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 has written 14 books, including Chelsea Hotel Manhattan and The Fenian Reader. Joe is currently working on his next book, Look at Us Now - The Life and Death of Muammar Ghadaffi, which is an expanded version of a story first published in the anthology CUT UP! Visit Joe's website for all the latest info: JoeAmbrose.co.uk.