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 017: INTERNSHIP

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3…2…1 mic on, go…on air! Ladies and gentlemen, this is your main girl Sly Wangari and you’re tuned in to the dopest of contemporary radio stations – Syokimau FM where breathtaking music plays round the clock. I will be your host for a couple of months for the Morning Drive show, ensuring I keep you in tabs with the traffic flow and making your experience of reporting to work, worthwhile.

DJ Fresh Boy how’re you doing this morning?

Can’t complain, looking very lovely yourself.

Oooooh, thank you. You’re also dressed like you are heading somewhere fancy after this show?

Not really. Just representing the streets. You know how we do it!

Great, so what’s on your playlist today?

Some great vibes coming up shortly. Kendrick Lemar, Drake, Dj Khalid, and a bunch of East Africa club bangers and all your favourite urban music. We have some new tracks too. I hear you’ve lined up a heated conversation? Trying to stifle a grin.

For sure, don’t you touch that dial. Speaking of heated conversations, dear listeners we wanna hear from you, what’s your take regarding bisexual people? Would you date them? Are you one of them? Is there a big deal to it? Talk to us. By now you know the digits to call us from!….Dj Fresh Boy give us some music.

Just a quick one Sly

Yes, Fresh Boy

Who are bisexuals?

Ooh, sorry. A simple definition of bisexuals are people sexually attracted to both men and women.

Now you know. Great music plays from the background.

*

Caller1: Hello

Sly: Syokimau FM, good morning! Who is on the line?

Caller1: My name is Benjamin calling from Nairobi.

Sly: Yes Benjamin, what’s your take on bisexuals?

Caller1: I would never date a bisexual. It’s ungodly and unAfrican to start with. How’d the relationship work if my woman is charmed by women the same way a man is aroused?

Sly: So your take is a no! no!

Caller 1: Bisexuals have no place in our society. It’s evil.

Caller 2: Good morning I’m loving your show.

Sly: Thank you so much, what’s your name and where are you calling from?

Caller 2: My name is Sheila from Matiba University.

Sly: Shout out to MUST! What’s your take dear, on our topic of discussion.

Caller 2: I was recruited to be a bisexual in high school. Lesbianism was very rampant in our school and since it was a girls’ boarding school, many students naturally got attracted to each other. It was no big deal spotting two girls sharing a bed. Of course, it was such a gross misconduct when one got nabbed, but it still happened. It’s a culture we found in the school and was entrenched in us right from Form 1.

Sly: Sighs! So, Sheila, you saying even after completing your studies you were unable to grow over the habit? And secondly, does your family or close friends know about this?

Caller 2: I was barely 14 and naive. I got so hooked to it until the habit made peace with my life. In fact, sleeping with another lady is so casual to me. Many of my high school friends still do it to date. It starts with kissing then the rest is history. None of my family members are aware of it, neither does my boyfriend. He works in a distant town which makes it easier for me to bring my girlfriends to the house without him smelling trouble.

Sly: Would you wish to go back to your other life?

Caller 2: Of course I wish I’d unlearn this vice but I don’t know how to. My body is so weak for such a brave decision.

Sly: Don’t you think probably when you get married it will just be a matter of time before your hubby suspects you or finds you pants down?

Caller 2: There is that risk, but what to do? I live a day at a time.

*

Summing up on this topic, Fresh Boy let’s hear your opinion.

Sly, where do I begin? Reading comments on our social media pages and listening to many young callers, paint a worrying trend. You realize our generation is headed to the dogs. Bisexual has been made to sound cool and acceptable. Look at what is happening in clubs and house parties nowadays. I hear we have exclusive gay and lesbian clubs. We’ve casualized everything.

Sly…

I hear you, sounding very deep today hahaha! My view would be simple. School authorities should be hands-on in ensuring detrimental habits aren’t encouraged. Take for a case of Sheila who called in alluding she was recruited while in Form 1. Parents too should do more in getting closer to their adolescence kids and befriending them. It’s only through this that some of these habits can be neutralized. To the adults; nothing can’t be unlearned with resolve and support from family and friends.

***

Sly had earned herself a spot at arguably one of the most sort after radio stations by the millennials, Syokimau FM. She took up the challenge to try her luck for the internship position and a month after, her co-host got pouched by a rival media house. Her new bosses well impressed by her radio vocals put her on the hot seat for a couple of days on an acting capacity which ostensibly ran to some weeks before her position got confirmed.

The experience was overwhelming. Who’d have thought that she’d fill the shoes of such a competitive radio show – The Morning Drive. She was now waking up at 4 am to get to the office by 5 am, research on the topic of discussion, meet with her seniors which included the Program Director, Producer, and the Production set. She’d also peruse the papers in search of the trending news relevant to the youths, as well as learning the ropes of working under pressure in such a dynamic industry.

Her show aired for 4 hours every weekday, thereafter, she’d take a 2-hour break before switching roles at midday to fill in the role of an Assistant Sports Editor. In the afternoon, she’d work for two more hours researching on the next day’s morning show. It was such a tight schedule which came with tremendous experience and a handsome pay. She had discontinued her day tutorials and would attend her classes in the evening.

Image credit: durban.getitonline.co.za

Previously on Platte-land series: Tryst

Platte-land continues next Monday…

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