Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Thunder and concertina

We had thunderstorms. Perhaps it was a week ago. I have been very consumed finishing up a novel, hence a lack of diligent reports.  They were very loud. The loudest thunderstorms I recall since living here. One of them happened in the middle of the night, so since it woke me up, I kept it company until morning came. At one point there was a very loud bang, twice. Since I have read Sherlock Holmes I knew precisely what to do and tuned into the scanner messages from the Fire Brigade and Ambulance Service.

A transformer had blown or been hit by lightning and blown and maybe caught fire very close by. There were mixed reports as to whether it was on fire. The Fire Service were not too excited about it. Power was out in some houses near the transformer.

Since the rumbly thundery business there was a deluge of rain and now there is sunshine without hesitation. Confident, plain old sunshine. Good consistent blue sky.

The other news which should be greeted by a thunder-clap and perhaps a set of earplugs is the concertina is here. She’s very happy. I am very happy. I was even happy despite the matter of playing her upside down for the first hour. We have come to terms with which way up she’s to be played and I can play four notes of O When the Saints … they aren’t going marching in yet because the latter notes are missing from the tutorial. My Saints are thinking about marching in, they are weighing up whether there’s anything to march in for. More importantly and triumphantly than the Saints entering whatever it is they enter I can play a polka. Maggie in the Woods which I am calling Baggy in the Woods because I haven’t yet absolutely confirmed I am playing the correct notes.

I am likely to be stupendously terrible at playing this instrument but that matters very little because I like the smell of it and because one of my favourite people in the world, Ita, is a concertina player.


I am thinking of the people in Iraq, who having suffered so much distress, mayhem and invasion, certainly do not need this ridiculous and further distressing encore. We aren’t hearing anything more about the girls who were abducted in Nigeria, except that possibly another 60 may have been kidnapped. Nor the plane that left the sky. There’s always another agony-in-waiting. A queue of further agony. What does this mean for those who remain with the agony that, for them,  has not actually passed? Agony in stasis. Agon-static. Agony that’s exists but is no longer trending on Twitter. That’s when we have to wonder of the value of our so-called collective power or collective outrage or the power of collective outrage. Is it ultimately any use? How do we make it mean something practical?


On the theme of remembering and response: My friend Juliane Okot Bitek is creating a 100 day poetic response to Wangechi Mutu’s quiet visual homage to the 1994 Rwanda Genocide on social media (#Kwibuka20#100 Days 21-30):  The visuals can be seen here


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