the last weekend of August that includes the last Monday as part of the August Bank Holiday in the UK.
I normally will only attend a Pride march but rarely the other activities, in Manchester, I only have to step out of my front door with a foldable chair to watch the march go past on my street. Berlin offers a better spectacle in July as I take a room in the Hotel Berlin Berlin that overlooks the march from at least the first floor. I might go to the Siegessäule or the Brandenburg Gate to see the performances for a few hours before departing for some quiet time.
Prides around Europe
Until last year, I had not missed a Berlin Pride usually known as the Christopher Street Day (CSD) in German-speaking countries in recognition of the Stonewall riots of 1969, except one other time in at least 12 years. It was like a pilgrimage of at least 4 days, sometimes longer, allowing me to do other things besides.
When I lived in Amsterdam, we celebrated in the first weekend of August, the Pride march on canal boats, I never vied to get on any of the boats because it was at least a 4-hour slug, however, it was always good to have a vantage position to view the colourful floats as they moved along with music blaring out of megawatt loudspeakers ready to deafen you.
At one time, I was in Playa del Ingles on the island of Gran Canaria, their Pride is usually the second weekend of May. Unfortunately, most of the Prides would be cancelled this year, about 500 on one count, some will be adapted to take place online as digital Pride events. [See link below.]
Prides of the future
In June 2016, I joined up with the Barclays team called Spectrum for the London Pride which we were a main sponsor of, it was the first time I had walked in a Pride march in the UK apart from being a spectator or going to park activities after the parade.
I cannot say what the world would become after the pall of this pandemic is lifted, the way we would manage crowds and marches for all sorts of celebrations and how life might change between the consideration of risk and damning the consequences. However, I hope that in the aftermath, we would all celebrate our common and diverse humanity.
There is a Pride march in the not too distant future that my husband and I would participate in, marriage is on the cards; it would be the joy of our lives for Brian and I to pose and say to the world, Happy Pride Month.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Thought Picnic: They are never dead in dreams

We are touched at all times
In conveying my sympathises at the passing of a loved one, I strive for a form of words that hope to give comfort and succour in addressing irreparable loss. Part of the cycle of life is in the record of the birth, the living, and the death of people interweaving generations and leaving their marks in the lives of the persons they have impacted.
Impact on an individual basis is fundamentally significant from a miscarriage in the short existence of foetus to the passing of a matriarch or patriarch wizen with age as eras turn to epochs of history and genealogy. Grief is an expression that lives in our humanity.
When I condole in words to the effect that in the passing of someone, they have passed in the memories and recollections of experiences, fondness, and love, things we remember of them that are now forever crystallised in reminiscences, I believe there is some truth in that sentiment.
In dreams and memories
On my blog, I remember anniversaries and birthdays, I write tributes, maybe not so much eulogies. There are many things I do not understand, of what might be or not be of the afterlife, I do sometimes wonder if in my passing something of an eternal consciousness that could be a remnant of my lived existence can review the things said of me. I would not know if the people dear to me that I have lost can read of my fondness for them, even for those I failed to cherish enough until they were gone.
The Yoruba would eulogise the dead and rather than decline into the fortuitousness of the termination of life, we move on to another phase and of the dead, we look to meet in dreams or bump into them in places where our minds are given to the suggestion that a reincarnation has placed our loved one in another place.
Resurrecting utter discomfort
I sometimes wonder about what would have happened to the people of Jerusalem who experience the resurrection of the dead from their tombs when the earthquake struck at the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. It probably would not have been a comforting sight to suddenly see a known dead relative alive and interacting with you.
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. [Matthew 27:51-53]
It remains a mystery for which there might be a revelation in due course. I have dreams and many of them are vivid, the recesses of my mind folding the landscapes of times past into the tapestry of the present continuous.
Dream a little dream
I create a theatre of dramatis personae who have never met in life making conversation and interacting in my dreams. A subconscious part of me recognises these people are no more alive, but in my dreams, I can live the impossible and not be overwhelmed by the incredible.
Maybe, the things we do for the dead are not essentially for the dead but are part of the coping mechanisms of the living. We who remain need to manage the complexities of the presence and the absence of those who were integral to our life experiences. We may not have our transfiguration moments, but when Jesus brought Moses and Elijah into the sight of Peter, James, and John, you knew that the stuff of dreams is an exposition that is not bounded by the strictures of time, manner, or space. [Wikipedia – the Transfiguration of Jesus]
Our dearly departed and not really gone, they remain alive in the fond memories we have of them. That is also a celebration of their lives in us.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

In memory of the lessons of a love departed - Chris

In memory of loves before
At the back of my mind is the thought of this day, one we never did celebrate together but noted without much emphasis. I maintain good friendships with most of my previous relationships, the people I am still in contact with.
Some have already sadly departed, but from each and everyone there is at least something significant they contributed to my life and those things I cherish. Lessons learnt, insights had, considerations made for a pearl of continually new wisdom for the present.
Today would have been Christopher Clark’s 47th birthday, the memory I have is keen and instructive. When he died in October 2009, I found that I could not carry on to new fulfilling relationships for almost a decade because there were many opportunities I had to make something of it, which out of fear, uncertainty, cowardice, insecurity, and doubts, I did not.
What I can say now is I understand why and how one should take chances on life and on love, put your heart in it and go the whole way if your partner wants to go that journey with you, to the ends of the world, to love like you have never been loved before.
Happy Birthday, Chris, thank you for the lessons I learnt too well.

Teargas and smoke in pandemic times

The root of public unrest
I do wonder if the right questions are asked that try to determine why people protest and those protests sometimes lead to the destruction of life and property in the aftermath of what the people consider is police brutality as the wheels of justice roll with lethargy and inertia if they do ever turn at all.
If there were a sense of justice that law enforcement was fully accountable for their actions in their call to duty without a seeming blanket of exculpation built into the system to exonerate working from the premise the police are infallible and the victim can never be innocent, maybe, just maybe, the frustrations of the people won't be pouring out onto the streets, they would allow the system of justice to run its course.
Weed out the rotten cops
The police forces know the bad eggs amongst their lot, sworn allegiances and unquestioned support amongst the ranks leaving the institutions operating beneath the standards of probity and integrity and they harbour the undesirables always stores up trouble for the future when for each infraction by the irresponsible crew they are assured immunity to go out to act with more impunity.
They should stop shielding the worst amongst their ranks, punish them and kick them out before they kindle the tinder of societal unrest and set in trail irreparable damage.
America is imperfect, grossly flawed, and has constantly been in a pressure cooker tensioned situation since its birth. The more we think things are improving there are many examples of where things are no better. To then be cursed with a leadership that has no facility or capacity to unify the people in a common purpose for the good is like Ichabod is enthroned on One Nation unto God.
Teargassing, smoking, and respiratory pandemics
There is much difficulty controlling violent protests, angry mobs, and riotous crowds in ordinary times. Crowd dispersal with tear gas during a global pandemic exacerbated by a possibly airborne virus that could cause respiratory distress and grave illness as we are instructed to keep safe distances between each other computes on the side of the unbelievably incredulous like no one is using their senses.
One other thing, I would hope the pandemic addresses with some determination is smoking on the streets either from cigarettes or vaping. For if the social-distancing requirement is to prevent contracting COVID-19, what should not be happening is people walking into the clouds of smoke or vapour expelled from the lungs of possibly infected people.
Ban it, treat it
I do not think it would be safe to have people trying to dodge smoke trails too as they walk the streets. It would call for designated smoking areas along with radical programmes to get people off tobacco because it would not augur well for pavement rage to develop from people taking umbrage to others who in their carefree use of tobacco products visibly pollute the air we breathe as we incidentally, walk into their smoky slipstream.
For the purposes of full disclosure, I started smoking at 14 and gave it up at 18. I cannot remember what inspired it, I just stopped, I did not enjoy it anymore. I used to smoke menthol cigarettes then. Now, my doctor considers having dropped smoking over 3 decades ago as being a non-smoker.