Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"'Is there some kinda Way out of here?' said the Joker to the Thief.."

I  celebrated my  birthday here on the 17th. It was very simple and it was just a normal day. Keita wasn’t even here. (I am expecing him to turn up any moment from Segou.)

But from morning to evening it was a perfect day. It started in the bogolan studio where I was working with Baba who was playing music on his telephone. ( The above picture will have to serve once more, because Maman has taken my camera with him on his under-cover mission) Baba  has very good music taste and downloads stuff from the internet. Suddenly there it twas : Jimi Hendrix’ version of All along the Watchtower ! Well, that set the tone for the rest of the day. I gave him 5000FCFA for telephone credit to download some more. I am an unrepentant old hippie of course, and on my wishing list was  more Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, the Velvet Underground, Canned Heat and Led Zeppelin, as well as more Bowie and  Iggy Pop and the Stooges.
Then  I forgot all about it and later went for a great dusty gallop on Petit Bandit into the far distance towards the horizon seen from the sunset terrace. And at 6pm I installed myself  all alone as usual on this very terrace.  As a special treat I was sipping a whisky and ginger juice: I allowed myself a day off from my  otherwise alcohol- free lent. And here comes Baba again, playing some music, and what has he found now ? Well, I know what I am about to tell you  is considered corny : I know and I don’t care :

He brought me Stairway to Heaven ! freshly downloaded on his telephone.  It was quite perfect. I was filled to the brim with joy at my fabulous Djenné life as I listened to the glorious song which seemed somehow to touch everything I have ever been and everything I now am all at once...
I had invited my journalist friend Levy for dinner, and we ate in the garden under the stars in the warm velvety night before retiring to my place as is our want. I am sure the staff thinks we are having an affair. What other reason could there possibly be for us to go to my house for about an hour  in Keita’s absence?

Well, if that is what they are thinking they are quite mistaken.  Levy and I retire to my house to watch an episode of Dynasty. Malians who were young in the eighties all remember Dynasty, the first soap opera shown on Malian TV. They all love it. I have brought  with me the whole 9 series, dubbed into French. I was too much of a snob at the time to watch such things, so I am following it now for the first time, and I am hooked of course. But the best thing is not watching the screen itself- however fascinating- the best is to watch Levy watching Dynasty. He is living it 100%. He is outraged at Alexis behaviour and huffs and puffs. He is shocked if Crystel steps outside the saintly image he has of her : ‘She should not have kissed that man ! She is married to Blake ! ‘he wails.  I try in vain to console him by saying that she didn’t go any further, so there was no harm done… but  Levy shakes his head unhappily as he is taking his leave…

I finish the evening with some coffee and Armagnac and with an unusually good internet connection I spend an hour or so perusing Facebook and reading everyone's kind birthday greetings to me.
A perfect  birthday.


Blogger mary said...

And a very happy belated birthday to you from us both.
Mary and John

9:34 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Thank you Mary and John! Maybe this time in England it will work?

10:20 PM  
Blogger David said...

Remembered - then forgot (I gather J kept his elephant brain on the task). Well, we'll celebrate on Easter Monday, insh'allah. I also forget the Swedish happy birthday song but I know it's better than ours. What do Malians sing, if anything?

11:05 PM  
Blogger Susan Scheid said...

You do know how to party! As one who succumbed to Facebook, I have sent on b'day greetings, but nonetheless raise a toast to you now (albeit after the fact).

1:08 AM  
Blogger toubab said...

Ah! David! Since I didn't hear from you again I got the impression that you were still going to be in Norfolk, so I made other arrangements and will go to Kathy now...but I will call once in London and we will get together v. soon! Longing to see ya!xx And Susan, I did get your message on Facebook and thank you for that and the toast here! It is fun with birthdays....

2:04 AM  
Blogger mary said...

Yes, we hope that you will make it this far North when you are in England.More discussion on Men and Gods..... and much more I am sure.
Happy travels.

8:37 PM  
Blogger David said...

Oh dear, both of us this end thought the other had confirmed. No matter, you can come when you like assuming there's time and we'll be expecting to see plenty of you.

Did laugh, of course, at Malian perceptions of Dynasty - and maybe you could tell staff you're taking your guest to your room for a little Crystal fix?

Greetings from Stockholm, where the snow had turned to slush but the lights and sounds in the Konserthus are bright.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Marianne said...

Belated birthday greetings from down under Sophie

11:04 PM  

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