Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Chapter 9: My Story.

A new life, new home, criminals and drugs.

After losing my property court case on the grounds of innocent misrepresentation, and Barbarellas burning down I honestly felt there was a sign from the almighty that my time in Ireland was up and perhaps I should move to pastures new. So after selling Glencarrig and doing a deal with James Hunt in Marbella to take over his discotheque Oscars, I began the process of uprooting the family and moving to Marbella. Wendy thankfully was very supportive of this move as she was partly brought up in Cape Town and was never to keen on the Irish weather anyway. So with three young children a nanny in tow we boarded the plane to Malaga and our new life.

On my last visit to Marbella I found a very nice ground floor 4 bedroom apartment on the beach next to Puerto Banus and felt this would be the perfect start home for our life in the sun. Again Wendy approved of the apartment and didn’t take long to settle in. Meanwhile I had urgent business to do in getting Oscars opened and some much needed funds to top up are every diminishing cash pot. Thankfully I met up with a young man called Daniel Wolf who although from Belgium spoke fluent English and most importunately Spanish and joined me as a right hand man setting up the club. Oscars thankfully was in very good condition and all it really needed was a good clean up etc.

I loved Puerto Banus at night and started to visit it practically every evening to hang out in the Irish owned Patricks 19th hole bar. Although I wasn’t much of a drinker I really wanted to start spreading my name around by making new contacts, after all I was setting out to rebuild my life in a new country, a new home, new friends, new language and a new business. I met many old clients from the Elizabeths days in the port which was comforting away from home. I remember one night vividly; I had rented a white Seat Panda and had driven into the port parking in what was in those days was a large field directly behind the port buildings. As I’ve said I’m not really a drinker, but on this particular evening I had one more than I should have. Making my way back to the car park to drive home I was greeted by dozens of white Seat Pandas and hadn’t a clue which one was mine so I decided to walk back to the apartment thinking I would collect the car the next morning. When I returned it was obvious I was not the only one confused by the rows of white Seat Pandas as there was at least a dozen still left!!! I had to try my keys in each one until I found which my car was.

Most Sundays we would spend the day on Victors Beach. One Sunday Wendy was approached by a woman who said she was member of a
TV commercial film crew who were in Marbella to film a new commercial for Coca Cola, she asked Wendy would she be interested in the principle part. At first we thought it was a wind up but shortly after a contract was hand delivered to our apartment and Wendy ended up starring in the world wide TV commercial for Coca Cola (Photo: The Sunday Peoples write up. I wish I had a copy of the commercial it’s self) .

We were settling into the Marbella life style quickly and enjoying it immensely. The kids also loved the outdoor life, especially the swimming pool and the beach, they also settled into their school. So all in all things were already looking up I hoped. It didn’t take long for me to start meeting and making friends with a whole new Marbella crowed. One of them being an Alan Brooks. Alan had a lovely girlfriend at the time who I introduced to Wendy as both enjoyed playing tennis. Alan approached me one day telling me he was bored doing nothing and could he make an investment in Oscars. I was grateful of the extra cash and after working out a deal we shook hands and I had a new partner. One day whilst Wendy was playing tennis with Alan’s girlfriend he came around for a chat. He told me he needed to let me know something about his past now that we were going to be partners and that was that he was wanted by the police in England for stealing cars. He explained that he owned a car dealership in Blackpool specialising in top end cars like Jaguar and Rang Rover. He sold the cars but never paid British Leyland and simply upped and left UK for good. To say I was shocked would have been an understatement I was left speechless, I had known of a large criminal community who lived in Marbella as there was no extradition agreement at the time between Spain and UK but certainly never wanted to knowingly mix with any of them. After Alan had delivered this shattering news all I thought of was; 1. he’ll steel from me and .2. Oscars will be full of crooks. I immediately told Alan there would be no deal and he could not buy into the club. To say he was furious would be an understatement but I stood by my decision and that was that, my first encounter with a Marbella criminal!!! Incidentally I wasn’t that surprised when I read the headlines a few months ago that read: Notorious drug smuggler, 61, who lived a champagne lifestyle in luxurious Spanish villa is caught bringing £134million of cocaine into Britain on his yacht. I think I made the correct decision?

This was taken on the day of Oscars launch party, take note of my dyed hair colour.

By the time Oscars was ready to open and all the licenses were in place we had been living in Marbella for almost 6 months. I had got to know a lot of expats living in and around Marbella and it wasn’t that difficult to have a full house at Oscars opening party. The place looked wonderful the staff that Daniel employed seemed top class. Now all I needed was to hear those cash registers ringing!!! Everything felt so right I thought. .

As well as Marbella’s reputation of harbouring UK criminals it was also well known for the famous celebrities who lived there, names like Rod Stewart, Sean Connery, arms dealer billionaire Adnan Khashoggi to name but a few. I hadn’t met anyone famous yet until one morning there was a knock of the apartment door, when I opened it I nearly collapsed because there stood in front of me larger than life Bruce Forsyth. I just stood like an idiot with my mouth opened, you must remember at that time he was hosting the BBC television show The Generation Game so he was one of television’s most recognised stars (almost 30 years on Sir Bruce still is one of the most recognised face on British TV. Good on him) . “Sorry to disturb you” he said “but if you have a phone I would be very grateful if you let me use it?” So among the chaos of the children getting ready for school Bruce bloody Forsyth was sitting on my sofa on my bloody telephone!!! After the call Bruce explained that a friend of his had lent him the apartment above us and it had no phone as he had heard our phone ringing and needed to make an urgent call he came down to ask us. I introduced Wendy to Bruce who suggested that the four of us should get together for dinner as Winnie, Bruce’s wife, would love to meet Wendy after he learned that she played tennis. So a friendship was struck up between the Bolands and the Forsyth’s, but not for long unfortunately. (Photo: Bruce and myself at Aloha Tennis courts. Notice my Oscars T-shirt which read 'If you have the balls we have the club.' a play on the fact that Marbella was a very popular golf resort)
We had been out with Bruce and Winnie a few times. Bruce was in Marbella to oversee the decorating of his new apartment and after a month he and Winnie left our apartment block and moved into his own apartment. Invited Wendy and myself for drinks to celebrate the move. One evening we were dinning with the Forsyth’s when I noticed a bandage on across the bridge of his nose. After enquiring what had happened He told me that he had walked into the glass doors leading out to his terrace, (something I’m sure we have all done) The next morning I got a call from a journalist friend of mine who happened to spot me with Bruce last night in the port and enquired about the bandage on his nose. I explained what had happened etc and that was it. But the next day in the Daily Mirror there was a short piece about Bruce’s unfortunate accident with a glass door and added as reported by his good friend Maurice Boland. I had hardly read the article when my phone rang. It was Bruce before I could even say hello he went into one saying if I thought our friendship was a way of getting information about his private life to sell to some rag of a newspaper I was greatly mistaken and that he never wanted to see me again! He slammed down the phone before I could reply. And that folks looked like the end of the Boland, Forsyth’s beautiful friendship! (More to come on this story in a later chapter)

Oscars was now open but doing dreadful business in fact all the discotheques and that was because of the newly found
popularity of Disco bars, most notably Joe’s in Puerto Banus. Let me explain; Prior to the popularity of the disco bars people would stay in the port until 1-1:30 am and then make their way to the clubs to enjoy the music and dancing but now Joes in the port and Willies Salsa in Marbella port were not only pulling the crowds in but keeping them there by providing room to dance and top DJ’s . (Photo:Inside Oscars)
It looked like my timing in opening Oscars was a disaster. We were approaching New Years Eve 1984 when I felt we had a half chance to make a little money. It was a tradition in Spain that clubs, restaurants and now bars would charge a one price and that would include a ‘drink as much as you like’ policy. I asked Daniel to find out what all the other clubs on the Marbella’s Golden Mile (the main road between Puerto Banus and Marbella town) where charging for their New Years Eve party and under cut them. Wendy and I joined friends for dinner at a restaurant in Marbella’s old town’s Orange Square to celebrate New Year’s Eve. After dinner my friends suggested we should all go to Oscars to finish the evening. I was very hesitant, in fact slightly embarrassed, as I didn’t want them to see what was usually a pretty empty club, but I agreed and prayed at least there would be enough people to make it look respectably busy. When we turned onto the road in front of Oscars we were met by what looked like hundreds of cars parked out in front of the club for as far as the eye could see!!!! As well as being relived just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Oscars was heaving and Daniel and the staff greeted myself, Wendy and our guests with the widest smiles I had ever seen on their faces since opening of the club. It was simply a brilliant night. Maybe now I thought Oscars has taken off at last.

I met with Daniel the next day with a plan. Why not always charge one price and let our clients drink as much as they wanted, after all alcohol was cheep in Spain at that time and felt that most would never drink more than say a bottle. So the next day we launched this idea and thankfully the club began to work for a while at least. As business began to waver again I started introducing all sorts of incentives like Sunday afternoon sessions, worked a few times then it seemed once the sun was shining and that was practically every day on the Costa del Sol the people would rather spend Sunday afternoon on the beach rather than the club. I tried introducing food, that to was more are less a waste of time. Oscars just wasn’t working.
DRUGS: By this time I hated going into work in the evening knowing that Oscars wasn’t working and more than likely empty. I remember one night arriving at the club only to be met by an excited Daniel he told me about a very wealthy Arab who was inside the club drinking. He was known by my staff as a big spender he was also well known as one of Marbella’s richest Arabs. I was brought over and introduced to him and his two female companions. Unfortunately they were the only clients in the club. After about ten minutes he asked me to join him. When I sat down he inquired if there was somewhere private he could use. I suggested my office and asked me to join him. When we entered my office he asked me to lock the door, I reluctantly did as he asked it was then he removed a large plastic bag from his pocket which was full of white powder. Shit drugs!!! He rolled up a 1,000’ peseta note and inhaled the line that he had carefully laid out on my desk; he then laid out another line and called me over handing me the note.
I didn’t know what to do, if I refused he might take it as an insult, so I nervously took the 1,000 Pts rolled note a proceeded to also inhale the large thick line of the white stuff, I remember praying that nothing would happen and It looked like my prayers were being answered as I felt nothing happening. The Arab gentleman then laid out another two very thick lines again he snorted his one and offered me the other line and again I snorted it up like a vacuum cleaner. I just couldn’t believe what i was doing. I remember clearly Jack Cohn warning about one of the dangers of living in Marbella was the popularity of cocaine among the jet set and that I should be doubly carful to stay well clear of any temptation to use the drug. I laughed at the time saying to Jack I’d never seen a drug never mind take one!!! And here I was snorting cocaine. He then got up and left the office. I just sat there wondering what had I done, it was then I felt what I thought were my front teeth disappear and a magical high taking over my body, in fact I felt wonderful!!! I walked out of the office trying to act normal but I couldn’t stop smiling, smiling at nothing. I made my way onto the dance floor and started to dance on my own. My staff just stood laughing knowing exactly what had just taken place behind the shut door of my office. Within half an hour I started to come down from my high but so did the Arab so both of us went back to my office. I couldn’t wait to get more of this white stuff as the buzz was incredible. I don’t know how many lines I took that night but I know they were a great bowel mover and spent some considerable time on the toilet. From that night on the Arab started to visit Oscars regularly brining along with him his friends, I was delighted with the money they were spending, I was also delighted to join them in my office for more incredible highs . I must say Wendy hadn’t got a clue that I was now using cocaine regularly although I was beginning to sneeze rather a lot. One of the noticeable problems I was having was getting to sleep after arriving home from the club at around 7am every morning. I asked one of my new Arab friends had he any suggestions to help me sleep. He suggested I smoke some hashish to relax me. I really didn’t want to go back smoking after taking so long to quit. So he showed me an alternative way of smoking hash. He took a small pin and pushed through the centre of a playing cards, then he cut a small piece of the hash and placed it on the end of the pin. He then put a match to it until it began to smoke. He then placed the glass over the pin so that hash smoke would fill the glass, he then lifted one side of the glass and inhaled the smoke that filled the glass, and that’s what I did every morning when I returned from the club. I would us my bathroom so Wendy and the children wouldn’t see me doing drugs. One morning after yet another night of cocaine highs I was in my bathroom inhaling hash when one of my children started to knock on the door saying “Daddy what are you doing in there?” I just looked up at my reflection in the mirror and remembering Jack Cohen’s warning about staying away from drugs I put down the hash filled glass, walked out of the bathroom kissing my little son on the head as I past and from that day on almost 30 years ago I never touched another drug again!

To be continued....

Next: The TV show that lands me back in Dublin’s high court!


1 comment:

  1. Here are some of the postings on my Facebook re this chapter of my story:
    Sylvia Foster: Very Glam
    David Martin Murphy: Fab..
    Yottie Dulverton: Very interesting your Blog Maurice. I'm thoroughly enjoying it and seeing a different aspect of where I now live! I tend to thrive more in the golfing world and ocassional Joe's and Patricks. Also the Marbella Club and Marbella Café are also places I enjoying going out to as well as La Sala! So, I shall much look forward to carrying on with all your news! Great fun! Thank you!
    Gloria Cunningham: I remember that magazine..!
    Wolfs Daniel: exactly the way it was!!!what a great time we had!
    Fiona Gardie. Yet again another great instalment Maurice!! Should be a movie !!
    Yottie Dulverton: It should certainly be a Best Seller on Life in Marbella before and now!
    Yottie Dulverton: I, for one definitely will. I had forgotten so much having been away a number of years in between!
    Fiona Gardie: Just how do you remember everything in such detail ? I find it hard to remember last month!!!
    Yottie Dulverton: Diaries help- not the electronic kind where half of it disappears!!
    Vanessa Paylor: I knew you were a fighter but the resiliance you have shown is tremendous. I know nothing of show business except that there is alot of back stabbing and false promises. What makes it sad is that you're such an upfront honest guy that people try to win...See More
    Simon Wye: Typo 2004? It looked like my timing in opening Oscars was a disaster. We were approaching New Years Eve 2004 when I felt we had a half chance to make a little money.
    Simon Wye: Thought I was not around then lol
    Darryl Evans: Great
    Gwendolyn de Ashborough: We remember Well !