Friday, November 25, 2016

Style versus fashion- 5 people in my circles who posses both style and depth.




 I tell her I am wearing my mother’s coat. She is wearing her mother’s dress, so she says
“ Our mothers had style.”

And that is the difference. And the challenge when we are trying to represent who we are in the clothes we wear, and trying to look like we didn't put too much thought in what we put on today,but failing since the standards of what is appropriate is not always what goes with our body type or personality. So I wear a skirt suit and look smart but feel like a new wife.

People wear clothes every day. In 2016, sadly an influx of readymade clothes have brought back the Kenya uniform. The Kenya uniform is a type of dress, coat, sweater or shoes that you find in every clothes shop from Moyale to Tala to the Mall Westlands.  And when you walk to talk you bump into four other people wearing the same style and color. You don’t really have to think very much about what you are going to wear for that family event, or social gathering. Just send someone to buy you a blue, maroon or pink dress from Osman Allu, free size. The trend has slipped into lesos and now you only buy a leso to make into a dress at your own peril.
the common leso
But If you don’t mind that kind of lifestyle, good for you, Just ignore me.
I am a happy woman to know people that don’t rush out to buy a new dress every time there is an new affair. And when they do, they buy sensible clothes. The five I will mention have one thing in common. They are kindred souls- and you only find out when you have spent a bit of time with them.

My friend Rowena

I have been composing this piece for a while and didn’t have the fifth character. I met Rowena this year and she is a darling. She has a face that makes you confide. She will sympathise and make you feel loved and beloved.  If she had a castle she would adopt all of us.
 She has style in that she can pull off stockings in any weather. She doesn’t need 55 shirts to look well put together. She has mastered the art of a capsule wardrobe by wearing subtle colors. Her base color is dusty pink so her dusty pink coats will either have a frill, big buttons, and even lace!

Isn't she lovely?

Roger

 I must have attended a whole month of  Broadcast and Journalism before I knew who the shy boy that was bff with the Filipino boy was. Then he brought out his gear and his humour and we all took notice. His style was smart pants and shirt, suspenders and a hat that looked so easily put together even before we knew who Bruno Mars is. He even looked good dressed up as a hysterical queen in the creative class drama.
 And when we missed our test and I panicked and gave up and wanted to call every one names he is the one that said:
 What now, we have the lines
 We have the costumes
 We have the cast
 We have an audience. Let’s give them something to remember.. and we did.
Roger is the  only man in a suit


 His kindredsim came when he told us he had a child and a girl he loved back home and someone asked had he never heard of contraceptives, but everybody glared at the inquirer and life went on, with Roger as  the hero.

Markreen with an R


 You have ofcourse have heard about Markreen by now. When Mark arrives, you will know she is the girl with an R in her name. She  not only has style but is fashionable with the boldness that goes with it. It’s great when someone can make their own dresses, even cooler when one can turn anything into a dress. And that is what Markreen is made of. She can wear anything and still look like she is making a statement. Shorts, slinky material, pleated wagĩthomo skirts, anything.

that skirt
Clothes make a woman but there is got to be a woman first to be made. Markreen, when you get to know her is very witty. She will have you crackling in no time. A quiet spirit but confident enough to chongoa anybody and get away with it.

Hosea, my Cousin

Hosea is not his real name, but we have always called him that. He has always been in the background somehow. We have shared about 500 words between us this whole time, yet we grew up together. He was introverted, I was in my own world until he finished his primary school, went out and got himself a gray suit and ash shoes and we confirmed- the boy got style.
Hosea’s style is old school; he can pull off an afro  and a football jacket any day.A kindred spirit that knows how to earn a  living when he is on holiday. He has got many layers, but if you are patient, you discover corals underneath.




June Gan
June is my dear friend whose dressing is best defined as classic. She can do midi skirts anytime of the year and still look vogue. You can tell she puts a lot of thought into her choice of clothes.  You can tell quality by the way it looks, and this is what June  represents.
A kindred spirit who does not shout and preferring letters to e-mails, you might miss her in a crowd but she is the face you will remember. World, deep people are not extinct.
A yellow sweater is a perfect fit here.


As good as color may be, pastels carry the day. Bright colors are good on some people, especially those that don’t mind looking like a ball room chandelier but there is small population that does fine by less. Less color. Less clothes. Less fluff

(Anthony said it was ok to call him Filipino)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A song translation for my Highland Nilote friend Angie who laughs about the tales in One man Guitar Music.



Sam Kĩnuthia- Wairurĩ

Wairurĩ, let the neck of the pastor go.
Wairurĩ, Stop strangling the pastor,
Let them bring you a gown, I will marry you too
I will have two wives whatever happens will happen.

I Kĩnuthia, when I was released from Mathare(mental hospital)
And my Wairurĩ was put back  in.
So I went to home to Kĩambogo, to my mother  Wairimũ
I started to go to Catholic church every Sunday.
 So Satan went to God and asked permission to ruin my life
Like he did for Job
And because fleshly eyes just see fleshly things
 The devil visited my home wearing a red Kaunda suit.

Wairurĩ, let the neck of the pastor go.
Wairurĩ, Stop strangling the pastor,
Let them bring you a gown, I will marry you too
I will have two wives whatever happens will happen

When a thief is stealing, he wears a suit
 When the police is working, he is wearing a suit
 So satan appeared to my mother in visions.
And she said- son, I’m growing old, a person does not shoot like a tree,
You better marry.

The word says we obey parents, I didn’t ask any question,
I just went to the priest and told him about the visions
 And the priest said- that is God’s doing, choose whomever you like-

Wairurĩ, let the neck of the pastor go.
Wairurĩ, Stop strangling the pastor,
Let them bring you a gown, I will marry you too
I will have two wives whatever happens will happen

My fleshy eyes showed me Lucy Karĩmi, who had been brought up with rice since childhood
So we prepared a wedding and we announced
 On radio, the newspaper even in the television
 My wedding was in July
Wairurĩ had been released in May and while at home in Karatina,she heard
Kĩnuthia was marrying Lucy Karĩmi.

Wairurĩ, let the neck of the pastor go.
Wairurĩ, Stop strangling the pastor,
Let them bring you a gown, I will marry you too
I will have two wives whatever happens will happen.
(some mad guitar)


the video  is not as great as the song.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jt-zvjNxbOA

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Writing Tips: Writer’s block and how to unblock it before you give up and go get a job as an accountant.




Being able to get the stuff running through my head keeping me awake onto paper or into a word document is not always easy. Sometimes it’s just words floating round the skull, escorted by disjointed witty phrases that don’t make much sense. I have got small notebooks filled with such words, ideas and phrases. I don't look through them much ever since I found out that my writer's block does not come from lack of ideas. It is mainly external.
Other times there is nothing there so I have to get it elsewhere.

 Pack up and Go
 I have researched  my family history and found out that, my great great great grand mothers were nomads. That being the case, I have inherited restlessness. I get tired of being in one place. I get needles and pins in my legs and I just have to wrap it up all and find a different land to pitch my tent. 
I only need one luggage

If I am on one place for a long time, I stop writing. Which is bad for me.  I get moody and can be worse than a wire brush. A change of environment is good for a writer. You get to interact with different people, face different challenges and write from a different perspective.

Go to the park and stare blankly into space

 I like quiet. And big open spaces.  When I go to the park, I don’t write anything on location. But what being there staring blankly at the sky does to my mind is it links up the ideas. All the zigzag lines straighten up and I can’t wait to get home to have all the ideas down on paper.
-Staring blankly into space- is best practiced in the park, when no one is looking.
 My mother, when she found me staring blankly into space at 18 was convinced that my mind was getting slower. It worried her. She said I would become foolish.
But how to explain to someone that your brain is not in a coma, it is working harder than when you look alert. Stare blankly into space away from the human population.

Go to the Gallery
 I used to spend a lot of time in galleries and art exhibitions. Now I don’t have the time. 
That statement is only half true. I lack proper organisation and the internet has made me lazy.
 I now only stalk artists online. Especially sketch artists. Something about raw pencil drawings inspires me, how a piece of art appears before it  has been clothed in color or ink. The thing with art is, once you become used to a particular artist, you get to learn what their style is and can tell when they have changed it, improved it, and it makes you want to improve your own.
my friend Aaron does beautiful brush lettering

Do something different
Something you would never do on your own initiative. Like going for a photo shoot. If you have the energy. 

 or take a hike
I went for a photo shoot last month and had much fun the first hour, but two hours later I was finished, done, ready to go home and sleep for the next two days. I now know why there is an age limit to models.
I like pictures, but not posing for them, so such an arrangement is really trying. But there is art behind the process of making a picture outdoors. When they set up their gadgets, and try to work with the sun to make the lighting just right. And seeing models pose in ways you only see in the magazines, how they can hold a pose for as long as the photographer wants, and seeing the result of the hard work later.

Get on a bus
And eavesdrop. I get such satisfaction when I get into a matatu and everybody is talking to each other, or someone is on a long phone call talking to their bff about their mother-in-law. Try this, when you get on the bus, sit near the front. There is always conversation going on between one front passenger and the driver, the conductor and the driver, or the conductor and a passenger who is riding for free because he is a driver on another bus but is going to town today for the safaricom open day to buy his daughter a smart phone. If there is a traffic policeman getting a ride there will be conversation, Sometimes I get home very amused. I still have one conversation I listened to in 2004, scripted.
why so serious lah?

 It is also on the bus you get characters for your stories. Sit at the back and observe. Bus rides will never be boring again, even in traffic.