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Web Log Archive

Postings 31 to 35.

Log #35. Black Star

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Walking from Concha Espina after a few lagers at Paddy's pub Madrid-Uno and Choki went "to play with Franco's children", as he rather indelicately put it. This was a bit harsh but Madrid-Uno knew what he was getting at. The area we are in is broadly termed Cuzco and it's sort of Chelsea / Knightsbridge'ish in feel and demography. There are lots of embassies in the region and it's where the monied classes live and play. We come to the very top (northern end) of Calle Serrano and enter Black Star a bar de copas converted from an old bank with DJ and dancing until 5.30am on weekends (3.00am weekdays). It's free entry. It's packed. People are happy. The clientele is young, mixed, and there's a definite preponderance of checked shirts and v-neck pullovers amongst the men that signifies 'preppy' whichever city you are in. The DJ knows his crowd and mixes dance 'toons' with Spanish and English pop plus the odd 'sing-a-long' number for everyone to join in. Everyone that's Spanish that is. Madrid-Uno gives 5 golden stars to the sound system which is easily the best he's heard since he's been in the city; excellent, fruity base, well defined midtones and no tinnyness at the top end. The Chueca and Malasana clubs could take a lesson or two from this place in how to set up monitors. Madrid-Uno is a self-defined member of the 'intelligentsia' (self-defined - always the worst kind!) and prides himself on a chameleon like ability to fit in wherever he may be, so he had a great time and met loads of sexy chicks. His friends from the more bohemian parts of town hate this kind of place, dismissing the people as Pijos, or snobs, but Madrid-Uno thinks this pejorative could equally well be applied to them as they're snobbish too, just from a different perspective. Everyone has some degree of snobbery. Its part of what makes the world go round.

Log #34. Villa Rosa - (Plaza de Santa Ana, 15).

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Two boys, two girls. Three can dance one can't and it's two left legs Madrid-Uno who needs a stiff drink. On the corner of Plaza Santa Ana is Villa Rosa, reputedly the oldest bar de copas in Madrid and this is our destination. Guarded by 4 bouncers (do they really need that many?) with as many people spilling out as trying to get in this is clearly a popular spot. As we enter, Sabrina negotiates a free shot for the lot of us so it's a good start. Opened in 1914 by some famous picadors the place used to be the haunt of aristos and celebs - Hemingway frequented - and was a centre for the art of Flamenco. Now it seems a tad more downmarket (hell, they let Madrid-Uno in! And he's wearing trainers!) and is a standard nightclub, but Sabrina explains they still do flamenco here on special reserved nights. She points out the special floorboards in a part of the main hall which are slightly sprung veneered mahogany or other hardwood designed for professional flamenco dancers. The club is divided up into three main rooms. There is a smallish lobby bar doing the shots, a large dance hall with a couple of bars at the furthest ends and a small stage with dancers on, and a third bar area in an L-shaped square recess and where the VERY LOUD music is muffled somewhat by a wood trellice. The most amazing thing about the place is the walls which are covered in the most splendidly detailed ceramic tiles (azulejos) featuring Andalucian country scenes from the past. And many of the fixtures are made from delicately carved, dark veneered wood. The place reeks of history even if tonight it resembles a Ritzy's in Croydon or Cinderella's in Romford. It's Spanish pop music (pachanga), salsa, rumba, merengue and other latin american dances with the odd bit of euro-house thrown in for fun. Sabrina proves to be a wonderful dance teacher and after a half hour or so I can at least pop a couple of steps. Fair play, this style of dancing is great fun. It's so liberating to actually work in harmony with your partner, to feel her body pressed against yours and to rock and sway in unison. Drinks are 7 euroweenies for combinados (cocktails / spirit combos) and 4E for beers and soft drinks. Open Wednesday to Friday from 8.00pm to 1.00am and until 6.00am on Saturdays.

Log #33. El Viajero - Plaza Cebada (La Latina metro)

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Madrid-Uno and Outlaw are a half hour late for their double date with Sabrina and Valerie - but no probs, the girls turn up 30 minutes after us, making us sweat for a while that we've been stood-up. While waiting we go upstairs for a swift-half and to discuss tactics. It's 10.30pm and the bar is already packed. Outlaw is English but has been in Madrid for 16 months or so and gives me some useful pointers about city life here and what women expect from their dates. He says being able to dance at least a little salsa, merengue or something similar would be useful and that's a bit of an issue for Madrid-Uno because he's more of an electro-bopper or indie mosher type - you know, jump up and down on the spot, wave your arms in the air, maybe wiggle your bum now and then, that sort of thing. Lessons may be in order. It's an older crowd here, most are late twenties or more, and quite smartly dressed. The building juts out into the square somewhat and if you can get one of the seats around the two edges the big, slightly tinted, windows afford a great view over the plaza. Tonight it's squally and spitting with rain so not many people but Outlaw says that usually there'd be a larger crowd milling about outside, chatting and deciding where to go. When the ladies arrive its cuba libres all round. It's still a bit of a scrum up here so we go back downstairs where there is a restaurant and bar area. Again, the places around the edge are good if you want to observe life outside. Some people are standing at the bar doing tapas and drinks. The diners are separated from us drinkers by wooden blinds but it's quite open and airy. All the tables are taken which means the food must be decent. We have some ham and bread which we wash down with a few whiskey cokes. The girls are energised and have a plan to go dancing (encouraged by Outlaw - the bastard) so, with gritted teeth, Madrid-Uno is pulled along.

Log #32. Madrid Flash Mobs

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Flash mob events are happening in the city. Here's a youtube vid from Pillow Fight Club Madrid showing one of their latest happenings.

Log #31. Compras

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? A 'Monday Working Day'. Madrid-Uno did, however, manage to get the food shopping done, which is good because all the eating out and socialising was starting to hurt his bank balance. Madrid-Uno used a 'SABECO' supermarket (which is part of the Auchan retail group, of France) which is on Nuñez de Balboa. On today's shopping list there was:

  • Guisante Frudesa - Frozen peas
  • Agua Vichy (Mineral con gaz) - Fizzy mineral water
  • Frosties
  • Judías Verdes Extra cortadas en trozos medianos - Green Beans cut into half pieces
  • Berberechos - Tinned Cockles
  • Mortadela de Aceitunas - Mortadella ham with olives
  • Manzanas - Apples (Royal Gala)
  • Yogourts - Yoghurts
  • Huevos - Eggs
  • Actimel
  • Lata di Coca-Cola - Tin of coke
  • Pan sin Corteza (Bimbo) - White sliced bread with the crusts cut off
  • Sardinillas en aceite de Oliva - Tinned little sardines in olive oil
  • Muesli
  • Gazpacho
  • Queso Cabana (300gr)
  • Soft cheese
  • Leche semidesnatada - Semi skimmed milk
  • Cebollitas en vinagre de vino - Little silver skin onions in white wine vinegar.

  • Plus Madrid-Uno got 3 points towards the 6 needed for the SABECO special offer! 'Renuve su bateria de cocina ahorrando el 50%' Woohoo! Renew your cooking battery eh? Save 50%! Madrid-Uno didn't know his cooking needed batteries. But no, the bateria is the pans and pots - the utensils. Learn something new... Madrid-Uno also learnt that Madrileña old ladies are dynamite in queues. He got bumped twice in his line by not squeezing up close enough to the person in front and there was the definite sound of cackling. Old ladies cackling is the same in any language.

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