Tuesday, 22 April 2008

THE OCTOGENARIAN BOXER


Anyone who has boxed or been to a boxing match will tell you it is an ugly sport; yet a mesmerising one, still. If it wasn't mesmerising we wouldn't have the dazzling personality of Muhammad Ali, athlete of the Century!
Nassoro Mjusi's cartoon here depicts a boxer who has been outwitted but...!
But and butts!
While starting out as a young reporter in 1978, I met Robert Mugabe in Dar es Salaam. He was quite impressive: witty, intelligent, sharp, charming, smart. I never imagined he will become a pugilist in his 80's.
Today, Cartoonist Mjusi ( lizard in Swahili)told us that boxer Mugabe is not even listening to his coach. Britain and other external forces are to blame for what is going on in Zimbabwe, the octogenarian fists said in a fiery speech few days ago.
Chiding Thabo Mbeki for not rebuking his old comrade, Zimbabwe and South African opposition leaders, reminded us, recently, that liberation does not mean abuse of power and continuation of people's misery.
Both Mbeki and Mugabe are poisoning the face of Africa. Making the whole ill-informed world think Africans make pathetic leaders, incapable admnistrators, messy, filthy, nasty pugilists...


Thanks God we have had better leaders and chiefs in the past:Kwame Nkrumah, of Ghana,
Mwalimu Nyerere, of Tanzania, Leopold Senghor, from Senegal, murdered Patrice Lumumba, of Congo, the great Nelson Mandela, ad infinitum.
So then.
If we had excellent and worse captains before; there is absolutely no reason that there shouldn't be other good ones, now, or in the future...

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Sunday, 20 April 2008

THIS WEEKEND'S PROFILE...

THE MESMERISING BLUES OF STILL JREMING
Check out this wonderful Blues Musician.
Yes, Blues...
But... hold on.
Some of us may still equate Blues to old fashioned, slow, boring, mambo jumbo. Forgetting it is the bedrock, speaking melodically, (just like African drums are parents of world rhythms) of all modern, pop music.
Music, is however, a matter of taste so, without appearing to push something you dont like down your throat; may i add quickly...
I like the simplistic, straightfoward, peaceful but intense, well crafted music and guitar of Mr. Jean-Rene who says he is also an organic chemist.
This guy's stuff speaks more volumes than the rubbish we see promoted by huge record companies: scowling, snarling, finger pointing bad vibes; so called singers with no subsistence.
OK. I have also snarled at someone's art.
There is freedom of speech and self expression.
However, am concerned by the social results. A 27 year old guy was telling me the other day how he used to love gangsta rap a few years back. " I would listen to some of these chaps and immediately feel like fighting or ripping someone's teeth out."
Honestly?
"Oh yes. Thats why i have stopped listening. I have become more choosy."
It is amazing how music is subtly, contributing to the disrespect on our streets today. Check out yobs playing their loud stuff openly on their mobiles. You have to bear and "take" it ; like it or not. Freedom.
Come to London.
Tales of someone being stabbed for staring at scowling yobs has become "normal" news in the media.
A forty something colleague was saying how he was told to F-K OFF! ...simply for looking, accidentally, at yobs being rowdy at a public place.
"I mean, I wasn't even staring, my face seemed to be in their line, visually, I didn't will my eyes to look... i was just facing their way as i walked ... i was, abused menacingly and told to F-K OFF three times!"

We cannot even stare at one another?
This is not even about ear damage.
These individual's ears are going to be in a mess in later years. They should speak to legendary WHO musician Peter Townsend or ex President Bill Clinton. The two are standing testimonials to loud music and misusing senses in your youth.
That's why this Blues Man is my Weekend's profile. A vibe of the times.
A healthy vibe. A crucial vibe...needed to heal our morally puking societies.

Thank you friend for sending me the clip.
Happy Sundays.

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Wednesday, 16 April 2008

JOYS AND WETNESS OF LONDON MARATHON 2008

Variety of humanity, is the phrase one could describe April 13th, 2008.
A Sunday that was cold, foggy, wet yet so full of heat, passion, frenzy and attitude. We should learn NOT to judge life by weather but, spirit.

Runners of all sizes, manners and age.

FRIENDLY AND HELPFUL STEWARDS...
Now and then I would see a face I knew, yet so slow was I (in glee ) that the straggling runner would be gone. Take Sofia. I hadn't seen her for ages and before i knew (this is Sofia) she was off...oh shit. Too late. Cheer, watch, or take photos? The other hidden, mini marathon.

A day called people...

THESE MASSAGE GIVING VOLUNTEERS FROMALZHEIMER SOCIETY OFFERED FREE SERVICES TO THE RUNNERS.
Funnily...
One of my main intentions was to cheer and photograph the Maasai Warriors who had been all over the news for days, yet failed. As soon as the Sextet appeared chanting and doing their small Morani step dances,
I was spell bound, screeching and screaming like a maniac, forgetting I had a camera. By the time I remembered, my hands were shaking like a hungry rattle snake and they, like Sofia, were gone. Doing a marathon is not easy, I tell you.

KENYANS : SAMMY, BRENDA, DENNIS, WINNIE, KENTE(who also raps), EDWIN. PROUDLY WITH THEIR FLAG AFTER WITNESSING MARTIN LEL WINNING THE MARATHON AGAIN THIS YEAR.
Yes.
I grew up amongst the Maasais and being shit "scared" of them in Arusha, north Tanzania. They had a reputation for short tempers. Once I witnessed a fight between a Maasai and a Hehe (another warrior tribe who had fiercely fought the Germans during colonisation under Chief Mkwawa
in 1890’s in South Tanzania). We all circled them watching, stupefied expecting kilograms of blood, to be honest. In the ensuing scuffle and battle, the Maasai was so angry and swooning that he was drama in itself. Guess what ? There was no fight; as we ended up laughing at the unfinalised, spectacle. From that day in early 1970's, I concluded like any impressionable boy, that Maasai were better at killing lions more than foolish boxing.

CHARITY FOR CHILDREN WITH LEUKEMIA...

The London Marathon presented humanity at best.

RICHARD ALL THE WAY FROM BOLIVIA
TAKING VIDEOS...

The cheering voices of especially ladies, friends urging and egging friends and family members on, people with disabilities, those who had lost energy but kept trekking mouths open, knees almost sagging and breaking, all manner of artistic and trapeze clowns, happy ones, sad ones, old and young; middle aged; black, white, brown; athletic or frail, all here in multi-layers, en masse.
RUNNER GRAHAM MAIRS, FROM MANCHESTER.
SNAP OF HIM AND MYSELF BY HIS WIFE. HAPPY TO HAVE FINISHED RACE IN ONE PIECE.

It was especially great to see the onlookers tagging in the rain, watching the runners running in (and against) the rain.

DAY OF FEET , WATER, PANTING AND UMBRELLAS.


I recalled when I used to run long distance; the feelings that go thru you: wanting to give up, in pain, fighting and enjoying at the same time. At times you swear you shall never do it again; somehow, like a career sinner, you return.
To life...

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Sunday, 6 April 2008

BRASIL VS SWEDEN at ARSENAL STADIUM


Presonally?
Going to football matches is much much more than just seeing the game. It is the atmosphere, the people, the tension and release of tension. In a big match like the one i went to at Arsenal (Wed 26th March)with thousands and thousands of people you go through various emotions: fear (large crowds), trepidation (as though matching through a thick forest), anticipation (whether you support one team or the other); fun ( the music, the singing, the colours); space and volume. Here you can scream your guts out just like everyone else. Idiosyncracy is allowed like nowhere else. Maybe huge concerts are the same. But in music concerts you have to shut up, sometimes and listen to the music. In football there is nothing to listen. You are watching and shouting. Others are doing the same.
Mass ooooOOOOH and aaaaaAAAH!!!

Brasil against Sweden had it's sentimental magic. Of course everywhere else were friendlies. Friendlies before it gets hostile in September when the heats for the 2010 World Cup (in South Africa) begin, world wide. Officially, the match was a revisit; i.e. 50 years since these two very opposite nations met in the 1958 finals, with Pele (then only 17) scoring two of the 5-2 win. In homage the Brasilian team wore the same blue shirts that were won by the Pele-Garrincha team half a century ago. This seemed strange perhaps for those too young to know historic details.
Like it or not football (or "soccer" to Americans) is the most popular sport on earth, because... it is just popular.

Boys kicking the ball; everywhere you go on earth : streets, parties, gutters, beaches, you name it. Nowadays of course you have girls kicking balls, too. Check out this blog's archive around October 2007!!!
I love the atmosphere.
There is the clever and less clever.
Alot of idiocy which you don't feel while watching matches on television. Like Frederick Lundberg (Sweden) touching the ball and a section of the crowd going nuts.
"He is the one with the red shoes!"
Brasil's Robinho starts running with the ball and is mowed down. In my mind he hasn't done anything, technically he just ran with the ball!....
He did not score, didn't even manage to set up a goal, didn't even pass the ball.
But the crowd around me is going into a frenzy. That is how illogical it can get. IT IS FUN. Here are kids, old people, women, pretty and more than pretty, large and small families, euphoric youths carrying flags, painted in flags, wearing flags...flagging...

Press and Players part of the glitter and glory.

You walk as if you are in sleep, in deep waters, a tunnell, religious hall...
Then the mind slurs and slithers back to 1988.
Maracana stadium watching Brasil and Argentina. Me and a German guy called Herbert are just mesmerised by Diego Maradona. But we dare not say it loudly...no way.
We will get killed, for sure. He is the best player on the pitch, the artist, the dribbler ( recently only Zinedine Zidane has reached that zenith in my opinion); yet we dare not scream. That is how illogical it gets.
Mantra of this piece.
And what about the "Mexican Wave"?
This is the dance that joins us all here tonight.
ITS COMING....ITS COMING...you hear the kids saying. One ten year old girl is hardly interested in the match at all. She loves the wave, the Wave, here it is...foot stamping, foot stomping, shake your feet, shake them, HERE IT IS...up you get, WOOOW...and gone.


The chaps on horses are another interesting sight here; policing forests of flesh. I had to pose with them.

Yes, there is more than the One Nil Win which Brasil clinched that magical night at Arsenal. And it wasn't even in the mainstream papers the next day. Now you know why blogs are significant don't you? It is about such wonderful experiences.
Life.

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