The BritishSpanish Society Magazine | Issue 237 | Summer 2014
El cine español
Joana Granero, Founder of London’s Spanish Film Festival, on why Spanish cinema is now better than ever Summer 2014 • La Revista 1
From the Editor F
estivals promoting Spanish culture are a growing presence in the UK: the Spanish Film Festival, founded and directed by Joana Granero, is now in its 10th year and attracts audiences in their thousands who want to see the freshest Iberian talent. This is encouraging, particularly at a time of tough spending cuts and a worldwide lack of funding for independent films. BritishSpanish Society members can get concession rates on festival tickets so don’t miss it (more details on p.19). Another frontrunner in raising the profile of Spanish film in recent years is Ángeles González-Sinde, former Minister of Culture for Spain - see p.29 for an account of her visit to the UK in April. Then there is the annual Flamenco Festival, hosted by Sadler’s Wells in London and now in its 11th year, which features renowned flamenco stars such as Sara Baras and Farruquito - we have a review of the latter’s performance on p.22. Additionally, although it may not be a festival, the Latin UK Awards (LUKAS) are bigger than ever, demonstrating just how significant an influence Latin American and Spanish culture has in the UK. Think how different things would be without it! Our annual Gala dinner - a giant feat of organisation for our dedicated voluntary team - with guest of honour Dame Esperanza Aguirre, was completely oversubscribed this year. Fortunately she agreed to host a special reception the evening before at NH Hotel, but if you didn’t make it to either event fear not - we have full coverage of the dinner in this issue. We also caught up with Dame Esperanza just before she flew back to Spain for an exclusive interview by journalist (and this issue’s star reporter) Bess Twiston-Davies. The other major Society event so far in 2014 was Fútbol Alegría, where a panel of football experts discussed the secrets behind Spain’s success on the pitch, especially topical as we approach the World Cup. Will Spain be able to retain their crown? Or might England beat them to it? Maybe one day...
La Revista Executive Editor: Jimmy Burns Marañón Editor: Amy Bell Corporate Supporters/Advertising/Scholarships: María A. Jiménez-Riesco Development Secretary: María Soriano Casado Events: Lucia Cawdron, Carmen Young, Beatriz Gago Vazquez (Secretary) Membership, Finance, and Website Secretary: Virginia Cosano Design: Amy Bell Published by the BritishSpanish Society Honorary President: His Excellency Federico Trillo-Figueroa, Spanish Ambassador Chairman: Jimmy Burns Marañón Vice-Presidents (Organisation/Strategy): Christopher Nason, José Ivars, Jaime Arranz Coque (Treasurer) Other members of the Executive Council:
Fidel López Alvarez (ex-officio), Paul Pickering, Scott Young, Jaime-Enrique Hugas, Julio Crespo MacLennan (ex-officio), María Victoria Yuste Gas, Sir Stephen Wright, Javier Fernández Hidalgo, Lady Brennan, Miguel Fernández-Longoria (Scholarships) Gala events: David Hurst 102 Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AN www.britishspanishsociety.org
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@BritishSpanish @LaRevista UK
Cover image: Joana Granero outside Ciné Lumière, taken by Richard Barker
CONTENTS Issue 237 SOCIETY NEWS
4 6 7 8 10 12 16 24 27
Presentation of ‘Walter Starkie: An Odyssey’ Upcoming Society events Boujis Fútbol Alegría: Spanish football celebration Society Scholarships: Structural engineering Annual Gala Dinner Spanish Chamber of Commerce: 2014 outlook Jules Stewart in the Diario de Navarra Obituary: Michael Jacobs
Nuria Reina Bachot
Tomás Hill López-Menchero
Issue 237 Contributors Contact us: For all editorial contributions or to comment on an article you have read in La Revista, please write to us at: email@example.com To enquire about advertising opportunities (including classified adverts) please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Entrevista con Esperanza Aguirre Cover story: The Spanish Film Festival. An interview with Joana Granero Spanish rapper El Chojín visits the UK Memories of an Executive Council Member Review of Farruquito at Sadler’s Wells El Mercado de Motores en Madrid Interview with Bahamian artist Lynn Parotti Spain’s former culture minister Ángeles González-Sinde speaks to UK students in Leeds Botwist: dos diseñadoras gallegas en Londres The Rise of Chelsea FC’s César Azpilicueta ‘Liverpool is the Pool of Life’ Isaac Albeníz: the Spanish composer’s time in London Behind the Scenes at Sotheby’s Dominic Begg’s Memories of Madrid Entrevista con el Chef ejecutivo de Ibérica Society Membership Form The next issue of La Revista is due to appear in autumn 2014. The opinions expressed throughout this issue of La Revista represent those of the authors and contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the BritishSpanish Society or those of their supporters.
The BritishSpanish Society is a registered charity: 1080250
Summer 2014 • La Revista 3
Presentation of Walter Starkie: An Odyssey A biography of the Anglo-Irish hispanist, by Jacqueline Hurtley
acqueline Hurtley joined Jimmy Burns at the Cervantes Institute in London in February to present ‘An Odyssey’, her acclaimed biography of Walter Starkie, the controversial Anglo-Irish hispanista and founder of the British Council in Spain. Guests were treated to a fascinating insight into Starkie’s life and career, with stories and anecdotes which painted a vivid picture of the man himself. Hispanic scholar, musician and writer, Walter Starkie is perhaps best remembered for his travel books Raggle Taggle – subtitled ‘Adventures with a fiddle in Hungary and Roumania’ – and its sequels, Spanish Raggle Taggle and Don Gypsy. This compelling new biography seeks to prove that there was more, much more, to his life and career. Walter Starkie was launched into a life of firsts, inaugurating the chair of Spanish at Trinity College Dublin and being appointed representative of the British Council in Spain after the Civil War. Professor Jacqueline Hurtley lectures in the Department of English and German at the University of Barcelona.
Julio Crespo Mac Lennan, Jacqueline Hurtley and Jimmy Burns Marañón
Jacqueline and Jimmy in conversation at the Cervantes Institute
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By Susana Bayó Belenguer
here autobiography may be selfindulgent, partaking of the freedoms of fiction, in contrast biography, like history, might be called a literary science, and while it may speculate and hypothesise it must fuse the rigour of research with the charm of art. The bar is raised when such fusion is required on the life of a man who was simultaneously a roving academic, a virtual diplomat for a country not his own, and a prolific writer. It is raised again when that man lived through the transition of Ireland from colony to republic, through the destruction of Spanish democracy by both left and right, and into the blooding of an America that saw its president murdered and the phoenix of drugs and violence rise out of the ashes of the very freedom it proclaimed. That man is Walter Fitzwilliam Starkie, more widely known, perhaps, for his raggle-taggle roving than for his other qualities, and the present work by Jacqueline Hurtley of the University of Barcelona epitomises all that such an academic biography should be.
“a man who was simultaneously a roving academic, a virtual diplomat for a country not his own, and a prolific writer”
This ‘first biographical study’ is a work of meticulous scholarship and profound research, conducted with all the painstaking labour that such biography entails, attested to by over three pages of acknowledgements. This monumental undertaking modestly claims that, allowing for what may yet be revealed by a Starkie archive (supposed to have been sold) and by the release of British official documents, it is not intended to be definitive, and it is true that more light may yet be shed on Starkie’s deeper role in Spain during World War Two. The general reader might start with illustrations which reveal, physically, a man who was to be something of a psychological enigma to friends and colleagues all his life. That he remains, for all that we may learn about him, still something of the elusive gypsy, may owe something to the ‘all things to all men’ image that he carefully fostered, although much of this in turn may be down to what he recognised as “the tension between his Don Quixote and Sancho Panza personalities” (p.85). But from the hopefully optimistic traveller of the cover illustration to the older man, still holding on to his trademark violin, we can trace through pictures alone something of the path this fascinating life was to take.
Brought up to the wealth and privilege of the higher civil service in an Ireland still governed by the ‘ascendency’, from a family which, though Irish, saw its destiny in service to the British Crown, Starkie was never completely to escape the fate of many ‘West Britons’, to be English to the Irish and Irish to the English. Even more suspect by both for being a Catholic, although he was not to experience his father’s fear of assassination, he could not really be at home in either country, and must have shared what Elizabeth Bowen famously said of herself, the feeling of being English when in Ireland and Irish when in England. All this may say something about so much of a restless life spent elsewhere. The reader is brought from an early childhood of nurses and nannies, of a French governess, of private music lessons in Ireland and public school in England, to the triumphs of academe (a first class degree, a Fellowship, a doctorate, the first Chair of Spanish at Trinity College, Dublin) and the later brilliance of his directorship of the British Council in Spain, through endless lecturing and writing and visiting professorships, to an old age of ceaseless work and financial worry. He more than justified the support and patronage of friends in high places (whose influence could still be felt in post-colonial Ireland) by a life so dedicated that a publisher could say of him that he had “only been doing the work of four to five ordinary men […] virtually been having a holiday” (p.299). This is a resounding biography of one of Ireland’s most notable men, a ‘character’, a teller of tales of travel, a man denied the Oxford Chair he craved (his Italian wife never taking to Ireland), and one whose prodigious talents were never to achieve the financial independence he was born into. It will appeal as much to the general reader looking for what ‘celebrity’ meant before the media defined it, as to the musi-
cally-minded, as much to the historian of early twentieth-century Ireland, as to those probing the psyche of a sincere pacifist (who raged that he could not take sword or pistol to a reviewer), who sided for a time with Fascism in Italy as a bulwark against Communism, who (believing that colonisation helped ‘civilise’ the colonised) applauded Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia, and who (perhaps predictably) supported the unifying effect of Francoism in Spain. Professor Hurtley has produced a profound and profoundly disturbing book on many levels, and there is wealth enough here for several biographies. This will be an absorbing treat for the general reader and is, not least for its magnificent bibliography, a must-have work for the serious researcher.
Dr Susana Bayó Belenguer teaches in the Department of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College, Dublin University
Summer 2014 • La Revista 5
UPCOMING SOCIETY EVENTS Key dates for your diary May - October 2014
Our full programme of events can be found at www.britishspanishsociety.org/whats-on. For tickets please contact email@example.com or purchase via our website. Payment can also be made by bank transfer (account details online) or via cheque (to the BritishSpanish Society, 102 Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AN)
City Networking at The Haciendas Date and Time: Thursday 15th May, 7.00pm - 9.30pm Venue:The Haciendas, Broken Wharf House, 2 Broken Wharf, London EC4V 3DT Tickets: Members £25,non-members £30 Your ticket includes the chance to enter a business card draw and win Hacienda Zorita Magister MMIX (value £150)! La Hacienda support The British Spanish Society as Silver Members, find out more: www.the-haciendas.com
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show Date and Time: Thursday 22nd May, 5.30 pm to 8.00 pm Venue: The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, Chelsea, London SW3 4SL Tickets: Available to members only at £50. Includes a tour at your leisure of the gardens and shows plus a glass of Pimms or Champagne.
Exclusive Breakfast, Viewing and Tour of Spanish and European Paintings Date and Time: Wednesday 21st May, 9.15am to 10.45am Venue: Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA Tickets: Members £18, non-members £22 (All proceeds from this event go directly to the Society)
All Aboard for BBQ Supper and After Party at Bar & Co! A relaxed night out aboard the party boat rocking the Thames! Enjoy an on-deck BBQ (weather permitting) and views of the London Eye, Big Ben and the Oxo Tower. Stay on late for dancing on the lower deck. Date and Time: Thursday 5th June, 7pm-3am Venue: Bar & Co, Temple Pier, Victoria Embankment, London WC2R 2PN Tickets: Members £27 for members, Non Members £30
Includes: BBQ supper served between 7-11pm and either a cocktail or 2 glasses beer/2 glass of wine followed by late night dancing and cash bar on the lower deck. Bar&Co support the BritishSpanish Society as Silver Members. Find out more at www.barandcompany.com
Save the Date World Cup Spain vs. Chile Football Match Viewing for Members of the BritishSpanish Society and the Anglo-Chilean Society Wednesday 18th June, NH Hotel The BritishSpanish Society Annual Summer Party Wednesday 25th June Evening Tour of The Medieval & Renaissance Galleries Friday 4th July, Victoria & Albert Museum The BritishSpanish Society Annual Evening Concert: Music from Toledo in the Age of El Greco Tuesday 16th September 6 La Revista • Summer 2014
BritishSpanish Society Annual General Meeting Tuesday 21st October Sala Luis Vives Spanish Embassy
All members welcome Not a member yet? Sign up now by filling in the membership form at the back page of this issue or join on our website:
he BritishSpanish Society is getting bigger, largely due to a growing number of younger members, so we hosted a special club night at Boujis to give them a chance to meet each other. No sign of Prince Harry unfortunately, but it was a lively, buzzing atmosphere. Special thanks to Marta Palacios and her team for the stellar organisation. Photographs: Gloria Ceballos
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A celebration of Spanish football at Hispania Thursday 6th March saw members and friends of the Society decant to the heart of London’s financial district for an evening of Spanish football chat at the delightful Hispania restaurant. A stone’s throw from Bank underground station, the restaurant sits in the historical Lloyd’s Bank building, a National Heritage site. With many original building features still seen, but expertly woven into a eclectic new tapestry by architect Lorenzo Castillo, it was the perfect backdrop for ‘Fútbol Alegría – A celebration of Spanish Football.’
atrons filed to the upper floor to be greeted by Beatriz, María and Harriet, and a dazzling array of auction items. Even before the audience had settled, conversation had already turned to which item would raise the most money. As panel host for the evening, Society Chairman Jimmy Burns Marañón began proceedings by introducing his fellow panellists: Guillem Balague, renowned Spanish football journalist and Sky Sports La Liga expert; author and Financial Times journalist Simon Kuper; and Enrique Ruiz, the Director of the Spanish tourist office in London. Before diving straight into the discussion, Burns took a moment to remind everyone of the Society’s charitable status. Particular emphasis was placed on the scholarship programme for British and Spanish students, for which the Society remains fiercely proud. The talk got underway via a presentation from Enrique on how the successes of the Spanish national team were used as a backdrop for slogan-based campaigns. Via intelligent sports marketing techniques, football played a part in the growth of Spain’s popularity as a destination, in areas of the world where Spain was barely known. This ultimately saw the Spanish Tourist Board Facebook page inherit 200,000 fans in two hours on the day after the 2010 World Cup Final victory, which remains a record. Simon Kuper took the microphone and immediately put a different, and interesting, spin on Spain’s success. Likening football to ‘chess on grass’, Kuper noted that Spain were at their most isolated as a nation during the reign of General Franco, and the national team won barely half of its matches. By the 2000s, when Spain had become accessible to European knowledge networks, their win percentage had increased to over 71 percent. No
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other international football team in history has ever come close to that figure. With football being seen as “part of Europe”, Kuper concluded by noting that you cannot understand Spanish success without first understanding the economics. Guillem Balague regaled the knowledgeable audience with many notable anecdotes on the Spanish national team. Amongst them, how the ‘Galactico’ era in Madrid and the arrival of David Beckham saw worldwide interest conferred upon La Liga, the huge influence of Luis Aragones in shaping Spanish football’s golden era, and how the arrival of Jose Mourinho in the Spanish capital began to erode relations amongst the big two. Burns continued to hold the interest in the room by detailing succinctly how social and political maturity in Spain is intertwined with football in the country; there is now a togetherness and pride in the project - Catalans alongside Basques. Inevitably time was spent discussing the twin talents of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo although it was recognised that comparisons are difficult, with reference made to Ronaldo’s own response to the issue: “you cannot compare a Ferrari with a Porsche”. Burns wrapped up the panel discussion by reading an email from “a true gentleman,” Vicente Del Bosque. The exemplar wished to convey apologies for non attendance, the small matter of calling players to advise them of their World Cup selection taking priority! A handful of thought-provoking questions were taken from the floor, before books were signed and the exquisite tapas, prepared by Michelin starred chef Marcos Moran, was served. To end the evening, auctioneer for the night Carmen Young invited patrons to part with their hard earned cash. As wallets opened, auction items such as a signed Barcelona shirt, Real Madrid ball and Athletic Bilbao shirt saw hundreds of pounds duly raised for the Society. All in all, a resounding success! Thank you to our sponsors, the Spanish Tourist Office, Soccerex and Cuatrecasas for supporting this event.
By Jason Pettigrove Photographs by Gloria Ceballos
The panel: Enrique Ruiz, Giullem Balague, Jimmy Burns Marañó
Football shirts available for auction
Javier Fernandez Hidalgo of Hispania (left)
ón and SImon Kuper
Books by Guillem, Simon and Jimmy were on sale at the event
Brazilian shirt signed by Zico
Football signed by Real Madrid players
Our brilliant auctioneer: Carmen Young
The proud owner of a Spain shirt, signed by Giullem on request
Summer 2014 • La Revista 9
The BritishSpanish Society runs a scholarship awards programme as part of its role as a charity. Alberto Sancho was presented with his award in 2012 by Ferrovial. Here he tells La Revista how his research in the field of civil engineering has progressed.
Structures: Not as Immobile as they Look
ivil engineering is a very broad field covering the design and construction of many elements of our everyday life; roads, dams, railways, harbours and water treatment plants are just a few examples. All civil engineers need the same basic engineering knowledge, but later they can specialise and become structural engineers, geotechnical engineers, environmental engineers, transportation engineers, etc. During my last year studying Civil and Structural Engineering at the Universidad de Burgos I specialised in structural engineering. Most of the structures that surround us can be designed statically, i.e. considering that all the applied loads stay invariable in space and time. Generally a dynamic approach of the problem is not necessary, and it is only carried out if there are important dynamic loads over the structure or if the structure is weak against normal dynamic loads. A typical example of the first scenario is a residential building in an active seismic area; and for the second scenario a slim footbridge could be considered, as it can be excited by the pace of a pedestrian crossing it. Civil engineering dynamics is a specialised area not covered in depth in my first degree, so after finishing it I applied for a BritishSpanish Society Scholarship to study a one-year MSc course in Earthquake and
Torre Mayor in Mexico City
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Civil Engineering Dynamics at the University of Sheffield. I was granted one of the scholarships by Ferrovial and I would like to express again my gratitude for receiving their help. This year I have grown both as a professional and as a person, gaining knowledge and a unique experience of studying in a foreign country for one year. And so, I changed my beloved hometown Burgos, with its stone monuments and its supreme gastronomy, for the green parks of Sheffield and its friendly people. During the year I studied how to deal with three major dynamic events: earthquakes, vibrations and blasts. Here in the UK, earthquakes are rare, but for some countries an earthquake is a very common event. It is much easier to find examples of the other two events within the UK borders. Britain is not a seismic area, but not too far away examples of destructive earthquakes can be found, like the ones in Lorca in 2011 or L’Aquilla in 2009. These events showed that structures built in these regions and others may need to consider greater events during their design, as many of the structures that collapsed were modern constructions. Further away, in a very seismic region like Mexico City buildings need to be carefully designed to resist earthquakes. Torre Mayor is a 57-story building sitting over soft soil. Bearing in mind the hugely devastating earthquake of Mexico City in 1985, the project needed to focus on making the building earthquake-resistant. Codes limited the height of the building to 30 floors or less, but the great work of the design team made it possible to reach 57 floors by using mega brace seismic dampers that would dissipate the seismic energy. Uncontrolled vibration can be a problem. It generally doesn’t lead to structural failure, but it causes serviceability problems causing discomfort and concern among its users. The London Millennium Footbridge crossing the river Thames in London opened in 2000, but during the opening day an unexpected vibration mode was observed. The movement of pedestrians crossing the footbridge generated a lateral vibration with low frequency that became worse as the number of pedestrians increased over the deck. The lateral acceleration produced was enough to make it difficult for many pedestrians to walk normally. This problem had not been considered during the design, and a further study was carried out to solve it finally by a combination of viscous dampers for the horizontal vibration and tuned mass dampers for the vertical vibration.
Blasts are rare events that can have accidental or intentional origins. There is no general procedure to deal with these events as their nature has a great variability, but some basic rules have been established from experience. One of the most important ones is to prevent progressive collapse of a building when an element collapses. This issue can be clearly shown in the Ronan Point disaster that happened in London in 1968. The building was an 18 storey apartment block made of precast panels. A gas explosion in the 13th floor pushed out one panel by breaking its weak connections. The load of the building was carried to the ground by these panels, so the panels above this one fell down destroying all the kitchen areas of the floors above and killed four people. These are just a few examples of the importance of civil engineering dynamics in the design process of some structures. At the moment I am carrying out a dissertation in the blast and impact area. It consists of the study of a blast wave impacting on a facade due to the explosion of a car bomb as an example of a terrorist attack. In such an event the panels forming the facade receive different loading depending on their location and an effect called clearing reduces the pressure in the areas near the edges of the facade. The aim of this dissertation is to evaluate the importance of that effect in different panel locations to justify or not the optimisation of the design of the panels according to their location. Finally I would like to express again my gratitude to the BritishSpanish Society and Ferrovial for this great opportunity. And of course, to encourage everyone to visit Sheffield as well as Burgos, elected Spanish Gastronomy Capital for 2013.
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Annual Gala Dinner With special guest speaker, Dame Esperanza Aguirre Undaunted by the “weight of history” she allegedly feared in this “extraordinary setting”, special guest Esperanza Aguirre DBE, former president of the Madrid Regional Government and current president of the Partido Popular in Madrid, warmly addressed her audience at the BritishSpanish Society Gala Dinner held at the House of Commons on 13th March.
peaker of the House, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, quite recently opened rooms in the Palace of Westminster for external bookings when he said that the building “should not be a private members club but should be available for public use”. Our Gala Dinner 2014 was one of the very first of these public uses and was held in celebration of the BritishSpanish Society to raise funds for its programme of grants and scholarships, which have been awarded since 2008 to over 40 post-graduate students from Spain and Britain. Invited by our host, Hispanophile Chris Bryant - Labour member of parliament for Rhondda since 2001 and a former Foreign Office minister who has lived and worked in Spain - nearly two hundred Society members, friends and corporate supporters met for a reception in the Strangers’ Dining Room followed by a banquet style dinner in the auspicious Members’ Dining Room. Meeting early in the historic grandeur of Westminster Hall, many guests enjoyed short ‘Bar to Bar’ tours of the building including one in Spanish lead by Society council member, Paul Pickering. The event was generously sponsored by Iberica Restaurants of London and table gifts of ladies’ perfume were kindly donated by Agatha Ruíz de la Prada. Our corporate supporters from Santander Universities, Ferrovial, BBVA and Telefonica were well represented at the dinner, together with their very welcome guests, as were representatives from the Spanish embassy and the Cervantes Institute.
The evening was consummately well organised by the in-house team of Beatriz Gago, Virginia Cosano and Maria Soriano, with invaluable support from Lucia Cawdron and Carmen Young who greeted guests most graciously on their arrival, and the occasion was once again managed under the experienced hands of event organiser and master of ceremonies, David Hurst. Society Chairman Jimmy Burns Marañón welcomed guests and especially Esperanza Aguirre saying that she “has promoted consistently effectively and most elegantly the friendship between Spain and the United Kingdom”. After dinner a double royal toast was proposed by H.E. the Spanish Ambassador, Federico Trillo, with the most eloquent and succinct, “The King. The Queen”. In the highlight of the evening, Dame Esperanza delivered an impassioned and heart-warming address with verve and panache complimenting everything she has received from British culture and also complimenting the Society, “for building cultural and educational bridges between Britain and Spain”. Dame Esperanza and her husband, Fernando Ramirez, the Earl of Bornos, together with numerous members of her close family, then mingled with members, guests and supporters of the Society before departing. This was a wonderful and memorable evening in a truly historic setting that was enjoyed by all. By our social correspondent
The ‘selfie’ that made international news: the Spanish Ambassador, H.E. Federico TrilloFigueroa, Dame Esperanza Aguirre and enthusiastic Society members enjoying the special reception held on 12th March at the NH Hotel in Harrington Gardens
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Jimmy Burns Marañón and Dame Esperanza Aguirre
Another selfie: Beatriz Gago, Virginia Cosano, María Soríano Casado
Jimmy and Esperanza withJaime-Enrique Hugas, Lady Brennan and H.E. Federico Trillo-Figueroa
Agaza Ruíz de la Prada and Chris Bryant MP
Chris Bryant MP with members of the BritishSpanish Society
Summer 2014 • La Revista 13
Entrevista con Esperanza Aguirre por Bess Twiston-Davies
pasar un mes en Londres, en la casa de una familia amiga de la mía, que tenía dos hijas de nuestra edad, en régimen de intercambio. Se llaman Mac Arthur y una de esas chicas, hoy una señora, vive en Extremadura, donde es profesora de inglés. Lo que más me impresionó entonces fue lo grande que era Londres. Recuerdo que me resultó eterno el trayecto desde su casa, en el South West, hasta la Cámara de los Comunes, donde fuimos a visitar a un hermano del señor de mi familia que entonces era MP.
eñora Aguirre, muchas gracias por habernos concedido esta entrevista. Es conocida su afición por Inglaterra, pero ha sido fascinante descubrir (gracias al libro de Virginia Drake, La Presidenta) que su abuela Teresa Ozores y Saavedra, la Marquesa de Casa Valdés, fue la vice-presidenta de la Royal Horticultural Society y que hasta creó un jardín español en el Chelsea Flower Show. ¿Cómo llegó a implicarse en la Royal Horticultural Society? No era mi abuela sino la abuela de mi marido. En el Chelsea Flower Show de 1953 encargaron un jardín a representantes de distintos países. Por España se lo encargaron a ella, que reprodujo en Londres los jardines de la Alhambra de Granada, para lo que tuvo que llevar a Londres a jardineros andaluces y todo tipo de arbustos, árboles y flores. Tuvo mucho éxito y le dieron un premio. A raíz de este éxito, entró en la Royal Horticultural Society, para después llegar a su vicepresidencia. ¿Hay alguna relación entre la pasión de su abuela por los jardines y su interés por el Medio Ambiente? Recuerdo el trabajo que ejerció en Madrid como concejala de Medio Ambiente y en concreto su lema ‘Madrid más limpio, más verde’. Claro que influyó en mi interés por los jardines y por la Naturaleza en general. Me casé muy joven y pude tratarla bastante, de manera que me enseñó muchos jardines maravillosos de los que ella diseñaba. Era una auténtica especialista en jardines y en flores y yo soy sólo una entusiasta de ir al campo y de estar al aire libre pero no soy una especialista como ella. Creo firmemente en la importancia de preservar, defender y cuidar el Medio Ambiente. Y estoy muy contenta de la época que pasé en el Ayuntamiento de Madrid como responsable de
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esa materia y también estoy contenta de ese lema. Su familia ha sido vinculada con Inglaterra ya desde hace varias generaciones. Háblenos un poco de esta relación. ¡Entiendo que corre sangre escocesa e irlandesa por sus venas! Efectivamente. Corre sangre irlandesa por mis venas. De hecho, yo soy pelirroja, herencia, sin duda, de la abuela de mi abuelo paterno que se llamaba Josefa O´Neale y que venía de una familia católica norirlandesa que tuvo que salir del Ulster a principios del siglo XVII y se estableció en Andalucía. De niña estudió cinco años en el instituto Británico de Madrid. ¿Por qué le mandaron al Instituto? ¿Tiene algún recuerdo de los años que cursó en el British School? Yo fui a la British School de Madrid desde los seis a los diez años. Y tengo unos recuerdos magníficos. Allí fui muy feliz. Y allí, además de la lengua inglesa, aprendí algunas de las características del British way of life, que después me han sido muy útiles en la vida, y en la vida política sobre todo, como la honesty, el espíritu deportivo de la competición, el luchar por los ideales, el saber perder, el fair play, y un sano sentido del humor. Y fui a la British School porque se empeñó mi abuela Isabel, la madre de mi madre, que, además de anglófila convencida, supo intuir la importancia que el inglés iba a adquirir en el mundo. Algo que en la España de los años cincuenta aún no estaba tan claro como ahora. ¿Cuándo visitó por primera vez Inglaterra? ¿Cuáles fueron sus primeras impresiones del país? Vine a Inglaterra por primera vez cuando tenía 12 años. Vine con mi hermana Isabel a
¿Quién es su autor inglés preferido y por qué? En realidad no es inglés, sino escocés, Sir Walter Scott. Lo leí durante mi infancia y adolescencia con auténtica pasión y el recuerdo que tengo de sus novelas me sigue acompañando. ¿Tiene usted algún lugar preferido en Londres? ¿Y alguna tienda favorita? Me acuerdo de haber acompañado a mi abuelo a comprar en Floris, la tienda de perfumes de casa, en Jermyn Street. Y sigue siendo mi preferida. Y quizás el sitio que más me gusta sea St. James Park Si tuviera que pasar un día en Londres sin agenda establecida ¿qué haría usted y adónde iría? Iría a un musical y de tiendas: Selfridges, Marks and Spencer… Compraría series de la BBC. Iría, porque no he ido nunca, a la National Portrait Gallery y tengo mucho interés en conocerla. ¿Tiene algún plato preferido británico? El roastbeef de Simpson’s con horseradish. ¿Cuál ha sido la influencia de Gran Bretaña en su formación política? Valorar, por encima de todo, la verdad y el patriotismo. Una constitución que no está escrita, como la Británica, ¿podría funcionar en España, o son dos realidades políticas y sociales demasiado diferentes para que este concepto funcionase? ¿Cree que el liberalismo alberga el mismo significado en Inglaterra que en España? Si ha funcionado en Inglaterra, por qué no podría funcionar en España. No somos tan diferentes. Es verdad que la tradición liberal británica es mucho más fuerte y sólida que la española. Pero también hay una tradición liberal española. Y algunos de sus representantes vivieron en Inglaterra en el siglo XIX. ¿Cómo conoció por primera vez a Boris Johnson, el alcalde de londres? Si le
ENTREVISTA tuviera que dar un consejo sobre cómo mejorar la vida de los londinenses, ¿Cuál sería? A Boris Johnson lo conocí personalmente en octubre de 2010, cuando vine a Londres a estudiar cómo es gestionado el Metro de esta ciudad. Me recibió, muy amable, y tuvimos una larga conversación sobre el Metro y, de paso, sobre otros aspectos de la política y de la vida municipal. Como creo que les pasa a todos los que le conocen de cerca, también a mí me pareció un político muy atractivo, brillante, simpático y seductor. Y, desde luego, no me atrevo a darle ningún consejo sobre una ciudad que conoce mejor que nadie y que encuentro que está absolutamente maravillosa. Espero que todo lo que hace por la ciudad lo pueda hacer con impuestos bajos. De la biografía de Boris Johnson me ha impresionado siempre que fuera el editor de The Spectator, donde otro Johnson genial, Paul, me dedicó una columna con el título ‘What a woman!’ en 1997, después de unas Tertulias HispanoBritánicas que tuvieron lugar en Granada y a las que asistimos los dos. ¿Cuáles eran sus aspiraciones laborales de joven? Entiendo que no buscaba una carrera dentro del mundo político cuando comenzó su vida laboral. Antes de ser funcionaria pensé muy seriamente en poner una guardería para que las mujeres pudieran dejar allí a sus hijos y pudieran trabajar. Porque, en aquellos años, había muy pocas en Madrid. Desde luego no se me pasaba por la imaginación hacer carrera política. Leí en la biografía de Virginia Drake, que su abuela decía ‘casarse no es profesión’, una perspectiva muy avanzada en aquella época. Ha sido usted la primera mujer ministra de educación y cultura, y la primera presidenta del Senado en España. ¿Qué desafíos ha encontrado en
la reina Isabel en el Chelsea Flower Show con la abuela de Esperanza en 1953, cuando acaba de llegar al trono.
los abuelos del marido de Esperanza tomando el té con Churchill y Montgomery
el camino? ¿Se ha encontrado con muchos prejuicios por el hecho de ser mujer? En lo que se refiere estrictamente a mi vida política no he encontrado obstáculos especiales por el hecho de ser mujer, salvo las típicas preguntas que me hacen algunos periodistas sobre trajes, sobre peinados o sobre qué he hecho para cuidar a los hijos. Preguntas que nunca les hacen a los hombres. ¿Opina usted que España es todavía una sociedad machista?¿Es más facil hoy día, por ejemplo, que la mujer entre en la política? En muchas cosas, España sí sigue siendo una sociedad machista. Piense, por ejemplo, en los casos de asesinatos de mujeres. Pero la vida política española no es especialmente machista, salvo algunos detalles como los que he mencionado antes. ¿Cuál ha sido el momento más duro de su vida politica y el más duro de su vida personal? Sé que hace dos años superó un cáncer. El momento más duro de mi vida política han sido, sin duda, los atentados del 11M. Aquel día fue terrible y su recuerdo me acompañará siempre: desde que, a los pocos minutos de ocurrir, llegué a la Estación de Atocha y vi los primeros cadáveres y los heridos graves caídos en el suelo, hasta que, pasada la media noche, llegué a la morgue donde estaban los forenses haciendo las autopsias de las decenas de fallecidos que estaban alineados en el suelo, todo en ese día fue tremendo. Y el momento más duro de mi vida personal probablemente fue el del descubrimiento de mi cáncer. Aunque, enseguida, con la ayuda de los médicos, de mi familia y de mis amigos, empecé a luchar contra el cáncer y, gracias a Dios, parece que lo voy ganando.
le han permitido superar los multiples desafíos dentro del mundo de la política? El tomar siempre las decisiones basadas en mis principios y no tomarlas guiándome por el criterio de que fueran las más fáciles de tomar. Cuando he tomado una decisión plenamente convencida de que era de acuerdo con mis principios nunca he tenido que arrepentirme. ¿Cuál ha sido el logro profesional que más satisfacción le ha proporcionado? Pues, si sólo tuviera que mencionar uno, diría que la implantación de la enseñanza bilingüe en la Comunidad de Madrid. Es emocionante comprobar cómo ya hablan inglés alumnos de Colegios madrileños de barrios de un nivel de vida nada alto. Tiene fama de ser muy activa y super trabajadora. Cuéntenos un día típico en la vida (en Madrid) de Esperanza Aguirre. A las 7:30, gimnasia. A las 8:30, desayuno. Y a partir de las 9, o voy a mi trabajo en la empresa de headhunting Seeliger y Conde, o voy a mi despacho en la presidencia del Partido Popular de Madrid. Es muy normal que por la tarde tenga algún acto o reunión del Partido. Y procuro sacar tiempo para comer una vez por semana con mi madre. Y para estar todo el tiempo que puedo con mis cuatro nietos. (Está a punto de nacer el quinto). ¿Quiénes son sus heróes políticos y por qué decidió usted publicar ‘Discursos para la Libertad’? Entre los contemporáneos no tengo la menor duda de que Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher y Ronald Reagan son los que admiro más. Y publiqué ese libro porque me pareció muy importante que esos discursos en los que se defiende la libertad estuvieran accesibles para el gran público.
¿Cuál ha sido la filosofía o los valores que
Summer 2014 • La Revista 15
A Royal Visit to the Instituto Cervantes
The Spanish Chamber of Commerce welcomes the new season
ueen Sofia of Spain came to London’s Cervantes Institute during an official visit on 30th April for the inauguration of the library, which was named after her. The Queen was greeted by the Chairman of the BritishSpanish Society Jimmy Burns Marañón (see below), among the invitees. During the event, which was attended by representatives of British and Spanish culture, the Spanish ambassador His Excellency Federico Trillo-Figueroa paid tribute to the library’s rich literary collection, and the importance of British and Spanish “as the world’s two most universal languages.” Guests were treated to tapas provided by Hispania.
The Latin UK Awards
ans of Latin American culture gathered together at KOKO in Camden on 30th April for London’s 3rd annual Latin UK awards (LUKAS). Society Chairman, Jimmy Burns Marañón was a VIP guest, having served as one of the judges for the Best Spanish Restaurant Award. Hosted by Spanish television presenter Boris Izaguirre and Yanet Fuentes, star of Cuban Fury, it was a celebration of the diversity of Latin culture and a night to remember. Stars included flamenco guitarist, Paco Peña and performer Rafael Amargo. Bianca Jagger, ex-model and human rights activitist and Osvaldo Ardiles, spurs football player, accepted lifetime achievement awards. Latino residents and other Latin culture fans voted in seven award categories marking contributions to music, sport, dance, food, the arts, business and community.
Photo by Julia Burns
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he Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain offers Spanish and British companies the opportunity to promote themselves commercially in both markets. Currently the Spanish Chamber of Commerce has more than 300 members. Let’s have a look at a summary of the activities and events the Chamber has developed and has planned for the first semester of a promising 2014: On 31st January the Spanish Chamber organised a New Year’s Welcome Dinner at the NH Harrington Hall hotel in London as the opening of the events season. The dinner was presided by the Ambassador of Spain, H.E. Federico Trillo-Figueroa and Jaime García-Legaz, Spanish Secretary of State for Trade, as the special guest of honour. This year the Chamber wanted to reward the companies that have been supporting the institution for more 50 years: A Gomez Ltd, Construcciones y Auxiliares de Ferrocaril, Iberia, Lisons Ltd, MacAndrews & Co Ltd, Products from Spain Ltd, Rodanto Ltd and Victoria Trading Ltd. One of the highlights of the season has undoubtedly been the launch of the CIAC in March. The Council of Ibero American Chambers is a project that has developed over two years and in which the Spanish Chamber has had an active role. The CIAC has been conceived as the support network available to Britishbased companies seeking to enter or expand into the Latin American and Spanish market. Moving on, the Annual Golden Award of the Spanish Chamber, which acknowledges a Spanish company in the UK whose performance in the last year has been outstanding, goes to Aena Aeropuertos in 2014. Aena Aeropuertos is the leading world airport operator as per number of passengers and last year moved a step forward with the acquisition of Luton Airport. At the end of March the Chamber held its Annual Patrons’ Dinner which was hosted this year by Ametsa with Arzak Instruction restaurant, member of the Chamber. The savoir faire of Ametsa ensured that the restaurant won its first Michelin star in 2013, less than one year after its opening. The Spanish Chamber is very grateful to its members and patrons for their continuous support across all the different activities and for the new ones to come in the next months. The Annual General Meeting of the Chamber will take place at the House of Lords on 6th June. Guest of honour Lord Bell will be sharing this significant date with the members of the Spanish Chamber and some other high-level representatives of Spanish institutions. Finally, we don’t want to miss the opportunity to announce that the XVI edition of the Graduate European Programme has just been launched, so candidates and companies interested in taking part in this successful initiative can do so.
Todas las mujeres, 2013
Now in its 10th year, London’s annual celebration of Spanish cinema offers audiences a selection of films that are making waves across the industry. Bess Twiston-Davies speaks to Joana Granero, Founder and Director of the festival about where it all started, why Spanish film is better than ever, and gives us the lowdown on what not to miss.
oana Granero Sánchez’s favourite cinema is the Ciné Lumière in South Kensington, London. She loves the “wide open entrance” and the broad sweep of the stairway up to the screening room. And she’s persuaded some of Spain’s biggest film stars and directors to march up its white-grey stairs - Marisa Paredes, Fernando Trueba and Carlos Saura, to name but a few. Why? Or rather, how? Well, Joana is the Founder and Director of the London Spanish Film Festival, an annual film bonanza spanning a weekend in May, and 10 autumn days. The 5,000 strong audience - a mix of Brits, Spaniards, Latin Americans and other London-based foreigners - get to see on average around 35 - 40 Spanish films, mostly new, mostly made within the past year and a half. As well as a core programme, there’s a Basque Window and a Catalan Window, to reflect the growth of Basque and Catalan cinema, as well as shorts and special features, and for the past two years the programme has included a golden-oldie or ‘Treasure from the Archives’. And that’s not all. Film-goers are treated to fascinating and thoughtful interviews and Q&A sessions with the stars - actors and directors - of the latest Spanish releases. The idea is to give the viewer “something extra,” Joana explains. Thus the audience will learn “either about the making of the film, or perhaps why a particular story is being told, or else how an actor works in order to prepare to perform a particular character or how a film maker handles a particular, sometimes delicate, subject.” There is also an Acting Across Frontiers interview series, now in its third and final year and devised by Joana and María Delgado, the author and Professor of Theatre and Screen Arts at Queen Mary University of London. Past years have looked at the differences between acting on stage and screen, and on different sides of the Atlantic. This year, the series, featuring the actor Sergi López, will explore acting in different languages. López, the villain of El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth, 2006) trained at the Jacques LeCoq theatre school in Paris and often works in French. “He’s an amazing actor” says Joana. Examples of López’ work in four languages - English, French, Spanish and Catalan will be shown at this year’s festival.
Spring 2014 • La Revista 17
t’s the 10th edition to date. “We have some very nice plans” laughs Joana when we met at the Ciné Lumière in early April. So far she isn’t giving away details for the autumn festival - this year running from 25th September to 5th October. But she’s just printed the programme for the Spring Weekend which is 15th - 18th May. Highlights will include the opening films Vivir es fácil con los ojos Cerrados (2013) about an English teacher in Spain who is obsessed with John Lennon. It stars Javier Cámara and Natalia de Molina, and won six Goyas (Spain’s equivalent to the Oscars) this year, including best picture, director, screenplay, actor, new actor, and soundtrack. Visit the festival and you will also have the chance to see Todas Las Mujeres (2013), starring Eduard Fernández: “a film about the weaknesses of a man” says Joana. Another treat for May is Los Ilusos, (The Wishful Thinkers, 2013) an unusual film made by Jonas Trueba, son of the director David, and nephew of director Fernando Trueba. “It is a beautiful film about Madrid and the love of film-making - really it’s an ode to Madrid.” Remarkably, it was made using discarded cuts of film, recycled by Trueba. And no one involved in the film was paid. Ingenious, yes, but this is also a reflection, says Joana, of the state of Spain’s struggling film industry, afflicted by subsidy cuts, and sharp falls in audience numbers: “All these cuts are definitely having a negative effect in the sector,” she says. “There are still many people in the sector who are really passionate about cinema and almost with no money they manage to do great things, like for example Los Ilusos. The result is a beautiful film but, of course, this situation is not sustainable for the long term. The industry overall is very pessimistic and it’s a shame because there is so much talent there,” she adds.
hen Joana founded the festival nearly a decade ago, Spain was actually producing more films than Britain. Now the reverse is true, but cinema-goers in the UK now have access to a far wider range of Spanish films. “When the festival began it was difficult to find Spanish films on general release other than those of Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro Amenábar and Julio Medem,” explains Joana. “In the last years we have seen many other films both on general cinema release if not with a high number of copies and on DVD, such as Fernando Trueba’s El artista y la modelo (The Artist and the Model, 2012) and Chico y Rita (2010), Juan Martínez Moreno’s Lobos de Raga, (Game of Werewolves, 2011), Daniel Monzón’s Cell 211, some of Jaume Balagueró’s films…” What are the main differences in theme and style between films made in Spain and those produced in the UK? Joana thinks there is “definitely a different sense of humour and also the way to make drama is different. In Spanish films you can very often see a concern with death and sex.” Britain, she adds, has perhaps a longer trajectory in making films about social issues: “There’s been more about this in the last few years in Spain,” says Joana. Asked which films have been a surprise hit with London film-goers, she cites last year’s Treasure from the Archives, El último cuplé (The Last Torch Song, 1957): “It features Sara Montiel, who in Spain is an institution but here nobody knows her so we expected the film to be low impact. But it worked very well, perhaps because it contains a lot of music, with Sara Montiel singing.” On the whole, London audiences react favourably to horror films (a growing genre, especially in Catalan cinema), light comedies and dramas. “We have a lot of dramas,” laughs Joana. “With comedies you always have to be careful but the differences between sense of humour are getting less evident. For example, a couple of years ago we screened Carmina O Revienta 18 La Revista • Summer 2014
Catherine Deneuve in Tristana, 1970
Films are a window to another country. One can get a grasp not only of its landscape, its cities, its aesthetics, but also of the people’s sense of humour, their concerns (Carmina or Blow Up, 2012). This is very Andalusian with a Sevillian type of humour and it was a great success. The English audience really laughed, as much as the Spaniards.” Does she think cinema has a role in dissolving barriers of culture or language? “Yes, generally films are a window to another country. One can get a grasp not only of its landscape, its cities, its aesthetics but also of the people’s sense of humour, their concerns. One can get a good idea of the relevance of family ties in Spain by watching some of Carlos Saura’s films from the 60s and 70s as well as some more recent films such La isla interior (Dunia Ayaso and Felix Sabroso, 2009), Demonios en el jardin (Manuel Gutierrez Aragon, 1982), La mosquitera (Agusti Vila, 2010) or in most of Pedro Almodóvar’s films. Or you can learn about Spaniards’ appreciation of food, their preoccupation with saving historical memory related to the Civil War, social concerns... or their sense of the absurd (Almodóvar, Bunuel!)” Which three films would she recommend to a Brit who knew nothing of Spain, and wanted to see some cinema to gain insight? “Something by Almodóvar” she says, suggesting either Todo Sobre mi Madre (All About My Mother, 1999) or her personal favourite, Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, 1988): “I watched it again and again and again and I laughed so much and was thinking ‘it is just great how this man sees all these women!,’ It’s hilarious but at the same time even if you see some crazy stuff that you don’t see happening in real life, like the danza del fuego, the fire in the bed. I found the film very real. You see Carmen Maura embrujada, and you say ‘yes, I believe it, I buy it’”.
One to watch: Miguel Ángel Silvestre in Los amantes pasajeros, 2013 Also on Joana’s list of recommendations would be Tristana (1970). She’s impressed by Luis Buñuel’s brilliance in asking a French actress - Catherine Deneuve - to play a Spanish woman in this “portrait of provincial Spain.” “I find it genius” she says, explaining that she took the name ‘Tristana’ for her own company, Tristana Media, which as well as the London Spanish film festival, organises other events to do with film. The day we meet Joana is organising a week on Italian fashion and cinema to tie in with the Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition at the V&A. Past Tristana Media programmes include work for the British Film Institute and for the American Film Institute, one on Spanish cinema and the Civil War, and another called Good Morning Freedom, about the films made immediately postFranco.” Going back to the fictional film goer, Joana’s other recommendations would include: “Carmen (1983) by Saura and perhaps also Amantes by Vicente Aranda (1991). There you have much about this obsession with sex and death, with Victoria Abril and Maribel Verdú. I think with this they would have a bit of everything.” Her own top 3 film list, as well as Mujeres and Tristana, would include the post-Franco classic, Cría Cuervos (Raising Ravens, 1976): “I found Geraldine Chaplin’s performance sublime and also Ana Torrent’s: her innocence really made a mark on me and also the way the relationship with her mother and father, and between her mother and the father, the way it is portrayed - it’s from the eyes of a child,” Joana explains. What of British films? Does she have any favourites? “I am a big fan of the Merchant and Ivory films,” she confesses. “They really move me. I loved Heat and Dust (1983) which is set in India and stars Greta Scacchi as the wife of a British official who leaves him to live with an Indian.” What appeals to Joana in a film? “The story and some kind of connection with the characters. To me personally photography is very important, because I am a very visual person. At the end of the day the image is the first thing you see,” says Joana.
oana grew up in Tarragona watching Spencer Tracy, Audrey Hepburn and Joan Crawford seasons, screened on la Segunda Cadena. Were her parents big cinema-goers? “Not particularly, but as a child I was often sent to bed early because
of the time and I would come out of my bedroom and hide behind the sofa while my parents were watching tv. Did they catch her? “Sometimes yes,” she laughs. “But I became expert at not moving, or moving slowly so I wasn’t making a noise, and waiting for noise in the films before I moved.” A law graduate, Joana arrived in London 15 years ago, on a mission to improve her English and then migrated for work to Hong Kong. Then came the economic downturn in the Far East “and then my English wasn’t improving that quickly and at the same time I was finding London more and more fascinating, and seeing that somehow the system here was more open, more meritocratic [than in Spain] at the moment of finding a job was very helpful.” Work came - initially as a researcher in a French insurance company, later in a publishing house, as a researcher, then commissioning editor. Within eight years of arriving in London, Joana had set up Tristana Media. Was the London Spanish Film Festival easy to get off the ground? “Not very, it took a year and a half from conception to launch. First we found the support of the Cervantes Institute and then we soon found Ciné Lumière as a venue - because they are members of Europa Cinema and they are committed to show European Cinema, they just welcomed the idea with wide open arms. Then we got the support of the Spanish embassy.” Joana and her team, Patricia Pérez (programming) Maria Ugarte (the Basque Window, dealing with guests) have long been signed up to industry newsletters for Spanish film producers and distributors. Up to date with the latest releases, they usually ask for Spanish films to be sent to them in London, although occasionally, on a trip to Spain, Joana will spend two days in a row viewing movies at the Institute of Cinematography. Initially the main festival lasted a week - now it is 10 days long. As well as a core programme, and the Basque and Catalan Windows (films that are usually supported economically by Basque and Catalan culture groups, such as Extepare in the Basque Country or the Ramon Llull institute in Barcelona), another key element is the special feature - a close-up on the work of a particular director or actor, which will include an hour-long interview with film clips. “We started with Carmen Maura, then we looked at Basilio Martín Patino’s work, Ángela Molina’s, and then Luis Tosar, Jordi Mollá.”
s five o’ clock strikes and the tables of the cafe at the Ciné Lumière clear, I ask one final question - which Spanish actors and directors should be looking out for, now and in the years to come? “For directors, definitely Jonas Trueba, and Paco Baños. He’s been working in film for many years and the first feature film he directed, Ali, came out in 2012. He’s Andalusian from Seville, and it’s really well made - a little jewel and with that sense of humour from the south” And which actors should we watch out for? “Miguel Ángel Silvestre who stars in Almodovar’s Los amantes pasajeros (2013) and Aura Garrido (who stars in El Cuerpo (2012). Definitely these are two but again there are many more”. LR www.londonspanishfilmfestival.com The London Spanish Film Festival: Spring Weekend: 15th – 18th May Festival: 25th September – 5th October Concession price tickets are available for BritishSpanish Society members attending the festival. More details on our website and in our regular email newsletter.
Summer 2014 • La Revista 19
Hip-hop: A Voice to Drive Social Change
Spanish rapper El Chojín’s visit to Leeds University, by Stuart Green
ap music doesn’t have the best of reputations. Turn on the television or the radio, click to see YouTube’s most popular videos, peruse the press, and more likely than not the rappers found glamorise violence, flaunt material wealth or treat women as sexual objects. Sometimes you’ll find all three of these features together. Sadly this is the type of rap promoted most actively by international record labels, who thus misrepresent the black communities of the USA and perpetuate racist stereotypes. Scratch the surface, however, and hip-hop culture is revealed to be a great deal more progressive than this. Rap was conceived in the Bronx of New York not merely to draw attention to inequalities and injustices in society, its danceable beats also bring like-minded people together in order to right such wrongs. This positive side of hip-hop is a defining characteristic of rap produced outside the English-speaking world, giving voice (for example) to young women in places as far apart as Morocco, Canada, Chile and Zimbabwe. One of the most famous exponents of socially conscious rap in Spain is El Chojín (pronounced cho-YIN), whom I invited to Leeds in February. The child of a father from Equatorial Guinea, El Chojín embraced rap as a tool with which to fight against the racial prejudice he saw and experienced – and still sees and experiences. In ‘Cara sucia’ (2003), he recounts how he was made to feel different when growing up because of how he looks. For ‘Rap vs. racismo’ (2011), he gathered together several of Spanish hiphop’s biggest names to speak out against a social ill that has resurfaced with the 20 La Revista • Summer 2014
current economic crisis. Moreover, El Chojín uses musical sounds to declare his membership of an international black community that provides mutual support and shares ideas and inspiration in view of the fact they are often discriminated against in their countries of residence. Much like US rappers, he samples African American blues, jazz, soul and funk on his tracks. Yet he also collaborates with musicians from Equatorial Guinea, such as singer Barón Ya Búk-Lu on ‘Sólo para adultos’ (2001) and percussionist Grosi Edu on ‘Ening’ (2013). This African element is a unique characteristic of his work. Chojín’s lyrics and music are therefore of great interest to anyone wanting to learn about contemporary Spanish society and culture, and we kept him very busy for the duration of his stay in Leeds. He worked with university students on several occasions. One afternoon, he gave a talk to our undergraduates about race relations in Spain and fielded questions from curious students about female rappers and racism in the UK. Another day, I rescheduled a lecture about Afro-Spanish rappers so he could sit in and discuss the issues raised with the students on my course on immigration and the performing arts in Spain. He also gallantly agreed to be interviewed by an English-speaking local musician so that our postgraduate trainee interpreters could practise their skills in a real-life situation. Chojín was in demand outside the university education system, too. At Leeds Central Library it was standing-room only for a public talk in which he was able to discuss how he uses rap not only to denounce racism. He has also produced tracks that promote safe sex (‘Lola’, 2001), raise awareness of gender violence (‘El final del cuento de hadas’, 2004) and unite many of those Spaniards angry at the stringent austerity measures imposed by the current government (‘Únete a mi bando’, 2011). He was also interviewed about Spanish hip-hop and his musical inspirations by DJ and Spanish rap fan Jules Barkan and by BBC Radio Leeds. Aside from the fact that El Chojín is a charismatic and highly articulate speaker, the enthusiastic response to his activities of students and general public alike while in Leeds is indisputable evidence of the international appeal of rap music. For this reason, it comes as no surprise
that secondary school teachers of Spanish are now looking to the genre to generate interest among their students and to raise issues of relevance to the GCSE and A-level curricula. I was able to see this at work one afternoon, when we visited Notre Dame Sixth Form College, where students had scoured the internet for information about El Chojín in order to prepare questions about his life and music.
“For ‘Rap vs. racismo’ (2011), he gathered together several of Spanish hip-hop’s biggest names to speak out against a social ill that has resurfaced with the current economic crisis” During his stay, Chojín was able to sample a little of the north of England, too. He visited Manchester to attend a gig by New York emcee Pharoahe Monch, Bradford for a curry, and spent a day in York. While he wasn’t too enamoured of the weather, El Chojín enjoyed his time in Leeds so much that he agreed to return to perform live in autumn 2014, so watch this space! Stuart Green is Senior Lecturer in Spanish at University of Leeds. Updates on El Chojín’s return visit to Leeds can be found at the webpage of the European Popular Musics Research Group: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/homepage/431/european_popular_musics.
Links El Chojín’s website – http://www.elchojin. net
Videos http://youtu.be/Zl8W6ddWfM8 http://youtu.be/BXS_fZs8oBk
Interview with English interpretation http://lsrfm.com/project/lsr-presents-elchojin/
Memories of an Executive Council Member by John Scanlan
y late wife Marina and I joined the BritishSpanish Society (formerly the Anglo-Spanish Society) over forty years ago, when Sir Peter Allen was Chairman. He had been Chief Executive of ICI and was married to the elegant and charming Consuelo Allen, whose family owned the glamorous Embassy Café in Madrid. I became a member of the Council. In those days our Society’s main event was a ball held mostly at the Grosvenor House Grand Ball Room in Park Lane. It was a major event in the social calendar attracting between six hundred and a thousand punters. Often Royalty were present. I can remember Prince Edward attending with Princess Elena of Spain and on another occasion Princess Alexandra and her husband, Sir Angus Ogilvy. When the ball took place at Syon House, Prince Charles and Lady Diana graced the occasion. During the reign of Sir John Russell as Chairman a trip to Madrid was organised by the redoubtable Sheila Stewart, who was a loyal member of the Council of the Society for many years. It was a highly successful venture and included an audience with King Juan Carlos at the Oriente Palace. We were requested to form a square in the audience salon before the King processed around the room shaking hands with all of us one by one before delivering his welcoming address (see picture). Over the years I recall various social events organised by Lady Parker and Lady Lindsay respectively. There was a private viewing at the Royal Academy with suitable live background music and alcoholic encouragement. Then there was another spectacular private viewing at the National Gallery of Spanish sculpture in wood, which Jimmy Burns Marañón arranged after a suitable breakfast at the Garrick Club. I was fortunate to see the exhibition again at the Museo National de Escultura in Valladolid. While José Puig de Bellacasa was in post as Spanish Ambassador to the Court of St James, a friend of mine, Alan Davis, because a High Sheriff of the City of London, when there were rumours of a proposed state visit to the UK by the King and Queen of Spain. Marina and I gave a dinner party at our house in Headfort place to which we asked among other guests Alan and his wife,
Pamela, and José Puig de Bellacasa and his wife Paz, so that they might become a better acquainted. Shortly after that Sir Alan became Lord Mayor of London and during his year of office the Spanish Royal visit took place. It was a huge success. Marina and I were delighted to attend the main festivities, which included an intimate dinner in the Mansion House, a subsequent reception and dinner at the Guildhall, where King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia received a standing ovation from the assembled company, and a fabulous reception at the Spanish embassy, which Queen Elizabeth and other members of the royal family attended mingling with the other guests. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia also paid a private visit to the Society at its then headquarters in Cavendish Square. On another occasion the Ambassador gave a private dinner party at the Spanish embassy for Prince Charles and Princess Diana to be followed by a concert. On the morning of this event His Excellency was diagnosed by his doctor with severe appendicitis and advised to attend Hospital immediately as a matter of urgency. He decided not to do so before attending the formal dinner and subsequent soiree. When asked by Lady Diana, who was sitting next to him, why he was not eating, he merely complained
“On the morning of this event His Excellency was diagnosed by his doctor with severe appendicitis and advised to attend Hospital immediately as a matter of urgency... He decided not to do so before attending the formal dinner and subsequent soiree” of an upset stomach! It was only the next day that the truth was revealed, although thankfully the operation was successful. This was a courageous act by his Excellency and beyond the call of duty. I understand that he received a personal letter of gratitude from Lady Diana. In the year 2000, I was privileged to represent the Society in the company of Mabel Burns, the mother of our current Chairman, and Lady Parker at a reception at St James Palace given by Queen Elizabeth for all the Anglo societies including the Anglo-Spanish Society. Although mature in years Mabel was dressed to kill and elegance personified. The two of us were greeted individually by the Queen and King Phillip along with representatives from the other societies before their Majesties circulated with other guests in a larger salon. On
AngloSpanish Society Members meeting King Juan Carlos in the Royal Palace Madrid in 1984 (John and Marina on the far right behind the King)
Summer 2014 • La Revista 21
another occasion I had the honour of expressing the thanks of the Society and of the Spanish Welfare Fund to Mabel for the immense contribution which she made over many years to the British and Spanish communities especially in London. She did and promoted much welfare work benefiting those in London from her own country, who were in need, and was the voice of Spain on London Radio for a period of years after the Second World War. I recall happy annual Society summer outings, and in particular the hospitality of Sir Ronald and Lady Lindsay at their country home. In recent years there has been further development of the Society under the reign of Dame Denise Holt and our current Chairman, which has seen the issue of the new Society magazine, La Revista, the funding of scholarships by our supporters BUPA, Ferrovial, Telefónica, Santander Universities and BBVA, and successful dinners at the Royal Automo-
bile Club and the Houses of Parliament. Our guests of honour on those occasions have been Esperanza Aguirre, Countess of Bornos, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, and Michael Portillo, a former minister in the Government of Lady Thatcher. As always the continued support and encouragement of the Society by the Spanish embassy, who allow us to have an annual Summer Party at the embassy and residence of the current Ambassador, His Excellency Federico TrilloFigueroa, is much appreciated. I have greatly enjoyed my time as a member of the Executive Council and the sustained friendships which I have made through my membership of the Society. In retirement I have every intention of continuing my love affair with Spain and the Spanish people, and my enjoyment of the Society and its various activities.
Princess Diana attending a reception held by Spanish Ambassador José Puig de Bellacasa at the Spanish embassy
Review of Improvisao by Farruquito
Part of the Flamenco Festival hosted by Sadler’s Wells, now in its 11th year
lutching the lapels of his jacket, and with his head cast down in deep concentration, Farruquito begins with a simple taconeo, gradually building up his steps to the rhythm set by the emotive voices of two singers, Mari Vizarraga and Mara Rey Navas. As their vocals soar, his steps gather pace, building up into a fury of complex movement, a crescendo which culminates in a final dramatic flourish. He stamps forward for maximum impact, hands raised, and looks out directly at the audience with a challenging stare. From that moment onwards the relationship between Farruquito and his audience was fundamental to his performance.
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Each dance sequence ended with Farruquito smiling broadly at the crowd, who responded with rapturous applause (along with quite a few cries of guapo!) Perhaps it was inevitable due to the grand proscenium arch setting of Sadler’s Wells, but this was turbo-charged flamenco - theatrical and spectacular. As the only bailador surrounded by seven musicians there was no doubting Farruquito’s central role in this show and he lived up to it well; aside from several costume changes he frequently used his jacket for dramatic effect: throwing it across the stage in a passionate fury, and later, dragging it around like a torero enticing a bull. Originally from Seville, Farruquito (or Juan Manuel Fernández Montoya) has impressive flamenco lineage. He is the son of flamenco singer Juan Fernandez Flores, el Moreno, and the flamenco dancer Rosario Montoya Manzano, la Farruca, and has spent his entire life immersed in the world of flamenco. His grandfather Antonio, el Farruco, was a champion of flamenco puro and Farruquito has now taken over as the head of this movement, also running a dance school based on the precepts of the Farruco style. In Farruquito’s own words, Improvisao is “a return to my roots…singing, guitar and dance fused with total freedom to create a different show each day”. While there is no doubting his technical brilliance and vi-
brant energy, the structure and patterns of the dance sequences sometimes felt repetitive, which meant that the final build-up did not always have the desired impact. However, the musical interludes between the dance performances worked well to create changes in pace and ambience throughout the show, and the dynamic between Farruquito and his group was interesting; they responded to each other’s performances, always encouraging and respectful. There was an excellent guitar solo by Román Vicenti, and an enjoyable musical dialogue between Farruquito and his female singers. At the end of the show Farruquito gave wholehearted thanks to the audience in both English and Spanish, and paid tribute to Paco de Lucía, having already incorporated the late guitarist’s music into his performance. His stage persona had fallen away at this point and he seemed a different man altogether – gentle and sincere, with none of his earlier bravado. This may not be the flamenco puro which his grandfather practiced, but Improvisao has its origins in this tradition and Farruquito pays homage to it, creating his own style which is vibrant and charismatic. If anything, he certainly has the stage presence to fill this large theatre setting, and judging by the reception at Sadler’s Wells, a loyal following of fans.
El Mercado de Motores Un rastrillo Madrileño con origen Londinense, por Nuria Reina Bachot
odría haber ocurrido en cualquier parte del mundo pero ocurrió en Londres. Allí, la periodista Teresa Castanedo, que tuvo la oportunidad de conocer numerosos rastrillos vintage gracias a sus viajes a la ciudad británica, donde cubría estrenos cinematográficos, lo vio claro: había que hacer algo así en Madrid. A la vuelta, inició el proceso, el cual incluía búsqueda de financiación y un emplazamiento adecuado. Pero como suele decirse, “del dicho al hecho, hay un trecho” y la negativa por parte de numerosas entidades bancarias y de localizaciones, tales como Casa de Vacas, Matadero y el Centro Cultural Conde Duque, marcaron un comienzo nada halagüeño. Sin embargo, Teresa Castanedo, muy lejos de rendirse, decidió jugárselo todo a una carta, vendió su casa y continuó la búsqueda de escenarios. Por fin, la Nave de Motores de Madrid, propiedad de Metro, declarada Bien de Interés Cultural, aceptó alquilarle su espacio. Y en noviembre de 2012 se celebró el primer Mercado de Motores. El resultado se puede resumir en dos palabras: “éxito rotundo”. Tanto fue así que nueve meses después, la Nave se quedó pequeña y Teresa y su socio Juan Fraile, se vieron obligados a buscar otro emplazamiento de mayor envergadura: el Museo del Ferrocarril de Madrid. Situado en la antigua estación del barrio de Delicias, la cual data de 1879, el Museo del Ferrocarril de Madrid comenzó su andadura en 1983. Así, el Mercado de Motores se asienta en una estación protagonista de numerosos rodajes tales como Doctor Zhivago, y la más reciente, El tiempo entre Costuras, entre otras. Rodeado de locomotoras, vagones antiguos y más de 4.800 piezas históricas, el Mercado de Motores despliega el segundo fin de semana de cada mes un centenar de puestos en el interior del edificio y otros cien en el exte-
Teresa Castanedo y Juan Fraile
rior. La ubicación de los puestos también parece marcar una diferencia en el estilo y en los precios. A pesar de que ambos venden ropa retro, calzado, arte, comics, libros, accesorios (joyas, bisutería, sombreros, guantes), cajas antiguas, mobiliario, lámparas y gastronomía, el interior parece estar definido por un aire más sofisticado y de diseño (venta de profesionales) y el exterior (venta de particulares) parece llevar el sello del rastro primigenio, ese que años atrás hacía las delicias de los coleccionistas en el barrio de Embajadores. Sin embargo, y para desgracia de los madrileños, nuestro querido rastro fue desdibujando su perfil y permitiendo la entrada a productos de bazar de todo tipo, haciendo que la palmatoria de bronce brillase junto al chirriante muñeco de pilas asiático. Teresa Castanedo deseaba alejarse de esa triste mezcolanza y por ello estableció una serie de normas a la hora de seleccionar los puestos que pueden o no vender en el Mercado de Motores. Así pues, no es de extrañar que suela rechazar los productos que imagina en mercadillos veraniegos o medievales. Esta difícil criba le ha otorgado personalidad, estilo y sabor. Un paseo entre los puestos del Mercado de Motores huele a libro viejo, suena al tintineo de copas Art Nouveau, a clin-clan
de latas antiguas que alguna vez albergaron achicoria, las perlas de la abuela, fotos amarillentas, sellos de países lejanos, postales o una cartilla de racionamiento. Las manos se deleitan entre el cachemir, la seda y la piel o se sorprenden con la pana, el papel, los retales y el mantel de cuadros. Los colores te estallan en la cara sin previo aviso. Las flores te sorprenden de cuando en cuando. Nadie camina solo. Todos se sienten acompañados por la música en directo de algún joven grupo disperso por aquí y por allá, el cual regala notas de jazz, pop o boleros según se tercie. Si embelesado por tal envoltorio a uno le entrase un picor en el estómago, no hay problema, llegando al jardicinto, el olor a croquetas, a choricito a la sidra, a bocata de jamón, a nutridas hamburguesas acompañadas de patatas crujientes, a cookies, napolitanas de chocolate, quiches variadas y esponjosos cruasanes le calmarán el gusanillo. Y para más deleite, podrá regarlo todo con cerveza fresca, vino, mojitos, refrescos, té y café. Tal vez estas sensaciones se han transmitido de boca en boca y sean las causantes de que el Mercado de Motores sea visitado por 23.000 viajeros en invierno y el doble en época estival. Cabe mencionar que entre ellos se encuentran numerosos extranjeros y de vez en cuando se deja caer algún actor, periodista o cantante. Al preguntar por el futuro, las perspectivas del Mercado de Motores son, entre otras, recuperar la inversión inicial de su promotora, y quizá más adelante, trasladarse a otras ciudades. Así que, entre tanto, queridos amigos Hispano-Británicos, si pasáis por Madrid y coincide con el segundo fin de semana de mes, no olvidéis visitar el Mercado de Motores, en el Museo del Ferrocarril, Paseo de las Delicias 61, 28045. Seguro que encontráis nuevos sonidos, olores y sabores por descubrir.
Summer 2014 • La Revista 23
Jules Stewart, un Inglés en el Gaucho
You may remember that Jules Stewart was awarded with the prize for the best article written in La Revista last year for his review of El Gaucho, a pincho bar in Pamplona. The Diario de Navarra recently ran an interview feature with Jules, reprinted here with their permission. ¿Puede un artículo como el suyo hacer que los socios de la BritishSpanish Society vengan a Pamplona, al Gaucho? Desde luego es muy factible, la mayoría de los socios somos inglese, gente que viaja habitualmente a España y que apreciamos muchas coasa de España. Muchos vendrán aquí y vendrán al Gaucho, seguro. El boletín lo reciben más de mil personas.
Alicia Serrano y Jesús Mari Ansa, dos de los propoetarios del Gaucho, en la barra de su bar con el periodista y escritor Jules Stewart
uéntenos la historia del premio ¿por qué un artículo sobre el Gaucho? Cuéntenos la historia del premio ¿por qué un artículo sobre el Gaucho? Pertenezco a la BritishSpanish Society, una asociación anglo hispana en la que de vez en cuando hay actos, visitas as España, fiestas en restaurants, conferencias… Editamos un boletín y el director me pidió un artículo sobre el bar español que más me gusta. Yo tengo casa aquí, en el Casco Antiguo de Pamplona, desde hace cinco años, y el que más me gusta es el Gaucho. Muchos bares tienen Buenos pinchos, pero para mí el Gaucho es especial por varias razones: es muy creative e imaginative, tiene mucha variedad e incluye el pescado (se refiere también al marisco) en muchos pinchos, y a mí me gusta mucho el pescado. Todos los años dan un premio al mejor artículo de la revista y este año me lo dieron a mí, así de sencillo. ¿Qué es lo que les soprendió, lo que les gusto, para concederle el premio? Yo creo que lo más interesante es el lugar, la elección de Pamplona. Esperaban algo de Barcelona o Madrid, puede que de Bilbao o San Sebastián, pero la originalidad del Guacho y de los pinchos, el hecho de que estuviera en Pamplona, les sorprendió. Además en Inglaterra la gente identifica las tapas con cosas como la tortilla de patata o las patatas bracas, y el hecho de que exista este concepto de pincho es para nosotros muy sorprendente.
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¿Qué es lo que más le gusta del Gaucho? Suelo venir por las tardes a tomar unos pinchos, y soy muy de pescado. Miro la barra y siempre me quedo con las ganas de tomar alguno más. El concepto de tapas es muy conocido en Inglaterra, pero tienen una idea deformada de lo que es. Conocen tres o cuatro tapas, poco originales y sin imaginación. Se hacen la idea de que los españole salís a cenar a base de tapas, pero no saben lo que es, y los amigos que han venido aquí han vuelto enamorados de esta nueva forma de picar, del Nuevo concepto de tapa, de los pinchos. Los que más me gustan son los crujientes de gambas, pero también la chistorra o el jamón, aunque no sea muy de carne. Ah! Y también me gustaría destacar el gin tonic que prepara Michel – uno de los más emblemáticos camareros del Gaucho. ¿Y de la gastronomía navarra? Yo compréun piso aquí, con mi pareja, hace cinco años. Vivo en Londres, pero procure venir aquí todos los meses. Si habría que destacar tres o cuatro factores que nos han traído a Pamplona la gastronomía es uno de ellos, desde luego el clima no (se ríe). De Navarra yo descataría las verduras, de hecho recuardo una vez en Madrid, en el Julián de Tolosa, que alguien, un amigo, me recommend empezar una cena con unos cogollos de Tudela. Yo pensé ¿cenar con lechuga? Pero cuando los probéme sorpendió que una lechuga pudiera tener ese savor. Cuando la material prima es buena se nota, es difícul estopear una comida. También por el pescado, soy muy poco de carne, y aquí aunque no hay mar hay un pescado muy bueno. Además hay muchos restaurantes que me gustan, mucha gastronomía que podría destacar, como el restaurante de San Fermín, o si quiero celebra algo de Europa o el restaurant Rodero, que me gusta mucho… suelo ir mucho al San Ignacio, coincide mucho con lo que me gusta y soy bastante habitual.
Eligió Pamplona para comprarse una casa y pasar largas estancias, algo no muy habitual entre sus compatriotas, que se decantan más por el sur de España. ¿Por qué razones eligió nuestra ciudad? He vivido muchos años en Madrid pero tuve que volver a Londres. Ahí pensé que estaba perdiendo contacto con España y quería volver, me gustaba, pero no quería volver a Madrid porquie no quería repetir. Habíamos venido varias veces a Pamplona, en San Fermín y en otras épocas. Pamplona es un poco distinta a otras capitals de España, ser de Pamplona es diferente, es casi una sociedad tribal, diría yo, algo difícil de explicar. Hay una conciencia colectiva de lo que es ser de Navarra, una historia colectiva, una manera de hacer las cosas que nos gusta. Es fácil que la gente se conozca, se relacione, tiene un character fuerte en el buen sentido de la palabra que marca y la distingue de otras ciudades. En otras ciudades del entorno es más difícil de encajar, aquí me encuentro muy a gusto, muy tranquilo, tengo Buenos amigos, es una ciudad que me gusta mucho. Estoy dando clases de Euskera en Arturo Campion…es bonito, y mantengo active el cerebro. También me gusta la proximidad con la montaña, con el Pirineo (Stewart es además professor de escalada y ha ascendido varias cumbres de más de 6.000 metros). En Londres necesitas ocho horas para ir a la montaña, aquí en menos de dos estás en Belagua. Ahor paso aquí muchas temporadas, alternando con Londres porque mi mujer no puede venir tan a menudo. ¿Qué destacaría de Navarra y Pamplona, suele viajar por los alrededores? Me muevo menos de lo que quisiera. Soy muy de monte y de vez en cuando salgo con un grupo de montaña de la Txantrea, me gusta mucho la zona de Otxagabia, Roncal, todo el norte de Navarra, el Pirineo. Algunas veces hago alguna escapade a las Bardenas cuando viene gente de visita, un sitio que no se ve en ninguna parte. De Pamplona, vivo en el Casco Antiguo, me gusta pasear. Yo vivo en Londres y ahí es diferente, no es tan fácil, la gente aquí tiene más costumbre de pasear, de salir a la calle. Pamplona es una ciudad bastante bonita, con rincones muy agradables.
Art with a Conscience - An Interview with Lynn Parotti
ynn Parotti is a Bahamian artist who has lived in London since 1995. Her paintings are landscape-based and focus particularly on the impact human interaction is having on them: inspired by physical and psychological landscapes, focusing on our relationship with these environments. In recent years she has turned her attention to what she regards as the great crisis facing humanity- the depletion of global natural resources and the effect it will have on ourselves and the environments in which we live. Global warming and energy consumption have become key concerns for Parotti, who seeks to appeal to our social conscience by expressing these themes in her work. We spoke to Parotti just before she was due to fly to her native Bahamas with Thirst, a painting in the form of a grid which comprises 12 panels of etched aluminium representing 12 cities around the world. As this issue of La Revista goes to press, Thirst will have been on display alongside the works of other Caribbean artists as part of an important annual regional exhibition in the Bahamas entitled Transforming Spaces.
Can you explain the concept behind Thirst? This year the theme for the exhibition is Water, which suits me perfectly, and I wanted to do something which expressly involved clean water. I selected 12 cities throughout the world to give a basic overview of what it costs in US dollars to get 100 gallons of clean water to these particular societies based on 4000 gallons of consumption. Behind every number there is a specific story and varying technologies involving pumping, desalination and purification. I looked at places like San Diego where the cost of getting clean water is quite high at $1.65, but then astonishingly in Copenhagen it costs $3.43, whereas in Dubai, where you might expect the cost to be quite high, is just $0.82. Nassau comes in as an average cost but much higher than Havana; whereas the cost to Ireland is currently nil but due to become chargeable in 2015. The factors determining the cost of clean water supply are geographic, political, logistical and consumer attitude. Water tastings are carried out in Denmark to determine the ‘best water’, whereas basic supply is lifedetermining in many other places. One big concern is the use of fossil water - which cannot be replaced. In areas as diverse as Arabia and the MidWest water, from reservoirs and aquifers is still the main source of supply. The clock is ticking for these areas in the same way as other natural resources as the water supply is rapidly diminishing. Water does not leave
Thirst: Clean Water cost in USD per 100 gallons, based on approx. 4000 gallons monthly usage. 12 panels: Oil, wax, lacquer & pure pigment on etched aluminium
our planet whose surface is 71% covered by seas, and oceans. However, only 2.5% exists as freshwater mainly as ice or groundwater. The distribution for consumption, agriculture and industry is becoming increasingly problematical: too much in some places and not enough in others. We have enough water on this planet but as the population increases there is more strain and stress on trying to get water where it needs to be. Water is a recurring theme in many of your paintings. Can you explain its significance to you as an artist and why it keeps drawing you back? The nostalgic reason is due to the enormous amount of time spent boating, diving and visiting the beach during my formative years. My father was a marine mechanic which meant that we spent all of our holidays and spare time as a family in various boats travelling between the Bahamian islands, living a natural life very close to the sea. I think this has always informed my work because of the grand importance and
beauty of it all. There is breathaking scenery on places like the Exuma Cays, central to the Bahamian archipelago where the clarity and purity of the water is astonishing and the power of the sea is humbling. On a more philosophical note, water holds us together. It is everything and the basics of life - I always reference it in some way. For example I have just produced a whole series on Kew Gardens – completely unrelated to the Bahamas – but painting the reflections of trees and plants. In particular there is an area called Sackler Crossing which I painted throughout different seasons to show the movement of water and the changing environment. Not a terribly new idea but I wanted an uncomplicated topic to explore the viscosity of the paint and get back into something that was not so politically motivated. Tell us about your processes… I travel a lot and I always take thousands of digital photographs, some of which I adjust using Photoshop. I put them onto a screen when I’m painting which allows me to zoom in and examine the detail. In art schools there is a growing argument that drawing is suffering because of the use of photography, but my feeling is that we need to use both: teach young people to draw but to use photography as well because it’s such a magical tool. Digital processes help me to focus in on aspects of our natural world which then become the detail of the painting. To give an example of this, I recently went to the Exuma Cays, Bahamas which according to the locals means “from the water”. I took photos there showing the evidence of erosion and lots of mangroves – a recurring image in my paintings due to their role in keeping the coast together (please see
Summer 2014 • La Revista 25
Lagoon, oil on canvas, 2010
Lagoon), creating new shorelines while also provide habitats for sealife and clarifying the wetlands. Then I had to go to Canada on a family matter where the temperature dropped to -40 degrees and part of Niagara Falls froze over resulting in my extending my trip there to photograph the results of intensive cold. I will be creating a juxtaposition of these two environments: the ice and frozen water compared to the lush warm water from the Bahamian banks, to highlight the extremities of climate which we are experiencing. The natural world is fundamental to your paintings, but in what way does your own immediate environment influence your work? We have a garden on the roof terrace of our apartment at Kew Bridge , which has been featured twice on the BBC (Gardener’s World and The Great British Garden Revival - rooftops). It’s absolutely critical for me to have nature around me, continually changing. I use it a lot in my work, such as in my floral paintings where the flower imagery took on greater significance. For instance, I did a whole series on red roses just after the death of my previous partner. I painted the
red roses in my garden with water cascading through the background. It was a cathartic way of recovering from the loss, by getting back into the beauty of the rose and also its symbolism. Red roses in art symbolise death, love, Jesus Christ, martyrdom, The Virgin Mary and Socialism. Personally, the rose became a metaphor for my own recovery. Some of the images in your work are quite striking, but do you think they express hope? If you look at Drizzle Marsh...it’s quite a dark painting with lots of blacks, aubergine purples and blues, but in the right hand corner there’s a little branch with specks of red buds. I once had a French PA who wrote about this painting, referring to these specks as ‘freckles of hope’! I always ensure that the absolute message is open to interpretation; if there is hope, there is the potential for change. My literature teacher once told me that although Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night plays a bored, disgruntled character, he does not ‘bore’ the audience of the play. My desire is for my paintings to remain positive so that my audience wants to experience them.
Sackler Crossing and Lake at Kew Gardens, London oil on canvas, 2013
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Have your paintings always had a central message behind them or was there a particular turning point, and if so, what was it? I have always created paintings of water and the environment, but in the 90s whilst still in the USA it was about the psychology of water. For my Master’s degree my thesis involved a French philosopher, Gaston Bachelard, who wrote a psychological analysis of water called ‘Water and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Matter’, drawing an analogy between the way water behaves (still, tumultuous, violent, calm, aggressive) and the way people behave. I made paintings about human emotions and used water to reflect this. Years later in London during a period of heavy snowfall in 2007 I went up to a particular viaduct in Hampstead Heath frequented by Keats and Tennyson, and I studied it from two different points of view, looking down into the pond and then looking up from the pond to the viaduct. This became a series of paintings called When the Bough Breaks taken from the children’s nursery rhyme ending with the line… “the cradle will fall”. It was about the stress on the environment, and yet the beauty of it all. I became interested in the tension between the supply of what we need in our contemporary lives and the effect that this is causing to the environment. This prompted my further investigation of climate change. Can you tell us about Deep Water Horizon? It is a very descriptive painting about my interest in the potential oil drilling in the Bahamas. There are two paintings: Deep Water Horizon and Caysal – the third largest and westernmost bank of the Bahama banks, right in the middle of where there is proposed drilling for oil. I have learned that four years after the Macondo Blowout, chemical dispersions are still being used to keep the oil sheens down as the site is still leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. With some hope the petroleum industry has learned from this disaster as a spill of this scale could devastate the Bahamas whose livelihood is tourism and whose archipelagic nature make it a very fragile landscape indeed. The drilling plans have been halted for the moment due to a change of government but the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) have been granted five licences to drill in Bahamian waters. BPC maintains it will spud an exploratory well sometime during this year and the current Bahamian government (Progressive Liberal Party) says it will hold a referendum on the actual extraction of any of the reputed nine billion barrels of oil in the latter part of 2015. We need oil and gas but it has to be exploited with great care in sensitive environments such as the Bahamas. That is the responsibility not only of the private
Obituary: Michael Jacobs (1952 - 2014)
by Gail Turner Mooney
T Drizzle Marsh, oil on canvas, 2007
companies but the legislators who must insist on high standards of monitoring and performance. Do you think art has the potential to drive change? Of course - it drives us every day and it affects every aspect of our lives. Look at the We Want You and Dig for Victory Ads during the wars and the effects they had on the motivation of the masses. Look at the Mexican Muralists like Diego Rivera. The power of visual imagery bombards our lives and choices every day, whether or not we consciously realise. I am glad to see that painting has made a massive comeback in the art world as it is a very human way of making an image – a painting is still and this leads to contemplation. Art definitely invites change; stories and art are what make people human.
Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico, oil on canvas, 2011
he Hispanic world has lost one of its greats. Michael Jacobs, who died from cancer on 9 January 2014 aged 61, was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable writer with an endearing personality, in the tradition of George Borrow, Richard Ford and Gerald Brenan. Michael had an extraordinary ability to connect, and both his art historical and his travel books are full of fresh, lively and entertaining insights. He had a lifelong passion for Spain, and settled in the village of Frailes in the Provincia de Jaen in 1999, and there he soaked up and observed the people, atmosphere, sights and food of Andalucía, and wrote about them. Frailes later became his base when he travelled further afield to South and Central America. He was born on 15 October 1952 in Genoa, Italy, to an Anglo-Irish father, and an Italian mother, who had acted with a Sicilian theatre company in the last years of the Second World War, and from whom Michael developed a passion for food. He was educated at Westminster School and went to the Courtauld Institute, which was then in Portman Square and under the Directorship of Anthony Blunt, to study for his BA and later his PhD in the early 1970s. Michael was an encyclopaedic scholar but never a conventional one. A career spent in the confines of a museum or an art history department was not for him (though he was a Senior Honorary Research Fellow of Glasgow University); but he was the author of 24 books. His restless curiosity led him to write early guides to art and artists of the British Isles and artist colonies in Europe and America, before moving on to travel books about places as varied as Provence, Czechoslovakia, Budapest, Romania, Barcelona, Madrid, Andalucía, the Alhambra and the Camino de Santiago. He translated Golden Age plays and began to write more personal books on Spain beginning with Between Hopes and Memories (1994), which
caused the newspaper ABC to call him ‘the George Borrow of the High-Speed Train Era’. El País praised him for ‘going beyond the clichés and giving a portrait of the real country’. The Factory of Light (2003) a picaresque memoir written in and about the small village of Frailes, established him as a local celebrity in Andalucia. He participated in conferences, radio interviews, lectured on specialist tours, took part in the Alhambra Hay Festivals and he made many local and international friends among writers, photographers and gastronomers. In 2006, Michael’s interest was ignited by letters from his Jewish grandfather from Hull, who worked in Chile and Bolivia with the Andean railways, to his grandmother. Michael followed his grandfather Bethel’s footsteps, and wrote Ghost Train through the Andes. In a major journey in 2010, Michael intertwined geography, history and 19th and scary 21st century revolutionaries together in The Andes. His last book, The Robber of Memories (2013), was a skilful and poignant travelogue down the Magdalena river in Colombia, woven in with the experience of his parents’ loss of memory from dementia and Alzheimer’s, and also the similar plight of his literary hero, Gabríel García Márquez. He loved cooking and entertaining, and was a member of the Andalucían Academy of Gastronomy. He was the first foreigner to be made a knight of The Very Noble and Illustrious Order of the Wooden Spoon. He once commented that the food of Spain was the story of Spain. Several of his book launches were held at the restaurant, Moro, in Exmouth Market whose owners, Sam and Sam Clark, were good friends. Shortly before his death Michael married his long time partner, and first reader of his books, Jackie Rae. He was working on a book on Velázquez’ Las Meninas for Granta. A measure of how much he was admired and loved in Spain, was that within two days of his death, obituaries were published in El Pais, and in the Granada newspaper Granada Hoy, praising him as an intellectual full of life, with passion reminiscent of Don Quijote and the good humour of Sancho Panza. Michael Jacobs will be missed by friends and Hispanophiles everywhere for his energy, love of life and adventure, for his knowledge and learning lightly worn, and for his hospitality, friendship and modesty.
Summer 2014 • La Revista 27
Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs ‐ Embassy of Spain
PROGRAMME MAY ‐ SEPTEMBER 2014 2 May 7‐9 May 13 May 14 May 15‐18 May 19‐25 May 10 Jun 12‐15 Jun 21 Jun 8 Jul 2‐13 Jul 10‐19 Jul 25‐28 Jul 23 Jul‐25 Ago 1‐6 Sep 2‐4 Sep
Día del Libro y del Libro Infantil Instituto Cervantes Londres IV International Conference of BETA, Association of Young Researcher in Hispanic Studies University College London Nobel Prize in Literature in Spanish: Camilo José Cela Instituto Cervantes Londres European Literary Night (EUNIC) British Library IX London Spanish Film Festival ‐ Spring Weekend Ciné Lumière Second Spanish Theatre Festival in London: En un lugar del Quijote Riverside Studios Nobel Prize in Literature in Spanish: Octavio Paz Instituto Cervantes Londres Pinta, Modern & Contemporary Latin American Art Exhibition Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, London Día del Español Instituto Cervantes Londres Nobel Prize in Literature in Spanish: Mario Vargas Llosa Instituto Cervantes Londres BE Festival 2014 AE Harris Factory, Birmingham York Early Music Festival Various venues, York Juan Martín and Rafael Aguirre at the Guitar Summit Kings Place, London The Knight‐ A theatre adaptation of Don Quijote de la Mancha Various theatres Punishment without Revenge by Lope de Vega Shakespeare Globe Theatre, London 36th Conference of the Association of Contemporary Iberian Studies University of Westminster, London
Ángeles González-Sinde in Leeds by Duncan Wheeler
n Ángeles González-Sinde's novel, El buen hijo, Vicente dreams of escaping a largely passive existence in which he is subject to the whims and needs of others, his preferred alternative to become a lector in a British city with a strong popular musical heritage such as Leeds, Birmingham or Sheffield. There was, therefore, something fitting about his creator flying into Manchester before taking the Trans-Pennine express to Leeds, where we were delighted to host her first visit to a British university. While many of us may recall first-jobs working in a local supermarket or carrying out routine data-entry with various degrees of fondness, Ángeles's curriculum vitae has been illustrious from the outset: when still at school, a classmate informed her that the music promoter Gay Mercader was looking for someone fluent in English to chaperone Bob Dylan on the occasion of his debut Spanish concert, for which he had scheduled a week in Madrid. Successfully completing this task let to further assignments with such illustrious visitors as The Ramones, Sting and Van Morrison; during the transition period, Spain became a regular and popular destination for international touring bands. Ángeles worked for Warner Records following the completion of a degree in Classics at the Complutense, and only subsequently moved into film, enrolling on the inaugural year of a Masters in script-writing run by the celebrated auteur, José Luis Borau, at Madrid's Autónoma University. She then secured a Fulbright scholarship and attended film school in Los Angeles. On her return to Madrid three years later, she began working as a script-writer for both cinema and television, making her debut as a film director in 2003 with La suerte dormida. Three years later, she was elected as President of the National Academia de Cine, a collective founded by her father in the 1980s to raise the profile of Spanish cinema; she continued in this role until 2009, when she accepted an offer to become Minister of Culture. Since departing from national government in 2011, she has immersed herself primarily in the world of letters, with her debut novel for adults – she has a penned a number of popular books for children – being the
runner-up for the prestigious Planeta prize. It was this formidable range of personal and professional experiences that led me to invite her to the University of Leeds, confident that she would constitute an ideal interlocutor for students, staff and local residents alike. With this in mind, and proving the adage that there is no such thing as a free lunch – "Nadie da duros a tres pesetas" – I set about arranging a series of activities in order to optimise the opportunities provided by the presence of such a distinguished guest. Taking advantage of the fact that Ángeles has adapted a number of novels for the big and small screens, I asked that she deliver a class in Spanish to final-year undergraduates on my module on theories and practices of adaptation. Discussing a series of scripts based on literary works such as Marcela Serrano's Antigua vida mía or Elvira Lindo’s Una palabra tuya, she delineated a numbers of ‘do’s’ and don’ts’; the students had a welcome respite from my theoretical musings on cultural products by engaging with the practical and creative processes that underpin successful adaptations, followed by a lively question and answer session. The major talking point amongst the finalists afterwards was Ángeles's idea that if someone describes a novel as cinematic, then that is usually the deathknell for a film adaptation as it fails to take into account the specificities of the different media. This exposition provided an ideal gateway into our session the following week on Pedro Almodóvar's Todo sobre mi madre in which we explored the challenges that a London stage production of this classically "theatrical" cinematic text faced. Adopting a more exclusively cinematic approach, Ángeles then addressed the first-year undergraduates at the Centre for World Cinemas in English, providing an overview of how cinema both shaped and reflected Spain's transition to democracy. Students were transported to a different time and place, beset with political and artistic contradictions: as a teenager, Ángeles recalled the paradox of how her and her friends were too young to gain access into cinema-screens to watch Almodóvar's debut film, Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón (1980); but that they had no problem
frequenting the kind of bars documented in the film, where they would frequently find themselves in the company of the director and other leading lights of La Movida. In a somewhat less ludic vein, Ángeles then delivered an oral presentation to the University's Cultural Studies Research Group on what being Minister of Culture had taught her about culture. Focussing on such issues as the possibility and the desirability of quantifying the economic and social worth of cultural products, this provided an unfortunately all-too-rare opportunity for a politician and scholars to engage in a debate on the complex interrelationships between culture, government, power and citizenry. Topics raised and discussed included the resistance she faced when attempting to privilege subtitling in preference to dubbing both on television and in cinemas, to the legacy of dictatorship in relation to the ways in which Spanish as opposed to, say, French citizens engage with a collective patrimony. Although despondent in many respects, Ángeles also highlighted the wealth and sustainability of cultural tourism in Spain, a motor for economic development and an important corrective to reductive images of the Iberian Peninsula as the land of "sun, sand, sea and sangría". An attempt to showcase the range and depth of European culture to a broader community provides the raison d’être of International Writers at Leeds, a pioneering collaboration between the University and Leeds Public Library which provided an ideal forum for her and me to discuss El buen hijo. In many respects, the novel is the culmination of Ángeles's multifaceted career; as the conversation brought to the fore, her personal and professional trajectory was instrumental in the forging of this major literary achievement. While the audience was engrossed by tales of how much better behaved, punctual and disciplined the heavy metal band Iron Maiden were than most politicians, the author was genuinely moved to hear some choice extracts expertly translated and read out by Sophie Armstrong and Lucy Cumming, two MA students from the University's Centre for Translation Studies. The local references to Spain and post-industrial Britain were received with complicit chuckles by the audience while, paraphrasing Borges, the author remarked on how she felt that her work had been improved in translations that allowed Vicente’s journey to finally become a reality. It was our pleasure to pay host, and we can only hope that his creator’s experiences in Leeds will ensure that this is just the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Duncan Wheeler is Associate Professor in Spanish at the University of Leeds Ángeles Gonzalez-Sinde's novel El buen hijo is out now with Planeta books
Summer 2014 • La Revista 29
Botwist - diseño estampado en moda
son siempre muy sencillos para que sienten bien.
En un futuro, ¿qué otras prendas os gustaría diseñar? Nos gustaría probar con elementos de hogar como manteles, cojines, trapos… Aunque, tampoco descartamos prendas masculinas como calzoncillos o corbatas.
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With you in mind Tenerife
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lena y Ani son dos gallegas que, un buen día, decidieron ponerse el mundo por montera y crear Botwist, una marca de camisas para niñas y mamas que se caracteriza por unos estampados cien por cien gallegos. Hemos hablado con ellas para que nos cuenten su gran proyecto. ¿Cómo surgió Botwist? Somos diseñadoras gráficas de profesión, hemos vivido y estudiado en distintos lugares y ahora, por razones personales y laborales, una vive en Madrid y otra en Barcelona. La morriña es un elemento constante en nuestras vidas, aunque somos muy felices donde vivimos. La idea de crear algo juntas surgió para poder agrupar todo lo que más nos gusta: la gráfica, los tejidos, la moda y la tierra. Es un proyecto de gráfica textil pensado con toda la ilusión y el esfuerzo que, apuesta por un producto atemporal, de alta calidad, elegante, femenino y hecho en España. Los estampados son una monada, ¿por qué esos en concreto? Nuestro punto fuerte es la parte gráfica. Como estampados hay tantos, sería difícil encontrar algo con lo que diferenciarse. Así que, decidimos que nuestra inspiración la buscaríamos en elementos populares que, a priori, jamás se utilizarían como algo chic: un pimiento de Padrón, una nécora… Nosotras damos a estos elementos un twist y los transformamos en algo bonito, delicado y elegante. ¿Qué os inspira? Para diseñar nuestros estampados buscamos elementos poco habituales que formen parte de la cultura popular, a veces un poco olvidada. Les damos una segunda vida convirtiéndolos en algo bonito y ponible. Y para las prendas, nos inspiramos en lo que nos gusta a nosotras. Así que, en general, los patrones
¿Cuál es el papel de cada una en la empresa? Las dos hacemos un poco de todo, tenemos un criterio estético bastante parecido así que, la parte artística acaba siendo común y es lo que realmente nos gusta. ¿Qué tienen que hacer las personas que viven en Londres para adquirir una de vuestras prendas? Estamos presentes en algunas tiendas en Madrid, Barcelona o Berlín pero, sin duda, la manera más rápida y fácil, es a través de nuestra tienda online (www.botwist.com). ¿Dónde os gustaría vender en Londres? La ciudad nos apasiona, tenemos clientas en ella y nuestros “film clips” que se ven en la web están hechos allí… Así que, sería un honor estar también en alguna de sus tiendas. Cuando venís por esta ciudad, ¿cuál es vuestra ruta? Tenemos dos que nos encantan, una por el Este: pasear por la zona de Columbia Road, por el mercado de flores y sus encantadoras tiendas, haciendo una paradita en el restaurante Brawn. Luego, caminar hasta Broadway Market y picar algo en Deli Shop La Bouche. Otra ruta sería la de Marylebone High Street, con tiendas maravillosas y sitios perfectos para tomar algo como La Fromagerie. La Coruña es vuestra tierra. ¿Qué tips nos podéis dar sobre esta maravillosa ciudad? Para nuestras reuniones entre amigas, las de un pincho rápido y largas charlas, nos gusta La Mantelería. (Mantelería, 3). Barlovento (Federico Tapia 19) es el sitio cool del momento; una parada obligatoria si te gusta estar al tanto de lo nuevo. Para un café en un sitio con buen gusto y con un servicio impecable, Orchard Bar (Federico Tapia esquina con Menéndez Pelayo). Estefanía Ruilope
Summer 2014 • La Revista 31
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The Rise of César Azpilicueta by Tomás Hill López-Menchero
hen Jose Mourinho returned to Chelsea, few expected him to keep César Azpilicueta. The right-back had only demonstrated his worth for Chelsea in occasional flashes, and, behind Branislav Ivanović in the pecking order, things were looking gloomy for the young Spaniard. Fast forward several months, and nobody could have predicted how things would turn out for Azpilicueta. He is now one of the most established players in Mourinho’s new-look Chelsea side, having started 17 Premier League games this season, and has become a key part of the team. Instead of playing in his favoured position on the right-hand side of defence however, Azpilicueta has succeeded in displacing the stagnating Ashley Cole at left-back, and has adapted seamlessly to this new role. So much so, in fact, that he is now a Mourinho favourite. In an interview last month, the Portuguese manager described how “11 Azpilicuetas would probably win [the Champions League] because football is not just about pure talent, football is also about character and personality, and Azpilicueta has all the traces of that winning personality”. High praise indeed. Above all, Azpilicueta is a team player, and Mourinho has taken a shine to him for precisely this reason. Some have compared his situation to that of Álvaro Arbeloa, who, despite not being the most flashy of right-backs, was largely consistent during Mourinho’s tenure at Real Madrid, and consequently became one of the manager’s favourites. However, com-
“Azpilicueta has succeeded in displacing the stagnating Ashley Cole at left-back, and has adapted seamlessly to this new role” paring Azpilicueta to Arbeloa is futile. It is true that Arbeloa occasionally played at left-back for Madrid, but that is about as far as the comparisons go. The Chelsea full-back offers much more in terms of attack, and arguably more in defence as well. Azpilicueta has sometimes been criticised for this feature of his game, but it seems that his defending is improving at left-back, where he has rarely been caught out this season, making an average of 3.6 tackles every Premier League game. Attacking remains one of Azpilicueta’s key strengths, but it is disappointing to see that the 24-year old has yet to register a single goal or assist this season in the league. On the other hand, it could be interpreted as a sign that Azpilicueta is adapting to his role as a team player. He has tended to stay back this season, preferring to leave the marauding to fellow full-back Ivanović. The signs point to Azpilicueta maturing and becoming a more complete player under Mourinho’s tutelage. Right-back has become a problem position for Spain recently, with Arbeloa declining and seemingly out-of-favour at Madrid, and so there is every chance that Azpilicueta could be called up for
La Roja ahead of the World Cup if he keeps up his current form. Del Bosque is assessing his options at right-back in the run-up to the tournament, demonstrated in the way that he decided to play Azpilicueta against Italy on Wednesday. The Chelsea full-back was outstanding, and the likelihood is that Arbeloa is now an outside bet to make the Spain squad after Azpilicueta’s performance. He faces stiff competition from the impressive Atlético right-back Juanfran to cement a place in the squad, but if he continues to mature in the way he has done over the last few months at Chelsea, a call from Vicente Del Bosque is highly likely. César Azpilicueta has been one of Chelsea’s unsung heroes this season. While he may not be the long-term solution to replacing Ashley Cole (Mourinho seems to be interested in signing Luke Shaw), it will be interesting to see whether he is moved back to his more familiar position in the future, or whether Mourinho sees his future at left-back. Even if Azpilicueta does not make the Spain squad, he deserves credit for his progress this past year.
Would you like to join the BritishSpanish Society? Membership is open to anyone with an interest in Spain and Spanish culture Fill in the form at the back of this issue or visit our website: www.britishspanishsociety.org
Summer 2014 • La Revista 33
‘Liverpool is the Pool of Life’
..said Carl Jung. Claudia Rubiño visits the home of the Beatles and discovers much more […] baby,you can drive my car yes, I’m gonna be a star baby, you can drive my car and maybe I’ll love you listen do you want to know a secret? do you promise not to tell? oooh,closer let me whisper in your ear say the words you long to hear I’m in love with you ooooh [...]
nd that was the way I learnt Beatles songs by heart when I was five or so. Thanks to ‘Stars on 45’. They were a Dutch novelty pop act that was very popular in the UK, the USA and Australia in 1981, and in my home since I remember. I’ve never been a big fan of the Beatles but at the same time I kind of love them, so one of the first things I did when I came to London was cross Abbey Road a few times, stopping traffic and driving motorists mad at the point of the zebra crossing. The other day I went to the Cavern (for the second time) in Liverpool just to prove to myself that I only know the songs by phonetics and little fragments. Damn ‘Stars on 45’ and damn my mum and her exquisite musical taste. I have always thought the Beatles are overrated, but as I know nothing about music I cannot say if I am right or wrong. Whatever the case may be, I love them and I know they love me. They tell me so all the time and it’s true. [...]you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one I hope some day you’ll join us And the world will be as one. […] I’ve always wanted a boy who whispers Beatles’ words in my ears but it has never happened. That’s why we went to the Cav-
ern, the cradle of everything, and there I whispered in his ears all the lyrics, all the love. And in that exact moment, the singer of the band that was on stage that day, said “hey girl, we’re trying to make some music over here!”, and I answered, “but it’s my birthday’” and all was solved. No one says anything to a birthday girl. The next day, we went to the Beatles history museum and discovered that the Fab Four started in another club called The Casbah Coffee Dance Club. Such a disappointment! But finally I came to reason that everyone needs an unknown place to start – don’t the Beatles have the same right? Another thing I discovered that day was that John Lennon wrote three books, one titled In His Own Write, another - my favourite A Spaniard in the Works and Skywriting by Word of Mouth. The three of them consist of bizarre stories, poems and drawings from his imagination. Clearly, these literary pieces are real treasures today. And what about the awesome Ringo and his films? I only knew of Caveman but he actually appeared in more than six films and documentaries, independent of the Beatles films such as A Hard Day’s Night, Help! or Yellow Submarine, together with Paul, John and George. Visiting Beatle-pool was nice, but please stop now and take a deep breath. Right. Now, have you ever been in the Liverpool Central Library? I have no words to describe it, but I will try. There are books. This is all. No, wait. In this magnificent building you won’t find just books; you can feel all the pages, all the letters and the history. If I was a little child again, I would love to go there. They have transformed the historic lecture theatre, where they even held piano shows, into a luminous environment for children of all ages. However, my favourite part of the entire library was the Picton Reading Room, added in 1879. This room is a quiet place if you just want to settle down and enjoy some relaxing, peaceful
McCartney and Lennon playing at the Casbah Coffee Club (image: Wikimedia); and Liverpool Central Library
34 La Revista • Summer 2014
reading. It also provides an interesting area to conduct any kind of research. There is an extensive range of books on law, science, and the best of all, poetry, prose and play collections. Added to this, there are dictionaries in the Catalan language, Old Spanish and English, Japanese and more. I could stay there forever, sitting on the floor, staring at the shelves and listening to the voices from the past. I know that book lovers will understand me. Finally, there is more to visit in Liverpool than the Beatles haunts and libraries. They have dinosaurs too and, just in case you didn’t know, they have the first non-combustible warehouse system in the world. It was built in 1846 and is known as the Albert Dock. I cannot say much about the docks because I’m not an expert; everything I know is from our wonderful friend Internet. However, there is one thing that I do know, which is that the Albert Dock has one of the most beautiful sunsets that I have ever seen. […] with love from me to you […]
His time in London and his relationship with F. Money-Coutts, by Maite Aguirre
saac Albéniz is without doubt one of the most famous Spanish composers of all time. With his masterpiece Iberia, he brought piano literature to new heights. Inevitably he is almost always associated with this instrument, for which he wrote prolifically, and with the city of Paris, where he was a very admired and respected musician, even achieving France’s highest honour the Grand-Croix de la Légion d’honneur. And yet during almost ten years of his life he devoted himself to composing for the stage, both for musical theatre and opera, an endeavour that brought him to London as early as 1889. It is here that he developed a long lasting relationship with F. Money-Coutts without which it is very possible that Iberia itself would not have come to life. Albéniz’s first appearance in London took place on 13th June 1889 when he performed at the Prince Hall, Piccadilly. Later on, in October, he gave another concert in St James’ Hall playing compositions by Bach, Scarlatti and Chopin as well as his own. The highlight of that year was his December performance at the Wagner Society, reviewed by none other than George Bernard Shaw: “The dead silence produced by his playing, particularly during the second piece, ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’, was the highest compliment he could have desired”. Albéniz continued establishing his reputation, touring through the country combining solo concerts with different chamber music ensembles. By June 1890 he was resolved to stay in London, and signed a contract with Henry Lowenfeld, who became not only his manager but who also acquired the rights to his publications. Thanks to Lowenfel, the Albéniz family (his wife Rosina and their 3 children) settled down at 16 Michael’s Grove, Brompton – which today is 16 Egerton Terrace near South Kensington - in large accommodation in what was at the time a well known district of accomplished musicians and actors. Albéniz’s concert activity continued at a high level during these years and 1892 is generally considered by scholars as the apex of his performing career. From then onwards the balance would shift more and more towards musical theatre/opera composition. It is indeed in 1892/3 when Albéniz composed The Magic Opal, written for the Lyric Theatre and running for 44 shows. It had moderate success and was revisited as The Magic Ring, which in its turn led to 37 performances. The operetta Poor Jonathan followed in 1893. It is in the entourage of
Albéniz (standing) with Money-Coutts
the Lyric theatre where Albéniz became acquainted with Francis Money-Coutts, 5th Baron Latymer, who was to become a supporter of Albéniz for the rest of his life. The Baron was a wealthy lawyer, poet, librettist, and heir to the fortune of the Coutts banking family. Married to Edith Ellen Churchill, he was a barrister who later worked as a solicitor, but whose true vocation was writing. Using the pen name of ‘Mountjoy’, he wrote and published over 20 works. In 1894 Money-Coutts acquired the contract that Albéniz had with Lowenfeld. As part of the new deal though, Albéniz was to compose the music to the Baron’s own opera librettos. However, due to the poor quality of the Englishman’s writings, this has been described by many as a ‘Faustian pact’, the librettos failing to provide rich enough material for Albéniz and thus hampering his development in this field. In fact the three operas produced as a result of this partnership did not impress the audience. The last one, Merlin written in the years 1897-1902, was meant to be the first of an Arthurian trilogy; however Lancelot was never completed and Genevieve never even started. Despite the imbalance of their creative powers and the consequences it might have had in Albéniz’s operatic output and success, it is important to note that Money-Coutts never pressed Albéniz to finish the music for his operas. In fact, he continued his financial support to the end of the composer’s life, even when he left London for Paris, and
also when he turned his back to opera, composing again only for piano. It is also very clear from their correspondence that what had started as a business relationship had turned into a mutual friendship. To truly understand how essential Money-Coutts’ influence happened to be, we need to realise that in 1900 Albéniz started to suffer from Bright’s disease (chronic nephritis, a kidney disorder). His other source of income up to that point had been his performing career, something that he had to stop altogether. His health did not allow him to hold any other regular position either and it was solely thanks to Money-Coutts’ financial support that Albéniz and his family were able to live very comfortably throughout the rest of his life. For example, during the years 1906-1909 they settled in Paris at 55 Boulainvillier, a very upmarket location in a newly built area. It was also his English sponsor who paid for his medical treatment, including, as in the autumn of 1902, restorative time in the fresh air of the Swiss Alps, in the company of the Money-Coutts couple. He also provided the Spanish composer with a second residence in Nice. Albéniz was therefore able to focus his energies into composing and during 1905-1909 his prodigious talent materialised into Iberia. But why is Iberia so important? As Albéniz once said, “Spanish composers ought to make Spanish music with a universal accent”. In Iberia more than in any other piece, Albéniz merged the European musical and pianistic traditions, with a stylisation of Spanish traditional idioms creating a truly new idiosyncratic language. As the composer Joaquin Rodrigo put it: “it represents the incorporation of Spain, better said the reincorporation of Spain into the European musical world”. In the words of writer Walter A. Clark, “in its novelty and scope, it is a summing up of Albéniz’s view of Spanish culture and its proper place in European civilisation”. Iberia thus transcends musical aspects and ‘exhibits a political and philosophical dimension’. It is thanks to this singular British-Spanish partnership - the creative genius of Isaac Albéniz and the great generosity of Francis Money-Coutts - that today we have Iberia with us. @MaitePiano www.maiteaguirre.com
Summer 2014 • La Revista 35
Después del Amor, llega lo mejor: ¡el amor para siempre! ¿Puede haber algo más fuerte que el amor de verdad? ¡Sí! El amor de verdad ¡que dura para siempre! Un estado mágico de enamoramiento que parece no acabar nunca y que hace que la vida sea completamente maravillosa. Es difícil de creer, pero ha pasado, es real y es para siempre, es amor. Ha estado contigo desde el principio, de mil maneras diferentes. Escondido entre esos dulces flechazos de verano, sonriendo en los momentos locos y divertidos… En todas esas experiencias que hicieron crecer tus sentimientos hasta llegar a dónde estás hoy, a este instante, a tu momento Love Forever Love. Y es que él es diferente, no es como los demás. Lo sabes por
cómo te mira, por su sonrisa, porque sencillamente es él y eso lo hace especial. Tan especial como tú lo eres para él, tan especial que vuestros corazones se unen y juntos sois uno. Una explosión de fuerza, color y optimismo, una explosión de amor. Hoy empieza tu historia, hoy tienes toda la vida por delante, mil momentos por compartir y siempre con él a tu lado, vosotros sois los únicos protagonistas de esta historia que no tiene fin. Love Forever Love es la culminación eterna de Love Love Love, la nueva fragancia Agatha Ruíz de la Prada que os acompañará a los dos en vuestra promesa de amor para siempre.
36 La Revista • ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE
Last March 11, three Michelin star chef Quique Dacosta and Marcos Morán, Michelin star and executive chef at Hispania, offered a `four-hands´ tasting menu within the series Innovation & Creativity: Great Spanish Chefs at Hispania. Guests, including representatives from the Spanish institutional and business community, as well as representatives from the world culture and British media had the chance to taste the personal creations from Dacosta and Morán. At Hispania we want to thank all those who helped to make this event a huge success, as well as those who share such a special night with us! 72-74 Lombard Street London EC3V 9AY
Spanish expatriate explains why she supports English-Spanish Bilingual Free School Proposal esther Cañibano tells us what motivated her to get involved with the project. Tell us a little about yourself, your background and your family I am Spanish, originally from Madrid where I grew up and went to school. Although my school life was spent in Spain, my family put a strong emphasis on English and I was fortunate to enjoy summer camps in the UK as a child. I am now married to a German man that I met while on an Erasmus exchange at university in Holland and a decade ago I moved to London with him. We now have a 3 year old daughter who is happily becoming trilingual as we develop our lives in London.
should have a bilingual school like that, so I enquired further.
How did you get involved with the King’s Group Academies Project? I was told about a meeting at the Spanish Embassy where a project about a Bilingual English-Spanish school was being discussed. From personal background, recognising my daughter’s needs and the way the world is moving; I thought London
What inspired you to support the project? I want my daughter to have the possibilities that I had in life and I know many other parents in the Borough who are also keen to offer their children this bilingual education. I know King’s Group from
their excellent reputation in Spain, running three British schools in Madrid alone. Learning the venture was initiated by King’s gave me the reassurance and trust that we could make this project a reality. Meeting Sir Roger Fry, Founder and Chairman of the Group was also very empowering. The passion he has for education and achievement is contagious.
Esther with husband Matthias.
What are you most hoping to achieve as the outcome of this project? The first English-Spanish Bilingual Free School in London, to open by September 2015. In 20 years’ time I want to see these children turn into young adults who can fulfil their dreams and career aspirations thanks to their bilingual education. A city like London deserves an education system like this, a trusted and proven bilingual free school - that can help our children prepare for tomorrow’s world.
To register your support, visit the King’s Group Academies website now: www.kingsgroupacademies.org.uk AdverTisinG FeATure
0207 621 0338
West London Bilingual Free School King’s Group seeks support from parents for a new EnglishSpanish Bilingual Free School to open in West London in September 2015 Opening 2015 Reception to Year 5
Then growing to an “all-through” school from Reception to GCSE. Register your support today: www.kingsgroupacademies.org.uk
Behind the Scenes at Sotheby’s by Adrian Biddell
ticking around is a vital part of our business. It’s the only way to see enough pictures, meet enough clients, and – when they call a few years or more later – to be in the right place at the right time to pick up the thread, know exactly what they are talking about and try and help. It also helps of course if, in the meantime, the works have gone up in value. It’s so often a waiting game, and for the leading group of Spanish works in our up-coming sale, led by two wonderful paintings by Sorolla, it has proved to be a wait of nearly fifteen years. I have a vivid recollection of walking into the seller’s apartment with colleagues back in 2000 to take a first look at both Camino de la pesca and Recogiendo la vela, two oil paintings by Sorolla. Three generations of the family were there, speaking thirteen to the dozen as we admired not just these two very wonderful pictures but also top examples by Ramon Casas and Martín Rico, amongst a host of other paintings that had been carefully acquired over a thirty year period. Our discussions with the family were animated, the chemistry good; we left upbeat and in a positive mood. But then: silence. Not a squeak. Catalogues were sent, invitations extended, and brochures dispatched. But no further word was there… In the meantime, the Sorolla market grew: a new world record price was established for one of his paintings when La Hora del banõ sold in our November 2003 sale in London for £3.7m, and in the years thereafter – following the sale of some sixty further works by the artist in our London 19th Century Paintings auctions – a further world record price: Pescadores Valencianos auctioned at Sotheby’s in November 2012 surpassing the 2003 figure paid for a single work by the artist. Then, this last November, we were back in contact; a visit to re-examine the works was set up, and suddenly after a hiatus of nearly a decade and a half I was returning to look
“The fishermen, majestic in their simple actions, describe a way of life far removed in time and place from our own all too frenetic existences”
Recogiendo la vela
once more at these beautiful paintings, and re-connect with brothers and sisters now keen and waiting to discuss the pictures, and the process of sale: what we could offer, what they could expect and how we could make it all happen. To return the Sorollas to the brilliance that marked them out when they were painted in 1908, both canvases have been painstakingly cleaned – ever so lightly - just to remove the accretion of city grime and household dust from the surface, and unlock the Valencian light once more. Now the paintings are being researched and catalogued, the notes on each being drafted. Meanwhile the exhibition of the whole group at the Fondation Pons in Madrid is the throes of being prepared. Thereafter the two Sorollas will be shipped to New York for clients to view there in early May, before they are re-united with the rest of the sale for the London preview the week before the auction. Becalmed for nearly a decade and a half, suddenly with the auction looming, Sotheby’s is a hive of activity, all our efforts focused on ensuring that when these paintings are offered for sale they will achieve the highest possible prices. And of course the compositions of the two Sorollas offer a wonderful counterpoint to all this excited energy during the count down to the sale. The fishermen, majestic in their simple actions, describe a way of life far removed in time and place from our own all too frenetic existences, not to mention the paintings imminent exhibition trajectory: Madrid-New York-London. In Camino de la pesca two figures sit in the stern of the fishing boat, and shaded by the magnificent sail steers the huge wooden form – at once both supremely elegant and massive in its bulk - with apparent ease out to sea. The sun strikes the canvas of the sail and lights up the wooden deck fore and aft, as the vessel glides through the shallow waters; we can almost hear the rhythmic undulations of the ebb and flow of the sea slapping the wooden keel as the boat pushes out to deeper waters. Ditto the monumental form of the local fisherman bundling up his sail in Recogiendo la vela painted the same year. Having been laid out on the beach for drying, the thick canvas is gathered in under the long shadows cast by the late afternoon sun, to be stowed in the adjacent boat, its large heavy curving form evident on the right edge of the composition, with the fisherman’s wife standing at its stern. •To view the Spanish paintings in our 22nd May sale, either in Madrid at the Fundacion Pons, in our New York galleries, or during the pre-sale viewing for the sale in London or for further information on the sale do not hesitate to contact either my colleague Marta Enrile or myself in London: email@example.com/ adrian.biddell@sotheby’s; tel. +44 20 7293 6404; or Aurora Zubillaga in Madrid: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel. +34 91 576 5714.
Camino de la pesca
38 La Revista • Summer 2014
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Memories of Madrid
From 1973 to '76 Dominic Begg, then in his mid-20s, worked as a language teacher in Spain. Forty years on, La Revista has rediscovered his Madrid diary.. 20th September, 1974 After three months’ absence and an allnight train from Bilbao, my first discovery on returning home to Madrid is that the all-purpose metro ticket now costs a peseta more. This sort of price increase invariably takes place in August so that city people come back from the coast to a fait accompli. Meanwhile my portera, mopping the community entrance hall, welcomes me back with her familiar instructions on where not to step. 21st September Unlike the regulated, hygienic English foodstores, my local market bursts with colour, noise and smell. Blood-matted rabbits dangle in rows above mucky eggs. Sheeps’ heads stare emptily towards nasal housewives launching recriminations at the butcher boys. The grocers stuff free branches of parsley into your shopping bag along with the artichokes. How long can this traditional bustle resist the advance of the supermarkets? These old markets, like real draught bitter, should be savoured as pleasures that may soon disappear. 1st October A film unit has arrived in town to shoot a sunglasses commercial for British television. A coach takes selected players from the Arquitectura rugby club 20 miles out of Madrid to a deserted western ‘town’, complete with bank, saloon and telegraph office. Most of us are fitted out as members of a posse, while American professionals play the sheriff, old-timer and barmaid. Despite fluttering chickens and rented army horses, the shoot progresses well. Eventually the bank robbers are caught, thanks to the sheriff ’s anti-glare sunglasses.
10th October Just back from an exhausting week in London with my rugby club, which gave me the chance to observe the reactions of 25 young Spaniards to London. Apart from the matches, food was the main concern. They pined for crusty bread and wine with their meals, while bemoaning the absence of tapas in pubs. In desperation some took to warming up tins of fabada over a camping gas in their hotel rooms. Nevertheless, they enjoyed fish and chips, as well as marvelling at the quality and value of British milk. 1st November Living near the Plaza de Roma, I have come to know the faces of the gypsy women who sit selling carnations by the Universal cinema. Today being All Saints’ Day, they have been joined by their menfolk, all busily cutting, binding and twining flowers of every colour. This is the day when the women of Madrid queue for buses to the Almudena cemetery, where they will tidy and weed around the grave of a relative, before arranging the flowers in a glass jar. 25th December My girlfriend and I solemnly prepare a typical Spanish Christmas lunch of roasted sea-bream, followed by a leg of lamb. This particular besugo I find dull, despite the accompanying herbs. All ends well, however, with a massive ripe pineapple. 30th December We’ve come to Mallorca for a week’s sunshine, but today we travel inland to Valldemosa, where George Sand spent a controversial winter with Chopin and her two children. The village looks down across sloping fields and farm-buildings to the
A group photo of Dominic (right) with his Arquitectura team-mates at the university rugby ground
40 La Revista • Summer 2014
Dominic in Casa de Campo, 1974
valley, thick with blossoming almond trees. By 1836 the ancient monastery had become a private hotel run by Valldemosans who, from all accounts, overcharged Mlle Sand unscrupulously. She took them to task in her book, A Winter in Mallorca, which the present generation of villagers sell to the tourists for close on 200 pesetas. Plus ça change… 5th January, 1975 In Seville for today’s rugby match against the Andalusian champions R.A.C.A. Last night our driver tried to steer his coach through the narrow streets leading to the Hotel Sierpes, much to the amazement of Santa Cruz residents. After that ordeal, some of us headed off for a tanque of beer at Bar Hijos de E. Morales, where they chalk a sort of current account on the bar top, which is wiped clean when you have paid. The main bar at Morales is lined with a dozen wine butts over eight feet high, which could belong to any period of history from Ali Baba to Don Quixote. What pleases me about this country is that they are still in use, brimming with young wine. (We won the match with a late try) 2nd February Smoke rises from the squalid shacks on the fringes of Valladolid, where I’m playing football for the British embassy against the city’s Scottish Seminary. Sheep graze hopefully on the stony wasteground behind the goalposts, while gypsy youths look up occasionally from their open-air card games. After the student priests stroll to victory over the ‘auld enemy’, they invite us to their college for refreshments and a sing-song. Strange to hear the Glaswegian accents and Highland folk songs as night falls in central Spain…
CULTURE 16th February Standing on the precarious, woodenplanked bridge below the Hanging Houses of Cuenca, I am reminded of the gorge at Ronda. Here, however, men are at work in the fields below, while in Ronda only circling crows guard that awful drop to the obscure rocks at the bottom of the gorge. The Casas Colgadas are now a restaurant and bar complex, run by the Ministry of Tourism. Sitting at a window table, we opt for partridge, followed by cheese with honey, while looking across the bridge to a convent perched below sinister eroded cliffs. Later we examine some even more unusual rock formations at the Ciudad Encantada, a rock-strewn valley famous for its human and animal shapes, discernible as a result of erosion. 3rd March The morning bus taking people to work fills up uncomfortably towards the end of each month as car drivers run short of petrol money. Unlike London buses, there is no fixed limit to the number of standing passengers in a Madrid bus. If a conductor decides that his bus is full, he simply gives three rings on his bell, thus informing the driver that the automatic rear doors are to be left unopened at the next stop. The plain-
tive banging from outside and the conductor’s reactions to it can be highly amusing. A favourite technique is for the conductor, who sits at a sort of desk, to remain unmoved, with his back solidly facing the rabble. Alternatively, he may shout regulations at them or explain the reasons for not opening up to those already jammed inside. 28th March Madrid during Holy Week seems unnaturally quiet. Shops and markets are closed. Shuttered cafés have notices on the door spelling out their Easter schedule. The prestige office blocks without their busy lights look untenanted. Even some fountains have stopped their splashing. Many Madrileños will have left for the Levante coast, hoping for an early suntan. Others will have returned to their pueblos to celebrate Easter in the traditional manner, perhaps taking part in the local processions. Meanwhile, as empty buses patrol the streets, the first ice-cream sellers are setting up their stalls in readiness for a warm April. 13th April As we drive south from Alicante towards Elche, the sun slants at us between the palm-trees, hinting of the tropics. Even these days Alicante, with its esplanades and
Victorian façades, sets you thinking back to cream-suited cads and Somerset Maugham short-stories. The high-vaulted market, cluttered with fish baskets, striped aprons and strawberries, has a similar nostalgia. Yesterday, in keeping with this mood, we went to a family restaurant in Albufeira for a rabbit paella, cooked on an antiquated range that steamed and flickered while the women placidly chopped vegetables. Today to El Mesón del Puerto in Santa Pola for red mullet and a local vino rosado, especially refreshing when you’ve just had your first swim of the year… 14th April Monday morning, 2 a.m., and the air is still warm as we drive home through the Madrid suburbs. New posters are going up on the Universal cinema’s hoardings for this week’s film. Municipal workers in corduroy uniforms are hosing down the dusty gutters. Summer is coming. In Seville the Feria will be in full swing. The ski slopes in the Sierra above Madrid will be quiet till December.
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Entrevista con Nacho Manzano, Chef ejecutivo de Ibérica por Claudia Rubiño
de siempre, lo que pasa es que algunos platos pierden su identidad y otros no. ¿Qué tiene la fabada asturiana que me vuelve loca cuando odio las alubias? Pues a ver...,jeje, esa es la eterna pregunta sin respuesta. Supongo que es un cúmulo de buenos ingredientes, sumado a una buena preparación, ¿no? ¿Qué es lo que más echas de menos cuando estás lejos de casa? Lo típico supongo, la cama y esas cosas. Lo bueno es que como son viajes relámpago y siempre voy con prisa, no tengo mucho tiempo para la añoranza.
Todo lo bueno se hace esperar, pero quien la sigue la consigue. Tras esta clase exprés de dichos castellanos, me gustaría contaros que el otro día, conseguí que Nacho Manzano me hiciera un hueco en su apretada agenda, y respondiera a unas cuantas preguntas sobre ese gran arte que es la cocina y los fogones. Nacho Manzano es, ni más ni menos, el Chef ejecutivo de Ibérica Restaurants en Londres, que cuenta ahora mismo con 4 restaurantes en la ciudad: Ibérica Marylebone, Ibérica Canary Wharf, Ibérica La Terraza, e Ibérica Farringdon, que ha abierto sus puertas recientemente. También cuenta con restaurantes en Asturias. Casa Marcial al que le han otorgado dos estrellas Michelín, y la Salgar, premiado recientemente con una estrella Michelín.
engo entendido que llevas “algunos” años trabajando en España, ¿qué te hizo venir a tierras británicas? Ya en España había trabajado un poco de consultor y asesor, y cuando el Director General de Ibérica Restaurants me propuso unirme a su proyecto, no lo dudé.
Hablando de la clientela, ¿qué diferencias encuentras entre los comensales españoles y los ingleses? No creo que haya realmente muchas diferencias. Si la comida es buena y gusta, es aceptada por todos. Lo bueno de una ciudad como Londres es su diversidad, así que, al final, no todos los comensales son verdaderamente británicos, eso hace que haya muchos paladares y se pierdan las nacionalidades. ¿Te resulta difícil triunfar en un mundo donde se está dejando de lado la cocina tradicional? No demasiado porque al final, la cocina llamada tradicional lo es todo. Fui autodidacta por lo que siempre he partido de la tradición a la hora de crear. Lo que se llama “cocina moderna” no es más que una evolución de lo
42 La Revista • Summer 2014
Dentro de España y sin contar Asturias, ¿dónde has comido mejor? Buena pregunta...(tras varios minutos pensando) El caso es que me gusta comer, me gustan todos los sitios, para ponerte un ejemplo, allí en tu tierra comí una vez en un sitio, el Figón de Recoletos se llamaba... Y luego, claro, el cordero de Castilla bien hecho es lo mejor. ¿Un lugar que te haya sorprendido por su cocina? Pues fíjate, un país que me haya sorprendido por su cultura y por su gastronomía es México. Esa cultura milenaria que tienen, es increíble. Tienen una cocina ancestral que, en cierta manera, tiene similitudes con la asturiana, si indagas un poco claro. El uso que tienen en México del picante se asemeja al que le damos en Asturias, aunque claramente en México tienen variedades inimaginables. ¿Crees que a tu abuela le gustarían sus recetas de toda la vida deconstruidas? Sí, sí, claro. Al fin y al cabo, lo que hago y me gusta hacer es darle una visión contemporánea a sus platos. (Nacho ha inaugurado en Oviedo una casa de comidas en homenaje a su abuela, Gloria) ¿Sigues algún ritual a la hora de crear que pueda ser compartido? La cocina misma. Es toda una fuente de inspiración, y cuanto más trabajo, más ideas se me ocurren y más me apetece experimentar. Los mercados también me ayudan, los mercados de toda la vida claro, ves los productos, a veces incluso puedes tocarlos. Pero no hay nada como el mar para buscar tranquilidad, eso sí. Una playa tranquila ayuda mucho también. ¿Crees que se respeta la profesión de cocinero? ¿Por qué casi todos los chef famosos son hombres? Yo creo que sí, gracias a la presencia mediática tenemos una amplia cobertura. Cuando empecé, la cosa estaba peor, no había reconocimiento social. Pero ahora por fin la gente ha comprendido que un país es importante si se come bien en él. Bien, yo creo que por
herencia siempre ha sido una profesión tremendamente dura en el sentido de lo físico. Los pucheros de antaño pesaban muchísimo. Aparte que los horarios eran incompatibles con la vida privada de la mujer. Afortunadamente, todo esto está cambiando, las mujeres asumís otros roles, existen escuelas de hostelería y todo eso. Yo creo que, además, a la hora de cocinar, las mujeres tenéis cualidades innatas, el olfato más desarrollado, el paladar más sensible... Esas cosas. ¿Cómo te sientes al ser un rock star de la cocina internacional? ¿Es cansando estar de gira constantemente? Estoy muy contento, creo que es una labor muy importante. Lo asumes también como una responsabilidad. Lo bueno es que la cocina española está mejorando y avanzando mucho en poco tiempo y quizá también es por eso que somos un poco novatos... Otra cosa favorable es que estamos de moda, y eso atrae. Imagino que actualmente no supone ningún problema pero, ¿era difícil en tus inicios encontrar los ingredientes que necesitabas fuera de España? Bueno, yo empecé en 1993 y claro, me centraba en mi entorno. No podía usar productos extranjeros porque no los tenía a mano. Ahora los uso pero no como protagonistas en mi cocina, más bien están en un segundo plano, eso sí, sin perder nunca la autenticidad. En eso soy una persona plural, me gusta el consenso, no creo que haya verdades absolutas. Habiendo nacido y crecido en el mismo sitio en el que ahora tienes tu sede, ¿siempre quisiste dedicarte a ésto? Ya sabes, por lo de que en ocasiones a los hijos no les gusta dedicarse a lo mismo que hacen sus padres. Sí claro, desde siempre. Precisamente por eso, por haberlo visto en casa, simplemente he seguido poniendo en práctica ideas. La cocina es un campo amplísimo y una profesión que te da muchísmo, y no hablo de dinero, para nada, hablo de crear. Poniéndonos serios, ¿caviar o huevos fritos con patatas y un buen trozo de pan? (Risas) Te voy a decir algo mejor, huevos fritos con patatas y caviar. Pruébalo. ¿Cuál es tu lugar favorito en Londres? Pues si tengo que decir solamente uno, me voy a quedar con Regent’s Park que está aquí al ladito. Me gustaría dar las gracias a Nacho Manzano, y a todo el equipo de Ibérica Restaurants que me atendió durante la entrevista. Fue un verdadero placer escuchar de primera mano que un negocio de éxito, se construye con esfuerzo, y trabajando codo con codo y en armonía.
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