Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mannenberg Is Where It's Happening

Mannenberg is perhaps one of the most politically charged songs in the history of the South African Struggle. The song came to Abdullah Ibrahim then known as Dollar Brand almost serendipitously one day after Cape Town's District Six had been razed to the ground. What I like about this song is that it first and foremost defined the Cape Jazz sound and secondly it was political and subversive in a way very few songs at the time were. It's melody is pleasant and nostalgic - almost easy listening but it's the title that got South African's of all shades really riled up. From the townships of Meadow lands and Mannenberg to the Umkhoto we Sizwe training camps in Tanzania and Zimbabwe Mannenberg's tune rang clear and true reminding them of what they had lost, asserting a future that was pendant on their actions - a future that was now in their hands, Mannenberg was where it all begun.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ad Men

I've been gearing up to write a huge piece on Mad Men for a while now. Words (at least mine) cannot do the show justice. Mad Men is the greatest show currently on TV bar none. The show was conceived by Matthew Wiener whilst still a writer on the most critically acclaimed and most commercially successful show ever, The Sopranos - until now.

Mad Men has done for men what Sex and the City did for women. For one thing men all over the world are dressing better -and smoking is cool again-. Men in the 60s or at least the men of Mad Men are always impeccably dressed, ties to the office with pocket squares, tie bars and hats are their staple. The women wear pencil skirts to work and -for the women of leisure- dresses influenced by Christian Dior's New Look. Nobody looked as stylish as they did during that era. It is easy to get lost in the show's near perfect facade but underneath lurks politics, personal struggles and triumphs and stereotypes that ultimately makes Mad Men a human story - the chronicle of a decade!

Wiener and his crew have worked hard to create the most stylish show on television. The props and sets are as immaculate, the clothes sophisticated and chic and the script tight and carefully measured , everything is hinted, nothing is stated implicitly which is lovely. Finally television for grownups who like to dress up!

Mad Men is undoubtedly a television show about men, for men but the women can hold their ground even in the lascivious and chauvinistic confines of a New York ad agency (and the American 60s). So here's my salute to Ms. January Jones and Christina Hendricks, the Power Women behind their Mad Men.

January and Christina for GQ. The world's most stylish magazine meets the sexiest women on television.

Credit: © 2009

Credit: © 2010

Say Cheese

Credit: © 2010 THE STINGO

Jim Chuchu kindly allowed me to put up some of the work hid did on THE STINGO. Of course he did not do all this alone so kudos to the art directors/ stylists/ makeup artist and fashion designers working on the project.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kuweni Serious

Kuweni serious is a movement that brought together a bunch of concerned people for a peaceful Referendum. It urges Kenyan's to think critically and objectively about our future. Here is their most recent video, its moving, personal and relevant. Again Jim ChuChu had a hand in producing the clip.

Kuweni Serious:

The Stingo

Well it's been a while since I last blogged. Apologies to all 4 of my followers. I came across this fairly artistic and experimental web magazine called Stingo. Jim Chuchu collaborates and is the one who takes all the lovely photos. I have come to understand that Jim is perhaps Kenya's premier graphic arts guru. He's also one third of Just a Band (the one who makes the cool videos).

Incidentally I'm personally acquainted with a member of the crew and a couple of models. I now feel both jealous/ inferior and immensely proud of these talented youth.

Here's the link:

And the clothes aren't bad either. Some of it is locally produced. I say BUY BUY BUY!

In other news, Tamaku cut me to the chase when he published this. I read the article only, partly shocked, partly amused and partly well angry. Whilst reading it I got that disconcerting feeling one gets when reading yellow journalism like say The Standard and for a long time I did think I was reading The Standard - but I wasn't.

Like many Kenyans I tend to trust the relative subjectivity (and solemnity) of The Nation and equate this to The Truth. Things however, have changed and for the worst. Tamaku made a fairly exhaustive analysis with the article's intrinsic wrongness with his trademark half ironic, half wry sense of justice and for that we thank God for people like him. Dorothy Kweyu and her ilk are a dying breed maybe she needs to read Stingo to realise this. Times are changing and the youth of tomorrow, lesbian or otherwise are finding thier voice - and it's filled with colour!

More disturbing still is the method of behavioral correction employed by these religious therapists. In the West at least, homosexuality is not a mental disorder and can threfrore not be treated clinically. The Church seems to think otherwise. Dark time for Kenya's minority groups? Or does our shiny new constitution offer refuge? The future is most certainly uncertain but if there irs one thing the minorities are not is silent.
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