Category: Blog

Every artist is a cannibal/ every poet is a thief/ all kill their inspiration/ and sing about their grief/ over love It’s been the best of times, it’s been the best of times. I’m writing this like a film editor clipping off the badly acted bits that couldn’t be recast. Or the actor who improvises […]

Music Although our cult of fast distractions and great disruptions is hell-bent on crushing the album beneath its caterpillar tracks, the long play musical form will always remain a pillar of art. Admittedly making an album seems to be a difficult feat for the insta-everything generation, but it is still an ideal to aspire to. […]

There is apparently a scientific reason why, as we grow older, we tend not to resonate with newer trends in music. The songs we fall in love with when we’re younger will typically guide our subsequent listening habits and they are also the songs that we carry with us as we age. Our music tastes […]

“Why Colombia?” was a question I was often asked by friends when I first mentioned that I would be going there.  A few of them raised their eyebrows and gave me a supposedly ‘knowing wink’. (This confused me, since I couldn’t figure out the suggestion in the wink, or what it was I was supposed […]

Music It could be my advancing years or the death of my brain cells, but I am increasingly unable to decipher one musical style from another, unless the piece of music was recorded in the twentieth century, or does not have the ‘pop’ tag attached to it. We live in eclectic times, or rather we […]

‘What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist. ‘ Salman Rushdie In early January 2015, Alan Wadi Okego, a 25-year-old Moi University student, was arrested for posts he had made on social media against the Kikuyu ethnic community, and was charged, among other things, for ‘insulting’ President Uhuru Kenyatta […]

Just so that I can say some things I have been wanting to say all year, I am going to start my annual rant of ‘what-a-great-year-it-has been’ that nobody really gives two hoots about, with some negatives. First, I do not think Sia’s Chandelier is a great song, nor is it worth all the attention […]

Ageing is a wondrous, eclectic, beautiful thing, to wit, a balding, greying man starting the day with Daft Punk, then singing along to Lorde in between morning meetings, before turning to the 30-something wisdomesques of The National as the sun sets over Nairobi, before going home to the swinging voice of Michael Bublé. Youth limits your choices, age expands your frequency […]

The first time I ever saw or heard of R.E.M was from a videotape recording of an MTV show that played the black and white video of Pop Song 89. I was a very young teenager then, highly impressionable, a sucker for a good guitar riff and hook (which I still am), and taken in […]

I would have thought that by the time I got to this stage in my life I should be able to do many things with ease, but that`s what they say about many things, easily. I cannot cook thirty minute pilau in 20 minutes, nor can I build suspension bridges in my garden. I put […]

I am usually both excited and apprehensive when the legends announce a return. Excited, because we can never have enough of a good thing. Apprehensive because there is always that possibility of their misreading their fans expectations, and by attempting something ‘modern’ end up tarnishing what was until then an impeccable, immaculate track record of […]

The old is definitely dying, even when the new hasn’t come. The blood that brought down the dictatorship of the Shah in 1979 is still flowing in the young men and women of 2009. The Ayatollahs have been slapped on the face. The Cat has looked at the King. Persepolis is reminding Tehran who she […]

March 28, 2009. Abu Dhabi, UAE A streak of lightning zig-zags a damp Middle Eastern sky. I have been in a daze for several days, black and blue from pinches just to make sure that I am actually awake and experiencing all this in the present continuum of space and time. I shake my head […]

Baluch settlements on Makadara Road, Mombasa, 1920 They journeyed in the fabled dhows; white crescent sails blown by ocean winds, three hundred years ago, as soldiers of fortune, to the east coast of Africa; to build an empire for the Sultan Of Oman who had conquered their homeland on south coastal fringes of the Persian empire, and […]