TV as entertainment?


Camera man at the ready

I was approached just the other day which already seems a life time away by Spanish tv who were looking to interview a Brit who would defend the British problem to do with the issue of drunk youngsters on holiday in Magaluf!  Being a yes of course type of woman, I said, yes of course, to be the British guest on the late night show, Hechos Reales!

Whilst I don’t make a habit of watching depressing tv and by that I mean the type of television that sets out to incite, ridicule, perhaps insult, titillate, and generally depress the hell out of me!  I’d rather watch some American blockbuster for that!  But I said yes and in my ego filled mind, I had the cunning thought that maybe (please remember that word), maybe, I could plant some seeds of peace and not sow discord!

I should have known from the first call from the charming producer that this was perhaps not my type of tele!  His questions had me confused from the get go about the very serious issue of the young British tourists coming on holiday to Magaluf and spending their time drunk as skunks!  Of course there’s a problem and it’s not just in Magaluf!  I seemed to pass the first test, although I do suspect that they were desperate to find anyone by then as recording was just a few hours away!

I agreed that the technical team would show up at my home just before midnight and that the segment of the show was going to between sometime between half midnight and 0130 – okay, I can do this I thought!  Deep down, I began to look for the nice, peaceful, calm Glynis inside as I wanted her with me when I faced the debating team – an us and them situation seemed to be emerging from the comments and was it going to be them on one side and me defending the Brits, whatever the hell that meant!

Now mobile phone cover in my house in not the best as the walls are a terrace house of some 100 years of age – yes, it frustrates the hell out of me which is why you don’t get me on my mobile much in the winter!  However, being tv and all that, connection was made and I was soon put on to someone on the production team sitting in the control room in Madrid!

“So Glynis, do you blame the hoteliers for the problem?”  Hmmm, no, it’s not that simple or we would have found a solution already!

“I don’t blame anyone, it’s a collective responsibility” I said.  “We have a serious problem on our hands and as we invited alcohol to the party, with him as the main VIP guest, we have serious issues to deal with and it’s not just in Magaluf”  I added.  I was told it didn’t matter about the other places, we were there to talk about Magaluf!  “But there is another whole lot of beautiful tourism taking place in Mallorca and the media only like to concentrate on the negative, look at the words you’ve used in the title of your programme” I insisted “salvaje – wild, savage is what you’re calling it!”  Stay on track I was told, this debate is about Magaluf!

I wish I had also pointed out that there are families this summer whose lives have been destroyed by the deaths of their children and loved ones from alcohol induced accidents!  This was not touched upon in the programme of course.  The same families who might just be a little angry with duty free for selling alcohol so freely at the airport of departure; with the airlines and tour operators for not doing enough to stop the drinking before they get to their destination and with the all inclusive hotel deals allowing alcohol to be available all day, every day – never mind the bars selling cheap alcohol to anyone who comes by!  I also imagine that these same families have been very grateful to the care and professionalism shown by the Spanish emergency services and hospitals as well as the local funeral directors charged with helping them arrange for their loved ones to be taken home.

I didn’t get my chance to say anything on the show in the end, which, whilst showing that young drunk Brits in Magaluf is a serious issue for us all to be worried about, failed to make it a serious debate on what we should really be doing and not just in Magaluf but most of Europe.  That type of television is not there to make a difference, it seems.

Finally, after over an hour of waiting to appear on the show, the little voice in the control room apologised and said that the connection wasn’t good enough, so I wasn’t going to be needed after all.  Personally, I think I just wasn’t British enough for them – whatever that means!





Local Heros

Conexión Samantha

Conexión Samantha

I have a new hero.  Jordi Evolve from Salvados has been my hero of the past year but the excitement has worn off and yesterday evening I found a new one!  Samanta Villar from Conexión Samanta is my new cool, rock chica hero – I love her!  So why do I need a hero?  I think we all need one, especially nowadays with this relentless, on-going crisis and depression that Spain is going through, never mind the rest of the world.  I am not a fan of bad news and try to stay clear of it.  I really don’t need or want to know how much is being stolen from the people; how many are being evicted and how much they are expected to pay of their mortgages once they have no home to live in.  No, I really don’t want to know because there but for the grace of God go I.

So why Samantha and what has she got that other TV presenters haven’t?  Empathy.  That young woman is full of it!  I have seen her out and about on TV for the last couple of years and always enjoyed how she gets people, really tries to understand them and doesn’t judge them.  That’s one helluva maturity and I admire maturity in people so much, especially when I feel I have not shown much of it in so many spaces and places in my life.

Last night’s programme dealt with the sad truth about those being evicted in Spain and about the courage so many of them have found to lift their heads up and keep going.  The “okupas” in Andalusia were the main subject of the show and vaya gente, what a people.  Samantha gave them space, these were real people, not dressed up in anything other than being those who through bad luck and unfair consequences have had to move into empty buildings owned by the banks and speculators and not without a lot of pain and suffering, never mind no water and electricity.  She had an empathy that makes her a hero in my book – she held their hands, she cried with them, she felt their pain and that is what came through last night.  There but for the grace of God go I.