Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Angle

As a starving artist, I pick up my guitar or my harmonica, and I walk the railroads of the world. I'm not being held down by a 9-to-5, bills, or any other responsibilities. My demeanour is zen calm, my pockets are empty, but I'm free. This is what I wish life was like. The problem is that there's a thin line between starvation, and an involuntary hunger strike. I chose not to let hunger strike me, so I try to be slightly above the level of starving artist. Self-referential claptrap, I know. But it is true claptrap.

So as not to starve, I have to sell stories, ideas, concepts. I see stories everywhere, I have to. The difficult bit is convincing commissioning editors and producers that there actually is a story. Here I am in Egypt, hoping to sell some stories. I have found "angles" where I wouldn't have dreamt there was one. In the Port Said where I am, there is a Russian angle, an American angle, a Society Guardian angle.

The Russian angle.
Why should Moscovites care about the African Cup of Nations?. Perhaps they shouldn't, but it might interest them to know that apart from having players from the Russian leagues here, one of their sons is representing Nigeria. Peter Osaze Odemwingie has a Russian mother, and a Nigerian father, was born in Tashkent. Is he a symbol of the new cosmopolitan Russia? Including the one that murders Africans... It might seem like a tentative link somehow, but there's an angle in there somewhere. One for English language Russian dailies, Moscow Times, and St. Petersburg Times perhaps?

The American angle.
The US angle should be an easier one. Ghana plays USA in the last group game of the World Cup, thus, the US media should be interested in the competition. Oh, it's a soccer tournament in a faraway land, so who cares? Fair enough. But any newspaper worth its sporting salt should be out here. The USA team's new beau du jour is Freddy Adu, born in Ghana, but moved to the US after winning the American visa lottery. He made his debut this month for USA national team at age 16 years and 234 days, the youngest ever.

The Society Guardian angle.
Some of the football players here are heavily involved in charitable foundations. Nigeria's Nwankwo Kanu, has his heart foundation, DR Congo's Lomana Lua Lua has a charitable foundation which has built a sports and education drop-in centre in Kinshasa. I already have an interview with Kanu, another with Lua Lua would a story make. Football players being heavily involved in charities, when they're so often portrayed as greedy and overpaid. I'm offering them free PR!!

There are more angles. They're simmering, they are.


Unknown said...

Nkem, your angles are great. I have a particular fondness for things that combine the personal story with the many-faceted stories that we consider news or history, politics...this short post rocks. I have also found that starving doesn't really help me feel artful about anything, except ways not to starve. Du courage!

Anonymous said...

hi, you got a great blog here. just discovered it...sort of anyway. so u're covering the naija team in Port Said abi? nice! you might want to checkout