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La Revista The BritishSpanish Society Magazine | Issue 241 | Winter 2015/16

Flamenco on Fire Antonio Najarro

takes Ballet Nacional de España to new heights The changing face of Spain’s olive oil industry

Goya: The Portraits

Winter 2015/16 • La Revista  1



n 1916, in the middle of the First World War, a group of British academics, students and business leaders founded the Anglo-Spanish League of Friendship, hoping to secure and strengthen understanding between the two nations at a time of international conflict and uncertainty. This pioneering institution would go on to become a crucial bridge-building link between Spain and the UK, and despite various obstacles along the way the BritishSpanish Society in its current identity is stronger than ever. Find out the full story in Cultural Diplomacy: One hundred years of history of the BritishSpanish Society, which has just been published (see pgs.6 &16). To celebrate this special 100th birthday the Society’s dedicated voluntary team has put together an excellent programme of events which is already underway: it started with an inaugural tertulia, an exclusive preview of the Churchill and Spain exhibition, the Goya concert and Spanish Dance Gala. In this issue Graham Watts speaks to Antonio Najarro, the director of Ballet Nacional de España about his spectacular choreography and the challenges of dancing flamenco on ice (yes, really). Jules Stewart reports on Spain’s olive oil industry and the pressure facing producers to modernise processes and embrace more sustainable methods. Turn to pg.12 for an in-depth look at Goya’s self-portraits to commemorate the National Gallery’s exhibition, followed by a review of the collection. Finally, in light of the centenary celebrations, we are taking the opportunity to refresh La Revista, to make sure we cover things that you want to read about, so please get in touch with ideas of how we can get better: ¡Hasta pronto!

Amy Bell La Revista

Executive Editor: Jimmy Burns Marañón Editor: Amy Bell Deputy Editor: Laura Gran Corporate Supporters/Advertising/Scholarships: Marian Jiménez-Riesco (Trustee) Development Secretary: María Soriano Casado Events: Carmen Young (Trustee), David Hurst Membership, Finance, and Website Secretaries: Virginia Cosano, Elisa Ramírez Pérez Secretariat: Alvaro Cepero, Alvar de la Viuda Design: Amy Bell

Published by the BritishSpanish Society Honorary President: H.E. Federico Trillo-Figueroa, Spanish Ambassador Honorary Vice-President: Simon Manley, British Ambassador to Spain, Chairman: Jimmy Burns Marañón Vice-Chairman: Sir Stephen Wright Vice-Presidents (Organisation/Strategy): Christopher Nason, José Ivars (Corporates) Juan Reig Mascarell (Treasurer) Patrons: Lady Brennan, Duke of Wellington, Dame Denise Holt, Lady Parker, Lady Lindsay, Baroness Hooper, John Scanlan, Randolph Churchill, Carmen Araoz de Urquijo. Other members of the Executive Council: Fernando Villalonga (ex-officio), Paul Pickering, Scott Young, Julio Crespo MacLennan (ex-officio), Francisco Molina-Holgado (ex-officio), Javier Fernández Hidalgo, Sarah Galea, Miguel Fernández-Longoria (Scholarships), Miles Johnson, Roberto Weeden-Sanz, Morlin Ellis (ex-officio), Eva Sierra, Silvia Montes, Patricia Paya, Monica Noguero, Cristina Alvarez, 102 Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AN

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Contact us:

For all editorial contributions or to comment on an article you have read in La Revista, please write to us at: To enquire about advertising opportunities (including classified adverts) please contact: 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 Cover photo: Suite Sevilla, courtesy of Ballet Nacional de España



4 ‘Growing up in Spain’ Tertulia with Thomas de la Cal and Patrick Buckley

Robert Graham

Bess Twiston-Davies

Lorenzo Melchor

6 Society News and Upcoming Events 8 Gregorio Marañón: Man of Letters, Man of Science 9 Churchill and Spain FEATURES

Jimmy Burns Marañón

Jacqueline Cockburn

Jules Stewart

11 Amity and Enmity: Anglo-Spanish relations from the 1730s to the 1750s

12 Emerging from the Shadows: Goya’s Self-portraits 15 Review of Goya: The Portraits, at the National Gallery

David Hurst

Richard Lowkes

Zev Robinson

17 Antonio Najarro: Dance Fusions 20 The New Age of Olive Oil 24 A Taste of Spain at Sotheby’s: Highlights from the 19th century European paintings sale

Claudia Rubiño

Albertina Torres

Nerea Irigoyen

Dominic Begg

Graham Watts

26 Valientes..cámara..acción: Cine español

Laura Gran

29 33 34 37

Spanish Cities: Pamplona and Salamanca First Impressions of Spain A Spaniard among Brits La Ciencia Británica y el Talento Europeo

38 A Day in Bath 40 Talleres Barravento: Creativity Workshops in Santiago, Chile

Tonio Figueira Losada

Hugh O’Shaughnessy

Christy Callaway-Gale

Issue 241 Contributors

Richard Barker BritishSpanish

@LaRevistaUK @BritishSpanish

The BritishSpanish Society is delighted to welcome new members To the executive committee: Patricia Paya Project manager, member of Spanish Association of Medical Doctors working in Pharmaceutical business Silvia Montes Research Fellow, Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies King’s College, London Honourary patrons: Baroness Hooper and Randolph Churchill And to the secretariat: Álvaro Cepero Calvo and Alvar de la Viuda Winter 2015/16 • La Revista  3


Society Events Haciendas Networking London

Photo: Elisa Ramirez

‘Growing up in Spain’ Tertulia Instituto Cervantes, London


How tourism has helped Spain become what it is today

A special tertulia was held in September with special guests, the Cuban born US journalist and author Thomas de la Cal and the Anglo-Spanish journalist and author Patrick Buckley. They discussed Spain past and present, and their respective new books, Spanish Son and Souvenirs.


Thomas de la Cal, Jimmy Burns, Enrique Ruiz de Lera and Patrick Buckley. Photo: David Hurst

BritishSpanish Society AGM Spanish Embassy, London (more on pg.10)

Photo: Alvar de la Viuda

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ith their shared love of all things Spanish and their respective backgrounds in script writing and documentary making, Patrick Buckley and American citizen Thomas de la Cal made interesting participants, in discussion with chairman Jimmy Burns, for the inaugural ‘tertulia’ in anticipation of the Society’s centenary year. After a warm introduction by the event sponsor, Enrique Ruiz de Lera from the Spanish Tourism Office in London, we listened to the opinions of our guests about how tourism has helped to shape Spain today. From Anglo-Spanish parents, Patrick Buckley is truly bicultural: his father was a correspondent during the civil war and he lived through the later stages of the Franco era in Madrid. His 2011 soap drama, Cuentame como paso (‘tell me how it happened’), turned life under Franco into a hit on Spanish television telling the story of one family living in the dying days of Franco’s unhappy regime. Tom de la Cal, now living in California, fled Castro’s Cuba with his family in 1960 and went in search of their Spanish roots. He has turned the 50 year quest into a book and he has also produced distinguished documentaries on the Civil War for Granada Television. With the introduction of cheap charter flights in the 1960s, tourism in Spain literally took off, giving the occupants of grey northern European cities “the possibility of paradise”. It was Franco’s decision to open up the country to tourism and even to allow bikinis on the beaches a first in Eu-

rope. We heard the infamous story of the bikini replacing the Spanish flag up the flagpole and how the Guardia Civil put the protagonists in prison for the night for saluting it. The Sun newspaper reported this with the headline, “Free the Cala Negra Three”! Without the huge influx of money from tourism Spain would undoubtedly have become poorer. But this change has not come without a cost: unregulated construction has largely destroyed the look of Spain’s coastline and, with no proper planning, this continues dangerously today. The impact of mass tourism has created contradictions and tensions. The undoubted economic benefits were contrasted with the imposition of more liberal cultures from the north to which Spain has had to adjust. In the long term tourism has been of benefit to Spain; the country has moved from isolation during the revolution to become more welcoming to the rest of the world. Tourism has brought with it prosperity and modernisation. This was altogether an interesting and thought-provoking tertulia, which resonated with anyone who has ever visited Spain now or in the past. Kindly sponsored by the Spanish Tourism Office in London. David Hurst


Thomas de la Cal on Spanish Son


decided to write Spanish Son after a trip to Spain in 2013 when several people asked me to recommend a book on the country and I found to my surprise that I could not come up with any, so I decided to write one. I had written about Spain’s politics and culture as a journalist, and described its singular flavours, sound and sights for travel books and documentaries. This time I wanted to do something more personal and intimate that conveyed all the above, but also my experiences and adventures and misadventures spanning 50 years. I was born in Cuba in 1954 to an IrishAmerican mother and a Cuban father, whose parents had immigrated to the island from Spain. We lived a middle class life in a rural suburb on the outskirts of Havana surrounded by mango, coffee and sugar plantations. Our life changed dramatically when Fidel Castro took power. In 1960 we left Cuba after my mother, a journalist, received a visit from two militia officers warning her that she was “next on the list”, following a critical article she had written about Fidel. The regime had been shooting opponents and the threat sounded ominous, so three days later we left Cuba and headed to Spain to visit the country of my father’s ancestors. It was supposed to be a short trip. No one believed at the time that Fidel’s regime would last long. We landed in Madrid during a winter blizzard. It was a rude awakening for a six-year-old boy from the tropics, who had never felt the cold before. The grey pallor of the cityscape – grey skies, grey granite buildings, policemen in grey uniforms – did not help much, and we were miserable and homesick. My mother asked where we could find the famous Spanish sun and was told to head to Marbella, where we rented a house right on the beach (there were only six in those days). The sun came out the day after we arrived. The beach became our playground, burros our mode of transport, and goat cheese, lentils, paella, Spanish tortilla, tapas, and fresh fish plucked daily from the waters in front of our house, our diet. The crumbling Moorish fortress lording over the town became the seat of my kingdom. I had the run of the place. The sensual Cuban ballads were soon replaced by vibrant flamenco sounds, the mangos by oranges, and the brilliant Caribbean colours by more gentle Mediterranean hues. Cuba began to fade from my memory. I had discovered a new

paradise. We spent six wonderful months in the town in the company of a sprinkling of expats like us fleeing the cold and other conflicts. This was before the tourism boom hit and transformed the sleepy place into a famous international resort. I left Marbella with a heavy heart when my mother accepted a job in Madrid helping start a new American school. Thankfully, it was summer: the weather was warm and the sky was blue. We moved just west of the venerable Real Madrid stadium, to a barrio with individual shops, each specialising in one product. There were still fields in front of our apartment where shepherds fed their flock. I have lived and worked on-and-off in Spain for over 50 years: from the authoritarian Franco era to Spain’s transition to full-blown democracy. I was too young at the time to fully grasp the Franco days. To me, Madrid in the 1960s was a clean and orderly city. I was fortunate enough to return to Spain in the ’80s and covered the transition to democracy following the passing of Franco. They were exciting times for the country and its people and the most memorable period of my Spanish journey so far. The Socialists won the general elections in 1982, and their leader Felipe Gonzalez went on to rule for four terms, instituting liberal reforms and spearheading the modernisation and restructuring of the economy. Under his tenure the country joined the EU, moved to the centre-left, prospered and became a world player. A huge infusion of European and foreign investment spearheaded an economic and building boom. I was glad to be there to see Spain prospering and filled with promise. At the same time as the politics and economy were changing, Spain’s cultural world was exploding with creativity. La Movida Madrileña counter-culture movement tore down the walls and taboos of the former dictatorship. Over 40 years of pent up emotions and repressed libido were let loose on Madrid and the nation. In the mid-1980s I moved to the US, but Spain’s charms continued to draw me back

as a travel writer and documentary maker. I had worked for foreign TV networks in Portugal doing documentaries during the country’s revolution prior to going to college in the 1970s and had got the bug. At a film festival in Portugal I saw there was a need to boost attendance and interest in the event by bringing stars to it. The next year I convinced the legendary actor Robert Mitchum to come to Portugal. It was a huge success. I expanded my services to Spain and Europe and for over 25 years have hosted some of the great actors and directors of Hollywood, Britain and Europe at some of Spain’s main cities and regions. I consider myself like a tour guide to the stars, showing them my favorite Spanish haunts and watering holes and providing them with an insider’s view of Spain and its people. The stars and directors return to their countries with a better understanding of Spain and its enormous potential as a filming location. Andalusia is an ideal place to shoot films: it has warm weather, blue skies, great light, a diverse landscape, varied architecture, a mixed population for films requiring ethnic diversity, great infrastructure, fine, seasoned crews, a large migrant workforce to draw on as extras, and great connections to other European capitals and beyond. The popular Game of Thrones series was drawn recently to Andalusia, as was Ridley Scott, who shot Exodus: God’s And Kings in the legendary Almeria locations where classics such as Lawrence of Arabia, Patton, Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns and Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were helmed. I am passionately in love with Spain, its strong sun and bright light, its unique flavours, soulful music, its varied landscape and population, and the passion, spontaneity and can-do spirit of its people and their singular outlook towards life—somewhere between the lofty, impractical ideals of Don Quixote and the earthy wisdom of his companion, Sancho Panza. Readers are entitled to a special 20% discount on Spanish Son. Go to and enter the code: SPAIN2015

Seville’s Royal Alcazar doubles as the Dorne Palace and gardens in HBO’s Game of Thrones

Winter 2015/16 • La Revista  5



Patrick Buckley on Souvenirs

n writing Souvenirs I wanted to describe the enormous impact that the sudden arrival of millions of foreign tourists had on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. We tend to forget that only 60 years ago Spain was a devastated country, isolated from the rest of Europe and still traumatised by the civil war. Tourism brought not only hard currency but also hope for a better future. It also transformed Spain’s way of life. In Souvenirs I have tried to give a light-hearted account of that transformation, starting in the distant days when bikinis were still banned and ending on the nudist beaches of the present. The protagonist of the book, Gerald, is entirely fictitious. I thought the novel needed a central character and narrator who would provide an outsider’s view of the story, so I created that rather naïve English hispanist: a young man in love with an ancient Spain. Hitch-hiking down the Catalan coast in the summer of 1962, Gerald falls in love with ‘La Dorada’, an idyllic little fishing community still untouched by tourism, and embarks on a quixotic crusade to prevent the foreign ‘invasion’ from reaching his beloved village. I was born and brought up in Madrid. My father was English and my mother Catalan. My father, Henry Buckley, was a correspondent for the Daily Telegraph in the Spanish civil war. He met my mother, Maria Planes, during the last months of the war. They married shortly before the fall of the Republic and only returned to Spain after World War II, when I was born. Mass tourism really took off throughout the coast in the very early 1960s when cheap air travel made it possible for most English and Scandinavian tourists to have holidays abroad. I remember seeing the beaches more and more crowded every summer and the local fishermen complaining about the lack of space for their boats. In those days, Sitges (where Patrick and his family spent summer holidays)

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History of the BritishSpanish Society published

Costa Dorada


only had two large hotels but the demand was such that many foreign visitors had to be housed in private homes. Practically every other house had a sign on its door advertising “chambres, rooms, zimmers”. Much has changed since those days, but Sitges has somehow managed to keep its old charm intact. Other villages up and and down the coast haven`t been so lucky. In 1962, six million foreigners visited Spain and the tourist industry maintained its spectacular growth over the next few years. Thousands of hotels and apartment blocks were hurriedly built and vast swathes of coastline covered in concrete during that decade. Many years later, the Spanish authorities realised the error of their ways and started promoting a more selective type of tourism that no longer relied on sun, sangria and cheap flamenco. Nowadays, the emphasis is on diversity and many foreign visitors are discovering other fascinating areas of Spain away from the usual tourist circuits. I was a foreign correspondent in Chile and Argentina in the 1970s, and for a young reporter it was a great time to be in Latin America; it was a time of social and political upheavals, coups and revolutions. I arrived in Chile shortly after the overthrow of President Allende and later covered the military coup that brought a military junta to power in Argentina. It was also a time of suffering and sadness for much of the population in both countries, who found themselves involved in a wave of violence that killed so many young men and women. I visit Spain frequently, mostly to see family and friends in Madrid or Barcelona. Looking around me, I always marvel at how quickly Spain keeps evolving. I also feel the odd tinge of nostalgia remembering people and places that are no longer there. Readers are entitled to a special 25% discount on Souvenirs. Contact for details

The perfect Christmas gift!    

Cultural Diplomacy: A hundred years of history of the BritishSpanish Society is ready in time for the centenary in 2016. The book is published by the award winning University of Liverpool Press, and written by scholarship and bursary winner, the historian Luis Gonzaga Martinez del Campo. It includes a joint foreword by Jimmy Burns Marañón and the Spanish Ambassador Federico Trillo-Figueroa, and a prologue by Lord Tristan Garel-Jones. BSS media partners of FT Spain Summit for second year The BritishSpanish Society were media partners of the Financial Times’ second annual Spain Summit, held at The Ritz in Madrid on 15 October. BSS chairman and former FT journalist Jimmy Burns Marañón was present along with Simon Manley, British ambassador to Spain and honorary vice-president of the Society. The summit was opened by the minister of economy and competitiveness Luis de Guindos and chaired by the FT’s deputy editor John Thornhill. The agenda covered Spain’s economic recovery, political change, youth unemployment, education and technology.

From left to right: FT Deputy Editor John Thornhill, Jimmy Burns Marañón, FT Madrid Bureau Chief Tobias Buck, FT Hedge Fund Correspondent and BSS EC Member Miles Johnson.



Mem spec


SOCIETY NEWS Spanish Dancers Acclaimed in the National Dance Awards

Upcoming Events We have a packed programme of events for the BritishSpanish Society’s Centenary year in 2016. More details of upcoming events will be posted online at and sent out to BSS members.

The 2015 nominees for the National Dance Awards, announced on 29 October, is perhaps the most diverse ever with a spread of nominations both geographically and across several dance forms. It is an especially bumper year for Spanish dancers and choreographers with no less than nine Spanish nominees spread across seven categories, from flamenco, ballet and contemporary dance. The British Spanish Society saw three of the nominees in action at its Gala of Spanish Dance and Dancers, held at The Place on 26 November 2015, with Laura Morera dancing in a pas de deux from Liam Scarlett’s Asphodel Meadows; Avatâra Ayuso presenting a world premiere of a new duet; and Carlos Pons Guerra showing his duet, ‘Young Man!’ taken from the acclaimed Jamón y Pasión programme. The full list of nominations can be found at The 2015 National Dance Awards will be presented at a ceremony to be held at The Place on Monday 25 January 2016. Graham Watts Spanish Gold Tasting organised by La Revista contributor Albertina Torres

BSS Christmas Party Thursday 10 December 2015, Instituto Cervantes, London The annual Christmas Party returns with a celebration to be remembered with wine, tapas and fantastic raffle prizes. Exclusive Visit to the new European 1600-1800 Galleries at the V&A 5.45 pm, Friday 22 January 2016, V&A Museum, London 15 tickets available for BSS members. Ticket includes 1 glass of wine and nibbles at Benugo. Conference celebrating One Hundred Years of British-Spanish relations February, London (venue & date TBC) Exclusive Private Tour, BADA Antiques & Fine Art Fair 11/14 March 2016 (Date TBC), Sloane Street, London Exhibitors will talk about their exhibits. 6.00pm (prompt arrival) Only 20 tickets available £22 for Members, £26 for Non Members. Ticket includes admission to the fair, meeting the exhibitors and a glass of champagne. Celebration of Sherry Beltran Domeq: exclusive sherry tasting Thu 7 – Sat 9 April, Spanish Embassy (TBC) Centenary Gala Dinner and Dance Wednesday 20 April 2016, The Dorchester, London Make sure you keep this date in your diary for the biggest event of the centenary, the black tie gala dinner. More information to be provided soon. Corporates dining £295; members dining £195; members dancing £95 Chelsea Flower Show May (Date TBC)

International expert Judy Ridgway conducted on 5 November at Iberica Canary Wharf in London a guided tasting of eight Spanish extra virgin olive oils around the screening of Spanish Gold, a documentary by Zev Robinson about the culture and production of olive oil in Spain. See the trailer of Spanish Gold: ttps:// And read more about Spain’s olive oil industry on page 20.

Gala of Spanish & British musicians and singers October, London (venue & date TBC)

Please send your interest and number of tickets you wish to purchase so we can add you to our list to:

Winter 2015/16 • La Revista  7


Gregorio Marañón: Man of Letters, Man of Science An evening to celebrate the life and work of the renowned Spanish doctor.

“Vivir no es sólo existir, sino existir y crear, saber gozar y sufrir y no dormir sin soñar. Descansar es empezar a morir.” - Gregorio Marañón


n 1 October, for the first time in the United Kingdom, the Spanish documentary entitled Gregorio Marañón. Médico, humanista y liberal was presented at an event organised by the BritishSpanish Society and the Society of Spanish Researchers in the UK (SRUK/CERU), in collaboration with the Instituto Cervantes. The documentary, directed by Jose Luis López Linares, was subtitled in English for the first time thanks to the support of the Fundación Ortega-Marañón. The event revolved around the figure of one of the greatest Spaniards of the 20th century: the physician, scientist, historian, writer and philosopher Gregorio Marañón (1887-1960). The documentary covers not only his singular approach to medical patient care (“No hay enfermedades, sino enfermos”/“There are no diseases; only people that are ill”), but also his role as one of the founders of endocrinology. It also explains how Marañón was one of the greatest intellectuals of the time, highly committed throughout the political turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s. The documentary returns to the place where he was inspired to fulfill his great work: Toledo. In the office of his beloved Cigarral, accompanied by Benito Pérez Galdós’ monument model, Dr Marañón wrote the best of his work. There, he read, pondered, received his friends and, during the afternoons, walked in the alleys enjoying all the corners of the city. Following the documentary screening, a panel discussion took place with the critically acclaimed biographer of Dr Marañón, Antonio López Vega and 8  La Revista •Winter 2015/16

his grandson, the author and journalist Tom Burns Marañón. López-Vega said “Marañón was a versatile author with a special interest in liberalism and social justice. His engagement with the poor and sick provided the foundations of the Spanish welfare health system”. LópezVega emphasised the pioneering role of Marañón in medicine, with a personalised medicine approach in patient care, as well as in politics, since Marañón was one of the first authors to acknowledge that Catalonia was a cultural nation that improved Spain as a whole. Tom Burns Marañón remarked the fact that Gregorio Marañón belonged with other authors to the renowned “la Generación del 14”, a generation of intellectuals in Spain, who aimed to turn

the country’s attention to Europe and to the use of science. Gregorio Marañón pursued his postgraduate studies in Germany and travelled to Paris in a commission with Alexander Fleming among others. Tom Burns-Marañón also noted the mass funeral that his grandfather, Gregorio Marañón, had in the streets of Madrid. This must-see documentary fuelled debate between the panellists and the audience, who focused on the significant role of a whole generation in transforming Spain. Among them, the most comprehensive author of the time: Gregorio Marañón y Posadillo. Lorenzo Melchor

Documentary screening and panel at the Instituto Cervantes. Photo: Toni Figueira Losada


Churchill and Spain

A special talk and private viewing of a new exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death.


unique and intriguing exhibition exploring the little-known link between Winston Churchill and Spain was launched last month by the BritishSpanish Society at the London restaurant Hispania, who also sponsored the event. Curated by Jimmy Burns, author, journalist and chairman of the BritishSpanish Society, the exhibition Churchill and Spain draws upon private letters, documents, photographs and film, all creating an intimate portrait of Churchill’s relationship with Spain. It begins, however, in Cuba. There, at the age of 20, freshly out of Sandhurst and a soldier with the Queen’s Own Fourth Hussars, Churchill sought a military adventure. He found it in Cuba. It was 1895 and independence rebels were waging war with success their colonial masters, a conflict that triggered – along with the loss of the Philippines – the end of Spain’s once powerful empire. For Churchill, however, Cuba marked a beginning – his first taste of military adventure and as a reporter. He wrote of the conflict for The Daily Graphic, recording with excitement the sound of gunshots heard in the Cuban jungle. A letter from Sir Henry Wolff, the British ambassador in Madrid secured his temporary secondment to the Spanish army. A lasting legacy of Churchill’s Cuba days was his taste for cigars. His ties to Spain were also through family. Churchill was cousin to ‘Jimmy’ Alba, Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart y Falcó, later the 17th Duke of Alba. Both claimed descent from the first Sir Winston Churchill (1620-1688), whose daughter Arabella was the mistress of James II. Their son, James FitzJames, the 1st Duke of Berwick, is an ancestor of the current Duke of Alba. Jimmy and Churchill first met at a country

shoot somewhere in England in 1914, and Alba is said to have found Churchill both charming and disagreeable. The same year, on a visit to Spain, Churchill met King Alfonso XIII of Spain and his English consort, Queen Victoria Eugenia. Later, he would visit the country in the 1950s after retiring as Prime Minister. All this and much more is told in the exhibition, held to mark the 50th anniversary in 1965 of Churchill’s death. Large display panels explore Churchill’s link to the Spanish Civil War. His views on the War were influenced by Alba – by then the nationalist’s envoy in London – and the Foreign Office. So when the Republican government’s ambassador to London asked Churchill if he could get the UK to intervene against Nationalist forces, Churchill turned red, muttered “Blood, blood, blood’ and refused to shake his hand. Using material from both Burns’ research

for his book on his father Tom Burns, Papa Spy, and from the Imperial War Museum, the exhibition also looks at Churchill’s policy on Spain during World War II. Keen to secure Spanish neutrality, Churchill appointed the intelligence officer Sir Samuel Hoare Ambassador to Madrid with a “special mission” to counter pro-Nazi propaganda. Churchill and Spain was launched on 20 October and has drawn a very enthusiastic response from those who have seen it so far, including Winston’s grandson Randolph Churchill, a newly appointed patron of the BritishSpanish Society who attended the evening’s viewing and reception for members. He commented: “I so enjoyed the whole evening that had that magical Spanish quality of fun, happiness and dynamism about it”. Speakers at the event were Jimmy Burns and the Cambridge historian Dr Peter Martland, who paid tribute too Churchill as a great WW2 leader who learnt from his mistakes in WW1. Afterwards, guests enjoyed a selection of delicious canapés provided by Hispania, sponsors of the event. Many guests particularly relished the story of Churchill’s friendship with the bull-fighter Manolete, who sent him a bull’s head notable for a white V-shape, reminiscent of Churchill’s V for Victory sign. When the bull-fighter later died in the bullring at Linares, Churchill wrote a note of condolence to Manolete’s mother. It was delivered to her personally by the Duke of Alba. On display for a fortnight at Hispania, the exhibition is now expected to tour the UK and possibly Spain during 2016, the centenary year of the British Spanish Society. Bess Twiston-Davies

El toro con la V. La entrega de la cabeza del toro “Perdigón”, un regalo para Chuchill. Foto: propiedad del Archivo Regional de la Comunidad de Madrid

Winter 2015/16 • La Revista  9

SOCIETY NEWS Churchill and Spain Exhibition

BritishSpanish Society Annual General Meeting

Hispania, London



ociety chairman Jimmy Burns Marañón began by extending sincere thanks and appreciation to the Society’s honorary president, His Excellency the Spanish ambassador Federico Trillo-Figueroa, for his constant support, and offered a warm welcome to Fernando Villalonga, the new cultural attaché who has replaced Fidel López. He also thanked Julio Crespo, the director of the Instituto Cervantes for enabling constructive cooperation between the Institute and the Society. Mr Burns Marañón went on to reflect on what he said has been a challenging year for the Society, but one in which much has been accomplished. This is thanks to the work of the voluntary executive council, administrative staff and all supporters of the Society – individidual, corporate and institutional –who have helped it to achieve its objectives. This year has seen the new Duke Arthur Charles Wellesley, 9th Duke of Wellington, become one of the Society’s patrons, with the British ambassador to Madrid, Simon Manley, becoming honorary vice-president. Special mention was also given to the long-standing membership and service ofJohn Scanlan, Lady Parker, Lady Lindsay, Lady Brennan and former chair Dame Denise Holt who, along with the Duke of Wellington and Carmen Araoz de Urquijo, will now be joined by Baroness Hooper and Randolph Churchill, who joins in his great grandfather Sir Winston’s memory – a formidable line-up to help promote the Society’s centenary year in 2016. Reflecting on the past year, the chairman highlighted the events programme, La Revista and the scholarship programme, before looking ahead to the centenary year as not just a celebration, but also an opportunity to set a solid foundation for future development and continued success.

Dr Peter Martland

By our social affairs correspondent

Randolph Churchill and Jimmy Burns Marañón

Sir Stephen Wright, Jimmy Burns Marañón and Juan Reig Mascarell

Eva Sierra, Monica Noguero, Cristina Alvarez

Centre: Jimmy Burns and Javier Fernando Hidalgo

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Photos: Richard Barker

New Executive Committee members Silvia Montes and Patricia Paya


Amity and Enmity: Anglo-Spanish relations from the 1730s to the 1750s Britain and Spain have a complex shared history, often fraught with tensions, explains Catherine Scheybeler, who received a Society bursary to support her research in 2011.


t a reception held at the Spanish Embassy in London in 2011, the BritishSpanish Society kindly presented me with a £500 bursary to help finance my doctoral thesis. Soon after I was able to rent a place in Valladolid from where I spent the next six months traipsing to the Archivo Nacional at Simancas. The possibilities this opened were legion. Rather than having to limit myself to examining only the more important (and usually already known) documents which only brief and occasional visits to Simancas would have permitted, I was able to sift through Legajo after Legajo to build up a thorough understanding of my subject. The result, I hope, has been a nuanced contribution to the history of Spain’s eighteenth-century navy. The subject of my thesis was the development of Spain’s naval policy during the reign of Fernando VI (1746–1759). At first sight, it may seem odd that the BritishSpanish Society, seeking to promote friendship and understanding between the peoples of Spain and Britain, should grant a bursary for the study of a period during which Britain and Spain were for the most part enemies. After all, the beginning and end of Fernando’s reign were marked by conflicts with Britain and the period in between was little more than a hostile stand-off. But, even as foes, there existed multiple and complex links between the two nations. This is highlighted by an episode in the life of a talented naval officer and Enlightenment scientist, Jorge Juan y Santacilia. On 1 March 1749, Juan arrived in London and took lodgings in Bow Street, Covent Garden. Officially his brief was to promote the status of Spanish Enlightenment thinking while (covertly) studying and taking back

to Spain the best that British naval technology had to offer. In pursuit of these ends, Juan drew on personal connections and friendships that transcended nationality. He attended his first Royal Society meeting just over a week after his arrival and, on 9 November 1749, was elected a Fellow on the grounds that he was a “Gentleman well versed in Mathematical and Philosophical Learning” and one whom “we hope … will be a valuable member of our body”. Top of the list of those who recommended him for election was the President of the Royal Society, Martin Folkes, who some years earlier had done a great service to Juan’s colleague, Antonio de Ulloa. In 1744, following the French Geodesic expedition to Peru in which both Ulloa and Juan had participated, the ship on which Ulloa was returning to Spain was captured by the British, his papers were confiscated and he was brought to London as a prisoner of war. Here, Folkes interceded, overseeing the return of Ulloa’s papers and, in recognition of the findings they contained, arranging Ulloa’s election to the Royal Society. When three years later Juan visited London, Folkes, being familiar with Juan’s work, enthusiastically backed his election. Juan could also draw on his connections as a naval officer. In October 1749, for example, Juan sent to Spain details of a Royal Navy ship which was for sale stating that it had been offered to him by “mi amigo”, David Cheap. Cheap had been captain of HMS Wager on Anson’s celebrated voyage to the South Seas. The Wager had been wrecked off the Chilean coast and Cheap, along with a young John Byron (father of the celebrated poet, Lord Byron), were returned

to Europe aboard a French ship, the Lys – the same ship on which Juan was travelling. Byron later described Juan as a “man of very superior abilities”. The ship being sold was HMS Anson, a vessel which, along with the larger HMS Porcupine, had been intended for another British expedition to the South Seas planned for 1749. What Cheap, who was to have had command of one of the ships, probably did not know was that it had been Juan who, after seeing the two ships preparing at Deptford, had pushed the Spanish ambassador, Ricardo Wall, into insisting that the expedition be cancelled. Friendships also assisted Juan in his covert activities, such as the recruitment for Spain’s arsenals of some 90 British shipwrights and artisans. One of his most active accomplices in this was Alexander French, a ship chandler from St. Mary’s Rotherhithe. Juan met French in a roundabout fashion through Ricardo Wall. As a boy, French had lived in Seville where his father was a merchant and there, in 1733, had met Wall. The connection had been taken up again following a chance encounter at the Royal Exchange and Wall, fully informed on Juan’s brief, had introduced him to Juan. In my research, I found that these more tenuous Anglo-Spanish threads were the ones that required most patience to unravel and yet they were subtly woven into the relationship between Spain and Britain demonstrating that even in conflict communication between the two was never broken. Dr Catherine Scheybeler wrote her thesis on Spanish naval policy during the reign of Ferdinand VI and was awarded her Doctorate by King’s College, London on 1 April 2014.

Images: A 19th century portrait of Jorge Juan y Santacilia by Rafael Tejeo (Museo Naval, Madrid); London seen through an arch of Westminster Bridge, 1746/7 by Canaletto, whose residence in London coincided with Jorge Juan y Santacilia’s visit (Syon House, London).

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Emerging from the Shadows: Goya’s Self-Portraits As a new exhibition dedicated to Goya opens at the National Gallery in London, art historian Jacqueline Cockburn highlights some of the best paintings in the collection.


he Goya exhibition at the National Gallery this autumn is the first ever to focus on portraits. Two extraordinary self-portraits on show will enable the viewer to get a glimpse into the mind of one of the most psychologically revealing painters. Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes’ face emerges from shadows, sometimes over painted, and at others embedded, peering at us, scrutinising the viewer or coyly reminding us that his authorial presence is undeniable. His many guises reinforce this subliminal advertising of self; he is a bird, a mythological god, a human corpse, a matador, a monk, a goat, a sneering aristocrat, a cuckolded lover, a ghost, a silhouette. During the course of his career he emerges from shadows and disappears back into them. Silhouetted or painted over, barely visible, tentatively entering or being born into his own paintings, eventually he will cover the canvas with his own face; he will be prepared to die on canvas. His strange presence in the The Family of Infante Don Luis de Borbón (1783) (Fig. 1), in the Fondazione Magnani-Rocca in Parma, at the front of the painting crouched down, apparently servile, painfully twisted but included in a portrait of nobility as the virtuoso at work, is an advertisement for his courtly position. We interrupt an evening in the life of the family chatting, playing cards or having hair dressed. Goya plays a part if only on the outskirts and lowly. The extraordinary artificial lighting throws shadows on this conversation piece to create special effects. His silhouette on his canvas is indistinct but his bold profile relates directly to Johann Caspar Lavater’s ‘Essays of Physiognomy’. 1 Lavater believed the

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profile of a person revealed his soul and the silhouette revealed further poetic and expressive qualities. Goya’s own humbled position can be compared to Lavater’s ‘Profile of a Prudent Man’, notable through the forehead and the nose.2 Humble and cautious, but optimistic, Goya is about to enter the stage of the Bourbon Monarchy. In the 1790s Goya, as director of painting at the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid and the king’s chief painter, was concerned with artistic status and individual freedom. In Self-Portrait in the Studio (1794-95) (Fig. 2), from the Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, Goya’s face emerges silhouetted against a stark white opaque background. 3 Probably stone deaf by this point, he is no longer surrounded by palatial luxury but alone in the semi dark, shut out from the light in his studio at number 1 Calle del Desengaño (‘Street of Disappointment’), Madrid. The street name is perhaps apt at this point in his now disappointing life. With his increasing girth, he is a small fat man with a five o’ clock shadow, tousled yet wearing a costume which resembles that of a matador or a majo. 4 He peers at the unseen viewer as if we were his mirror. Brooding and unsmiling, with his long hair tied back and an over-elaborate jacket, we wonder why he hasn’t dressed as a painter. His pot hat with its candle holders stuck in the brim, reminders of his need for light when working, suggests night time but the light is high noon. The studio seems more like a cell to escape to than a buzzing place of work. He hands us all the difficulties of the self-appraisal, the frank

GOYA incredulity of an aging face and the disappointment in his own fragility. Self-portraits are autobiographical descriptions of ‘the whole truth’, if that is possible, and Goya, standing in the dazzling light from the window, does not shy away from the self which may seem ludicrous or self-pitying. It is hard to paint inner solitude or introspection and Goya’s tense inquiring gaze challenges the viewer. The paper and the expensive silver ink stand on the table remind us that he can pour out his secret thoughts in his letters.5 Indeed one of his letters to Martín Zapater, dated August 1800, contains a caricature self-portrait with “así estoy” (this is how I am) written beside the seated figure with exaggerated lips. By this point he had become adept at lip reading, so this may well be a wry comment on his state. Goya’s Self-Portrait in Indian ink and wash of (1795-97) (Fig. 3), in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, displays a wild, leonine genius with hair like a halo or burning bush, unruly but parted, eyes staring yet lost and a bushy beard never seen in other self-portraits. He seems to search for his own face, to describe himself unsmilingly. Hirsute and animal-like, he may well have known the Leonine Heads by Charles Le Brun, in the Musee de Louvre. 6 Outward performance and theatrical stance are replaced by close ups, selfies if you like, which demand our attention. The life-sized study of the artist’s head Self-Portrait (1815) (Fig. 4), in the Museo del Prado, with head cocked on one side, hair even more untamed, shows us a face in conflict “capturing visually the weary toll of Goya’s long, intellectual struggle with…the ideology of the Spanish Enlightenment.”7 The face is half in shadows, there are no signs of décor and no costume. It is a record of his face modelled to give us a sense of fleshiness and three- dimensionality. This self-portrait is evidence of fear and suffering; humanity laid bare. It has seen the French Invasion at first hand. It is the same face which sleeps in The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters (1799) (Fig. 5) in the first design for one of his great series of prints, Los Caprichos. We observe Goya as part of the dream



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amongst strange animals, a lynx, a dog, bats with faces like his, grimacing and peering down on his unconscious self, exploring himself. He is the truly Enlightened Man, aware of the boundaries between imagination and reason, dream and reality, light and shadows. Obliterated in the second version, wiped out, the stuff and the content of his dreams have gone, as has his face, replaced with a void. The inscription reads “The author dreaming. His only purpose is to banish harmful ideas commonly believed and to perpetuate with this work of Caprichos the solid testimony of truth”. In The Family of Carlos IV (1800) (Fig.6), the Museo del Prado, light falls on Queen María Luisa as nurturant mother queen. In this timely advertisement for the functional Spanish royal family, citing Velázquez’s Las Meninas (1656), Goya stands quietly, one might think shyly at the back but our eyes are lead towards the woman’s face in shadows; the future wife of the prince of Asturias, not shown yet due to the uncertainty of who she might be. We might leave it there, as so many art historians have done, but we question why she is looking

directly at the vast expanse of black which is the painting on the left.8 Restoration of the painting in 1967 by Xavier de Salas revealed a painting within a painting precisely where the not yet unveiled woman looks. The cleaning exposed a bacchanal consisting of three figures, two are women and the other, a male figure, appears engrossed in the women. It is clearly Goya himself. “Goya without a doubt”, claimed Salas.9 The Romantic genius, Goya has portrayed himself twice. The reticent ever-discreet observer in the shadows, yet the Classical god of mystical ecstasy and artistic and sexual inspiration, namely Bacchus. But where has the genius gone in Self Portrait with Doctor Arrieta (1820) (Fig. 6), from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts? Goya, at the height of his international fame, is apparently on his death bed. From Bacchus to a sickly weak man surrounded by shadowy representatives of the church or friends or neighbours who are there to witness the moment. The bald inscription reads, “Goya, in gratitude to his friend Arrieta: for the compassion and care with which he saved his life during the acute and



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dangerous illness he suffered towards the end of the year 1819 in his seventy third year. He painted this in 1820.” It is not a priest protecting Goya, it is the doctor, as if Goya is claiming, as was the case, that medicine is emerging from the shadows of the Church.10 Goya is in green, the symbolic colour of hope, although not as bright a colour as Arrieta the healer. Goya’s face is half in the shadows to suggest internal contradictions or perhaps he is half alive and half dead. The Pietistic format, the glass with wine (or is it medicine?), the crimson blanket, the counterpane he nervously plucks at, all point us iconographically towards some kind of relinquishment or sacrifice. Once God, he is now Christ enshrining himself. Goya has finally emerged from the shadows and is stripped of all myth, he is humble, pathetic and near death. Although he will not die for another eight years it appears that his journey in self-portraits has finally come to a conclusion. Dr Jacqueline Cockburn lectured at Birkbeck College, University of London from 1997 to 2013 concentrating on European Art 1790-1950 but also running undergraduate programmes in ‘Spanish Art’ and ‘Art in the City; Paris and Berlin’. She also taught at M.A level and ran the PhD writing groups. She is director of Art and Culture Travel and runs residential courses in Spanish Art from her beautiful villa in the south of Spain. As a fluent Spanish speaker she has published translations of Spanish songs and contributed to publications on Garcia Lorca, the topic of her PhD. This article appeared in ULEMHAS magazine in July 2015. ULEMHAS is now the London Art History Society: Images Fig.1 The Family of Infante Don Luis de Borbón 1783 Fig.2 Self-portrait in the Studio, 1794-95, Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid Fig.3 Self-Portrait in Indian ink and wash, 1795-97 Fig.4 Self-Portrait 1815 Fig.5 The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters 1799 Fig.6 The Family of Carlos IV (1800) Fig.7 Self Portrait with Doctor Arrieta 1820

References 1 J. C Lavater. Translated into French from the German under the title ‘Essai sur la physiognomie’ (1781-1803). Lavater’s Essays on Physiognomy were probably studied by Goya in the French edition of 1781-6. 2 Victor I. Stoichita and Anna Maria Coderch, Goya: The Last Carnival (London: Reaktion Books, 1999), 242-244. 3 Dates differ for this painting from 1775-1795 which would make a great difference regarding his illness. 4 Robert Hughes suggests he might have represented himself as a manolo,’ the kind of majo found in the back streets of Madrid, the eponymous hero of one of Ramon de la Cruz’s most popular sainetes.’ Robert Hughes, Goya (London: The Harvill Press, 2003), 81. 5 See Goya: A Life in Letters, edited by Sarah Symmons with translations by Philip Troutman (London: Pimlico, 2004). 6 Stoichita and Coderch. 73 7 John J. Ciofalo, The Self-Portraits of Francisco Goya (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 59. 8 Ciofalo, ibid. 54. 9 Time, 22nd December 1967, p, 46. 10 Ciofalo, ibid. 104.

Goya Concert: Music and art combine to provide joyous entertainment St James’ Church, Spanish Place, London


warmly appreciative audience enjoyed music and art together in the glorious surroundings of the beautiful St James’ Church, Spanish Place, for the Society’s seventh annual classical concert. Once again we heard the Coro Cervantes chamber choir led by their founder and conductor, Carlos Aransay, this time accompanied by accomplished organist, Charles Matthews. The choir’s zeal shone forth and their passion was balanced by finely nuanced direction and precise ensemble. The music alternated with a timely presentation about Spain’s favourite romantic painter, Francisco Goya. We were lucky to have another good friend of the Society, Spanish art expert and engaging lecturer, Dr Jacqueline Cockburn, who shared her fascinating insights into Goya’s life and work with the audience. The concert was part of a programme of events to mark the centenary of the Society and it was wonderful to combine such creative talents in this joyous entertainment. David Hurst


Goya: The Portraits

7 October 2015 – 10 January 2016, The National Gallery, London


ortraiture is the form of painting most familiar to the British public. Museums and country house walls are filled with portraits from royalty to the squirearchy, worthy figures remembered for posterity. Without denigrating the merits of this British tradition, the magnificent exhibition of Goya portraits at the National Gallery in London offers a chance to compare the genius of this Spanish artist’s highly individual approach to portraiture. This is the first comprehensive exhibition dedicated to Goya’s portraits, a part of his extensive oeuvre that had tended be overshadowed by other aspects of his painting and innovative graphic work. As such this is a rare opportunity to appreciate not only the artist’s remarkable range of sitters, but also his rare ability to penetrate their personalities while placing them in the political and social context of their times. His portrait commissions came relatively late, when he was almost 40 in the early 1780s. Thereafter he produced portraits either on command or for friends until the year before his death in 1828. Throughout this time, both Goya’s style and technique were never static, underlining a growing fluidity of brush work and his confidence in portraying those in front of his easel. While absorbing the best from his predecessors, whether Renaissance or more recent like Velázquez, he comes across as being supremely modern, anticipating artists like Manet.

The exhibition displays Goya’s trajectory in eight sections, beginning with the early portraits, then his clients among politicians and aristocrats, before turning to his portrayal of the Spanish ‘enlightenment’. Thereafter we see him as court painter, painting the Spanish grandees, followed by his friends and family, then the Liberals and despots, and finally his last years. He paints against the backdrop of a tumultuous period of history reflected in these faces and their richly depicted clothing. Spain balanced uneasily on the edge of European enlightenment before being shaken by the French Revolution and the advent of Napoleon. The latter’s four-year imposition of his brother on the Spanish throne provoked the ‘war of independence’ (1808-1812) before the return of absolute monarchy and the Inquisition under Fernando VII. A brief Liberal ‘trienio’ (1820-23) ended with Fernando’s power fully restored, leading to Goya’s decision to go into selfimposed exile in Bordeaux where he spent his final days. Goya skillfully maintained his position as court painter through this see-saw of events while retaining his liberal friends. His portraits of the royals and aristocrats convey status but also a sense of real people. One can see those clients with whom he clearly empathises like the Duke and Duchess of Osuna and their four children, or the Marquis of San Adrian seen in informal riding clothes.

Note also how he treats most commissions with an eye on his purse; the inclusion of hands and feet were costly extras. On the other hand, friends and family are depicted with evident intimacy and affection, viz the wealthy merchant, Martin Zapater, like Goya a native of Zaragoza, or the portrait of his sole surviving son, Francisco Javier, seen as a young man-about-town. Self-portraits are often the most revealing aspect of Goya’s talent and modernity. His eyes always betray a belief in the frailty of mankind. Nothing could be more brutally honest than his Self Portrait with Doctor Arrieta. Painted in 1820 after Goya has survived a near fatal illness, he shows himself agonising in bed with Arrieta propping him up to take some potion. Such is Goya’s energy and ability that right to the end of his life he can reproduce a stunning likeness, such as that of Cyprien Gaulon, the French lithographer who taught him new lithographic techniques in Bordeaux. Xavier Bray, who curated this exhibition, deserves great credit for cudgelling so many important loans from foreign museums and private collections. The catalogue, which he has written almost single-handed, offers a highly readable commentary on this once-ina-lifetime array of portraits that places Goya, not just as a great artist, but in the forefront of Europe’s portraitists. Robert Graham The author is a former Financial Times bureau chief in Madrid & Paris, currently researching a book on Goya. He lives in Sanlucar de Barrameda.

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Antonio Najarro: Dance fusions

Photo:Jesús Robisco

Ballet Nacional de España’s highly esteemed director speaks to Graham Watts, chairman of the Dance Section of Critics’ Circle and National Dance Awards about Suite Sevilla and how he trained dancers to perform flamenco on ice.


ntonio Najarro exudes a palpable aura of celebrity. With thick, dark hair that stands to attention (albeit rather wavily) around the crest of his forehead, piercing brown eyes and a carefully sculpted, barely-there beard, Najarro could be from the worlds of film, fashion or pop. And, in a sense, being one of Spain’s most celebrated flamenco dancers could be said to combine all three and more. Having made it to the top as a dancer, Najarro now creates choreographies for others to perform. He began his own company, Compañia Antonio Najarro, in 2002, the same year in which he choreographed the ice dance routine that captured gold medals for Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics; and he became the director of the Ballet Nacional de España in September 2011, following on from the second spell of José Antonio’s august leadership. I met Najarro in a backstage dressing room, just an hour before the curtain was to go up on a double bill comprising the flamenco puro in Antonio Canales’ choreography for Grito; followed by the glitzy, showbiz finale of Najarro’s own Suite Sevilla. Having had such an extensive and eclectic career, Najarro could still easily pass for one of the young bailaors I passed in the corridor on the way to his dressing room. In reality, he

was on the cusp of turning 40, when we spoke. In my review of an earlier performance of Suite Sevilla, I described Najarro’s production as “…entertainment writ large; a seaside special, but one themed for Málaga, not Blackpool. It may not have been flamenco but it was certainly fun.” And now, sitting in front of the creator of such fun, it didn’t take long to absorb his ebullient, infectious zeal for making entertainment. Just one question did it. I asked him why his shows tend to follow the same pattern of contrasting flamenco puro with a souped-up, Las Vegas style that mixes all the flavours of Spanish dance. “I love that you tell me that”, Najarro’s voice rises in an immediate exclamatory response. “Many of our shows will merge pure flamenco with my dynamic style of choreography. And, in this finale, I always want to showcase different styles of Spanish dance; and certainly not just flamenco”. Suite Sevilla contains a rich variety of Spanish dance forms, including escuela bolero, a dance form that emerged from Castilla-La Mancha in the 18th century and appears now as a hybrid; classical ballet from the waist down while maintaining the peculiar torsion and unique elegance of traditional Spanish poses in the upper body. The size of Ballet Nacional de España is always an important consideration. “With

80 performers, we are the biggest dance company in Spain”, notes Najarro, adding: “so, it’s especially important for me to create quality work for the cuerpo de baile and by that, I mean work that is both technically challenging but also – and this is very important – full of expression. It’s the spirit that’s very important to me”, continues Najarro. “That’s why I work very close to the dancers, trying to make them feel the energy that I want to be shown on the stage”. His philosophy of presenting a stylistic potpourri of Spanish dance makes finding new recruits a tough call. “We have some of the best flamenco and escuela bolero dancers in Spain and – as a company – we can cover all the styles of Spanish dance; but finding dancers who can make more than one style look convincing is extremely difficult”. Najarro has no doubt that the biggest challenge for his company – indeed, for dance around the world – is to lure new devotees. “And, to do that, audiences have to be attracted by the show”, he argues. “Technical ability and the quality of the drama and expression cannot be separated from one another, nor can they be seen in isolation from the commercial aspects. It all has to be joined up. Drama and expression must come through the body language but if it isn’t commercial then we are all looking at a lost art”. Winter 2015/16 • La Revista  17

ANTONIO NAJARRO the truth I was always scared of injury because for dancers, ice skating is not so good! But I love it, I love working with skaters and I love the whole environment of the skating competitions”. For the next winter Olympics, Najarro’s success as an ice dance choreographer has brought a triple Salchow of contenders as he is developing routines for three couples (from Russia, America and Spain). “They are winning medals in all the tournaments, so things are looking good”, he concludes.

Antonio Najarro

is emphasis on visual spectacle and theatricality has made Najarro a natural for ice dance. He was just 25 when the French world champions (Anissina and Peizerat) asked him to choreograph a flamenco programme for the 2002 Olympic Games. “I found it very difficult to begin with”, admits Najarro, “not least because flamenco on ice is a contradiction, since the dance form is percussive with all the weight on the floor and that is not for the ice!” “But, they needed the flavour of flamenco, more than anything”, recalls Najarro. “So, I was working with them for two years before they won the gold medal and from there I just carried on. Now, I’ve choreographed for many skaters – the best skaters in the world. I’ve also created several entire galas featuring Olympic and world champions”. Najarro’s successful formula is based on making dance before stepping on the ice. “When I work with skaters, I always treat them like real dancers”, he explains. “If I work with them for one year, then the first three months will be in the studio because I need them to understand the movement and feel the passion and theatre of the dance. We only go on the ice after this lengthy preparation in the studio. The challenge for me is to make them forget the mechanics of ice skating; the very movements that are instinctive to them. It is always very difficult but in the end the result is amazing if they can look like real dancers on the ice”. He laughs when I ask if he is a skater, too. “I have skated a little but to tell



Photo:Jesús Robisco


orolla, a new dance show commissioned by Najarro for Ballet Nacional de España, inspired by Joaquín Sorolla’s Visión de España paintings for New York’s Hispanic Society (in 1911), premiered in Najarro’s home city of Madrid, during the summer. And, as I write, the company is enjoying a successful tour of Japan that concludes on the day after Najarro’s 40th birthday (22 November). “We tour a lot”, he says. “I’m very happy because I think that people around the world are understanding my message, which is very important to me”. This returns us to the theme at which we began. “Of course, I’m trying to express myself and be creative but I believe that we have to entertain people. I enjoy expressionism and abstract work if it is done well but we have to make show business”, stresses Najarro. “There are many choreographers who have an

idea that is so personal that the audience doesn’t understand it. When you go to the theatre, you have to feel something. Maybe you don’t understand the work but you have to feel it! It’s OK to be challenged – that’s fine – but at the end of the day you have to provide entertainment. People get frightened to watch ballet and flamenco because they don’t understand the terminology and I try to make it accessible”. “When I created my own company, in 2002, I was 27 and we were 30 people. We had nine musicians playing live and all the costumes were handmade. I invested all the money I had in the company and I had no choice but to create a commercial show with quality. It had to be my style, my dream, but if it wasn’t commercial – if it wasn’t show business – then people would not come again and they would not tell their friends to come. My com-

pany would have been dead within a few months”. In fact, Compañia Antonio Najarro was a great success but it had to be mothballed, after nine years, when its leader came to direct Ballet Nacional de España: “Understandably, the Ministry of Culture wanted me to concentrate all my energy on the national company”, he explains. I leave so that Najarro can quickly brief his dancers before the show, impressed by a determined man with a clear artistic vision; a creative polymath, working across – and blending – different styles of dance; a proud and energetic influence on the cultural life of Spain; but, above all, here was a man of the people; a showman who turns dance into spectacle, whether the stage is made of wood or ice. Photos courtesy of Ballet Nacional de España

The New Age of Olive Oil

Jules Stewart travelled to Spain to talk to leaders in the olive oil industry about the challenges of quality output, sustainability and international competition faced by the world’s largest producer. Spanish olive oil producers are mechanising their pruning, harvesting and production methods to ensure the industry’s sustainability and compete in the export market.


n 1492 Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, the II Duke of Alba, bore arms alongside Spain’s Catholic Monarchs in the conquest of Granada, the battle that resulted in the expulsion of the Moors from Spain. In gratitude, the Álvarez de Toledo family was given vast tracts of land, including the Perales estate in the western region of Extremadura, where they began producing olive oil. “It started in 1624 as a small business venture on land that was gifted to my

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family by King Felipe IV”, says the current Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, the Marquis of Valdueza. “Today we have 450 acres of olive groves and around fifteen years ago we decided to revamp the business by replacing the old groves with four new olive varieties, including the morisca, which is native to our estate.” The family also invested in a state of the art press and built a reservoir to irrigate their vines. The modernisation work at the Álvarez de Toledo family estate, where olive oil is

Six Olives and Red Bowl, Zev Robinson

marketed under the Marqués de Valdueza brand, is typical of changes taking place at Spain’s new breed of top-of-the-range producers. Innovations in harvesting and production techniques introduced over the past decade or so have earned Marqués de Valdueza awards in international olive oil competitions, from the US to Germany. Marqués de Valdueza oil is, however, a relative newcomer to an endeavour that has been in existence for some 8,000 years. Olive oil is mentioned about 200 times in the Old Testament. The oil was used in the ancient world in the preparation of food, as anointing oil for ritual and cosmetic purposes, and for lighting. Archaeological evidence shows that olives were turned into oil as early as 6,000 BC. Olive cultivation and the processing of oil spread across the Mediterranean basin, from Palestine to Crete, Italy and finally to Spain, which is today the world’s largest producer, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of global output. “In the late Bronze Age, olive trees were being systematically cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean and oil was being extracted from their fruit with large presses,” according to historian Tom Mueller. “At Ekron in Palestine, a 2,800-year-old olive mill has been

discovered, with a battery of one hundred presses capable of producing about 500,000 litres a year.” These early entrepreneurs eventually came to realise the potential of olive oil, beyond that of a tasty product for domestic consumption. By the third millennium BC, large-scale production was underway and earnings from the sale of olive became the lifeblood of several regional Mediterranean economies. In Spain, this business is today a mainstay of the country’s agricultural sector and a growing contributor to food exports. But the business is not without its challenges. Selling Spanish olive oil abroad has historically been an uphill battle, largely because of Italy’s earlier entry into the export market, coupled with the sharper marketing skills of Italian producers. Italian olive oil, Spain’s chief rival, has traditionally been regarded as the benchmark of quality by US and European consumers. Moreover, Spain’s olive oil industry lost valuable years recovering from a devastating blow in 1981, when the domestic market was flooded with toxic oil which caused a musculoskeletal disease that killed more than 600 people. After months of frantic testing by the health authorities, the cause of the ‘colza scandal’ was found to be contaminated rapeseed oil, which was intended for industrial use and had been illegally imported from France and sold as olive oil. “UK and other European consumers in the middle and upper income brackets were aware of the scandal,” says Charles Carey of London-based olive oil importer The Oil Merchant. “But this affair has been largely forgotten since the mid-1990s. It is true that Italian estate bottled oil has dominated the market for the past 25 years, however I believe Spain now has the competitive edge. They’ve become more assertive and have honed their marketing expertise in recent years. Marqués de Valdueza has even hired a British company to design their bottle label. The result is that high-quality UK retailers, such as Fortnum & Mason and Waitrose, now sell more Spanish than Italian olive oil.” Spain, which recorded a 71 per cent increase in exports in the 2013/14 season, has now pulled ahead of Italy in sales to fast-growing markets like Brazil, Russia, Japan and Australia. Carey cites two factors that have raised people’s awareness of olive oil, and especially its health benefits. He says one of them is the growing number of nutritionists and food writers who extol the virtues of the Mediterranean diet. “The other event was the severe frost that ravaged central Italy, the south

“Olive cultivation and the processing of oil spread across the Mediterranean basin, from Palestine to Crete, Italy and finally to Spain, which is today the world’s largest producer, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of global output”

Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, the Marquis of Valdueza, photo:

“The objective is to reduce costs and maximise yield and profit margins, which can then be passed on to the consumer”


of France and northern Spain in January 1985,” says Carey. “Trees were bursting like frozen pipes and farmers were forced to cut them down by the thousand. This created a lot of publicity for olive oil, when press reports put it about that it would become a scarce commodity.” Spanish producers have been making strides to consolidate their growing commercial edge by addressing the key issues facing the industry. One of the most pressing concerns is sustainability. This is being looked at in broader terms than the long-standing debate between organic versus non-organic methods. Other problems are now under consideration, such as how much farmers get paid for their olive oil and the implications of a growing number of smaller high-quality firms that are steadily capturing market share from traditional bulk and mass output producers.


echanised systems of pruning and harvesting have become a mainstay of the drive for sustainability in Spain’s olive oil industry. The objective is to reduce costs and maximise yield and profit margins, which can then be passed on to the consumer. Until recently, annual pruning was performed by hand and this involved cutting the large branches that overhang the rows between trees, where harvesting later takes place. The manual process implied at least 20 hours’ labour per hectare and year. The increasing shortage of agricultural labourers coupled with higher wage costs, particularly in the case of larger producers, posed the challenge of finding and training workers for the job. The introduction of more efficient pruning machines has allowed farmers to extend the cycle from one

22  La Revista •Winter 2015/16

Sierra de Cazorla

to up to five years, while the shift from manual to mechanised pruning has also brought an appreciable increase in olive output. Miguel Rico of INNOLIVA in Pamplona is the world leader in intensive production systems. INNOLIVA introduced mechanisation in 2007, which has cut the production process, from tree to olive oil, to three or four hours. “We make use of everything the olive has to offer, to minimise wastage and maximise efficiency,” he says. “The olive stone has an enormous calorific content so we use this to power the machinery in our oil mill.” Rico recognises the market potential of organic olive oil and has plans to expand his organic groves over the next two to three years from 100 to 1,200 hectares. Queiles, in the northern region of Navarre, was a pioneer in introducing mechanisation into harvesting. For centuries, olives were harvested by hand, a process that consisted of workers slamming the trees to shake the olives loose from the branches. The fruit often lay damaged on the ground, which meant a certain amount was wasted in the process. Machine harvesting is now done by tractors fitted with arms that shake the tree

to dislodge the olives, and these drop undamaged into hoppers and are driven to the mill for processing. “Queiles has been a pioneer in making extra virgin olive oil of the very highest quality under their Abbae de Queiles brand,” says Albertina Torres, a documentary producer specialising in Spanish food and sustainability. “Likewise, pioneering co-operative 1881 near Seville has grown from thirty-seven members in 1959 to 500 today. They have transformed their production into high-quality, awardwinning oils, increasing earnings for their members and supporting the town and surrounding areas. By being organic, they are changing the environmental model, but organic consumption is low in Spain, so they need to look to foreign markets.’ Alfredo Barral of Hacienda Queiles, operates an estate in Navarre on the very northern limits of the Mediterranean climate suitable for olive oil production. “The proliferation of chemical products has helped boost the demand for organic olive oil production by health-conscious consumers, and Spain is the world’s top producer of this variety,” he says. ‘But if this is going to make a significant inroad into overall sales it’ll require some work

Winter 2015/16 • La Revista  23

to change the mindset of the majority of customers. For now, production is increasingly geared towards the extra virgin variety, which accounts for the bulk of sales.’ Queiles, like many of the smaller quality producers, has been focusing on increasing on foreign markets and now exports to twenty-seven countries from their sixty hectare estate. Meeting demand last year proved difficult, for reasons beyond that of simply meeting consumers’ tastes for different varieties of oil. Climate change has hit the industry in the form of a devastating olive fruit fly, the Bactrocera oleae, which descended on the crop in October and November, two months later than normally expected and right in the middle of the harvesting season. The traditional method of combating this pest is to hang tree baskets containing pheromone, a chemical an animal or insect produces which changes the behaviour of others of the same species. Each fly can deposit hundreds of eggs in as many olives, wiping out entire olive groves. This was what happened at Queiles, where production plummeted from a normal 50,000 to 15,000 litres. Barral holds out a handful of olives, blackened and pockmarked, which had been attacked by the flies. INNOLIVA’s Rico acknowledges sustainability as one of the main problems facing the industry. But he points out that for the moment, little can be done to identify unethical or misleading practices by some producers. The Spanish government has stepped in to protect the public from poor quality or adulterated olive oil. The traditional glass cruet that sits on restaurant tables has been replaced by a labelled, sealed and non-reusable bottle or other type of container under stricter oil bottling rules. Spain took this step on its own after Germany and other North European countries, which consume but do not produce olive oil, blocked a proposal by the European Commission in 2014 to impose such legislation across the EU. The new regulations were created mainly to improve food hygiene. But oil producers also hope the initiative will help them build stronger recognition for their brands in Spain and boost exports to key markets like the US. All photos by Albertina Torres Painting on pg.20 by Zev Robinson

Jules Stewart is a journalist and author of several books including Madrid: The History. Albertina Torres and Zev Robinson have recently been promoting a documentary by Zev about the culture and production of olive oil in Spain, called Spanish Gold.

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A Taste of Spain at Sotheby’s

Highlights from the 19th Century European Paintings sale.




he 19th Century European Paintings sale at Sotheby’s in December includes a strong Spanish section, focusing on the major Spanish artists of the period whose work continues to draw strong demand on the international stage. Leading the section is Joaquín Sorolla’s gloriously Impressionistic depiction of oleanders in the garden of the artist’s home in Madrid – today open to the public as the Museo Sorolla – estimated at £280,000-350,000. Also from Sorolla is a view of the sierra near El Pardo north of Madrid, painted while the artist’s daugh-

ter María was convalescing in the healthy country air in 1907. Her recovery in November of the same year finally allowed Sorolla to return to his beloved Valencia, after two years away from his native region. Estimated at £50,000-70,000, the work is a rediscovery, and is thought not to have been seen in public since being shown at Sorolla’s exhibition ‘down the road’ from Sotheby’s at the Grafton Galleries in 1908. Taking us to Mallorca is Santiago Rusiñol’s Cala Grisa, painted circa 190304 and coming to sale with an estimate of £80,000-120,000. At the beginning of the 20th century Mallorca was a hotbed of artistic production with fellow Catalan Joaquim Mir and the Belgian artist William Degouve de Nuncques also painting and exhibiting on the island. This sale allows us to unite the Rusiñol with one of the finest of Degouve’s Mallorcan works ever to come to auction, depicting the Cuevas del Drach in Manacor in 1901, also estimated at £80,000-120,000. From Mir are three lyrical, vibrant landscapes: one of the artist’s garden, adorned with a peacock and parrot, estimated at £80,000-120,000; an Impressionistic woodland stream of 1918, carrying the same estimate; and a monumental decorative panel, over 3.7m wide, for the dining room of the Mas Blau near Tarragona, estimated at £150,000-200,000. The sale also includes two important works by Hermenigildo Anglada-Camarasa: a Paris nocturne of the early 1900s at £90,000120,000, demonstrating Anglada’s strong influence on the young Pablo Picasso at that time, and a vividly folkloric Danza Gitana estimated at £150,000-250,000. The public viewing from 12-15 December offers the opportunity to see these and a wide array of art by artists from across Europe, most coming to market from private collections around the world, and many sold at auction for the first time in their history.

100 years

of the BritishSpanish Society 1916-2016

Join us in 2016 to celebrate our centenary. We have a packed calendar of events - more details on our website. And why not become a member? We welcome everyone who has an interest in Spain and Spanish culture. Fill in the form at the back of this issue or visit our website:

Richard Lowkes

Paintings: Fig.1 Romería, the Gipsy Dance, Hermenegildo Anglada Camarasa Fig.2 Oleanders, the Courtyard of the Artist’s Home, Joaquín Sorolla Fig.3 Mas Blau, Joaquim Mir Fig.3

26  La Revista •Winter 2015/16

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Valientes, cámara… acción

Álvaro Fernández Armero; Isabel Coixet on stage

La undécima edición del London Spanish Film Festival reunió el pasado mes de septiembre en la capital británica a varios de los directores más reputados del cine español. Laura Gran ha charlado con algunos de ellos sobre su profesión y lo que les reporta la asistencia a este tipo de eventos.

28  La Revista •Winter 2015/16


ncluso para alguien que nunca ha tenido ídolos, ver aparecer a Isabel Coixet por la puerta del cine Regent Street, en pleno corazón de Londres, provoca un cierto entusiasmo. Escucharla hablar sobre sus películas – “Algunas me gustan, otras las quemaría, hay días que me levanto y pienso que lo quemaría todo pero luego se me pasa”- no es tan poético como uno pudiera pensar en un principio y, sin embargo, tiene mucho de inspirador. Ella, al igual que Álvaro Fernández Armero o Gabriel Velázquez, pertenece a ese grupo de personas que han decidido involucrarse consigo mismos y hacer realidad su sueño. El camino no ha sido llano, pero siempre han encontrado la manera de continuar rodando y salir adelante. En ellos brilla la entrega y la creencia en aquello que hacen y, desde esa perspectiva, mostrar sus películas allá donde se lo permitan es un privilegio que se debe aprovechar siempre. “Como cineasta cualquier festival es importante, ya sea el de Cannes (Francia) o el de Cans de la aldea de Galicia, que también he ido. Vivimos en un momento en el que rechazar enseñar una película en un festival es como tirarse un tiro en el pie”, afirma la catalana, autora de Learning to Drive. Fernández Armero, director de la película Las ovejas negras no pierden el tren, opina lo mismo: “Es un lujo tener un festival de cine español en Londres, si te invitan no puedes dejar de venir a algo así”. En el caso del alma máter de Ärtico, el salmantino Gabriel Velázquez, la participación en este tipo de eventos se ha convertido, además, en la manera

principal de rentabilizar económicamente sus filmes. Tras participar en sus inicios en Airbag, de Juanma Bajo Ulloa, dirigir cortometrajes y otras películas, decidió “cambiar su concepto” de hacer cine y convertirse en un “artesano”. En esta nueva dinámica, los festivales le sirven como lanzadera para presentar sus películas. En ellos obtienen reconocimiento internacional, en muchas ocasiones son premiadas y a partir de ahí entran en otro tipo de industria cultural, de películas realizadas con bajo presupuesto que van ofreciendo un retorno económico paulatino, se van conociendo poco a poco pero “perduran más en el tiempo”. Los tres directores coinciden en que obtener la financiación que les permite rodar conlleva habitualmente muchos dolores de cabeza. “Encontrar dinero para hacer obras personales siempre es difícil. Me ha llevado muchos años desarrollar todos los proyectos que yo tengo, pero me he resignado a que es así y ya está”, explica Coixet. Sin embargo, una vez conseguido las dificultades no terminan. La difusión de películas, incluso de las grandes superproducciones con grandes actores también requiere de un alto nivel de inversión, dado que “las redes sociales no ofrecen de momento toda la que se necesita. Curiosamente películas que han tenido una enorme difusión en Facebook o Twitter luego no han tenido casi espectadores”, revela Álvaro Fernández Armero. “Se necesita una promoción gigantesca. Cada vez es más complicado que la gente conozca un libro, una película… a mayor facilidad para la comunicación, más caro se ha


“Ese instante en el que alguien se ríe con lo que he escrito o rodado […] ese momento mágico es impagable” vuelto en vez de más barato”. Aún así, los tres concuerdan en algo: todo merece la pena si les permite rodar. Para Gabriel Velázquez, filmar es algo intermedio “entre plantar un árbol y tener un hijo”. Para Isabel Coixet es lo más satisfactorio de su profesión junto con el proceso de casting. “Disfruto mucho viendo cómo las cosas crecen y se transforman”, afirma. En el caso del madrileño Fernández Armero el “sold out” es muy grato, pero ese instante en el que alguien se ríe con lo que he “escrito o rodado, cuando la gente ha conectado con eso y se ha reído… ese momento mágico es impagable, es para lo que hago una película”, puntualiza. Al autor de obras como El arte de morir o El juego de la verdad le encantaría rodar en la capital británica por “la propia ciudad, su dimensión, lo espectacular de los edificios, las plazas… es increíble, todo es muy lujoso”. Igualmente le gustaría hacerlo porque, para él, “los actores ingleses son de otra liga, de otro planeta, marcan la diferencia con los actores del resto del mundo. Son excepcionales, sobre todo por la capacidad que tienen solo ellos de transitar casi a la vez con emociones contrapuestas y muy intensas ambas, de drama y de comedia”, asegura. Tanto él como Velázquez y Coixet han filmado en otros países y, según esta última, no hay diferencias entre hacerlo en España o en el extranjero. “Yo he rodado en muchos países y en circunstancias muy diferentes. He hecho documentales en Uzbekistán, he estado tres semanas durmiendo en el suelo y sin lavarme y he hecho películas con docenas de camiones de equipo. Lo bueno de rodar una película es que hay una estructura que funciona en cualquier país y cualquier circunstancia, incluso cuando hay más o menos dinero, no importa en realidad”. Lo relevante es “seguir trabajando“ y certámenes como el 11th London Spanish Film Festival, dirigido por la española Joana Granero Sánchez (fue entrevistada en La Revista en 2014), ciertamente lo favorecen. Photos published with kind permission from Tristana Media

Yolanda Ramos

que te conozcan. Me gustaría que se nos considerase más a mi y a mis compañeros de comedia como lo que somos. Somos actores que hemos escogido un género que es bonito y difícil, es difícil hacerlo bien. Como venimos un poco del bufón y él estaba por debajo del poder que era el rey, nos ha quedado ese estigma. Está más considerado si haces llorar o tratas un problema profundo (de forma trágica), mientras que muchas veces a través de la comedia se tratan problemas muy profundos, y un ejemplo de ello es Carmina y amén.


a actriz revelación de los premios Goya 2015 participó en el London Spanish Film Festival como representante de la película Carmina y Amén, que ha ganado el certamen de este año. ¿Qué es lo que le resulta atractivo de este tipo de festivales? En primer lugar acudo porque siempre me lo suelo pasar muy bien. Se conoce a gente de la profesión. Es como una feria de aquello en lo que uno trabaja, y yo siempre que los veía en casa decía: quiero estar ahí. ¿Le interesaría rodar una película en el extranjero? Sí. Antes decía que no. Yo he sido muy negada para los idiomas y ahora quiero aprender inglés, porque me pica el extranjero. Está todo tan globalizado, incluido el humor, que ahora sí soy capaz de que mi manera de trabajar se entienda fuera de España. ¿Se diferencia algo lo que pensaba que era el mundo del cine cuando no formaba parte de él a lo que opina actualmente? Me imaginaba que era más difícil. No quiero sonar como una cretina, pero antes lo veía tan lejano y tan lo más y yo me sentía tan pequeñita… que una vez que he dicho: “ah, es esto, así se hace, así son mis compañeras…” me doy cuenta de que no era para tenerle tanto miedo. ¿Qué es lo que le gustaría conseguir en su carrera de actriz? Sobre todo trabajar de esto. El cine me gusta mucho, es más agradecido y más lúcido que la televisión, pero también necesitas de ella para hacerte famoso y

¿Qué es lo que más le satisface de su profesión? Que me reconozcan. Además hay una cosa muy bonita, y es que por mi profesión he acabado en lugares y situaciones que jamás habría conocido o experimentado dedicándome a otra cosa, y lo he hecho siendo muy respetada porque estaba trabajando. También me gusta haber conocido a personas que antes veía muy lejanas. Eso me ha hecho reflexionar sobre que en el fondo todos somos iguales. Los seres humanos, a la hora de la verdad, somos todos iguales. ¿Qué es lo más complicado de la profesión? La inestabilidad en todos los sentidos. De tener dinero a no tenerlo, de jugar a ser famosa a no serlo. El hoy eres maravilloso y eres un dios, y al cabo de quince días ya no eres nada. Eso es terrible, el que te puedan ocurrir tantas cosas en un espacio de tiempo tan pequeño. ¿Qué es lo que te ha aportado Carmina y amén? La consideración como actriz, la Biznaga de Plata del Festival de Málaga y muchas cosas más. Sentirme halagada por una parte de la profesión que encontraba fácil lo que hacía en Homo Zapping y difícil lo que hago ahora, venir aquí a Londres…, y me ha abierto las puertas del cine, estoy segura. ¿Por qué decidió ser actriz? Es una cosa como ser homosexual, se nace. Estés donde estés, aunque quieras huir de ello, acabas saliéndote. Dije: “Lo eres y admítete, y sales del armario como actriz, como artista. No puedes ser nunca igual, ni para bien ni para mal, que tus otros amigos”.

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Spanish Cities

Pamplona By Jules Stewart


t the stroke of midday on 6 July, the Mayor of Pamplona fires a rocket from the balcony of the Baroque façade of the town hall, the starting gun for seven days and nights of unbridled merry-making. On that day you should not be in Pamplona. The kick-off is mayhem at its worst: water gushing down from balconies onto eager crowds below, wine sprayed on passers-by, the eager and less eager alike, and inebriated Australians, for whom ‘Pamps’ is the first stop on their Grand European Tour, diving off the 20-foot fountain in La Navarrería into the locked arms (most of the time) of their compatriots below. The best time to come to Pamplona is towards the end of the San Fermín festival, taking care to avoid weekends, when the city is overrun by party-goers from the Basque Country and elsewhere. Once the initial pandemonium is over and done, the city settles down to relative calm and takes on the air of a festival for the Pamploneses, who know how to pace themselves. Now, for the bulls. A couple of minutes before eight o'clock a.m on 7th July and for seven mornings thereafter, a Pamplona sanitation department employee turns a water hose on six fighting bulls resting in a pen 200 yards from the town hall. This ritual is performed for two reasons: on the one hand, it rouses the beasts from their lethargy, while at the same time the water has a calming effect moments ahead of the detonation of a rocket signalling the start of the half-mile race through the streets. It is a tradition dating back to the 16th century and while each day’s run can end with numerous contusions and fractures, death on the horns is an astonishingly rare occurrence. In fact, since records began in 1910, only 15 people have been killed during the encierro. All the more astonishing, considering that nowadays, each morning’s run attracts

between 2,800 and 3,500 enthusiasts. That said, the calming effect was conspicuous by its absence to this runner, who managed to avoid the horns a couple of years ago by being knocked to the ground and nearly trampled, not by the bulls but a group of over-enthusiastic Antipodeans. “It is useful to bear in mind that these beasts can effortlessly toss 1,500 kilogrammes into the air,” says Mikel Ollo, Pamplona’s veteran tour guide. “You’ve got to understand what you’re getting yourself into. If you went surfing in Hawaii without knowing anything about the sea, you’d run the risk of being caught by a wave. Pamplona is just that, a great wave which you must learn to surf. My advice is not to run.” Those who are determined to run are offered a reconnaissance tour of the route, highlighting the do’s and don’ts – trot, don’t dash, remember that the fastest part of the route (some 30 miles per hour) is at the start, where you are likeliest to be knocked about by the beasts. The horns become a major danger after the 90 degree turn at Estafeta when the bulls are more dispersed, and so on. For the unlucky few, a team of surgeons is on stand-by at the hospital, viewing the run on a big screen to help decide medical procedure required for ambulance cases. Operating theatres are prepared impromptu in accordance with the injuries and thanks to the surgeons’ years of experience and expertise, most casualties are discharged from hospital within a few days. A much safer way to experience the encierro is from a balcony along the route, which can be rented for the morning for €80 to €110, depending on the services required, with or without a buffet breakfast and guide. The encierro can also be watched from the street, but you need to bag a spot on the barriers by 7.00 a.m at the very latest. There is a lot more to San Fermín than the encierro. Most days at noon there is a competition in Plaza de los Fueros of Basque rural sports, such as wood chop-

ping and boulder lifting. The nightly international fireworks display, which takes place at 11.00 p.m, is a spectacular must and is best viewed from the bus station. It is great fun to follow the marching bands, known as charangas, through the streets. The bars, in particular the award-winning El Gaucho, serve some of the most exquisite pintxos to be had in Spain. Don’t be put off by the four-deep crowds are the bar – with a bit of patience you will eventually find yourself in the frontline. Above all, do as the locals do and pace yourself. You will notice that the chaos settles down roughly between 2.00 and 5.00 p.m. Take advantage of the lull and grab a seat in a café in the Plaza del Castillo, or even better, along one of the streets away from the epicentre. If you have a hotel, that is the ideal place to crash for a few hours. There is an urban myth that hotel rooms are impossible to find during San Fermín. Not so, there is no problem finding a hotel or guest house after 8th July, though any type of lodging comes at a massive premium. As for restaurants, plan for pintxos during the day and save your appetite for dinner, when it is a lot easier to find a table. The most seasoned Pamplona guide is English-speaking Mikel Ollo. The classic bullfighter hotel is Hotel Yoldi, where doubles during San Fermín cost approximately €380 per night. Restaurante San Ignacio serves excellent traditional Navarra fare and offers a set-price menu. Bar El Gaucho offers a variety of pintxos that have won the annual Pamplona Pintxo Week Competition. A busy venue, nevertheless food worth fighting for. Image: waving neckscarves,

Winter 2015/16 • La Revista  31


Salamanca By Hugh O’Shaghnessy “Today the city is transforming itself from the crabby down-at-heel place, which Franco chose as his capital during the civil war of the 1930s, into a world centre to attract those who want to learn of Spanish culture, language and history”

Cúpula de la Clerecía de Salamanca, CTair Pilru


he baroque façade of the grand Jesuit church of the Clerecía rises like a tall cliff in the centre of Salamanca, one of the many monuments to the often tortured – some might add torturing – history of the church in Spain and Europe. Its honeycoloured stone, so near the consistency of butter when it is quarried, so durable when exposed to the elements, bears imperial eagles and royal escutcheons dripping with carved representations of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The grandeur was fearsome when as a teenager I came in 1953 with a government grant to study for a diploma at the university. Few buildings in the world convey a greater impression of the counter-reformation and the apogee of Spain. Directly opposite the Clerecía sits another monument, slightly humbler yet much more tender. The Casa de las Conchas (the House of the Shells) has exterior walls sprinkled with more than 300 carved scallop shells and a mass of decorated ironwork. Started in 1493, the year after the European arrival in America, it was the gift of a nobleman to his daughter. With its perfect internal courtyard 16th century Spanish architects can have produced nothing more beautiful. But then the city is full of similar peerless buildings, notably the graceful but enormous arcaded central square which makes the one in Madrid look mean-spirited and ugly. Today the city is transforming itself from the crabby down-at-heel place, which Franco chose as his capital during 32  La Revista •Winter 2015/16

the civil war of the 1930s, into a world centre to attract those who want to learn of Spanish culture, language and history – a sort of Spanish Oxford or Heidelberg. In the 1950s the city was run down, many of its treasures dilapidated, its streets untidy. There were rats in the lavatory in my sparse pension in Calle Gibraltar; among my high-spirited Spanish colleagues were two elderly Belgian fascists on the run from the victorious allies – the German aviator who kept the Edelweiss bar on the corner was supposed to have helped bomb Guernica. There was, of course, no television and our student amusements included climbing into the niches on the side of the New Cathedral and photographing one another. Central heating in the house was provided by braseros, pans full of embers from the fire put in a metal basin under the centre of the table in the hope that its thick tablecloth would keep the heat in long enough to warm our feet and legs. Now the city is making the best of its attributes. The transformation is prospering as more and more foreigners come to its two universities, the lay and the religious, and to its growing number of private schools. The state university will in 2018 celebrate its 800th anniversary making it, with Bologna, Paris and Oxford, among Europe’s oldest. The church obviously left many marks on it; those who have lived there include Teresa of Avila, Ignatius Loyola, and John of the Cross, besides Columbus, Cervantes and Miguel de

Unamuno. In the 1380 Pedro de Luna, Benedict XIII, pope from Avignon and one of the three men who claimed the papacy at the time, gave it a faculty of theology. Two scholars were particularly memorable. In the 16th century the Dominican friar Francisco de Vitoria laid the foundations of international law and indeed the modern human rights movements. At a time when European imperialists and settlers were arguing to the Spanish and Portuguese kings that the inhabitants of the New World they were conquering lacked rights, he argued that “the aborigines undoubtedly had true dominion in both public and private matters, just like Christians, and that neither their princes nor private persons could be despoiled of their property on the ground of their not being true owners.” One of the university lecture halls saw Fray Luis de León, another Dominican and one suspected of Jewish blood, who had been bundled off in mid-lecture by the Inquisition in 1572, return after years of imprisonment declaring famously, “Como decíamos ayer” (“As we were saying yesterday”). Yet by the mid-18th century the university had fallen asleep, its student body shrunk to a mere 2,000. As the 800th anniversary approaches, the university is forcefully promoting its international profile, not least as an aid against the economic strains of the 21st century. The Salamanca region is desperate for new sources of employment yet it produces manufactured wares except the

TRAVEL stoppers manufactured from its cork oak trees. These provide few jobs. Therefore, the university is bending every effort to attract thousands more foreigners to swell its student body of 30,000. Noemí Domínguez, vice-rector for international relations, recounts how she and staff are constantly travelling, particularly to South Asia and the Far East, proclaiming what Salamanca has to offer. Relations have been particularly strong with Japan and the university has an HispanoJapanese institute. Links are developing, too, with China. “There are enormous possibilities of attracting students of Spanish, particularly as the importance of Latin America grows, and millions of people want to get to know it better”, says Dominguez, whose office looks on the façade of the university, behind which lies the library. Eduardo, one of librarians, shows off a very battered tome from the counterreformation full of crossings out and defacements, some paragraphs cut out with scissors. “This book”, he says “shows you the origins of the phrase ‘More catholic than the pope’ originated in Spain. When it was published the Vatican brought out an Index of Prohibited Books. But the

kings of Spain had their own index and it was a lot fatter and more detailed than the one from Rome. Here’s the proof.” Relations with the region have been fostered by Miguel Carrera who runs the Ibero-American institute with its own journal. A number of distinguished Latin Americans – from former president Ricardo Lagos of Chile to the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes – have been awarded honorary doctorates. (As if to atone for its decision in 1954 to award a doctorate to Franco, the university decided in 2006 to downgrade that award by declaring him to lack the academic, scientific, social and personal merits needed for such an honour.) Harking back to the no less international days is the memory of Philip II. In the 1590s he founded a home for Irish noblemen who were denied education in their homeland in penal times by Queen Elizabeth. Carrera’s unit is housed in the premises of the Fonseca College, another architectural jewel of the Renaissance. This was the final resting place of the Irish college where with its last Irish rector I witnessed its last days in 1953 after the Irish hierarchy decided to close it and sent all its records back to Ireland.

For its part the church has had its own university, the Pontificia, since 1940 by grace and favour of Franco and Pius XII. In 1852 the Liberal government of the day effectively closed the faculties of canon law and theology. The 1940 foundation revived them and other faculties were subsequently added, ranging from trilingual biblical philology to nursing. The Pontificia, installed in a vast renaissance edifice hard up against the Clerecía, subsists despite efforts to integrate the two institutions. Both are working to bring foreign students and jobs to the city. Academics in Salamanca, reclining in its newly beautified buildings, are pulling together to save the city from unemployment. With a pang of regret I noticed that Calle Gibraltar was no more. It had been demolished to give a better view of the Old Cathedral. But it must mean there are fewer rats.

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First Impressions of Spain Long-term resident and Hispanophile, Dominic Begg, trawls through memories of his early visits, going back 60 years.

Dominic on the sea-front at L'Escala with mother, Anne; aged six, checking out Catalan fishing-boats.

1955 orsaking, for once, France’s Atlantic coast, my parents drove us south to Avignon and on into Catalonia, hoping to put up at the only hotel near Ampuries. It was full, so we took over a fisherman’s cottage overlooking the port of L’Escala. Aged six, I gazed at the clear azure Mediterranean in wonderment. At night I was fascinated by the huge lamps used by the local fishing fleet. My parents and elder brother would dine late in seafood restaurants, while I was left to sleep on the sofa-style back seat of our Ford Consul convertible, to the amusement of passers-by (a time of innocence). I remember the intense heat, the primitive bumpy roads and the rough taste of wine, with echoes of tar, from my father’s wineskin. Also the palm trees lining Barcelona’s avenues.


1964 Tub Shaw, a veteran hobbit-like schoolmaster, drove three of us teenage boys who’d begun to study Spanish down through southwestern France and into Spain. I remember the fast-flowing river at Astorga. Also the slogan “Beber es preciso” regularly daubed on crags near main roads. I still don’t understand its message after all this time! In Ávila we played with a football close to the façade of the cathedral, where, with few people around, no one reprimanded us. Valladolid’s Easter processions made Franco’s Spain seem a grim place with echoes of the Inquisition, as drums rolled and hooded penitents marched through the dark streets. The next morning in warm sunshine, a glass of beer in a park cost me just 2 pesetas, instantly dispelling the gloom (“Beber es preciso”). One day Tub drew up at a farm labourer’s cottage near Vitoria, belonging to a family he’d known since he was a young man. We were all invited in for an apéritif, only to find there weren’t enough chairs for everyone, and clearly no luxuries such as armchairs or sofas. The younger men told us the family had been so hard-up that when they were employed road-building nearby, they sometimes found the energy, after toiling all day, to return under cover of darkness and smash up the cobbles in order to delay completion of the project, thus guaranteeing wages for a week or two longer. I spotted Tub slipping one of them an envelope as we were leaving. 1965 My Scottish grandmother, married to an Andalusian landowner, invited me to spend my Easter holidays with the family in Ronda. I flew to Gibraltar, walked across the tarmac to La Línea, showed

my luggage (but not my gift of whisky) to the Civil Guard and looked out for the car my godmother had sent to pick me up. In those days the road to Ronda was almost as primitive and dangerous as it had been in the early 19th century when it was bandit country, but Ronda itself was captivating. The family lived in a rambling house in the old town, breakfasting on homebaked bread and their own densely green olive oil. Fresh from an English winter diet of porridge or weetabix, I was soon happily converted, all the while warming my feet on a revolving device under the table, featuring wrought iron and embers from the nearest fireplace. Predictably I was impressed by the view from Ronda’s famous bridge, looking down on birds of prey circling above the gorge. In the evening I’d regale the three children with retellings of the early James Bond movies and my solo versions of Beatles hits. For their part, the family took me along to the Feria de Sevilla, including many of the private marquees, from where I saw Orson Welles and Jackie Kennedy passing by in an open carriage. The atmosphere was magical, with country people and horses taking over much of the city. Finally, my godmother arranged a few private Spanish Literature classes for me with a neighbour who lived in a converted Moorish palace. This was the writer Alistair Boyd. He needed the money, as he was planning a lengthy journey on horseback to some of the province’s remote villages that still offered overnight stabling. To facilitate bedtime reading he would take his own light-bulbs. The result was a great travel-book, The Road from Ronda. Anyway, on day one Ali handed me all his notes on Lope de Vega, thus freeing us up for some fascinating conversations, with all the wise and worldly stuff coming from this fierce-looking man who went on to marry the ex-wife of Kingsley Amis and be elected to the House of Lords. For the record, he was the only native English speaker I encountered on those first three visits to Spain

2015 For well over 40 years Spanish friends and students have asked me why I chose to leave England and live in Spain. My flip response used to be that I like oranges, but looking back at my first experiences of the country, I can see that in Spain I simply felt good: great people; wonderful variety in landscapes and regional cuisine; spectacular architecture, art and music; a tragic history; heroes and villains… But I’m clearly preaching to the converted. ¡Saludos a todos! Winter 2015/16 • La Revista  35


A Spaniard Among the Brits BritishSpanish Society Chairman Jimmy Burns Marañón remembers his childhood in the UK, reflecting on his dual nationality and his experience of both British and Spanish culture.


was born one day in January 1953 in Madrid, with an icy cold wind blowing down from the Sierra, and taken to London a few weeks later in the midst of a no less clement but damper winter. As Ortega y Gasset defines existence, I was myself and my circumstances, destined to be multi-cultural. My Spanish mother happened to choose to have me in her native country, while my British father was caught up on some work assignment in the UK – although she had earlier decided to follow her husband to settle their home in London where my three older siblings were all born. To arrive in the UK as my mother did, as a young married parent just after World War II, to give birth to her first child, my sister, could not have been easy for her. Franco’s Spain in 1946 was hardly the flavour of the month. Britain’s newly elected Labour government despised it as did quite a few Tories. While some political Republican exiles from the Spanish civil war were treated with respect, the first post-war Spanish immigrants generally were few in number and looked down upon.

“Straddling cultures has proved an extraordinarily enriching experience thanks to being able to distinguish what is worth valuing in each” 36  La Revista •Winter 2015/16

During my childhood years, growing up in the 1950s, Spaniards did not suffer quite the same discrimination as AfroCaribbeans but on occasions found common cause. Thus Garcia & Sons, the Spanish family-run supermarket on Portobello Road started up in those days as a small shop selling slices of chorizo, cheap wine and olive oil, and doubling up as a Jamaican take-away when that part of west London was not yet the trendy neighbourhood it later became. The first charter flights to the Costa Brava and the Costa del Sol in the late 1950s ushered in a period of mass tourism with masses of Brits looking for cheap sun, sea, and fish and chips – in most cases forgetting the politics. Meanwhile the Spanish immigrant population in London grew, with a new wave of Spanish workers taking on the kind of low paid unregulated jobs other Europeans shunned: office cleaners, kitchen-hands, maids, all without access to benefits. Franco’s Spain initially struggled to get used to the earlier tourists with the Spanish civil guard arresting topless women and the rare outspoken drunkard thought to be anti-regime. As for most Spaniards in the UK, they had to wait till Franco died and Spain entered the EU to gain any sense of equal status. It was hard to imagine when I was growing up that a day would come when Spanish companies would have important stakes in key areas of the UK economy from airports to banking, from

telephones to underground modernisation. Hard to image too, for that matter, Spanish football stars in the Premier, and Iberia and British Airways in the same multinational group. But as I look back I feel so lucky that I was born a BritishSpaniard. Straddling cultures has proved an extraordinarily enriching experience thanks to being able to distinguish what is worth valuing in each. I feel privileged to have been educated in Britain and to have enjoyed the regional diversity of Spain. I love the energy I get from the Spanish sun and inspiration from Spanish art and music, and Don Quixote, yet despair at times at the selfish individualism of Spaniards and the absence of a shared historical narrative. And yet I have never shared the view that Spaniards are cruel or hot-blooded by nature, just as I have never taken for granted that the British are kind when dealing with the enemy, even if I do believe that the UK has the best media corporation in world in the BBC as well as an exemplary political system in terms of its accountability and transparency, and that Shakespeare is, along with Cervantes, my favourite writer. This an abridged version of a talk given by the BSS chairman in Putney Library as part of South London’s Diversity month on 27 October, 2015. Images: Jimmy Burns’ First Communion, Toledo 1960; Tom and Mabel Burns on a visit to Spain, 1955.










La ciencia británica se nutre de sangre internacional Predicciones sobre el futuro de la ciencia y el mundo académico en caso de la salida del Reino Unido de la UE, por Nerea Irigoyen.


finales de 2017 se celebrará el referéndum sobre la permanencia del Reino Unido en la Unión Europea (UE). Ante una posible salida los científicos nos preguntamos qué pasará con dos de sus mayores motores económicos, como son la ciencia y el mundo académico. El Reino Unido actúa como un imán para el talento europeo (el 62% de los expatriados de Europa occidental tienen formación universitaria frente al 24% de los trabajadores británicos), lo que ha contribuido en más de £20.000 millones a la economía británica desde el año 2000, según un estudio reciente. Todo este talento representa el 20% de la comunidad académica británica (mayoritariamente italianos y alemanes). Los científicos vienen al Reino Unido para mejorar su proyección profesional dentro de uno de los sistemas de ciencia e innovación líder a nivel mundial, cuya carrera investigadora se encuentra bien definida, establecida, dinámica y flexible. En la mayoría de casos, los países de origen pagaron la educación y la formación de estos investigadores pero puede que nunca reciban el fruto de esa inversión. Sin embargo, el Reino Unido sí se beneficia de sus años más productivos. En otras palabras, recibe mucho talento a bajo coste. Los científicos van donde la financiación en investigación es estable. Cuanto más rico y pro-ciencia sea un país más investigadores será capaz de atraer. El éxito de la ciencia británica podría estar en riesgo si analizamos las conse-

“El éxito de la ciencia británica podría estar en riesgo si analizamos las consecuencias que acarrearía una salida de la UE” cuencias que acarrearía una salida de la UE. En general, existe la convicción de que a corto plazo la economía británica se contraería, haciendo del Reino Unido un país menos atractivo para inmigrantes con estudios superiores. Por si esto fuera poco, las instituciones británicas probablemente sólo puedan optar a un menor número de fondos provenientes de la UE y podrían aislarse de la dinámica de la ciencia europea. Desde el comienzo del sistema de financiación del Consejo de Investigación Europeo (ERC) en el 2007, el Reino Unido ha atraído el 21% de los fondos europeos mientras Alemania, su siguiente competidor, sólo ha conseguido un 14.5%. Además, dentro del programa europeo más prestigioso (ERC Consolidator), más de la mitad de los investigadores premiados en el Reino Unido en 2014 fueron europeos no británicos, por lo que el posible impedimento para acceder a este tipo de fondos europeos podría ocasionar una posible “fuga de cerebros”, como ha pasado en otros países de nuestro entorno. La investigación británica se beneficia enormemente de la libre circulación de ciudadanos europeos, y es previsible que tras una posible salida de la UE, la entrada al Reino Unido sea considerablemente más difícil. Este sería un elemento disua-

sorio importante, salvo que se incrementase de manera extraordinaria el acceso a visados de tipo 1. Asimismo, la capacidad de asegurar fondos suficientes para atraer, reclutar y contratar a los mejores investigadores, vengan de donde vengan, sería motivo de preocupación para los líderes de grupos de investigación. Los investigadores “junior”, con contratos temporales asociados a proyectos, podrán ver restringido su acceso a becas y serían más proclives, dado que en su mayoría no están asentados, a migrar a países donde sean mejor recibidos. Finalmente, los estudiantes de doctorado tendrían menor predisposición para desplazarse al Reino Unido por un posible límite de plazas a estudiantes no británicos e incremento de tasas universitarias, tal y como ocurre actualmente con los estudiantes extracomunitarios. Sin duda, éste es el momento apropiado para que la comunidad científica en el Reino Unido defienda a sus miembros y deje claro que la ciencia británica es líder mundial gracias a la cantidad de investigadores internacionales con los que cuenta. Una salida del Reino Unido de la UE dificultará la atracción y retención del talento matando así a su gallina de los huevos de oro. Este artículo fue publicado por primera vez en The Guardian, en inglés y en su versión extendida el 18 de agosto de 2015. Nerea Irigoyen es investigadora en la Universidad de Cambridge y directora de la Delegación de Cambridge de la Sociedad de Científicos Españoles en Reino Unido (SRUK/CERU). Eduardo Oliver es investigador en el Imperial College de Londres y Presidente de SRUK/CERU.

Winter 2015/16 • La Revista  39


A Day in Bath

Claudia Rubiño discovers connectiones with Jane Austen in the Bath.

Pulteney bridge

Waxwork of Austen at the Jane Austen Centre

“They arrived in Bath. Catherine was all eager delight; her eyes were here, there, everywhere, as they approached its fine and striking environs, and afterwards drove through those streets which conducted them to the hotel. She was come to be happy, and she felt happy already. They were soon settled in comfortable lodgings in Pultney Street”. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen


ave you ever felt like you are in love with a place? It happens to me all the time. I fell in love with Barcelona, then with Coruña, both stunning cities situated within my home country, Spain. However, my biggest crush has been on the beautiful city of London. This has progressed into love for the city, which is why I have been living here for the past three years. Now, if you have already visited Bath then stop reading, and if you happen to have visited Bath and did not like it (or if you are not a Jane Austen fan), then I suggest you stop reading! “I really believe I shall always be talking of Bath, when I am at home again – I do like it so very much…. Oh! Who can ever be tired of Bath?” Northanger Abbey It was not my first visit to Bath. That first time was one of those multi-visit journeys in which you do not have time to take a single picture. I remember that I only visited the Roman Baths in a rush but nothing else. I knew I had to go back to see what else Bath could offer. The day started well despite the bad weather. We went to Bath Abbey, an astonishing piece of art. It was built to

40  La Revista • Summer 2015

replace the Norman cathedral in 1499 and was damaged during the bombings of 1942. We were lucky enough to experience the interior of the cathedral before we split and headed to our chosen destinations. My friend went to the Roman Baths and I went to find the Jane Austen Centre, at 40 Gay Street. The centre was holding a permanent exhibition about Jane Austen's life and her five years living in Bath. From my point of view, the exhibition is nothing special. Although I am a big fan of Jane Austen and I enjoyed my time there, I believe that it could have had a greater impact. The exhibition begun with one of the tour guides dressed as one of Austen's characters, who introduced us to Austen's family tree and explained her relationship with her siblings. This is very important for understanding Austen, as she only wrote about what she knew first hand. A few of her characters were inspired by key members of her family; her father was a clergyman, two of her brothers were adopted by other families, and two of her brothers were in the army. One important subject she wrote about that inspired many of her novels was the relation between her sister Cassandra and herself (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice). They lived together almost all of their lives and when they were separated, Jane used to write long letters to Cassandra every single day. As a result we know that Jane hated Bath, maybe because she did not have time to write due to her social life. Cassandra drew the only portrait that we have of Jane, which is due to replace Churchill on the £10 banknote in 2017. Once we had found out most of Austen’s family history and secrets, we continued further into the exhibition, passing a short film which led onto a set showing a gam-

bling table, pictures and some letters. The highlight of the exhibition was the costume room, in which we could dress up like a Regency lady or gentleman. Having an interactive activity made the exhibition more enjoyable in the end. At the end of the visit, I found myself with two brand new books (Northanger Abbey and The Beautifull Cassandra) and a badge with the motto “I love Darcy”. I picked up my friend next to Queen Square, an adorable place developed by the architect John Wood, the Elder. She told me about the obelisk erected in the centre of the square. We decided to go on a walking tour around the town that started outside the Pump Room in Abbey Church Yard to learn more about Bath’s history and architecture. There is a curious fact about Bath buildings, which is that the stone used for their construction can be cleaned by rain. This Bath Stone has been used all over the city and outside its frontiers: Bristol, London and Reading have benefited from these unique rocks. By the end of the day we wanted to relax in a nice and cosy place and we did it in Sally's Lunn Kitchen, where we had a fantastic tea served with a typical bun and chocolate butter. Finally, we walked around the town for the last time, noticing the unusual Pulteney Bridge with all its little shops on it. On our way back to London we thought about what it would be like to move into 18th century Bath. “My dear Catherine, I am afraid you are growing quite a fine lady. . . . Your head runs too much upon Bath; but there is a time for everything — a time for balls and plays, and a time for work. You have had a long run of amusement, and now you must try to be useful.” Northanger Abbey


Talleres Barravento

Get Creative About Creativity in Santiago

Christy Callaway-Gale meets Victor Hugo Ortega C and Camila Rioseco H, founders of Tallers Barravento, creativity workshops in Santiago, Chile.


antiago – the artistic and architectural emblem of the Centro Gabriela Mistral (GAM): Perhaps no better place in Santiago to meet with creative entrepreneurs. Víctor Hugo Ortega C and Camila Rioseco H, the founders of Talleres Barravento, which hosts creativity workshops, are two such people. “The main objective of this workshop has to do with the verb ‘to focus’,” Hugo Ortega tells me under the bronze eves of the GAM. “It’s about helping those who participate [in the workshop] to seek out an idea for a literary project.” Rioseco, who spent the walk to the GAM handing out flyers to advertise this second workshop conducted by Talleres Barravento, insists on something else it is trying to convey: “[Our] way of going about creating a literary work has to do with absorbing the environment [that surrounds the author]: the coexistence of a geography, of a society, and of the ideology that populates it.” “Many people think literature is universal,” Hugo Ortega chimes in, “but for us it’s not. We think that Latin American literature, for instance, has its own unique characteristics.” Having spent some time searching online for similar workshops offered in Santiago, I came across an abundant selection of creative writing courses, all promising to help me churn out my first, and also best-selling, novel. Talleres Barravento’s style looks to go against the cut and turns its back on the idea that you can teach someone how to write. Instead, the project looks to help people find something unique to get inspired by. “Teaching someone to write is very complex

42  La Revista •Winter 2015/16

and it can’t be done in a short amount of time,” says Hugo Ortega, who has authored three books so far, amongst the long list of projects he has been involved in. “First, you have to learn how to read [critically], because if you don’t know how to read [like that] it’s very difficult to write.” For Rioseco and Hugo Ortega, who both teach courses at the Universidad de Chile on literature and cinema, it’s not just studying an author that is the key to finding inspiration. “For us, it’s also about highlighting the link between cinema, literature, and music, because they are all interlinked,” explains Rioseco. I am reminded of a comment left on the Talleres Barravento’s website from a participant in the first workshop, thanking Talleres Barravento for introducing her to the world of literature and the cinematic qualities we can use within it. The Talleres Barravento project, then, has already achieved its objectives once, it seems. Intrigued by this, I want to know more about what kinds of people participated in the first workshop, and, indeed, those who will participate in the others that are to follow. “Our participants have different points of view. We’ve had academics, students, street-sellers of artisanal goods, foreigners, journalists, school teachers,” Rioseco smiles as she remembers the previous groups. “But you don’t need a degree in literature or to have studied literature before,” Hugo Ortega emphasises. “We want people who have read and understood well what the workshop is about, which we can tell from the section of the application that asks potential participants to describe why they want to take part.” If you’re thinking of applying yourself, there’s a tip if ever I heard one. And if you’re successful, by the end of the course Hugo Ortega hopes that you will “leave with a unique identity for your writing, so you don’t [feel the need to] copy other successful

authors, and that you realise this unique factor is not far away; it surrounds you [in your everyday lives]. We don’t want you to worry about being good or bad; when it comes to style, what we concern ourselves with is your originality.” As Hugo Ortega talks, Rioseco nods in agreement. Apart from the obvious passion of the entrepreneurs, that practically ebbs its way into the grout of the patio underfoot, perhaps the most striking thing about the project is its methodology. “All of the artists we refer to [in the workshop] are independent and original, they do not follow artistic movements.” As a result, these artists are often not widely renowned for their work. Hugo Ortega reels off a list of authors and film directors I’ve never heard of, one of whom is Luis Cornejo, who also worked as a construction worker in Chile. With even more determination in his voice, Ortega tells me that anyone who wants to can write; it’s just a mindset. He was 29 when he wrote his first book and insists that, if someone had told him that earlier, he could have written it at the age of 24. The project, then, has a more demanding task. Getting on board with Talleres Barravento’s attitude towards art requires participants to break away from society’s portrayal of the artist as divine, thereby demystifying the figure of the artistic creator. GAM’s brushed bronze roof suddenly seems less awe-inspiring and I start to realise that the venue for my meeting with Talleres Barravento’s founders is perhaps more incongruous than congruous. After all, Gabriela Mistral is not only internationally renowned, exactly the sort of author Talleres Barravento have chosen to stray away from in their workshops, but her description of the artist as “being to his people what the soul is to the body” supports the god-like image of the artist the new project is fighting to deconstruct. “We want to give more creative freedom to our students, which is reflected in our methodology”, says Hugo Ortega. “I think the word ‘experiment’ is not used enough in conjunction with the word ‘learning’.” This final sentence links to the reason the pair chose to name their new project ‘Barravento’: It’s the title of the first film by Brazilian director Glauber Rocha, but, most importantly, it is not the film he is most known for, in fact, it’s practically not known at all. Rocha’s first film was his first experiment, which led him to greater success, and it’s this first step towards experimentation that the participants of Talleres Barravento will be taking.

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La Revista Issue 241  

The official magazine of the BritishSpanish Society.

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