Another local hero who has come back to attention last year is one Stan The Man.
This summer, a YouTube video of a Steve McQueen driving sequence has ‘gone viral’ and been shared on sites across Cyprus, including palscyprus.com. What’s intriguing people is the attached audio – an original song called Driving In Cyprus. The original poster claims not to know where the song came from, but it’s most definitely Our Stan.
It all began several years ago when Stan and his wife Christine were driving down Xlorakas Hill – a steep climb known locally as Cardiac Hill. “A Cypriot driver came out of a left turn straight in front of us. I slammed on the brakes and our car tipped and ended up stood on its nose. If we hadn’t have had our seat belts on, we would have both gone through the windscreen. It was a very lucky escape. Meanwhile the offending driver had carried on down the hill, oblivious.“
This was the inspiration for the song. That same afternoon, Stan relaxed on a sunbed and wrote the lyrics. Later that evening he picked up his guitar, put a simple tune to it, and had a good laugh about it.
Stan stresses that it was written as a joke song, purely in fun after what had happened, and never meant as a social statement or to cause offence or a slur on the Cypriot people. Stan says “ They are fantastic and while on Cyprus we made many Cypriot friends and only ever received love and kindness from them.”
A few days later Stan was playing on stage at The House of Blues – back then a popular open mic venue just off the Tombs of the Kings Road. “Christine asked me to play “Driving in Cyprus” because the place was filled with expats. A barmaid asked for a copy of the song, so I cut a disc for her on my home computer using Nero, a music app, thinking it was just for her. She passed it to DJ Pafian Paul to be played on his request programme on Rock FM. The rest is history. I was asked to perform it at a concert with The Searchers and The Foundations at Pafos harbour in 2009 and it was played every weekend on Paul’s programme for years. Wherever I played live it was always requested: it was so popular I copyrighted the song at the time.”
Back in Wales, Stan still writes folk songs and plays guitar, now performing with Christine as Folk Duo Gale Force at festivals and private functions and folk sessions, touring in the UK. The duo’s albums can be found on YouTube, along with Driving in Cyprus. And Cyprus’ driving conditions? Unchanged.