Showing posts from August, 2016


The phrase 'shocked and saddened' has been overused in this year of death and demise to the point of numbing emptiness. Bowie, Prince, Ali, Lemmy.... Too many to dwell on. When I read that JT McNamara had died, somehow the armour of de-sensitivity was pierced. He won't be remembered as the most iconic figure to pass this year, but on a personal level, though I never knew him, I am shocked and saddened. I was there at Cheltenham on the day he fell from Galaxy Rock in the Kim Muir. The uncharacteristic quiet only broken by the arrival of the air ambulance. My mate Chris, with whom I had stayed overnight, was walking the path adjacent to the perimeter fence at the time, showing his young son some of the action. He witnessed the incident and heard a crack as rider and horse came down. His relief at the sight of the horse getting up was immediately replaced by concern that the jockey had not moved. The green screens were erected to shield the view from the stands – but curio

The Ghost of Jimi Hendrix

Essaouira has plenty enough going for it already. Formerly known as Mogador, the city has a beautifully preserved medieval walled town crammed with souks, art and craft shops, cafes, riads and a maze of lanes in which to get blissfully lost. It is set on a perfect half-moon west-facing bay, carpeted in soft yellow sand. It is cooled by a sea breeze which takes the edge off the burning sub-Saharan sun. Nevertheless, the local tourist board likes to add in to this heady mix a soup├žon of myth and legend: Jimi Hendrix once visited briefly in the 60's and you would be forgiven for assuming that this is the most important incident to illuminate the settlement's two-thousand year history.   Arriving at the newly constructed airport was a relaxing treat compared to the dehumanising experience of low-budget departures crammed together in 10 minute slots at a Luton terminal undergoing a complete rebuild. Stress levels had subsided on the flight. Waiting in the brief pas