Drumming and Dancing to Doom
Ladies and gentlemen, all protocols observed as my Nigerian friends will put it so as to recognise all the important personalities here assembled.
Fellow members of the literati, at least I am sure after this evening most of you will find it wise to join a book club or to at least get into the habit of reading more books, it gives me great pleasure to be asked to assist in launching this book.
My literary skills are not as yet honed into writing a book, I am not bold enough and I have not as yet attempted such a daunting task since I continue to remain a writer of mundane technical reports that have to be written in a structure that can be very restrictive and quite different from writing novels.
But today is not about me and what I write or cannot write. Today is about the launch of a novel where the writer has the opportunity to develop a story that can be based on fact or fiction, where the imagination is allowed to run riot and events can be invented or embellished.
The objective is to entertain, the aim is to refresh and the end result is to provide some pleasurable literary experience, an unforgettable insight into the mind of the writer.
What am I supposed to do here? Tell the story of the writer, NO! Talk about the book. Yes! So where do I start?
The book also recollects some of the unfortunate tribal prejudices of the period – thankfully most of these are vanishing as our nation matures and the tribes are getting better integrated.
I will not be wrong if I say that the plot centres on the every day stories of adventure of boys growing up in the 50s and sixties Ghana. You will be familiar with that aspect of the story; the book will take you down memory lane to reacquaint yourself with the pranks and various escapades of boys, the competitive spirit and routes of maturity as they transition to men. the wish to ‘travel and see’ is made vivid in the book.
The early to mid seventies of bandsmen and women, affairs and associations and affiliations, marriages of convenience, the general toil and disappointment are also all tabled in the book. Struggle to get jobs, disappointment with agents, doing the menial and the hazardous, being cheated by fraudsters and stranded in strange places and the way we were as we learnt about pubs and parties and the gallivanting in the Earls Court area.
These I can personally relate to because I trod the same path when I brought a band to this country in the seventies.
But the story also provides a vista of how far we have come and perhaps how easier things are for the newer immigrant now that there is a lot more of us in this country.
This is a necessary and bold recording of history told against the backdrop of an every day story.
Sex, scandals, womanising, two timing are there. The story is simple but woven intricately and in a refreshing way. It is about a maestro, a prima donna or what I would term artistic dreamer who is excellent but who lets his womanising and flights of fancy get in the way of his progress and success, it is also about broken promises and betrayals that catch up with him later.
The man who wrote the book is here himself and though he claims in his modesty that he writes better than he reads, I would like to invite him to read an excerpt from the book for our listening pleasure.
Ladies and gentlemen please give a deserving hand of applause to Paul de Kanff and be attentive as he reads through a section of the book.
A big round of applause for the reader and author of the book.
Now since this is about a traditional out-dooring I would ask for the celebrants and elders to ask for blessings for the book.
I ask for the traditional blessing
Now ladies and gentlemen, I know that you came with your pockets stuffed with money to provide to endow the newly born book and will now hand over to the Otsiame for the event, the artistically endowed Paa C to do the honours.
The first stage is an auction of the book to the highest bidder; it is meant to support the author so that he goes on to write another book. If you own the first edition – in years to come you do not know how much it would be worth – when he becomes famous.
The author will also be signing copies of the book to all who wish to have a copy.