I get a nickname: Stone Face
In my late primary school days when we lived in Enugu, Coal City, my parents at a point resided at a face-me-I-face you accommodation on Fox Lane, Uwani. In the neighborhood, on the next street, was Tourist Hotel with its dance hall by the fence of Fox Lane near our compound, such that when the band played, we heard the music loud and clear on our street. We kids went further. We found that by crouching on the floor and peeping through the holes made in the block work we saw the band in action. We spent long hours there watching the band rehearse on Wednesdays and on Sundays when they played the Afternoon Jump.
The name of the resident band at Tourist was Stone Face and Life Everlasting. It was led by the drummer, Stone Face Iwuagwu. I used to watch him pounding on the drums, with all his limbs, and marvel at how he could be doing very intricate patterns while singing at the same time. He didn't sing very often though, he left most of that to the lead singer, Kingsley Anyanwu. But Stone Face would always sing his own compositions, especially Agawalam Mba, sung in Igbo, which later became a big hit, his one and only eventually. Playing the lead guitar as Jackie Moore, who was a rockstar performer. There was a conga player, who had a slight limp, I don't remember what he was called and a rythm guitarist I also fail to remember clearly. Jackie and Kingsley later became foundation members of the band called Sweet Breeze, which made two very successful albums in the Afro Rock modein the mid-1970s.
They were our stars then. We should to marvel at them when we saw them walking down the street in those days. They introduced me to rock discography because they played covers of Beetles (Here Comes the Sun featured frequently in their repertoire), Grand Funk, Rolling Stones (I can't get no...), Rare Earth (Get ready for here I come). From time to time Stone Face would intervene with Agawala Mba, which was really Afrobeat, looking back now.
So when I got to St Peter's I was often telling my friends the story of Stone Face. I didn't realize how often I had done it until one day Joachim in response to a mischief I had made called me "Stone Face!" He drew laughter from all around, which meant he struck a chord. Then I made the costly mistake of protesting the name, and it stuck, try as hard as I did. I learnt the lesson finally: never contest a label or it would stick.
So did this one stick. In subsequent years when we went for quizz competitions or school debates and I was called to the floor (I was a regular school rep in these things), the name would ring out from our contingent: "Stone Face! Stone Face! Stone Face!" Often during dancing time the girls I danced with from the competing schools would be asking me why they called me Stone Face when I didn't look that way at all. What could I say. The name stuck. There were later variations. Some began calling me Stone Faculty and in due time further shortened it to Faculty. So till today some of my school mates still call me Faculty. One hearing it could never have imagined its origin.