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Underground party on the rooftop of City Hall in Lagos Island

self-appointed Playboy
self-appointed Playboy
Friday night, 7.30PM, Lagos Island is buzzing with road-side lamp-lit by ambulant merchants, suya sellers and other food items. Pedestrians are dashing to their destination through cars, kekenapes, okadas, hawkers. For some it is time to get home, for others it is the beginning of party time. As we approach the City Hall building, which is now used for offices and to host functions, voices become louder, vehicles are queuing-up to climb-up the ramp leading up to the entrance hall of the building with its façade adorned with squared column and glass protected by stylised irons grids. Cars are parked along the ramp and security staff is pressing car drivers to move on immediately after having disembarked their passengers. The main hall is hosting a wedding reception, luxuriously decorated. The music blares and a strong smell of fish is filling-up the whole place.

City Hall rooftop view
City Hall rooftop view
I am going to another function on the rooftop, but to do this I must cross the wedding entrance all and  slip past a cloth curtain to reach the staircase. Behind the curtain, the floor is wet and somewhat littered. No-one bothers me as I start ascending because they are busy drinking beers - I suspect these guys are staff or employed by the event company. Each floors is decorated with ceramics and tiles, one large panel features the Third Mainland Bridge.
The access to the rooftop happens through the Goethe Institute located on the left side of the top floor. Germans have an acquired taste for underground parties. This could be in Berlin but also in New York. The scene takes place in a corner of the terrace which forms a large expanse of concrete with a surrounding wall of more than two meters high. It is ideal to look at the sky but one can't see the skyline except if one climbs on a tower, in the centre, through a simple metal ladder.
a tattoo in the dark
a tattoo in the dark
A DJ is playing behind a set of instruments that will be used by a band later. Photographs are projected on the wall in three places. The place is poorly lit by a few light projectors, the photos on the wall and the cloudy sky reflecting the orange of the street lights. A white lady is doing free tattoos. I observe the perspiring hand of the man who is undergoing his free-tattoo session on the back of his hand. Some face painting happens in another corner. Drinks and a bit of food is there two but soon runs out. The artist of the Lagos Biennale are all invited.
After a while the band starts playing. The singer, a tall guy with sarwell trousers, red bushy hair and a serious black beard, sings in Hausa and dances like a Punk on rock beats. An improbable performance in the middle of the Felabrations week.

I am watching you
I am watching you
The crowd is mostly young and arty having fun taking selfies with their smartphones, especially those with painted faces. Everything is immediately on Snapchat or Instagram as it should be. The party is here and it is liked there as well.


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