Eventually Teju Cole and I did something serious together: we held a reading at the Coconut Theatre, a great open air space at Nairobi’s National Museum which had hosted all my events up until that point.
On this occasion I was sitting right under the imposing palm that was the central feature of the space, and I warned our audience that if my reading was not up to scratch we could blame it on cocophobia, (the fear that proceedings could be abruptly terminated by a falling coconut). Of course a nice lady informed me later that evening that the tree was a palm other than a coconut, but everything is perception, no?
As we wrapped up, I asked our audience to smile for my camera. I thought there was full compliance, but on scrutinizing the image in the comfort of my hotel room, I realised that some of my guests had observed my request in the breach.
I can only imagine what they were thinking…