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Web Log Archive

Postings 11 to 15.

Log #15. ONCE Kiosks

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal?. Here's a photo of an ONCE kiosk. ONCE Kiosk in Diego de Leon, Madrid.You can find them all over the city (indeed, all over Spain) and they're selling lottery tickets which are called Cupóns. The cash prizes are tax-exempt and range from 1.50 Euros to half a million pavos or so. There are different tickets for different days of the week, weekend tickets and seasonal grand prize draws (e.g. Primavera, Verano etc.) A live TV draw is broadcast every night on the Cuatro channel which produces a five digit number and a 'Series Number'. To win you need to have the digits in order on your ticket plus the Series Number. Coupons are a dollar a pop and whilst the overall design stays the same there is often a different weekly theme corresponding to special promotions or current events. Collecting the different type of tickets is something of a hobby for the real aficionados.

ONCE stands for 'Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles', which translates as the National Organization of the Spanish Blind, and ticket sales are its main source revenue. It's main role is as a fund raiser and provider of services for the blind and persons with serious visual impairment. It's a powerful lobby within Spanish politics and a rich one too. It's business arm 'CEOSA' employs over 40,000 blind / visually-impaired staff (many of whom run the kiosks), it runs its own media company, Servimedia, which is a 'social affairs' news agency, and it also controls the 'Fundación ONCE', which supports special training and other social programmes for its members as well as having an important role in the Spanish paralympic movement. In the last few years it has come under some criticism for its perceived role in supporting the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) via its media interests, especially in some of the newly-created commercial television stations, and questions have been asked about some rather dodgy business investments as well. Nonetheless, it remains an important institution in Spanish life.

Log #14. Skate Colon

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Plaza Colon is marked by a massive great Spanish national flag and is used for exhibitions and public events. It has also been adopted as home by the skateboard fraternity in Madrid. On most evenings and all day at weekends, loads of skaters and a few BMX tricksters congregate here to practise their moves. The reason? Because the area is all smooth concrete, low benches and lips and inviting ramps and rails, making up a natural playground for the urban gymnast. They play chicken with pedestrians too, Skate boarding fast towards you and only veering off when they see you hesitate. The little bastards!

Here's a cool video of a local 'crew' skating at Plaza Colon and elsewhere in Madrid.

Log #13. Maxima FM

¿Y tu? ¿Qué llevas puesto? Tuning the dial we come across a dedicated 'Dance' music radio channel called Maxima FM. It resides at 104.3 FM and serves up some absolutely splendiferous house music 24 hours a day. On the DJ roster we have some very big names, including Ibiza favourite Wally Lopez (Fridays 8.00pm to 10.pm) and the legends that are J L García and Miguel Ángel Roca. Plus specially recorded segments from Roger Sanchez and Carl Cox. TOONS!

Log #12. Yet Another Old Irish Pub

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? In Madrid-Uno's never ending quest to find pubs where you can watch English sports TV in Madrid (phew, that's a good keyword string surely?) he proudly announces The Lord Jim. Watched the Portugal vs Holland world cup match in there and I'd say the crowd was 33% Portuguese, 33% Dutch and 33% Rest of the World. Also does English Premier League, international rugby and Irish people hitting each other with sticks.

Log #11. Club El Sol

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? A gig at Club El Sol, just off Gran Via, featuring artists from the Madrid music label Pueblo Records, home to local bands 'Insecto', 'Lava' and 'Dead Capo' and a few other Spanish groups. Pretty good sound system (Bose monitors are noted) and the club is packed - Madrid-Uno can barely get his mobile phone above the heads to record a segment onto the flash card. After the concert the place turns into a northern soul / indie club with DJs but we're too busy in the 'green room' quaffing beers and complimentary nuts etc. Very nice Mexican stylist who impresses Madrid-Uno with her knowledge of Cambridge; apparently she did a language course there so we swap Parkers Piece and punting stories for a while. One of the percussionists from one of the bands is from Cuba and Madrid-Uno makes the mistake of telling him he's glad that Fidel is on his last legs. Oh dear. Cue impassioned defence of Castro and all he stands for. Note to self: must learn Spanish quicker if I'm gonna hold my end up in this city. Later, outside the entrance, as we get our group together to move on to the after party, we are accosted by some of the ugliest putas Madrid-Uno has ever seen. "Papi Papi" they shout (more of Fidel's compadres) as Madrid-Uno hold's his jacket pocket tightly to his chest and feels their hands quickly and expertly frisk him. These ladies should do airport check-in duty not walk the streets. Terrorists wouldn't get through with so much as a tooth-pick. We escape to Gran Via.

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