Wednesday, November 18, 2009

TARIFA AS I'VE SEEN IT

A couple of weeks ago, we decided....ah, I decided, to make a little trip to Tarifa, a small town not too faraway, just a 40 minutes drive. I didn't know much about the place, only that it's very crowded during the summer, due to the strong wind which allows all types of surfers to enjoy the sea, the sun and... the girls !!!! Also, all the electricity consumed by Tarifa's 15 000 inhabitants, plus the tourists, is provided by the wind via lots of windmills, located around the town. I found out later there are many interesting birds resting here on their way to Africa; Tarifa is a famous place among the ornithologists, especially those interested in migration of the storks, twice in a year, in spring and autumn. Our day was lovely, sun, 32 degrees Celsius ( October, he, he, he....), no wind at all, a perfect day for a trip. Like all tourists arrived in Tarifa, first we visited the castle of Guzman El Bueno. In fact the castle was built by the Moors in 960AD, under Caliph Abd al-Rahman III orders. After the Christian Conquest in 1292 by Sancho IV el Bravo (which statue can be seen in front of the castle), in 1294 the event which made Tarifa known worldwide was the defeat of Guzman el Bueno who preferred his own son to be sacrificed rather than surrendering the castle he had been entrusted with by his king. He threw his sword from the high of the castle to the Moors to kill his child, what they immediately did!!!. Nowadays the castle considered the most well preserved in Spain, can be visited in change of 2 Euros the ticket; you don't have access inside, but even wandering through the alleys or going up on different levels and different terraces you can get an image of the ancient splendour of the place. I found interesting the rocks they used to build the castle's foundation have been taken out of the sea and contain fossils of sea creatures.
The view is magnificent, either we looked towards the windmills shinning in the sun up on the hills or we looked at La Puenta de Tarifa, located on Islas de las Palomas, where it is the most southern point of Europe. At only 14 kilometres by sea are located the rising Rif mountains of North Africa; that day they looked blue surrounded by a yellow fog.
Next, we followed the city's wall built by French in XVIII century, then we took a rest in a park taking photos of Africa's shore; later we had a nice lunch at a little tapas bar and last we lost ourselves wandering the streets till we met another lovely park next to the municipal library and in front of the police, where we spent some wonderful and peaceful moments surrounded by silence, flowers and singing birds.
On our way back we stopped at a miramar, a belvedere point, very popular there, where one can admire the windmills and of course the Rif mountains. It was only a 4 hours trip, but we want to go back soon, to visit the rest of the city, because there are still many beautiful things to explore and discover. And many photos to take.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

SCARECROW

"In the summer of '71 Clive, Dave and John were playing together in a five piece when their lead guitarist went home from a gig one night never to be seen again. This sudden departure dropped them in it as they were due in the Channel Islands the following week. Nothing daunted, they went round to see Bill, who had gone into hibernation studying classical guitar and dragged him back on stage to play electric so that hey could meet their commitments until a permanent replacement could be found.
However, before they got anything sorted out, their lead singer set fire to himself, during his fire-eating act, and reduced them to a four piece....and someone had to sing. They all looked to John who surprised everyone, including himself, by revealing a hidden talent in this department." - this is a part of Scarecrow presentation written for a charity gig held in January 1973 at Notre Dame Hall, London.
The four boys were:
Bill Puplett - lead guitar
Clive Yeats - bass
Dave Rumsey - drums
John Stewart - lead vocals and guitar
and they had a fruitful 10 years career together. Young, talented, charismatic, the boys played all over England and Europe. In London they had gigs at Oxford Tavern, The Brecknock, The Telegraph, Thomas a Beckett, The Lord Palmerston, etc, to nominate only few. Also, they did most of the clubs, including The Marquee and many universities as Westfield College, Goldsmiths College, Chiswick Polytechnic, etc. They made heard their music not only in London and surroundings but as well in Scotland and Wales followed everywhere by their faithful fans. And they didn't stop here, they travelled in Germany, Holland and Austria being welcomed and maybe better appreciated.
Managed by Hun ans Sul Enterprises they released a record called "Lovely to see you" before becoming the well known four piece Scarecrow, a live album was recorded at different venues and to this day has been seen on ebay selling for over £3oo.
John's special voice, Clive's remarkable technique, Bill's amazing lead guitar and Dave's timming on drums made these four boys a unique pop-rock group in musical circles from Europe. They loved to perform, they enjoyed to create a different sound and promote their own music. As a recognition they started to play at the openings of Jimi Hendrix concerts or YES, or Uriah Heep. Even Garry Moore used to come down to some of the London pubs where the boys were playing to jam with them, being a good friend of Bill. Appreciated, loved but not famous enough, always bridemaid but never bride, after 10 years of intense musical life, one by one, decided to go there own way and Screcrow came to an end.
But their name is still whispered as their fame never faded, their record can still be found, their music can still be listen, I found it here:
Now, Dave is retired living in Devon with his wife; John lives in East London and he never ceased to compose music; Bill lives in Harrow Wild repairing all the famous guitars; Clive (who told me the story) lives in Gibraltar and still plays in a blues band, called Strange Brew(they have a page on Facebook and Fandalism).