You are in bed watching the latest episode of your favorite TV show. Darkness is nearly consuming your room if not for the light from your laptop. You check your TL intermittently, digesting vital information and spitting out the seeds of unnecessary drama and gossip. As you are about to watch an episode of another series, your brain dings with the reminder that you actually do have somewhere to go — an appointment/social gathering that you cannot afford to miss.
Honestly, being an introvert is like being locked up in a cell where you are at peace as long as every thing you require to function as a human being is readily available. Only that you are the prisoner, and the warder in charge of the cell. At any point in time, you can decide to open the cell and go wherever comes to mind. But you see, making that decision is where the problem lies. It is entirely difficult to summon the energy that might be needed to participate in a bit of turn up.
This was me before I succeeded in socializing on Sunday (I had to reach out to the universe to tap some motivation to indulge myself in it). Thanks to my friends, Levi and Aisha (who are also a couple) for convincing me to come out of my shell to attend the Mainland Block Party. It was worth it.
I had been meaning to go to Mainland Block Party (before finally going for this last edition). There has been so much buzz and positive reviews about the whole concept of the party. I love parties, in an intimate and passionate way. The sheer display of savagery after a voluminous consumption of alcohol; the consistent rubbing of bodies against one another to attain some level of dancing climax; the deafening loud music bursting from speakers, and many other things. All of it gives me a mental erection.
Arriving at the venue of the party, I was amazed at the number of cars that were parked outside the gate. People were trooping in and out of the venue. As we walked to the gate, I locked eyes with a lady in a vehicle as she was about to light a blunt.
“I smoke loud in a Benz,” I said, laughing.
We — Aisha and I — met up with Levi, got tickets and entered the section where the party was happening particularly.
The venue for the Mainland Block party is an expansive space, big enough to accommodate a large crowd. It is, indeed, a block party. The crowd was massive. I noticed some familiar faces, hollered at a few acquaintances. There was an excitement in the air, and every person who breathed it expressed themselves the best way they could; smoking, dancing, playing around the pool, drinking, having conversations about different nothings.
People are scattered everywhere, in groups, in twos or threes. There’s a singular mission: to party. There are no rules as long as you’re not making anyone inconvenient or causing any trouble. There are vendors plying their trade, and people are in queues ordering for whatever they desire. At what can only be called the center of the venue, there’s a stage. That’s where the DJ is playing from, and also the hype man. It was a properly organized and structured party.
Mainland Block Party is more than just a party. It’s a social gathering necessary for every cool kid, working class, a youth with purpose, single guys, couples, fashionistas, celebrities and any category that you might associate with as a Lagosian. After a daily consumption of the mumbo jumbo — terrible traffic, working during weekdays and weekends, an absence of constant electricity — you ought to expunge it through socializing at a party like Mainland block party.
Aisha and I were hanging out at the poolside, making jokes about the incident where we were stopped by the police on our way to the party. She’s introverted in nature, maybe a little lesser than I am. We had been daring each other to start a conversation with a random person, which none of us was able to accomplish. Earlier, I had seen a female friend who was willing to share an edible with me. I made a wise decision to politely avoid collecting it. Levi joined us at the poolside, asking if we wanted more palm wine. He took us to the VIP before leaving us to go attend to some other engagement.
The VIP was another section of the party entirely. There were celebrities there as well as some other people who were involved in the entertainment industry. I met up with a certain celebrity friend of mine, Oxlade — the guy with the incredible vocals on BlaqBones’ Mamiwota. I wonder why he calls me plug when I’m more or less a random wire. I also saw some other folks and we exchanged pleasantries. Everyone was in a jolly mood, the party went on smoothly. And then all of a sudden a heavy rain began pounding the earth. It looked like the sky was playing a gimmick at first, but it grew into something serious. Everyone scuttled into the VIP to camp. In no time, the VIP became rowdier than a BRT bus-stop in Ketu.
It was at this point I felt the magic of the Mainland block party. As the rain poured from the heavens, power outage followed. It was about 12 midnight. No light, no music, the whole venue turned into a mess because of the rain yet virtually everyone’s spirit was enlivened for some reason. It then dawned on me that it was the togetherness that mattered mostly; the gathering of people regardless of the social class they belong to; the intimacy that exists between people when surrounded by familiar faces. It was all of these things that made the Mainland Block Party special.
An interesting night it was. We had to go home in the rain. I drank so much palm wine with the hopes of ridding the cold. The Taxify we ordered turned out to be the same driver that brought us to the party. I felt a sense of relief as we journeyed back home, probably an effect of the alcohol or maybe, just maybe it was an effect of attending the Mainland block party. I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m never, at any point in my life, missing any edition again.
A big shout out to the team behind the Mainland Block party. You guys are doing a phenomenal job.