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 LINDSAY'S ARCHIVE  

BLOODY WARS

 

From a manuscript not known if ever published

 

Bloody Wars         article  11/3/88           Jack Trevor Story

We lay on a grassy ledge of the rock of Gibraltar very late one night, my state registered nurse and I. "Listen," she said. A very tiny weeny muffled splash of muffled oars from somewhere below us. She whispered not to talk until the smugglers were safe. My heart warmed to her. She could have been a boy. Another night I got drunk and commanded everybody in the one and only night club to obey my fascist salute, heil! The queen's photograph was ubiquitous and started my personal revolution from which I got rescued by a Spanish girl who was taking me away when suddenly we were surrounded by soldiers. "Off you go," they said to this lovely girl. They then took me to a cave in the rock and put me to bed ‑ they were the Argyle and Sutherlands, or some such name. In the morning they explained why my money was still intact and advised me to stay off Spanish brandy. I had one or two names and addresses for a time.

I tell you this because you can go there now by road. What bliss, it means you can also get away by road. That year, I was writing Wonderful Things for Frankie Vaughan and Anna Neagle (producing), one had to get a visa simply to walk a mile, to barbecue sardines on the beach at La Linea or watch the rats in their millions scatter into the bayside rocks at Algeciras to return behind you like dawn rabbits, as you walked, with all the baywater with its rock backdrop, bubbling with fish as if under a torrential downpour.

However, this visa meant half a day in Africa to get it, plane there, a small Viking ‑ well, a Viking ‑ and the MS Calpe ferry back from Tangler.

"Don't trust taxi drivers," said Laurence Harvey. who had just got married and invited me to the reception at the Rock Hotel. "Who's that girl?" I asked him. Wherever I go I pick up a girl first. Guide, driver, nurse, masseur, policewoman. "That's Dawn Adams, he said. "Terribly sorry, I thought you knew." I don't know anything that isn't girls (not stars!) or aeroplanes or jazz guitar. I love food of course. In Tangiers I asked a taxi driver where to change money. "You give it to me," he said. I gave him everything I had got in English and he ran off with it. God, I am an idiot. I thought. I did the same thing in Madrid travelling all the way by train with a nun who shared her bread with me ‑ she was taking a girl from Scotland to El Escoriale, I don't know why ‑ and she said as I left her:

"When you get outside a taxi driver will run up and grab your cases and run away with them. He will then take you to one of his paid for ‑ you know, pesetas - chums." Sure enough as they say, it happened thus wise precisely. Make a note. And make a note that both taxi drivers looked after me. It was as if they knew what the English were saying about them. There is a latin smile of the Giaconda, deeper, deeper than English tourism which is as deep as a puddle on the European culture. Forgive me.

There was a war on. This is the only thing about Africa. I haven't been there since, but I see the news. The clerk in the ship booking hall was French and was diverted by my passport. "You are a writer!" It was rather nice, actually. Lots of girls around. Also people kept charging through the queue, breaking it up.

I thought it was just noisy foreigners.

The clerk ducked his head to me, confidentially: "You must write about this!" Now I noticed a person on the floor, fights going on, two people with guns. I looked it up later or asked at the Bristol ‑ that's the second‑rate hotel for writers ‑ and it was a 1957 war. The Hitler war passed me by in much the same way. Film people live in wars. On the beach at Catalan Bay the next day, that's the catchment side of the rock, Tony Richardson was dropping a corpse into the sea with false D‑day information on it to fool the Germans.

I came back by P & 0 with John Clements the actor and his wife aboard, though I slept steerage with a Greek / American girl who seemed to know everything in life that I have somehow missed. "Who has done this to you!" she kept saying. I mean, I'm not scarred for goodness sake. Not physically. No, it was not Laurence Harvey who warned me about taxies ‑ he was Lithuanian. I liked him very much. Laurence gave me the title, Live Now Pay Later when he contracted to play Albert. My title was Jam Today. The part went elsewhere finally in the usual movie gang wars which also anaesthetise and do things to you.

 

END

 

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Copyright   the estate of Jack Trevor Story 2002. Not for reproduction. Copyright in all work by Jack Trevor Story is the property of the author's heirs. Permission for use of this material can be obtained through Jackie Edwards (Story), Peter Story, Lee Story or Michael Moorcock. Reproduction of copyright material whether in text, visual or audio form by unauthorised sources strictly forbidden.