My Type of Music

Get-Inspired-at-Work-Featured1I grew up in a family where my dad was a sucker for music. He listened to music every single time he had the opportunity. We always woke up to some loud blaring music from the stereo in the sitting room, courtesy of my music loving dad. He also had a number of portable radios in the house. Some were rechargeable, so when there is power outage, he would have a radio he could still operate. He also had radios which worked with Tiger battery so if the rechargeable radio was down… And my dad’s favourite kinds of music were folk and Gospel. When he wanted to go to bed at night, he would leave the radio by his bedside and the channel would be one playing music. So I grew up in a setting where I had to listen to music, whether I wanted to or not.

As I grew older, I started taking after my father without being conscious of this. I placed a radio by my bedside every night. I loved listening to late night music shows, especially those playing soft music. As I grew much older, soft music also grew on me. I became a sucker for soft music. My favourite genre of soft music was (still is) R n B – short for Rhythm and Blues. And some of my favourite artistes at the time were household names like Shania Twain, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Lemar (I just found out he was born to Nigerian parents!!!!), Lionel Richie, Westlife, amongst others.

It did not matter what mood I was in, whenever a good R n B song came on, I would listen. These songs in turn influenced me. If I was moody, these songs would uplift my spirit. If I was angry, they would calm me. If I was happy, they would make me happier. If you looked at any of my music playlists (on my phone, iPad, Laptop), you would find that they are made of 80% R n B.

Some months ago, I stumbled on some rock bands which played a type of music different from what I thought rock bands were all about. They aren’t into that heavy metal sh*t (yuck!!!). They play good, soft, deep lyrical music! These bands are Sleeping At Last and Lady Antebellum. Weird names, right? Yeah. I don’t know what it is with rock bands and weird names. I am currently listening to Sleeping At Last as I write this. My favourite tracks are “Chasing Cars” and “Turning Page”.

You might be wondering why I haven’t mentioned any Nigerian act. Well, the thing is, I think there’s been a dearth in R n B singers from Nigeria. Most of our artistes are into those kpakpa ti kpa type of music. Afropop/dancehall or some genre like that. Although I like some of these songs, they aren’t my type of music. I just listen to them when, maybe I want to work out or dance. Not when I want to have a deep reflection about life or some serious thing. Some of my all time favourite Nigerian R n B tracks are “Ego” by Djinee and “Love Truly” by Iyanya. Currently (although I am not listening to it as I write), I enjoy “Akara Oyibo” by Niniola. I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s just soft. I also love Asa (she’s not an R n B act, though. Her music is just deep. And soft. Most of them are.) When it comes to Gospel music too, I am a sucker for “worship” songs as against “praise” songs. I love songs with mellowed beats, soft rhythm and melody and deep lyrics. Songs which afford me the opportunity to reflect.

What’s your type of music? And why do you listen to it?

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Sent To Golgotha

golgothaI struggled to scribble as much of the events my eyes could behold. My hand shook like the waist of a cultural troop dancer. The old village stadium was overcrowded. The village chief, his elders and their wives occupied the front row; all dressed in royal regalia like it was some feast we were celebrating. Well, yes, it was the New Yam Festival, but no one was here to see any tuber or masquerade. Everyone here came to send the wicked on a journey of no return. They were here to witness the public execution of a varsity miscreant who raped and gruesomely murdered a daughter of the soil. And yes, on a venerated festive day.

“May the Lord accept your soul. Amen,” the pot-bellied Priest said and banged his dusty Bible, the expression on his face suggesting the direct opposite of his prayers. It was obvious he wished the convict baked in hell. A hood was placed over the boy’s head, and the thick noose fastened to his neck.

Did he really do what he was convicted for? I thought. Was the Judge unduly pressurised by the village to pass a death penalty on him?

When the case was assigned to me by my Editor, I reluctantly accepted it. My last Crime Report on the country’s first use of electric chair left a sour taste in my mouth that I vowed never to cover death sentences again. I still remember the experience like it was yesterday. It was horrifying.

 

The first jolt of 1900 volts passed through the condemned prisoner’s body. Sparks and flames erupted from the electrode tied to his legs. A large puff of greyish smoke and sparks poured out from under the hood that covered his face. An overpowering stench of burnt flesh and clothing pervaded the room. Later, two doctors examined his body but declared he was not dead. He was administered another doze of electricity. His hood burst in flames, revealing a blackened face. Again the doctors examined him, but declared his heart was still racing. A third charge of electricity was passed through his body. The blackened skin exploded, revealing a bone of skull streaming with blood. The doctor checked the third time and pronounced him dead…

“Aww!!!” the cry of the crowd jolted me out of my thoughts and brought me back to the present. The boy had just been hanged. His head hung askew over of his neck. I could see his eyes had also popped out of their sockets. His tongue hung out as well.

Then a car sped into the arena, causing pandemonium in the crowd. A man ran out of the car, holding a court document in his hand. Ten minutes later, the word spread in the crowd. The court had just ordered a stay of execution. New evidence revealed the wrong person was prosecuted and convicted. The actual criminal – the boy’s twin, had turned himself in to the Police and confessed to the crime.

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PS: I originally published this story on Naija Stories on November 2010.

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I have joined the Internet Big Boys

namecheapI am glad to announce that I have now joined the league of Internet Big Boys.

You may be wondering what I am on about now. Well, I have finally been able to map my domain (www.haroldwrites.com) on WordPress. Prior to now, my blog url was www.haroldwrites.wordpress.com . Too long and boring, right? I know. I know. On January 15, 2014, I wrote a blogpost on the importance of getting a custom domain. You can read that post here: It is titled “5 Things Every Serious Writer Should Do in 2014”. After writing that, I proceeded to register the domain www.haroldwrites.com on Namecheap in 2014, but I was unable to map same to WordPress so it could become functional. For my readers who are like me and aren’t that techie techie, let me break down some words I have used so far. Words like “url” “domain” and “map”. I’ll try to do that like the amateur that I am, so please, all ye internet nerdy guys who know “wazup”, don’t laugh at me.

A URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is your internet address.

A domain on the other hand, is also an internet address, only that this time, it is a unique internet address.

Let’s use car plate numbers to illustrate. Every car owner has a general plate number recognized and issued by the State, say “DV 279 KJA” in Nigeria. Every plate number must have the first set of two alphabets, followed by numbers, and then, three alphabets. Everyone with a car has a “URL” in this sense. But the Big boys who want to stand out from the crowd, go ahead to customize their plate numbers. For example, you change from “DV 279 KJA” to “KING WIZZY” when you hit your first billion. In this sense, you’ve got a customized “domain”.

To “Map” a domain basically means to re-direct, say, your old plate number to your new plate number whilst maintaining the same car. Whilst you register your custom domain on one platform (Namecheap for me), you may want another platform to host that domain (WordPress). Don’t get me wrong; you can buy and host a domain on one platform. If you do this, there would be no need to “map”, but if you use different platforms (to register and then, to host), you would need to “map” your domain so that, your customized domain will become functional. I chose to use different platforms. Want to know why? Bring your ear closer. *Whispers* I heard it is cheaper that way. Now, whether this is true or not as at today, I don’t really know. But back then, it used to be true. I checked.

Okay, I just checked again. It is still true. Registering a .com domain on Namecheap is about $11 (for the least package). Hosting that domain on Namecheap’s cheapest package is about $10 for the first year, and about $39 for yearly renewal. So for a first timer, you would pay about $21 (to register and host only), but to renew, you would pay about $50 (if my calculation is correct). But if you choose different platforms to register the domain and host(say Namecheap to register and WordPress to host), this is what you will have to pay. Getting the .com domain on Namecheap cost about $11. Mapping it to your WordPress account/blog cost $13 on WordPress. Put together, that’s about $24.

Whew! Now that we have got that out of the way…

I was saying I tried mapping my Namecheap registered domain (www.haroldwrites.com) to WordPress in 2014 to no avail. The reason I could not map same to WordPress was because my Nigerian debit card was declined by WordPress on several occasions. They weren’t accepting cards from Nigeria (I think) and I did not have a Paypal account. I talked about it in this post. Two years after that, on January 01, 2016, I wrote another blogpost titled: “2016: The Year We Break Things?” In that post, I blogged about having a registered domain which could not be mapped. So I had a situation where I had a registered and paid-for domain (www.haroldwrites.com), but I could not utilize same because my preferred host, WordPress, rejected my Nigerian debit card. The domain (www.haroldwrites.com) expired last year ( 2015) and I renewed it for another year on Namecheap – of course, paying another sum for that. So, for two years, I paid for a domain I was not utilizing.

You might be wondering why I kept paying for and reserving a domain (www.haroldwrites.com) I was not utilizing. Well, there is something unique about that domain. At least to me. For one, since I started this niche blogging in 2012, I started with (www.haroldwrites.wordpress.com). I felt the “writes” added to my name “Harold” perfectly portrayed what and who I am all about. I love making up stuff with words, even if most of the times, the things I “write” end up staying in my head. Or my heart. I could be on a romantic date and I’ll be making up a story in my head – a story inspired by my date’s terrible make up. Or the Pastor could be preaching on a Sunday morning and I may not be able to stop thinking about how his shinny red tie would be the perfect metaphor for a story. So yeah, I love making up stuff with words (be they written or just thought-up). When the time came for me to settle for a URL name that best described me (I had operated several other aimless blogs in the past), it was not hard to pick “haroldwrites.wordpress.com”. When the time also came for me to pick a custom domain, you could imagine the only one on my mind. WordPress offered me personal options like “haroldwrites.me” but I kissed my index and middle fingers and told them “Peace”.

“We go see. Make e be.”

So today, for some weird reason, I saw myself going through my WordPress dashboard and I saw the “Domain” bar (as I always do). For some weirder reason, I decided to once again, try my luck at mapping my already registered Namecheap Domain. To my utter surprise, it worked. So Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, my new blog URL: www.haroldwrites.com . The old URL (www.haroldwrites.wordpress.com) still works, though. Any search to that URL will redirect to www.haroldwrites.com . Let me go and edit the “About Me” page on all my social media platforms to reflect my new blog address. I have now joined the league of Internet Big Boys. I’m just waiting for the money to start raking in to solidify my Big Boy Status.

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PS: I feel like a Million Dollar Star. I once read that having your own custom domain made people revere you more; like you were some sort of correct guy or something. *smokes invisible Cuban cigar*

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Guilty

grunge-texture-wallpaper-1Bamidele Ayodeji went through his case file again as he awaited the arrival of the trial Judge. This should be a pretty easy case for him. Everything was in place to get the conviction he wanted – the conviction he needed. The conviction he badly needed. It was a murder case. The victim was identified. She was poisoned by a bitter admirer who could not handle her rejection of his advances. This bitter admirer – the accused – was apprehended after dogged investigation by men of the Police Force. The proof of evidence before the court, established that the accused committed the murder. The accused also confessed to the crime and his confessional statement formed part of the proof of evidence before the court. As far as Bamidele Ayodeji was concerned, this was a done deal.

How the proceedings of the day were going to be conducted played out in his head.

Court Registrar reads the charge to the accused. He pleads guilty. Bamidele calls in his witnesses and tenders the incontrovertible exhibits. The accused counsel who is assigned to him from the Legal Aid Council cannot impugn any of the exhibits. The court will admit the exhibits including the confessional statement of the accused. The court will proceed to find the accused guilty of murder – he admitted committing the crime anyway – and then, sentence him.

“Ah,” Bamidele Ayodeji heaved a deep sigh of relief. He could not believe he would be getting his first conviction after five years as a Public Prosecutor at the Ministry of Justice. The infuriating words of Mr. Alex Oguntoyibo, his director at the Ministry, whizzed into his head.

“You are a good for nothing scumbag!” Mr Oguntoyibo had screamed at him the other day. “I don’t know how you got in here. Five years at this Ministry of Justice and you haven’t got a conviction? Of what use are you to us? Who employed you?! Who do you know?”

Mr. Oguntoyibo’s recent tirade at Bamidele was one of several of such heated words. He was always angry at Bamidele at the slightest provocation. Bamidele knew the reason for Mr. Oguntoyibo’s bad blood with him, and it had nothing to do with Bamidele’s work ethics or lack of achievements. When new recruits at the Ministry were hired, Bamidele Ayodeji was chosen by the Board of Directors at the Ministry over Mr. Oguntoyibo’s preferred candidate.

“Court!” The yell of the Registrar announcing the entrance of the Judge jolted Bamidele Ayodeji out of his reverie.

Show time.

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