It’s the 13th of March as I write this. I’m surviving on my stash of pasta, cream crackers and pure benevolence.
I don’t know how my salary finished and I don’t want to talk about it. All I know is that I feel like a giant party balloon floating over Ajegunle, waiting for one angry child to put a needle through me and end this misery.
The only distraction I have to keep me till payday is unlimited internet till the 26th and a status symbol with great battery life for a laptop.
It means the best thing I can do for fun is to watch stuff. That hasn’t helped much. I’m poor (at least for the meantime) and all my favourite shows have rich people in them.
The good thing about the world we live in today though is that there’s a shitload of variety.
If you search long enough as I have, you’ll find stuff that won’t make you call your parents and blame them for bringing you into the country.
On a scale of “Quarter To Dead” to “You Know Say Money No Be Problem”, here are some TV and movie recommendations to help you pass the time, depending on how poor you are and how many lenders have put out bounties for your head.
‘Quarter to Dead’
You really don’t know why you’re still alive. You were hungry before but now a full meal means coaster biscuits, one sachet of pure water and butter mint for flavour. Paylater and Zenith Bank have put out bounties for your head.
The only reason you’re not homeless is that your landlord has decided to let you under the stairs in exchange for taking on vigilante duties from 6 pm to 6 am.
Liberia: An Uncivil War Documentary
You won’t realise how good you have it until you see kids feasting on human hearts to strengthen their jazz and families who are living in stadiums to evade decades-long wars. Regardless of what Rochas Okorocha says, there aren’t many examples of human wickedness like the Liberian Civil Wars.
It’s absolute horror, facilitated by some of the most ludicrous characters you’ve never heard of (like a certain General Cobra) and a delusional leader with a saviour complex (Hi, Charles Taylor).
And just when it starts to get too dark, everything peters out to a moment of absolute glee; Nigerian soldiers rolling into Monrovia and saving the day without firing a single bullet. Things can get better, after all.
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind
Chiwetel Ejiofor’s directorial debut is a movie about a young Malawi boy who sneaks into the library and learns to build a windmill to save his village from famine AFTER HE IS THROWN OUT OF SCHOOL WHEN HIS FAMILY CANNOT PAY THE FEES.
Feel useless now?
Apart from being a well-made movie, this movie is a tale of fighting the odds and making things happen for yourself. Which is exactly what you need to do before your street finds a new security man.
‘Down To My Last Card’
Although you still have some money left, it doesn’t feel like it. Every naira note counts now, which is why you’re living off white rice and tomato puree and going to work in buses that smell like all the 400 years of slavery.
The only social app using background data on your phone is Whatsapp. And even though you think you can make it to the end of the month, you just remembered you haven’t touched PHCN bills in two months.
Somebody just climbed the pole with rubber gloves and the most elaborate plier you’ve ever seen in your life.
This Netflix original series is about the ‘almosts’, the athletes who found victory in their failure, and how they made it happen.
There’s Surya Bonaly; a French figure skater who was arguably the most technically gifted of her generation but never won Olympic Gold, no thanks to racial biases in the sport.
This was despite the fact that she was a 9-time national champion and the only Olympic skater to successfully pull off the backflip on ice.
There’s Torquay United, a team whose greatest success came by avoiding relegation from England’s football leagues. Failure never felt so good.
So even though you’re doing shit at life, Losers is proof that all that constant flopping and the close calls might just be evidence that you’re a unicorn. Or maybe you’re just useless and you can’t help it.
Moneyball, a sports classic featuring Brad Pitt and a pre-fitfam Jonah Hill, is a movie about being thrifty, just what you need right.
Brad Pitt’s character uses weird formulas and stats to assemble a team of has-beens and misfits that almost win the national championships.
This is what Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” would be, minus a very creepy kid who’s afraid to admit he likes someone else’s rich father more than his own poor papa.
The Oakland A’s rise to the summit of their league is all the motivation you need to keep being a cheapskate and owning it with your chest.
P.S- Robert Kiyosaki filed for bankruptcy in 2012 so I don’t even know anymore.
‘My Brother, We Thank God’
This is your default answer to everything. Greetings, praise, questions about your salary and how you can afford that second-hand Honda Civic you just parked in your yard. Nobody knows you keep saying that because you really don’t need God to put you through any tests of faith right now.
You’re relatively comfortable but that isn’t saying much. One more serious expense bill and you’ll have to put your fridge and your university degree on OLX.
The Umbrella Academy
This new Netflix original series is probably the most exciting and quirky show I’ve come across since ‘Arrested Development’.
It’s about a league of superhumans who assemble for a just cause after their ‘father’, an eccentric billionaire breathes his last. It’s fast-paced and action-packed with large doses of humour.
It’s also proof that your ‘comfortable’ life is actually just a basic, mundane existence. You’re not getting a talking monkey anytime soon, but this should push you to go out and find some excitement.
Gone Too Far
They may not know it yet but Peckham is lowkey a local government in Lagos State. It’s the one place in England where a regular Nigerian would not feel out of place.
But when London-born teenager Yemi meets his long lost brother from home, he’s less than impressed with his dress sense and general shepeteri attitude.
Made in 2013, this movie is essentially a look at the ties between immigrant populations and their people back at home.
There’s a load of references to Nigerian culture and plenty ‘innit’ as well. Gone Too Far is basically proof that there’s more to life than what we have or how we look. Maybe mundane isn’t so bad after all.
‘You Know Say Money No Be Problem’
Sarkodie may have made those lines popular but you’re one of those really living the life. Your bills pay themselves.
Black tax what? Your parents regularly send you dollars and expensive gifts as a reminder that you’re still their kid. You’re in your 30s.
The last time you were bored, it was because you had to decide which of your three passports to travel with. Then you got a call from that new bestie you met in the elevator at the Burj al Arab asking you to come over to Zanzibar for the weekend. All is well in the world again.
Dirty Money is what happens when rich people get too greedy.
This documentary series features stories of corporate greed where wealthy companies rip off entire nations just so they can have a little extra money.
I particularly like the fact that most of these stories end in jail terms.
Now to get this show to stream on an endless loop in every government house in Nigeria.
Chief Daddy is one of Nollywood’s newest additions to Netflix. It tells the story of a colourful billionaire, Chief Beecroft who is a benefactor to his own small tribe of family members.
When rich people die, vultures come-a-swooping.
So all that random philanthropy might actually be setting you up for a small civil war when you’re gone.
Sister Caro may be your favourite cousin now, but she probably has a list of things to steal from your house when everyone’s signing the condolence register.
While you’re here, let me tell you about the Zikoko Pop Newsletter.
It’s called Poppin’ – everything you should know happening in pop culture, plus recommendations, our fire playlists, info on all the best parties and freebies you won’t get anywhere else. Do the right thing and sign up, my gee.