Saturday, January 31, 2015

Be A Slob, Get Cancer and Die With A Bottle of Black Label and A Marajuana Joint

Slob. The Oxford English dictionary, defines slob as: “An offensive term that deliberately insults somebody regarded as having an unhealthy lifestyle or poor standards of hygiene or manners.”

Hmm, but the Oxford English dictionary got it wrong. They lied. If you ask men what the correct definition is, they would say: “A man who spends all day Saturday and Sunday lazing about on the couch in a torn T-shirt and tattered boxers while nursing a hangover, scratching away at his scrotum, passing wind and drinking beer in an attempt to cure the hangover while watching Premiership football on DStv with a group of equally hung-over slob friends as Wifey or Girlfie slaves away in the kitchen making pork ribs and gizzards for them while she juggles changing Toy-ee’s diaper and running down to the shops to get more beer for the slobs.”

I agree with that definition and there is no harm in being a slob because it is expected of men and it is something that men subscribe to. Tell Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson or our very own Sanyu FM presenter, James ‘Fat Boy’ Onen that they are slobs, and they won’t be offended. They would wholeheartedly agree with you.

Women don’t like us men being slobs for health reasons like getting cancer. But they need not worry anymore because Professor Bert Vogelstein from John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA tells us in a paper he presented early this year that, “getting cancer is down to sheer bad luck of acquiring a mutation in a cancer driven gene regardless of lifestyle and hereditary factors.”  

So there it is and from a professor – his key words being ‘regardless of lifestyle’. What Vogelstein is telling us is that yes, we are allowed to be slobs. We are allowed to smoke. We are allowed to eat our fill of red meat and fatty foods. We can drink more beer than our bodies can handle and that with all those excesses, if we get cancer, it’s purely bad luck – much I guess like crossing the road at a zebra crossing and a man pushing the wheel barrow knocks you over dead rather than a car.

What’s more, it’s also cool to die from cancer. Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal, which is as respected in the medical field as Vogue Magazine is in the fashion industry lamented when he added to the debate by saying, “if you are going to die, it’s best to die from cancer because the long slow death from dementia may be the most awful as you are slowly erased. Death from organ failure – respiratory, cardiac, or kidney – will have you far too much in hospital and in the hands of doctors. Death from cancer is the can say goodbye, reflect on life, leave last messages and it’s a nice romantic way of dying – all achievable with love, morphine and whiskey.”

Might I be justified in repeating Smith’s last sentence for the benefit of Slob who missed it first the time round and for Wifeys, Mums and Girlfies who now want to shoot me for encouraging their men to become slobs and for glorifying cancer?

I am? Cool. Smith said when man departs the world arena, he needs some morphine and I guess if that’s not available, a joint from a pub in Kabalagala would suffice plus some whiskey. Smith does not however, tell us which brand of whiskey is the best to depart the world with but, I am sure somebody at Kampala Wines and Spirits will be kind enough to advise us.

Would they recommend a Johnnie Walker black perhaps? It’s a tight call, but I am going to opt to die out with a Jack Daniels and a couple of Tusker Malt beers and I guess some pork ribs from Wandegeya.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Craving For Ridicule and Perversion on Reality TV

Television has evolved with producers and concept managers thinking up new shows by the minute that, by the time you finish reading this column, producers in TV land would have come up with 50 or more ideas for new shows.

In the Amin era and through to the Okello reign, we had no TV. Tell a lie, we did, one station – UTV who only aired freebie documentaries that President Kim Jong-un’s father and grandfather sent them from North Korea. If not, we got to see Cultural Revolution documentaries from China or Stalinist propaganda films from Russia. With one TV station, there was no need for the remote control – not that televisions sold in Uganda then, came with remote controls.

Today, we need the remote control because we have choice. There are multitudes of television stations that competition for viewership and advertising is stiff. We need the remote so we can flick from channel to channel at our whim and watch something else when adverts are being broadcast.

Currently the fad on television is for reality shows, if not, chat and competition shows. But it’s the reality shows where TV Producer is pushing the envelope to the limit and I’m not talking about shows we have seen in Uganda like Big Brother, Tusker Project Fame or American Idol.

In England, Channel 4 Television has a reality show about people who are bigger than me. No, that’s not quite right. It’s about overweight people. No wait a minute, it’s about fat people. Hmm, that too is not accurate. It’s about people who are beyond obese, so obese that they can’t get out of their beds and so obese they can’t even bend down and see their toes. Yikes!

But if I was as obese as 32-year-old David who has not left his bed in six years, why would I want to be on reality TV? If anything, the show was not entertaining especially when they showed him rolling up layers of fatty flesh on his belly to pick at maggots that were eating into him. But that is what is expected of reality TV.

There is also a show about couples who are unhappy with their sex lives. Aired after midnight, it shows Couple having sex while Sex Therapist watches the performance. Once the sex is done, Sex Therapist (one male, one female) evaluate them on their performance as well as giving them advice on where their grunts, groans, style and technique went wrong. But why agree to be filmed having sex on television? Err, because the reality television audience demands it so.

Another show aptly titled: Size Does Matter is a classic and there is no need to guess what it’s all about – or is there? There are men out there – who were all white I might add, and who are not happy with their size ‘down there’ and feel the need to appear on reality television to tell the world about it as well as allowing the cameras to film them as doctors perform penis enlargement surgery. We see Tom, a banker, lying on the operating table while doctors slice his penis open and insert something almost similar to silicone breast implants. Hmm! 

For the time being, here in Uganda, reality television is limited to music – TPF, Coke Reality and Big Brother. However, with the pressures of an ever increasing demanding audience of the likes of Doc, Nodin, Kayos, Willo Paulo and me that is baying for more cut throat reality television, producers at Urban, Bukedde and other television stations will no doubt come up with Ugandan versions of the shows I have talked about to satisfy our lust, maintain audience figures and bring in advertising revenue.

When television stations start showing us Virgin Bride of Mamba clan from the depths of Matugga having sex on her wedding night while Senga makes notes and talks us though her performance - telling us where she’s going wrong or what she should be doing, and what she is not pulling, don’t say I didn’t warn you because that’s what reality television is going to give you – just like it did when it made us rush home to see if Gaetano and the other housemates would show us everything in Big Brother’s shower hour and once it was over, we hit the remote looking for something more lurid to watch and satisfy our perverted craving.  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Teenage Social Disorder Meltdown

Like most teen kids in the 80s, there were many times when I took leave of my senses like as a 14-year old, I borrowed (my wording) or stole (Dads wording) Range Rover for a drive round the neighbourhood and crashed it through a wall. The Range was promptly written off.

While 80s Dad was consumed with wondering if Teen Son was stealing his ride, rifling through his pockets looking for 10k to go buy Kasese or trying to score with Nanny, 80s Mum on the other hand, was worrying about Teen Daughter – if she is still a virgin and hoping she doesn’t get pregnant.

80s Teen Kid was not allowed out of the house after dark, or to go clubbing or to a house party or to Alliance Fran├žoise at National Theatre for the day. Meanwhile today’s teen kids skate on the edge. They go out at night, smoke, drink and fondle Teen Girl behind Nakumatt Oasis. They go home in the morning and through the front door like they own the house! 80s Teen Kid on the other hand, had to wait till the dead of the night to breakout of home through the bathroom window, slither over the boundary wall like a thief and the following morning get back in the same way and before the house woke up.

For UK Teen Boy, parenting is a trick. Years ago and when I moved into a flat in South London, I heard my neighbours barely teen boy shout at his mum and telling her: “Your fu***ng full of s**t! In our day not even the hardest kid could ever use those words on our parents because it was asking for a Tsunami of beatings.

If not, UK Teen Boy was breaking into Neighbours house and stealing the DVD player to fund a drug habit or going to the next estate to steal a ride to take the police on high speed chase down the motorway. If he is not doing all that, then he was sitting outside a shop in the middle of town with his shirt off, getting blazed, peeing in the open and fighting and hurling abuse at passersby. In the meantime, UK Teen Girl has ‘put out’, gotten herself pregnant, dropped out of school and has no future ahead of her.

Here, however angry our parents were with us, they never used the ‘F’ or ‘C’ word. Their swears were limited to ‘mbuzi.’ And perhaps a ‘tumbavu’ followed by the Tsunami beating with a bamboo rod that most dads kept under their beds.  We also didn’t go breaking into Neighbours house for his VCR. We didn’t leave our homes in Bukoto and go to Mbuya to steal cars for a high speed chase with police down Jinja Road. And never would you find Ugandan Teen Son sitting outside Uganda Bookshop with bottles of beer at lunchtime and getting blazed, throwing up and peeing against the wall of Christ The King Church while insulting passersby and fighting the cops trying to arrest him. And a pregnant Teen Daughter?! 

Hell, Ugandan Parent won’t hear of that for the whispers of shame would ripple through the neighbourhoods of Bugos, Muyenga, Mutungo and beyond faster than it would take Usain Bolt to react to the starters gun.

Like the UK, Uganda does have moral social behaviour problems. While in 2014 the British Metropolitan Police spent a staggering 12 billion British pounds combating the problem, in Uganda, the police do not have that kind of money and even if they did, they are unlikely to go spending it on some hapless teenagers who have lost the plot especially when then have ‘adult teens’ like Lukwago and Besigye and now a possible Tinye to contend with.       

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Designer Vagina - Is It For Real?!

Some women will swear that the ultimate female fashion statement is, owning a designer accessory – a pair of Gucci shoes, a Dolce and Gabbana handbag or a Donna Karan scarf.

Others say it’s having a filthy rich man who, is old enough to be their grandfather, who owns a private jet and has homes in New York, London and Beverly Hills and who is about to drop dead after writing them into his will or for Uganda's sake, an old muzungu man who has a house in Bugolobi or Muyenga and who is as daft as Bad Black's David Greenhalgh to entrust her with signing rights to bank accounts that contain millions of US dollars.

Then there are those think plastic surgery tops them all like having a nose job, enhanced cheeks and perhaps fuller lips.

I don’t know any women who own Gucci shoes or a Donna Karan scarf. Nor do I know any women who are hanging on to  a filthy rich old man with a private jet and homes round the world. But I do know women who have had plastic surgery – not nose jobs, but bust jobs like fashionista guru, Sylvia Owori, that Heard girl and Bad Black. With two plastic bags filled with a silicone fluid inserted into their busts, they (busts) became fuller, more pronounced and firm though, Black’s sprung a leak and had to be removed.

In Hollywood, the list of film stars and music icons who have had plastic surgery reads more than 300 miles long - Michael Jackson, Joan Rivers, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor to Joan Collins. They all do it because they feel that their parental passed on genes short changed them and they were born ugly if not, it’s a quest to maintain their youthful looks.

I have no problem with people wanting to have plastic surgery. If some women want their boobs pumped full of silicone, good for them. If some men want bigger chests without having to go to the gym to work out or bigger calf muscles or firmer butts, I am cool with that too.

But with each passing year, women go the extra mile to have the body, the perfect body that only surgery can gave them. While the plastic surgeon may have dissected almost every part of their body, but did not yield the desired results, one day, one woman decided to have  surgery on her vagina and in the process, the ultimate fashion fad was born and the media have wasted no time in dubbing it the designer vagina.

While the fashion industry may have embraced the designer vagina, in the UK, the law makers are on edge and want it banned. Since 2010, the demand for designer vagina's has increased five-fold that British Home Secretary, Theresa May, has been forced to act. In an address to her fellow MPs in the House of Commons in December last year, she warned that ‘doctors who carry out designer cosmetic surgery on vagina's could be committing a criminal offence.’

But why would having a designer vagina be a criminal offence when it’s merely: “reducing the labia, tightening the vagina and increasing the “G-spot”.”  Well, The British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology, sees it as: “An unrealistic representation of vulval appearance in popular culture and intensive marketing of cosmetic genital surgery as an unproblematic lifestyle choice”.

While in Uganda and the rest of Africa there is no such thing as the designer vagina but female genital mutilation (FGM), a procedure that has rightfully been banned, sadly if Mrs. May has her way and the designer vagina is banned, it will only apply to those aged under 18.

Mrs. May might want to take into account that come February 6th, Africa will commemorate the 12th International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM when African women remember their sisters who have had their lives ripped apart by being  mutilated against their will while the British media markets the designer vagina to Hollywood. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

No shame In Shovelling Shit For A Living, But Dime

On this first Sunday of the year, I ought to be reflecting on what a wonderful year 2014 was, but I can’t. Bluntly speaking, 2014 was miserable. Let’s bury it and live 2015.

Towards the end of the miserable year and on a winter sojourn in London, I was invited to dinner by Old School Friend. Over the phone she told me thus: “It’s one of those dinners – food, beer and wine with my crowd – you remember them don’t you?”

I doubt Old School Friend had a miserable 2014 because she comes from a wealthy background and married a man who is doing well for himself.

The dinner was as promised – wine, beer, food and drunken laughter with her crowd including a strange American lady who spent the evening reeling off swear-word-after-swear word and who got sloshed and nonchalantly described herself as a woman who ‘sleeps with her husband for a living’. Hmm, pause for thought?

There was one guest whose successful story was worth listening to. Without batting an eyelid, he said: “I work in the sewers.” Prompting him to expound, he told us how he spends every other day cleaning out the sewers of England of things that are not supposed to be there. And by things that are not supposed to be there, it’s everything from vermin, mattresses, shopping trolleys, furniture, unblocking u-bend pipes that have been clogged up with shit. But he didn’t have to work in the sewers shovelling shit and getting rid of vermin. Why would he when he is the CEO of the company?

However, Sewer Man believes in his company and the contribution that he puts in – especially when he is down in the sewers doing real work with his men instead of having long lunches in fancy restaurants with other CEOs. And that got me thinking about CEOs in Uganda.

Is there a chance that the CEO of National Water and Sewerage Corporation has been into Uganda’s sewers and put in a day’s work? I doubt it. Is there any high profile person in Uganda who would admit that they sit on the back of a truck and drive round Kampala collecting the odd corpse, household waste and whatever other rubbish has been discarded? I doubt it. If they did, society would be quick to dismiss them as people who ‘didn’t go to school or failures’.

Yet, despite being a graduate, Sewer Man is all at home in sinking into the sewers to make money and his friends – at least the ones I met, did not snigger behind his back.

We later found out that Sewer Man was not merely the CEO but he owns the company and while I made cartoon dime in 2014, his company on the other hand, raked in close to £12 millon (sh50,400,000,000 billion). Sh50,400,000,000 billion for shovelling shit and getting rid rubbish!? Heck, give me that job!

If I took that job, society here would rue me a failure because being successful here is all about being seen in a Wina Classic suit, driving a Mercedes from Spear Motors, going to Serena for a fancy sandwich lunch and spending the evenings having cocktails in Liquid Silk.

There is no shame in shovelling shit for a living. The way Sewer Man sees it, is that while people may snigger at him behind his back, he doesn’t care as long as there is enough of our s**t, rubbish and vermin floating about to keep his bank balance ticking over to the tune of sh504,00,000,000 billion a year – and it’s a business venture that not even the best don at Makerere University Business School would be able to teach you.

Expelled From School And Sent to Prison

I was fortunate enough, that during my academic career, I was never suspended or expelled from school – not because I was a good boy who to...