Favourite Songs: Pre-Teen

I’ve decided to list the top five songs from my childhood, at least as I remember them.

Thriller – Michael Jackson

Black Or White – Michael Jackson

Dad came back one day with a DVD (a common theme regarding this list). It was a compilation of MJ’s best music, one my Dad had brought back from a work trip to our Western neighbours, Botswana (this will also be a common theme). MJ would thus cement himself as my favourite artist growing up. I mean, the guy has two gems in my top 5. If nothing else he was a real talent.

All Star – Smash Mouth

This song holds a special place in my heart. First heard on a DVD Dad brought back from Botswana this song signalled the birth of Joe the public speaker. As I recall it, music class was approaching an end and we had a few minutes to spare before the bell rang. Our teacher was gracious enough to give us, a group of overexcited 10 year olds, the chance to make utter fools out of ourselves. A friend of mine, an even more overzealous kid called Tino, then prompted me to rap the popular song that had been making the rounds as the background to a potato chip ad. It also featured on Rat Race, a movie I thoroughly enjoyed because it had Rowan Atkinson in it… and Rowan Atkinson is a simply glorious creation… he IS Mr. Bean! Now normally I would have shied away from the spotlight… normally… the thing most people don’t know is that this was also the time when the idea of crushes was beginning to take hold in my mind. I had someone I needed to impress. So I gave it a go… and I must say, it was a resounding success.

True Colours – Phil Collins

This was the birth of my taste in good music. What a jam! The reason it eventually became my favourite is actually because of peer pressure. One of my closest childhood friends, Bomi was and still is his name, laughed at me when I owned up to never having heard the song before. The guy could laugh! It was so annoying. “How could you not know this song?” he asked increduoulsy and teary eyed. This was pre-confident me… I didn’t take it too well… so I went home and looked for the song, writing down the lyrics and learning it word for word. It’s stupid, I know this and I agree with you, but  had it not happened I don’t think I would have loved the music I love today. And I love the music I love today. Why? Because it’s good music!

Life Is A Highway – Rascal Flatts

‘Cars’… What a movie! The highlight: a scene right after the first race when Lightning got in the huge truck and on the road. The music in this scene was simply glorious. I cried upon singing it! I know… I was an emotional little child back then, maybe it contributed to my lack of tears right now. Perhaps I used them all up when I was younger. Anyway, I learned the song word for word by replaying the DVD my Dad brought back from (I’m sure you know by now) a work trip to Botswana over and over. I played the DVD from that scene one day when he was about to leave for work. He came back to find me replaying that very scene still over 8 hours later! It’s the only reason I learned how to use loop on a DVD player! It’s partly why it ranks first in my list.

Shhhh… Thank You

Lightning flashes across the sky.

Cracking it open for a short while.

So bright! I’m blinded I can’t see!

I blink away the the weird shapes obscuring my vision.

They finally float away.

For a second I think I’m safe then… CRACK!

The thunder comes.

Yay! That’s my favourite part!

I jump in mock shock.

I love the drums!

After all I’m a fan of rock!

That’s why I lose the game a lot.

I’m always choosing bloody rock…

As if it lives, I just called it “bloody”.

It must be iron that’s why it’s ruddy…

My best friend, my only buddy.

Tell me to stop now. (Referring to myself?)

This stream of thought is unhealthy.

It’s poison don’t you see?

An endless flow of words tumbling over,

Like a waterfall, trailing into the deep.

I’m dry for days, then suddenly – I gush out!

I can’t stop speaking!

You just want me to shut up.

So I do.

My Favourite Kind Of Movie Romance

So… Spider-Man. It seems to be a recurring theme on my blog, doesn’t it? The title to this post refers to the romance between protagonist Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in the film ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’. They shared  I found to be very intriguing.

Why am I fan? Well there’s a substantial amount of making out in the film. That’s some good eye candy right there! 😂 But that’s the least attractive thing about their dynamic. Both are witty – blessed to the sky with conversational acrobatics akin to the parkour the title character exhibits. Yet when Peter tried courting Gwen he fumbled about like a toddler in the world’s darkest room. So awful was his attempt to woo her – it actually worked. Here’s the interesting bit: one could attribute shyness to vulnerability. Peter completely lacked confidence because he was out of his depth when it came to Gwen. One could argue that they were characters written to make the perfect match yet to Peter that wasn’t the case. Peter felt inferior next to Gwen. You have to understand this version of Peter was pretty confident. Nah scratch that, he was actually pretty cocky. So to feel that way regarding Gwen only meant that his view of her was untarnished. She was more than great in his eyes. To him she was perfect.

Ths argument would then be brought up. Nobody is perfect – so this relationship would never work. After all the illusion of perfection would fade eventually. Yet being perfect to Peter need not mean actually being perfect. Peter accepted Gwen and loved her, imperfections and all as if she were perfect. I think that’s special. Throughout the movie it feels like they’re in the honeymoon period and it never lets up. Even when they place each others lives at stake there is no resentment, only worry for each other’s safety. They seemed like a young, more vibrant version of Uncle Ben and Aunt May… a couple whose relationship spanned decades, ’til death. I could see their relationship lasting just as long.

For Peter two things mattered more than anything. Gwen’s safety as well as her happiness in equal measure. I stress the word equal. Gwen loved Peter with equal intensity. The depth of character provided by the script and the performances was equally impressive. There was an equality in their relationship, intelligence as well as relevance. In actual fact, Gwen was ahead of him in the intellectual pecking order in school – and Peter was a well-acknowledged genius.

I appreciate that even when they barely knew each other she offered him solace at the passing of his uncle, his sole living father figure. Her shared sorrow was nearly tangible. Yet when her own father dies something odd happens. Peter doesn’t attend the funeral.

It’s quite sad. What makes it worse is that Peter is partially responsible for the deaths of his uncle as well as Gwen’s father. Yet he didn’t attend the latter’s funeral. It had to do with a promise he made to the man as he was dying. To keep his daughter, Gwen, away from harm. So he had to leave her. Nobody close to Spider-Man would ever truly be safe. So he kept the promise. But after seeing that both of them were unhappy with his decision he broke his promise. It would be pointless to keep her safe if she was unhappy. So Gwen’s happiness was above his integrity and superseded even his immense guilt.

PS They were also very cute together. I think that’s all I needed to say really.

My Second Most Embarrassing Moment

As penance for not going through with my daily posts I’ve decided to add this more personal one. If I don’t put up a daily post in the future I’ll post my most embarrassing moment to date. Hopefully that won’t be necessary.

PS This post ties in quite nicely to my last, so do check it out.

Occasion: Prize-giving Night/Ceremony.

Setting: First place at new school after having failed miserably during the first couple of months of ‘integration’.

Location: Eaglesvale Preparatory School, Harare, Zimbabwe

Time: Sometime after 6 pm (which is usually full on night time in Harare.)

The night had gone better than planned. I felt immensely proud of my achievement and I was happy to note that I had brought joy to my parents as well as my little sister. Can you imagine that she elected to sit on my lap throughout the proceedings? That was really adorable, wasn’t it? Now she’s far too tall and old to do so without breaking my hipbone. Sitting to my right was the second placed student, Ruva was (I should probably say is unless she changed names) her name. She was giggling the whole time, something I guess I’d long attributed to her nature. If something was funny she’d let those around her know it, a redeemable trait if you asked me (at the time).

If you read my last post then you’ll understand why I was elated. I was beyond ecstatic on the night and the excitement I felt was just waiting for the right person then it would burst out of me… I could feel it bubbling throughout the ceremony, just waiting to erupt.

The proceedings kept the students winning prizes segregated from the main student body as well as their parents. So I would only be seeing mine (possessive pronoun because I love them) when they got to the car. Parents would have tea and cake, refreshments of all sorts waiting for them… students would have to find out where the cars were parked and wait there, in the dark.

I found the car. Mitsubishi Chariot, huge thing, especially to a ten year old version of myself – one who hadn’t encountered SUVs before. I waited in the dark for my parents to come so I could give them both hugs and share squeals of delirious delight. Then I saw my mother approaching, in the dark, and ran to her like a wild animal let out of it’s cage for the first time in years.

“Mommy! I…”

I’m sure you get it now… It wasn’t my mother I’d run towards… It wasn’t my mother who had witnessed me screaming gleefully… No, it wasn’t my mother… It was Ruva’s! And boy did she laugh.

I can hear it even now, eleven years on. I feel if there was an escalator between heaven and earth the people at the top would have been trembling from the shockwaves of her laughter. I’m sure that even in the vacuum of space it could be heard. So loud and genuine was her laugh that it shattered all of my ego. My large, proud head was brought down to size and then some. Oh – to top it off, her Mom giggled too…

To this day I don’t know why I reacted the way I did. Maybe I could have kept my cool better? But I was 10 and this was a major achievement for several reasons. Ruva’s mother was a bit on the plump and short side, especially in the dark. In 2006 my mother fit that profile. It was also dark and they were walking towards me. But I’d made a massive mistake. Before today only four people knew about it. The three that took part included. Only one of them remembers it vividly. (Unless I have DID/MPD.)

After the whole debacle, the next day even, I was told that they’d seen me make my way to the car and had wanted to congratulate me on my first place award. That obviously didn’t happen as planned. Completely bewildered by the awkward proceedings, Ruva’s mother found it best to abruptly change direction and her daughter and she went to the car using a different route.

“Ndiye Ayanda akangwara wacho iyeyu?” she asked incredulously as Ruva’s earth-shuddering cackle FINALLY subsided. This loosely translates to, “This is the genius you were telling me about? Really? This guy?” Only to have her daughter start laughing again.

Needless to say everytime I talk to my friend I recall this meeting. Thankfully she doesn’t bring it up (too often). It may have happened over a decade ago but it still ranks second on my list of embarrassing moments.



I AM Crazy… What’s The Problem?

After chilling on this beautiful planet for just about two decades, interacting with beings that look like me, opposable thumbs and all , one would think that I would know the social norms and adhere to them. Turns out that isn’t the case. Actually, it isn’t the case with several other humans as well. I decided to call the term “normalcy” into question when I was reproached, albeit non-verbally, for speaking aloud while alone… you know, because somebody you’ve never met decided it was weird.

Speaking aloud when alone makes you crazy

I decided to do some research on the signs of craziness, more politely known as mental illness. According to webmd.com (I don’t know how reputable they are but their website was at the top of the results of a quick Google search) the signs for mental illness include:

  • Confused thinking
  • Long-lasting sadness or irritability
  • Extremely high and low moods
  • Excessive fear, worry, or anxiety
  • Social withdrawal
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Strong feelings of anger
  • Delusions or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not really there)
  • Increasing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Denial of obvious problems
  • Many unexplained physical problems
  • Abuse of drugs and/or alcohol

I don’t know how I feel about this list. I’ve read it over a couple of times and I wish I could say that it’s totally bonkers. Unfortunately that would mean I’m proving the third last statement correct. I’m going to go through each of the points and briefly mention what I think.

Ok, look… Maybe it’s just me but I always assumed that people, especially those transitioning through uncertain periods of their lives, like I am at the moment, experience all of these rarely, often or on a daily basis (depending on the person) and it’s absolutely normal. Isn’t it? I am confused at certain periods. Who doesn’t ever get confused? Next up, sadness and irritability… some dude probably thought of a misogynistic joke right now (shame on you) but don’t we all experience those? Aren’t they a part of our emotional spectrum? Excessive fear… “excessive” compared to what exactly? Normal people? Social withdrawal… no comment. Dramatic changes in eating and sleeping habits – two words – college student. Strong feelings of anger – one word – tuition. Delusions and hallucinations? Others argue that life itself is some kind of a hallucination, that hopes and dreams are delusions because face it, how many people get to achieve what they dream? Does that make it a delusion? Dreaming or imagining something that doesn’t/probably won’t ever happen? Daily problems aren’t easy to solve. Hence the term “problem”. I think it makes sense to not be able to cope… unless it’s math… then again it still makes sense because math can be hard. Thoughts of suicide – again, no comment… actually I will comment. If you never think of committing suicide, hat off to you mate! Denial of obvious problems – watch any movie ever and tell me that that isn’t a part of human nature. Unexplained physical problems? Answer: Puberty. Last but not least, abuse of drugs. That makes most of the UK crazy by definition. Also, sleep is not a drug but if it was (were?) I certainly abuse it alright.

Let’s face it, if this was a test then I would have failed miserably. Looking at this checklist I’m definitely “crazy”. Perhaps I’m reading the bullet points out of context. Maybe I’m confused/deluded. To be honest I don’t know what I feel about this anymore. At least I can say that talking to oneself aloud isn’t on the list in spite of the assumption that many “crazy” people share that trait.

One thing that I would like to get across: crazy/weird is whatever strays from the mean. If you aren’t like everybody else then there has to be something wrong with you – that’s the general consensus. But who is the standard? Who sets the standard for what is normal? What did they do to earn that right?

In my honest opinion, as long as you hurt nobody, including yourself – it really doesn’t matter… just do you.

Trafalgar Square

Look at the pretty lion. Roarrrrrrr! Funny enough they could never have lions naturally in the UK because they wouldn’t survive. LOL. Way to start off the blog Joe, be a savage.

Wasup peeps? Guess who went to Trafalgar Square today? This guy! “This guy” as in me. I must say it was absolutely lovely! I went there on the hottest August day recorded since the late 90s… in the 19th century that is. And boy were there loads of hot girls… physically, literally and metaphorically speaking. I worked up a real sweat because of all of the above and lots of walking.

I even had a chat with one of the peeps by the information desk. He was lovely. He gave me some wonderful information about Trafalgar Square, I remember almost none of it but I took a video so you can check it out on YouTube; you know… when I actually grow a pair and give you my YouTube channel name.

All in all it was such a productive day to be honest. I managed to get a high-paying, high-reward job for the school term, talked to the client manager who also happened to be the lady I had a crush on (had the crush die because I encountered unsavoury information after a little bit of interrogation). I also saw some beautiful art in the National Art Gallery, with paintings drawn back when the nip was still free (oh yeeeeeeahhhhh). It was generally such a good day for me that I’m surprised at myself for ending the post here.

Check out some of the pictures below. Take care!

That Awkward Moment When Romcoms Are Better Than Real Life

‘That Awkward Moment’ was lovely as hell… well, if hell was lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie after what was probably my fourth time viewing. The banter… the writers need to be paid double whatever they earned for their fine work. If I had a friend who had the verbal prowess of any of the three main characters, portrayed by Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan, I’d immediately ask for their hand in marriage, be they female or otherwise. And Imogen Poots… my word! Her character was gifted with the perfect measure of quirkiness, wit and authenticity. She was unbelievably cool. If she were real and if we met, it would be love at first sight, at least from my point of view.

In all honesty I fell in love with the characters in the movie, so much so that I had that pang of disappointment when I knew the end was fast approaching. I know that at times it’s cheesy, I know that it’s almost impossible to experience anything similar in real life, I know they swear a lot more than is acceptable but that’s what makes it so wonderful – it’s different from what I encounter every other day. That’s what makes it better.

Now hold up. Why is a romcom, a ROMCOM better than real life? I guess that’s what it’s meant to be. There’s a sad period in most romcoms somewhere but there’s almost always a happy ending. The best part being that the happy ending is achieved in under 2 hours. Real happy endings take a very long time, freaking forever. It’s not even funny. So I guess that’s one of the reasons romcoms are amazing.

There’s also the idea that every protagonist nearly always finds “the One”. If I can remember the Zac Efron line that brought out the inner girl in me it went something like:

“I wasn’t afraid because I thought she wasn’t the one… I was absolutely terrified because I knew she was.”

I mean come on! Doesn’t that just make your spine quiver? There was even a major arc in this movie dedicated to MBJ’s happily ever interrupted by a gruesome divorce… Yet they still find a way to make the movie have a happy ending for everyone involved. How? Why must the ideal and the real be so damn parallel? The author of life surely didn’t intend for it to be this way?

Books and movies and novels are meant to inspire us by letting us know what could be. Key words: what could be. It should be possible to have conversations filled with great banter. “The One” should exist for every single one of us. Life should work out but it very often doesn’t. Why is that the story of humanity? Please make life better than a romcom. That’s all the girl in me really wants LOL.

Thing is; we can do it… we really can! All we need is to cast aside the masks that we wear. All we need is to be the diverse beings we truly are and stop trying to be like that ideal person because newsflash, the ideal person doesn’t exist. Ideal self does. And if everyone was their ideal self then… then we’d be talking. Then we’d be on our way to that world whose script is a reputable number of times better than the romcom I watched this evening. Then ‘That Awkward Moment’ wouldn’t be better than real life, and that would be awesome.