Afrosinema blockbusters are rarely juicier. This one comes hot on the heels of the hit song – Moneybags – by the ageless but dodgy Phil Tunoi of the Supremes. The cast is to die for; the plot and sub-plots sublime. Ah, don’t even mention the setting.
It’s called the Youth Paradise, where billions were being spent like there is no tomorrow. It’s been the domain of a very fetching Queen, until she had to reluctantly take a sabbatical last year on medical advice.
Then there is the Hairdresser, who started off in a humble rural salon before hitting the big league of wheeler-dealing when she made her arrival in the Youth Paradise.
The arresting thing about the Paradise is that once there, the inhabitants strangely forget they ever knew each other. The Hairdresser, who has unleashed a diary called Chronicles detailing the lavish goings-on in this place, is the only one to break the secret code of silence, exposing who-was-who in the Paradise. It is the Queen, she insists, who invited her there and enjoined her in its privileges and riches.
However, the Queen is adamant she has never, ever set her glamorous eyes on this Hairdresser. Could it be possible, just once, that Her Majesty may have unwittingly been a client of the Hairdresser back when the latter was eking out a lowlier life in a hair salon?
Oh, I suppose one must perish such thoughts: regal distinctions won’t allow such unseemly social mingling. As the Queen dared the other day, can this woman even deign to describe the furnishings in my mansion?
Another of the cast is a guru known as the ‘Consultant’ who also lets it be known, in the style you talk down to a Zika-afflicted child, that he has no clue who the Hairdresser is. He wouldn’t mind meeting her, he adds, but strictly as a “specimen for study.”
Amazingly, the Consultant also says he doesn’t know a thing about his benefactor, the Queen. This is odd, for he has been on Her Majesty’s contractual employ for some time. How were they relating? Through Skype? No, he says, our relationship was “clinical’, whatever that means.
He then gives an example of the highly-priced advice he had been giving her: “Talk less and listen more. Bark less and bite more.” Will there be a fee note for this banal stuff, I wonder?
The Consultant has been marketing his work with pithy lines like “Tyranny of Numbers”, “Lord of Poverty”, and such like. The latter epithet, a reference to those the Queen blames for the spread of unsightly slums, recently got the Consultant into some sticky mud with those who police political incorrectness.
For some reason the Queen is overly fond of consultants. Among them are the Media Gurus. Sad for me to admit, these seem to have gotten a bit of the raw end. With the billions circulating in the Youth Paradise, only Sh10 million is earmarked for the hacks. This is a bit cheap.
All hell breaks loose when the Hairdresser finally publishes her Book of Chronicles. The timing and what exactly provokes her to act is anybody’s guess. Could it be because she feels she has been thrown under the bus, so to speak, by the Queen? Or is it guilt?
The Hairdresser has been through a roller-coaster, for sure. Investigators who would normally be keen to send her to the coolers assist her in registering shell companies and in opening multiple bank accounts. There are tales of bags of cash delivered into cars parked in basements of bank premises.
The same facilitators fake her arrest but sneak her away to the comfort of her home. In one nice touch, a Guardian Angel who turns out to be a policeman pays her court bail. The Queen, of course, had already been cleared of any shenanigans connected to the Youth Paradise.
The Hairdresser is an intriguing one. Her Chronicles are an absolute thriller. And the effect is guaranteed to be explosive. Maybe the Consultant has a point when he says she could make a fascinating specimen of study. Last week she did a disappearing act, on “medical advice” too. Beware the many faces of Eve.
Without missing a beat, the Queen has strode back on stage to announce she will run for the governorship of our capital city. Amongst the colourful characters she intends to wrestle down are a feisty lady who preaches “The Glory is Here”; a senatorial dandy who dresses like a neon light and has a very sharp tongue (he recently insulted Mombasa’s Mtu Mkubwa by calling him burukenge); and an incumbent who got enmeshed with the shady Supremes and their hit song “Moneybags”.
As one Jeff Koinange would say, “Oh My!”