BACK in 1979 my Spanish mother, Ana and my stepfather Malcolm lived in Edificio Acapulco on the cliff above Burriana beach. I was in my early 20’s and Nerja was a fantastic place for young foreigners.
One long, hot summer I worked at Ayo’s beach bar. I met young people from all over the world, Ylva-marie from Sweden, Jutta and Ernie from Germany, Jimmy and Maria from Canada.
I returned every year to stay for at least six-months; it was my idea of paradise. We swam at night under the stars and had beach parties at the end of Burriana beach. We never had much money but we could survive on a beer and a tapa in “Pepe Caroles” bar.
My friends and I hung out with the local Spanish boys, Pirata, Geronimo, Guerra, Comitre and Enrique from Salon beach.
When “Verano Azul” began filming we’d rush down there every morning to see if they’d pick us as extras.
I’m in three big scenes and a few walk byes. In Episode 4 “Eva” I played one of “los hippies”, blink and you’d miss me, but I got to ride on the back of a motorbike and pretend to be a hippy!
We always tried to get in a scene where you were with the kids, that way you were ensured at least a day extra of filming.
I’m in a scene with the kids in front of me at the cinema, which I’ve yet to find. In another I borrowed a fancy frock and walked behind the kids at the Capestrano pool. It was supposed to be a cool party scene. I haven’t found it yet.
At the time it was a way of earning great money and that meant I could stay longer in my beloved Nerja.
I never knew what a massive hit it was in Spain as my mother sold her apartment soon after and returned to the UK.
I moved back to Spain and the Serrania de Ronda, ten years ago, never knowing what a hit the programme had become and also never having seen a single episode.
It was only when it came up in conversation that I realised the programme was iconic in my Spanish friends’ young lives.
That’s when I tried to find it and watch it.
It’s only this year that I’ve managed to find the Spanish TV’s website.
I’ve watched seven episodes so far and it is so wonderful to see everyone I knew then.
Angel from the “Burro Blanco”, Carlos Alvarez, an extremely talented painter, Melissa from New York. I’m not really watching the action, but just looking behind, in all the scenes on the beach, in the bars and on the Balcon de Europa. The kids were too young to get involved with us and truthfully we were far too interested in our own lives to get involved with anyone else!
I’ve been back to Nerja and of course it has changed as all places should. The wine bar on the corner of Calle Carabeo with the albino daughter has gone. Ayo’s chiringuito is hardly recognisable and Ayo is in his 70’s. I went over to say hello and bless him he pretended to remember me…
My friends are all in their 50’s now and spread across the world. Those lovely Spanish boys are probably all happily married and still living in the village. So many English people everywhere and I’m just another one passing through, but I’m glad that I was there in the late 1970’s and I actually like the programme. It wasn’t Nerja as I knew it but the scenery was and the extras were! Oh well, only another 30 episodes to go. I’m sure I’ll turn up somewhere else…