Saturday, June 19, 2004

Colonel on the Continent

Just back from a week overseas. I put in a week with the folks in the sleepy Spanish resort of Torremolinos.

If you don't know my folks, pops is a frightfully brainy chap, also a military man, General Knowledge. The mater was in the Intelligence services, Hidden Knowledge. Then there is my younger brother, a bit of a layabout and a waster to be honest, Common Knowledge.

Anyhow, we small happy band were cooped up in apartments in a fairly large hotel near the beach. Possibly the designer of this place was under severe mental stress at the time, but the place had a Flintstones theme running throughout it, including a Bronto Burger bar selling fried snacks to the patrons. The patrons seemed to accept this philosophically enough, consisting mainly of loud types from Dublin. It would seem that your Dubliner enjoys nothing better than sunbathing in the blazing midday heat while their unruly offspring runs amok by the pool, shouting and bawling like a snot-nosed banshee.

Clearly a new location for drink-based activities would have to be found.

This was not as easy as it sounds. Torremolinos is primarily visited by the Irish tourist and has targeted its nightlife with this in mind. Among the nitespots and hotspots in the vicinity were The Irish Affair, Shillelagh Bill's, Shenanigans, Molloys, Shamrocks, The Harp Bar, Top o' the Morning and Lisa's Licking Leprechaun Lesbian Lounge. I may have imagined that last one, the combination of sunshine and sangria is a powerful one.

The behaviour of the Irish drinker abroad is somewhat curious to behold. As we English well know, the correct form is to drink imported bottled beer heavily all day, insult the natives of the town and conclude the evening by either vomiting and urinating in the street while giving tongue regarding the excellence of one's sports team of choice or, if one is lucky, by giving a three minute rattling to a chunky girl from Stockport on the beach. The Irish prefer to drink in a civilized manner in the evenings, maintaining a respectful attitude to their courteous hosts and the night would end with nothing more raucous than a sing-song or some inebriated wedding-style dancing.

A strange bunch. No wonder they never had an empire.

Adios amigos.

(I am a real global citizen, yes?)

Tuesday, June 01, 2004


The recent holiday weekend saw all manner of exciting activities.

Not really. However, I did attend a barbecue. Yes, look impressed, the Colonel is quite the socialite, what?

The modern barbecue is a peculiar affair. A bunch of chaps gather around the flames, wantonly incinerating a fridge full of sausages, chops, chicken and steaks. The ladyfolk prepare dips and enormous trays of sliced carrots that unfailingly curl and wilt untouched, to be thrown out the next day.

The usual form is to fill the bathtub with cold water and float several hundred bottles and cans of multipack lager, which the men aggressively try to drink their way through. The ladies stick to sweet white or rose wine, consuming just enough to become tearful and accusatory by closing time. Coincidentally, it is about this time folk tend to wish they had gone to the pub rather than stood half-kippered in someone's back garden with a bunch of dullards discussing wood flooring or endowment policies.

By this time, seizing my opportunity, much like Field Marshal Rommel might have done, I had beaten a timely retreat to my local hostelry.

Sunday saw the rain and the sunshine taking turns to confound and delight the populace. An ideal day for an outdoor music festival, then.

There was a free festival taking place near the local river. Of course, being free, this meant that the acts were, shall we say, shite. A bald troubadour strumming an acoustic guitar here, a couple of hairy yokels murdering blues standards there, all the usual suspects were on show. When you added to this the prospect of drinking weak lager from a plastic glass, it was with a spring in my step that I concurred with my companions wishes to make our excuses and leave. Who knows what manner of impassioned female chanteuses and "hey-nonny" chanting folk types we may have had to endure. It almost made one long for the David Gray and Chili Peppers dirges the local oafs insist on selecting on the jukebox of the local tavern.