J.G. Ballard on the Costas

J.G. Ballard wrote some fine landscape pieces in Cocaine Nights (1996 ) on an imaginary but all-too-real Costa del Sol, the archetype of all the Costas. A frightening contemporary vision of the present-future of this part of Spain. Note Sotogrande does not exist.

The mountains had withdrawn from the sea, keeping their distance a mile inland, Near Sotogrande the golf courses began to multiply like the symptoms of a hypertrophied grassland cancer. White-walled Andalusian pueblos presided over the greens and fairways, fortified villages guarding their pastures, but in fact these miniature townships were purpose-built villa complexes financed by Swiss and German property speculators, the winter homes not of local shepherds but of Düsseldorf ad-men and Zürich television executives.

And later

The retirement pueblos lay by the motorway, embalmed in a dream of the sun from which they would never awake. As always when I drove along the coast to Marbella I seemed to be moving through a zone that was fully accessible only to a neuroscientist and scarcely at all to a travel writer. The white facades of the villas and the apartment houses were like blocks of time that had crystallised by the side the road. Here on the Costa del Sol nothing would ever happen again and the people of the pueblos were already the ghosts of themselves.

J.G. Ballard ‘Cocaine Nights’ 1996

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