Tuesday, July 17, 2007


There has been a fine spat going on between Alexei Sayle and our old mate, Leapy Lee. A less likely combination one could hardly imagine; one, a reconstructed communist and comedian of repute (The Young Ones, OTT, The Comic Strip etc.), the other, not.

For those of you who do not know, Leapy pens a weekly column in Euro Weekly. It is often provocative. There is nothing wrong with being provocative, but provocation has to be tempered to lend it some charm. Otherwise, it is wholly one-dimensional and, as such, worth less than a fig. One can think of numerous columnists who provoke - Simon Jenkins, Boris Johnson, Matthew Parris, Simon Hoggard (from the political arena); Danny Baker, Victor Lewis-Smith, A.A. Gill, Martin Samuel and, yes, Alexei Sayle (from a sport/entertainment arena); Rod Liddle, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Littlejohn, all of whom can rant for England and can be utterly outrageous. These columnists represent a broad church of political leanings. But what all have in common is that they are either informed, intellectual, humorous, tangential thinkers, ironic, sharp observers, or often a combination of all these things.

Now I don’t expect local expat newspapers to be of “Fleet Street” standard, nor do I expect their contributors to be. I can understand the constraints on such papers. But I do expect at least one of the qualities I list above when it comes to contributions. What I do not expect is the equivalent of the pub bore who sidles up to you and earholes you for fifteen minutes on God knows what.

I must just say I think Euro Weekly is not too bad. It has its moments of curious reporting, as I have noted before on this blog, but it’s a well put-together paper, and I like Gordon, the guy who runs it on the island. Which brings me though to this spat.

Alexei Sayle, writing in The Independent, had a right old go at Leapy. To give a flavour of this, I quote: “Yes, that’s my idea of the perfect columnist, some expat singer with a criminal record and views tailor-made for his audience of drink-sozzled, golf-playing Costa Brits.” I only know this and can quote it because Leapy, having taken umbrage (understandably I guess), repeated it (along with much more) in his column. Now I would have thought that, having been the target of a vitriolic hatchet-job, you might prefer to keep it quiet. No, not Leapy. He goes ahead and reproduces it, for which we should be grateful. Had he not, we might never have known.

Just to say that the Sant Jaume and Sant Crist fiestas are coming up in Alcúdia. Information on the What’s On Blog. Sant Crist happens only every three years, and this year is the 500th anniversary - some malarkey about sweating blood and tears and turning them into water, or something like that.

Also on the What’s On Blog, you will find some regular offers from our good friends at No Frills Excursions, based in Puerto Alcúdia. So, here is a Service of the Week thing - NO FRILLS EXCURSIONS:

Where: Avenida de la Playa 13, Puerto Alcúdia and various sales outlets around and about, plus web: www.nofrills-excursions.com.

What: Excursions all over the island, such as Marineland, Palma, Soller etc. Also local events such as the Alcúdia Bar Crawl.

When: Er, this doesn’t quite work like it does for bars, but no matter - something every day!

Who: Seamus and Toni are your men. Then there is Lisa and numerous others.

Why: Low-cost but high-quality excursions with a strong personal touch, well-informed and friendly guides who make for a great experience.

Quiz: So, what was Alexei Sayle’s hit record? (One thing he has in common with Leapy is that he, too, was a one-hit wonder.) I forgot to mention that Troy Tempest was modelled on James Garner. And as for 200 Motels etc, it was Frank Zappa, though strictly speaking the song lyric came from a collaboration with Captain Beefheart (the album “Bongo Fury”). The lyric referred to the 200th anniversary of American independence.


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