Tangier – From the Romans to The Rolling Stones by Richard Hamilton
In Tangier, the Moroccan novelist Mohamed Choukri wrote, ‘everything is surreal and everything is possible.’ In this intimate portrait of a city, the former BBC North Africa correspondent, Richard Hamilton, explores its hotels, cafes, alleyways, and darkest secrets to find out what it is that has inspired so many international writers, artists, and musicians. Delving down through complex historical layers, he finds a frontier town that is comic, confounding, and haunted by the ghosts of its past. Samuel Pepys thought God should destroy Tangier and St Francis of Assisi called it a city of ‘madness and delusions.’ And yet, throughout the centuries, Tangier has also been a crucible of creativity. It was a turning point in Henri Matisse’s artistic journey and had a profound impact on the founder of the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones. Tangier also produced two of the greatest American novels of the twentieth century: The Sheltering Sky and Naked Lunch. Besides Paul Bowles and William Burroughs, the book also looks at lesser known characters such as the flawed genius, Brion Gysin, as well as Ibn Battuta, who traveled three times further than Marco Polo. The city’s contradictory quality is perhaps best encapsulated in a local saying: ‘you cry when you leave Tangier and you cry when you arrive’. Written by Richard Hamilton
About Richard Hamilton:
Richard Hamilton has worked for the BBC World Service as a broadcast journalist since 1998, including being a correspondent in Morocco, South Africa, and Madagascar. He also reports for BBC TV, radio, and online. While living in Morocco, he co-authored the Time Out Guide to Marrakech and has written throughout his career for magazines and newspapers such as Conde Nast Traveller and The Times. He has an MA in African Studies from SOAS.