Archive for December, 2012

Take in the scene.

Stand on the kerb of a sun-bathed street, a confluence of streets all flowing into one wide space. This broad road isn’t a neat division of the vulnerable from the metallic kept apart by some archane social contract based on pain. This broad space is a venue for Pedestrian versus Vehicle. The throng strolls about in the road paying little attention to the slow advance of taxis and cars that voice their frustration through blaring horns. Across on the far side, against a long white wall, a market lines the road. Country women in straw hats and pom-poms sell live chickens and cheese, fruit and vegetable sellers shout out their prices and prospective customers debate price and quality while cars noisily try to get to their destinations. Take in the colour. Take in the sound. Take in the press of humanity. And step out into it. (more…)

Mickey Raymond, 81, mover and shaker at Colefax and Fowler lives in stately home style in a spacious bungalow in Tangier’s Marshan, the plateau west of the Casbah, the hill before the Old Mountain where it gets truly Surrey-like, beyond and above which are the palaces of the King of Morocco, the Saudis and the Emir of Kuwait, and those of their wives.
The Marshan is a district of faded grand residences, one-time legations, a football stadium, hospitals, schools and the King’s Tangier town house or ‘office’, where York Castle crumbles, the Phoenicians entombed their dead and the hip hang-out Cafe Hagh tumbles down the shady northern cliffs facing Tarifa and Spain.
Mickey’s bungalow is at the eastern city end as the hill plateaus out and Tangier reestablishes back into more hectic hilly familiarity. He is hedged between a print works and an apartment block but once inside you’d not know. His seclusion is absolute, the calm disturbed by a grandfather clock and a visual assault of furniture, furnishings, pictures, murals, and objets d’art, that should but fail to preclude elegance. (more…)

I went first in 90 or 91.
I was told to by La Directrice of the gallery hosting my exhibition.
‘You’ve got to go and have a look’ she said, and La Directrice liked bars.
‘I’m not coming I don’t like’ she’d concluded shortly.
She didn’t tell me why I should and when I went, I was none the wiser. Then, there were other bars in Tangier, wilder, rougher, funkier, classier, some Moroccan and La Directrice and I liked those better, drinking with dangerous people drinking. I didn’t understand the fading echos of Tangier’s edge of law haven heyday time; wild, exotic, cheap, corrupting, corruptible, accessible and easy to escape to and from. I saw the old guard around town, a trifle distressed I’d thought, elegant in their outmoded suits. I saw a few that evening at Dean’s Bar and more at my opening.
I’d imagined never to come back to Tangier. The world is huge, there are places else I haven’t been and I’d liked it here so why overlay the good memories by returning?
It wasn’t Dean’s Bar that brought me and it isn’t painting, but paintings I have painted of this city beckon anew with the self-same allure. It is the accident of a vacant available apartment, poor planning and so to Tangier, winter 2010, humid, cold and ready with rain.
The Medina smells of wet wool the night I go to Dean’s Bar again. (more…)

Fish Market, Tanger MoroccoIntroducing Tangier¹s Fish Market: ­ the most pungent, noisy, slippery
location in the city… ­ a wonderful place. Sitting on the edge of the Petit
Socco, next to the Mosque, this is a market like no other and I love it.
Marble slabs overflowing with an array of freshly caught fish; sellers
hollering; guts and roe floating on the wet floor and framed photos of King
Mohammed VI on every wall. What more could you ask for. I also have to admit
part of the experience is actually getting there. The front entrance is one
side and my Mum¹s favourite fishmonger is the other, so naturally she
insists we take the back route via the butcher stalls. Makes sense, except
in this case the butcher stalls are actually narrow dimly lit corridors full
of hanging carcasses, oozing offal, a host of unidentified animal parts and,
most treacherous of all, rows of swinging tripe. It requires ducking and
diving and trying very hard not to get walloped by some poor animal¹s
stomach. But it is always worth it.

Guest Post, used by permission from Lara of


Swordfish at the Market in Tanger Morocco