The Chronicles of Chill: The Savor of Celebritine

savourpost

Brethren, the chill in the land was an uneasy one because there was much wailing. The wailing was louder than it ever was or ever had been because the Lovengers were wailing as well. No more did they take pride in the King’s posture, no basked in the glory of his utterances nor inhaled deeply the fragrance of his kaka. The wailing reached Bedrock, but all refused to hear it for it was better to be infused with the membrane of the Many Years’ disease, which troubled the King.

The people were united in their wailing for many-a-reason. The Iron Bank of Boo Jar had run out of copper and had taken to disbursing coins of wood. Mefilius ensured that that the King and his councillors had all the wooden coin they needed, in copious amounts. The councillors were mildly worried that the coin of the Kingdom was flammable and combustible but it took care of their many needs.

At senatii, Dinobetes Melitus presented the matter of the camp of the displaced and the corruptio korikonensis. For word had come forth that the council for that Balavida, who was squire to the King’s council, had been put in charge of the succour-bringing intervention council of Gambrach and had paid himself from the King’s purse to cut the corruptio korikonensis. And the men and women of senatii were filled with rage and called for Gambrach to relieve him of his post.

Word reached Balavida that this was the will of senatii concerning him and he said unto them with full vim and vigour, “Ye people of senatii, ye speakest rubbish. Know ye not with whom ye dealest? Una head no correct.” And the senatii heard it and they were like, “Wawu! The effrontery! How dare he say this?” And Abushola, warden of senatii, whose travails were now long since forgotten, for whom wahala was no longer morghulis, said “‘Tis a very serious matter before us brethren Balavida messeth with our swag!”

Brethren, ye know that of all the swag in the land, of all the imbuement of the sweet aroma of gravitas, none was more endowed than E-Dawg, councillor for petrolatum. And E-Dawg had been busy, yo. E-Dawg had voyaged to the congress of the Oligopoly of Petrolatum Conjurers and after a conclave with them, it was agreed that all but the Kingdom of Gambrach would conjure less petrolatum. And as E-Dawg stepped out of the conclavic congress, behold, the prayers of Gambrach were answered, as the price of petrolatum ascended.

And the people asked him, “How achievest thou this feat, E-Dawg?” And he answereth unto them, saying “You know, I’m just gonna be straight with you mehnn…it’s my pimping navy blue suit. You put on pimping threads and keep things 1 hunned, let me tell you mahn, can’t nobody take ya pride, can’t nobody hold you down, oh no, you’re gonna keep on moving. Peace out.” And E-Dawg left them marvelling at the trail of swag he left behind.

In further account of marvelousity, a new spirit traversed the land. The people were divided in their reception of the spirit, for it was unlike the spirits of Wawu and Egbami to which they had grown accustomed. To some it was a benevolent spirit, to others it had a malevolent agenda. It was a spirit of ponzification and its name was MoolahMagicMarvel. It strongly possessed the people of the land causing them to bring their coin, scarce as it was, with a promise to marvelously and magically multiply it. The bankers of Boo Jar warned the people but they would not heed the word, and many emptied their coffers into the temple of MoolahMagicMarvel. For a while, the spirit kept its promise and more followers came. One morning, as the devotees gathered for worship, the temple was sealed shut and the sexton passed a message from the priests unto the people. The spirit though pleased with them was unhappy with their lack of faith and would cause them to desire him more be departing from them for 2 moons!

“Whither our coin?” the people asked. The sexton replied “It is safe in the temple.”

“But we are in need of our coin. In dire need of it. Some of us have sold land, others abandoned our education. What shall we do.”

“Ye shall occupy until the great spirit returneth. Forget ye not, that the most benevolent great spirit had admonished thee, that thou bringest only thy spare coin? If ye doest beyond this and heedeth not the admonition of the great spirit, thou art O-Y-O.”

And brethren, there began to be unchill.

Back in senatii, Magoo awaited confirmation of his appointment as chief of the Everly Failing at Convictions Commission – so that he he would really begin his war of marvel, awe and shock against graft in the land. But a scroll had been delivered to senatii, from the Deliverance Squad Squadron, that Mr Magoo did not come to their equity with clean hands. Mr. Magoo neverhessperredit and quickly sent a pigeon to Kyocera, head of the Squadron.

“Dear Kyocera, senatii sayeth unto me that thou bringest a word against me. How can this be? Together we wrought havoc on corrupt judges, not giving a second thought to due process. Thou wert Butch Cassidy and I thy Sundance Kid. Thou wert Batman and I thy Robin. Thou wert Aki and I your PawPaw. Thou knowest, surely that Nollywood maketh not a movie with just Aki! Thou art but the fakest guy.”

Kyocera received the missive from Mr. Magoo and quietly wrote back by return pigeon. “Behold, it is written, on the evil day many will say to me, Dawg, Dawg, ridest I not with thee? Breakest I doors down not with thee? Arresteth not I the grafters in thy name? And I shall say to them, not everyone that rideth with me be my homeboy. Depart from me for I knowest thee not. I say these not to thee however, until thou callest me a fake guy. Behold my pettiness!”

Such was rare in the land and the people thought this meant trouble for Mr. Magoo. But there was an ancient pharisee in the land, much revered, much versed in the law of the land. So versed was he, that he had written several scrolls. And his name, aptly, was Sagacious. Gambrach had appointed Sagacious as chief of the king’s advisory council on graft (another council, yes, the chronicler only records the Tword as it is revealed). Since Sagacious became a courtesan, it seemed to the people that his voice had changed. Sagacious came to the people and said, “In the matter of Mr. Magoo, the most unprecedentedly competent head of the Everly Failing at Convictions Commission, we shall be ignoring the law of the land, ignoring senatii, and we shall leave Mr. Magoo there for as long as we like. Thus sayeth me! And I say, as Judge Dredd sayeth in the original Stallone movie (not the dreary Karl Urban remake), I AM DE LAW!!!!”

And there was amazement at the words of Sagacious. And there again began to be even more unchill. But a storm was coming, for Gar Bar, head scribe to Gambrach had found his voice again and spoke to the people as it concerned the wedding of Asos and Noodlinho.

“O wretched people of the land, downtrodden of the earth, hoi polloi of our society, ye knowest that the wedding of Gambrach’s daughter Asos to her betrothed, Noodlinho, is ordinarily an occasion of pomp and pageantry – an occasion full of celebritine savor. I say this not unaware of your tribulations; but ye are wretched and my voice, the voice of Gambrach is a blessing unto thee!”

The people were taken aback.

“In a medium-rare, well done, or perhaps only a rare twist, depending on how much thou likenest a twist to a steak, the King has insisted that this wedding shall be entirely private affair.”

The people were confused. But Gar Bar continued.

“This celebritine savor will yet permeate this glorious occasion. Thy king is the bestest most humblest king ever and he protesteth at feeding his guests at the wedding banquet from the Kingdom’s purse. We, his glorious aides, including Balavida – he who cutteth corruptio korikonensis and payeth himself handsomely with money from the King’s purse – have taken it upon ourselves to feed the King’s guests. Thank us, ye peasants, and smell the savour of our magnanimity!”

Behold, chill again departed the land!

The Chronicles of Chill: In the Midst of Unchill…

 

Gaza Explosions

As the reign of Gambrach rolled on, the twelfth month of his appointment of his Council came to pass. The people cast the eyes of their minds back over the year to consider all the Council had achieved over the year. Lo, they looked, and what they saw stretched to the ends of what their minds’ eyes could see. Behold, it was a gigantic, stupendous, impressively robust agglutination of nothing and hot air.

Osinoshin the Comer Comelion was still coming and going with dreams of what the King would someday do. Yudo Mah had lost the coinage of the land to the demon Missingstopheles, Shittinski had spent the entire year admiring his newly sequinned glove. Fasholas, past Giderian king, had spent it blaming the reign of Gejoshaphat for his confoundment. Kem Shun had grown increasingly reticent, perhaps because there was no longer anything new that could be said. Mefilius to tinker with the coin with skoinskoin, the ancient financial philosophy of Wan Tchans, leading to a recessive depression in the land.

The people cried out to Gambrach, believing there was a balm in the Gilead of Bedrock but Gambrach had other things on his mind. Asos, his daughter the fair maiden, was to be wed with the son of Noodles, man of great wealth. And when the wedding was announced, unchill swept through the land, for Asos was only a score and one year old, and as such, only three years into adulthood. But she was full grown and her betrothed wealthy. Furthermore, Gambrach had assured the people that the joining of his daughter and the son of Noodles in matrimony would not be a lavish affair. Even the Lovengers had stopped living by every word that proceeded from the mouth of Gambrach, but on this occasion, the people decided to wait and see.

It was also in that time that Lord Soukey, the father of Darth Soukey, deposed Tsar of Koh Toh, died. Darth Soukey remained in the prison, with no progress on his trial, as between Mr. Magoo and the Deliverance Squad, they were yet to gather evidence upon which he could be convicted. Darth Soukey was restrained from attending the funeral of his father, for the Everly Failing at Convictions Commission was afraid that Darth Soukey would find refuge with the monarchists loyal to the Soukey royal house and no longer be available to be held indefinitely by them.

Luckily for Soukey, former king Gejoshaphat under whom he served, was around to ensure that the sting of his absence would not be too severe. As Gejospahat’s chariot rode into Koh Toh, he was welcomed by many people greeting him happily. “Oh Gejoshaphat, how we hunger and thirst for thy second coming! Oh that thou wouldst come back and be our king again in the next quadrannium!” And yea, did they also line up to bid him farewell after Lord Soukey was interred, and watch his chariot disappear in the distance.

As Gejoshaphat’s chariocade disappeared, news reached the Twillistines and Social Medianites that the men and women of junior senatii had arranged for the procurement of 2 gross, 1 score and 1 dozen brand new chariots. Already ensconced in unchill, the people were very irritated. “How dare these junior senatines do this in the midst of our woes? Know they not that many workers whose wages are paid from the coin have yet to be paid? See they not our suffering?”

To which the spokesperson of juior senatii responded, “Oh ye Twillistines, ye are our brethren. We do not buy these chariots to ride over your corpses into glory. No! We buy them to enable us do our glorious work of making laws for you. Yea, many of us were poor and chariotless like you before we entered into the junior senatii. We can no longer just be walking upandan like ye do, to do our work.”

But the people were not appeased, and they grumbled loudly. So loudly, that a former member of Gambrach’s former house (for Apicuria was a fusion), a man named Boo Bar remarked in the village square, “Alas, pity for Gambrach filleth my heart, for everyone has turned against him, even the Lovengers for whom he could previously do no wrong. Verily, I say unto him, that if he put himself forward for electoralis into the next quadrannium, I do not see him emerging victorious.”

Boo Bar’s statement was heard very promptly in Bedrock. Many Years did not keep this prophecy from being heard. Immediately, Gar Bar’s quill swung into action. “Oh, Boo Bar, thou hater! Why speakest thou of a thing thou knowest not? For thine information, each person that supported Gambrach before still standeth behind him gidigba! For he stealeth not their money. And he keepeth corruption at bay by stiffling commerce, so that rulers of the land have less to steal. Thou hatest Gambrach longtime because he giveth thee no appointment like he giveth his ride or die homies. I wouldest that thou be better, not bitter.”

And it was time for electoralis in Ondonia again, following quickly after that of Edossopotamia. In Edosspotamia, the 2 quadrannia of Sho Mo Leh were up, just as the quadrannia of Mee Koh in Ondonia. And in the midst of the storm of unchill swirling through the land, there were whispers. Whispers that Shiwajun would no longer stand with House Apicuria in Ondonia…

 

 

The Chronicles of Chill: Gambrach’s Other Room

room-door

Brethren and Sisthren, chill had long departed the kingdom. Nobody was hammering anymore as their hammers had been covered with recessionary latex and turned into mallets and the ceteris was no longer paribus in the econominix of the environment.

 

Everyday, Oshinoshin, the Hand of King Gambrach, would come into the village square to pronounce to the Kingdom all the great machinations of the mind of the King. Each day, when the wailing was at its ebb, he would tell the people, Your King will build this, the King’s council will do that, we are planning to do this. Yet nothing was done. Wherefore the people christened him Comer Comer Comer Comer Comer Comelion, for he used to come and go, with his dreams all red, gold and green.

 

And then one night, as the people put aside their wailing to prepare for sleep, the Deliverance Squadron Squad, imbued with the precarious spirit of Egbami, swooped on the abodes of the highest judges in the land. Behold, they lifted up their heads against ye gates and broke down their previously everlasting doors and laid siege to their dwelling places.

 

The people were alarmed because the Deliverance Squad Squadron were a secret militia, whose primary purpose was to prevent insurgency and treason in the land. Also, as the purported reason for the swooping was the alleged enrichment of the judges of themselves, by themselves, in the most egregious manner, the Everly Failing at Convictions Commission was by law the appropriate organ of the King’s forces, and many were disturbed at the deployment of the formerly secret Deliverance Squad Squadron. This was more so, especially as Mr. Magoo, the nearsighted leader of the Everly Commission had long since complained about the judges not ruling in favour of the Commission.

 

But the Lovengers were pleased. “Oh the fragrant scent of Gambrachian justice!” they proclaimed. “See ye the announcement by the Deliverance Squad of all the coin that they have delivered from the houses of the judges! Surely this is evidence of their perfidy!”

 

“Why choosest thou to be fickle and unremembering of the many so-called deliverances of the Deliverance Squad? The 90 billion shekels of Daisy Annie? The 50 million Barrackistani shekels in the farm of Mar-Ku, predecessor of Lar-Yi in the office of councillor for propaganda…seest thou these deliverances in truth and verity?”

 

And the Deliverance Squad decided to call their deliverance swoop a sting. And lo, was it the bluntest sting in the history of stings, and was not at all like a sting causing but a mere swelling on the arm, but more a collision of chariots that breaketh the arms and legs of a victim.

 

But lo, in spite of the copious amounts of coin, both foreign and local, which the deliverance squad proclaimed that it had delivered, no charge was proffered against the judges. Wherefore it was proclaimed across the land, “Oh DeSS, where is thy victory? Where, oh DeSS thy sting? The sting of DeSS is sin and the power of sin is the lawyer.”

 

The people blamed Gambrach for the misadvaneture of the Deliverance Squad. And behold, while the people wailed and complained, wondering what manner of affliction made its kings across different quadrania act unbecomingly, word came from Roo Ben, head scribe of King Gejoshaphat. “Brethren”, said Roo Ben, “tis true what thou thinkest about life at Bedrock. Our kings wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual hosts in subterranean places. Seest thou not say una leaders no too dey get sense again when they enter Bedrock? Seest thou not the death of the wife of King Shegolas, the death of King Yardy, the afflictions of Lady PeiPei which cleareth once Gejoshaphat was no more king? Ye must pray to the gods, old and new. In fact, scratch that. Ye must break down this Bedrock and build a new one.”

 

And the spirit of Wawu traversed the land yet again. For people were amazed that a man of science and logic, such as Roo Ben, could foray into the metaphysical. But yea, were they also filled with concern. “How then copest Gambrach and Yeeshah?” the people asked. “Is the Many Years Disease of Gambrach an affliction of the subterranean? Is Lady Yeeshah in soundness of body and mind and in good cheer?”

 

Almost as if Lady Yeeshah heard their enquiries, Lady Yeeshah spoke in the public square of the burden of her heart. “Remember ye when Gambrach declaraed that he woulds be a fakest guy if he appointeth not his ride or die homies? I, his wife of one Mandelanic period, remember. I, his wife of one Mandelanic period am therefore aghast that of the two score and ten men that surroundeth Gambrach, Gambrach knoweth but ten of them. As a wife of one Mandelanic period, I wouldest know his ride or dies and behold, the host that encamp around our dwellings are not known to me.”

 

“Wawu”, said the moderator of her discussion. “Sayest thou that Gambrach be not in control of the kingdom.”

 

“Thou seest him, so thou knowest the answer.” replied Lady Yeeshah. And in the spirit of the great bard of the Kingdom, Felanimus Kutinski, it finisheth not, it finisheth not, it finishesth not, it finishesth not, it finishesth not, it finishesth not, it finishesth not, for she continued.

 

“As for me, I have purposed in my heart not to stand by his side should he seek a renewal of his reign in the next quadranium. Neither shall I ask the women of the kingdom to stand for him in electoralis. For I am quite bigly pissed off.”

 

Myyyyyyy gheeeeeuuuurrrrrd!!! This was unprecedented in the entire scrolls of the chronicles of the kingdom, for the wife of the King to speak so brazenly against him in the open. And the people wondered what the response of Gambrach would be, for they remembered that he used to be a man of Gunn.

 

Fortunately for them, Gambrach was on his way out of the Kingdom again, on his way to Allegmania, the Kingdom of Queen Mer Kell, who Gambrach called Queen Me Shell, perhaps due to his affliction of Many Years Disease. It was fortunate for the people of the Kingdom, because of his outspokenness – his speaking only when he was out of the Kingdom (this is recycled joke of chronicler, so funny).

 

And when Gambrach arrived in Allegmania, after stepping out of his flying chariot in a manner that brought tears to the eyes of the Lovengers, and inspecting the Allegmanian troops of honour in a manner which filled the Lovengers with gratitude and the sense of being fortunate to have him as president, Gambrach stood in the chamber of Queen Mer. Together, they addressed the men and women of Paparazzia and Blogg.

 

Behold, did the people of Paparazzia enquire of Gambrach, “Oh great king Gambrach, hearest thou the words of thy wife? Everybody clappy hand for you, she don’t clappy hand for you no more. Like, Latiffus Kayodensis, she taketh away her support from thee and Apicuria. This be-eth an almighty ela! Wilst thou take it?”

 

And Gambrach replied, “I knoweth not if my wife belongeth to Padipalia or Apicuria. I know, however, that she belongeth in my kitchen. And that she belongeth in my living room. And…” he said as a mischievous grin played across his face, “…that she belongeth in my other room. You know what I’m saying fellas! My other room! You know what I’m saying, right? Look, my eye winketh. Thou gettest my meaning, surely.”

 

“Your Highness, but thou art an old man…” said one man of papyrussian blog.

 

“I have many years’ disease, fam. Not that I’ve been alive for so many years. When the lovengers were telling me to fire on and go harder, I’m sure you thought it was only with regard to my quest against graft, shebi? Jon Snows, all of you.”

 

But the King had said this in the presence of his host Queen Mer, a lady herself. It was a scandal, for Gambrach had suggested to the global world, in era of the incumbent and impending Queens of Barrackistan and the Queen of Allegmania, that the place of the woman was in the kitchen, the living room and the, uhm, “other” room. And brethren, the goddam chill was gone and only a figment of the people’s memory.

 

And Gar Bar, the Chief Scribe to Gambrach emerged. “Oh people. Why lackest ye a sense of humour. We who encamp around Gambrach know that he is a barrel of laughter. Remember not that he readeth only the comics and pastiches in the daily papyrus? How I wouldst that ye would chill and get ye it not twisted; for Gambrach unleasheth a banter on thee.”

 

And myyyyyyy gheeeeeeeurd! There was not a speculum of gaddem chill in the whole entire kingdom.

The Chronicles of Chill: A Dog has no Name

sad-dog-funny-dog

From time of electoralis and the ascension of Gambrach to the throne, the Kingdom had suffered violence. Usually, the violent would have taken it by force, but the violent were hungry, for there was a pestilence upon the land. There was unchill and it was a-brewing and a-stewing.

 

The people waited to hear a word from King Gambrach but nary a word proceeded from the Palace. Wherefore, the people began to call Gambrach the most outspoken King they had ever had, for he only spoke when he was out of the Kingdom, in foreign lands. Hehehe.

 

And in that time, amidst the fomenting discomfort in the land,  a man named Joe-Hakeem had a falling out with his neighbour. His neighbour came from the north of the Kingdom and his father, like the King was also called Gambrach. Gambrach, it was said, was a very common name. So common, in fact that Lady Yeeshah, wife of Gambrach, was declared not to be the Yeeshah, wife of Gambrach that was wanted in Barrackistan; it was a different Yeeshah with a husband named Gambrach.

 

Lo, in their falling out did Joe-Hakeem decide to rechristen his dog Gambrach. The dog was an adult dog, and it was not certain that the dog was aware of its new moniker. But behold, did the neighbour raise alarm, that Joe-Hakeem had named his dog after the King and lo, did chill depart from their community. Gambrach the dog, formerly known as Doggy the dog, was killed. And yea, the head of the constabulary arrested him and charged him with blasphemy of the royal name, a hitherto unknown offence in the Kingdom. And the people were amazed, for others had named their dogs after Kings in the past quadrannia, with no consequence.

 

“He is apprehended and incarcerated by the constabulary at the behest of Gambrach! He must be!” the people cried.

 

But Gar-Bar, the King’s chief scribe, heard the accusation and rose quickly in defence of his master. “Friends, Twilistians, Countrymen, lend me your ears. If only thou wouldst know the true nature of your king! Your king suffereth from Many Years Disease and heareth not your common talk. Behold, he heareth thee not for many years, and so couldst not have instigated the constabulary.”

 

The people yinmued, for they had grown weary of Gar-Bar’s persistent beatification of Gambrach.

 

“Besides,” Gar-Bar continued, “when he assembleth the spies of the kingdom, that they mayest inform him of the goings-on, he listeneth first NOT to cries of your travails, nor the words of wisdom from the apostles of marketology! No! He listeneth first to the jesters, the fools and the parodists, that he mayest laugh upon the reports of how the kingdom pastiches him! Is he not a great and benevolent king?”

 

The people were not amused and lost further chill, for Gar-Bar had revealed the mind of Gambrach to them, and their cries and travails were not of prime importance. The mother of all unchills would indeed have swept through the land, were it not for the visit of a very august visitor.

 

Far, far away in Barrackistan, there was the high priest of the Book of Faces, dedicated to the god of the Book of Faces, from his time as a youth in the citadel of VardHarla, in the kingdom of Barrackistan. His name was Marcus von Zuck, and Marcus von Zuck chose this time to come to the kingdom.

 

High Priest Marcus was very wealthy, and throughout the four corners of the earth, were men, women and children who worshiped at the temple of the Book of Faces. And he came to bless his followers and give them succour.

 

In the Palace, Councillor Shittinksi looked for his whitest glove, in anticipation of audience with High Priest Marcus, for the followers of Marcus fell under the authority of his prefecture. But Marcus was allergic to bullshit and so avoideth and shunneth him.

 

And there was chill, as the followers showed their High Priest the fullness of the land and besought him to send even more andelic minstrels into the land.

 

But Marcus departed, and a proclamation went forth from Kal El, the Counting Master of the kingdom, announcing what many already knew in their hearts. The Counting Master and his counting crew had counted, and had beheld that the rent was too damn high, and that the land was in a recession.

 

And the people looked to Gambrach in vain, to see if he could see them beyond the parody; if he could hear them beyond his unlooking. Behold, a voice came, as if from the palace. The voice sounded, as if it were the voice of Lady Kem Shun, of Sarf Londinia, who was Gambrach’s councillor of the purse.

 

“Behold, fam! I know tings is wicked bruv, you get me? And this is desperate times of oppression, innit? But that is why we finna cut down the shopping sprees and ting! And just in case youse don’t believe me blad, here’s my two most peng warriors – Time and Patience. I am sending them out to you, so you can know that recession is just a word, mate. Boom, selecta!!!”

 

Brethren, say it with me – the people heard her words, and there was no gaddem chill, no modicum of decorum, no iota resembling it, in the entire gaddem land!

 

Booyakasha!

The Chronicles of Chill: The Epistle of FeiFei Van Der Putin

Letter

In the 16th month of the reign of King Gambrach, the word of Woo Doo, Gambrach’s councillor for farming went out to the people. “Behold!” he proclaimed, “and let they that mix manure for farmers take heed, that it is high treason to mix manure and ship to other kingdoms for profit, when the farmers in our kingdom have no manure. Let it be known that any such manure mixer found to be doing this shall be banished from the kingdom.”

 

On hearing the proclamation had to do with manure, councillor Shittinksi Bulltshittu thought perhaps he might be of help. But Woo Doo had enough incompetence of his own to deliver the message and did not need to borrow additional incompetence from any of his co-councillors.

 

The people in the kingdom shrugged, for many looked to suffer banishment away from the preils and travails of the kingdom. But for FeiFei van der Putin, Ondonesian minister on exile in Jandinia, it was one derelict proclamation too many from the council of Gambrach.

 

FeiFei van der Putin was a marketinian apostle, writing several epistles to the people of the Kingdom, and counsel for Gambrach, on how they might find chill. Lo, his epistles found great readership in the land. FeiFei van der Putin had spoken very highly of Gambrach during electoralis federalis, and together with his fellow apostle KinYe, led the Twilistianly renowned Why Nations Fail Ministries.

 

FeiFei van der Putin was the High Sparrow of the gospel of marketology in Social Mediana and had increasingly grown vocal in his sermons against Mefilius and his management of the coin and Gambrach and his reign. However, the proclamation of Woo Doo proved far too much for him to bear and in a holy fury, he picked up his parchment and quill and wrote another epistle to the brethren in Twilistia.

 

“Brethren, in as much as I was a voice in the wilderness proclaiming that the Kingdom of Gambrach was at hand, and to the unlikely extent that I was able to sway you to elect Gambrach in electoralis, I tender my deep apology.”

 

And the spirit of Wawu swept across the land, as many did not believe own eyes of Twilistians. For electoralis had wreaked a chasm in Twilistia, and the support of many like the Why Nations Fail Ministries had led to the rise of the Lovengers. And after the spirit of Wawu had settled and departed, behold, there was a stirring and a rumbling among the people and all chill departed the land.

 

“Why apologiseth thee? Gejoshaphat was never in the reckoning. Yea, even if Gambrach were to obliterate the Kingdom from the face of the earth, verily I would stand with him in the void. Behold, I would cast for Gambrach again and again, even if he killeth my mother and father.”

 

“Why apologiseth thee for the manner in which thy vote was cast? Surely, if thou, the Lovengers and all who who cast their vote wouldst apologise, surely it would be for the manner in which thou spake and speakest even yet unto they who wouldst not cast with thee.”

 

“FeiFei van der Putin speakest the truth. For Gambrach disappointeth us sorely.”

 

“Why wouldest thou seek forgiveness, FeiFei van der Putin? Curses on them that would deny us the blessing of basking in the glorious sunlight of the reign of Gambrach.”

 

And the voices of unchill rumbled and rumbled until the sound carried into Gambrach’s palace. And lo, twas his valets and footmen for Social Mediana that first responded to the people. They said, “Get thee it not twisted, this shit is bants. We shall give thee megaphones to amplify thine unchill.”

 

And it came to pass that finally the news was carried into the sacred chambers of Gambrach by Osinoshin.

 

“O Gambrach, great and mighty King. First of your name. Neuterer of technocrats. Arbiter of density for the floatation of the coin. Behold I come with news from Twilistia and Social Mediana.”

 

“Ah. Osinjo.”

 

“Osinoshin, your Highness.”

 

“Ah, yes. Please pardon me. It’s the Many Years Disease again.”

 

“Your Highness, there are rumblings in the land. The Lovengers, the eaters of the grain of the feast of Queen Yeeshah and even FeiFei van der Putin; they all turn against you and forsake their defence of your reign of omnigoodness.”

 

“Hmm. Hmm. … Hmm. So when next shall we be in Europotamia?”

 

“In 7 weeks’ time, your Highness. But the cry of the people, good king.. ”

 

“… Oh, good. There existeth an abundance of time before I shall be required to give thought to their complaints. Tell Mefilius that it is my command for him to independently decide that only the couriers of Westania Iounonium may remit foeign coin to our land henceforth.”

 

“Your Highness, great and mighty king, I beseech thee that thou mayest reconsider, we frighten the holders of foreign coin away. Behold, they wouldst not even give audience to Mefilius on his last sojourn.”

 

“Ah. Osinjo. I hearest thee no more. It appeareth my Many Years Disease affliction is upon me again. Come back next week.”

 

And outside the palace and throughout Twilistia, the rumbling continued, and there was no gaddem chill in the land.

 

The Nigerian Music Industry: Random Thoughts

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks for the entertainment industry here in Lagos, on the legal side of things. Injunctions were sought (and allegedly flouted), some arrests were made (a label was following the money) and some deals were re-done. Some thoughts on the goings-on and more –

 

  1. It’s a business, not a charity

One of the viewpoints to first make the rounds on social media was that labels ‘in the abroad’ aren’t as hardnosed as Nigerian ones. They, allegedly, invest millions in the artist and if the artist doesn’t make it, everyone just parts ways.

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It’s a slightly outside way of looking at things. Yes, it’s a risk the labels are taking and if they’re not happy at the end of your contract, everyone parts ways happily (see, for example Skales and his former label, EME). However, no “abroadian” artist is going to simply up and try to jump ship. You either run out your contract, try to get the label to release you, or ask the court to tear the contract up. It’s a very naïve or poorly advised artist that declares a unilateral end to a contract that hasn’t yet expired.

 

  1. Contracts are almost unbreakable. But bring the tear of a dragon & a unicorn’s horn & we’ll see…

Contracts are the lifeblood of commerce. If people were able to make commitments to others and fail to honour them without any consequences, business/trade would be in tatters. For this reason, all over the [free] world, Courts are very reluctant to end or amend contracts that have been freely entered into.

 

However, courts have in the past released musicians from their labels, where they were convinced that the recording contract, or the circumstances of the relationship between the parties, prevented the musician from making a living (restraint of trade). Typically, this is where the label has refused to honour music release/publication commitments or has made the terms for doing so too tasking for the artist. Courts might also be minded to declare a contract invalid if the artist can show undue influence on the part of the label. So, basically, if you can show that you were strong-armed into signing onto the label, or that the label is making it virtually impossible for you to earn any income, you might want to talk to a lawyer about securing your release. Lawsuits can be expensive though, especially for an artist alleging that the label is closing off his/her income…

 

  1. Those Unbelievable Clauses? It’s the economics, St#$@*!

Following the ‘arrest’ and questioning of one artist and his manager, snippets of the artist’s recording contract were released and many commentators were shocked at the terms. The most fantastic of the terms appeared to be the £10m release/buy-out clause (riddle: when is a label like a Premier League club?) and the assignment to the label of the artist’s copyright in compositions that existed prior to his joining the label.

 

The immediate assumption was that the artist signed the contract without seeking legal advice or, in the alternative, that he had a bad lawyer. It’s an assumption that misunderstands the dynamics of the Nigerian music industry, as the thinking behind it is that an artist can get a label to significantly change the terms of its contract.

 

There are indeed a few artists that can get their requests for changes agreed to, but most are either label owners or execs themselves. For artists on the up and come, there is very little leverage that can be applied on the label, so it’s usually a take-it-or-leave-it situation. The artist in question here had just been released by his former label, where he’d only been moderately successful and had this new label promising him a signature bonus, a brand new SUV and a flat in Lekki. How many artists in that situation would listen to the lawyer’s advice not to sign?

I’m speaking from personal experience, having advised an artist on a nearly identical contract (whose template is it, anyway?) sans SUV and flat. The label lawyer rejected virtually all the changes requested, so the artist was advised not to sign. Artist signed anyway.

 

  1. Where’s the money, anyway?

Ask the average Nigerian artist where they expect their money to come from and you’re likely to hear live performances and product endorsements. Maybe caller ringback tunes as well. Virtually no one is interested in record sales. This Nigerian model is predicated on music being given away for free in the expectation that fame (and then the live performances and endorsements) will follow. This model probably only works for the Top 20-30 artists in my estimation and I don’t believe it to be sustainable. In addition, on CRBTs side, the average artist will get only 6-12% of the gross revenue, depending on the network (those that pay, that is; some are notorious for not paying).

 

Globally though, the highest growth area for music revenue is music streaming, with the IFPI 2016 Global Music Report showing that streaming revenues increased globally by 42.5% on 2015’s numbers. Digital sales on the whole have overtaken physical, the figures now standing at 45% and 39%, respectively.

Streaming accounts for nearly half of the global industry’s digital revenues. I might have a slight occupational bias here, but artists as a whole stand to make a lot more if they began to take digital REVENUES (not merely distribution) seriously.

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  1. Which brings us to COSON…

COSON continues to do a great job of informing the public in the various rights that music users should respect. They have also done well, as the sole collecting society authorised by the Nigerian Copyright Commission, in collecting license payments from broadcasters and public venues where music is played and enjoyed (hotels, bars, restaurants, etc.).  However, this is performance rights revenue, which globally accounts for only 14% of the pie. If the aim, as the representatives of COSON frequently say, is to ensure that producers, session musicians, songwriters, etc. also get a slice, there’s the question to be asked whether or not it’s helpful to join the industry in ignoring sales. A few producers have been in the news recently, accusing artists of not having paid for the work – they have no share in the revenue from the artist’s live performances, so what’s the remedy? There’s also the issue of sampling and covering – ordinarily, there should be a minimum statutory fraction of the sales revenue (from the song doing the sampling or covering) that goes to the original composer. In a jurisdiction where sales aren’t paid attention to, and no statutory rates apply, how do the original rightsholders get compensated?

 

I am aware, I should say, that COSON has a digital licensing framework in the works, and I look forward to its publication in the near future.

 

 

The Age of Gambrach: The Seance of Mikhail Jacksonovic

Glove

And so it came to pass that the people of Oyokolova, who ruled its affairs and were courtesans of King Ajimolov, decided to celebrate the ascension of Shittinski into the council of Gambrach. Shittinski had had a woeful time of it from his interrogation at senatii and was depressed of demeanour, for the people had mocked his answers. Thus, did he determine in his heart, to seize the occasion of the festival of his ascension in Oyokolova, to ameliorate his mood.

And on the day of the festival, King Ajimolov was present, and shared the table with Shittinski. Shittinski himself was bedecked in the finest finery he could muster. Robes of coral blue and aquamarine green, ornately complemented with sequinned gloves on each hand. Yea, was his swag complete, for he reminded the people of the late legend of music and dance, Mikhail Jacksonovic, and all thought Shittinski would, before the festival ended, do the walk of the moon and grab his crotch in full glare of the assembly. But it was not to be. Thus the reason for the englovenment of the hands of Shittinski were a mystery.

It was the season of mysteries in the land, as in that time, Dinobetes Mellitus, member of the senatii, brought his brethren a matter of urgency. “Behold, brethren, the sacred abacus of the kingdom has been compromised by those against our progress, these people of Dembitter. How thinkest they, of Dembitter, that they shouldst be possessed of 25 billion of our precious shekels in one day!?!” And there was a rumbling in the land against Dembitter. But it was quickly quelled, for Dembitter had sealed a parchment with the usurers of the land and none of it was illegal. The effect of the insertion by Dinobetes Mellitus of himself into the matter was akin to a sugar-infused hyperactivity.

And in those days, following the successful ascension of King Rotamachus to the council of Gambrach, Momodeen, his griot, let it be known that he had had word from Daisy-Annie. She had granted him audience, and the permission to interrogate her. But Momodeen did not delve into his conversations with Daisy. Nay. Instead, he composed a ditty unto himself, describing the obstacles traversed before he was beholden of Daisy-Annie. He slayed a few dragons, stole the golden fleece, beheaded the kraken, had tea with Percy Jackson and finally, found himself before Daisy-Annie. But Daisy-Annie was changed. She was locked in fierce battle with an affliction but she found strength to refute the allegations that Momodeen brought from the kingdoms to her. For his travails, however, the name of Momodeen was changed, to Momodyssius, for he had fulfilled a quest.

Yet was there still unrest in the land. The people were short of black oil, as that which Gambrach produced from his body for a time had run out. Lo, were the people incapable of locomotion via their chariots and yea could they not power their electric candles. And the Wailers cried out, “Why be there no black oil! This was not what Apicuria promised!” And the Lovengers replied “Wail thou as thou must, it is of no use, for Gejoshaphat is gone forever.”

[…To be continued…]

The Lion, The Itch and The Wardrobe (or Cabinet, Whatever)

Roaring-Lions-Wallpaper-03

And it came to pass that Abushola unlooked his unlooking of the list of the members of Gambrach’s council and in accordance with the laws of the land presented them to senatii for verification, jestyculation and approval. Of the number which the senatii considered for approval, there was old King Fasholam of Gideria, old King Jekfa of Ekitilopia, Ancient of Days Ah-Oudu and fellow Ancient of Days Lah-Yi. They were quick to find favour in the eyes of the senatii and didst verily and expeditiously receive its approval.

Of their number was another man, Shittinski of Oyokolova, a man of the laws of man, as well as the laws of the beyond. Shittinski was particularly shit during his interrogation by the senatii. Whereas, the Kingdom practised a system of secularis, nevertheless Shittinski  proclaimed his inclination, if left to him, to pay clergy to implement moralatio in the Kingdom. And when asked about the pestilence that flieth by day and night in North Easteros, Shittinski declared loudly, “Shit!! Why asketh thou me this question of great fright and trepidation? Know ye not that I wish not to fall under their sword and be eternally cut off from my family whom I love so dearly? Yea, shall I hold my tongue.”

And lo, did the voice of the people of Twilistia rise against Shittinski, and the people of Social Mediana against his councilisation. “Wherefore be this the fruit of Gambrach’s quest of four months? We will not have him!” But the word of FemCallamitus had gone forth before the verificato senatii, proclaiming, “These are the beloved of Gambrach. Doubt ye not their competence, for as verily as the fulness of time is upon us, so say I to thee that these men of the council have all it takes.”

Also of their number was old King Rotamachus of Rivisinia, who had ruled for 2 quadrannia. Like Abushola, he casteth himself on exile from Padipalia and pledged fealty to the house of Apicuria, and deployeth all manner of fortification for Gambrach during electoralis. In his stead in Rivisinia ruled King Wi-Kay of Padipalia. Rotamachus had sought to bring Rivisinia into Apicuria but Wi-Kay contended mightily with him and wrested the kingdom away from his grasp. However, Rotamachus was favoured of the house of Apicuria and Gambrach desired his presence in the council.

The Rivisinian members of the senatii were disenamoured of Rotamachus, for they felt he had betrayed them (which indeed he may have) and, according to the rules of senatii as announced by Dinobetes Melitus, Rotamachus needed the blessing of 2 of the Rivisinian senateens. It looketh not good for him.

Yet, in those days came a voice from the wilderness, declaring the way of Rotamachus. It was the voice of Momodeen, praise singer to the wealthiest people in the Kingdom. Momodeen loved the fineries of the rich and was the chief chronicler of the stupendity of their wealth. Momodeen had himself sought to rule over the Kingdom in quadrannia past but, lo, was his vote for himself his solitary vote cast in his village; wherefore was the song of electoralis written by StarrusSolidus the Bard, “One Man One Vote”.

Rotamachus found such favour in the sight of Momodeen that Momodeen entered the town square in Social Mediana, declaring “All hail Rotamachus, first of his name, Lion of the World, Slayer of the Stone Men, Vanquisher of the foes of Apicuria, Sacrificial lamb of the electoralis passover, good in every goddam way! Lion of lions! With a big, sexy, furry mane to boot!”

And many followed Momodeen, chanting “All hail our beloved, indomitable Lion.” Others cried, “What manner of the kissing of the buttocks is this?” And opinion swang between the 2 camps. Just like a gaddem pendulum.

But Abushola and the senatii unlooked Lion Rotamachus. And they unlooked again. And thrice did they unlook him for verificato. And yet, “I stand by the Lion, even though he devoureth me!” remained the refrain of Momodeen and those who followed him.

And behold, in that time was yet another voice heard in Social Mediana, of the Prophetess Sar, pronouncing the Beatitudes of Coitus.

“Blessed are they who coit not though they be married in tradition but not before the spirit, but wait to coit after marriage in the temple, for they shall inherit paradise.”

Hmmm, thought the Social Medianites. And she continued.

“Blessed are they who when the itch to coit comes upon them, coit and love without the lubrication of lingerie, for this is a fetish and is displeasing to the spirit.”

And behold, did the people of Twilistia begin to gather to hear her sermon on the mount. There was a gentle grumbling, but the people listened on.

“Blessed are they who seek not inspiration to coit from images of others indulging in coitus, for this is a perversion.”

“And blessed are they, who when they itch for coitus do not coit by manner of mouth and genitals, for this is a also perversion in the sight of the spirit. For the mouth is meant only for mastication and not mastu…”

The people of Twilistia could bear it no longer and interjected “Where findeth thou these scriptures?” “And obu gini your consain with how I coit my coit?”

And lo did the rumbling rage and rage and increase in intensity until the Prophetess Sar returned. “Peace, be still yo”, she said, “thou misconstrueth my words. Played thou not ‘Simon Says’ whenst thou wert babes? Knoweth ye not that my words be not my words unless they be ending with ‘Sar Says’? Tut, tut!”

Ahhhh, came the realisation to the Twilistines.

Meanwhile, in this time also, word came from afar of Daisy-Annie. She was ill…

The List of Gerontocrates

Geronto

When Gambrach ascended to the throne of the Kingdom, it was the expectation of the people, in accordance with the custom and law of the land, that he would appoint a Council of State to assist him in the discharge of his duties. Verily, verily, due to the fervency and freneticity of the promises and postulations of the followers of Gambrach in electoralis federalis, the earnest expectation of the Kingdom was that the Councillors would be announced the day after Gambrach was crowned. But it was not so.

Gambrach voyaged to Americanawonda and it was there he bared his mind to the four ends of the earth in his first epistle. “Regard ye the Smaugic desolation of our land and the havoc wreaked as was wreaked by the hands of Padipalia. Consider how much building we must do, and that my name be not Bob. It is manifest to me that those that shall serve in the Council with me must be men of honour. I beseech thee, o ye peoples, that thou wouldst spare me until the end of September to declare my Council.”

“Trentus Septembus have you requested,” responded the people, “and until Trentus Septembus shall we leave you be.” And the first day of October became known as Green Day, because the people agreed to wake Gambrach up when September ended.

In due course, Tword reached the people that Gambrach had ordered proboscis extra magnificat on those he desired to appoint and that to his immense disappointment (which was only exceeded in immensality by his sadness) only 3 were found to be of virtue. Virtue, like its cousin Chill, had long since departed. And yet, heard the people nothing from Gambrach himself, not until he was bequestioned by the 24 of Francinia, upon which he excused the delay with the response, “Trentus Septembus is not yet upon us, and what are Councillors but clanging cymbals, after all is said and done?”

Finally, Green Day’s Eve came, and anxiety descended upon the people for Gambrach was yet unfulfilled of his promise. And Abushola, Wardsen of the Senatii, recently temporarily reprieved of Conductivitis, summoned and dismissed the senatii without any consideration of the Council of Gambrach. And yea, just as the sun was about to set on Green Day’s Eve, did the tword of Abushola go out, “Lend me your ears, oh people, I can confirm that I have received a scroll from Gambrach containing the list of the upright he has chosen to preside with him in his Council. But, for the benefit of the gratuitous high drama we are enacting and as this is the hometown of Nollywoodinia, yea shall I unlook the scroll for 4 days. You know, just because I can.”

And the spirit of speculatio descended upon the people of Social Mediana for Green Day had come but was there yet no Council. But across the padipalian-apicurean divide, there was a kumbayanic expression of hope, for Gambrach had spoken of great change. But very quickly, the time came for Abushola to break the seal upon the parchment and pronounce the names of Gambrach’s Councillors in senatii. Thus was the seal broken and the list read and all over the land there was the loud sound of air escaping from a balloon. Gambrach’s councilors were more a whiff of old socks than a breath of fresh air.

“How takest it 4 months to gather these names?” many asked, bewildered.

Very quickly, the Lovengers assembled and responded. “While this list of councilors is a list of Gerontocrates” they began, “nonetheless, Gambrach is the best list compiler the universe has ever seen, because in spite of it Gejoshaphat was not an option for us.”

And while all this transpired, word came to Twilistia that far away across the oceans in Jandinia, Gejospahat’s councilor for black oil had been apprehended by the kingdom’s soldiers. Her name was Daisy-Annie and she was very fair of face. Many said it was about to become a hard knock life for her…

Cracking Digital Music in Nigeria: The COSON Summit

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are totally personal to me, in my personal capacity as someone who has had a keen professional interest in the development of the copyright administration system in Nigeria for over 10 years.

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The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) just concluded the hosting of a summit on digital music distribution, licensing and consumption. The 2-day event was tagged “The Nigerian Digital Music Summit” and its theme was “Establishing the Basic Rules of Engagement in the Digital Environment”. It was attended by industry practitioners, lawyers and also had resource people from countries with more mature copyright systems, such as Norway, Finland and South Africa. At the end of the summit, a communiqué was published, outlining the various things the community wanted to see in place.

The summit was timely for a couple of reasons – this year, for the very first time, it was reported that revenues from digital exploitation surpassed sales from physical. Revenue from streaming is quickly bridging the gap with revenues from downloads, with some companies actually reporting higher income from streaming than downloads. Streaming is the future, as I have previously written, and the time to begin to lay the groundwork for the Nigerian music industry to fully partake of it, was at least 3 years ago.

THE TELCOS ARE EVIL CORP.

Moving quickly to the substance of the proceedings, the gathering very quickly turned on the telcos, accusing them of benefitting unfairly from the music they exploited, mostly via Caller Ring Back Tones (CRBTs – the songs you hear playing when you give someone a call). And it was understandable. For an industry that has risen from piracy-ridden ashes to becoming arguably the leading hub in Africa and a major contributor to GDP post-rebasing, CRBTs were the content producer’s goldmine for sometime. Network saturation, in terms of subscribers and availability of CRBTs now means there are lots more mouths contending for the same pot of beans and individual revenues are declining somewhat.

In the middle of all this however, is the [unsavoury] fact that the telcos retain anywhere between 60 and 80% of the income generated from CRBTs. The remaining 20-40% is then shared between the Value Added Service (“VAS”) Company and the artist/or record label, with of course an even smaller share for the artist if they are signed to a label. With the bulk of their earnings coming from either corporate endorsements (but we can’t all be Don Jazzy, Phyno, Wizkid or Olamide) and CRBTs, the industry is probably justified to demand a larger cut.

Tellingly, however, very little attention was paid to streaming in spite of the efforts of CAPASSO CEO, Nothando Migogo, to stress that the time to focus on it was now i.e. before bandwidth and data costs stop being issues.

The industry should be worried about streaming because each of the four telcos in Nigeria now operates a music streaming service – MTN Music+, Airtel Wynk, Etisalat Cloud9 and Globacom’s Music App. If these telcos have held on to the lion share of the revenue with CRBTs, what’s going to happen with streaming revenue from their services? For other music streaming services, the most efficient way to take payments from subscribers and purchasers is via their airtime. However, when the telcos convert airtime to cash to pay for a transaction, they typically retain about 70% of it, leaving only 30% to be shared between the stand-alone streaming service and the artist/label. Perhaps the even more pressing issue is that the aim of the telcos in starting these services, in my opinion, is to sell data, as voice revenues have peaked globally – data is the new frontier. It’s the same reason some of them are getting into video on demand, etc. In other words, data sales are the real target, the real pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for the telcos, and these guys don’t share data revenue (larger than music download or streaming subscription revenue) with anyone.

BUT EVERYONE LOVES THE FREE DOWNLOAD SITES

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Perhaps it’s even more striking that an industry that wants to earn serious digital revenues made no reference to the industry practices that cannibalise the larger portion of digital earnings, particularly the way nearly everyone offers vast amounts of music for free downloads. What will the incentive be for consumers to buy albums when 70% has previously been released for free. If one also considers the fact that the industry is globally now more singles-driven than albums (iTunes killed the album), this is effectively a limiter on potential earnings, if all singles are given away. The CRBT gravy-train won’t last forever and it isn’t even really working for those who need it to, who have neither the eye-watering performance fees or the juicy telco endorsement deals. Will those ones dare cross the picket line against their benefactors?

ENTERTAINMENT DEVICE LEVY?

Another interesting issue that came up was the Private Copy Levy. This is basically a surcharge on all mobile phones, tablets, PCs, storage devices, etc. to compensate musicians for the revenues they lose when we email or Bluetooth music to each other. I would be very interested to see how our analogue National Assembly would treat this sort of legislation.

F.U.B.U.

Perhaps a final impression is on a comment made by the panellist on the need to develop homegrown solutions to our problems. Yes, benchmarks can be drawn against global best practice, but ultimately the mature systems matured because they developed relatively organically and catered to the needs of their locale, not necessarily pidgeon-holing themselves into systems others had developed. I think it’s important to take local peculiarities into account, to get the system that works best for us.

All said, COSON is doing very important work and deserves commendation for how far its come in the past few years. As long as it becomes clearer how it distributes revenues it collects, and as it increasingly delivers value to the industry, the benefits to will be immense.