LATE 80’S KIDS

Related imageI don’t know what stood out in your childhood, nevertheless, as you ponder about it, I’m just about to sound old and dilapidated, okay, to some of you. Well, never mind, I’m neither that young. I’m a soul that struggles to be identified as a millennial. But technically I’m not one in as much as google defines it as someone who becomes of age in the 21st century. Leaves me to wonder; I’m I in the same category of life with those sensual kids that rock the likes of Ten Over Ten show dressed like they’re attending a swimming competition? Shudder not! I will let them be.

I tell you what, my elder sister Liz has loyally been listening to The Sundowner show on KBC English Service for decades now. She puzzles me as to how she doesn’t get over it and probably grow legs to something more contemporary. Speaking of contemporary music, I really wonder if it’ll end up passing the test of time. There was something magical about 90’s and early 2000’s music. Anyway, back to Liz; to measure her degree of obsession with the Show – she can easily kill (not literally though) to be at home by 6 pm to tune in to the nostalgic programme regularly hosted by Catherine Ndonye and a few other awesome bunch of presenters.

That said, most of us fondly recall the late Nzau Kalulu’s (Rest in internal peace sir) baritone voice when he hosted the Show decades ago. It was phenomenal. Of course, we have to give up for Ndonye for unshyly flying the Sundowner flag ever high for as far as I can remember. In retrospect, the late 80’s kids should forever epitomize the beauty of growing up listening to such sensational presenters?

The Beat Time was the mother of all popular music, then hosted by the talented John Karani and Charity Karimi. You see, many will reckon that John Karani stands a chance to be ranked higher than the likes of Maina Kageni as the best radio presenter of all times. This was one guy who had quite an admirable chemistry with radio not to mention the massive following pre-social media era. If you were born in late 80’s or earlier, you must have waited for his other show Saturday Night Show, to jot down lyrics of popular hits which he used to share since there was hardly any internet then to google lyrics. Groove Time hosted every Saturday morning was another sought-after Show that entailed live-call voting for popular music to grace his coveted weekly chart. Jeff Mwangemi alias Crucial Mundu who hosted Yours For The Askin’ every Wednesday night, was similarly dribbling his talent on the radio effortlessly.

I was privileged then to always obtain a copy of the Sunday Nation. It was priced at sh.40/- which would mean saving for the rest of the week to at least go through Wahome Mutahi’s Whispers column, peruse through the Lifestyle edition, crack my ribs with Head on Corrision by KJ and finally check on the featured artist and song lyrics. One would then cut off the song lyrics and stick them on a collection book that was a must-have for every late 80’s kid. Speaking of which, I still hold beef with my brother for misplacing my 300-page musical album book that took me years to compile and form my identity as a teenager.

But before all these were vintage record players, radio cassettes and walk-man gadgets. Every home worth its name had to own a cassette player and loyally buy musical albums. Interestingly, one used to rewind the music using a biro if your dad didn’t own a classical JVC radio or worst case scenario, a Sanyo one. There was no piracy then neither were there avenues to download music. Walk-mans were spotted with rich kids which instead of playing the cassette in the family radio, one would insert the cassette in the gadget and listen using mini-size headphones.

Apart from great music, late 80’s kids must have come across landline phones that one would queue like they do in some banking halls. I remember accompanying my dad on a number of occasions to make those magical calls. And they came with no much privacy apart from confining oneself in the tiny booth, making peace with the would-be callers comfortably eavesdropping your conversation besides having to deal with the wrath of their impatience if you hang in there longer than expected.

Advancements came through in early 2000’s when Simu ya Jamii was launched. At least with Simu ya Jamii, there was no embarrassment of running out of cash as it was post billed and not limited to functioning solely on coins. It was extremely convenient for students who didn’t enjoy the luxury of owning mobile phones then. These digital calling booths were as common as mpesa shops but that quickly changed in a couple of years courtesy of influx of affordable mobile phones.

With mobile phones came the puzzle of scratch cards going for as high as sh.300/-. That was the cheapest for Kencell. Funny enough, the card was slightly bigger than a standard ATM card. This was also the time when calls were classified between peak and off-peak time. Dear 90’s millennials, during our time we used to wait up to 5pm to make calls that cost a whooping sh.10/- per minute. That alone melted our hearts. I mean, it was quite affordable. Michael Joseph, the then Safaricom head honcho, termed Kenyans as quite bizarre for having peculiar calling habits.

As telecommunication industry was leapfrogging, social media was miles ahead. Yahoo was one of the biggest powerhouse in the web services. I will not lie to you that I used Hotmail. You remember 2go social site? It was a fast paced messaging app that almost overtook Facebook until it went under.

But far before that bravado was well baked Kenya football. KFF was a body that stood tall and ran on systems. Talent was tapped all the way from the grassroots. At barely 8 or so years I’d name the entire Harambee stars squad. Don’t get twisted, not English Football but local football. From the tall lad who wired the team Musa Otieno, to the light-skinned midfielder Titus Mulama, to the dribbler John ‘Mo’ Muiruri, to the likes of Tom Juma, Mike Okoth, keeper Francis Onyiso, six feet center-back Joseph Shikokoti and many more, Kenyan football was a piece of gem to marvel for. Interestingly, in the absence of TV screens then, I’d listen via my pocket radio while grazing my dad’s livestock as the dynamic duo composed of Jack Oyo Sylvester and Ali Salim Manga revolutionized football broadcasting.

And that’s when you realise you’re growing old, by holding on to your childhood memories that seem to be bombarded and faintly buried each passing day by the so-called conventional realities. That said, Kageshi just reminded me my birthday is a few hours from now! Can I just deal with that? Thank you Andreaders.

Photo credit: Amazon.com

PLATTE-LAND 010: BIRTHDAY

 

Preparations had been concluded well on time. The house had been tidied up and was spotless. Mwau was standing by the door, his clothes all soaked with dripping water. The skies had opened, and it was raining heavily. He had just rolled in from a nearby mall. He had brought along shopping which included; booze, snacks, steak, disposable plates and cups, juices and a couple of other stuff. His girlfriend Mso, had come in handy, in coming up with the; guest list, shopping list and ensuring everything was top notch. She’d easily multi task while Mwau remained seated and clueless most of the time, if not indirectly being made to be the errand boy.

At one hand she oversaw a gigantic dry fry mutton meal steam up while ensuring the deep fried potatoes were coming up nicely at the other end of the multi-burner gas cooker. At the middle burner, a portion of steak was being grilled on a pan. She occasionally brushed the outer layers of the steak and applied some olive oil and a bit of cooking butter. She liberally seasoned it with salt and pepper to give it flavour. Once charred and having turned golden brown in colour, she transferred it to a cutting board where she firmly wrapped it with an aluminium foil to retain the heat and stack it in a safe place, in one of the kitchen cabinets.

Meanwhile, she had delegated Mwau the task of wiping bowls that would serve the crackers, nuts and all manner of bitings. He was also in charge of the music and had the best of the playlist, mostly popular Hip Hop and all the usual club bangers collection. His stereo was a high definition one, that clearly costed him an arm and a leg. His wagithomo dad would be dumbfounded to learn that his son owns a luxurious stereo purchased via funds diverted from paying school fees and worse still, pricier than his battered motorbike.

In no time, the guests would start trooping in. From the outside, the rains had dwindled and invited a biting cold instead. On the flip side, nature had given birth to all manner of insects to welcome the wet night. The crickets were chirping in celebration, as playing mantis dived from one place to another. The beetles were droning in the air as the wasps buzzed around. At a swampy area adjacent to Mwau’s rented apartment, frogs would croak to usher in the night, as a handful of bats screeched from an adjacent tree.

Njagi, Saimo DJ, Mapanya, Shiku, Ka-Penguin, Nizzy, Milly 1st Lady, Kevoo and a couple of other bunch of close friends to Mwau had already checked in. The lads would grab some pop-corns as they played cards and chess games as the ladies retreated at a corner to chit chat and catch up as they gulped a variety of juices. While this happened Shiku would try to make advances towards Njagi who was deeply involved in a chess match with Mapanya, a veteran in the game. In the meantime, Mso was taking a shower while Mwau received more guests.

At round 9pm, meals were served and everybody guzzled for the delicious buffet that included meat balls and fried potatoes, grilled steak and ugali, and fried – chopped mutton that was seasoned with ginger and turmeric powder. The music played louder as the booze was brought in by Mwau from its hideout. Their faces lightened up as they quaffed free booze served in plastic cups. Shiku was the first to be carried away by the exuberant ambiance singing and dancing along to lyrics like;  – as the rest cheered her.

I think you fell in love too fast
African night and a cool rush
And I remember you refused to kiss me
And now you using my toothbrush
You say you think I talk too much
That I’m not your type and you don’t like the hype
‘Cause your daddy is a preacher
Now you wearing my t-shirt
And I don’t want this night to end
Before you know I love you

Short and sweet
DJ play this song on repeat
Odi odi dance to the beat
Hapo ulipo kamata na-feel so sweet
Hapo ulipo kamata na-feel so sweet
Short and sweet

At 12 am Mso quietly tiptoed to the kitchen and over to the top cabinet where she had hid her surprise present to Mwau. She came back fetching a big smile and holding a beautiful cake placed on a tray with a set of cutlery on the side. It was iced artistically – I Love You Babe. HBD. On everybody noticing, the music came to a halt and they all started singing; Happy birthday dear Mwau….. In no minute, everyone was wrestling for Mwau’s face and in tandem, painted him with all colours of the cake’s top creme. His T-shirt was similarly defaced with graffiti from the cake’s content, as he scampered to the kitchen for safety.

Later on, Njagi and Shiku would find a moment to catch up;

Shiku placed her hands on his chest disguising to be trying to zip up his cotton padded half jacket that was yellow in colour. Njagi stood statue giving her all the room to explore. She made a sarcastic cough, as she raised her seductive eyes to meet his face and was like;

Where is your girlfriend?

Which one?

How many do you have?

Can’t trace the number.

Okay, I mean Sly.

You sound jealous.

Because I love you. She said without blinking an eye, maintaining her contact on him and edging closer.

And you think Sly is coming in your way?

Not like it. I know she has Chris and has you as well in her wings to pamper her.

Tell me more…

You see she can’t stand you having a girlfriend. Taking a sip of her reddish concoction. 

But we are just platonic

Platonic is just a word that has lost meaning and credence.

Njagi sighed off trying to suppress his impatience. Tired of leaning on the wall, they were now having the conversation at a far corner next to the fridge. Njagi was seated on one arm of the creme leather sofa while Shiku made herself comfortable on one of his thighs. She was feeling his heartbeat and while inclined on his chest, she felt the best form of emotional healing.

Did I ever tell you I schooled with her! Making a face

No way, Sly?

Yea 4 years in high school, in the same stream.

Wow! Were you ever friends?

Of course not. We were both extroverts that repelled against each other.

Hahaha still are.

And she was alleged to be a lesbian.

C’mon Shiku. Of all the ladies I know of, not Sly. 

They were rudely interrupted by Saimo DJ who staggered towards them, robbing them the steaming conversation.

Meanwhile, Kevoo walked out to have a cigar only to meet Nizzy at the balcony, one hand akimbo while the other reaching for support at the wall, leaning forward, struggling to puke. Apparently, she had mixed Smirnoff red vodka with a soft drink and the concoction had decided to humiliate her body. Every spew left her feeling weaker, with tears dripping on her face involuntarily. Kevoo forgot about his cigarette break, dashed to the kitchen and got her some warm water. By the time he came back, she was catching a breathe from the soft wind, clasping her hands on the balcony grills, while gazing at the magnificent dotted lights on the horizon from suburbs far a way seen from Mwau’s apartment. He went back and prepared mint tea to prevent any nausea she could have been experiencing.

At another corner, Ka-Penguin was sandwiched by Mapanya’s strong biceps as they savored their amorous moment. She’d rub his attractive arms as she laughed sheepishly to his comical tales. In the meantime, the music had slowed down, the energy had frozen and World Cup pep talk was commanding the audience leaving non-football enthusiasts with no piece of the meat to bite, hence choosing to lay their bodies on any available surface for some slumber.

Previously on Plate-Land Series

Next on Platte-Land series: Baby Shower

 

MEN(WOMEN) AND FOOTBALL – THE LOVE AFFAIR

jesoThat women gave up on their men on matters football is a historical fact at least in Kenya. Majority of women and football never mix. They have this tendency of feeling disenfranchised. They detest your boys who always happen to poach you for an entire weekend when you should be basking with Jamali, your 2 year old son on the balcony as you train him to walk and pronounce words. They screamed and barked until they ran out of their voices. They sought the Zanzibar witch-doctor who has his address around your estate, it backfired on their faces. They tried Kilimani Mums on Facebook, who were of the opinion of buying DSTV, it didn’t work even with all the cajoling. Men don’t watch football alone. Its nonchalant. Its like imbibing a flat beer or enduring nags of a woman under the weather. You know what I mean. There is no icing on the cake nor glee and exuberance.

There is nothing that beats men gathered together, gazing on a humongous TV screen, watching the game of football. Men are competitive by nature and this thrill is best manifested around these times. Naturally, football lovers are demarcated into four types. Chelsea, Arsenal, Man U or Man City. A Liverpool’s game is only interesting to watch when they play the big four. Otherwise its a big joke for a man to proclaim to be a Liverpool die hard or anything below that. That’s a guy you shouldn’t take seriously even on matters pertaining life. Watching football is akin to getting hooked to drugs. Its addictive and controlling. It remains to be the best unchallenged invention of ‘killing time’. Thanks to football, entertainment joints laugh all the way to the bank.

Women still try to comprehend how and why men remain so loyal to this game universally. To them, its baffling how men prove to be committed. Relationships and marriages have been shattered, suicides have been committed and fiances’ dumped on the verge of a wedding all in the name of football. During the big games, some become richer while others part with their hard earned money over the multi billionaire industry of football betting. Men tremble as they take uneven sips of bitter drinks. Others fidget their chairs while some smoke and fart away. Others will draw stupor faces, their bodies ducked like gazebos in a plateau. Hearts pound with acceleration all in tandem with goosebumps as thin sweats meander to the feet. On some occasions, that man who depicts zero emotions in the house will be spotted wailing and screeching, in the name of football.

In these rooms you meet ‘football managers’ who’ll expunge your eardrums as they prattle and whine over Mourinho or Van Gaal’s silly substitution or team selection. This is when your patience comes to test. These are the same chaps who didn’t even grow up playing football. You’ll also share the same table with men with pot bellies from here to Jo’burg as well as Mwangi Fangi your mechanic, who happens to blend so easily with Sam. Sam is the tranquil and seemingly collected guy who earns a living by analysing the stock market. On a typical day, Mwangi would be on a dark, dirty apron while Sam will do fitting suits. These two chaps will have a hearty chat as they watch football. That’s football for you. Its creates networks, open ups opportunities, makes new friends and rewards you with something to tease the ladies in the room with. On the flip side, some burn bridges, they make foes as fast as they make friends.

Its funny that men will easily recall all the football incidences and trophies won by their teams but will scratch over their receding hairlines to remember the first surprise from their spouses.To you women who’ll still insist on accompanying your men to watch football even when you don’t differentiate World Cup and E.P.L, kindly learn to remain at home and give your house girl an off or rather meet your girlfriends. There is joy to a man when he checks in the house to be welcomed by warm tea or ready dinner by the wife. No pun intended.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: