Skankin on the high road / by Cyrus

photo by Ozzy

Ozzy was PISSED. I had just finished a truly heroic series of projectile vomits into a pile of garbage outside of the infamous Basement Club (now named Area 51), Kisumu's grimiest reggae/hip hop joint in one of it's roughest neighborhoods. I was beautifully lit by a couple flickering streetlamps, headlights from mopeds waiting to take drunk rastas home, and a dash of blue neon for good measure. And he had missed it all because he couldn't get the camera out on time. With the picture quality on our Canon 7D, he probably would have been able to capture the individual chunks of chicken rocketing out of my esophougus, plus the dirt and smog particles floating in the dark.

I straightened and gave him a look. "I know man, I fucked up!" he yelled, hands in the air. It's all we've been thinking about the past few days--get the shot. I wiped my face and we got in a tuk tuk with Emma and came home. Now, 30 minutes later, they're watching TV and I'm hiding in my mosquito net listening to the bugs and inexplicably typing on a macbook to a faceless crowd of loved ones across the world. ok.

I blame it on the chicken. Sometime around 4 today, both of us delirious from no food and running around after unreliable musicians all day, Ozzy and I decided it might be a good idea to stop by the Sunday market, grab a live chicken, and kill it in the kitchen. Needless to say, Emma was not pleased.

But Ozzy was a pro, and several hours later we sat down on the floor in front of the news to eat (today is Kenya's independence day. The country turns 47, younger than your high school woodshop teacher, and it has dealt with at least 3 more narrowly avoided civil wars than he has).

Those fleeting moments of adventure and socially endorsed animal cruelty came back to haunt me a few hours later at the Basement club. We were there to see Wakimbizi, a Nairobi rap duo who, in the mid 90s, basically brought rap to Kenya. Now they were playing a 1:30 am set in the stankiest club in town for a swaying crowd of about 60 people who paid $1.20 per ticket and were focusing more on staying upright than listening to the music. The rap industry is brutal world wide. About 45 minutes into their set I had to tell Ozzy to pack up the gear (he was filming) so we could leave, and that's where he missed the shot of the evening. Sadly, there will probably be plenty more opportunities.

The picture at the top of the page is from last night's O'hangla show. We've made a point of recording a new artist or interesting thing every night, and so far we're on track. I'll update you more on that show tomorrow. As for now, the ghost of that Emeril forsaken chicken calls.