The Creative Struggle

A killer intro; a mandatory aspect of any great literary piece.

That’s what I aim for, but sometimes I can go through loads of intros before I settle on “the one”.
Other times I just give up and move on to other distractions…ever hoping for a bulb to light up amid the chaos.

Deciding on what to write isn’t the problem, but creating that perfect intro cripples my creative spunk. It is the “easiest” to put together but the hardest to craft and master.

I am not a perfectionist…but I do try my best.

It is indeed gut-wrenching to find readers skip past the intro that kept you up many a sleepless night. This is my umpteenth attempt at this intro, but who is counting, right?

I break my squishy brain for the “perfect intro” and no one reads it.

SIGH!

My creative foibles aside, this little predicament raises a concern that haunts creatives the world over: the infamous “Creative Block”.

If you find yourself in the creative sphere – writers, musicians, performers, artists –  then you know how far-reaching this “block” really is.

It is a deep pit of despair from which only the determined can escape…and mind you, the act (of escaping) may last for days, weeks, months or even years.

When you lose your muse, you better put on the best show of your life to win her back, or in the very least, break down every door known to man until she’s nestled safely in your arms once again.

Being creative isn’t the cakewalk some claim. Sure, it might come easy to some but the truth hits hard when you realize even the best of the best plunge headfirst into the “block”.

It comes with the territory and quite normal to wander its labyrinthine maze on occasion.
Heck! It took me quite a while to put this post together, so yeah…it is a global epidemic.

For some though, getting out of the “block” can be as easy as staring at a blank page for 3 straight days…or as daunting as seeking inspiration from someone else’s works.
Inspiration does works: I do it often, although my case requires I stare at random images till the lazy brain hamsters start showing their worth – they are quite the lazy lot.

But where does “getting inspiration” end and “stealing’ begin?

A creative mind is oft lauded and appreciated, even when most don’t know the hardships (and headaches) such a mind endures. We love the creative people who have made an enviable living out of selling the crazy and innovative ideas scurrying around in their heads…and some of us hope to someday walk beside them, or better yet, ahead of them.

But how can we push boundaries and break down restrictive molds if we forgo our ability to think and glaringly steal ideas?

People are fierce at stealing ideas, but for today’s lesson we will focus on Ghana and her many green-eyed citizens. I know you’d all love to see me point just one finger at Kofas (a Ghanaian movie director) and watch him run into hiding again, but that won’t be fair to him.

The sad truth? This sin of intellectual thievery goes beyond Kofas’ blunder; it is a canker in Ghana’s creative sphere that just won’t die (T1000).
Ghana’s creative industry is actually not as competitive as those in western countries, but the breakneck speeds at which content – videos, music and pictures – is pushed to the public opens up a very big avenue to steal intellectual properties with us none-the-wiser.

Local production houses steal entire movies – foreign and local – and then repackage them as new.
In an industry where a single production house can shoot 4 full movies in a week with barely any script, we should not be surprised if new movies recycle plot from old movies.
Heck! Even Hollywood is doing that…so why not Ghana.

That much content in such short a span negates the need for brainwork for some creative individuals in Ghana. A few put up a valiant effort, but like moths to a flame, they embrace the system: recycle and steal…because no one cares.

Kratos in the North and Mortal Kombat in bushes.

Just so you know, Kratos speaking Dagbani is as weird as it sounds…

Image result for kofas

From the Shadows

When Kofas and his merry band of actors announced John & John, a movie that bears an uncanny resemblance to Skeem, I doubt they were ready for the backlash that was to follow.

All things considered though, Kofas’ “remake” of Skeem could have gone unnoticed if both movies had been obscure:
BUT NOPE! They were as high-profile as they come, with Skeem benefiting from the publicity and media coverage that comes from being critically acclaimed.

John & John, a blatant and unrepentant copy of Skeem could have been a remarkable hit in Ghana, if Kofas’ folly had not reared its head.

He has since gone into hiding, but this blight on his record invariably calls his prior endeavors into question…and that is a shadow I fear he might never pull away from.

I would like to think this issue would educate the creative public in Ghana about intellectual thievery…but I fear I might be asking for too much, considering the first presidential speech from President Nana Akufo-Addo lifted passages from the speeches of former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

What can I say? It’s in our blood.

 

NB: Go here for a surprise.

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DEAR DARK SUBURB, TREAD CAREFULLY!

OOOH…Shiny.

 

I have been meaning to write this piece for a while now but it seems Prophet Daniel Larbi forced my hand. I missed my shot at first place but second place isn’t bad either.

Well then, let’s get on with it;

Dark Suburb needs a pan to the head.

For the uninitiated, Dark Suburb is Ghana’s first rock band. Indubitably, that is a nice feat but one that might quickly fade into obscurity.
I am not making that statement lightly and the rest will think I am just a hate-filled Ghanaian who abhors change but you should know this, I have a very large collection of ROCK MUSIC. So trust me when I say, “I know what I am talking about”.
Dark Suburb needs a pan to the head because it is becoming increasingly apparent they have no idea what they are doing…as far as their public image is involved.

Dark Suburb will probably take offense but I will pull no punches. Why should I pull ‘em back when everything lends credence to the fact that the band is built on a foundation of absolutely no planning, no research and no education. Just plain NOTHING.
The very iota of rock music is all they have a claim to.
Dark Suburb has the crew, the equipment, the “ok” music and then…Zilch.
I am a fairly imaginative person and I can think of many scenarios detailing how they came into being and rest assured, none will feature a smidgen of analytical thinking.
They didn’t have the “talk”.

I’m being highly critical because they are hitting very close to home and I honestly can’t stand it.

I’ve loved rock music since the late 90’s and in my years of listening to that particular genre, I’ve come to realize something;
Even though rock is influencing the Ghanaian music scene, the majority of Ghanaians quickly and unequivocally associate rock music to drug addicts and satanism.
This is a fact I have lived with since I abandoned mainstream music.
It is a not-so-alarming discovery but I will say with utmost certainty that, some of my readers have the same reservations.

ROCK MUSIC ISN’T SATANIC”.

People naturally have fears and Ghanaians are beyond reproach in this region…for good reason: Ghanaians are superstitious. This invariably skews their perceptions on a lot of things; rock music being one them.

The average Ghanaian knows little to nothing about rock music, save for the preconceived notion that any song with an electric guitar falls in the loop. But to be fair, education on the matter is practically non-existent in this country.
The little info Ghanaians have on rock is what they glean from the five-to-ten seconds of screen time rock bands get in movies. The featured bands are predominantly from the Death Metal and Hard Metal scene, playing songs filled to the brim with death growls, heavy guitar riffs, and to make matters worse, these movies scenes contain morbid imagery.
Now, with all these things considered and as far as reactions go, one shouldn’t be surprised when Ghanaians quickly judge rock.

Now imagine how quickly my excitement turned to disdain when Ghana’s first rock band swooped into the limelight with teaser images and video clips employing the use of the aforementioned “unholy” things Ghanaians have associated with the genre.

In their first official teaser video (The Awakening Video), Dark Suburb employed the use of hand-drawn animation which features a wizard/sorcerer reciting weird ‘demonic’ incantations that seemingly bring corpses back to life.

The-Awakening

Visually appealing but illogical.

 

 

Under the direct influence of this demonic entity, these skeletal beings exit their coffins with musical instruments in tow, and are driven by a single purpose: play music for us normal Ghanaians.
Thus, they will entertain us with demon-inspired music.

Now from the average Ghanaian’s viewpoint, this band embodies everything about rock music they have come to fear and hate.

Dark Suburb, you have managed to secure a small fanbase in an otherwise rock-averse country and instead of finding a more palatable pill for the masses, you flipped the birdie and decide to go against the grain. That to me is the dumbest thing since the invention of the DVD-Rewinder.

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Take away the musical instruments, replace them with guns and we have the “Escuadrón de la Muerte” (Death Squad).

 

To top it off, there is the issue of mistaken identity.
Some rock acts in their early years can’t properly categorize the genre they fit in and unfortunately, Dark Suburb is trudging along in that particular trench. Their “High Priest”, who is the band’s leader, says he gave life to his undead bandmates and achieved that through ancient sorcery. They are The Skeletons and their studio The Graveyard.
This description puts the band into the Death Metal category but in actuality, they are an alternate rock band with hiplife and highlife influences.

That ultimately goes to show that the people who make up Dark Suburb are a bunch of guys with decent-enough talents but no discernible reasoning skills.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot…over and over again.

Dark-Subrub-Is-Not-Satanic-Chief-Priest-450x386

Why would you dress up like this? A bunch of kids at a costume party.

 

All things considered though, Dark Suburb makes OK music.
It is not great.
It is not amazing.
It is just OK.
That isn’t a bad thing for I believe they are yet to find their perfect form.
So I guess in that area I can cut them some slack :).

Dark Suburb, please listen, unless you rebrand and reinvent your band, you might bloom like the Corpse Flower and wither into obscurity.
Do that or risk being a speck in the ever-growing pool of failed attempts in Ghana.

There is bad music everywhere and in every genre, but rock is the designated runt of the litter…and Dark Suburb jumped head first without a helmet.
If they are willing to shed their current image and think long and hard about the future of their band in Ghana, I am almost certain they will be pioneers of the rock scene in this country.

Rock is great. Rock is awesome. It is awesometacular and as the first rock band in Ghana, you have the privileged opportunity of educating Ghanaians on the sweetness of rock music. “Replacing the bad with the good”, so to speak.

SO DARK SUBURB, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER AND DON’T MESS IT UP.

*THUMPS UP*

 

PS: You’ve got to admire DARK SUBURB’s dedication to their image and secrecy…even though it is very dumb.
They are lucky no one has the time to fish out their real identities.
Ghana needs Paparazzi.