I forgot to take sunglasses with me to Morocco. I remembered when my plane was flying over Spain. I knew I'd find nothing at Gibraltar Airport - about as cool as your local golf club - and doubted that Algeciras Ferry Terminal would prove any better.
"Never mind," I said to myself as the Ibn Batutua lurched into Tangier late at night, "I'll pick up a pair of cool bootlegs in the morning.
Morocco is full of convincing looking Nike, D&G, and Armani boots. I once devoted twenty minutes to examining an excellent pair of new bootleg Nike trainers. The stitching was great, the colors were hip, the only reason I didn't buy them was because they didn't have my size.
Next morning I left my hotel and headed down Boulevard where I was instantly spotted by the more assidious of Tangier's professional assholes. I soon heard how young I was looking, how I had "somehow improved", and how happy people were to see me again.
A friend, now in Tazngier prison, once told me, "To a lot of people here you are just a t-shirt with a Dollar sign on it, walking around the place. There are people here would send you back naked to your own country."
I soon found an excellent pair of Ray Bans, right out of some current Vogue ad, and I tried them on. A quick inspection in the mirror provided, an amble out into the midday glare of the sun, and I bought them. On the way back up Boulevard one of the assholes told me that now I looked like Robocop.
I've had these cheap sunglasses for a week and they're not right. I hold them in my hands and stare at them - they look great. I put therm on and go look in the mirror and they look shit. For the firsrt time in my life I take off sunglasses before posing for photogrqphs I just slap them on when I have to avoid the glare.
Human ingenuity is fascinating and the ability of people to produce exact replicas of things is significant but I'd love to put my finger on exactly what it is that is wrong with these glasses.
Image: Joe in happier times, sporting D&G in Portugal courtesy www.joeambrose.net
Joe Ambrose wrote 14 books, including Chelsea Hotel Manhattan and The Fenian Reader. Joe sadly passed away in 2018. Visit Joe's website which was completed just before his passing, for more info: JoeAmbrose.co.uk.
about Joe Ambrose »»
Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]
If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]