Thursday, 21 July 2016

Hi, My Name Is

By Kerry James Marshall

My name is Aida Amoako and I need to confess. 

My name is actually Aida Odurowaa-Amoako and I've often avoided putting my surname on things for reasons I feel perhaps others with surnames like mine might understand. 

It started at secondary school, when they thought Odurowaa was my middle name and not part of a double barrelled surname. At 11 years old, already having been through multiple cringe worthy moments of mispronouciation, I was more than happy to relegate half my name if it meant it would be easier to say.

But I can barely pronounce it myself.  I was once on the phone,  talking to someone semi-official, when they asked for my surname. It left my mouth in a mangled mess of vowels, my tongue feeling heavy. I jumped when I heard my mother's voice, loud and righteous beside me. "Odurowaa-Amoako!", she shouted, hitting me on the arm. I felt sick with shame and embarrassment and finished the phone call. But afterwards I went to the bathroom and closed the door and practiced in the mirror, like I was rehearsing some hard convoluted Shakespeare monologue and not trying to say my own name.

Whenever I signed up for something new I left the Odurowaa out, convincing myself with the semi-true excuse that I shouldn't have my full name absolutely everywhere on the Internet. But really I felt it would put people off seeing this BAIT AFF NAME for both the well-meaning and the lazy to trip over. I'm including myself in that.

I went to this leadership and networking event as a freelance blogger and was listening to a speech by Dr Sandie Okoro, general counsellor at HSBC. She talked about when she was starting out and people would advise her to change her name to a more English sounding one on her applications in order to get hired. But she refused, saying if they didn't want her name paper, she wasn't prepared to work there.

If someone is put off from reading my blog, from hiring me,  from considering my work, because of my long ass vowely Ghanaian surname, then they can eff right off.

I can barely speak Twi but I can understand it. I'm going to learn how to pronounce Odurowaa properly. I'm going to learn how to say "They call me Aida Odurowaa -Amoako" properly. 

Aida Odurowaa-Amoako 

Monday, 18 July 2016

Elliot's Schedule

Source: USA network

I love my days off, I crave them even. But too much free time and I descend into a spiral of not even non-productivity but sort of minus productivity or anti-productivity. Opportunities to sabotage myself abound. Whether that's through overeating or binge watching shows, or just sitting for hours when I could be doing something to help myself, just a bit too much free time throws me off.

Mr Robot came back and as I watched the episode I noticed I felt much closer to Elliott now than I did watching the first series. And I found his robotic, repetitive new routine strangely attractive.  It sounds so awful,  he seemed so dead inside, but I couldn't help but envy him a little bit, seeming to have even the semblance of order in his life.  For while everything I do ultimately stems and seems, to my chagrin, to thrive on chaos, I have always been somewhat obsessed with trying to create a sense of order. I am forever writing lists, creating schedules, downloading productivity apps, trying to get into routines and create habits. They fail so often, the only one I seem to be able to keep so far is the habit of writing everyday.

I keep thinking about when I start my masters. Routines. Where and when will I have breakfast everyday? Will I go for walks? Have an evening tipple? I try to imagine bright colours and socialising,  the complete opposite of my time during undergrad. But I can't help but also imagine a scenario where I am zombified, living an even more frugal existence than I am now, doing the same things everyday, to well, survive.

I get over stimulated really quickly. There are so many things running through my head, if I can at least compartmentalise a bit of it, leave some things running on automatic, I wouldn't burn out so quickly.

Elliot says the routine is "the only way to keep my programme running the way is supposed to."

Is there comfort in the sameness? But I've always hated that! I handed in my resignation letter at work on Sunday not just because i intend to go back to school, but also because retail is stiflingly repetitive. I felt like I was losing my mind. I stuttered more than I had in years, and found it hard to follow my own train of thought. Time in the fitting room would sometimes go like minutes or feel like days depending on how busy I could keep my mind. I say I want order but I am drawn to chaos. Because it's freeing.

Maybe it's about balance. Mr Robot (I don't want to spoil it if you haven't watched it yet) says to Elliot those episode

"What's next on this roller coaster of regimen?"

Roller coaster of regimen sounds oxymoronic, and the tone with which it was said was disdainful. But once again I was drawn to that idea. I kind of liked that Elliot ate every meal with Leon, and that he wrote in his journal. I kept thinking of how I could have a routine, run a programme that could be a roller coaster of regimen, that could stop me from languishing for days in a stupor of inactivity, and instead take me out, keep me creating,  keep me learning and clenched and motivated but also keep my from burning out.  I'll figure it out. 

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Still Dreaming of a Glory. Of Something New.

I think one of the reasons why I love Francis and the Lights' 'Friends' (both the track and the video) so much is that it's simplicity is euphoric. The beat is one that you can gently jam to like Kanye does, freak out to like Francis does, or even do a routine to like Justin Vernon and Francis. And just having the video be these people, these friends, dancing ... there's something incredibly sweet about it. By sweet I don't mean quaint. It's a sweet, as in it hits the spot, it evokes the feeling of euphoria in me. And it makes me want to be a part of it. Friends.

The separateness and then the coming together to dance. The simultaneity. Yet you can still see the differences in the way they move to the beat, and those differences fascinate me. Every time I reply the video I focus on a different person, on the way they did a certain move compared to the other.

It's interesting, in the comments some people have said that they can't really tell he difference between Justin and Francis' voices. But in the video, they are presented as individual and still together. Francis dressed in all black, Justin with that bright orange jacket.

They don't exert too much energy while dancing the routine, but that's perfect. It emphasises that sense of them being friends and collaborators just dancing to this amazing song. I don't know. It's beautiful.

Friday, 8 July 2016


Beautiful videos. Beautiful tracks. Will never get over. Friends by Francis and the Lights makes me both sad and euphoric. I dance like Justin at :44. It's just a flawless track and video.

Dark Necessities is a forever jam. I hear it like 20 times a day because it plays in the department store I work in but this time I don't actually care. I will scat while I scan lingerie at the till, and dream about the day I will be free of that place.

img: fastcocreate

Monday, 4 July 2016

The Object Lesson

Item: Adidas Superstars
Price: £60
What Happened: The British Weather happened

In what I can now see was a prophecy of doom, some pathetic fallacy before Brexit, two Wednesdays ago we were visited by a torrential rain. I was on the South Bank, in the Tate cafe and had to venture out to meet someone at another cafe. Then the heavens opened. I had never seen the Thames so high before, and as I walked along South Bank it began to, well, flood. Large un-crossable puddles formed everywhere and then merged together becoming super-puddles. And with no way to avoid them, almost all attempts to leap across were in vain, I had to wade through these mini rivers with my trainers. My entire foot was submerged! My socks soaked. The whole front of my trousers drenched. I was squelching wherever I went, and the smell!

Well, I put them outside and now they've sat at the balcony door since. My poor babies. We will be together again someday.

p.s It's been a while! The past few weeks have just flown by for me. I finally applied for my Masters and I received my letter saying I've got Student Finance. (woop! I'll still be broke but woop!)