Nigel's Story -
A Narrow Escape
I am always
fascinated and yet sincerely interested when
people I meet seem compelled to tell me their
true life stories.
Such was the case when I had the pleasure of
spending the day with Nigel Higgins, now in his
early 50s and happily living on his finca, far
from the maddening crowd, in Santa
Nigel was a reformed bad boy having
spent 15 years living in Italy where he learnt to
speak excellent fluent Italian with the well
known alternative Mutoid Waste Community.
Nigel wanted to tell me of a crazy night when he
was 16 in 1984, just after he had finished his O
levels back in England. I listened carefully,
making some word prompt notes.
He was hitching with his then best friend, Glen
Wilkinson, in France for 20 days without any
money with the inevitable backpack and sleeping
bag. Nigel described himself as a blond New
Romantic Punk, whose idol was David Bowie-cum-Ziggy
On the road to Saint Rafael, in the south of
France, young pretty boy Nigel and his mate
stopped a 2 door dark blue Pergeot driven by an
older man called Jean Paul. It was getting dark
and the boys were desperate for a ride. Any ride
but not to be taken for a ride!
The car screeched to a halt and they both piled
into the back seat, tired, sweaty and hungry. The
stranger spoke impeccable English and was
exceptionally friendly. He introduced himself as
Jean Paul through the reflection of the car
mirror. Nigel could not stop thinking how much
their driver looked like the current Polish Pope
Jean Paul 11; a most uncanny resemblance. Out of
politeness and typically British, he said nothing
being the polite guest in his hosts car.
Midnight, the hour of the pumpkin was arriving as
they sped to St Rafael. Jean Paul offered to put
them up for the night in his flat. He knew in
advance his live-in Asian boyfriend Sanjay had
prepared a delicious authentic curry with basmati
rice and accompanying home made chutneys. How
could the starving boys refuse?
The Puegeot purred into a smart underground car
park. Up they went in the lift to a modern but
comfortable abode. Indian wood statues and ethnic
paintings adorned the walls and the large glass
dining table with 4 carved wooden monkeys holding
up the bevelled glass, completed the picture of
Sanjay had prepared a feast with chilled lagers
and afterwards Indian ice cream in little ceramic
pots, a souvenir for the boys to keep and use on
their journey back to England.
After a sumptuous tasty dinner, Jean Paul
suggested the boys strip off and take a
refreshing hot shower. This was welcomed and the
boys innocently tried to shower but found the
taps a bit stiff to work.
Jean Paul to the rescue and, in the know, boldly
came in to the wet room to help and
take a look at how well hung they were! Being
British, the boys were coy and showed it by their
body language, so their host quickly retreated.
Obviously they were not up for what he had in
mind, perhaps a foursome with randy Sanjay?
Time for bed but no spare bedroom. Only a sofa in
the lounge which Glen was quick to take and thus
Nigel was led to Jean Pauls adjoining study.
Through the French windows they went to the big
terrace where the loungers were kept. This was to
be Nigels final resting place with more
privacy in his sleeping bag for protection.
On the way through the study, Nigel was quick to
notice several framed black and white obviously
professional photographs of the easily
recognisable Pope Jean Paul 11. He said nothing
but was determined to go back after his host had
retired to bed, to take a closer look.
Good nights were said and Nigel could hear the
crickets and see the whole of the large terrace
filled with architectural plants as there was a
full moon. He was wide awake and intrigued by the
photos, so wearing only his navy blue boxer
shorts, he crept back into the study.
There were about 6 photographs of Jean Paul 11 in
darkest Africa with VIPS and Dignitaries wearing
white robes and skull caps smiling for the press.
Some were stultified in groups while others were
quite natural off the record photographs in
different places at different official
Looking closer and closer, Nigel saw it was his
host and not the real Pope. Jean Paul was, of
course, a professional Look-a-Like!! Having
satisfied his curiosity, he got back into his
sleeping bag to curl up for the remainder of the
To sleep and perchance to dream? Was he dreaming
he could feel his arm and shoulder being gently
stroked? No, but when he felt his back, down to
the tip of his spine, being stroked, he turned
and saw in the moonlight, a grinning cat-like
Jean Paul. Nigel jumped out of the bag like a cat,
fortunately still in his boxers, and was amazed
to see his host struggling to do up Nigels
own trousers! Jean Paul asked young Nigel for
help! Seeing that his potential victim was
horrified and not going to be seduced and
buggered, he coughed nervously and retreated,
leaving Nigel with a thumping heart louder than
the sound of the crickets. Nigel tossed and
turned under the full moon and the stars
listening to the noisy crickets for the rest of
the remaining night terrified his host might
Dawn approached and, after no sleep that night,
Nigel rose. Jean Paul amazed his guests by
preparing the perfect full English breakfast. 2
poached eggs, rounds of crisp toast, 2 grilled
pork sausages each, fried soft tomatoes, garlic
mushrooms with parsley and crispy bacon. He then
explained he had been educated in Sandhurst and
later gone up to Oxford to study English
A perfect ending to an eventful night, Jean Paul
accompanied by Sanjay, drove the boys to the
nearest petrol station to continue on their road
to nowhere, waving Adieu with a never to be
forgotten mysterious smile.
in Dalt Murada Hotel, Palma, Mallorca on 20.1.19.