The Cornscription of the Shetty Man

The Cornfields of Shiwajun

News came to Twillistia and Social Mediana that Shiwajun bore the scars of narcotic indictments and forfeitures from Bidenistan; that though he was a man of the abacus, the beads upon which the number of his years could acurately be counted had yet to be invented; and that, contrary to legend, Iragbijishire was where his umbilical cord was buried.

The aides at the Shiwajunian Palace of Bored Dyllon were thrown into a tizz, knowing not how to respond to the Social Medianites. But Shiwajun was calm. “See ye these rumours in Papyrussia or Ancient Mediana?” he asked them. “Nay, sire,” they responded. “Therefore be ye calm and find me Amy Logan, as I have instructed thee.” The aides were confused, but proceeded into all of Jirria, declaring a bounty for Amy Logan and, just in case they had heard the name incorrectly, Emille Oconn.

Now, as was customary in the land, very shortly after each House had nominated its champion in electoralis primera, the champions all chose a Hand – someone to sit around on stand-by in the event the champion became king and died whilst on the Iron Throne, such as Osinoshin was the Hand of Gambrach.

Arty Cool the Perennial chose Arturo O’Cowa, King of the Deltanians, also coming to the end of his second quadrannium on the throne. Obiwan Pitobi chose Suffidat as his Hand. Suffidavit had once been a senateen but the Magistarium had declared his election perfidious and he was thus removed. Shiwajun knew all eyes would be on him, as he was of the same House as King Gambrach, who sat upon the Iron Throne.

“Have ye found Amy Logan?” Shiwajun asked his men. “She will tell me who to appoint as my Hand.” His men looked at each other nervously and one of them finally summoned the courage to speak. “Oh Lord Shiwajun of Bored Dyllon, surest successor to Gambrach, may you live even longer. Your Grace, we searched high and low, for Amy Logan and Emille Oconn and Emil O’Corn, across all the kingdoms, but we found none bearing that name. We even cast our minds back to the wise words from your annual collostrum, and searched in the fields of cassava and the plantations of corn and the barn stores of beans and nary an Amy or Emille was to be found. Your Grace, you will have to choose your Hand of your own self.” Very well, thought Shiwajun to himself. I shall choose one of the Apicurean kings to be my Hand.

Now, the people of Jirria had many things which set them apart from each other. They were Northerosi and Southerosi in their origin and customs. Some were Stians and others were Slims. The Stians and the Slims were to be found amongst both Northerosi and Southerosi men but if a Northerosi Slim was king, the convention of the Kingdom was that his Hand would be a Southerosi Stian and vice versa.

Many thought that Shiwajun would choose Macashma Gandi, the Great Sold, King of Car-Knoe, as his Hand. But Shiwajun had heard many allegations about Gandi, including suggestions of excessive proximity to the Car-Knosian treasury. “This goes against every fibre of my ethos,” Shiwajun was reported to have said. Gandi, like Shiwajun, was also a Slim, so the people thought this ruled him out.

Others thus suggested King A-La-La-La-La-Long-Long-Li-Long-Long-Long of Play-Too, for he was a Northerosi Stian but he also did not find favour with Shiwajun. Lo, the Apicureans were perplexed, for Shiwajun tarried greatly.

One night, Shiwajun gathered the Apicurean prefects and asked them to bring before him Cashmoney the Shetty Man, who in quadrannia past has ruled as King in Borry Noo.

“Why?” they asked Shiwajun.

“I wish to make him my Hand,” he responded.

“Cashmoney? The Shetty Man? The people of our kingdoms will not accept this. Hast thou forgotten that like you he is a Slim? And a Fulannister like King Gambrach?”

“Brethren, those are the exact qualities I need to triumph at electoralis. Bring him before me.”

“What if we rechristen King A-La-La-La-La-Long-Long-Li-Long-Long-Long of Play-Too, so that he is now known as Emille Oconn?”

“No. No. No. Enough of this now. My mind is set on Cashmoney the Shetty Man.”

Wherefore, Shiwajun lay on the floor in the middle of the Apicurean sanctum and Cashmoney was brought in. The Apicurean prefects handed him an ear of corn and a bowl of beans and asked him to move closer to Shiwajun.

“Cashmoney, wilt thou now pledge fealty to Shiwajun of Bored Dyllon?”

“I will,” declared the Shetty Man. A gong sounded 3 times, whereupon Cashmoney stepped onto Shiwajun’s groin abd broke out into song – On your man-bits I shall stand, on your man-bits I shall stand, on your man-bits, on your man-bits, on your man-bits I shall stand. He then stepped off Shiwajun’s groin and ate the beans and the corn. And thus, it was done. The Shetty Man had been cornscripted to be Shiwajun’s Hand.

Shiwajun arose and led Cashmoney into Twillistia and Social Mediana, announcing, “Behold, I have chosen my Hand.” But as Shiwajun tried to raise the Shetty Man’s hands, the people saw him shaking visibly and was unable to raise either his or Cashmoney’s hands aloft.

“He is infirm!” the people cried. “He presenteth a double-Slim Kingship!!” cried others. “When Cashmoney was King of the BorryNoobians, a chieftain of the Haramites of Boko was found by the Constabulary in the Borry Noo palace in Boo Jar!!! This is a travesty!!!” cried others.

And in all the lands and kingdoms of Jirria, not a gaddem speck of chill was found.

Electoralis Primera & the Shiwajunian Breakfast

The clouds of electoralis continued to gather in the Kingdom of Jirria and soon it was time for each electorailing house to choose its champion.

The Apicureans had declared in large numbers and a huge electoralis primera was planned, and hotly anticipated in Twilistia and Social Mediana. The word in Twilistia was that Gambrach desireth to serve Shiwajun a burnaboynian breakfast. However, it was known to all men that none was better in the arts of Wahala Morghulis than Shiwajun himself.

In House Padipalia, the leading contenders were Fearsome Wee-Kay of Rivissina, Obi-Wan Pitobi of Nambria and Arty Cool the Perennial. As the electoralis primera of the Padipalians drew nigh, Obi-Wan Pitobi awoke one morning, feeling uneasy after the dream he’d had. In his dream, he had seen a structureless house, with no foundations, with no shishi, floating above a huge Rock. And a voice said unto him, “Obi-Wan, thou art the Pitobi, and upon your rock, my structurelessness shall stand!”

Wherefore, Pitobi gathered his robes and belongings and announced his departure from the Padipalians, for the vision was clear to him. He vanished for three days and three nights, and when he emerged, he emerged as champion for House Dohaeris. Lo, did the Apicureans and Padipalians make huge mockery of him and the Dohaerisses, saying “the Dohaerisses have not the benefit of historical pillaging of the public purse to fund their activities. Obi-Wan shall soon realise that men of honesty cannot take the Iron Throne of Boo-Jar.”

In Apicurean gatherings, Shiwajun sensed a less than overwhelming support for his ambitions and thus decided to remind the Apicureans of just who he was. He journed to Ogunssopotamia and spake to the gathering in High Yorballian, saying –

Have ye forgotten just who the hell I am? Remember ye not how my hands have held up the firmament of our great house and how thy kings are inscribed upon the palms of my hands? Could even this abjectly common one,” he sneered towards King Dah-Poe, “be King without my benefactions?

And from that day on, King Dah-Poe became known throughout Jirriah by his new title, King Dah-Poe The Abjectly Common.

Shiwajun continued. “Twas these same benefactions that enthroned King Gambrach in Boo Jar. Had he not failed and failed and failed and failed and failed and failed and failed? Yea, he wept when he remembered he hadn’t won. But I came unto him and carried away his lachrymallity, requiring from him just a word, that he would not forget the Yorball in the Boo-Jarrian lands. Behold, the Iron Throne must fall to us Yorballs and yea, it must fall to me! In the words of the great ancient prophetess Diana of Rawsse, ‘It’s my turn!’ Ich bin dran, so get me Amy Logan!!!”.

“Amy Logan?”, asked the Abjectly Common one and the other Apicurians. “Yes”, answered Shiwajun, “Amy Logan. Get her.”

Lo, the people heard it and unchill began to rumble in the land.

Thus, the time drew nigh for the Padipalians to conduct their primera and select their champion. And despite Abushola’s eloquence and Fearsome Wee-Kay’s fidelity and fiduciary fulminousity to the Apicureans, Arty Cool emerged champion and flag bearer. Fearsome believed it not and for days later he was heard singing the Daminian Lament, “Ye shalt be amazed at the result oh (I was), there’s nothing to discuss oh, I didn’t win by default oh, I canst withstand this insult oh, I NEED A BOAT AND SHY HOES!!!

Yea, did the pendulum swing unto the Apicureans. And lo, they came, one after the other, to make their case to be champion. Most notable of them was Ben Ten Jack Too Rich who drew inspiration from his mother’s susceptibility to amorous defraudment and her consequential gestatory prolificness.

Try as they might, no one could withstand the Wahala Morghulis of Shiwajun, who won by a mudslide, beating Monoraillius Incompletus well into second place.

The die was cast. And last last, the Apicureans all had breakfast. Shah Yo O!

But then news came to Twillistia that Shiwajun bore the scars of narcotic indictments and forfeitures from Bidenistan; that though he was a man of the abacus, the beads upon which the number of his years could acurately be counted had yet to be invented; and that, contrary to legend, Iragbijishire was where his umbilical cord was buried.

The people heard it and there was no gaddem chill in the land.

The Micturition of Shiwajun

The storms of electoralis continued to blow across the Jirrian Kingdoms and descended again on Ekitilopia, where the reign of King Jekfa was coming to an end. The Apicurean and Padipalian houses gathered to choose their champions to fight another proxy war on behalf of the 2 Hokey-Pokey Ekitilopian Kings. Why were Jekfa and Yode Hokey-Pokey? Well, as the ancient canticle went, “You put the Yode in, the Jekfa out, in out in out and shake them both about…”

Jekfa threw his incumbent weight behind Yebanjius, while Yode hoped Kollax would fare better than Nondes Crypt, his champion and Padipalia’s in the last outing.

Electoralis Federalis fever also continued to sweep the kingdoms with lots of people pestering others, who had absolutely no intention of contending for the iron throne, into doing so. There was King JarJar Bellows of Kogitaria who had been proceeding most loudly with the greatest reluctance into the contest, urged on by hordes of invisible dementors. There was also, very suddenly, Mefilius, Warden of the Iron Bank of Boo Jar and exclusive custodian of the orizal visions of King Gambrach for the sativication of the nation – his dementors were also gathering, but more visibly than JarJar Bellows’.

“Ser Mefilius has shown great dexterity in the management of the Kingdom’s coin, implementing several rates of exchange with the Bidenistani Shekel, thereby ensuring that economic saboteurs did not know which one to defend against, by which victory was established over economic stability!

“Mefilius did not think his hallowed office too sacred to abandon High Policy for the orizal swamps – indeed he made them his dwelling place, causing the price of the paddy grain to rise so high that farmers salivated at the potential windfall!

“Singlehandedly, Mefilius helped Gambrach steer Jirria away from the seas inhabited by Chavezistan and Mugabestan. Yea, for these reasons and an uncountable more, we demand that he makes himself available for the iron throne of Boo Jar!”

The people of Jirria had never seen such a thing, where the serving warden of the Iron Bank was being dementored towards the Iron Throne. And lo, unchill began to rumble again.

Shiwajun continued his quest for the iron throne, after a brief period of repose in Jandinia, seeking support from various quarters across the land. And following one such visit, it was alleged that his robes were soiled and of stench when he rose to address the audience. Yea, engravings of the event filled Twilistia and all of Social Mediana. But the Shiwajunistas declared it a fabrication of the Shops of Foto and urged all to disregard all insinuations of incontinence. Yea, they continued to sing their Shiwajunian anthem, with vim and gusto, “ON YOUR MAN BITS WE SHALL STAND, ON YOUR MAN BITS WE SHALL STAND! ON YOUR MAN BITS, ON YOUR MAN BITS, ON YOUR MAN BITS WE SHALL STAND!!” Is that safe, everyone else wondered?

And it was in that day that Constabilius Supernumerary Extraordinaire – Bacca Ki-Arry – was declared a wanted person by the King’s Narcosentinels. The Narcosentinels were headed by former man of Gunn Myrrh-Wa, who had served as King of Ekonoss in the era of the Gunners. Myrrh-Wa approached his commission more as a scentinel than a sentinel and was determined to sniff out Narcophiliacs every gaddem where. Ki-Arry was already under suspicion and suspension and investigation for his fraternity with the Hushing Puppy and the accusation of the Narcosentinels ensured his future behind bars drew nearer.

The Jirrians had their suspicions but had never seen a Constabilius Supernumerary Extraordinaire proclaimed a Narcophiliac with such near certainty. And lo, the unchill in the land grew louder.

But they hadn’t seen anything yet. The seasons of electoralis had always been seasons of betrayals and defecations but little did the people know that the contest for the throne of Oshunlonica was about to serve them tea. At the last contest for Kingship, the Lord of the Dance (Uncle to the Bard SolomonO, birribengbeng) was widely believed to have won the context but Shiwajun and Ogbenyssius unleashed a wahala morghulis of sorts and Boyegius Tolanix of Iragbijishire (wink, wink, hint, hint) was coronated as King. The first quadrannium of King Boyegius was drawing to a close and ordinarily he was entitled to contend again for the throne but it seemed Ogbenyssius was desirous of a different outcome.

For news came to the Jirrians in Twilistia and on the Book of Faces, that Ogbenyssius spake against Shiwajun publicly and polemically. He said “Freinds, Oshunlonicans, countrymen!! Remember ye not, that in Ekonnos there was a King, King Ambsalom of the Waist Corset, who ruled for one quadrannium but was not favoured by his Court for another and SOME PEOPLE banished him?”

“Yes!!!” the crowd responded.

“SOME PEOPLE ensured that his lack of popularity in House Apicurea was rightly rewarded. Didn’t they?”

“YES!!” the crowd cried back in earnest.

“And now that their sibling from Iragbijishire suffers the same dispopularity in Oshunlonica, should he not face the same fate? Should he not? But SOME PEOPLE think they can lean in and prevent it? Should it be so?”

“NO!!!” came the resounding cry.

“SOME PEOPLE’s man bits have been stood on for so long now that they suffer involuntary micturition!”

WHATTT??? The people could not believe that such credence would be lent to these suspicions by someone in the innermost circles of Shiwajun. And in the words of the ancient thespian Dunladus Koladus, they exclaimed, “Ogbenyssius wanna focking shey yeye Shiwajun niwajun awon ara ita???

AND THERE WAS NO GADDEM CHILL IN THE LAND!!!

The Oryzatification of Gambrach

News came to Jirrians that one of their ancient kings has passed. King Nekan of the Single Buttock transited to the great beyond at the age of four score and five. His reign was the shortest of the Jirrian Kings, having been installed by King Gida (a man of Gunn) to forestall the ascension of Ser Kashy Mah-Wo to the Iron Throne of Boo Jar. However, Nekan was usurped by the beastly Bar-Charr of the Golden Apple, after only three months, ushering in an era of great fear and trembling in the land. But that was long ago, these were the days of King Gambrach.

In the kingdom of MyBiaBia, King Pay Azu was in the village square to let the people know how fantastic a king he was, notwithstanding MyBiaBian markets being flooded with sludge. It came to pass that King Pay Azu was asked about the royal bridge that had been under construction for one and half quadrannia. Behold, King Pay Azu was incensed.

“This question vexes the King!” he declared. “No one made any intercession for this bridge. Behold, I looked into the goodness of my heart to build it, that chariots and carriages might pass. Yet, every day I am asked about its completion date by pedestrian peasants. Well, let it be known, that whenever I choose to complete the gaddem bridge, it will never be trod upon by hungry chariotless MyBiaBians – it shall only be for myself and the kingdom’s nobles!”

Unchill again began to rumble in the land. But not for long, because it was time once again for the Freekan tournament of Kickit, in the land of Karma-Roon. Karma-Roon shared a long border with Jirria and its KickIt team was a big rival of Jirria’s in the sport. Nothing brought chill to Jirrians like tournaments featuring their KickIt team.

The ensuing chill was the right opportunity for would-be kings to declare their interest to contend for the Throne of Boo Jar in the coming Electoralis. Shiwajun had already declared that he had informed King Gambrach of his intention and was quickly followed by Slokky Kah-Loo, who once reigned with his mother over the people of MyBiaBia and King Mah-Hi of the imaginary kingdom of EbonyiandIvory (for only Ebonyivorians truly knew where the kingdom was). They also performed Informatus Rex and let Gambrach know they wished to succeed him. Moghalus had once again told the people of Jirria in Twillistia that he wanted to be King, as had Mommodeen the Panoramix.

Twas in that day that Mefilius, Warden of the Iron Bank of Boo Jar gathered all from near and far to witness the glorious harvest of paddy grain. Gambrach had decreed that no matter the cost to livelihoods or how expensive it made paddy grain in Jirriah, paddy grain would be grown willy nilly.

“But how wilt the people eat paddy grain if it becomes so expensive?” it was asked, to which Mammus Povertinam, a dedicated Gambrachian had responded, “It is written – man shall not live by paddy grain alone and if any cannot eat paddy grain, let him weevils!” And all the Lovengers decreed that she was right, as they hailed the glorious vision of Gambrach.

Mefilius had pledged total fealty to Gambrach’s vision and had made the Bidenistani coin unavailable for paddy grain merchants. When Gambrach sealed the borders, Mefilius sealed even more tightly the vaults of Iron Bank of Boo Jar, save for disbursement to the Borrowers of Anchorage. The Borrowers of Anchorage were select farmers to whom the Iron Bank of Boo Jar loaned money, under the implicit understanding that repayment or collection were discretionary. It was a glorious hemorrhaging of the kingdom’s coin.

But there was paddy grain in Car-Knoe, as Bashally the Spinning Quill of Gambrach had once declared. And there was paddy grain in several other locations across the Kingdom.

“How much paddy grain exactly do we have in the Kingdom?” Gambrach asked Mefilius. Staphie, the Councillor for Farming wanted to answer, but Mefilius shut him up with a stern glance.

“Glorious King,” Mefilius began, “an achievement as this deserves not just to be counted on the royal abacus, but gathered from all ends of the kingdom that all in the galaxy may see your horticultural wisdom. Behold, despite our penury, I have, sparing no expense, assembled all the paddy grain in the kingdom and stacked them high! High, your Majesty!! Higher than any eye can see!!”

Gambrach came to the ground where the paddy grain was stacked and was overcome with emotion. “You are Mefilius! Mefilius the great; and on this pyramid I shall build my retirement crutch!”

The people saw the stacked paddy grain and grumbled at how much it cost despite its Mefilian stacking.

However, nothing prepared them for their team’s loss in the KickIt to the Carthagians of the North. Yea, when it became known to them that Gambrach had spoken with the Jirrian team ahead of the KickIt bout, and infused them with his unwinning demeanour, the people lost it. And there was no gaddem chill in the land.

The Declaration of Shiwajun

It was many moons since the Chronicler had given up the quill, having lost hope that he would see any visions of chill in Jirria. And yea, the chronicles remained in a state of Beddingfield – unwritten.

It was during this time that the prefecture of Twillistia was ejected from the Kingdom of Jirria. King Gambrach had delivered a speech of great vigour and upliftment to his countrymen, assuring them that there would once again be chill. He also delivered an unthinly veiled message to the people of South Easteros.

“Ye have troublemakers amongst thee, who sometimes forget, perhaps because of my currently amiable and cheery disposition, that I once was a man of Gunn. I fought in the Frabanian wars in which ye were scourged. And there be no chill among thee, behold, I will speak to thee again in a language which ye understandeth!”

The people heard it and there was no gaddem chill in the land. “Knoweth Gambrach not what he threatens?” Wherefore they cried unto Samurai Jack, the King of Twilistia, saying, “Spare us the indignity of Gambrach’s words! Strike them down from the Twilistian annals!! Let them be expunged forever, for his words threaten our mental health and trigger within us much unchill!!”

Sumari Jack hearkened unto their cries and the twinkling of an eye, Gambrach’s words were raptured away from Twillistia in glorious deletus. Whereafter, all the Councillors of Gambrach were incensed, particularly Lar Yi, his Councillor for Misdirection and Propaganda. “Who doth Samurai Jack consider himself to be, that he brings vanishment upon the most hallowed and sacred words of King Gambrach? If he be King of Twillistia, well Gambrach is King of Jirria! And if he wouldest banish Gambrach from Twillistia, then we will purge Jirria of Samurai Jack and the gaddem Twillistines!!!”

The Gambrachian Mumuric Organisation was taken aback, for where else would they be relevant if the prefecture of Twillistia was banished. “Temper this injustice with mercy,” they pleaded. “I shall only temper it with more temper!!” came the charged reply.

And thus followed a time of peace such as had never been seen in Twillistia, for the Gambrachian Mumurics were silenced and others flitted in and out of Twillistia by means of the Valar Propoundis Networks.

In the castle of Bored Dyllon, an aide of Shiwajun asked him, “Is it time, my lord?”, to which he answered, “When it is time, ye shall not be in doubt.”

Shortly afterwards, King Gambrach went on the Char Knells to give an account of his Kingship to the people, through questions from Thankful Peacock and Ma Oprie. “Great King Gambrach, how art thou today?”, they asked him.

“Thank you so much, I am in an agricultural state of health. I’m thankful to the creator for his seedlings of life in the flower bed of my heart. Daily I fertilise my mind with the divine bovine milk of serendipity.”

“Your Majesty, you know that there is much unchill in the land and your centurions labour to defeat the haramites of Boko. When will these travails end?”

“They will end when there is a bountiful harvest of food. Remember when I ordered all the land borders closed and forced us to grow rice? Unfortunately, it is the abundance of this rice that keeps the enemy troops fed. But we are getting close.”

“How about the roaming cattle of the Yetis of Gawd and the village communities being destroyed?”

“We need to make more arable land available for our young people to farm.”

“But this is an era of blocked chains and worldwide webs…”

“Webs, I don’t mind so much, because they are a tool of harvest. But any chain that cannot be put in the soil and watered and harvested cannot be a building block of any sort.”

Ma Oprie was stunned into silence. Thankful Peacock thought he would try one last time. “Wise King, would thou in thine own estimation ascribe success to your Kingship? I only ask because food is much more expensive, conflicts are much more rife, regional travel is much less secure.”

Gambrach answered, “I am grateful that each leg of your question was the word ‘much’ in it because we have done so much, truly. And the icing will be when we give people more seeds and hoes and scythes to till the land. And then I shall retire to my farm.”

“Dear Lord! Very well then, Majesty, who wilt thou have succeed ye on the throne, Old Macdonald? He has a farm and all.”

“Ha ha! I see what you did there,” chuckled Gambrach, “but I shall keep my preferred successor hidden like a tuber of yam, like a husbandried cow, revealing its calf only on the day of delivery.”

The people of Jirria heard it all, and there was no gaddem chill in the land. And in the midst of the furore, the courtiers in Castle Bored Dyllon asked Shiwajun, “Great Earl of Iragbijishire, IS IT TIME?”

Wherefore Shiwajun came unto the people of Jirria and declared, “Behold, I have informed Gambrach that it is my wish to succeed him, yea, it is my lifelong ambition to ascend the Iron Throne of Boo Jar. Verily, ye shall see and hear more of me in the coming months. Electoralis is again at hand!”

And in all of Jirria was there no gaddem chill to be found.

The Second Quadrannium of Gambrach: The Pantomime of Bikinimi

Girls Bright Pink Scuba Bikini Set

After a season of gbakamuninion with the unchill in the Kingdom of Jirria, the spirit of the Tword once again came upon the Chronicler, bringing phantasmagoric visions of Gambrachian doings.

It was time once again for the annual Colustrum of Shiwajun, where the Apicureans gathered from near and far to suckle from the nipples of Shiwajun as he lactated his milk of ancient wisdom. The Colustrum was held in the Car-Knoe, the Kingdom of King Macashma Gandy, the eldorado of every Electoralis.

The Apicurean nobles gathered from near and far to hear what Shiwajun might have to say about the ills and lack of chill pervading the land. All knew it was the innermost desire of Shiwajun to succeed Gambrach on the Iron Throne of Boo Jar and, unlike Gambrach, he was pursuing with the use of Too Wrenchy. Alas the Too Wrenchy failed Shiwajun, and yea after he paused for ten seconds he blurted out, “we shall solve the unemployment plaguing our young men by building an army bigger than all the armies of the world put together and then outsource soldiers to all the warfronts of the world – for soldiers are evenly distributed but war is not. And yea, we shall call this starting up idea of providing manpower to the world’s armies ‘MAndela’. And all the Apicurean cronies cheered in united vapidity.

It was also in that day that Ser DooMar,the Warden of Conductivitis, ventured into St. Banex Square to fix his device of portability. One of the sentries manning the square called out to him, saying, “Hail, o nondescript nobleman driving a huge chariot. I bid thee good morrow and ask that you ask your chariotsman to convey your chariot to a different parking location – for it rests in illegality in its current postion.”

Ser DooMar was incensed. “What does a mere peasant like you know about illegality? Do you know that I preside over Conductivitis to probe the illegalities of Kings and Dukes and nobles? Take that, you bloody knave!” he declared as he dealt the sentry a huge slap. The other sentries were displeased at the assault of their comrade and surrounded DooMar, menacingly. His squire panicked and started screaming, “They are Frabanians, they are Frabanians!” and it was the Constabulary that saved them both. The people of Jirria heard it and a rumbling of unchill swept the land.

In North Easteros, the battle continued to rage between the Haramites of Boko and the King’s Army. The Haramites were fiercely armed and had downed two of the King’s Combat Winged Chariots. Morale was low in the garrison, wherefore Ser Unsagash, the King’s Counsellor for War visited the troops to rally them. “Be bold and courageous,” he charged them, “fear not the arrows of the Haramites nor their spears!!!”

“Have you brought us bodily armour to protect us from their killingness?” the troops asked.

“Oh no, not at all! Are you kidding?” Unsagash replied. “I am here to assure, as the King’s Counsellor for War, that there is no need to fear the weapons of the enemy! For we all know, don’t we, that if we are not meant to die by the tip of the spear or an arrow, only a sword can kill us?” And the people heard the words of Unsagash, and the unchill in the land grew.

Yea, the unchill swept into the chambers of Ser Bikinimi, Gambrach’s Counsellor for Advanced Communications, at the peak of his NINcompoop Project. The NINcompoop Project was designed to capture the details and features of all the people in the Kingdom. First it was alleged that the Kingdoms of Bidenistan and Jandinia had placed him on the no-winged-chariot list, for being intensely intelligent about violent religionism, but that was very quickly recanted.

But then the details of Ser Bikinimi’s violently intelligent religiosity came to the fore and, maaaaiiiigheeeeurd, there was no chill anywhere. Ser Bikinimi ascribed his unveiling to his championing of NINcompoop. “These things that were said about me were said in the days of my youth. I am grown now and more mature. And see, I have many people with less intelligent religious fervour in my employ. They are religiously stupid and regionally less endowed and yet i employ them. Canst ye not see that I am not bigoted???”

Then a young squire by the name Hunny Din went deep into the citadels to consult all the oracles. And when he emerged, he revealed that Ser Bikinimi had professed love for Sama – the Patron Demon of Pandemonium and El-Karda, the global union of pandemoniumists. Ser Bikinimi had declared an overflowing of joy when people who believed in Fidel Castro (‘inFidels’) were slain by pandemoniumists.

The people read it and there was no gaddem chill in the land.

BON, COSON and MUSIC-SHUNs: 5 THINGS

It has now been widely reported  that IBAN* and BON** (associations of independent television and radio broadcasters) have chosen, in response to lawsuits by COSON, seeking the payment of royalties for its members, to stop playing the music of COSON-registered artists. Here are a few bits and bobs on collecting societies and royalty payments.

  1. What is a Collecting Society?

A collecting society is an organisation that, as the name suggests, collects royalties income on behalf of its members. What income? Well, you’d have to go back to Copyright 102, on who owns the music, for copyright basics. However, to quickly summarise, the music and the process through which it is made confers exploitable rights on different people. If you’re a busy song writer or a touring singer, the chances are that you cannot track all the stores, radio and tv stations, digital platforms, etc. playing or selling your music. Collecting societies do this for their members. Examples of collecting societies outside Nigeria are The Harry Fox Agency, PRS for Music, ASCAP, NORM, SAMRO and so on. In Nigeria, we have COSON – the Copyright Society of Nigeria. COSON is the collecting society for musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria. What are musical works and sound recordings? See Copyright 101.

2.   Does COSON represent only singers/artists?

In theory, no. I reckon COSON would also argue that it doesn’t just represent singers in practice.  In theory, COSON should represent and indeed holds itself out to represent everyone in the music-making process – singers, writers, instrumentalists, producers and so on. However, the nature of copyright is such that if a producer or instrumentalist was hired and paid a one-off fee for their work, it is deemed a work-for-hire and copyright vests in the employer. Which brings me to the “in theory” part, because in Nigeria,  most singers write their own songs and the producer (hired and paid a one-off fee) sequences the music with software. After Cobhams, not too many others hire session bassists, guitarists, percussionists, etc., unless you’re part of a fuji or highlife band, but you get the drift. If a singer who’s written his own music (or his label), hires a producer (on a one-off fee) who lays the beats, who owns the copyright in the work? The artist? That’s right. But I am more than happy to be corrected if my assessment is wrong.

3.   How do Collecting Societies pay their members?

I’m just going to copy and paste the ASCAP formula . You can find the breakdown and explanation on their webpage, here.

Use Weight  X  Licensee Weight  X   “Follow The Dollar Factor”   X   Time of Day Weight   X   General Licensing Allocation

+

Radio Feature Premium Credits
(for radio performances only where applicable)

+

TV Premium Credits
(for performances in highly rated series, where applicable)

=

CREDITS

You can also view BMI’s method here.

How does COSON pay its members? They also describe it on their website and here’s another copy and paste:

“At COSON, there are two categories of distributions: Specific Distribution and General Distribution.

“When a license is issued for a clearly identifiable work or a log is received from which the royalty due to a particular work is clearly discernible (e.g radio & TV promos, road shows, jingles, ringtones, etc), the copyright owner/s is entitled to a royalty based on how much the society has collected on behalf of the owner from the user. The only deduction in this case will be the administrative cost.

On the other hand, a general distribution is made to members across the board, in cases where the royalty collected cannot reasonably be ascribed to any specific work or where the members at an AGM have decided that a token be paid to all members irrespective of the amount of use of their works. General distributions are usually done once in a year.”

4.   Is COSON the only collecting society in Nigeria?

Uhm, yes, although Charlie Boy and his friends at MCSN would probably disagree with me. And this article, here, suggests there should be more than one. However, the Copyright Act says that you cannot officially be a collecting society unless the Copyright Commission licenses you as such. The Act goes further to state that that the Copyright Commission does not need to license more than one collecting society if it is satisfied that a single society can carry out the role adequately. Therefore, as the law currently stands, royalties for the broadcast of musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria are payable to COSON alone.

5. Does COSON’s “International Standards” Argument Fly?

COSON prefaces most of its statements on this matter with a reference to international standards and practices for the industry. If we want a world-class industry, then YES, it certainly makes sense for us to adopt the standards that the very best representatives of the international industry have imbibed. However, our history, both economic and political, has shown (and it’s unclear to me whether this is fortuitous or by malevolent design) that wholesale adoption of international standards has not always worked. In his piece on the matter, industry heavyweight, Efe Omorogbe frowns at the BON/IBAN tack of wanting to develop a system that takes the “peculiarities of the Nigerian industry” into cognisance. Obviously, given how long BON and IBAN have contended with collecting societies (and other, more sinister motives, as alleged by COSON), there are some trust/credibility issues. But there is nothing wrong (if BON/IBAN are sincere) with looking at the roles that culture, environment, etc. played in the evolution of international systems while they were evolving, and see if we need to tweak any parts of what we’re adopting. For instance, is it a factor worth considering that in the royalty regimes practising these international standards, pirates and piracy are not as pervasive as they are here? Is it worth considering that our traditional channels for distribution now involve an Alaba “distributor” negotiating a one-off fee with the artist and  the artist expecting no more sales income from the album (thank God for digital)? These have no direct bearing on radio and television per se, but they underscore the point that our industry is neither American nor British – it is Nigerian.

Clearly, BON and IBAN have to pay for licences to exploit the music, unless they all decide to become 100% talk radio stations. This is more so as they are required to have 80% Nigerian content. If their ban is as a result of not wanting to pay at all, it is unconscionable. If, on the other hand, they want to develop a royalties regime in good faith for the Nigerian industry, then rather than merely complaining about antagonism and harassment, they should be putting out counter-proposals to COSON’s. Eventually, the law suits that have been filed by COSON will reach a conclusion and things will come to a head. It will be interesting to see if the ban will last as long as the lawsuits.

________________________________________________________

**IBAN – Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria

**BON – Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria

Nelson Mandela’s Musical Legacy

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How will I remember Nelson Mandela? It will be in the music that was made about him and his role in the struggle to smash apartheid. There are many reasons why. As a child of the 80s in Nigeria, we didn’t have political programmes dedicated to the struggle – it would have been hard and perhaps a bit hypocritical, seeing as we were under the thumb of the military for the greater part of 1980-1990.  There was no CNN/cable television for us until the mid to late 90s, no internet, no news breaking globally in an instant. No. My initial education on South Africa, apartheid and Nelson Mandela was from the music of the day.

I remember Majek Fashek’s Free Mandela, from his album I and I Experience. The song spoke of the man who had been in jail for 27 years, who “left his wife and his children for the sake of Africa”. The song also reminded us that Nigeria had been independent had been independent for 29 years but Nigerians were still dependent. Majek begged Margaret Thatcher, George Bush and Frederik De Klerk to free Mandela; it begged Babangida to free Nigeria and it begged colonial masters to free Africa. During the Fela-rites-of-passage years that all Nigerian men in universities go through, I would later hear Fela Anikulapo-Kuti point out the absurdity in Thatcher and Reagan, who he said were friends of Pieta Botha, go to the United Nations to press for a charter on human rights.

I remember Ras Kimono’s Kill Apartheid. He sang, “Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Gorbachev and Pieta Botha/All of them come and join together/They want to be the blacks’ masters/So, kill apartheid, we have to kill apartheid…” I forget the musician’s name now, but I also remember “The whole world is saying: stop this apartheid; Africans are saying free Nelson Mandela! Oh yes! Liberate South Africa Now!

I remember Paul Simon’s Graceland  concert, with which he launched his African-flavoured album of the same name. Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba (God rest her soul too) did a duet – Bring back Nelson Mandela, brick him back home to Soweto, I want to see him walking down the streets of South Africa TOMORROW! Bring back Nelson Mandela, bring him back home to Soweto, I want to see him walking hand in hand with Winnie Mandela…” Apart from Masekela’s hypnotic trumpeting, there was something about that simple plea that plucked at my young heart.

I remember Onyeka Onwenu’s tribute to Winnie Mandela. “Winnie Mandela, sould of a nation, crying to be free…they can take away your man, take away your happiness, but they can’t take away your right to be free…”. I remember Nel Oliver, who resurfaced recently with the wedding hit “Baby Girl”, do a song on apartheid as well. “We must refuse segregation, we are born to live together. Open your hearts and sing in harmony, Apartheid in South Africa…” [Update: I’ve since learnt that the song was called “Upheaval”. I also found the video…]

There were so many more songs celebrating Madiba and his struggle. I’m sure I will be reminded of a few. I remember being in boarding school the day he was released from prison. We all gathered round the TV they’d brought into the common room just for the occasion. I suspect that the gravity, the significance, of the occasion was lost on the prepubescent gathering. For me, it was that this man I’d heard so many songs about was finally free.

Rest in peace, Madiba.

NB.

I’ve been told that it was sacrilegious to omit Asimbonanga by Johnny Clegg. I hope the powers that be will forgive me for this oversight, as I’ve sought to correct my error by embedding a keeper. Madiba joins Clegg on stage at this performance of Asimbonanga. Enjoy.

MTN Corporate Elite 2013: 10 Things

The end-year-office-party season kicked off yesterday, the 1st of December 2013, with MTN’s Corporate Elite 2013 concert at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotel and Suites. This is the seventh year in a row that MTN has hosted the event and man, did they put on a show. These days, I really can’t go anywhere without doing a little aproko, so here are my bits and bobs from the event.

1. Billy Ocean is a LEGEND. End of.

Our man is grey-haired now, being all of 63 years old, and he’s grown dreadlocks along the way. He showed last night, however, that his lyrics are eternal. Reeling out classics like What is the Colour of Love, Suddenly, When the Going Gets Tough, Get Out of My Dreams (Get Into My Car), the entire venue sang along; even the stuffy elite of the corporate elite. Suddenly was particularly tender as everyone, including yours truly held on to their other halves and loved up the atmosphere.

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2. Maxi Priest can saaaaaaaaaaaang!

We know him on this side of the planet for hits like I Just Wanna Be Close to You, Wild World, Just a little bit longer and the like, and he performed those songs to all our delight. However, I’d personally confined the man in the box of my mind to being a mere reggae artist. No people – the guy is an absolute rock star. Maxi Priest brang it and then he sang it. What’s more, after his set, he came to sit in the audience at the table right next to mine. So of course I famzed and he shook my hand. Said hand is currently in a vacuum glass glove, destined to remain unwashed until we cross over into the new year.

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Maxi Priest

3. The Madness that is Awilo

Weeeeeepah! We love Awilo Longomba. We’ve loved him since Comment tu t’appelles? in the late nineties/early noughties. However, he exploded onto the stage and stopped the music after only  20 seconds. “Why you no dennss?” he asked disappointedly, in his thick francophone accent? Then he bust a few bars and held the microphone out to the crowd but only got a muted response. Someone needs to tell him though, that it’s because we sing his music phonetically – we don’t know the lyrics. Praiz  eventually joined him on stage for their new song to close the set.

www.myspace.com/aayaproduction

http://www.myspace.com/aayaproduction (Photo credit: hansgd23)

4. The C.E.O. Dancers

Two of them, anyway. Since their introduction to the continent (you have to love the internet) on Youtube via Britain’s Got Talent, we’ve seen them in a few music videos. Last night, they were Awilo’s dancers. The one with the bleached, short hair seemed a little overwhelmed by it all every once in a while, with a puzzled look on her face, but there you have it – Simon Cowell’s sphere of influence spreads to a concert in Lagos.

5. Put the Effing Tablets Away!

So, Joe comes on stage and all the women are swooning. But not so much that they forget to whip out their mobile phones and iPads. You rush to the stage, your screaming at Joe, he reaches out to shake you, you grab his hand and quickly spin around to take a quickie selfie with Joe? Hian! Even worse, you’re recording the performance on your 20-inch iPad and it’s so fricking large it covers your face. Joe comes over to hold your hand. You give to him, you’re screaming, going nuts yet you don’t put the tablet down so you can actually see his face and look at him properly?? Come on! Live the moment. Carpe momentatis (fake Latin, don’t quote me anywhere, please).

6. It’s the “Corporate Elite”, but Come On!

I was seated at a table with a couple of old folks. I suppose they’re the ones that MTN was really throwing the party for. Sometimes, when you’re in the Lagos Elite, I suppose you are mandated by social etiquette to honour all the invitations that are extended to you. But how on earth do you come to a concert, the whole auditorium rises to its feet because their song just came on and you ask me to sit  because I’m blocking your view? B@%#$ please! Then you wrap yourself up in a shawl, put your head on the table and look miserable all night, punctuating your misery with intermittent sips of champagne from a water glass. Just go home, lady. Corporate/socialite elite or not.

7.The Love of Joe

Joe is so fortunate, from the Nigerian perspective, that it was his music that people in their mid-30s to mid-40s became men and women to, and I don’t mean that in a dirty way at all. If you were in university in the mid-90s onwards, chances are you jammed to Joe (and Puffy, Pac, Ma$e and Biggie…but well…). Your first car, with your first Sony Explode car stereo jammed Joe and you probably have a few memories of relaxing to Joe with your boyfriend/girlfriend at the time.

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Joe got up on the Murray-Bruce’s table. Grandma Murray-bruce gave him a queenly smile.

8. They Know Me?

It was the first time in Nigeria for Billy Ocean and Maxi Priest.  You can tell it’s an international act’s first time usually by how they harp on “Africa” in their ad libs, but that’s a digression. I reckon both they and Joe were surprised at how popular they were, how everyone sang along to their lyrics when they’ve probably never earned a dime in royalties from Nigerians buying their records. Reminds one of the time DMX came to Abuja about 10 years ago and reportedly flipped out, enraged at the volume of bootleg copies of his CDs on sale. Enter COSON? (I’m sure I just made their Board happy).

9. Nigerian Acts

I cannot end without giving kudos to the Nigerian artists that featured yesterday – Praiz, Iyanya, Davido, Saeon, KCee. The same crowd that got on its feet for Billy Ocean, Dru Hill and Joe went absolutely nuts for its local acts. I bash local artists a lot for lyrical content but I can’t know much about music if the music I complain about brings tens of thousands to their feet. So keep on keeping on fellas.

10. The Product is Nostalgia

What’s your selling point, as an artiste who peaked 20-30 years ago? It’s nostalgia. When Tevin Campbell came on, you should have seen them mamas with teenage kids now screaming the lyrics of Can We Talk. When JT Taylor did songs from his Kool and the Gang Days, there was this grandpa in a bowler hat going all groupie on the man. The point is, I think, if you want to live on your music for the rest of your life, it has to be worth listening to 20-30 years from now. And this is me harping on lyrics again. I may not know much about music but whine-am-whine-am-go-down-low will not be paying the bills in 2023. What memories can your audience make to whine am music? The product sold be memory-making music.

Tevin Campbell

Tevin Campbell

JT Taylor

JT Taylor

The APC-nPDP “Merger”: 5 Things

Although it’s a bit of a misnomer, as the “New PDP” neither ever acquired a distinct corporate personality nor was recognised as an actual political party, but a “merger” with the All Progressives Congress (APC) was announced today. As the news spread on Twitter, a hitherto latent pragmatism also spread with it.  Suspicions about the leanings and probity credentials of the APC leaders gave way to acceptance that Nigeria isn’t yet ripe enough to be led by a party of saints. There was palpable excitement at the notion that a party that didn’t exist a year ago now has 18 governors (and numerous federal legislators) in its fold. What are the implications of this merger, though? Here are a few naïve thoughts from my de-tribalised, de-politicised, de-everythinged mind

1. An Epic Clash Awaits in 2014/15

Forget for a second, if you will, about the potential presidential candidates. Lick your chomps instead at the prospect of the mother of all muscle-flexing between Federal and State might. Incumbents typically do not lose elections in Africa. In Nigeria, the ruling PDP’s candidate has won every presidential election since our then (and still?) nascent democracy was born in 1999. The PDP has wielded control over the fabled “machinery” of elections since then. However, it was overwhelmingly the largest party in the past and its majority has now been halved. Federal Machinery is no more than an agglutination of Municipal Machineries. With Municipal (i.e. State) Machinery no longer aligned with Federal purpose the outcome may remain unknown for now, but it is sure that the jostling will be the busiest, rowdiest, most legendary election campaign (and spending, let’s be honest) that us 45’s and under have ever seen.

2. Shine Ya Eye

My twitter bio has been updated, to indicate my availability to provide electioneering services that cater to the vanities of elite Nigeria. I am not a ballot-stuffer and I have never brandished a weapon against a fellow human in all my life. To be honest, I want nothing to do with that side of our peculiar electoral process. However, I can do and coordinate the fancy stuff that we, the electoral minority, like. After all, a credible campaign consists of serving the illiterate masses empty platitudes and attempting to beguile the elite with concrete policy. If the epic spending predicted in point 1 above proves true, then there is going to be a big “mahkate” for consultants. Get your consultancy on.

3. Jagabanism is Next to Progressivenessism

Slate the Jagaban Borgu all you like but dismiss him at your own peril. This dismissiveness I speak of is not just in the context of the opposition parties (as the political calculations suggest a South-Westerner is unlikely to be a popular presidential candidate for another 20 years or so) but even with the APC aficionados. Sure, he is building a family dynasty, with the good lady senator senating and the Iyaloja General doing whatever it is Iyalojas do, but perhaps the Tinubus will be the Kennedys or the Bushes of Yorubaland – with due apologies to FFK. With the opinion most people express about him online, I think, given his astute succession planning in Lagos State, it is either he gets an unduly bad rap or Governor Fashola simply is not the saint we imagine him to be. Lagos has progressed unquestionably under their watch however, so it is clear that the man knows a thing or two about developmental spending.

4. Dry Bones Will Live Again

It was said recently, citing sources from within the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, that the reason for its poor record of enforcement recently was  a lack of funds. No money to chase stealers of money; the sad irony.  We can rest assured, however, that this hitherto missing money or a good Executive substitute for it will be delivered to the EFCC and they will begin to pursue their statutory mandate with renewed vigour and unprecedented fervour. That the scope of their sights is set on members of the burgeoning APC will be a minor footnote in the quest to kick corruption out of government. Never mind the fact that the N255m armoured car scandal refuses to go away, even with the feeble Wag-The-Dog tactics of an attack on an empty ministerial car by unknown gunmen. But I digress.

5. Plus Ca Change…

Asari Dokubo and co will no doubt, in the wake of the moves to unseat their “Jesus Christ on earth”, remind us that it is Niger Delta oil that is running through all our veins and that removing the incumbent president would be akin to ripping each of our hearts out of our bodies. It will be of no consequence, should this president be removed by a popular vote. It is “their turn”. Then, as elections draw closer, and the president begins to lie down before men of God for prayers, religion will also join tribalism as an honoured guest at the electoral feast. General Buhari, did not lie prostrate before the archbishop of Canterbury during his recent visit, so GEJ is well ahead in the picture polls. Pictures from the Jerusalem walkabout will resurface and Buhari will have to defend why he contracted the Mossad to abduct Umaru Dikko. Allegedly. Then the president will reduce the barriers for accessing the Nollywood World Bank Fund. So those ones will come out and act and sing for him again. Then North will be awash with “Sai Buhari” posters. Then the polity will be unbelievably heated up, in spite of the tepid warnings from the presidency…