Trend games

What have the following got in common? Beards, cupcakes, pet dogs, hamburgers, tattoos and gin? That's right, they're just a few of the many fads and fashions to have breezed into town (and, often, out again pretty sharpish) over the last few years.

There was a time, not so long ago, when it was impossible to walk more than a couple of yards in Malaga without falling base over apex, having tripped on an errant cupcake. Once everyone realised that they actually tasted really horrible, however, we all came to our senses and went back to munching on chocolate digestives - a much more sensible option.

One of the stranger fashions we've witnessed was for those vapour cigarette thingies. I don't mean the objects themselves, though; that's the whole point. The trend was for the shops that sell them. Surely, a simple mental calculation would tell you that the percentage of smokers prepared to forego actual cigarettes has probably never been very high and, of those, not many would buy more than one vapour ciggie and, even then, most probably on the internet. At one point there were about ten or twelve of these outlets in Malaga city centre alone. They didn't last very long.

The latest fashion in these parts, it would seem, is for betting shops, although not, of course, in the style of the traditional UK bookies i.e. dank rooms steeped in stygian gloom, harbouring a smattering of men in flat caps smoking (very real) cigarettes while staring vacantly at the 3.45 from Chepstow in the hope that Grandmother's Bunion will pip Pimlico Fruit Basket to the post and pay out enough to put another wager on the 4.15 at Haydock. No, these new-fangled places are nothing like that - they have flat TV screens the size of Lake Geneva and enormous banks of what look like fruit machines but, I suspect, are clever contraptions designed to allow you to bet on football matches and the like. I'd actually like to nip in in order to investigate but, being weak of will, this would inevitably result in my emerging naked a couple of days later having surrendered all my earthly possessions to the bloke in Monaco who owns the place.

Anyway, they say cocktails are going to be the next fashion. You'll be glad to hear that we've duly taken note down at The Shakespeare, so don't be surprised if you find a little parasol stuck in your pint of lager in the coming weeks.

One simply must keep abreast of current trends, you know.