Believe In Yourself, Lie To Yourself (Or The Case For Confidence)

Myths and folk tales are historical truths spun out of a community’s lies. This one is from ancient Greece and it goes like this: 

So there’s this dude Daedelus, right? Genius, right? And he gets locked up in prison with his kid, a boy named Icarus, right? But there’re like a lot of birds flying around the prison, cos it was on an island in the sea, right…

When I first heard this story, my mind did not go where it was told. It wasn’t pity for Daedelus and son I felt. It was envy. An island where no one could reach you? And not only don’t you ever have to leave, they punish you if you try? I want mine in Lake Bunyoni. But let me not interrupt further.

So, like, Daedelus gathered a shitload of the feathers the birds kept dropping, and, like, he bound the feathers together and made, like, these wings right?

I’m sorry to interrupt again, but this storyteller here, my kinsperson in tale-spinning, how could they miss such an obvious opportunity? Why didn’t they have Daedelus bind the wings together with the bird guano? Then there would be two puns: one from “shitload” and one from “droppings”. But please, go on.

He bound the feathers together with wax, aight? Yeah. There was wax somewhere on the prison island. Then, once they were ready, he put on one pair and gave young Icarus the other pair. And they got up to fly off the island.

But Icarus was a young idiot. He flew too close to the sun, and the sun melted the wax. The feathers were no longer bound together, so they, like, fluttered off him and he fell. 

The idea of falling Icarus is a modern meme that has featured in if not inspired songs, movies, books, poems and paintings. In one case a poem about a painting. I probably didn’t even have to tell you the story. It’s in the canon of modern global pop culture. 

I think of Icarus when I think of the first year of my unemployment. I think of the feeling of freedom, the wind beneath me, the idiot grin on my face, which was the idiot grin of a flying man who just realised what he is doing and said to himself, “Dude, I can fly.”

I think of falling, too. I think of how long it took Daedelus to gather all those feathers; how long it took him to study the form, shape and the arrangement of the constituent parts of wings; how long he spent watching, taking notes, learning how to fly; how much energy it must have taken for a man with human pectoral muscles and human biceps to flap enough to take off, and how hard it was to start flying.

And how easy it was, how diametrically easy it was to fall.

According to the story, the mechanics of their flight were sound. The materials did their bit. It was user- error.

Confidence is vital if you want to fly. To dare take off requires balls the size and density of boulders. To make wings requires balls like hills. But to actually step off the ledge of the cliff? 

How sure Daedelus and Icarus must have been, how firm was their faith in themselves for them to step off the cliff of an island prison, believing that they will not be killing themselves, that they will be freeing themselves? It’s hard to even picture the idea of the concept of the notion that you can step off a ledge and fly. Fly? Flight is the most audacious of our dreams. Only the maddest of us try. 

The first vital element of Daedelus’ plan was confidence, the belief that he could do it. Confidence kept dude going through the trial and error processes every invention has to go through before the hands can get it right. Confidence is what he had to generate, and generate enough of, to convince him to put those things on his back and step off land.  

Balls the size of Muhavura.  

Is confidence a mirage or is it water? Considering how easy it is to be seduced by the shimmering in the distance, only to walk yourself dry chasing it? Or is it confusion? Is it that confidence and cockiness are almost identical, so close in façade that many of us only get to see the difference when it is too late?

Icarus flew thanks to his and his father’s confidence but he fell because of his cockiness. There was that rush that overrode his circumspection, there was a thing that told him, “Ike, you are flying! You are a flying person. You defeated the odds against flying.”

These were true things. But then it said, “You can not fall!” Cockiness is a tricky twin of confidence. 

There has to be a balance somewhere, right? There has to be a point on the map, a figure in the equation where we can say, “Apply 4.56 points of conviction against 9.32 of circumspection, balanced against 221.9 caution and that equals the correct amount of confidence.”

A lot of people told me I was a brand. They said the fame I had accumulated from my column would have companies flocking, pun just snuck in there, to my inbox. I do know that all the work I get to do now, I get to do because my clients, employers and customers know how good I am thanks to the newspaper column I wrote for 20 years. But I also know that, while the name gets you into the meeting, you still have to prove yourself before they cut the cheque. They ask for work, not brands.

Maybe I am wrong about this. Maybe if I was confident enough to barge into offices and name my price I would have J Kazoora money. Maybe I am, secretly, at heart, still as shy as I was when I was young. Maybe that is why I see other people taking bold flight while I sit on my balcony contemplating hubris, talking to myself with a keyboard.

Hubris? Another ancient Greek thing. It is when you over-feel yourself, especially when your pride reaches a peak and the downfall is just around the corner.

But what I do know is this: It’s a complicated equation that leads to balance, but balance can be found.

You need to be your first convert, you need to be your own number one fan. You need to believe in what you do with perfect certainty. You need to know it is the shit. Without that Daedelus determination to believe, you don’t get off the ground.

After that, you need doubt. You need suspicion. You need to second-guess and question. You need to listen to yourself who believed in yourself and you need to shoot back questions like, “Really? Are you sure?” and make sure there is a solid answer. Because that is the way to know how far away from the sun you need to be.

And here I am back in the habit of ending long blog posts without a point.

If you can do anything, you won’t do anything (Or The Paralysis of Genius)

The first day of my unemployment, I was beyond bubbling over. I was past brimming, I was bursting with raw, fresh, new power. I was going to shoot fireballs off my fingers and burn the sky, burn the very sky. If anything I wrote was beamed from the mast on the hilltop to your phone, your laptop, your tv, it would come with fire. 

Everything I held back while I was under the roof of that stoic sarcophagus of dreams called the corporate media was now free. I was going to the internet, the real free world. The internet had no limits. It was open for the taking. And I was going to take it. I was going to, let me use the appropriate internet terminology, own it.

And four years later, it is still…

If I had a dollar for every idea I came up with, I would have one dollar. Because if anyone had paid me for the first idea, I would not have come up with the others. But as it was, nobody paid. 

Nobody came to my bedroom at three a.m. to ask what I had just come up with. Nobody stood at the foot of my bed listening to me stacatto-rap my latest brainwave at them and nobody picked themselves up off the floor, having been bowled completely over, and breathlessly said, “This is going to make us rich! Rich! Rich!”

After I left the job, I found myself at a co-working space. You know the ones. They are designed with snazzy feng shui, bright colours and daring deco choices like furniture made from palettes, huge murals of Nelson Mandela and Tim Cook, blue and red bean bag chairs and coffee servers who speak with international-school accents. When I jumped ship I landed on one of these.

They can be tribal places. Some are popular among white people. Some among NGO bean-counters, some among globe-trotting bankspeople (That particular one I remember well. I was told the rate for the day was 14. I thought they meant 14k. Kumbe!) The one where I ended up was filled with youngsters. Early-to-mid-twenties. Youth. With Youth potential. With youth energy.

I sat across the baby pool table with these youth bouncing ideas back and forth. We cooked up some audacious schemes. But nobody came to the baby pool table to ask what was up and/or if any of us could take a cheque.

Because this nobody was so assiduous at ignoring my brainwaves, I kept coming up with more.

In the first year alone, I created a webcomic, I begun producing a youtube series. I wrote a sitcom. I wrote three podcasts. I wrote novels. I created a Facebook fiction serial. I invented a social media soap opera.

The reason I did so much stuff was because it is fun coming up with things there is a straight-to-the-nuts ego-rush cannot be replicated through hard work. The initial euphoria of the initial eureka will not be matched until it meets the pride of having finally hit the goal. Fire courses through your veins when you are coming up with an idea. And, I presume, your heart is warm when the idea attains final success when the fire has arrived. But in the meantime…

This is the paralysis of genius. This is why if you can do everything, you end up doing nothing. 

Fate.

You get the idea, you get excited, you start to work on it. Then you get another idea. When that happens, you discard the last one and you throw all your muscle into the new idea. The last one is discarded, abandoned, left to dust. 

Meanwhile, nobody maintains nobody’s winning streak.

The pace heightened as the months slid in and under. I would come up with something new almost every week- the parody socialite, the Ugandan comic strip blog, the fitness and diet podcast, all of them now just squiggles in abandoned notebooks.

I told myself that I was juggling them, that I could do both, then all three, then all five, then all dozen. But then I started quitting, quite inadvertently, but quite actually quitting them, one by one.

It’s not that these ideas weren’t good. It’s just that they never stood a chance. What happens to a hyperactive dreamer’s dreams deferred?

No idea occurs to just one brain. Certainly not in this Uganda where talent and shrewdness are packed thick like white kikumis and blue Allexes in that Jinja road jam. Everything you come up with, someone else comes up with.

The difference between me and the book lady is that she followed through.

The difference between me and Uncle Mo is that he went the distance.

The difference between me and Ray is that he stuck it out.

Coming up with ideas feels amazing. It’s the bright flash of conception. But pregnancy is work. There are a lot of skills and crafts and techniques to learn, a lot of discipline and focus and sacrifice to endure, and a lot of exhausting and taxing and rough emotions to go through and a lot of self-doubt and weakness and questioning which need to be followed by a lot of resolve and grit before you can turn an idea into a thing. Every success story is a story of work.

Here we find ourselves. I would like to end this post with a bona fide success story, the tale of a triumph that I earned from putting in the sweaty hours, but I don’t have one yet. Because in addition to focus and discipline, it also takes time.

But I know there are Ugandans out there with gifts of astounding power. I know there are dreamers out there, artists, entrepreneurs and hustlers with passion and drive. You have ideas, too, and ideas feel goood! Goood! And the next new idea will seduce you with the promise of that feeling repeated. 

But if all you ever do is get new ideas, you will not move.

One of the hard lessons from this wilderness sojourn is not just that you have to pick one idea and stick to it up to the end, but that you have to say no to so so many others.

Suki sends her regards.

Let’s start at the end, shall we?

I started work right out of university, a skinny, dishevelled runt, a pale shadow of my future self. I walked with a nervous shuffle, too shy to look anyone in the face, and the little talking I did was potholed prolifically with my stutter. I was a shy boy, timid and unsure of everything in the world except my keyboard. That was when I crossed town from Makerere University to the head offices of the New Vision Print and Publishing Corporation. The Corporation is where I had done my internship, where I submitted my Campus Eye column every week, and when I was done with campus, I asked it, “Now what?” 

The Corporation replied, “Sit down in that corner and type into me.”

And that is what I proceeded to do. For twenty years.

I never experienced any real youth unemployment. I never felt the angst and the anxiety that young people go through in the interim between school and success.   

You could say I had not paid my dues, so when I left the Corporation, aged 40, I found those dues, in mounting arrears, waiting to claim.

Many people change careers in middle-age, but mine was different. Mine was not just unemployment, but was much-delayed youth unemployment.

This is why I think it was similar in some ways to what some of you are going through, or are going to go through: I didn’t know jack.

I had a vague notion of what success I desired, yes,  but dreams are not plans, and desires are not targets. I knew nothing about getting work, less about getting a job, and most of all, utter zilch about how abysmal my ignorance was in those two regards. If anything is the certificate stamp of youth, it is that you don’t know what you don’t know.

I had needed someone to come and tell me those nine words every youth needs to hear when they find themselves thrust into the merciless storm of adulthood: a saying of such immutable, absolute authority it might as well be scripture somewhere, this phrase: “But unfortunately that is not how the world works”.

Let me tell you all about it. Here is the first post. Click here.

Why “Axa” is worse than “$$%!£!”

The last time I had to endure this thing that we called “axa” was when I still watched TV. Someone on screen was trying to be glamorous in those lifestyle shows we had. It was Showtime Magazine, I think. Or was it what Login became during and after Rabin? Whoever and whichever it was, the host of this show was very enthusiastic, very eager to impress herself so she flung wayward rs everywhere. She did not care that nobody needed them; she was determined to provide an excess of them.

It was very very very irritating. 

Luckily for us, Uganda’s economy and education system has developed since then and nowadays radio and TV stations can find and hire people who pronounce soft vowels naturally, saying, “But he bought a boat and a bat” like real bazungu. They do not need to pretend, because it is the way they always speak; they are not faking any of it. 

The new broadcasters can do this either because they were raised in ocs, or because they went to one of those international schools where the alumni all say, “Like, whaaaa? Like, furreal? Gidouta here! Whaaa?”

We no longer needed posers and fakers gibbering “That worse are curly worth are burr leave are corn floor” when “That was R. Kelly with I Believe I Can Fly” was all that was required of them.

Social media and greater internet access also helped to show media bosses what real American accents sounded like, and this contributed to closing the market on fake ones. At the very least, internet access allowed us to finally cancel R. Kelly.

The Ugandan slang term for fake accent doesn’t have a spelling, because we have never bothered, but it sounds like akza, or accsa. May I render it as “axxa” from here on?

The second most irritating thing about the fake axxers was how bad they were at it. They did not pronounce words in American ways, which was their goal, they just mispronounced everything. They had this stupidly stubborn notion that to speak like an American all they had to do was to draw their tongue back into the “R” position wherever a vowel was encountered and urs are rursurlt thur erndred urp srourndrng are burt lurk thurs.

Yes. TV show hosts and radio presenters, professionals hired and paid to speak, would deliberately speak badly. People who had the option of saying words properly would choose, intentionally, no gun to their head, to speak in gibberish instead. 

During the past ten years, real axxa got on air, and some of the speakers had real wit, real charm, and were worth listening to for what they had to say, not just how they said it. This astounded the media industry. “What? You mean it is content and not axxa that entertains listeners? What a shock!” 

The past generation of TV and radio presenters were just as taken aback, only they said “Wart a shark!” 

Once the programme directors realised that no axxa was even necessary, they got the confidence to hire people who speak in natural, crisp and clear, genuine, good-old, homegrown Ugandan accents.

Since that happened I even forgot what a faxxer sounded like. 

Until yesterday.

I would much rather have told you that I was in a cafe lunching on rice-beef when a bull barged in and killed me for eating its wife. I would rather tell you that one of the tomatoes sprang to life and insulted my choice of hat. I would rather say the beef I had ordered turned out to be grilled bat. 

But instead, this is what I have to tell you. I heard a faxxa. 

“&*%$^!!” I consequently said to myself.

I will not give you the actual word I said because some people find that language offensive, but just take that word of mine for it, &*%$^!! is not even half as offensive as the way this man was talking.

It was someone young with big hair, light skin and an iphone earbud poking out of each lobe. He was leaning inwards to talk to the girl he was with.

He was a Ugandan man. This was made more evident by the fact that he spoke too loudly. Ugandan men have no inside voices. That is why when you see a man and woman having a conversation outside the gate, while you are on the fourth floor balcony, you can hear every single word the guy says, but you cannot hear the woman. It is because he is a Ugandan man. Ugandan men do not have volume modulators. 

This Ugandan man was rwwrrwwwrreweerwering away, loving the sound of his own voice and the words it uttered, rrrrurrrling on and on and orrnrrr. 

I would have preferred it if he had just beaten me up, snatched my phone, milly-rocked and left. In fact, next time I am robbed, I will take that as consolation that at least the robber did not have a fake axxa.

This article is not about that fellow, so I will not dwell on him. In fact, the description I have given you is inaccurate so as to protect the identity of the guilty. This article is about the whole habit of axxa and why it irritates us, and why, if it doesn’t irritate you, it should.

Fake axxa is annoying on two levels. The first is the level of them just getting it wrong. 

In today’s world, there are several people who fake American accents and get renown and plaudits for it. Hugh Laurie. Nicole Kidman. Christian Bale. Margot Robbie. The last two boys to play Spider-Man in the movies, Tom Holland and Andrew Garfield. They have been hired and paid to not speak in their native accents, which are from Britain and Australia, but to speak like Americans. They delivered the goods and it was entertaining to the whole world because the difference between them and the axxa in my cafe was not just that it was called-for, but that they actually did it properly. Where an American would say “All I know is sometimes, if there’s too many white folks, I get nervous,” Daniel Kaluuya said, “All I know is sometimes, if there’s too many white folks, I get nervous.” And not, as a faxxers would blither, “Ore ll are nurr urs sormtrms rf thurr tire murnr rrrmrrrmnnrr rrrrn…” and then present the speech to you, awaiting your admiration, like a dog wagging its tail next to its puke.

Speaking of Hollywood, remember that Hollywood version of an African accent? That accent Hollywood actors do when they are called to portray Africans? Slow-paced with a tendency to veer left on the vowels? “Misteh Chechill, the independdence is awa reight es Efricans,” is what they say when their character is rebuffing the colonial Prime Minister

It is offensive because we don’t talk like that. There is no such thing as an African accent because there are too many things as an African accent and they are so different that you can’t amalgamate them. 

It would seem at first that the faxxa people are doing the reverse–it is Africans doing a bad American accent– but instead of this being a defiant retort, a fitting revenge, just desserts, it is the opposite. They talk like that because they think it is better speech. They talk like that because of a sycophantic, and, yes, slavish attitude to white things. They are house negroes of phonetics. The fake axxa is born of a personal belief on the part of the faxxer that speaking white is better than speaking like an African. It comes from their– so many adjectives spring to mind, but the best one to explain the situation is stupid– it comes from this stupid idea that white things are more correct, refined, civilised or elevated than African things. 

Faking an axxa is vocalising the belief that Africa is not good enough. Africa is inferior. Africa is primitive, vulgar and dirty, and white is better. 

That is why I feel like that guy’s throat should be slit open. He does not deserve vocal chords  so I want to rip them out. He offends me on behalf of my entire globe of African people

I have been called a nigger by a non-white person before. (Incidentally, it was when I was in an Aga Khan school myself. I didn’t stay long enough to get an accent. I enrolled with a Kenyan accent, finished my A Levels and moved to Makerere, where I lost that accent for a Kampala one, the one I have now.)

I have been called a nigger before. The surge of fury that word incites is legendarily so strong that in America you can have a murder charge reduced to manslaugher if you can show that the white person you killed used the n-word. That is provocation, It is a viable defence in a murder trial. That is how incendiary it is. I have been insulted my whole life. We all have. But the n-word is different.

I am not exaggerating when I say that hearing an African faking an American accent in Uganda is, not the same, but not that far below. If it does not spark off anger, it creates a long disgust. 

It is already bad enough that we have whole generations of Africans who have lost access to our own culture, traditions, and even language. Our culture was deliberately denuded in the colonialist effort to systematically erase African ways as they bid to reconstruct us as satellite Britains for the queen. It’s bad enough that our fashionable youth get tattooes of Africa on their biceps because they don’t know what tribal scarring would do the job better. It’s bad enough that I will be kicked out of your office if I showed up in a kanzu. It’s bad enough that we are left with someone else’s stuff to make a new culture out of. 

But we more than made do with leftovers and scraps; Africans have recreated ourselves. We have forged, from the rubble a new culture, a new community, new traditions and a new identity. We made kidandali out of rock ‘n roll instruments. We made agbada and gomesi and mushanana out of cotton fabric. We made pijin and sheng and yes, even Uglish, out of what was left of the Africa they destroyed.

And I am proud of it. We did well. I am proud of the fact that even you, reading this article did not even notice the parts where I banked off into Uglish syntax because it is already the natural way we speak to one another. Guys, we did it. We made an Africa for ourselves. We should be proud.

I love the English language. I love the things I can do with it. I love its vocabulary and idioms. I love the wordplay. But I do know that it is the “language” part I love, not the “English” part. If I had as much training and exposure to Luganda as I had with English, I would be as good as Mozey Radio was at saying things with Luganda. I would probably be as good a Luganda writer as my grandfather was.

But I love the way Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, all African communities that were colonised by Britain, have taken English and turned it into something of their own. There are Britons and Americans who have spent  so much time in Uganda that you start hearing hints of our accents in their speech. I remember when one of our American friends had to take a call from her parents while we were at Que Pasa, and we overheard her telling mom and dad that something was “just there there”. 

We made an Africa for ourselves. We made an African English, and it was and is ours. We should be proud.

Not prrourrdrr.

Remember When We Used To Visit Other People’s Houses? (Toilets Edition)

Drinking coffee at a time like this? Are you crazy?

Yes, yes I am. Have always been. And it is not chamomile in those mugs, it is black coffee. Black as midnight, black as hatred, black as the charred remains of Shaka Zulu’s Ancient Enemies. Because, as the poet says, if you wanna cruise, you gotta run on heavy fuel. Coffee premium unleaded.

I never got to understand why petrol was such a pale colour. It looks like urine. Whose urine I would rather not say, because that would require elaborations I would rather not provide.

Okay, if you insist, let me just spill, heh heh, the details.

It was at a house party at Franko’s house. Now Franko isn’t exactly rich enough to afford that kind of house party. That is to say, he has only one toilet in the house.

I would have assumed, as you would, that everyone else would just go outside and piss on the wall, or in the bushes, or on the dog like a normal Ugandan. I did not expect that while I was in the process of streaming my download, some other lumpen would barge into the lavatory, brazenly ask me to make room (He actually said “Extend kko”) whip out his lungfish-looking appendage and proceed.

I don’t want to assume your gender, so I can only speak for myself and my kind. But for men, urination is like the Movement regime, once it starts, you can’t stop it.

Therefore I was forced to stand there peeing with this strange man.
And that is when I found out that petrol looks like the urine of men with big mamba-shaped dongs at house parties where the host has served Bond 7 mixed with Herdsman Whiskey in Jack Daniels’ bottles.

I Got Into One Little (One-sided) Fight

I started my career penniless, and even though I had a phone, I couldn’t even afford to use it.
Let me pause here to explain something to the youth. Hello boys and girls. How’s unemployment? How’s economic uncertainty and the ever-present temptation to inherit your parents’ alcoholism as a coping mechanism? The 2020s suck so far. You missed the 00s. Cos even though you have better phones than we did back then, we had a far easier job market.
The only problem was that our phones, even before OTTT, cost money to use. You had to pay something called service fee before the phone company could let you make and receive calls. It was, we thought then, the most unjust thing a phone owner could endure.
Little did we know what was coming. Like revenge porn, OTTT, and people making you argue on twitter because they don’t know the difference between stating valid ignorance and stating a valid opinion.
Back then our phones could not even text.

piece of crap


But I was saying, even though I started my career penniless, I was working for a very good company and was soon being paid relatively well. It wasn’t enough to be Douglas Lwanga, but it was enough to dress better, to get clothing and caps that really highlighted the sexier aspects of my very attractive physique and face.

Self portrait.

But it wasn’t just about the money. It was about the ego. Because back then I was, and yeah I said it, the best writer in the industry.

Really. Apenyo, Kintu and Namugoji had yet to begin their stints as columnists.
I was the best thing typing on Microsoft Word 98 back then.

Unfortunately for me, this was not an indisputable fact.

You see, there was another writer who got there before me. Her name was Barenzi.
The fact that Barenzi was regularly feted and widely admired burned me inside. It made me even more furious that I was also one of her big fans, which I found perplexing and perverse and it pushed my envy even further towards the edge.

I wanted her spot.

So I went for it.

She had a column in the Sunday Vision. It took up three quarters of a page and readers enjoyed her wit, style and insight immensely. This pissed me massively off, especially when I, too, enjoyed it.

When she was invited to be interviewed on a TV show called Writer’s dawn and I was not, that was it. I googled workout exercises for fingers so that my typing Kung Fu was strongest. Then I proceeded to plot.
Murdering Sagara and framing her for the crime was my first thought, but I had to abandon that plot. Saggy was a sociopathic dipshit so anyone convicted of his dispatch would not be jailed, they would just be given a Heroes’ Day medal and made a presidential advisor. I had to type my way in.

That page had a third of paper left, and it was open for the taking.

I told Simon, my boss, that I wanted a column there.

He did the maths astutely and presented me with the conclusive findings that I already had three columns in different parts of the New and Sunday Visions, but I was able to convince him that overkill was not yet a serious media problem. After all, brands jumping on twitter hashtags and ruining them would not be a thing for several years to come.

He allowed it. He instructed me to bring him this column idea.

I slunk into my dank den of bitterness and jealousy and scratched things all over papers all night.

In 2003, rookie reporters didn’t have laptops. We used relics called notebooks. We also had real loadshedding, so it was mostly writing under candlelight because there was nothing to charge the laptop with even after you didn’t have it.

Eventually I emerged from the shadows with a scrap of squiggled nonsense. Nonsense, but hilarious nonsense. I walked to the New Vision from my Kyebando muzigo with The Slim Shady LP spinning in my discman (Look it up. I’m tired of parentheses for history lessons), typed it up on the office computer and filed it on Simon’s desk. I originally called it “Ernest Bazanye’s Column Idea” then, because I always feel profound doubt about what I write once I’m done, as opposed to the unassailable confidence I feel during the actual writing, a fit of modesty grabbed me and I added a note, “Is this a bad idea?”

The column began to run weekly soon after that. After the hefty meal of Barenzi came the little desert cookie of Ernest Bazanye’s Bad Idea.

I hated it. Being on the same page just made it inevitable that we would be compared and Barenzi always wrote in a glamorous ball gown with a glass of Chardonnay in one hand while typing with the other two.

Yes. Writers have three hands. An extra one for either a mug of coffee or alcohol. Ask Hemingway. He’ll tell you it’s true.

I wrote with something called Safi.

The fates were on my side. It was like when Jordan retired and the other team won the championship. Barenzi headed off to do a masters degree in the UK, leaving the page for me and me alone.

And that is how I became the man I am today: former star newspaper columnist. It was as easy as your nemesis being smarter than you so, whereas you were, for all intents and purposes, a Makerere dropout, she was clever enough to go do masters degrees abroad.

Oh, you didn’t know about the being a dropout part? I’ll make that my next post.
Meanwhile, okay. Bye. See you next week if you come back.

(Edit: All those typos in a post about being the best writer? Tuswale kko banange.)

Here’s A Little Story All About How

After university I left Kampala for Nairobi, where my mother lived and worked. Subsequent posts in this series should establish that she was and is one of the wisest Africans ever.

Despite being very much like her in terms of genetics, facial appearance and temperament, I was intractably foolish. This was her home but I went back there because I thought that it was still mine as well. Unwise sons don’t realise that once you finish Uni, you are on your own. Your mom’s house is no longer your house. After school is finished you graduate from a resident to a parasite in that house. 

Like a rwat on the heiwei

I was finally done with Makerere when I moved back to Nai. Part of the completion of my sentence in that gulag had included two terms as an intern at the New Vision. Both were behind me now, as were all my exams*. I felt sufficiently educated. The next step was to get a job. The bundle of fatty porridge laced with misfiring neurons in my head told me that I shall find a nice one in Nairobi, one like my mother’s.

I loved Nairobi, which is several percentage points more than I have ever been able to say about this chaotic rabble-heap of trash, discarded liquor satchets and misspelled shop signs you people call a capital city. Kampala? Mbaff. Keep. Take. I made my escape with gleeful haste. I had done my time, served my sentence, paid for the grievous sin of applying to MUK in the first place and was now done.

I went to Nairobi. There to get a job.

Bright Lights, Big City

I fully expected to find one, and more. I was hoping that I would also find on the cards a beautiful and leggy wife, probably a late 90’s precursor to Sheila Kwamboka or Victoria Kimani or something like that. At the very least I expected to get my Kenyan accent back with it’s rough Rs. I miss those Rs. Those Rs have Rrrrrresonance. They Rrrrealy make a point. I currently have Luganda Rs, which are a mix of R, L and W. Ask Douglas Lwanga how many times he is called “Douglas Ranga” and doesn’t realise the difference.

At the very most, I expected to get a nice job.

And basically be like Biko.

I got off the Akamba bus (late 90’s version of Uganda Airlines), rode a matatu (late 90’s what we had instead of Ubers) to my mother’s house, typed up some application letters, emailed them to the top advertising firms in the city then lay down on the carpet and began to watch Kenyan television.

It was after six months supine on her carpet vegetating in the glow of her TV that mum chased me out.

She started by asking me what I was doing there.

I replied, the fatty porridge neurons misfiring wildly, that I was waiting for a job.

She said, “You left a job in Kampala and came to waste my carpet ogling my TV? Get up and go back.” 

(I should point out that my internship was basically the bomb. I was really good. I was an intern with a newspaper column, you be there.)

She didn’t ask aloud whether she had raised a man or a skinny, shabby house plant that was going to root in her sitting room for six months, showering only every other day, but, as I may have mentioned, she was and is a very wise woman. So she must have thought the question. And probably didn’t ask it because she already knew the answer.

So I packed my things, nze Son of Nagawa, and returned to this stinking dump of roadkill dogs and public urination of yours.

Mbu Kampala. More like “Dump”ala.

My first stop right off the bus was the New Vision. I had no plan of getting a job there. I still thought I was going to get a job in advertising.

Let me tell you why advertising: Advertising is writing work, but it is easy writing work. You can work for eight months to produce two sentences, usually something inane and unimaginative built around the phrase “your one stop” something or the other, but you get paid for the whole eight months.

Press work was different. Newspapers expect five hundred words from you in one day, and you can’t fall back on cliches unless you are one Sagara — you have to be creative.

The only reason I was at New Vision offices was it was near the Akamba terminal and so I went there to say hi to the friends I made during internship and/or see if any of them had any leads on where I could stay.

So, there I was in the Vision courtyard, skinny, unfashionably dressed, perennial baseball cap over the afore-described porridge mix, backpack slung over my shoulder containing all my life’s belongings, chiefly cassette tapes, novels, even more unfashionable clothing, extra batteries and five hundred 1998 UGX, which mum had kicked me out with, when up barreled Simon Kaheru, who was then Sunday Vision deputy editor, right hand of the legendary Joachim Buwembo.

Simon didn’t walk around, he barelled. He moved with the force of herds of buffalo. He was brash, urgent, and threatened the kinetic energy of an earthquake. 

He was also a genius and so instead of running away I stayed to talk, or rather, to be talked at by, or rather, to be talked at from him.

He was joined in seconds, if memory doesn’t play mischief on me, by then-company secretary Robert Kabushenga. I don’t need to describe the force of Robbo’s presence. You already know that he is a mountain of a man, in the sense of: who argues with mountains. That is not a question.

Simon said, “You’re back?” The question mark was a mere formality. “Bazanye is back,” he informed Robbo, who had just arrived.

This is when Robbo, who was yet to become Mr Kabushenga to me, turned, faced me like Muhavura faces scrawny little punks, and asked, “Do you have a phone?”

The answer was that it was 1998. MTN had only just arrived in town and made cellphones not even affordable, just less unaffordable. Their cheapest piece cost five hundred shillings: all the money I had. The money I was supposed to use to find a place to stay and food to eat while I job-search.

The answer I gave was, “Umm, no.” 

He turned around to go off and do some busy Kabushengaring. Such is Kabushenga–always going somewhere to do something that is urgent and vital that does not permit the squandering of time with young boys in Red Sox caps. 

Before he turned he instructed, “Go and get one and come back.”

I remember feeling as if I was reeling in the aftermath of something massive and cataclysmic like those that happen in movies starring Dwayne Johnson, where the robots have decimated four US States. I didn’t even get to stutter the first syllable of the question “Why” before Simon scribbled down his and Robbo’s numbers so that when I get the phone and report for duty I can inform them without wasting time. This whole conversation, if at all it counts as a conversation, had proven that wasting time was not something these men did.

So I left the Vision, propelled perhaps by the force of these two men and their command, or by the fact that I am very much my mother’s son and, dumb idiot though I was then, I was still wise enough to know that I had just wandered into the leading media company in the country and been given a job instantly.

I spent all my money on this phone. In one day.

And my career began. I started there. 

I didn’t chose this life. This life chose me.

He’s not lying. It was the time of my life.

A Story About A Political Campaign That Has No Point, No Moral and No Decent Title

This is the story of a man named Opolot Apollo. 

Now, ask anyone in the world of shrieking hyenas called marketing and they will tell you that branding is a real thing, and the name of an object, circumstance or person can determine its success as much as the more immediately-evident value of the object, circumstance or person itself.

Marketing people are alchemists. Their unique power is to believe absurd things and believe them so hard that they become true. Marketing people made real humans with real mouths actually chose to buy “Lite” beer, in spite of the fact that “Lite” “beer” is the piss of sad men whose wives have left them.

, sad and broken-hearted men after they have drunk real beer.

The case of Mr Opolot Apollo is a case of a marketing man’s faith.

Apollo was a thief. A mugger, one would say, if not for the fact of his cowardice, which ensured he never actually mugged anyone.

He made up for it the lack of courage with his cunning, however. He would wait in dark bushes on lonely pathways after curfew for yuppies heading home on foot. Once he identified one who looked likely to own a valuable phone he would suddenly bark harshly from the shadows.

“Gwe!

“Gwe falla gwe.

“Don’t run. If we have to chase you we will catch you and we will melee you with our mitayimbwa, yannastan. Stand still there. Don’t turn around.”

At this point the victim either did run, in which case, of course, Apollo, having no actual colleagues, and therefore no recourse, would sigh, sit back down in his ditch and wait for the next one, or the victim would believe the ruse, that he was in fact surrounded by armed thugs, and would therefore stop in his tracks, at attention like a boy scout.

Here Apollo would bark again. 

“Take out the phone and put it on the ground. Don’t turn around. Put the phone on the ground.”

It would not often take long, often just an instant for the victim to complete the calculations of which was worth more– intact skull surface un-smashed by mitayimbwa vs his or her phone– and comply.

Apollo would bark, “Now run!”

When the coast was clear Apollo would slink out of his hiding place, pick up the phone, extract the simcard, which he would magnanimously leave at the scene of the crime in case the victim came back (It is a new culture phone thieves are trying to introduce in Uganda where they leave the sim card on the ground. Just out of courtesy. They know getting your number replaced is such a hassle in Uganda that losing the simcard is worse than losing the iphone.)

Afazaali nga you leave the simcard, cos bagyenzi!

Simon Peter Kawanga was a shiftless con artist, a leech whose only talent was identifying other people’s talent and using it to his advantage. He was the one to whom the phone muggers of that suburb brought their loot for disposal.

SP knew how to find phone thieves and how to find people who buy stolen phones and this described his job the month he and Apollo’s acquaintance grew. They were not close friends, just business associates, and that is why it was so many weeks before he found out that the skinny, short, wispy fellow with the skin so dark it was as if it was itself made of the shadows he hid in at work, was not just named Apollo, but also Opolot.

And since election season was approaching, SP came to the conclusion that led to the shave, the facial scrub, the suit, the tie, and the photographs of all these combined that came to adorn posters all over the suburb.

From being an invisible member of the local community, lurking in bushes, Apollo became one of it’s most visible. 

Vote Londa Opolot Apollo for MP. Development is every Ugandan’s right.

“What if I win?” Apollo had asked, his main objection to the plan when SP first broached it.

“You won’t,” SP had replied with convincing finality that set Apollo’s mind at ease in that regard.

“Then why are we even standing?” Apollo had asked.

“Because your name is Apollo Opolot. You sound just like a political candidate should.”

“So why are we…”

“Campaign crowds,” SP answered. SP knew how to close questions in a way few Ugandans that aren’t conmen did. Satisfactorily.


Interesting fact: Before UG Shillings, Uganda used Rupee as currency

Apollo had never seen that much money before. It wasn’t that much– just enough to get the salon treatment, buy the suit, take the photo and print the posters, but soon after he saw it it was whisked away by SP and his cronies, who were to then get busy effecting the cosmetic changes to be photographed and publicised and transform Apollo the low life thug into a high class thug, i.e. politician, but it was important for Apollo to see it to lay eyes on it. It incites greed and is therefore good for motivation. Plus it tempted away any doubt that would have stemmed the establishment of absolute confidence in the idea that SP knew what he was doing.

Apollo’s poster said he was an NUP candidate, but he never asked why he had never met Bobi Wine or even Joel Senyonyi. He just figured out for himself that SP had covered all the meetings on his behalf.

He just climbed aboard the flat bed of the Isuzu and smiled and waved as it dragged through the suburb traffic blaring Kyarenga and Bada, pausing only at intervals for the raggedy youth  hanging off the railings to shout “Peeepopawa!! Peeeoppopawa!” before the music would resume.

His first rally was a success. It was attended by a horde of angry market women, boda boda pilots with frowns so thick he secretly wondered how their helmets ever fit, a few elderly men and women bursting with resentment at what the world and their lives had come to and here and there a policeman looking lazy, content and not only recently well-fed, but absent minded as well, as if lost in daydreams of the next good feeding that would follow this rally.

Apollo had been trained for the rally. There wasn’t much work to do. Just slightly adjust his professional bark and use it to deliver a few scripted platitudes featuring the words “enough”, “the people”, “change”, and “time is now” into a microphone attached to a speaker that produced such overtweeted and indecipherable sound that even he couldn’t understand himself. 

Not that it mattered. The crowd cheered every time his DJ interspersed his muffled speech with a snippet of Kiwani or Kyarenga.

Apollo was a bit surprised when he did his first rally in the suburb on the other side of the valley, because this time his posters were yellow and his ragamuffin truck hanging youth were chanting “No change”.

He gave the same non-speech through the same word mangling microphone and got the same cheers when the speaker would sporadically clear up to allow the words “clinic” “school” and “road” to ring through.

And “devowpument”

The crowds looked happier here, each holding a bottle of soda and an empty kaveera with nothing left in it but grease.

The police were fewer, but still had the same expression as they did on all the other rallies.

Opolot Apollo could not deny that he was enjoying this adventure. Living in a hotel outside of town was only one of the better parts. It was a small lodge actually, discreetly hidden at the edge of a squirrel path off the road to Mukono which was probably not used to housing clients for more than a night. It looked like the sort of place that had hourly rates in the daytime. But it was far more luxurious than the squalor of his own ghetto hovel.

It was fun while it lasted.

But it didn’t last. 

Simon Peter Kawanga was not a great brand name for an MP, but Simon Peter Kawanga was a savvy campaigner. 

SP had made a killing. Small businesses had let go of donations that added up well when they were tantalised with the hope of an MP who would stifle and strangle any tax bills. SP didn’t tell anyone that Apollo would reduce taxes. He said Apollo would catch any tax law and filibuster, delay, obfuscate and bureaucratise it to death before it could hit the ground.

SP had collected from other candidates who were wary of a people power truck showing up on the same day as their campaign.

And of course SP had a team of pickpockets busy at work at every rally.

One Monday morning in November Apollo realised that it was three pm and he had not been collected from his room. He activated his VPN and opened his WhatsApp. SP was last seen two whole nights before.

By five pm he was still on a single grey tick.

At six pm he was told the number he had dialled was currently switched off.

Story is ending now

Opolot Apollo finally realized that he was not going to be called any honourable member, but there is honour among some thieves, so there was at least enough money in his trousers, from the last time SP had handed him a wad of cash, ostensibly in case his fellow hotel guest asked for extra fees for any extra services Apollo might suddenly require, for him to grab a bike to a bus depot and beat a hasty exit to a small town on the border with South Sudan, from where he could work his way up to Juba, where there were plenty of iPhones being carried through lonely dark streets.

This story is made up. It’s all fiction and insomnia. I don’t even think this sort of thing is possible– I am sure the electoral commission has measures in place to prevent it. 

I just couldn’t sleep and writing long stretches makes me tired. Okay. Goodnight. NRM Oyee or whatever.

Stop Stopping Police Brutality In Uganda

“Let’s stop jumping on every bandwagon of a trending global topic to seem relevant. Our @PoliceUg isn’t perfect without a doubt but the #StopPoliceBrutalityInUganda campaign is far fetched.”

This was tweeted by a leading local social analyst/philosopher recently.

And brutalised Ugandans were like

But seriously, really, when it comes down to it, as people, down to the basics, do you really think this man believes that?

The words are open fuses, and can be exploded into a number of implications but when it comes down to it, with us in our rooms alone with no phone, no blue bird, no one to preen for, no one to threaten us, nothing to attack, nothing to defend, just us and our honest simple inner truth, do we really believe that Patrick “Salvado” Idringi thinks that there is no police brutality in Uganda?

Or that what brutality there is is acceptable?

Or that… you know, every other interpretation I try to make of this statement just becomes wilder and more implausible. Unless the man is secretly a Sith Lord from the Dark Side (Darth Shrek, perhaps) I can’t see Idringi honestly believing that asking police brutality in Uganda to stop is far fetched.

I just cannot picture it, and I can picture Salvado doing many things. I can picture Salvado sucker-punching Kilmonger and taking the powers of the Black Panther from him and then driving around Wakanda in a royal convoy of pimped out Kira Smack EVs with vibranium rims, for example.

But I cannot imagine Idringi actually disagreeing with the rest of us and our laws that say even a single extrajudicial killing by police is already fetched way, way past too far.

I can see him typing it out — he evidently did. It’s right there on twitter in black and blue– but I can’t see him believing it.

In fact I strongly suspect that in Salvado’s opinion lawful arrest, due process and fair trial must be granted to all citizens before any punishment for any suspected crime begins. In life there is what is is obvious vs what is ludicrous. Usually we avoid the latter and cleave to the former. So I believe that Salvado is a normal person who doesn’t want cops to kill chaps fwaa.

But twitter is not real life. It takes a few nasty experiences and a few painful lessons to finally learn but usually we finally get it and understand that what is said on twitter may behave as if it is the same thing as what we have happening in real life but this is a nasty ruse. Don’t fall for it. Do not ever take twitter seriously.

Twitter is like enguli: enguli ingested through the thumbs. It is like mainlining enguli through our fingertips and straight through a special twitter artery which takes a shortcut that avoids the rational and reasoning portions of the brain and goes straight to the gut, where all the wild animal instincts and impulses and emotions slither and slink. Then, like enguli, it begins to excite the vanity and the narcissism within us. Once these are properly incited they rise and begin to trick the higher functions into rationalising them. Waragi makes you think, but it makes you think susuling off the balcony is a good idea. Twitter, in a similar fashion, makes you think pissing 280 characters into the whole internet is a great idea.

Especially political twitter, intellectual twitter and woke twitter. Those ones? Ayayaya! 

This is what I get when I try to find a copyright-free image of Salvado

It starts with this tendency we have to believe that, if everyone is of one view, and you alone are of a different view, this means you have a unique awareness, that you know something they don’t, and you are cleverer than them. 

Of course if everyone says the sky is the same colour as jeans and you see the sky as being the same colour as a giraffe, it doesn’t actually mean you are a genius, it means you are colourblind, so differing from conventional thought doesn’t necessarily indicate rare genius. Nevertheless, the temptation to deviate from common opinion still offers a quick and easy way to satisfy your inner desire to appear intelligent.

So when a person who already had this impulse to disagree with what is trending saw “#StoppolicebrutalityinUganda” and surrendered to that twitter heroin…

Humans suck. They don’t deserve rights

But I don’t know Salvado personally, so I can’t say for sure that he is just trying to feel clever. 

I don’t know if he falls in the category of those stuck in the twitter trap, but I do know that people who do fall into it will stand their ground on the most absurd position just because the opposite position is popular. So desirous are they of the feeling that they are the iconoclast, the renegade, the maverick, the different thinker, that they will defend the most self-evidently stupid idea. 

Salvado may, in actual fact, be a fascist who believes that the police have the right to immediately execute civilians caught breaking curfew and that asking for arrest, charges and court cases before we let them kill us is far-fetched. Or maybe he is not aware of the fact that Ugandans are frequently beaten and brutalised if not murdered by the police and that this has been going on since before, during and after lockdown, which is when the hashtag begun. Whatever his reason…

…I replied to his tweet.

I usually don’t. I never engage on twitter unless it is fun and games. I only go to twitter to be amused, entertained, promote Chandler and Frasier books and then leave. I don’t see twitter as a place to have any useful discussion on any issue of any substance.

But I responded to Idringi. 

I fired off a thread of sarcastic replies to his tweet and now that I think of what I have done, a cold chill comes over me. Now I have to deal with the notifications and the responses. Oh no. What have I done. That is not a question. Now I have penetrated the wrong echo chambres. And some of them will reply! Oh no! My data!

I know why I did it. It is because the same instinct that would cause someone to ball up their fists and punch their keyboards all-capsing about how if they can’t shoot us whenever they fucking feel like it there is no point in having cops in first place, the same instinct that would make a guy see a trend against police brutality, swish their cape and twirl haughtily off in the opposite direction, that is a very common instinct. So common that I have it, too. 

The desire to be right.

The desire to be correct.

To be right.

Oooh! It’s sweet sweet sweet dopamine! Being right on Twitter feels so goooooood!

Who needs this shit when you can be right on twitter?

So good that when someone is wrong on social media I usually have to close the page, switch off the phone, leave the room and sometimes break my fingers to resist typing back.

You must never type back. It’s a trap. And it’s made even more seductive for how cunningly simple it is. When somebody says something whose fault is easily demonstrated all you have to do is type two sentences: “Actually, you will find the statistics show…” that’s all you need to do, and the wrongness will be gone. The rightness, your rightness, will take its place. 

But if you have been on social media any time since 2012, you know this is not what happens. The other guys also want to be right. And they will fight you about it. They will dig in. They will do battle. They will defend their shit aggressively. They will use all kinds of weapons. They will come at you with diversions and distractions and digressions, each one confusing and clouding the question further and further, until you, who is also fighting to be right, find yourself lost in a mist, wondering how you got from debating whether Taiwan isn’t China to arguing whether mixed race people are more likely to be gay. 

It’s best to stay away, but it is hard to.

When the dust dies down, after all the bullshit, I don’t believe Salvado tweeted that in a bid to promote police brutality in Uganda.

Shoot first, use these after

And I confess that I don’t believe that tweeting at him will have any influence at all. We just both gave in to a nasty instinct that makes messy things worse.

So since we are somewhere safe now, let’s talk like sane people.

Compatriots, there are good cops out there, man, and they are fighting the bad cops as well. And they need the support of good citizens in this fight. So let’s hashtag, but let us also believe in our brothers and sisters in the force who are there to protect and preserve the security of their countrymen. Yes, let’s report cases. Let’s make noise about brutality. But let’s not be entirely cynical. Let’s believe that we, us, and the police force together, can change things.

Also, if you are nabbed by a crooked cop and you are going to capture a video, make sure it is a live feed. They can’t delete those.

Then When You Get Your Nobel Prize and 23million dollar advance, say, I learned from the best

I was a professional writer for twenty years. That’s a long time.

If you are a “lit”, “swaggerific” youth, bathing in all the glory and àdulation my current occupation smothers you with (wait. Hold that point. I am going to take one of many parenthetical breaks. I write like that now. In short bursts for short attentions. That is to say, I write ads now. It’s deep slumming, miles beneath me. My talents are a hawk with a shovel digging a tunnel underneath the rift valley. Time and my own lack of foresight clipped my wings. I an old man. A dull head among windy spaces. )

But for twenty years I was a wonder in full flight, from sky to sky, airborne and loving it as much as my readers did, because I was very very very good.

Twenty years is a long time. To be young is to lack perspective so you need my help to understand this. If you are in your twenties you need to understand how long twenty years is.

When you slipped out of a fallopian tube the night the other constituent parts of you shot out of a pair of testes, I was already out there typing for money.

While you gestated, curled up and asleep, formed a tail then reabsorbed it, when you chose which genes to keep and which to abandon — your father gave you a strong will, your mother a mild and timid demeanor and you picked one and dispatched the other– when you were doing this, I was already out there typing for money.

After you were finally born, while you spent that first year doing nothing but crying and crapping at the most inconvenient moments and driving your poor mother crazy, I spent the whole time with my fingers gliding over keyboards, making words dance.

You learned to walk and started doing it, shakily and badly, falling over often, while I was clicking save and send. You were in shorts and socks the same colour as everyone else in the school when I was spinning spiels of stories out of nothing but my neuroses, the sunlight, and spiderwebs.

When you finally learned how to read, I was already there to be read, my face a cartoon, my name a bold marquee on my own page in the best selling newspaper magazine in the land.

When you were pissing the bed in boarding school, when you broke your voice or had your first period, when you first came to be aware, or rather, (because it usually happens in the other direction) when the awareness came to you that the world is not yours, but that it owned itself, and you were confused and angry and adolescent, I was out there arguing with editors about my commas.

And when you got to legal maturity and the gates of adulthood, when you were finally able to count as a proper human person, I was getting restless. You were just getting started. I was beginning to wind up.

So now we meet. I have been writing your entire life. You missed most of it. Some of the best paragraphs. But now, here we are. 

You know me because I have always been visible somewhere in your life– the cartoon or the photo in your peripheral vision (excuse the pun) of the newspaper every weekend. 

You are what? Twenty three now? I was twenty three when I started. I know something about being twenty three. I know that twenty-three-year-old people know nothing at all. Certainly not how little they know.

I have not been a famous writer for some years now. I quit my column and vanished into an invisible wilderness, a dark forest, Selva Oscura some call it, and have not yet reemerged.

I still write, though. Plus, I am forty five now, so, going by unbroken precedence in my field, I am better than I ever was.

So…

You want to be a writer too? You want to be good? Or you want to be famous? Or you want to be rich? Or perhaps all three?

I can help. 

The Artfield Institute called me and asked me to do a couple of days of sharing what I can. It’s going to be on October 19th and 20th.

I will tell you everything I know, every secret of success and every secret of failure (The failures are especially enlightening: like why I ditched Anita Everything, Suki and ULK, why Ballad of Black Bosco was free to download and now I can’t use it to get an authors fellowship, why I can’t lie and why I can’t tell the truth, why I can’t be Charles Onyango Obbo or Bikozulu or Jennifer Makumbi, and why I never called Binyavanga.)

I could also tell you how nothing feels as good as making a story, and how words illuminated my darkest times and how reaching people with a funny paragraph gave a mediocre life like mine a sense of meaning and why this crap literally saves my life every day.

I’ll tell you how to be famous and how words can get you laid (then heartbroken, of course) and I will tell you what not to do so that by not doing it you become wealthy.

Remember when I said I write ads for a living now? I thought of writing an ad for this master class. 

But then, nah. This isn’t something to advertise. Let Artfield advertise it. They are the ones selling it. I’m not going to sell you anything. I’m going to give you my twenty years.

I am Lazarus, come from the dead,

Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”

I’ll tell you everything. Come along.