29 Jul, 2009 @ 10:19
2 mins read

After a fashion

WHEN it comes to matters of personal choice and behaviour I have always regarded myself as a libertarian.

As long as what you choose to do does not impinge upon my personal space then I don’t give a damn whether you practice self-immolation as a form of transcendental meditation or whether you bite the heads off chickens to amuse your children.

However, having nailed my colours to the mast, I must admit there are one or two human conditions that might benefit from intervention by responsible legislative bodies.

In particular, the world of fashion needs urgent attention and I wish to advocate in the strongest terms that we immediately recruit and establish a Fashion Police!

I know this is not the first time it has been suggested and before you get too carried away with this notion, let me say unequivocally that teenagers should remain exempt from any strictures imposed.

Teenagers have not one ounce of sense when it comes to fashion so we should not persecute them unnecessarily.

If they had one iota of dress sense, fat young girls would not go around exposing hectares of flabby navel-ringed belly nor would young men regard it as “cool” to reveal to the world the fact that they are wearing
Kevin Kline underpants by exposing the waistband outside of their trousers.

This tirade has been prompted by the fact that, during an al fresco lunch in Málaga, the Lady Bartie and I were visually assaulted by what I can only describe as a morbidly obese woman who was almost wearing a crepe de chine style leopard-skin shell suit that had a coral-blue motif down the right-hand side.

If David Blunkett had been with us his dog would have barked.

The combination of morbid obesity, crepe de chine and leopard skin was too much for a chap of delicate sensibilities.

Had there been an emergency number I would have dialled the Fashion Police and had her incarcerated in a fat farm until the vast expanses of leopard skin were reduced to manageable proportions.

Some people may argue that the FP represent a further erosion of their personal freedoms but I counter that swift action by a well-trained force would be in the personal interest of these fashion victims.

Over time, with suitable counselling, lard-arsed women and their shell-suited, pony-tail wearing, earring-studded partners might be able to return to society as well-adjusted couples, able once more to contribute to the general improvement of society.

We live in hope.

Return home madness

FOR many years the newspapers have headlined the long term problems that arise from economic migration.

Many sad tales have been told about the plight of people driven to leave their country of residence in the hope of finding a better life elsewhere.

Heart-rending accounts of life and death ventures in hazardous conditions have saddened us all.

It is therefore distressing to be witnessing yet another wave of forced migration, as the world’s economic crisis continues to respond sluggishly to the financial stimuli introduced by many of our European neighbours and our good friends in North America led by the sainted President Obama.

Obviously migrants will be unsettled and insecure in their new surroundings. Many will be poorly integrated as they lack language skills and social and political awareness.

Under these circumstances racism often rears its ugly head and children, especially, might experience difficulty assimilating with their peer groups in unfamiliar schools.

With this in mind I must ask the question: Why would anyone in their right mind return to Not So Great Britain when they could stay here in Spain?

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

Do you have a story? Contact [email protected]


  1. “With this in mind I must ask the question: Why would anyone in their right mind return to Not So Great Britain when they could stay here in Spain?”

    Dozens of reasons, a few that come to mind quickly:

    1. Better service in shops and restaurants

    2. Better complaints procedures for most things

    3. Much more choice of goods and services

    4. Benefits

    5. Dealing with people in your own language is infinitely easier (less hassle and problems and misinterpretations)

    6. Homesickness and lack of friends and family

    7. Missing the seasons in the UK

    8. Jobs (better chance of jobs in your own language than in Spain. Spain also gives jobs to Spanish first, which is not surprising.)

    9. Better legal system for purchasing homes/houses i.e. a *proper* land registry and not local corrupt mayors controlling the finances of your patch

    10. Less taxes and less money on gestors and accountants. Tax in Spain is simply mad and 10 gestors will tell you 10 different things. Hard to pay tax online for SA; easy in UK.

    11. Mad bureacracy in Spain means everything is much harder to achieve generally, and you need to be “enchufargo” to get real progress on most things.

    12. Water and power cuts are continual in many parts of Spain.

    13. Mad driving habits of the Spanish make driving a worry and a danger

    14. Lack of rules and regulations may be a sign of country that isn’t yet a Nanny state, but in many cases this is not actually a good thing. Health and safety is non-existent for example.

    Please feel free to add more people.

    It seems Bartie does not understand much at all.

  2. 15. not having to worry about central and south americans robbing you.

    16. not having to worry about romanian gangs robbing you .

    17. not having to worry about morroccans robbing you.

    18. not having to worry about buying an apartment and having an ALL night disco (that closes at 10am) underneath your window.

    19. not having to deal with just plain dishonesty at every level of society……………..

  3. What’s this “enchufargo” term everyone keeps talking about? I’ve seen it in comments on this website and on other forums.

    I thought people were “enchufado”, i.e. “plugged in” from the word “enchufe”, which means plug.

  4. No idea Justin, I just copied someone else. Whatever it is I haven’t got it.

    Queen’s Own – bit OTT there; all nationalities rob people do they not? You cannot escape crime by moving away from Spain.

  5. Gosh. Well let’s all head back to Blighty where we can enjoy the “seasons” (i.e. there isn’t a discernible difference between spring, summer and autumn – it just rains), our Council Tax (lots of dinero but the alloted operatives still can’t empty the bins efficiently), the traffic jams, penalty fares for speeding and parking and – ooooh – the fact that we cannot take photos of our own children at the swimming pool for fear that we are all paedophiles. Valid reasons for going back include the fact that it’s bl**dy freezing in the mountains here in winter and the dreadful Sterling to Euro exchange rate, which is being worsened yet again by Blighty’s ongoing economic and political doom and gloom.

  6. Jo, perhaps you should move to the coast if you don’t like the mountains? Noone made you live there, did they? As for traffic jams, you obviously have not driven to Malaga very often; one can spend an hour in jams approaching the airport trying to get to work in the morning – try it. Lots of penalty fares for speeding in Spain too Jo, and many more cameras and radars are being installed – another decade and Spain will have as many rules as the UK has. Fast drivers? We definitely need to fine them! They are a menace and their excessive speed and overtaking is the cause of many accidents involving innocent drivers, so Spain certainly needs more enforcement on bad driving.

  7. Erm… I *do* like the mountains and prefer it here to the coast. I agree that Spanish drivers are a tad on the manic side and, as for maneuvers, they find it difficult to reverse.

  8. Jo – don’t take any notice of Fred. You can guarantee that what ever you say he will contradict it! As an example, see above. He cites a long list of reasons to leave Spain, asks people to add to it, then when someone does, accuses them of being OTT.

  9. Glad you agree Jo. Just because I gave a long list of reasons does not mean I want to leave. These were just the reasons I hear everyone talking about. Chris often gets confused, bless him.

  10. Thanks for the offer Jo but I am really busy with work at the moment and cannot take on any more. I am sure Chris can help out as he knows lots of Spanish words lol.

  11. Fred – you’re boring us to death with your interminable posts on every topic you know nothing about. I know you’re young and intelligent and have loads of degrees and are busy with work (what, as an internet nerd?), but we really aren’t interested any more. Please find another website to contaminate. Some of us love it here, despite the frustrations. By the way, why don’t you go through Churriana to get to Malaga? I thought you knew everything? Obviously not!

  12. HEP the new road is now finished past El Viso ind estate to the airport road taking away Freds problem of tailbacks which were terrible.
    Also he could use the sugar cane road into the airport from the Churriana road .If only he got off that computor more he would know all these things LOL

  13. HEP, it’s travelling through Malaga, via the coast, that is the issue. The tailbacks start miles before the city centre – so HEP you clearly have never commuted along the coast, as I have done for many years. “Sugar cane roads” don’t sound like viable alternatives, otherwise everyone else would be using them too Cinico, and they are not. To get into Malaga your routes might be useful, but not for getting to destinations beyond Malaga.

    Loads of work, never had it so good :) Btw, I love it here too. You do not have a monopoly on free speech, HEP. Get over it lol.

  14. But Fred, here’s a direct quote from you that you made on this web site in April of this year:

    “Moving to Spain was a real mistake – be following you soon Stuart! Considering Spain? – learn from people who’ve lived in this crazy place and go North a bit.”

    How does that statement reconcile with “I love it here too” made only yesterday? Have you changed your tune over the last few months?

  15. Well spotted Koba. Fred’s the sort of poster that will disagree with anything just for the sake of an on-line argument. His sort always contradict themselves eventually.

  16. i own a place in berja which i love. had it for nearly 2 years now the people were a bit distant at first but now there fine. lots of people have had mishaps in spain, and a lot of there laws leave a lot to be desired. but england is no longer the place it was, and sadly it never will be. a country well over populated, over taxed, and badly run. i still live in england spending 6/7 months a year here eventually i will move to spain for good because of all the faults fred points out, they do not compare with the faults in the uk. as for france well i talk from experence, my dad is french and i have been there many times fact is they like the spanish, and germans, italians, everone really don,t like brits. were ever you go you yourself must try to fit in not the otherway round. every country has its faults some more than others. but nowere is a 100% …

  17. Contradictions? Changing tune? No. In simple language for you Koba and Chris: I love it here but moving to Spain was a mistake and I want to move elsewhere. Which part of that simple sentence do you both not understand?

    I very much wish in hindsight that I had not purchased my place in Andalucia, beautiful as my home and area is. I love Spain, its climate and diverse landscapes, but my intention is to follow Stuart and move to France (or another country) when economic conditions are more favourable, which could be a decade at the minimum. I don’t like Spain’s particular type of corruption and inefficieny, and especially its OTT extranjero-bashing antics and silly laws and attitudes, amongst other things. On those issues, Spain is in a different league and it took living and working here for a few years to fully understand how (really) badly and inefficiently Spain is run, at every level.

    So, I do love the country, but I would not want to live nor work in Spain any longer if I had the choice. Ask anyone; they all “love Spain”, but many still want to move back or move away. There’s never been a time when so many expats have moved away from Spain.

    So there you go, no contradictions Chris. Btw, glad to see you are still lurking in the shadows, Koba. I thought you had left the country too lol.

  18. Dear Fred, thank you for your clarification, delivered in your signature style. I guess as long as YOU are convinced by your clarification, that’s all that really matters.

  19. If my signature style means that I have to keep on correcting you Koba, well, I cannot help that. I don’t self-clarify as rule of thumb; I’m just telling you what I meant. I won’t lose any sleep over it, don’t worry Koba.

  20. Fred.
    The statement “There’s never been a time when so many expats have moved away from Spain”. Is based on a global crisis which has tipped over the edge, those who were living on the edge who thought they could do it cheaper and easier here.
    Those who came to Spain with a plan and sufficiently funded are still better off here than in the UK,with a few exceptions who have fell foul of circumstances beyond their control
    Yes i hear it every day ” do you know when i was back in Uk the other week clothes food ect ect are all cheaper than here”
    Then my friends go, try avoiding paying tax, council tax, water rates, see how long you can drive your Spanish plated car in Uk ,Oh forgot you still have the uk plated car you have driven around here for 5 years.
    The more of those who came here for a 365 day holiday at 40+ years old intending living on a lump sum from a house, inheritance or spongeing off their fellow countymen go back the better.
    Get them back into the system that earns tax revenue in UK so they can pay for my retirement as i paid for those who went before me.
    Spain is a wonderful place,with some wonderful people as is the Uk france germany ect. If you got off the internet you seem to spend your life on and walked outside you would find out.
    The internet and your constant carping about every subject you see has distorted your view on life ,dont blame that on Spain i suspect that you have always been like that its just more noticable as you have more time to spread your unfounded rhetoric

  21. Dear Fred, I perhaps vainly hoped for something different but was not that surprised when I was greeted with a patronising comment (couched in the form of a question) about whether I understood a simple sentence when, in fact, all I did was ask a genuine question about whether your attitude had changed since you wrote your comment that I quoted in my previous contribution to this thread.

    Feel free to accuse me of hypocrisy in regard to making patronising comments. I will just have to hold my hand up to that one and only offer the excuse that I’m merely playing you at your own game.

  22. I do so love reading all your comments. Cinico, I’m so glad to say that none of what you wrote applies to me. I suspect many posters here are retired; I have to work, and therefore I need my little office Internet distractions.

    Koba, see what a troublemaker you are stirring up the threads, by your own admission too. I’m not playing a game, I’m telling it as it is. You people have a problem hearing the truth about Spain. None of what I wrote is untrue, and you know it.

    Off to Gib next week – bliss.

  23. Dear Fred, whether it is true or not, I have only just managed to stop myself laughing at YOU accusing me, or anyone else for that matter, of being a troublemaker on these discussion threads. Absolute genius. One of the choicest things you have said to date.

    By the way, if you care to look back you will note that, at no point, do I claim that what you have said about Spain is untrue.

    As I said before, I merely asked whether your attitude has changed since making that comment back in April. As a regular reader of the discussion threads, I had noticed a somewhat more conciliatory tone to your contributions in recent weeks and your recent comment that you “love it here” genuinely surprised me and I was keen to find out more. And since talking about your current circumstances, I thought perhaps the realisation that you are going to be living in Spain for a while had changed your view on the country. I don’t know. Only you know the answer to that.

    What I got back in response to my question was an insinuation that I couldn’t understand simple sentences.

  24. My life here in Spain is so good that I rarely waste time on these Olive Press threads, but dear, oh dear, Fred, why don’t you take the very stong hints that everybody is making and just button your lip. Everything you write is contradictory – you’re just a laughing stock and your nasty, snide comments when you’re losing the argument just illustrate that you are a very sad, unpleasant, deranged misfit that needs medical help urgently. Just concentrate on your job that you have to do – maybe you would do better at whatever it is (are you ashamed to tell us?) if you didn’t spend hours writing sh**te here!

  25. That is so funny. You sound like you are getting very frustrated HEP – calm down. I’m not losing any arguments and have written nothing contradictory, and until you can substantiate that it’s not worth posting a reply. As for your other comments, well I don’t stoop to that level.

    You’re on a rant HEP – perhaps you are not really that happy in reality eh? What do you do for a living? Is ‘being happy’ a job lol?

  26. Hi HEP, nice to see someone post some positive comments on here about living in Spain for a change! I’ve been thinking for a while about moving out but have been put off by all the negativity. Be nice to hear some more.

    By the way, don’t take any notice of Fred. No one else does. The OP only publishes his comments for the comedy value!

  27. Oh dear, Chris blames all the negativity on me. Do you read the news Chris? As for you making valid commentary, you don’t even live here! So with respect, you don’t talk from any position of authority about living and working in Spain LOL (notice Caps.)

    I have said myself before that all places in the World are not without their problems, and I also agreed with Koba, many aeons ago, that many people are happy in Spain. Look at ‘Happy Expat’ – he’s happy, obviously. I’m just telling you my personal opinion of Spain having lived and worked here – it’s a fruitcake of a country.

  28. Dissapointing to see the OP removing posts again, just like being in China. Regarding my comments, they are just my personal opinions. Chris does not even live in Spain so does not have any authority whatsoever to post replies to my comments about living and working in Spain. As for your final paragraph, Chris, you keep replying and therefore contradict yourself in the process lol.

  29. Hi, Chris
    I flirted with the idea of moving permanently to Spain for 7 years. At first, my career in the UK prevented me, but after I retired, it took me another 3.5 years to finally do so. I don’t regret it one bit – just wish I’d done it sooner. For me, it’s the realisation of a dream I first had when I came to Spain for the first time at the age of 20 nearly 40 years ago. But of course, everything has to be right – and now it is.
    I despair of people like Fred and other posters who are so negative. Of course, Spain isn’t perfect; which country is? Certainly not France – don’t make me laugh – although I could live there too. You have to take a country for what it is, warts and all. And, as immigrants, we have to remember that we are uninvited guests. Welcome, certainly, but uninvited all the same.
    I hope you make it.

  30. Hi, Chris
    I came across this recently. Pretty much sums it up for me too:

    I love…
    … waking each morning beside the woman I love and watching the sun rise through our window
    … listening to the early morning chattering of the birds in the olive tree in our garden
    … hearing the church bell chime Ave Maria at half past eight each morning
    … eating breakfast in a busy bar with local workers
    … nattering with my Spanish neighbours about the weather and the cost of living
    … being treated with kindness, respect and trust by the locals
    … being known as the guiri that speaks good Spanish
    … knowing personally the local cops and my bank manager
    … going foraging for firewood up the mountain near our house
    … not having to wear socks from April to October
    … relaxing in the pool after a hard day’s work
    … visiting one of the many pueblos blancos in the area, each of them a gem
    … going for a paseo in the early evening and then for tapas with friends
    … before going home to the woman I love and watching the sun set behind the mountains
    What don’t I like?
    I can’t think of a single thing…!

  31. Blimey! Fred really does know everything! He knows all about China too! All this travelling and for someone so young! Amazing!

    Do it, Chris! All we happy expats, eg me, HEP, Jack, Koba, Jo, Rouman, el cinico and loads of others can’t all be wrong. We know better than Fred, that’s for sure.

    Fred, tell us what you do and we’ll all look for a job for you in France or China or wherever you fancy.

  32. HEP, thank you so much for despairing about me, but as I said, it’s only my opinion and is just as valid as yours.

    Ah, Pablo, back again for more punishment eh? So half a dozen or so people are the voice of happiness in Spain? LOL, I can find more negative opinions in one edition of the local paper in just one week. I know you are all so envious of my youth, charm, wit, and intelligence but what can I do about it? I know you’d miss me so much if I stopped posting.

  33. You’re a strange cove Fred. Always trying to create discord where there isn’t any. Always ready with an insult instead of a sensible reply. Your comment about Pierre on the ‘They must be caught’ thread wasn’t really necessary was it? Adding LOL after every insult doesn’t make it OK. If you do think that that’s funny then you have a strange sense of humour.

    I have never once accused you personally of being negative, but there have been a lot of negative stories and posts on the OP about Spain recently, quite understandable if you have been stitched up by a lawyer and face having your home demolished! It is nice therefore to see a different side for a change.

    I shall now sit back and wait for a snide insulting reply from Fred. Oh – LOL by the way!

  34. Non non non, Pierre’s comment was the insulting one – if you took care to read it properly. Perhaps the comment was lost in translation?

    Good point you make about the OPs stories though; they are much (much) more negative. I’m glad you mentioned that since you seem to blame me for all the negativity lol. Stop stirring things up Chris.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

Hundreds caught in holiday lets scam

Bianca Gascoigne
Next Story

Marbella’s got talent

Latest from Max Bartie

Incompetent or what?

ADIOS BART! In his last column for the Olive Press, before returning to politics, Bartie discusses Spain’s current economic woes
max bartie

Maximilian Bartie

Our resident columnist, formerly of Royal Tunbridge Wells, puts the world to rights
Go toTop

More From The Olive Press