Summer Survival - with Giles Brown

May-GilesGiles Brown, Society’s very own bronzed beach bum, has a few tips for the start of summer.

May means the start of the summer season in Marbella and, if the sun drenched shenanigans of 2011 were anything to go by, this year promises to be even more over the top and in your face.

Most of Essex is set to decamp to the coast this summer, with three huge Lovejuice parties being held at Sala Beach. “WTF is Sala Beach?” I hear you cry. It’s the old Buddha Beach, which has had a reincarnation over the winter season and now boasts a VIP terrace with great views over the Med, as well as a new pool bar, but still maintaining the same great vibe as last year.

Like or loathe it, this season is going to be the summer of The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE for short). The Essex ensemble came, saw and crashed about in their high heels last year, and the ensuing media scrum introduced a new word ‘Marbs’ to the town. This summer, the series is set to be shot in Marbella, so take it from me, you won’t be able to pick up a UK tabloid over the summer months without finding a picture of Arg, (who bears a striking resemblance to a Womble that’s had a makeover) Joey Essex, and the permatanned posse of pneumatic blondes that make up the female contingent of the show.

As with everywhere in Marbella, you’ve got to consider what you’re going to wear. And while the ladies can effortlessly slip on a sarong and a straw hat, the beach is a sartorial nightmare for guys. Certain items of clothing on the beach are forbidden. These include football shirts, shorts with your national flag on them and male thongs. Sunglasses are another tricky issue, just be sure that they’re not too big and that you don’t wear them too often, unless you fancy the ‘Rocky Raccoon’

Male jewellery also has to be considered. A simple chain or ethnic necklace from Bali is fine, but you want to avoid the ‘Triana’ effect, with half of Fort Knox nestling on your hairy chest. If you’re wealth conscious and want to make sure that everybody knows that you’re loaded, even if you’re in your shorts, go for the biggest, blingest watch you can find. It will earn you immediate fawning attention from the beach staff, and they won’t know that you bought it from a ‘lookie lookie’ man for €50.

The next thing to consider is what kind of beach it is that you want. To the uninitiated, it may just seem like a simple strip of sand, but on the coast, the beach is so much more than that. Which playa you hang out at is as important as which restaurant you dine at, car you drive and what designer label you’re wearing. So let me start with the beach rule number one; avoid the beaches west of Cabopino and Bolonia. Now, I don’t hold anything against naturists, no, let me rephrase that, I haven’t got anything against it and at certain times and places nudity is acceptable (streakers at rugby internationals, test matches and any female in the crowd when Brazil are playing, for example), but while it’s every teenage boy’s dream to end up on a nudist beach, the harsh reality of life is that you’re more lightly to be surrounded by German grandmothers than the supporting cast of Baywatch.

A successful day at the beach is all a question of location, location, location. You can either choose to base and baste yourself at a beach club or on the sand itself. Which is where we come onto beach rule number two. When you find that pristine stretch of sand, check which day of the week it is. If it’s Sunday, pack up and go home. If you don’t, within half and hour of rolling out your beach mat, applying the Hawaiian Tropic and opening the latest Jackie Collins, you’ll glance up to find yourself surrounded by what looks like the encampment of Attila’s horded, but is, in fact, twenty Spanish families enjoying a Sunday on the playa. As well as the ice boxes, picnic tables, beach umbrellas, folding chairs and emergency kit for the baby, Spanish families love to set up camp 100m from their SEAT’s and then fling open the doors so they can enjoy the music from the car stereo. In the meantime, the kids will be running between the sea and their beach base camp (spraying sand over you, naturally) with whatever stone, bottle or other unmentionable they’ve found.

Having decided to stay in the relative safety of the beach bar, your next task is to decide what kind of beach bar you want. You can plump for the luxurious beaches such as Nikki Beach, Ocean Club or Sala Beach, which are all full of beautiful people doing beautiful things to each other. And the seventyyear- old George Hamilton look alike on the sun bed entertaining the eastern European teenager is spending the day with his niece, I assure you. Or you can head for somewhere you can feel the sand between your toes and chill out with a couple of Mojitos, Victor’s, Sonora and Mistral are always popular.

Rule number three is always avoid doing anything energetic on the beach. Dancing is certainly out, and can be directly linked to the number of drinks consumed. And the
big no-no is water-sports. Rather than be dragged behind a speedboat, far better to stand at the bar watching the action. If anybody asks you why you’re not wind surfing, kite surfing or jet skiing with the er st of them, just explain that you’d love to, but you’re competing in the nationals next week and your coach doesn’t want you to get injured.

Follow these golden rules and you’ll be sure to enjoy a fabulous summer on the beach. And I’ll be the one with the Mojito and surf shorts by the bar…


Giles Brown



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