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Arturo Pérez-Reverte: build shit, attract shit

Posted by admin on Sunday September 4th 2011. 2 comments

APR is one of Spain's best-known novelists, and a blustering columnist to boot. Here, translated by Lenox Napier, is a tourism rant of his which is getting a lot of attention at the moment:

We forget that for decades we have been clamoring for this exact kind of tourism and how we were prepared to trash our coastal villages to benefit from their miserable crumbs, building endless outdoor bars, welcoming anything without the least aesthetic appearance or good taste, scrapping traditional business, turning our children into snack bar waiters to lick the shoes of the drunkest and most worthless tourists in Europe.

And so on.

Blaming Johnny Foreigner is all very well - APR's anti-nationalism is only skin-deep - but the wanton, comprehensive destruction of the Mediterranean littoral also served perceptions of domestic demand. In January 2005 I cycled south from Barcelona to Valencia, and then cross-country to Cádiz for Carnival. Even then, before the final, mad surge of the construction boom, the journey along the coast through the provinces of Barcelona, Tarragona, Castellón and Valencia recalled the obliterating, levelling, stultifying megalomania of Ceausescu's architectural project for Bucharest and Romania, but the hoardings for the rabbit hutches in construction were in Spanish, not English or German. The Spanish are also incredibly fond of cheap seaside apartments and are increasingly ferocious drinkers and brawlers, but perhaps APR decided they wouldn't retweet that information.

I suppose comfort may be sought in the fact that the rest of the Mediterranean is rapidly catching up in terms of the destruction of cultural environments - Russian ribbon development along the Ancient Greeks' beloved coast of Pontus is said to be quite spectacularly ... Russian - and so the relative economic disadvantage may be minor. So perhaps we should just stay away for a decade - for all the human curiosities encountered, I wouldn't repeat that journey - and wait for Al Gore's new Zanclean Deluge to sweep it all away. Al? Al?! Where's a man when you need him?

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    1. Náiguel Puig i Clot says:

      Odd that APR's quote describes quite nicely what he does to Eco.

      • Mr Baldie says:

        Jeje, but I'll have to take that on trust - I find his writing unbearably stiff and stupid, and have never got through more than a couple of pages.

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