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La Revista

The BritishSpanish Society Magazine | Issue 239 | Winter/Spring 2015

The Changing World of Work Business Issue: British and Spanish start-ups, Loewe CEO interview, and el nuevo emprendimiento


EDITORIAL

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elcome back to La Revista. In this issue we look at how technological advances and increased global connectivity have transformed the ways in which we live and work, and what the further implications of this could be. If it is possible to be connected to the Internet at any time, from anywhere, how will business structures change? What jobs might exist in the future which we cannot yet conceive of? While all of this remains uncertain, there is a greater awareness of the need to self-educate, to gain the right skills in order to be equipped for the changing world of work. The rising number of entrepreneurs and start-ups in the last couple of years is perhaps indicative of this. We speak to the founders of two new companies – one in the UK and one in Spain – about their experiences, followed by an interview with the director of INCYDE – an organisation which supports small businesses and entrepreneurs in Spain and abroad. Lisa Montague, Chief Executive of Loewe and a firm believer in the global appeal of ‘Made in Spain’, gives her perspective, while also providing an insight into how one of Spain’s leading luxury firms is run. Elsewhere Nuria Reina Bachot, winner of the 2014 prize for the best article in La Revista (presented at the BritishSpanish Society Christmas party, see pg.4), looks into English crime writer Agatha Christie’s life and the significance of the time she spent in the Canary Islands. Tom Blinkhorn conjures up the delicious flavours of Basque cooking on pg.39 and Society Chairman Jimmy Burns Marañón reflects on his Anglo-Spanish roots at the Gilbraltar Literary Festival on pg. 16. Planning a visit to Madrid any time soon? Resident Madrileña Estefanía Ruilope’s shortlist of top places to go should give you some inspiration. In fact, while you’re there (or in another part of Spain) you might want to try out some of the classic words and expressions compiled by Sitges local Dominic Begg, for example, aquí zanjamos el editorial. Amy Bell I hope you enjoy the issue!

La Revista Executive Editor: Jimmy Burns Marañón Editor: Amy Bell Corporate Supporters/Advertising/Scholarships: Marian Jiménez-Riesco Development Secretary: María Soriano Casado Events: Carmen Young, Lucia Cawdron, David Hurst (Gala events), 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: María Victoria Yuste Gas, Sir Stephen Wright, Javier Fernández Hidalgo, Lady Brennan, Miguel Fernández-Longoria (Scholarships), Sarah Galea, Harriet McKenzie 102 Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AN www.britishspanishsociety.org

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facebook.com/ BritishSpanish

@BritishSpanish @LaRevistaUK

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

CONTENTS Issue 239 SOCIETY NEWS

Julia Sukan del Rio

Elsa Moro Soria

Adela Gooch

4 7 8 11

Jimmy Burns Marañón

Nuria Reina Bachot

Jules Stewart

Nacho Morais

Estefanía Ruilope

Laura Gran

Mercedes Aguirre Alastuey Thomas Bell

Claudia Rubiño

Duncan Wheeler

Thomas Blinkhorn

Issue 239 Contributors

Dominic Begg

Fernando Canet

Presentation of Hispanomania Review: Conscience & Conflict: British Artists and the Spanish Civil War Highlights from 2014 Events

FEATURES

12 15 16

David Hurst

The BritishSpanish Society Christmas Party Upcoming Society Events

17 21 23 26 27 29 30

Duchess of Alba: Obituary & Recordatorio desde Londres Scholarship Report: Dorset to Barcelona The Other Side of the Mountain: A Visit to the Gibraltar Literary Festival Inside a Start-up: What turns an idea into a business? El Futuro de los Negocios y el Nuevo Emprendimiento Interview with Lisa Montague, CEO of Loewe Perfil de Trabajo: Midwife Talking about my Generation Memorias de la Transicón De cuando Agatha Christie visitó ‘Las Islas Afortunadas’

32

Photographer Idil Sukan Captures Comedy

34

Spaniard Leading the World of Squash: Interview with Borja Golan

& Pronounced ‘Thiria’: A Dialogue with Artist Jose Manuel Ciria

35 Iberian Words: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 37 Contemporary Spanish Cinema 38 ¿Qué hay de nuevo en Madrid? 39 Basque Country Chronicle 42 Recipe: Tarta de Manzana vs Apple Pie Contact us:

For all editorial contributions or to comment on an article you have read in La Revista, please write to us at: press@britishspanishsociety.org To enquire about advertising opportunities (including classified adverts) please contact: info@britishspanishsociety.org Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 3


SOCIETY NEWS

The BritishSpanish Chistmas Party Tapas, cava and carols for the final event of 2014

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ver 150 members of the British Spanish Society celebrated Christmas at the Instituto Cervantes in a delightful event presided by the Spanish Ambassador Federico Trillo-Figueroa. The atmosphere was cordial and relaxed, full of laughs and lively conversation, with many open to meeting others for the first time. The food, served by Hispania, was delicious and a good example of the best of Spanish produce. The party was an excellent opportunity for members to meet again and celebrate Christmas together. In his welcome address the Ambassador explained that “we all share the same values and roots” and congratulated Chairman Jimmy Burns Marañon and his team for their achievements. Mr Burns Marañon described the Society as a “bridge of friendship, meeting and dialogue. We want to describe what we do as a large family meeting for British people who love all things about Spain and for those Spaniards living in London and in need to feel at home.”. Perhaps this explains why the organisation has grown so quickly in the last four years, to more than 650 members. For the coming year the goals of the Society are to keep growing and to organise more events to cater for all ages. Raising funds for the scholarship programme is also a top priority, said Burns, “because it gives the opportunity to Spanish and British students to investigate in different fields”. In terms of professionalism, the plan is “to keep doing what we are good at, in honesty and

transparency. We are all volunteers with a high working speed.” The objective of the Society is to be “solid, passionate and reliable in the way we do things and the service we offer to our members”. Approaching its centenary in 2016, the Society is fortunate to have excellent sponsors who believe in the value of the organisation. One of them is the University of Navarra, whose Admissions Director, Álvaro Balibrea, thinks that the British Spanish Society is “a good forum” to be in touch with people who live in London and have roots or a relevant connection with Spain. “The relationship is always profitable; there is an exchange of views, help and mutual collaboration”. Awards were presented to the best article written in this year’s editions of La Revista, the official magazine of the Society. The prize is awarded by the University of Navarra in partnership with the BritishSpanish Society, and on this occasion there were three finalists. Mr Balibrea presented the awards on behalf of the university. The overall winner was Spanish writer Nuria Reina Bachot

Turrón

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for her article entitled ‘Roberta, Peter y Phyllis’ recounting her experience writing the first ever Spanish translation of the British children’s literary classic, The Railway Children. Two finalists were also awarded certificates: Tomás Hill López Menchero and Bess Twiston-Davies. After that, a group of members sang some Christmas carols, conducted by Maite Aguirre. This was followed by a raffle organised by Carmen Young, full of brilliant prizes generously donated for the occasion in order to raise funds for the Society. The 2015 Christmas party will be the precursor of the activities commemorating the 4th centenary of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes’ deaths, which were both in 1616. It will be also the last activity until the celebration of the Society’s own centenary in 2016. The British Spanish Society would like to thank all of those who kindly donated prizes to the raffle. By Laura Gran Photos: Toño Figueira


SOCIETY NEWS

Maite Aguirre leads the choir with Christmas carols in English and Spanish

The Hispania team with Jimmy Burns Marañón and Carmen Young

Kidge Burns

Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 5


SOCIETY NEWS

Thank you to everyone who sponsored the Christmas party or donated prizes to the raffle

WANTED! The BritishSpanish Society is looking for a part-time website and social media editor Skills required: Fluent in Spanish and English, with a high level of spelling and grammar. Experience in website management. Aptitude for social media channels. Responsibilities include: Maintaining the BritishSpanish Society website, keeping it up-to-date. Building the Society’s online presence by managing activity across social media channels including Twitter and Facebook. Working with La Revista editor to build online version of the magazine. Please send applications to info@britishspanishsociety.org

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SOCIETY NEWS

Events

February - March2015

Why not become a member of the BritishSpanish Society? www.britishspanishsociety.org/membership

Our full programme of events can be found at www.britishspanishsociety.org/whats-on. For tickets please contact info@britishspanishsociety.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.

Theatre Trip to INIGO

Wren Churches in the City Walking Tour and Tapas Lunch Date and Time: Monday 23rd February 10.30am - 12.30pm followed by lunch. Cut-off for bookings: Monday 16th February. Minimum group size 10. Venue: meet from 10.15am outside Tower Hill Tube Station; 12.30pm tapas lunch at Hispania, 72-74 Lombard Street, London EC3V 9AY Tickets: Members £29 including tapas lunch (drinks extra) or £12 for walk only. Non-members £34 including lunch or £15 for walk only What to expect: Our experienced and entertaining guide will be Malcolm Dick, a City of London Guide, whose wider approach to City walking tours will include visits to pre-Fire of London St Olaf’s, St Dunstan’s and more Wren churches in Gracechurch Street, ending with a Hawksmoor designed lunch at Hispania restaurant.

Date & Time: No group trip is planned as the theatre does not take group reservations without full payment in advance. However, we suggest Friday 27th February with 7.30pm start. Venue: White Bear Theatre, Kennington Tickets: £14 to be booked directly with the theatre (concessions £10) World premier of a new play written and directed by award-winning Jonathan Moore, based on the life of Ignatius of Loyola: ‘Radical. Saint. Loved and hated. Founder of the Jesuits.’ What to expect: With a Jesuit Pope, this new play looks at the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola. After a radical conversion, everything changes and we follow ‘Inigo’ from founding the Society of Jesus which was (and is still) either loved or hated.

Try a New Sport in 2015! Guided Exhibition: Kenwood House Come and play Padel Tennis Date: Saturday 21st March Gloria Ceballos ‘Nature, Tickets: Cost £12 for members, £17 for Date and Time: Saturday 14th March from a cultural artefact’ non members Venue: Instituto Cervantes Date and Time: Friday 20th February from 11.00 - 12.00 Tickets: Free

‘Nature: a cultural artefact’ represents Gloria Ceballos’ constant research about the human relationship with nature. As city inhabitants our experiences of nature are restricted to parks, gardens and other green areas within our cities: the “cultured nature”. We call green spaces a natural environment, when in reality they are human-controlled places. In our aim to control everything, nature theorised. The ‘three natures’ concept studied for many authors since Cicero and developed by Landscape theorist, John Dixon Hunt, is the focus of Ceballos’ latest series of work presented in this solo exhibition at the Instituto Cervantes.

10.00am to 12.00am followed by a pub lunch. Cut-off date for applications: Monday 23 February Venue: Padel Club London, PlayOn Sports Building, 100 Preston Road, London E14 9SB Tickets: £25 per person for 2 hours doubles court time (or just £15 per hour if you prefer) For more information on padel tennis visit: www.padelclubuk.com

Padel tennis is fast, fun and easy to learn. It is already played in Spain and Latin America and is expanding fast in Europe. A racquet sport played in doubles and indoors on an enclosed court half the size of a tennis court, it resembles tennis and is the best way to get Join us with society member Toni Salord, General Manager at Padel Club London, for a full introduction to the rules and the game - and to see why padel tennis is the fastest growing sport in the world!

Venue: Kenwood House, Hampstead Lane, London NW3 7JR Tea/drinks/food not included. Join us for a private guided tour of the day of spring, Saturday 21st March, meeting at 11.00am. Part of the English Heritage set on the edge of Hampstead Heath and surrounded by tranquil landscaped gardens, Kenwood is one of London’s hidden gems. The House, its breathtaking interiors and stunning art collection is a must. Discover the vast array of masterpieces hanging in this grand setting, including Rembrandt’s self portrait, and be awed by the breathtaking beauty of architect Robert Adam’s library. In the afternoon, weather permitting there will be a walk on Hampstead Heath. The survivors could have tea in Hampstead.

Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 7


SOCIETY NEWS

Presentation of Hispanomania

Journalist and author Tom Burns Marañon had a captivated audience as he spoke about his latest book last November.

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Julio Crespo MacLennan and Tom Burns Marañón. Photo: Toño Figueira

ournalist and author Tom Burns Marañón delivered a fascinating talk at the Instituto Cervantes in November based on his book Hispanomanía, an account of the curiosos impertinentes, travellers from other European countries and the US who came to Spain with preconceived notions about the country. Burns took his audience through the journeys of 19th century romantics like the French poet Théophile Gautier, who found in the colour of the land and its people an inspiration for some of his best poetry in España, and prose in Un Voyage en Espagne. Tom’s book also focuses on two other French curiosos impertinentes, George Sand and Maurice Legendre, the latter an enthusiastic Hispanist who held the post of director of the Casa de Velázquez at the French cultural institute in Madrid. Burns recounted the fascinating tale of Legendre’s experiences in Las Hurdes which, at the time of his first visit in 1912, was arguably one of the most primitive and deprived regions of Europe. That visit led Legendre to launch a campaign to call public attention to the miserable living conditions of the hurdanos, in which he enlisted the aid of the novelist Miguel de Unamuno and Burns’ maternal grandfather, the celebrated physician Gregorio Marañón. The conceptions (and misconceptions), mishaps and adventures of British travellers Richard Ford and George Borrow provided a source of amusement, leading up to the more familiar voices of the volunteers of the International Brigades, and those who went to Spain to

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report on or to participate in the fighting of the Civil War. George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway, for instance, viewed Spain through very different lenses, but what both had in common was a shared love and admiration for the country, which comes through in their classics Homage to Catalonia and For Whom the Bell Tolls. One wonders if Burns might be considering a worthy follow-up to his excellent book with another on Spanish travellers abroad, looking at the exploits of such notables as the playwright Leandro Fernández de Moratín and poet Federico García Lorca, and how these Spaniards and others of the 19th and 20th centuries interpreted life outside their homeland. By Jules Stewart

Conscience and Conflict: British Artists and the Spanish Civil War

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

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wo images stayed with me, from among the wealth of those on display, at an exhibition on the response of British visual artists to the Spanish Civil War currently at Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery. One, a striking lithograph, shows a foot wearing a traditional, intricate alpargata about to stamp on a swastika. The other, a gentler photograph of Basque children playing cricket at a refugee camp in Hampshire. The first by Catalan artist, Pere Catala Pic, entitled Let’s squash fascism (1936), vividly conveys how what began as a Spanish social conflict took on much wider international resonance and became, in the words of Ernest Hemingway, a “dress rehearsal for the inevitable European war”. The second, by Edith Hart, an Austrianborn, Jewish, communist photographer, who herself sought refuge in England, carries particular poignancy because it was taken in 1937, soon after the bombing of Guernica, which marked a fundamental shift in 20th century warfare – a portent of what was to follow. The response of British literary figures to the civil war has been well documented – the impact on the artistic world less so. This exhibition seeks to redress that featuring a wide range of artists, who worked with a variety of materials, in different media, and who spanned the political divides generated by the conflict. Its subtle and nuanced approach provides a visually


ART and intellectually enriching contribution to commemorations of the 75th anniversary of its end. British political involvement in the war was the subject of heated debate in Parliament and the press – the official policy of non-intervention was seen by many as tacit support for the right-wing nationalist insurgents led by General Franco. Among the ensuing debates that involved British artists was the issue of direct action versus artistic creation as the most appropriate response. The show highlights the work of artists involved in the Artists International Association, set up in 1933 to present a “united front against fascism and war” which, by the outbreak of the war, had more than 600 members ranging from establishment figures to younger modernists, including Henry Moore, well represented among the exhibits. It also seeks to explore the work of less celebrated commercial artists and designers whose posters and leaflets were to pioneer latter day campaigns on behalf of humanitarian causes. The gallery traces the involvement of artists, some of whom had visited Spain in the 20s and 30s but many of whom knew little about the country. The drawings of militia men and women, by Felicia Browne, are taken from a sketchbook recovered after her death on the Saragossa Front in 1937 fighting with the communists – the first British volunteer to die in the war. Others, who stayed home, organised fundraising campaigns and auctions of their work. It reflects on the artistic battles between surrealists, such as Roland Penrose, whose Elephant Bird Collage (1938), is on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum, and realists, among them Clive Branson whose 1939 canvases Demonstration in Battersea and Daily Worker depict the impact of the conflict on ordinary working people in Britain. Branson joined the International

Brigades and went to Spain in 1937. Turning to artists more broadly sympathetic to the nationalist side, a small but not uninfluential minority, the exhibition features works by Francis Rose and Edward Burra. Rose’s satirically titled The Reds are Really Not Bad Sorts (1936), shows the reds of the title holding the severed head of a cleric beneath chandeliers hanging from trees, in condemnation of attacks on the clergy and looting of wealth. The elongated figures in Burra’s watercolours The Watcher (1937), Medusa (1938), and The Torturers (1935), not on display but photographed together with many other relevant works in the superb catalogue, recall the Spanish old masters to convey a sense of social unease and latent violence strongly reminiscent of Goya. The section on poster design and the Spanish aid movement also explores how both artists who were familiar with Spain, and others, who had little or no knowledge of the country, were drawn in by the impact of the conflict. “HELP wounded human beings” is the message on a poster by the American designer E. McKnight Kauffer whose power lies in showing nothing discernably to do with medical aid save for a red cross symbol and rests instead on his gouache sketch of the gaunt face of a man, based on El Greco’s Self Portrait as Saint Luke. By contrast, a lithograph, by Sir Frank Brangwyn, Spain (1937), produced in support of the non-partisan General Relief Fund for Distressed Women and Children, contains some universal images of suffering women and children. The impact of Picasso’s iconic canvas Guernica is another highlight of the show. Picasso’s Weeping Woman (1937), a preparatory work, is on display. Paintings such as Walter Nessler’s 1937 Premonition of the London Blitz show how quick artists

were to grasp the wider repercussions of the Guernica bombing. The exhibition concludes with a tribute to those who sought to reflect, and alleviate, the plight of prisoners and refugees after the war. John Armstrong’s dry, dusty The Empty Street (1938), is a harbinger of the subsequent “years of hunger” - and shows a timeless, empty village scene, under a bright clear sky, familiar to anyone who has travelled through the hot Castilian plain. The artists’ depictions of fraught flight, misery and displacement resonate at a time when arguments over intervention and appropriate response to humanitarian crisis continue to provoke fierce debate. They are strongly in keeping with the gallery’s links to Chichester Cathedral, a centre for peace and reconciliation dating back to the work of Bishop George Bell during the Second World War. The gallery itself was founded with a core collection of modern British art donated by Walter Hussey, Dean of the cathedral from 1955 to 1977. Comments in the visitors’ book provide a modest rebuke to those who claim that we hear too much about this conflict and have little left to learn from the issues so ably raised and discussed in the exhibition. “Thank you for remembering,” said one. By Adela Gooch

Conscience and Conflict, curated by Simon Martin, Artistic Director of Pallant House Gallery is on at Chichester until 15th February and will then tour to the Laing Art Gallery in Newscaste-upon-Tyne from 7th March to 7th June. writer and broadcaster with specialised knowl and China in particular. Clive Branson

Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 9


Our Story Bilbao Berria began in La plaza de la catedral, Barcelona in 1999 and since then has delivered a unique Basque dining experience. Created by two Basques and one Catalan, these three friends – Iñaki Lasa, Rafa Viar and Pedro Antonio López – all share the same passion for serving the most creative and sociable cuisine. To add to our existing restaurants in Bilbao and Barcelona, we have opened the doors to Number 2, Regent Street, London, allowing the most cosmopolitan city in the world to experience our culinary excellence in Basque and Spanish Cuisine. pantone 130 when printed onto white

The food

pantone 131 when printed onto brown craft paper material

Pintxos is a combination of ingredients held together with a skewer that can be eaten in one or two mouthfuls without the need for cutlery. It shouldn’t be confused with tapas, which, although originally serves the same purpose, is a reduced portion of food served on a plate rather than a skewer. Along with pintxos we have an extensive menu of modern Spanish and Basque cuisine. Using carefully selected ingredients and small goods sourced from Spain our menu is modern yet respectful to traditional flavours and techniques. Meats and fish are roasted in our imported charcoal parrilla which adds unique flavours to our rustic yet sophisticated cuisine.


SOCIETY NEWS

Highlights from 2014’s Society Events House of Commons Gala Dinner

All Aboard: Fiesta on the Thames

Tension in the air for Spain vs Chile Networking at The Haciendas

Christmas Party

Chelsea Flower Show

Summer Party Hispanomania

Visit to Sotheby’s

2014 was a busy year of events for BritishSpanish Society members. The voluntary events team aimed to provide something for everyone throughout the year. The Annual General Meeting in December drew a full and enthusiastic house to the Luis Vives room of the Chancery of the Spanish Embassy in London. Society Chairman, Jimmy Burns Marañón, together with the Board of Trustees reported on an excellent twelve months with increasing individual and corporate membership, a range of popular cultural and social events, publication of our much-loved magazine, La Revista, and the award of scholarships to Spanish and British postgraduate students thanks to the continuing generosity of our principal supporters. In addition to the annual Summer and Christmas parties (with grateful support from Hispania at the Christmas event), early in the year ‘Futból Alegría’, a celebration of Spanish football, was held at Hispania. This was followed by the Gala dinner at the House of Commons; City networking at The Haciendas; a visit to

the Chelsea Flower Show; an exclusive breakfast and tour of Spanish paintings before auction at Sotheby’s; a BBQ and party on the River Thames at Bar & Co; World Cup Football (painfully watching Spain lose to Chile!) at NH Hotel; the annual concert, ‘Music from Toledo in the Age of El Greco’, at St James’ Church sponsored by the Spanish Cultural Office; a family visit to the Roald Dahl Museum; and, finally, the entertaining launch by Tom Burns of his book Hispanomania at the Instituto Cervantes. We hope to continue to raise the standards and make 2015 another ‘eventful’ year but we need to know what kind of events our members, would like. We already have plans but would welcome your ideas for the kind of events you would like us to hold. Do you know anyone working at an interesting venue where we could take an exclusive group of members? Last year we visited Cambridge University and Eton College through members’ contacts. Do you have a personal interest which can be shared by a demonstration for other members, such as our padel tennis event

Futbol Alegria

Annual Concert at St. James’ Church

this spring? Think of events and locations linked to occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day or even Halloween. Let us know of any Spanish themed events or activities, whether educational, cultural or entertaining, that you know will take place in the UK during 2015 that might be of interest to members. Finally, we are hugely looking forward to celebrating our centenary with a rolling events programme leading up to the summer of 2016. This is an exciting project marking a unique occasion to honour our past achievements and build on a solid future of British-Spanish understanding and co-operation. We would like to be able to count on your involvement and support. Given our small team, all events must be relatively easy to implement and must make a profit as we are a charity. Above all our events must be fun! If you have an idea for an event or would like tos sponsor, please email: info@britishspanishsociety.org By David Hurst British Spanish Society’s voluntary event team

Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 11


DUCHESS OF ALBA

María del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y Silva 18th Duchess of Alba 1926-2014 Obituary by Jules Stewart

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n the morning of 20th November 2014 the Mayor of Seville announced the death of Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, the 88-year-old Duchess of Alba. Fourteen times grandee of Spain, holder of more titles than Queen Elizabeth II, the Duchess of Alba ironically did not possess the oldest Spanish title of nobility. That honour fell to Luisa Isabel Álvarez de Toledo, the 21st Duchess of Medina Sidonia, through her title of Condesa de Niebla, a noble rank created in 1368 by King Enrique II and bestowed on Juan Alonso Pérez de Guzmán for his loyalty in the war against the rival pretender to the throne, who happened to be Enrique’s brother. That said, no one in Spain could lay claim to more than 500 titles, including eight dukedoms. In 1968 I had the pleasure of interviewing the Duchess of Alba (and later the Duchess of Medina Sidonia) at the Palacio de Liria in Madrid. I was researching a feature for my employer Reuters on Spain’s oldest aristocratic title. It was difficult not to feel overwhelmed by Cayetana’s art collection, one of the world’s greatest, and other priceless treasures like letters signed by Christopher Columbus, a first edition of Don Quijote and Fernando el Católico’s last will and testament. Cayetana was born in 1926 in the Palacio de Liria, while her father the Duke of Alba was hosting a dinner party for Gregorio Marañón, José Ortega y Gasset and Ramón Pérez Ayala. Her godparents were King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia, so it was a foregone conclusion from the start that Cayetana was to spend a lifetime immersed in the company of high nobility and distinguished society. Yet she was very much her own woman, learning to dance flamenco with Pastora Imperio, falling in love with bullfighter Pepe Luis Vázquez (any aspiration of a romantic liaison were cut short by her father), doing charitable work with Salesian missionaries and producing paintings which her family considered too ‘avant garde’. The Duchess of Alba’s life was marked by tragedy, having lost her first two husbands to cancer. In 2011 she married Alfonso Diez, a public servant she had met 30 years previous in her family antiques shop. Cayetana was by all accounts a happy woman in the last three years of her life. She is succeeded by her eldest son, Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, the 19th Duke of Alba.

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Recordatorio desde Londres por Jimmy Burns Marañón

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n agosto de 1944, cuando la Segunda Guerra Mundial entraba en su última etapa, la Embajada Británica se preparaba para una victoria aliada con algunos cambios de personal. Uno de sus departamentos más influyentes – el de propaganda e inteligencia– fue reforzado con la llegada inesperada de Peter Laing*, un joven inglés que se había hecho amigo de Cayetana de Alba. Laing, enviado por el Ministerio de Información con la aprobación de los Servicios de Inteligencia, era un ex alumno de Eton y oficial del ejército de la Guardia de los Granaderos. Su nuevo jefe en la embajada, Tom Burns, ya para entonces recién casado con Mabel Marañón, hija de del reputado médico Gregorio Marañón, consideraba que el joven tenía experiencia más que suficiente para ser útil a los intereses británicos en Madrid. Aparte de su formación militar y de haber trabajado una temporada como intérprete en el cuartel general del gobierno francés en el exilio, fundado por el General De Gaulle y ubicado en Londres, la principal referencia profesional de Laín para su trabajo como agregado de prensa adjunto era que tenía un acceso sin precedentes a varias fuentes de gran utilidad dentro del Gobierno de Franco y redes monárquicas. Esto se debía a la relación sentimental que le había unido a Cayetana, la joven y única hija del duque

de Alba, embajador de España en el Reino Unido, mientras ambos vivían en Londres en plena guerra. Laing llego a convertirse en un gran amigo de mis padres, Tom y Mabel, y fue una de las muchas fuentes que entrevisté para mi libro Papa Espía, que cuenta la historia secreta de las relaciones angloespañolas durante la Guerra Civil y la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Laing, igual que mis padres y Cayetana ya murieron, pero la información que relato fue fruto de varias entrevistas que tuve con el cuándo, ya de muy mayor, me recibió en su casa de campo inglesa, a donde se había retirado con su mujer. Según me contó, Laing conoció a Cayetana en 1943 a través de su amiga Chiquita Carcaño cuando la joven aristócrata tenía dieciocho años. Esta última era una de las guapísimas hijas gemelas del embajador argentino en el Reino Unido y la duquesa había estudiado con ella en la Universidad de la Sorbona (París). Las embajadas de España y de La Republica Argentina se encontraban entonces, igual que hoy, en la misma plaza de Belgravia, unos de los barrios más exclusivos de Londres. Cuando la vio por primera vez en una fiesta de la Embajada Argentina, Laing quedó prendado. Como recordaría años después: “Era absolutamente divina; era un poco rechonchita, pero dulce y muy atractiva”.


DUCHESS OF ALBA Pocos días después, Laing fue invitado a Albury House, una mansión victoriana ubicada en Surrey que la duquesa de Northumberland había alquilado a sus amigos los Alba para sus escapadas de fin de semana durante los años de la guerra. Rodeado de más de seiscientos metros cuadrados de jardines diseñados por John Evelyn, el gran diarista y horticultor del siglo XVII, Albury Park debía de parecerles un lugar bastante común a los Alba, acostumbrados a sus palacios y fincas en España. No obstante, allí el duque organizaba almuerzos de fin de semana para algunos de los altos funcionarios y ministros del gabinete de Churchill, mientras que su hija recibía a sus amigos. El enamoramiento puramente platónico de Laing por ‘Tana’, como se la conocía a Cayetana familiarmente, surgió una cálida tarde de verano al verla languidecer junto a la piscina, ocultando sus apesadumbrados sentimientos tras unas gafas oscuras. El comportamiento de Cayetana dejaba traslucir a veces un carácter melancólico. En cierta ocasión confesó que nunca había superado la muerte de su madre por tuberculosis cuando ella, hija única, tenía tan solo ocho años. Dos años

Cuando la vio por primera vez en una fiesta de la Embajada Argentina, Laing quedó prendado. Como recordaría años después: “Era absolutamente divina; era un poco rechonchita, pero dulce y muy atractiva”.

después de morir su madre estalló la Guerra Civil en España y Tana huyó de Madrid con su padre, primero a París y luego a Londres, donde el duque fue nombrado representante de Franco y después embajador, en marzo de 1939. Las circunstancias hicieron que Tana madurase bastante más deprisa que la mayoría de las chicas de su edad, a pesar de llevar una vida relativamente protegida. Una niñera austriaca dirigía sus estudios, y cuando salía de la embajada lo hacía siempre acompañada, ya fuese con la esposa de algún diplomático o con una amiga confianza. En cuestiones de amor, la duquesa aún no había encontrado un hombre adecuado con quien casarse, aunque durante su estancia en Londres corrieron rumores de que mantenía una relación formal y platónica con un joven oficial de la fuerza áerea española que había ejercido de ayudante del príncipe Don Juan. Ahora bien, como a cualquier joven, también le gustaban las escapadas espontáneas y las locuras típicas de su edad. Su amigo inglés Laing alimentaba esa faceta de su carácter llevándola a bailar a algunos de los locales nocturnos de moda de Londres, a pesar de la guerra, y eso sí, siempre en compañía. Aunque parece que la joven duquesa no correspondió sus sentimientos más allá de un coqueteo amistoso, tanto ella como sus amigas admiraban el ‘charm’ y la buena educación del atractivo Laing. Gracias a sus modales impecables, este apuesto y joven inglés no tardó en ser presentado al duque de Alba y, a través de él, accedió a clubs exclusivos como el Círculo de la Gran Peña y un sinfín de personas influyentes de la aristocracia y del ejército franquista en Madrid.

De mi parte, puedo dar testimonio de que los Alba figuraban entre los amigos en común que tuvo Laing y mi familia materna, en la que destaca la figura de mi abuelo, el Dr Gregorio Marañón. Así recordó Cayetana los lazos personales e intelectuales que mantuvo su padre con él: “La noche en que nací, aquí, en Liria, mi padre estaba cenando con Marañón, Ortega y Gasset y Ramón Pérez de Ayala; un doctor, un filósofo y un escritor. Cuando Marañón le dijo que era una niña y que todo estaba en orden, se fumó un puro e invitó a todos a brandy. Era la 1.45 de la mañana y dijo que no le importaba que fuera una chica, lo importante es que estuviera bien…”. Y de Churchill, primo de su padre, Cayetana tuvo este recuerdo: “Tenía un vozarrón y un carisma tan impresionante que todo el mundo se callaba en cuanto abría la boca. Durante los bombardeos de Londres, en la II Guerra Mundial, me felicitaba por lo valiente que era y por no tener miedo”. Al que escribe este artículo también le une un lazo amistoso a la casa de Alba: el recuerdo que mantiene de su niñez en los años cincuenta, cuando el hijo de la duquesa, de nombre Cayetano –de una edad similar a la suya– iba a las fiestas de cumpleaños que su madre Mabel organizaba en su piso de la Castellana. Cayetana, que en paz descanses. *Peter Laing was a long-serving member of the Anglo-Spanish now BritishSpanish Society. He died in 2007.

Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 13


AWARD WINNING

SPANISH Language courses and cultural events for Spanish learners and native Spanish speakers

hola@batterseaspanish.com

07 554 685 682

batterseaspanish

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www.batterseaspanish.com


SCHOLARSHIPS

Scholarship Report: Dorset to Barcelona

Sylvia Townsend Warner and the Spanish Civil War, by Mercedes Aguirre Alastuey, who was awarded with one of the BritishSpanish Society bursaries in 2011.

I

am a PhD researcher at University College London, where I am working on a doctoral dissertation that studies the British and North American writers who wrote literary works inspired by the Spanish Civil War, under the supervision of Professor Peter Swaab. My thesis is heavily based on archival material and I have carried out research in different libraries and archives in Britain and the United States, such as the Imperial War Museum and New York’s University Tamiment Library. I am very grateful to the BritishSpanish Society, who generously funded my visit to the Sylvia Townsend Warner Archive in Dorchester, Dorset. My work at the archive was very rewarding, as I managed to find biographical and literary materials that have greatly complemented my previous research on the writer.

“The literary history of Great Britain and Spain is rich with unexpected connections and meaningful collaborations.” Sylvia Townsend Warner (1893-1978) was an English novelist, short story writer, and poet. She was also one of the editors of the compilation Tudor Church Music, published by Oxford University Press. Her first novel, Lolly Willowes (1926), was a success with readers and reviewers alike both in Britain and the United States, and her regular contributions to the New Yorker — the magazine published her stories for more than forty years — also helped to expand her readership. My research investigates Sylvia Townsend Warner’s representations of Spain in her poetry and fiction. I also investigate the perceptions of Spain in Great Britain during the first half of the 20th century, as well as the cultural connections between the two countries. My fascination with

Townsend Warner began after reading her innovative and powerful novel After the Death of Don Juan, which the author described as a “political fable” of the Spanish Civil War. I presented my work on the novel in the ‘Revisiting Sylvia Townsend Warner’ symposium that took place in Dorchester in June 2012, and which brought together established scholars and postgraduate students researching the writer’s life and works. Townsend Warner’s involvement with Spain began with the start of the Spanish Civil War. She and her partner Valentine Ackland, who had become a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1935, were strongly committed to the cause of the Spanish Republic, fundraising and campaigning to raise awareness. They first visited Barcelona for several weeks in September 1936, with the intention of doing administrative work for the British Medical Aid Committee. They returned to Spain in the summer of 1937 and attended the International Writers’ Congress for the Defence of Culture in Madrid and Valencia as part of the British delegation, which also included the poet Stephen Spender. Townsend Warner wrote several poems drawing on her experience in Spain, which describe the terror of war in the author’s characteristic subtle style devoid of any sentimentalism. She also penned several war reports and articles which appeared in diverse journals and magazines from Life and Letters Today to The Left Review or The Countryman, in which she often pointed at social inequality as the primary cause underlying the conflict in Spain. For the New Yorker she wrote Barcelona, a witty short story that portrays her everyday life while in Spain with other British volunteers, and the humorous situations arising from their lack of knowledge of Spanish. The Sylvia Townsend Warner archive, which is located within the Dorset County

Museum in Dorchester, holds an extensive collection of material about the writer and her works: from manuscripts, personal documents, and letters to press cuttings and photographs. With the help and advice of the collection’s archivist Dr Morine Krissdottir I was able to explore documents that helped me retrace Townsend Warner’s visit to Spain and her relationship with the country. I had the opportunity to read her correspondence with other artists and writers, including the British poet Nancy Cunard, whose works I also explore in my dissertation, and whose literary discussions with Townsend Warner throw light on the gestation of her Spanish Civil War novel. In addition, and while perhaps not so important in an academic sense, holding in your hands the handwritten letters and notes of an author that you have been studying for so long constitutes a very thrilling and touching experience. Sylvia Townsend Warner remembered her time in Spain very fondly for the rest of her life. In an interview conducted in 1975 and published in PN Review she stated: “I’ve never seen people who I admired more. I never again saw a country I loved as much as I loved Spain. A most ungainly country to love, but it’s extraordinarily beautiful”. The literary history of Great Britain and Spain is rich with unexpected connections and meaningful collaborations. I hope that my research contributes to the better understanding of the cultural relationship between these two countries. I would not want to finish this article without earnestly recommending Townsend Warner’s exceptionally varied novels, particularly her first work Lolly Willowes, and her Spanish-themed novel After the Death of Don Juan. Her wit, sharp intelligence, and fantastically rounded characters will grip you from the start. This is an excerpt from a poem by Sylvia Townsend Warner entitled ‘Port Bou’:

I am the smell; on all the winds of Spain. I am the stink in the nostrils of the men in Spain. I have taken the place of the incense at the burial, I have usurped the breath of the rose plucked from the bridal, I am the odour of the wreath that is held out for heroes to behold and breathe. I cordial the heart, I refresh the brain, I strengthen the resolved fury of those who fight for Spain. Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 15


LITERATURE

The Other Side of the Mountain A visit to the Gibraltar International Literary Festival by Jimmy Burns Marañón

G

erald O’Mahony, a Jesuit priest whose writings I much admire recalls a visit he made to Gibraltar several years ago when a tour of the Rock took him near the southern end where a signpost pointed along a footbath to the Mediterranean steps. These steps, he was told, were the only way of climbing up the extremely steep eastern side of the Rock, starting from where he stood and ending on a ridge at the summit about a thousand feet up. Toying with the idea of making the climb, O’Mahony approached the first of the steps only to find to his surprise that they initially led down, not up. Only later would he discover that the path did rise, eventually. In O’Mahony’s book, The Other Side of the Mountain, the climb to the summit which the author eventually pursued in Gibraltar becomes analogous of his spiritual search, with its ups and not inconsiderable downs — he has no less than five nervous breakdowns — and his final discovery of God’s love for him and everyone. O’Mahony came to my rescue as I was trying to put together my own thoughts on Gibraltar, having just spent a few days there as an author, journalist and historian, courtesy of the organisers of the International Literary Festival. And I don’t mean strictly speaking in a spiritual sense but in terms of my experience as an Anglo-Spaniard on a visit to a territory that remains the subject of a disputed sovereignty claim between the country of my mother and birth (Spain), and the country of my father and nationality (UK). Over the next few days my travelling companions, both on their first ever trip to Gibraltar, would be struck by the friendliness of the people of Gibraltar and how a majority seemed to break into fluent Spanish as their preferred language. We

16 La Revista • Winter/Spring 2015

had been offered a tour of Tangiers. My friends wanted to make their first visit to southern Spain, so I took them on the scenic route to Ronda, and then the Barrio de Santa Cruz and the cathedral in Sevilla, with good wine, tapas, and brandy thrown in. They loved it. The International Gibraltar Literary Festival itself was an example of how bridges can be made through language, culture, and education. It was an honour to be invited to give a well-attended talk in the magnificent King’s Chapel about how the UK and Spain and Gibraltarians secretly collaborated in World War Two to ensure the Nazis did not occupy the Iberian peninsula, and that the Allied troops could use Gibraltar in support of the North African landings. I also shared the fact that my late father had been closely involved as one of Churchill’s intelligence operatives in the British embassy in Madrid (subject of my book Papa Spy), and later chose to spend the first night of his honeymoon with his Spanish bride at the Rock Hotel before heading across to the then unspoilt Costa del Sol. The other two talks I gave were to large audiences drawn from Gibraltar’s three main schools on the separate subjects of Word War 1 and football. The kids — boys and girls — seemed genuinely moved by my readings of my late uncle David’s letters from the battle front before he was killed in 1918, just turned eighteen, with their glimpse of both the horror and nobility of war as experienced by someone not much older than them. In a lighter frame, my potted history of the early British influence on Spanish football in Andalucía, and Spain’s later triumphs as a national squad in the European Nations and World Cups, seemed to catch the attention of at least a majority of

my young audience who claimed to support either Real Madrid or FC Barcelona. I was interested to hear later from one of the teachers that the boy who had asked for advice about how best to progress as a professional football player was already playing in the youth team of Sevilla FC. Football barely featured in the main Literary Festival headlined by celebrities like the historian John Julius Norwich, the BBC veteran presenter Nicholas Parsons, the actress and celebrity cook Maddhur Jaffrey, and Booker prize-winning novelist Ben Okri. Other well-known speakers covered subjects ranging from Venetian cooking, the future of British Politics, and Death in Literature to the history of Tangiers, Charles De-Gaulle, and the silence of Christianity. The Literary Festival included a contingent of academics and authors from all over the Iberian Peninsula. Dr Charles Powell, director of the Madrid-based think-tank the Elcano Royal Institute, talked about the legacy of King Juan Carlos of Spain while my former FT colleague William Chislett moderated a debate on Catalonia. ‘Fifty Years of Spanish Theatre’ was a discussion focused on leading playright Jose Luis Alonso de Santos. A session called ‘Voices from Spain’ involved a teacher, a prison officer and a journalist, David Saez Ruiz, Dioni Arroyo Merino, and Enrique Reyes respectively discussing their published works with the broadcaster Robert Bosschart. Another session entitled ‘Valencia in the News’ had Spanish journalist Merche Carneiro talking about her life as one of the country’s leading journalists and the issues surrounding the media in Spain today. Of the other events I attended, my personal favourite was Beltran Domecq’s wonderfully entertaining talk and wine tasting in the usually sober setting of the Gibraltar Garrison Library’s main reading room. Domecq, the current president of the Consejo Regulador de Jerez is a former grantee-person responsible for ensuring the royal warrant is used correctly, for Queen Elizabeth 11’s Royal warrant for Domecq and Harvey’s sherries. His guided tour through the history of sherry and his advice on how best to drink different types from Fino to Pedro Jimenez was delivered in exquisite English, and a good dose of humour as well as insight. It made me feel so lucky to be Anglo-Spanish. And the sherry was delicious — all of it. On my last day in Gibraltar, I didn’t climb the mountain. I took the cable car.


ENTREPRENEURS

Inside a

Start-up

What turns an idea into a business?

L

aunching a new enterprise takes courage. The rewards can be great but the risks are high, and self-belief and determination are crucial to bring an idea to fruition. Laura Gran speaks to the founders of two new businesses which were established in Spain and in the UK last year to discover what they have learned from the experience and how they came through the early stages to reach the success they have today. EN ES

The translations of each interview are available on our website: britishspanishsociety.org/la-revista-magazine/

El Arca de Nel Montar una empresa no es difícil, sólo hacen falta dos cosas. Tener una idea es básico, y es algo que todos tenemos. La segunda y más importante es transformar esa idea en algo material, porque es la única manera de saber si nos puede llevar algo. Aquí es dónde la mayoría de las personas se pierde en el camino”. Él, Nel Martins español de 31 años licenciado en Finanzas, asumió el riesgo y escogió materializarla. Por ello una vez al mes viaja en ferry desde Portsmouth a Santander acompañado de un máximo de diez mascotas. Ninguna es suya, pertenecen a personas que le han confiado el cuidado de sus animales para que los traslade del Reino Unido a España y viceversa. Su empresa, ubicada en Londres, nació hace menos

Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 17


ENTREPRENEURS de un año después de cuatro viviendo en la capital inglesa. PetsTravelWithUs le enseñó, en primer lugar, lo importante que es confiar en uno mismo desde la humildad. “Mi idea cambió muchísimo al convertirla en negocio. Cuando empiezas a afrontar dificulades tienes dos caminos. Uno es decir: ‘me he equivocado, la idea que pensaba que era buena no lo es’, o decirte: ‘ok, creí que sería de una manera y resulta ser de otra’, pero seguir creyendo en ella y de ese modo evolucionar y crecer con las dificultades”, explica. Su planteamiento inicial se fue reajustando a medida que comenzó a informarse de las exigencias que el Gobierno británico establece a la hora de introducir animales en el país o de implantar un negocio relacionado con ellos. Conocer en detalle los requisitos necesarios, las leyes y todas las pequeñas peculiaridades asociadas a ellas le supuso ocho meses de dedicación, pero tras ese tiempo consiguió el permiso del Gobierno inglés para instalar su firma. Llegado a este punto, Martins ya tenía claro la impronta que quería que destilase. “Pensé en lo que me gustaría recibir a mi como cliente”, afirma. Tenía una noción clara dado que años atrás, cuando decidió mudarse a Londres, trató de llevar a su perro con él y no pudo encontrar ninguna empresa con precios razonables, de la que leyera buenas opiniones en Internet y le generara confianza. Por eso, se propuso montar “algo que hiciera falta, aquello que quería encontrar y no pude, así que decidí hacerlo para ver si podría funcionar como yo creía que iba a hacerlo”. Los resultados le avalan. Su empresa le ha dado satisfacciones desde el primer día. A nivel económico lleva generando beneficios desde que la fundó en mayo de 2014 lo que, como él mismo aclara, es “algo curioso y difícil de conseguir”. La inversión inicial no fue muy elevada debido a que intentó abaratar costes intentando delegar lo mínimo posible. Por ejemplo, su sitio web lo desarrolló él mismo tras aprender cómo hacerlo en Internet. Estudió como darse a conocer usando el posicionamiento de Google, lo que más difusión le podía ofrecer, y su buen hacer como empresario. Sus clientes le recomiendan no sólo en el boca a boca, sino también escribiendo buenas críti-

“Cada ruta, cada mes, es especial, siempre hay que adaptarse a las necesidades de los clientes y planear cuál es la mejor ruta que podemos crear para los animales”

cas de su trabajo en la red, lo que respalda extraordinariamente su negocio. Tal es así que esto ha generado un aumento en el porcentaje de ingleses que contratan su servicio. El proyecto comenzó con un 95% de clientes españoles, porque era donde el mercado para el transporte de animales a nivel internacional se encontraba realmente desatendido. Sin embargo, las excelentes calificaciones con las que le valoran en su página web ha hecho que la balanza se comience a equilibrar y la proporción se haya situado actualmente en un 70% españoles – 30% ingleses; unos números que “seguirán equilibrándose en un futuro, en cuanto la empresa se sitúe mejor en Reino Unido, lo que en principio ocurrirá porque hay muchos ingleses que viajan a España y los precios que damos son competitivos”, argumenta Nel Martins. Aunque en Google España ya tienen un buen posicionamiento, esto les está resultando más difícil en el Reino Unido debido a que en este país ya existen varias firmas dedicándose a ello desde hace muchos años. Con todo, su web obtiene cada vez más visitas. En la actualidad ya aparecen en segundo o tercer lugar como resultado de búsqueda, “lo que provocará que la gente pueda llegar a conocernos y compararnos con las empresas de las que ya está al tanto. Ahí es cuando vamos a poder tener una oportunidad de competir con el mercado inglés”, afirma. El otro cimiento de PetsTravelWithUs es su carácter internacional, “es lo que hace funcionar bien este negocio”. Según explica, en España ya existían empresas que se dedicaban al envío nacional de mascotas. El inconveniente que encuentra Martins es que existen pocas que traspasen fronteras y son casi todas de mensajería. “No dan el trato que se merecen a las mascotas. Si la empresa no es competente puede haber riesgos para los animales”, revela. Por eso, su máxima preocupación radica siempre en trasladarlos en las mejores condiciones posibles. “Cada ruta, cada mes, es especial, siempre hay que adaptarse a las necesidades de los clientes y planear cuál es la mejor ruta que podemos crear para los animales”, añade. Las opciones son múltiples: pueden viajar en avión, en barco, y una vez en tierra trasladarlos en furgoneta o en tren, siempre asegurándose de que lo que prima es su bienestar. Al mismo tiempo, sus dueños conocen en todo momento a través de la vía que elijan –WhatsApp, correo electrónico, Facebook, teléfono, etc. – el estado de sus mascotas a través de imágenes, vídeos y la propia información que Martins les facilita. Su éxito ha hecho que tan sólo unos meses después de fundar su empresa haya abierto una nueva ruta de envío con Italia, esté planteando realizar ya dos viajes al mes a España y tenga en mente trayectos con Portugal y Francia. En la actualidad cuenta con tres empleados y espera que en 2015 esta cifra vaya en aumento. Pese a tanta noticia positiva, el empresario español es precavido: “La empresa es tan joven que no podemos asegurar su futuro. Lo que sí podemos es trabajar para ser cada vez mejores, aprender con cada viaje y cada cliente que atendemos nos ayudará a serlo. Esto es algo en continua evolución, lo que nos mantiene siempre despiertos”. Junto a esto, señala que implantar su negocio en el Reino Unido le ha favorecido en muchos aspectos. “Establecer un empresa en este país es una buena experiencia, las facilidades que se dan son muy alentadoras para futuros emprendedores”, concluye. www.petstravelwithus.com

18 La Revista • Winter/Spring 2015


ENTREPRENEURS

The Talent Trusts A LeightHouse

A

lexandra Leight is the kind of entrepreneur who keeps her feet on the ground and sets high goals for herself. She is a combination of care, self-confidence, ambition and passion. In May 2013 she set up her own business in Spain, an actors’ agency called A LeightHouse. “Everyday I’m receiving headshots and CVs from actors wanting to work with me”, she says with a hint of surprise in her voice. When she decided to leave the company she was working for, Kuranda – the agency credited for discovering Penélope Cruz– it was only natural that some of her clients followed her too. Young stars like Alex Maruny, Andrea Duró and Goya-nominated Aura Garrido, were later joined by other talented actors such as Silvia Alonso, Julián Villagrán and Canco Rodríguez. What is the secret behind her success? “I think I built a name in the industry”, she explains. This goal was preceded by determination and effort. As she affirms, “you seek your own luck, you follow it. I am a hardworking person and I love what I do”. So before founding her own firm, she was sure she had all the experience, contacts and grounding needed to make her project a success. For Leight, her background has been crucial. She was brought up in an international circle – her mother is Hungarian, her father is British, she has family in the United States – she studied Spanish at Bristol University, and during all her life she has heard that every person has “to go and pursue what they want to achieve and become successful”. This message has been really important for her to go ahead and achieve her aims”. Leight studied acting for four years, not with the purpose of becoming an actress but to understand the business from the inside. This has helped her to understand the people she represents and their needs. “There are some things that an actor needs which you can only see if you understand the mind of an actor, and they really appreciate that”, she explains. On the other hand, this English entrepreneur started working in the artistic industry when she was 20 years old. In the third year of her degree she spent six months in Argentina, where she learnt Spanish and taught English, and another six months in Madrid, where she worked as an intern at Kuranda. One year later, once her studies were completed, she came back to the company and looked after some actors. The learning she gained from all these experiences was not enough. She needed two more things. One of them was the language. Her degree was focused on Spanish history, politics… but not on the Spanish language itself. The other aspect was to understand the mentality of the people she was working with. All this took some time. “It was very hard for me in the beginning to adapt myself to the Spanish culture in terms of work, and until you have really adapted it is difficult to integrate into society.

You can read as much as you like, you can try to understand, but until you’ve lived in the country day to day it is not possible”, she states. The product of all the knowledge above is called A LeightHouse. The agency was created in just six weeks because she had good professional advisers. She found the entire process “more expensive and bureaucratic than it would have been in the United Kingdom, but fairly easy”. Leight didn’t have any economic support due to the recession, but she was able to make her project possible with her own savings. She did not require many resources. “I did not have any office space; I had a mobile phone and a laptop! It is all about hard work, perseverance and really being passionate about what you do”, she claims. In this regard, she is available for her clients 24/7 and provides a very personalised service, fully adapted to their needs. She or her assistant endeavour to accompany every actor to every press conference, every film set, every bit of promotion… They make sure the actors are in the right clothes and feel secure and comfortable. “We are creating their career step by step depending on what they want to achieve”, the 28-year-old explains. Most of the actors Leight represents speak both Spanish and English, and some may not even be based in Spain. This is the other characteristic of her business. She settled in Spain in 2008 because she thinks it is “a great place to work and live”, but her company is international. She recognises that the Spanish market is “much smaller than the one which exists in the UK, but it is a very interesting one”. Although the incentives from central government are not as good as some other countries, Spain, with it’s diverse landscape and moderate climate, is still very attractive to producers. Successful co-productions in recent years with the UK, Italy and the United States have helped to boost business, and former HBO executive James Costos, now US Ambassador to Spain, has been instrumental in bringing over big name productions like Game of Thrones or Ridley Scott’s Exodus. For all these reasons Alexandra Leight decided to found her business in Spain just a year and a half ago. Now she represents 26 actors, six international clients and some children. A LeightHouse is the talented agency behind some of the most promising young Spanish actors, and it has a great future ahead. Perhaps the best way to understand Leight’s success is in the message she tells her clients: “Anyone with a good idea and enough will can obtain what they want. We have no limits; if you want it, we can go and get it”. www.aleighthouse.com

Actors who are part of A Leighthouse

Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 19


EMPRENDEDORES

El Futuro de los Negocios y el Nuevo Emprendimiento Javier Collado es el director general de la Fundación INCYDE (Instituto Cameral para la Creación y Desarrollo de la Empresa), una organización dedicada a la formación de empresarios y a la creación y consolidación de empresas. Aquí explica como el desarollo tecnologico está provocando un gran cambio en el mundo laboral y como podemos adaptarnos. Entrevistado por Amy Bell.

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l mundo laboral está sufriendo una transformación debido en su mayor parte a los avances tecnológicos, que han provocado un gran impacto en la manera en que nos comunicamos, trabajamos y vivimos nuestras vidas. El número de dispositivos que están conectados a Internet ha crecido tanto en los últimos años que actualmente hay más ‘cosas u objetos’ que personas conectados a la web. Este fenómeno sigue creciendo de tal forma que ya es conocido como el Internet de las cosas. Su principal ventaja radica en que nos ofrece la oportunidad de ser más eficaces, productivos y sacar mayor partido a nuestro tiempo. Además, tiene el potencial de modificar nuestra sociedad y la economía global. Aún así, cuando el cambio es tan rápido, ¿cómo pueden adaptarse las empresas para ser competitivas y eficaces en el nuevo entorno que se les presenta? El objetivo de la fundación INCYDE y su director general, Javier Collado, es precisamente ayudar a los empresarios a enfrentar estos retos. La fundación fue creada en 1999 como una iniciativa de las Cámaras de Comercio y está inspirada en su espíritu empresarial. “Nació para apoyar la creación y consolidación de las pequeñas y medianas empresas (pymes) de España”, afirma Collado. “Lo que hacemos es fomentar, incentivar, consolidar las pymes y crear emprendedores, porque son los generadores de empleo en un país como el nuestro”. INCYDE es la única institución en Europa que facilita incubadoras de empresas. Una incubadora es un edificio susceptible de albergar a nuevos empresarios, ofreciéndoles una ubicación para su empresa durante sus dos primeros años de vida. Conjuntamente desarrollan grandes proyectos para fomentar la creación y consolidación de pymes cofinanciados por fondos la Unión Europea (FSE), y en asociación con la administración autonómica y local. Por otra parte, los edificios que se convierten en incubadoras pueden ser instituciones de la administración central, autonómica, instituciones públicas o semi-públicas. En principio, las empresas que se alojan en ellos están relacionadas con el sector servicios, ya hay viveros en marcha del sector industrial. En esta línea, INCYDE lanzó hace un año un proyecto de innovación, transferencia de tecnología y desarrollo con incubadoras de alta tecnología: ha instalado un vivero aeroespacial en Galicia, y ya ha comprado un edificio en Sevilla para poner otro aeronáutico. Asimismo, se ha adjudicado un proyecto de la UE para desarrollar en España: albergar las nueve incubadoras europeas de alta tecnología. El mundo de los negocios está indudablemente modificándose pero los seres humanos somos agente activos en este cambio. “Tenemos que hablar de cómo está transformando al ser humano”, reflexiona el director de INCYDE. “Todavía no sabemos cómo van a ser el 60% de los empleos dentro de quince o veinte años. No tiene nada que ver cómo se trabaja en este momento o los empleos que se están generando hace cinco años”. A veces es difícil recordar cómo era el mundo sin móviles, sin Internet. “Si quitas un móvil a una persona durante un día, le descentras ese día. Como ya estamos acostumbrados a las nuevas tecnologías nos creemos que siempre han existido”, explica.

“Los negocios en el futuro van a implicar un mayor uso de la tecnología”.

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NCYDE centra su actividad en investigar cómo va a evolucionar el empleo. Estudia cuáles son los vacíos en el mercado de los próximos años. “Nosotros apuntamos el término ‘el nuevo emprendimiento’”, aclara Collado. Aparte de esto, estamos viendo un cambio en la forma en que las personas trabajan. Es probable que en el futuro las empresas tengan estructuras y modelos muy diferentes de los que tienen ahora. “En vez de tener cien empleados una empresa podría tener cien autónomos. En lugar de contratar personas con empleos fijos les contratarán por su servicio, como a un pequeño empresario”, explica. La innovación es clave para las pymes y emprendedores que quieren ser más competitivos. “Yo creo que la innovación va a ser todo. No sólo va a mejorar el producto de la empresa sino que también va a mejorar la calidad de vida de las personas”, aclara Collado. Asimismo, si está evolucionando el empleo, los jóvenes tienen la oportunidad de aprovechar este avance y preparase para lo

“Lo que hacemos es fomentar, incentivar, consolidar las pymes y crear emprendedores, porque son los generadores de empleo en un país como el nuestro”

Javier Collado

Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 21


EMPRENDEDORES

“Todavía no sabemos cómo van a ser el 60% de los empleos dentro de quince o veinte años. No tiene nada que ver cómo se trabaja en este momento o los empleos que se están generando hace cinco años” que llega. “Tenemos que aconsejarles que no deben tener miedo a emprender, que hay muchas posibilidades, y que estén preparados con imaginación, con esfuerzo y con ganas”, propone. En este sentido, el Gobierno de España, como otros en Europa, enfrenta el reto de animar y apoyar a los jóvenes para crear más empleo e impulsar la economía. “Creo que poco a poco se están empezando a dar cuenta de que hay que apoyarlos.. Hay miles de millones de euros para aportar a la innovación, por lo que pediría que los Gobiernos sean más ágiles en dar ese dinero a los empresarios y a las pymes. Lo veo un poco negativo. No está llegando esta agilidad, hay demasiada burocracia a veces”. Según Collado, si va a bajar el desempleo juvenil, se debe actuar en dos direcciones. “En primer lugar, hay que hacer una análisis para saber qué es lo que van a demandar las empresas en la sociedad de aquí a diez años. Igualmente, se debe formar a la gente para que se conviertan en expertos. Pero es un tema cuantitativo”, señala. “Cuanta más gente haya intentando crear una empresa, más posibilidades hay de que se creen y crear empleo. Muchas veces las grandes empresas dicen que podemos generar un millón de empleos para jóvenes en los próximos dos o tres años, pero nadie dice cómo o qué tenemos que hacer. ¿Qué es lo que muchas veces falla? Que no se hacen reales las cosas que se dicen”. Quizá esa es una de las razones por las que muchos jóvenes están abandonando España para trabajar en el Reino Unido y otros países del mundo. En principio, para Collado, esto es algo bueno. “Nos hace más globales… te abre más la mente, te hace ser más competitivo. No es malo que la gente salga siempre y cuando sea una salida para informarse más. Siempre ha habido gente que se ha ido del país. El problema es si uno tiene que irse porque está desesperado, porque aquí no tiene trabajo y se marcha con falsas expectativas”. 22 La Revista • Winter/Spring 2015

Debido a la falta de empleos disponibles, seguramente muchas personas habrán tenido la idea de crear su propia empresa, pero antes de empezar suele ser difícil saber si una idea merece la pena ser perseguida. INCYDE tiene un proceso para probar si una idea es válida. Durante dos o tres meses trabajan con la persona y con su idea para ver si es factible en cada aspecto, y si se aprueba la ponen en marcha. Pero más que una idea en si, Collado es enfático en la importancia de encontrar a la persona adecuada: “Lo que buscamos, más que una idea, son personas. Una persona que tenga la valía para emprender. Alguien puede venir con una idea maravillosa y que nosotros pensemos que no la va a poder llevar a cabo. Tiene que tener ánimo y entender que hay que hacer un gran esfuerzo para tener éxito como emprendedor.” Una parte muy importante del proceso es el seguimiento, “que no se vean solos, ni el proyecto ni la empresa… lo que necesitan es un apoyo continuo”, asegura. Los negocios que han crecido más rápidamente con el apoyo de INCYDE en los últimos años han sido los que han aprovechado la tecnología. Por citar un ejemplo, en Santiago de Compostela dos emprendedores crearon una empresa de tecnología de clima llamada 4gotas. Es capaz de saber el clima que está haciendo en cualquier sitio del mundo y saber cómo afecta a los seres humanos en temas de salud. Es un buen ejemplo del modelo de la nueva empresa que más interesa a INCYDE: “En España somos muy imaginativos y estamos utilizando esa habilidad para hacer negocios”. ¿Qué pasa cuando una idea no sale bien? “Se dieron algunos casos donde nos equivocamos y no vimos que la persona no era la adecuada, o donde fallaron la financiación o los socios”, reconoce. En resumen, la sociedad todavía no se ha concienciado de los tiempos que vienen. Según Collado, “el emprendimiento del futuro no tiene nada que ver con el actual. Nos hemos de acostumbrar y adaptar la tecnología al ser humano para que se encuentre a su servicio. Si ocurre al revés vamos a tener un mundo todavía más desigual. Viene un nuevo empleo, un nuevo emprendimiento y hay que trabajar con ello, para que no volvamos a perder una generación como está sucediendo en nuestro país”, resume.


BUSINESS

Interview with Lisa Montague, CEO of Loewe new design edge to refuel Loewe again for the future.

Originally from Cheshire, Lisa Montague has been at the helm of Loewe, the Spanish luxury leather house based in Madrid, for seven years. Prior to this she was at Mulberry in London for nine years, the last six spent as Chief Operating Officer. Interviewed by Amy Bell.

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hank you for agreeing to this interview. You spoke recently, at the Financial Times’ Spain Summit, about the importance of Chinese and Japanese consumers for Loewe. Is there a difference in how you market to Asian consumers compared with Spanish? Loewe has a global platform and brand messages of sharp design coupled with expert craftsmanship and the finest leather is consistent. The channel of delivery the message may vary slightly by market in the balance between social media and print, but we generally use both in a consistent tone of voice. Are Spanish consumers still a priority? Absolutely, our home customer is very engaged with the brand and Loewe is well-loved in Spain as one of the country's leading luxury brand. Spanish customers are proud of Loewe and this will grow as we develop internationally, opening this coming February in Miami, for example. Why do you think people are loyal to Loewe? Loewe consistently delivers on the promise of excellent quality and has continued to move with the times, always being relevant and now with the incredible creative vision of Jonathan Anderson bringing a

How has Loewe grown to reflect Spain as it is today? Is the business adapting to meet the needs of the millennial generation? The authenticity of the offer is what we believe defines luxury today in Spain, across various sectors, as you can see with the association of Circulo Fortuny that encompasses leather-goods, decorative arts, hospitality and of course gastronomy. The raw ingredients - in our case the leather such as our famous Loewe Napa that comes from the Spanish Entrefino lambs at the foothills of the Pyrenees, coupled with the passion of the artisans practising their skills that have been kept alive in Spain, provide a unique proposition that is rare and precious, therefore luxury. This image of Spain is the modern projection which, coupled with the impressive cultural offer, can attract a new international audience and recognition of high-level tourism to Spain. What is the appeal of ‘Brand Spain’ internationally? And in what way does Loewe celebrate Spanish artisanship and style? Spain has great potential to be recognised internationally as a Cultural Centre in Europe as well as a Purveyor of Excellence in Craft and in Gastronomy. At Loewe, we took the decision a couple of years ago to renew our Made in Spain promise and doubled the size of our workshops here in Madrid to accommodate future growth. At the same time, we implemented a training school there and started to work with the local government to recruit through the employment office, offering longterm contracts to more than half the graduates of each module. Before joining Loewe you were at Mulberry in the UK for nine years, most recently as Chief Operating Officer. How does running a Spanish business compare to running a British one? I have indeed been lucky enough to work for brands that are considered national treasures in their own countries. An an Anglo-Saxon, running an international Spanish company with business in Japan, China and South-East Asia, I believe it is symbolic of the global platform on which we operate with immediacy of communication platforms and the celebration of diversity that enriches our organisations, at least within LVMH.

Are you optimistic about prospects for the fashion manufacturing sector in Spain? Leathergoods manufacturing is growing strongly in Spain thanks to our competitive productivity and we observe many luxury brands assessing manufacturing opportunities, which can only serve to inspire more people to develop careers in craftsmanship and to further preserve the skills that make Made in Spain a selling point, synonymous with passion for excellent workmanship. Our key launch for

this season, the Puzzle bag, with its innovative cuboid shape, is a good example of how Loewe's artisans put all their passion and expertise into a new design. What is the biggest challenge for you in the Spanish market at the moment? In Spain, everyone has been affected by the crisis and lived with austerity in these past few years so it will probably take a while to lift the mood and see consumers return with an optimistic spirit again. At Loewe, we have worked tirelessly to maintain contact with our customers, who remain loyal to their favourite, even if they cannot shop with us as often as usual. Loewe arranges cultural events for instance through the Loewe Foundation that deeply connects us to dance and particularly to literature through the renowned Loewe Poetry Prize. We also host exhibitions in our Galeria Loewe spaces, collaborating with photographers during Fotoespaña for instance, or with Spanish artists through creative collaborations that inspire our customers to celebrate with Loewe without a commercial objective. Having worked in Germany, the US and the UK and before moving to Spain, what are the most noticeable differences

Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 23


BUSINESS

Quickfire questions

Can you describe a typical day in your life? There is no typical day and I thrive on the fast pace and constant change of the fashion industry. At home, we are always on the move and quite energetic as a family. We have recently discovered lake life at the Pantano San Juan where we enjoy a different pace and space at weekends. What had been the greatest achievement of your career so far? I have enjoyed all steps of my career and am proud of having developed international business with each of the brands. At Loewe, I believe we have serve as a launchpad for international growth.

you have experienced with each country and its business culture? International businesses have to operate efficiently to succeed and therefore the perceived differences between countries become more anecdotal or even mythical as we look to the future. I was told when moving here five years ago, for example, that I would never manage to hold a meeting at 9am im Spain; in fact Breakfasts are common nowadays in Loewe, and we have finished our first meetings by 9.30! What do you think are the top priorities for the future of business in Spain? As a business leader in Spain, the top priority for me is to bring more tourists, especially from Asia, and for that we need direct flights, which may require some investment through subsidies in the first instance that would surely reap return. I support the notion that Spain has to be recognised internationally for all the strengths we have discussed and to promote itself as an exporter of luxury goods that are recognised by the European Union under the umbrella of ECCIA as Cultural and Creative Industries, and perhaps further to invite opportunities for international companies to set up European hubs here. What are your views on the drive for independence in Catalonia and what impact do you see this having on businesses? In my view, it would be sad to see this great country split and potentially dilute the strong voice Spain can have internationally, given the ambitions we have discussed.

24 La Revista • Winter/Spring 2015

What do you like most about Spain/ Spanish culture? As a family, we love living in Spain! The country is vast, rich and diverse; fascinating to discover the variety of regional differences in culture, topology, gastronomy - we have travelled extensively and still have many places to visit. The light in Madrid is very special and every morning feels optimistic with its pure, clear outlook on the city. The Spanish people have really embraced us as foreign residents and we have felt welcomed and supported in every way, which has made us very happy here. How do you rate the Spanish sense of style? How does it compare with other European countries? Immediately when one arrives in Spain it is noticeable how smart people are generally. Design, style and aesthetics are important here, along with an appreciation for exceptional quality. Even in a crisis, the best in class has continued to thrive, be it the top restaurants, or the Amazona handbag! How well do you feel you and your family have integrated in Madrid life? We are obviously British with our fair complexions and I look particularly alien but we have really enjoyed integrating in the community and have good friends here that we value enormously. Our children, who were quite small when we moved, have spent most of their young lives in Spain and this is the place they call home.

What is your favourite food to eat in Spain? Is there a restaurant you particularly like to go to? I love the way people eat in Spain with many shared plates and the delight during a single meal. In Madrid, I enjoy the bustle of Ten con Ten as well as the tranquility of more traditional favourites like Alcalde but I am also a great fan of Japanese cuisine, being a offered in Madrid; Sushi 99 is close to What are you reading at the moment? I am attempting to read our bookshelves as we have many books as a family that we transport around the with a mix of Harvard Business Review, Parenting books and recently a copy of Bling Dynasty! Is there anything you miss from the UK? I miss the spontaneous interaction with longstanding friends, but we manage to stay in touch and share vacation time with our nearest and dearest. When I go to London, I head for a good curry and my daughter's requests are for Ribena, Scotch Eggs and Pork Pies! We ship our tea from Twinings and have found Marmite and crumpets are available at El Corte InglĂŠs Gourmet. British pub or Spanish bar? Two stops - G&T is now an international trend!


Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs Embassy of Spain

PROGRAMME JANUARY APRIL 2015 15 Jan – 6 April 24 January 30 Jan – 1 Feb 1 Feb– end 2015

Exhibition ‘Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art & Society 1915 2015’ Concert by Orfeón Pamplones and London Philharmonic Orchestra Katharine of Aragon Festival 2015 Dramatized reading performances by Spanish Theatre Company

Seminar ‘Spain and England in 16th Century: Juan Luis Vives and Thomas 13 February More’ 15 16 February 20 – 24 February 26 Feb – 25 March February 2 March 27 – 28 March March March March 14 – 16 April April

Concerts by Manchester Camerata and Joan Enric Lluna International Fashion Showcase 2015 Exhibition ‘Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album’ The Valle Inclán Prize 2015 The Ramón Pérez de Ayala Lecture Conference ‘Teresa de Avila. Writer, Mystic and Saint’ Iberian Week ¡Viva! 21st Spanish and Latin American Film Festival The Juan Facundo Riaño Essay Prize 2015 Annual Conference of Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland IBERODOCS


TRABAJO

Perfíl de trabajo: Midwife

Elsa Moro Soria cuenta su experiencia trabajando como matrona en Londres.

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os sistemas de salud y educación son notoriamente difíciles de cambiar, incluso cuando la evidencia demuestra que se necesitan evolucionar. Muchas veces la dificultad viene por una deficiencia económica y otras por una falta de cultura, educación u organización. Más de cinco años trabajando en Londres como midwife (matrona) me han servido para darme cuenta de que en España nos falta aprender de otros sistemas de salud y así poder ofrecer una mayor calidad a nuestros pacientes. En cuanto a maternidad se refiere, las diferencias entre el NHS y el sistema sanitario español son enormes. Trabajo en unas de las maternidades mas grandes del Reino Unido, que es también centro de referencia para embarazos de alto riesgo. En ella nacen más de 7.500 bebes al año y posee una de las tasas más altas (3%) de partos en casa (homebirths). La profesión de las matronas se remonta desde más atrás de la época greco-romana, donde ya las mujeres más expertas y sabias ayudaban a otras mujeres a dar a luz en las casas. La palabra midwife viene del inglés antiguo y significa “mujer que cuida durante el parto”. Con los años, esta profesión ha ido evolucionando, pero la base de dar a luz de la manera más natural posible sigue afortunadamente estando presente hoy en dia. Recuerdo como si fuera ayer el primer día que pise un paritorio en Londres. La unidad estaba dividida en dos zonas: alto riesgo (labour ward) y bajo riesgo (birth centre). En ambas partes el cuidado era individualizado, es decir, una matrona por cada mujer (one to one care). No había salas de dilatación sino que en la misma (en la misma qué?) se daba a luz. Las matronas no llevaban gorros, mascarillas ni guantes hasta los codos. No se empujaba en litotomia (con las piernas hacia arriba),

26 La Revista • Winter/Spring 2015

y mucho menos se cubría todo con paños estériles como si de una cirugía a corazón abierto se tratara. La zona de bajo riesgo estaba exclusivamente dirigida por matronas, y prácticamente dar a luz allí era casi un lujo, como estar en un hotel de cinco estrellas. Las habitaciones eran amplias, tenían una cama doble para que la pareja que había estado durante el parto se quedara a dormir y así ayudara a la mujer con el bebé durante la noche. Había una bañera grande para dar a luz en el agua (waterbirth), una pelota gigante y un puff. Tan solo una matrona monitorizaba intermitentemente al bebé, cuidaba y apoyaba a la mujer pacientemente durante horas y horas. ¡Aquello me pareció una locura pero absolutamente fascinante! La mujer era libre, capaz de caminar y adoptar la posición que le fuera más cómoda para dar a luz: de pie agarrándose a una cuerda o a una cortina, de cuclillas, a cuatro patas, en el agua, en la cama, en el sofá, en el baño, etc. Allí no había epidurales, tan sólo aromaterapia, Entonox (gas and air), un pequeño armario con toallas, un par de paquetes con cuatro intrumentos quirúrgicos y un monitor portátil del tamaño de una mano para escuchar el latido del bebé. La gran mayoría de mujeres españolas, por cultura y por que así lo marca nuestro sistema sanitario, tienen asumido que el seguimiento de su embarazo va a ser principalmente obstétrico (es decir, realizado por un médico especialista) y que recibirá una atención igualmente obstétrica e intervencionista durante el parto, cuando ingrese en el hospital. En el Reino Unido una mujer que haya tenido un embarazo y un parto sin complicaciones es muy posible que no haya visto ni una sola vez al obstetra. ¿Quiere decir eso que no se le ha prestado la atención necesaria durante el embarazo? La respuesta es un simple NO. Las midwives están preparadas para dar la atención necesaria en cualquier situación. Eso es un signo de que todo va bien. Por el contrario, las mujeres inglesas ven inconcebible no ser vistas por una midwife durante su embarazo, sabiendo que si son derivadas al médico especialista es debido a una complicación, en cuyo caso el cuidado será compartido. Dentro de mi propia experiencia, el reconocimiento y el prestigio social de las matronas en UK es muy elevado, lo que hace de la profesión algo aún más gratificante y valorado. Gracias a la serie de televisión “Call the midwife” (Llama a la comadrona) en España hemos podido

ver y conocer un poquito más cómo las matronas inglesas trabajaban en los años 50, cuando iban en bicicleta a atender los partos en las casas. La única diferencia actualmente es que estamos más preparadas en caso de tener una complicación y que el transporte afortunadamente ha evolucionado. Dar a luz en casa, en un centro de bajo riesgo liderado por matronas o en el hospital son opciones que se ofrecen en el Reino Unido para permitir a la mujer elegir donde tener a su bebé. El NMC, consejo regulador de las enfermeras y matronas del Reino unido, define a las midwives como: “personal sanitario capacitado profesionalmente para atender a las mujeres y sus bebés durante el periodo antenatal, parto y postparto”. Otras organizaciones y autores definen a las matronas y su profesión como las promotoras de la normalidad en maternidad. A día de hoy existen mas de 35.000 midwives registradas en UK y la demanda crece cada año, ya que se considera que anualmente hay 30.000 nacimientos más que el año anterior. El campo en midwifery es muy amplio, ser matrona significa mucho más que ayudar a dar a luz. Ofrecemos cuidado antenatal y postnatal a la mujer y a su recién nacido habitualmente en su propia casa, informamos, apoyamos, derivamos, aconsejamos y motivamos a las parejas durante el proceso de la maternidad y la paternidad. El Reino Unido ofrece varias especialidades, por lo que no resulta raro ver a matronas especialistas haciendo ecografías, controlando un embarazo o un parto de alto riesgo, trabajando en conjunto con los trabajadores sociales, dirigiendo una gran unidad, dando clases o haciendo estudios de investigación, etc. El NHS se encuentra, según las encuestas del 2014, puntuado como el mejor sistema sanitario del mundo en acceso, calidad y eficiencia. En concreto, a las matronas del Reino Unido se las reconoce como uno de los sectores más imprescindibles dentro del sistema. Hoy, varios años después de ese primer impacto y tras haber ayudado a muchas mujeres a dar a luz, puedo decir que ser midwife es un trabajo agotador pero a la vez de los más gratificantes que existen. Elegir el lugar y la manera de dar a luz no debería ser considerado un privilegio, toda mujer tiene el derecho de decidir cómo y dónde convertirse en madre.


WORK

Talking About My Generation

Moving to a new city can be daunting. Claudia Rubiño tells La Revista why she and her friends have struggled since moving to London, and wonders whether it will all be worth it?

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like to think that a really good book has the key to save me from any demon. There are a few books I would never recommend to sensitive people, even if they are masterpieces. One of them is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I like to say that this book is not suitable for “oscillating” minds. The novel, published in 1967 under a pseudonym, relates the story of the protagonist who suffers from a mental disorder. She is young, her family is wealthy and she gains an internship in a New York-based magazine for the summer. Even though she has everything, she becomes depressed. Eventually she is put in a mental institution where she receives shock treatment because she feels like she doesn't belong to her society. That book amazed me and scared me at the same time. I had to get the suicidal thoughts out of my mind and I found the solution: Never Any End to Paris (París no se acaba nunca), by Enrique Vila-Matas. What can I say about this one? People either love it or hate it. I do not remember exactly what I expected from it, but in some way it saved me. It has nothing particularly impressive; the author tells how he became a writer and how he moved to Paris following his hero's footsteps. As simple as that. Moving to London was a hard decision and staying here has not been easy. I would love to find a cozy room in Bloomsbury and share it with some of the greatest ghosts from my favourite group. However, living in London is only an adventure if you have financial stability. For the rest of us it is just survival. On social networks you can see the amazing parties and wonderful events that people attend all the time, but you cannot do that if you have to choose between paying rent, oyster and food or having a fabulous social life every single night. Not all of us are like the main character of Vila-Matas' novel whose parents paid for his holidays. When I read it, I had already moved to London and I did not follow any literary figures’ steps but instead I followed in the steps of immigrants. I had no job expectations after finishing university so I thought it would be a good lesson for me; I could find a job while I was writing my own masterpiece. I was wrong, obviously. I have been wondering why I came here ever since I put my feet on English territory and I am not the only person in this position. All of us have stories to tell and many of us have interesting university

degrees that are worth nothing in our countries of origin. Take my friend Martín, for instance. He left Galicia two years ago because the only jobs he could find in Spain were unpaid internships: “I was trying to decide where to go”, he says, “London or somewhere in Australia. I picked London because it is closer than Australia, obviously. It is a big city, full of opportunities and I needed to learn the language. At the beginning, I was excited. The city is fantastic but it is sad as well. It is impersonal, people are cold and distant. You cannot see your friends as much as you like. Eventually, I will go back home, were my family and my roots are. My parents emigrated to Switzerland, you see, my parents and my grandmother, and they managed to go back to Spain”. All of us knew before taking the plane that it would be hard. If you decide to emigrate you need to recognise that everything is going to be difficult. We like to think that, if it is easy, it is not worth it. That is what Javi and Sonia say. This couple arrived in London a few months ago and they knew what they wanted before moving in. “These days we are asked to know English for everything so, instead of studying English in Spain, we decided to come to London and learn not only the language but something about the culture.” “I don't want to stay here unless I find a great job”, explains Javi. On the other hand, Sonia says that she is going back as soon as her English level allows her to teach in Spain. Her grand-

parents had to emigrate to France and they are still living there, so she is familar with the idea. Whatever the case may be, there is no doubt that we are the “Crisis Generation” even if some people still want us to think the opposite, even if we like to exaggerate a bit just to stay close to our beloved Lost Generation (in Britain this term is used for those who died in the First Wold War, but I am talking about those expatriate artists that left their countries and settled in Paris, the generation that came of age during WWI). We just changed the meeting point, they went to Paris and we chose London. I would like to believe that we are not as disoriented, wandering and directionless as Gertrude Stein described them. In a few years, perhaps, we will look back knowing that all we are doing and suffering now was not worthless. We will create new masterpieces to encourage future generations, telling them nothing can stop them if they know what is wrong and right; what is true and what is a lie.

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

Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 27


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HISTORY

Memorias de la Transición

Jules Stewart reflexiona sobre su experiencia en España durante la transición. El articulo original fue publicado en el Diario de Navarra.

Imagenes de la prensa durante los días de transición en España

E

l otoño de 1975 hacía su entrada en Madrid con exasperante lentitud cuando un día apareció en casa un extraño individuo, el nuevo inquilino del cuarto. Este personaje, un tipo enjuto con gafas y anorak, pasaba las horas en el balcón que daba al colegio del Pilar, el célebre criadero de ministros, barriendo el horizonte con un par de gemelos. A su lado llevaba un cassette que emitía a toda mecha música marcial. Poco después de las cinco de la madrugada del 20 de noviembre un amigo de la agencia de noticias UPI me llamó por teléfono: “Ha muerto. Te tengo que dejar”. Al poco rato de emitirse la noticia el excéntrico vecino del cuarto entró en acción. Por el patio se escuchaba el cassette pero en vez de himnos falangistas el aparato entonaba “La Internationale” acompañado de advertencias de un inminente golpe comunista. Casi simultáneamente los vecinos de mi casa del barrio de Salamanca reaccionaron al unísono ante la amenaza del Terror Rojo. Por el patio se escuchaban gritos: “¡Cállate, anormal”! “¡Deja a la gente dormir, que hay que trabajar!” La Transición estaba en marcha. Gracias a la sensatez de la clase obrera y de la mayor parte del alto mando militar España enseñó al mundo el arte de desmantelar el aparato dictatorial para convertir al país en una sociedad democrática. Eso sí, siempre con una alta dosis de improvisación. Por ejemplo, una noche de enero de 1977 tuve el honor de cenar con el Teniente General Manuel Gutiérrez Mellado, vicepresidente del Gobierno de Adolfo Suárez. Cuando le pregunté cómo pensaba actuar el Gobierno frente a la ola de protestas callejeras que pedían la legalización del Partido Comunista de España (PCE), me con-

testó: “Francamente veo muy difícil que se legalice el PCE en esta legislatura, y menos con Santiago Carrillo”. Tres meses después el PCE fue legalizado y con Santiago Carrillo como secretario general. Si tuviera que señalar el momento en que definitivamente se dio por terminado este largo periodo de incertidumbre creo que pondría el dedo en el 13 de marzo de 1986, el día en que se dieron a conocer los resultados del referéndum sobre la OTAN. Con el sí del 52,5% de los votantes (y con una tasa de abstención del 40%) el país rebatió la razón a los escépticos: España por fin había afirmado su voluntad de participar en el proyecto de la nueva Europa. En aquellos tiempos yo trabajaba en la agencia Reuters en Madrid. Unos días antes de celebrarse el referéndum decidimos elaborar nuestra propia encuesta sobre el asunto. Los redactores nos repartimos por la geografía española para tomar el pulso a la nación. A mí me tocó Chinchón. Hacía un día espléndido en la Plaza Mayor, cuya arquitectura hace tanta gracia a los turistas ingleses por su parecido al estilo tudoresco. Tomando el sol en un banco de la plaza había un vejete de chapela y zapatillas de fieltro marrón. Sin más, me acerqué a mi primer encuestado. “Buenos días. Soy un periodista extranjero y estoy haciendo un sondeo sobre la OTAN…”. “¿Eh?”. El anciano se llevó la mano a la oreja, doblándola en forma de cucurucho. Repetí la pregunta y esta vez me dirigió una mirada de asombro. “¿Qué dice Ud? ¿Que vuelve Urtáin?” Le pedí perdón por las molestias y crucé la plaza hasta la panadería. “Buenos días, señora. Si no es mucha molestia, soy un periodista extranjero y quería preguntarle su intención de voto

Carteles propagandisticos del PSOE

en el referéndum de la OTAN”. “Pues mire usted”, me dijo, despolvoreándose las manos en su mandil, “eso que usted me dice, pues la verdad es que no sé muy bien, pero si usted es periodista yo le digo una cosa, lo que le ha hecho este gobierno a Ruíz Mateos es una vergüenza, ni más ni menos. Digo, que estos políticos son unos canallas, con todas las letras…”. Me excusé, llevándome una barra de pan de artesanía, para continuar mi periplo alrededor de la plaza. Al poco rato topé con un joven de aspecto despabilado. “Perdona, chico, soy un periodista extranjero y me gustaría saber si tienes una opinión sobre la OTAN. Ya sabes, el referéndum…”. “Hombre, claro que tengo una opinión. Voy a votar que sí”. Por fin. “¿Ah sí? Oye, esto me parece fenomenal. ¿A lo mejor me permites una pregunta más?” “Descuida, tío, pregúntame lo que quieras”. “Bien. Vamos a ver, ¿acaso militas en algún partido político?” El joven se cuadró: “Sí, señor. El Partido Comunista de España”. “¿El PCE? Pero…”. “Ya, ya lo sé. Pero verás, yo tengo una mente independiente y como el PCE es un partido democrático me reservo el derecho de discrepar de la Dirección. En este caso, concretamente, creo que es importante que España se proteja de la amenaza soviética, que no es el comunismo que queremos, sino una tiranía, igual que la oligarquía capitalista pero disfrazada de socialismo…etcétera”. Ya no me cabía la menor duda de que la Transición había triunfado. Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 29


LITERATURE

De cuando Agatha Christie visitó “Las Islas Afortunadas”

El encanto de Las Canarias tuvó una influencia profunda sobre la escritora britanica y su obra, descubre Nuria Reina Bachot.

Agatha Christie

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icen por ahí que a la Reina del Crimen se le ocurrían sus historias más intrigantes mientras fregaba los platos. No tenemos pruebas que demuestren esta curiosa anécdota, pero sí los hay de un hecho desconocido para la mayoría y que marcaría la relación de España con la autora: su visita a las Islas Canarias en 1927. Antes de llegar a este año clave, sigamos un fascinante recorrido cronológico. Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller vino al mundo un 15 de septiembre de 1891 en Torquay –Devonshire-, al sudoeste de Inglaterra. Creció en una familia de clase media-alta como la menor de tres hermanos. La educación de sus primeros años fue hogareña. Sus docentes fueron sus progenitores, que le enseñaron a leer, escribir, realizar las primeras cuentas, tocar el piano y la mandolina. De su madre se comenta que era una sensitiva dotada de capacidades extrasensoriales. Su padre, un amable agente de bolsa neoyorkino y de salud quebradiza, falleció de un ataque al corazón en 1901, a los cincuenta y cinco años, dejando a la familia casi a la deriva. Según la autora, ese hecho marcó su vida y puso fin a una infancia solitaria, aislada de otros niños, donde las mascotas eran sus principales amigos. En los años siguientes inició su educación formal en distintas escuelas de niñas, tres de ellas situadas en París. Llegado 1910 regresó a Inglaterra y, al ver a su madre enferma, tomó la decisión de marcharse con ella a El Cairo. Allí pasaron tres meses alojadas en el Gezirah Palace Hotel. En esa década, Ágatha ya comenzaba a florecer como escritora. Publicó obras de teatro, cuentos y también su primera novela, Snow Upon the Desert, donde narraba sus vivencias en la capital egipcia. El estallido de la Prim-

30 La Revista • Winter/Spring 2015

Agatha y Rosalind

era Guerra Mundial le pilló con el corazón latiendo a mil. Acababa de casarse con el aviador Archibal Christie, quien no solo le regalaría el célebre apellido, sino también un agudo mal de amores, cuyas consecuencias, son dignas de aparecer en cualquiera de sus novelas. Ya en la posguerra se empapó del género detectivesco leyendo a Doyle y Wilkie Collins. Así pues, no era de extrañar que su primer éxito fuese la novela policíaca The Mysterious affair at Styles (1920), donde aparecería por primera vez la figura de Hércules Poirot. Luego llegaría The Secret Adversary (1922), The Murder on the Links (1923), The Man in the Brown Suit (1924), y The Secret of Chimneys (1925); todas ellas incluidas en el género del suspense y misterio. Y así llegamos al annus horribilis de Agatha Christie, 1926, una fecha en la que confluyeron los acontecimientos más devastadores para ella, Su esposo le confiesa que está enamorado de otra mujer, Nancy Neele, y, le pide el divorcio, provocando así la célebre y novelesca desaparición de la autora durante once días, llevada al

Libro

cine con el título de Ágatha (1979). Por si este mazazo no fuera suficiente, fallece su madre y todo ello deja a la escritora hecha añicos. A principios de 1927, a finales de enero para ser más exactos, después de que Archibal y las musas ya hubieran abandonado el hogar, Agatha toma la decisión de marcharse a Las Canarias. No iba sola, le acompañarían su pequeña Rosalind, su secretaria Charlotte, las deudas y una amiga tan inseparable como ruidosa: su máquina de escribir. Por aquel entonces, tenía 36 años. Pero, ¿qué datos tenemos de este viaje a las islas afortunadas? Gracias a la obra Agatha Christie en Canarias, del experto Nicolás González Lemus (Nivaria Ediciones, 2007) sabemos que llegó el 4 de febrero al muelle de Santa Cruz de Tenerife en un barco de la Union Castle Mail. El mismo día realizó una excursión al Valle de La Orotava, célebre rincón que abraza parte del Teide. Se alojó en el Gran Hotel Taoro, un lugar trufado de encanto y comodidades en Puerto de la Cruz. Rodeado de amplios y hermosos jardines que albergaban campos de golf, críquet y tenis, el Taoro gozaba de vistas al mar y al Valle de la Orotava. También poseía un magnífico salón, protagonista de numerosas fiestas y un gran comedor no menos lujoso. Además, el hotel tenía un acuerdo con la agencia londinense Cook para atraer turistas británicos. La cosa funcionó, tanto que entre la comunidad británica el emplazamiento era conocido como The Grand English Hotel porque al aparecer los británicos se encontraban allí como pez en el agua. Por otro lado, el hotel estaba situado cerca de la iglesia anglicana y la biblioteca ynglesa, y claro, aquello también les ayudaría a sentirse como en casa, eso sí, con un clima más paradisíaco. Si con semejante Edén un escritor apolillado por la tristeza no logra restablecerse un poco y recuperar la inspiración, ya no hay nada que tire de él. Por fortuna, Agatha era una escritora de raza y solo necesitaba un empujoncito. Las islas se lo dieron. De hecho, se sabe que en el Puerto de la Cruz finalizó las novelas The Mystery of the Blue Train y The Mysterious Mr Quin. Sin embargo, hay testimonios de que Agatha no terminaba de sentirse cómoda en Tenerife. La culpa era de los vientos alisios, que tornaban brava la mar y hacían imposible el baño y eso, para una buena nadadora como ella, era un suplicio. Tampoco había arena, sino piedra volcánica, y todo aquello unido al


Hotel Metropole

frío y la humedad hicieron que saliera del Puerto de la Cruz bastante desencantada. El 27 de febrero recogió sus bártulos y se marchó a Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Una vez allí, se instaló en el Hotel Metropole, un primo hermano del Taoro en lo que al lujo se refiere y que poseía incluso habitaciones de revelado fotográfico. Además, estaba regentado por un compatriota suyo, Alfred Lewis Jones, que se había instalado en las islas en 1884 y era socio de la Elder, Dempster & Co. Alfred acabaría involucrándose en la industria turística. Cercano al British Club y al Tennis Court, el Metropole se convirtió en una pieza clave en la obra The Thirteen Problems, pues aparece de forma explícita en el capítulo ocho, The Companion. En esta colección de historias protagonizadas por la carismática Miss Marple, la autora homenajea a las islas situando la historia en Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, en concreto, en la playa de Las Nieves (Agaete). Según González Lemus, en este capítulo Agatha Christie rinde homenaje a los numerosos médicos británicos que se asentaron en las islas y recomendaban una estancia en el archipiélago como terapia, en especial para las afecciones pulmonares. En definitiva, la autora acabó prendada de Gran Canaria, donde pudo disfrutar de un clima mejor, nadar en la playa de Las Canteras e incluso surfear –convirtiéndose en la primera surfera de las islas-. Algunos dicen que volvió en repetidas ocasiones durante los años 60. Los más optimistas apoyan esta teoría en las siguientes palabras de su autobiografía:

“Las Palmas de Gran Canaria tenía dos playas perfectas; la temperatura también lo era… La mayor parte del año soplaba una brisa estupenda y las noches eran los suficientemente cálidas para sentarse a cenar al aire libre”. Otros dicen que tras su marcha en marzo de 1927 jamás regresó a las islas. Lo que es innegable es la huella de su visita. Así pues, el pueblo canario intentó rendir homenaje a la autora con un busto y una calle en la finca de La Paz, además de con el Festival Internacional Agatha Christie, donde se puede disfrutar de piezas teatrales, proyecciones, conferencias, rutas y actuaciones musicales. La última edición fue en 2013 en Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife. Tal vez lo más importante de este desconocido viaje de la autora al archipiélago no sea este homenaje, ni la creación de varios trabajos como Mr. Quin o The Companion, sino el innegable poder de las islas para restaurar un corazón tan quebrado como el que trajo Agatha el 4 de febrero de 1927. Agatha Christie falleció de causas naturales el 12 de enero de 1976 en Oxfordshire, dejando a sus espaldas más de ochenta novelas de suspense, ciento cincuenta cuentos, unas veinte obras teatrales, seis novelas de corte romántico, el título de Dama del Imperio Británico y su autobiografía.


ART

Photographer Idil Sukan Captures Comedy Ahead of Idil Sukan’s debut photography exhibition, This Comedian, Julia Sukan del Rio explains what makes her work unique.

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dil Sukan’s portrait of Celia Imrie was formally acquired by the National Portrait Gallery last year. A leading photographer in the comedy world, she set up Draw HQ, her production company, in 2010. She has since been the official photographer for the Pleasance Theatre Edinburgh Fringe Festival shows, the British Independent Film Awards and the British Comedy Awards. Sukan is now opening up her photography archives for the first time for her debut exhibition This Comedian in February and March 2015.

about what it’s like to be a comedian. Sukan began photographing and designing for Fringe shows when she noticed that publicity was often unrepresentative of the themes and quality of the show. Her producer’s judgement sought to incorporate publicity as part of the entire show experience, not separate from it. Her production and publicity work for the Victorian sketch-comedy show Aeneas Faversham by sketchcomedy troupe The Penny Dreadfuls, for example, featured playing cards, which served flyers too. This encouraged the

You will rarely come across someone like Idil Sukan. She is a polymath, with sweeping interests and extreme talent. She takes a keen interest in the impact of photography and is critical of the harm that altered or reductive images have on gender roles in society. She therefore actively avoids taking brash generic comedy photos, such as ‘man in suit holding a microphone’ and ‘woman in dainty dress looking confused’ – did she just say something funny? Having been a student at Edinburgh University, Sukan had undiluted access to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in which she has taken part as a comedy producer, comedian and photographer for the last 10 years. Her forthcoming debut exhibition This Comedian is an exciting retrospective collection of her photography and design work of comedians over the last decade. This unprecedented collection of photographic work in the comedy industry includes comedic stars Eddie Izzard, Julian Clarey, Greg Proops and Bridget Christie. And staying true to form, Sukan is launching the exhibition with a stand-up comedy show with a great line-up of comedians talking

public to collect the whole deck – an ingenious ploy to get people to actively want a Fringe flyer. Her photography and poster design for Fringe shows are now so distinctive, that there is a game amongst Edinburgh Festival regulars called ‘Spot the Idil’. To play, you call out the ‘good posters’ amongst the layers of publicity plastered along the Royal Mile, the festival’s publicity street. Sukan, armed with her varied comedy background as a producer and comedian, presents photography that combines the sensitivity of a performer with the strategies of a producer. You will rarely come across an exhibition like this – don’t miss out!

32 La Revista • Winter/Spring 2015

Exhibition: This Comedian Free Entry. www.thiscomedian.com Idil Sukan’s limited edition portraits and art prints are also on sale now: shop.drawhq.com

Pronounced ‘Thiria’ A Dialogue with Artist Jose Manuel Ciria Nacho Morais meets the conceptual artist in his London studio for a conversation on art and life, ahead of his Madrid exhibition Las Puertas de Uaset. A tireless researcher of the pictorial art form, he combines intellect, creativity and charm in equal measure.

J

osé Manuel Ciria welcomes me to his London studio. He was born in the UK (Manchester, 1960) but only recently set up this studio last year after seven years in New York. A man of many contrasts, he has combined a self-learning approach with the influence of more traditional figures such as his father or the old-style teachers he had as a child, who nurtured and stimulated his artistic sensibility. He is at the frontline of the artistic vanguard but has the utmost admiration for Velazquez and regards The Spinners as the best painting of all time. A nomadic character, his residences across the world have, layer after layer, furnished his kaleidoscopic approach to painting. As opposed to other more conventional painters, his work is investigation, a journey of research which has enabled him to generate three platforms which dissect the ingredients of the pictorial art form: Automatic Deconstructive Abstraction, Dynamic Alfa Alignments and the most recent one, in which he analyses the symbolic components present in painting through history. His talent and eagerness to push the boundaries of artistic manifestation have put him at the forefront of the international art scene. He sees his art form as an intellectual challenge, as he shows when he says that he “solves” paintings. With his ongoing works around us, and the promise of a tortilla de patata to cap our encounter, we slide into conversation. “My childhood memories are of either being naughty or drawing”, says Ciria. “I remember one day a teacher at school in Manchester told us to copy a print of a tiger and an elephant falling into a trap. I went to the board where the drawings were exhibited and mine was not there. Instead, she had made a little orange cardboard frame and hung it on a wall. That gave me a fantastic boost as a kid”.


ART

Despertar (2014)

When Ciria moved to Madrid he met a schoolteacher, Don Carlos, who spurred his intellectual curiosity. He became the one in the class who made the representations of biblical figures in the blackboard. At first, he felt very shy and made small drawings, quickly shaking off the stage fright and taking over the whole board. In school, he had two other favourite subjects, philosophy and physics. It is interesting what you say about physics, as often in arts, and in your work in particular, there is a certain geometric or formulaic element. The more curiosity, the more preparation you have, the more you have read, the more you can use in your work. Intuition is all right — you need the muses to accompany you to solve the painting when you are executing it — but if behind the surface there is conceptual baggage, a structure that sustains the work, I think it benefits the discourse enormously. Whoever wants to go deeper can find enough meat to bite, to be able to enjoy a deeper trip. My painting is about tensions, so I often look for the shock of placing two antithetic postures in the same level, like in the case of abstract art: geometrical and gestural. Forcing these two different things to co-lead the scene in the same frame has some tensions which I really like. In my work I work with all kinds of mathematical formulas and, obviously, with auric proportions. Ciria’s father – who eventually became his assistant — used to take him to visit artists’ studios, to the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, and got him working for a painter on Carrera de San Jeronimo, near the Spanish Congress. This painter, in turn, introduced him to his gallerist and his investigative journey into the pictorial art form took off. It was not only an intellectual journey, but also a geographical one.

José Manuel Ciria

What have you taken from the experience of those residences that you had: Paris, New York, Berlin, Tel Aviv and Rome? It depends on the intensity with which you can live in those places and those moments. I lived lots of experiences. New York, for instance, is a town where everything you are exposed to is absolutely powerful, the city accompanies you. During my tenure in Rome I thought, ‘I don’t want to wake up’. The project that I wanted to undertake there was called The Still Time, and my wish was to stop time, to stay there forever. You also harvest friendships, and exchanges and conversations can be deeply enriching. Of your range of works, I find the Rorschach Heads series really interesting. The Rorschach Heads are structured in three different phases. The first one I did while I was in Israel, and what I tried is, with a simple silhouette, without expression (no eyes, no mouth, no nose), to express emotions, just through composition, the colocation of those heads. The theme of feeling the fear, the satisfaction, the abandonment, the defeat, the worry… is a projective theme, like the Rorschach tests, hence the name. You interpret it the way you want to interpret it. I did a second phase, when I arrived in New York, where I tried to experiment with the first body of work. While I was there, my father was fatally ill and the pain took me away from my investigative painting and into the third series. I was also influenced by a trip to Easter Island during those same days. The heads in that series have expression, and I was so surprised that I made several pieces. Shortly afterwards it gained direction when Stefan Stux, the New York gallerist, came one night for dinner. I was doing the pieces, and I had a ceiling fan in the middle of the studio in New York, under which one piece was drying. It was supposed to be a

personal, intimate work, just for me. So he saw this work piece and was so interested that he asked me whether I had more. I showed him the rest and after dinner he tells me, “I am changing all dates, as I want to give you the best date in the year. Tomorrow, we sign the contract”. I am more of an abstract, rather than figurative, painter. The most important thing about the heads is that they are the same abstract shapes, anchored to a context that can be interpreted as a figurative one. The horror expressed by the heads is the horror that you see in the world. People tell me “those heads that you have painted anguish me. I could not live with that because it would scare me”. No. The ones who are actually scared are the represented ones. In that sense, and given the provocation present in many art forms these days, to what extent could the provocative dimension eclipse the art form? I am partly a painter and partly a conceptual artist who expresses himself with paint. I try to stretch the limits of what we consider painting. I am not interested in including religion or pornography; I do not aim to transgress any tradition and I am not a provocateur, but I understand that there are many people who want to brutally stretch the borders of art, and they manage to appear in press. Much of it is just plain provocation. There are exceptions, like the case of Paul McCarthy. This is a guy who has always moved around the conceptual field and with photography, and he brought a painting exhibition to the Hauser & Wirth gallery in London. The painting that he brought was eschatological and pornographic. If you are unable to look at the paintings you miss out on the aesthetic experience. Nevertheless, in the case of McCarthy, the surprising thing is that the exhibition from a pictorial standpoint was utterly extraordinary, even though he is a

Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 33


ART to art. I did not ever decide it. It fell onto me like a stone. Quite often I think that I would love to have been to be a normal person.

provocateur. This is the difference between the people who are there just to be provocative, and those who are there because they have to be. Venture capitalist Julie Meyer recently told me that what differentiates an entrepreneur is his disposition to live an abnormal life. If the artist is an intellectual entrepreneur, do you think this is true?

That is a feeling I have had since I was a child, and not because of my profession. In Manchester I was the Spanish kid and in Spain I was the English kid. I have always been an outsider. My interest in painting, my intellectual curiosity always set me apart of the others. I was kicked out of all schools and my parents were always at the headmaster’s office. Many people ask me when I decided to devote myself to this,

Finally, could you mention some artists that you can say that they clearly influenced you? I draw more from the attitude of the artist than in the formal aspect. There are some artists that have changed my way of looking at the pictorial art form: Joseph Beuys, Cy Twombly and, without a doubt, Dieter Roth. Do I especially like Joseph Beuys painting? I am not that interested, but I love what he is able to offer, and how he takes you on a journey. In the case of Roth, it is same. On the other hand, I like Twombly a lot, the fact that an American can understand the Mediterranean and make those compositions is absolutely marvellous. He maximises what is minimal, and that is a pleasure. And off we went for the tortilla…

Spaniard Leading the World of Squash

David Hurst meets Borja Golan, the world’s number 7 squash player.

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part from a good few notable Brits, world squash has been dominated by the Pakistanis – led by the Khan dynasty with undisputed world class stars Jahengir and Jansher Khan - the Australians and, more recently, by the Egyptians. But now it is Spain’s turn as they have produced a world leader in this exciting sport. Borja Golan is an impressive 32 yearold from Santiago de Compostela who has fought through a serious knee injury in 2009 to emerge as Spain’s greatest ever squash player. The injury was sustained in the Columbian Open final which Golan went on to lose to Australian squash legend and former World Number 1, David Palmer. Despite this, the determined and elegant Spaniard climbed into the squash World Top Ten just the month after the tournament ended. Golan would have to wait until 2013 before he ranked as highly again. In Decem-

34 La Revista • Winter/Spring 2015

ber 2014, in his first Professional Squash Association World Series final, he was runner up in the Hong Kong Open to the then world ranked number 1, Sheffieldborn Nick Matthew. That year Golan also reached the semi-final of the Qatar Classic beating the number 1 seed, Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, in a tense and controversial match. His current professional ranking of World Number 7 places him as the top string out of five in the team playing for St George’s Hill Tennis and Squash Club, Weybridge, where he plays regular matches in England’s Premier Squash League. The following interrview took place while the star player was on his way to play in another tournament in the USA. How and why did you take up squash in football-mad, non-squash playing Spain? I was lucky as my parents’ house was only 300 metres from Squash Club Santiago where I trained. As a kid I tried many sports such as swimming, soccer and even karate but the one I enjoyed the most was squash so I decided to quit the others. When did you become so good at squash? I don’t know yet if I am good at squash as I always think I can improve - but I am 32 and possibly running out of time! At 18 I moved to England to improve my squash and train with well-respected coach John

Milton in St Albans. Since then my only aim has been to get as good as I can be. Who inspired you in the beginning in squash and in sport generally? My parents inspired me the most; they showed me the values of hard work and humility. Also my wife has been a great support since I joined the professional circuit 12 years ago. Outside sport, what are your favourite films and authors? One of my favourite films is Ridley Scott’s Gladiator and I love sports biographies such as Andre Agassi’s and also the famous novel One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Tell us about your trade mark pressure socks! The brand of pressure socks I use is Compressport which are very helpful for keeping muscles warm and reducing the risk of injury. I also use them for recovering after a hard match or training session and then for long flights as well, keeping my legs relaxed and fresh.

on YouTube. They will take your breath away. The BritishSpanish Society wishes Borja well ings and congratulates him on his important contribution to Spanish sport.


LANGUAGE

IBERIAN WORDS – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

After more than 40 years living in Madrid (single) and Barcelona (married), Dominic Begg lists some of the words and expressions that have stayed with him through the years, for better or worse… adeu* - minimalist Catalan streetresponse to ‘Bon dia’. Friendlier when echo. al fondo a la derecha - reassuring directions from bar staff. aprovechar - useful catch-all for ‘exploit’, ‘make use of’, etc. amusing when used ironically. a rajatabla - ‘rigorously’. Dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s. autoritats* - ‘local dignitaries’. A pack of individuals 3 rows of seats reserved for them,

Drawings by AB

often fail to turn up. azabache - ‘jet-black’. Often used in bala perdida - wastrel, loser. Literally ‘a spent bullet’. blandengue - softy, milksop, weakling. bochorno suffocating, humid heat. bodega ideally a cool, dark interior with dusty, musty barrels. bon nadal* - subdued festive greeting. Not especially merry. caballero - if addressed thus, my hackles rise. Barbers excepted. cancerbero - picturesque alternative to ‘goalkeeper’. cara de circunstancias ‘set facial expression’. cara de pocos amigos - a murderous facial expression. ¡circulen! ‘keep moving’. Warning from Franco’s police. compañero/a - sentimental prissy term for partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, etc. crepuscular - often used to describe the declining western movie genre. currar - to knuckle down to your working routine. ¡chim-pún! - cheerful nonsense-word signalling the end of a song. chorizo - a crook or fraudster. sadly, plenty to be seen in Spain. one whose ‘cape has fallen’ and who’s down on his luck. deslucido - spoilt by poor weather or a bad performance.

desnivel - uneven paving that could trip you up. desperfectes*- damage to property after a storm. el escándalo/pulso está servido splendid image of a waiter removing the lid of a salver and ‘serving up a scandal’. entradas - a man’s receding hairline. literally ‘entrances’. fuertote machote - ‘big strong lad’. I was called this once by a colleague 30 years ago when I came to work jacketless. It’s stuck! gandul* - an idler who may well end up as a ‘bala perdida’. ¡go-o-o-ol, gol gol gol! - just acceptable on the radio. UnBritish. impresentable(*) - sounds wonderfully dismissive in Catalan. inodoro ‘al fondo a la derecha’. lamentable(*) - again, this sounds perfect in Catalan. morbo - hard to translate. ‘prurience’ (approximately). muy repartido - ‘widely shared’. the context is a lottery win. ni a Granada, la que suspira por el mar - memorable line from a Lorca poem. A barrage of ‘a’s, plus a nod to the last Moorish ruler of Al-Andalus. niño (El Niño, Niño de la Capea, El Niño de la Hipoteca) a singer. As with ‘little Stevie Wonder’, age may lead to a name-change. nosotras - in a Madrid street, aged 17, I was invited to a party by four shop-girls ‘Ven con nosotras’. Sexiest word in the dictionary! oito** - some elderlyGallegos, when speaking Spanish, seem to have dif¡ojalá! - ‘would that it were so!’ a single word that packs a punch. ojo de perdiz ‘partidge-eye’. A potato found in the Almería area. paciencia y barajar - ‘patience and advice that goes back to the Cervantes era. pichardos - unfamiliar foreign banknotes and coins. ‘ackers’. plasticidad - in an art review it sounds pretentious to British ears.

ming in a cold sea will alert him to the danger of catching this. ¡Que va! ‘like hell!’ or ‘whatever!’. popular with adolescents. quitar hierro - ‘to take the heat off’, ‘to release the pressure’. Refers to branding-irons used by ranch-hands. se obedece, pero no se cumple - ‘one obeys, but one doesn’t implement’. Imperial viceroys in the New World often treated instructions from Seville-based bishops in this way. suegra - ‘mother-in-law’. It has a sour and vinegary ring to it! tancat*- ‘closed/shut’. Has a metallic jail-cell clang. todo el tinglado - ‘the whole she-bang/ shooting-match’. ull de lliebre* - grape variety ‘hare’s eye’ (= tempranillo). un penalti como una catedral - ‘a clear penalty’. Massively visible to everybody but the referee!

vino peleón - a young wine that next morning. ¡voy a cocerme! - ‘I’m going out on heard this from rugby coach Carmelo ‘Margarito’ García over 40 years back. xafagor*- see ‘bochorno’ above. this is even steamier! zanjar - ‘to bring to an end or wrap up’. * = Catalan (*) = Works in both Castellano and Catalan ** = Galician/Gallego

‘pneumonia’. The mother of a ‘blandengue’ swim-

Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 35


Art & Culture Andalucia

Villa Los Buhos, Gaucin, Andalucia Sunshine, stunning scenery, exquisite food and wine, fascinating company, mental stimulation and luxury accommodation – this is the unique experience

Andrew Graham-Dixon, the well-known art critic, journalist and TV presenter says, “I can’t recommend Jacqueline Cockburn’s Andalusian cultural experience too highly.”

www.artandcultureandalucia.com www.facebook.com/artandcultureandalucia


CULTURE

Contemporary Spanish Cinema

Duncan Wheeler and Fernando Canet explain why they were moved to research varying perceptions of Spanish cinema, the subject of their new book.

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n an increasingly globalised world, does it still make sense to talk about national cinemas as if they were self-contained clearly definable categories? Even if we can agree on the existence of such a thing as Spanish cinema, is it understood in the same way at home as it is abroad, or does it perhaps take on different meanings depending on personal and culturally determined preferences and prejudices? If, as seems to be the case, the world is becoming ever-more homogenous, should Spanish cinema take a lead from directors such as Alejandro Amenábar and Juan Bayona, who have arguably beaten Hollywood at its own game in films such as The Others and The Impossible; or, conversely, is entering into this game a form of ethical and aesthetic defeat: ought filmmakers to be looking to offer something different from mainstream fare, showcasing the diversity of both Spain and its cinematic talent? These are just some of the questions that inspired us to edit a book that puts leading academics from a broad range of disciplinary and geographical backgrounds into dialogue with critically and commercially successful practitioners to suggest the need to redefine the parameters of one of the world’s most creative national cinemas. The impetus for the project, and in fact our first meeting, was a conference organised by Fernando Canet in New York in December 2011, at which Duncan Wheeler presented a paper on Elegy, an English-language adaptation of Philip Roth’s novella The Dying Animal, directed by the Catalan filmmaker Isabel Coixet, and starring Academy Award winner Penélope Cruz. As well as offering a close analysis of the film, this paper was interested in interrogating how and why the film had been better received in the UK and the US than it had been in Spain; this disjuncture between domestic and international perceptions was also flagged by a number of other delegates who, for example, probed Pedro Almodóvar’s status as a global icon in light of his more chequered reputation at home, or analysed comedies such as Torrente, Fuga de cerebros and Tengo ganas de ti that are amongst the most popular films in Spain, but rarely travel abroad: how many UKbased cinema-goers know that Ocho apellidos vascos recently became the biggest grossing film of all time at the domestic box-office?

“How many UK-based cinemagoers know that Ocho apellidos vascos recently became the biggest grossing film of all time at the domestic box-office?” Also present at the conference were some of the most critically acclaimed Spanish practitioners of recent years: the directors Isaki Lacuesta and José Luis Guerin, alongside the producer and director Luis Miñarro. Although their prize-winning films do not always find the favour of either audiences or funders at home, their inclusion in the world’s most prestigious film festivals is instrumental to the international standing of Spanish cinema. The recording of their roundtable discussion inspired us to dedicate a section in the book to engaging with industry professionals working in a variety of roles. As a counterpart to a chapter titled ‘How to make arty films now’, in which Miñarro dissects the struggles to produce arthouse cinema in Spain with characteristic gallows’ humour, we interviewed Mercedes Gamero within the rubric of ‘How to make commercial films now’ – this television executive for Antena 3 has been one of the very few Spanish producers to weather the current economic crisis and develop financially viable projects through investment in international coproductions, and comedies aimed at the domestic marketplace featuring popular actors, generally best-known for their work on the small screen. The contributors to the book adopt various, often opposing, stances as to whether mainstream acceptance and commercial

success ought to be determining factors in the kind of films that are produced. While, in accordance with the ethos of the volume, we have adopted no editorial line in the regard, it is clear that there are two ways of denigrating a national cinema: first, by saying that it can never make money by direct or by indirect means; and, second, by suggesting that commercial viability is the sole criteria by which films ought to be judged. We have worked hard to ensure that the book counterbalances chapters that take popular films seriously, with others that painstakingly explore the creativity of more challenging cinematic fair providing, for example, a detailed interrogation of the recent upsurge in art films produced in Catalonia. The passage of the thoughts of over twenty-five authors living in different countries, and even continents, to nearly five-hundred pages of printed text has frequently seemed more of a quixotic than a Herculean task, but it has fully convinced us not only of the multitude of great Spanish films from the last two decades, but also of the plurality of perspectives from which they can be viewed. Despite the current obstacles it has to negotiate, the talent pool working both in and on Spanish cinema is healthier today than it has ever been; if nothing else, our book bears testament to that talent, and offers its services to the readers as a guide for discovering new films and re-viewing familiar ones under a new light. From the outset, we sought to bring together Spanish- and English-language specialists in a field that has, on occasions, operated along nationally-specific partisan lines. In the spirit of the BritishSpanish Society, we can only hope that this Apartheidlike division becomes a relic of the past and that, as with all good tour-guides, the book serves a diplomatic as well as an ambassadorial role: it would be disconcertingly boring if cinematic and academic communities began to agree on everything, but we hope to have initiated a conversation to which everyone is welcome to contribute. Duncan Wheeler is Associate Professor in Spanish Studies at the University of Leeds Fernando Canet is Associate Professor in Film Studies at the Polytechnic University of Valencia Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 37


CULTURE

¿Qué hay de nuevo en MADRID? La capital de España se encuentra en pleno apogeo de nuevos negocios. Aperturas de restaurantes, tiendas, cafeterías, hoteles o galerías de arte salpican la ciudad. ¿Te vienes de paseo por Madrid? Por Estefanía Ruilope.

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mpezamos la ruta por el nuevo hotel Urso (Mejía Lequerica, 1), un edificio ideal para dormir ubicado en la zona de las salesas. ¿Qué destaca en él? Su buen gusto en la decoración, los exquisitos productos de belleza de la marca The Lab Room disponibles en las habitaciones y su restaurante efímero The Table by. Su concepto gastronómico se basa en acoger durante un mes y replicar en su totalidad los mejores restaurantes de España. No muy lejos de éste aparece otro hotel, el Siete Islas (Valverde, 14), que se caracteriza por tener un llamativo estilo nórdico y un ambiente muy trendy.

The Table by

Siete Islas

Para desayunar hay dos sugerencias. Por un lado, el

un gastro local con representación de todas las comidas del mundo, además de bar de copas y restaurante con una estrella Michelín. ¿Otro plus? Se encuentra amenizado con música jazz. Igualmente en la zona de Fuencarral está el Mercado de San Idelfonso (Fuencarral, 57), famoso por sus cañas, su sushi y sus tacos mexicanos. Il Tavolo Verde (Villalar, 6), un espacio con una filosofía cien por cien ecológica en pleno barrio de Salamanca, donde puedes tomar un rico té con un suculento trozo de bizcocho de calabaza handmade. Lo peculiar de este local es que al fondo se convierte en una tienda de decoración con una gran diversidad de muebles de estilo rústico. Si buscas un desayuno al más puro estilo francés, la mejor opción es Fonty (Castello, 12), que posee un original suelo hidráulico idóneo para tomar un rico croissant con café con leche. A la hora de comer la oferta culinaria es muy variada y amplia. Todo depende de qué estés buscando. Si hablamos de una comida de cinco tenedores una de las mejores opciones es degustar los platos con esencia gallega de Alabaster (Montalban, 9) o el savoir faire del grupo Paraguas con su Ultramarinos Quintín (Jorge Juan, 17). Si buscas un lugar donde se mantenga la buena comida pero sea algo más sencilloo no te pierdas Alcocer 42 (Alcocer, 42). En Beker 6 (Hermanos Bécquer, 6) prueba el horno josper o disfruta de una sabrosa hamburguesa en un ambiente de la Costa Azul de los años 40. Para degustar una de las mejores tortillas de patata de la ciudad acude a Taberna

38 La Revista • Winter/Spring 2015

Beker 6

Pedraza (Ibiza, 40): para unas deliciosas croquetas de boletus visita Taberna Arzabal (Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo, 13) y si prefieres pasearte por el sito de moda, el lugar perfecto es Fox (Fernández de la Hoz, 66).

Fox

También hay que destacar el boom de los mercados gastronómicos surgido en los últimos meses. Son varios los espacios dedicados a este universo. Uno de ellos es Platea (Goya, 5-7), un antiguo cine reconvertido en

A la hora de ir de compras la ruta de moda combina diseñadores españoles con grandes marcas internacionales. En la tienda de ropa gallega Masscob (Callejón de Puigcerda) puedes encontrar piezas sencillas con personalidad. Una de las últimas en aterrizar en el antiguo y archiconocido restaurante Teatriz es la hermana mediana de H&M, & Other Stories (Hermosilla, 15). Para muebles y objetos decorativos cosmopolitas tienes que ir a Indietro (Ortega y Gasset, 28) y para gafas de sol diferentes y con personalidad, a Óptica Toscana (Hortaleza, 70). Por último, siempre resulta agradable un paseo por el jardín de Federica & Co (Hermosilla, 26). Como colofón, turno para unos cuidados de belleza en el recién estrenado Spa de Lush (Carmen, 24) o en un centro cien por cien ecológico, Serendipia (Recoletos, 16).

Serendipia


CULTURE

Basque Country Chronicle

Hondarribia festival

Tom Blinkhorn tells La Revista about the culture-culinary tour he took part in last September, and reflects on why the rich cultural history or the region has such enduring appeal.

F

or as long as I can remember, the Basque Country has held a special mystique for me. It started when I was a kid growing up in Canada’s Cape Breton Island on the North Atlantic. In school, whenever the topic turned to the earliest explorers and inhabitants of our part of North America, fishing would invariably come up because for centuries that was the dominant livelihood, particularly fishing in the Atlantic’s Grand Banks, historically one of the world’s bountiful sources of cod, oysters and many others. Basque fishermen, we learned, had worked the Grand Banks since the early 1400s or sooner, long before Columbus set sail for what he hoped would be Asia but ended up instead in the Bahamas. Who were these adventurous Basques, I wondered? Where do they come from and what is the source of their courage? I got my answers, and then some, a year or so ago when my cultivated friend from Dublin, Paddy Woodworth, suggested a culture-culinary tour. In addition to being an engaging Celtic raconteur, he also happens to be a specialist on the Basque Country, the author of well-received books including The Basque Country: A

Cultural History (see www.paddywoodworth.com). I said yes immediately and proposed that we plan a small study tour involving members of the lifelong education institute at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, USA, where I live and teach. Fourteen people, including myself, signed up for the adventure, all retired academics or professional people. Fortunately Paddy had a friend, Jon Warren, who started a wonderful culinary institute in San Sebastian, the Spanish Basque city on the Bay of Biscay 20 km from the French border. Jon is a soft-spoken 34-year-old Englishman, who worked for four years as a stockbroker in the City of London before falling in love with the Basque Country in 2008 and establishing San Sebastian Food (see www.sansebastianfood.com). Before the trip, all participants prepared themselves with a three-session study course on the Basque country via real-time, audio-visual Skype hook-up between Hanover, Dublin and San Sebastian. Paddy’s book provided the context. We learned that the Basques are one of the oldest, if not the oldest, European people. They have probably lived in their home place longer than other ethnic groups on the continent. Their language, Euskera, is unique – not only non-IndoEuropean but it has no clear link with any other tongue. And Basques, on both sides of the Pyrenees in France and Spain, have kept alive a vibrant tradition of folk music, costumes, dances and sports, which few other European peoples can match. Also fascinating is the fact that the Basques have long been at the cutting edge of Iberian history, culture and commerce. For example, the so-called rein-

vention of the largest Basque city, Bilbao – a project led by Basque nationalists – has become a model for the 21st century city of cultural services and information technologies, inspired by the glorious Guggenheim museum, designed by the prize-winning architect, Frank Gehry.

“You might fancy a tiny feast of octopus with potatoes and pimento, or pork loin with caramelised onions, or wild mushrooms scrambled with parsley, garlic and gildas” Filled with this cornucopia of history and alluring information, the 14 of us couldn’t wait to experience the real thing. And, with guidance from Paddy and Jon, we embarked last September on a wondrous 10 day culture-culinary tour. We visited historic villages like Lesaka in the Navarre region, had a guided tour by the jolly local historian Rafael Eneterreaga, and met the mayor. In Hondarribia, the quintessential Basque fishing village, we watched the colourful annual festival in celebration of an obscure 14th century battle. I also purchased a red Basque beret to show off at home. In the French Basque Country we sensed in Biarritz what 19th century elite tourism must have been like, where Napoleon and Josephine as well as Edward, Prince of Wales frolicked. The birders in our group joined Paddy in a morning trek at Txingudi, a Ramsar wetland of international importance in the Plaiaundi Ecology Park, one of the great migration channels to and from the Bay of Biscay for waders, wildfowl and warblers.

Jamón carving

Winter/Spring 2015 • La Revista 39


CULTURE pork loin with caramelised onions, or wild mushrooms scrambled with parsley, garlic and gildas. The latter are classic Basque peppers, anchovies and olives all packed onto a cocktail stick. I became enamoured with txakoli, the local white wine which has recently become enormously fashionable.

Music Review

Granados’ Danzas Españolas Op.37, played by Maite Aguirre

• Joining the entire group in helping prepare a gourmet seafood meal under the guidance of master chef Alex Barcenilla and his team in the fishing village of Paisajes San Juan. My tasks were helping to clean and chop squid plus carve the best part of a 15 pound tuna, freshly caught from the Bay of Biscay.

Cooking class

For me the highlights of the trip were: • Exploring the Basque maritime museum in Bermeo on the coast, from whence fishermen set out for the Grand Banks near my part of Canada hundreds of years ago. Nearby town Getaria has a marvelous museum dedicated to the local boy who became an internationally famous fashion designer – Cristobal Balenciaga. • Savouring the endless variety of pintxos (pronounced “peen chos”) in the lively bars in the centre of San Sebastian. Pintxos are the Basque version of Spanish tapas. The word means thorn or spike, a reference to the cocktail skewers often used to hold small pieces of food together. You might fancy a tiny feast of octopus with potatoes and pimento, or

I could go on about the Guggenheim museum, the great Rioja Alavesa wines, bronze age village sites, the masterclass in the preparation and carving of the very best cured ham in the world – the jamón iberico de bellota. Suffice to say that the entire experience was, as the Basques say, “apartekoa” – sensational. And a small confession, paraphrasing a line from a famous, old American song: “I left my heart in….San Sebastian.” www.sansebastianfood.com http://www.sansebastianfood.com/uploads/packages/pdf/SSF-5867.pdf

in international development with the

reporter and editorial writer for newspapers in Canada and the US. He and his family Dartmouth college. Thatcher

L

overs of Granados' Danzas Españolas will appreciate this sensitive recording of the complete cycle by Maite Aguirre, who leads the listener with skill through the romantic steps and turns of this inventive and popular set. A faithfulness to the composer's characteristic sound is on display here, the mighty Bösendorfer lending colour in particular to the Andalucian cry punctuating the middle section of the final 'Bolero'. The recording quality is clear and consistent, allowing Aguirre to explore the personalities of the individual dances while remaining faithful to the soul of Granados' opus. The unsettling motifs driving the famous 'Andaluza' feel suitably quixotic, but standing out is the compelling 'Arabesca', which invites us to lose ourselves in its insistent, flamencoinspired twirls and rhythms, so evocative of the southern landscape. Granados' achievement (he was 22 when he wrote this cycle) is to combine the exotic with a sense of the instantly familiar, although it could be debated to what extent the composer echos and is influenced by sounds that we recognise as inherently Spanish, rather than the other way around. Here, he achieves a union of the modern and the thoroughly authentic, most strikingly evoked in the dreamlike, floating chords introducing the 'Sardana', whose theme, building and rolling, alternates between confidence and introspection before resolving optimistically back to C Major. Those more familiar with one of the many excellent guitar recordings of Danzas Españolas will find this CD, at £10, a rewarding introduction to the original piano arrangement. It can be explored piecemeal or enjoyed over the full 57 minutes, preferably on a long, hot summer evening with the smell of orange blossom in the air. Thomas Bell

Tour group

40 La Revista • Winter/Spring 2015


The best option for your future www.unav.edu


Recipe: Tarta de Manzana vs Apple Pie

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t’s a classic known throughout the world, but ask people of various nationalities for their idea of an apple pie, and the words are likely to conjure up different images depending on whom you are talking to. Is it a full pastry pie or a French tart tatin? An Austrian strudel or Spanish tarta de manzana? A Dutch appelkruimeltaart or appeltaart? The full pastry Apple pie may be synonymous for many with American food culture, but to say something is “as American as apple pie” more often refers to something that was brought there by outsiders and has since become part of American cultural identity. Original pie recipes (and the apples to make them with) were introduced to the US by early European settlers, and were based on the apple pyes made in England in medieval times. Before apple came to be a popular filling the first pies in Britain were traditionally meat pies— beef, lamb, wild duck, pigeon — flavoured with spices and dried fruit, and full fruit pies didn’t become popular until the 1500s. The pastry case is believed to have been invented by the Greeks, who created it using flour and water. There is plenty of variation and interpretation in terms of the types of apple to use (cooking or eating apples; bramley or cox), base (puff or shortcrust pastry; sponge or bizcocho) and how to serve it (hot or cold; with cream, ice cream or custard, or even, as was traditionally the case in the UK, with cheese?). The English full pastry casing would make it more of an empanada in Spain, whereas the reipe given here for a Spanish tarta de manzana bears a closer resemblance to a cake with its sponge base and apples arranged on top. Do you have a favourite recipe? Write in and let us know! Amy Bell

Tarta de manzana

Ingredients 300ml whole milk 300g sugar 3 large eggs 3 large apples To decorate: 2 large apples Apricot jam to glaze the top For a cake tin of approx. 25cm diameter with removable base Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Peel, core and chop three large apples and blend it. Mix the pureed apple in a bowl with all the other ingredients using an electric whisk. The mixture should be smooth, without lumps. Grease the cake tin with butter in the cake mixture. Peel and core the remaining two apples and slice very thinly. Arrange these carefully on top of the cake mixture. Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Test by inserting a knife and checking to see if it comes out clean, letting it cook for longer if needed. Remove from the oven when ready and using a spoon or pastry brush glaze the top with apricot jam.

Apple pie

Ingredients For the pastry 100g butter, cut into small pieces a pinch of salt cold water 700g Bramley apples 200g Cox, or other eating apples 25g soft brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 whole nutmeg, grated 2 tablespoons of water To glaze Milk and caster sugar For an enamel 24cm/9 1/2 inch pie dish Peel and thinly slice the cooking apples and mix with the sugar and spices in a saucepan. Add the water and cook gently until the apples are soft. Strain and allow to cool.

you have a crumbly mixture. Add 2 tablespoons of knife to mix it, cutting it and bringing it together. Make a ball of dough with your hands. Wrap it in Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC. Grease the pie dish with butter. Roll out two thirds of the pastry to 5mm thick and use it to line the dish. Put the apple mixture in. Cut and slice the eating apples and lay them on top. Brush the pastry edges with milk. Roll out the remaining pastry and cover the pie with it, pressing the edges down to create a seal. You can use the prongs of a fork to press it down. Cut a small hole in the middle of the pastry. Brush it all with milk, using extra pastry trimmings to decorate. Sprinkle with sugar and bake in the oven on a baking sheet for 30 minutes.


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