Royal Service

Book title: Royal Service

Author:  Stephen P. Barry

Publisher: Macmillan Publishing

Publication year: 1983

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Getting to understand how the English monarchical political systems works can hardly be well understood to one’s preferred taste until some mystique about English royalty or other royal services are unravelled. This is a memoir of Stephen P. Barry, valet to Prince Charles after his twelve years of sojourning in the British Royal service.

On the opening pages of this book, Stephen eulogises the pleasure he finds in being a prince’s valet. Becoming a prince’s valet was particularly sought- after job… (pg 12). He further highlighted his pleasure in being considered for a royal appointment, a job he thought has got security. He seems more attached to the prestige of being seen as a royal emissary more than the mouth watery offers the job sets to give to him. Well, here I think the part of every man wants a majestic attachment, making everyone wanting to feel important. The author further establishes this fact when he went ahead to learn more about the basics of the job which in turn paid (see pg 34, 36, 41, 42).

There I was in the back of his brand new Aston Martin… (Pg 15)

Studying the personality of Prince Charles and on account of this story, one can deduce that he is down to earth a humble man, a man of good breed. This can hardly be understood when one is not close to royalty. I wouldn’t have expected a prince to give his valet a ride while he sits at the owner’s corner at the back seat, but life at least has taught us that successful men do not necessarily need to announce themselves, their humility will. It has often been said that being discreet and always wanting to command respect is what is obtainable in royalty, so this in a way upset my curiosity. Prompting me to know more.

Shirts are made to measure by Turnbull and Asser and again he chooses the fabric and styles in the comfort of the palace… After reading this part of the book I’d thought maybe someday I will also become Prince Charles in Buckingham [lol…in my wildest imagination] you know it is such a great privilege for him to have been serviced with a special home service embellished with all respect needed for royalty. It brings about that prestige attached to royals even though it is obvious that the cost of home or palace service makes any item bought by the royals double expensive.

In getting to meet the royals at least on paper, Stephen Barry unleashes their country lifestyle and their pattern of doing things.  Here he explains in successive order, how the royal family seems to have specially selected time, members of the family do things. And sincerely I seem to be thrilled by this organised lifestyle of theirs. The author writes as an authority to reckon with where the Royal family’s lives and most especially the Prince’s welfare is concerned. At least he’d lived the better part of his life knowing the makeup of the royal family. One must have thought being a member of the royal family warrants spending exorbitantly, enjoying the best life has got to offer, but the author did states of how purchases are regulated by the prince. This, of course, goes hand in hand with an instruction on the things needed to be bought and how much is budgeted for each item to be purchased. [Penultimate paragraph pg 71, 75].

After an attempted murder of the queen, and on the event of the successful assassination of Lord Mountbatten and lady Brabourne I would astutely summate that the royals weren’t also secured from external tension after all [pg 92]. Securing the royal residence wasn’t just an idea conceived out of the blues to give the royals a good taste of royalty but several cases of insecurity wouldn’t just let go the pessimistic attitude abiding within their security officials.

Working with the British monarch indeed was a great education and exposure for Stephen Barry who initially wouldn’t know how to break the news of his final goodbye to the prince and princess of Wales. He had been part of the prince’s life and he (The Prince of Wales) as well can hardly do a day without having his most preferred Valet in his daily picture. Stephen P. Barry knew his time was up in the Royal service and especially his service to the Prince of Wales and courtesy demands that one leave the stage when the ovation is high and so bidding the family a final bye was befitting after his twelve years as valet to the Prince of Wales.

This is the first book opening my eyes into the British monarchical system and mostly into the pattern of living which the royal family imbibes. If you’ve never been to Buckingham palace at least you have this book.

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Abiku

 

Book title: Abiku: The battle of the Gods

Author:  Elizabeth Salawu

Published by: Segilola Publishing

Publication year: 2016

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Have you ever seen an Abiku lady? Never dare you to struggle to get her man off her. She can really be deadly dangerous than you can ever think. My first approach to the meaning of the phrase ‘Abiku’ as a young man of the Yoruba descent was very startling. Initially, I thought an Abiku is a demon possessed child (of course somehow they are) but a broadened understanding of the Yoruba context and interpretation into the world of mysteries taught me to understand that Abiku actually meant reincarnation but with some mystical features at times which sometimes may not be explainable.

Writing with an indigenous understanding of what Abiku meant to Africans or better still Yorubas is one good way to lecture the western world about reincarnation. Elizabeth takes turn through the thought of a mixed race girl in her early twenties who finds curiosity with who she is and what the immediate world around her says about her being even while she never knew it.

Writing from the beach, why?  There seem to be something mystical about this writing location of our major character. Writing from the beach gave me a pause. It further made me brood over Dayo simultaneously pondering while reading this piece, and asking why the author preferred to do this without a strong association to the context with which she writes. The question again reiterates, why write from the beach? She might have her reasons but it will be better only if she could just define it a little. At least explain things to a voraciously curious reader like myself.

Doing drug, of course, is no good, getting so much Hallucinated is even crazy enough to note and most especially when it comes from a substance like Cocaine. The author leads her reader once more into the world where illicit sex and the harmful effect of a drug would make one wonder he’s somewhat in an amusement park. Thinking of Henry and finding Akin in her dream was one big trouble (a good drama though for the readers making our heart race like the sport car used in Formula one) Ekundayo may not be able to see through only if she understands what it meant in this other part of the world we find our footing. And most especially when there is already a sexual intimacy with a man from another world the battle can just be as fierce as you will possibly guess.

Switching between mortal and intermittently the immortal world is one distinct feature found amongst the Abikus. Elizabeth did just justice to this with a good use of a cinematic mind. She set off a battle ground for two men, whose struggle for the big prize (Ekundayo) is already resulting into insanity for the prize (Ekundayo) herself. Dayo is now at a crossroad. It is either she embraces who she use to be and get cleaved to her spouse in the immortal world or settle for her mortal and first love who seems to be confused about an initial sweet taste of love gone sour.

If you know of Abiku and haven’t read this book, then you may not really know it. Abiku, the reincarnation is a story you will be glad you read.  This is a story of love, Mystery, doubt and fear of the unknown grafted into a myth this world still trembles at.