In the world of cities, Milan strikes me as London. London is a city of few Gothic buildings lining up streets in some sort of ancient mystical way. The city is also known for its dominant Victorian architecture. And of course everyone knows that it doesn’t like visitors. This is pronounced on its super expensive restaurants, supermarkets, hotels and pubs.
The night life is intoxicating but only for locals who understand the city’s rich history and know their way around to places such as the numerous Shakespearean theaters. It’s a shy city too. Shy when it wants to be but with an inner compelling bravery that commands attention. The statuary is testimony to this.
The secret to enjoying London is not having an aerial view. It’s in finding the right angle from which to have a look at the sea of humanity and buildings that throng the place. Boris Johnson once said that the secret to unearthing its hidden love is biking. But that was back in 2010. However, there is a consensus among the older folks that for you to see London for what it is you must take a boat ride on River Thames and head downtown. People often forget that. The current generation fail to appreciate that the city grew up against the backdrop of throbbing river.
Milan is London because in him lies the known and the unknown. Mystery unresolved. He is some sort of Rubik’s cube or a puzzle from the New York Times. Each of those is challenging and difficult to solve. But possible. It’s hard to know who Milan is unless you be close enough and open your eyes to his world. He is like those guys you read about in novels whose names you hear of a lot in people’s conversations but only surfaces in the last chapters.
You might think he is shy because he rarely talks to people he is not close to but the truth is that inside him lies a web of talent and bravery. London-like. Some bold, unknown and untapped bravery that manifest through things like creativity. He is a fantastic person to interact with because he isn’t showy and dramatic and overbearing. He is chilled and calm, a rare combination of traits among the many men of this generation. He is artsy too. Because art can as well be his first love. Some months ago, over breakfast, he told me about this unfading love that he has had for filming for the longest of time. I wasn’t shocked at the revelation. I have always suspected that he is a guy of deep talent , concealed somewhere in his humble demeanor.
Last year, I was in Diani with a group of friends. Milan was there too. He took most of our pictures. I still have quite a number in my gallery and cloud. They are art. They tell the magnificent Coastal story. Right from Syokimau where it all started to the Modern Coast bus station, where it all ended.
He exceeded our highest expectations. His wore his photography A game during that period. A stranger looking at the pictures would mistake someone like Toby for a model from Venice. I usually look back to that trip with some nostalgic pride. They don’t say it loud but I know they know that there will be none like that one. Everyone was guns blazing for it. No one gets the privilege of recreating such excellence and ingenuity.
The planning and spending that went into it is story for another day. It was worth every penny. Those innocuous moments will stick with us to our graves. From the huge ugali that Toby cooked single handedly to the pan cakes prepared by Milan that cold Friday morning. I don’t want to bring up the day at the beach. Ooh Diani. Don’t you have the loveliest and sandiest beach in all the Kenya’s fun-filled Coastal towns? Of course you do. Thank God Milan was there with Dottie to capture every tiny detail. (Dottie is not the name of a girl here. It’s the name of his camera).
Milan is up for Q and A today. Here are some things you didn’t know about the lad.
Milan. Where’s your home?
A little town called Kabarnet in Baringo.
Who do you love most about that place?
It’s the perfect balance of urban and rural. The landscape is breath-taking.
What’s the one thing you’d change about your life if you could go back in time?
I’d probably do music while in high school. And maybe make films much earlier. In short, I’d be more assertive.
You once told me that film making is your passion. When do you feel most creative?
When I finish watching a film that moves me to the bone. And in the morning when the previous night’s dreams come back.
Where do you see yourself in future? Filming or law? Or both?
Definitely film. Law is crap.
What’s your relationship status at the moment?
This nigga is very single.
Who is your role model in this world?
Role model is a big word. But my sister comes closest. She’s badass.
Remember that Diani trip last year? What was your favorite part of it?
There’s lots to choose from. But I’d say the last night when guys were opening up about their lives. Oooh and also all the moments in the swimming pool.
Who’s the last person you talked to on phone yesterday?
Njuru. Maze Gangsta points zinashuka (laughter)
If you were a different person, would you be friends with you?
Of course. I’d be friends with me.
Who taught you how to cook pan cakes?
My mom used to cook tukiwa wadogo. So I always sat next to her and carefully observed till I learnt everything.
What’s the best thing that has happened to you this year?
Getting a grant to make my short film.
If your life was a movie, what would be the best title for it?
If you were to star in a movie, who would you prefer to shoot a love scene with?
This is hard (chuckles).
What do you want to be remembered for?
Nothing much. Just a nigga who lived his life and made film.
Where do you dream of spending your sunset years?
A beach house. At the Coast. In the interior sides. It should be quiet and secluded.
What’s on top of your bucket list next year?
To make a series of sci-fi short films exploring the lives of machines.
Does your laptop have a name?
Naaah. But my camera does have one. It’s called Dottie.
There’s no backstory behind it. Just sounded poetic.
What’s your daily evening routine?
I’m mostly on the internet. Then I walk when it’s dark. Though on Tuesdays and Thursday I go to the dojo for karate. I come back, eat, spend time with the family and then sleep.
Are you a Chronic Skeptic?
Yes. Yes.I’m very skeptical of everything. Too much actually.
Any last words before we end this?
Y’all should watch out for my short film Glitch. It’s coming out soon.
Thanks for your time Milan.