Experiences are everything

PHOTO: mattybo02productions.moonfruit.com

Play. Pause. Rewind.

The way we interpret the world is based largely on empirical evidence. We rely on our taste, touch, smell and sight: our senses to tell us what we like, what we love and what we find distasteful. In science, empirical evidence is often considered the most reliable form of evidence. Reading opinions in a newspaper or reviews in any form, I argue, is largely anecdotal, and is subject to another person’s experience or account of the situation.

Consider this review anecdotal evidence as you decide what is worth your while and what is not. And so to that end, I have once more gone out in search of experiences that can make up some part of your weekend.

Play:
To walk into a cinema and watch a film is to engage in a willing suspension of disbelief. It is to believe the characters and situations on your screen as presented to you, and this weekend in cinemas across Nigeria are a couple of films that you must see, if for no other reason than the immense attention they have gathered globally. The first is Logan.

I can’t quite recall the first time I caught wind of Logan – which is the latest film about Wolverine: a character out of Marvel’s X-Men franchise. But I did know that as a fan of most comic book films, I would eventually make time to watch the latest installment when it came out, if only to ‘mark attendance.’ When you watch steel claws punch through the face of another human and jut from the top of their skull, there is no doubt in your mind that this is an R-rated film, and that it’s not going to be the usual superhero fluff. This one is not for the kids but it is deliciously adult and complex in all the right ways. A true film and not just another superhero flick, Mangold intends to leave a mark and in my opinion he does.

Next on the list is Hidden figures: the multi-award winning historical drama that tells the story of 3 African-American scientists who were instrumental in the early days of the American space race at NASA. I will be honest, if it were not for several nominations and the presence of Taraji P. Henson ( I love me some Taraji), I am not sure I would have made it to the cinemas to watch this movie.

Whenever I hear of a multi-award nominated film and I ask about its subject matter, one thing that is sure to leave me less-inclined to watch such film is when it is described as “ a black film”. I find this description to be lazy at best and at worst it implies that the only reason to watch it such a film is the presence of a black cast. This is quite a shame because quite often films described in such a careless manner have so much more to them. While Hidden Figures does indeed feature black women as the Protagonists, it is a story of determination, grit, ability and the human ability to overcome discrimination with excellence. It is a simple story told beautifully and well deserving of the accolades and mentions it has garnered so far. If you are looking for a film the whole family can enjoy and learn from, then Hidden Figures is a must-see. The fact that it gathered nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture, and Best supporting Actress at the 89th Academy Awards is just the icing on the cake.

And so we come to a moment and a place to Pause.

I chose Sugarcane, one of the newest entries to the Lagos food scene, as my resting spot earlier this week for a few reasons; not the least of which was the controversy it gathered over a recent review on a known online platform. I had been invited to visit this establishment by its creators shortly after it opened but due to time constraints and an ever fluctuating schedule, I had not found the appropriate opportunity.

You see, earlier this year, a less than flattering review was written about this location and while that in itself is not a thing of note, it was the comments which followed the article that caught my interest. People pitched tents firmly in one camp or the other. There was the camp on the side of the food bloggers, who insisted that all food at the venue was bland and not worth the price tag attached ( these opinions where made while comparing dishes served with dishes of a similar name in their old university haunts). And there were those firmly on the side of the establishment who praised everything from decor to effort and fried rice (while taking personal digs at the writers of the review). This exchange reinforced to me the importance of going to experience a place by one’s self. Empirical evidence was needed.

I finally made the time to visit and let me just say, Sugarcane is a lovely space which has been well thought out and well designed. The waiting staff let it down somewhat for me ( but sadly this is not news at most dining establishments in Lagos). It is clearly a trendy spot ( I marked the presence of some media, fashion and entertainment personalities necessary to declare a spot trendy) with tables designed for dining and working (the lack of Wi-Fi means if you intend to browse, you need to bring your own). The menu was a little extensive for me as it means the likelihood of the kitchen being able to create all the meals with a certain level of quality diminishes. No one is perfect all round. After struggling I settled for a simple starter and desert. The Avocado and Lime Hummus was a new experience for me, but had a nice balance of flavours, which sadly was let down by cold pita bread ( I suspect store bought) but the red velvet pancakes were excellent, if a little stingy with the butter cream (thingy) topping. I did try a bit of their chicken and waffles which again didn’t leave me wanting more. I’ll be honest I wasn’t inspired by what I ate, but I suspect the extensive menu is stretching their kitchen thin. Keeping it simple and asking for a recommendation at a place like this is what I recommend and I will definitely be giving it another try.

Speaking of going back, Let’s Rewind.

If you do nothing else this weekend take a moment to take it back and replay some music and a musician that gets better with age like a good fine wine. I recently got to sneak- listen to The Love EP by MI Abaga which, as of the time of writing, has not been released to the public. Jude Abaga, who is more commonly known by his musical alias as M.I, is now on his 8th studio project. In a career that spans a decade plus, his music remains relevant to the Nigerian space regardless of the date of release. “An Artist’s duty , as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times”- Nina Simone. From Talk About it to Illegal Music3, M.I. does just that. If you don’t believe me go back and listen to his Albums: Talk About it (2008), M.I.2 (2010) and the Chairman ( 2014) and if you feel like listening further, the Mixtapes are something special too (Illegal Music 1-3). If you don’t already have these in your collection, then you are welcome and enjoy.

The weekend is what you make of it, and I say this weekend whether you play, pause or rewind, carpe diem because it is all bout your experience.

Be well until next time!

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