Sunday Afternoon Mutterings – Will the real Marbella please stand up?

Apologies for the lateness of today’s witterings, but I was at the photocall for the Global Gift Gala last night.

Eva Longoria on the Red Carpet at last night’s Global Gift Gala (Photo. Planet Marbella)

Celebrating its tenth anniversary last night, the event is easily the most glamourous and best supported in Marbella, due in no small measure to Maria Bravo and her team’s efforts as well as the presence of Eva Longoria adding a little Hollywoood stardust to the proceedings.

Maria Bravo, Angeles Munoz, US Ambassador Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon and Eva Longoria (Photo. Planet Marbella)

You know that you are at a Marbela event when the guests include Spanish chart toppers (Chenoa in this case) – Saudi Royalty ( a rare appearence by the Ashmawi family) – celebrity chefs (what other kind is there?) – British TV personalities (Denise Van Outen) as well as the reigning Miss Spain, the US Ambassador to Spain and Marbella’s mayor.

If you think that all this name dropping was just a case of me doing my ‘friend of the stars’ bit, bear with me, there is a point.

Nile Rodgers at Starlite on Tuesday (Photo. Planet Marbella)

On Tuesday I was at the Nile Rodgers concert at Starlite. It was the third time that I have seen the Chic supremo live and once again he was in amazing form. The audience didn’t stop dancing for two hours in the superb natural auditorium that is the Starlite venue. Earlier that day I had been invited to the fabulous Boho Club, a sublimely stylish addition to Marbella’s restaurant and hotel scene, as they introduced the Press to their new Andalucian themed terrace area.

Finally, I was at the newly opened Hard Rock Hotel as it announced its collaboration with concert promotors Rock Lounge for the forthcoming concerts bu Sister Sledge and UB40 featuring Ali Campbell.

All of this underlines the overidingly positive aspects of living in Marbella.

But this week, all the media coverage has been about crime. The shootings at Opium Shooting at Marbella Beach Club leaves five wounded have dominated the news, and allowed the British Press to have a field day. The Daily Mail was in particularly salacious mood,

You see the big bosses parading their untouchable power in the fleshpots of Puerto Banus, where they barge through the hordes in their Lamborghinis and Maseratis, one beefy arm propped on the open window, the other mauling the skimpily clad girl coiled in the passenger seat.

You see their aspirational young ‘soldiers’ strutting along the harbour, their bulging beltlines betraying the automatic pistols they are packing. Foreheads tattooed with Kalashnikovs are another not-so subtle message to give them a wide berth. The Albanian mob prefer a simple star

Really?

I was in last Saturday, and certainly didn’t see any Kalashnikov tattoos – but, hey, what would you expect from the Daily Fail.

Rather than just dismissing the reports as the British media painting a false picture of Marbella, however, there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

The majority of us fortunate enough to live in Marbella never come into contact with the criminal world. All cities and towns have crime problems, many much worse than here.

But this summer, people are getting tired…

We are getting tired of the ‘baby gangstas’ in their rented supercars, bimbos hanging off the roof, zooming past Banus.

Or the fact that every beach bar in Marbella has turned into a Beach Club, with the same Reggaeton soundtrack and party goers spilling out into the streets when the sun sets.

Or that there has been an increase in watch and bag theft, often in broad daylight.

The Town Hall always likes to say that Marbella is a brand.

When it gets it right, like this week’s concerts and galas, it’s a brand that attracts kudos.

But if outrages like Opium continue, and next time there could be fatalities, then ‘Brand Marbella’ may never find its way back…

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