Tradition demands that the end of the old year and the start of the new year are celebrated by looks back at the old year and looks forward to the new. I have indulged in both over the past seven years but not fastidiously. If I could be bothered, I did; if I couldn't be bothered, I didn't. But being curious as to what I might or might not have said, I have delved into the archives, starting with awards for 2006.
Notable among these was the Special Bryan Adams Award For Murdering What Was Already Lousy Music. It went to the Ecuadorean pipe players who still insist on putting in appearances on market days. The award went to them because, as I had observed on 27 May, 2006: "The next time I’m trying to avoid a market and I hear the strains of canned Ecuadorean “Everything I Do ...” piping its way across a hot square, I will take one of the offending pipes and oblige by indeed doing it for them and placing it in a part of the anatomy perfectly moulded and sculpted to accept a pipe". There was also the First Choice Contribution To Local Culture Award. It went to a rep at a hotel in Puerto Pollensa, one which is barely a minute's walk from the pinewalk. She had, by this time, been at the hotel for a couple of months. Rep: “What’s this photo of?” Me: "The Calvari steps." Rep: "And this?" Me: "The pinewalk, here in Puerto Pollensa." Rep: "Oh yes, I must go there some time."
It took a couple of years for me to be bothered again, and so at the start of 2009 I offered some predictions for the year ahead. Only one of them sort of proved to be correct, though the effects of crisis on fiestas didn't really hurt hard until the following year. "The economic crisis will hit the annual fiestas hard. Firework displays are cancelled, but everyone is given a sparkler." Other predictions were, sadly, wrong.
"1. The British Government, as part of its anti-obesity drive, realises that a major contribution to the nation's lard mountain is the Alcúdia and Can Picafort all-inclusive. A short waddle from the lift to the pool, and that's the exercise for the day, save for one belly-flop that creates a parting of the pool's waves. Otherwise, the only other movements of the already lard-bucket chav ASBO cases are to raise an arm in order to cram ever more pizza and grease and watered-down lager and, therefore ever more fatness, into their gobs, from which emanates some occasional vomit or an admonishing shout directed at a hideous and equally voluminous offspring as it prepares to shit in the aforementioned pool. Step forward, consequently, HM Government with an order via Brussels to ban all all-inclusives.
"2. Alcúdia's Mile will be decreed a site of international heritage and cultural importance. And because they can't raise the money to effect the re-development, the old power station, rather than a science and technology museum, will become a giant bouncy castle.
"3. Albufera is turned into the world's largest water theme park. And just to make things more interesting, they release a bunch of crocodiles as well."
At the end of 2010, I wrote an article entitled "The Year Of Living Corruptly". I suppose this could have applied to any year over the past God knows how long, but 2010 it was, and the article contained quotes from the spokesperson for the new political party, the UPyD (it was three years old then). "The Balearics have the highest number of people who are corrupt or allegedly corrupt per square metre in Spain." He then reeled off a list of cases, all of them ongoing, and concluded by saying that all the main executive and legislative bodies in the islands are implicated along with various individuals - "businesspeople who are friends of certain politicians, businesspeople who assemble companies in order to receive adjudications decided by their political friends, as well as the wives, husbands, cousins and nephews of politicians".
For 2011, I forecast that it would be the same procedure as every year, borrowing the hilarious (sic) line from the unfunniest comedy ever made, "Dinner For One", the popularity of which among Germans says much about cultural differences when it comes to comedy. What did 2011 hold? Moans about all-inclusives, for example. And talk of protests. Complaints about dog mess in Puerto Pollensa, about the price of car rental, about the price of a cup of coffee. The same procedure as every year.
In 2012, there were no predictions, but right at the start of that year there was an article which might now seem vaguely prophetic. It started thus: "Are you aware that in twenty years time half the world's population will be homosexual?" This was what two leading figures in the Catholic Church were saying, taking aim at both UNESCO and the former Zapatero government and alleged pink liberalism. What seems prophetic now is that, despite Pope Francis having ushered in a humbler and more tolerant Church, the now Spanish Government appears to want to turn the clock back to the days when it was the Vatican's standard-bearer for Catholic fundamentalism. I hesitate to suggest, however, that 2014 will witness a return to the Inquisition, so exclude this possibility from my predictions for this year. Instead, I forecast that this year there will be complaints about a lack of winter tourism, about a lack of flights to and from Palma in winter, about all-inclusives, about holiday rentals. Same procedure as every year, except for President Bauzá being ousted in the Balearics. Well, that at least would be interesting ...