What you need to know:
- Miss Too has written and tweeted about her tribulations and the offending bar has offered to soundproof her house.
- What balderdash is that? What about the neighbours who are not tweeting about their torture?
- What about the children who cannot have a good night’s sleep? What about the candidates who can’t prepare for their exams?
Some years ago, when I lived in Kileleshwa, some guy opened a bar at the foot of my garden.
It was beloved of Nigerians: The stories, laughter, arguments and fights were not only unbelievably loud, but they also went on till daybreak on most weekends.
I had two small children in the house: One sucked the index finger, the other the thumb; one carried a guga (blanket), and the other a furry dog called Pops.
They had a room, but if there was any disturbance that woke them in the middle of the night, you would hear sucking noises in the corridor and, shortly thereafter, the population in the bed would rise by 100 per cent.
Now, the easiest way to find sleep is to have more than a passing acquittance with products whose brewing involves peat smoke and grape juice.
It is difficult to find rest—no matter the amount of whisky in your blood, with a Thumb across your knees and Index across your throat, a blanket smothering you.
You can’t watch TV, not with the loud distraction of Naija music and the hoarse screams of drunkards at the foot of your small garden.
The children can’t prepare for exams; nor can they sleep. One day, being completely fed up, I presented myself at Kileleshwa Police Station, made a verbal report and requested an OB record as evidence of my complaint.
I generally get along with cops; most of them like me and I like them.
The lady at the Report Office that night looked at me with exasperated disgust: “OB for what?” she shouted.
“Just because of a noise?” (Delete the indefinite article; I edited in my head). I mentally edited her problematic grammar as she screamed her refusal to even consider that noise pollution is a matter that should be referred to law enforcement.
So I called Fred Mukinda, the Daily Nation’s crime reporter at the time. Mukinda had reported crime for a long time, had spent a lot of time in the company of crooks and cops and was, as a result, a great problem solver. One good crime reporter is worth a thousand Cliff Ombetas.
The solution he proposed was a thing of neat simplicity and beauty, based firmly on the psychology of the folks shouting hoarsely across the fence.
It was also legal, sort of. After one or two interventions, the bar was still there but the clients weren’t. The neighbourhood was as quiet as a graveyard. And we all slept peacefully ever after.
I have great sympathy for Emma Too, former Miss Kenya, whose life has been made hell by a neighbourhood bar.
I know how sleep deprivation and “a noise” can drive you around the bend.
For a brief period after university, I lived in a bar—at a place called Base, in Eastleigh.
That experience convinced me that we have been wasting major opportunities by burying the dead: We should, instead, take them to the rooms at bars and place them on the bed with their heads a few metres from the percussions.
An enthusiastic drummer will wake them up before the conclusion of the intro to Franco’s Mario.
Miss Too has written and tweeted about her tribulations and the offending bar has offered to soundproof her house.
What balderdash is that? What about the neighbours who are not tweeting about their torture?
What about the children who cannot have a good night’s sleep? What about the candidates who can’t prepare for their exams?
Are you going to soundproof the entire neighbourhood?
What caught my attention, however, is a reference to “mixed neighbourhoods”.
Excuse me while I delete the expletives: There is no such thing. There is no reason to stick a bar in a residential neighbourhood.
Every estate has small shopping centres, like Mum’s or Kasuku Centre in Kileleshwa, where shops, bakeries, salons and bars can be located.
You can’t take a residential house and convert it into a bar and start mouthing off about “mixed neighbourhoods”. How dare you?
Home is home, a bar is a bar. You go to the bar to escape home and you go home to escape the bar.
Having the bar follow you home is like having something you met at the club showing up at the door.
It is very bad, sacrilegious even, to mix these two mutually exclusive ecosystems.
I like the fact that Robert Alai, a bad blogger and Kileleshwa MCA, whom I voted for, is supporting residents against these bars.
I also notice that Governor Johnson Sakaja, unfortunately, is not.
Governor Sakaja supports the bar owners keeping our children awake at night, not the people of Nairobi.
Well, if Mr Alai can mobilise enough MCAs to impeach Mr Sakaja, well, we’ll elect him governor to clear the bars out of the estates. He can even resume tweeting filth.
* * *
Two quick things: Is there someone in government whose job it is to tell us when Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is articulating government policy and when he is speaking his own stuff?
For example, eviction orders will have to be debated and approved by Sub-County Security and Intelligence Committees?
Court orders are not final? They are subject to review by the almighty provincial administration?