Round Town Times

Round Town Times

The Round Town Times distributes 25,000 free copies a month.  It’s Benidorm’s largest circulation English-language paper.

The Round Town Times distributes 25,000 free copies a month. It’s Benidorm’s largest circulation English-language paper.

MANY FOLKS have odd (or downright weird) hobbies or obsessions. One of mine is buying English language papers abroad and reviewing them for Counter Culture!

On saying that, I’ve not been abroad very often – so I’ve only managed to amass a grand total of two reviews.

The first was a look at the Majorca Daily Bulletin – – in 2013. The other was written within living memory (!) and featured the Costa Blanca News –

When I was in Spain towards the end of last year I managed to pick up a copy of the Round Town Times in Benidorm’s main Tourist Information centre. Styling itself
‘Benidorm’s No 1 read’ it’s a free monthly publication with 25,000 copies being distributed in ‘Benidorm, Alfaz, Albir & Altea.’ As the paper prominently displays the union flag – alongside the Spanish flag – I presume that these areas have the highest concentration of Brits in this part of the Costa Blanca.

My copy was from September 2014 and consisted of 40 pages, many of them full of colourful and eye-catching adverts and advertising features. However I’m such a geek that I actually enjoy reading these!

These ads seemed seemed to covering everything under the sun – from dental clinics to garages to a cash & carry. However the vast majority of adverts related to clubs, pubs and restaurants. One thing that can be said in Benidorm’s favour is that it can supply every type of food you can imagine. There’s English, Italian, Indian, American (McDonalds) and even a couple of Spanish restaurants are thrown in for good measure!

As a Rangers (Glasgow – not Queens Park) supporter I was also delighted to see a massive one page ad for the Ibrox Bar. Here you’re treated to ‘live music & sports sown daily. Bucket deals on bottles. Scottish, Ulster frys, English breakfasts & meal deals served ALL day.’ Although I’m a vegetarian I laughed out loud when I noticed that folks could buy a King Billy Special – a T-Bone Steak and trimmings – for €16.90!

I’ve only been to Benidorm once and to be honest I wasn’t too impressed with it. I know that it’s probably near nigh impossible to judge anywhere after only a few hours, but it just felt a little brash and claustrophobic to me. (To be honest – and after some reflection – I probably need to go back and actively seek out what I’m interested in – local heritage, history and culture.)

Mind you, I’m very much in a minority when it comes to liking Benidorm, for as the Round Town Times notes:

“A monumental 164 per cent rise in the number of Brits jetting off to Benidorm for the August bank holiday compared to last year!”

However, this increase in tourism doesn’t come without its problems:

“Aware of, and delighted with, these latest fabulous figures we at Round Town hope that the powers that be at Benidorm Town Hall and the Police Department act on all that they’re been talking about and promising for years … and that’s to rid the most popular holiday resort in Europe of the curse of the Pea Men and the organised criminal gangs of beggars!

Each month we receive dozens of letters from loyal readers that have either fallen victim themselves or have witnessed a fellow “innocent” being conned or robbed of their hard earned holiday money on our streets and in spite of all the promises from the authorities nothing ever appears to be done.”

Two main articles caught my eye – Benidorm Pride and Celebrating 16 years of success.

Benidorm Pride previewed the 2014 Benidorm Pride event. Held annually, it seems to be a massive event. Organised by the local lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual association of Benidorm (ALGTB) in conjunction with the local authorities, it consists of a week-long celebration – although main days were Friday and Saturday. Friday saw many tribute acts whilst sat main parade followed by bands and DJ set. Pictures from previous events looked to be lively and colourful to say the least!

Celebrating 16 years of success took a look at the Round Town Times itself. It looked at the achievements of the paper – not least the fact that in the 16 years of its existence, nearly 5 million copies have been printed. The paper pits its success down to “our practical approach to reporting on how best to make the most of your time here coupled with our extensive knowledge of life in Spain.” Indeed, this free ‘Benidorm Bible’ is bigger and better “than any other newspaper in Benidorm.”

I also loved the centre page spread. This featured a map of Benidorm which was divided into distinct areas: La Cala and Poniente Beach, the Old Town, Central Benidorm and the New Town & Rincon. I found the map reasonably detailed – so much so that you could probably use it to find yourself around. The outside of the map consisted of various adverts – with the location of each advertised business marked on the map.

Other features of note included the many pages devoted to entertainments and the Alfaz & Albir News pages. These relate to Alfaz del Pi (also known as L’Alfas del Pi) and Playa Albir, two towns close to Benidorm.

Here one article just jumped out at me – a description of the Moors and Christians festival. According to the Round Town Times:

“The famous fiestas of Moors and Christians in Altea take place in September every year. These eagerly awaited celebrations of times gone by recreate the savage battles between the Arabs and the Christian armies of the time, when rival forces fought and died over who had possession of the Iberian peninsula, with the Christians eventually winning by forcing the invaders back through Andalucia and back over the water from where they came!”

I was intrigued to read that the Moors and Christians parades represent a sly non PC celebration of history” which are “quite frankly” too good to miss and an “experience you will never forget!”

As I absolutely love history, this Moors and Christians festival is something I’m going to have to see one of these fine days. Indeed, I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has seen the celebrations and could give me a few tips on where and when to view them.

John Field

O CHECK OUT the web-site of the Round Town Times here:

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