It was a sunny afternoon, I’d just knocked off work and after a quick stop at my sister’s for my ’raiding the fridge’ Saturday ritual, feeding myself on their leftovers (read, elaborate meals lovingly prepared for the clan, and thoughtfully left unfinished for lazy scavengers like me), I made my way home with an elaborate plan to bum, outside out on the little patch of grass next to what is laughingly described as a terrace.  I had in mind a lazy afternoon wrapped up in the fantastic world of Mr Martin, accompanied by a glass of whatever poison I would find under my sink, but as I was making tracks, I got a call, a pal wanting to stop by and join me out on the grass.  He was bringing the wine, with the expectation of nothing other than comfortable silence, broken occasionally with requests for a refill.  ’Why not?’ I thought, ’It would be good to have someone sitting next to me, no?’  He showed up at my door several hours later, with his partner in crime in tow, Uchumi paper-bag in hand laden with a bottle of whiskey, a bottle of Coke Light (more on that later) and a jumbo bottle of wine (more on that too).  My kinda people these ones...  What was meant to be a quiet afternoon out on the grass became a drink up with mind fuck conversations/arguments, random music, a late night fry-up of meat and potatoes, and at least one unhappy neighbour (although, given that this neighbour is always unhappy, that may not be saying much).  Again, my kinda people...

Detour.  Coke Light tastes absolutely horrible.  I have the better part of that crap still sitting in my fridge and I don’t know what to do with it, I’m thinking of using it to unclog my drains.  Clearly the secret of Coke is the sugar, take that out and what’s left is carbonated coloured water.   Further detour. I’m the genius who puts Tonic Water in whiskey, so clearly I have questionable taste, but mixing whiskey with Coke is suspect.  Whisky a la Famous, perhaps, but whiskey with an ’e’?  Listen to me talking like a whiskey snob, and a couple of years back I was the langa causing outrage in the bar by adding that very same Coke into a glass of Glen.  Nkt! myself.  Kila mtu na chake, no?  Just as long as I don’t have to pay for it.  Second last detour.  I know the jumbo bottles of wine are seen by some as lacking in ’class’, but why buy two 750ml bottles, to look fancy, when you can buy one 1.5l bottle and save 300 bob in the process?  Granted, I’m a bit of a cheapass, always looking for a bargain, but I refuse to put on airs when it comes to wine.  Given that I go through a fair bit on a typical month, seeing as how its my refreshment of choice, other than water, that 300 bob saving adds up to another bottle, or three.  And there you have it, how to drink wine on a budget.  You can thank me later.  Last detour.  Food cooked at 11:00 pm under the influence will inevitably taste good, no matter how rare the meat and/or potato.  And it will never kill you.  True story.  Detours over.

Today’s track is a song that’s been on loop on my computer for the past week, this after said Saturday pal gave me a flash disk full of random music.  Incidentally, people do that, bring me music, just.  Seems my fondness for a good tune, and booze, and books, and maybe porn, is well known.  Hmmm...  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not?  Still, it could be worse, I could have people bringing me Blue Band, or cement (oddly enough those two have some similarities, no?).  I was saying, I got some new tunes, only these new tunes are actually old tunes. I am now the proud owner of a mini-collection of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, a truly genius lady called Irma Thomas (whom I had never heard of and who will definitely feature here soon), and this month’s obsession, Ms Aretha Franklin.  Haiya!  Kumbe all this talk of how great the woman is wasn’t all dubious Motown hype?  I always thought she sounded a little screechy, too woohoohoo for my liking (stop laughing, that word makes sense).  Her greatest hits album spans blues, soul, pop, traditional gospel, country, rock and roll, I think the only thing she hasn’t done is reggae.  This mama is the shit!  ’Daydreaming’ is the song on loop, and it is so damn lovely I can’t help but to play it for you.  I’d heard covers, but this is the first I’d heard of the original (yes, I say this with shame).  Its the perfect song for a lazy afternoon in the sun, a strange combination of almost jazz rhythms, easy vocals and psychedelic sounding thingis at the beginning and end.  Useless fact No. 648: Donny Hathaway plays electric piano on the single version, very nice (don’t look at me like that, si I said useless?).

He’s the kind of guy that would say, ’Hey baby let’s get away, let’s go some place, hun,
Where I don’t care,’
He’s the kind of guy that you give your everything, your trust, your heart, share all of your love,
Till death do you part...

These lyrics sound like this is one of my fluffy posts, no?  Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from my intention.  Ignore what she’s saying and just go with the flow, kick back and relax with a mellow tune and stop trying to guess where I’m taking you today, yes?  Good.

Living alone is a strange thing.  On the one hand the freedom to come and go as you please, revelling in the silence, never having to speak to anyone, or anything, unless you want to, its a wonderful thing.  But then one day you want to speak to someone, see someone, have someone around to bother you with inane rubbish, someone to throw the paper at in a fit of rage after you’ve just read yet another idiotic restaurant review that spends more time talking about the colour of the chairs than the food (I am resisting the urge to go off on another detour...).  Sometimes, you just want someone around, no?  Hang on, I think I’ve blogged about this before.  Shame man, I have.  Clearly I’ve been doing this blogging shit too long, now I’m going round in circles, but that’s a discussion we’ll have another day.  The last time I talked about this, I made my one and only foray into erotic writing (read, porn), this as I described my afternoon caller.  My sentiments on living alone haven’t changed much from last year, except that these days what I crave more is random conversation, not just random shags.  Which is not to say I was only craving the shag last year, I’m just saying I now want...  You know what?  This hole I’m digging can only get deeper, so I think I should shut up now.  Let us move swiftly along...

Man is a social animal.  That’s what a friend said to me on the phone last night, as he sought to explain why he was in a bar on a Tuesday night.  I’ve never bought that line, I’m more of a hermit, preferring my own company to that of strangers.  Or so I thought.  For the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling quite...friendly? I’ve been actively looking for company, any company.  Out for dinner on random week nights, out visiting people on the weekend, talking to the one idiot I swore never to talk to at the local (the man is creepy when sober, worse when drunk).  Random conversations.  Thing is, I’m not the only one who’s been doing it.  Something about Westgate got us eager to get out of our neatly sealed little worlds, looking to reach out and connect with those we consider near and dear, and even the odd ones.  In the week immediately following the attack, the week we were stuck watching pictures that weren’t changing (I’m still upset about that saga), I found myself talking to people I hadn’t talked to in months, a year in one case, people who, like me, were alone in their houses, and feeling alone too I’m guessing. In a city of three million plus, living alone sometimes feels like living in a city of one, until langa terrorists come along to remind you that you are not an island, and your fortress is not impenetrable (mixed metaphors?).  Perhaps tragic incidents are a timely reminder just how fickle life is, or perhaps reaching out to connect is in fact the human condition, who knows?

I want to be what he wants, when he wants it, and whenever he needs it,
And when he’s lonesome and feelin’ love starved, I’ll be there to feed it,
I’m lovin’ him a little bit more each day,
He turns me right on when I hear him say...

That Saturday, three people who all live alone, and proudly so, sat down and spent many hours together, just talking.  No TV, no iPads or internet (well, there was internet the one time, to take a dodgy Dr Phil test.  Yes, we were probably kinda mellow at that point, or at least I hope we were...), phones virtually silent.  Soul on the hi-fi, booze in hand and conversation. It was like being in the local, only without the dodgy waitresses, inflated bills, smelly loos, mismatched furniture...wait, the furniture was, is, mismatched...no loud drunks in the corner arguing over Hague...wait, we did get loud over politics, no?  No, that fight was about religion.  At one point, one of the guys leaned back and said, taking a contented sip of his James and Coke, having just made what he considered a profound statement on the benefits of weed, ’This is the best evening I’ve had in ages,’ to which his pal eagerly agreed.  Please note that this is coming from a pair of idiots who go out so often they should have a club in Westlands named after them by now, in honour of their constant patronage, and/or foolishness.  I leaned back, took a sip of my wine and smiled.  ’It is,’ I replied, enjoying the sound of voices other than my own in my house, voices not coming from the TV, or radio, or my head.

Hey baby let’s get away, let’s go somewhere far,
Baby can we?
Where I don’t care...

As you have no doubt realised by now, there is no point to this tale.  Truth is, I just wanted to play you this song.  I probably should have warned you right at the beginning that this one would be a bit random, but where’s the fun in that?