Monday, May 5, 2008

The Hopelessness of news...

Usually when you pick up a newspaper or switch to a news channel on your television set, you expect the headlines to have some substance, something worthy of reading or watching. Lately, however, the news quality has gone down. I learnt to significantly lower my expectations when it comes to news in Uganda but even for a bottomless pit, there has to be some sort of limit. I stopped watching UBC Television because quality was obviously not one of their goals. The mainstream newspapers once in a while go off track (refer to new visions More Baganda in Revenue than Banyankole) and radio isn't any better.

Wava Broadcasting Corporation (WBS) has recently joined the exclusive club of inept news corporations. Last Sunday there was a feature about some hill called 'Wajinja' somewhere in Masaka. The news lasted a whopping 20 minutes (that's as long as I could handle. It could have lasted longer) but 15 of those were about this hill. It's named after some local god and according to the traditional healer, whatever you pray for on this heal is granted. Apparently the baganda prayed for a Nabagereka (Queen) and they got one. What crap is this? How can you attribute some natural instinct to some demi god? This was the least of it's ludicrous assumptions. It has a foot print of the first Muganda king, kintu, a sitting room like setting and drums. These drums are made of stone and make no sound whatsoever. How can they be called drums. Now here comes the most ridiculous assumption. Apparently, some teenagers were having sex on the stones and they were swallowed up. What? How can a reputable (Sorry my mistake) News broadcaster spend 15 minutes on this garbage? If they had no news, they should have ended it and not subjected us to this nonsense. The journalistic content is not being degraded by bad journalists. It's being degraded by the people who give these journalists the time and forum to show their imcompetence.

I have tried to ignore the Red pepper stories about Nibiru. There are so many versions of this from the same paper that the editor should just resign over those conflicting stories. The story broke with Nibiru striking earth and all people perishing. Understandable if it was some sort of asteroid. The next day, the same paper claimed that the earth would be split, continents divided etc. This is still believable till they came up with some rubbish parents tell their kids when they have refused to eat their supper. Nibiru is going to strike earth and unleash some giant beast. These will kill all the men and rape all the women. What? All this after claiming we'd all die when it strikes earth. They then got a photo taken by mars orbiter and claimed it was a nibiru beast. How can a reputable-sorry my mistake-how can a newspaper start quoting a cult? Yes the Nibiru story started with a cult. I have done my research. The worst part about all this is that I heard a grown man discussing this with his peers, trying to convince them that this piece of useless journalism is actually true and that all they said will happen. He even referred to the bible. With such kind of press and free thinking humans, all I can say is We are a doomed species.

I have resolved not to watch WBS news anymore or read the first two pages of Red pepper (They are their vain attempt at the news). I will stick to what they do best, KIMANSULO


Finally the wait is over..

After a long (very long) break, I am now back. It's been quite a while, been many places, seen many things and got many tales to tell. So let the stories begin

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The audacity of a weekend thief

I have always thought that, in most cases, this country is so soft on petty crime. In fact, the majority of culprits are never prosecuted. They are arrested till someone can afford to pay the meagre bail. Without tougher penalties, these guys are only encouraged to go back and do the same thing. We don't even have the three-strikes law. My views on petty crime we hugely enhanced over the weekend. Saturday started off well. I met this very nice lady and all was good. We were having a great time (I think) with a couple of other people. We started off at Mateos and later went to the Venue. This is where things started to go bad. It got colder and windier and the sky had this menacing look. This lovely lady (she might read this so I have to bring out all the superlatives) placed her bag on one of the seats next to us. A few minutes later it started raining, heavily, so we dashed for the shade, less than 3 meter from where were seated. Less than 30 seconds later she noticed she didn't have her bag so we made for the seat where she had placed it. It wasn't there. First the rain conspired to slow my rhythm then some mongrel just sealed my fate. I never recovered from the double set back. Anyway we tried to look around but, thieves have now refined their methods it's was a futile process. That was the end of my night. Fast forward to Sunday-Monday.

I called her phone and some guy with a very strong local accent picked up. He told me this story about how he only picked her phone because it fell out of her bag. He yapped about how he was such a nice guy who worked for save the children and wasn't interested in stealing a phone. Apparently, he left it on so that he could be contacted by anyone that knew the owner. I actually bought his story. How naive of me. We made arrangements for him to bring it to my work place. My workplace is almost a fortress. There are so many armed guards from one of the country's elite forces. There is no way a thief would walk into that place to deliver a stolen phone. He had to be honest, the genuine article. Genuine? Yes he was, albeit a genuine thief. This scumbag came to my office, walked past 6 armed policemen and even more unarmed security guards (I haven't even counted the armed policemen out of sight), walked to the reception and handed over the sim card. Yes the sim card. This guy has got some cahoots. How dare he? A sim card? This is as bad as a thief breaking into your car and he later breaks into your house just to return the ID that was in the wallet he stole from your car. The nerve this guy had. If I could lay my hands on him I would rip him apart (if he's smaller than me.) No, what he did was not a favour. It was 'Kamanyiro'. This guy wouldn't have dared to do that if we had serious laws. He wouldn't have dared to steal that bag period. I think all petty thieves should be castrated and given a sexual hormone inhibitor. The thought of not enjoying life's finer things will be a deterrent to any ill-bred scumbag. Jail doesn't cut it anymore. They are too soft on these guys. They have more meals in there than they do outside of jail. I am boiling with anger. God have mercy on the one unlucky guy I'll catch attempting to 'get rich quick' from my personal property.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pink is the colour

I have just witnessed the funniest and most baffling thing. I was too amazed that when I got back to my desk, the first thing I did was to post this blog. Most days, after lunch, a few friends and I take a walk and go for a drink at a nearby pub. No, not for alcohol but a soft drink. Today was no different. There were, carrying out our almost daily ritual, talking about whatever guys talk about (money and cars only). All of a sudden there was a deafening silence. All of us just went quiet. Walking in the opposite direction was a man. He was dressed very smartly. Too smartly actually. He was dressed in a white checked shirt and a pink tie. Nothing wrong with that except that he was wearing a pink trouser. Yes PINK!. As soon as he walked past us, we all burst out laughing and it wasn't just us but even those behind us that saw him. It was so hilarious. This guy was so confident (hats off t him). He looked so ridiculous. I'm not a snob, really , but this was just out of this world. We're still laughing at this moment. IT was that hilarious. It's one of those things you need to see to believe how bad/ridiculous it is.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dance moves and that hand lotion

It's been a tough two weeks. Too much work and too much stress all conspired to limit my blogging to only one blog, so though that last Saturday I decided to hit town and not only celebrate their passing, but to also relieve some stress. I had almost forgotten what friends looked like and what the Kampala night life was like. I started off by attending a Rotaract dinner (I'm a Rotaractor/Rotarian-service above self). Everyone was well dressed in their evening dresses and dinner jackets. It was good. (if I said anything else, my club members would wring my neck). It was good, except for the food (I'm hard to please). The Roast goat meat was burnt, the beef was so hard that you'd struggle even with a steak knife and the roast potatoes were harder on the teeth than hard corn (deep fried corn). This supposedly brilliant meal was prepared at the luxurious (apparently) hotel opposite the Celtel Head offices. I also noticed some smell/scent (choose one). Not sure what it was at this point

I headed to garden city after the dinner. I was dying to get my groove on. I went to the venue. While there I hooked up with some pals and we started comparing notes. For all guys out there that don't yet know, this place has the best, most scantily dressed young talent available in Kampala. Most people say Uganda is a deeply conservative society. That would change with a visit to the venue on a Saturday night. Booty shorts, the skimpiest miniskirts ever made, the latest dance moves imported from Jamaica (winding). Everything you ALMOST saw in Ludacris' P-Poppin video is happens here. The funniest thing I saw was this really tall guy dancing with a girl that either had some Jamaican heritage or has spent a significant amount of time there. She was winding it down pretty good. As for the guy, I can't describe what he was doing. It wasn't dancing. It actually looked like he was gyrating around her waist. More like he wanted to get something else going. I hope for his sake he did.

One thing that seemed to come up in both places was this smell. It was so strong that I thought I was the one stinking. I was baffled. I showered before I left home but from the moment I got to the dinner venue, all I could smell was this strong odour. It seemed pleasant at first but it soon became some sort of stench. Nothing smells good for an entire night. I was so baffled that I asked a friend if i was stinking. He started laughing at me. After about a minute, he told me it was a hand lotion that all fashion crazed women are using. The latest fascination of the opposite sex. I always thought women were wary of wearing anything someone else might wear. Perhaps this is different because after he told me, I smelt it on every girl/lady that I walked past. That explained why the dinner venue smelt so feminine. What's this craze about hand lotion anyway? Our hands (male) are perfectly normal without those luxuries. If you must, does it have to be the same lotion? Imagine if all men wore the same perfume or used the same after shave. It's that bad. The hand lotion actually smells nice, but not nearly nice enough for every woman to buy the same brand. By all means buy those hand lotions (we prefer our women to have soft hands) but please don't all buy the same hand lotion. I'm sure there are others that smell equally as good.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


While the rest of the country was dancing to the tune of UB40, I had an experience that was both comical and excruciating. Many of you are wondering what could possibly surpass UB40 and why wasn't I at UB40. Okay, they are a great band. Their story is so captivating-unemployed guys decided to do something about it- but It's not that fairy tale to me. I like their songs. Actually I like one of their songs (don't remember the title and no, it's not reasons) so for that reason I decided to skip the show. I stuck to my Saturday ritual. I watched Eduardo suffer a horrific tackle, Torres score his second hat-trick in the premiership and the Mighty Manchester United destroy Keegans legacy further (if he had any). What's so amazing about this? Nothing! It's what happened after that was.

After the games, I went for a drink to some place I won't mention (too many lawsuits pending). I happened to glance at the screen and a movie was starting on one of the DSTV channels (Africa Magic). It was a Nollywood movie. Before you forever cast me to the shadows of the valley of the uncool, I only watched 5 minutes and only lasted that long for the reason I'm about to mention. A caption appeared on the screen that said "Lagos, 1973" This is normal, except that a Mercedes S-Class (S-500) appeared in the next scene. An S-CLASS? In 1973? IN NIGERIA? Unless they had a production line that was way ahead of the rest of the world this would be impossible. The particular model shown wasn't in production. They then switched to a house that had the latest leather sofas and looked more like 2013 than 1973. I always thought Movie directors were notorious for meticulously following detail. They really did well with Last King of Scotland. Those cars were well sourced. If we can achieve that in Uganda, why not our 'brodaz' in 'Nigerio'. I wanted to see what else this movie had and trust Nigerian movies to never disappoint. I saw a BMW X5 in the background of one shot. That was it. I now know why they are uncool. I had always heard of their chiefs, their numerous wives, their 'Juju' and lack of any acting talent whatsoever but this was too much for me. It ceased to be funny. Ironically, this was happening on Oscar weekend. The Hollywood-Nollywood contrasts couldn't be any starker. Why does DSTV subject us to these ineptly produced movies? South Africa has a lot better movies. Actually, the rest of Africa has better stuff that this.

Everything about these movies is wrong/bad/ghastly. The acting is nowhere near close to pathetic. Even wretched would be a compliment. The plot is always too thin. I'm sure the 'juju' subject was exhaustively and extensively covered by the first 10 Nollywood movies ever produced. These guys keep churning out that stuff. The actors are so unaccomplished. They don't even look like they've had any acting experience. They just don't have any, even after all those movies. The attention to details is appalling. There is none whatsoever. With our meagre resources, 'bwavu musolo', which had 'kyeswa' was so much better. These guys make Dr. Bosa look like Jonny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean 1 and he (Dr. Bosa) is appalling. I have seen bad movies. Some have been a complete waste of not my time but a small part of my life. Some I have sworn never to watch ever again, but at least I watched them. I will...sorry, I WILL NEVER EVER waste any part my unaccomplished, undistinguished life watching any of that bigamy oriented, fraud filled , juju fiestas from Nollywood. It is just not worth my time and certainly not anyone's. The guys at DSTV are either pulling a prank on the rest of Africa, trying to see how long we can hold on or they lack any sense of judgement when it comes to selecting which movies to show on Africa Magic. These are the only reasons. If not then...there is no logical explanation. Nollywood is as appalling as the name suggests. No-llywood.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thriller...the 25th Anniversary Edition Disaster

For the past week I have been listening to the 25th Anniversary Edition release of Michael Jackson's Thriller album, grappling on how to classify this album. The original is the best selling album of all time, selling over 40 Million records. It was ranked #3 in the NARM/The Rock and Roll hall of fame's Definitive 200 albums. This album rocks. Every song is just brilliant. Quincy Jones showed his class on this record. Thriller and Beat it were....for lack of a better word...Grand. The collaborations with Vincent Price, and Sir Paul McCartney were well chosen. It's the only album to have SEVEN number 1 songs on the Billboard Top 100. With the junk pumping out of our speakers today, I can safely say that record will never be surpassed, not even matched.

Fast forward to 2008, the new edition, with collaborations from Kanye West, Will.I.AM, Fergie and Senegal's favourite son, Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam aka Akon. These are some of the best producers around right now. Perhaps the best if you exclude Timbaland and the legendary Dr. Dre. They showed their mastery on this timeless record. The kind of mastery that must have Quincy Jones wincing and moaning wherever he is. All their effort produced what would even today be one of the worst albums ever. Perhaps it's the notion that 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' but my gosh! This album is horrendous. I am not a music critic, actually far from it but this album is the biggest disappointment. The original songs far outshine their remixes. This isn't a job done poorly. It's a job not done at all.

Track 1: Wanna be starting something. Reminds you of why the 80's were good for music. A song that you can listen to when your stressed and the up tempo beat will lift you. The saxophone! Listen to it when is switches to the Caribbean sound.
Track 2: Baby be mine. Temperton showed his class with the keyboard. The vocal arrangement is just so exquisite. At least they didn't touch this one
Track3: The Girl is mine (With Sir Paul). This song is so mellow. It is sweet and gentle to the ears. The verbal trades between Michael and Sir Paul are well thought of, funny and just what the song needed. The vocal arrangement is great. A great product of the legendary Quincy Jones.
Track4: Thriller (with Vincent Price). There are no words in the dictionary I can use to describe this song. If you do have this song, listen to that base line. Put that together with the synthesizer and when the electric guitar kicks in.....ORGASMIC.
Track 5: Beat it. My favourite song on this album. The snare on this is amazing. The electric guitar player (Eddie Van Halen) on this was amazing. The bridge he played on this is one of the greatest guitar sounds ever played (according to me anyway). The tempo, vocal arrangement and the whole song arrangement (Quincy Jones) is simply brilliant.
Track 6: Billie jean. Those of you that have watched the video of this song will remember the crouch grabbing strokes of M.J. This song has that catchy base line, complemented by the strings. Great stuff
Track 7: Human nature: So gentle, so mellow, so nice.
Track 8: Pretty Young Things (PYT). This song is good and that's all I can say.
Track 9: The lady in my life. For those that have never heard this song, remember the Boys II Men song 'Hey Lover'? This is where they got the rhythm.

Now to the worst part

Track 11; The girl is mine (2008) This is by far the worst song on the album. Will.I.AM's growling on this album just irritates the ear. "She mine, she mine, she like the way I rock, the way I rock" my, oh my, this is abysmal. He goes on and on that you can't help but get really irritated with his voice. He's good with the Black Eyed peas but can't be trusted with a classic, let alone a classic like thriller. The song was bad enough without his voice. He got the production wrong from the beginning. The drums were too loud, the base line too antiquated and gosh that horrible synthesizer. I can't say anything about it.1/10
Track12: PYT. This song was so nice till that 80's dance rhythm was introduced. Another howler by Will.I.AM.2/20
Track 13: Wanna be starting something (with Akon).The best of the worst. The only reason it's not as bad as the rest is because they didn't deviate too far from the original. Akon and MJ's vocal arrangement was quite good. These two should do another song together. The bridge is good. They even had the switch to the Caribbean sound. Good stuff but no match for the original though I'll give it a 6/10.
Track 14; beat it (with Fergie). Two voices have never clashed like this before on a record. It will never happen again. It's impossible. She's almost inaudible and MJ's voice is....MJ's Voice. Another one of Will.I.Am productions (more like howlers) The electric guitar was simply crap. Listen to it just after the bridge. It screams HORRIBLE. What's the hype with this Will.I.AM fellow anyway? Yes he's good with BEP and other artists but crap on his own. Have you listened to his solo album? Don't. 2/10
Track 15: Billie jean (with Kanye). Second best. Kanye introduces his maverick production style. His drums and snares rocked...a bit. He didn't try to do a lo of talking like a certain Mr William. 5/10.

It's good they kept all the originals on it. If they had only released the remixes, we'd be in trouble. The best part about this album is the original songs. Don't mess with anything successful. MJ should have released a completely new album. Perhaps Will.I.AM would have shown how good he is with completely new stuff and not how mediocre he is remixing songs. I love the album...a lot but only for the old timeless songs. Hopefully they'll spare us a golden anniversary remix edition. If not, good luck to your ears.