When this all started, I mentioned to someone that it was going to put the kibosh on "Love Island". The response was not one of great sadness. Nor was I exactly upset. I've never seen "Love Island", but from what I can ascertain, social distancing is not generally practised. The news earlier this week that the show had been cancelled was surprising only insofar as I would have thought that the decision would have been made weeks ago. Difficulties with travelling to Majorca were, it seemed to me, fairly incidental.
"Love Island" isn't the only show I don't watch. In fact, I hardly watch any television, so soaps are neither here nor there. It would be an exaggeration to say that familiarity with "Coronation Street" ended with Ena Sharples drinking a milk stout in the snug or that "Eastenders" concluded before it was revealed that Den had fathered Michelle's baby, but it has been a long time. When the soaps run out of recorded episodes some time soon, I shall not be missing my regular dose. But as many will be, classic episodes are in the pipeline, and with "Coronation Street", the British soap-viewing public can be whisked back 46 years - to Palmanova, to the Corrie ladies on tour, to the holiday fling between Mavis and Pedro and to Bet and the sleaze-bag Martin Barrett, portrayed by Stephen Yardley, who was to later perfect sleaze-bagging as Ken Masters in "Howards' Way".
As reality shows disappear, as soaps run out, as sport turns virtual or to the re-run, these all have their impact on Majorca. Celebrities, minor or major, where are they? Will they be here? A Majorca summer without the daily delivery of their Instagrammed delights and minus the intrusion of the lenses of the paparazzi? Unthinkable for some; a bonus for others. Can celebrities make themselves virtual, gathering on the decks of superyachts or clambering up a Tramuntana mountainside, if they are Orlando Bloom?
To more mundane matters, at this time of the year we would normally be bombarded by reports such as this from early last May: "Security is going to be significantly tightened in Magalluf and other resorts in Calvia this summer." Yesterday, Mayor Alfonso Rodríguez chaired a meeting with the national government delegate to the Balearics, Rosario Sánchez, and the heads of the local police and Guardia Civil to discuss policing in Magalluf this summer and how to make the maximum use of the security forces."
There is no real need for there to be such meetings, while the mention of the Guardia Civil points to something else that will be missing but which is an annual matter - the organisation of additional security forces (Guardia and National Police) for Majorca in the summer. And appended to this would be the police unions warning of the difficulties in attracting the security forces because of the cost of living and the lack of affordable rented accommodation.
What of the dodginess and criminality that the security forces and the local police forces have to contend with? By now, we might have anticipated, for example, police operations against trilero shell game tricksters in Playa de Palma. When will they gather again? Under what conditions for social distancing and hygiene? If they do return, will it be the police lot to have to check on the use of gloves and sanitiser? In Magalluf (and also Playa de Palma), it would have been informative to know how effective the government's tourism excesses decree was working. The start of May, and we would typically have been exposed to the first reports of misbehaviour, reports that revel in indicating that, despite all the efforts of the 'authorities', Punta Ballena remains lawless. The excesses decree, for now, is purely hypothetical.
And what about the 'venta ambulante ilegal' and the 'top manta'? What happens to the street sellers under the state of alarm? How have they survived, given that so many are in an 'irregular' situation? There were reports, prior to lockdown, of their having branched out into the masks' trade. As lockdown is eased, perhaps they will be back. In fact, we can probably be certain that they will be back. But to sell what and to whom? Those who use their trade of fake items to disguise a different trade will doubtless have a market.
Then there are the women, the wretches forced through necessity and control to masquerade as prostitutes. Absolutely no one will be missing them, but what is their fate? Are there women confined to some hell-holes in Son Gotleu, waiting to once more be released in order to find any means of paying off their 'debts' under fear of voodoo retribution? But where will be their victims?
Maybe, just maybe, some good will come of all this - an end to the vile trade of human trafficking.
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