By Hugh Ash


THE  acrid stench of vomit still stings my nostrils and my ears continue to throb from two nights – correction: wee, small mornings – bashed by the incessant din of what passes for music if you’re a wide-eyed adolescent, fuelled by the magic of Magalluf.
   By 3.00 a.m. I pulled the plug on watching British teens pulverise themselves on drink, drugs and lord knows what, leaving my colleagues from one Fleet Street newspaper to sit and gawp at the every-constant action in an atmosphere electric with intimidation.
   A floodtide of brash and feckless, teenage humanity was ebbing and flowing, stopping here and there to take on even more liquid anaesthetic, until their legs wobbled and they threw up or passed out on the sidewalk.
   ‘It’s like watching herds of caribou migrating from one stretch of tundra to the next,’ I noted lyrically.
   ‘That’s a good line – I’ll use that, thanks,’ said my voyeur amigo, scribbling furiously in his notepad. ‘It’s a neat counter-point to saying this is Sodom and Gomorrah, 2014.’
   Most of the UK Press corps, who’d last week descended on Majorca’s most infamous resort – labelled Shagaluf and Megamuff in red-top parlance – were genuinely amazed at what they were witnessing. And these were hardened hacks, packing stomachs of steel.
   Normally, I wouldn’t have been so gobsmacked, yet I was.
   I’ve covered the Magalluf beat for more years than I care to recall, from the surreal antics of Punta Ballena – the notorious Strip, which, technically, forms part of the outcrop of Torre Nova – to the tragedies of kids mistiming leaps between hotel balconies and plunging, headlong, to premature demise, the lucky ones surviving to bear the scars for life.
   Nor was I unaware of the spat of muggings, mainly coordinated by pimps controlling the posse of African prostitutes, ‘working’ The Strip and adding a further layer of depravity to the garish, neon-lit sordidness of it all.
   But these are not your normal, everyday hookers, plying their trade in a country where selling sex isn’t illegal. No, they are the bait to lure foolish, immature man-boys, probably semi-comatose from booze and/or narcotics, to the nearest ATM, where a couple of goons appear from nowhere to relieve them of their cash, credit cards and PIN numbers.
   On Friday night/Saturday morning I saw just such an act in its infancy, as a dark-skinned woman solicited a tottering kid and asked him for €40 to do ‘whatever you want to me.’
   ‘Go home, son,’ I advised, as I walked back to my car. Only he didn’t hear.
   At least, the local police have cracked down on the phoney street-walkers, nicking 22 of them to date this summer.
   So the copy I’d invariably file would dub Magalluf ‘Majorca’s sin-in-the-sun, anything-goes party capital’, a neat piece of cliched tabloid prose.
   Yet, this time shock almost rendered me wordless. Shock at how gullible, adventure-seeking teens were putting their unsullied innocence on the line, some prompted by reckless DJs, going completely over the top, without a responsible adult to put the brake on their pubescent lunacy.
   What triggered the latest media frenzy was a video captured on a smartphone that went viral, becoming an internet sensation worldwide.
   It showed an 18-year-old girl from a good, Catholic, Northern Irish family, performing up to 24, consecutive oral sex acts on willing young males in a Punta Ballena bar. Apparently, the phrase for such a stunt is ‘mamada-ing’, though my Majorcan friends had never encountered it.
   Language, though, is forever inventing fresh terminology, so, no doubt, ‘to mamada’ (verb, present tense, origin: Castilian Spanish) will appear in the Oxford English Dictionary before long.
   I dearly hope the girl in question – who’s reportedly received death threats on her Facebook page in the wake of the furore she caused – will not live the rest of her days, ruing one night of shameless, inane bravado in a Magalluf bar.
   She doesn’t deserve to, because countless other young women have done much the same – and worse – before. And unless Magalluf is tamed, it’ll happen again and again.
   Probably what surprised me most was how cleverly orchestrated the action was.
   Organised groups of pub-crawlers, who’d paid about €25 for the experience and numbering hundreds, were shuttled in snaking lines from one boozery to the next by their yellow-liveried ‘guides’ with almost military discipline.
   The company behind one of the ‘tours’ is also said to control the bars and discos the kids are shepherded to, thus raking in a double-whammy of profits.
   It’s a brilliant business strategy and I’d take my hat off to its inventiveness if I wore one.
   Is it legal? Of course. Is it amoral? That’s speculative. Does it need reigning in? Well Calvia Council now think so.
   Staggering under a tsunami of unwelcome publicity – hardly unwelcome if you’re a pub-crawl operator, since the British Press has given you more free advertising than you could ever buy – the local politicos have voted to: a) curb the numbers on pub-crawl jaunts to a maximum of 50; b) warned bar operators not to deal with unlicensed booze-tour organisers; and c) not exceed their allocated capacity of drinkers.
   Transgressors face fines of, I understand, €300 upwards, but no top limit is mentioned.
   As much as the new law may be welcomed by those who’ve taken to the street in protest at the degree to which Magalluf has slumped deeper into moral turpitude – as exposed by the Daily Bulletin’s ‘clean-up’ campaigning – it sounds too little too late.
   Let’s face it: €300 is slap on the wrist and small beer – forgive the pun – to bar owners…five minutes takings on a lively night. No wonder big hotel groups, like Meliá, who are ploughing multi-millions into transforming Magalluf, are furious.
   If the politicians truly want to reform the teenies’ playground that’s blighted Majorca’s reputation for decades, punishments must be properly punitive – with fines of tens of thousands, stricter controls on boozeries applied with an iron fist, bar licences summarily withdrawn, CCTV camera surveillance, even a 2.00 a.m. curfew.
   The kids will still come and party. But they’ll do so in the knowledge there are curbs and time limits to their carousing – and they’ll be all the safer for them.

T HE  acrid stench of vomit still stings my nostrils and my ears continue to throb from two nights – correction: wee, small mornings – bashed by the incessant din of what passes for music if you’re a wide-eyed adolescent, fuelled by the magic of Magalluf.
   By 3.00 a.m. I pulled the plug on watching British teens pulverise themselves on drink, drugs and lord knows what, leaving my colleagues from one Fleet Street newspaper to sit and gawp at the every-constant action in an atmosphere electric with intimidation.
   A floodtide of brash and feckless, teenage humanity was ebbing and flowing, stopping here and there to take on even more liquid anaesthetic, until their legs wobbled and they threw up or passed out on the sidewalk.
   ‘It’s like watching herds of caribou migrating from one stretch of tundra to the next,’ I noted lyrically.
   ‘That’s a good line – I’ll use that, thanks,’ said my voyeur amigo, scribbling furiously in his notepad. ‘It’s a neat counter-point to saying this is Sodom and Gomorrah, 2014.’
   Most of the UK Press corps, who’d last week descended on Majorca’s most infamous resort – labelled Shagaluf and Megamuff in red-top parlance – were genuinely amazed at what they were witnessing. And these were hardened hacks, packing stomachs of steel.
   Normally, I wouldn’t have been so gobsmacked, yet I was.
   I’ve covered the Magalluf beat for more years than I care to recall, from the surreal antics of Punta Ballena – the notorious Strip, which, technically, forms part of the outcrop of Torre Nova – to the tragedies of kids mistiming leaps between hotel balconies and plunging, headlong, to premature demise, the lucky ones surviving to bear the scars for life.
   Nor was I unaware of the spat of muggings, mainly coordinated by pimps controlling the posse of African prostitutes, ‘working’ The Strip and adding a further layer of depravity to the garish, neon-lit sordidness of it all.
   But these are not your normal, everyday hookers, plying their trade in a country where selling sex isn’t illegal. No, they are the bait to lure foolish, immature man-boys, probably semi-comatose from booze and/or narcotics, to the nearest ATM, where a couple of goons appear from nowhere to relieve them of their cash, credit cards and PIN numbers.
   On Friday night/Saturday morning I saw just such an act in its infancy, as a dark-skinned woman solicited a tottering kid and asked him for €40 to do ‘whatever you want to me.’
   ‘Go home, son,’ I advised, as I walked back to my car. Only he didn’t hear.
   At least, the local police have cracked down on the phoney street-walkers, nicking 22 of them to date this summer.
   So the copy I’d invariably file would dub Magalluf ‘Majorca’s sin-in-the-sun, anything-goes party capital’, a neat piece of cliched tabloid prose.
   Yet, this time shock almost rendered me wordless. Shock at how gullible, adventure-seeking teens were putting their unsullied innocence on the line, some prompted by reckless DJs, going completely over the top, without a responsible adult to put the brake on their pubescent lunacy.
   What triggered the latest media frenzy was a video captured on a smartphone that went viral, becoming an internet sensation worldwide.
   It showed an 18-year-old girl from a good, Catholic, Northern Irish family, performing up to 24, consecutive oral sex acts on willing young males in a Punta Ballena bar. Apparently, the phrase for such a stunt is ‘mamada-ing’, though my Majorcan friends had never encountered it.
   Language, though, is forever inventing fresh terminology, so, no doubt, ‘to mamada’ (verb, present tense, origin: Castilian Spanish) will appear in the Oxford English Dictionary before long.
   I dearly hope the girl in question – who’s reportedly received death threats on her Facebook page in the wake of the furore she caused – will not live the rest of her days, ruing one night of shameless, inane bravado in a Magalluf bar.
   She doesn’t deserve to, because countless other young women have done much the same – and worse – before. And unless Magalluf is tamed, it’ll happen again and again.
   Probably what surprised me most was how cleverly orchestrated the action was.
   Organised groups of pub-crawlers, who’d paid about €25 for the experience and numbering hundreds, were shuttled in snaking lines from one boozery to the next by their yellow-liveried ‘guides’ with almost military discipline.
   The company behind one of the ‘tours’ is also said to control the bars and discos the kids are shepherded to, thus raking in a double-whammy of profits.
   It’s a brilliant business strategy and I’d take my hat off to its inventiveness if I wore one.
   Is it legal? Of course. Is it amoral? That’s speculative. Does it need reigning in? Well Calvia Council now think so.
   Staggering under a tsunami of unwelcome publicity – hardly unwelcome if you’re a pub-crawl operator, since the British Press has given you more free advertising than you could ever buy – the local politicos have voted to: a) curb the numbers on pub-crawl jaunts to a maximum of 50; b) warned bar operators not to deal with unlicensed booze-tour organisers; and c) not exceed their allocated capacity of drinkers.
   Transgressors face fines of, I understand, €300 upwards, but no top limit is mentioned.
   As much as the new law may be welcomed by those who’ve taken to the street in protest at the degree to which Magalluf has slumped deeper into moral turpitude – as exposed by the Daily Bulletin’s ‘clean-up’ campaigning – it sounds too little too late.
   Let’s face it: €300 is slap on the wrist and small beer – forgive the pun – to bar owners…five minutes takings on a lively night. No wonder big hotel groups, like Meliá, who are ploughing multi-millions into transforming Magalluf, are furious.
   If the politicians truly want to reform the teenies’ playground that’s blighted Majorca’s reputation for decades, punishments must be properly punitive – with fines of tens of thousands, stricter controls on boozeries applied with an iron fist, bar licences summarily withdrawn, CCTV camera surveillance, even a 2.00 a.m. curfew.
   The kids will still come and party. But they’ll do so in the knowledge there are curbs and time limits to their carousing – and they’ll be all the safer for them.

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