There was no electricity. But there was plenty of light: the warm muted glow of a kerosene lamp in the middle and ghostly candles flickering up the stairs and along the walls. It was like an indoor campfire or a seance and most cozy. We had a generator disturbing the street outside, the music was chilled out and… you had to be there.
Nyairo was not there but we tried to summon his ghost via Skype but failed after almost succeeding.
No.27 was a big deal because we finally launched our first printed work, Manure Fresh Vol.1, Going Down Moi Avenue. We will be selling it at the next WLL for 350 bob. Next WLL is on 10th May 2014 at the same place and time.
Last things first. Can’t remember much about WLL 20. WLL 21 did not happen because of the Westgate attack. WLL 22 did not happen because some guy locked the place and disappeared with the key. WLL 23 was very quiet, about six of us simply celebrated Nyairo’s birthday and chilled out a bit. Because of all the above, WLL 24 was the loudest yet.
We needed the momentum back so we decided to make it one big party. Everyone must have been in the same spirit because the last guests left around 4am!
We started late, around 9pm. At 10, instead of the usual topical discussion, people discussed their best reads of 2013. It was a most lively chat, nicely co-ordinated by Nyairo and Ray, the new choirmasters. The book swap that followed was short and sweet, if you got a book it very likely was a good one, thanks to the great contributions. After the swap came the party, a perfect start to the holiday season. The DJs did very good things, as everyone who was there will tell you. No cartons were hurt during the making.
This year, well, who knows?
Next WLL is on the February 8th at the same place, same time. Stay with us at facebook.com/pmbclibrary and follow @pmbclibrary for whatever. Have a blessed new year!
An Afropolitan is a widely-travelled African who listens to Fela in Bang & Olufsens . No, it is a new type of confident African rising against old stereotypes of begging bowls and machetes. New type of African? It is a new stereotype. Smart, well-dressed, well read. No, it is stupid, just a look, superficial material wrapped in Kente cloth. It is the new Negritude. What’s that? Fuck that. It is reactionary. No, it is forward. I disagree. Who needs this attitude? We do, don’t you? It is good. It is bad. Yay. Nay. What’s an Afropolitan anyway?
And then the DJ played some nice tunes, including a preview of an upcoming project titled Funkorino, the happy Italians came late but brought a good vybe, as usual, and that was WLL19.
Afropolitanism is our topic for the next 4 weeks, submitted by good old Nali. Please send your submission to freshmanurelit at gmail dot com. And if you visit our facebook page you will see an interesting discussion on the same by Amandla Ooko-Ombaka, a cheerful soul who was part of the lively crowd on a most interactive night.
WLL20 is on August 9.
PS: Topics to be covered til January 2014 are: Boys vs Girls, Chaos, Love, Transhumanism, Hurray for Development and Purpose.
WLL 18 NOTES
Ambala lost the key to her post office box. She told us about this while in Tanzania. Two days before WLL 18. It was going to be a train wreck, because there was no way to access all the letters sent in for the WLL 17 challenge. But the train took an interesting detour and we ended up hypnotized for an hour by the mad man eyes of Allan Moore.
About 10 people sat around the TV watching The Mindscapes of Allan Moore, an interview in which the writer of V for Vendetta, The Watchmen and more talks about his early life, how he got into writing, why he writes, what art and writing are for, magic, sex, science, religion and nothing about Jay Z.
Meanwhile, the world whirs ever faster. Moore says that human culture is boiling, about to turn into steam. But where’s the writing?
So we decided to re-energize the WLL writing challenge by announcing an annual WLL writing prize. We have no idea how it will be done but it will. Maybe we could make a panel of judges. Ideas welcome. In the meantime, we need topics/themes for the next 6 WLL challenges. Is there a topic you would like writers to address in any of the forthcoming events? Please send your suggestion to email@example.com, and please back up your topic with a reason why. The first 6 topics in our inbox go.
Moritz played Dizzee Rascal bonkers, Fred danced for once, two girls got nicely drunk, one more than the other, and good times were had by nearly everyone. And the books in the bin were nice.
WLL 19 is on July 13. WLL 17 letters will be read then.
Chaos to all.
The night of May 11th was a little wet. Guys made it out though, and in good time. The Lesleigh Inc girls were leading the sermon this time. Linda took the stage and awkwardly but resiliently led us, as we questioned ourselves on why it mattered that Chinua Achebe was dead. If it mattered at all.
The result was an invigorating discussion on the following:
1. Biafra, Pwani si Kenya and the political apathy of Kenyan writers
2. “..maybe I just want to write about a girl I f*cked”- and other valid points.
3. Using “the masters tools”- The English language in African writing.
4. Racist coconuts.
5. Writing on one thing for Sixty-something years- Pros and Cons.
6. Achebe the relic- Another cultural vegetable that we are supposed to revere but honestly don’t give two sh*ts about.
And many more.
In the end, Achebe is dead and we have a reason to explore his works with fresh eyes.
Lesleigh gave the first three submissions books including an Achebe and a collection of East African poetry. Wonder if the winners will actually read them. Hmmmn..
The bookswap saw probablythe best selection of books yet. Wilde,Herbert, that guy who wrote girl with a dragon tattoo etc. People are getting over their separation anxiety when it comes to their books.
Later on, we partied to the sounds of trap music, drank, talked some more on Achebe and other grand fathers and then people went home.
A nice time all in all.
Shaz for PmbcLibrary.
There is something about the way those two play music together, Eki and Collo. It is as much fun to look at as it is to move to. And they picked up nicely with some high energy electro-housy stuff right after Shaz’s classy “brown hip-hop” set. Brown hip-hop is that Dilla/Q-tip sound, because the samples and bass feel sepia.
There should have been a bit more to the part where we read the FreshManure stories and engaged their writers, I felt. Maybe it was because most people had not read them yet, so from now on we shall be posting the submissions as soon as we receive them. Please check them out somewhere in this blog, browse by category.
Party ended slightly past midnight. Someone broke a chair. Abdi helped get a cab for akina Nora after their boda boda guys failed to show up. The studio was still blue with smoke following day past noon.
One more thing. We need a web designer to join the team and help get the podcast back on. And then take over the world.
The next WLL party, no.17, happens on May 11th, same place/time. The topic/challenge/prompt/whatever is simply: Chinua Achebe.
A few brave souls showed up and dropped books and picked books then we sat around a bit then her boyfriend came and picked her then the other two left a few minutes later and then Keith put on his helmet, fastened leather things and rode off into the uncertain night. Then Damiano came with a group of jumping people after everyone had left, they dropped a few nice books in the bin, did not swap because the swap had already happened, wished the music was still playing, and left as cheerfully as they’d come in.
Nobody was sure who the president was on the night of the 9th of March.
Still, it’s been a good few weeks after that. We made an informal partnership with Lesleigh Kenya, a creative content agency. From now on they will be buying 3 books of their choice by African writers to reward the first 3 entries in response to the creative prompts. Thank you, Lesleigh! We also had a chat with Aleya of Storymoja about fine-tuning the book dropping thingie and we’ll be sharing the cool, simple ideas that were borne out of that before the week is done. Oh, and in September, we’ll have the biggest WLL party yet, at the museum as part of the Storymoja Hay Festival. Looking forward looking forward looking forward!
For now, you’ve got until the 12th to send in your entry to the current, long-running prompt “Take a character out of a book/ put him/her/it on Tom Mboya street.” I’ve taken mine out of a H.P Lovecraft story, maybe I should put it back…
WLL 16 is on April 13th. See you!
The next WLL party, no.15, will be held on the ninth day of the third month of the year of the snake. 09 03 2013. The night is expected to be dark, with a waning crescent moon glowing feebly over the city, tired of all the politics.
The last WLL party was held on February 16th. Another night of cool chaos. To say that DJ MoMo did not disappoint is to not know how to put it. Let’s just say he will be DJing at the space a lot more! It was a packed crowd of about 30 happy people, many excellent books were traded and someone brought tequilla, complete with own salt and limes 🙂 Unfortunately, not all the books got the library stickers as the sticker-er was a bit unwell, which means they can’t be released into the wild, doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed, and nobody died.
WLL 14 saw us launch our own party manifesto, which will always be made available to anyone attending for the first time forever. We hope it articulates clearly what the whole thing is about. We’ll post it up on the facebook page as well as on this blog soon after this notes is done.
Take a character out of a book, put him/her/it on Tom Mboya street. This challenge closes on 08th March 2013. Please send your entry, whatever it is, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay updated at facebook.com/pmbclibrary and @pmbclibrary. One more thing, we missed you Nali.
We were seated at the studio computer about to start writing these notes when they cut off the lights. This was on Friday last week. Just before things got better they got worse when we were involved in a comic/tragic mugging at the end of a daft adventure that had started earlier that Saturday. We being I. We lost the old phone and the treasured camera in the process, but that’s another story…
Back to WLL 13 notes. World’s Largest Library 13 was held on the 19th of January at the usual place. It was different from the previous ones in that in this one we took the first steps towards transforming WLL from an event to a community. A bunch of interesting ideas were thrown in by the boys and girls in attendance. One of those ideas was to start a chronicle of WLL in the form of notes and pictures after each party. This is the first of what will become a regular feature of WLL parties, WLL notes. We are still trying to work something out with the photographers in our midst, about the pictures. SFTD.
The main thing of WLL 13 was outlining the idea of WLL as a “collision space” for people and ideas. A full description of the really simple concept, incorporating suggestions suggested on that night, will be presented in the form of the WLL Manifesto, in WLL 14, happening this February 16th. Bring your wilted roses.
The basic idea: WLL will be a cell. One that anyone can join. Where people and ideas meet and… anything happens. Active participation, as opposed to passively attending an event and demanding “entertain us!”. Or just hang out and throw things about. But with the books in the basket at its heart. Hence the word library. The story develops…
In the next WLL, we have a guest DJ we have never heard before. Neither have you, most likely.
Reminder: The current challenge is “Take a character out of a book, put him/her/it on Tom Mboya Street.”