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‘Magaluf Ghost Town,’ a look at the weirder-than-fiction reality of Mallorca’s notorious party resort | Culture

Voice Of EU



In early March, Variety magazine published a list of 10 emerging Spanish filmmakers to look out for. Topping the list was Miguel Ángel Blanca, born in the Catalan city of Sabadell in 1982. He is already familiar to some as the front man of the Barcelona band Manos de Topo, dubbed “the rodents of sarcasm” by this newspaper in 2016. “The funniest thing is that no one on the list was exactly young,” notes Blanca from his current home in Barcelona.

Blanca owes the honor to his latest oeuvre, Magaluf Ghost Town, a hybrid documentary with elements of horror and comedy about one of the most notorious party resorts in Mallorca. “The film is a love letter to these decaying tourist spots that were once sort of incredible but which have been spoiled with time, losing their rationale,” he explains. “Magaluf is a fascinating place, a fiction in itself – the perfect place to build new myths and legends for these kinds of locations.”

In 2003, Blanca graduated from the Cinema and Audiovisual School of Catalonia (ESCAC). Around that time, he began writing songs with fellow student and future film director Alejandro Marzoa, and together they founded what would become Manos de Topo. Their first album, Ortopedias bonitas (2007), was included by the music magazine Rockdelux in its list of Best Albums of the 2000s.

When the band’s album Caminitos del deseo was released in 2014, the pair’s interest in cinema was already ramping up. That year, Blanca directed his first feature film, Después de la Generación Feliz (or After the happy generation) under the pseudonym Guillothina. He also released Un lloc on caure mort (or A place to drop dead) with Raúl Cuevas, a documentary on how the singer of the band Autodestrucció juggles his middle-class life and his punk career, and for which Blanca received the Best National Documentary Award at the 2014 In-Edit Festival. In 2015 he released La extranjera (or The foreigner), a sci-fi documentary hybrid that contemplated the gentrification of a Barcelona invaded by tourism, sowing the seeds for his later project in Magaluf.

Magaluf: the world’s biggest movie set

The filmmaker and musician Miguel Ángel Blanca, director of 'Magaluf Ghost Town.'
The filmmaker and musician Miguel Ángel Blanca, director of ‘Magaluf Ghost Town.’JORDI COTRINA / Jordi Cotrina

“There are many versions of Magaluf,” Blanca explains. “When I went for the first time, I wanted to check if everything they said was true: the madness, the ‘balconing’ [jumping between hotel balconies], the ‘mamading’ [fellatios].” In the summer of 2014 there was global indignation at a video of a contest in which a drunk girl practiced fellatio on several men in exchange for drinks. “But what exactly was Magaluf?” asks Blanca, formulating the question that inspired the piece. “What was truly going on there? Why did people want to go there on vacation? Suddenly, I realized that the place was a kind of tourist utopia where anything is possible.”

Consequently, Blanca set out to make a documentary that would also build fictions within real space. “We have played with the buildings as if they were TV sets,” he says. “It’s clear that it’s a murky, controversial place, but a lot of magic can also emerge from it.” Although the team arrived on the island in 2015 with the intention of filming the mostly British tourists, they soon realized that the really interesting aspect was the local population that had to deal with them every year. “How do they do it? How do they manage this love-hate relationship with all these people who feed them while destroying their town?” the director muses. “We found it a super-interesting duality. There was also a certain respect for the tourists. When you walked into a local bar, everyone would go quiet.”

To make the documentary they had in mind, they needed to find the right people. They realized that many of those they talked to were suspicious, believing they were going to shoot the umpteenth sensational report on Magaluf. Until finally they stumbled across Rubén and Tere, the two locals around whom the plot revolves.

“Rubén was a 17-year-old who was studying to become a waiter,” says Blanca. “He felt that his future was already determined and he found it very boring. I thought he was a very cool character to talk to about how a teenager grows up in a tourist town like this one. To build the fictional aspects of the documentary, I asked him: what would you like to do with the tourists? If you had to shoot your own movie, what would you do? Then he confessed that there were things he had experienced involving tourists that were not too different from fiction; he told me about the relationship young locals have with drunken holidaymakers when they are on the beach at 5am.”

The poster for 'Magaluf Ghost Town' was created by the Barcelona painter Clara S. Prous, “It has something familiar and at the same time strange that fits perfectly with the essence of the film,” explains director Miguel Ángel Blanca.
The poster for ‘Magaluf Ghost Town’ was created by the Barcelona painter Clara S. Prous, “It has something familiar and at the same time strange that fits perfectly with the essence of the film,” explains director Miguel Ángel Blanca.Clara S. Prous

“I like stories in which a unique universe is built as, for example, in the comedy Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes; with characters that go about their business in a city with very strange but very specific rules, making it impossible to know if you are watching a comedy or a drama,” says Blanca.

“We made a Spanish costumbrista comedy [ containing detailed and realistic depictions of local customs] thanks to the character of Tere, who is like a kind of Carmina [the 58-year-old protagonist of the movie Carmina or Blow Up]; but on the other hand, we have the vampires and zombies that come out at night, which are the tourists. How could we put all these things together and make them work? I think we got that mix right and it’s one of the things we’re most proud of about the film.”

Magaluf Ghost Town will tour the Spanish documentary festival circuit and will be released in theaters nationwide later this year.

English version by Heather Galloway.

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All you need to know on getting the Moderna vaccine as a booster

Voice Of EU



People due to receive their Covid-19 booster vaccine in coming weeks will primarily be offered the Moderna dose at HSE vaccination centres.

The HSE is reported to have large supplies of Moderna due to expire next month, so that will be the main vaccine administered over coming weeks to the over-60s, over-50s, healthcare workers, and younger people in vulnerable groups – though it will be restricted to people over 30.

Anecdotally there are indications some people may be reluctant to take the Moderna vaccine. This may be due to Irish stocks about to expire shortly and/or confusion about its efficacy. This follows the company’s chief executive Stéphane Bancel warning last week the Moderna jab may not be as effective against Omicron as it had been with the Delta variant.

The HSE has confirmed recipients will have no choice on what vaccine they are given.

What type of coronavirus vaccine is the Moderna jab?

It is a new kind of synthetic “mRNA vaccine” – the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is from the same stable. They provide excellent protection against severe illness and hospitalisation – and have played a critical role in reducing Covid-19 deaths since being approved. A downside, however, is that the Moderna version must be kept at -20 degrees.

Should people be worried about receiving a soon to be out-of-date vaccine?

Total doses distributed to Ireland Total doses administered in Ireland



In short no, as they retain the ability to boost antibody production within currently approved time spans – though inevitably potency wanes over time. The Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen (Johnson&Johnson) vaccines were put on the market with emergency use authorisation of up to six months.

This compares with a shelf life of two to three years for most vaccines and other medicines. This is an “inevitable consequence of getting the vaccines out of the door as quickly as possible”, chief scientist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Gino Martini told the journal BMJ.

Months later, these “emergency” expiry dates remain in force for these vaccines. For approved Covid-19 vaccines, the initial shelf lives were based on data available at the time of submission for regulatory approval.

The long-term shelf life has not been extended for any of the vaccines. A shelf life extension would require supporting evidence from relevant stability studies. Vaccine manufacturers are monitoring batches of vaccines with the aim of providing a longer shelf life; probably the usual two years.

What about the Omicron threat?

While Moderna said existing vaccines including its mRNA version will probably be less effective against the Omicron variant, most experts believe they will continue to provide significant protection against severe disease and hospitalisation. It should be stressed, however, definitive indication has yet to emerge. That will be a matter of weeks, if not days.

Moderna has confirmed it is developing an Omicron-specific booster though manufacturing the new vaccine would take time. Tens of millions of doses could be available in the first quarter of 2022, but scale-up would not happen until the second quarter – provided it is shown such boosters are required.

What is the latest indication on the benefits of mixing vaccines?

Evidence supporting a mixing of vaccine doses has hardened over recent months. A study this week shows combining a first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine with a second dose of either the Moderna or the Novavax jabs results in far higher levels of neutralising antibodies and T-cells compared with two doses of the AstraZeneca jab.

This finding also has important implications for lower-income countries that have not yet completed their primary vaccination campaigns as it suggests you do not need access to mRNA vaccines – and therefore ultra-cold storage facilities – to trigger an extremely potent Covid-19 vaccine response.

The study also bolsters confidence that using the Moderna vaccine as a booster dose in people who have previously received the AstraZeneca jab should result in high levels of neutralising antibodies and T-cells.

It follows separate data published last week suggesting the Pfizer and Moderna booster jabs can dramatically strengthen the body’s immune defences.

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Woman (90s) dies following single-vehicle crash in Co Clare

Voice Of EU



A woman in her 90s has died following a single-vehicle crash in Co Clare in the early hours of Tuesday.

The incident occurred at about 12.30am at Annagh, Miltown Malbay. The woman, who was the driver and sole occupant of the car involved in the crash, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her body was removed to Limerick University Hospital, where gardaí say a postmortem will take place at a later date.

The road has been closed to facilitate an exam by Garda forensic collision investigators, and local diversions are in place.

Gardaí have appealed for witnesses – particularly road users who may have camera footage – to come forward. Anyone with information can contact Kilrush Garda station (065 908 0550), the confidential line (1800 666 111), or any Garda station.

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What areas will be worst hit and what is closing?

Voice Of EU



Just how serious is Storm Barra?

Storm Barra is set to hit Ireland fully on Tuesday morning, with Met Éireann warning that the severe weather could pose a threat to life.

The storm will rapidly deepen over the west and south coast on Monday evening, bringing very strong winds and heavy rain on Tuesday and into Wednesday.

Met Éireann have also warned that there is a risk of snow, as well as coastal flooding, due to the combination of high waves, storm surges and high tide.

Southwesterly winds, which will later veer northwesterly, will reach mean speeds in excess of 80 km/h.

Severe or damaging gusts may reach speeds in excess of 130km/h.

Power and travel may be disrupted across the country.

What are the areas most affected?

There is a status red wind warning in place for counties Cork, Kerry and Clare. Cork and Kerry’s warning starts at 6am on Tuesday and lasts until 9pm that evening.

Clare will be under a red alert from 4pm on Tuesday until 1am on Wednesday.

Limerick, Waterford, Galway, Mayo, Wexford, Dublin, Louth, Wicklow and Meath are also under an orange wind warning.

However, Met Éireann have advised that there is a strong possibility that the status orange alerts will escalate to status red.

A red marine storm warning will also be in effect for Irish coastal waters from north Mayo to Cork city.

The rest of the country will be under a status yellow wind and rain warning, with Met Éireann saying that heavy rain may result in surface flooding.

There is also a risk of snow over the entire country, and flooding in coastal areas.

Is it okay to go out in the storm?

People in the affected areas are being advised to avoid all unnecessary journeys, meaning you should stay indoors if possible.

People on motorbikes, cyclists, and pedestrians should take extra care if they have to travel, and they should avoid coastal areas.

Motorists are also advised to be more wary while driving, and to look out for fallen trees and debris on the road.

The charity Alone urged older people to take extra care and called on members of the public to “check in with their older neighbours and relatives and assist them if they need to travel to the local shop, post office or medical appointments during the bad weather”.

What has been cancelled or closed?

The Department of Education, which oversees primary and secondary schools, has advised schools in red and orange alert counties to close.

The Department of Higher Education, which governs colleges, universities and further education institutes, has issued a similar statement, saying education institutions in red and orange alert counties should close also.

Creches, early learning and school-age childcare services in the 12 counties should not open tomorrow, according to the Department of Children. Services that close will receive Force Majeure funding, according to the department.

Bus Éireann services in Co Cork and Co Kerry will be suspended for the full day. Services in Co Clare will be suspended from 4pm on Tuesday until 1am on Wednesday. This cancellation will also apply to all routes operating into or out of the status red warning area including Expressway Route 51.

Some hospital appointments have been cancelled, and Covid-19 testing and vaccination centres in status red and orange counties have also been forced to close due to the storm. A list of the affected health services can be found here. The National Ambulance Service will prioritise emergency calls during this weather event but is urging the general public to think carefully before calling 999/112.

The Courts Service has also confirmed that all sittings in red alert counties have been cancelled.

The Department of Local Government said a large number of national parks and reserves including Killarney National Park and Muckross House would close on Tuesday and Wednesday. Powerscourt Estate in Co Wicklow will close from 8am until 1pm on Tuesday.

Aldi has also said its stores in Cork and Kerry will be closed all day Tuesday, and their Clare stores will shut at 3pm on Tuesday.

Lidl and Tesco stores in Cork and Kerry will also be closed all day.

How long is the storm expected to last?

According to Met Éireann, Storm Barra will gradually clear Ireland later on Wednesday and winds will slowly ease, with a more settled few days to end the week.

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