Nothing is original

Today, we continue our series called SECRETS OF THE STREETS, which is for young & aspiring Entertainers.

(as posted on twitter @tejubabyfacetv)

#secretsofthestreets/1. Today I write on the topic ‘NOTHING IS ORIGINAL’. A lot has been said about the subject of originality within several industries

#secretsofthestreets/2. From jokes, to music and song and movie ideas, an argument is always in the offing & a ruckus afoot!

#secretsofthestreets/3. Questions such as ‘who stole what belonged to whom’ and ‘who didn’t get credit for their original idea’ always seem to arise

#secretsofthestreets/4. And wait first, should anybody even steal at all? Can’t you come up with your own original ideas and stuff?

#secretsofthestreets/5. This is what we will be discussing today. Or rather, what I will be writing & you will read! Hopefully.

#secretsofthestreets/6. And my commitment to this treatise is that I start with a quote from a famous man. Copying straight away! (Wink)

#secretsofthestreets/7. “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination…”

#secretsofthestreets/8. “Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations…”

#secretsofthestreets/9. “Architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds..light & shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul…”

#secretsofthestreets/10. “If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent…”

#secretsofthestreets/11. “And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it…”

#secretsofthestreets/12. “In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to…”

#secretsofthestreets/13. All the afore-stated (in quotes) was said by Filmmaker, Jim Jarmusch, in an interview that he granted, which I ‘copied’

#secretsofthestreets/14 What a potentially controversial subject this one! LOL! I can almost see effigies being strung up!

#secretsofthestreets/15. What follows here is my modest take on the whole subject of originality- at this time- if I may be granted the levity of opining

#secretsofthestreets/16. At the beginning of your career I encourage you to copy greatness as much as you can! (ehn! What? Did he just say that?)

#secretsofthestreets/17. There is even a machine that revolutionized the world called a Copying Machine. I am sure you have seen one before

#secretsofthestreets/18. However, if you contravene any statutes in copying, then you have become a thief and WHEN they catch you, well, best of luck!

#secretsofthestreets/19. As long as it stays within the confines of the law and morality and respect, then copy! A child copies his father; I copied my mentors to be here

#secretsofthestreets/20. I mean, where would I be today without the jokes and priceless gags of @sorgical (Basorge Tariah) & @alibabagcfr?

#secretsofthestreets/21. The jokes of those 2 gentlemen (Basorge & Ali B) were nearly all I had at the beginning of a Corporate Emceeing career

#secretsofthestreets/22. However, before you take this as license to appropriate other people’s work shamelessly, let me point stuff out!!!

#secretsofthestreets/23. I was a certified protégée of @sorgical (Basorge Tariah) & @alibabagcfr. I served time under them learning the art

#secretsofthestreets/24. In other words I used the jokes of @sorgical (Basorge Tariah) & @alibabagcfr with not only their blessings but also coaching!

#secretsofthestreets/25. But not everyone will have the privilege of serving with their idols or heroes so what to do? Well, read on

#secretsofthestreets/26. The Wright brothers (who gave us the 1st sustained flight) flew the first recorded flight across the United States in 1911

#secretsofthestreets/27. The flight took many days and they stopped 70 times and crash landed many times (that must have been some journey!)

#secretsofthestreets/28. In 1990, another aircraft called the SR-71 blackbird did the same journey, that is west coast to east coast, in 64 minutes!!!

#secretsofthestreets/29. You get the point, yes? If nobody had copied the Wright brothers, we wouldn’t have the magnificent planes we have today

#secretsofthestreets/30. In the beginning it is alright to want to be like somebody else and use some of their work even if you haven’t met them BUT!


#secretsofthestreets/32. It is a crime to consciously steal other people’s creative works and ideas and pass it off as your own!

#secretsofthestreets/33. In more developed places, there is an offence punishable by law called copyright infringement! A BIG offence

#secretsofthestreets/34. They say we have it in Nigeria too. Copyright laws. Really? You could have fooled me! With our traffic supermarkets?

#secretsofthestreets/35. The next time you buy a DVD or CD or BOOK (or anything) in traffic, know that you have just (in all likelihood) aided & abetted a crime

#secretsofthestreets/36. The good news though is that at a level of dedicated knowledge acquisition, copying crystallizes into Mastery!

#secretsofthestreets/37. If you give credit to whom it is due, there is a level you reach where you begin to have your own original thoughts

#secretsofthestreets/38. Or so it will seem to you. Let me borrow a thought from another great man to underscore this on-going point


#secretsofthestreets/40. Hehe! I like that! If you read & write a lot, it is often risky to claim that you have an ‘original’ thought!

#secretsofthestreets/41. You would be wrong and right all at the same time, because who you have become is a sum and equation of many parts

#secretsofthestreets/42. You & your thought process are the totality of all the people whom you have ‘copied’, consciously or otherwise

#secretsofthestreets/43. And this brings us full circle, back to where we started. In a sense, you can’t really help copying or imitating

#secretsofthestreets/44. Whether you are aware or not, you are who you are today largely due to the influences of/in your life

#secretsofthestreets/45. I have heard it said that humans (not only kids) are like sponges soaking up everything around them

#secretsofthestreets/46. Which is why you should be careful as to what or whom you expose yourself to, or what you feed your mind with

#secretsofthestreets/47. Sooner or later, you are going to exhibit major traits of your most dominant influences with or without your consent

#secretsofthestreets/48. I believe it was Ebenezer Obey who sang ‘ko s’ohun tuntun l’abe orun mo…’ (There is nothing new under the sun)

#secretsofthestreets/49. So are you copying with grace and giving credit where it is due, within the law & morality, observing the golden rule?

#secretsofthestreets/50. Or are you a brazen, shameless thief, appropriating the works of others without regard? (Not you of course)

#secretsofthestreets/51. Again, I have said enough! See you next week. Signing out, King of Talk


  • Elijah Reply

    Mr Teju, I think you have put the art of legal copying into perspective. LOL

  • Ope Odunlami Reply

    Hi, King of Talk,

    I would like to start by appreciating You for the effort You have put into birthing this project: Minding Your Talent — to help young people discover, develop their talent and put it to productive, fruitful use.

    I can’t imagine the amount of work You must have put into getting people like Mr Leke Alder, Mr Olakunle Soriyan, Madam Agatha Amata to be contributors / mentors on this platform.

    The Lord will bless You, continue to strengthen You, inspire You, baptize You with unusual, uncommon, innovative ideas to move the project forward and to the destined land.

    This current article on copying, attribution, originality and authenticity really opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn’t know hitherto.

    Once again, thanks greatly Sir.

    God bless You and reward You bountifully.

  • Abine Israel Reply

    Thank you sir, today again I’ve learned to “copy” those I want to be like.

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