Saturday, 28 May 2016


Short Stories, Humour, Music and Entertainment. Or, Just Good Fun. If there's anything to worry about, it's about not having fun!

Short Story

Over a period of months when I was in boarding school, the relationship between my housemaster and I had deteriorated to an extent that I felt Mr. Tobias had it in for me.

Incidents between Mr. Tobias and some of the other students, quite a few of them pals of mine hadn't helped matters one bit. 

It started with one incident when a close pal of mine, tired of our housemasters bullying and harassing ways ambushed and inflicted on the housemaster, a thorough beating on the last day of the previous term. 

Unfortunately, I was the only witness to this humiliation and I knew for sure, the housemaster hated me for it. 

That night, as soon as the fight started, I knew Jacob would get expelled, acting a neutral wasn't an option, so during the fight, I tried to prop up Mr. Tobias's dignity and self respect by shouting at the top of my lungs, "please, please master, don't hurt him, he's just a student!" 

Another part of me was also trying to raise the alarm. All the while, it was Jacob who had the upper hand, and was doing the hurting. Tobias would swing a roundhouse, Jacob would duck under the swing and would immediately answer with a jab to the teacher's ribs, another left jab, then a few rights and finish with an upper cut. 

I never knew Jacob could fight. It was an eye opener and I was stunned. This was a different guy from the one I knew. A mild mannered and friendly fellow.

How he tore the man's academic gown right down the back, is still a mystery. I think it was when Tobias tried to flee up a flight of stairs... 

The following term started out well, it was also the football season and since Mr. Tobias, who was also our football coach hadn't dropped me from the team, I felt a little bit more secure. Things seemed to be looking up for me. 

I was optimistic and resolved that if the housemaster played his cards right, I could give everyone the impression that he won the fight against Jacobo that happened at the end of the previous term. 

But then the housemaster had to yell at me in front of a whole dormitory full of students, "Strasser," he shouted, "the only reason you are still in this school is football, let me tell you now, one of your legs is in here and the other one is outside.

And that, was the declaration of war. To stay out of trouble, I had to stay squeaky clean.

Continued tomorrow...

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

A Little Bit of Humour

Educate, entertain and inform! Short stories, humour, relevant and non relevant. Just good fun!

Where's the Money?

This Mafia Godfather finds out that his bookkeeper, Guido, has cheated him out of $10,000,000. 

The bookkeeper is deaf.

It was the reason he got the job in the first place. The mafiosi assumed that Guido would hear nothing so he would never have to testify in court. 

So, the Godfather goes to confront Guido about his missing $10 million, he takes along his lawyer who knows sign language.

The Godfather tells the lawyer, "Ask him where the money is!"

The lawyer, using sign language, asks Guido, "Where's the money?"

Guido signs back, "I don't know what you are talking about."

The lawyer tells the Godfather, "He says he doesn't know what you're talking about."

The Godfather pulls out a pistol, puts it to Guido's head and says, "Ask him again or I'll kill him!"

The lawyer signs to Guido, "He'll kill you if you don't tell him."

Guido trembles and signs, "OK! You win! The money is in a brown briefcase, buried behind the shed at my cousin Bruno's house."

The Godfather asks the lawyer, "What did he say?"

The lawyer replies, "He says you don't have the balls to pull the trigger!"

The End..

Sunday, 10 April 2016

One Night Out

Educate, entertain and inform! How to be relevant where ever you live!

On The Dance Floor

Kanda Bongo Man On Stage
Easter weekend was a self-indulgent one.

My occasional sense of entitlement kicked in and I over indulged.

Yes, I admit it...I get these occasional lapses. After all, I'm only human!

I get into the spirit of the holidays. It's usually very good, if I'm not alone. 

But, if I end up alone during celebrations, I will sometimes eat a little bit more than usual. I will eat and drink portions I would otherwise serve to others.

Moments like these, I do as little as possible, act like a bum and lay around all day long doing nothing but over eating. I'm good at convincing me, that I deserve to treat myself...

But by the Easter Monday, I was having a pang of conscience because I'd had a few defiant smokes along the way too, I'm supposed to have quit.

It wasn't a good feeling but I got over that one too. 

Persuading myself that, it was just a lapse and not a relapse. 

The Wednesday after Easter, my body was telling me different. I felt bloated, lethargic and generally unfit.

I don't have an exercise regime and my one chance at a workout was to go dancing. But, where? And when? No clue!

Through Social Media I found out that Kanda Bongo Man was performing at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green. The promoter? Atta of the Focus Group. Good. I fire off a text!

"No problem, come on down," he replied.

So, on Friday 1st of April, I was at Rich Mix dancing to the music of the King of Kwassa Kwassa, Kanda Bongo Man

Douglas on Bass

I boogied, gyrated and sweated tons. 

Kanda's music will do that to you. He has been pumping out Kwassa Kwassa for decades and has acquired fans from all over the world.

The fans cut across race, ethnic and cultural boundaries and they all come to Kanda's gigs for only one thing. To Dance.

Ask those fans and they'll tell you, “If Kanda Bongo Man doesn’t make you want to dance, call an ambulance,” because,  “you’re dead!”

Kanda with some fans

And so, I danced and danced. Got home in the early hours of the morning and slept like a baby.

The next morning, the conflict between my body and mind was fully resolved. I looked up to the heavens and muttered, "thank you God!"

Stay blessed my friends..

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Celebrating A Classic Story

Educate, entertain and inform!

150 Years and Counting...

It was the 4th of July 1862 when Charles Lutwidge Dodgson took the fateful boat trip up the river Thames toward Godstow.

Accompanying him were three sisters. Lorina, Alice and Edith Liddell, the three eldest daughters of the Dean of Christchurch. With them was also Reverend Robinson Duckworth of Trinity College.

During the journey, Dodgson, a mathematician and keen amateur photographer narrated an adventure story to the Liddell sisters.

The story must have made an impression on young Alice Liddell because upon their return to Christchurch, she asked Dodgson to write out the story for her.

That same evening and on a train journey the following day, he set out the main headings of a story that would endure for over 150 years.

He began the manuscript text a few months later and completed it on 10th February 1863.

In November 1864, he presented the manuscript volume with his own illustrations to Alice Liddell. The title was, "Alice's Adventures Underground."

The manuscript version he retained for reference, was expanded into the fuller text of what later became "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."

Dodgson then translated his own name into Latin and back into English again and came up with the pseudonym "Lewis Carroll" under which the book itself would be published in 1865.

Totally unsatisfied with the way the pictures came out in the print, the book was withdrawn from sale. The rejected copies were presented to children's hospitals and institutions.

In November 1865 the second edition of Alice in Wonderland was published. This new edition was more satisfactory to Dodgson. It was said by the author to be "perfect of artistic printing."

Lewis Carroll's life changed forever after Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was published.

The British Library is currently holding an exhibition to celebrate 150 years of the publication of Alice in Wonderland. On display are the original manuscripts, engravings and many inspirational material.

The exhibition will conclude on Sunday 17th April 2016. It's worth it, to take the time and the kids to The British Library to see this free exhibition. I can guarantee that children will find it fascinating.

FBD on MAD here soon!

Have A Happy Easter!


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

AFROBEAT.. From Outside

Short stories, Hot Topics and relevant information on Music and the Arts! The official Blog page for seeking to educate, entertain and inform. We invite aspiring writers to showcase their talent here. Read short stories for free here!

Looking in

"What is Afrobeat?" He looked me in the eye. I looked away for a few seconds to ponder the question. And then I said, " a successful blending of a tight African rhythm, a soul feel, add some poppy influences here and there. Put in heavy jazz inflections on the horns, that should do the trick."

Trying to explain this music genre in a nutshell to a seasoned session musician, a person I knew had worked many years with top bands and performers, can be unnerving. This guy had toured with some of the biggest names in music. I had the feeling he was trying to catch me out. Why else would he be asking for a definition? 

He looked me out the corner of his eye, a few minutes after we discovered the spot we believed to be the most acoustic friendly in the club. The band on the stage played on. The publicity for the event specifically advertised the music as Afrobeat. What we were actually hearing being played was Fuji and not Afrobeat.

"I wish they wouldn't call this Afrobeat." I looked at him as I said this, he nodded. It could have been the lighting in the club, but he looked like he had a smirk on his smug little face. I moved away from him, better to put some distance between him and I, before I put my fist through that face.

Twenty minutes later, I was out of there. I can only take the Fuji sound in small doses anyway. I was irritated because someone had goofed. I felt deceived that either the promoter or the artist had described the music on offer as Afrobeat when it wasn't. It was a fraud, a deception. This kind of thing will water down a genre that happened to be on the up and up.

"Hey, wait up!" I looked back, it was him again. Lucky for him, I was a bit calmer now. "Are you going already?" he asked me. "Yeah," I replied, "that isn't the music I came to hear that's being played in there!" He beamed at me, "thanks for confirming that, I was wondering too. It's why I asked you in the first place what Afrobeat was. You're one person that should know, you were there from it's birth or so I'm told."

He was wrong though, Afrobeat was being played long before I was born. It just wasn't called that then. The truth is, Fela Kuti made it popular and guided it to ascendancy. His thinking that I should know was flawed, I really didn't know. The only thing I was sure about was, if this genre gets further diluted, it'll either be appropriated by other cultures or it'll disappear altogether.

"By the way," I said, "that definition I gave about Afrobeat in there?" I looked him in the eye, "well, it was incomplete, Afrobeat is also a way of life." I gave him a wave of my hand as I turned around and walked away.

...End of Part One