Monday, September 27, 2010

another roadside attraction...

(pic taken at lively lady liza's violin, my guitar and bag che bag from zanzibar 0810)

life is speeding ahead....i don't think i have quite caught up with my body. i have this sort of astonished look on my face most of the time. well. an expression ranging from astonishment to a brazened stunned to misdirected mental grinning to point blank. my mind is presently preoccupied with growing a tangled jungle of twisting vines, pushing their way to the sun dappled above in the canopy. roots slowly but purposefully delving their way through my throat towards my heart. ja nee, things are not plain sailing but marvelously hectic and extraordinary. yes. i am definitely on the edge. but isn't that where we're meant to be? isn't that when you feel most alive because you feel close to dying? in the best possible way, naturally?


i feel just fine though. so i mean it when people say (and i close my eyes in my mind because i know what's coming) "so. how ARE you? the kids?" and with great courage i say "oh i'm fiiiiiiiine, yes, we're all fiiiiiiiiiiiiine. you?" it's exhausting because they don't know that fine means jungle vines growing out of my ears. vines intermittently bursting with great waxy deep purple sweet scented flowers.

i have been playing music again. like, you know, real gigs. like in The World. like at Lively Lady, like at the Hotel, like at the petrol station. like at the airport at sunset on friday. and i can still manage to read my words sans lunettes, thank god. that just wouldn't be ok, ya know? singing with my specs on? through sheer and extreme luck, i am managing to squeeze the music in between 3 kids, 6 horses, 3 dogs, 1 cat, 1 goat and a full time teaching post. something's got to give, i tell ya....and sadly it's been the old blog and my back car window.

i was bumping up the ngorobob hill, which is notorious for damian's sleeping policemen bumps. they're essential to save the track in the rains. but they are, well, bone breakingly annoying, if you're not resigned to them. they work a treat in all ways. they make you slow down. they make you think when you're late because you have to turn around at the bottom and go all the way to the top again because someone left their PE kit. they make you think, "oh well. what is time to a pig?" you see spiderwebs and the tiniest white flowers growing on the bank next to the road. you see the horses far away on the other hill. you see the buzzards hanging motionless in the wind above the house. and slyly notice the clouds changing shape over the mountain, in the north toward kenya which you pretend not to. you certainly don't say anything to anyone. so you don't chase the rain away.

and before you know it, you're at the top. so there i was, doing exactly that, bumping home from one of the aforementioned gigs. all the bastard heavy kit was bouncing noisily around in the back, particularly the speakers, jostling around with the spare wheel over Damian's Bumps. i was looking at the dreamy moon and stars, lost with music in my ears and vines in my mind when SMASH! the speaker broke through the back window. i really was going slowly.

my favourite place to play is at mohammed's petrol station, fondly known as Space Oil. it's just around the corner. my dear friend k has opened a funky little arty etsy shop (aptly named Exhibit) next to the store and petrol station. it has little pink lanterns hanging outside a wall painted with giant bright red hibiscus looking flowers, with shiny little jewels stuck on them to make them twinkly in the twilight. inside is a treasure trove of paintings, vintage clothes, jewels, one hell's angels jacket from chicago, teas, wild honey and chandeliers made out of recycled plastic and and and and...everything magical is in there. all of this is very close to the local mosque, which is jade green and shaded by gnarly old fig trees. space oil is slap bang on the main road, just outside of arusha, amongst the laki laki coffee plantation en route to the serengeti and ngorongoro. read busy road. buses, daladalas and an endless stream of safari vehicles. it's a teeny weeny little venue. when the muezzin starts calling i give it a break but am now musing on a tinkly little tune to accompany the call to prayer. the maasai askaris dance slow motion around the petrol pumps. mama mohammed pulls up a plastic chair outside her shop and sits heavily and silent in the dark. but i know she's enjoying everything. i know everyone in the little crowd. a little crowd of magnificent friends. people trip over the music "stand" (an easel) and tom and i tangle ourselves up in the wires. it's so real. and i get paid with a bottle of tequila, which i must sip from a beautiful yellow and red tea cup, because it's near the mosque. (i think?)

so yes, oh bestests, that's where i've bin. i ain't makin' any promises of writin' more regular here but ya never know, ya just never know and ain't that somethin'?

toodle ole toot then y'all, bisous X.X.X. deeply musical ones, with due respect x j


Dumdad said...

You are a star in a weird orbit.

You are a poet in prose.

"What is time to a pig?"


And the word veri is: plate.

How humdrum.

And yet not.

FoodFunFarmLife said...

I still read you often, & I love the way you write. Your words always manage to capture the true essence of this beautiful continent .... like music and poetry all rolled in to one ... sadness & love & longing & joy & laughter. And so much FEELING - love to read you !
P.S. next time you're galloping your firey steed through the foothills of West Kili, feel free to gallop on over this way to say hello & have a cup of tea - or tequila, whichever you prefer ;) P.P.S. just watch out for the elephant on the road ;)

JoeinVegas said...

Hectic and quiet all in one post

Miranda said...

I know that fiiiiiiiine doesn't mean fine!! See you kesho, so nervous!

Val said...

yup life is on speed these days but i love reading about yours in all is wondrous action packed contemplative and multi juggling amazingness! Space OIl sounds like a cool spot too; thank goodness for spped humps that force us to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n now and again. Take good care and enjoy it all xxxV

SY said...

great post.. I can tell by your writing style that you're a musician. good look in your career

Tessa said...

And I can tell by your writing style that you are a wild poet cowgirl mad musical genius. Not many of you about, y'know, not many at all. Fact, prolly none at all. Just Janelle. 'Mazing pleased I found the house on the hill some two years or so ago.

Beautiful red and yellow teacups are perfect vessels for tequila. I should know...the wisedom of age and no reason.

karen said...

How fabulous! I was picturing you busking next to the petrol pumps at the filling station, at first!

I have also just read your earlier post about your firstborn experience, really beautiful!

Karen said...

Well, we will see you when we see you, and we'll be happy to see you, and we'll know that in between seeing you, you're making music and magic all over town. How lovely!

family Affairs said...

Just love you and your words. You never fail to delight - except the numerous times I pop over for a gulp of poetry and you. haven't. written. anything.

On the edge is where we should be most definitely. I just love it there don't you? My body doesn't. But I do.

Bollocks to the body;


Lori ann said...

your blessed dear janelli, living astonished. how fabulous. it is a perfect word to describe loving your life. i think it's one of the worlds best words.

and it depends on who you say fiiiiine to, i'd know, indeed i would.

love you dearheart,

Nic Sebastian said...

Lovely post - keep cultivating your garden! Best, Nic

Angela said...

Near to death is the best living place, how true. And I cannot help but also chuckle at your thought of, "What`s time to a pig?" Lovely.

Janelle said...

nobody likes 13. so am ending it here. phew. thank you everyone for comments...haven't been here a while...lovely to hear from y'all...bisous x x x j

Lori ann said...

haha, i never thought to count, but you know 13 is a lucky number for me.
just popping in to say hey and see how you are. i hope all is well with all on the hill.
xxx ☺