Category Archives: Word from Author

My Winehouse tribute…

Amy Winehouse

How long do you take to grieve a loved one that you have lost? A month? A year? Forever? Although I must admit that using the term loved one isnt specific enough since it can range from your mother to the ex you are still in love with.

I hate compartmentalizing things into strict groups since it doesn’t help me in my decision making or help in better describing people and their complex behaviours. A straight-jacketed view of life leads to poorly thought out and straight-jacketed actions. But I also suspect this might actually be as a result of my slightly claustrophobic tendencies. Who knows!

So I like to keep my definition of the phrase loved ones open ended. So my loved ones could also include my favourite singers, painters and film makers. This might sound too intimate a term for people you havent met for some but for me it is just perfect. So it is with great sorrow, albeit without tears, that I mourn the passing away of one of my favourite singers, Amy Winehouse. I do this differently though, my grief is also filled with some retrospective giggles of me listening to her with eyes closed.

I received the news from BBC literally within minutes of the London Metropolitan Police confirming her death, on my twitter feed. I nearly dropped my cell phone with a short but loud exclamation of ‘Aaaah’, when I did. Members of my family were startled with the youngest one asking me what the problem was. Amy Winehouse is dead I repeated without knowing how my lips and my as at then blank and vivid brain at the same time put those words together. She was dead . The faintest of hopes I had that the ever reliable BBC would this time be wrong were extinguished by the hundreds and then thousands of twitter messages and ‘retweets’ that confirmed it.

Some idiots made and are still making jokes about her passing away with some saying that the ‘Wine’ in her surname was to blame for her death since the rumours flying around then and now are that she over dosed on booze and drugs.

Her troubles with alcohol and cocaine addiction are legendary and well talked about. I am not going to be discussing them here. What I want others to remember her for was the talent she had and fulfilled, some singers don’t get to sell ten thousand copies of their albums, she sold millions. Even though some might argue that the true realization of one’s talent is proof in it being long lasting. Out living the criticism and cynicism that come with the industry.

She was breath-taking in her delivery on the mic. Many critics even likened her to soul musicians from the past when she sang, but I say she was without a doubt, unique in every sense of the word. How many of them had the tattoos of pinup girls she had on her arm to the beehive hairdo she seemed to never drop, not even in the shower or her flaws as a human being for being weak willed and like she once said, always listening to her inner-child and nobody else and the demons that eventually drove her to her grave.

She was the complete package. The classic tortured artist. So to take her good parts without balancing them out with the bad takes away from the memory of her existence. So to that effect I say there wasn’t and never will be anyone else like her.

This loved one of mine will be forever missed. Forever mourned. Forever emblazoned in my mind’s ear and my heart as an artist of life itself. No matter that she failed to conquer and live the life she was meant to live. But who are we to judge the quality of someone’s existence because it lacked longevity. She more than made up for this by teaching us a very hard lesson in the failure to master one’s will over the deadly pleasures of this world.

[Duke][#GrievingWinehousefan]

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Heading home

Remember that saying that just before you die, your life flashes before you? Well I happen to be one of those people who suspect this might be true. So naturally my already busy imagination, kicked into over-drive yesterday when for the fifth or so time I met another old school mate of mine within the space of a week.

Later, I got some help in the shape of, mum. I became calmer. It’s actually a good sign she says, but I wonder if this calm will see me through when I see Mameri from class three.

dk

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Been thinking ’bout

Been thinking about…

  1. Why Ghanaian forex bureaus stopped displaying rates outside.
  2. Knock-off football jerseys that have lighter feel to them.
  3. Empty containers having a longer lifespan than the contents they held.
  4. Drivers with the smuggest look behind the wheel not being the owners of  the cars they are driving.
  5. The best answers being the simplest ones; cliched but very true.
  6. The fact that women have stopped fighting like women.
  7. Having a theory linking brain tumours to stressful calls and so giving out my number  to cheerful people only.
  8. Coins devaluing my wallet.
  9. Pen drives doubling as crucifixes.
  10. How to help someone holding up a sign that reads, “homeless and horny!”.
  11. Only shopping on the other side of the window.
  12. Sometimes confusing “public enemy” with “public enema”.

[dUkE]

 

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ZZZ

It has been very quiet here for a long while now but I promise to change it soon since I’m surprisingly still getting some hits even with virtually no posts for more than a month I think.

I’ll try to structure my rather chaotic life better, to keep this blog alive ; heard that before? Well, I mean it this time 😉

[dUkE]

Things I’ve learned whiles editing

Film Editor at work (source - http://www.bls.gov)

 

The past few days have given me a glimpse into what my life as a full time film/video editor is going to be like. Most of our second semester project work is done and has been left in the capable hands of the school’s editors, including yours truly.

The software I am currently using is Edius, not my preferred choice but I’m making do, and it seems pretty robust and reliable for the most part until it crashes after an AutoSave. I can’t complain too much since I got this copy for free.

The undo function.

I can’t count the number of times I had re-sized a shot on the Time Line I wasn’t meant to re-size or deleted one that wasn’t meant to be deleted because my touch pad was fucking up or I was awake at 3am when I should have been hugging my pillow tight, deep in sleep.

Manual Saving Vrs Auto Save.

Always save your work-in-progress manually and don’t rely too much on the software to do it for you. No matter how good the software might be it might miss some very crucial changes when it is in AutoSave mode and so take you back a couple of steps if you manage to recover your files after a crash.

Untrained students make terrible actors

No joke. Trust me when I tell you that you haven’t seen bad acting until you have seen a student production even when the takes are good ones. From missed lines to over the top acting to refusing to take instructions from the directors or the display of Diva-like attitude even though you are clearly not meant to be on screen.

Keeping awake

This is composed of a multitude of solutions from coffee to occasionally dipping feet into cold water whiles making sure you don’t short circuit the house by electrocuting yourself to standing up and stretching after every 2hours to watching porn…. scratch that, watching hard core porn with acrobatic porn actors to keep your interest piqued but without blowing one’s load. The aim here is not to fall asleep and you know after the release it is all downhill from there 🙂

Shortcuts

Knowing the shortcuts for performing various functions on a particular software is essential. Apart from cutting down time during the editing process, it also keeps both hands busy since mouse clicking involves the use of the dominant hand. This last tip comes from my fear of muscle atrophy so I try as much as possible to use the majority of my muscles all of the time 🙂

dUkE_

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A trip to my dreams

Italy-Venice

 

I am waking up (time 5:48 am) from a dream that has got me thinking about this mysterious and powerful thing we call the brain. In the dream, I met people who spoke a language I understood even though in real life I hadn’t heard such a language spoken before or seen any of their faces.

This got me thinking really hard about what dreams are. What are they, really? Do we make them up, or do we experience them the same way that we breathe during sleep, that is without any form of control. Is our ability to imagine so great that we can build incredibly detailed imaginary worlds from scratch? Worlds populated by people and things we have never seen before? With Smells that are both familiar and foreign at the same time?

At this early hour of the day I find myself in a no bullshit admiration for the amazing marvel that is the human body.

My agnostic self seems to be so deeply shaken that it is leaning towards “believer” status again. If we are here right now I feel that we are, because of a greater power and not because of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

But again I ask myself, how we can possess the ability to construct audio visual worlds that are as vivid in the mind as say when we are consciously creating imaginary characters and places. Creative thinking is made possible largely because of an active and awake brain. So when the dormant, inactive brain is equally as good if not better in creating stuff out of thin air, all I can do really is just sit here on my bed and let my mind wander.

I can see and feel the hand of this small girl that I shook after she helped me out by giving me directions, in a place I thought was Ethiopia in my dream. I arrived there like in all dreams, from nowhere and was welcomed by armed men on the river who escorted me to the main town. I then saw and danced (yeah I danced) with one woman after hearing a traditional song that I am sure I hadn’t heard before. But the music suited the occasion and the mood of the place. I was surrounded by what looked like market women having some sort of ceremony in the open. This woman, upon seeing me dance, told me that we all as Africans are one people culturally speaking, since my dance movements and gestures were quite similar to hers.

Looking back, I realize that I might have been in some sort of fused country, EthioGhana.

Well this may be because the people around me didn’t look much like the Ethiopians I knew about and they all smelled Ghanaian, if you know what I mean.

What gets to me the most is the fact that, I was in this place/ country I hadn’t been to with people I had never seen before in my life but yet I was able to talk with these faces that I had created and also feel the solid ground under my feet, whiles walking around.

The buildings looked like nothing I’ve seen before in terms of the painting on their concrete facade and the markings on these buildings. I also felt like I was in an African version of the Italian city of Venice, with its canal systems flowing through and below ancient buildings.

I occasionally remember my dreams but never with such detail.

Some people will tell you that the conscious brain and the unconscious one have nothing in common and that once you were awake what you think you saw in a dream is just your conscious brain making things up for you.

Again now that I think about the movie “Inception”, the concept of the “stretched time” in dreams makes sense. What I just talked about now, if it were to have unfolded in real life would be at most, one hour long. I just woke up from a six-hour sleep, give or take a couple of minutes. I don’t know exactly how many hours were devoted to my trip to EthioGhana but I would say at least 4 hours.

I’ve heard about people who get ideas or inspiration from dreams. And this could be for a new lotto staking plan (or the actual 6 numbers themselves), or an idea for a book, song, movie etc. Personally I remember the ending of this dream I had a while back which was so cinematic in nature that I plan to use it as a basis for one of the movies I’ve planned to make.

It is 6:15 now and already the dream has started fading from my memory. But if there is one thing I am sure about, it is if I do go back to that exact place and meet the same people it would be like visiting old friends. This time though I would try and take along a still camera which can be brought out of dreams intact.

dUkE_

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CREATIVE WRITING EXERCISE: NOTICING THE OBVIOUS

 

Not my couch

MY COUCH

The sitting arrangement in the living room is made up of four sofas. The one that I am seating on is of the love seat variety. This name I assume is to describe how close you can be to another person whiles sitting on the same sofa without actually sitting on them or unduly invading their privacy. Or it could also be for more obvious reasons than I am ready to admit. But making love in a three-seat sofa should be more comfortable so I guess I might be right after all. But then again, since when did lovemaking rely on predominantly comfortable surroundings. If that were the case then we wouldn’t have sex on the kitchen counter, on the bare tile-covered-and-cold-as ice floor, in the backseat of a car or whiles standing.

The material used for the covers of the couch feels rough to touch when one strokes it in one direction and very smooth when stroked in the other direction. It also catches light in a peculiar manner. The surface of this material can look dull and shiny in parts at the same time. Reminds me of how my freshly trimmed head feels and looks like after a visit to the local barber.

One thing which made sitting on this couch enjoyable for me was the firmness of the cushion used as padding. The foam used was firm but not so hard as to jag you when you sat down with full force. With time and use or abuse, in the case of the one I am sitting on, the density of the foam has degraded. No longer does it feel firm to touch when sat on, rather it feels like I am sitting on day old bread these days.

The rest of the love seat that wasn’t meant to be sat on is made of wood that is polished and spray-painted to silvery shine on all of its visible surface but rough and coarse in its under parts. Very sensible carpentry, I think. But even with the coat of polish one can still see the grain of the wood which runs in tiny gray slits parallel to the length of the arm rest. An interesting feature of the wooden arm rest is of a slightly depressed region, carefully carved to accommodate the natural resting position of the arms whiles in a sitting position. The arm rest is also sandwiched between two panels of plywood covered in material.

After years of use however, dirt left to accumulate has formed a light crust of filth on the top ridges of the panel just to the right of the wooden arm rest. This was caused in part by the laziness of my sisters in performing their house chores and in part by my failure to supervise them.

dUkE_

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Funny money in Ghana

Ghana Cedi

Personally I feel completely indignant and embarrassed when the faintest insinuation is made as to the genuineness of my bills. I work hard for my money and when I feel the need or want to spend it I feel completely disgusted when a seller demands to check my money for flaws.

One incident that comes to mind is when a “kenkey” seller consulted other sellers to check whether the crisp GH5 cedi note I had given her was a counterfeit. I felt insulted. I kept wandering if  my nose had a criminal-looking crook in it . In the end my note checked out (after intense scrutiny from a committee of about five other sellers)

I have handled counterfeit money before. I know what a bad counterfeit looks like and the very good ones are practically indistinguishable from genuine currency; that is until you decide to take a closer look. They both can make a big fool out of you when for instance you think you’ve made a GH10 cedi sale only to realize that you are stuck with worthless coloured paper.

This is a global problem and as is stated here, a very big business. This is the ultimate aim of every goon, mobster or gangster walking the planet. To print their own bills. If it was possible, even customize it in the process with a pimped out head shot .

NOTE TO SELF AND OTHERS- Always Check and double check the bills you handle if you are receiving change for goods you buy. If it is possible get a bank cashier to run your cash through a money counting machine if you are receiving physical payment for a major transaction.

-Duke-

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Consistently inconsistent

My inability to be consistent, doggedly so in one particular task for a sustained period of time is causing me great head ache.

I seem to have a chronic disease that prevents me from finishing anything substantial that I start. I write sporadically when I should be doing it on a daily basis. I only sketch when I am hit in the head by an invisible inspiration pebble.

At 25, I am yet to complete any thing of substance that I started well, with a lot of conviction and mental energy. I am losing friends because of the number of times I blow hot and cold. My slight manic-depressive disposition doesn’t help matters either.Controlling the wild side of me is some times like ” having a four year old jumping on your lap”, to quote Michael J. Fox. And when the ultra-mellow side also takes over, it takes a fucking caterpillar to scrape me off the ground.

I am dealing with this though; painstakingly.

And so I have decided to post at least one blog entry every day from now or stop blogging at all. The only time I will excuse myself is if my circumstances prevent me from blogging. A hand injury, interrupted access to the internet etc…

To better days ahead.
-dUke-

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Blogging blues

I seem to be suffering from an acute case of BNS (Blog Neglect Syndrome)

No fear though ( for the people who do find time to read this blog), I will be updating this blog, eventually, but in the mean time I will be spending more time working on the short stories I’ve always wanted to write, learning programming from scratch, learning the ropes of my film editing career, read a whole lot more relevant material than I usually do, especially about black culture and black history since I have realized that my outlook on life and general taste is too white-washed, and also practice DJing on my newly acquired laptop. Sweet.

I will be blogging about the aforementioned things when I do get a working schedule (time table) for the blog and for my personal life.

-Duke-