Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year 2010 - My Figurine that never showed

I do not hide my love for well made Nigerian movies, Nollywood or regional, especially some wise unexaggerated stories of the Yoruba movie makers. That said, it has therefore been a painful tale of missed opportunities for me to see the movie “Figurine” during its premiere and subsequent showing at the cinemas. With the usual Lagos traffic and hustle, what you get is finding yourself at the cinema somehow and watching whichever movie was available, but with the nice comments drawn by the movie from some antagonistic critics of Nigerian movies, I knew I really wanted to see the movie. So I guess you should understand the excitement when I saw the promo on HITV that Figurine was showing in Ibadan on the 1st of January 2010. Despite being the first time ever I would voluntarily go out daringly to publicly see a movie in Ibadan, it was a decision instantly and effortlessly made with my twin brother in unison. It had to be Figurine!

We got to the venue quite well on time for the 3pm showing, and Ife my lovely friend with whom I planned to share the evening got there a few seconds before us, Deji, our friend on our invitation also drove in with his date obviously looking forward to the unique feeling of giving her that unusual native treat but I knew something was wrong from the car park that surprisingly had only our cars, no event was going on obviously and so ridiculous was it that there was no official correspondence to let us know why the whole place looked like a cemetery, all we had were the security guys speculating that the show was to hold somewhere else in “Jericho”! We tarried a while to see if it was just another case of African time but the only shows we saw were the few lucky road side chickens in a loud praise and worship session to their creator for making them escape death for the season and of course the few families driving in and out of the event center disappointed! No show, simple.

It felt bad that we had invited others to be part of this, for we would have quietly accepted the disappointment without wahala if it was only TY and I, but then, standing under that scorching January sun was definitely not the kind of treat we set out for. You know disappointments are easier to deal with when you have no one to blame but yourself; we went straight up to chill at a popular bar not far away, ordered for some drinks, thank God they were cold, then for some barbeque, only to be told that the kitchen was closed till 5pm! Thinking of the plenty “come-chop” (buffet) invites we ignored to watch the “feem”, I was irritated but then on a day like that, only few businesses run fully.

We should have known…
We saw our first warning, looking back critically at the production of that promo on Hi Nolly, the voice over seemed to seize after the details of the Lagos shows were well spelt out while the Ibadan and Akure shows and venues were merely added by graphics. That can only mean one thing; neither Ibadan nor Akure was part of the plan initially, they were obvious after thoughts and good organizing was not guaranteed. This is Naija and that should be the sane assumption, Tywo also drew my attention to the omission of a gate fee in the graphics for the Ibadan shows! This too can only mean Ibadan hasn’t been planned for and as a matter of fact it is a more unpardonable error to ignore such omission. I felt so too but then looking at the advertised venue – a ready made event centre at Idi-ape, one would expect that putting up a film show shouldn’t be too difficult there. Our “smart” heads decided to be optimistic and waited for another slot of the promo, in which we saw that the two shows in Lagos were 5oo and 1000 naira, this meant the Ibadan shows couldn’t have been more than 1000 box. “Patapata 1k”, good enough!

We had the third chance to change plans while talking to Ife a day before the show, I found out she had seen the promo and was nursing the idea of watching it too and so I suggested we go see the movie together, her’s was a straight yes and Tywo’s was like “waoh! That’ll be cool”. We had not seen in a while and that seemed like a good way to start the catch up. She really liked the idea but not without pointing out the flaws in the promo, she is just too smart not to notice all these details. Again I waved it aside. I really wanted that time out on New Year’s Day, maybe I should have listened to her alternative plan. Unpardonable error!

Listen listen listen!!!
Meanwhile, earlier that morning on New Year’s Day, while getting ready for the day, Tywo was on the phone with a friend and old classmate who works in Ibadan. He asked what the plan was for the day and Tywo shamelessly said “we’re going to see a movie”
Deji asked “haha? Cinema don dey Ibadan?”
“No, na for Idi-Ape civic center dem dey show am” Tywo replied.
“Guy! dat one no be movie jare, na feem show una dey go”
“Na you sabi, just come make we hang out, you know that Kunle Afolayan new movie? Na him now...”
“But which kind cinema be that? No be cloth dem dey tie? Popcorn no go dey, na soso pikins, noise go plenty, light fit dey even enter person eye like those “Jesus of Nazareth” crusade wey dem dey do those days sef!”
Deji went on and on but trust my brother, he succeeded in convincing him, plus Deji himself didn’t mind seeing the movie too having heard a lot about it and truly, this was an alternative kind of fun for him. Maybe we should have listened to his initial bad mouthing, oh! Figurine…

He said enough with his Ibadan mouth to make us change plans but I must say curiosity more than anything else was responsible for our doggedness and now looking at how it all played out, we took for granted and fumbled big time! This isn’t Lagos meeen!

If only!
Come to think of it, could this have happened if there were the ready made structures for an evening like this in Ibadan? As far as I am concerned, the whole mess has nothing to do with the organizers of the “feem show” and most definitely not with Kunle Afolayan the director. If only Ibadan had a decent cinema like the Genesis deluxe or the Silverbird cinemas? If only we had something like those halls at the MUSON centre used to stage dramas, if only just one of the many classy Ibadan night club owners can think of the prospects of building a cinema in Bodija, if only one of the many people here running after broadcast license for TV and radio stations can plough their resources into having a cinema in Ibadan, if only the Scala cinema, Queen cinema, Baba sala cinema… that ruled the south-west back in the days were repackaged to still exist and function, if only the Silverbird group saw the economic vibrancy of Ibadan, if only you all know the prospects of the closest city to Lagos in distance and metropolitan features, if only I was Oyo state governor, if only I had the money and power, if only I was Harry Akande, if only… perhaps people won’t have to be moving into Lagos in thousands, perhaps some of these “life threatening” Lagos traffic would have spilled over the more into Ibadan!

…and back to my story
An entertainer has to learn how to entertain himself for once, at least in preparation for days like this right? And that we did. We ended up having great fun in one another’s company, I found out about the crazy movie titled “Hangover” and later in the evening we were able to honor one of our numerous come-chops which also turned out so very nice with a lot of jibes, backslapping and those never boring relationship jokes, but then Ife had to leave us to take care of other business but trust me, we saw a day after and really had a better time to catch up. The evening turned out to be an experiment that paid off in an unbelievable way. By the way, Hangover is a Hollywood movie, not Nollywood and thank God I only needed my flash drive to enjoy it, thanks to Ife. As for Figurine, my time will come; this is still January 2010 and I’m just waiting for Mr Kunle Afolayan to tell when the movie is going on DVD. Sir K, over to you, holla at your boy!

You may like to see the movie trailer, check out

Happy New Year ladies and gentlemen.

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