Monday 16 June 2008


I have just spent the last five minutes jumping up and down and screaming like a crazed Big Brother contestant (I am proud to say that I haven't watched one single minute of this year's show - hopefully, this addiction to rubbish TV is now cured!) because my renowned partner in the daftnotstupid team has just phoned to tell me that THE ENORMOUS SQUARE RIGHT OUTSIDE OUR BALCONY WILL BE USED AS ONE OF THE VENUES AFTER ALL !!!

However, as I said to him later, when I had calmed down, 'I'll only believe it when I see it!' So glad now that we couldn't change hotels, although the hotel did double book the balcony bedroom last year and we only got it because we arrived first.

Oh, if only all life's problems were as trivial! (Although it won't seem trivial if we don't get the room.)But I know, in the scheme of things, I should just be grateful for this sliver of hope. I just can't tell you how wonderful it is to be so close to some of the best live performances in the world, particularly when the Gnaoua groups with their brightly coloured costumes and exciting dancing and rhythmic music perform with more conventional groups playing rock/hip-hop/jazz etc (the West has no idea what it's missing)- the closest to Heaven, so far, that I've ever experienced.

Sunday 1 June 2008

Gnaoua and World Music Festival, Essaouira, Morocco June 26-29, 2008

I don't know whether to laugh or cry! Talk about 'the best laid plans of mice and men aft gan astray'!

My husband and I have been lucky enough to attend this festival for quite a few years now and we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! You can learn more about it and hear some of last year's music by visiting The music really blows you away.

Anyway, we discovered that there was an hotel (extremely expensive!!!) set in the walls right opposite one of the venues and that this hotel had two suites with balconies overlooking the venue. So, digging deep into pockets, we have booked one of the suites for several years now and had a fantastic, bird's eye view below us. It has been great because the sets start at 6p.m. and finish at 2a.m. so we can lie down and rest between sets (as one does as one gets slightly older! Particularly as it's impossible not to dance when the music's playing.)

This year, we booked the suite and were anticipating with pleasure the experience to come.

Saturday (31st May), John (husband) comes rushing down from his computer to tell me that the list of performers has just been published and that there are some new venues. Jokingly, I say that I hope that the venue next to our hotel is still to be used. He rushes back and then returns with a look that says it all. No, it is not!!!

So, we shall be looking from our balcony (at extreme cost) at either a large empty space or a large full car park (my guess). In fact, we won't be on the balcony much because John has just acquired a camcorder, which he will now need to use 'on foot' and, of course, I shall accompany him because I won't want to miss the action. But where will I lie down to have a rest?

Now that we have recovered from the disappointment, it's made me realize just how lucky we were to have had this special seating arrangement for so long and thankful that we've had the experience. I guess it was a bubble of good-fortune that was bound to burst.

We do, of course, have the consolation of knowing that if we are able to go next year, we can book into a cheaper hotel. Only what's the betting that they switch venues again and they'll use 'our square' again! The festival office only publish artists and venues a few weeks beforehand and you have to book your hotel way before this so...we'll probably get it wrong!

And as I write this, even I am thinking 'what an ungrateful cow you are!' Most people are not able to go to such an event in such a beautiful setting. And so I hang my head in shame. It's just that...I do like to lie down from time to time just to get my strength back. I guess I'll have to do it amidst the throngs and hope that nobody steps on me. OR we can get entry passes to get much closer to the sets for our recordings and then I'll be so excited, pure adrenalin will keep me going...I hope!