He seems serious about Tangier. Why me? Well, I suppose being jobless I'm more able than some to drop whatever I'm doing and jump on a plane tomorrow, assuming my expenses are paid. Also, he's been there before and I haven't, and we had been discussing it lately in the context of Literary Decadence. And I already have the Paul Bowles hairdo and linen suit.
The city is associated with more than a few Decadent names: Wilde, Orton, Gide, Kerouac, Williams (Tennessee and Kenneth), Beaton, Capote. Mr Burroughs wrote The Naked Lunch there; he called Tangier 'Interzone', a name that quickly became part of alternative culture vocabulary, referenced in a song by Joy Division.
The main Tangier-associated writer, though, has to be Mr Bowles, author of The Sheltering Sky. For decades he was the person to visit if you were an arty type passing through the city - like Quentin Crisp in NYC.
I was in the pub a few weeks ago, bemoaning the umpteen times people feel the need to come up and tell me who I apparently look like: Andy Warhol, David Sylvian, a New Romantic butler, or in one case, just "The Eighties". Lately I have been tempted to be quite unkind and withering:
"Goodness! Thank you SO much for coming up to me and saying I look like Andy Warhol. Do you know, no one's ever said that to me before! "
No, I couldn't possibly say that outwardly. It's a broken record, I know, but it'd be nice to at least hear some less common comparisons. High on the list has to be the time a middle-aged visibly-gay American tourist turned to me at a Camden bus stop to say I resembled Kim Novak in the film Bell, Book and Candle.
More recently, Mr MacGowan told me I looked less like Warhol or 'the 80s', and more like Paul Bowles. And so we talked about Tangier.
There's a panel on Mr Bowles in the Tangier chapter of the Lonely Planet Guide To Morocco. He and his wife Jane are described as "an ambivalent bisexual and an active lesbian". As opposed to a lesbian who just sits around eating crisps, I suppose.
We were meant to go this week, but a combination of my Edinburgh jaunt's imminence and his inability on our hoped-for day of departure to leave his Highgate sofa, let alone the country, has postponed the trip till I get back from the Fringe. To be honest, I'm happy to go later rather than sooner anyway, given the suffocating temperatures Tangier solicits in August.
The Boogaloo jukebox has been updated with choices by Mr Johnny Marr. They include records by Donovan, Django Reinhardt and the soundtrack to Performance. There can't be many pubs with that kind of selection. I spend all of Sunday night locked in the pub with Mr MacGowan till sunrise. I put on The Supremes 'Someday We'll Be Together' next to 'Memo From Turner' from Performance. It was just the two of us for the last hour or so. Can't recall any more details, other than I enjoyed myself. That's sometimes the problem with enjoying oneself too much.