LA ISSUE 249
REVI S TA THE BRITISH SPANISH SOCIETY MAGAZINE
THROUGH THE LAST ICE OF THE PLANET
SUMMER ISSUE 2019
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WELCOME TO OUR SUMMER ISSUE! La Revista is dedicated to strengthening cultural and educational understanding between the peoples of Spain and the UK. Its publisher the BritishSpanish Society pursues its mission in a world troubled by the threat of a calamity in our age: that of climate change, and the risk it poses not just to the natural world but the very survival of the human race.
and Carmen shine a light in the darkness as they aim to raise our awareness and knowledge of such a key issue that concerns us all, regardless of our nationality, age, race, or social status. Elsewhere in this issue we celebrate the mythology of Cadiz, review a new book on literary Madrid, and talk to one of Spain’s leading historians about a dictionary of biographies going global, while a recipient of a BritishSpanish It is with this in mind, that one Society scholarship writes about Jimmy Burns Marañón, OBE of the BritishSpanish Society’s data protection and privacy. We Chairman & Executive Editor long-serving Trustees Pepe Ivars, a also chart the highs and lows of Spaniard living and working in the UK, set out on Eurovision, pay tribute to a Spanish master chef in a challenging expedition earlier this year to Europe’s London, and preview a Flamenco festival. largest frozen lake in Russia’s great north. And last but by no means least we have Simon The Last Ice project is aimed at drawing attention Manley looking back on the challenges and rewards to the impact of global warning in an area where the of his six years as British ambassador in Spain. He natural world is melting and local communities are has done a great job in building bridges not walls facing extinction. Pepe’s report of the expedition, for which many Spanish and British friends owe which we publish exclusively in this issue, inspired him a huge vote of thanks. our striking cover illustration by Jon Berkeley, an Irish born artist who has travelled the world but There is much more quality writing and great now lives in Barcelona. subjects in La Revista to enjoy over the summer period. We shall be back in the autumn. Once The subject of environmental degradation and again my thanks to a wonderful editorial team: what action should be taken to save our planet was Julia Burns (Design Editor), Marina Pérez de Arcos, discussed at the BritishSpanish Society’s Present Laura Gran, Laura Obiols, and Alexandra Brown, Dangers; Future Risks event at the IE Business and to other hard working volunteers and admin School in Madrid which we report in our news who helped with this issue: Carmen Young, Roger section. Golland, Elisa Ramirez, Maria Soriano, Alvaro Elsewhere in this issue Carmen Sánchez Cañizares, Cepero, Juan Gomez, David Hurst, and Paul a young researcher at Oxford University warns of Pickering. the pressures of the predicted increase in world A big gracias too to our contributors, and all our population and identifies the challenge of providing growing readership and support. Keep with us. a sustainable and secure supply of food. Both Pepe
Cover image: Jon Berkeley holy trousers.com
britishspanishsociet y.org Registered charit y: 1080250
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CONTRIBUTORS ISSUE 249
M ARINA PEREZ DE ARCOS
JIMMY BURNS M AR AÑÓN, OBE
Spanish studies at Oxford Coordinator, teaches at LSE and at Oxford University. Co-founder and director of Oxford Spanish Play. Former BSS Santander Scholar. Commissioning Editor La Revista. BSS Executive Council member.
Author, Journalist and Chairman of the BritishSpanishSociety, Executive Editor La Revista
L AURA OBIOLS
Designer La Revista
Choreographer, dancer, film and theatre director
DR CARMEN SÁNCHEZ CAÑIZARES
Lecturer and postdoctoral researcher working in the Department of Plant Sciences, Queen’s College Oxford University.
Author of a dozen books on Spanish themes, ranging from history and biography to travel and crime fiction.
Born in Dublin. He is an illustrator, author and caricaturist. He has lived and worked in Hong Kong, Sydney, London, and has settled in Barcelona.
BritishSpanish Society Trustee . Has lived and worked in London since 2001. Enjoys endurance trail running, rock climbing and relaxing walks.
L AURA GRAN
Journalist specialised in Marketing and PR. Deputy Editor of La Revista
Former President of TESOL-Spain and teacher at ESADE business school. Former Spanish rugby champion.
PA U L P I C K E R I N G
Arts lecturer. Official Guide. Executive Council member
Born in Salford, Manchester. He is a radio and TV broadcaster. In 2017 Darton Longman and Todd published his autobiography, Queer and Catholic: a Life of Contradiction.
w i t h t h a n k s t o t h e B r i t i s h S p a n i s h S o c i e t y ’s p r i n c i p a l s u p p o r t e r s :
Writer and Executive Council member. BSS Events team
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Journalist and author. Specialises in military history and lived in Madrid for 20 years.
CONTENTS Executive Editor: Jimmy Burns Marañón Deputy Editor: Laura Gran Design: Julia Burns
Contributing Editors: Marina Pérez de A r c o s & L a u r a O b i o l s ( A r t s) Advertising: Alexandra Brown Distribution: David Hurst Scholarships: Elisa Ramírez, Marina Pérez de Arcos, Francisco Holgado M a r i a n J i m é n e z- R i e s c o ( Tr u s t e e) Development Secretary: María Soriano Casado
NEWS & EVENTS
HEALTH 16 SPOTLIGHT 20
E v e n t s : C a r m e n Yo u n g ( Tr u s t e e) , David Hurst, Paul Pickering, Silvia Montes, Jordi Mateu, Silvia Montes Membership, Finance & Website Secretary: Juan Gómez García
Events & Grants Secretary: Álvaro Cepero Published by the British Spanish Society
Honorary President: H.E. Carlos Bastarreche, Spanish Ambassador Honorary Vice-President: S i m o n M a n l e y, British Ambassador to Spain
Chairman: Jimmy Burns Marañón Patrons: Duke of Wellington, Dame Denise Holt, L a d y M a r i a - B e l e n P a r k e r, C a r m e n A r a o z d e U r q u i j o , L a d y B r e n n a n , L a d y L i n d s a y, J o h n S c a n l a n , R t H o n B a r o n e s s H o o p e r, Randolph Churchill, Sir Stephen Wright Tr u s t e e s : J i m m y B u r n s M a r a ñ ó n (C h a i r m a n) , J u a n R e i g M a s c a r e l l ( Tr e a s u r e r) , C a r m e n Yo u n g , M a r í a Á n g e l e s J i m é n e z R i e s c o , J o s é I v a r s L o p e z , S c o t t Yo u n g , R o g e r Golland, Cristina Álvarez Campana, Mike Short, Fernando Menéndez, Justin Ellis
SCIENCE 52 LAST WORD
Other members of the Executive Council: David Hurst, Paul Pickering, Alexandra Brown, Francisco Holgado, Alberto Linares, Silvia Montes, Jordi Mateu, Julián Bárcena, Elisa Ramírez, Marina Pérez de Arcos. w w w. b r i t i s h s p a n i s h s o c i e t y. o r g 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 Societ y is a registered c h a r i t y : 10 8 0 2 5 0 Contact us: For all editorial contributions or to comment on an article you have read in La Revista, please write to us at: i n f o @ b r i t i s h s p a n i s h s o c i e t y. o r g To e n q u i r e a b o u t a d v e r t i s i n g oppor tunities (including classified a d v e r t s) p l e a s e c o n t a c t : firstname.lastname@example.org
nt La Revista is printed by Newman Thomson email@example.com
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NEWS & EVENTS
PAST EVENTS Present dangers, Future Risks Conference A top panel of experts discussing some of the key global challenges facing the survival of our civilization drew an enthusiastic audience at the end of May to the BritishSpanish Society conference held at the impressive facilities of the prestigious IE Business School in Madrid. British and Spanish panelists discussed a range of issues from climate change and innovative solutions aimed at saving our planet to the rise of populism, the reemergence of long-term strategic competition and how technology is changing world politics. Addressing the ticking Doomsday Clock, ecologist and TV documentary maker Odile Rodríguez de La Fuente spoke of how the major environmental challenges we face (specially climate change but also biodiversity and ecosystem depletion) are forcing us to take global actions, that will redefine our current socio-economic system. “It is a matter of whether we can better our quality of life and the common good or whether we allow climate and the environment get beyond repair, with dire consequences for our health, security and current way of life,” she warned the conference.
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There were solutions however and David Reavley, Chief Executive Officer of Solar Water PLC, co-sponsors of the conference, described the desalination technology developed by his company for tackling one of the major problems, a lack of fresh water. It was an example of action being taken to arrest further negative climate change and do things ecologically in beneficial and innovative ways. Turning to security and superpower tensions, Carlota García Encina leading analyst with the Elcano Royal Institute the main Spanish think-tank for international and strategic studies, talked of the “reshuffling of core pieces of the international order” with China, Russia and the US laying their own competitive claims on it.” Manuel Muñiz, Dean of the School of International Relations at IE University argued that lurking behind the Trump administration’s trade conflict with China lay an abiding fear that the United States could be losing its advantage in the global technology race. He predicted that the contest between the US and China for technological dominance could potentially lead to a sharper backlash against globalization, adding
national-security concerns to distributive grievances. The outcome could be a retreat to islands of proprietary data and technologies. Simon Kuper, author and columnist with the Financial Times, tackled the issue of Europe, arguing that whereas there was very little public support for federalism, and for centralizing more powers in Brussels, there was now great support in almost every EU country – now even in the UK – for EU membership. “The UK’s attempt to Brexit has shown how interwoven our economies and lives are, how difficult it is to leave,” he said. The panel discussion was introduced and mediated by author and journalist Jimmy Burns Marañón, chairman of the British Spanish Society. The BSS would like to thank the co-sponsors of the conference Solar Water PLC,and IE School of Global and Public Affairs for their support, and Mahou San Miguel and Raventós Codorníu for supporting the reception.
NEWS & EVENTS
Churchill & Spain in Manchester
The opening in Manchester of the British Spanish Society’s Churchill & Spain exhibition, with the generous support of the Cervantes Institute, drew an enthusiastic and lively British and Spanish public to its opening and keynote talk by its curator the author and journalist Jimmy Burns OBE on May 2. The event was hosted by Francisco Oda, Director of the Cervantes in Manchester and Leeds, at the Institute’s impressive historic building in the city’s cultural and social hub Deansgate. The exhibition, which will be open to the public until the end of June, charts Churchill’s links with Spain from his early days in Cuba to Word War 2 and his final years in retirement as a VIP tourist. BSS chairman Burns noted the Cervantes headquarters in Manchester was originally opened in the early Victorian period by the famous British novelist the late Charles Dickens, and he praised Manchester as a diverse and culturally vibrant city that has a long history of attracting intellectuals and artists of all backgrounds. In his presentation, Burns described Churchill as an an “aristocratic and romantic imperialist full of admiration for the Quixotic spirit of the Spanish people”, and a declared admiration for Spain which the great war leader called “one of the oldest branches in the tree of European nations.”
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While some of the exhibits, generously sponsored by Hispania,were first shown by the BSS in London in 2015, on the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death, the project has since become itinerant, moving to Cambridge last autumn and with plans to go to Spain, continuing to evolve with new material being added so as to make it a “shared and dynamic project.” Media attending in Manchester included the BBC’s Mark Dowd and the Financial Times North of England correspondent Andrew Bounds who tweeted: “Exhibition on Churchill and Spain well worth a look. Lots of revealing material about Churchill.” Among the public attending were local British and Spanish businessmen, students, and academics including the curator of Stonyhurst College Dr Jan Graffius, and Dr Karl McLaughlin, Senior Lecturer in Spanish, Languages, Linguistics and TESOL at Manchester Metropolitan University. The exhibition in Manchester is profiled in Punto de Enlace, a special programme by the Instituto Cervantes of the Spanish national radio RNE Francisco’s Oda’s interview with Jimmy Burns is also being broadcast on the Instituto Cervantes Manchester’s YouTube channel.
Memorable encounter with the Master of Light
The BritishSpanish Society enjoyed an exclusive tour on May 16th of the magnificent ‘Sorolla, Spanish Master of Light’ at London’s National Gallery (see La Revista Issue 248 for full article on the exhibition).
had interrupted a conversation among the paintings themselves. Such a flight of fancy is, of course, the product of what is always a special experience: an early morning private view in congenial company.
Bartolomé Bermejo, Saint Michael Triumphs over the Devil (detail), 1468
Paul Pickering, a member of the BSS Executive Council, reports: The accompanying photograph says it all: a radiant looking group of members and guests of the BritishSpanish Society who, paradoxically, had just emerged from the windowless basement of the National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing. Light, sometimes dazzling, as in the famous beach scenes of playing children, occasionally penumbral, as in ‘Triste Herencia’, had streamed in abundance from canvas after canvas. Enlightenment had come in the commentary of our engaging, excellent guide, curator Akemi Herraez Vossbrink who began the tour by drawing attention to the dappled lighting of the floor of the entrance area. We were to imagine ourselves moving through the shade of Sorolla’s garden into his home, the first room of the gallery where hung portraits of the artist’s wife, Clotilde, and children. As a member of the group progressing through an otherwise virtually empty exhibition space, I don’t think I was the only person to feel that the paintings spoke with an eloquence which as the day progressed, would become more muted. It was, in fact, as if our presence
12 June –29 September 2019
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NEWS & EVENTS
Networking & a fun night
Pub crawl around Belgravia
With over 80 attendees the BritishSpanish Societynetworking event on 11th April at the new and trendy Opium London was a great success and above all fun, reports BSSTrustee and head of events Carmen Young.
On a warm evening in March, BritishSpanish Society enthusiasts led by the BSS’s Executive Council member expert guide David Hurst, dutifully “crawled” around London’s ultra-smart Belgravia, visiting three famous and very different “olde English Taverns”.
All guests enjoyed fantastic cocktails, a wide variety of drinks were available, and Opium London served their trademark Asian fusion canapes.
The first visit was to The Star Tavern, an award-winning traditional London pub reputed to be the hangout in the fifties and sixties of film stars, directors and some of England’s master criminals.
To remember the fun night Paparazzi Vip offered its photo booth so all attendees had the opportunity to have their pictures and hilarious GIFs taken and then sent to them via email. Opium London is part of the Spanish chain Grupo Este and the new place to go, eat drink, dance and be seen. opium-london.com Paparazzi Vip offers its clients may photographic options, amongst them the Gif photobooth. paparazzivip.com
Next stop was The Grenadier, a landmark in its own right and with a reputation as “royalty” among London pubs. Over the heads of the friendly group was real money hung by visitors from the ceiling, put there to pay off the debt of a former customer and card cheat. Charming! Finally, and leaving the best until last, the band of British and Spanish friends supped in The Nag’s Head, modestly self-proclaimed as the “Best Pub in the World”! Dating from the late eighteenth century, spread over three very cramped floors and boasting a unique waist-level bar, The Nag’s Head is how pubs used to be and some argue, still should be. After this fine pub history tour, the delighted group ended the genial evening toasting, by common consent, that finest of British legacies to the rest of the world – THE PUBLIC HOUSE!
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NEWS & EVENTS
THE BULLDOG AND THE BULL. CHURCHILL AND SPAIN 2 MAY - 1 JULY Instituto Cervantes | Manchester Admission: Free EL CORREGIDOR Y LA MOLINERA BY MANUEL DE FALLA 14 JUNE St John’s Smith Square | London 4.30PM REHEARSAL conducted by BSS-Sabadell Grantee Roc Fargas Admission: 20 complimentary tickets for BSS members only. 7.30PM CONCERT conducted by BSS-Sabadell Grantee Roc Fargas Admission: 10 complimentary tickets for BSS members only. Contact directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘CORPUS CRISTI’ COCKTAIL RECEPTION 22 JUNE, 9PM TILL LATE Venta de Aries | Toledo, Spain With live music, drinks and tapas Admission: BSS member £25 Non member £30 Children under 10yrs £12.50
BSS ANNUAL SUMMER RECEPTION 2 JULY, 6PM-9PM Residence of HE the Spanish Ambassador | London, UK With live music, fabulous tapas, Jamón ibérico, Cava, Spanish wines and beer at exclusive venue. Admission: BSS member £45 Non member £60
EXCLUSIVE TOUR AT LEIGHTON HOUSE WITH LECTURER PAUL PICKERING 19 SEPTEMBER, 3PM Leighton House | London, UK 15 tickets only. Including museum entry & a glass of wine or beer. Admission: BSS member £20 Non member £25
BSS & AROUND ART - EXCLUSIVE TRIP TO MALAGA AND GRANADA 8 -10 NOVEMBER, 3PM Malaga & Granada | Spain 12 guests minimum, 15 maximum. Register your interest/queries: email@example.com
THE BSS & GUILDHALL SCHOOL OF MUSIC, A ZARZUELA CELEBRATION OCTOBER DATE & DETAILS TBC Guildhall School of Music | London, UK
BRITISHSPANISH SOCIETY CHRISTMAS RECEPTION DECEMBER DATE & DETAILS TBC
FULL DETAILS: britishspanishsociety.org RESERVATIONS: firstname.lastname@example.org Become a BSS member to support our charity work while you enjoy priority and great discounts. All events have limited capacity, book early to avoid disappointment.
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Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs
NO WOMAN’S LAND UNTIL 14-15 JUNE The Place Theatre | London Two women, two generations, two cultures, two lands. In this duet dance artist Avatâra Ayuso and Inuk elder Naulaq LeDrew explore the migration experiences that took them away from their native lands in the Spanish Mediterranean and the Canadian Arctic, digging deep into their cultural traditions, histories, humour, prejudices and fears.
THE NET 13-17 AUGUST Tristan Bates Theatre | London A grandmother and her granddaughter are tasked with patching a hole in the border. As they weave it closed, two women appear on other side, hoping to get through. The women must come face to face with each other as opinions change and loyalties switch.
SOROLLA SYMPOSIUM 29 JUNE The National Gallery | London To mark the success of the National Gallery’s exhibition “Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light”, the Embassy of Spain in London organizes a symposium on the figure of the painter to further explore his work.
16TH FLAMENCO FESTIVAL 30 JUNE–14 JULY Sadlers Wells | London The Flamenco Festival, known as one of London’s most successful events of the year, takes on once again with a full program presenting some of the best-known flamenco performers in Spain.
FESTELÕN 1–15 OCTOBER John Lyon’s Theatre at City Lit | London FeSTeLõn: The Festival of Spanish Theatre, London, is an independent initiative which creates a cultural exchange between Spanish theatre companies and London audiences. Since 2013 the festival has brought theatre companies from Spain to London each year giving them the opportunity to reach a new audience.
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CATERING IN MADRID SINCE 1891
Hispania is the largest, most successful and ambitious project dedicated to Spanish gastronomy in Europe. … Hispania offers a complete Spanish experience working with Marcos Morán, our executive chef and Michelin star and Lorenzo Castillo, one of the best Spanish interior designers.
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DORMIR BIEN AYUDA A VIVIR MÁS Y MEJOR
by Dra. Begoña Martí Martí
Special Interest in Prosthodontics, MSc Lic Odont (Spain) Graduada en Odontología, Máster en Prótesis Dental, Máster en Ciencias Odontológicas (Valencia, España)
Los problemas en el sueño son ya una epidemia global que amenaza la salud y la calidad de vida de más del 45% de la población mundial.
respiratorias (CPAP). Este tipo de tratamiento a pesar de ser el más eficiente, suele costar bastante acostumbrarse a llevarlo, puede provocar sequedad e irritación, así como ser aparatoso para alguien que viaja regularmente
No todo roncador tiene apneas, pero sí todo apnéico es roncador.
Los dentistas tenemos un papel esencial en la identificación de los problemas del sueño y podemos contribuir al tratamiento tanto del ronquido simple como del SAOS.
oncar es común y para la mayoría no es un verdadero problema, pero en casos severos puede provocar dificultades en las relaciones personales y/o sociales. Para algunos roncar incita a no descansar bien y estar continuamente cansado. Esto puede deberse a la presencia de apnea obstructiva del sueño.
El síndrome de la Apnea Obstructiva del Sueño (SAOS) consiste en una interrupción momentánea y repetida de la respiración, impidiendo el paso del aire a los pulmones durante el sueño. Al cerrarse la vía aérea, los niveles de oxígeno bajan y estimulan al cerebro para producir microdespertares que obligan a respirar y que alteran severamente la calidad del sueño e impiden descansar adecuadamente. La falta de descanso, no sólo tiene un impacto en la calidad de vida por el estado de cansancio que generan, sino también sobre la salud, ya que incrementa el riesgo de padecer determinadas enfermedades como hipertensión, infartos, enfermedades cardiovasculares o cerebrovasculares, así como diabetes. El mejor tratamiento para la apnea obstructiva del sueño suele ser un tipo de mascarilla que cubre la nariz y que ejerce una presión positiva continua en las vías
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Los dispositivos de avance mandibular (DAM) son férulas removibles que posicionan la mandíbula de forma adelantada, proyectando hacia delante la base de la lengua y aumentando el espacio para el paso del aire. Estos aparatos están muy aceptados y tolerados por el paciente ya que son cómodos y fáciles de manejar, transportar y son eficientes en la reducción del ronquido y de la apnea del sueño.
No dude en consultar con su odontólogo cómo tratar el ronquido. Si sospecha que padece de SAOS, debería hacerse una prueba del sueño o polisomnografía que actualmente constituye la prueba de referencia para estudiar la respiración, el ritmo cardíaco y la actividad cerebral durante el sueño y que confirmará la presencia de episodios de apnea y su severidad.
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THROUGH THE LAST ICE OF THE PLANET
by Pepe Ivars
Three explorers are raising awareness of the effects of climate change with a challenging polar adventure. One of the team, a Trustee of the BritishSpanish Society talks to La Revista about the project.
t the end of March, almost coinciding with the day when the winter ends, a team of three explorers arrived at the island of Kizhi on Lake Onega, the second largest lake in Europe (and the largest one that freezes). It is located in the Great Russian North about six hundred kilometers north of St. Petersburg and scarcely 50 kilometers from the shore of the White Sea. The expedition is composed of three experienced adventurers: Pepe Ivars, Albert Bosch and Pako Crestas and together they have created the project called The Last Ice with the objective of publicizing the effects of climate change through polar expeditions in remote regions of the northern hemisphere, which began last year with the crossing to the lake of the Great Slave in the Canadian Arctic. One of the founders of this project is Pepe Ivars, businessman and professional of the financial sector based in London and a member of the Board of Trustees of the British Spanish society, with whom La Revista shares this interview:
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Q. Hi Pepe, explain what the Last Ice project consists of? A. The Last Ice is a sports, environmental and awareness project where the epic of polar adventure serves as a catalyst to spread awareness of climate change, pollution and the retreat of the polar ice. We are a team of 3 adventurers with extensive experience in extreme projects, exploring and documenting the impact of climate change on the lakes and frozen seas of the continents that border the Arctic. We started last year in the American continent, crossing the lake of the Great Slave in the Northwest Territories of Canada. In 2019 we have continued with Lake Onega, on the European continent, and next year we will be in Lake Baikal (Asia) to finish in the Geographic North Pole. Q. Tell us a little more about you as a team. A. In extreme environments requiring high levels of physical and mental commitment, team spirit is a critical factor.
For this project we are a team with extensive experience in polar crossings, with the added value that we complement each other perfectly. Albert Bosch, Pako Crestas and Pepe Ivars, the dream team working with a clear objective of awareness through this series of selected expeditions. Q. Why have you selected these lakes for the project? A. For The Last Ice we did not want to leave anything to chance. We were clear that we wanted to tell a real story and in first person of each site that was chosen for the project and we began a process of selection of locations that, sadly, will not resist the impact of global warming. The final selection allows us to talk about a global problem such as climate change, from a local perspective and focused on the impact of the inhabitants of these areas. Q. What stories have emerged from these two journeys that you have already made? A. During the polar crossing of the lake of the Great Slave, in the territories of the Canadian Northwest, we lived with the tribe of the Dene, in a remote indigenous reservation on the shores of the lake. There we learned how the large diamond mining companies impact on the life of the tribe, contaminating the waters and changing the hunting and fishing habits of the inhabitants of this remote area of the â€‹â€‹ planet. The concept of territory and love of "mother nature" that indigenous people inherited from their ancestors, is being challenged by new generations that value money more than the protection of their territory. The lake is contaminated by the mining companies with the approval of the chiefs of the tribes, and this is the story we are telling the world that would otherwise not get any coverage. At Lake Onega, the approach was totally different. At first we wanted to cross the Ladoga, which apart from being the largest lake in Europe, its ice road served as an escape route during the almost 900 days of the Nazi siege of Leningrad during the Second World War. Due to the effects of climate change, the lake no longer freezes, 70 years later ... that is why we chose Onega - located further north - because it is possible that sadly it will experience the same fate in the not so distant future. We wanted to make this reflection on the millions of people who saved our lives and who today would not have survived. It is a way of putting this serious problem in perspective.
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Q. How is one trained to face these types of challenges? A.The truth is that you do what you can, always combining work and training. I have a physical trainer (with whom I have been working for more than 25 years and who knows me better than I know myself ), with whom I prepare the training according to the calendar of events and work. For polar expeditions the training is cardiovascular and developing specific strength to drag the sledge, so we start about 12 weeks before each event, with a specific programme for each adventure. We are talking about 70 hours a month of training ... so you have to find the balance so that it does not suppose a great sacrifice for the family, but to be constant so as not to be distracted from what the final objective is. Q. With the extreme cold in these areas, what kind of equipment do you carry with you? A. The mountain material is in constant evolution and we are equipped with the latest technology for these extremely cold temperatures (up to -60C). The Ternua brand that collaborates with this project, designs the garments that we wear, which are made of 100% recycled material and free of chlorine, but with maximum efficiency necessary for this type of expeditions. For example, the fiber pants that we wear are made from the recycling of fishing nets collected in the Basque Country, or the feathers from the
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recycled jackets of hotel duvets in Eastern Europe. An alignment of the values of the project and the values of our suppliers. The equipment is very similar to the one used in mountain climbs of 8000 meters, with double gore-tex gloves, high protection goggles and the layering systems that we wear under the jackets. The tent and sleeping bags are specially designed for this type of extreme cold, and we load them on sledges that we drag along with a harness, and we wear "back country" skis with Nordic ski bindings. Q. Tell us about your last expedition to Lake Onega, what surprised you most and why? A. The Onega has ended up being a good expedition in every way. For the adventure part, we have managed to cross Lake Onega in winter from Medvezhyegorsk, to the island of Kizhi, a remote enclave declared a World Heritage Site because of its orthodox wooden churches built without using nails. It is a voyage we have no record of being made by anyone before so it was a privilege to explore on skis this remote region of the great Russian north. For the environmental part we have been able to experience the effects of global warming in the first person, and in many parts of the journey the lake was not frozen enough and we had to modify the route for several days.
In general, we were happy to be able to explore this area of the â€‹â€‹ planet in total solitude, only us and hundreds of kilometers of frozen horizon. Q. You talk about global warming, but what is the true dimension of the impact of climate change in that area? A. As I mentioned before, the real impact is that Lake Ladoga - the largest lake in Europe south of Onega no longer freezes. It is sad to think that only 70 years ago, not only did it freeze, but it served as an ice road to evacuate and supply Leningrad during the almost 900 days of the Nazi siege. Today it would have been impossible and unfortunately, if we do not do something fast, the Onega will suffer the same fate.
Note on the Author : Pepe Ivars is a member of the Alpine Club and the Fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society and a Trustee of the BritishSpanish Society. He has lived in London since 2001 and works in the financial sector. He is the founder of the company Once in Your Life Adventures which offers business coaching drawing from the experience of adventure and exploration.. The proyecto The Last Ice can be followed on social media and on thelastice.info
This is the best example of the impact of climate change reinforced by a historical fact that gives us a clear perspective on the problem. That is our main objective, to raise awareness of concrete problems that affect specific groups. Q. What is the next project? A. We have two more expeditions as part of The Last Ice Project, Lake Baikal and the geographic North Pole, with which we will continue our work to raise awareness of the problems of global warming. Lake Baikal (Siberia - Asia) is the largest and most crystalline in the world and houses 22% of the fresh water of the entire planet. The North Pole will be the culmination of this series of expeditions and a special moment because our colleague Albert Bosch will become one of the few explorers who has walked the three corners of the earth: the South Pole (alone), Everest and the Geographical North Pole. With these expeditions we want to leave you testimony of our passion for nature and for this type of adventure, while also leaving testimony of the "in situ" effects of Climate Change and the need to commit ourselves all much more in the fight against this great challenge for the good of the entire planet. From the THE LAST ICE project we continue exploring for a more sustainable future.
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FAREWELL TO SPAIN
by Simon Manley
After a long and successful posting, during which he has made many friends while manoevering through troubled waters, the popular Simon Manley CMG is stepping down as British Ambassador to Spain. Here the BritishSpanish Society’s honorary vice-president for the last six years reflects on a challenging but rewarding mission.
depart from Madrid this August, after almost six years. I leave it in the very good hands of my great friend, distinguished colleague, and a former BSS trustee Hugh Elliott, but I will certainly go with a tear or two in my eye. It’s been by far the best job I have had in three decades in public service and I will miss it enormously. The last six years have of course been a period of extraordinary change: five general elections, two Kings, a few Royal Weddings and even more Royal babies, the emergence of new political parties in both our countries, and to cap it all off, an all English Champions League final in Madrid. It’s been the most extraordinary honour and privilege to serve my Queen and Country and such a pleasure to do so in such a beautiful country whose people are so warm and welcoming. It has left me with some unforgettable moments, not least during the State Visit to the UK by the King and Queen of Spain two years ago: riding down the Mall in a horse drawn carriage, the route flanked by vast Union and Spanish flags; the flag-waving school children who so enthusiastically greeted Their Majesties in Oxford; and the energetic “Vivas” from the members of both Houses of Parliament following the King’s Address. But I will also treasure meeting the extraordinarily dignified parents of Ignacio Echeverria, the Spanish skateboard hero of the Borough Market terrorist attack, attending the funeral of the legendary Adolfo Suarez alongside Nick Clegg and Miriam Gonzalez, watching the fabulous Tamara Rojo
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and the English National Ballet perform in the Generalife Gardens on a moonlit summer night in Granada and entering the Camp Nou for the first time to the sound of London Calling by The Clash (my choice, I admit, at the invitation of FC Barcelona !). Perhaps I don’t need to tell the readers of La Revista quite how rich the bilateral ties are between our two great nations. They are of course embedded in our shared histories, histories that I have had the opportunity to witness in person, be they the Barrio Ingles of RioTinto, the Palacio of the Magdalena in Santander, the Casa del Ingles in Logroño, the sherry bodegas of Jerez de la Frontera, the Jardin de San Carlos in La Coruña, or the various English cemeteries dotted around Spain. But they are also very much part of our contemporary reality. And those ties have never felt stronger, even as we prepare to leave the EU, whether it be the €60bn commercial relationship, whose leading firms have played such a generous role in the BSS, sponsoring the scholarships, the hundreds of thousands of Brits and Spaniards who have chosen to live in each others’ countries and who add so much to the wealth of our economies as well as the vitality and diversity of our societies and cultures, or the millions more of tourists who return, year after year, be it to the glorious beaches and mountains of Spain, or to the cities and glens of the UK. One of the pleasures of the job has been to meet so many people who give so much to the bilateral relationship,
be they the devoted charity volunteers on the Costas or on the islands, the excellent staff and enthusiastic pupils of the more than 100 British schools in Spain, the excellent cooks who have brought some of the best of Spanish food to the UK, or the directors, actors, dancers, musicians and singers who are such effective ambassadors for our two great cultures. In my time here, we have tried to do our best to enhance those bilateral ties, to make them more than the sum of these considerable parts. That’s not always been easy, given the wider context, but we have sought to reach out in new ways - be they digital or analogue - to those willing to work with us in that effort, and, in particular, to make the most of those hundreds of thousands of young Spaniards who have studied or worked in the UK.
There is, I think, even more we can do on that in the years ahead, but our partner organisations have been key to the effort so far, whether that be the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain and Spanish Chamber in the UK, the British Council and Instituto Cervantes, the British Hispanic Foundation, the British Spanish Tertulias, or, of course, the BritishSpanish Society. I have been delighted to witness at first hand the vitality and professionalism of the BSS and the variety and quality of its activities (in which I am so looking forward to participate myself once I am back in the UK). It seems to me the BritishSpanish Society has a key role in harnessing the enthusiasm of Spaniards and Britons alike in our countries’ rich cultural and educational ties, a core element in what I hope will be an ever closer bilateral relationship in the years ahead. Long may it flourish. ¡Viva la BSS!
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MI AMIGO JOSÉ PIZARRO
By Jimmy Burns Marañón
Un embajador en Londres de la cocina Española celebra veinte años en la capital inglesa. Aquí el presidente del BritishSpanish Society le escribe un muy bien merecido homenaje.
on aire Quixotesco de esos primeros conquistadores de humilde procedencia que en su momento cruzaron tierras Andinas para fundar una nueva civilización, un José Pizarro hecho para nuestros tiempos partio de su tierra extremeña y aterrizo en Londres hace justo dos décadas. Con unas cuantas pesetas ahorrados en su bolsillo el joven cocinero queria aprender el idioma de Shakespeare y transmitir a la tribu anglosajona en una gran cuidad que siempre se habiamantenida abierta al mundo, lo mas gustoso de la buena comida hispana. José Pizarro, nació en Talaván (Cáceres), Mantiene la memoria de su niñez, saboreando los buenos guisos caseros, de su querida madre Isabel y viendo a sus padres levantarse a las 5 de la mañana para cuidar de sus vacas en y para ordeñarlas. Hace 25 años se apuntó en la Escuela de Restauración de Cáceres y encontró trabajo en El Mesón de Doña Filo, la casa de su mentor Julio Reoyo en Colmenar de Arroyo, en la sierra de Madrid. Despues decidió irse a Londres para ganarse una nueva vida. El 14 de Mayo, nuestro amigo José fue objeto de un muy merecido homenaje en la Embajada de España en Belgrave Square, donde, en un ambiente muy acogedor y en la presencia del embajador Carlos Bastarreche, celebró sus 25 años como cocinero y sus 20 años en esta ciudad, además de la presentación de su libro “Andalusia”, unas de cuyas mágicas recetas ofrecemos a nuestros lectores..
El evento sirvió para recordar su primera época de aprendizaje como cocinero y socio de Brindisa en Londres y a continuación, el desarollo de su propio negocio. Su historia es una gran trajectoria de trabajo honesto,
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y creativo que le ha convertido en un gran embajador del producto culinario y la gastronomía española en el capital británica donde cuenta con muchos seguidores. El 4 de mayo de 2011, abrió José Tapas Bar en Bermondsey,una zona imaginada por Dickens cerca de London Bridge que poco a poco salía de su pobreza para convertirse en un barrio de movida artistica y empresarial. Hoy es dueño del Grupo Pizarro Restaurants, que suma 4 restaurantes (José Tapas Bar, Pizarro Restaurant, José Pizarro y el pub The Swan Inn by José Pizarro), un equipo de entre 110 y 120 empleados,miles de clientes por semana, y un sello de ‘celebrity chef ’ reforzado por sus muy admirados libros gastronomicos. José transmite,con un gran naturalidad, pasion genuina por el oficio y su arte, sin jamas olvidarse de sus raizes humildes y el amor que siente hacia su familia y la lealtad hacia los buenos amigos.
En la embajada, la invitada de honor como tenía que ser era su madre Isabel, mujer ya mayor y de gran dignidad, que había viajado desde Cáceres para acompañar a su hijo en su alegría.. “Quiero expresar mi mayor agradecimiento a mi madre Isabel por enseñarme todo lo que sé y, sobre todo, por hacerme buena persona”, dijo José . Sin duda, querido José, para los que te hemos conocido desde tus principios en Londres, sigues siendo un buenazo ademas de un gran cocinero. Thank you dear friend. Stay with us.
THE ART OF THE ‘NEW’ GAZPACHO To mark the 20th anniversary of José Pizarro’s arrival in London, we are delighted to share a summer recipe he has selected for us from his new book ANDALUSIA which is on a special discount offer to readers of La Revista published by the BritishSpanish Society. Readers of La Revista will only need to call 01256 302 699 and quote NZ2 to make the purchase directly.
Strawberry Gazpacho It is undeniable that gazpacho is one of the star dishes of Andalusia. When I travelled to Málaga, I discovered that they add fruits such as grapes and melon to make it more nutritious and complex in flavour. Strawberry gazpacho sounds like an unusual incarnation of the traditional recipe, but the berries are very popular in Huelva, and the result is just terrific. Serves 6 300 g (10 ½ oz) vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped 700 g (1 lb 8 ½ oz) ripe strawberries, with a few reserved for garnish 1 roasted red (bell) pepper, sliced 1 small shallot, finely chopped 1 small garlic clove, crushed 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar 75 ml (2 ½ fl oz/1⁄3 cup) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Olive oil, for frying 2 slices sourdough, diced Basil leaves and edible flowers, to garnish To Serve Cold sherry, preferably amontillado or palo cortado. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil, sourdough and garnishes and leave to infuse overnight. The next day, add the olive oil and whizz together with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth, adding a splash of water if it’s too thick. Season to taste. Pour a little olive oil into a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the sourdough croutons for 4–5 minutes, until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with sea salt. Divide the gazpacho between individual soup bowls and garnish with basil leaves, edible flowers and croutons. Finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and some sea salt. Serve with a cold glass of sherry. ANDALUSIA: Recipes from Seville and beyond by José Pizarro (Hardie Grant, £26.00) Photography: Emma Lee
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CÁDIZ : CITY OF MYTHS, CULTURE & BRITISH LINKS
by Jules Stewart
The ancient port city in South West Spain has captured the imagination of prophets and poets, soldiers and travellers since its foundation more than 3,000 years ago.
he Old Testament speaks of Jonah on his sea voyage being cast overboard for disobeying the Lord. The Hebrew prophet was swallowed by a great whale, in whose body he survived for three days before being disgorged on the shores of Tarshish. Greek mythology has it that Hercules’ tenth labour took him to the gates of Gades, where he was to obtain the cattle of the fearsome giant Geryon. Homer speaks of the same city being founded 80 years after the Trojan War, which would place it around 1100 BC. Classical scholars have come to link both Tarshish and Gades with the Spanish port of Cádiz. Mythology aside, recent archaeological digs in the city centre have uncovered remnants of Phoenician artefacts dating from the 10th-11th
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centuries BC, confirming the widely-accepted thesis that Cádiz was established by Phoenician traders more than 3,000 years ago, as their first settlement in the West. Cádiz has from the earliest days excited the imagination – and passion -- of travellers, especially those from England. The Roman poet Juvenal referred to Cádiz girls in Rome – puellae gaditanae – who performed dances with bronze castanets in the time of the emperor Trajan. Lord Byron was enchanted by the ladies of Cádiz, whom he described as ‘form’d for all the witching arts of love’. Benjamin Disraeli fell in love with Cádiz in 1830, seeing ‘Figaro in every street and Rosita in every balcony’. The city has also been home to outstanding figures of Spanish arts and letters. Suffice it to mention the poet Rafael Alberti, composer Manuel de Falla, and flamenco immortals Paco de Lucía, Niña Pastori and Camarón de la Isla, not to overlook Swansea City football defender José Manuel Flores. The history of Cádiz comprises that of Europe’s oldest continuously-inhabited city, one steeped in maritime adventure and warfare. Columbus sailed from Cádiz on his second and fourth voyages, and when the city was the home port of the Spanish treasure fleet, it became the
target of frequent attacks by Barbary corsairs. The 16th to 19th centuries saw eight assaults on Cádiz by foreign fleets, most of them British, starting in 1587 with a raid by Sir Francis Drake and his infamous ‘singeing of the King of Spain’s beard’. Drake’s destruction of 31 Spanish galleons in the Bay of Cádiz delayed by a year the sailing of the Invincible Armada. There were numerous attacks on Cádiz in the 17th century, due to it being a strategically important point for maritime traffic with America and its control of the Strait of Gibraltar. This was made clear by Felipe IV in 1660: ‘Cádiz was the most important garrison in this monarchy, which is why enemies had their eye on invading it.’ Cádiz was also a strategic site in the Battle of Trafalgar, as the closest port to the encounter between the British Royal Navy commanded by Horatio Nelson and the combined fleets of the French and Spanish navies. In the years preceding the tumultuous and devastating Peninsular War, the city was a centre of enormous wealth. ‘Without a doubt, Cádiz’s era of glory was the 17th century, when the port began to control all trade with the American colonies,’ says noted Cádiz historian and author Lourdes Márquez. She tells of her Irish ancestor William Butler, who went to Cádiz in 1730 to free himself from the Penal Laws that had been imposed by Oliver Cromwell. There, like many other Irish who refused to accept the Anglican Church, Butler set up a trading enterprise with the Spanish colonies. As the seat of Spain’s military high command and de facto capital of Spain during the Peninsular War -- it was the only major Spanish city not occupied by Napoleon’s troops -- Cádiz hosted the Cortes that in 1812 proclaimed Europe’s first liberal Constitution. This was a truly revolutionary charter which set a precedent for the constitutions later adopted by Western democracies.
The Constitution approved by 300 deputies in March 1812, set out the principle that sovereignty resided in the people, who held the sole entitlement to establish laws. The Church was deprived of its right to press censorship, while a measure of universal suffrage was established, albeit limited to men over the age of twenty-five. It is worth bearing in mind that more than two centuries ago, this was viewed as a radical initiative. The Constitution also curtailed the power of the monarch, a step too far for Fernando VII, who was returned to power by Napoleon in 1814 and promptly suspended the Cortes and revoked the Constitution. Nonetheless, the Constitution of Cádiz served as a model for Spain’s colonial possessions, which at that time were seeking their independence, and it inspired the revolutionary fervour that swept across Europe in the first half of the 19th century. Later in that period, Cádiz once more became the epicentre of revolution, resulting in the abdication and exile of Queen Isabel II. The dust – if such a substance is to be found in the sparkling skies of Cádiz – has long settled on the vicissitudes of centuries of naval blockade, siege and revolution. Cádiz is today a modern port city built on millennial foundations, and therein lies its charm. The contrast between tradition and contemporary stylishness is everywhere to be seen. On a sunny morning, one hears the knife-grinder on his bicycle, playing up and down the scales of a tin whistle to announce his approach. Housewives will appear from the Andalusian patios of ancient homes, knives in hand, in a scene that calls to mind a scene from a zarzuela. In an all but lost tradition, their knives are honed on the bicycle’s grinder wheel, while they sit at the terraza of a chic café, sipping a café con leche, basking in the delightful breeze from the sea, which is never more than a short stroll away.
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AN ETHICAL CODE FOR PRIVACY
by Dr Carissa Véliz
Digital technology and its impact on privacy affects us all. A former recipient of a BritishSpanish Society scholarship examines the issue with an expert eye.
igital technology and its impact on privacy affects us all. A former recipient of a BritishSpanishSociety scholarship examines the issue with an expert eye I am a Research Fellow in Philosophy at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, and Christ Church at the University of Oxford. I research the ethics and politics of digital technology, and thanks in part to the support from the BritishSpanish Society, I have just finished a book on the ethics of privacy, which I expect will be published in the coming year. The world has never been—and will never be—free from turmoil. The winds of conflict, however, sometimes blow more fiercely than at other times, wreaking havoc in people’s lives as they bruise justice, rights, and fellow feelings. It is not hard to argue that the world is not experiencing its best political moment at present. Europe has seen finer times. Both Spain and the United Kingdom are traversing challenging tides. Political tensions can be felt throughout—in the chambers of parliaments, in the streets of our cities, and even at our dinner tables, in the midst of our homes.
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Name: Carissa Véliz Perales Principal Supporter: Santander Universities - Humanities Year: 2017 Title of Research Project: On Privacy University: University of Oxford Degree: PhD in Philosophy Place of Birth: México DF, México
It is at times like these, in which political stability and conviviality are most at risk, that it becomes all the more important to kindle positive relationships among citizens and countries. Hence the importance of initiatives such as the BritishSpanish Society, which describes itself as an institution seeking to promote friendship and understanding between Britain and Spain. It is friendship, even more than justice, writes Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics, that hold states together—and brings countries closer to each other, I would add. And how better to cultivate friendship than to come together to exchange ideas, share our expertise, and collaborate to find solutions to common problems. We Europeans can quarrel about boundaries and emphasise our differences, but privacy is one of the many problems we face that recognises no borders. Data flows much like water—paying no attention to identities or nationalities. Data leaks, hacks, exposure, extortion, identity theft, and discrimination can happen to anyone. Political cooperation, regardless of how we think of what unites or separates us, is necessary and urgent to minimise privacy harms. In my book on privacy, I make recommendations for individuals, policy-makers, and businesses to better protect our data.
As part of my research on privacy, I have published two articles on privacy on the front page of El País (‘Tus datos son tóxicos,’ ¿Confiar tus desnudos a Facebook?’). I also published a piece on the Harvard Business Review on whether banks should manage people’s personal data, just like they manage our money. I have co-authored a paper published on Nature Energy on the importance of privacy in relation to energy service providers and smart meters. I have written a chapter on medical privacy and big data that is coming out this year in an Oxford University Press book on Philosophical Foundations of Medical Law. A chapter on the importance of having privacy in the streets has been published in Surveillance, Privacy, and Public Space (Routledge, 2018). My latest philosophical paper, ‘Online Masquerade: Redesigning the Internet for Free Speech Through the Use of Pseudonyms,’ is published in the Journal of Applied Philosophy. In it, I argue that different kinds of speech online should carry different costs—desirable speech should be free from repercussions, while undesirable speech such as trolling should be costly— and that pseudonymity can help us regulate those costs while furthering free speech.
We may never see a world free of injustice and unnecessary suffering, but we can draw nearer or farther away from that ideal, and the distance travelled can make an immense difference to the wellbeing of individuals and societies. Research on how the world is, how it could be, and how we may transform it into something better, is necessary to face the challenges of today as best we can. Thank you to the BritishSpanish Society and Santander Universities for providing the opportunity for that kind of research to be carried out, and for enabling us to assemble in friendship and fruitful collaboration.
Note on the author: Dr Carissa Véliz was born in Mexico. She has a DPhil in Philosophy, University of Oxford
Quant je puis. As much as I can. The UK’s leading co-educational Catholic boarding and day school for 3 - 18 year olds. Boarding from 7 years.
Open the door to a brighter future.
www.stonyhurst.ac.uk Tel: +44 (0) 1254 827073 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org LA REVISTA | THE BRITISH SPANISH SOCIETY | 33 Stonyhurst College • Clitheroe • Lancashire • United Kingdom • BB7 9PZ
In Loving Memory of Julia Powell Runnymede College would like to use this space to honour the memory of its co-founder, Mrs Julia Powell Solares, who dedicated so much of her life to the improvement of SpanishBritish relations. She did this through the founding and running of Runnymede College, one of the first institutions to offer a British education in Madrid. Together with her husband, Arthur F. Powell, in 1967 they established what was to become an island of freedom in Franco’s Spain: a place where critical thinking, freedom of thought, and the value of human rights was instilled in pupils from different nationalities, backgrounds and cultures. If Arthur was in charge of the academic side of the school, Julia took care of everything else. In his own words, she was “everybody’s aunt, confidante, interpreter, doctor, discipline model and source of inspiration and courage when others feel they can no longer go on – especially her husband.” The numerous messages of love and support we have received from all over the world since she left us would appear to confirm his opinion. Over the course of more than three decades, she made Runnymede a home to all its pupils, while at the same time keeping it afloat by managing much of the administration, the catering, and even the design of our school uniform! The Powell family’s contribution to British-Spanish relations was recognised in 1994 when Arthur was awarded the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Last year, Julia proudly witnessed the inauguration of our splendid new Founder’s building, dedicated to her husband’s memory, by HMA Simon Manley, who described it as a symbol of Runnymede’s long-standing commitment to the best traditions of British education. Julia died at home in Madrid on 20 April 2019. Her memory lives on in Runnymede, and in her children Frank, Charles and Paloma, her grandchildren Manuel, Georgina, James, Thomas and Nicholas, and her great-grandchildren Georgina, Juan and Victoria.
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10 YEARS & GOING STRONG
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FLAMENCO FESTIVAL BRINGS ‘DUENDE’ TO LONDON By Laura Obiols Our Arts Editor, herself a choreographer, explores the English capital’s annual celebration of Andalucia’s much loved dance, music, and song with its mixture of traditional roots and innovation.
ou will have to squint very hard to mistake Islington for Andalucía but the annual Flamenco Festival has been bringing a blast of fiercely flamenco to north London for 16 years, encompassing music and dance, legendary names and emerging young stars, introducing some of most accomplished and innovative artists to the UK. The festival is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of Spanish culture around the world, founded by the internationally recognized flamenco producer Miguel Marin (Córdoba 1967).
It started in the USA in 2001, and since then it has become a showcase for Spanish artists in New York, Washington DC, Miami, Boston and other American cities. In 2003, the first Flamenco Festival was presented in London at Sadler’s Wells, and since then, the month of February has become an annual date with flamenco in London. For the first time in history, this year’s festival comes to the city in summer (2nd-14th July 2019). The highlights for this 16tth edition include the iconic dancer Sara Baras, whose fast footwork has been described by The Guardian as “threatening as a military drumbeat and delicate as a pattern of rain”. Baras will open the festival, celebrating the 20th anniversary of her own company. Flamenco singer Miguel Poveda will take the audience on a journey of traditional flamenco music wrapped with his own improvisation and spontaneity.
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Olivier Award-winning choreographer Rocío Molina, who counts crushing a wineglass beneath her heel as legitimate footwork, will present her latest work ‘Fallen from Heaven’ in which she explores gender, sex and flamenco itself. Combining traditional cajón, guitar, clapping hands with electric guitars and drum kits “it will stop you dead, as the best art should”, The Observer says. Dorantes, known as the jewel of flamenco piano, will come together with double bass phenomenon Adam Ben Ezra, Rolling Stones saxophonist, Tim Ries and dancer Jesús Carmona, to present ‘Flamenco Meets Jazz’. Olga Pericet, who won the Spanish National Dance Prize in 2018, combines theatre and dance in her UK premiere of ‘The thorn that wanted to be a flower that dreamed of being a dancer’, creating a world of evocative images, with an inner force and an impersonal discipline that will freeze you to your seat. The festival will close on Sunday 14th of July with Patricia Guerrero and her ‘Cathedral’, which won her the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Performance at Seville’s Bienal of Flamenco. Guerrero’s piece will explore repression and binding constrains of religion and society. Throughout the festival, a range of workshops to learn flamenco choreographic style and technique from the artists themselves will also be hosted at Sadler’s Wells. Please check the website for full programme and workshops sadlerswells.com/whats-on
Note on the author : Laura Obiols is a choreographer, dancer, and film and theatre director.
Photography: Olga Pericet by Paco Villalta and Sara Baras by Juliette Valtiendas
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Flamenco Festival London Sara Baras Jesús Carmona Olga Pericet Gala Flamenca Rocío Molina Miguel Poveda and more
2 - 14 July
Sadler’s Wells Theatre sadlerswells.com 020 7863 8000 Angel
WOULD YOU LIKE TO ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF BEING A MEMBER OF THE BSS SOCIETY? DO YOU HAVE AN INTEREST IN STRENGTHENING BRIDGES BETWEEN BRITAIN AND SPAIN? PLEASE JOIN THIS FANTASTIC NETWORK OF PROFESSIONALS, ENTREPRENEURS, JOURNALISTS AND ARTISTS BY EMAIL TO: email@example.com OR FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT OUR WEBSITE: WWW.BRITISHSPANISHSOCIETY.ORG/MEMBERSHIP 38 |
COMMITMENT AND COMPROMISE FOR THE FUTURE The main purposes of the Cañada Blanch Foundation are the promotion of culture; the support of the development of young students; and the management of cultural activities, with a special focus on the advances of research, thought, social debate and the Arts, both in the field of the Valencian Community and in the United Kingdom. www.fundacioncañadablanch.es
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AN ENGAGING TOUR OF A WELL SAVOURED CAPITAL CITY by Jason Webster Madrid: A Literary Guide for Travellers By Jules Stewart (I.B.Tauris)
laces exist in the mind and the imagination as much as - or sometimes more than - in physical reality. A personal and unique Paris, London and New York resides in us all, regardless of whether or not we have visited these cities. So a book which takes us into worlds which a location has inhabited for others - reflected in their writings and letters and overheard comments - has an immediate richness and appeal, expanding as it does our own awareness into multiple and more complex dimensions: a shared imagination, if you will, or what the great Cordoban philosopher Averroes once called ‘the universal mind’. For some years the publisher I.B. Tauris has been bringing out ‘literary guides for travellers’ to some of the world’s most resonant destinations, from Josh Shoemake’s magnificent Tangier to Andrew and Suzanne Edwards’ highly informative Andalucía and many others, covering countries and cities as diverse as Iceland, Florence and Berlin. Now comes BritishSpanish Society member and contributor to La Revista Jules Stewart’s much-awaited addition to the list, his companion to the Spanish capital, Madrid. And it’s a gem. Stewart takes us chronologically through the many literary waves to which the city has been midwife, from its origins as de facto capital in the sixteenth century, to the ‘Titans’ of the seventeenth, and concluding with the Movida of the post-Franco years, intelligently adding the shining cinematic output of the time to the city’s literary production. Along the way we are given a thorough and engaging tour of Madrid’s highs and lows, from the more barren periods such as the early Bourbon years, to the
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Romantic movement, the Realism of Pérez Galdós, the Generación del ’98, the ‘Return of the Poets’ in the 1920s and 30s, and the Madrid of Camilo José Cela and others, scratching out a new literary scene against the post-war constrictions of the dictatorship. All the greats are there, illuminating our path with their wit and wisdom, each leaving an indelible imprint on the Madrid of the mind, from Cervantes, to Hemingway and García Lorca. As an aficionado of authentic Valencian paella, it was not without a certain Schadenfreude that this reviewer learnt how ‘Papa’ Hemingway was never allowed back to the Restaurante Sobrino de Botín after demanding to try his hand in the kitchen at making the famed rice dish. One of the great pleasures to be gained from a book of this kind is the discovery of details and anecdotes which both fascinate and serve to demonstrate that we can never fully ‘know’ anywhere, merely continue to expand and refine our understanding. The funeral of Calderón de la Barca, with its three thousand blazing torches, creates a lasting visual image, as does the fact that his remains were later moved three times before finding their final resting place at the Church of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores in Calle San Bernardo: in death, as in life, there was both a fieriness and restlessness to the hot-tempered poet and playwright. Likewise the figure of Ramón María del Valle-Inclán waxing lyrical in a tertulia at the Ateneo about Italy and its many virtues, about ‘the Roman countryside at dusk, its hills dotted with crumbling aqueducts’, yet all the while describing a country which he had never visited. As much as anyone, the author of Luces de Bohemia understood that a genius loci can exist fully in isolation from physical experience
of a place, roaming and feeding off the imagination, and may even, ultimately, come closer to the truth. Books such as this one on Madrid are ideal for dipping into and sampling in small, concentrated and highly enjoyable doses, not unlike the sherries which Stewart so lovingly mentions at La Venencia bar on Calle Echegaray (you suspect the author would be a very good guide for a night out in the cityâ€Ś). Every page holds multiple details and delights, bringing to life the literary history of a city which ranks among the great capitals of world letters. A short review such as this could never do it justice: it is a cornucopia overflowing with information and delight, and is highly recommended. Note on the reviewer: Jason Webster is the author of a dozen books on Spanish themes, ranging from history and biography to travel and crime fiction. His latest work, Violencia - A New History of Spain: Past, Present and the Future of the West is published on 19 September by Little, Brown.
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LLEGAN LOS VERANOS DE LA VILLA
escriben Elvira Giménez y Ángela de la Torre
La capital amplia la imaginaria de la fiesta veraniega, explorando la descentralización de la cultura y los usos del espacio público.
spacio público como lugar de encuentro, de observación, de escucha, de participación, reflexión, disfrute y aprendizaje. Veranos de la Villa continúa con su objetivo de descubrir la ciudad de Madrid a través de la descentralización de la cultura: música, teatro, danza, deportes, poesía, bailes, cultura urbana, cine, astronomía, circo, fuegos artificiales... Del 28 de junio al 1 de septiembre el festival llega a los 21 distritos de Madrid con más de 40 actividades diferentes. Resignificar y ampliar el imaginario del verano en Madrid y los usos del espacio público. Poner en valor el uso de parques, edificios, plazas, piscinas y otros lugares emblemáticos de la ciudad por su valor social, histórico, urbanístico, o por su singularidad. El festival traza un mapa de Madrid de cercanía y de movilidad, con la cultura como base, animando a la ciudadanía a descubrir nuevos espectáculos y nuevos lugares. El 90 % de las actividades son de acceso libre, y el resto tendrá un precio máximo de 15€. Entre los platos fuertes de esta edición: Las edades del flamenco reúne a varias generaciones de cantaores, guitarristas y bailaores pertenecientes a diferentes epicentros de la geografía jonda y a algunas de las más importantes familias de este arte de raíz que muchas veces se transmite precisamente dentro de las familias. Se suele
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decir que el flamenco no tiene edad, y así lo demuestran las muchas generaciones que en él conviven… Con Manuel de La Tomasa, María Terremoto, Paco del Pozo, Jaime El Parrón, Nono Jero, Paco Vidal, Pepe Habichuela, Alba Heredia y Carrete de Málaga. Auditorio al aire libre del Parque de las Cruces (Latina). Katia Guerreiro, es una de las fadistas más importantes de la actualidad, además de reconocida estudiosa del fado que ha hecho una importante labor para su recuperación convirtiéndose en embajadora de este género de canción popular portuguesa. Sus emotivas interpretaciones y su depurado estilo arrancan ovaciones en los auditorios de todo el mundo. Auditorio al aire libre del Parque Lineal del Manzanares (Usera). Hiroaki Umeda es un coreógrafo, bailarín, compositor, diseñador de luces, escenógrafo y artista visual, reconocido como una de las figuras más relevantes de la vanguardia escénica japonesa. En sus trabajos, con fuertes componentes tecnológicos, recurre a la imaginería digital y a los paisajes sonoros minimalistas para crear piezas que generan una experiencia sensorial desconocida, jugando con los límites de la percepción. Sus piezas Split Flow/ Holistic Strata podrán verse en Naves Matadero-Centro Internacional de Artes Vivas (Nave 11) (Arganzuela).
Con un espíritu de exploración musical e intentando reinventar constantemente las posibilidades de un cuarteto de cuerda llega Kronos Quartet desde San Francisco al Auditorio al aire libre Pilar García Peña, en Hortaleza. Más de cuarenta y cinco años de trayectoria en los que han pisado los mejores escenarios de los cinco continentes dando miles de conciertos, han editado más de sesenta discos y han recibido una infinidad de premios. El director y escenógrafo francés Philippe Quesne estrena en España La nuit des taupes (La noche de los topos), que fue presentada por primera vez en el Kunstenfestivaldesarts de Bruselas en 2016. Una sorprendente obra en la que siete topos gigantes, cavando sus madrigueras, aterrizan en un escenario de teatro. Naves Matadero-Centro Internacional de Artes Vivas (Nave 11) (Arganzuela). Kevin Johansen, que ha sabido conjugar la música popular argentina y todos los ritmos latinos con el folk norteamericano, retomará en este concierto con toda su banda, algunos de sus temas clásicos, como Anoche soñé contigo o Guacamole, al tiempo que presentará algunas de las canciones de su último álbum, Algoritmos, editado este mismo año. Patio de Conde Duque (Centro).
SPAIN’S DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY GOES GLOBAL
AN INTERVIEW WITH CARMEN IGLESIAS.
by Dr Marina Pérez de Arcos
The Spanish Royal Academy of History is launching the on-line Dictionary of National Biography, a new initiative giving access to original profiles of almost fifty thousand personalities. La Revista interviews the Director of the Academy and project spearhead, Carmen Iglesias. Q: Can you describe the ‘Diccionario biográfico electrónico’ for us? CI: It is an excellent means of getting to know about Spanish history from all angles through the medium of individual biographies. We have made use of the latest innovations in information technologies to produce a radically new way of presenting our national archive. Q: What can we find in the dictionary? CI: In this first edition we have some 45,000 biographies, many of them completely new. We cover 2700 years of history, from Argantonio in the 7th century BC up to present times. It breaks new ground by extending beyond the frontiers of modern Spain to include individuals who were associated with the Spanish crown further afield throughout the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries – in Italy, the Low Countries, Austria, as well as the Philippines. In the Americas we have entries for the indigenous peoples who first encountered Spanish explorers, extending all the way up those figures who fought for independence and led the first Latin states, including many who studied and lived in Spain and the rest of Europe. Anyone no longer alive who was intimately involved in the story of Spain. From an academic perspective the dictionary is pioneering. Of course we cover all the key officers of state and prominent figures. But for the first time we have assembled portraits of the common man, folk
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whom Unamuno called the Intrahistoria, people who contributed to the course of events in some significant way. You can find, for instance, the biography of the Galician who travelled to England in the 19th century to learn about food preservation technologies and adapted them to provincial conditions back home, founding the foodstuff industry which thrives to this day. We have even included some names whose influence on the passage of history was perhaps less admirable, such as the executioners and assassins. Q: Was there a need for the dictionary? CI: Absolutely. Since the founding of the Academy in 1738 writing the national biography has been one of our main purposes. It’s thanks to new technologies that we have been able to take massive steps forward, but it’s been worth the wait. Q: Why is it so important to have the dictionary in digital format? CI: A printed version can only be arranged in alphabetical order. With a digital version we can add links and cross-references between entries and topics, making searching by any parameter straightforward. It enables the reader to build a richer contextual picture, showing mutual interactions and influences. In that sense each biographical entry can lead to others.
Note on the author : Marina Pérez de Arcos is an Executive Council member of the British Spanish Society. She teaches International Relations at Oxford and International History at the London School of Economics.
Q: How does this differ from other national biographies across the world? CI: Right now, I think our biography is the most advanced. The nearest comparator is the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, whose last edition was released 15 years ago. Technology has advanced so much since then. Thanks to support from Teléfonica and La Caixa we have been able to exploit the latest innovations in informatics. Q: So if someone were to ask why we need a new dictionary when we already have Wikipedia how would you respond? CI: Wikipedia is fine in its own terms but there are essential differences. Our biographies can be compared and contrasted. Each one has been written by an expert historian in the chosen field. From the outset we used a standard format, ensuring that each entry has the same underlying structure. Where relevant, their works of art or literature are catalogued. A second section provides extensive bibliographical links. Some entries, such as Goya’s are many pages long; others are shorter but provide simple links to other research resources.
Photo: Pepa Yepes @pepayepes
When authoritative new books and articles appear we can review and update the entries. There is an academic rigour to our dictionary which Wikipedia’s model lacks. Q: How might the dictionary interest people in the UK? CI: Our histories have always been closely interwoven. Not long ago I was recalling the figure of Queen Leonor (1160-1214), Richard the Lion Heart’s sister, who married Alfonso VIII. There are the exiles fleeing the French invasions. Think of Fernando VII. We also have the romantic liberal exiles. How about the marvellous Blanco White, who was virtually British? Q: Could this new research tool help demystify myths and fables? CI: Yes. Some travellers’ descriptions, for all their colour and charm, were often based on short stays, seen through the prism of prejudice and supposition. We can add perspective and context. By studying lives in depth we can get beyond clichés about Spaniards all playing guitars and dozing through siestas. Hopefully the dictionary will help break some myths and bust a few legends. dbe.rah.es
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Women in History: Elizabeth Gilbert Oliver Gilbert Oliver, Elizabeth. Condesa de Landsfeld (I) y baronesa de Rosenthal (I), en Baviera. Lola Montes. Limerick (Irlanda), 1819 – Nueva York (Estados Unidos), 17.I.1861. Bailarina y aventurera. Hija de un suboficial británico, pasó la niñez y adolescencia en Irlanda, Calcuta, Escocia e Inglaterra. Casada con un militar, regresó a la India, de donde volvió sola a Londres. En 1842 llegó a Cádiz. Utilizó su apellido materno Oliver que se prestaba al equívoco de ser tomada por española y, en su caso, descendiente de oficiales del Regimiento Irlanda. Aprendió danza española, llegó a poseer un dominio notable del español, que le permitió hablarlo y escribirlo con relativa corrección, y adoptó la pose y maneras de las cigarreras gaditanas. Se presentó en la primavera de 1843 en el teatro londinense Her Majestic’s, como Lola Montes, viuda del fusilado general Diego de León, obligada al exilio y a ganarse la vida bailando. Inició así una carrera fulgurante que la llevó por todos los escenarios de Europa, donde
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dbe.rah.es presentó el bolero por primera vez. Heine escribió sobre ella y Liszt la recomendó a críticos y empresarios. El 11 de marzo de 1845, cuando triunfaba en París con su espectáculo Dansomanie, su amante, Alexandre Dujarier, editor de Dumas y Balzac, fue asesinado en un duelo. Ese mismo año conoció al rey Ludwig o Luis I de Baviera y se estableció en Múnich. A finales de 1846, pidió al rey Ludwig que abdicara y huyera con ella a España.
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www.dlapiper.com LA REVISTA | THE BRITISH SPANISH SOCIETY | 47
EL ARTISTA BRITÁNICO RECLAMA LA DIMENSIÓN
escribe Carmen Escardó
Una nueva exposición por Simon Edmondson, (miembro del BritishSpanish Society), representa lo orgánico y rudimentario de la pintura, en medio del diluvio tecnológico y la cultura del pantallazo.
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o hace con impactante desenvoltura dialogando con Velázquez y extrayendo de Las meninas toda su potencia expresiva. Instalado en Madrid desde hace casi treinta años, Simon Edmondson (Londres 1955), dedica su última muestra, Sprezzatura, a recrear pictóricamente la “interioridad” de esta obra cumbre del arte. Quiere ver su portentosa superficie pintada libre de los contenidos ideológicos y conceptuales que sucesivas generaciones de historiadores, pensadores y artistas le han ido sobreponiendo hasta reducir su significado al tamaño de un emblema. Si algo tienen en común todas estas interpretaciones contemporáneas sobre el cuadro es su escaso interés por las operaciones íntimas que la hicieron posible. Olvidan que esta magistral composición es un asombroso tour de force de la pintura que revela la perpetua lucha del creador con la materia y el motivo de representación. O acaso no es primordial preguntarse, ¿a través de qué recursos alcanzó su autor la semejanza con lo que tenía ante sí? Edmondson rinde así tributo a Velázquez, con quien se siente en especial deuda, para devolver a su obra más célebre su calado artístico y su condición enigmática. En su taller ha seguido una a una las pisadas estampadas por el maestro sevillano en, la que todo apunta a ser, su obra más libre y personal; se ha topado con los mismos obstáculos que tuvo Velázquez en 1656 para convertir semejante tela en blanco (318 x 276 cm) en un espacio ilusorio; ha movido su brazo y su mano en distintas direcciones hasta hacerse con los gestos certeros que generen hondura y presencia de vida humana… Así, por medio de los medios iconográficos más básicos, revivifica, en sus distintas reconstrucciones del escenario velazqueño –ya sean de tamaño natural, alguna de las cuales vienen de largo, Cartoon for Hospital-Palace (2008), Hospital-Palace (2010), Alcázar (2014)… o de formato inferior–, la noción de pintura como serie de encrucijadas, decisiones personales y cambios plásticos intuitivos que se encadenan para entregarse al azar y dar un resultado siempre imprevisto. Aún con todo, el fruto del proceso acometido por nuestro contemporáneo es más que encomiable. La audacia y sofisticación formal de estas reconstrucciones plásticas, que en ningún momento tienden a ser retóricas o afectadas, corresponden a un pintor que se encuentra en la cima de su carrera y que desde siempre ha comprendido que una obra de arte solo adquiere duración cuando es producto del esmero técnico de su artífice y su insistencia indeclinable.
En la más de una docena de obras que estuveron recién expuestas en la galería Álvaro Alcázar de Madrid, Edmondson reconstruye con excelente ilusionismo el Cuarto Bajo del Príncipe en el que Velázquez realizó su composición. Topográficamente, se ciñe con fidelidad al original, gracias a los planos arquitectónicos que se conservan del Alcázar de Madrid antes de su incendio, aunque cambie su punto de vista. En lo relativo al tiempo, sin embargo, Edmondson se desmarca por completo de su imagen de guía: las siluetas humanas y el mobiliario imaginario con los que da nueva vida a este cuarto son casi de nuestra época. Forman parte de un alberge u hospicio que ha venido a suplantar el uso de la antigua residencia real. El ambiente de espera y desamparo que se respira en él, por la falta de fortaleza de sus residentes, nos habla de la contingencia y fragilidad de nuestras vidas. Así, este conjunto de obras no deja de ser una metáfora de la “hospitalidad” que ha de dar la pintura a los que ya han desaparecido, un recordatorio de que toda vida humana tiene su reverso mortal. (Catálogo de tapa dura disponible firstname.lastname@example.org)
Note on the author: Carmen Escardó is a historian and critic. She works for the Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado
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DECLINE & FALL OF BRITISH & SPANISH POP
by Mark Dowd
From going head to head in the early days of the contest, Spain and the UK are stuck in the Eurovision doldrums. An enduring fan and BBC journalist explains why.
he Royal Albert Hall London. April 1968 and Katie Boyle’s dulcet tones on the BBC commentary assure me, with mounting certainty, that Cliff Richard’s “Congratulations” is going to pull off the UK’s second Eurovision win in two years. Then at the death, a whopping six points from Germany to Spain’s Massiel and her monotonous “La La La” pips us at the post. I break down in uncontrollable tears. My parents stare on helplessly at their ridiculously over sensitive eight year old son. It has been like this ever since. I have missed only one Eurovision Grand Final since then and can reel off most of the winners at the drop of a hat. Sad eh? But true. So a journey from the late 1960s in which the UK and Spain were going head to head for the top prize to a contemporary setting in which both countries vie to avoid last place. What has gone wrong? Eurovision is a much more competitive market place these days. The accession of the former Soviet Eastern bloc countries means we now have in excess of forty songs to choose from every year. There are semi finals and sixteen or so countries have to be eliminated in the run-up to the Saturday night final. Thankfully, this is a humiliation that has so far never affected the UK or Spain as they form part of the so-called “Big Five”: the countries that pass automatically to the Saturday night
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extravaganza (along with France, Italy and Germany.) This is the reward for being the highest net contributors to the EBU, the European Broadcasting Union. Does automatic qualification induce complacency? In the last twenty years we have seen only one winning entry from the “Big Five”: Germany’s “Satellite” sung by Lena in 2010. Both Spain and the UK in recent years have been plagued by selection and production issues. TVE and the BBC together seem locked in a cycle of mediocrity, often sending mid to low ranking artists with predictable songs and staging concepts which have zero imagination and flair. From time to time, Spain has felt the magnet of linguistic conformity and has increasingly sent entries in English, but at least this year La Venda was one hundred per cent Castillian. Since 2016, a post Brexit paranoia has gripped many an interpretation of the UK’s miserable results (one Top 5 finish since 2000.) This tendency to put it all down to politics gripped even the late Sir Terry Wogan, the doyen of Eurovision satirical TV commentary. The truth is that if it were all down to politics, the same countries would win every year. But we get surprise winners all the time, and often from countries with hitherto poor track records. How else could one explain the triumphs of Estonia in 2001, Latvia in 2002, Finland in 2006 and most recently the
Note on the author: Mark Dowd was born in Salford, Manchester UK and is a fanatical Manchester United fan. He works as a freelance broadcaster, engages in a lot of training with NGO’s and charities and is a regular presenter of BBC Radio 4’s weekday Daily Service. In 2017 Darton Longman and Todd published his autobiography, Queer and Catholic: a Life of Contradiction.
landslide success of Portugal’s Salvador Sobral in 2017? And the Netherlands, a country which failed to get past the semi finals for many years on end, clocked up their first victory for forty four years this year with an exceptionally well-crafted and beautiful song, Arcade. Staring into the crystal ball, it’s hard to see where the next Top five song from either Spain or the UK is coming from. The latter’s years in the doldrums is particularly hard to comprehend. Unlike Spain, the UK has in the likes of Adele, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith, artists with a hugely popular international reputation (Pablo Alborán might be the nearest Spanish equivalent.) The problem is that these already hugely successful singer-songwriters have no need of the Eurovision stage to further their already glittering careers. Hitherto unknown artists, like Abba and Celine Dion, have used the contest to launch hugely successful bids to dominate the pop world, but for already established artists, why risk competing among forty one countries only to risk failure? This point is best illustrated by the choice of singers made by the UK in recent years. In 2012 we sent a 76 year old Engelbert Humperdinck to Baku and the oldest singer ever to participate ended up in twenty fifth position. The following year, Bonnie Tyler, best known for her 80s hits, I Need a Hero and Total Eclipse of the Heart ended in 19th position with Believe In Me. With all respect to
Engelbert and Bonnie, the question around Europe was: “with all the new young brimming talent available , why is the UK sending these rather fading stars of yesteryear?” The success of the late 1960s does indeed seem a long way off for both countries. Eurovision fortunes ebb and flow. Ask Ireland, a country that still boasts the record number of victories (seven in all, including four wins in five years between 1992-1996.) These days, Ireland is lucky if it can scrape through past a semi-final. This year it landed a miserable last place – 18th in semi final two. Like the UK and Spain, it is stuck in the Eurovision doldrums. For all these countries the question remains: do they really want to win? Despite the prestige, staging Eurovision can be an organisational and financial headache. RTE, the Irish state broadcaster was rumoured to be on the verge of ruin after its string of runaway successes in the mid 90s. The formula for a return to success is clear: finding talented, perhaps largely unknown artists with contemporary radio-friendly songs which are authentic and have mass appeal across the generations. It’s no mean feat, but this year the Netherlands did just that to cement their first win since 1975. Can Spain and the UK take a leaf from the Dutch book and pull off a surprise win in May 2020 in Amsterdam? Don’t hold your breath.
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LIFE UNDERGROUND: THE BASIS AND FUTURE OF AGRICULTURE
by Dr Carmen Sánchez Cañizares
According to the World Economic Forum, the world population is expected to reach 9,800 million people by 2050. It is predicted that this increase will demand 70% more food than what we already consume today. A young Spanish scientist in the UK explores how agriculture can face the challenge of providing a sustainable and secure supply of food, minimizing both the land and the chemical inputs.
itrogen is one of the essential nutrients needed for plant growth and crop productivity. Yet, despite being the most abundant gas in the atmosphere (~78%), neither animals or plants can “breathe” nitrogen. Why? The reason lies on the strength of the triple bond that joins the two atoms of nitrogen that constitutes atmospheric nitrogen (N2). This vital nutrient must therefore be modified into ammonium or nitrate before it can be used by most living systems. Indeed, the nitrogen paradox is a complex one: too little nitrogen is a problem, but nitrogen in excess is also a problem: “feast or famine”. In many regions, like subSaharan Africa, yields of cereal crops are limited by the economic inaccessibility of the farmers to industrial fertilisers, whereas their overuse leads to adverse environmental and health impacts, polluting waterways by leaching from the soil and releasing greenhouse gases. Therefore, the future of agriculture faces the challenge of providing the expanding population with a sustainable and secure supply of food, minimizing both the land and the chemical inputs.
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My research focuses on the molecular mechanisms and regulatory networks that determine the success of the mutually beneficial relationship or symbiosis soil bacteria known as rhizobia and legume plants. This association involves a complex chemical language between the plant and the bacterium. The specificity of this chemical language defines their recognition as symbiotic partners and induces the formation of specialised structures called nodules in the roots of legumes. Inside these structures, the plant provides nutrients to the bacterial cells and, in exchange, these bacteria incur different physiological changes to become “nitrogen factories”. They convert atmospheric nitrogen into biologically available ammonia for the plant through a process called Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF), mimicking the Haber-Bosch reaction responsible for the production of industrial fertilisers. In agriculture, this symbiosis reduces the reliance on chemical fertilisers, taking advantage of soil resources whilst maximising crop production. We believe that these soil bacteria, which make legumes essential in crop rotation programs worldwide, are the alternative to manage nitrogen responsibly.
Nitrogen Fixation has been my main area of research since I was studying Agricultural Engineering at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM), Spain. I did my fourth year at the Faculté d’Ingénierie Biologique, Agronomique et Environnementale, Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium and when I returned to Spain, I joined the Microbiology Unit at the School of Agricultural Engineering (ETSIA, UPM) for my final year project, followed by a Master’s in Plant and Forest Biotechnology. I then completed a PhD in the Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (CBGP), Madrid, Spain. During that time, I had the opportunity to do an internship at the Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland (Baltimore, USA). The focus of my PhD project was the bacterial chemical language and its regulation. I then joined Phil Poole’s laboratory, in the Department of Plant Sciences (University of Oxford) as a postdoctoral researcher and part of the BBSRC's Strategic Longer and Larger (sLoLa) grant entitled “Managing the Nitrogen economy of bacteria”. The different life styles of rhizobia and their developmental changes have to be tightly coordinated by regulatory networks that enable the bacterium to adapt itself to different environments and physiological states. Understanding the molecular processes responsible for the establishment of this symbiosis will lead to sustainable crop yields and a positive impact on the environment.
Our ultimate goal is to engineer biological nitrogen fixation into cereal crops. But research is not the only thing! Since coming to Oxford, I have taught tutorials and currently hold a lectureship position at The Queen’s College, where I am teaching first and third years in Biological Sciences, with a special interest on the molecular aspects of Biology. To increase the visibility and recognition of women’s contributions to science, I have also participated in the activities organised by 11th February, 11defebrero. org such as International Day of Women and Girls in Science, with Skype talks to schools in Spain. Note on the author: Dr Carmen Sánchez Cañizares is the Director of the Oxford constituency of the Society of Spanish Researchers in the UK (SRUK). She organises a monthly event in Oxford that aims to bring together the research community in Oxford at all levels (academic and private sector) and also to increase social awareness in Research and Development (R&D) both in Britain and Spain.
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SUMMONED BY BULLS
by Dominic Begg
Love or hated, bullfighting in Spain has a long history. Here a longterm British resident reflects on his personal encounters with the animals and men involved over the years.
attended my first bullfights in 1967, aged 18. As a student of Spanish literature who’d read key essays, poems and newspaper reviews, along with Hemingway and Tynan, I knew this was a rite of passage that might help me better understand the Spanish psyche. I was already familiar with most of the big-name bullfighters, past and present. I also enjoyed the language of tauromachy: astifino, azabache, monosabios, media verónica, etc. Curiously I forget the details of those first ‘corridas’ in Madrid and Figueras, immersed as I was in the colours, the music, the roles of each participant, the orderly changing of ‘tercio’ and the voluble cigar-chewing spectators in the upper tiers. The blood and gore affected me less than the occasional incompetence that prolonged a bull’s agony.
From the early 70s I regularly watched bullfights on TV and when I rented a flat near Madrid’s Plaza de Roma, there stood the Las Ventas bullring, just 200 metres downhill. Daily corridas throughout May featured all the top toreros: El Viti, Palomo Linares, Antonio Bienvenida, Paco Camino, etc.
you felt a surge of joy at finding yourself alive on a fine early-July morning, with a whole day of partying in front of you, plus the option of a corrida later. I wrote to an ex-girlfriend in England “It doesn’t take long to become a physical wreck in this town, a week of boozing, bulls, dancing and attempting to stay on your feet. When you do fall, you sleep on the pavement or in a park, on a newspaper.”
In 1974 Navarran rugby friends invited me to Pamplona for the San Fermines bull-run. When the ‘chupinazo’ was fired I asked them why we didn’t start running, along with most of the runners. “We locals walk until the second rocket”, I was told. The street emptied. Finally we ran, spurred on by the terrifying clatter of 40 hooves on cobbles, just behind us. Once the herd had passed,
The following May, from Madrid “I’ve been to two bullfights this month. In the first one I saw a bull commit a strange and unwitting suicide or hara-kiri when it dug its horns into the sand, turned a complete somersault and landed flat on its back with incredible force, thus pushing the lightly stuck sword deep into its body, right up to the hilt. It got up again, but was clearly mortally
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wounded and it died soon after, saving Paco Alcalde a lot of trouble. In the other bullfight, both men, Galán and Ruiz Miguel were gored, leaving a part-time substitute (a taxi-driver) to deal with the last two bulls. He was horribly gored by the 6th bull, which left the arena on its feet because there was nobody left to kill it. A very unusual evening.”
a risky performance by Paquirri in Valencia at the end of the 70s, I’ve never attended another ‘corrida’. And it was Paquirri who brought the curtain down in 1984, dying on the long drive to hospital after a ‘cornada’ in Pozoblanco. A helicopter would have been enough to save him, but not the Fiesta Nacional, which, for better or worse, is dying on its feet.
I was in León a month later, where Manzanares and Paquirri performed so well that a spectator from the upper rows tossed a rabbit and a dove, roughly entwined with flowers, down onto the sand as a gift. A banderillero dispatched the poor creatures with a casual thump against the parapet, and this macabre ‘still life’ was raised towards the upper tier in appreciation. Was I losing some of my enthusiasm? The final blow came that July in Pamplona, where at least 20 runners were involved in a pile-up in the tunnel leading into the ring. I saw, at close range, a ‘red’ bull or ‘Devil’s bull’ called Navarrico, turn and fatally gore an experienced ‘mozo’ wearing a sponsor’s Coca-Cola t-shirt. That did it for me. My new girlfriend and I left Project1.qxp_Layout 1 24/05/19 18:04 Page 1 town for a peaceful few days in Elizondo, and apart from
Música... dansa... literatura... performance... Music... dance... literature... performance... Música... baile... literatura... performance... Ceol... damhsa... litríocht... taispeántas..
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