What manner of place, thought Pip
Juxtaposed in a reality so unreal
A scene so confusing
As confused as my mind, he whispered to self
And saw a sign reading “Tom Mboya Street”
The noise, strange looking people, the street
Everywhere, all over
People’s chatter, idling, walking slow, walking fast
Bumping into Pip
Does anyone have no consideration for manners?
Walking past a shop named Jade
With obscene displays of garments
Pip stops and peeps in
He is in awe and amazed of the wares
But people keep bumping into him
Going out to the street in a daze
Pip notices all manner of strange carts
Numerous with wheels but no horses drawing them
Nevertheless, the carts move fast
And they have passengers inside
Pip pinches himself
He senses he can’t be dreaming and is wide awake
“Keep walking”, he tells himself
A moving cart almost hits him
The shrilly sound it makes takes him out of his daze
Walking on, Pip’s mouth is agape
So many tall buildings, with transparent walls
And wares of all sorts displayed
Signs displaying malls and exhibition all over
Pip feels very lost
Entering an exhibition, it’s a death trap
“How do I breathe?”
Too much of everything
Scents, wares, strange looking people, noise
Pip now has a suffocating feeling
The noise, it’s what gets to Pip the most
What a busy, noisy place!
“I can’t stand this”
“I miss my wanton family” he thinks
“What sort of damned place or dream is this?”
Ok, so suddenly that guy`s standin there. I am beggin´there at my usual spot on Tom Mboya next to that guy sellin bibles and other Christian books, my empty blueband tin in front of me and sittin on one of my legs in that cripple look fashion, twisting my shoulders and neck in a strange way too. So he standin there in that white but dirty gown in the middle of the sidewalk, absolutely still but for the rush hour stream of people passin by and pushin him around, his facial expression strangely being both: puzzled and serene. Smellin like a goat stable too.
I´m thinkin: keep on going, find your own place, that´s my spot here.
But he lookin at me with his jewish face, smillin calmly under his beard and comin strait towards me, suddenly grabbing me at both my armpits, liftin me up, says: you can now walk again son.
So I am hissin: mind your own business, this`s my spot, but he already turns to that bible seller and is reading in one. That seller says: may I help u sir, how much do you want to spend? Cause he knows that one smellin beggar like that aint got no money.
But the goat smell guy cries out: that´s me, that´s exactly what happened to me couple of years before dad sent me here! Who wrote this? Was this one of Claudius ideas?
That book seller is now kind of furious: are you tryin to tell me, one of Jesus Christ, our saviors own churches saved children, that you are god´s son yourself u filthy beggar? Now that´s a bad joke.
I am sayin: he pretended he healed my leg, too. The bookseller: can everybody see at once that you aint no cripple; and to that goat guy again: better stop that, for claiming to be the savior is the worst of the sins, even worse than suicide. And grabs him tight at his arm.
Then some of that bible sellers church mates pass by and he yells at them, they gather around and that crowd gets bigger and more and more angry and they start to fight, and I can hear someone cryin: I am the king of all kings, that makes the crowd only more furious and than suddenly it stops, seems like the crowd is kind of freezing suddenly.
And then one eventually starts to run for it and soon the others follow runnin away to all sides, and Jesus is lyin there in his blood, murdered by mankind the second time in his life(??), for pretty much the same reason as the first time.
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!
A team of Chinese construction workers made a potentially historic discovery on Saturday, March 30th while working on a highway project in Nairobi, Kenya. The team, comprising a Chinese truck driver and two loaders working for Xing-Hoa Construction & Fabricators, found what appeared to be the remains of an ancient library in the vicinity of the city’s Globe Cinema roundabout. They promptly alerted local authorities who were quick to put together a team of experts to investigate the matter.
On arrival at the scene at around noon, the team confirmed that indeed there might have been an ancient library close to the scene of the discovery. Efforts to get archaeological excavators to the scene were hampered by a cheery afternoon downpour but were resumed on Sunday morning where more artifacts were recovered, shedding further light on the intriguing finding.
A member of the archaeological team told this writer that the library seemed to have been a center for the exchange of literature and ideas, as well as of discussion and debate, rivaling those of ancient Athens, Alexandria and Timbuktu. One unique feature of the library not found in any other, she added, was that it appears to have been a rather robustious social hang-out, with evidence of loud music performed by what a she jokingly referred to as “proto-DJs”, and consumption of wine and other celebratory intoxicants. The Kenyan archaeologist says the deduction was made from the remains of a variety of antique vessels such as goblets, early bottles and even shot glasses. She concludes that, “We’re still at the very early stages of our research, but this must be the world’s loudest library!”
What’s a manifesto, really, anyway? WordPress compression making the image hard to read? Here’s the text: THE WLL MANIFESTO WLL stands for World’s Loudest Library. 1.WLL is a community of people who like books, music and adventure. It is a primordial pond where different things meet and mix, for whatever. 2.WLL is a party. With … Continue reading
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.”
A sumptuous and swelling savor spreads throughout the household. Boldly, fiercely. Like the ghost busters. Welcome and pleasant. My digestive system growls in response. “Gggrrr..grrr, brrrr, brrrrr…British bulldog. Glory, glory,” I hear it sing in response to the beauteous aromas that are speedily invading the maison. Atieno is at it again; it is lunch hour.
My mind races, bolts. Wondering what delicacies she shall surprise us with this time. Could it be the caterpillar recipe that I watched on a South African strip, or could it be a replica of Alice Taabu’s Tupike. Flowers, moons, butterflies and strawberries fill my mind. Happy thoughts. Yummy yummy yum yum. Ingredients matter not, yum yum. The tongue is always willing and ready. Yummy yummy. Sticks and stones, yummy yummy yum yum.
A knock on the door. I frown; my eyebrows embrace one another in fear. What timing, who be this at such an iconic moment. The cat purrs, rather angry. Seemingly complaining as well. My fingers, displeased and unmanicured, unbolt the door. Which in turn whispers a dirge as it swings ajar. It is he. Again. Standing in his pot-bellied glory. Short and stout. Hair amiss; actually just three strands faithfully standing, living dangerously. Shiny forehead, with beads of ammonia peeping in a helter-skelter manner. Twitching nose…like he knows mischief a plenty. And his lips ready. Smack and ready.
“Is baba in?”..Baaaa-baa. Mr. ‘b’ taps Mrs. ‘a’ on her shoulders, and she responds very lazily, dragging her feet…aaaaa-aa. Baaaa-baa. I could almost ask in unison with the guest. The answer a meme, as always. My African roots compel me to invite him in against the protests and screams of my stomach. Less shares for us in the kitchen and cookery I.P.O. Sadness, broken dreams, destroyed futures. My heart bleeds, my stomach begins to weep. The cat rolls its eyes. Happy thoughts turned unhappy thoughts. Happy thoughts turned baaaa-ba thoughts.
Atieno instantly knows of our fate. Love may be wicked, but impromptu lunch hour guests take the gold. One more plate..and lunch is served. Glory, glory, stomach united. Before embarking on a jungly adventure with the cutlery, the cow, kales and maize; I can’t help but notice the change in our help’s walking style. Tout- a-coup, her back is arched at a 180⁰ curve, and her back matters furiously swaying. Like a Baganda dance freshly unveiled, just as she does every lunch hour when Uncle Sindo visits.
No sooner is the food readily served, than the wolf unmasks from its sheep skin. Battle of Adowa, Samson and Delilah, WWF Wrestling, World War III, IV, and V too; it all takes place as he eats. Like the goats of Mogotio. Blow, slurp! Lick, lick. Saliva spills, swallow aloud. Boom. He does it all. Table manners unknown to him. I wonder why Atieno fails to pinch him as she does to me at the slightest crease on good behavior. Instead, she gleefully asks, “Niongesee wewe?” And when the war is over, the warrior concludes it all with a loud and onion-reeking burp. E-ye-e-eeeeee. Onions and some garlic. A true caricature of table ethics.
And after the battle; the carpet awash with crumps and lumps of ugali. Some stew spilled on his beige-colored trousers. Little mountains of kale worship at his feet, like the twelve disciples. Chunks of meat scattered as well, soldiers that were lost in the war. And a tooth lost too. A premolar. Tough battle.
He stands. The once sumptuous meal now turned stone, travels from his gut to the stomach. And the ride is not easy..it is slightly caught in some bottle-neck traffic, but after a grizzly maneuver careful not to branch to the trachea, traffic is released. The stone revs its engine.vrrrrr vrrrrrr, and speeds into the highway. Godspeed; overtaking, overspeeding, and finally landing in the pot-bellied stomach with a thud. As for our dear uncle, it’s a look of satisfaction. A smiling face, shining cheeks and lips; traces of Kimbo cooking fat. Green leftovers dangling from his three inch long beard. Satisfaction and success.
Niceties exchanged. Apologies for missing papa…”Matakuja siku mwingine bas, nest-time”. And as he says next time, the ‘t’ on his tongue hits the upper mouth palate in a vicious and vibrating manner, promptly releasing a ball of saliva. Saliva is annoyed at the forced eviction. She packs her belongings and stomps out, hurriedly approaching me in search of solace. I tilt my head to duck this vicious amylase that can cause death and destruction. So Saliva has no choice but to hit the floor. Maybe hit the floor and dance to some reggae; shake her body to some Bob Marley as she smokes some ‘ganja’..but just hit the floor anyway. And as she hits the floor, she multiplies into many talivas. T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t. Troubled. Trials and tribulations. T(h)ankful. Tomorrow. For we all are well aware that nest time is tomorrow. Tomorrow lunch time; tomorrow when food is on the table.
Once up on a time there was a prince, a very handsome and intelligent boy who experienced many marvelous adventures, in one of them he even traveled underwater to kill the infamous underwater dragon, only using a hair of a rat and a wooden teaspoon, or this other time when he spent one year on the toilet to abolish a curse imposed on his elder sister, only to recognize that she had been a imaginary sister all the time, and then finally he turned out to be an enchanted toad, at least exempt from being a human being by the kiss of a golden toothpick… but…I must confest.. that I am much to lazy to write down his very exciting and interesting story, so how about this less exciting and interesting but much shorter one:
Scarytale De Legume
One morning after a very rainy full moon night over the shamba daughter potatoe said to father potatoe: father, I had a very scary nightmare in which one day huge deamons, with 4 slimy, thin and long, fast moving leaves came to our home, used their spooky long leaves to pick us up from the ground, than threw us into boiling water and finally put us in a dark cave with lots of tiny white stones in there, that moved up and down and up and down, and crushed each and every one of us in between them as they did so. Oh father I am so afraid.
Don’t you worry my daughter, said father potatoe, it was nothing but a silly nightmare, nothing like that could ever happen to you. You know, he went on , trying to calm his daughter down a little,that us potatoes, we lived on this field since ever, my father did so and also his father, and all of our ancestors before too. It has always been like this, and will always be like this. We grow and grow, drinking from the water from the clouds, gaining strength from the warmth of the sun, until one day we have grown so big, we need a bigger shamba. That’s why the sun uses her shafts of light then, to beam us up the endless large shamba of blue sand that you can see above us when the clouds are gone. There it is never dry and always sunny, and we grow on to eternity, with all of our ancestors.
As he spoke so, his daughter feeling way better already, he got picked and boiled and salted and ended as food on the table.
(To be honest this was not the end at all but I refuse to describe all that chewing, digesting and excreteing that followed)
The potatoes perception of time is very different from the human. The human year is like 2 weeks for them, so from their point of view they have quite a short life. The moment of being harvested can not be recognized by them, such as a human can not watch the wings of a mosquito going up and down
believe in myths, the truth is disgusting
By Jonas Quatschkopf Mueller
aka unknown artist
aka Ken Follet
aka dopey d(ouble) eye