Aromatics of Desire

Pheromones are the lineal ancestors of hormones as EO Wilson says. These chemical signals have several outstanding advantages. Small amounts can produce a signal that lasts for hours. They are energetically cheap to manufacture and can be broadcast quite readily. At one extreme they can cover barely a few millimetres. At the other extreme they…

Afro-Cubans in Lagos: Hilario Campos & Feliberto Muniz

  In Leonardo Padura’s Havana Fever (part of Havana Quartet) the protagonist, Mario Conde has now retired from the Police Force and works as an antique dealer, specialising in books, whilst still investigating crime. Padura's Cuban noir is next to Pedro Juan Gutiérrez’s Dirty Havana Trilogy as introduction to Castro’s Havana.   In relation to…

Lagos: Eko Ile

Mary Kingsley (1862-1900) travelled in West Africa from 1893-95. Her description of the mangrove swamps along the Nigerian coast is definitely the best that I have encountered             There is an uniformity in the habits of West African rivers, from the Volta to the Coanza, which is, when you get…

Brazilians in Lagos

Candido Esan da Rocha was the richest man in Lagos when I was a boy. I lie! When my mother was a girl. He was reputed to own a horse drawn carriage that took him across "Gada" (sic) bridge. It was always unclear whether "Gada" was a corruption of "Carter" or "Girder". Candido lived at…