Spain has been for many years the NÂş1 Â“fun in the sunÂ” spot for families, singles (18-30), stag & hen parties, etc. In fact since the 70Â’s, when Sir Freddy Laker (God bless him) opened up the Â“Hi-De-HiÂ“ horizons of the great un-washed, although the popularity of Spain as the first choice holiday for Mr and Mrs average does go up and down, like an up and down thing, there is still no denying the track record of a destination, that at the end of the day, does still offer guaranteed sun, reasonable good value and, letÂ’s face it, cheap drink and fags.
But lurking in the background, like an elusive scent behind the more familiar Â“in yer faceÂ” pong of coconut after sun and Hawaiian Tropic, is that almost extinct creature, the Â“went away to find myselfÂ”.
Back in the Â“swinging 60Â’sÂ”, when, if you didnÂ’t disappear up some mountain somewhere, you were the odd one out, Spain was great because it is full of mountains without being too far away, needing five years grant money to get there and although you didnÂ’t get to meet the Dalai Lama, no doubt you were too stoned to know that Â“Jose from JimenaÂ” wasnÂ’t in fact the Dalai Lama.
So, forty plus!! Yes, forty plus years later, what has happened to these higher mortals?
Well, scratch under the surface of the everyday folk, living and working and leading ordinary lives in Spain, and letÂ’s face it not as windswept and interesting as they would have their green with envy friends back in Blighty believe, and there they still are, as reclusive as a badger with a secret, but still spreading peace, love and bad paintings around like confetti.
Now listening to me, you would think that I have some kind of chip on my shoulder in respect of this lentil eating, dog saving, bad art campo dwellers. On the contrary, in fact I think we need more of them!
My family and I lived in Spain, the Real Spain that is, over forty years ago, in what was then an unspoilt mountain village, and, although I was a child at the time, I was privileged to have met some of the original Â“Scooby DooÂ” types.
Now I live on the Coast and, to be frank, I am finding it a bit like Great Yarmouth with palm trees. One English bar, near where I live, even has a group of ladies of genteel disposition who meet to play Bridge and drink lemon tea. Yes, Bridge if you donÂ’t mind!
You canÂ’t move for the Â“Big Screen SportÂ’s BarsÂ” and even the Spanish bars sell bacon without bristles! Where will it all end?
So what happened to the Â“Free SpiritsÂ”? I hate to say it, but they seem to have become respectable, there are a few old timers happily smoking and drinking themselves slowly to death, and, fair play to them, I am glad to say Â“not a compromise in sightÂ”. But on the whole, the new crop has wandered a long way from the path of enlightenment.
The modern day Â“VelmaÂ” and Â“ShaggyÂ” come to us hot foot from a killing on their Â“Right to BuyÂ” council house, bringing a variety of elderly pets with them, two point four scared stiff children and an outdated desire to find and buy a bit of the Â“Real SpainÂ”.
It is a sad fact, however that the Â“Real SpainÂ” has long gone, Â“Jose from JimenaÂ” sold it to Taylor Woodrow for more millions than he could fit on his Â“muloÂ” and anyway could these modern day drop outs from society really live in the Â“EldoradoÂ” of the past? Way back then the Â“fincaÂ” on the Â“campoÂ” consisted of four damp walls, a leaky asbestos roof, no water, no electricity and no toilet facilities, a place that even Â“Man FridayÂ” would swim to freedom from.
So what does all this tell us? Quite simple really, Â“the Real SpainÂ” has been sold, the Spanish bars have sold out, the finca on the campo is a home from home and the original Â“free spiritsÂ” had necks as hard as jockeysÂ’ b****cks!!
So did anyone ever really Â“find himselfÂ”Â’ or did they just get lost trying?