I learned a lot from this review, including the rather stunning fact that the highly-regarded film critic Colin MacCabe considers Performance the best British film ever made (in his 2008 book for BFI, Performance). And that the Moroccan style set for the interior of Turner's (Mike Jagger) house was designed by the collector and antique dealer Christopher Gibbs.
Read about him here, in this article in the New York Times, and you learn that in 2000 he had four residences, two of them in Morocco (one in Tangier).
Gibb's association with Jagger, and Morocco, goes way back, as an article on Rolling Stones locations tells us:
48 CHEYNE WALK, SW10 (London)
Mick Jagger bought this fashionable Queen Anne town house in May 1968 for £50,000 and hired designer Christopher Gibbs (see 98 Cheyne Walk) to redecorate the place.
Reportedly, for all its quaint, cottage-like charm from the outside, once through the front door of the house, the ambience changed dramatically. The Gibbs-designed decor evoked the lush decadence of a Turkish harem or opium den (very similar, apparently, to the interior of the Jagger character’s house in the film Performance: see
The same source tells us this about Gibbs' own house:
100 CHEYNE WALK, SW10
Location of designer Christopher Gibbs’ sprawling, wood-panelled apartment – located just a few doors down from Mick Jagger’s. (NB. Another account gives Gibbs’ address as 96.)
Originally part of Lindsay House, built in 1645, Gibbs’ apartment was the epicentre of
Situated on the first floor, and boasting a splendid view of a lavish back garden and ancient mulberry tree (reputedly,
Cult director Michaelangelo Antonioni used Gibbs’ house as the setting for the famous party scene in his enigmatic Sixties thriller, Blow-Up.
Until I read the article on Performance earlier this morning, I knew nothing about Gibbs and his Moroccanist influence on the British rock aristocracy. I had thought that Brion Gysin was the main vector of influence (especially via Jajouka). It turns out that Gibbs was thick with the Tangier set, that included, of course, Jane and Paul Bowles, Brion Gysin and Mohamed Hamri. I've read a lot about Tangier and its illustrious and scandalous expats and foreign visitors, but hadn't known about Gibbs and his importance. This will set me off on even more research. But I need to finish that book. And now, I need to go to the Farmer's Market and buy some arugula (gargir in Egyptian Arabic).
Footnote: The same source that tells us about Jagger's and Gibbs' houses informs us that Anita Pallenberg, Keith Richards' girlfriend, who appeared in Performance, was enamored of filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and traveled to Cairo to shoot on location for Lucifer Rising. What I remember most of the Cairo scenes of Lucifer Rising, however, is Myriam Gibril, who plays Isis.
Myriam Gibril, it turns out, was the long-time lover of Donald Cammell, the co-director (with Nicholas Roeg) of Performance. Cammell appears as Osiris in Lucifer Rising. And Cammell has said that Kenneth Anger was “the major influence at the time I made Performance”, much of which is “directly attributable” to him.
And the Turner character in Performance is thought to be based on the actual life of the Rolling Stone Bryan Jones, who was so enamored with the Master Musicians of Jajouka.
God, another avenue, or avenues, for research.