Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Philosophers of The Stone

“yo, our good friend Ms. Rowling gone caught the Agatha Christie Complex.”
“Hey, hey P… what you talking?” It is Kiki talking now.
“Yeah,” says Deno, “What you mean man?”
“You know that thing Agatha does killing her character…?”
“Yea, yea… “ Timi expectorates. (Dude wants to inhale and speak simultaneous like.) “Yeah, the thing our whachamacallim... Mr. Watson? He does it…” He gabbles.
“Kinda like.” I agree assuming he means Conan Doyle. (Whoa, it’s been years since I read that!) “Anyway, see the deal usually is, you do not want folks hijacking your character… er… ghost writing and things see?” I continue.
“James Bond style, huh!” It is that philistine, who thinks Da Vinci Code is a classic, talking now. “… Like what’s that new one… the movie… called?” Dude is asking now. Like is he serious? He is talking James Bond Movies here… Puhliiz… Who is his mother?
“The spy who shagged you…!” That is my boy Timi now coming through with a repartee. He is a caustic one, Timi. He is when he serves you a regular Timi on ice, eh. His words tend to hang in the air a bit like with that ‘don’t-mess’ cool of an iceberg waiting for the Titanic.
“Wha… What? That’s the name of the movie…?” philistine is bubbling and gawking or whatever the word is for that stupid expression he is wearing.
“You know what dude…” Kitau takes a mighty swig of Napshizzle in punctuation. “Why don’t you go check out if there is a new Beyonce video you can get off to?”
“Me, I think…” Dru waxes Cannabis, “Britney Spears preggers is more up his alley!”
“For real…!” Timi agrees while flicking his fingers at Dru. His mouth has already formed a plug and play O of expectation and if you were of a mind to, you could look closely and see his throat muscles spasm with phantom inhalations. “That’s the thing for him…” Timi exhales. “But you were saying sum’n else P, aaaight?”
“Aaaight…aaaight!” I respond while slipping off the stone slab everyone else is seated on to sit on the ground.

I sit right on the ground next to the used condoms, khat twigs and fossilised cigarette butts. Down there is where the heavy gases at. That there is the 20 % (It is obvious I went to a good school, eh. Okay, Deno will tell you that I went to Kathuthiani Mixed Day and Boarding; Ask for Plumber, but do not mind him. He a hater… man… is what he is!) Down there is where the Oxygen is. Above it is the warm gases; the noxious smoke and the Ozone depleting farts of malnourishment.
But what was I saying?


“aaaaghhhhhttt… so our Ms. Rowlings will kill a major character in Book Seven!”
“The last one…?”
“Which character….?
“Who, eh….?”

Man you should see their faces, now. Messed up like, you know. It is a Kodak, no a- Sony CyberShot DSC- F717, 5.02 Mega Pixels moment. Say cheese! (Okay, but you know we do not do fancy gadgets down here, yes? Sure, sure so you have to settle for this pen-picture. I mean, I am sorry, I know you cannot crop a pen-picture, rotate it and thingamajig it to put on your www, but it is the best I can do, see? Carpisce. Yeah, whatever...

But you know what… I am going to sign it: With Love From the Potash Book Club. This is just another one for your Ironies of Africa Collection- Street Intellectuals, Uneducated Philosophers, White Collar Hustlers; et al.) These are my people- book critics sans books; yeah, and without a doubt, the best writers you will never read.

“You jua,” I am telling them. “Stephen King was pleading with her…” At the mention of Stephen King, the boys guffaw. They think I am having them on. You see there is a King story around here. See, usually when we are discussing writers- I mean people who write and not those who copy paste internet stories or those who think Subject + Verb Agreement= Writing and whose primary school-like compositions can be found in [insert local pullout of choice]- there is always the debate over popular vs. highbrow literature.

We are all agreed that John Grisham is junk and Danielle Steel is certified trash; but what about Stephen King? I mean, you have to admit the guy is a master story teller. The guy achieves art, doesn’t he? We cannot begrudge him his penmanship just because he is popular, can we?

(… I am not an arty writer and neither am I popular. Hey in truth, I probably cannot write to save my Napshizzle; but still, down here they call me King- King Shit of Turd Mountain…!)

“Stephen King was pleading with her not to kill Harry Potter.” I whisper, conspiratorially.
“Come on now, Harry Potter…!” Dru exclaims.
“…our leading protagonist…” I underline. “The young Massa hiself…!”
“Ms. Rowlings kills young boys…” Timi mutters through teeth firmly clenched on a freshly rolled joint. He peers into the near distance thoughtfully as he pats his jeans in search os a lighter.
“Who does she think she is? Timi wonders
“What?” Everyone starts.
“Killing young boys…” Timi seems to be addressing the plumes of smoke jumping out of him like a downed Black Hawk. “Who does she think she is, an Israeli soldier or something…?”


Jadekitten said...

Agatha Christie, JK Rowlings, Stephen King, that's a medley of writers right thurr. How many generations did that go through???

This piece, I like.

Somewhat devoid of your usual biting cynicism, replaced by, uh, disdain (at your philistine).

Do people ever accuse you of being condescending? Jus wondering...


POTASH said...

well but all those writers have killed or tried to kill their characters. You missed Conan Doyle who tried to kill Sherlock Holmes.

Yes, disdain because though I used to read James Bond, the ghost writing for the movies is pushing things to far. And I always prefer the book to the movie.

Uhm, condescending yeah.. always. But hey I am who I am.

Vagabond said...

I read about the last Potter book was it, last week but one?...anyway, I confess, I have yet to read any of the these books...that's the only exception I made to watching the movies and not reading the books...

I must say, though, that I LOVE Stephen King…some of his stories are weird (from a Buick 8), others are gross, scary (Christine), downright macabre…others are, just kawa (Fire starter, Misery)…other stories, like the short stories are, well, BRILLIANT…well-told (Shaw shank Redemption….mind, in the book, Red is Irish, in the movie, Red, is… Morgan Freeman) but I still enjoy reading him. I have read so many of his books, I lost track…

Rowlings said something about seeing her writing as preparing her readers for King’s work…of course her target audience is young (although adults also get VERY engrossed in her books, I have noticed) but she does have a point….she does not want other people trying to tell the Potter story (especially badly) when she’s dead….

One of my co workers, a Brit, he collects first edition Ian Fleming books….they were ‘it’ when he was growing up…he will be the first to tell you that no one tells a good James Bond story better than Fleming…

I am with you on books over movies…look at Jason Bourne…the original Bourne was much older than Matt Damon (this was such a joke)... I can’t imagine that Ludlum did not raise this with Hollywood...but then, Hollywood is Hollywood…and Ludlum is dead.

See, Ludlum died before he killed Jason Bourne…and the latest book in the Bourne series, the Bourne Legacy, while a good story, lacks the Ludlum edge…still, Lustbader did try not to change Bourne too much…

YAWN!!I really should stop hijacking your space. :-)

POTASH said...

Wow you are big on King. I discovered him in 2002. I wasn't reading popular fiction before then. I have firestarter in a beautiful hardcover omnibus. I read Christine last month: It is off the hook.
But you should hear what King told his fans who bitched about him killing a dog. He really shouldn't be bitching about Harry Potter.
I read Fleming, like all of them when I was in Primo. I did like them to th e best I can remember. Of course no one can tell Bond like Fleming- no one! It is too his story.
I missed on the Ludlum wave...tehehe...that was high school and I was reading about American Civil rights and Greek Mythology.

Vagabond said...

I was definitely on the Ludlum wagon...barely sleeping at night trying to get thro the Bourne’s and the rest...I especially loved the stories about Sonnekinder...something about new generation Nazis and the suggestion that Hitler was still alive...well woven tales...I really wanted to be in the CIA…they should have had ALIAS then.

Greek Mythology and American Civil Rights in high school...A man after my own heart.

Ps, I checked with my co worker (read: 60 year old cantankerous Brit and my boss twice over but my mentor nonetheless)…he collects Ian Fleming purely for resale...

Girl next door said...

So you're a Harry Potter fan too? I penda the books and movies, although I haven't read the last 2 books. It's sad to kill off the main character, but then again Rowling has to come up with more ideas to keep us on edge or change everything. I don't read Stephen King though; can't handle any scary/horror stories. But I'm a Ludlum fan!

POTASH said...

Why should I read sensationalist fiction when there is Hitler's 'mein kampf' and the autobiography of Adolf Eichman a real nazi Scharführer?
AS for the neo nazis, you will find them if you dig deeply into the American civil rights e.g. Aryan Nation. (The fact that rejecting the holocaust makes one by defination a Neo-Nazi gives me an idea for a post)
Lol...but I am no longer interested in American Civil rights though in resistance I stand somewhere between Malcolm and Dr. King.
Hehe... Ian Fleming is not yet a collecter's item...lol.

As Stephen King said when he killed a dog: it was just a dog, a fictitious dog, what is the big deal? Harry Potter, was great, but I am sure there fikad a time when you couldn't read another hardy boys, eh? Or was it Nancy Drew; Famous Five? It is best to kill the character while he is still loved, than use him to pulp.

Kenyangal said...

The best thing about JK rowling is that she ALWAYS has a surprise in store for her readers.. so you guys might think she will kill off the main character but i'll wait and see what really happens when the book comes out.

P.S. Imagine from reading your post i had no idea what was being talked about.. Thank heavens for the enlightening comments lol

POTASH said...

Njoki...where have you been?...lol Appreciated as always.

Kenyan:Hehe, well you have to get used to my street level pseudo intellectualism...welcome to my spot.

Njoki said...

Potash, Potash your writings from the street have a raw poignant,visceral and stunningly visual beauty. I know,I know...gushing. Don't.Stop.Writing. Entreaty!

POTASH said...

lol @ Njoki:
I am so Blushing..........*%$#

Zephyr said...

I have found myself lately going back to popular fiction, have started on Wilbur Smith again, doing the late night 'this is the last page I am reading' thing. I find it easier to catch up with books after they have 'ishad ladha' so will probably do the Harry Porters in about two or three years.

Vagabond said...

A first Edition of Casino Royale recently sold for 47,000 Pounds...The first five of Fleming's books are going for over 1,000 pounds...so, er, it is a collector's item...beyond that status, actually.

I am not a fan, BUT, if I saw a first edition of say, Diamonds are Forever, with its dust jacket, I would buy it...quite an investment!

Oh, and Wilbur Smith's 'The Sound of Thunder' and 'When the Lion Feeds'...oh, those are worth having as well.

POTASH said...

I do popular fiction when I am feeling brain dead. Lately I have been experimenting with UK contemporary and it is great. You know most of it is actually worthwhile. You know people like: Iain Sinclair, Nick Mosley, and- with my greatest recommendation- Nicola Barker. They aren't best sellers, but in many years from now, they will be labelled as classics.

But on wilbur Smith..(Vagabond I am begining to sneer at your tastes..lol)Wilbur Smith is up there with John Grisham for me. People who write pulp that is only worth reading on a long bus ride.

Then again Wilbur Smith represents that breed of writers I call; 'me Tarzan you... monkey' that sell a million copies because they know about Africa than the rest of us

Mhhh... now you have my attention..lol. I swear I have the fourth book- 'Goldfinger'- written in 59 was it? I must have it somewhere in a termite ridden box that came with the house. There is even a 1910 imprint of Robert Dehan's 'Dop Doctor', think anyone wants that?...lol

Useless information: 1000 pounds was the legacy James Bond received from his parents... haha.. Casino Royale.. read, recall...!!

Vagabond said...

John Grisham is tame, and yes, there’s nothing special about him…some people think him a waste of time…he and Jeffrey Archer and Colin Forbes…and I understand why they say that, really I do…but me, I like to read and I will read just about anything except maybe Danielle Steele and silly romance novels… if I find a book I haven't read, and it holds my attention, I will read it. Shoot me (yes, I am FEISTY). James Clavell, Caleb Carr, Stephen King, Leo Tolstoy, John Le Carre, And I like Nelson Demille...read all his books too while we are on that...he's funny...different genres serve different purposes for me...from autobiographies to verbage ridden reports.

Wilbur Smith... sasa, shida zako… those 2 books are worth something to some people....and they will pay a lot for them, too.

As for your termite infested lair, er, si you just get a can of doom? It kills all dudus dead!!! Lakini, with Loui, the pest getting reincarnated as the same darn dudu …I haven’t much faith in DOOM….ok, so then try Baygon, or even better, RAID.

Njoki said...

Exposing my ignorance...I enjoy reading anything that is not a text book-soup cans, soda lables,cigarette packs, *hysterical* romances, thrillers,self-help books... anything really, that is not required reading.