Photograph ©Channel 4
When my boys become teenagers, they are never, ever going on a Kavos-style holiday. Ever. Did I mention never? Good.
I must say I watched this Channel 4 documentary series slightly shocked. I’m no prude and granted, some of the elements of the shows were funny thanks to the tourists who were unflinchingly followed (Channel 4 ‘cast’ it well, enter stage left the mother/daughter double act out on the pull-no, really) but primarily it was the ridiculous statements and bewildered reactions they inspired, that made me laugh (and the fact I watched it on Catch Up with Papa G but more of him later). Mostly it was just plain sad.
The select holidaymakers who appeared were only a handful of the 100,000 British tourists who travel to this fishing island each summer in pursuit of the most hedonistic holiday their Saturday jobs will provide. They take over the resort of Kavos (no doubt saving its economy in the process) and literally go wild. Like animals. Make that, beasts. Think Lord of the Flies on cocktail bowls.
“The aim of the holiday is to pull a few birds, maybe shag three or four, maybe five at a push”.
If you haven’t guessed already judging by the photos above, the opening sound bite from one hapless young man sums up why Kavos is quite so appealing, “The aim of the holiday is to pull a few birds, maybe three or four, or five at a push”.
Another girl touches her chest and states without a hint of irony, how chuffed she is for sleeping with two guys in one night. (Her parents must be so proud). And ‘shagging’ is just the start. These guys dance, drink and have sex to the point of hospitalisation.
Watching it, you sometimes wonder if that is the point: to get to the trusty hospital, the only safe haven in the hell that is Kavos in the summer. Another girl refers to the medical centre as a home from home.
Then a young man shamefully admits he has behaved so badly in Kavos, he doesn’t want his friends and family back home to know what he’s gotten up to. Possibly a bit late now a camera’s been up in his face for the last few months but at least some form of self-awareness remains. Just.
The craziness of Kavos is all pervasive but the worst of it can be summed up here: boys drinking each other’s urine as punishment for sleeping with the same girl several times on holiday, sex games on boat parties, heterosexual boys, so on heat they ‘resort’ to kissing one another when failing to pull and near fatal accidents dancing on bar and table tops. Oh and the many, many, operations on penises. One Dr described a penis injury due to a tongue piercing as nothing he’d quite seen before. Nice. Ginormous cotton buds were then duly forced down ‘there’ in search of potential disease.
Young men complained the size of the buds there were much larger than back in Blighty. Papa G remarked in his hilarious commentary as we watched, the posters of these aforementioned cotton buds should be plastered in airports with warnings of STD’s and then maybe then, these teens would behave responsibly. I very much doubt it.
Seriously, I honestly worry for the girls and boys there who might feel pressured to ‘put out’ as their peers are doing, with the fallback validation that ‘what happens in Kavos, stays in Kavos’ so it’s OK to lose all inhibitions.
The question is should these things ever happen in the first place? A shot of urine anyone? Now it’s well documented in the press that this series has frankly shocked my generation (a mere ten years ahead at 30+) yet it feels as if so much has changed in a decade, more boundaries crossed, new territories of craziness uncovered.
My own experiences of party holidays to Ayia Napa in Cyprus or Falaraki and even Marbella in my teens seem, thankfully, tame in comparison. Yes, there was drinking and some sex but no, no one smashed their spine or found themselves in A&E (each night) and urine was most definitely not consumed. Ever. So I ask you, what has happened to good old fashioned fun?
“Now our generation has got it so crap, we need to go out and let our hair down”
The excuse of the contributors as we were reminded at the end of each episode’s opening montage almost as a disclaimer/way of excuse was, “Now our generation has got it so crap, we need to go out and let our hair down”. Really? Like this? This is the way to get back at hikes in university tuition fees and an overcrowded job market? Yes this is the way to do it, well done, your future employers will think so highly of you.
A lot of these escapades were pretty scary to watch. That girl having an STD test on TV is someone’s daughter, that young man left unconscious after a night of clubbing, (luckily revived) someone’s son/ brother/ future husband (the latter maybe not, if they ever watch this show that is). To me, this generation seems to want a hyperreal experience as nothing feels ‘real’ anymore unless it’s taken to the extreme, be it sex, drink or even hospital treatment.
The walk-in centre in the series had simply become an extension of the nightlife scene there, where lines were blurred and scars, casts and wounds, worn as medals.
It totally reminded me of this clip below, like the drunken animals of Africa, the voice over states, “Life offers no challenge, the only excitement comes in high summer when the Marula trees are in full fruit…ripe…” Watch and see what I mean…
So, who is going to take responsibility? The parents? The nightclub owners selling alcohol for next to nothing prices-desperate for tourists, or the teens themselves?
It’s as if those Brits enter another world when they arrive at Kavos customs, to a world where anything goes. Like when Pandora opened her box (excuse the pun) in Greek mythology, releasing the world’s ills-the holidaymakers wait, passports in hand, ready to consume its contents. One young man proudly remarks that this is the place to come if you’re a virgin…and that you can even lose ‘it’ as soon as you arrive at the airport. Hedonism indeed, but at what price?
One young man proudly remarks that this is the place to come if you’re a virgin…and that you can even lose ‘it’ as soon as you arrive at the airport. Hedonism indeed, but at what price?
Social mores and common sense disperse there in the heat but will self-respect and dignity return when the holiday is over?