A file photograph of the Malaga Christmas lights. / MIGUE FERNÁNDEZ

The first will be last

People tend to flock to the Malaga Christmas lights from day one - so it's best to go on another day when it's quieter

Peter Edgerton
PETER EDGERTON

Long, long ago when people actually bought records (for younger readers, these were round bits of plastic that you placed a needle on in order to... oh, never mind), I queued around the block to get my hands on a copy of Pink Floyd's album The Wall on its first day of release and then, laughably, took it to school the next day, presumably in the hope that it might cause a teenage rock chick to talk to me. It didn't. To be fair, there were mitigating circumstances - one, I was a child and, two, Comfortably Numb had sounded quite brilliant on the radio in the run-up to release.

Malaga's Christmas lights will be switched on this weekend and I couldn't help but think back to that sepia-tinted scene at Quirk's record store. This is because, this Saturday, many people will do exactly what I did and rush to be the first to see what will undoubtedly be a spectacular display (even before they've actually been turned on, this year's lights look stunning). Why do we do this to ourselves? The very same lights are going to be switched on each and every day for another six or seven weeks, just as, in 1979, you could buy The Wall the day after it came out without having to queue at all.

Whenever Apple bring out their latest gadget, loads of blokes who live in their mum's basement form ludicrous queues so that they can have bragging rights and be the first to show off the new toaster feature on the iPhone 423X or whatever.

Similarly, every August, on the Spanish national news, they will cover the story of 'Operación Salida' which is, basically, the baffling tale of one humungous traffic jam sprawling throughout the land caused by hordes of people - many of whom will have a whole month off ahead of them - straining to start their holidays on exactly the same day, at the same time, as every other man and - quite literally - his dog. Just wait until the following day, people. Nobody can dislike their job that much, surely.

So, if you're thinking of popping into Malaga to see the lights this Christmas - and I'd strongly advise everyone to do so - maybe this Saturday isn't the best option, rather a random Tuesday a bit further down the line when the crowds will be much more manageable and the lights will be exactly the same as they were on the evening of their debut.

Enjoy the show!