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SOCIETY NEWS

La Revista The BritishSpanish Society Magazine | Issue 236 | Winter 2014

Made in Spain

How the country’s rural communities became the inspiration for an exciting new project


From the Editor I

t’s been a long wait but bienvenidos! You may have noticed from the weight of this issue that it’s a bit of a bumper one - packed full of the many great articles and interviews we have received from our contributors (see the expanding group on the right) in both English and Spanish. If you’re wondering about the man with his bike on the front cover, turn to page 21 for more of Albertina Torres’ photographs and the full story behind ‘The Spanish Notebooks’, an inspiring project which Albertina has put together with her husband Zev Robinson, inspired by their travels through rural Spain. For our exclusive interview with the Spanish Ambassador to the UK (and our Honorary President), go to page 24 to find out more about the role of the embassy and His Excellency Federico Trillo-Figueroa’s love of British classics such as steak & kidney pie and Shakespeare. On page 30 the director of London’s PadelClub tells us how the sport is becoming increasingly popular among the British public, and we talk to Elena Moya about her latest novel which is based on los maestros de la república. And then of course, there is coverage of our many Society events from the last few months including visits to Eton and Cambridge, the annual Christmas party, and a special awards ceremony which saw Chairman Jimmy Burns Marañon and Lady Brennan awarded with the Encomienda de Mérito Civil in recognition for their efforts in improving relations between Britain and Spain. We are getting ready for several new events this year - two highlights are detailed on page 6, but keep checking our website for updates on what will be coming up in the next few months. And if you are not yet a member of the Society but would like to be, you’ll find our membership application form on the back page or more information online at www.britishspanishsociety.org. Write to us at press@britishspanishsociety.org

Amy Bell La Revista Executive Editor: Jimmy Burns Marañón Editor: Amy Bell Deputy Editor: Lourdes Gómez Corporate Supporters/Advertising: María A. Jiménez-Riesco, María Soriano Casado Events: Beatriz Gago Vazquez, Lucia Cawdron Membership, Finance, and Website: Virginia Cosano Design: Amy Bell Published by the BritishSpanish Society Honorary President: His Exellency Federico Trillo-Figueroa, Spanish Ambassador Chairman: Jimmy Burns Marañón Vice-Chairman: Jaime-Enrique Hugas Treasurer: Jaime Arranz Coque

Other members of the Executive Council: Fidel López Alvarez, Paul Pickering, Albert Jones, Julio Crespo MacLennan, María Victoria Yuste Gas, Carmen Bouverat, Lady Pilar Brennan, Beatriz Gago, Virginia Cosano, José Ivars-Lopez, Muir Sutherland, Sir Stephen Wright, David Hurst, Lucia Cawdron, Amy Bell, Christopher Nason, Javier Fernández Hidalgo 102 Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AN www.britishspanishsociety.org

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facebook.com/ BritishSpanish

@BritishSpanish

Cover image: ‘Man and Bike’ by Albertina Torres


CONTENTS

CONTENTS Issue 236 SOCIETY NEWS

Mercedes Porcel Martín

Richard Barker

Kumar Rege

Dominic Begg

Antonia Peña

Gloria Ceballos

4 6 7 8 10 12 14 16 18

Marca España y Floreat Etona: visita a Eton College Upcoming Society events Encomienda del Mérito Civil: Awards ceremony The Society Annual General Meeting Cut-throats and Culture: Visit to Cambridge Lunch with a river view at Zorita’s Kitchen Sorolla and Mir: Highlights from Sotheby’s private sale Prizes, Wine & Festive Cheer: The Christmas Party An update from the Society’s scholars

FEATURES

21 Adrian Biddell

Irene Pla Navarro

Sara García Rates

24 26 28

Albertina Torres

Priscilla Kemp

Zev Robinson

Estefanía Ruilope

Bess Twiston-Davies

Nel Martins

29 30 33 35 36 37

Duncan Wheeler

Claudia SP Rubiño

Nuria Reina Bachot

38 39 41 42 43

Cover story: The Spanish Notebooks, by Albertina Torres Entrevista con el embajador de España, el Señor Federico Trillo-Figueroa An introduction to the Spanish Circle of North Wales ‘La Maestra Republicana’: we interview Elena Moya about her latest book Entrevista con Sonia Folache, diseñadora de John TomJoe Padel: Spain’s favourite racquet sport hits the UK Golden Age Drama in Contemporary Spain Cazando Libros: pensamientos sobre la literatura The Spanish Chamber of Commerce looks back on last year Roberta, Peter y Phyllis: la primera traducción español de ‘The Railway Children’ La Roja faces a tough challenge in Brazil Club Taurino of London Lucky finds in an Andalucían car boot sale London Life: María Delgado Membership application form The next issue of La Revista is due to appear in

Jimmy Burns Marañon David Penton

Francis Cherry

Spring 2014. Advertising inquiries should be emailed to: info@britishspanishsociety.org

The opinions expressed throughout this issue of

Issue 236 Contributors

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.

Lourdes Gómez

The BritishSpanish Society is a registered charity: 1080250

Winter 2014 • La Revista  3


SOCIETY NEWS

Marca España y Floreat Etona Visita a Eton College

E

l catorce de septiembre, un sábado por la tarde de finales del verano inglés, vio la visita de un grupo de miembros de la BritishSpanish Society ávidos de curiosidad por conocer desde dentro la institución tan señera de los public schools de Inglaterra, Eton College, donde mas de mil trescientos alumnos reciben la educación más esmerada del mundo. Para recibirlos estaba Mercedes Porcel Martín, una andaluza de Granada afincada por estos lares desde hace veinte años, quien no podía imaginar que sus dos mundos se unirían en una tarde muy entrañable. Sus dos hijos son también alumnos del colegio y su marido también imparte clases de francés en el Departamento de Culturas y Lenguas Modernas. Tras numerosos intercambios por correo electrónico con Lucia Cawdron y tras el contacto inicial con Jimmy Burns Marañón, quien muy amablemente vino a dar una charla a la Hispanic Society de Eton College sobre La Roja, donde Jimmy demostró sus magníficas dotes de orador y su enorme conocimiento del fútbol español en marzo, la posibilidad de una visita de un grupo de miembros de la sociedad se hizo realidad. La tarde se presentaba clara y con una buena temperatura, el grupo comenzó a reunirse y para la hora prevista todos estaban preparados para emprender la visita por los principales edificios del colegio. Enseguida el espíritu español de simpatía y amabilidad nos ayudó a romper un poco el hielo en las conversaciones iniciales. Ya llegada la hora de la visita oficial el silencio y la concentración a las explicaciones de la guía, cuyo conocimiento de la historia de la institución quedó plasmado en sus

excelentes explicaciones del arte y la historia de los edificios del College. La visita nos llevó por School Yard, con la efigie del fundador del colegio Enrique VI, padre de Enrique VIII, quien en 1440 lo denominó ‘The King’s College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor’ y un año después King’s College. Es de recibo recordar que Eton inicialmente fue fundado como colegio católico para formar a la élite del funcionariado que habría de llevar las riendas del reino. La visita transcurrió con total normalidad y el colofón llegó cuando nos adentramos por los intrincados pasillos de College, la residencia central del colegio donde se alojan los 70 KS o King Scholars, los 70 alumnos que obtienen las primeras setenta plazas en el examen de acceso a Eton. Allí pudimos contemplar obras de arte de los siglos XV y XVI, elaborados artesonados de madera en los altos techos, solemnes retratos de antiguos alumnos, largas mesas de maderas noble donde los alumnos comparten las comidas y donde se podía palpar el ruido ausente de los adolescentes con sus togas, sus risas y sus preocupaciones típicas de los escolares de sus edad. El museo de Eton Life nos transportó al largo pasado de esta institución y a su apego a las tradiciones que siempre ha tenido. Y es aquí donde nuestra forma de pensar hispana ausente de auténtico respeto por nuestro pasado y nuestro patrimonio histórico común diverge del pensamiento tan puro británico. Instituciones como Eton únicamente sobreviven en la historia por varios motivos; entre ellos su orgullo como institución y su certeza de que el esfuerzo siempre ha de

verse recompensado y que el ingenio, la valentía y la innovación no están reñidos con el éxito y el trabajo bien hecho. Ahora bien, este trabajo bien hecho se verá siempre recompensado con al menos la satisfacción intrínseca de esa misma labor y es aquí donde tal vez la mentalidad española puede aprender de la clásica británica de la Old School donde el esfuerzo, el trabajo desempañado con orgullo y tesón marcan las diferencias. La visita culminó con la visita a la College Chapel, el centro espiritual del colegio donde los chicos comienzan su rutina diaria con rezos y lecturas espirituales todos los días. En las paredes de la capilla se encuentran frescos que datan del siglo XV anteriores a la reforma religiosa de Enrique VIII y que transportan al pasado inicial del colegio. La visita llegó a su fin con una ronda de fotografías del grupo y con promesas de volver a encontrarse una vez más en un futuro próximo. Desde entonces la Hispanic Society de Eton College ha recibido la visita del embajador de España en la Corte de St James, Sr. D. Federico Trillo acompañado de Sr. D. Julio Crespo MacLennan, Director del Instituto Cervantes de Londres, el Sr. D. Ricardo Laiseca, UK Country Manager de BBVA; el Sr. D. Marcelino Castrillo del Banco de Santander y los Sres Embajadores de Paraguay Sr. D Miguel A Solano López y Méjico, Sr. Alejandro Estivil y para terminar Sir John Elliot, el eminente historiador que nos habló de sus investigaciones sobre la historia imperial de nuestro país. El próximo trimestre se promete también repleto de visitas de figuras de la cultura, la política y el deporte de España. Es mi ferviente deseo que la colaboración y la constante comunicación entre las dos instituciones continúen su fructífera relación en un futuro inmediato. Por Mercedes Porcel Martín MA Profesora de español de Eton College y coordinadora junto con Sr D. Marçal Bruna del Comité de Profesores y Alumnos de la Sociedad Hispana de Eton College. Fotografía por Kumar Rege

College Chapel

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SOCIETY NEWS

Ruth Serrat and María José Sirvent

Students

Famous Etonion Prince Harry

Eton colours

Winter 2014 • La Revista  5


SOCIETY NEWS

UPCOMING SOCIETY EVENTS Key dates for your diary January - March 2014

Join members and newcomers to the BritishSpanish Society this spring at a sparkling season of sporting, social and cultural events. We are delighted to announce two highlights here in La Revista but for our full programme please visit www.britishspanishsociety.org/whats-on. Or why not sign up for membership to receive regular updates and invitations to events along with other benefits at www.britishspanishsociety.org/membership

A History of Success: A Celebration of Spanish Football Date: Thursday 6th March Venue: Hispania, 72 Lombard Street, London , EC3V 9AY Tickets: Available from 1st February. Please contact info@britishspanishsociety.org to reserve your tickets or you can 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) Event Description: A unique evening to mark 2014, year of the World Cup, when Spain is defending her football crown. The event is supported by the Spanish National Tourist Office and Cuatrecasas. The programme will open with a panel session and Q&A with three bestselling football writers: • Guillem Balague, leading sports commentator on Sky TV La Liga • Simon Kuper, Financial Times’ star columnist • Jimmy Burns Marañon. Chairman of the BritishSpanish Society • Enrique Ruíz, Director of the Spanish Tourist Office in London Followed by a party created by Hispania’s much-celebrated chef, Marcos Morán - with themed tapas and wines sourced from Huelva and Bilbao reflecting the British roots of Spanish football. There will also be an auction/raffle with one-off sports opportunities and book signings.

2014 BritishSpanish Society Gala Dinner with Esperanza Aguirre We trust you will agree that our Executive Council has succeeded in meeting the challenge set by the great success of the 2013 gala dinner with Boris Johnson Mayor of London as principal guest at the RAC club. We are delighted to announce that this year our guest will be the former President of the regional government of Madrid, Dame Esperanza Aguirre, and the event will be held at the House of Commons. Enjoy an exciting evening which opens with a drinks reception and live musicians, followed by a three-course dinner, speeches and an opportunity to mingle and meet our principal guest. Date: Thursday 13th March Speaker: Dame Esperanza Aguirre, Countess of Bornos, Grandee of Spain and former President of the regional government of Madrid. Venue: Strangers’ and Members’ Dining Rooms, The House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA Tickets: Members £100, Non-Members £125 (2013 prices maintained!) Please contact info@britishspanishsociety.org to reserve your tickets, specifying guest names. In the interest of fairness and security, the allocation of tickets will be strictly controlled by the Society. Once your ticket allocation is confirmed you will be able to book online or, alternatively, via cheque (to the BritishSpanish Society, 102 Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AN) or bank transfer (account details online). *Special Tours* In addition to dinner tickets, reasonably-priced pre-event tours of the House of Commons may be available to members and non-members. Please indicate your interest in your email to our events secretary. 6  La Revista • Winter 2014


Encomienda del Mérito Civil

Our Chairman, the British-Spanish author and journalist Jimmy Burns Marañón, and Lady Pilar Brennan of Bibury DMCO, a member of our Executive Council, have been honoured by King Juan Carlos of Spain with the Encomienda del Mérito Civil. Their awards, in recognition of their bridge-building between the peoples of Britain and Spain, were presented by the Spanish ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Federico Trillo at a packed reception in the Ambassador’s residence marking Spain’s National Day on Friday 11th October.

SOCIETY NEWS

His Excellency Federico Trillo-Figueroa presents Jimmy Burns Marañon with his award

Photographs by Antonia Peña

Jimmy with the Cruz de La Orden de Merito Civil

Lady Pilar Brennan, Lord Brennan and Jimmy Burns Marañon

Ambassador of the State of Kuwait Khaled Al Duwaisan, Spanish Ambassador, His Excellency Federico Trillo-Figueroa and Jimmy Burns Marañon

Winter 2014 • La Revista  7


SOCIETY NEWS

Annual General Meeting

Packed house for the new executive team’s opening night

T

he Spanish Embassy’s Sala Luis Vives off Belgrave Square recorded a full house or lleno hasta la bandera for the BritishSpanish Society’s annual general meeting on the 15th October 2013, the first to be hosted by the new executive team. Presenting the Society’s new mission statement, ‘Vision for the BritishSpanish Society 2013-2016’ - the year of its centenary - Chairman Jimmy Burns Marañón said the change of name, logo, and website formed part of the reshaping of the charity to cater for the interests of a growing membership. Another key aim of the new executive was to deliver improved services to corporate and institutional partners. Burns, who paid tribute to his predecessor Dame Denise Holt, said the Society had recorded another successful year, organising a variety of social and cultural events. A core part of the Society’s activities continued to be the award and administration of scholarships and bursaries to British and Spanish postgraduate students. Burns thanked principal supporters BBVA, Santander, Telefonica, BUPA and Ferrovial as well as the Society’s scholarship team led by Albert Jones. As a symbolic gesture of the Society’s commitment to a continuing partnership with the private sector in promoting higher education, Burns signed a renewal agreement with Maria Casero of Ferrovial Aeropuertos, who had flown in from Madrid to be at the AGM. And in another gesture aimed at underlining the constructive alliance with business and universities, Burns announced new agreements with Iberica, Bar & Co, and the Universidad de Navarra. Burns invited one of last year’s ‘star’ becarios, Carmen Tur, to tell the AGM how her scholarship had helped her continue her research into multiple sclerosis. She did so in a way that moved many of those present. Burns told the AGM: “We are trying our best to bring hope by unlocking the potential of young minds, channelling investment into the future by supporting research, investigation and learning which we believe will be of benefit to both the UK and Spain, and be an inspiration to move forward.” He praised one of the youngest new members of the Society’s Executive Council, Amy Bell, for “hitting the ground running”. As the new editor of La Revista she was not only maintaining high stan-

8  La Revista • Winter 2014

dards of journalism but also making the Society’s flagship magazine look even better with a redesign. Vice-chairman Jaime Hugas gave the AGM an upbeat presentation of the Society’s finances, noting that while expenditure was being well controlled, membership was rising, as was fund raising from major events. A new detailed but easy to follow annual report was among the year’s innovations. Carmen Bouverat was named as a new trustee as was Christopher Nason, while Scott Young, Miguel Fernandez Longoria and David Hurst were confirmed as new members of the Executive Council. The Board of Trustees named ex-Chair Dame Denise Holt, and former long serving Executive Council members Lady Maria Belen Parker, Lady Nicky Lindsay, John Scanlan and Siobhan Songour, along with the former editor of the Society Review, Adrian Wright, as honorary life members. They were awarded special commemorative plates in further recognition of their exemplary work on behalf of the Society. After the speeches and the voting were over, members relaxed and enjoyed some delicious tapas and wine prepared by private caterers Gingham Hearts.

Jimmy Burns Marañon with Dame Denise Holt

Siobhan Songour, Jorge Gallardo and Ana Matilla

By our social correspondent Photographs by Richard Barker

Jimmy Burns Marañon with María Casero

Jimmy Burns Marañon with Adrian Wright

Jaime-Enrique Hugas, Jimmy Burns Marañon and Jaime Arranz

Eva Sierra from the Universidad de Navarra

Lady Nicky Lindsay


SOCIETY NEWS

Cut-throats & Culture in Cambridge Society visit to Cambridge University

A

late-autumn Saturday morning in Cambridge, and I’m approaching the massive University Library for the first time since May 1970. Then I was involved in desperate revision for my Finals; now in 2013, I’m one of 15 BritishSpanish Society members here for an exhibition and a fascinating lecture by Professor Alison Sinclair on 19th century rogues and murderers in Spain and England, based on the UL’s collection of rare pamphlets, posters and songsheets. Particularly compelling was the story of gullible young Rosaura from Trujillo who, led astray and assaulted by her fiancé and his cousin, was left tied to a tree, ultimately to be rescued by a passing huntsman and his dog. Several illustrated versions of the rescue have survived, each with significant variations in the victim’s state of undress. In the accompanying exhibition it was noticeable that the Spanish material was more visual than the English, due to Spain’s high levels of illiteracy. Likewise Iberian murderers opted for primitive, lurid weapons (sheep-shears, etc.), while the British experimented with more advanced techniques, such as poisoning. Next, we joined art historian Paul Pickering on a walk through the ‘backs’, stopping by Clare bridge for a panorama

of river, grazing cattle and harmonious college buildings, a view unchanged since the days of Wordsworth and Byron. Then a pre-lunch tour of King’s College chapel, with its fan-vaulting, ancient stained glass and walls studded with symbols of Tudor kings, the men who, a fin de cuentas, paid for this masterpiece. As we left, we saw some of the choristers taking part in a photo shoot. A break for lunch, after which we inspected Peterhouse College chapel, warmly timbered and intimate after the imposing majesty of King’s. Finally, we were shown round one of my favourite museums in England, the Fitzwilliam, a place that I have revisited several times down the years. A kind of miniature V & A, it holds collections of sculpture and artefacts from ancient Egypt and Rome; wonderful ceramics, including pieces from Mallorca and eastern Turkey; important paintings by masters like Titian, Rubens, El Greco and Veronese; and much else that we had to leave for another visit, because evening was closing in and our cultural marathon had come to an end. All in all, a day well spent, in the company of a charming group of people.

Professor Alison SInclair

By Dominic Begg Photographs by Kumar Rege Choristers lining up for their photo shoot

King’s College

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SOCIETY NEWS

King’s College chapel

Artefacts from the Fitzwilliam Museum

A group photo in front of the many Spanish paintings on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum

Winter 2014 • La Revista  11


SOCIETY NEWS

Lunch with a river view at Zorita’s Kitchen A private lunch for Society members hosted by The Haciendas T

he BritishSpanish Society is very happy to welcome its new corporate supporter The Haciendas, who organised a delicious lunch for members at their restaurant Zorita's Kitchen in Broken Wharf House, 2 Broken Wharf, London on Thursday 14th November. The Haciendas brings organically grown ingredients in from their 'Hacienda Zorita' organic farm in Salamanca, Spain, for guests to enjoy while they look out on the magnificent views of the Thames north bank, next to Foster’s Millennium Bridge and the Tate Modern Gallery. Guests had a chance to try a wide variety of dishes including some delicious tapas: jamón jabugo and amazing cheeses, followed by delicious desserts, all accompanied by the Marques de la Concordia family wines. www.the-haciendas.com

By our social correspondent Photographs by Gloria Ceballos

Looking out on to the Thames north bank

Sampling some jamón

Luís Gonzalez Quevedo, Ana Morais and Carmen Bouverat

12  La Revista • Winter 2014


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SOCIETY NEWS

Sorolla and Mir: Highlights from Sotheby’s sale The enduring appeal of Spanish paintings shone through at our private breakfast viewing

‘La llegada de la Pesca’ by Joaquín Sorolla

T

here are many excellent reasons to want to bottle Spain and take it home. Its extraordinary regional variety is one of its great attributes. The strength of its traditions and its wonderful cuisine two others. But it is the country’s warmth that is especially alluring to us northerners, the warmth not just of its climate but also of its people. And it is visions of Spanish warmth that have proved to be enduringly popular in our sales of 19th Century European Paintings both this autumn season and in sales throughout the year. Joaquín Mir, member of the Safrà group school of artists outside Barcelona in his early years, and painter of Mallorca at the beginning of the twentieth century, became masterful at capturing the bright Spanish sun. In 1922 he settled in Villanova where, like Monet in his later years, he took to painting his garden. Our sale of 19th Century European Paintings in London on 20th November featured a particularly large and radiant painting in this genre. Placing his easel at one end of the ornamental pond that formed the centrepiece of his garden, Mir captured the intense warmth of the evening sun striking the upper floors of his palatial home. He reflected the hot colours and square forms of the building in the water of the pond at the foot of his easel. To his left a peacock struts and to his right a parrot perches proud. The garden space is articulated by carefully tended yew hedges lined with hydrangeas in terracotta pots that lead our eye up to his vision of the facade of his house transformed into a wall of blazing orange and yellow. Purchased by a private collector for £122,500, if the work remains in the UK, it will be sure to warm even the chilliest English day.

14  La Revista • Winter 2014

Also under the glare of the sun, another painting of much smaller dimensions that was admired by many in the lead up to the November sale, evokes the warmth of Valencia’s fisherfolk going about their daily lives. Painted by Joaquín Sorolla in 1898, ‘La llegada de la pesca’ describes with compelling immediacy the busy scene of fishermen and women surrounding a boat drawn up on the beach filled with the day’s catch. The short dabs and dashes of Sorolla’s brush brilliantly conjure up the swarming sense of commotion as the fish are purchased and distributed, as a latecomer bustles up to join the throng. Bought by a European private collector for £188,500, it was one of three Sorollas in the London sale, all depicting the Valencia beach. Both the work of Mir and Sorolla have proved especially sought after in 2013. During the year three paintings

by Mir have sold for a combined sum of £350,000, and six by Sorolla for more than £6.5 million. Five of the Sorollas were beach scenes, and four were painted in Valencia. Particular highlights have been the sale of ‘Niños en la playa’ for £2.8m in London in May, and ‘Buscando mariscos’ for $4.8m in New York in early November. The continued strength in the market for Sorolla’s work coincides with the start of a major exhibition of his work that opens this month in the USA. The ‘Sorolla and America ‘ collection begins at the Meadows Museum in Dallas, before being shown at the San Diego Museum of Fine Art, and then finally in Madrid. It’s the first major Sorolla show in the USA for twenty-five years. Dallas isn’t short on heat, nor is San Diego, but given current market demand for Sorolla’s depictions of sea, sand and sun, this latest exhibition will further reinforce his ever burgeoning popular appeal. Meanwhile, back in the UK we are starting to prepare our next sale of 19th Century European Paintings to be held in London on 22 May. We very much hope that it will once again feature the warmth of Spain, and that we will be able to welcome members of the BritishSpanish Society back to Sotheby’s to enjoy the paintings at first hand. By Adrian Biddell, Head of Department at Sotheby’s Images provided by Sotheby’s

‘Jardin de la casa del artista’ by JoaquÍn Mir


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SOCIETY NEWS

Prizes, Wine and Festive Cheer The Society Christmas Party

O

ur Christmas party was hosted at the Instituto Cervantes on the evening of the 12th of December, where a record turnout of guests gathered downstairs for a festive celebration with tapas from Iberica and delicious wines. Our Chairman, Jimmy Burns Marañon gave guests a warm welcome and was joined by the Spanish ambassador, His Excellency Federico Trillo-Figueroa. Our annual prize for the best article written in La Revista was awarded by Eva Sierra from the University of Navarra to Jules Stewart for his piece in the Spring 2013 issue, entitled ‘The Art of Pintxos: El Gaucho, Pamplona’. The eagerly anticipated raffle was a great success, with several guests winning prizes ranging from signed books to luxury shop vouchers and wine club membership. Turrón was on sale just in time for Christmas along with some special badges featuring our new Society logo. Special thanks to the Instituto Cervantes, the University of Navarra, Iberica, all our generous raffle donors and everyone who helped to make this evening such a triumph. Photographs by Eliseo Heredia

His Excellency Federico Trillo-Figueroa, Jimmy Burns Marañon and Eva Sierra

Ivanilda Rocha de Silva, Jaime-Enrique Hugas and Sergio Peréz

Eva Sierra presents Jules Stewart with his award on behalf of the Universidad de Navarra

The Iberica team

16  La Revista • Winter 2014

Lucia Cawdron, Juila Valenzuela and Ana María Ochando

Julia and Miriam Burns

Bess Twiston-


-Davies, Berta Martinez Leon and Amy Bell

SOCIETY NEWS

Guests with Jacobo Roa (right)

Carmen and Jacky Hill

Alba Menéndez and Ana Morais Isabel del Río, Lucia Paniagua and friend

Luís Gonzalo Quevedo and Ana Morais. Elizabeth Alberola (right)

Guests wait in anticipation as the raffle winners are announced

Catherine Martinez Mielot and Carmen Bouverat

Winter 2014 • La Revista  17


SOCIETY NEWS

SCHOLARSHIP UPDATE

La Revista is pleased to present progress reports from two of the Society’s nine scholarship and bursary winners in 2012. They are both working in the increasingly important fields of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Turning Neurodegenerative Diseases into Generative Processes By Irene Pla Navarro

N

eurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease are principally diagnosed in older patients, and the number of patients affected by these disorders has increased dramatically in the past few years, especially in more developed societies with longer life expectancies. As a result it is expected that the number of cases of people suffering from these syndromes will rise as societies grow older and life expectancy increases, generating an urgent demand for a potential treatment. Regrettably, despite the large knowledge of the underlying molecular and pathological causes, effective therapy has not yet been developed. A large proportion of these neurological diseases have in common the formation of pathological aggregates of misfolded proteins, which are responsible for a wide variety of symptoms depending on their location and nature. Blocking the formation or the expansion of these tangles of proteins would therefore be a theoretically plausible way of preventing or decelerating the degeneration associated with those diseases. This concept is the basis for the application of electroacupunture techniques, where acupuncture needles are used in order to administer a localised electrical current, as a possible therapy for these disorders. It was in 1997 when A.V. Zamotrinsky established a relationship between the application of controlled electrical currents and an increased synthesis of a particular kind of protein known as Heat Shock Protein (HSP), whose major role within the cell is to assist other proteins during their folding and ensure that it takes place in a correct and functional manner. However, this is not the only cellular function that has been described for HSP since some evidence suggests that it may precipitate the disaggregation of the pathogenic tangles of proteins characteristic of many neurodegenerative afflictions. The ability attributed to HSP of mediating the unpacking of proteic tangles can be used in order to reduce the number of existing aggregates of misfolded proteins, diminishing the negative effects of these formations. It is through the enhanced synthesis of HSP that electroacupunture

18  La Revista • Winter 2014

The presence of protein aggregates in patients with Alzheimer's disease can be assessed by the utilization of a PET scan, where the tangles of proteins appear as red-orange areas. (Images by Susan Landau and William Jagust)

techniques can be used as a therapeutic strategy against these neurological disorders; the stimulation of neural cells, such as neurons and astrocytes, with electrical currents of a determined intensity can elevate the intracellular concentration of HSP, which in turn will mediate the disaggregation of pathological tangles. The exact pathway whereby an electrical stimulation can enhance the cellular production of HSP and how different electrical intensities can modulate the expression of this protein has not yet been fully explained. Despite this, the beneficial effects of electroacupunture techniques were demonstrated in 2009 by Zhu et al. using a rat model of Alzheimer's disease. The animals affected by the disease were treated with an experimental protocol based on low intensity electric stimulation, showing a significant improvement in their learning and memorizing skills by the end of the experience. Consequently, the advantages of the application of controlled electrical currents can be demonstrated by the alleviated symptoms exhibited by those animals. Though the application of electroacupunture as a therapy has not yet been used in humans, its potential as a possible strategy against protein-folding disorders has been demonstrated. Therefore the molecular mechanisms responsible for increasing the concentration of HSP as a consequence of electrical stimulation should be elucidated as then our understanding would allow us to use and modulate them in order to reduce the formation of pathological aggregates present in many neurodegenerative diseases. This knowledge has opened numerous opportunities for me, and it is all thanks to both the BritishSpanish Society and

BUPA for giving me the opportunity to enter a field which is pioneering for both scientific research and public health. I see myself continuing to further enable development in this area, and entering academia. This research offers a new therapeutic approach which could help us to tackle the neurodegenerative disorders which are increasingly prevalent in ageing modern societies. Irene Pla Navarro graduated in Biochemistry at the Universitat de València in 2012 and was awarded that year the first of the Society's BUPA Scholarships to undertake an MSc in Neuroscience at King's College London. Key subject areas to be studied during Irene’s course are Neurodegeneration, Neuroanatomy, Neuropathology, Neuroplasticity and Developmental Neurobiology. Her project title is: ‘The role of electrical transmission in folding proteins’. Sara García Ratés gained her PhD at the Universitat de Barcelona in 2010 having previously graduated in Biology at the same university in 2004 and gained Masters in Pharmaceutical Science in 2005 and Biomedicine in 2007. Sara's bursary from the BritishSpanish Society contributed to the funding of her research with Professor Susan Greenfield in the Department of Pharmacology at Oxford University and, in particular, to Sara's participation in the 2012 11th International. Conference on Cholinesterases in Khazan. As her report shows, she is at the cutting edge of research in her field and has good grounds for her final note of optimism.


SOCIETY NEWS

Searching for the Cure of Alzheimer’s Disease By Sara García Ratés

B

efore starting to tell my story I would like to thank the BritishSpanish Society for awarding me one of the 2012 bursaries that allowed me to expand my knowledge as a scientist in the United Kingdom. Dreaming of being a doctor who cures all disease, an astronomer who finds life on another planet or an oceanographer who discovers a new species in the deep sea: this is how my story as a scientist begins. But it was not until after some years of studying in the Faculty of Biology at the University of Barcelona that I realised that for me, the most interesting and fascinating biological entity in the world is the brain and the human mind. The aim of discovering what was happening in the brain led me to embark on a PhD and my career as a neuroscientist. Wearing a white coat and having a whole laboratory in which to start my investigations gave me the amazing feeling that I would be able to discover something very important for humanity. In a laboratory, you feel as free and as creative as an artist because your job is to find what no one has been able to find before. After pursuing a PhD in the Department of Pharmacology (University of Barcelona) studying a specific type of molecular target (‘receptors’) in the brain, I started in my current position as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford where the central topic of my research is the involvement of a toxic novel brain molecule in neurodegenerative diseases, such as the devastating Alzheimer’s disease. In all the different neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s or motor neuron disease there is a common process of a continuing cycle of the loss of cells and their connections within the different parts of the brain. Depending on which regions of the brain are affected by the disease, different capabilities are inevitably lost, whether it be memory, speech or movement. Although scientists have been spent years conducting intensive research to find a treatment for these tragic diseases, there is still no cure for them. Focusing on Alzheimer’s disease, for the last 15 years the pharmaceutical industry has not yet developed any new therapeutic strategy despite their best efforts. The brains of patients can be characterised by the presence of two brain proteins called Amyloid peptide and Tau, but medication directed at these compounds has been ineffective; the fundamental mechanism that triggers the start of neuronal death is still unknown.

However, my research group, led by Baroness Susan Greenfield, has proposed a key molecule which could trigger neurodegeneration. It is a small protein derived from a very familiar enzyme and intriguingly this enzyme is often present in neurons where it cannot perform its usual function. We have shown that the small protein that we have identified can be broken off from the larger molecule to act as a messenger between neurons. An interesting observation in our research project was that all the neurons that are primarily vulnerable in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and motor neuron disease were different types of neurons, but that all of them contained the enzyme and its small protein. Could it be possible that this molecule was involved in a mechanism that triggers neuronal death? We found that this group of cells had special features which made them different from the other cells of the brain; they retained their sensitivity to chemicals which are only released in the developing brain. The small protein present in all neurons was able to act as a growth factor: if the cells were damaged then, unlike other cells in the brain, they would activate mechanisms of growth just as they did in early development. But would this signal of growth and development have a positive or negative effect on the adult neurons? Sadly it would be negative as the internal dynamics of mature cells are very

“for me, the most interesting and fascinating biological entity in the world is the brain and the human mind” different from embryonic ones.We have therefore formulated the hypothesis that neurodegeneration is an aberrant form of development. This means that adult neurons receive a signal from the key molecule which makes them grow when it is not necessary, causing them to secrete toxic products. In one of my recent publications I described how this key molecule, the small protein, interacts with a specific target in the neurons and kills them. This key target is a specific receptor which is present in the outer wall of neurons. Once the key molecule interacts with the receptor there is a massive entry of calcium into the neuron and this excess induces the activation of toxic mechanisms, and as a consequence of this the neuron dies. Currently I am exploring, with different types of experimental approaches, the interaction between the key molecule and the receptor, and with success I have found the hole in the lock where the key molecule switches on the toxic process. This finding will help us to describe the mechanism of cell death and to find a treatment to block this triggering molecule, which brings renewed hope to all of us who are searching for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Diagram representing the 3 levels of organization in the brain. Firstly, the localisation of the group of neurons of our interest in the brain followed by a scheme of a network of neurons and a final figure representing the toxic mechanism of action of the key molecule at cellular level.

Winter 2014 • La Revista  19


The Gardener

SOCIETY NEWS

The Spanish Notebooks By Albertina Torres


THE SPANISH NOTEBOOKS

I

Ángel

n 2005, having lived in London for ten years, Albertina Torres moved with her husband, British-Canadian film maker and artist Zev Robinson, back to the small village in rural Valencia where she was born. Three years later, while walking through some nearby vineyards, Robinson came to the realisation that many people would have very little knowledge or understanding of the process of making wine. He was inspired to make a short video showing just how the grapes from the vines become bottles of wine on supermarkets shelves in London, in order to show people how much toil, risk, economics and care are involved in the making of wine. This ‘short video’ quickly progressed, turning into an allconsuming labour for Robinson and for Torres who produced it, eventually becoming an 80 minute documentary called ‘La Bobal and other stories about wine’. Bobal is the name of the grape grown almost exclusively in local vineyards and with its own socio-economic history. Armed with their enthusiasm and a new appreciation of the mysterious world of wine which links the contrasting yet interdependent cultures of subsistence farmers with expensive restaurants, Robinson and Torres travelled throughout Spain. They interviewed and filmed owners of wineries, co-operative members, wine makers and wine writers along the way. These travels provided the material for two more films: ‘Dinastia Vivanco’ and ‘Arribes: Everything Else is Noise’. The first film traces the evolution of a family winery founded by Pedro Vivanco, who began by delivering wine door to door on his bicycle and went on to become the biggest provider of wine in La Rioja. He then founded one of the world’s best wine museums. It is an inspiring rags-to-riches story, and also serves as an example of the brilliance of Spain in this sphere. The second film ‘Arribes: Everything Else is Noise’ looks at the relationship between food, agriculture, and sustainability in Arribes del Duero, an isolated region of NW Spain along the border with Portugal. Here, people maintain a traditional way

22  La Revista • Winter 2014

of life, producing more than 80% of their own food. This not only raises questions about the values and priorities of modern urban life, it also provides a portrait of how most of Spain would have lived 50 or 60 years ago. During their trips, Torres took photographs of the people and events that they came across, and of Robinson as he worked on the documentaries. These photographs evolved into ‘The Spanish Notebooks’, a project in which she documents people, objects, festivals and food which make up the lives of people living in the villages and which reveal the hidden depths of a country often stereotyped and known only for its sunny beaches, paella and flamenco. The photographs provide an archive of the last half century of Spanish history, showing how people once lived and to an increasingly lesser extent still do. Small, rural villages with a sense of community continue to be dependent on agriculture while the small plots of land mean that farming is still managed personally, with family and perhaps a small seasonal crew helping out during the harvest. The grapes and olives go to the local co-operative, and part of it is returned to the farmers in the form of wine and olive oil. Vegetables are grown and used in the home, and some families still have chickens, even pigs in certain areas, which provide them with meat throughout the year. Then there are the festivities and rituals which bind villages together. Torres has examined these details of daily routines and objects without romanticising them. Rusty tools which are no longer in use are shown, as are the aging, weathered faces of villagers who remain in the villages while the younger generations leave. Celebrations, festivals, communions and weddings also feature. Spain has produced some of the finest restaurants and most celebrated chefs in the world. Much of what they create can be traced back to the same culinary traditions found in local villages, albeit transformed in grand kitchens and taken to another level. As this is part of Spain’s most recent history and marks its evolution, Torres has taken photographs of the cooking processes. Echoing these themes, Robinson is currently working on his documentary ‘Cultivating Tapas’ in which he explores the ways in which Spain’s culture is reflected in its gastronomy and architecture, with a particular focus on how the processes in farming and home cooking compare with those of globally acclaimed restaurants and wineries. Part of this will be a recent commission from the Valencian development agency IVACE and the EU programme PACMAn to produce a 20 minute video called ‘Raíces Valencianas’, developing material from ‘Cultivating Tapas’, which will be made into a 50 minute version early this year. The much admired cinematography has been influenced by Robinson’s fine art background. His films complement Torres’ photographs as an audiovisual timebased equivalent, documenting the lives of village people and showing the extent to which things have changed and evolved, either for better or worse. ‘The Spanish Notebooks’ brings together Robinson’s four documentaries with photographs by Torres as an art project, demonstrating the diverse, complex and fascinating culture of Spain. Much of ‘Cultivating Tapas’ has now been filmed and is currently being edited. In the meantime Torres and Robinson have resumed their travels in order to gather more material and they hope the project will be completed in 2014. There are plans to make ‘Cultivating Tapas’ into a television series and food and wine tastings are being arranged to accompany an exhibition of their work. It will be essential viewing for those who want to understand the country’s culture beyond the usual tourist attractions. LR


San Antonio

www.albertinatorres.com Available on Youtube: Cultivating Tapas RaĂ­ces Valencianas Dinastia Vivanco Arribes: Everything Else is Noise +La Bobal and other stories about wine: https://vimeo.com/3221371

In the Kitchen

Washing Hands

Students


Entrevista con el Señor Federico Trillo-Figueroa, el embajador de España en el Reino Unido Por Bess Twiston-Davies Fotografía por Antonia Peña

S

eñor Trillo, muchas gracias por habernos concedido esta entrevista. ¿Cuáles son sus prioridades como embajador de España en el Reino Unido? El Gobierno del Presidente Rajoy ha querido implementar un nuevo modelo de misión diplomática en el Reino Unido. Es un modelo nuevo, tanto en los objetivos como en el modo de ejecutarlos, y el Gobierno me ha nombrado embajador para iniciar ese proceso. ¿Cuáles son los objetivos de este modelo? El primero se centra en la relación económica que existe entre Gran Bretaña y España, puesto que en los últimos años la demanda en servicios, empresas y consultores ha aumentado considerablemente. Por eso hemos incorporado un consejero de Finanzas a la Embajada para intensificar la labor de coordinación; sobre todo en las áreas de comercio, empleo y turismo. Nuestro segundo objetivo está enfocado al área de la diplomacia pública. Queremos complementar la imagen de España con especial atención a la cultura, la gastronomía y la exportación de productos como el vino y el aceite. Un tercer objetivo sería la promoción, a través del Instituto Cervantes, de la enseñanza de la lengua española. Se debe promocionar más la enseñanza del español en el Reino Unido. Es muy importante que España y el Reino Unido, países con las dos lenguas modernas más importantes del

24  La Revista • Winter 2014

mundo, tengan un entendimiento mutuo. Además, el pasado mes de septiembre organizamos un acto sobre la moda española aprovechando la participación de esta Embajada en la jornada de puertas abiertas. La Asociación de Diseñadores de España vistió a 50 maniquís que se colocaron por distintos lugares de la Embajada. La moda de España es una gran desconocida en el Reino Unido y nos gustaría que la creatividad de nuestros diseñadores fuese reconocida en Londres, capital de la moda. Otra prioridad es la promoción de la cultura española con la organización de exposiciones y otras iniciativas. En el último año ha habido dos grandes exposiciones de las obras de Murillo y dos más sobre Picasso. Estamos aquí también para servir a la creciente comunidad española en el Reino Unido, de hecho, es el primer colectivo al que servimos. Abrir la Embajada a toda la comunidad española y a la hispánico-británica de Londres ha sido y es la prioridad de prioridades para nosotros. Usted dijo al llegar a la Embajada, que iba a ser ‘un embajador político’. ¿Cuál es la función política del embajador? La primera función política es la directiva y, en consecuencia, implementar el modelo de misión diplomática que quiere el Gobierno actual y el ministro Margallo ha plasmado ya en la nueva Ley de Acción y del Servicio Exterior del Estado; además, hay que desarrollar el tradicional seguimiento de la política del Reino Unido y establecer los

contactos más adecuados para las relaciones bilaterales. Somos aquí los observadores y los intérpretes de la política británica para el Gobierno de España. Por lo tanto, tratamos de reforzar nuestros lazos con el Parlamento y el Gobierno británicos. De hecho, nos gustaría reanudar el Grupo de Amistad en España y el Reino Unido en la Cámara de los Comunes. Cuéntenos un día típico en la vida del embajador. Lo más típico de la agenda de un embajador es que varía cada día. Pero para resumir un poco, lo primero cada mañana temprano es ponerse al día de lo que publican los medios de comunicación. Después hay reuniones con los consejeros y se reciben o se realizan visitas. El ‘lunch’ es para encuentros más a fondo. Con frecuencia almuerzo con algún embajador, a veces de la Unión Europea organizado por la presidencia de turno, o bien con el embajador de un país de Iberoamérica. Después de la comida hay trabajos internos y por las tardes normalmente hay una recepción u otros eventos culturales dentro o fuera de la Embajada. ¿Qué es lo que menos entienden los británicos de España? Sin duda las corridas de toros, pues todas las semanas recibo una gran cantidad de postales pidiendo que España prohíba para siempre la corrida de toros. No obstante, existe un nutrido grupo de británicos que


ENTREVISTA entienden la filosofía profunda de la fiesta, que la apoyan y la comprenden más que muchos españoles.

en nosotros mismos como pueblo, como nación y mirar hacia horizontes comunes más amplios.

¿Cuáles son a su juicio las diferencias culturales más destacadas entre los británicos y los españoles? ¡Esa pregunta daría para una tesis doctoral! Personalmente creo que los británicos son más pragmáticos en el planteamiento y resolución de problemas; y los españoles más idealistas, o más dogmáticos, si lo prefiere. Ellos están más apegados a la tradición. Nosotros somos más innovadores, más imaginativos. Los británicos son más escépticos, los españoles más radicales. En fin… ellos tienen mejores músicos, nosotros mejores pintores. Pero todo esto es muy relativo y, además, la globalización está homogeneizando mucho. Tal vez demasiado… Asociaciones como la BritishSpanish Society, cuyo objetivo es promover la amistad y el entendimiento entre nuestros pueblos, contribuyen a mejorar el conocimiento de nuestras distintas culturas y modos de vida. Para mí es un honor ser el presidente honorario de esta sociedad que va a cumplir un siglo de existencia.

¿Cuál es el factor más fuerte de la cultura española? La cultura española debe mucho a la luz, al calor, al sol. El arte de Picasso, de Dalí son toda una explosión de pasión, de luz y de color, pero ahí estamos entrando en la filosofía del arte… En nuestra cultura hay un componente ambiental y también histórico. España es un pueblo que ha sido muy especial en la Edad Media, con un contraste cultural, religioso y político entre el sur y el norte, que son muy diferentes, y esa variedad es tan interesante como determinante. También hay que destacar de la historia de España la mezcla de nuestra cultura con las culturas árabe y judía.

¿Qué es lo que más echa de menos de España? Extraño el mar, la luz del Mediterráneo, mi familia y mis amigos. Yo también “nací en el Mediterráneo”, por eso incluso el pescado, que aquí es delicioso, no me sabe como el del Mediterráneo. ¿Qué es lo que más aprecia del Reino Unido? Lo que más aprecio de Inglaterra es la cultura británica (es conocida mi debilidad por William Shakespeare) y quizás también el amor de los británicos a la tradición propia, a su historia, su orgullo por la identidad común. En eso se diferencia mucho de España. Nos falta amor a la identidad común y confianza en nosotros mismos. ¿Por qué será? Hay un psiquiatra español muy conocido, López Ibor, que escribió un libro titulado ‘El español y su complejo de inferioridad’. Es un complejo que contrasta con nuestro orgullo histórico. No obstante, hay que reconocer que los últimos 35 años han sido muy brillantes en la historia de España. Hemos recuperado la libertad democrática y hemos conseguido una respetada presencia en el mundo. El escritor y filósofo Ortega y Gasset decía que la sociedad española llevaba tres siglos mirándose el ombligo. Había una tendencia al pesimismo. Sucedió ya en los trágicos años del 36 al 39 y con la crisis puede haber otra vez una tendencia al pesimismo. Creo que tenemos que recuperar la confianza

España está pasando por una grave crisis tanto en el ámbito político como en el ámbito laboral. Usted ha sido ministro (de defensa en la segunda legislatura de José María Aznar entre el 2000-2004) ¿Qué opina usted de la crisis actual? ¿Cuándo cree que se superará la crisis? El Gobierno de España está haciendo los deberes. Está reduciendo el gasto público y está llevando a cabo reformas estructurales y una política de consolidación fiscal; hay que tener en cuenta que el Gobierno actual heredó un déficit acumulado muy grande. También se está llevando a cabo una tarea de simplificación administrativa, tanto en el centro como en las autonomías. Es verdad que en 2013 ha habido bastantes manifestaciones en las calles y el descontento social se dirige a los representantes políticos. El sistema está algo deteriorado y necesitamos una renovación que garantice mejor la responsabilidad de un sistema más sólido y cercano a los ciudadanos. A esto se añade que en 35 años no se ha tocado la Constitución, es la primera vez que pasa en la historia de España. A pesar de todo, estoy convencido de que la crisis se superará este año. Hay que tener en cuenta que España tiene una de las mejores infraestructuras de Europa y un sector turístico que está consiguiendo cifras récord en los últimos años.

“Estamos aquí para servir a la creciente comunidad española en el Reino Unido, de hecho, es el primer colectivo al que servimos” ¿Qué es lo que más le ha sorprendido de Londres? He descubierto un Londres muy cambiado. En la actualidad Londres no es el mismo de hace 20 años, ha sido maravillosamente renovado con motivo

del Jubileo de Diamante de la Reina Isabel. Siempre ha sido una ciudad mágica y ahora lo es más que nunca. Me sorprende la capacidad de Londres de regenerarse a sí misma y con tanta brillantez. Hoy es una ciudad extraordinaria. Todas mis visitas opinan lo mismo y quedan deslumbrados con Londres pues está en su mejor momento. Háblenos de los momentos más destacados de su vida de embajador en Londres. Quizás lo más brillante sucedió con los Juegos Olímpicos cuando la Familia Real se alojó aquí en la Embajada por primera vez. Vino S.M la Reina para la apertura de los Juegos Olímpicos y después vinieron el Príncipe y la Princesa de Asturias. Durante los Juegos Paralímpicos, la infanta Elena tuvo también una recepción y otros actos en la Embajada. ¿Qué contacto tiene la Embajada con la creciente comunidad española de Londres? Es el primer colectivo al que servimos. He querido abrir la Embajada a los intereses generales de la comunidad española en Londres, tanto a los españoles que acaban de llegar como a aquellos cuyas familias son de origen español. Recuerdo que los primeros españoles que llegaban a Inglaterra en tiempos de Shakespeare iban a Canary Wharf (el nombre viene de las islas Canarias). Existe también una gran comunidad académica, tenemos unos 600 científicos españoles en distintos sectores. La mayoría están en Oxford y Cambridge, trabajan en el sector farmacéutico y en biogenética y biotecnología principalmente, y todos tienen entre 30 y 40 años. Unos 20.000 españoles trabajan en la City en el sector de las finanzas y en despachos de abogados. Aparte, están los españoles que vienen a buscar trabajo. Queremos apoyarles en lo que podamos, y para ello hemos creado un sitio web en la Embajada que reúne ofertas de trabajo y consejos sobre cómo acceder al mercado laboral británico. Hay un total de 45.000 españoles censados en Londres y el doble no censados, aparte de una población flotante (turismo, etc.) de 40.000. Por su parte, catorce millones de británicos visitan España cada año, y de ellos, un millón y medio tienen casas en España. Creo que los pueblos se quieren más que los gobiernos. Son sabios. Los pueblos van por delante de los gobiernos ¿Tiene usted algún lugar preferido en Londres? Me encanta pasear en esta zona de Londres. Belgravia, donde vivo, es preciosa. De los parques, mi preferido es Regent’s Park. Como amante de los libros viejos, me encanta Charing Cross. Fuera de Londres, hay muchos sitios interesantes que he

Winter 2014 • La Revista  25


visitado y otros que aún me quedan por conocer. Recientemente he estado en Peterborough y San Albano, con su catedral. También he ido a Windsor, Eton y Canterbury y, como no, a Stratford-upon-Avon. En este momento el embajador indica en su despacho un busto magnifico de Shakespeare que acaba de adquirir. Usted ha publicado un libro magistral sobre las obras de William Shakespeare, “El poder político en los dramas de Shakespeare” (Espasa Calpe, 1999) ¿Por qué le fascina tanto Shakespeare? Soy un enamorado de la literatura y siempre quise entender la vida por la experiencia ajena vivida. En Shakespeare están las pasiones invariables del ser humano. Él tuvo la más exquisita sensibilidad del alma humana: lo expresa de una forma preciosa, sobre todo cuando habla del amor y del poder. Un amigo de Cáceres, Trevor Dadson, me dejó hace 45 años las obras completas de Shakespeare y empecé desde temprano a leerlas. Es una pasión inacabable: Shakespeare siempre supera las expectativas. Por cierto, a Trevor lo he reencontrado aquí de Presidente de la Asociación de Hispanistas… ¡la vida! ¿Cuál es su obra preferida de Shakespeare? Mi obra preferida es Macbeth. Quizás la más dura, la más cruel expresión del tirano, pero también la más acabada de todas las obras de Shakespeare. Es una obra que contiene todo: habla de la tiranía y de la soledad del poder. Hay mucho que aprender. Debería ser lectura obligatoria para todos los políticos. ¿Cuál es su plato británico preferido? El steak & kidney pie hecho en casa o en el pub servido con puré de patatas y zanahorias. Da la causalidad de que también es el plato preferido de mi mujer. El pub aquí es una institución, lo único que no me gusta es que no hay tapas. La síntesis perfecta serían las tapas españolas y la cerveza de un pub británico. La comida británica me gusta mucho: me encantan los quesos y cómo se prepara la carne, asada, por ejemplo. En la comida británica se percibe la influencia del imperio, como las especias de la comida hindú. Lo único que falta son los vinos de España. Pero hay que decir que desde el año pasado la importación de los vinos se ha incrementado un 13%. Ahora se pueden encontrar en Inglaterra vinos procedentes de Castilla la Mancha, de Levante y de Galicia, no sólo de La Rioja o la Ribera. ¿Ha visitado alguna vez el teatro Shakespeariano The Globe? Sí, fui durante las Olimpiadas Culturales y vi a Racatá, una compañía de teatro española, que estrenaba Henry VIII de Shakespeare. Es una magnífica obra, nunca había sido interpretada antes en español y en el último acto aparece una espléndida y admirable Catalina de Aragón. Era muy querida por el pueblo inglés… ¡Enrique VIII (dice en broma) era un machista! LR

26  La Revista • Winter 2014

The Spanish Circle of North Wales An introduction by Circle secretary Priscilla Kemp

O

ur President for many years was born in Ferrol in Galicia, our Secretary lived in Ibiza for eight years in the 1970s; our current President taught Spanish in Nottingham; and our Vice President travelled throughout Latin America on business. And so it goes on, the hispanic experience of members of the Spanish Circle of North Wales which is approaching its 25th anniversary. Between the mountains of Snowdonia and the Irish Sea, there are amazing connections with the Spanish speaking world and each month some 25 members of the Circle gather to listen to speakers as varied as two farmacéuticas from Seville and Vigo working for Boots the Chemist, a civil engineer from Panama currently working in Wales, a Colombian-born doctor practising here, an ibicenco expert in bilingualism from Bangor University and a madrileña who married and brought up her family locally. The group was formed to give people the opportunity to practise Spanish, to learn more of Spain’s culture and history, and to encourage travel. Most members have travelled widely throughout the Peninsula and beyond, and in addition we have forged links with the Welsh community in Patagonia. Two local bilingual schoolchildren gave us a wonderful presentation on their recent trip to Chubut in Argentina where they gave Welsh lessons to their contemporaries there, many of whom bore similar surnames to them such as Hughes and Jones, demonstrating the strong tradition that still exists many generations after the extensive emigration in the late 1860s from Wales to Argentina. There are of course Spanish property owners amongst us who keep us in touch with life in their second-home communities. Their experiences can throw up interesting perspectives especially during

these times of economic hardship. One member with a flat in a tiny village in Andalucia managed to find employment in the U.K. for an out-of-work youngster but the culture shock proved too much and the young girl soon returned home. Another member has recently rented a flat for a year in Madrid and is sending us regular reports on day-to-day life in the capital, gossip from her local bar, reactions in the streets to the economic crisis, and her amazement at the amount of free high quality cultural events on offer. She is even learning to play golf in the city! Every year we have a Circle trip to Spain and a couple of years ago, visiting Malaga, we met up with a group of pensionistas in Torre del Mar who had been our guests in North Wales a few years earlier. They did us proud! From their magnificent old people’s centre, they took us on a coach tour of the area and then treated us to a long lunch of paella with local wines. Their English teacher is from Penrhyndeudraeth in mid Wales. The monthly Circle boletín contains articles in both English and Spanish contributed by members and the subjects covered recently include the recollections (in castellano) of a group member of a 2000 mile car journey through Spain with her parents in 1964. They spent £27.50 on petrol and a visit to a doctor cost £1.30! We recently had our Christmas fiesta with a Spanish-themed meal and three concursos one of which tested members on the continually vexing problem of when to use por and para. Improving our Spanish is always on the agenda – even at fiesta time! We would be delighted to make the acquaintance of any members of the BritishSpanish Society who find themselves in North Wales. Tapas bars and good Rioja abound. Priscilla Kemp is the Secretary of the Spanish Circle of North Wales


SOCIETY NEWS

Winter 2014 • La Revista  27


INTERVIEW

‘La Maestra Republicana’

An interview with author Elena Moya about her latest novel, by Amy Bell E L E N A M OYA

La maestra republicana

La maestra republicana La lucha esperanzadora de una mujer infatigable por cambiar el rumbo de una sociedad truncada

C

an you tell us what inspired you to write ‘La Maestra Republicana’? In my previous book, ‘The Olive Groves of Belchite’ (Pegasus, 2009), I had a secondary character who was a teacher during the Second Spanish Republic. As I researched to build it, I found the subject so fascinating that I decided to write a second book centred on that area. Spain’s Second Republic is the only government that I know of to have focused so much on education – and I believe that the three keys to build a financially and socially sustainable country are 1) Education, 2) Education, 3) Education. But sadly, investments in education won’t make any party win the next election – as the benefits don’t show for 20 or 30 years. So this is why politicians just focus on easy wins, or shorter term projects, such as expensive train lines or organising Olympic games, to win votes. But, as we say in Spain, “pan para hoy, hambre para mañana” (bread for today, hunger for tomorrow.) As with your first novel, the narrative of ‘La Maestra Republicana’ moves between the UK and Spain. In what way does this shape the story and how do the contrasts between the two countries help to set the scene? Tension always works – there’s no movie, book or relationship that is flat. One always needs a degree of tension – and as Hegel said, a synthesis is always the consequence of the tension between a thesis and an antithesis. In this sense, Spain and England can be seen as very different places (although they have so much in common). But in my book, when I looked for an institution that could exemplify the opposite of the idea of a free and egalitarian school in Spain, I

28  La Revista • Winter 2014

couldn’t help but think of Eton College… so that is where I went for research. I can only say the personnel at the school were beyond welcoming – they helped me so much and I deeply appreciate it. Regardless of any class or political ideas Eton is a fabulous school. © Lucy Newman­Williams

ELENA MOYA

What is it about the history of los maestros MOYA deELENA layRepública which nació creció en Tarragona. Tras licenciarseinterests you? en Periodismo en la Universidad de Navarra, They with chalk and boards, trabajófought en El Periódicopoverty de Catalunya y obtuvo una beca Fulbright para realizar un máster en with little charts pulled Periodismo Financiero en Estados Unidos. by donkeys as Elena se estableció en Londres como perio­ they toured the años, villages dista financiera hace quince durante los of Spain showing que trabajó en las agencias de noticias Bloom­ children anden adults more often than not berg y Reuters–y luego el periódico The Guardian. También realizó una diplomatura – what good en CreativeaWriting en el play Birkbeck was, College, or even cinema. At de la Universidad de Londres. Ahora escribe theinformes time, in the 1930s, many people in rural financieros para gestoras de fondos de inversión. Los olivos de Belchite fue su pri­ mera novela, que not triunfó even también enseen el Rei­ a book before, other Spain had no Unido con apariciones en varios medios y excelentes Ferviente viajera y afi­ could not think of than the críticas. Bible, and they cionada y jugadora de fútbol, Elena vive con su pareja,as María, el nortefor de Londres. La books a entool entertainment or educamaestra republicana es su segunda novela. tion. The Republic wanted to change this www.elenamoya.com and bring some thinking to the people who www.facebook.com/librossuma Twitter: @sumadeletras had been repressed by unfair land-owning and labour laws for centuries. Unfortunately they didn’t have enough time: as we all know, Franco’s coup in 1936 ended this project and particularly targeted the maestros – many of them were killed. Crucifixes, monks and nuns returned to the schools, while the maps, globes and al-fresco art classes were put on hold for one generation more. The protagonist of the novel went to La Residencia de Señoritas in Madrid. Can you explain what type of institution this was? It was the female version of the very wellknown Residencia de Estudiantes, where Dali, Lorca and Bunyel met. However, the female version has not received as much acclaim or the attention of researchers; this is a man’s world. Still, its director Maria de Maeztu did an extraordinary job at educating hundreds of university-age women, who came to Madrid to enjoy an eye-opening experience. It was also a great coincidence that because they couldn’t afford a building, they rented some space at the Instituto Internacional, where an American missionary brought US female students. The Spaniards’ contact with far more experienced American women who were doing PhDs, who smoked and travelled by themselves around Europe, was a lifechanging contrast for many, who began to emulate this behaviour. It is a disgrace that such an institution – a female Oxbridge or Spain’s version of Wellesley College – was dismantled after the war – and many of its professors, including its director, had to go into exile. The Residencia de Señoritas produced the first three Spanish female MPs ever: Victoria Kent, Clara Campoamor and Margarita Nelken. It is important that we remember them.

To what extent did the character of Soledad from your first novel, ‘The Olive Groves of Belchite’ influence the development of your protagonist, Vallivana Querol? They are totally different people – it was just the research that inspired me. I asked my Spanish publishers whether they would be interested in a sequel and they said “na” – nobody is interested in sequels. So I started from scratch.

“in the 1930s many people in rural Spain had not even seen a book before[...] The Republic wanted to change this” Despite being almost 90 years old, Vallivana has a strong, fighting spirit. How have her experiences in life made her this way? Was it important for you to have a strong female character at the heart of the story? Yes, it is true that my two books are quite women-heavy, although in this second one two of my three main characters are male. But it’s also true that my male characters are a bit weaker – I hope this doesn’t subconsciously happen because I am a lesbian! Of course I have great respect and admiration for (certain) men, but I do think that some women tend to be stronger and a bit more rounded – they can see 360 degrees when sometimes men seem to have a 90 degree view. But of course, this is a great generalisation – I know several fabulous and well-rounded men! The thing is, those fabulously well-rounded men have received acclaims and fortune, whereas many women who have contributed just as much have been either hardly noticed or entirely forgotten – just like the Residencia de Señoritas gang. In this sense, I hope the strong female characters in my books help people realise that gender equality is still a long way off.

Image above:Elena Moya, Top leftbook cover courtesy of Santillana


ENTREVISTA

As you know, the BritishSpanish Society recently organised a tour of Eton College, a British institution which features quite prominently in the novel. What were your impressions of the school? I was very much impressed. It’s a very expensive centre, but I didn’t see any luxury in the students’ rooms, classes or halls. The fee money really goes to education – professors (and very good ones) are always available - Saturdays, Sundays, all day long – so the possibilities are infinite for the interested student, and that is fabulous. I went to a very good school, but goodness!..I didn’t have those opportunities to work on what I really like and improve, improve, improve. It is really excellent. Also, those children have to pass lots of tests to get in – there was nobody lazy, everybody seemed to be so interested. The only thing, though, is that I felt a bit sorry for the youngest – too young to be away from home? But I felt envious of the older students; when you are a teenager, what a treat to be away from your parents’ eyes! Having written your first book in English and your second in Spanish, how different was the writing process, and do you feel you have a preference? Yes – I write in English in my daily job, as an investment writer for an asset management firm. But I guess writing finance and literature is different. In this sense, Spanish is closer to my heart. Although I left Spain at 24, I lived in the US for two years and have lived in London ever since –that’s a very scary 15 years now! Would you say that the novel presents democracy in a positive light? What the novel says is that Spain’s democracy is still very young… and real democracy, more than in books and courts, is on people’s minds, and I don’t really see it very well developed in Spain yet…. What is the legacy of los maestros de la República in Spain today? Sadly, very little. And with the current government and education minister, even less. ‘La Maestra República’ is published by Santillana

John TomJoe: diseño artesanal en el estilo ‘kooky glam’

Entrevista con la diseñadora Sonia Folache, por Estefanía Ruilope

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onia Folache es la diseñadora de la firma muebles y objetos decorativos John TomJoe (www.johntomjoe.com). ¿Su última creación? Una colaboración con cinco de los interioristas top de España como Lorenzo Castillo, Luis Bustamante o Teresa Sapey, entre otros. Hemos hablado con ella para que nos cuente más sobre esta firma, que ya vende en los prestigiosos almacenes de Nueva York, Bergdorf Goodman. ¿Cómo nació JTJ? Hace unos años me vi involucrada en un proyecto de construcción de una casa nueva. Fue entonces cuando descubrí mi interés por el interiorismo y mi capacidad para crear objetos y muebles. Después de diseñar varios modelos para mi casa, la gente que me rodea, mis familiares y amigos, fueron los que me animaron a crear John Tomjoe. ¿De dónde viene el nombre? De la traducción al inglés de los nombres de mis tres hijos: Juan, Tomás y Pepito. Juntando los dos últimos, parecía un apellido de un supuesto diseñador

mesa farfalle

While researching ‘La Maestra Republicana’you must have met some interesting people. Which experience stands out the most? Writing is very solitary work, and meeting people for research is one of the few silver linings. I spent a fabulous week in Madrid, digging into the Residencia de Señoritas archive, and even met one of the students who is a very old lady now but hadn’t lost a touch of her spirit. I also went on quite a few trips to Eton college, not a natural environment for a Spanish lesbian writer but I must say they were ace. And of course, I went many times to Morella, the wonderful Medieval village in the middle of Valencia, Catalonia and Aragon, where the novel is partially set.

americano o británico que, sin duda, iba a suscitar la curiosidad entre nuestros clientes y allegados. ¿Qué es John Tomjoe? Son muebles kooky glam (divertidos, bohemios, originales y elegantes) que se hacen a medida y que están producidos por artesanos y metalistas españoles. Es una marca 100% Made in Spain. ¿Cuáles son tus fuentes de inspiración? ¡Todo! Puede ser moda, tiendas, revistas, webs… hasta el mismo color del cielo. Nunca salgo de casa sin una libreta y un lápiz. ¡No sabes qué o en qué momento vas a encontrar inspiración! ¿Cuál es su mueble favorito? Mi mesa de centro Farfalle; creo que es el signo de JTJ. Crearla me llevó mucho tiempo hasta conseguir dar con el diseño que me gustaba y, por eso, la tengo un cariño especial. Tal vez es el mueble con el que más me identifico y, de hecho, es un modelo que he repetido en muchos otros productos, como por ejemplo en apliques o en bajoplatos. Un sueño por cumplir sería… Vender en las tiendas más exclusivas de grandes ciudades europeas, como Merci en París, Corso Como en Milán o The Conran Shop en Londres. MIS DIRECCIONES EN MADRID: Una tienda de decoración: Indietro Dónde: Ortega y Gasset, 28. Para tomar un café: Magasand Dónde: Columela, 4. Cena con amigas: Dray Martina Dónde: Argensola, 7. Un anticuario: Lorenzo Castillo Dónde: Almirante, 25. Una tienda de flores: Llorens y Durán. Dónde: Paseo de la Habana, 41.

Winter 2014 • La Revista  29


INTERVIEW

Padel: Spain’s favourite racquet sport hits the UK

The director of London’s PadelClub, Daniel Díos, tells us how the sport is growing in popularity. By Nel Martins

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ntes de nada, felicitarte por el gran trabajo que estáis realizando y darte las gracias por concedernos esta entrevista. Como explicarías que es el padel a alguien que nunca a oído hablar de el? Le diría que el padel es una mezcla entre tenis y squash, combina los elementos de ambos, es mas parecido al tenis pero al mismo tiempo te permite usar las paredes que rodean la pista para poder devolver la bola, por lo que básicamente te da una segunda oportunidad. Esa sería la mejor introducción con la que el cliente general entiende un poquito de que va este deporte. Siempre nos pasa que cuando explicamos lo que es el padel a los británicos, generalmente lo comprenden como el paddle, (remo en inglés) de para ir a remar, y les decimos no, nada que ver con paddle de rowing! EN First of all congratulations for your great work and thank you very much for giving us this interview. How would you define padel to someone who has never heard of it? I would say that padel is a cross between tennis and squash; it combines the elements of both sports. It seems more like tennis but at the same time it allows you to use the walls surrounding the court to return the ball; basically it gives you a second option. That would be the best introduction for the general client to give them some understanding of the sport. Whenever we try to define padel to British people they always seem to confuse it with ‘paddle’ (for rowing), and we have to explain that no, it has nothing to do with rowing paddles! ES Puedes explicarnos cual es la historia de este club y como ha sido el proceso de creación?

30  La Revista • Winter 2014

Realmente el club comenzó a base de juntarnos un grupo de emprendedores, todos nosotros vivíamos en España, algunos de nosotros estábamos trabajando entre Inglaterra y España y fue a raíz de venir aquí bastante a menudo por otros motivos de trabajo cuando nos dimos cuenta de que era bastante extraño que todavía no hubiera padel, que no hubiera habido nadie que hubiera empezado a desarrollar este deporte en Londres. Entonces comentándolo entre los socios y teniendo en cuenta que no era el mejor momento para invertir en España, decidimos empezar con el proyecto, hace ahora un año y medio desde abril 2012 que fue cuando conseguimos encontrar la nave, la ubicación y montar las pistas. En Mayo 2012 fue cuando oficialmente pudimos inaugurar el club. EN Can you tell us about the history of the club and how it all started? Actually the club began with a group of entrepreneurs – all of us were living in Spain, some of us were working between Spain and the UK - and it was precisely after coming here quite often for work reasons when we realised that it was quite strange that no one had started to develop padel in London. After discussing it between ourselves and considering that it wasn’t the best moment to invest in Spain, we decided to start the project. It’s been one year and a half since April 2012 when we managed to find the building, the right location and to create the courts. In May we were able to officially inaugurate the club. ES Como se vivieron esos primeros meses en el club desde su apertura? Bueno, afortunadamente vimos que ya existía una demanda bastante fuerte, sabíamos que hay un gran numero de españoles en Londres, solamente censa-

dos existen 90.000 con lo cual pensamos que era un buen sitio donde poner la primera base. Pensamos que sería una buena oportunidad para dar impulso a la internacionalidad del padel que hasta día de hoy a sido muy fuerte en Argentina y en España, pero realmente no ha habido ese proceso todavía de internacionalización. Entonces decidimos que que mejor sitio que en Londres, con una comunidad española tan fuerte y una demanda de deportes de raqueta tan alta. EN How were the first few months following the opening of the club? Well, fortunately we saw that there was already a strong demand; we knew that there are a great number of Spaniards in London – the number registered by census alone is 90 000 – which is why we thought it was a good city to put our first base. We thought it would be a good opportunity to bring padel to an international community, since until now it has been most popular in Argentina and Spain but has not really gathered momentum internationally. We therefore decided, what better place than London, with such a strong Spanish community and such a high demand for racquet sports? ES Que crees que hace falta para impulsar la afición por el padel en UK? Realmente lo bueno que tenemos es que ya hay mucho deportista que ya conoce este deporte, sobre todo toda la base española y sudamericana que se convierten en los embajadores del club, porque son los que encargan de "spread the word" en sus zonas de trabajo y en sus zonas sociales, y por otro lado sabemos que es una implantación del deporte que ira poquito a poquito tanto a nivel federativo como a nivel de promocionarlo, porque aquí el británico


ENTREVISTA no conoce lo que es el padel, pero ahí es justamente donde tenemos el "challenge", en hacer que la masa inglesa se vaya enganchando poquito a poquito. Ahora poco a poco lo estamos consiguiendo, de hecho al comienzo éramos casi todos españoles con un 95% y después de una año y medio ya tenemos entorno a un 40% de ocupación no española lo cual ha subido mucho sobre todo en los últimos 6 meses. El incremento ha sido espectacular. EN What do you think is necessary in order to kick off the popularity of padel in the UK? The good thing is that there are many sports fans who already know this sport, especially the core Spanish and South American members who become ambassadors for the club because they take it upon themselves to spread the word in their workplaces and social networks, and on the other hand we know that it is the implementation of a sport which will grow at federation level and also as much as it is promoted, because the average British person doesn’t know what padel is, but that is exactly where the challenge lies; to get the UK public gradually into it. We really do seem to be managing it now, little by little. In fact, in the beginning the club was almost 95% Spanish and after a year and a have 40% who are not Spanish, a percentage which has grown significantly over the last six months. This increase has been spectacular. ES Que consejos darías a alguien que quiera iniciarse en el mundo del padel? Que tenga muchas ganas de pasárselo bien! El padel no tiene tantas especificaciones técnicas como el tenis, es un deporte social muy dinámico con unas dimensiones reducidas, que juegan dobles donde puedes usar la pared por lo tanto no es dominado por la fuerza. Todo esto lo hace un deporte muy fácil de coger para todas esas personas que a lo mejor han sentido que el tenis es difícil o que el squash era un poco aburrido, el padel recoge un poco de lo mejor de la esencia de cada deporte para poder disfrutar incluso en tu primer día. EN What advice would you give someone who wants to get into the world of padel? That they must like having a great time! padel doesn’t have as many technical specifications as tennis - it’s a very dynamic social sport with smaller dimensions - we play doubles where you can use the walls and it’s not all about strength. It’s a good sport for anyone who has found tennis too difficult or felt that squash was a little boring; padel takes all the best parts of each sport so that you can enjoy it even playing for the first time.

ES Que eventos y actividades ofrecéis en este club? Ofrecemos lo que ofrece cualquier club en España, un poco más adaptado al mercado británico. Ofrecemos tanto alquileres de pista como clases de grupo, academias, torneos, eventos sociales, etc. El mayor "challenge" es que Londres es una ciudad donde no se socializa tanto como a lo mejor estamos acostumbrados en España y cuesta encontrar 3 personas más con las que jugar, por lo que hemos desarrollado una plataforma especifica donde la gente puede encontrar a otras personas de cualquier parte de Londres para organizar partidos y es lo que realmente a dado el empujón al hecho de que haya tantos británicos ahora jugando. EN Which events and activities does the club offer? We offer what any club would offer in Spain, albeit a little more adapted to the UK market. We offer court hire, group classes, tournaments, social events etc. The biggest challenge is that London is a city where people don’t socialise perhaps as much as we are used to in Spain, so we find that sometimes people have difficulty finding 3 other people to play with. That is why we have developed a special system where people can find other players from anywhere in London to organise matches; it has definitely contributed to the fact that so many more British people are taking up the sport. ES Cual sería la pareja de padel a batir en el Reino Unido? Bueno..a parte de mi? (risas) Hay muy buenos jugadores, no solo españoles, ya hay muchos ingleses, sobre todo aquellos que se dedicaban al padel desde hace tiempo como puedan ser, Richard Brooks, Frankie Langan, John Leach and Tom Murray, son jugadores ingleses con muy buen nivel, serian los jugadores estrella del país. EN Who are the best padel players in the UK? Apart from me? (laughs) There are many good players, not only Spaniards, now there are many good English players, especially those who have been playing for a long time. Richard Brooks, Frankie Langan, John Leach and Tom Murray are English players with a very high level - they would be the star players of the country. ES Que expectativas tienes para el Padel en un futuro? Pues realmente en este tiempo nos hemos centrado mucho en que este proyecto sea viable, cosa que después de un año y medio hemos conseguido con mucho esfuerzo. Es una zona en donde para permanecer con este club abierto hace falta un volumen de

ocupación bastante elevado. La previsión y proyecciones son que este club se mantenga día a día porque está en una ubicación inmejorable pero también ir introduciendo organizadamente zonas nuevas de padel no solamente en Londres sino también en focos donde en un principio veamos una demanda de este deporte. EN What expectations do you have for padel in the future? Until now we have mostly focused on making sure this project is viable, something which we have achieved through great effort. This is an area where we need quite a high level of activity in order to keep the club open. Our predictions and projections are that the club can be maintained from day to day because it is in an unbeatable location, but also to start introducing padel to new areas, not just in London, where we see that there is a demand for the sport. ES Nos puedes contar alguna divertida anécdota? Eh...demasiadas (risas) pero la mejor que tenemos y de la que me siento bastante orgullosos es que compartimos instalaciones con otro club deportivo donde su deporte dominante es el cricket, deporte rey aquí en Inglaterra. Pues un domingo tuvimos una comunidad de unos 50 indios que vinieron a ver lo que era esta jaula, no entendían bien lo que era, si se podía jugar al cricket.. Dijimos no hombre no, olvídate: te damos una pala, te damos las bolas y desde entonces todos los domingos tenemos un evento especialmente diseñado para esta comunidad que venia a jugar al cricket. Curiosamente están dejando de jugar a su deporte para venir a jugar al padel, con lo cual es un éxito rotundo que no hace más que demostrar que este deporte encaja en cualquier tipo de sociedad. EN Can you tell us an interesting anecdote? Eh..too many (laughs), but probably the best I can think of, and the one I feel most proud about, is that we share the building with another sports club where the dominant sport is cricket – a very popular sport here in England. Well one Sunday we had about 50 Indians who had come to see our caged courts. They didn’t really understand what the courts were and asked if they would be able to play cricket..We told them no, forget it, we’ll give you a racquet and some balls, and since then every Sunday we have a special event designed specifically for that group of cricket players…Interestingly they are starting to play cricket less and come instead to play padel. So it’s a big success for us and demonstrates that this sport suits any social group.

Winter 2014 • La Revista  31


INTERVIEW con una comunidad social muy fuerte. Nosotros sabemos que tenemos que cuidar al máximo ese carácter social y si para eso tenemos que vestirnos de Isabel Pantoja pues se hace. Además es algo que aquí en Inglaterra gusta mucho y que la gente agradece mucho, el poder venir aquí, pasar un buen rato, reírse jugar mejor o peor al padel pero pasar un buen rato.

Daniel and Nel

ES Como anécdota también me contaban antes que alguna vez habéis jugado al padel disfrazados. Eh (risas) Si es cierto, lo bueno que tiene este deporte es que encaja muy bien aquí en Londres porque fomenta el tema social, la gente no lo identifica solo con que viene a hacer deporte sino que se encuentra

EN Someone told me that you all once played padel in fancy dress? (Laughs)Yes it’s true. The good thing about this sport is that it fits in well in London because it encourages people to be social: people don’t come just to play sport, they also find themselves in a strong social community. We have to take care of the club’s social character and if in order to do this we have to dress up like Isabel Pantoja then so be it. And also, fancy dress is very popular here in the UK and people love it, to be able to come here, have a good time and laugh, play padel (either well or badly), but most importantly have fun.

ES Quieres añadir algo mas? Pues invitar a todo el mundo, los que no nos conozcan decirles que están invitados, que ofrecemos sesiones gratuitas al principio para que conozcan el padel y para poder asesorarles un poquito mejor en que puede encajar en lo que ellos buscan del padel. Y bueno, agradeceros también a vosotros vuestro tiempo y vuestra dedicación en ayudarnos a divulgar el padel, que es lo queremos realmente, que se introduzca en la sociedad británica. EN Is there anything else you would like to add? Just to invite everyone to come to the club. We offer free starter sessions to give people a chance to get to know the sport and to be able to assess what they are looking for with padel. And I would like to thank you for your time and dedication in helping us to explain padel, which is what we want, to introduce it to the British public. LR

Would you like to join the BritishSpanish Society? Come to our events, meet new people and support our work as a registered charity

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

facebook.com/BritishSpanish

32  La Revista • Winter 2014

@BritishSpanish

Photographs courtesy of PadelClub


Golden Age Drama in Contemporary Spain

Duncan Wheeler, lecturer in Spanish at the University of Leeds and winner of a Society award for the publication of his book, gives an account of his research and the tour to promote it which followed

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n spending a year in Madrid as part of my undergraduate degree, I was surprised and disappointed to discover that the great plays of Calderón de la Barca, Lope de Vega and Tirso de Molina were not staged as frequently as I would have expected or liked; I subsequently learnt that I was in good company as Mario Vargas Llosa had made exactly the same observation when he first came to the Spanish capital to complete his doctorate at the Complutense University. This led me to think about why Spanish Golden Age drama did not occupy the same place of privilege in global canons as its Elizabethan counterpart; I quickly came to the conclusion that this was more a result of socio-political as opposed to artistic factors, but I clearly needed to do the research to justify this intuition. With the encouragement and support of Dr Jonathan Thacker, what began as an undergraduate essay on the marginalisation of the comedia – the name given to Spanish Early-Modern drama in its entirety – morphed first into a Masters, and then a doctoral thesis which I subsequently converted into my first academic monograph: Golden Age Drama in Contemporary Spain: The Comedia on Page, Stage and Screen (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2012). Since the BritishSpanish Society generously awarded me a grant to support the publication, I have discovered that writing the book is only stage one: you then have to promote it. Whilst I am hardly likely to give J.K. Rowling or Elvira Lindo sleepless nights, it has been a great pleasure to find that there is a receptive international audience for a scholarly book on Early-Modern Spanish drama. I did fear that promoting a project which my friend Dave nicely surmised as ‘why the comedia ain’t rubbish, and why you should read it NOW’ might result in a kind of academic groundhog day. Fortunately, I have discovered that nothing could have been further from the truth: it has been a hugely enjoyable and enriching experience, providing an opportunity for a stimulating exchange of ideas and to meet friends and colleagues, old and new. The first stop on my itinerary was the Instituto Cervantes in Sydney, where I gave a public talk on domestic violence in Early-Modern Spain. Not, admittedly, the cheeriest of topics so we decided to start the day on a lighter note by getting to know the koala bears at Wildlife World. The inclement weather meant that our furry friend wasn’t at his most welcoming as koalas don’t much like the rain; intuitively aware no doubt that tourists help maintain a constant supply of eucalyptus leaves, he nevertheless grudgingly consented to us having our photo taken with him. A more selfless and warm-hearted

example of Antipodean hospitality was provided by Professor Stephanie Hemelryk Donald who not only kindly provided us with board and lodgings – I even broke my vegetarianism to try one of her oysters – but kindly ferried me across town to the venue. On arrival, I was informed that Australians tend to have wine before as well as after the talk – a custom we could well do with adopting in the UK! Following this liquid refreshment, I tried to convince the audience that a black legend surrounding the comedia has arisen largely as a result of Calderón’s wife-murder trilogy; my argument was that neither are these emblematic plays representative of an admittedly morbid sub-genre, whose existence does not in itself suggest that uxoricide was an everyday occurrence in sixteenth and seventeenthcentury Spain.

Whilst I am hardly likely to give J.K. Rowling or Elvira Lindo sleepless nights, it has been a great pleasure to find that there is a receptive international audience for a scholarly book on Early-Modern Spanish drama The UK book launch then took place on 27 September, a busy week as it coincided with the beginning of term and was just a few days prior to the BritishSpanish Awards Ceremony at the Spanish Embassy. Iñaki Abad Leguina and Kepa González, who work tirelessly to ensure that Spanish culture is a force to be reckoned with in Northern-England, were exemplary hosts allowing me to hold court at the historic Instituto Cervantes in Manchester. It is a sign of the somewhat disconnected information age in which we live that this was the first time I’d actually met my editor, Sarah Lewis; she spoke encouragingly about the University of Wales Press’ ongoing commitment to Hispanic scholar-

CULTURE ship. Following her intervention, Professor Phil Swanson from the University of Sheffield introduced the book in his own imitable style which, in the spirit of Lope, takes the Horatian adage of deleitar enseñando seriously: experts in imbuing even the ostensibly most formal of occasions with a tavern-like atmosphere, Lope and Swanson (I’m not so sure about Horace) are equally adept at complementing the bacchanalian excess of a tavern with their wit and erudition. A hard act to follow, I was nevertheless confident that a sympathetic home crowd would at least indulge my evangelical ramblings on the duty of educators not to shy away from Golden Age drama as a result of its cultural and linguistic specificity; I quixotically appointed myself as the academic ‘proud to put wife-murder back into West Yorkshire’, a proclamation which, somewhat fortunately given the unnervingly enthusiastic response by some A-Level students from Manchester Grammar School, did not result in a visit from Social Services! At the kind invitation of María Silveyro, I then had a launch in Madrid at the ‘Ocho y medio’ bookstore well-known for publishing Almodóvar’s scripts – if it’s good enough for Pedro, it’s good enough for me. Situated just off the Plaza de España on the Calle Martín de Heros – home to the Hollywood Walk of Spain a la española – it is one of those increasingly rare boutique café-shops where you are free to browse at your leisure and chat to friendly knowledgeable staff (see http://www.ochoymedio.com/). The playwright and director, José Luis Alonso de Santos, introduced me and, friendship aside, it was particularly apt to have him at my side: it was a production he staged in 2003 for the Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico of Peribáñez y el Comendador de Ocaña that first stimulated me to embark on the project; and we have recently collaborated on a dual-language edition of his best-loved play, Bajarse al moro/Going Down to Morocco (Oxford: Oxbow, 2013). Although nerve-wracking, I was honoured to have the opportunity to promote the book in Spanish, and I plan to have it translated in the non-too distant future. As I stressed throughout, my sincerest hope is that it will make at least some headway in raising the profile of one of the world’s great theatrical traditions.

José Luis Alonso de Santos introduces Duncan Wheeler at the Spanish book launch for Golden Age Drama in Contemporary Spain: The Comedia on Page, Stage and Screen

Winter 2014 • La Revista  33


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LITERATURE

Cazando Libros

Pensamientos sobre lo que podemos aprender de la literatura, por Claudia SP Rubiño

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er una adicta a la lectura en una ciudad como Londres es uno de los males del mundo moderno. Bueno, supongo que lo es en cualquier parte del globo, pero yo aquí en la capital Inglesa descubrí una cosa apasionante coloquialmente conocida como “las charities”, que no son más que pequeñas y acogedoras tiendecitas dedicadas a recolectar dinero para ayudar a personas que lo necesitan a través de distintas asociaciones. Estas asociaciones te permiten donar cualquier cosa que creas oportuno; su trabajo es revender tus cosas a un módico y más que aceptable precio. Todo el dinero recaudado se destina a distintas organizaciones para, repito, ayudar. Personalmente, creo que no se han dado cuenta de lo que me ayudan a mí. Puede que sea egoísmo, puro y duro, pero a mí comprar libros me hace muy feliz. Y gracias a estas tiendecitas, lo único que hago es alimentar mi felicidad y a mi estantería. No sé vosotros, pero yo leo un poco por temporadas, a veces me dedico durante meses sólo a una temática o a una década, y acabo leyendo libros que no me gustan sólo para criticarlos, porque, seamos honestos, no se puede hablar de algo que no se conoce. También es verdad que leo un poco ‘a toro pasado’. Recuerdo cuando se puso de moda la saga de Millenium y yo me negué en rotundo a leerla. Finalmente, sucumbí hace unos meses y la leí en Inglés. Por supuesto, me apasionó. La manera en la que está escrita es tan perfecta, redonda y exquisita que da miedo. Quiero decir que Larsson era un maldito genio y me asombro a mí misma el haber tardado tanto en descubrirlo, pero está bien, cada cosa tiene su momento. Estoy satisfecha de no haberlos leído cuando la sociedad me dijo que lo hiciera. Porque ése es otro asunto. Cuando una temática en concreto se pone de moda y te conviertes es un extraterrestre por no haber leído un determinado libro. Desde niña me han gustado los vampiros. Cuando alguien dice “vampiro”, todo el mundo dirige su mente a los crepusculares, mientras que yo tan sólo puedo pensar en los de Anne Rice o en Stoker. Lo mismo está pasando ahora con la saga de ‘Los juegos

la estantería de Claudia

del hambre’. La multitud ha perdido la cabeza, más bien, la ha perdido la juventud, ignorando la cantidad de buenas y bien escritas distopías que ya existían antes de que Katniss decidiera abrasar las estanterías y las taquillas de cine. En realidad no soy ninguna experta, es cierto que he estudiado mucho sobre literatura y creación y crítica literaria, pero al final, sólo me guío por lo que me gusta y lo que no, porque no soy de piedra. El problema que yo veo, por llamarlo de alguna manera, es que los jóvenes (lo digo como si yo tuviera 80 años...), por alguna razón que ahora mismo desconozco, pero que seguro que hace seis años hubiera sa-

“vemos que hay una causa importante y plausible, se gesta una revolución que, en los tiempos en los que estamos, podría pasar” bido responder, necesitan aferrarse a unos héroes jóvenes que estén enamorados. Lo tenían con Edward y Bella y la tercera rueda, y lo volvemos a ver con Katniss y Peeta y su tercera rueda (aunque yo creo que la tercera rueda es Katniss y no Gale). La diferencia entre estas dos trilogías es que, por fin, en ‘Los juegos del hambre’ vemos que hay una causa importante y plausible, se gesta una revolución que, en los tiempos en los que estamos, podría pasar. Lo ideal sería, entonces, que los nuevos lectores que se adentran en las

distopías fueran más allá y abordaran los que son, para mi humilde gusto, los reyes del tema, ‘Un mundo feliz’ y ‘1984’, y que no se detuvieran ahí. Al fin y al cabo, ¿cuán lejos estamos de esos universos para nada ideales en los que la sociedad prefiere la seguridad por encima de la libertad? Lo hemos visto en cientos de películas, pero aquí hemos venido para hablar de libros, que son lo que tenemos que proteger hasta que nos volvamos locos y decidamos que hay que quemarlos a todos. Hace mucho, mucho tiempo, me leí un libro llamado ‘Los superjuguetes duran todo el verano’. Para mi sorpresa no era un novela si no una colección de relatos más o menos cortos bajo la misma temática: un futuro negro, plagado de tecnología y despojado de sentimientos. A pesar de que son los tres primeros cuentos la estrella que da título a la recopilación, hay unos cuantos más que también son interesantes aunque su calidad es un poco menor. El que más me gusta, sin duda, es uno llamado ‘Buey’, que trata, si mal no recuerdo, en una sociedad, que se ha vuelto excesivamente estricta con el consumo de carne animal, en la que celebran la extinción de la vaca, ya que era un peligroso foco de enfermedades. Ahora bien, por otro lado, es comprensible que la gente no se sienta atraída hacia este tipo de literatura. No dejan de ser libros que nos hablan de que el futuro que viene va a ser duro y opresor y hay personas que no pueden soportar la verdad. La cuestión está, siempre desde mi punto de vista, en usar los libros como una advertencia de lo que puede pasar para evitarlo. Fueron escritos hace muchos años y podrían estar equivocados... Siempre se nos ha dicho que una vez puesta sobre el papel, cualquier historia es ficción pero ¿por qué al mirar alrededor y al leer las noticias me da la impresión de que la realidad está, una vez más, superando a la ficción? Sea como fuere, el resumen podría ser que basándonos en los libros ficticios, quizá deberíamos hacer mejor las cosas en la realidad. Por un lado, no tenemos Soma que valga para evadirnos; por otro, ya sabemos que las cámaras nos vigilan a todas horas. Y al final, ¿qué nos queda? A mí, un libro de relatos de Delibes en el que estoy aprendiendo muchas cosas sobre las aves de mi tierra, el cual, casualmente, encontré en una charity.

Winter 2014 • La Revista  35


The Spanish Chamber looks back on an intense 2013

The Spanish Chamber of Commerce offers avenues of collaboration to institutions willing to expand their activity. From left to right: Mr. José María Ruiz, President of La Rioja Chamber of Commerce, Logroño City Council; Ms. Concepción Gamarra, Mayor of Logroño; and Mr. Javier Fernández, President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain

F

or those who are not familiar with the aim of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, it is a non-profit organisation which was conceived to promote commercial relations between companies interested in both the Spanish and British markets. The Spanish Chamber develops and offers different tools and channels so companies can broaden their businesses and gain access to a continuously growing network of contacts from a wide range of sectors. So what does this stand for? Let’s have a look at a summary of the activities and events the Chamber worked on during 2013. Among them one highlight was the Lladró Annual Golden Award, hosted at the Spanish Embassy in London. The event rewards a Spanish company in the UK for outstanding performance and this year the distinction went to BBVA. In addition to the above, the Spanish Chamber also organised an assortment of other activities, including seminars, networking events and informal parties

Guests of the 126 Annual General Meeting attending the cocktail reception that preceded the formal dinner.

36  La Revista • Winter 2014

like our International Wine Tasting Event and the Halloween Informal Party, just to name two of them. Moreover, the Patrons’ Club has offered three exclusive activities to these companies in 2013, which included the traditional annual dinner at the Spanish Embassy, a qualifying match for the Fifa World Cup 2014 at Wembley Stadium, and a Blind Wine Tasting. In September, the XV Edition of the Graduate European Programme kicked off. 14 participants carried out work experience at London-based companies for six months. The programme includes business English classes and workshops at Regent’s University London to complement participants’ work experience. Last but not least, the Chamber’s Trade and Business Development department has kept busy and delivered several commercial agendas and trade missions. Among them, we would like to highlight two actions organised for the Chambers of Commerce of Soria and La Rioja. The Spanish Chamber is very grateful to its members for their continuous support across all the different activities we carried out last year, and for the new ones to come in 2014, which the team is already working on. The New Year will kick off with the New Years’ Welcome Dinner, a Gala Evening which is taking place on the 31st January. The Guest of Honour for this special evening is Mr. Jaime García-Legaz, Secretary of State for Trade. Companies and professionals who wish to learn more about this event and gain further knowledge on the Spanish Chamber activity can do so by visiting our website: www.spanishchamber.co.uk By María Prieto Photographs from Spanish Chambar of Commerce


LITERATURE

Roberta, Peter y Phyllis

Nuria Reina Bachot nos cuenta que le motivó a hacer la primera traducción de ‘The Railway Children’

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uando Padre desaparece de forma inesperada, y en extrañas circunstancias, Roberta, Peter, Phyllis y su madre tienen que abandonar su feliz y holgada vida familiar en Londres para ir a vivir entre estrecheces a una pequeña casita - llamada Tres Chimeneas - en una aldea en el campo. Allí los niños encuentran entretenimiento en una cercana estación de ferrocarril, y hacen amistad con el mismísimo Jefe de Estación, con Perks el Mozo o con el intrigante Anciano Caballero que les saluda puntualmente desde el tren de las 9.15. Pero no logran olvidar el misterio que ha producido tantos cambios en su vida. Madre no quiere decir nada y los chicos saben que es mejor no preguntar pero ¿dónde está Padre? ¿Volverá algún día? Yo no los busqué, eso para empezar. Los chicos del ferrocarril llegaron a mi vida por azar, una tarde en la que buscaba información sobre historia ferroviaria. Había ideado un artículo algo pretencioso llamado ‘El caballo de hierro’, el cual, haciendo un bien social, nunca llegó a publicarse. Y entre ensayos de Thoreau, artículos y novelas de toda índole, estaban Roberta, Peter y Phyllis saludándome con sus pañuelitos y sus caritas sonrientes, como si yo fuera el tren de las 9.15 pasando por su lado. Había que ser un insensible para no encariñarse con ellos al instante. Yo los quise de inmediato. Eso era lo fácil. Que los quisieran los demás, fue algo más complicado. Y no sería por falta de razones. Roberta Peter y Phyllis son unos niños tan reales que a veces parecen salirse del papel. Sus diálogos son frescos, tiernos e hirientes en su justa medida. Cuentan que esta verosimilitud se debe a una promesa que Edith Nesbit se hizo cuando era niña, en la cual se juró a si misma que al hacerse mayor no olvidaría lo difícil que es ser niño. Desde luego, lo cumplió con creces. Nesbit no se olvida de remarcar lo aburrido de los deberes, la complejidad de aceptar las decisiones adultas, la rabia ante un castigo, la emoción ante lo nuevo y la inconfundible inocencia infantil, capaz de derretir a cualquiera. Cada uno de estos rasgos se encuentra representado de manera magistral en diversas vivencias de sus protagonistas. Pero Los chicos del ferrocarril no se limitan a conectar con el público infantil, que no es poco, sino que poseen la gran virtud de enganchar al público adulto al mismo tiempo. Para ello Nesbit se sirve de Roberta -una jovencita a medio camino entre las muñecas y las damas- y de diversos temas de mayores como la política, los malabares para afrontar las penurias económicas, la igualdad y las injusticias sociales. Y la magia se produce cuando ambos mundos empatizan de tal manera que niños y mayores

desdibujan su bando y se unen para afrontar una causa común, que va desde colaborar en casa hasta las diversas formas de ayudar al prójimo.

“Nesbit no se olvida de remarcar lo aburrido de los deberes, la complejidad de aceptar las decisiones adultas, la rabia ante un castigo, la emoción ante lo nuevo y la inconfundible inocencia infantil” En pocas palabras, en Los chicos del ferrocarril se tocan temas universales como el valor de la familia y de la amistad, la cual no entiende de tiempo, edades, género o cultura. Además, a lo largo de toda la novela existe un hermoso homenaje a la naturaleza –tal vez infravalorado- pero presente en los numerosos tipos de plantas, en los cambios de estación vistos a través de los pastos y los árboles, y en los valles, los cuales parecen ser entendidos por la autora como un mirador divino. Y por supuesto, no puede faltar el ferrocarril, el gran protagonista. Trenes por la mañana, trenes por la noche. Enormes locomotoras atravesando túneles, cables de postes interminables, viajeros de acá para allá, numerosas traviesas para saltar de dos en dos y empleados ferroviarios dispuestos a ayudar o regañar según se tercie la ocasión. Ahora pensareis que todas estas razones, las cuales llevan encandilando a miles de británicos desde 1906, serían suficientes para que el mundo editorial hispano recibiera a Los chicos del ferrocarril con los brazos abiertos. Nada más lejos de la realidad. Cuando ya había traducido los primeros capítulos, tomé la firmé decisión de encontrar una editorial. Y junto con esta decisión comenzó un pequeño calvario, que duró exactamente cinco meses. En ese tiempo, Los chicos del ferrocarril y yo llamamos a un centenar de puertas buscando si no la publicación, algo de amparo o guía para conseguirla. Bajo aquellas aldabas se hallaban numerosas editoriales, instituciones de promoción del libro infantil y juvenil, centros internacionales de traducción, centros de estudios victorianos y diversas revistas ferroviarias. Salvo cinco honrosas excepciones, la mayoría coincidió en el arte de darnos con la puerta en las narices, bien fuera a través del silencio o el no rotundo. Fue entonces cuando fundé un club de fans, compuesto por aquellas cinco almas caritativas que me ofrecían su apoyo moral, valorando la importancia de esta traducción para el mundo hispano. Sin embargo, no era suficiente. Había pasado casi medio año y Los chicos del ferrocarril y yo comenzábamos a sentirnos agotados y sin fuerzas,

pero justo antes de desfallecer, un frío día de enero….Berenice nos abrió la puerta y nos dijo pasad. Al entrar, sobraron las presentaciones. Los chicos del ferrocarril es un clásico en Gran Bretaña y tal vez la obra más conocida de la autora. Edith Nesbit fue una pionera en el género infantil y juvenil en Reino Unido y ejerció una fuerte influencia en autores como Pamela Travers, C.S Lewis, autor de Narnia, Diana Wynne Jones, creadora de El Castillo Ambulante y Johanna Rowling, la cual declaró contundente: “Nesbit es la autora con la que más me identifico”, lo cual explica porqué también es conocida en Reino Unido como “la abuela de Harry Potter”. Berenice tomó nota de las alabanzas que Gore Vidal, candidato al Nobel de Literatura, le dedicó a Nesbit en The New York Times Review: “Junto a Lewis Carroll, E. Nesbit es la mejor de los fabulistas ingleses que han escrito sobre los niños, tanto para niños como para adultos; y como Carroll fue capaz de crear un mundo mágico enteramente propio" Tampoco sorprende que desde 1950 hasta el 2011 Los chicos (chicos) del ferrocarril hayan sido adaptados a la televisión, cuatro veces bajo la BBC y una bajo Carlton TV, al cine, bajo la dirección de Lionel Jeffries en 1970, a la radio, con un guión de Martin Jameson, y en 2011 al teatro, con una adaptación de Mike Keny cuyo éxito le valió el premio Lawrence Olivier al “Mejor Entretenimiento”. En definitiva, Berenice sabía que si Roberta, Peter y Phyllis habían emocionado a miles de británicos durante más de cien años, el mundo hispano también se merecía el mismo privilegio. Y la que suscribe, hija de ferroviario, siempre les estará agradecida. Illustration by Nuria Reina Bachot

Winter 2014 • La Revista  37


SPORT

La Roja faces a Tough Challenge in Brazil Looking ahead to the World Cup, by Jimmy Burns Marañon

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hen Spain’s national football team travel this summer to Brazil for the World Cup Championship tournament, the only thing it can be certain of is that history never repeats itself. It was back in 1950 that Brazil staged her last football World Cup. It was the first such tournament to be staged anywhere in the world since 1938 because of the political divisions and economic hardships provoked by the Second World War and its aftermath. Spain, still evolving as a football nation and ruled by General Franco, was not among the favourites either on or off the pitch. England and Brazil were. So unliberated was Spain at the time that its players could not believe

Cesar (FC Barcelona), Luis Molowny (Real Madrid) and Telmo Zarra, the leader scorer of the Spanish League and widely admired bastion of Athletico de Bilbao. It was Zarra that scored the one and only goal of the game, in an action forever immortalised by the ecstatic live commentary of Spanish national radio’s Matias Prats. The extended and repeated cry of ‘Goooooool’ went on for the best part of a minute and enthralled Spanish listeners. As Prats would later remark: “Zarra put the goal in the net, and I put the goal in the mind of all Spaniards.” Franco couldn’t believe his luck. Victory over England momentarily restored a new sense of, if not unity, certainly national pride.

their eyes when they saw the relaxed, easy going nature of the female cariocas, as they danced and played half-naked on the beaches of Rio. And yet the 1950 World Cup was seized by the Franco regime as an opportunity for Spain to use the world’s most popular sport to break out of its diplomatic isolation while stirring up nationalist sentiment. In an early stage of the tournament Spain found itself drawn in the same group as England . This had the Spanish media stirring up the Gibraltar issue and portraying the Spanish team as courageous underdogs against the formidable skills of English players like Wright and Ramsay, Finney and Mortensen, Mannion and Matthews. Previously in this tournament, Spain and England had won their opening games, against the United States and Chile respectively. But then Spain beat Chile, and England lost to the US. The Spaniards thus faced the English with an unbeaten record in the competition so far and needing only a draw to enter the final stages. The Spaniards were up for a fight, with the team counting on some impressive club players –Basora and

A Franco le gustaba la expresión ‘la Furia’ porque veía en ella un ejemplo de la esencia de la nacionalidad española…Entre los aficionados se decía que Zarra jugaba con tres piernas, la tercera de las cuales era su cabeza. Pero no fue con la cabeza, sino con el pie, que Zarra consiguió el gol de la victoria contra Inglaterra. El prolongado ‘Goooooool’ de Prats duro practicamente un minuto, azuzando el entusiasmo de los radioyentes Españoles…Acabado el partido, Armando Muñoz Calero, maiximo dirigente del futbol Español, escribió a Franco diciéndole : ‘Excelencia: hemos vencido a la Perfida Albion.’ Como recordaría más tarde Vázquez Montalbán… ”Gracias a Prats, la tierra de pan y toros se convirtió en la tierra del pan y el futbol..”

38  La Revista • Winter 2014

As things turned out, Spain’s involvement in the 1950 tournament ended in failure, eliminated from the final stages, after being swamped by Brazil 1-6 and beaten by Sweden 1-3. Uruguay won the tournament. After that, Spain failed to qualify in four of the

next six World Cups, and performed badly in the two that it did contest. They had to wait another sixty years before winning the tournament. In the summer of 2010 Spain’s national squad, nicknamed La Roja, followed up their success in the European Championships, by winning the World Cup in South Africa. It was the high point in a five year period that has earned Spanish football the title of the best in history not just because of the success of the national squad but also of the excellence of Spanish clubs, notably FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, and Spanish players who have become major stars in the highly competitive the English Premier league, like Torres, Mata, Cazorla, and Silva. Despite being the reigning champions, Spain had to qualify for this year’s World Cup. They now enter it as one of the favourites having gone through the group stages undefeated, scoring 14 goals and conceding just three times. But as it heads for Brazil again, the Spanish squad cannot rest on its laurels. FC Barcelona, the club that provided both the creative style and most of the players behind the success of La Roja in 2010 and its follow-up European Championship win in 2012, has lost what seemed to be its unassailable supremacy, with the legendary mid-field duo of Iniesta and Xavi no longer as assured of success as it once was. Moreover Spain faces tough competition from national teams that have hugely improved their performance since the last World Cup, like Argentina, Germany, and Brazil, the host nation. (England remains a rank outsider having failed to impress with any quality over the last year. ) Brazil defeated La Roja 3-0 in the final of last summer’s Confederation Cup. The defeat exposed some potential serious weaknesses in the Spanish side and the veteran champions looked as if they had run out of steam. But La Roja’s widely respected coach Vicente Del Bosque has a proven track record of forging teams that not only play beautiful football, but can also pull back from disaster and win. With star players like Isco, Negredo, Micho, Villa, Koke, and Brazilian born but nationalised Spaniard Diego Costa showing excellent form at club level, he is spoilt for choice- and that is without even mentioning some of the Barca players that , on a good day, remain among the best in the world. Our chairman Jimmy Burns Marañon is the author of La Roja (Simon & Schuster), and its Spanish edition De Rio Tinto a la Roja (Contra). He will be hosting the BritishSpanish Society’s celebration of Spanish football evening in London at Hispania on March 6th, with best-selling football writers Guillem Balague and Simon Kuper among star guests.


CULTURE

Club Taurino of London

David Penton tells us about London’s bullfight club

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don’t believe it” and “I wish I had known about it years ago” are two common reactions when people learn that there is a bullfight club in London. The Club Taurino of London was formed in 1959 with the twin objectives of promoting knowledge of the fiesta brava and of Anglo-Spanish understanding and friendship. It currently has 330 members. While the majority live in England with about 80 in London, there are members in 22 different countries including Spain, France, the USA, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Germany and Austria. The total includes 64 couples and 32 women. The profile of members is very varied ranging from peers of the realm through most professions – judges, doctors, accountants, engineers, teachers - to artists, opera singers, ballerinas, journalists, businessmen, politicians, drivers, salesmen and students. They tend to have two things in common – a love of bulls and being slightly eccentric, some more than others. That said, the club is very inclusive and many long term friendships have been formed as a result. In 2013 the club was awarded the Eurotoro Prize for International Aficionado of the Year, and in 2008 the club was represented at a major event

Javier Castaño receives the Jarra de Peltre from Mark Rayner

in the European Parliament entitled Toros en Bruselas. The club meets each month in London and the proceedings are part formal and part social. There may be a roundtable discussion on a chosen topic, a talk given either by a member or a visiting expert and sometimes a DVD is shown with highlights of important corridas. Recent meetings included a talk about the rivalry between, and relative importance of, Juan Belmonte and Joselito and a talk and demonstration about the use of the muleta by Irish novillero ‘El Irlandés’. Every year at the end of November there is a special luncheon in central London to celebrate the anniversary of the Club’s founding with a top matador from Spain attending. Last year it was Javier Castaño and the year before Ivan Fandiño. Other visitors have included Enrique Ponce, José Tomás and El Juli. There is also a special lunch at the Wellington Hotel in Madrid during San Isidro each year and last year’s guest was leading bull breeder Ricardo Gallardo of Fuente Ymbro. Members receive, via email, a monthly newsletter giving details of the next meeting and any other relevant topical items,as well as notice of the cartels and dates of the principal ferias and details of taurine broadcasts which can be seen on TV or the internet with appropriate links. There is a library of DVDs and a Facebook group, London Aficionados a los Toros. The club’s magazine, La Divisa, is published bi-monthly. Written and illustrated by members, it usually has 72 pages and is generally regarded as the best English language publication on the bulls. It covers a very wide range of topics. For example, a recent issue included several articles on different aspects of Pamplona, reports on both major and lesser ferias in France

and northern Spain, a profile of the great Mexican matador Rodolfo Gaona, an account of two Englishmen’s travels in Spain in the 17th century and their encounters with bullfights, book reviews, a theatre review….The club also publishes various taurine books including a handbook to the corrida, the laws and regulations of the corrida and it offers for sale a wide selection of second hand taurine books in Spanish, French and English. In addition the Club organises visits to ganaderías, the most recent being to Victorino, Palha, El Ventorillo and Los Expolios. For the last three years courses of toreo de salon and a tienta have been organised in conjunction with the Feria de Abril in Seville with instruction from former matador Eduardo Dávila Miura. The club has as Honorary VicePresidents, former rejoneador Ángel Peralta, ganadero Victorino Martín and retired matador and now ganadero José Miguel Arroyo ‘Joselito.’ Its President is Mark Rayner and the Vice President is long term Madrid resident Andrew Moore. Each year members vote for the best,matador, novillero, rejoneador and ganadería. In 2012 the winners were Ivan Fandiño, Gómez del Pilar. Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza and Fuente Ymbro. You can meet members of the club at the principal ferias during the season in France and Spain and occasionally in Mexico and South America. Informal lunches are frequently held and recently there have also been ones to celebrate the twinning with Club Cocherito in Bilbao and the Circulo Taurino de Córdoba. Further information about the club and how to join can be found on our website www.ctol.org, or you can email davidpenton@btinternet.com Images above: David takes on a bull himself at a tienta at Los Expolios

Winter 2014 • La Revista  39


Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs ‐ Embassy of Spain   

PROGRAMME  JANUARY ‐ MARCH 2014   

14 January  3‐4 February 

Nobel Prize in Literature in Spanish: Miguel Ángel Asturias  Instituto Cervantes Londres  Out of the Ordinary: Women of the Spanish Avant‐garde  Queen's University Belfast 

11 February

Nobel Prize in Literature in Spanish:: Pablo Neruda  Instituto Cervantes Londres 

1‐15 March 

London Flamenco Festival 2014  Sadler's Wells, London 

06 March  7‐23 March

11 March   11‐15 March 

Book launch: "Franco's Crypt" by Jeremy Treglown  Luis Vives Room, Embassy of Spain, London  ¡Viva! 20th Spanish and Latin American Film Festival  Cornerhouse, Manchester  Nobel Prize in Literature in Spanish: Gabriel García Márquez  Instituto Cervantes Londres  Iberian Week  University of Liverpool 


CULTURE

Lucky Finds in an Andalucían Car Boot Sale Francis Cherry discovers some unlikely treasures in Jimena

I

recently asked a chum of mine who lives out in the sticks in what was once Rhodesia, whether the ex-pats were a very united bunch. Not particularly, he replied, but the one time we all get together is when someone dies, and we attend en masse the auction of our mate’s bits and pieces. Jimena is a bit like that with its 200 British residents. Admittedly we do have the weekly pub quiz, but that is invariably won by Richard, (he is Head of English at the local posh International College, and known as “Ricardo sabe lo todo”). Each week he scoops up the couple of bottles of plonk with his compendious knowledge of football and pop music. We all fight to be on his team. What does bring us together however, is the annual car-boot sale, with the subsidised San Miguel beer, to help loosen our tongues and our purse strings. I personally can easily resist the charms of the homemade jewellery (hippy German girls in Khaftans and dreadlocks), and the secondhand pairs of shoes, and make a beeline for the book stall in the hope that one day I’ll find a rogue copy of Shakespeare’s first folio. This has not yet happened, but in my nearly ten years of foraging I have had two distinct successes. The first was when a professional Spanish stallholder

turned up with the usual miscellany, amongst which, to my astonished delight, I found a signed 1947 copy of Ramon Serrano Suner’s memoirs, entitled ‘Entre Hendaya y Gibraltar’. So successful has el pacto del olvido been that 99% of Spanish people have never heard of Ramón, but the historians amongst us will recall that he was Franco’s brother in law and served as his Foreign Minister during WW2. It was Ramón who brokered the famous meeting between Hitler and Franco in 1941 at Hendaye, after which Hitler declared he would prefer to spend the whole day in the dentist‘s chair rather than have another meeting with Franco.

“I make a beeline for the book stall in the hope that one day I’ll find a rogue copy of Shakespeare’s first folio” Despite his extreme political views, Ramón comes across as a likeable and amusing character and an excellent raconteur. He tells us he dreaded going on official visits to Germany, as it was always his lot to be driven round with Ribbentrop with the hood down, shivering to death in the back of one of those huge official Mercs. He always came back home to Spain with a sigh of relief (and flu).

As a result of political and family differences with General Franco Serrano was dismissed from his post in 1942, He went on to build up a profitable and successful international law practice in Madrid, where he died in 2003 at the age of 102. He was always a handsome man, full of charisma, and if you want to see some extraordinary footage of him, look him up on Youtube meeting the top Nazi brass at the Eagles Nest. My other serendipitous find was an undated Spanish/English pocket dictionary, published by Neuman and Baretti of London. I surmise it must date from around the 1830s, because the preface gives us the following clue: “A variety of circumstances have, within the last twenty years, concurred in rendering this language (Spanish) now familiar to the English ear…by the long duration of the peninsular war, which rendered the acquisition of the language at once requisite and easy to that large portion of our countrymen, whose duties called them to be sojourners in Spain.” Apart, obviously, from the unfamiliar words, the most unusual (and useful) feature of the book is the way in which any polysyllabic English words have accents on them, to show where we are meant to put the stress. It was when I looked up ‘desert’, that I realised how useful this must be to students of English: without an accent, how is a foreign student to know whether we are talking about miles and miles of sand or whether we are fleeing the ranks when faced with danger? In a similar vein we abstract (accent on the second syllable) oil from the ground, but there is nothing abstract about the profits to be made therefrom. No wonder foreigners go potty trying to learn English! I feel that there might be a fortune to be made by republishing the accented dictionary, so any reader who would like to invest is invited to send me a cheque directly, c/o the BritishSpanish Society. Any further serendipitous finds at the car-boot sale will be reported immediately to La Revista.

Photograph of Jimena by Francis Cherry

Winter 2014 • La Revista  41


LONDON LIFE

M

aría Delgado was born in Paddington, the Spanish corner of west London where her father- a ‘niño de la guerra’- settled with the rest of the family. She is Professor of Theatre and Screen Arts at Queen Mary, University of London and has written extensively on Spanish drama and European cinema. A translator, critic and theatre advisor, María has an active role in the London International Film Festival and the Spanish Film Festival. She has published ‘Federico García Lorca’ (2008) and ‘A History of The Theatre in Spain’ (2012), and is currently working on a project about cultural memory in Spain and Argentina. She takes La Revista around her favourite places. Where is home? Home is Brixton. I’ve lived there for almost seventeen years. It’s an amazing place: vibrant, busy, diverse and eclectic. Walking through Brixton always gives you a burst of energy. There’s nowhere else like it in London. Where do you go to relax? Cadaqués. It’s magical. I have a close friend who has a beautiful house overlooking the bay. I could sit on the terrace all day. It’s probably my favourite view in the world. What is your favourite building, and which one would you knock down? I love Barcelona’s Teatre Lliure in Montjuïc; it was once part of the 1929 Barcelona Expo. The art deco exterior remains intact while the slick, multipurpose interior houses my favourite theatre in the world. I loathe  London’sCentrepoint – brutal, cold and ugly. 42  La Revista • Winter 2014

British pubs or Spanish bars? There are times when you want a British pub and at other times only a Spanish bar hits the spot. British pubs with a roaring fire are perfect for winter. Spanish bars always feel right in summer. Your perfect night out? It’s always about the company rather than the place for me. Good company makes a perfect night out. Museum or art gallery where you would love to spend hours without the crowds. The Prado in Madrid. There are rarely crowds at Dulwich’s small but perfectly formed Picture Gallery.

MARIA DELGADO

Brixton Village is the most exciting culinary development in London for decades

Tell us something you have discovered in London, and what you would avoid. Forget the chains. London has the most extraordinary independent shops. There are gems tucked away in London’s hidden corners. I found two lovely prints today in Studio 73 in Brixton Village. Market Row Wines has a range of unusual wines that you just can’t find in a supermarket. Cannon and Cannon sells only British produce. Dover Street Market is fab for clothes. What makes London special? It’s big, bustling and busy – five cities in one. North London has nothing to do with south London. The east has a very different energy and the west again feels sleepier and slicker than the west or south. Most tourists only ever see the centre and that’s a very small part of what makes up the city.

Where would you take a tourist? The South Bank from the London Eye to London Bridge, taking in the Houses of Parliament, the National Theatre, British Film Institute, the Globe, Tate Modern and Southwark Cathedral. It’s a perfect way of understanding how the River Thames has shaped the city. The best café/restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Brixton Village is the most exciting culinary development in London for decades. I could have breakfast at Federation Coffee, lunch at Casa Sibilla and supper at KaoSarn (ideally not all in the same day!) Do you have a favourite pub or bar? I like the Morgan Arms in Mile End, the Rosendale in Dulwich, the Elm Park Tavern in Brixton – and pretty much any terrace bar in Spain where I can get a good glass of cava!

Best venue for a concert, a performance, a play or film. It depends. Sometimes only the size of the Odeon Leicester Square will do. At other times I crave the elegance of the Ritzy Cinema or the intimacy of NFT 3. The best venue is the one that best suits the piece you are watching and where you can’t imagine seeing it anywhere else. The best view of London is: The Members’ Room at Tate Modern. Where would you go for an afternoon walk? Brockwell Park Best-loved fictional character associated with London. Sherlock Holmes – I wanted to become a detective aged ten when I first read Arthur Conan-Doyle’s books. When you travel, what do you miss most aside from family and friends? Our family cat, Lady Grey (or Doña Gris as she is fondly known in Spanish!)

Interviewed by Lourdes Gómez


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La Revista Issue 236  

Published in winter 2014

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