Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What's My Line

Nationality/Identity is a distinctly odd thing. It is a question I get asked on an almost daily basis. Unsurprising really considering the fact that I am Nigerian, was born in Britain and am living in America but working at the British Consulate. The joys of globalisation!

For the longest time I identified far more strongly with Nigeria than I did with the UK, but maybe it takes being away from your country to really appreciate it. The 3 years that I have spent in New York have made me far more patriotic and I now feel more British than ever. I'm not really sure how to reconcile that. It's difficult to put my finger on exactly what provokes the feelings, all I know is that for the first time in the history of my existence I am in full support of England and her exploits at The World up. Is it because Nigeria is not participating this year? Who can say..Similarly I was overwhelmed when London was announced as the Olympic city for 2012 and when Kelly Holmes took double honours at the last Olympics I shed tears of joy.

Will I feel something for America when I leave here? Somehow I doubt it. Maybe it is down to the fact that my life in London is so heavily interlaced with doses of Nigeria that there is no real need or desire to separate one from the other. London, or "mini-Nigeria" as I like to think of it offers me the best of both worlds whereas New York leaves me adrift. As so many bloggers have queried recently, what is it that instills national pride? Is it the accident of birth? The amount of time spent residing somewhere? Or is it how the life-changing experiences we have in certain places. It is probably a combination of all 3 in my case. I was born in London. My adult life has been divided between NYC and London, although I did go to University in Leeds, I have evolved the most as person in New York and I am as Nigerian as the best of them...Accent not withstanding.

Maybe for me the solution is not to have to choose. I am as British as I am Nigerian. I identify very strongly with both countries, and hate being questioned or second-guessed on that....I'm the Anglo-Nigerian du jour.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Cats and Dogs

It's been raining non-stop in NYC, gotta love that summer huh?!

Now I know what Noah must have felt like holed up in that damn ark. Where does the saying "it's raining cats and dogs" come from anyway? And what it really be like if it actually rained cats and dogs? How would that work?

You know I'm stir-crazy when I start chatting crap.

Monday, June 05, 2006


I am departing the lovely Pittsburgh until the next tradeshow bring me here to explore it's convention centres and hotel rooms, I didn't even get a chance to see the Andy Warhol museum!

You'll all be pleased to note that today I managed to avoid selection for random bodysearches.....must be the suit.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Queue jumping fogeys and random body searches

I'm in Pittsburgh tonight after the most tiring long-winded arduous process imaginable. It takes about an hour to fly here from NYC, so why ladies and gentlemen when my flight was booked for 3.30 this afternoon am I just arriving here at 10 pm? Because domestic travel in the US of A sucks!

It all started when I got to LaGuardia airport. I consider myself a fairly seasoned traveller, and in all the time I have been taking to the skies I have never been selected for a 'random' body search. So it is fair to assume that my number would be up, it had to happen sometime. So after being ranomly body searched, I headed for my gate to board where I was told that due to a combination of over crowding and the exhorbitant fare American Airlines chose to charge me for this flight I was being upgraded to First Class. I grabbed my new boarding pass with glee, I love First Class even if it is only for an hour! As 3.30 approached I anxiously watched the clock and the desk clerk simultaneously, waiting for her to announce that we could begin boarding. At 3.25 she approached the microphone and my heart jumped with joy. Finally I would escape from the confines of LaGuardia (I spend far too much time in airports, so now they do my head in). Her announcement however dashed all my hopes, "The 3.30 flight to Pittsburgh has been cancelled due to exceptionally high winds".As I was trying to get to Pittsburgh for a WindPower conference the irony of this wasn't lost on me. I looked outside as she spoke, what on earth is this cow talking about???!! The air outside is as still and muggy as you would expect for a New York afternoon in June.
There was an immediate rush for the front desk with people falling over themselves to sort something out. I rushed up to the queue and got a reasonable spot, there were 3 people ahead of me and a million behind - they've obviously never had rush for food in a boarding school before, so they lack my skills at transporting myself across a room in the blink of an eye. As I stood there waiting my turn this sweet old lady came up to me and asked if this was the line for people trying to get to Pittsburgh. I replied in the affirmative and with that she promptly grabbed her luggage and squeezed herself into the line right in front of me. I was absolutely flabbergasted, how do I tell someone who is old enough to be my great granny to take herself to the back of the line? Evidently no one else knew the answer to that one either because besides a few exasperated sighs and moans no one said anything.
I eventually made it to the desk where I was told that they would be able to offer me the last seat on an alternative airline to Pittsburgh today (bet the people behind me wish they had spoken up now!!) however as it was US Airways, I would have to forfeit the more First Class.
By the time I arrived at the US Airways terminal, I was hopping mad with sheer frustration. What a waste of a Sunday afternoon, so I'm sure that when the agent at the check-in desk told me that I had been yet again been 'randomly' selected for a body search the thunderous look on my face shocked her. I finally made to my hotel room at 10pm and will have to begin this whole rigmarole agin tomorrow night in my quest to get back home. What did I take away for my experiences today?

- Blatantly senior citizens feel that they have a get out of jail free card that entitles them to randomly queue-jump, I didn't get the memo but I'm going along with it because I can't bear to be mean to a fogey.

- Clearly my body was looking particularly alluring today or the female security guards there must love me, there is no other explanation for 2 'random' body searches in 2 hours. Well there is, but I'm not really in the mood to open that can of worms.

And so from Pittsburgh I bid you, Goodnight and Good Luck.


I just want to say for the record that X3:The Last Stand is perhaps the most disappointing superhero movie I have ever seen. (Batman and Robin doesn't qualify as it is barely a movie, besides George Clooney as the Caped Crusader???? nuff said). I haven't wasted my precious eyesight on Catwoman so I cannot comment.

I eagerly awaited the release of X3, even dusted off my X-Men and X2 DVD's to set the mood. Broke out some comics and haunted every forum imaginable to get into the spirit of things and imagine how I was going to be blown away by this Dark Phoenix storyline. I'm not even going to tell you about the have to see for yourself (did you catch the mini-fanwank?) I will however say that I went, I saw and I WANT MY MONEY BACK!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sing me a new song

I get truly fed up when every article I read regarding Nigeria begins like this:

'Nigeria, torn by religious and ethnic violence...blah..blah..blah..plagued by corruption ...blah..blah..blah'

Don't get me wrong, if the subject of the article is corruption or violence, then this really isn't that big of an issue. However, it seems as though whenever it comes to Nigeria or most African countries for that matter, the negative aspects are the immediate description of choice. It may well be an article about some footballing whiz-kid or peacekeeping troops being sent to Liberia, it makes no difference. The introduction will always be the same.

Quite frankly I am sick and tired of this attitude. To this end I have decided to create some introductions of my own for the 'developed' countries.

The USA - Home to the generation that coined the term 'axis of evil' thus throwing international diplomatic relations worldwide into utter chaos.....

The United Kingdom - This little island renowned for her football hooligans and happy slappers....

I could go further, but I think you all catch my drift. What would it be like if journalists worldwide prefixed every article they did on these countries with those statements? Never underestimate the power of perception. We know that religious and ethnic violence occurs in Nigeria as it does in much of today's world. We know that corruption is rampant in Nigeria just as we know that the US gives white collar crimes and political skulduggery a whole new meaning. The song and dance has become boring...sing me a new one.

Miami Baby!!

Apologies for my long absence from the blogsphere, this was largely due to the fact that I was soaking up sun and fun in Miami baby!!!

Osa (in the green shirt) is getting married in July, so we threw her a bachelorette party in Miami. We had a fabulous time, did all sorts of things that I have no intention of telling you about and sent her on her way to married life in style!