Marrakesh feels alive more than just about anywhere I’ve been. Nothing captures this better than the city’s night life. Stroll past almost any bar, café or restaurant and there’s always something going on.
The bars the locals go to are always lively with lots of animated conversation amongst what appears to be exclusively middle-aged men. Those not talking are avidly watching European football which is shown virtually wall-to-wall everywhere seven nights a week.
The streets throng with young singles promenading in groups along Marrakesh’s great boulevards. There are families too walking together from elderly grandmas to babes in arms, it feels like no-one stays in on an evening.
Almost all the tourist-focused hotels and restaurants have live entertainment. A short walk last night following our meal out at a decidedly average tapas bar took us past a cacophony of sound including jazz, lounge music and a live band playing Ed Sheeran.
We dipped into Kechmara, a restaurant I went to regularly in the early years out here. It took me about five years to realise the name, of course, transposed the first and last parts of Marrakesh!
I used to feel very relaxed and at home there drinking pints and eating burgers but last year it had changed ownership and I discovered to my horror hadn’t a licence to serve alcohol. Last night we thought we’d give it another go despite the downstairs restaurant being completely empty.
The upstairs roof terrace couldn’t have been more different, at first we heard the most distinctive music, a kind of fusion of French-influenced African jazz. The grotto-esque bar was full of the coolest looking mainly French people chatting away casually, convivially tucking into a far better tapas to the one we’d just had, sipping cool looking drinks. Virtually everyone was smoking and though I am enthusiastic supporter of the UK’s ban but here I can cope with it. It just seems to add the ambience.
The music was being played by an unlikely couple who looked a not dissimilar age to us, called Wolf & Disaster. They were up on stage playing only vinyls and having a great time.
Wolf & Disaster, I later discovered, are DJ duo based in Morocco who “share a love of music, a stuffed dog, an apartment and the need to make people dance.” Miss Wolf is a freelance Brazilian journalist and Hank Disaster is a natural-born entertainer, she he reckons, from France.
Armed with their vinyls, they DJ all around Europe playing whatever suits from their collection of 5,000 vinyls from the fifties right the way up to the present-day. What a way to spend the later years of your life and what a place to do it in.