I’m in Benidorm for a weekend. Taking advantage of a cheap all-inclusive hotel deal, I take it upon myself to explore the sights and sounds. Benidorm at the back-end of Summer 2020 is clearly a very different place to how it might have been in previous years; muted, more reserved and less wild, it’s a place that’s simply going through the motions. The bars are required by law to close by midnight; the nightlife is thus curtailed. A town that depends upon a mass of tourists has nothing more than a trickle of them to please. I sense the over-arching anxiety as I weave between boarded-up clubs, pubs and retail units to find one of the few open bars.
It’s in Jimmy’s Bar that I meet Matt. Jimmy’s Bar is an odd delight. A thin strip of a space, its wall and ceilings are covered with football shirts. “They’re shirts that various punters bring in for me to display“, says Jimmy, the welcoming host, originally from the North East of England. Jimmy is an entertainer, a tough-veteran of a landlord who holds court here. He doesn’t stand any nonsense but wants us all to have a grand time as he regales us with his life story. There are no other tourists here tonight; instead, it’s an assorted mix of Benidorm’s waifs and strays. Ex-pats who are running away from pain elsewhere soak up their sorrows with another pint.
Matt introduces himself and sits at my table. He’s been in Benidorm now for a few months. In his early 40’s, he left work earlier this summer and is now hopping between hotels in Benidorm taking advantage of the great deals on offer. He’s here for ‘the fanny’ and takes much delight in telling me how regularly women are ‘opening their legs’ for him. “Mate, it’s at least every night, sometimes twice a day“, says Matt. My face probably gives away that I don’t entirely believe him – Matt is no real looker after all and doesn’t appear to have much going for him – but my mistrust serves only to spark him into further story. “Take last night“, says Matt. “Fuck, she was a crazy one, beautiful but off-her-rocker, she raped me she did.”
I raise my hand to stop Matt from speaking and point out to him that as a very-willing participant, he might like to consider his use of words. Matt realises that he’s on dodgy ground and so wilts a little. His sadness seeps through and I think he’s almost about to cry. Matt doesn’t really know himself and is using his casual sex encounters (that might also only exist in his own imagination) to mask his own self-neglect. “She had a great arse though“, says Matt, back on familiar ground and reverting to form.
It’s a long intro today but it is a weekend and I make no apology for retelling this tale. There are many like Matt in the world who lurch from one sexual encounter to another hurting others (and themselves) in the process. They could all do with listening to ‘Amazing’, a fabulous jazz-noir track from the Bradford Born, London based alternative-pop music artist, Bukky Sky.
Sounding like a quality track from Destroyer, ‘Amazing’ has it all. A gentle start gives way to wholesome strings whilst a gripping guitar line builds and falls. All paths lead to the wondrous piece-de-resistance; Bukky’s own one-minute spoken word confession. And what a confession it is.
“I’ve always been attracted to truth, in all its beauty, in all its ugliness.“, says Bukky. “I wrote this song when I was ready to turn a corner and cut away the bullshit from my character”. Here’s somebody who is able to take a long, hard, look at their behaviour to realise that they don’t want to be that person anymore.
“Do you really know love and trust, The truest aspects of yourself, Have you ever taken the time and taken the courage, To go and get to know and love yourself?“, repeats Bukky in that spoken-word section of ‘Amazing’. It’s a stunning track and I can’t wait to hear more from Bukky.
Over to you, Matt…