Antigua – Many years of wonderful memories on the Island of Antigua. I could go on for pages and pages with stories thereof. My Grandfather, Henry DeMarco bought a home in 1960 on the most picturesque point in the Caribbean for $6000. He was amongst the first Americans with a home on the Island. They had a roof which collected and directed water in to the cistern underneath the concrete deck for water. They had a generator, gas lamps, gas refrigerator. It was a modest 2 bedroom home but it was beautiful compared to most of the Islanders. The view was incredible, as was the breeze, and the scent of the Island. The Sea was pristine, and the bread that was made on Antigua at the time was like no other. They made their own charcoal by burying wood with red hot rocks and putting a piece of bamboo into the sand so the wood could breath a bit. Then they would use that charcoal in brick ovens and it was incredible. Anyway, in 1984-1987 I spent a lot of time in Antigua. I had written a business plan while operating the Sound Loft to build a Recording/Video studio in the old hotel that was never completed on Dieppe Bay below my grandfathers place. I raised the money to buy the hotel, and we began our demo/construction in 1985. I hired a British couple Steve and Jan Jackson, who were the managers of Air Studios Monserrat owned by George martin of Beatle fame to manage the studio. They were great people who told hilarious stories of the prior clients at ASM. One in particular when Black Sabbath was recording at ASM the band was flying to Antigua to party as they were not allowed to do so on Montserrat. But instead of boarding the plane, Ozzy Osborne stole Steve Jackson’s jeep and disappeared. The studio was called at approximately 3am and Steve was asked to retrieve old Ozzie. As Steve approached the house the owner was standing on the dimly lit front porch but he asked Steve to come in. When Steve entered he saw Ozzy sitting on the couch having a cup of tea and his own jeep nose first on the couch next to Ozzie. It is very mountainous there and as Steve told it, not very far from the road to the roof and Ozzie managed to make it unscathed.
Another Antigua story that stands out is one of the now Italian Consulate to Antigua. I was swimming at PigeonPoint Beach in Falmouth Antigua in 1985 when a 42′ Swan sailed up and a 3 year old, Shannon and his Mom, Pandora and Dad, Carlo and friend Paula swam to shore. They had just completed the Transatlantic racefrom Sardinia to Miami. They placed 6th. Thats3 adults and a 3 year old! They needed a place on land so I invited them to stay with me at my Grandparents home until they were able to find a place of their own. Carlo was ambitious and smart, he opened a furniture store ayear or 2 later, importing from Europe, Asia, and Africa. A couple years later he began importing liquor from offshore, Italy. This was a powerful business and he soon wrote a business plan to lease the land next to and in front of the Antigua Yacht Club to build a Marina. He could not get the financing required. He and Pandora had a new baby, Shirley who was a little beauty. While she was teething, she found Carlos Passport nearby and chewed on his photo. This was cause for him to call the Italian Consulate in the Caribbean for a replacement Passport.He suggested that he could be reach by Fax, Telex, Phone. The Italian Ambassador was very impressed to know there was an Italian living on Antigua who was setup so well. He asked Carlo if he would assist him if he ever needed help there in the future. Carlo said he would be happy to. A few years later Carlo was called by the Ambassador to try and help recover 2 Italian girls who decided they would run off with a couple of Rastamen rather than return to Italy. Carlo accepted the challenge as he knew every Thursday night in Antigua all the Rastamen went to the Rasta Hut for a big party. Carlo had Paula and another girl both in their 30s at the time go and try to find the young girls. If he had gone it would look very suspicious he said. Well, while his crew was searching for the missing, the Antiguan police grabbed them thinking they were the young Italian girls. They were taken to the station where they were allowed their phone call. They called Carlo who then called the Italian Ambassador. The Ambassador told Carlo to tell the police that he was the Italian Consulate for Antigua and the ladies were working for him to locate the young girls. Carlo stated that he could not lie to the police. So…the Ambassador faxed him an official document which stated Carlo was the Italian Consulate of Antigua. The young girls were recovered and returned to Italy. The fact that Carlo had been to every bank trying to get financing for his dream of a Marina with unsuccessful results quickly changed as he was now an official Diplomat and the banks were happy to finance him, he is now extremely successful as a businessman, a father, a sailboat captain and auto racer! All from his little girl Shirley chewing on his passport.
I had the pleasure of meeting and Paul Young the very day Every Time YouGoAway reached #1 on the charts. We had much champagne at Pizzas in Paradise that night. It was located in Falmouth, owned by my friend Steve Crotty. Steve was the host of most Air Studios Monseratt clients and one of Keith Richards very close friends. Thus, I met many a rock star in Antigua. Keith, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Jackson Browne, Paul Young, as well as Actor Pierce Brosnan.