News, opinion, essays and links for residents and friends of Mojácar, Almería.
This site, started in September 2002, is called The Entertainer Online to continue The Entertainer name, the name of a weekly newspaper started by me in 1985 which ran without interruption throughout southern Spain until 1999 when a three year option to buy was taken by staffers. They never concluded the deal, or paid me, but changed the name when the option expired in April 2002 instead. Que vamos a hacer.
Overview of this site (Sections at bottom of page)
*Rambeau’s Diary – a blog *Freebie-Jeebies® – Some relaxed comment on the poor quality local free-press *Fallout – quotes from other sites *National News Certain pieces that catch my fancy *Local News Certain pieces that catch my fancy *Essays: Various imput *Links about Spain (see top of page) about 200 useful links, including my other blog Spanish Shilling *To e-mail me - write to email@example.com. I don't always answer or open attachments.
Mojácar has more to it than tourism. It has residents. We buy a house, a car, we shop all year long and we support local restaurants. Each one of us must put the equivalent of several hundred tourists' wallets into the community each year. We have no champion, no town hall department and no budget, yet we do more for our town than the hotels and the three-month tripper season (now at an end). We maintain our town: paint, plant and water it (instead of being sick all over it). We are given no jobs, no representation, no respect. Local elections are next May: get on the 'padrón' and ask to be registered to vote.
While other local free news-sheets attempt to stick to Spain, here comes the Weenie in its latest edition of 1521 (in a burst of hubris) asking readers to honour James Foley, the American freelance journalist and photojournalist who was murdered in Syria recently. A tragic loss and a barbarous attack indeed, but perhaps better dealt with elsewhere. One almost gets the impression that Foley was a contributor to the Euro Weekly News, after reading '...In respect for James and his family the Euro Weekly News (EWN) will donate a white page of remembrance to James Foley in all six of its editions on Thursday, August 28, 2014'. There's more: 'The EWN is asking the world's press to rally round and show what a close-knit family the journalistic community is by following suit and donating the rate of one page within their respective newspapers' (Another version in Page 10 and full page 43 here). Indeed, it gets worse - newspapers the world over are asked to 'make a donation (and) contact Dean Harrison at Euro Weekly News by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +34 952 561 245'. Dean, huh? Let me know how that works out. Note to The World's Press: Far from being known for honouring the profession of journalism, the Weenie rarely identifies even its own writers (beyond some regular commentators), indeed, we are not even given the name of the Editor du Jour.
August is over, the tourists have dropped to a reasonable and manageable level, the political talk and preparation for next May's local elections is starting... and I've been on a yacht tacking back n' forth on the high seas all day long. I see they've even updated my lenoxnapier.com webpage. Tasteful!
Susana Díaz, the PSOE President of the Junta de Andalucía, wonders how the local Carboneras PSOE can be in favour of renewing work on the ghastly Hotel Algarrobico as voted in a plenary session in Carboneras on Tuesday. 'We must think of the - as yet - unborn children and their inheritance', said Susana who wants the Carboneras compañeros to 'explain themselves' to the Party. The Junta, we read, will be pouring money into new investments into our area: 'I want the Citizens of the Levante to know that I will support their region, and I ask them not to put their natural inheritance at risk, because we must financially help the area that has the privilege of being the steward of this public land', said Susana yesterday.
The nice thing about Paco Haro's book about the foreigners who came to live in Mojácar in the sixties and seventies is the respect and cordiality of the writer towards his subject. His dad owned a small hotel in the village square and we all stayed there. We brought some funny habits with us but we also brought money, we bought houses, opened bars and eventually, we brought tourism to Mojácar, which became very wealthy as a result. The book, in homage to those foreigners - hundreds of them are named in its pages - is called 'Mojaqueros de Hecho': 'Honorary Mojacareros'. So, not everyone likes the foreigners, and we are properly grateful (I hope) to Paco for his book, presented the other evening in the Artisan Centre to a full house of foreign and local residents. Then along comes La Voz de Almería, our truly awful local daily of record, and writes it up here in an article called 'Mojaqueros de Hecho'. In five paragraphs of salty praise, it manages to not mention the subject of the book (the foreigners) once!
The wealthier a town is, the longer their fiesta lasts. Mojácar's Saint's Day is Thursday 28th, but the festivities run from Wednesday morning with some fireworks, through Sunday 31st. A full five days of noisy fun! People say that most, if not all, of the festivals in our fair city are held either in the Casco Viejo or at La Fuente - never on the beach, where most of the population lives. Almería is also in fiesta, and their fiestas run from this Saturday 23rd through to Saturday the 30th. Eight days. At least, they have a huge funfair and some bullfights. Once all this is over, the summer is said to belong, finally, to those of us who live here.
Later: Back in Mojácar, a group of concerned citizens have started a platform against noise for the municipality, supporting the Town Hall's stance on noise (unless its public noise: fiestas, loud pop groups in the Plaza Nueva, thunderflashes or indeed sirens). Find them here (in Spanish and English) and on Facebook here.
Let's see, Len and Helen Prior had their house demolished in January 2008, and we are now in August 2014. Since then, they have been living in their garage. That's for the past 80 months. What has Almería lost as a result of this atrocity? Billions of Euros and an indeterminate number of jobs (we have 36% unemployment here). What has Almería gained by demolishing a foreigners' house in a quiet area behind Vera? Nothing whatsoever!
Paco Haro has written a book about the foreigners who stayed in his father's hotel located in the Plaza Nueva in Mojácar back in the sixties and seventies. The hotel Indalo had a dozen rooms, a restaurant where we all used to eat lunch (the Air-vice Marshal insisting on putting the china under his shirt as he said he never ate off a cold plate) and the bar downstairs where my father had learned to say 'toma una copa conmigo', have a drink with me, which, at 10 pesetas, wasn't too hard on the wallet. The beautifully illustrated book is called 'Mojaqueros de Hecho' by Francisco Haro Pérez and will be presented on Saturday at the Centro de Artesania at 7.00pm together with an exhibition of memorabilia from the time. Another book deals with a rarer bird, an Englishman who lived in nearby Carboneras and ran a hotel (The Hotel El Dorado) decorated with pieces from his work as a stage and film carpenter. From blowing up the bridge on the River Kwai to covering the Spanish countryside in fake snow for Doctor Zhivago, Eddie Fowlie led a remarkable career. The book is called ‘David Lean’s Dedicated Maniac: Memoirs of a Film Specialist’. Following his modest beginnings in a quiet London suburb, he broke into the movie industry during Hollywood's golden era to work with some of the world's leading directors, setting new standards as a film specialist and all-round troubleshooter. But it was his unique relationship with David Lean that provided him some of the most cherished years of his career. The two were a perfect foil for each other, becoming close friends until the end of the director's life. Fowlie's candid life-story is also a hilarious roller coaster ride by one of life's mavericks - a true dedicated maniac. The book is written, or perhaps 'ghosted', by our leading local journalist (and editor of the Costa de Almería News) Richard Torné who is currently working on a novel.
The Junta de Andalucía, whose reproductive organs are evidently clasped in a vice-like grip by the ecologists (the ones who have no time to spare for the Endesa plant in Carboneras - the dirtiest power station in Spain - nor for our 66,000 hectares of plastic farms, nor indeed for the dying chumbos), have decided to mess around again with the ghastly Hotel Algarrobico in Carboneras. It may have been built legally, but it is to be demolished, by Gum (at vast public expense, naturally). The hideous building, all 20 floors and 400 rooms, will make a lovely pile of rubble which will, no doubt, be returned to the pristine lump of nothing which was one day there. Instead of becoming waiters, the local townsfolk can have a rewarding job polishing the beach pebbles. One by one. The plan, this plan, is to register the land on which the frightful building is erected, as public land. Expropriation in a word. Is that the end of this idiotic story? Who can tell!
I was in the high hills of Almería, near Paternina del Río in the Almerian Alpujarras, liberally stained with the juice from a mulberry tree. A goat herder came past, with 280 goats. All 'chipped'. 'That's amazing', I said, 'does the Junta de Andalucía know how many goats there are in Andalucía at any given moment'? 'Yes, sir, down to the last goat', he answered, dubiously reaching for a long-departed forelock. Fantastic stuff! So, answer me this: how did they not know about the 300,000 so-called 'illegal houses' that were being built across the Region to be sold to foreigners?