Oh, come on... what happens in Benidorm stays in Benidorm


When I went on my first solo summer holiday, was the hottest part of the day always after dark? I remember reading that in the 1980’s such was the lure of ‘a quickie in Magaluf’ that over 35% of single people had sex with a stranger within two days of starting a package holiday on the Costa Brava. I suppose if you ground out 50 weeks a year in a damp typing pool in Wigan, some rumpy pumpy in an exotic locale had a very strong appeal. I mean all those hormones, no parents and no prying phone camera from your friends to tell the world what you had been up to. My holiday snaps in the 1970s were taken on the last day to show my Aunt the sea view from my room and the plane I flew home on; taken with a camera loaded with one roll of film with 12 shots (ASA 100 - Remember those). Today’s racy photographs that cover snapchat like acne would never have been developed by my local Boots. Instead I would have found a note inside saying these pictures were unsuitable to print! I can assure you that what I was looking for on those first holidays was not a UNESCO World Heritage Site or a basket weaving co-operative. So I was somewhat staggered to learn that young people on their first solo holidays nowadays seek out exotic locations as opposed to locations where they indulge in something erotic. Cheap and cheerful holidays have been replaced with earnest young people wanting to load up on Instagram a photo of a three toed armadillo or four eared fruit bat. Students and the first time employed apparently now yearn to sample the delights of a warm oil colonic irrigation whilst eating mung beans in an Ashram. Fun seems to be a ten mile trek through some mosquito infested swamp with the reward of a tofu burger and cup of tepid fruit tea, rather than an all-night rave and enough E to fill a giant size bag of M&Ms. The kiss me quick traps of the Baby Boomers and X Generation have suddenly gone quiet. The locals in great swathes of Spain, Italy and Greece are actually nostalgic for the old days of sluicing away the vomit from the night before’s over indulgence or collecting abandoned flip flops, thongs and condoms that once littered the beach in dawn’s early glow. Wolfing down paella with chips followed by binge drinking Raki with Sharon from Skegness has faded from memory like the sepia pictures that hang in the mock rustic tavernas. Now, whilst I am the last person to deny some culture to our youth, where has fun gone? I worry today’s youth are not being misspent.

...and another thing

The gap year. That was a euphemism for either super smart people who finished a University course a year ahead of schedule or for the inbred intelligence challenged offspring of the Aristocracy who still imagined that they were really following in the drug and drink fuelled journeys of Shelley and Byron.

Essentially you only got a year off because you were super smart and would get any job you wanted; or you were a hopeless ne’er-do-well with a comfy sinecure at Daddy’s syndicate at Lloyds or Uncle Eustace’s stockbroking firm (well at least before Big Bang came and swept all that away).

Now everyone seems to take a year off. What must parts of Asia, South America and Africa think of our children who fly in with good intentions and bad judgement? We export them to “grow up, understand the value of money, see the world and do their bit” without any thought for the poor locals who give them these life lessons.

 So I suggest we flip the gap year. Instead of going off and just gaining life lessons, how about inviting some of the poorer nations residents to visit us, teach them about our lives and give them lessons that might actually help improve their lot in life. We can afford the luxury of mistakes. They cannot.

Meanwhile spare a thought for the nightclubs of the Costa Del Sol who now earn a crust by doing 70’s disco nights for the newly retired. I suspect those Old Age Pensioners might still keep the local E salesmen in funds though!

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