Sunday, September 30, 2007

Genevieve,a VI Supermarket & I

You see,I'm not a big fan of nigerian home videos.Most times,i watch them simply to criticise & laugh at the dodgy acting.I must confess that i also enjoy watching those 2 popular,little actors who can almost literally crack your ribs with their consistently hilarious roles.However,whenever my channel flipping on DSTV took me to Africa Magic(the abode of nollywood movies),one thing was certain to make me stay to view for a while.Actually,one person.Genevieve Nnaji,one of nollywood's most popular & beautiful actresses.If Miss Nnaji was starring in the movie been screened at the time,i was sure to watch it for at least 10 mins.I guess,from this,it's obvious that i like her.Yes,i admit.I always have.From the first couple of movies i saw her in,i became drawn.Why?Well,she's cute,determined,hard-working,doing great as a single mum & so on.I even bought her disastrous debut CD,in which she comically tried her hands at singing.Now,it'll be of no surprise to you that i would have seized any opportunity to meet her.I had seen her from a distance at a fashion show my company sponsored 3 yrs ago,but that was the closest i got.
So,about a month ago,i was in VI on my way to join some friends for drinks when i decided to quickly stop at a well-known supermarket near the Mega Plaza mall,for some urgently needed toiletries.

I was scanning through the shelves when i turned round to see the one & only 'Queen of Nollywood' right behind me.Genevieve,in the flesh-up close and personal.Just 2 feet away,looking at some facial products.I froze.Miss Nnaji was right in front of me,but i did nothing.She even stole a glance as she moved over to my shelf in continuation of her shopping activity.As a typical naija citizen,i inexplicably acted as if i didnt know her.Like she was just any 'ok-looking' female in brown shorts & a yellow tank top.I stole glances intermittently,but that's where my bravery stopped.After she picked up what she wanted,my eyes escorted her to the till like Secret Service men on President Bush.I then noticed that the female cashier was star-struck.She kept smiling sheepishly at the petite home video star.By now,so too were half the people in the store who had clearly recognised her.Shoppers & workers alike.She smiled back at the visually excited cashier,paid for her stuff & left.

Can you imagine?Genevieve was 20 inches in front of me & i didn't say a single word(or even an alphabet for that matter).Nothing.Why didn't i at least say hello?Or just say 'Hi,I'm a big fan of your work'?Or ask how her daughter was doing?

I guess it's true what they say.There are more questions than answers.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Fuss Over Facebook

Looking for that buddy of yours from primary school who hasn't been seen in over 2 decades?Or wonder what the long-lost eye candy from your early teen days finally did with her life?You don't have to hire a private detective to help quell your curiousity.Chances are you could get those answers from Facebook,the enormously popular(& addictive)social networking site that comes complete with pictures of friends & foes.The madness over this site has caught on big time amongst young Nigerians & millions across the globe.It's quite surprising that it's only been in existence for a little over 3 yrs.
This great idea was conceived by 23-yr old Mark Zuckerberg(in picture),an ex-Harvard student who wanted to create a virtual place for his fellow students to network & communicate with ease.It eventually spread to other Ivy League schools in the States,after which institutions in other continents got involved.A year ago,the owners decided to make it available to everyone on the planet with a valid email adress,prompting protests from existing users who knew it's 'exclusivity' status was potentially over .With that decision,the craze took off.There are about 40 million registered users today and the online company makes over $100m annually through advertising.
On Facebook,users can join hundreds of networks,share photos with friends,post articles & videos,exchange views,virtual gifts & basically interact with each other constantly,irrespective of location.Currently,an average of 8.5 million pictures are uploaded onto the site daily & many can't pass through a single day without visiting the website.
Just last week,Microsoft was rumored to be offering $500m for a 5% stake in the business.I guess that sums it all up.
Facebook.As addictive as cocaine,but as sweet as Mother Theresa.

Monday, September 24, 2007

This Thing Called Lagos Traffic

The passage of people or vehicles along routes of transportation. In case you are wondering,that’s's definition of traffic. Well, for me, the meaning is somewhat different in lagos.Specifically, it’s more like 'the daily hell lagosians go through on the city's roads’.
What has gone so drastically wrong? In the last couple of weeks, traffic in the nation’s commercial capital has been monumental.
Only a naïve individual can today give an accurate Estimated Time of Arrival for his/her journey (from one destination to another)in our dear Eko.Every foreigner who's been here rightly accords it with the undisputed title of ''universal champ''in this regard.
Recently, a friend of mine likened lagos to New York in America. I largely agree, from the perspective of 'daily hustle & bustle, huge population & diversity of its residents'. However, the major distinction between the Big Apple & Lagos is this: there are alternative & effective means of transportation over there e.g. trains.
The reasons behind the current madness in the nation’s ex-capital are quite obvious & seemingly endless. Overpopulation in relation to habitable landmass,overwhelming inbound migration,bad roads,disregard of basic traffic rules, no efficient/alternative transportation options, the shockingly unwise BRT lanes, significant volume of businesses setting up in one particular area of the state as well as lack of govt. commitment to strictly comply with residential /commercial masterplans.Even the State Govt's agency,LASTMA,seems to have psychologically given up.

Gosh,I miss the 80s.I grew up living on the island during my dad’s public servant days. Every weekday then was like a Sunday, movement-wise. You could drive from Ahmadu Bello Way, V.I to say, Church of Assumption, Falomo in 5 mins.Fact.Not with an okada, guys.These days,one's fortunate to make it in less than an hr on a Monday or Tuesday.

To add insult to injury, the previously sweet Saturday has now joined its cousins (i.e. Monday-Friday) in this notoriety. A drive from Dolphin to VI on Saturdays can keep you on the road for 2 hrs.The only respite most lagosians enjoy at the moment are on Sundays. Not being intentionally cynical, I fear that this lone day of sanity would soon disappear with the way our dear city is going.
Most people(smartly)don’t leave their homes till Saturday evenings nowadays.However, what of those who have weddings, mechanic visits, important appointments,shopping etc during the day?
I must also mention that some areas are considerably worse than others.Lekki & infamous VI easily come to most minds.
I heard there’s a ferry that currently takes people (& their vehicles) from lekki to some other part of the city but that’s another safety risk that personally, I’m not ready to take. I’d rather be pissed off in a standstill than risk drowning.

Seriously,even developed countries experience traffic but at least there are efficient alternatives. Even when the situation gets really bad, you can see clear efforts by the authorities to urgently address them.

People, when would we ever get to the promised land?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Now Those Were 'Good Times'

I love tv.People close to me can easily attest to this.Actually,most of us do.There's something captivating about being visually entertained with diverse programming.TV must rank amongst mankind's greatest inventions(along with planes & the internet,of course).
Now,I was about to write a completely different article this evening when i decided to quickly see what was airing on Hitv.I had subscribed to this cable company,in addition to my existing relationship with dstv,because of Multichoice's loss of exclusive English premiership rights this season.
Although there were no scheduled football matches,i was curious to see what else was showing on the non-sport channels.While channel flipping,i came across an episode of the hit 70s show 'Good times'.Yes,'Good times'.The show about a struggling,but hilarious african-american family that many grew up watching.Remember JJ,the tall,lanky clown of the house?And then there was Esther,the matriach & moral pillar of the Evans family who passed away in 1998.James(John Amos) was the father who kept having difficulty making ends meet for the family.Things were so bad that they were always eating oatmeal,to JJ's constant displeasure.This show educated me on oatmeal's(aka Quaker Oats) association with poverty in america.

I watched this episode on Hitv like i was in a trance.I hadn't been this glued since watching Beyonce perform at last year's Thisday concert.It felt so good to see their 'hot' first daughter again,mock the dodgy old-school clothes & hear those hilarious jokes.And of course,absorb the moral message which the scriptwriters unfailingly embedded in each episode,which simply was:no matter a family's bad situation,always stay strong,have faith, be united & morally grounded.

By the time the closing credits were being posted on my screen(there was no scrolling technology then),my eyes had started to water.Why?It had reminded me of those days,back in the 80s.The good old days when life was so much fun,dad was still very much around & all i seemingly had to do then was eat,play,sleep & do homework.Nostalgia is such a pleasant experience.It's like having a sweet dream or mentally escaping to a special place for some time.
I also enjoyed the show's theme song:''Good times..temporary layoff..good times..easy credit rip-offs..''
Wow.Those were good times indeed.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Dozen Indomie Packs For Dinner

Now this was an unusual evening.Simply because ordinarily,i would have sent my gateman to get it.Get what,you might ponder?Indomie Noodles,Nigeria's favorite & arguably cheapest meal.Enjoyed by both rich & poor.Easy & quick to prepare as well.
On that thursday night,i was in the mood for this national bestseller.Like i said,i would have sent Bashiru,the pleasant car-washing custodian of my compound's gate.
Instead,i decided to stroll.This was because,sadly,i hadn't done any exercise in a long while.Even my dust-coated cycler could attest to this fact.
So i said to myself: Use this opportunity to walk & stress your legs,albeit for a 60 metre distance.
I ended up in a provisions-stocked corner shop two streets away.Now,the reason i went this far was because i was trying to seem like a 'serious stroller'.This was less embarassing than exercising only to the mallam's kiosk about 10 steps from my house.So i decided to patronise a store farther away from home.

When i got to the indomie store,i noticed this little girl sitting all alone.She couldn't have been older than 5 yrs old.Seriously.From her look & stature,anyway.I looked around,my eyes searching for this kid's mum whom i was sure was somewhere around.No one else in sight.

''Uncle,what are you buying?'' abruptly halted the strain on my roving retinas.
My surprise,was replaced with an involuntary smile.This cute kid was kept in charge of this gigantic(well,in her eyes)store with hundreds of items.The pressure she felt must have been like that on a newly appointed CEO in a failing company nearing extinction.Wow.However,she looked very confident.

I suspended my thoughts to answer.'Chicken flavour?',this self-assured mini CEO continued.

Her questions showed no sign of easing up as she asked the following ''How many,uncle?'',''What of eggs?''

I was almost in laughter,watching this confident store manager.I then thought to myself.If this was,say the States, her mum would have been behind bars on charges of child labour,neglect etc & I for suspected paedophilia.

But in our dear nation,it's perfectly normal to the vast majority of citizens.It's probably regarded as ''infant empowerment''in many homes.We don't even give a 2nd glance to(or stare in surprise at)kids on our streets selling oranges,washing windscreens etc.I know the general view is that it's due to poverty,but it has simply become culture for most.

Well,back to the baby entrepreneur.I was so impressed with this kid's marketing & managerial skills that i decided to buy a dozen packs,instead of 2 as i originally planned.
Chicken flavour,of course.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

At Your Service

The world today,is a global village.Without a doubt,that's largely a good thing.Through technology,the internet,satellite tv etc we are constantly kept abreast of what transpires in other developed,advanced countries.Be it daily news,global culture,best practice or general goings-on, someone in abuja is today as well-informed as another in San Francisco.
As such,best practice & behaviorial patterns in 'modern' nations are usually mirrored by those in developing countries.
One such replication can be found in our service industry(particularly in the restaurant/bar business).This is understandable since the 'reputable' customer care experienced in western societies is something all sane service-oriented businesses constantly aspire for.This brings me to my observation a couple of weeks ago.

I was at one of my favourite Island joints,having drinks with some friends on a friday evening.
A girl with an obvious american accent was sitting with a gentleman at a table just beside ours.Apparently,they had ordered for a bottle of red wine.The waiter,on his return with the requested order,had opened the wine and poured a little into the lady's glass.To my surprise,he stood upright,evidently waiting for the lady to take a sip first,before pouring further.The reason i was astonished was because this only happens in western countries.The explanation behind this in foreign restaurants is simple:The restaurant/bar owners are so confident in their wines' quality that the waiters pour a little into the customer's glass so they(customer) can assess the wine first.If the guest isn't pleased,the wine is immediately returned 'unbilled'(notwithstanding it's opened state) & replaced with another,if the customer so desires.

My pleasant surprise was short-lived though, as a result of what occurred next.The lady,probably to test the seriousness of the joint's seemingly impressive gesture,took a sip & spontaneously told the waiter that she didn't like the wine & so couldn't accept the bottle.

My words can't accurately describe the perplexed,helpless look on the waiter's face.He was,in one word,confused.''But madam,i've already opened the bottle'' was finally blurted out through the guy's shaking lips.

At this point,i was tempted to rudely get involved in this comedic drama.However,the lady spared me the effrontery.''But why did you give me to taste first,if my view of the wine was of no consequence?''she responded.
I would have paid money to hear the gentlemen's reply,but as was realistically expected,he was speechless.It took the lady's male friend's plea to get her to accept the bottle,to the waiter's enormous relief.
A few times after that(even at the same joint)when i've been in the mood for wine,waiters who served me still did the exact same thing i.e. waiting for my approval of the wine first,before they pour further.

I just tell them ''please fill the glass,my friend.What's the point when i can't reject the bottle,even if it tasted like cough syrup?''
Fellow countrymen,if we must imitate,let's go the whole 9 yards.Not 50%.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And The Winner Is...

Sept 11th.A date that many around the world would never forget.The day America was humbled by terrorists.Although today marks the 6th anniversary of that terrible tuesday in New York & Washington,it would also be remembered for something less life-changing,but still significant to many.Well,to hip-hop lovers & music fans in general.

Hip-hop heavyweights 50 Cent & rapper/producer Kanye West both release their eagerly anticipated,third CDs today.And everyone wants to know who'll come out tops,sales-wise.
50 Cent has even gone on record to say that he'll retire from doing solo albums if Kanye's 'Graduation' CD outsells 'Curtis',his self-titled album.
Both gentlemen also make front cover of acclaimed mag,Rolling Stone 's current issue,posing like boxers a la Ali & Frazier back in the day.This has only helped to fuel the excitement & anticipation across the music industry.
Clearly,50 has sold more records than Kanye,largely assisted by huge club hits like 'In da Club' &'Candy Shop' while Kanye is a 6-time grammy winner who's critically acclaimed for his creativity & production skills.
Vocally,i feel 50 cent has an edge but Mr.West has gained valuable first-hand tips while producing countless hits for label mate & close friend,Jay Z.Also,his innovative style earns him priceless respect from critics as well as peers.
They both have a huge fan base & are viewed by many to have taken arrogance to new heights.To buttress this fact,Kanye's nickname is 'Louis Vuitton Don',while 50 can hardly record a track without the words 'money' or 'bank' in its content.

The weekly album sales figures are to be released by music chart mag,Billboard,next week wednesday.
Now that's a date the music world(including Kanye & 50,of course)can hardly wait for.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Nigeria's Most Dangerous Road?

Yes, many may know this already but i'll mention it once more.Lekki Expressway is the most dangerous road in Nigeria.Personally,i've lost count of the number of armed robbery cases that occur on this infamous stretch of sand,gravel & tar.

There are 2 major contributing factors to it being a highly lucrative location for criminals.Lack of street lights & horrendous traffic.

Just yesterday,a colleague of mine witnessed(live,not hearsay)an attempted robbery of a man in a jeep between the 1st & 2nd roundabout around 7.30pm.In fact,this happened just 2 cars in front of hers.She was stuck in traffic while on her way to Ikoyi after visiting a friend in inner lekki,when she noticed a guy wearing a long trenchcoat,with a bowler hat to match.The strangely dressed individual walked up to the jeep,said a few words & in what seemed like a split second,shot at the jeep's driver-side window with the previously concealed weapon.Just as she attempted to reverse,another suspicious-looking dude started tapping at her window.She immediately swerved out of her lane,climbed the curvette in desperation & made a fortuitous getaway.As she hustled her way out of the chaos,she heard another shot & noticed blood splattered all over the jeep's side window,with the door flung open.

She told me this morning that her friends in lekki,who gave her temporary refuge after the heart-wrenching experience, heard today that the guy in the jeep had died from his gunshot wounds.Just like that.For driving on a sunday evening.

Personally,i've never witnessed an armed robbery attack & i pray to the Almighty that i never do.

Due to lekki's recent notoriety,i can count on one hand,the number of times i've been to the Palms(i used to patronise Newscafe & Shoprite) in the last 3 months.

It's still baffling that an area which has hundred of thousands of residents(including many affluent ones),as well as the nation's biggest mall,still doesn't have common streetlights on its major passageway.Also troubling is the fact that this massive residential area has only one entry & exit road.Yes,One.Obviously,constant daily traffic on both sides of the dual carriageway is bound to persist.

I agree that the road expansion project,currently in snail speed progress,would help but i feel lighting the entire span of the expressway can be undertaken & completed in a short span of time as a quick win.

Before i forget,i'll like to say congrats to Lekki Expressway for easily taking the 'most notorious road' title away from Osbourne road,Ikoyi.

On a more serious note,I worry for lekki residents(sis & brother-in-law inclusive),particularly those who due to their occupation etc,have no choice but to be stuck in traffic there both morning & night.Godspeed.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Richard,Remember Your Vows

This year's Big Brother Africa was different right from the very start.One obvious aspect was with the marital status of one of this edition's housemates.Richard,the 24-yr old Tanzanian representive,is married to a Canadian.Now,due to this unprecedented situation,i had expected the dreadlocked dude to be a strong contender for the 'most boring housemate' award.How wrong I was.
Richard has,to the surprise of many,started a very interesting physical & emotional relationship with the Angolan model,Tatiana.This has definitely stunned a lot of viewers due to the blatant display of affection by the duo,despite Richard's lifelong commitment with his north american partner.
Some of my friends doubt that he's actually married & believe it was just a made-up story,probably done to make him a more interesting candidate.

Everytime i watch Richard hugging,caressing & saying sweet words to Tatiana,i think of his dear wife.She must be in agony,irrespective of the $100,000 her hubby stands a chance of winning.Another Big Brother fan said she feels the only way Richard's wife could forgive him is if he comes home with the money.

Well,the little i know of caucasian women is that most of them can't stand infidelity,particularly when flaunted in their face(& those of millions,in this case).I've heard of women divorcing their hubby at the slightest boundary crossing.
I actually feel that Richard's thought about this carefully.He clearly fancies tatiana & knows he could tell his wife later that he did it as a strategy to entice viewers to keep him in the house till the very end.However,even if this was indeed his gameplan,it must be tough for any spouse to see her partner getting cosy with a 'hot' chick on international tv.

Richard,you better think long & hard about the special story you'll tell madam when you leave the house,or you might be hearing from a divorce lawyer soon.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Madness at Murtala Muhammed

I had heard it last week from a colleague who had seen off her sister going to the UK.She said the queues passengers went through at the international airport was horrific.My thought at the time was that this was a one-off,which was probably caused by a unique problem or lapse that particular day.

Well,after taking my mum to the airport last weekend,i now know this seems to be a standard,everyday situation.I could barely believe my eyes.After my mother had checked in,we proceeded to the entry point for travellers.There were 2 queues,each spreading in opposite directions like a bull's horns.It was unbelievably long.After staying on what seemed like the better queue for a few minutes,my mum had to go & meet the female immigration officer manning the fast track area(used only by airline crew & first class passengers).

My mum cleverly pleaded with the lady,telling her that she was not feeling well.This ploy worked,especially as my mum looked like the grandmum of 3 she is.

It wasn't smooth sailing from hereon though as the so-called 'fast track' section had a queue of its own,although this was much more tolerable.

Murtala Muhammed International airport was commissioned by OBJ in 1977(during his 1st stint as Nigeria's leader).At the time,there were only a handful of international airlines plying the lagos route.Now,we have close to 30 in operation.Also,the signicant economic & population growth of the nation's capital in the last 30 yrs can't be easily quantified.Based on these,it's strange that the FG has not seen the need to expand the Lagos airport in light of clearly evident changes & demand.
Nigerians are travelling in much larger numbers now,than in 1977 when the airport was opened.

So it was with glee (& a bit of cynicism) that i read the news some days ago,quoting the new aviation minister.Mrs Allison-Madueke made a commitment,while visiting the airport,stating that govt was going to urgently undertake a major expansion at Murtala Muhammed.

As usual,we are reacting to a problem instead of been proactive & forward-thinking.

Well,better late than never,right?

Remove That Sticker

If you are one of many lagosians who have the Nigerian Police Force stickers bravely stuck on your car's windscreen,i advise you take it off immediately(if you are not a cop,that is).The state's police commissioner,at a press conference yesterday,informed motorists that it's illegal for a non-policeman or vehicle to continue to display the sticker.

Since this is Naija,a lot of car owners had obtained this sticker in the past as a way of avoiding 'disturbance' at checkpoints,by our beloved men in black.Someone even said a couple of months ago that he got the sticker to help ward off potential criminals.His logic was that men of the underworld wouldn't want to steal a 'policeman's' vehicle.

Well,from the state police command's warning yesterday,i advise those with these stickers adorning their cars to quickly get them off,or be prepared to face the 'full wrath of the law'.That,i'm sure,won't be pretty.

Too Hot To Fly

A 23 yr old female passenger was at the centre of controversy recently on a Southwest airlines flight to Tulsa,Oklahoma.Apparently,another passenger had expressed his/her displeasure to the flight crew,about the 'sexy' clothes the lady had on.The 'badly dressed' lady was wearing a miniskirt,tank top & a trendy little sweater on top.As this happened prior to takeoff, a flight attendant walked up to the lady asking her to do the needful.This included pulling down her skirt,raising her top up & reading a manual on proper dressing.The young lady embarassingly complied,after which the airline started its scheduled flight.
Now the passenger wants a simple apology,especially as she felt her clothes weren't scandalous.
The airline says it asked her to conform due to complaints received after passengers had boarded.
Now,the age old question.What exactly is the actual definition of decent dressing?
Bizarre indeed.Well,only in America.

The Frenchman Stays

It's been the worst kept secret all through this week.Arsenal's most successful manager,Monsieur Arsene Wenger,is about to sign a new 3 yr contract(valued at $8 million dollars/annum) which would keep him at the north london club till the summer of 2011,at the very least.Wenger,who's been with the club for 11 years,has certainly been the major force behind the Gunners unique style of attacking football that's become the envy of most soccer enthusiasts.His shrewd nature in the acquisition of players at bargain fees was a skill that delighted most football club accountants,especially those at Arsenal FC.

Undoubtedly,his most influential purchase was that of the mercurial Thierry Henry,Arsenal's record goalscorer who departed for the spanish city of Barcelona this summer.

Wenger's future at the club had been in considerable doubt given the sudden departure of his close friend David Dein,the club's vice chairman,who resigned over a disagreement with board members on new investors.

It seems Wenger is staying for one major reason:He's invested a lot of time & energy in building an exciting,young team with a lot of ability & promise.Naturally,in his fatherlike nature,that is difficult to let go of,especially when all that effort is about to bring the anticipated results.

Thank you for staying,Arsene.Personally,I couldn't imagine life at the Emirates without you.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Apple Does It Again?

Are you one of the 100 million owners of the technological marvel we humans call the Ipod?Well,if you aren't,i'm sorry.Luckily,i am..and i've been hooked ever since i bought the mini 2 years ago.My current version is the 30GB video Ipod.To be able to have thousands of songs(& videos) in one portable device,at any time,is truly exciting.Also,the fact that your favorite tunes would never wear or lose quality like tracks on CDs,is also something to attract fellow music lovers.I,as well as my ex-boss,have many Ipod accessories in my posession.The speaker system & Itrip car device(which allows for in-car enjoyment) seem heaven-sent.

Due to my obvious love for this gadget,i waited with immense anticipation for news on the media event Apple CEO Steve Jobs had invited journalists to,in San Francisco yesterday.Apple were about to launch their new range of ipods.

The obvious flagship of the new range of ipods is the ipod touch,a touchscreen 3.5-inch screen music/video player with Wifi capability which gives users unprecendented access to Itunes on the device.

However,the ipod Touch comes only in 8GB & 16GB versions & looks similar to the recently launched summer smash,the Iphone.This seems to have infuriated a lot of ipod fanatics who feel that the capacity the Touch comes with isn't enough to contain their music library,let alone music videos & movies.However,like Nokia bosses strategically do,i'm sure they(Apple) purposely released this evidently-inadequate capacity now,with a plan to launch an 80 or 100GB version in the near future,which would be received with mouth-watering anticipation.

Well,for me,i look forward to seeing the Ipod touch.Who knows?It could be an early Xmas present to myself.

Pavarotti Says Farewell

Luciano Pavarotti,renowned tenor, died in the early hours of this morning from pancreatic cancer,aged 71.Now,i'm not a huge fan of opera/classical music,but i,along with millions of others across the globe,knew this larger than life personality from Modena,Italy.From the brief research i did on him last night(when i heard his condition had seriously deteriorated),one thing was quite evident.He was a very kind & philantrophic man who was always giving to charity & the less-privileged.Even till his demise,we gather from his manager's released statement,he still had a positive attitude to life.

His career spanned 5 decades,with worldwide album sales of over 100 million copies.He was involved in controversy some years ago when he married his secretary shortly after divorcing his wife of many years.He had 3 grown daughters from his first marriage & an adorable daughter from his 2nd.

Luciano was clearly legendary and would surely be missed by the music industry in general.I gather police in his hometown of Modena had to be called in this morning to control the rapidly growing crowd of mourners & fans gathered outside his home,where he passed away.That says it all.

Rest in peace,Mr Pavarotti.

Diana:My Princess

I remember that Sunday morning like it was yesterday. August 31st 1997.I had woken up at 7.10am a bit surprised. My dad had, for many months, woken me up at 7am prompt to get ready for the 8am mass. This was necessary because I always went to bed very late on Saturdays.However, on this occasion, I woke up without hearing my dad’s usual ‘Charlie, wake up. Get ready for Church’ substituting as an alarm clock. As I dragged my feet to the bathroom, I passed the living room only to see my father through the slightly ajar door. He was sitting glued to the TV, watching CNN.That was quite strange as, on Sunday mornings, he didn’t have time to watch the news prior to church service. I opened the door to greet him, only to see the ‘Breaking News’ message scrolling across the TV screen. DIANA, Princess of Wales, had died.
I froze. Diana, DEAD? How?When?Why? Did God approve it? I joined my dad in his glued state, to get more information. She had been involved in a crash within a Paris tunnel while been chased by Paparazzi.She was declared dead minutes later at the Paris hospital she had been frantically rushed to.

When my dad & I got to Church, I was still confused, sad & absent-minded. The parish priest began his usual sermon/preaching after reading the 2nd Gospel. His first words were ‘Today the world mourns’. He had heard, like many others across the world. It was a day of global mourning. That day was simply ‘Black Sunday’.

I normally say Princess Diana was a cross between Cindy Crawford & Mother Theresa. She had the looks of a Supermodel, and the heart of a Saint. Never has royalty been so elegant, yet so humble. So classy, yet so kind & compassionate.

I can’t believe it’s been 10 yrs since that last day of August when my dad didn’t wake me up for church.

Diana, my princess…..The people’s princess.