In Praise of Benidorm

Interview with Mario Gaviria

Ana Goñi 

A joke. The latest outlandish idea in an election period. Madness. Benidorm’s bid for a place in Unesco’s list of World Heritage Sites, in the twin category of Good Culture and Good Nature, was made public this week, and been lambasted and parodied. The images we have of the Alicante city that Mayor Pedro Zaragoza reinvented in 1956, including from the NODO news and documentary reels shown in cinemas during the Franco years and from the first nude films made in the post-Franco years, hardly help to make us take it seriously. Concentrations of elderly tourists toasting in the sun (taking on a shade beyond the perennial tan of Eduardo Zaplana, one of its famous mayors), waves of skyscrapers casting shadows on the sand of the beaches, Brits in flip-flops munching fried food and gulping down beer in abundance, Manolo Escobar singing full blast… All this, year round. Hell on Earth for many, but paradise for others. It’s down to earth and middle class, no doubt, but it’s paradise...

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