By Jed Pitman
Simply put, Huatulco is the town that changed my life. January 2016 and, back in my home country of England, frankly I didn’t know whether I was coming or going, my brain needed rewiring. It was on the fritz.
I had heard many a tale of people from Canada and from Europe who had made the move to this part of paradise on the Pacific, some permanently, some as snowbirds. I had travelled here with my wife, Kate, on and off over the years merely as tourists. Now, as the rain came down in Bristol and another Somali moved in next door, I needed a fresh outlook to my fast-diminishing existence.
Two months later Kate and I had bought a house in Huatulco and the next three months were taken up in the UK selling everything we had. Finally, just eight months after wondering what would get me out of bed in the morning, I was waking up to the sunshine and natural beauty of what this very small apple offers. It was a new start, one so fresh I could smell it every time I breathed in through my nose.
But what to do now I was here? I am a man of very few talents who had spent much of my life sitting at my computer writing, mostly articles, some longer prose, some one-liners, after dinner speeches for celebrities. I had just completed the first draft of a book about an English sportsman who had added to his fame by serving a prison sentence for smuggling cocaine from the Caribbean to London.
This place, as I was soon to find out, inspires – as well as the plethora of other things it offers the new recruit of its ex-pat army.
One day in the autumn of 2016, as I took to my favourite pastime of swinging back and forth in my hammock between two palm trees in my garden whilst studying the activity of the iguana who lives on my wall (even writing that sentence as a previously depressed middle-aged Englishman sends me giddy), I was smacked firmly in the face by an idea. I would attempt to pen another book and dedicate it to my new life here in Huatulco.
Within hours, possibly helped with the aid of some mezcal, it came to me. I would have a go at writing the biography of one of my heroes, a man called Rod Temperton.
A decade before I had been one of the few people ever to interview him for a documentary – The Invisible Man – that I produced for the BBC. Why this title? Because Rod Temperton was a man of whom very few had ever heard, but one whose songwriting skills most would surely have come across even if they had been brought up on the flat plains of Saskatchewan, or in the hillbilly hick town of Hope, BC (a place where I’m told that, if you live there, there is no hope). For starters Rod wrote “Thriller” for Michael Jackson, a song from which he earned enough money to purchase his own Fijian island. “Rock with You” was another hit this unassuming guy from the unheard of seaside town of Cleethorpes created. This town, on the edge of The Wash, is a place so cold and depressing, my knees once froze there along with my heart. “Give Me The Night” – an international hit for George Benson – was also created from the brain of this wunderkid, as were 70s hits “Boogie Nights” and the USA prom favourite, “Always and Forever.”
So, off I went to my newly designated office, which happened to be on the roof of my casa, next to the beer fridge. There, I interviewed many of my other musical heroes, including Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Michael McDonald, George Benson and even the man who orchestrated Les Miserables. Then, in a flash it was done. Five hours a day, four days a week over four weeks and 75,000 words were down on a Microsoft Word document. The publisher in the UK loved it. Huatulco had provided the backdrop for what has turned out to be something rather extraordinary. A few months later, as the book was released in North America, I was interviewed by the New York Times, along with many other publications and now there is even talk of the book being turned into a movie in Hollywood.
But, how to end my swiftly cobbled together opus? I needed to thank my wife, my three children, Trump the iguana (I told you, he lives on a Mexican wall). I went for the following: “This book was written in Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico.”
I DID IT! This very town is now in print in hard back (and as an e-book) and will be around forever. Well, that is until the publisher decides to pulp all remaining copies due to lack of sales.
The Invisible Man by Jed Pitman is available on Amazon and many other less than reputable websites.