Reader’s Letters about Tenerife – The Last Bastion of the Percy Sugdens

Posted: September 27, 2009 in Life, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

One of the things which hadn’t changed in the newspaper that prompted me to write the last blog was their letter’s page.

I love Tenerife newspapers letter’s pages… or to be more accurate I hate them, which is why I love them if that makes sense. They’re almost always full of people moaning, usually about things I completely disagree with. I can guarantee that nearly every time I read a local letters page, I become ‘outraged of Puerto de la Cruz’ and am a half inch away from writing a snotty reply.

The ones in the paper the other night included a guy complaining about the state of the road works in Puerto and how they were a disgrace. He was right; the roads leading into town are in a mess, and I bitch about them every time I enter the maze formerly know as ‘the way to the post office’. But when they’re finished I’m sure they’ll be much better than they were before (okay maybe I’m wearing rose tinted specs here). And, as everyone knows, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.

The one which really had me doing a cartoon like gnashing of the teeth was a letter, the type of which appears with monotonous regularity, complaining about local fiestas. You get the impression that there are some ex-pats who really, really feel aggrieved and perhaps cheated when local culture intrudes into their lives. It always astounds me. I suppose it’s a glass half full, half empty sort of scenario.

We were completely wowed by the fact that Tinerfeños had such a strong and vibrant identity and culture. The fiestas were a different and exciting part of an island we had previously pigeon-holed wrongly. They still are – I get a buzz out of every loud, over the top, colourful and fun-filled one of them.

The Percy Sugdens, on the other hand, hate them. Maybe the ‘Percys’ were the same as us before we discovered otherwise and thought that Tenerife wasn’t actually like living abroad at all. Where we were wowed by the revelation that we were wrong, perhaps the Percys were horrified to discover the same and have resented ‘Johnny Foreigner’ (aka Tinerfeños) ever since for continually insisting on shoving his culture down their throats instead of sitting deferentially in a corner.

This particular Percy was advised by a neighbour to just join in the ‘one night only’ fiesta. But he didn’t like the music because it was the usual ‘Caribbean’ stuff that they play at all the fiestas. Hello? Caribbean music? Now this is a guy who has lived here a long, long time, yet doesn’t know what music they play at fiestas.

Yeah, he’s really made an effort to integrate.

See, this is what the letters page does to me.

You might argue that the ‘comments’ section of online sites are just the same as letters pages in newspapers, but they’re different to me. I used the term ‘Percy Sugden’ because that’s the sort of image that comes into my head when I read some reader’s letter in newspapers. Images of fussy little men with pinched, angry faces constantly annoyed at the world when it doesn’t conform to their ideal model. I don’t get that same picture when I read online comments

Ultimately I suppose a good letter’s page should provoke some sort of reaction, so well done to that newspaper; it was definitely successful in that department.


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