BY the time you read this, Spain will have bravely stepped into the ‘New Normal’. To be honest, I have had enough trouble adjusting to the ‘Old Normal’ since the mid-80s, but I blame that on moving from Stoke on Trent to Marbella without a suitable quarantine period.
Although the lockdown period did impose significant restrictions on each and every one of us, there were some lighter moments. I spent the past three months providing daily COVID-19 updates – and there were some stories that made me smile.
Monty Python had a famous sketch called ‘The Upper Class Twit of the Year’ and Belgian Prince Joachim proved that upper class twits were alive and well and living in Brussels when he decided to visit Spain during the pandemic. Obviously deciding that Crown Heads of State were immune to coronavirus (Insert your own ‘let them wear masks’ joke here) he regally decided to disobey the quarantine requirements and, after landing in Madrid, caught a high speed train to Cordoba. (I do have a slight bit of sympathy for the hapless Belgian as it turns out his girlfriend is from Cordoba, and the ancient city has long had a reputation for the dusky beauty of its women.)
Unfortunately for the Prince and his beloved who were in town to party, after the social gathering, he awoke not only with (we imagine) a champagne induced hangover, but also having contracted the virus and fine of over €10,000 on top. A right royal rollicking must have duly ensued.
Meanwhile, Spaniards were also coming up with creative ways to leave the house. One man was videoed by police taking out the rubbish in a fancy dress T-Rex costume. I can only imagine that was his own version of PPE – Prehistoric Predator Equipment. And while you were allowed to take your pets for a walk, police also stopped people taking sheep, hens and, in one case, a toy dog on wheels, for walkies. To top the lot, there was the genius in Logroño who was discovered sitting on a bench with his pet goldfish (in its bowl). The beauty of this plan was that goldfish only have seven second memories – so the fish wouldn’t know if it had been out that day at all…
But the best story of all concerned the newscaster Alfonso Merlos who, like many of his media colleagues, was forced to broadcast live from his living room. The proverbial hit the fan when a half-naked woman casually sauntered by in the background. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, the young lady in question turned out to be fellow journalist Alexia Rivas, rather than his then high-profile girlfriend, Spanish Big Brother contestant Marta López.
Rivas later claimed that Merlos had told her that he was newly single, a fact that was news to López. Not surprisingly the reality star swiftly dumped the caddish anchorman, but not until after some very public mud-slinging.
Makes me glad that I work in radio. At least the public don’t get to see the half of what goes on in the background when I broadcast…