Monday, 28 June 2010

Pleasantly surprising..

When some months ago my young nephew told me he was preparing for his driving test, I had no idea what plans he had. We grew up in the same household, his mum was my oldest sister and he is almost like the younger brother I never had. We both now live in London and he is the most unassuming person you can ever imagine, although I think perhaps humility is a characteristic that runs in the family. Anyway, I thought nothing of it when he would ask me for tips about driving in London, since he'd said that he was thinking about buying a car.

Unlike the rest of us in the family who had learnt how to drive in our teens, in the process tearing around town in our parents' cars when we should have been studying, he chose to focus on his academic work such that he ended up with a First Class degree from a top UK university and obtained a Masters degree soon afterwards. Now, he has a pick of jobs and my jaw dropped nearly to the floor when he told me that he had just turned down what seemed to me like a fantastic job in Singapore. He now works in investment banking in the Square Mile, (The City), so you get the picture..
Anyway, last week he rang me to announce that his car had been delivered, although he refused to tell me what kind of car it was, as he had always refused to do before then. It was agreed that on Sunday I would drive over to his place to have a look at it. All along I had wanted to know what kind of car he was getting and he would ask me to guess. But all of my guesses were wrong, because not only is this his first car, he's a new driver too and my thinking was that he would go for something modest to start with.

So not in my wildest imagination could I have thought that my young nephew, who in my eyes will always remain the baby that I carried, the one whose soiled diapers I changed, would go for the kind of car that I saw parked in his parking bay. Even as I pulled up beside it, I still thought that this must be his neighbour's car, until he came out dangling the keys, ushered me into the passenger seat and took me for a spin in the affluent Surrey village where he lives. As we drove around in the Porsche Cayman, I trawled through my memory trying to remember if I'd ever ridden in a Porsche before. It seemed that I hadn't, since this is not something that I would likely forget.

I'm so really pleased for him. His mum, my sis, who passed away last month would have been so very proud..

Saturday, 26 June 2010

What is it about Facebook?

I have never been able to work out what Facebook is really about. I don't think most people on Facebook have an idea what its really about either. I think of having a Facebook account as one of those things that people do just because they consider it to be fashionable. I am yet to come across a Facebook profile that makes any sense, since to start with, its quite unlikely that any person could in reality have upwards of 100 "friends", unless we dilute the definition of the word "friend" to include casual acquaintances we meet in cyberworld, who we really know nothing about other than what they choose to tell us, which in any event might be as far from the truth as the Earth is from the Moon..

Over the years I received so many invitations to be added as a Facebook "friend", mostly by people I'd never heard of. So I did the fashionable thing and opened a Facebook account. I have since managed to accumulate over fifty Facebook friends, none of whom I know in real life nor have ever met. I have visited the Facebook pages of people I know, and even those pages have not had on me the effect that they are supposed to have. Since opening my account, I have waited patiently for even one of these friends to do or say something interesting, or for something exciting to happen, but all in vain. All I see on Facebook are the odd comment by folks who really have nothing to say, but seem to think that they too must have an online presence.

Perhaps there is something that I'm missing, but I have not found anything interesting on Facebook. Today I tried to log into my account, which I have not visited for several weeks. After typing in my password, Facebook came back with the message "Your account is temporarily suspended". It was suggested that there might have been some phishing activity going on concerning my account. There was the option to restore the account, but it meant that I would have to type in a secret code number that would be sent to my phone by text message. Reluctantly, I followed the directions and the secret number was delivered by text to my phone. I typed in the number as directed, but still my account would not open. I repeated the exercise over and over, to no avail. Now I've had it! I will never be logging into Facebook ever again! I was never interested in it anyway!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Football, the world's lingua franca

I came across this expressive description of the famous World Cup final of 1950 between Brazil and Uruguay. The author A. A. Gill has narrated it so evocatively. I have pasted the description of the match here, but it forms only a part of this wonderful article in the June 2010 edition of Vanity Fair. Please click on the link, the article is worth reading. Most poignant for me were the words:

"There is something about opposing teams of 11 men that speaks to humanity in a way that transcends the game...It isn't music or movies or pizza that is the lingua franca of the globe. It's the Beautiful Game.."

"Brazil, the most successful footballing nation on earth, plays mesmerizing, skillful, and emotional football. They also took part in the most famous final—perhaps the most famous game—ever played. In 1950, in the huge, newly opened Maracana Stadium, in Rio, the Saint Peter’s of the Beautiful Game, roughly 210,000 people—still the record for attendance at a sporting event—came to watch Brazil beat Uruguay. Brazil was such an immensely long favorite that they had already cast their gold winners’ medals and composed a victory anthem. Uruguay’s coach, Juan Lopez, gave his team a locker-room pep talk, saying they should concentrate on defense. As he left, the captain, Obdulio Varela, huddled his fellow players and instructed them to forget what they’d just been told. They must play to win. He famously said, “Muchachos, los de afuera son de palo. Que comience la funciĆ³n,” which translates roughly as “Outsiders don’t play. Let the show begin,” meaning, don’t be intimidated by the crowd, the press, the speculation. Brazil went one up. Varela put the ball on the center spot and yelled, “Now it’s time to win.” Uruguay equalized against the run of play. And then, 12 minutes before time was up, they scored again. The stadium fell silent. It is called the greatest silence ever heard. Jules Rimet, then the president of fifa, international football’s ruling body, said, “The silence was morbid, sometimes too difficult to bear.” It was broken by the final whistle. Some Brazilian fans committed suicide, leaping from the upper tiers of their new stadium. Rimet was left on his own on the pitch to hand the cup to the Uruguayans. The Brazilian-team members were ostracized for the rest of their lives. Some retired immediately. Most were never called to play for their country again. There is a lingering pain among Brazilians, still in a state of shock for the loss.
A Scottish football manager, Bill Shankly, said, “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” This summer, perhaps a billion people will be watching the World Cup in South Africa, the first time it will be held on the continent. Every single one of them will know that, really, everybody, on and off the pitch, plays.
Let the show begin."
You might also like this slide show of photos and please enjoy the video..

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Finally in love..

I'm totally loving this new song..
"And I want to feel this good, for the rest of my life.."
Very apt for the place I find myself.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

My World Cup so far..

Its the dead of night as I type this post. John and I are together this weekend, but he's long gone upstairs to bed after an evening of brooding over Ghana's 1 - 1 draw with Australia. He was unhappy that I refused to be as angry about the draw as he was. And when I pointed out that at the Ghanaian barber's salon at the bottom of our road, right on the street was gathered a fairly large crowd of Ghanaian people celebrating the draw, dozens of their parked cars festooned with Ghana flags, singing, dancing, playing conga drums, vuvuzelas at full blast, this just got him more vexed..

Okay, let me make a confession. I do like football, but maybe the actuality is that I'm a bit more interested in the footballers than in the game itself. I have memories of how as a child I would watch the Nigerian national team play on television and find myself comparing the players, one against the other, until I decided upon one particular player that I fancied the most. That player would be my hero at every game thereafter and I would look forward to seeing him play, regardless of how well or how badly he or the team played. I looked forward to matches so I could see him again, until such a time as when he didn't make the team. Then I would quickly overcome my disappointment and move on to another player. It was always to do with their looks. The well-built good looking ones were my favourites. Sometimes I would fancy more than one player at a time, and this is especially true with the Brazilian team...

Anyway, going back to John, we've been watching most of the World Cup games together, but I think its kind of annoying for him that rather than agree (or disagree) with him about what he thought the coach should be doing, I would instead quip about some player's luscious lips, or make some other similarly irrelevant comment. Lol. Today was particularly interesting because I was completely awestruck by the Cameroon player Achille Emana and couldn't stop talking about how adorable I think he is.. Actually, I was being naughty because I knew how upset John already was about the Ghana - Australia result earlier on and I was acutely aware that I had not at any time during that game showed even the slightest interest in any of the Ghana players, (the one I would have commented about was on the bench). (And if you didn't already know, John is Ghanaian).

At the end of the Cameroon - Denmark game, the camera zoomed in on a shirtless Achille Emana as he strode towards the tunnel. And trust me on seeing this finely chiselled body, to go "Oh! Oh! Ah!", my hands clutched to my chest, feigning a heart attack. Perhaps this was too much for John, because he abruptly got up and left the room. After several minutes, I went looking for him and brought him back to the sofa, where I calmly explained to him that none of this was serious and that even if a situation arose where I was in a position to choose between these people on TV and John, I would choose him every time. No, I admire these fancy footballers, but they are no more than digital pictures on my TV screen. John is real. He is flesh and blood and warm and loving. Besides, his abs are to die for..

I shooed him off to bed after he'd drifted to sleep, head cradled in my lap while still on the sofa. And now I think its my bedtime too. Before I leave though, I can't help wondering why it is that some men enjoy receiving the baby treatment..

I know if John reads this he'll probably throttle me, so if you guys don't hear from me again, you know the reason.. Ciao! :)

Sunday, 13 June 2010

My dear friend in the closet..

I recently received a comment on one of my posts on this blog from a few months ago. The post Out of the closet is the first of two parts. The person who made the comment is in the closet, so understandably he chose to remain anonymous. And although I am aware of his location, out of respect I have opted to keep that to myself, save for the fact that he is somewhere in Africa. This is his comment:

My dear friend,
I wish that my family would realise that my sexuality is not and has never been my choice.I have to go as far as meeting my boyfriend in another town to avoid being outed.He is out of the closet and my family know him.Its strange that they are so kind to him but yet if I came out-It would be the end of the world.

I love him so much and want to one day share a life with him,you know a commited relayionship,but how that will ever come to pass I dont know.I just wish we could be with eachother without any dilema.

He chooses to be with me even though he knows the consequences if we were ever to be caught.I am so in love with him ,want hin, to share my life with me ,but unfortunately this will never be so.
Do you have advice for me my friend?I cannot do this to him,I feel that Im wasting his time ,but I know that he is my soul mate.What do I do with regards to my homophobic,Christian and fundamental family?Your advice is so appreciated.

Kind Wishes,
IN The Closet

Now, since I am no expert in matters of this kind and this gentleman obviously needs some advice, I thought that posting his comment here could provide to him a wider range of views and opinions rather than just my own.

My view is that he knows his own family better than any of us do. And in the end it is he who must make his own decision, whether to continue with the relationship as it currently is, which seems to me rather tenuous, whether to end the relationship for fear of being found out, (which seems rather unlikely), or whether to come out to his folks and live openly and freely. But whatever decision he makes could have the benefit of being influenced by advice that he receives from anyone who chooses to respond to his call.

It strikes me that he says that his family are "kind" to his friend, who is out of the closet, so presumably the family would know that he (the friend) is gay. I also find it slightly worrying that the Christian religion, which preaches and teaches peace and love, also underpins much of the intolerance that we see all around us.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

If you ask me, I'm ready..

For weeks now I've been hearing this inside my head, even while asleep. I finally gave in to the urge to post it here...