When Murray Burnett was sitting in the Grand Hotel du Cap on Cap Ferrat writing Everybody Comes to Ricks – later to be given the much sexier name Casablanca – I suspect he may never have been to Casablanca. If so, as well as telling us about the corrupt police chief rounding up the usual suspects, he would have mentioned Air Quality. The AQ reminds you of LA on a bad day – with added dust. Construction and deconstruction seem to be Casablancas cottage industry, and the guys who aren’t knocking something down or building something are watching others do it. If doing any of these, youre allowed to block whole pavements, leaving the rest – ie. tourists and women – to dance pasadobles with the traffic.
Ah yes, the traffic. Tahir Shah, in his otherwise excellent book, The Caliphs House: A Year in Casablanca, fails to mention it. When a Casablancan checks out a new car, he must test the horn first, for noise level and durability. The average motorist has one hand permanently on the horn, one on the mobile phone, one on the gear stick and one on the wheel – using them in that order of priority. OK, so that’s four: I guess the horn must be foot-operated. The first result is double-glazing -defying, ear-plug-penetrating, noise, 24/7. The second result is that other drivers don’t notice it any more, thus causing klaxoneurs to klaxon, not less, but more, in the hope of even being noticed.
I should explain why this post is apostrophe-bereft: I cant find it. Its bad enough learning to use a French/Arabic AZERTY keyboard and having to go through afterwards changing the qs to as, but now I live in fear of Lynne Truss reading it. (The DG did have the presence of mind to bring her laptop but the ADSL line isn’t – hey! An apostrophe – what did I do? – Vista-compatible). That’s (another one!) enough for today. Ill tell you something about Casablanca later.