Thursday, June 21, 2007

Houses, reading and hijacked performances

Deepest apologies for my silence of the last few days. You see, our life here has been rather quiet here in our beautiful temporary home (pictures of which we keep finding in interiors magazines and coffee table books about Marrakech). Heavenly as this house is, we are beside ourselves with excitement about moving into our real home on the first of July. As it happens, we keep finding pictures of that house in interiors magazines too – it seems that our host and landlord is a well-known interiors stylist whose taste is widely admired:

The mornings of the last few days have been blissfully cool, but we have spent them sitting on the roof drinking pot after pot of lapsang souching (all our other teas are still packed away) and reading. I have been reading Tudor England (John Guy) and The Heroic Temper: A Study of Sophoclean Tragedy. John has been reading Proust and Husserl. My bedtime reading has been They Were Divided, the final part of the Transylvanian Trilogy by Miklos Banffy, but I must confess that it is growing slightly wearing, although it is probably just my mood. The first two volumes were tremendously exciting, but the combination of fatalism and ominous politics in the third makes for gloomy reading, so I have temporarily set it aside in favour of… The Return of the Native. Hmmm. Not many people would seek Thomas Hardy when in need of a literary lift, but I have not yet read TRoTN and have been saving it for here.

But here – what about here, you ask? Well, my shyness of the Djemma el Fna on my first trip to Marrakech in 2001 is a dim and distant memory and John and I have been slipping out in the late evening after dinner to roam the stall, boxing matches and folk bands. The other night we were sitting in the front row of a crowd around a band which had been building up to play another song for quite a while (they are essentially buskers, but unlike the minstrels of Grafton Street, refuse to play until the crowd has coughed up a certain minimum fee) when a middle-aged woman with two young daughters burst in on the crowd with a dramatic flourish – the daughters began to do back-flips and cartwheels – we had been hijacked! There was nothing the band could do as they could hardly expect to keep their audience if they caused a scene by bodily removing the woman and her two girls from the circle, so all they could do was sit in misery while their hard-won crowd drifted away in boredom and embarassment.

(Images from Maisons du Maroc)

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