Two things occurred to me as I was doing my customary shuffle, which masquerades as my version of dancing, to dodgy music at San Telmo during the ‘Sardinada’ last night.
The first was that I remembered that I actually originally liked ‘I Will Survive’ before women in Britain turned it into an anthem celebrating the fact that they were crap at choosing the right man. Here there are no screams when ‘First I was afraid, I was petrified…” starts to blast out of the speakers, immediately followed by hordes of girlies rushing to the centre of the dance floor belting out the lyrics with heartfelt emotion. Here it’s just another song. Well, actually it’s still a gay anthem, but that’s okay – that doesn’t make you feel that you’re responsible for doing the dirty on every woman in the vicinity just by virtue of your sex.
The other thing that occurred to me was that we were seriously starved of good music. No, that’s unfair. We hear lots of really good Latino and traditional Canario music all the time. It’s just that every now and again we’d like to hear a bit of Faithless, or the Kings of Leon, or the Killers…or even Robbie Williams. But the DJ who preceded the Latino band San Telmo last night was stuck firmly in the early eighties. He started well enough with a bit of Amy Winehouse, but within a few lines changed it to ‘Black is Black’ and a Stars on 45 medley that they used to play in discos when I was 18.
It didn’t matter, it wasn’t Latino, or Canario, it was something different and when the Bee Gees started singing ‘Staying Alive’ I felt Tony Manero course through my veins and suddenly it was 1979 and I was imagining I was John Travolta again. Luckily enough I hadn’t downed many cervezas, so there was no embarrassing attempt to actually replicate his moves from Saturday Night Fever (not this time anyway), but I did sing-along with mucho gusto as did Andy.
And so it continued as Karma Chameleon was followed by YMCA (the crowd here don’t spell it out) and then some really bad Spanish Euro pop which the crowd of twenty to fifty some-things lapped up. Ironically the teenagers opted to congregate on the promenade above San Telmo waiting for the Latino band to strike up before they swamped the natural dance floor overlooking San Telmo’s rock pools. The DJ finished his set with ‘Song 2’ by Blur – almost the most up to date sound he played all night (Amy didn’t count).
It was kitsch music, but it was really good fun and Puerto was buzzing with an infectious fiesta atmosphere. Before we’d musically time-travelled, we’d forked out our €3.50 each for a plate of grilled sardines, a chunk of anis bread and a cerveza and sat on the wall peeling the sardine’s delicate and salty flesh away from its bones as a stream of stylishly dressed young Spanish and Canarios paraded by like models in an unplanned fashion show.
The Sardinada is only the ‘warm up’ event for Embarkation Tuesday, but it’s a wonderful experience in its own right and shows Puerto and its people’s joie de vivre at their best. It was one of those nights that make you wonder is there a better place on this earth than this town.