Returning to Lagos has been quite enjoyable in many ways. There was the fact of meeting inquisitive and familiar faces that wanted a share of the traveller’s loot, even if it is just about reliving the moments of the sojourn remembered after cold nights. There awaited one a thousand questions and a million undone things from time past. So one soared and fell through the next few weeks- happy in turns and mourning at the shortness of daylight.
Those things aside- repeated narratives of recent history told to eager ears, there were the noises of the greatest season for the arts in Nigeria. The art fairs with their aspirations, presentations of entertainment, and lengthy conversations; the exhibitions of art and fashion running all week; a biennale even; the opening parties running concurrently in nearby joints all over Lagos- everything happening a rush as though to outdo the horrific Lagos rush hour traffic.
Between sister’s home, seeing Kim, visiting a few friends and short stays in hotels, one ended each day with either a hangover or a sense of lost time- it is weird how there just seems to be not so much one can achieve. Burdened with more inadequacies, it is easy to lean back and glide with the blistering rush of cars and motorbikes and people.
There was the event that split the color spectrum apart. There were the hanging and bending of lights. Color meant so much. Champagne also to drinkers. That was a chill show. This is the soothing feeling especially after a longer, exhaustive trip to a nearby venue by sea. Mildew and dim were more criteria there. Again, the teething period excuse. Color unsure.
Tinkles and dings. Fashion and so much foreign accent. Then there was this yellow evening of dancing. Seemed they turned their back to the sun and changed the location by sound. A disconnect in the tropical volume of grey and rainy days, scratching red and malaria itch. Whoring nights and blurry mornings that left nothing much to keep but numbers and silence.
Of course something to be treasured was on every pedestal, rising or falling away. Art rules a little here, a little there. Books and Amala and gbegiri charmed to palmwine teased on foreign land. That place had promise of entrances to be gained at almost half the minimum monthly wage. Hide it in a book- white, buildings, no, anything, packed. The free choices seemed quite a treat, thank you.
So in every circus there will be that one tent that is meant for the visitor. The economics of spaces turns courtesies on a head. From Yaba to Shrine and Bogobiri or Beer Barn its Eko for show, for you and you and the Lagosian must watch too.
At exactly the center of everything comes that cube of contemplation were things want to be set right, want to stand tall and allow for a dark sky overhead. Point A to Z as eyes can see, it’s a blur only erased by the shortened distance between object and viewer. Champagne lines and ambitious entrée increase exclusivity. There were the ahss and the ooos, naturally. But again as in great advertising- every noise is good noise. So- next show.
In-between were the local festivities. This is definitely a bloated cityscape. Nothing untoward happened. It was drinks, smoking and the pleasures of everything else. There were the meetings, the goodbyes, the memoirs, and people with diaries crossing out to-do lists. Something kept all in check and suspicion. Even in partying, the professional colleague maintains his oga status like a badge of honor. Superficial mingling and socializing, throaty laughter slurred and shaky. Libraries in memory of the dead or some rebels in cars were pictures. Big or small foot pussy in boots. We know the real loot. So the person pays with own life. They wait; they watch and are on the prowl all ways. Between popping malaria pills, play doctor and fun patient, I am not sure what I meant to say. It’s malaria typeset. Past bedtime and yet lost in resounding electric generating sets. I miss you, hotel. I can’t tell all.