The Silver Eel

"A gape-jawed serpentine shape of pale metal crested with soot hung high for a sign."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The older I get, the fewer things there are that make me really, blood-spitting angry, but this is one of them:

8.00pm Property Developing Abroad Having been stationed in Iraq, Charlie and Sascha took early retirement from the Army to become developers in Bulgaria, and are now looking to buy up as much property as possible on its Black Sea coast. With the help of presenter Gary McCausland, the couple view potential purchases and consider how best to increase their profits by targeting British holiday-makers seeking luxury villas (888) (Stereo)

Place is not about profit, it's about belonging - unless you're Bulgarian - or Greek Cypriot - or - or - or - in which case, good luck. If this was happening in Wales you'd get your luxury villa burnt to the fuckin' ground and rightly so. But this is a lost debate in the UK, ever since Margaret bloody Thatcher decided to create a class of kulaks by selling off the decent council housing stock and leaving the poorest to rot.

The most interesting thing - and the one I've never seen properly addressed - about all these programmes on whinging poms buying abroad is why they decide to leave in the first place. What has gone so badly wrong with the country that they are not prepared to stick and try to make it work? How have they become deracinated, so that not only do they not belong in the place they move to, they don't even belong to the place they've come from?


At 27 June 2006 at 22:00 , Blogger Joe said...

Totally agree - living somewhere where you don't belong but see only as some sort of business investment strikes me as dreadfully sad and a sign of someone with a to let sign on their soul. A real legacy of the Thatcher era.

At 29 June 2006 at 20:36 , Blogger The Silver Eel said...

Ironic that the sale of council houses was one of her most popular policies. As Bismarck(?) said, if you give a man a pension, he stops being a revolutionary. Of course one can learn to belong, insofar as any incomer can, but this takes patience and sensitivity and a degree of humility, and curiosity about the local culture, but this is something you never see on these programmes. As usual with TV, a real missed opportunity. And as Yvonne notes, most people can't even be bothered to learn a few word of the local lingo when they go abroad.


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