Sunday evening on the beach is the perfect antedote to the Sunday night blues. This is one of the few times I immerse myself in the UK media – I enjoy to work my way through the one or two English Sunday papers, seeing what’s going on whilst relaxing in the cooler evening air. With the horrors of the UK news, today I turned to the glossy El Pais Sunday supplement. El Pais is a little like the Guardian or Observer in its political positioning and the articles on Spanish society often reflect its fascination and concern with Spain’s increasing love affair with consumerism.
The economic miracle of post-Franco Spain is quite extraordinary. The speed at which the country has gone from a tightly controlled, agricultural nation to a free, post-industrial power-house is remarkable. But the speed of change has its detractors. Back in the UK, pushing the trolley around the supermarket on a Sunday afternoon is common place, but hear Sunday’s are still very much family days – when the shops are shut and Andalucains head for the beach.
Yet this is changing. Consumerism here is relatively new here and many people look to relocate here due to Spain’s more down-to-earth culture and lifestyle. But look at Spain through rose-coloured spectatcles. Consumerism is taking hold here, and I don’t just mean within international zones like Marbella. Foreign and domestic Banks drive spending through more relaxed lending practices, making the plasma TV we can’t live without even easier to own.
"Gastamos mas de lo que ganamos" reads the headline in the El Pais Magazine; "we spend more than we earn".
Welcome to the club Spain…