Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Breaking The Rhythm Of Summer

Well, where did that go? Summer. I know, I know, there are three weeks until the equinox but September cannot disguise its name. It is a synonym for an ending, for a hastening descent towards the real end: September and summer, slip sliding away.

The natural rhythm of summer and so also its September conclusion has been disrupted. Once upon a time, in an English sense, September was a month of the Gillette final, misty morns, the occasional summer of an Indian variety and the start of the autumn TV series, timed to climax with the family glued to the box at Christmas. Now even "X Factor" starts in August, thus maximising the potential for the latest victorious product of the Cowell factory to ratchet up ever more million-plus sales in the pre-Christmas chart race. 

Oh for the days of yore when a dewy Lord's would stage the season's final, played by cricketers knackered from having shoehorned into August roughly eight three-day matches, four one-dayers and the occasional festival match against the tourists. What do we have now? England's one-day captain, Eoin Morgan, takes the whole of August off, having managed a less than impressive three-ball duck in his last match on 1 August. 'Twas never thus.

All the while of course, footballing hegemony has edged closer to 365 days a year. Even without there being matches, there is the transfer window and the consequent opportunities for 24-hour sports news to blather on about the likelihood of an Armenian centre-back making his way to Burnley. (All other sorts of options are available.) With the Premier League reversing in Cowell-like stealth fashion to an ever earlier start, this does bring joy to the Brit bars of old Mallorca: one more weekend of nectar, an amber one, the tills overflowing with the revenues of Fosters or Saint Mick.

The bars, however, like Septembers and not just because of the football. August, the main summer month, does not necessarily bring forth foaming rivers of gold: too many damn families not out on the lash, assuming they have been let out of their all-inclusive internment camps, that is. Whatever movements there are, sporting or otherwise, in the UK or other main markets have generally small disruptive impact on tourism. It is as it has been for many a year, August giving way to the September prospect of greater spend per head of tourist population.

Yet in a different sense - Mallorca's political summer - there is disruption. Massive disruption. For one particular observer, let's say myself, there is much to be said for Eoin Morgan's desire to recharge energy levels through an August lay-off. Chance would be a fine thing. Through the enervating heat and increasing humidity of August, there has been no time to rest, to recharge, to recuperate. The politicians have denied themselves adequate periods of lounging on a beach, away from the machinations of politicking. They have been too damn noisy. They have, as a consequence, demanded too much attention.

If not the tourism minister Barceló charging around resorts with which he was presumably unfamiliar, then it has been the president and her aide at finance, Cladera, issuing daily bulletins (sic) regarding the parlous state of Balearic finances: all with a target date in mind, that of tomorrow, 2 September. The great meeting with Rajoy at which Armengol will hope but doubtless fail to extract any less parsimony than at present has overshadowed the rare shade of August. The month was one of a carefully crafted propaganda event, laying the groundwork for public opinion when the Rajoy-Armengol summit goes in a direction opposite to that which Armengol might have wanted.

It was a month when there was too much of the politics thing, bolstered by the 24-hour news chatter of the eco-tax: a subject of speculation like the transfer window and no less capable of endless comment. And then there were the appointments, those of senior officials, about which there were disagreements among the partners of government. How could the politicians have relaxed, taken August off when they had eyes constantly trained on what their so-called partners were up to and their potential infidelities? 

With so many of them new to all this, it has not been surprising that they have chosen not to stay silent. Plus, they are of the new age, when a politician needs to be able to demonstrate - transparently - that he or she is earning the crust granted by the citizens' taxes, even if this means getting it wrong. Far better to be seen to be doing and speaking, rather than not doing and keeping mum.

This is not how August should be though. Not in Mallorca. Everything is meant to close down. The rhythm has been disrupted. And now it's September. Oh well, soon be Christmas.

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