La Revista The BritishSpanish Society Magazine | Issue 238 | Autumn 2014
ELTheGRECO 4th Centenary
lthough not Spanish by birth, El Greco is still one of the most celebrated painters of the Spanish Renaissance. This year celebrates 400 years since his death, with the Fundación El Greco established to mark the occasion with major exhibitions in Toledo, where the painter spent most of his working life, and Madrid. In London, the BritishSpanish Society hosted a special tribute concert to commemorate the centenary at St James’ Church in Spanish Place, with music from Coro Cervantes and commentary from Spanish art historian Dr Xavier Bray. It was a fitting homage to the painter, whose influence can be seen in art and music created since then until today. For this issue of La Revista, we have further explored the artistic and musical connections present in El Greco’s work. Nuria Reina takes a closer look at the painter’s lasting impact on the art world on page 15 while the musical symbolism in his paintings and the influence of contemporary music are discussed on pages 14 and 18. Many readers will be familiar with A Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest, reinterpreted for our cover by upcoming illustrator Jessamy Hawke. Some believe this to be a self-portrait, but it may also be one of several noblemen he painted - either way, it’s a striking image. The BritishSpanish Society also has a big anniversary coming up: in 2016 we will reach our centenary. From its origins as an Anglo-Spanish league of friendship, created to forge good relations between the UK and Spain during the First World War when a neutral Spain was in danger of moving closer to Germany, the Society as it stands today has over 600 members and continues to grow. If you’re not yet a member, this is the best time to join as lots will be happening over the coming months. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this issue!
Amy Bell La Revista Executive Editor: Jimmy Burns Marañón Editor: Amy Bell Corporate Supporters/Advertising/Scholarships: Marian Jiménez-Riesco Development Secretary: María Soriano Casado Events: Lucia Cawdron, Carmen Young, Beatriz Gago Vazquez (Secretary) Membership, Finance, and Website Secretary: Virginia Cosano Design: Amy Bell Published by the BritishSpanish Society Honorary President: His Excellency Federico Trillo-Figueroa, Spanish Ambassador Chairman: Jimmy Burns Marañón Vice-Chairman: Sir Stephen Wright Vice-Presidents (Organisation/Strategy): Christopher Nason, José Ivars (Corporates) Jaime Arranz Coque (Treasurer) Other members of the Executive Council: Fidel López Alvarez (ex-officio), Paul Pickering, Scott Young, Jaime-Enrique Hugas, Julio Crespo MacLennan (ex-officio), María Victoria Yuste Gas, Sir Stephen Wright, Javier Fernández Hidalgo, Lady Brennan, Miguel Fernández-Longoria (Scholarships), Sarah Galea, Harriet McKenzie Gala events: David Hurst 102 Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AN www.britishspanishsociety.org
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The next issue of La Revista is due to appear in early 2015. The opinions expressed throughout this issue represent those of the authors and contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the BritishSpanish Society or those of their supporters. The BritishSpanish Society is a registered charity: 1080250
CONTENTS Issue 238 SOCIETY NEWS
Christy Callaway Gale
Jimmy Burns Marañón
Isabel del Río
Nuria Reina Bachot
Tomás Hill López-Menchero
4 6 7 8 10 12
Scholarship Awards Ceremony Bar&Co, Spain vs Chile, Haciendas networking The Chelsea Flower Show Annual Summer Party Upcoming Society Events El Greco Tribute Concert at St. James’ Church
14 15 18 19 20 23 24 25 26 28 29 30 31 33 34 35 37 38 40 41 42
The Music of El Greco Cuatrocientos años sin El Greco The Sacred Music of Toledo Triste y Herencia by Joaquin Sorolla A Home away from Home: Spanish immigration Diaries of a Beginner Journalist in La Paz Zaeem Jamal and The Power of Radiance Obituary: Emilio Botín Sir John Moore - A Hero in Galicia Update from the Spanish Chamber of Commerce Crónica de una profesora de ELE The IMSERSO Saga: A Spanish Success Story Ouibyou: diseño de joyas Rincón de libros: Cañas y guitarra La Peña Flamenca: 30 Years and Counting Review of Punishment without Revenge at the Globe Theatre &Art and Culture courses in Andalucia The Rio Tinto Mines in Huelva Yomemimo: Una filosofía de vida Spain lost the World Cup: Long Live La Roja! What does the future hold for Iker Casillas? Review of H10 Three O Two Restaurant
Issue 238 Contributors Cover image by Jessamy Hawke www.jessamyhawke.co.uk
For all editorial contributions or to comment on an article you have read in La Revista, please write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org To enquire about advertising opportunities (including classified adverts) please contact: email@example.com Autumn 2014 • La Revista 3
The formal presentation of this year’s awards at the Ambassador’s residence Over a hundred leading representatives of the diplomatic, corporate, and academic world attended the the BritishSpanish Society’s annual scholarship awards ceremony at the London Belgravia residence of the Spanish Ambassador in May.
he occasion marked the seventh year of the Society’s prestigious programme, which celebrated the successes of five British and Spanish students who were awarded a full scholarship in collaboration with our five Principal Supporters – BBVA, Ferrovial Aeropuertos, Telefonica, Santander and BUPA. This year five further bursaries or grants were awarded to deserving British and Spanish students, which have been made possible by the generosity of our members through various fundraising events throughout the past year.
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The Spanish Ambassador to the UK and the Society’s Honorary President, HE Federico Trillo-Figueroa generously opened his residence for the occasion, expressing his full support to the Society in its mission of building cultural and educational links between the people of Spain and Britain. He told the new scholars that they were deserving winners after a tough selection process,and had a responsibility to help contribute to a better future with their investigations, and studies. BritishSpanish Society Chairman Jimmy Burns Marañon said the scholarship programme was a good example of a positive collaboration between the voluntary and private sector, together with the meritorious students involved, “unlocking the potential of young minds, chanelling investment into the future by supporting research, investigation and learning that we believe will be of benefit to both the UK and Spain, and be an
inspiration to move forward.” The fields of the awards this year included advanced engineering for infrastructure sustainability; separate medical and scientific research into Alzeimer’s and hip replacements; costume design; monetary policy and risk-taking; architectural education; and diplomatic relations between Spain and the Muslim world. Major UK and Spanish universities were represented at the ceremony including Cambridge and Oxford, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Madrid, and Navarra. Since the inception of the scholarship programme in 2008, the BritishSpanish Society has awarded scholarships and bursaries to over 40 British and Spanish post-graduate students conducting research in fields as diverse as urban planning, marine archaeology, physics, and music. By our social correspondent Photos by Richard Barker
Autumn 2014 • La Revista 5
All Aboard: Fiesta on the Thames
ith London basking in its first heat of the summer, what better place for a BritishSpanish Society networking event than aboard Jorge Gallardo’s boat Bar&Co, the coolest Latino venue on the Thames? The upper deck, otherwise known as ‘El Bar Ibiza’ greeted dozens of members and their friends, as succulent made-to-order chorizos and hamburgers sizzled, and cold beer, wine, and imaginative cocktails flowed . Gallardo is not only un buen tio , he is both a corporate and long serving individual member of the Society. He and his similarly simpatico staff put out all the stops to make this a fun and worthwhile network gathering on a boat strategically anchored at Temple Pier, mid-way between Westminster and the City and with spectacular views of some
of London’s iconic sites. The evening included free raffle prices of the Hand of God and La Roja, two best-selling football books by author and journalist Jimmy Burns, the Society’s Chairman. Jimmy thanked Jorge and the Society’s events team for their hard work in ensuring a great turn-out which will help the growing Society’s fund-raising for its scholarship programme and other cultural activities aimed at promoting friendship between the peoples of the UK and Spain. The large turnout of 20 and 30 yearolds, several of whom went on dancing into the late hours, showed the growing popularity of the Society among the younger generation, although older members also enjoyed themselves hugely. By our social correspondent
La Copa Mundial
Tension in the air watching Spain vs Chile
embers of the BritishSpanish and Anglo-Chile societies gathered together at NH Hotel in London to watch this key decider match in June.
All photos on this page by Isabel Esquivias
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Drinks and networking
ociety members were treated to a memorable networking evening at The Haciendas on 15th May. The perfect spring evening weather provided an ideal backdrop to inspiring views across the Thames and equally delightful wines and tapas. Amid much animated conversation, members and guests were guided through a selection of superb cava, Rioja, Rueda and Ribero del Duero classics. An expert carver could scarcely keep up with demand for fine premium ibéricos from La Hacienda, an organic farm in Salamanca, and the selection of cheeses on offer was excellent. By Jules Stewart
The Chelsea Flower Show
Photos: Charles Lowe and Scott Young
Isabel del Rio and Charles Lowe, both members of the BritishSpanish Society, celebrated their 3rd wedding anniversary at the Chelsea Flower Show. The visit to the show was organised by the Society, and it gave us all a chance to get last minute tickets and enjoy the wonderful company of our friends and colleagues.
here are some things that never seem to change about the Chelsea Flower Show – there always seem to be too many people, it’s always about to rain, and there always seem to be many more gold medals awarded than bronze (11 vs 3 this year in the gardens, 56 vs 1 in the pavilion). However it’s still a brilliant place to visit, whether you just go for an afternoon or evening, or spend the whole day there. For those unfamiliar, the show is set in the grounds of the famous Chelsea Hospital: there are always a few suitablyuniformed Chelsea Pensioners around to remind you of that, and pose for photos. The show comprises a number of pop-up gardens – some with incredibly elaborate water features – and a huge pavilion containing more delicate displays. The gardens are sponsored by a commercial or charitable organisation (this year’s top prize went to the Laurent Perrier garden). The displays in the pavilion are put on mainly by commercial nursery organisations selling plants, bulbs or seeds, although there are a few put on by others, such as this year’s top prize-winner, “The South West in Bloom”. UK Horticulture Waitrose & National Farmers' Union always put on an intriguing display involving mass displays of perfect and uniform fruit and vegetables including very unseasonal (for May) & unusual plants, an example of the former being blackberries and of the latter, kohlrabi. Outside, in between the pavilion and the show gardens, are the really commercial stalls, selling any number of different outdoor seating systems, overpriced garden statuary, tools you never realised you needed and other garden essentials. To make full use of that on display would certainly require a large garden, and an even larger budget. For the smaller commercial organisations, there is also a long alley featuring more modest purchases like hand tools, tea towels, waterproof leather gumboots and plant supports. For a reason that mystifies me, whenever we are walking towards the show, there are no end of people returning to Sloane Square tube station, each with at least one metal plant support fashioned in a spiral like a giant corkscrew without a handle. Food and drink can be had around the perimeter of the pavilion, where there is a wide choice of provider (although at popular times almost no choice of where to sit). More formal catering arrangements exist for those wanting, so to speak, to make a meal of it. We have found that the restaurants outside the show offer excellent refreshments and never seem to be hard to get in to. It is important to remember though that you cannot re-enter the show on the same ticket, so a morning walking around followed by lunch, or an afternoon followed by dinner work well; the success of a good lunch followed by a walk around all depends on how good the lunch has been! One of these days I’ll crack how to get invited into one of the gardens: as we are forcing our way through the milling crowds just to get a glimpse of another gold medal-winning garden, sitting next to the elaborate water feature on a bench that surely would not survive a good downpour intact are a group of people being entertained by the sponsor, effortlessly sipping their Pimms or their champagne. That’s where I’d like to be; that’s what I’d like to be doing! Speaking of downpours, was that a drop of rain? Oh and there’s another. This year the rain held off heroically until we really needed to go anyway, and there were just a few spots. By Charles Lowe
Autumn 2014 • La Revista 7
Annual Summer Party
ver three hundred attended the BritishSpanish Society’s summer party at the residence of the Spanish Ambassador. On a warm, dry evening, the event proved more popular than ever, drawing in young and older members and their guests to a convivial reception of wonderful tapas by Hispania, wine and cava by Wines of Spain, and health juices by Purifyne. The residence’s beautifully decorated rooms and ample balcony ensured genial conversation, as well as movement, with enthusiastic couples dancing to the latino music provided by the talented pianist and composer Antimo Magnotta and his band and the gifted singer Benedetta Baldassari. The Spanish Ambassador HE Federico Trillo-Figueroa was unable to attend but sent word via his deputy head of mission Enrique Ojeda that he was honoured that the Society could celebrate in his residence, a home to “all those who promote a better understanding between our nations, a better relationship between our two countries.” Mr Ojeda paid tribute to the work done by the BritishSpanish Society to bring the peoples of Britain and Spain closer together, a mission it has pursued for nearly one hundred years. The Society will be celebrating its centenary in 2016. “In all this time the BritishSpanish Society has been able to stand out as the institution where different people from very different backgrounds are willing to share their cultural identities and common interests, and in doing so you, the more than 700 members of the Society, are representing the strongest link joining our two great nations, the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain, “Mr Ojeda said. Noting with some humour that the Society’s Chairman Jimmy Burns Marañón had failed in his mission to ensure that that Spain and England would reach the finals of the World Cup, Mr Ojeda nevertheless praised the success of the Society’s scholarship programme for British and Spanish post-graduates. The Chairman thanked the embassy, the Society’s events team led by Carmen Young, the musicians, the embassy and its staff for helping to make it a wonderful event, and for guests to contributing to the charity’s fund raising efforts.
By our social correspondent. Photos: Richard Barker
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Beatriz Gago and Marian Riesco
Javier Fernandez Hidalgo, Jimmy Burns Marañon, Fidel López
Scott and Carmen Young
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UPCOMING SOCIETY EVENTS Key dates for your diary October - December 2014
Our full programme of events can be found at www.britishspanishsociety.org/whats-on. For tickets please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or purchase via our website. Payment can also be made by bank transfer (account details online) or via cheque (to the BritishSpanish Society, 102 Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AN)
Family Visit: Exclusive Talk at the Roald Dahl Museum Visit the little award-winning Museum, situated in the village where Roald Dahl lived and wrote for 36 years. The Museum, aimed at 6 to 12 year olds, features three interactive galleries. Boy Gallery looks at Roald Dahl's school days while Solo Gallery houses his original Writing Hut. The Story Centre puts your imagination centre-stage with fantabulous activities to inspire the writer in you. Date and Time: Saturday 4th October Venue: Roald Dahl Museum, 81-83 High Street, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16 0AL Tickets: Members: £10 for adults, £8 for children under 18. Email email@example.com Guests will travel independently to Great Missenden which is situated in the heart of Buckinghamshire 20 miles northwest of London. For directions by car, train and bus see: www.roalddahl.com/museum/visit/getting-here
Presentation of Hispanomania by Tom Burns Date and Time: Thursday 6th November, 6.30 pm Venue: Auditorium, Instituto Cervantes Londres, 102 Eaton Square London SW1 W9AN Tickets: £5 Members and £7 non-members. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Burns Marañón was educated at Oxford University, where he studied under Sir Raymond Carr. He has lived and worked in Madrid for many years contributing to major international and Spanish publications including The Financial Times, Newsweek, the Washington Post, El Mundo, and Expansion. He is a director of Eurocofin, the media and financial consultancy, a regular conference speaker and the author of several books on Spanish politics. Hispanomania is his widely acclaimed account of how Anglo-Saxon writers from Ford to Hemingway have viewed Spain through the centuries. A new expanded edition includes views by French writers.
Christmas Party Date and Time: Thursday 11th December, 6.30 to 9.30pm Venue: Auditorium, Instituto Cervantes, 102 Eaton Square London SW1 W9AN Tickets: Available from October Join us for the annual society Christmas party hosted at the Cervantes Institute, with food and drinks from Iberica.
BritishSpanish Society ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Tuesday 21st October 6-8pm Sala Luis Vives Spanish Embassy
All members welcome Entrance is limited to 80 guests and is granted free of charge on a first come first served basis to members.
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102 Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AN Tel. +44 (0)207 235 0353 Email. email@example.com visit. www.london.cervantes.es
El Greco Tribute Concert A memorable tribute concert to the artist as part of the 4th centenary celebrations A large and expectant audience filled the imposing central aisle of one of London’s most distinguished churches on 16th September for the BritishSpanish Society’s tribute to El Greco, and they were not disappointed.
“lleno hasta la bandera,” or full house, gave a standing ovation at the end of a memorable evening in words, painting, and music, with commentary and a slide-show by the eminent Spanish art expert Dr Xavier Bray, and songs and instrumental music from the time of El Greco by the Coro Cervantes. In his introduction, Dr Bray said the event, in the magnificent Church of St James’s Spanish Place, represented one of El Greco’s central aesthetic ideas – that the most sublime sacred art should be a combination of various forms , including painting, music, and other iconic imagery such as sculpture. He then went on to chart El Greco’s life from his early beginnings in Crete to Toledo where he lived for nearly four decades and died in 1614 - each stage of his inspired commentary leading to a similarly uplifting selection of choral music conducted by Carlos Aransay. The Coro Cervantes’ impressive repertoire ranged from an early Greek chant to music by some of the great Spanish 16th century composers including Rodrigo de Ceballos, Alonso de Tejeda, Cristobal de Morales, and Tomas Luis de Victoria. Along with Bray and Aransay’s masterly grasp of their subject, what made the event particularly memorable was the quality and versatility of the choir, with an extraordinary instrumental solo on vihuela by the young musician Pedro Alcacer Doria. In his welcome address, the Society’s
Pedro Alcacer Doria and the vihuela
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Chairman Jimmy Burns Marañón noted that while the Society’s musical events had always been popular, the El Greco evening in St James Spanish Place was of a special nature because of the subject and the venue. The Church building has a long history of association with the Spanish embassy and the British-Spanish community in London symbolised by the personal standard of King Alfonso X111’s which is in a frame over the sacristy door. “This 400th anniversary of El Greco offers an opportunity to refresh our perspective on an artist who was only half understood in his own lifetime and completely misunderstood for two centuries and yet has become universally recognised not only as a religiously inspirational figure but also a forerunner of modernity- from the impressionists to the present day- an ‘artist’s artist’, Burns said. Recalling his own childhood in his grandfather Gregorio Marañón’s home overlooking Toledo, Burns spoke of the enduring memory he had of “the magnificent rays of sunset breaking through the dark clouds over the town,” and of The Burial of the Conde de Orgaz in the Church of Santo Tome, two of the many transcendent scenes depicted by El Greco in his unique work. The fund-raising event was supported by the Spanish Embassy’s Office for Cultural & Scientific Affairs, with His Excellency
The Coro Cervantes
the Spanish Ambassador Federico TrilloFigueroa as Guest of Honour. Other collaborating organisations helped promote the event including The Iberian & Latin American Music Society, ARTES, the Anglo-Latin American Foundation, the Anglo-Chilean and Anglo-Argentine Societies, the Stonyhurst Association, and the Association of European Journalists. Following the concert, the Society held a reception in the Church crypt where guests were treated to a wonderful array of wines kindly donated by TheOneWine Co and Rodriguez de Vera, and some delicious pinchos provided by Bilbao Berria. The event was made possible thank to the selfless commitment of Lucia Cawdron’s organising committee: David Hurst, Carmen Young, Beatriz Gago, Maria Soriano, Marian Jimenez, Virginia Cosano, Harriet McKenzie, Paul Pickering, Sarah Galea, and Lady Brennan- and programme sellers The Hon Kidge Burns and Julia Burns. With thanks too to the Clergy at St James’s Church for their kindness in hosting the event: The Reverend Christopher G.Colven (Rector), The Reverend Nicholas Kavanagh, The Reverend David J.Irwing, the Very Reverend Monsignor Francis C. Jamieson as well as to Sue and Chis for their help with the practical arrangements. By our social correspondent Photos by Kumar Rege
Autumn 2014 • La Revista 13
The Music of El Greco
The centenary of El Greco’s death has been especially celebrated in Spain and particularly in Toledo, where he lived for the last 37 years of his life. In fact, his greatest artistic accomplishments, those that we associate with the artist so strongly today, were created in this very town that welcomed him and where he remained until his death. any different exhibitions and concerts have followed this year in his honour, and in London, thanks to the British Spanish Society, we also have had the great opportunity to hear a fantastic concert curated by Dr Xavier Bray and Carlos Aransay. Explanations of El Greco’s paintings were accompanied by the Cervantes chorus led by Aransay. The ensemble rendered a fascinating musical portrait of the sound world that surrounded El Greco in Toledo. The programme featured music of some of the Chapel Masters in Toledo during the painter’s time in the city, as well as examples of music by Francisco Guerrero and Tomás Luis de Victoria amongst others, giving a varied example of what constitutes the Spanish musical Siglo de Oro. The importance of the Primada Cathedral in Toledo cannot be stressed enough when talking about the music of this period. At the time it rivalled with that of Seville, commissioning and competing for the finest musicians. In fact, Toledo’s importance was so significant that for centuries, the Spanish chant was referred to as canto toledano. There is much to be gained from examining musical elements in El Greco's works. Paradoxically though, one of the most famous quotes by the Master reads “I don't know anything about music”. This was found written by El Greco in the margins of an Italian edition of Dell’architectura, by Marcus Vitruvius. However, we can also read from his very own hand various other reflections about art theory, some of them quite advanced for the time that also apply to music. For instance, Theotokópoulos points out that the valid artistic judgement is not to be found through numbers or proportions but through the senses: the eyes for the fine artist and the judgement of the ear in the case of the musician. To further enrich our image about the Greek painter and his relationship with music, we can quote Jusepe Martinez, a Spanish treatise writer of the XVII century. He states that El Greco had musicians employed in his own home so that he could enjoy music during meal times. However, the veracity of this assertion is not entirely clear. For one, Martínez was only 13 years old when El Greco passed away and moreover, there is no other evidence supporting this. We might never know. But let us look at the paintings themselves. There are no more than a total of ten canvases that hold musical elements in them. Nevertheless, what remains significant throughout is the great level of accuracy in the instruments’ depiction. Only one of them does not correspond to a real instrument of the period, belonging rather to his imagination: a rather peculiar harp found in the painting of The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. In other examples, however, we find faithfully portrayed flutes, viola da gabas, lutes, harps, vihuelas and an exquisite spinet, as well as angels shown singing. As relevant as the inclusion of these instruments is, some pictures speak louder to us through their staggering silence. For example in the painting mentioned above, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, it is really significant that there is not any music depicted accompanying the funeral itself, where we know that music would have been a prominent feature considering the importance of the occasion. But in this painting, the scene that happens on earth remains in complete silence, whilst it is
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The Martyrdom of Saint Maurice, El Greco. Wikimedia
only in the superior half of the picture, in heaven, where we find the harp in representing King David. Other puzzling omissions are found in the Saint Jerome Cardinal and The Martyrdom of Saint Maurice and the Theban Legion paintings. In the first example the trumpet of the final judgment, one of the key iconographic elements to characterize this Saint, is missing. As described in the apocryphal letter attributed to him, an angel makes the appeal to the final judgment with this instrument. What is relevant of the second painting is that there are not any war instruments at all amongst the flanks of the legion, whilst we can see (maybe also hear?) angels singing and playing the flute, lute and the vihuela in heaven. In fact, this contraposition between the sonorous supernatural/heavenly world and the silent earth is the most consistent element in El Greco’s painting when considering music in his oeuvre. Moreover, the music that is depicted corresponds with the chamber music settings he would have heard in Venice or in the Farnese Palace in Rome before his time in Toledo. Quite an interesting contradiction when we observe that it is the palace music, as opposed to religious music, which is played by the angels in heaven. It remains an open question whether this is due to a particular philosophical or musical aesthetic, or merely an effect to highlight the antithesis, or the “contrapposto manierista”. In any case, what really stands out in his portrayal of music in painting is the natural attitude and realism that El Greco gives his angel musicians. Instead of having them all playing at the same time, as is more the case for pictures of the period, his angels are looking at each other, taking turns when to play. We can sense them listening to one another and in fact, making music together. A real concertante situation which comes to show that at least at some level when dealing with music, El Greco “did know”.
By Maite Aguirre
Cuatrocientos años sin El Greco: el pintor de las lágrimas que no brotan
ualquiera que estos días decida darse un paseo por Toledo percibirá que la ciudad ha sido tomada desde hace meses por un cretense. Responde al nombre de Doménikos Theotokópoulos y amenaza con ocuparla hasta final de año, por lo menos. Esta metáfora recién sacada de la chistera no es solo un ardid literario sino una realidad. Para el mundo de la cultura, el 2014 ha sido y es el año de El Greco. Tanto es así, que ha sido necesaria la creación de una institución, la Fundación El Greco 2014, para poder agrupar todos los actos conmemorativos del Cuarto Centenario de su muerte. Los homenajes abarcan desde exposiciones y conferencias, hasta cursos monográficos, conciertos y la creación de un sello y una moneda en su honor. Ante semejante despliegue, tal vez muchos se pregunten el porqué de esta Grecomanía en nuestros días. Para explicarlo, deberíamos remontarnos al 7 de abril de 1614. Tras la muerte del artista, su figura y obra se sumieron en el olvido y en la penumbra durante un largo periodo de tiempo: tres siglos, nada menos. No fue hasta mediados del XIX cuando un grupo de románticos franceses como el poeta y crítico Theophile Gautier, Paul Lefort y Gustave Doré y luego, otros tantos intelectuales modernistas como Rusiñol y Unamuno, decidieron rescatar al artista de esa profunda oscuridad y
devolverle la luz que se merecía. ¿Qué hicieron? Patrocinar su obra de distintas maneras. Tanto Gautier como Lefort y Doré realizaron un recorrido por España que derivó en obras posteriores donde se ensalzaba la figura de El Greco, el genio loco, el precursor del Impresionismo y el espejo de la mística castellana. Rusiñol, por ejemplo, compró en París dos de sus trabajos más importantes, como las Lágrimas de San Pedro y la Magdalena Penitente, los cuales acabarían expuestos en el Museo Cau Ferrat de Sitges. Cabe mencionar que el traslado de dichas obras fue multitudinario y en procesión cívico-religiosa y no faltó ni la banda municipal, ni las flores lanzadas desde los balcones. Además, realizó una copia de El caballero de la mano en el pecho y promovió la construcción de una estatua en su honor, inaugurada en 1898 en Sitges. Por su parte, Unamuno en su ensayo titulado El Greco, calificó la obra del cretense como un reflejo de la esencia hispana, lograda a partir de una fusión del espíritu y paisajes españoles. Desde luego, su admiración queda patente cuando afirmó: Vino acaso buscando El Escorial, donde quería trabajar, y halló nuestra alma. Llegado 1914, Toledo acogió la celebración de los actos conmemorativos del Tercer Centenario, los cuales incluyeron conferencias, obras de divulgación, conciertos y una exposición el Museo de
por Nuria Reina Bachot
El Greco, inaugurado en 1910, la cual por supuesto, atrajo el turismo internacional. Todos estos hechos ayudaron a configurar una nueva visión del pintor y fueron el pistoletazo de salida para su reconocimiento universal. En este proceso fue de vital importancia señalar la influencia del artista sobre otros pintores. A veces, esta huella se materializó en el uso de la paleta greconiana, como fue el caso de Manet, que copiaba sus grises, blancos y negros. En otras ocasiones, su rastro se percibía en la reproducción de su estilo anguloso, como reflejan las Señoritas de Avignon, de Picasso o en la construcción del cuerpo como se puede contemplar en Los Bañistas de Cezanne o en la distorsión de la realidad, como hizo Van Gogh en sus cielos y Munch, con su Grito. Pollock, por su parte, admiraba la aparente libertad de sus trazos, que en realidad era un prodigioso estudio de líneas y colores. Por supuesto, la influencia de El Greco llegó a ser en ocasiones muy directa, pues algunos se atrevieron con versiones de El Caballero de la Mano en el Pecho, como Modigliani y Cezanne con su Dama del Armiño. En definitiva, la lista de autores con un toque Greconiano sería muy extensa y se quedarían en el tintero nombres como Diego Rivera y Kokoschka, entre otros. Además, cabe señalar que su influencia traspasó la pintura y llegó hasta la Gran Pantalla. Así lo han reflejado Adolfo de Autumn 2014 • La Revista 15
EL GRECO Mingo Lorente y Palma Martínez-Burgos en su libro El Greco y el Cine, publicado por CELYA, donde analizan diferentes biopics que se han hecho sobre el autor, junto a otras curiosidades cinematográficas. Con todo este trasfondo históricoartístico es comprensible la necesidad imperiosa de reorganizar toda la información para hacer accesible al gran público lo que el Greco nos dejó. La tarea, que no era fácil, ha sido llevada a cabo por La Fundación El Greco, diversas instituciones nacionales e internacionales y expertos como Leticia Ruiz, comisaría de la exposición de Arte y Oficio, que tuvo lugar el 9 de septiembre en el Museo de Santa Cruz, Toledo. Leticia Ruiz, Doctora en Historia del Arte y Jefe del Departamento de Pintura Española del Renacimiento, ha logrado reunir obras de El Greco traídas de museos de todo el mundo, entre ellos el Metropolitan de Nueva York y de colecciones privadas como las de Reino Unido. A este respecto, la señora Ruiz ha tenido la amabilidad de conceder una pequeña entrevista que mostramos a
Entrevista con Leticia Ruiz
Jefe del Departamento de Pintura Española del Renacimiento
continuación. n general, ¿podría decirnos cómo ha sido la experiencia de este intercambio artístico? ¿Ha participado con anterioridad en otra actividad cultural en la que estuviera involucrada Gran Bretaña? Un proyecto expositivo es siempre un esfuerzo enorme que nos pone a prueba en muchos aspectos; pero siempre se aprende y disfruta, especialmente en el montaje, cuando las ideas se concretan de verdad. Al tratarse de una exposición tan especial, el trabajo ha sido algo más duro pero más fascinante aún. Me considero una privilegiada por haber podido hacer esta exposición. Como conservadora del Museo del 16 La Revista • Autumn 2014
Previous page: La dama del armiño, El Greco Lágrimas de San Pedro, El Greco. Museo del Greco Toledo El caballero de la mano en el pecho, El Greco
Prado, he podido colaborar en muchas ocasiones con otras instituciones británicas; siempre satisfactoriamente. Una de las claves de esta exposición es la novedad de mostrar obras del taller de El Greco, como la Adoración de Los pastores, de Diego de Astor, colección privada, Londres. ¿De qué manera podemos seguir aprendiendo de El Maestro a través de su escuela? Desgraciadamente no contaremos con la estampa de Diego de Astor de colección londinense. No conseguimos respuesta se sus propietarios, por lo que volveremos a contar con la estampa del Metropolitan Museum de Nueva York.
En la entrevista que usted concedió a la 2 de TVE, enumeró las dificultades que implica organizar una exposición de este calibre, entre ellas el coste de los préstamos. Para los profanos en la materia: -¿podría explicarnos brevemente qué pasos se siguen desde la solicitud de un préstamo hasta que la obra llega a su lugar destino? La selección parte de un discurso o idea expositiva. Hay que buscar obras que encajen en esa idea y en el espacio en que se desarrollará. Trazamos un proyecto ideal y se solicita y explica al prestador potencial los motivos, fechas y las condiciones del espacio donde se desarrollará la muestra. Si la respuesta es positiva,
EL GRECO El Greco Doménikos Theotokópoulos (1541 - 1614) Born in Crete. Trained and became a master of Post-Byzantine art Aged 26 he travelled to Venice. In 1570 he moved to Rome and began to develop his painting style with elements of Mannerism and the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577 he moved to Toledo in Spain, where he lived and worked until his death in 1614. Clockwise from top left: Lágrimas de San Pedro (detalle), El Greco Piedad, Van Gogh. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam Laoconte y Los Bañistas, Cezanne. National Gallery, Washington Cabeza de Cristo, EL Greco. Art Museum San Antonio, Texas Washington Entierro del Conde Orgaz, El Greco. Iglesia de Santo Tomé, Toledo El Expolio, El Greco. Catedral Santa María Toledo
se inicia la programación de todos los aspectos burocráticos y los relacionados con el movimiento y traslado, teniendo en cuenta todos los requerimientos y condiciones que hayan señalado los prestadores; asunto muy complejo y profesionalizado. Y para terminar y soñando un poco, imaginemos que no existieran trabas económicas ni burocráticas ni de cualquier índole, para realizar un intercambio de dos obras entre la National Gallery de Londres y el Museo del Prado ¿Cuáles elegiría? Con la National Gallery tenemos una relación muy fluida y amigable, donde podemos intercambiar numerosas obras
maestras. La exposición antológica que se celebró en 2003 contó con un buen elenco de grecos del Prado.
eticia Ruiz es una de las personas que ha sabido divulgar la complejidad de los mensajes de El Greco. Un ejemplo es su clara explicación acerca del origen –tan discutidode las figuras alargadas de El Greco. Según la historiadora, el recurso no obedece a un defecto físico sino más bien a una forma de acercar a los personajes retratados a lo divino, tal y como puede verse en El Entierro del Conde Orgaz. En la obra, puede apreciarse el alargamiento de las figuras en la zona celestial y la perfecta proporción de los rostros
en la zona terrenal. El trabajo de Leticia Ruiz es parte del engranaje que ha logrado esa Grecomanía de la que hablábamos al principio. Ahora, El Greco ya no es solo un asunto de intelectuales y artistas, sino parte de todos los ciudadanos que aman a Doménikos Theotokópoulos, un hombre que supo reflejar la espiritualidad de sus personajes a través de las lágrimas más dolorosas: las que no brotan.
Autumn 2014 • La Revista 17
The Sacred Music of Toledo
Award-winning British vocal group Ensemble Plus Extra, who specialise in the music of Renaissance Spain, were invited to perform at the El Greco 400th anniversary requiem mass in Toledo Cathedral. David Martin, Artistic Director of the Group, explains how Toledo came to influence El Greco’s work.
uch attention has surrounded the 400th anniversary of the death of El Greco in 2014 (and rightly so!), with festivals and exhibitions taking place all over the world. The Spanish city of Toledo, El Greco’s home for 37 years, has been at the centre of these anniversary celebrations. And yes, it is a celebration. - in marking the artist’s death, we are celebrating his life. From March to June 2014, the biggest exhibition to date of El Greco’s work took place in Toledo, presenting more than 100 of his paintings in one space. This exhibition was part of the year-long celebrations taking place in the ‘Imperial City’, promoted by the remarkable Fundación El Greco. On 7th April, the exact 400th anniversary,
Ensemble Plus Ultra
18 La Revista • Autumn 2014
a requiem mass took place in Toledo Cathedral, attended by members of the Spanish Royal Family, VIPs and the public alike. Ensemble Plus Ultra was honoured to be chosen to provide the music for that service, a key event in the cultural life of Spain. Ensemble Plus Ultra has, over the past decade, become one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of Renaissance Spain – the ‘Siglo de Oro’ – and has performed this music throughout the world. The ensemble’s discography numbers some 15 CD recordings of music of the Spanish masters, including Tomáas Luis de Victoria, Cristóobal de Morales, Alonso Lobo, Fernando de las Infantas, and Francisco Guerrero. To mark the El Greco anniversary, our new recording From Spain to Eternity, has been released on the Deutsche Grammophon label. This disc draws together music written in, or connected to, Toledo during the time El Greco was living and working there. We can be reasonably sure that the painter would have heard much of this music being performed for the first time in Toledo cathedral, and in doing so it could well have inspired (or at least influenced) his own work. The historian Richard Kagan, in describing the relationship between El Greco and the city of Toledo, said “El Greco and Toledo are one”. The artist’s own friend, Trinitarian Fray Hortensio Félix de Paravicino, said of him: “Crete gave him life and brushes, and Toledo gave him a better homeland where through death he began to achieve eternal life”. The archbishops of Toledo, presiding over the cathedral during that era, bestowed vast amounts of cultural patronage. This attracted the highest quality of artists and musicians alike to the city. Composers such as Cristóobal de Morales
and Alonso Lobo were employed in the position of maestro de capilla at the Cathedral. Much has been written about these two men and their music. Morales – described as “the light of Spain in music” – towers over the other musicians associated with Toledo. He spent only two years in the city, but in that time wrote some of his finest music and became known throughout the world. Morales eventually worked at the papal chapel in Rome. He was described by the 18th century biographer of papal musicians, Andrea Adami da Bolsena, as the most important composer to have worked there between Josquin des Prez and Palestrina. Ensemble Plus Ultra’s new recording repertoire also includes works by Alonso Lobo and Alonso de Tejeda. Lobo was trained at the cathedral in Seville, under the master Francisco Guerrero (who had himself studied with Morales). Lobo was appointed to his position in Toledo in 1593, where he remained until his return to Seville in 1604. In 1605, he was replaced by Alonso de Tejeda. That year was highly significant for Spanish music, art and literature: El Greco was putting the finishing touches to the altarpiece for the Hospital de la Caridad in Illescas, and a few miles away in Madrid, Cervantes was publishing the first edition of Don Quixote. Spanish musicologist Jorge Martín drew the ensemble’s attention to Tejeda’s music through his extensive research in the archives of Zamora cathedral, where three large books of his choral works survive, containing over 80 motets. We have chosen three of these to record on our album, and each of them, in their own way, is a masterpiece. Teajeda’s impassioned setting of the text Rex autem David is especially moving and heart-wrenching. El Greco’s magnificent late 16th century 15XX painting View of Toledo forms the cover of Ensemble Plus Ultra’s new CD, which brings together masterpieces composed by Lobo, Morales, Teajeda, and others. With its confidence, dramatic colours and spirit of discovery it is a fitting image for a wonderful year of music-making. Ensemble Plus Ultra will present their programme From Spain to Eternity as part of the St John’s Smith Square Christmas Festival, on 20th December this year – tickets are available from www.sjss.org.uk The ensemble’s CD recording, From Spain to Eternity, is available on the Deutsche Grammophon Archiv label and for online digital download on iTunes and Amazon. For more information on Ensemble Plus Ultra, and to join our free mailing list, please visit: www.ensembleplusultra.com
Triste y herencia by Joaquín Sorolla
Following Sotheby’s exclusive private viewing for Society members earlier this year and in advance of an auction of 19th Century European Paintings in December, Head of Department Adrian Biddell shares some insights into the Sorolla highlights which form part of the collection.
riste y herencia, (Sad Inheritance) was and remains one of Sorolla’s most iconic and challenging works (fig. 1). Concluding the artist’s interest in overtly religious and social-realist themes that had occupied him during the 1890s, the pleinair setting of young boys on El Cabanal beach, Valencia announced a turning point in Sorolla’s technical development and his international fortunes. Awarded highest honours when exhibited at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris for its accomplished execution and social-realist message, the outdoor setting presages the canvases of children by the seashore that would come to characterise his work of the next decade (fig. 2). Yet with its chorus of awkward, stumbling, and severely handicapped orphaned boys, coupled with the silhouette of the dark brooding form of the cloaked priest, today the painting is valued as much for the light filled preparatory oil sketches that led to its genesis as it is for the completed large scale composition. Many of the sketches for the finished work are well recorded, but one has only recently resurfaced. Previously known
only from its listing in the 1970 catalogue raisonné on the artist by Bernardino de Pantorba, and first illustrated in black and white in the exhibition on Sorolla at the Prado in 2009, it is published below for the first time in colour (fig. 3), and will be offered at auction (another first) in our London auction of 19th Century European Paintings on 10th December. The sketch shares significant features with the final composition, notably the setting – the high horizon line, the waves in the background, and the raised beach in the foreground. And many of the essential forms of the boys are also present in the oil sketch too, notably the striking pose of the central standing boy, but with his crutch not yet painted in. But present in the finished work but not in the sketch is the priest, the trio of boys in the left foreground, and the boy to the far right shielding his eyes from the sun. With the sea painted in a range of light, vibrant aquamarines, the whites of the waves rolling in in the middle distance, a quartet of jaunty sails on the horizon, and just a single figure in the foreground, the overall effect of the sketch is lighter and more spontaneous; more focused and dramatic. Certainly, without the more graphic afflictions of the children described in the finished work, and missing the overtly religious overtones of the larger painting, in today’s market the subject has a markedly wider audience. Sorolla himself had been palpably affected when first encountering the scene while on the beach sketching. He recounted: “… at a distance I saw a few naked boys in the sea watched over by the vigorous figure of a friar on the beach. Apparently they were from the Hospital of San Juan de Dios, the saddest detritus of society: blind, mad,
handicapped or leprous. I cannot tell you how strongly I was impressed – so much so that I lost no time in obtaining permission to work on the spot...” But by all accounts he had difficulty in finishing it, only being persuaded not to abandon it by his close friends, including the exhortations of the leading Naturalist writer of the day Vicente Blasco Ibánez. And, even when he had been convinced to submit the painting to the Exposition Universelle of 1900 he continued to worry. After shipping the work to Paris for the exhibition he wrote to his friend Pedro Moreno there: “I have painted it with my soul, but as it is very personal, I fear it will not be understood… This Sad Inheritance is my nightmare and my fear… I fear they [the critics] will attack me. I made it because I was struck by the power of the scene. It was so beautiful and so sad…” Of course Sorolla’s worries were unfounded, and following its peerless critical success at the Paris exhibition, in 1901 the painting took the highest award at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts in Madrid. Reassured, and marking a watershed moment in his career, Sorolla offered at least three of the preparatory oil sketches of this talismanic work as gifts to artist friends and acquaintances: in 1903 to John Singer Sargent, in 1906 to William Merit Chase and in the same year the present painting to the French painter William-JulienEmile-Edouard Laparra (1873-1920). Fig. 1 Triste y herencia, Joaquín Sorolla. Valencia 1899 Collection Bancaja, Spain Fig. 2 Niños en la playa, Joaquín Sorolla. Private Collection Fig. 3 Sketch for Triste y herencia, Joaquín Sorolla. 1906, dedicated to William Laparra £150,000-250,000 To be sold in Sotheby’s sale of 19th Century European Paintings, London, 10th December
Autumn 2014 • La Revista 19
A Home away from Home
London thrives with a multitude of nationalities, with Spanish communities making a significant contribution to this cultural mix. While official figures vary, it is estimated that approximately 200, 000 Spaniards have made the capital their home, but do they really feel part of British society? What is the secret to feeling like a Londoner? Laura Gran investigates.
ollowing the Spanish recession, the number of Spaniards living in London has increased significantly. At the end of December 2013, statistics showed a 19% increase in applications for the National Insurance number from overseas adults in the UK. Much of this percentage includes citizens of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Poland. Spaniards are choosing England, and especially London, to start a new life. This was the situation of Paula Gómez (Torrelavega, 28 years old) almost four years ago. She studied Nursing in Santander, and following that spent six months preparing for public exams. She achieved a good mark, but it was not enough to get a job so she decided to come to London and take a midwifery course. A month later, in October 2010, she was here: “I didn’t have a place or a job, it was a total adventure, but I found a job in fifteen days”, she says. Since then she has been working in the same hospital. “Nowadays my life revolves around my job. I have an amazing relationship with my fellow workers. We are a great 20 La Revista • Autumn 2014
team, although we do not go out together for drinks”. Contrary to what might be assumed, she explains this is not a problem for her in terms of feeling integrated. Gómez explains that she has some English friends, but finds it easier to meet Spanish people to go out with because their way of life is so similar and they usually live independently. On the other hand, English people have their own friends, children, partners and lives, which makes it more complicated to hang out with them. Besides, in her opinion the English character is a little bit “cold”, which makes it more difficult to engage in relationships. John Moore, aged 69 and English, thinks that this is an “accurate perception of how we are”, but also believes that “a large of number of immigrants base themselves in areas where they congregate together, which is quite understandable; they want to be with people like themselves and to that extent they don’t integrate as much as they otherwise would”. Laura García, a 23-year-old Spanish publicist, agrees with this perspective. She came to London a year ago with a low level of English and the language barrier has been a problem for her. Even so, she has been able to establish some relationships with locals and emphasises that if she spoke fluent English she would still prefer to meet Spanish people due to the Latin personality traits. This point stirs up some controversy. While Moore thinks “there are not a lot of opportunities to meet and talk to people from abroad. I wouldn’t go up to talk to strangers and I don’t go to pubs or bars where you start chatting to someone you
don´t know”. Naoko Taoka (Londoner, 30 years old) thinks that “people in London are open-minded and it is quite easy to get on with them. There are maybe a few people who feel hard done by people coming in and taking their jobs, but they are not the majority”. Taoka also shares her idea of a stereotype of a Spanish person: “I often hear they are lazy, they like siestas, they don´t work very hard. This is just a blinding stereotype, not what I have experienced myself of Spanish people, you need to get to know people individually”. This might suggest that the integration of Spaniards would not be easy. However, both Spaniards interviewed agreed that this stereotype has not prevented them from getting a job. Actually, they are very grateful to London: “London has given me a great deal. I was in Spain with temporary jobs and when I arrived here I got a permanent one. I also had the opportunity to study in another language. London has offered me opportunities that I didn´t have in my own country”, says Paula Gómez. In her experience, Laura García appreciates “that London makes you grow, not only professionally, but as a person”. She came to London because she had come to the end of a job, and realised the importance of English in her professional life. However, this was not the first and only reason in her decision to move to England. “I had other problems and I decided that the best idea was to get my suitcase and try to make my life easier in another place with more opportunities”. Although her beginnings in the big city were hard, it helped her that “Eng-
lish people are very understanding. They are incredibly patient with those who don´t speak the language well. They try to understand us, to give us work, which is fundamental in a country with so many foreigners”. What is the most difficult part of living in London? According to Paula Gómez, “in this city everyone works a lot, people use their free time to rest and long distances make socialising and everything much more complicated”. Taoka also agrees with Gómez that there is not enough time for relaxing with friends, with people’s dedication to their workload. “London has a great variety of everything. There are ‘meetups’ for every type of race, religion and hobby. With the technology we have today, you only need to Google the type of activity you want to interact with and you are on your way to meeting like-minded people. I have millions of hobbies, but finally I spend my time either studying or working all day, and at the end, I don’t have much left in my pocket or the energy in me to go out and meet people.” London has something for every individual. Time and money seem to be the snag here in efforts to fully integrate within society. That is not to say it is impossible; London is a city that is growing in numbers, cultures and provides space for all types of activities. Working and playing hard seems to be the key. Or rather, find yourself in the local pub with a pint of beer. Is that not what British people like to do after all? Photos: Laura Gran
Would you like to join the BritishSpanish Society? Membership is open to anyone with an interest in Spain and Spanish culture Fill in the form at the back of this issue or visit our website: www.britishspanishsociety.org
Learn the Language. Love the Culture. Battersea Spanish invites Spanish learners to join our award-winning Spanish courses this Autumn starting the week of September 22nd.
Battersea Spanish invita a espa単oles y latinos a aprender y disfrutar en su lengua este oto単o en nuestros cursos de cultura en espa単ol.
Bring your friends to earn a free course!
Invita a tus amigos y gana un curso gratis!
Battersea Spanish has been awarded the Latin UK Awards for Best Spanish School. We offer Spanish courses and private tuition for all levels. We welcome you to visit us at:www.batterseaspanish.com
Visita nuestra website para conocer mejor nuestra oferta y credenciales de nuestros excelentes profesores www.batterseaspanish.com
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Diaries of a beginner journalist: La Paz, Bolivia
Christy Callaway-Gale on the challenges of trying to get her first interview
i, is this Mr Bowles? It’s Christy, from the magazine Bolivian Express. I don’t know if you remember but I called yesterday because I’m working on an article about the Quipus computer plant the government has just launched and I’d like to interview you about the project.” I stared up at Bolivia’s famous reloj del sur above the bench where I was sitting in Plaza Murillo. True to revolutionary form it was ticking backwards, trying to reverse time. This was my third attempt at calling the boss of Quipus to arrange an interview. I had been in La Paz, Bolivia, for two weeks and had overcome the cold-sweat inducing fear of phoning strangers in high places. Almost. “Cambio, cambio, cambio.” The voice hollered across the square from the edge of the pavement, offering pop-up currency exchange. A keen intern, fresh on the scene, I was determined to pin down my first interviewee. In my mind I was the aspiring Bolivian equivalent of Erin Brokovich: pioneer journalist cutting through any bureaucratic red-tape that tried to wrap up and suffocate my journalist’s truthtelling pen. The reality may have been a little different. A grey-suited, elderly man with a cream sombrero sat in a still frame on the bench opposite me, as if posing for his 12pm portrait. I stared back for a little while. “Three times you’ve called? I feel your pain. I called the ministry every day for a month last year to get an interview,” my editor sympathised. Ok, so I had a little way to go on the persistence front and, with a first draft deadline in a week, a month’s worth of phone calls was going to be pretty tight time-wise and ‘Tigo’ mobile credit-wise.
Reloj del Sur
The green man on the traffic lights began his animated running again, the more frantic cousin of England’s static version. His earnest purpose encouraged pedestrians to pelt it across the street before they could be mown down by a car swerving onto the wrong side of the road. The thought of being culturally disrespectful with my eager persistence was also eating at me a little. “Sometimes they will insist they are not the right person to talk to at the start. It’s the Aymaran way. But then they will open up with some gentle persuasion. Other times you have to respect that they just don’t want to talk, even if they never explicitly say that. You have to read the situation right,” I was told by my supervisor. A teenage shoe-shiner was resting on the arm of my bench now. He was wearing a black balaclava to protect his identity. So how could I, a British University student whose first time it was in Bolivia, make sure that I wasn’t being a culturally insensitive gringa trying to barge my way into the government offices of La Paz? Or, equally devastating, prevent myself from becoming the sheepish journalist that apologises for the inconvenience of their call when turned down first time? But the potential cultural gap, rather than being a daunting chasm I was staring down into – much like the terrifying drop on the edge of Coroico’s infamous ‘Death Road’ – is the most exciting thing about being here in La Paz. Cholitas wearing brightly coloured polleras and their iconic hats, with wide-eyed children or the content of their market stall strapped to their backs; 1950s buses with street names pasted to their windscreens and Copacabana shrines on their dashboards; the modern teleférico spider-web weaving its way above the adobe homes of El Alto: These are all features of daily life here in this capital city that sits roughly 4000m above sea level, buried slap-bang in the middle of the Andes. “¿Helado, zumo amiguita?” A man in a
blue boiler suit trailed past with his edible treats for sale. There was a pause on the telephone. I waited, thinking the signal had cut out again. “Come by my office at 11am tomorrow.” The line rang off and I was left with the echo of my unexpected success sitting in the palm of my right hand. I stood up from the bench to head home, leaving the blurred chaos behind. As I walked, the altitude keeping the rate of my heartbeat up, I could feel an enagua-filled pollera growing over my faded, Western jeans and brushing the sides of my legs. Disclaimer: Despite my apparent success, the red tape got me in this instance and this interview was cancelled. Find out who I interviewed instead in the finished article (Building Wonderland), printed in BX issue 42: http://www.bolivianexpress. org/magazines
Glossary: Reloj del Sur: ‘Clock of the South’: a clock that turns anti-clockwise: a political action initiated by the ministry of de-colonisation, alluding to the time when Bolivia still had access to a coastline. Cambio: Change Sombrero: Wide-brimmed hat Gringa: Term used to refer to a female foreigner Aymara: Indigenous culture in the North of Bolivia Cholita: Woman who wears indigenous dress Pollera: Gathered skirt, part of indigenous dress Teleférico: Cable car Helado: Ice-cream Zumo: Juice Amiguita: Friendly term used frequently Enagua: Petticoat
Autumn 2014 • La Revista 23
Zaeem Jamal and The Power of Radiance Fashion designer, Zaeem Jamal, generously donated one of the dresses from his latest collection to the BritishSpanish Society’s annual Gala Dinner earlier this year. Laura Gran caught up with him to discuss his latest work.
aeem Jamal always knew he wanted to design clothes. He studied finance “to have an understanding of the business world”, and the different elements of the fashion industry. He has shops in Los Angeles and London. How would you describe your signature style? The key features that differentiate us would probably be our craftsmanship and intricate hand embroideries. The little pieces of magic, special tweaks in each of the gowns makes the wearer feel special, flowing beautifully in the authentic silk material. What underlines all of this, is the concept of bringing out one´s inner radiance, which is all about the combination of feeling good, really enjoying what you are wearing, making it complement you and bringing out what you have from the inside.
Egyptian Queen Chiffon Gown
24 La Revista • Autumn 2014
Why did you choose to be a specialist in luxury evening wear? I chose to pursue luxury for designs in my label because it is the concept of attempting to be the best one can be. When you do luxury you can really strive to be the best, to use the best, and to combine all these together to create something very special. Looking at the industry at a larger level, it is really the luxury and the couture end of the market that drives the industry in a wider sense. What are your next projects? This summer we have some great collaborations with Polo. We are planning a very special show in the autumn, to mark the release of our new collection for 2015, which is called the Mayan Collection. We are pleased to say that it will be in partnership with the Mexican Embassy, in promotion of the Mayan civilisation and culture. We have a new bridal collection coming out later in the year, and we are planning more in the future. There are so many exciting things along the way. Hopefully we will be doing some more projects with the BritishSpanish Society as well. Your blog shows different videos about how to create a handmade dress or a pair of shoes, which is very interesting. What message do you want to communicate? The idea behind that is to be able to share the passion and the skill that goes behind every piece we make. It is not often one gets the chance to see those processes in motion, often very special, magical and fascinating. We want to be able to share how much goes into the clothes and inspire the viewer. In all aspects in our lives, or in any work we may do, hopefully many of us share the same passion to excel and to create something unique. With dedication and passion and focus you can achieve something really great, beautiful and special, and this is inspirational. Currently celebrities wear your clothes, but I am sure the process to achieve that has been full of challenges. What are you most proud of? On the red carpet many celebrities are paid to wear gowns. The nice thing is that people have chosen to wear our gowns, or carry our handbags because they truly love them. They have spotted something that is different and unique. What are we most proud of? I think it is
every moment someone comes into our store, whether a celebrity or not. To see them smile, relax, have fun trying things on, playing and enjoying the whole experience, and then ending up with something that really makes them happy. What is your main value as a businessman? I think there are so many important values to have, and in a way the nice thing about what we do is that our collection, our concept throughout the brand, reflects them. To give an example: the story of Camelot, which our current collection is based on, is about the legends of the knights of the round table and all of the stories that go with that. There are stories of romance, love, honesty, courage – the brave knight vanquishing the dark force. We are taught these ethics and values from when we are children and these principles should hopefully stay with us, reflected not only in our personal life, but also in our business life. And as a designer? In one word? Radiance. Whatever we design, it should bring out the radiance from inside, which is the most important thing as a designer. When you have the magical element of the right proportions, the right design and the right embroidery, it also creates a physical radiance all around.
Obituary: Emilio Botín (1934 - 2014)
he sudden death in September of Emilio Botín has robbed Spain of a highly respected international banker and an extremely influential figure at many levels both in his own country as well as Europe and Latin America. In the 28 years he ran, or more justly commanded, Banco Santander, he raised the bank from being the smallest among the then ‘Big Seven’ in Spain to be among the 10 largest banks in the world. He died just short of his 80th birthday of a heart attack. To the end he drove himself hard at work and in daily exercise, being a devotee of golf. He demanded the same of those who worked for him, and rang to check whether day or night from wherever he happened to be. Botín had been determined to remain at the helm of the family-run Santander into his eighties. He is survived by his wife, Paloma O’Shea Artinano, and six children, of whom Ana Patricia succeeds him as President of Santander. His behind the scenes advice to Spanish politicians, especially during the financial crisis that erupted in 2007, will be sorely missed alongside his many philanthropic activities and his pronounced anglophilia. He was to Spain what Gianni Agnelli was to Italy. Banking was in his veins. His grandfather, then from the late 1920s his father, controlled Banco Santander. After a Jesuit education and studying law and economics, he entered the Santander-rooted family bank. However, he had to endure a long and frustrating apprenticeship under his father, “Don Emilio”. He too was called Don Emilio with the “hijo” added, sometimes impertinently by bank employees, regarding him as the permanent heir apparent, beholden to a clever, distant and intimidating father who operated from his elegant 19th century palacete on Madrid’s Castellana, with “el hijo” in modern offices further up the avenue. Cast in the long shadow of his father, Don Emilio (hijo)’s determination to succeed was underestimated by many. During his long wait, he listened, talked widely, always learning. I can remember being surprised as FT correspondent in Madrid during the democratic transition period having frequent discussions with him, and being questioned as an impartial observer of the bank, of Spain and the country’s initiation into the EU ambition. He would even send me papers (by chauffeur) to comment upon. Meanwhile when I asked his father when his son would take over, the Delphic response was that he must bide his time! And bide his time he did until 1986. After the long wait, he moved boldly and deftly as if Spanish banking were his chess board. He first showed his intent when interest rates were liberalised by initiating an aggressive war to attract new deposits. Then, in 1994, he bought up the once grand Banesto, brought low by the ruinous administration of Mario Conde. Knowing this was a big catch he bid high, well above the other offers. In 1999, he made a qualitative leap by merging with two of the
old ‘Big Seven’ - Hispano-Central, who had already been forced to merge. Botín accepted an awkward dual leadership of the merged entity; but before long he engineered a coup of the Hispano-Central side of the leadership. From now on, he was firmly in the saddle, Santander doyen of the Spanish banking scene, and with enough muscle to expand internationally. Initially, he looked to Mexico and Brasil, finding doors closed to a Spanish upstart in Europe. But then he was able to take a stake in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), before swapping this for Abbey National when the British government put it on the market. As the sixth largest UK bank and the second biggest supplier of mortgages, Abbey gave Santander a major (and profitable) high street presence in the UK. Botín further enhanced his reputation by walking away with the prized part of the Dutch bank ABN Amro, when his two other partners, RBS and Fortis, were lumbered with debts that were to be a significant cause of their downfall in the 2007 crisis. As if to emphasise his dealing ability, Botin made a quick sterling 2.4bn profiting by off-loading ABN’s Italian subsidiary. Santander was hurt by the financial crisis, but Botín had created a broad enough international base to survive. The home country now accounts for little more than 15 per cent of profits. The bank’s internationalisation also saw Botín move into sponsorship in a big way. He chose Formula I racing, sponsoring Fernando Alonso and the Ferrari stable, sticking by the latter even though less successful of late. Known for his philanthropy, the Fundación he set up has been an important presence in the cultural and academic world, providing financial support at a time of major cutbacks in government spending, including the UK where it has forged important links with universities. Botín had several brushes with justices, usually the legal system unable to comprehend the sophistication of modern financial instruments. However, the Botín family was obliged to pay a 200m euro fine for failing to declare accounts in Swtizerland, revealed by a whistleblower. The automatic ascension of his daughter Ana Patricia on his death has raised some eyebrows in the banking world, not because of her competence but because it implies Santander remains at heart a family bank. Botin’s great achievement was to make it a major international institution in terms of shareholding and presence. He will be sorely missed by friends and competitors alike. By Robert Graham
Letter from the Society Chairman to Ana Botín Dear Ana, Both personally and as Chairman of the BritishSpanish Society, on behalf of my board of trustees, Executive Council, and membership, I would like to express my profound 'sentido de pesame' on the death of your much admired and valued father. Emilio Botín was not just one of Europe's leading bankers, he was also a great humanist who contributed to the greater good of society through his bank's social foundation and other support for a variety of cultural and educational causes. His generosity was known to us in the UK through Santander's support for higher education, including our own scholarship programme for British and Spanish postgraduates. While the friendship of our respective Spanish families go back to childhood, I felt privileged last year to be one of the judges of the Santander prize for exceptional work done in the UK for the the promotion of Spanish-UK relations. The prize is another example of your father's social consciousness which will no doubt form part of his enduring legacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and our family in this time of loss With best wishes, Un fuerte abrazo, Jimmy Burns Marañón, Chairman The BritishSpanish Society
Autumn 2014 • La Revista 25
Sir John Moore: A Hero in Galicia British soldier and general Sir John Moore is best known for his role in the Peninsular War and for his heroic evacuation of La Coruña in 1809. He is still celebrated in the city today, as Simon Courtauld explains.
hat in Britain is called the Peninsular War is known by the Spanish as La Guerra de la Independencia. The Duke of Wellington may have been largely responsible for delivering Spain’s independence from France in the early years of the 19th century, but he is not much celebrated in the Peninsula. No statues or memorials to him are to be found on the battlefields of Salamanca, Badajoz, Ciudad Rodrigo, Vitoria. His image appears on a plaque in the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, along with various Spanish statesmen, soldiers, philosophers; and there is an excellent hotel in Madrid named after him. But that’s about it. This may have something to do with the fact that Wellington was not slow to voice his frequent criticism of his Spanish allies, and that, after each battle won, his troops often behaved disgracefully, ransacking the city and raping its women. The behaviour of some of Sir John Moore’s soldiers on their retreat to La Coruña was not much better, but the Scottish general was and is still celebrated in that city as an heroic figure. Marshal Soult may have driven him up to the north-west coast where what remained of his army escaped back to England, leaving the French unopposed in Spain by British troops. But the important thing in Spanish memory is that Moore was killed in action. According to George Borrow, writing 25 years later, Spaniards spoke of his death and his grave “with a strange kind of awe….[His] very misfortunes were the means which secured him immortal fame.” Moore fought Napoleon’s forces in Spain for no more than two months, and was defeated, whereas Wellington waged a successful campaign against them for four years; but Wellington survived. Having died a few hours after he had been mortally wounded in the battle outside La Coruña known locally as the Battle of Elviña, on 16th January 1809, Moore’s corpse was hurried to the rampart – in the words of the Irish priest Charles Wolfe’s poem – above the harbour, to “the grave where our hero we buried”. The first person to raise a memo-
26 La Revista • Autumn 2014
rial over Moore’s grave was the Marquis de la Romana, who had fought a number of minor rearguard actions with British troops during the retreat. He erected a wooden column inscribed in chalk: “A la Gloria del Excelentisimo Señor Don Juan Moore….La España Agradecida”. As a permanent memorial, an oblong burial-urn was placed on a plinth a few years later, in a garden named Jardin de San Carlos overlooking the harbour of La Coruña. A bust of Moore stands nearby, and there are two marble plaques affixed to a wall. On one are written the words of Wolfe’s famous poem; on the other an extract from an elegy to Moore composed by the Galician poet Rosalia de Castro in 1871. In translation from the regional language, the words are a moving tribute to the memory of a British general accepted as a son of Galicia: “Please God, noble foreigner, that this be not an alien place for you….Oh Moore, may you rest in peace. And you who love him, zealous for your honour, sons of Albion, rest at ease. Our land, chivalrous as it is beautiful, well knows how to honour those who deserve it; and thus honoured, as he deserved, was Moore. He does not lie forsaken in his sepulchre; with compassionate respect a people watches over this foreigner, by death kept far from his own.” The flowers in the garden are suitably British: blue hebes, white begonias, pink hydrangeas. Most appropriate of all, four elm trees stand sentinel round Moore’s tomb. Such is the enthusiasm in La Coruña for commemorating the death of Sir John Moore that a body was founded in
the city in 1996 calling itself Asociacion Historico Cultural ‘The Royal Green Jackets’. (They took the name of the English regiment without permission.) Re-enactments of the battle are staged and annual ceremonies held in Moore’s garden – including the laying of a wreath by the mayor, cannon shot, uniformed participants and even a Scots piper playing ‘Scotland the Brave’. Below the memorial garden, the Paseo del General Sir John Moore descends to the harbour front, where the house in which Moore died is readily identifiable by a plaque on the wall at 5 Canton Grande. It records that the general died while “luchando heroicamente en defensa de la independencia española”. One thinks again of Wellington’s rather greater contribution to the winning of Spanish independence, but also of his arrogance in dismissing Spain’s supporting role in the war. Uncharacteristically, however, Wellington did pay fulsome tribute to the Galician troops – “inimitables gallegos” – who, at the end of August 1813 at San Marcial, drove the forces of Marshal Soult back into France across the Bidassoa river. “Cada soldado,” he wrote, according to an inscription on a wall in the Jardin de San Carlos, “merece con más justo motivo que yo el bastón que empuño. Todos somos testigos de un valor desconocido hasta ahora.” Moore was admired not only by his Spanish allies, but also by his enemy. Napoleon averred that “his talents and firmness alone saved the British army from destruction”; and Soult had a monument erected to Moore at the place where he fell, with an inscription in Latin. At the end of the 20th century the monument was restored, with the Latin words repeated in Spanish and in French. It stands on a piece of grass beside a road running through the university campus. Galicia’s most famous – or notorious – sons are General Franco, born in Ferrol, and Fidel Castro, born in Cuba but with a native Galician father. Almost 40 years after his death, Franco’s name will mean little or nothing to young gallegos today. Though the name Castro is common enough in Galicia, its association with the Cuban dictator will not long outlive him. In La Coruña, however, it may be that the name still best remembered in history is that of a 19th century British general. Simon Courtauld’s next book, Footprints in Spain, will be published in 2015.
Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs - Embassy of Spain
PROGRAMME SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER 2014 1 - 6 Sep
‘Punishment without Revenge’, by Lope de Vega Shakespeare Globe Theatre, London
2 - 4 Sep
36th Conference of the Association of Contemporary Iberian Studies University of Westminster and Instituto Cervantes, London
25 Sep - 5 Oct 8 - 19 Oct Oct - Nov Oct (TBC) 23 -24 Oct 23 - 25 Oct 11 Nov 14 Nov 15-23 Nov 24-25 Nov Nov (TBC) Nov (TBC) Nov (TBC) Nov (TBC) 13 Dic
10th London Spanish Film Festival Ciné Lumière and Instituto Cervantes, London BFI London Film Festival: Spanish films Various venues, London Spain Now! Various venues, London Iberian Week Various venues, Liverpool Homage to Paco de Lucía Kings Place (London) Sage Gateshead (Gateshead) Symposium on Zurbarán and Spanish art Auckland Castle, Durham University and Bowes Museum, County Durham Nobel Prize in Literature in Spanish: Mario Vargas Llosa Instituto Cervantes, London Study Day organized by Women in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies: Dr. Meri Torres Birbeck, University of London, London UK tour by Spanish guitarist José María Gallardo del Rey Various cities, UK Provisional Landscapes, choreographies by Avatâra Ayuso Lilian Baylis – Sadler´s Wells, London Seminar on the Spanish Neutrality during the First World War The Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies, London The Annual Pérez Galdós Lecture University of Sheffield, Sheffield The Annual Cunninghame Graham Lecture University of Edinburgh Ramón Pérez de Ayala University of Southampton, Southampton Sixth E. Allison Peers Symposium and the 5th E. Allison Peers Visiting Writer University of Liverpool, Liverpool
Spanish Chamber of Commerce Update
fter the seemingly brief summer, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce is ready for the new season. We hosted a number of different events in collaboration with our members and aimed at fostering bilateral relations between British and Spanish companies. The Chamber hosted a series of breakfast seminars which covered topics ranging from employee engagement, early conciliation and growth programmes for SMEs. Two of the main corporate events of the year, our Annual Golden Award and our Annual General Meeting, took place from April to June. The Annual Golden Award was held at the Spanish Embassy on 24th April and Aena Aeropuertos received this distinction for their achievements in the UK during 2013. As for our 127th AGM, it was held at the House of Lords on 6th June. On this special occasion we had two exceptional attendees: Lord Tim Bell, who was our Guest of Honour, and Lord Brennan, who acted as our kind host. The event was a resounding success with our members as it provided them with the opportunity to access one of London’s most iconic buildings, the Palace of Westminster. The last few months have also been quite active for members in terms of opportunities to network in an informal setting. For example, to welcome the arrival of the spring weather we organised an event in collaboration with La Tasca, member of our Chamber, at their Covent Garden restaurant. Attendees had the opportunity to taste some Spanish paella, refreshing sangria and a selection of tapas newly added to the menu. Guests entered a prize draw and were each offered a goody bag with samples of different products upon departure. On 7th July members were invited to toast summertime with an informal party at Broadway House, an exclusive 3-floor private members’ club located in Fulham. Recently we have seen an increase in the number of companies joining the Chamber, and we have been pleased to welcome four new patrons to our institution: Aena Aeropuertos, Grupotec, London City Airport and Regent’s University London. To help members make an easy transition from the summer mindset, we started September with an exclusive ‘Welcome Back from the Summer’ event kindly sponsored by Beefeater 24. September also marked the beginning of the new edition of our Graduate European Programme, which has been running since 1990. This initiative offers selected candidates work placements within London-based companies for six months as well as Business English classes. Following the success of the last edition, we took part in a new ‘International Wine Tasting 2014’ an annual networking event that is co-organised with other foreign Chambers of Commerce in London. On 9th October the XX edition of our “Elevator Pitch” will be hosted at the NH Kensington hotel, member of the Chamber. 16 attendees will have the opportunity to expand their network and explore synergies with like-minded professionals. If you are interested in taking part of the next edition, you can register through our website. Early booking is recommended in order to avoid disappointment. If you are interested in the activities that the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain organises or you want to learn more about how the Chamber works, please visit our website: www.spanishchamber.co.uk
28 La Revista • Autumn 2014
Crónica de una Profesora de ELE
Experiencias de enseñar español en Inglaterra, por Cristina Ahita Sanz
lguna vez habéis pensado en impartir clases de español como lengua extranjera (ELE)? ¿O en recibirlas vosotros o vuestros hijos? Si tenéis dudas, espero que esta crónica las disipe. Llegué a un pequeño pueblo de Buckinghamshire en septiembre de 2012 para trabajar como au pair, con mi título de recién licenciada debajo del brazo y muchas ganas de empezar a ganar experiencia en el mundo de la docencia. Al tener algo de tiempo libre se me ocurrió la idea de proponerme como profesora voluntaria en el colegio del pueblo donde vivía. Un voluntariado es una experiencia perfecta para iniciarse en el mundo profesional de tu interés y es algo que en la comunidad británica se valora mucho, cosa que no sucede en otros países como España o Francia. Por eso, a cualquiera que tenga planes de futuro en el Reino Unido puede interesarle compaginar el trabajo con el que paga el alquiler con un voluntariado, para obtener experiencia en el campo que le interese y, con suerte, no seguir trabajando durante mucho tiempo en empleos que requieren una cualificación muy por debajo de la suya y están mal pagados. Aún recuerdo mi primer día como profesora, estaba bastante nerviosa ya que, aunque había dado clases particulares durante muchos años, nunca me había enfrentado a un grupo tan grande de alumnos. Los niños también estaban nerviosos, pero tenían unas ganas enormes de aprender. Era la primera vez que estudiaban una lengua extranjera y estaban entusiasmados. Aquel primer día, aun siendo sólo una toma de contacto, superó todas mis expectativas, los alumnos se mostraron participativos
todo el tiempo y creo que disfrutaron con la primera clase tanto como yo. No hay nada más gratificante para un profesor que ver cómo todos los estudiantes participan de manera voluntaria e incluso te piden más de lo que tenías pensado enseñarles. Algo muy importante, principalmente cuando no eres profesor titular sino auxiliar, es contar con el apoyo del tutor de la clase o de otros profesores. A lo largo del curso tuve la suerte de tener a Mr Baker a mi lado, quien, además, siempre estuvo presente en la hora de español porque él también quería aprender, incluso los días que yo no iba, él intentaba que todos practicaran haciendo fichas y preparando fotocopias. Los meses fueron pasando y, al finalizar el curso, el progreso de los alumnos era palpable. El primer día sólo un par de niños conocían alguna palabra en español; a final de curso todos eran capaces de presentarse, conocían diferentes saludos y despedidas, podían hablar de su familia y sus mascotas, de sus aficiones e incluso mantener una pequeña conversación haciendo los roles de camarero y cliente. Me sentí muy satisfecha y pensé que si habían logrado tantos avances con sólo una hora de clase por semana, qué no podrían conseguir si tuvieran dos o tres horas semanales. El último día de clase fue tan especial como el primero. Les había prometido a los niños una sorpresa y allí me presenté con una tortilla de patata española que comieron entre todos tras haber hecho una última práctica del idioma. Les gustó tanto que tuve que explicarles la receta antes de marcharme. Además, al finalizar la clase, me regalaron una postal enorme
firmada por todos los niños y su profesor como agradecimiento por todo lo que habían aprendido. Algunos de los padres de los alumnos estaban interesados en que sus hijos continuaran estudiando español, por desgracia, al el curso siguiente ya no hubo más clases puesto que yo terminé mi año como au pair y no había nadie más en el pueblo que estuviera cualificado para ese puesto. Por eso, a esos padres les recomendé, como les recomiendo ahora a ustedes, que si querían que sus hijos continuaran aprendiendo, lo que tenían que hacer era buscar profesores nativos o con nivel muy alto de español y que tuvieran formación para la enseñanza. Este último detalle es muy importante, ya que no es suficiente ser hablante nativo de una lengua para poder enseñarla correctamente y por ello existen diversas titulaciones con las que uno puede estar más seguro de que va a invertir su dinero en unas buenas clases con buenos resultados. A modo de conclusión puedo decir dos cosas, a los españoles que queráis dar clases de español, lo primero es titularse como profesor de ELE y, después, yo recomendaría hacer un voluntariado, aunque sea sólo una hora por semana, en cualquier colegio, el que tengáis más cerca de casa o del trabajo, porque, seamos sinceros, es muy complicado que os vayan a contratar a la primera en un colegio; a los directores de colegios, institutos o academias de idiomas os pido por favor que deis una oportunidad a la gente que solicita hacer voluntariados, es muy posible que unos meses más tarde decidáis contratarles y, si no, por lo menos habrán tenido la ocasión de ganar algo de experiencia.
Autumn 2014 • La Revista 29
The IMSERSO Saga: A Spanish Success Story
Dominic Begg recalls highlights from recent trips with the Government-backed holiday scheme
Dominic with the specially adapted Landrover
magine you were a teenager during the Spanish Civil War. During the grey posguerra years you worked hard for low pay, got married and started a family. Perhaps things got better in the late 60s and 70s, but work and family obligations meant you never had the chance to travel. Then, in 1985, soon after retiring, you hear of a new government-backed plan to offer Spanish pensioners the chance to enjoy subsidised off-peak holidays on the coast in 3 or 4-star hotels, with all meals and flights included. The name of the organisation is IMSERSO (Instituto de Mayores y Servicios Sociales). You and your wife can choose between eight days in Benidorm or Palma de Mallorca. For the first time in your life, you enter a travel agency and book up. The holiday, which includes reasonably-priced coach excursions, is a success. You tell your friends and relations about it, so they decide to try an IMSERSO holiday the following year… Now, almost 30 years later, IMSERSO has become an established feature of the Spanish calendar, with large posters dominating travel agents’ windows in early October, announcing that the inscription period has started. There are many more destinations these days, some of which focus on nature or culture, though islands and beach resorts remain the most popular. Around 13 million pensioners have benefited from this scheme, which also has the advantage of enabling hotels to remain open and keep on staff through the low-season months. The formula clearly works: from 19 hotels on the IMSERSO roster in 1985/86, the figure has risen to over 300. Since registering in 2011, my wife Margaret and I have enjoyed four IMSERSO trips, to Lanzarote, Menorca, the Coto 30 La Revista • Autumn 2014
Doñana and Granada’s Costa Tropical. We’ve been the only extranjeros each time. Presumably few British people or other Europeans of our generation have worked in Spain long enough to qualify as Iberian pensioners. Alternatively, others in our position have heard of IMSERSO and reckon it is not for them. Anyway, we’ve found it fascinating to observe the routines and rituals of the organisation and its clientele. The first opportunity to spot fellow retirees is as one boards the plane. Look out for the jolly but inexperienced couples who take a while to fit their cases in the overhead lockers! They may well turn out to be the same people who get lost and return late to the coach during an excursion. On the plus side, they’ll be among the first on the dance-floor at the hotel ‘Entertainment’ nights. And if they join your table for dinner, they’ll talk you through the
highs and lows of their lives quite unselfconsciously, while passing round photos of their grandchildren. Meanwhile, three pre-paid buffet libre meals a day represent quite a temptation for otherwise frugal eaters, which results in many an upset stomach. With free wine a-go-go at every meal, and in some hotels free draught beer too, you might think these pensioners would drink to excess. They don’t. However, filching a few clementines or bananas to take up to their room is considered perfectly acceptable. Another category of IMSERSO tourist is the middle-class couple who take advantage of the bargain price of flights plus accommodation, hire a car and spend most days out and about on their own. It may seem rather unsociable, but for this minority the system works well, especially on small islands. So here are some of the highlights from our four trips, with indications in brackets of whether it was part of an IMSERSO excursion or an independent sortie:
An early-morning drive along the dunes and into the interior of the Coto Doñana in a specially adapted Land Rover (see photo). (IMS)
Revisiting the Mezquita in Córdoba on a quiet Sunday morning in December. (IMS) + A lurching desert camel-ride,
Margaret in the gentlemen’s club in Almonte
The bell tower, Faro Cathedral, Portugal before being driven through the volcanic, lunar landscape of the Timanfaya national park in southern Lanzarote. (IMS)
Eating freshly-landed fish at the bar-restaurant La Puntilla, tucked away in one of Nerja’s surviving alleys. (IND) A random stroll through the quiet streets of Ciutadella, discovering a succession of splendid 17th century palaces. Then a fine Menorcan lunch on the waterfront at the Café Balear. (IND) Climbing the narrow streets of Tavira in southern Portugal, with its white churches and harmonious architecture. (IMS)
To accompany a morning beer, splendid unrequested tapas, involving habitas, morcilla and scrambled eggs, at one of the three El Cortijillo bar-restaurants in Almuñécar. (IND)
A hilarious and well-acted rendition of a song about a liberated grandmother, sung during an impromptu cabaret by at least 30 IMSERSO grandmother-types in their 70s: “La abuela fuma, la abuela bebe. La abuela baila y hace lo que quiere”. Far superior to the ‘Hokey-Cokey’…
Es una marca de joyas que, con apenas un año de vida, ha sabido posicionarse entre las favoritas de las celebrities y las modelos españolas. Nombres tan conocidos como Sara Carbonero, Paula Echevarria, Aridne Artiles, Blanca Suárez o la mismísima Gisele Bunchen han caído rendidas a sus diseños. ¿Quién está detrás de todo esto? Laura Somoza, una reputada periodista de moda que compagina dicho trabajo con el diseño de joyas.
as creado una firma de joyas que cuenta cada día con más seguidoras pero ¿cómo empezó todo? Siempre me han gustado las joyas. Hace poco más de un año, me lancé a la aventura de lanzar mi propia firma. Lo que empezó como un hobby con un primer colgante – bkarma – fue tomando forma hasta ser hoy una marca consolidada. ¿Se compagina bien el trabajo en una redacción con el de diseñadora de joyas? ¡Perfectamente! Mi trabajo como Redactora Jefe de Moda de la revista ELLE es una de mis grandes pasiones pero ahora también lo es Ouibyou. Confieso que he reducido mis horas de sueño y es que, cuando salgo del trabajo, me dedico a mi otra gran pasión. ¿Pensabas qué tendrías tanto éxito? !Para nada! Sólo pensé… voy a hacer
un collar que me apetezca llevar (el bkarma); luego pensé… voy a ver si también le gusta a la gente…; luego pensé voy a hacer un pendiente (blove)…; y de repente, todo fue rodado. ¿Qué significa Ouibyou? La historia del nombre comenzó con el collar Oui de Dior. Me encantaba, me lo compré y se convirtió en mi amuleto. De ahí cogí la palabra Oui y la uní a byou (be yourself). ¿El resultado? Ouibyou “sí, se tú mismo”. A la hora de poner los nombres a cada producto, ¿siguen algún proceso? Todas mis joyas tienen un significado y expresan tanto sentimientos, como sensaciones o experiencias. Por este motivo el nombre de cada una empieza por b… blove (amor), bhappy (felicidad), etc… ¿Cuál es tu inspiración? ¡Todo! Gracias a mi trabajo y a mi vida me rodeo de cosas maravillosas, de las últimas tendencias, de personas con muchísimo talento… Siempre me ha gustado observar todo lo que pasa a mi alrededor y tomar nota. ¿Cuál es la pieza más vendida? El colgante bkarma es sin duda el best seller de la marca. ¿Te lanzarías a hacer piezas de hombre? Es mi próximo proyecto. Nunca lo había pensado pero todos mis amigos me lo piden continuamente así que este invierno empezamos.
Let’s leave the IMSERSO saga there. Long may it thrive! ouibyou.com Por Estefanía Ruilope Laura Somoza
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Rincón de libros Cañas y guitarra
Después de descubrir una copia de Cañas y barro por Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, Claudia Rubiño nos cuenta como el libro le ha llevado a conocer a Albufera con más profundidad
no de los inconvenientes de ser castellana es, por así decirlo, la infundada creencia de que en Castilla somos el centro del mundo, que no existe nada más allá de la Meseta. Por eso disfruto tanto cuando salgo fuera y conozco nuevos lugares que me sorprenden por la riqueza que albergan. Incluso si es ir hasta la biblioteca más cercana. Hace poco conseguí hacerme socia de la biblioteca de mi barrio, al sur de Londres. Me hizo sentir importante, eso de tener carné de biblioteca. La sensación fue la misma que cuando obtuve mi primer carné en el centro cívico de mi ciudad, a principios de los noventa. Con la tarjeta en la mano, me adentré en el pequeño edificio, bien iluminado y salpicado de estrechas estanterías llenas de libros perfectamente ordenados por género y autores. ¿Quién no sueña con un sitio así? Una estantería en especial llamó mi atención. Lo que encontré allí fue algo inesperado, y es que tenían un espacio diminuto para literatura en castellano. Curioseando, encontré Cañas y Barro, de Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, y ha sido gracias a este libro que he podido ver de verdad la Albufera de Valencia. Aunque quizás la palabra más adecuada sea “sentir” y no “ver”. Nunca había estado allí, y gracias a la novela, sentí que formaba parte de ella. Navegando por la laguna y conviviendo con Tío Paloma, Toni y Tonet, pude apreciar cada detalle y cada matiz del duro y objetivo Naturalismo, a
pesar de que siempre se ha dicho que este movimiento nunca fue del todo auténtico según la teoría que Émile Zola. Para refrescaros la memoria, en el caso de que hiciera falta, claro, el Naturalismo es un movimiento artístico que surgió a finales del S.XIX en Francia y que tiene como máximo representante a Émile Zola. En resumen, el Naturalismo es (aquí seguro que algún/a experto/a me matará cuando lo lea) muy similar al Realismo pero con varias y contundentes diferencias, siendo la más destacada la del Determinismo y la inexistencia del libre albedrío. Es decir, el ser humano se encuentra determinado por una serie de factores, a saber, sus genes y la sociedad que le rodea. Ambos definen tanto la manera de ser del personaje como su presente y futuro. Además, nada de lo que haga modificará el desarrollo de los acontecimientos. Para aquellos que hayáis leído Cañas y Barro creo que es más que evidente todo lo que acabo de describir. Toni, el padre, intenta huir de la vida que su padre, el Tío Paloma, le ofrece. Sin éxito, por supuesto. A medida que avanza la novela, como lector, tienes una ligera esperanza de que Tonet, el hijo, cambie su suerte al marchar a la guerra de Cuba, pero no es más que una ilusión pues, como ya he dicho, su vida está destinada a ser miserable, tanto por sus antecedentes como por la presión social. Dejando a un lado las posibles disputas literarias, finalmente, el pasado junio tuve la maravillosa oportunidad de visitar y contemplar la Albufera con mis propios ojos. Ver el arrozal y pensar en todas las paellas que podrían alimentar al mundo. Sin mencionar los arroces al horno o los arroces negros con su ali-oli. Aquí hago una pausa para que mis queridos catalano-parlantes se echen las manos a la cabeza y maldigan mi poca gracia castellana a la hora de pronunciar y escribir el catalán o el valenciano. Sin éxito, busqué el lugar exacto en el que la tragedia se cierne sobre Tonet y Neleta, la cual marca su relación para siempre. Porque, a pesar de ser una novela teñida de tremendismo y denuncia social, también hay sitio para el amor. Y es que, aunque quieren luchar contra ello, la pasión que sienten Neleta y Tonet también les conduce al desastre, lo cual a mí, personalmente, me hizo pensar brevemente en Catherine y Heathcliff, pero a la
española y sin cumbres ni borrascas, sólo aguas pantanosas y humedad. Poniéndonos serios, es una lástima que tengamos un poco olvidado al gran Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, cosa que le debió de pasar ya en su época, cuando lo querían más en Hollywood que en su propia tierra. Muy typical spanish, creo yo. Una cosa parecida le pasó a Francisco Tárrega, también natural de la Comunidad Valenciana, concretamente de un pueblecito de lo más acogedor que se llama Vila-real. Este señor era guitarrista, y seguramente que, tanto los valencianos como los amantes de buena música, ya sabían antes de que yo lo dijera, don Francisco no era un simple guitarrista. Este artista, para decirlo de una manera comprensible, elevó a la guitarra a la categoría de instrumento, dejando atrás sus años de mero acompañamiento en fiestas. Mister Tarega, como lo llamaban en Londres cuando venía a demostrar lo que sabía hacer, consiguió que la guitarra española se convirtiera en la única protagonista en conciertos y recitales. Con su tono nostálgico y su magistral pinzamiento de las cuerdas, muchos años después, Tárrega incluso cautivó a unos señores que hacían teléfonos móviles y que tomaron prestados sus compases 13-16 del “Gran Vals”. Estos compases han sido el eslogan de la compañía desde 1994, aunque fueron compuestos en 1902, y se dice que son escuchados en todo el mundo un billón veces al día, es decir, unas veinte mil veces por segundo. Vamos, que ya nadie puede decir que no sabe quién es Francisco Tárrega. John Williams es también un gran amante del guitarrista y escuchar cómo interpreta su “Recuerdos de la Alhambra” es algo que te pone el vello de punta. Si os interesa saber más sobre estos ilustres valenciano y villarrealense, os recomiendo visitar sus museos, situadas en la Playa de la Malvarrosa en Valencia, y en la Casa de Polo en Vila-real.
www.casamuseoblascoibanez.com www.vila-realturistic.es Autumn 2014 • La Revista 33
La Peña Flamenca: Thirty Years and Counting Vera King is a founder-member of the Peña Flamenca and has been the Chairwoman for 18 years. How did it all begin?
t will never work,” I said when someone suggested holding a flamenco club on a Sunday evening. Finishing early. We were used to parties in people’s houses and anything ending before 2am was regarded as a failure. But here we are, 30 years later and flourishing even though we finish now at 9.30pm. Flamenco is a mystical thing. You hear it and it grabs you. Is it the unfamiliar rhythms? Some of them are quite ordinary, 2/4 or 3/4, but they don’t sound ordinary. More exotic ones alternate 3/4 and 6/8 and they are extraordinary. Beginners need to learn to count so they can recognise what they are listening to, then gradually they won’t need to count any more because they will have absorbed it. There’s one more thing. That count fits into a compás of 12. Only that is expressed,:uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, neuve, diez, uno, dos, with the next count starting uno dos, etc (Nobody said it was easy…). Compás? In English we have the word “encompass”, a hint in the right direction. Counting backwards, 30 years ago flamenco in London was different from now, as indeed it is world-over. It is now much more sophisticated and complex. There were at that time only two active teachers, Maribel la Manchega and José García, with the late Teresa Moreno teaching privately. But there was no meeting place for aficionados, previous attempts at providing one having run their course. Maribel had the most Spanish students and a group of them, English and Spanish, decided to do something about it. Feelers were put out, meetings were held which coalesced into a Working Party with members from the classes of both Maribel and José, and the Peña Flamenca de Londres was born. Initially it was hoped that there would be some support from Spain or the Junta de Andalucía, as a number of Spanish organisations received, but that did not happen. The Working Party ran things for six months, then called a general meeting of all who were interested to get a peña proper off the ground, run by a voluntary committee with a constitution. Gradually the Spanish element returned to Spain though we have members whose parents are Spanish, and welcome many other nationalities. It is our proud boast that we have never
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received financial help from anywhere though we have made a number of charitable donations. Some of them quite sizeable, and some of them even to Spain. The Peña counts on the London scene and indeed in the UK in so many ways. It is totally voluntary and one of its tenets is that no committee member shall benefit financially. Aims are to promote all aspects of flamenco and Spanish dance. Although in the beginning we could afford a professional show – thus offering work to artists – only every three or four months, we now have eight or nine each year and a number of the performers are over from Spain. One thing we have done since the beginning is to provide professional backing, guitar and singer, for students so that they can gain stage experience, and this is open to anyone. Currently we are discussing ways of bringing our website up-to-date. Through the website listings pages teachers advertise their classes and on news pages we list professional events and courses. This is all free. We would like teachers and artists to be members, though hardly any of them are. The website also attracts inquiries from people who want to engage artists for a performance or perhaps a school Spanish day and these are passed on to someone appropriate, yet another way in which the Peña counts. One of the great sadnesses is the number of emails from young artists who have no work in Spain and are hoping that the Peña will be able to offer them something. As we meet only once a month
there is little we can do. Almost at the beginning a newsletter was founded to keep everyone in contact. It gradually metamorphosed into Flamenco News, an A5 publication with colour covers, packed with what’s-going-on and flamenco features. It is free to members. To others we charge £3 to cover printing and production, everything else being done on a voluntary basis. During the last 30 years a number of peñas have started up in other cities. We are the biggest though, and the oldest. Twice we have almost gone broke, but we’ve survived. Why not join us on Sunday 14th December for our Christmas peña? Church Hall of Holy Apostles, Cumberland Street, Pimlico, London SW1V 4LY
Vera King is Chairwoman of Peña Flamenca de Londres and Editor of Flamenco News www.flamenco-london.or.uk firstname.lastname@example.org Image above: Artists at the July peña. Centre stage dancers: Anita la Maltesa and Jorge Muelas. Musicians: Antonio Romero, percussion and Agustin Bola Carbonell, singer. Guitarist Ramon Ruíz is obscured by the dancers. Taken by Steve Carr.
Review Punishment without Revenge / El castigo sin venganza
A review of the Fundación Siglo de Oro’s production of Lope de Vega’s play, performed at The Globe in September Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre opened its doors to the Bard’s contemporary and fellow playwright, Lope de Vega, for a week in September. This is not the first time the Globe has presented foreign language productions: the success of the Globe to Globe season in 2012 proved that Shakespeare could be performed in different tongues, with the Madrid-based theatre group Fundación Siglo de Oro taking on Henry VIII. The group returned to London this year with their interpretation of Punishment without Revenge, or El castigo sin venganza, considered to be Lope de Vega’s masterpiece. Directed by Ernesto Arias and performed in the original Castilian with a scene synopses provided on digital screens for non-Spanish speakers, the play drew a large crowd on its first night. The plot begins as follows: Count Federico, the illegitimate son of the womanising Duke of Ferrera, discovers that his father is due to marry and that he will not
be inheriting the throne. The Duke sends Federico to collect his young bride-to-be, Casandra, but during the trip the pair fall in love. Casandra marries the Duke anyway but by then the damage is done. And so the drama unfolds, finally reaching a gory climax in the manner of a true Jacobean tragedy. Love and honour lie at the heart of the play. Rodrigo Arribas portrayed the young Count’s emotional torment with conviction, while Alejandra Mayo’s Casandra was spirited and intense. Together they deliver Lope de Vega’s clever wordplay and vivid imagery with finesse. Federico’s desperation is palpable as he laments his situation, comparing himself to a pelican surrounded by hunter’s fire who finds that flapping his wings to escape only serves to incite the flames that consume him. Arguably, a strong understanding of Spanish was necessary to truly enjoy this performance as the digital synopses, while helpful, were generally limited to
a couple of lines to summarise lengthy dialogue; inevitably the depth of expression and meaning (plus the punchline of a few of the best jokes) is at least partly lost. That said, it was worth it even just to experience the sound and rhythm of Early Modern Spanish as originally written - a rare treat for the London stage. By our arts correspondent
Art and Culture: Andalucía
Ian Cockburn and his wife Jacqueline set up Art and Culture Andalucia, offering residential courses in Gaucin, Malaga. Here he tells La Revista what the region and the courses have to offer potential vistors
hree years ago Dr. Jacqueline Cockburn bought a beautiful villa in the artistic community of Gaucin, a spectacular pueblo blanco in the mountains of Andalucia. Gaucin is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful ‘white villages’ in the whole of the region, with views reaching as far as the Rif mountains in Morocco. Her aim was to offer residential courses exploring the art and culture of this most vibrant and historically fascinating region of Spain. Jacqueline is an inspirational teacher and lecturer and a specialist in the art, literature and culture of Spain, with a long-standing passion for Andalucia in particular. After fifteen years as head of the Art History Department at Westminster School, and more recently, as Chief Examiner in Art History for Cambridge International Examinations, Jacqueline had decided she was ready for a new challenge. The project finally came to fruition in April this year, when together we started running the courses in Gaucin. The feedback from the first three courses was unanimously very positive. Everyone said the formula was spot-on – a mixture of well-researched lectures and guided visits to selected sites of interest, combined with other activities such as tastings and tapas at a couple of very exclusive bodegas. In addition, the week includes live flamenco
guitar on the terrace, visits to local artists’ studios, (see www.artgaucin.com) photography and painting classes, walks in the stunning scenery around Gaucin, and the most delicious local food prepared by highly-qualified chefs, accompanied by excellent Spanish wine. What helps make these courses different is that they are for small groups - a maximum of ten people – and are based in a luxurious private villa, rather than large groups travelling from hotel to hotel. They also give participants access to a combination of locations and experiences that most visitors to Andalucia will never discover. While the contents of the six-day course are based on serious academic research, the style is relaxed, enjoyable and interactive, and brings the culture of Andalucia to life.
Relaxing at Villa Los Buhos One important lesson from the first year is just how much guests love being at the villa, with its beautiful terraces, gardens and pool, where they can wind down from their often hectic lives. So future courses will include plenty of optional periods for doing just that, for those who would prefer a little more chill-out time. What will not change is the quality and variety of the morning lectures, with Jacqueline’s theme-based master classes proving particularly popular. Participants get under the skin of Andalucia’s culture, from medieval to modern, by exploring its art, architecture, history, music, food, literature and public spectacle and their roots in the civilisation of Moorish Spain. Andalucia’s culture is based on a unique fusion of eastern and western influences, the nearly 800 years of Moorish occupation being the only example of a western country living under Islamic rule. The tenth century Caliphal Court at Cordoba was widely recognised at the time as the most advanced and sophisticated cultural centre in western Europe and is associated with a period known as the convivencia, when Muslims, Christians and Jews lived side by side in relative harmony. For more information on the courses, visit www.artandcultureandalucia.com
Autumn 2014 • La Revista 35
The Rio Tinto Mines in Huelva
Resident of Andalucia, Francis Cherry, on why these abandoned mines are well worth a visit
ancy a day out in Andalucia? Try a visit to the Rio Tinto Mines – they are no longer in production, but as a tourist attraction, they are first rate. For those of you who have not visited, the open-cast mine is a gigantic hole in the Andalucian countryside covering an area about 10k by 10k, and when it was going full stretch in the 19th and 20th Century, it was the biggest open cast mine in Europe, if not the world. Until you visit you cannot believe the extra-ordinary appearance of this gigantic surreal hole that has been carved out of the landscape, as if an enormous meteorite had landed in the middle of the countryside. The colours are equally surreal; scraping away the earth has revealed layer after layer of mineral bearing rock in hues of green, brown, pink and grey. As you gaze down from the side of the crater at the miniscule huts, offices, trucks etc. 1000 feet below, it seems like a Dinky toy world down there. The mines are about an hour’s drive from Huelva, just South of Aracenas, and there is a great little hostal at nearby Nerva, where for peanuts you can stay and be entertained by Sr Vasquez Diaz. He’ll tell you about all the famous people who have stayed there – mostly film stars on location, but he is particularly proud of a team from NASA who stayed for three months preparing a trip to Mars (I have not heard that they actually got there, but it appears that the area is just like the surface of mars - geologically that is). In ancient times these were supposedly the fabulous mines of King Solomon that brought Phoenecian traders to Andalucia. The Romans were certainly working here, (we have the remains of some of their workings complete with the water-
wheels they used to get the water out of their deep workings). After the Romans left the mines vanished and remained off the radar until Carlos III tried, without much success, to get some of the mineral wealth down to the cannon foundries in Seville. But the logistics of transporting the ore to Seville (five days by burro) proved unprofitable, and in 1871 the Spanish Government finally sold the mines to a British syndicate, who set about making the mines work, constructing a railway to take the spoil to Huelva. This outlet was the key to making the Rio Tinto mines one of the most important sources of copper and sulphur in the world. The geology of the mines went rather over my head, but my wife, who has a scientific background, was riveted. What I really wanted to see and engage with was the way our grandparents lived in this outpost of the empire in a remote part of Andalucia. It has been on my list for ages. I never cease to be intrigued by the way our ancestors survived in the various outposts of the empire where they fetched up, in my case mostly in India. How on earth did they cope with the heat? Perhaps they were made of hardier stuff than us today – Uncle Bertie (killed on his 21st birthday pig-sticking) would have thought me a right wimp (if the word existed in 1905) to flee Andalucia in July. Despite the fridge, the air conditioning, the electric fans and all the other aids to cool living, I can’t wait to flee to London for the summer. In the best British tradition the British company built Bella Vista, a gated community for the staff on a hill overlooking the mine. It looks a bit like Hampstead Garden Suburb with its box hedges, flow-
er beds, club house and tennis courts, and roses round the front doors (the palm trees look a bit out of place). The first thing you’ll notice is the gatehouse, to keep out the undesirables – I find it hard to believe, but was assured that anyone who shacked up with a Spaniard was excluded from the club. Bella Vista had (and still has) all the customary add-ons that made the Brits feel at home: a golf-course, tennis courts, a swimming pool and the most glorious clubhouse. Alfredo Moreno Bolano, the charming and hospitable club secretary, showed us around: it was Simla reprised – the snooker table, the panelled library, copies of the Illustrated London News from before the First World War (no kidding, cross my heart), and the stern reminder that NO ladies were allowed in the bar. One of the Club’s star exhibits is a rather worn Union Jack that Sr Bolanos told me was displayed over the clubhouse as Franco’s troops advanced, to remind El Caudillo that it was not our quarrel, and that we were only here to make a few bob, and give some local employment. A modern hospital has been built near the Bella Vista, and I understand that, although a handful of English live there, the majority of the houses are now occupied by medical staff. One house has been refurbished as it would have been at the turn of the century, and is open as a tourist attraction. The original company hospital has been turned into a stunning museum that takes us through the history of mining in the area. It includes a remarkable facsimile of a Roman mine that had me running round in circles trying to get out because of my claustrophobia (how embarrassing was that?!) It also casts an unflinching eye on the way the miners were exploited by the British, and documents the various mining strikes and civil unrest that took place between the wars. The tour includes a half hour excursion on the original train that took the spoil down to Huelva for shipping. The train goes down the side of the Rio Tinto so you can wonder at the deep carmine colour that the water has become through percolating through the rocks. The water tastes disgusting (rather like neat vinegar) but is used by locals to cure eczema, dermatitis etc. Sheep are reputed to swim in the water to get rid of ticks. As the Michelin guide used to say: “Vaut la visite!” Autumn 2014 • La Revista 37
YOMEMIMO: Una filosofía de vida Alejandra Fraile es la autora del fenómeno “Yo me mimo”. Una nueva filosofía de vida basada en hábitos sanos y saludables. Energética, inteligente, constante y con una extraordinaria fuerza de voluntad, Estefanía Ruilope ha charlado con ella para que nos cuente todo sobre este proyecto que arrasa en las redes sociales.
ómo empezó todo este “estilo de vida”? En teoría siempre me ha gustado cuidarme aunque no haya sido muy constante a la hora de ponerlo en práctica. Un domingo hace ya dos años, cansada de verme un lunes más empezando una nueva “dieta”, me di cuenta de que tenía que cambiar mi alimentación. Creé la cuenta de @yomemimo desde la cama con mi hermana Geñi, quién me ayudó con el nombre. Desde aquel momento, se convirtió en un estilo de vida para mi. Hasta que creé Yomemimo, El Método Thinking fue muy importante para mí. Me ayudó mucho a asentar la cabeza y a controlar mis emociones. Luego estuve con Patricia Pérez (yosikekemo), quién me enseñó a incluir alimentos sanos en el día a día. Estas dos experiencias resultaron ser una combinación perfecta para tomar la firme decisión de sacarme el título de Health Coach. ¿Pensabas que ibas a tener tantos seguidores? ¡Para nada! Y menos que mi vida diese un cambio de rumbo tan drástico y saludable. Ahora disfruto comiendo sano. No lo veo como una obligación sino como una elección. Es una prioridad para mí. ¿Alguna vez te han dado ganas de tirar la toalla? ¡Nunca! Ya que no es una dieta para mi. Es un cambio de alimentación que me da muchísimos beneficios y que ahora disfruto sintiéndome bien. ¿Por qué abandonar algo que te hace sentir tan bien? ¿Cómo es la filosofía de vida que trans-
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mites? ¿en qué consiste? Para empezar, tenemos que acostumbrarnos a comer todo tipo de alimentos. En este sentido, deberíamos inclinarnos más hacia los alimentos de la tierra, que son los más nutritivos. Las algas, las semillas - nueces, cereales integrales, legumbres, fruta…y muy de vez en cuando proteína animal (cuando apetece, sí se da el caso). Igualmente tenemos que evitar los alimentos procesados. Un NO rotundo al microondas y a los productos light (CocaCola incluida). No tenemos que prohibirnos nada, simplemente elegir lo mejor para nosotros. Esto último me ayuda a mantener un equilibrio en todos los sentidos. Lo ideal es cuidarse el 90% de los días y el restante 10% reservárselo para los caprichos. Aunque procuro que esos caprichos sean veganos, o ecológicos por el simple hecho que me sientan mejor (no es por adelgazar).
nantemente prohibido? Las restricciones absolutas, es decir, el cuidarse visto como una obligación o hacer “dieta” Lógicamente cumplir los retos no es fácil, ¿como lo haces para evitar caer en las tentaciones? Al no prohibirme nada, no considero que caiga en las tentaciones. Si “me compensa” comer algo, adelante con ello. Todo es cuestión de prioridades. Es la única manera de encontrar una estabilidad mental y necesaria para mi. También haces encuentros Yomemimo,
¿Todo este movimiento empezó entorno a la comida? Sí, pero más que para adelgazar (que también lo necesitaba) fue para buscar un equilibrio mental. En otras palabras, para estar tranquila conmigo misma y mis decisiones. ¿De dónde sacas tanta inspiración para hacer una nueva receta, poner una nueva frase….? En el fondo me sale natural porque yo también necesito y disfruto motivándome. Pero tengo mis días. Incluso cuando no cuelgo nada, también necesito mis silencios y desconectar. Cuándo vas a cenar/ comer a un restaurante, ¿qué pides del menú? Verdura, verdura y verdura. Todos los productos de la tierra son milagrosos y debemos comerlos todos los días. Me gusta poder salir y probar de todo (vino incluido) sin parecer excesivamente caprichosa. Intento siempre pedir verdura porque para mí es igual de imprescindible que un zumo por las mañanas. El resto del día y en este caso la cena, procuro no comer cualquier cosa. Siempre intento evitar los fritos porque no me sientan bien. Aún así, tengo mis días. Los dulces caseros con coco o la tarta zanahoria me apasionan y caen fijo de vez en cuando. Pero cuando la prioridad de uno es bajar unos kilos, es importante no olvidarnos de nuestras prioridades. Se puede salir y no necesariamente comer y beber para pasárselo bien (cosa inusual en estos tiempos en España). En esta filosofía de vida, ¿qué está termi-
¿en qué consisten?; ¿puede ir todo el mundo? Los encuentros Yomemimo son para las seguidoras que estén interesadas en cuidarse o que quieran compartir sus experiencias. Solemos combinar charlas de experiencia, nutrición, motivación y coaching. Se crea un gran vinculo y disfrutamos mucho. Parece como si nos conociésemos de toda la vida y tan sólo nos conocemos por Instagram. ¡Viva la era digital 2.0! Tu próximo reto es.. Me estoy sacando el título de Health Coach, con lo cual, uno de mis retos es sacarme el título. Estoy fascinada con todo lo que estoy aprendiendo y con los cambios positivos que estoy viviendo en todos los ámbitos de la vida. La comida nos influye mucho más de lo que pensamos. Por otro lado, también estoy trabajando en aumentar la variedad de productos en la tienda online de Yomemimo "Mímate online".
Spain lost the World Cup: Long Live La Roja!
Jimmy Burns Marañón reflects on La Roja’s surprisingly early exit from the World Cup
t didn’t take long for commentators to conclude that Spain’s early exit from the football World Cup in Brazil marked not just a disastrous premature end in a group stage but the definitive final curtain on a nation that had retained its European and World Cup crown over a period of six years. I argued at the time, and still do, that while a tragedy to see Spain humiliated in such a way, La Roja’s early exit did not signify the displacement of Spanish football, and nothing I subsequently saw in what remained in the World Cup and its aftermath has altered my view. No doubt, it was a tragedy to see such iconic players like Xavi and Casillas relegated to the substitute bench, to see other Spanish players similarly out of form and out of spirit, and to have the Spanish national coach Vicente Del Bosque blunder tactically and psychologically. He chose as a lone striker Diego Costa – a player who had not been part of his national team’s shared record of success – while failing to motivate a majority of other more experienced players to believe that having got to the top of a mountain of success, they still could and had to conquer a higher peak. Part of what I had always most admired about Del Bosque was the way he had patiently developed a team ethos that overcame the bitter rivalries at club level between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The mutual trust and collaboration he encouraged among his selected players was one of Del Bosque’s great achievements. The other was in drawing on the best tactics and skills that Spanish football could produce, emulating the best of European 40 La Revista • Autumn 2014
club football. In the World Cup in Brazil, Spain lost the plot, it forgot its narrative, squandered its talent, and made it seem as if the promise of further glory had been nothing but a Quixotic delusion. And yet for all the sparks of individual brilliance in other national teams (Messi, Neymar, Suarez, Robben, James Rodriguez), pace (France), resilience (Chile), goal scoring ability (Rodriguez, Muller, Messi, Neymar) and effective collective effort (Germany), no team managed to so far entertain still less dazzle us with the excellence that Spain’s La Roja achieved at its best, making their football poetry in motion. Consider Spain’s campaign over two years ago in the European championships of 2012 and the way they defeated Italy 4-0 in the final, putting to shame all those who has speculated that the team’s brand of possession, quick passing football had become boring and ineffective. Prior to that, Spain had not conceded a goal in a knock-out match since 2006, incorporating ten matches and almost 17 hours of pitch-time. More often than not, it is because their opponents simply couldn’t get the ball. La Roja was sheer collective brilliance, poetry in motion when not just one player but several hugely talented ones contributed to a solid, if dazzling foundation. The defence not only held together but was capable of great movement as personified by Jordi Alba; the midfield orchestrated by the-eyes-at-the-back-ofhis-head Xavi was a seamless transition belt, with three more advanced players, Iniesta , Silva and Cesc Fabregas, showing their ability to interchange positions. Meanwhile an on-form Torres showed he could assist in and score some marvellous goals. What sometimes got overlooked was the skillful and imaginative way the Spanish players got the ball when they lost it. Everyone tracked back if necessary and fought as well as created. Whoever invented the phrase Tiki-Taka should forget it since it suggests frivolity. At its best Spanish football was much more than about passing the ball for the sake of it. It was an intricate choreography but one with purpose and movement, and great goals at the end of it. Football became a celebration of artistic achievement. In the World Cup in Brazil we saw examples of collective spirit and organisation, but for most of the tournament
this was lacking in the hosts Brazil and their arch rivals Argentina who just managed to get into the quarter finals by the skin of their teeth against very ordinary opposition. As for Spain’s humiliators, Holland, no one can seriously suggest that the Dutch team had the dash and flair that had Johan Cruyff and the Brilliant Orange of the 1970’s define an era of football magic. In the midst of mediocrity, it was doubly frustrating, and indeed tragic for Spain to be knocked out in an early stage of the tournament. If it is true that critical games often turn on a moment of bad luck, Del Bosque and Spanish players must have watched most of the remaining World Cup with a deepening sense of how different things might have been had Silva scored that second goal against Holland. Spain’s consolation is that they have a
“La Roja was sheer collective brilliance, poetry in motion when not just one player but several hugely talented ones contributed to a solid, if dazzling foundation” huge pool of new talent to draw on for the next European Championships in 2016, and for the next World Cup two years later. Let me mention just a few: Thiago, Deulofeu, Morata, Isco, Ander Herrera, Carvajal, Bartra, Illaramendi, Canales, Íñigo Martínez. It has players with a proven track record
Vicente Del Bosque
SPORT who, while getting older, can still make a huge contribution to the national team – the likes of Ramos, and Iniesta. I believe Diego Costa could well thrive under Mourinho at Chelsea although Del Bosque will struggle to accommodate him. But there are other Spanish players who far from being past their sell by date will now surely be motivated to redeem themselves, whether they still play in their Spanish clubs or have transferred to other national leagues like England’s Premier where the likes of Cesc, Silva, Azpilicueta, Cazorla and Mata are among those who thrill and delight local fans from London to Manchester. While I expected and predicted after Spain’s World Cup collapse that Del Bosque would have no choice but to quit honourably, he was persuaded by the Spanish Federation, his players, and messages of support from many supporters to stay on, at least until the European championships in 2016. On reflection, I am happy with his decision. Spain and world football owes him a huge vote of thanks, and he deserves another chance to eventually retire, not humiliated, but still honoured. I hope and trust that it won’t be long before Spain finds its compass again, under Del Bosque’s serene direction and that highly talented Spanish players will show themselves once again show themselves capable of showing the solidarity, harmony, poetry of style, and nobility in success that has made La Roja , at its height, so very special. Moreover it is worth remembering that the coach of the new World Champions Germany Joachim Loew admits to having learnt the best of football from Spain. The Germans have emulated the Spaniards and sought out some of the best. They have not banished them to the dustbin of history. Which is why I believe that my journey through Spanish football, which I love and admire, is far from over. The Spanish national team will evolve in shape and style. The success of Spain’s youth teams, the strength in depth of its major clubs, and the valuable experience of Spanish players playing at club level in the most competitive leagues in the world, suggests that the future is worth looking forward to. *Jimmy Burns Marañón’s History of Spanish Football, La Roja is also published in Spanish as De Rio Tinto a la Roja.
What does the future hold for Iker Casillas? Once considered one of the world’s best goalkeepers, his reputation is now looking shaky. Tomás Hill López Menchero speculates about Casillas’ prospects
ohannesburg, 11th July 2010. Spain versus the Netherlands in the World Cup final. The clock reads 61 minutes, and it is still a stalemate between the two sides. Suddenly, Wesley Sneijder slips a ball through to Arjen Robben on the halfway line, who dashes past the Spanish defenders and into the penalty area. Robben looks up to see the onrushing Iker Casillas, and time stands still as he decides whether to go round the keeper or shoot first time. He picks his spot, and shoots low with his left foot. Casillas goes the wrong way, but deflects the ball wide with an outstretched boot. The danger is averted. That save was the defining moment of Iker Casillas’ career. There may well have been better stops, but none have been as significant as that one he made to deny Robben in the World Cup final. In Spain, the save is talked about in almost the same glowing terms as Andrés Iniesta’s late winner in added extra time, and rightly so. Casillas’ intervention was crucial in ensuring that Vicente Del Bosque’s side went on to win the World Cup, and his performance in the final meant he would go down in goalkeeping history. Four years later, Spain faced the Netherlands again, this time in their opening group game of the World Cup in Brazil. Spain lost 5-1 and Casillas was awful, later admitting that it had been the worst
performance of his career. It was none other than Robben who stuck the final nail in the coffin, turning past the Spain captain and leaving him scrabbling frantically in his tracks as he slotted home the fifth and final goal. Casillas was just as useless against Chile, as Spain lost 2-0 and were dumped out unceremoniously. In both matches he seemed uninterested, a shadow of his former self. Fortune has played an important part in Iker Casillas’ career. When Real Madrid’s first choice keeper César Sánchez was injured in the 2002 Champions League final, it was Casillas who came on to make a string of fine saves to rescue his side. Then it was Santiago Cañizares’ misfortune that meant that Casillas was made Spain’s No. 1 in the World Cup later that year, after Cañizares dropped an aftershave bottle on his foot, severing a tendon and ruling himself out of the tournament. In the round of sixteen tie against Ireland, Casillas saved two penalties in the shootout and instantly became a hero, with the Spanish press dubbing him ‘San Iker’- Saint Iker. He has not looked back since, captaining Spain to victory at Euro 2008, Euro 2012, and of course in South Africa. “Luck?” he said, in an interview with Sid Lowe during Euro 2004. “Maybe. But if you let in three, what's the point? You have to take advantage.” But Casillas has also fallen prey to his own misfortune. In the 2012/13 season he was dropped by José Mourinho after trying to negotiate peace between Madrid and Barça, along with his friend and Spain teammate Xavi. “I called Xavi because it was my duty to do so, as the captain, it’s my responsibility. I knew what I had to do because the group was becoming divided, because I represent my country and I have to defend an idea,” Casillas said in an interview with El País’ Luis Martín. Mourinho was outraged, and decided instead to play the hugely inexperienced Antonio Adán. Things seemed to settle down when the Portuguese coach finally saw sense and decided to restore Casillas to the No.1 spot, but in a desperately unlucky turn of events he broke his hand during a Copa del Rey tie against Valencia, after a collision with Álvaro Arbeloa (ironically, one of Mourinho’s favourite Autumn 2014 • La Revista 41
players at Madrid). Casillas was sidelined for the rest of the season, and Diego López was bought from Sevilla to cover for his absence. López barely put a foot (or hand) wrong while Casillas was out injured, making save after brilliant save without getting anywhere near the same kind of recognition from the Madrid press. Mourinho soon departed, with his tenure turning increasingly sour, but López remained, leaving new coach Carlo Ancelotti with the dilemma of how to keep the two keepers happy. In the end he settled on playing López in La Liga, and Casillas in the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. Ancelotti’s plan worked to a certain extent. Casillas was able to lift the fabled Décima and the Copa del Rey, but he lacked playing time. His decision making suffered, and his error in the Champions League final was a sign of how he wasn’t in the best form coming into the World Cup. Now Casillas finds himself at a crossroads. Keylor Navas was poached from Levante this summer, fresh from an impressive World Cup for Costa Rica, and Diego López has been sold to Milan. While Ancelotti may have been able to juggle two good custodians last season, three would have been impossible, and López was simply too good to be benched. Keylor Navas will provide stiff competition for Casillas. He emerged as one of the best keepers in La Liga last season, making 141 saves, more than anyone else in the Spanish top flight. His training methods are intense and he is an excellent shotstopper, boasting a fine set of reflexes. Despite this, he only has one year of experience in Spain’s top division, having previously played second fiddle to Gustavo Munúa at Levante. A year of assimilation into the Real Madrid setup would come in handy for Navas, instead of instantly being put in the spotlight. It is clear that he will become first choice at some point, but there is no need to rush the process. This transfer window has shown how keen top clubs are to have two top level keepers between the sticks, and, given the number of trophies Madrid will have to contest this year, the likelihood is that Ancelotti will use a similar policy to last season, rotating Casillas and Navas between competitions. Casillas deserves the chance to prove himself again to Ancelotti. At 33, he has plenty of experience and could take some of the pressure off Navas, while trying to go out on a high note. Provided Casillas can start regularly, there is a chance he could recover some of his form and confidence. Casillas is not the keeper he once was, that much is true. But in the small window of an international tournament, things can be blown out of proportion, especially with goalkeepers. Time will tell if Casillas’ terrible World Cup was merely down to bad form, but we shouldn’t be too quick to write him off. Whatever happens this season, he doesn’t deserve to be remembered for his performances in Brazil. In time, Navas will replace Casillas, and Navas will be replaced by someone else. But Casillas will always be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, if not the greatest.
Review H10 Hotel Three O Two Restaurant, Waterloo
10 is the brand name of a Catalan owned chain of hotels that has opened in London after expanding in Spain and Latin America. The concrete and functional urbanised commercial neighbourhood of SE1 lacks the colour and friendliness of Barcelona and Madrid centres, and is no Caribbean beach. It takes quiet a stretch of the imagination to believe that there may be hidden treasure to be found. And yet a gastronomic treasure there is, in the hotel’s upstairs Three O Two restaurant. It is presided over with great skill and human instinct by the genial head waiter Marcos Dios, who was born in London to Spanish immigrant parents and has grown up with the restaurant and hotel trade flowing in his blood. Fluent in Spanish and English, Marcos brings experience, style and necessary human warmth to the restaurant’s modern and culturally neutral design. The real hidden gem however lies out of sight in the kitchen where Spanish chef David Obejo has created a very impressive and innovative à la carte menu. With Marcos on hand to explain how each taster dish had been prepared, and to serve me with his recommended drink, I began with a selection of croquettes with different fillings – smoked Spanish chorizo, caramelised lion onion, cabrales blue cheese, and confit duck and crab fitter – all excellent. This impressive array of starting tapas had a class companion in a glass of one the finest lager style beers in Spain – the Inedit designed by Ferran Adrià and his sommeliers at El Bulli, and brewed by DammEstrella. Next came some roasted I began with a selection of octupus. I have to admit that of all the sea foods, this has croquettes with different fillings always been my least favou– smoked Spanish chorizo, cararite as my past experience melised lion onion, cabrales blue has been that it tends to be too rubbery. But this one was cheese, and confit duck and crab different. Cooked with love fitter – all excellent and patience, with celery, rum and marinated paprika potatoes, it was not only soft on the teeth but wonderfully tasty. Of an equally high standard was the small tapa of Iberian pork shoulder together with a scallop and sautéed with ajo blanco foam and Ribera Del Duero wine reduction. Both were wonderfully partnered by a glass of surprisingly smooth Txakoli from the Getrariakoa Txakolina bodega. By now I felt I had embarked on a truly culinary trip that seemed to just get better as I went along (and I was only sipping my drink!) The first main dish sample was a carefully grilled turbot with shitake mushrooms, smoked aubergine and seaweed Meuniere accompanied by a Laus Flor Gewürztraminer which was what most surprised me. Despite its German sounding name, this wine actually comes from Somontana in Aragon. Although I know it has got its detractors, the wine has a distinctive highly perfumed scent, and a mix of slightly spicy and fruity flavours. I loved it. As distinctive and pleasing was the Matsu, Tinta de Toro. It is great to see the emergence of quality wines from Castilla, and this one holds its own in any serious Spanish wine list. Full-bodied and yet smooth and distinctively elegant, it was a perfect choice to accompany the final main taster of crispy slow cooked Iberian suckling pig with poached potatoes in rosemary and garlic – one of the oldest and most popular of Spanish dishes beautifully delivered at H10. My taster meal drew to an exciting close with a creative tour de force for dessert – a sorbet made with Gin Mare, the subtle Mediterraneanstyle gin made with rosemary, thyme, olive, and basil all included in the refreshing, soothing mix which I accompanied with a small glass of an enchanting dessert Orange Tree Wine from the province of Huelva. By our restaurant critic
42 La Revista • Autumn 2014
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