Why Paco, why?

“Baby let’s cruise, away from here….”

Six months ago I discovered that a song I loved more than life itself is a cover.  I was heartbroken.  And when I listened to the original, I was completely and utterly crushed.  What little hope there was that my undying love for the (formerly) brilliant artist I had been obsessed with could survive the shocking revelations was blasted away by the reality of a far more superior original.  Alas, it appeared my love had not only stolen his genius, but he had done a horrible job at it.  All of a sudden, he had gone from sexy god of all things music (and one of only two candidates for father of my unborn children), to petty thief with substance abuse problems.  I fear the love was gone!

What am I on about?  Flashback to 2008, I’d just met a hot man called… let’s call him Paco (long story, don’t ask), and I was in the midst of an intense crush that involved long meaningless conversations and a shared fondness for all things music.  Now Paco quickly realised that the easiest way to get to me was to present me with a select choice of hot R&B tracks in the form of the ubiquitous ‘mix tape’, MP3’s in this case, and on one of these mixes was the song ‘Cruisin’ by D’Angelo.  My oh my, didn’t that song, and man, drive me mad!  Its not that I’d never heard D'Angelo before, we all remember the video for ‘Untitled’ and his glorious almost very naked self… sorry, I drifted off in a fog of delirious lust… I was saying, I’d listened to the man before so it wasn’t that he was new to me that got me hooked.  What did it was the combination of a nasty break up (that Paco was talking me through), unrequited lust (for the very same Paco) and an addictive drum and bass beat (with violins dammit, violins!), that was the match to the fireworks that was to become my love for D’Angelo, oh how I loved him. 

I’d listen to the song over and over again, morning, noon and night, and when Paco presented me with the best of album, I listened to that over and over again, obsessed with damn near every track on the album.  It probably goes without saying that my obsession with D’Angelo was fuelled by my obsession for Paco, and vice versa.  When one sang ‘…and if you want it I got it…’ the other was whispering it in my ear, at least in my fantasy he was.  And fantasy it was, glorious passionate fantasy, but fantasy nonetheless.  You see, Paco was married, still is best I can tell, happily it seemed, at least to my unmarried and (then) recently scarred eyes, but that’s what made him the best fantasy I could ever have.  Because he was unattainable and therefore could never disappoint me, the fictional man I created in my head would forever remain unspoiled.  And so it was with D’Angelo, until that fateful night, six months ago.

Now, courtesy of Paco, I’d started drifting towards more authentic soul music (not the pop they play in the clubs, I’m talking about the Rhythm and Blues of the 70’s and 80’s, and the original soul music from whence it all came).  At one point I began to get a bit obsessed with one particular Smokey Robinson track (‘Just to see her’) and began to hunt for it in earnest.  Seeing as how he’d got me hooked in the first place, of course I tried to get it from Paco, but at that point he and I were no longer the ‘almost affair’, we were drifting ever so slowly into ‘woulda shoulda coulda’ land, so when I placed my request for the Smokey song, I was politely, but firmly, ignored.  I was on my own.  But being the stubborn idiot I am (with the mild case of OCD that wont let me ignore a song… it’s a bit frustrating!), I kept looking, eventually finding a greatest hits album with said song, and all the while mourning the loss of my fantasy man.  Little did I know how much worse it was about to get...

I put the CD on the following night and began to skip through the tracks looking for the particular song, but as I was sampling I heard the beginning of what sounded familiar, a guitar riff that’s unmistakable, ‘Could it be?  Surely not…’ she muttered, before skipping forward to the next track.  Once I found what I was looking for, I happily set the player on loop and proceeded to revel in the splendour that is Smokey Robinson, congratulating myself for my own resourcefulness, ‘Who needs Paco?’ she chuckled to herself.  Problem was, that bloody riff was also playing on loop at the back of my mind, and if you’ve heard the song you know what I’m talking about.  Finally ten minutes later I gave in and went back to confirm my gnawing suspicions, and immediately the song began to play I knew I was right.  Worse still, the more I listened the more depressed I got.  You see the brilliance of D’Angelo is in fact the brilliance of Smokey, right down to the damn violins. 

‘Why D, whhhhyyyyyy?’ I wailed into the night, grief-stricken (I’m not exaggerating here, I really was very distraught).  ‘He’s a fake!  I’ll never listen to him again,’ I swore angrily, as I contemplated calling Paco to call him very bad names for giving me that fake shit, ‘no wonder he wouldn’t get me Smokey, he knew the awful truth!’  The only thing that stopped me from making that demented call (yes, I do know how strange this all sounds) was the thought of having to explain to his Mrs why I’m calling Mr Man at 11.30 pm, I assumed her reaction would be ‘Ati to bitch about who?  You whore!’ or something like that.  So I didn’t call.  But I fumed, for days.  And that was the beginning of the end for Paco and I, the trust was gone, I could no longer treat his mix tapes with any seriousness.

I know it sounds extremely fickle to you, to dismiss someone on account of a song, but for me, D’Angelo and Paco were inextricably linked, and when the fantasy of one fell apart, so did the other.  After that revelation, listening to D’Angelo only served to remind me that that which I loved most about him, was not his, it belonged to a yellow yellow mzee with the silkiest voice I have ever heard.  I couldn’t get past it.  And it was worse with Paco, he went from sexy fantasy dude to ‘What the hell… could those shoes be any more pointy?’ dude (don’t laugh, those shoes looked like a weapon, I feared for my life).  This is the thing with putting someone up on a pedestal, you get to see their clay feet, and I don’t care what you say, not too many fantasies can survive clay feet (unless of course you have a clay feet fetish), but then again they’re not meant to, hence the fantasy i.e. removed from reality.  

In retrospect, the end had probably began much earlier (with Paco that is), the song was just the straw that broke this camel’s back.  The fog of heartbreak had already began to clear and I was slowly getting back to my old self, and with it I started to see him, and myself, more clearly, but what I saw was troubling.  My obsession with the man was shallow, selfish and hedonistic, and unreal.  And ultimately unsustainable, because who can be satisfied with the idea of a man?  Turns out that although I really liked that man (really…), I wanted more than a hot fantasy on a cold night, I want the original, not the cover version.   

But there’s a happy ending to this tale, D’Angelo and I have repaired our broken relationship, our love is back on track, hell I think it’s stronger than ever.  See, after not listening for many months, it finally hit me that I missed him, so I put the best of CD on one night and sat back to appreciate, no bullshit fantasy this time, just honesty… and a bit of red wine to numb the residual twinges of pain.  And it was good!  His cover, which I had so heartlessly dismissed as a cheap fake, is absolutely mind fuck brilliant.  He took a beautiful borderline risqué track and made it so bloody sexy it’s a miracle the CD player doesn’t just get up and shag itself.  It’s that good.  He’s that good.

Paco and I?  Shoulda coulda woulda….



“I’m not in love, so don’t forget it, it’s just a silly phase I’m going through…”

You have to listen to this song.  Its by some random white dudes called 10cc and its bloody amazing, simple yet complex, many voices layered together to create a sound of such brilliant depth… amazing!  The reason I’m gushing over a song done when I can’t have been more than a year old?  Because I live alone, and work alone, and I have two friends, and no cat.  This is what excites me these days, music, more accurately the disturbingly large amount of music on the internet (and here I thought it was only good for porn and bootleg episodes of 24, but I digress…).   The song?  I stumbled upon a cover version of the same on a Queen Latifah album that blew me away, but as I listened I realised I knew the song, ‘must be a cover… figures!’ I thought.  But a cover of whom?  The problem was, I knew I knew the song, but I couldn’t remember why. 

Now if you live alone, with no cat, and have a mild case of OCD, this is the kind of thing that can drive you to insanity.  The hook just kept playing in my head, over and over again like a stuck CD, so finally I got up in frustration and snapped open my phone and googled the title, and lo and behold, welcome to the world of 10cc.  I’m now hooked, hell at this point I’m thinking of making a pilgrimage to whatever godforsaken frozen wasteland in the north they currently reside in, just so I can look any one of them in the eye and say thank you, thank you for possibly one of the greatest ballads ever written… except for the bit with the girl whispering in the middle, that’s just odd.

This post will probably make sense if I point out that I may or may not be in the process of falling for a new man.  Unfortunately, I don’t think he feels the same.  Actually, that’s putting it mildly, sometimes I get the distinct impression he’d like nothing more than for me to disappear off the face of the earth.  And considering I think I’ve morphed into crazy stalker woman (CSW), who can blame him no?  ‘Aaahhhh!’ I hear you say, ‘She’s one of those ones…’  I’m not.  Really, I’m not!  On a normal day I’m an unemotional cold bitch who doesn’t give a shit about your ‘feelings’ and other such like touchy feely crap.  ‘Get over it!’ is my standard response to the mind numbing array of emotional problems my (and I use this term loosely) friends are constantly assaulting me with.  So for me to tell you I’ve become a CSW, be afraid, be very afraid…

Let me lay it out for you, then you decide just how bad it’s gotten.

I met this guy 4-5 months ago, and we hit it off, he was warm and funny, and so bloody smart, and I was my (not) normal charming sexy self, and for the first month it was the bliss of getting to know someone new.  The hour long conversations about anything and everything under the sun, the shy flirting, the constant laughter, the stupid grin plastered on your face every time you think about the idiot…  That phase, all one month of it, was just lovely.  And then we met (don’t ask me many questions, just go with it…), and we really hit it off, he turned out to be even smarter, and sexy!  At that point I was thinking ‘this man might just be worth the time’ and anyone who’s dated in this town has to know how serious a statement that is. 

So there I am, happily cruising along in my ‘could be something’ bliss, and all of 2 weeks later the man starts acting iffy.  ‘Iffy how?’ you ask.  It started off simply, he blew me off, once, then again, the second time with no explanation, no contact for 3 days.  One would think I’d have read the writing on the wall at that point but nooooo…  He stopped calling, or texting, and when I’d call, he’d be very busy, promise to call back, and of course he wouldn’t.  At this point you’re probably laughing to yourself wondering how thick I am not to have seen the signs, don’t worry, I’m laughing too.  Thing is, writing this shit down it seems so obvious I’m wondering why I refused to accept it.  Please note, I didn’t say see it, I said accept it, because I saw it, I even raised my concerns with said idiot (feeling slightly idiotic about that now mind you), but while my rational mind was saying this bugger is backing off so let it go, the foolish girl in me was insisting that that was not the case.  Cue irrational behaviour…

Now for those of you who don’t know this, a crazy stalker woman is the bastard offspring of the rational grown ass woman you are and the irrational 13 year old girl with acne and a flat chest you used to be (don’t deny it, we all have one inside us ladies, don’t we?).  CSW is one part calculating, one part devious, three parts hormonal and one part lust.  Think Sharon Stone’s character in Basic Instinct meets Samuel Wanjiru’s mother… basically one fucked up individual with a fondness for panga sized bags, it’s not pretty!  My CSW, has the added advantage of being a malicious maladjusted creature with occasional substance abuse issues, keep this in mind as I continue my tale of almost love almost gone wrong…

So the man was not so slowly becoming unavailable, and I was getting increasingly frustrated at his unexplained behaviour, so I called him out on it, with disastrous results (not surprisingly…).  You see, right at the beginning, I’d made it pretty clear that I’m not the flinging type of chick (I am sometimes, but that’s not the shit you’re going to tell a man you’ve just met is it?), and he explicitly stated that he wasn’t looking to funga, that’s why it took a month to actually meet up, there was no rush.  And then… nothing!  The idiot vanishes on me!  If the man is to be believed, he sunk into a vicious cycle of guilt and alcohol, exacerbated by a ridiculous work schedule, all combining to make him unavailable, I believe his exact phrase was “I’m lacking in motivation, for anything”.  Now when a man starts talking lack of motivation, my CSW pulls out her ice pick!  The harder I pushed the harder he ran, away, like in the opposite direction.  A couple of weeks later I finally gave up pushing and decided to let him be, I was starting to feel a bit embarrassed at how desperate I seemed (stop laughing, this is a true story!). 

For the next month or so that’s how it went, I’d call once a week to check up on him (seeing as how he was struggling with his motivation issues, and yes, I do realise how stupid that sounds).  But just as I was on the cusp of complete separation, at the point when I had finally come to terms with the fact that he just wasn’t feeling my ass, just then, what do I do?  You guessed it, I stopped by his house.  The next thing I knew I was right back in it.  Why did I stop by?  Because I wanted to see him, I suspect it was a last ditch attempt to resuscitate the dying horse (already flogged to death, but my CSW has been known to overlook such minor technicalities).  And in my defence, he seemed happy to see me, he cooked me dinner and everything!  In retrospect, he probably cooked because he was hungry, and I was there, but the point is he cooked.  It’s not looking too good for me right now, is it?  Anyhow, that was a couple of weeks ago, and since then he’s been somewhat more attentive, and I’ve been somewhat less CSW.  Things are ok, not too hot, not too cold, just… there. 

So what’s my problem?  Its simple really, my CSW thrives on drama (she claims to be a passionate woman, she’s a lover not a fighter…), a relationship that’s ‘just there’ is her idea of hell.  She’s probably looking for some hysterical man who’s sulking half the time and erratic the rest of the time (there’s a story there, but I’ll save it for another day…).  Now when I was 21 that was just lovely, but more than a decade later I don’t think so!  On the one hand I’m craving the excitement of the new ‘thing’ (not sure I get to call it a relationship, and yes, I know how stupid that sounds…), but on the other hand, I cant wait for the calm security of actually knowing how someone feels towards you, the confidence you get from being desired… that trumps excitement any day of the week and twice on Sundays! 

And having come to this conclusion, I now have the unenviable task of trying to force my CSW back into her little box at the back of the closet that’s my subconscious.  It wont be easy, she’s a stubborn little thing, and slightly evil, she’s been known to discover imaginary thongs belonging to imaginary women hanging in his bathroom (that actually happened once, long time ago, and I completely lost it, only to realise a few minutes later that said thong was a jock-strap type thingi.  Definitely one of my more embarrassing moments…).  As I was saying, its time to put the craziness aside and get on with it, either the man likes me and it works out, or he doesn’t and I get back into the cesspool that is dating in this our fair city. 

Oh joy!


My sister's got a Range Rover... and that's ok!

So I’m turning 33 in 2 days time and I’m freaking out a little bit.  Its not that I’m uncomfortable getting older, that part I actually enjoy most of the time seeing as how I’m convinced with age comes wisdom and other such feel good nonsense.  No, the reason I’m freaking out is this, I’m broke.  And I’m single.  And I live in my parent’s house in shags.  And I’m broke.  Are you picking up on my theme here?  I’m broke, penniless, no dinero, sina pesa… let me put it this way, if I was a country, I’d be fourth world.  Dude, I am broker than Bhutan!  But I have a plan, several actually…

Plan 1
I’m running for MP in 2012.  I don’t really need to give any reasons do I? 

Plan 2
I’m looking for a rich widower to marry.  Apparently, women today have taken to scanning obituaries in an attempt to find a man, and while I initially wrote said women off as desperate cows in need of counselling, I am starting to appreciate the brilliance of this plan.  Think about it, the man is grieving so he's not a particularly discerning customer, lower standards mean higher chances for the more aesthetically challenged amongst us.  If he has kids then he’s in dire need of a new house keeper, definitely the fast track to marriage for anyone willing to play mommy to his brats, and he’s willing to pay well for your services.  Amoral?  Yes!  Brilliant?  Definitely!!

Plan 3
I’m applying for a job as a security guard.  I figure I’ll do my time for a year or two, then I’ll heist a bank, or an ATM, or an armoured truck, and retire to a deserted island.

Plan 4
If all else fails, I plan to run my sister over with a tractor.  Why?  Because she has named me her beneficiary in all her insurance policies and her will, and she drives a Range Rover, so I’m sure there’s money somewhere (unless of course she’s one of those weekend millionaires who hire flashy cars on the weekend and spend their weekdays on the Citihoppa, but I digress…). 

At this point you’re probably wondering why I don’t just go out and get a job like the rest of you hard working Kenyans, right?  But alas, that’s not the reason I’m perpetually broke.  I have a job, a good one I thought, until my sister went and bought a Range Rover, and now my parents have consigned me to the ‘ne’er do well dustbin of disappointment’, although I suspect I was thrown in said bin years ago once they realised their little girl, now fully grown woman, had no intentions of leaving the nest.  In their defence, however, it has to be admitted that my attempts to build a timber shack in their garden, down near the river, 2 years ago, may have confirmed their suspicions, but, again, I digress… 

My problem is that my siblings (I spit on them…) are just so bloody successful, all of them, cant seem to put a foot wrong!  And me, the brightest and most brilliant, if only in my deluded head, nothing!  So all my seemingly great achievements simply pale in comparison to their Range Rovers and Audis and bloody Jettas, despite my brilliance.  There’s one I think I might eventually catch up with, in theory, but that’s only because shes the conservative, thereby appearing to be less well off than the rest, but I’ve seen her bank statements and she is richer than freaking Croesus, so all pretence at catch-up will be just that, pretence.   

So, what is to be done?  Well, assuming I do not go ahead with plan number 4 involving the tractor, perhaps its time to take stock of my seemingly unsuccessful life and figure out a plan for my future that does not include filial homicide.  All this is being done with a view to finding the much talked about ‘sense of fulfilment’ you often read about, in those self help books that teach you to rely on oneself (perhaps the best way to rely on oneself is by not reading another self’s random mutterings?).  Allegedly, when one is at peace with oneself, then all else shall flow forth.  I know, it sounds like a load of bull, but I’ve tried everything else, so why not?