How I got arrested in Morocco: Part 1

Funnily enough I wrote some of this while I was staying at the hotel-before the arrest….

Friday 30th October

I have always wanted to go to Morocco since I read Bella Freud’s ‘Hideous Kinky’ as a teenager. I was so pleased when Cherry Shakewell (who gave me my first burlesque lesson)  put me forward for the gig of 2 nights worth of Go-Go dancing at Club Lotus in Marrakech.

Club Lotus

Club Lotus

Riad Lotus where we were staying was a new hotel but it was beautifully designed: a great mix of modern European and traditional Moroccan style.

Riad Lotus

Riad Lotus

10849_368233305144_616150144_10122296_6170271_nAfter a lounge by the pool and some meatballs,egg and tomato lunch we were taken to the night club. Club Lotus is a trendy and popular nightspot and we were told was probably the most ‘liberal’ club on Marrakech, but even the most liberal clubs do not allow burlesque so it was strictly fully clothed Go Go- fine by me!

pre-show dip

pre-show dip

We arrived cautiously dressed in kaftans and shawls we need not have worried judging by the scantily clad models running around preparing for an evening fashion show. We were not dancing until midnight, so we met up with the photographer Alan Keohane who I had arranged a shoot  with for the next day. Alan is one of Marrakech’s top photographers- he took this famous picture of mountain girl which I love.

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and as a Morocco resident for the past 20 years it was great to get an ex-pat perspective on the culture, and traditions and city.

Alan is also really reminds me of Michael Palin! Resemblance non?

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We were also joined by his assistant Terry an ex-Brooklynite who would be on the shoot with us the next day.

King Mohammed VI

King Mohammed VI, not Terry

We then heard a bit of history: Morocco still has a monarch. The current king above is apparently far more progressive and more popular than his father who called Morocco ‘his farm’. When the new king made his first speech he addressed them as his ‘fellow citizens’ as opposed to ‘my subjects’, this was revolutionary progress! Hurrah! His picture is everwhere too- I wish we had more picture of the Queen up.

I was also regaled with some great  stories from the 60s when the government tried to prevent hippies from entering the country they insisted all tourists must arrive with a suitcase instead of a backpack which lead to all these long haired bohemians arriving with rucksacks stuffed into cheap cases which were hastily disposed of on arrival.

My Moroccan 60s heroine- Talitha Getty

My Moroccan 60s heroine- Talitha Getty

Sadly I did not manage to track down the Getty ‘Pleasure Palace’ when I was there- but photo’s of Talitha really inspired my photoshoot with Alan see http://minimadmodmuses.multiply.com/photos/album/8/Talitha_Getty

Moroccan trivia aside we had been asked to being CDs of 60s Go Go tracks, but on arrival in appeared our 20 min go to sets would look a bit clunky slotted in between the club house music policy. At about midnight we were helped onto our podiums, they were pretty narrow and 6ft off the ground! EEek! So it took me a little while to get my sea legs- I did that old trick of staring at a fixed point on the wall and tried not to look down. I like house music so it was fun to dance to that for a change. The locals also LOVE the Black Eyed Peas. Seriously as soon as ‘Boom Boom Boom’ came on all the girls screeched! Wow. After two 15 min sets we were whisked back to the Riad where we got an early night. ZZZzzz

Saturday 31st October : Shoot day

primped and preened almost ready for my close up

primped and preened almost ready for my close up

The premise for the shoot was a kind of Bond Girl in Morocco type affair. With Cherry now on board we really could play around with double crossing and various weapons. Our first location was the sister Riad of the one were staying in, in the Medina, the old part of town.

a street in the Medina

a street in the Medina

You would never guess something so beautiful was down all those narrow streets.  I had brought lots of my favourite vintage boho clothes for the shoot so we had fun rifling though it all. Cherry loves the 60′s too so she brought some of her mothers original pieces. She looked like a delicious Russ Meyer villainess!  I think my favourite shot was of Cherry looking all Brit Eckland in a pink and gold harem dress and me lounging in a sequined belly dancer outfit nonchalantly smoking (well pretending to smoke )hooka.

Cherry and assistant photog Terry

Cherry and assistant photog Terry

Post shoot group photo

Post shoot group photo

We headed back to our Riad for some lunch with Alan and Terry (who acted as a Dr Evil type stand in) and some final bedroom shots. Alan was super easy to work with as he had done a reccy of the locations so it was pretty smooth from shot to shot. We wrapped at about 5pm and post shoot Cherry and I enjoyed a bubble bath in gratuitously large tub, and more mint tea!

check out the heart shaped lumps!

check out the heart shaped lumps! Fancy.

Then we headed down to Club Lotus of our final night of dancing.

Tired Go-Go Cat

Tired Go-Go Cat

We were expecting to fly back the next day but there had been a bit of a mis-communication and it turned out we were actually booked ok a 2pm Monday flight flying from Casablanca which was a 3 hour drive away!

There are definitely worse places to be stuck than a 5 star Riad so we quickly swallowed are disappointment at the thought of a hammam and lounge by the pool the next day. When we got back I fell onto the best seamless sleep, you know one of those sleeps where you wake up in the same position you fell asleep in. Heaven.

I had wanted initially to explore the old town but we were told that without a male chaperone it was inadvisable plus with Cherry being blonde we were guaranteed unwanted attention. So with an enforced day of inactivity we embraced the loafing nattering by the pool and slotted in a hammam (lovely) before more loafing, more eating and then watched Spiderman in our hotel room.
Monday 1st November

After a midnight mosquito swatting session

Results: Cherry and Lynchy: 1 bite

Mosquitoes: 3 dead

Result: We massively WON!

We woke for our journey to Casablanca. The 3 hour journey is literally down one straight road. After a slightly nerve-wracking police stop (little did I know….)where the driver had his papers checked for 15 mins, we arrived at the airport only to find that our booking had been cancelled due to a mess up at the Lotus’s travel agents! Noooooo!

So the driver had to be called back and we made another 3 hour journey back to Marrakech….would we EVER get home??

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