Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On Life: (Female) Family Politics

I'm a big fan of Asa and I love both her albums. I've listened to both albums over and over again. She's such a great lyricist and all the words in her song make sense. She talks about life as she sees it - whether it is relationships, culture, family problems, politics, war and so on.

One of my favourite songs on her second album (Beautiful Imperfection) is Bimpe. I love the simplicity of the music and the beats, but above all, the song tells a story. It is the story of an unnamed  character, and Bimpe is her boyfriend (or husband)'s younger sister. But they do not get on at all. The narrator accuses Bimpe of overstepping her boundaries, of disrespect, saying bad things about her and of sticking her nose into her private affairs.

Now in Yoruba culture, a wife is supposed to respect all her husband's family members, even if they are younger than her. Perhaps this Bimpe takes advantage of that culture and is rude and disrespectful of her brother's wife because she knows that the wife cannot openly confront her. So in the song, the narrator is trying to send Bimpe a warning to back off and stop disturbing her relationship with her brother.

I tried to imagine myself in that situation.Thankfully, I have a great relationship with my hubby's sisters who are lovely people. But we hear so many horror stories of wife and in-law battles, or the political games that both sides try to play to keep the peace even if they don't get on well. I have friends who are happily married, apart from the fact that they don't like members of their husband's family. And I have friends who don't particularly like the lady that their brother is dating or married to. 

It also seems to be a woman thing, for some reason. I don't hear of wives having battles with their father-in-law or brother-in-law. It's usually the husband's female relatives that are hostile to his wife. I wonder why. Are we females so selfish and possessive that we feel we have to protect our "territory"? Do we see the new woman in a son or brother's life as a threat to our own position? Is there no room in a man's life for other women apart from his immediate family? Questions, questions.....

Anyway, back to Asa's song about Bimpe. Someone needs to tell her to chill and back off - that's what the narrator is saying. It almost sounds like "Your brother loves me, deal with it." I love the way the narrator even calls Bimpe out on some of her own issues - Bimpe is unmarried but she has a child out of wedlock. Bimpe has no manners, but she is looking for a husband to marry. Bimpe, fix your issues and stop minding other people's business!

My other favourite song on the album is "Ore", that's another very interesting story. We'll save that for another day....

Did I tell you I looooooooooooove Asa? Here's a photo of me posing like Asa. The photographer knew I was a huge fan, so he handed me the guitar to pose with. I wish I could actually play though!
(c) Tolulope Popoola

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Short Story - Divine Intervention

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Kunle and I were in love. He was seventeen, and I was fifteen, and he made me happy like no other person had before him. Not my mother who nagged me, and watched me like a hawk, and made me do all the chores around the house. Not like my father, the abusive man I had given up on; whose presence was worse than his absence. While I tiptoed around my parents, with Kunle I could be free to be myself.

Kunle lived with his parents and sisters three houses away from ours on Adebajo Street. Their house was the biggest and best looking one on the street, prettied up with rows of neat flowers and hedges lining their garden. I lived with my parents in a small two-bedroom flat behind Chief Adeleke’s house. My mother was the cook and the nanny to the Adeleke family’s young children. They allowed us to live in their compound so that my mother would not have to travel back and forth.

Being Kunle’s girlfriend made all the other girls in the neighbourhood jealous. I heard of this from my best friend, Shade, who lived next door. She told me that some of the other girls felt I was beneath Kunle and that he could do better. To tell the truth, I couldn’t believe my luck either. Kunle could have had his pick of any of the other girls, but he chose to be with me. This made me suspicious of his advances at first. But he won me over. With his handsome smile, his love letters and his little gifts of jewellery and expensive sweets.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Choosing My Book Cover

In the past few weeks, I have been working with my publisher, marketing director and graphics designer to come up with a great book cover for my upcoming novel "Nothing Comes Close."

The designer produced two great covers, and I was delighted with his work. The problem is, I can't choose which one I prefer! So I asked a few friends for their opinions and the votes were pretty much split down the middle.

More confused than ever, I asked my friends on my Facebook Page, and again, the votes were pretty much even.

So I thought, maybe I should ask my blog friends - what do you think? Some of you may have followed the series, read the excerpt or even received the free giveaway copies of the book. Which cover do you prefer, and why?

I would really appreciate your response!

1) Sunset Couple
2) Painting Couple

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Book Excerpt (1) - Nothing Comes Close

An excerpt from the forthcoming novel "Nothing Comes Close". This story is a spin-off from the popular online series "In My Dreams It Was Simpler". 

Synopsis: Sassy, confident career girl, Lola meets cool, handsome, unpredictable hunk, Wole. He pushes all the right buttons for her, and sparks fly. Wole is also irresistibly drawn to Lola, and before long, they get together in a delightful romance. But Wole is not all that he seems, and he is holding back a lot of secrets.
Things start to unravel when Wole’s past starts to catch up with him and Lola has to decide if Wole is worth the trouble that threatens to overwhelm her. Will their relationship survive the trials of a murder investigation, a meddling relative and a trip across the world? Or will they give up and go their separate ways? Find out in this fantastic new book!


‘Slam dunk!’
‘Great shot!’
I retrieved the ball and bounced passed it to my team mate Kenechukwu. We were playing basketball with some of the other guys in the gym. I was drenched with sweat but feeling absolutely great. I had just recovered from a grim bout of flu and it felt great to be alive and fit again. I ran down the length of the court and threw the ball straight up into the other team’s net again.
‘Someone is on fire today,’ Mark grinned as he retrieved the ball. He was playing for the opposing team.
‘For sure!’ I called back.

We played for another ten minutes before the whistle went and our booked slot was over. I tossed the ball towards Kenechukwu and we started going towards the showers, clapping the guys on the back, muttering ‘good game guys, see you next week…
Mark joined us a few moments later.
‘Well done Wole,’ he said. ‘Did you overdose on some high energy drink?’
‘Naa,’ I said. ‘Just full of beans today.’
‘So I see,’ Kenechukwu said. ‘What have you got planned for the rest of today?’
‘I’m going to see my girlfriend in Kent this evening.’ Mark said
‘Not much. I was thinking of catching up on some work.’ I said. ‘I slacked last week because of the flu.’
‘Keep the work till later, man. Since you’re buzzing with energy today, you can be my right-hand man.’
‘What are you up to?’
‘I’ve got an album launch and a birthday party. Plenty of opportunities to meet chicks.’
‘I’m not looking to meet anyone.’ I said. ‘But I don’t mind having some fun this weekend. I can do my extra work during the week.’
‘Great. Sorry you can’t come with us Mark.’
‘I’ll survive without you today. You’re becoming a bad influence on me anyway, Kene.’ Mark said.
‘Me? I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ Kene replied, raising one eyebrow.
‘Don’t worry Mark. I’ll do my best to keep him in check.’ I said.
‘Good luck with that.’ Kene said, and we all laughed.