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   PAUL BOWLES:  GALLERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS

FRIENDS, Part Five

 

Karim Debbagh was one of Paul Bowles's talented Moroccan friends during the last 10 years of his life. Debbagh now runs a very successful film production company in Morocco: Kasbah Films, with offices in Tangier and Ouarzazate, Morocco and in Berlin, Germany. Bowles nicknamed him "Karim Snake", to differentiate him from another of his friends, Karim Jihad Achouatte, who acted and sang in the film Night Waltz: the Music of Paul Bowles, produced by Owsley Brown III in 1999. Other photographs on this page include the British traveller and tycoon Martin Soames, and Mercedes Guitta, who ran a club-like restaurant at the Place de Kowéit for over fifty years.

 

Two filmmakers Karim Debbagh (at far left) and Frieder Schlaich (at far right) with the young Moroccan actor, Saïd Zakir ("Allal") and a local werewolf, Tangier 1995.  German filmmaker Frieder Schlaich owns Filmgalerie 451 a film production business in Berlin, Germany, which in 1995 released its film adaptation of three short stories by Paul Bowles: Paul Bowles Halbmond (the English version is called Halfmoon).

 

Karim Debbagh

Paul Bowles with Karim Debbagh, now a Moroccan filmmaker. After studies in Germany, Debbagh returned to Morocco to begin his own film production company, Kasbah Films, with offices in Tangier and Ouarzazate, Morocco (at CLA Studios), and Berlin, Germany.

 

Martin Soames

Martin Soames was a British tycoon, stockbroker and traveler, whose Tangier home of six decades was a converted riding school. Soames was born in London on November 25, 1903. In his twenties he held a position on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and later he combined a life on the London Stock Exchange with that of a racehorse owner. In his youth he was also a steeple-chase jockey, cricketer, huntsman and a tennis player. 

During his first visit to Morocco in 1926, when Tangier had only 20,000 inhabitants, Soames fell In love with the country, and in addition to Tangier, he especially enjoyed the far south of Morocco bordering the Sahara. In 1935, Martin Soames married Myra Drummand, an accomplished musician. Soames was an early backer of the Lionel Bart musical Oliver, and he was a director of Keith Prowse theatre and travel agency and the Peter Maurice Music Company.

Among Martin Soames'  many Tangier friends were Jane and Paul Bowles, Marguerite McBey, David Herbert, Christopher Gibbs, and the Irish artist Francis Bacon, who once used Soames' studio to paint. One of his houses in England was Hinton Ampner in Hampshire, a fine example of Queen Anne architecture, with extensive gardens, and which now belongs to the National Trust.

Martin Soames died on February 16, 1995, at age ninety-one. He was survived by his son Richard Soames, a film financier and the president of Film Finances, Inc., headquartered in Los Angeles, California, and by his daughter Elfin, Lady Ebury. A nephew is now the Duke of Westminster.

 

Paul Bowles on a visit to Martin Soames' villa on Rue Vasco da Gama, at the bottom of the Mountain, Tangier. 

 

 

Rachel Muyal
Rachel Muyal, the former longtime director of La Librairie des Colonnes bookshop on the Boulevard Pasteur in Tangier, Morocco, with Paul Bowles, 1993

 

 

Mercedes Guitta

Mercedes Guitta in her club-like restaurant at the Place de Kowéit (Iberia), Tangier, summer, 2002. During the 50 years she ran Guitta's Restaurant, she served food Paul and Jane Bowles, Barbara Hutton and Prince Andrew, and many Tangier residents. Mercedes' father had run the restaurant at the old Grand Hôtel Villa de France, and he once served food to His Majesty King Mohammed V.

Mercedes Guitta (1916–2003), summer, 2003, holding "Charlie", one of her many dogs, standing on the porch of her new Tangier apartment after she closed her restaurant. The Grand Mosque Mohammed V looms in the background.

 

 
Writer Gavin Young with Mercedes Guitta and Phillip Ramey in the bar of Guitta's Restaurant, Tangier, 1996   Benjamin Folkman, Mercedes Guitta and Phillip Ramey, Tangier, 1996
Paul Bowles' Friends:  Part One; Part Two; Part Three; Previous (Part Four); Return to galleries listing.

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