This post is so...BORING...it first got published as mere title by mistake. Perhaps that's all it need be. After all Granny's links with the famous are tenuous, beyond the Cure connection that she wrote about in the last post and the last post but one before that. She could talk about the time she sat in a theatre a row in front of Moira Shearer... who was famous as a ballerina once; she could mention the time she spent sitting two rows behind Miranda Richardson - at one end of her row - and Alan Rickman (SWOON - the thinking Granny's crumpet) - at the other. Or the time at a Wagner opera - in the long interval to be precise - when she heard a very familiar voice behind her say; 'Let the strength of the menopause come to our rescue' and turned to find Germaine Greer wrestling with a bottle and a corkscrew. (Nice when the famous behave so true to stereotype). She could - perhaps - mention the slightly more... intimate relations she had with one or two people you might not have heard of, but who were well-enough known in their own areas. BUT SHE WON'T GO INTO THAT. Or the time she went lap-dancing. (She didn't.) Or performed strip tease (she didn't - though she did, at urgent request from an artist friend, act as life model for an art class the friend was running; she was a broke single parent at the time and the money was useful.) Or ballooning. (She didn't: she did get offered a flight once but it never came to anything,) So perhaps her only other possible road to fame - or a pick-up on Google - would be to mention that Jimmy Page really did play his guitar in her then Richmond attic, a time or two. Not that she ever talked to him; she didn't get the impression our Jimmy was conversationally inclined. But he did mutter something when she passed him on the stairs, all striped trousers, Cuban heels and, of course, that guitar, on his way to join a then lodger in his upper room for some not so quiet improvisation. It must have been some time in the early seventies, not long after Led Zeppelin was formed.
PHEW, that's it, though, just about. Sorry.
So Granny will get REALLY boring instead and go back to her island and bang on about corruption, yet again. In particular the spectacular explosion of the resort at the south of her island, which when she came for a first visit in 1984, on a brief honeymoon (with husband no 2) consisted of two small streets and a beat-up little port out at the end of a sandbar. When she returned in 2001 it was a whole big town; oh dear. But fair enough, it was quite nice as resorts went, and the locals needed tourist money. More building work was going on, obviously. But at the same time, the island plan had put a stop to further tourist expansion for a period of 10 years. "Cero desarollo,' it said. 'Zero Development.' Good, thought Granny when she read this.
Except it wasn't. The mayor had quite other ideas. What did he care about island plans? he didn't. He went on building. And BUILDING. And BUILDING. Or rather he went on giving licenses to developers to let them keep on building. Without sending any plans or reports in advance to the Cabildo, the island council, as he was supposed to. The resort is now two, if not three times bigger than in 2001 and if the mayor had his way will get still bigger- much bigger - he has issued further licences for a development as big as the town Granny and Beloved live in. Since he no longer has a majority on his council and is under investigation for corruption, it seems hopeful this at least will go no further than its illegal pieces of paper.
The scandal is so enormous it's even made El Pais, the main Spanish broadsheet; named alongside Marbella, as one of the two biggest coastal development scandals in Spain.
In his first appearance in front of a judicial tribunal two days ago the local mayor claimed that it was the fault of his officials that development plans were not send to the Cabildo; that all he did was sign the licenses put in front of him, assuming that everything needful had been done. HA HA HA. If the judges believe that, they'll believe anything.
It isn't as if everyone doesn't know what's going on. If you read the comments appended to the online newpaper reports of these events, the words 'filling his pockets' - the Spanish version - appear with depressing frequency. Along with despair that the island is being ruined by such greediness. The mayor is clever though. His telephones were tapped, but that investigation was withdrawn because the transcripts revealed absolutely nothing. NADA. The mayor it appeared spent his time on the phone to his business contacts asking politely about their families or talking about the weather. As if as if AS IF. This is the man who can afford a yacht, who keeps it down at the new Marina that he authorised a while back, undoubtedly at profit to himself. Maybe he even gets its berth paid for: 6000 euros a year that costs, more than many people on this island earn. Though on paper, he pays its dues; of course he does. On a mayor's official salary? Don't make us all laugh.
Granny went exploring lately, down on that coast. Passing ever further lines of new houses, all as yet uninhabited. On the other side of the road the shells of more houses were going up. Talk about sprouting buildings out of the dead land; not a tree, not a leaf, around completed and half-completed houses alike. This is DESERT. Now a desert made of concrete as well as - desert. To green it will require huge amounts of the water that the island doesn't have; the water that has to be desalinated at huge costs of pollution to the environment. On top of which there are already 500 houses for sale down at Playa Blanca that nobody wants to buy.
None of the expat residents seem to have twigged yet; Lanzarote for the Lanzaroteans they are saying no doubt - just like Mr Handsome from Blackburn, who when confronted with such things claims that island politics have nothing to do with him, he will leave it to them. But such goings on do effect him, the other expats: they effect all of us living here, whether local or not. Those who own houses down at Playa Blanca, who want to sell, will be finding that they can't. Had they bothered to register for the recent elections, had they bothered to vote, they could have thrown the mayor out; but they didn't; there he still is in his minority capacity. And since none of the other parties so far can agree to combine to oust him, there he stays.
The day the charges of corruption, bribery, trafficking of influences, money-laundering stick against this mayor and he's banged up in jail - don't many of the online commentators long for it - will be a happy day for the island; and also for Granny.
But it will be too late, years too late, for the nice little two street fishing village with its tatty little port. SIC TRANSIT. Such a pity.
It's Granny's birthday today; a birthday rather overshadowed by the fact that tomorrow is the first anniversary of her children's father's sudden death. Granny subdued by that thought will be celebrating her advancing years - if she is celebrating them - alone with her Beloved.
Labels: island life +fame