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Postings 86 to 90.

Log #90. Miss Spain

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? With consummate timing Madrid-Uno switched on the telly early evening Sunday night during the bikini round of the Miss España 2007 competition. Miss Ceuta 2007.Woof woof! Fifty sexy señoritas parading around in skimpy costumes and high heels sure brought a woozy, tired man to his senses sharpish. Las Misses were mostly dark haired beauties with a couple of blondes and a couple with light-brown tresses thrown in, and the standard was very high. Madrid-Uno's faves were Miss Las Palmas, Miss Malaga (who winked at the jury during her pass - grrrr!), Miss Vallodolid and his number one foxy babe, Miss Ceuta. Miss Salamanca, poor thing, looked like a rabbit startled in the headlights and Miss Tarragona was very, err, bouncy, but the majority were elegantly poised, which is no mean trick when you're parading around near-nekkid in front of a live audience and TV cameras are pointing up every crevice and curve. In England the PC brigade have banned this sort of thing. Here in the new Spain however this is clearly still important stuff.

Madrid-Uno switched off after the last lady had shown herself because, let's face it, no-one's really interested in watching the ball-gown bit, listening to their views on how to achieve world peace or how much they love puppies. About four hours later, when Madrid-Uno had finished his work, he switched the TV back on and flicking through the channels, lo and behold, Miss Spain was still going on. Blimey, they really drag this thing on don't they? It was now half-way through the judging bit and earnest-faced old men were presenting their marks. Of Madrid-Uno's faves only Miss Las Palmas had made the final-cut. The title eventually went to Miss Gipuzkoda, a province Madrid-Uno had never heard of before, and dutifully she did the weeping with joy bit with panache. Great stuff! Congrats to her and BTW, Miss Ceuta, if you're reading this drop me a line and I'll take you out for a McDonalds or something.

Log #89. Winter in Madrid

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Just finished the historical novel by C J Sansom - "Winter in Madrid" - set during the years of the civil war and its immediate aftermath during World War II. It's pretty good; Madrid-Uno learned a deal of Spanish history and it was fascinating to recognise all the locations he knows of in today's city and have them described as they were over 70 years ago. Both the physical destruction of the city and the paranoia of that era is depicted in a vivid and gripping way while the author cleverly weaves in real historical figures with the travails of his fictional protagonists. Some small gripes: the ending feels a little forced and one of the baddies (Sandy - the public school rotter) makes an unnecessary appearance in the pivotal climax scene. Also, in the historical notes Sansom makes the dubious assertion that "The Communists' rise to power was a direct consequence of Britain's pressure on France to stay clear of involvement in the conflict." Tsk tsk. France only ever does what it believes is best for France. To claim that 'Britain's pressure on France' affected their decision would be to overplay Britannia's influence and underplay French self-regard which, for anyone who knows them at all well, is monumental in its pomposity. Nonetheless, this is an elegantly written thriller which Madrid-Uno recommends highly.

Log #88. Motociclismo

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Spain loves motorbike racing. Since the emergence of Fernando Alonso they've also gotten into F1, but really their hearts are mostly taken by the motorcycles. Spanish bike manufacturers and teams are well represented in three of the four main racing categories - 125cc / 250 cc / Moto GP - but they don't really take part in Superbikes which is viewed as some sort of Anglo-Sajon aberration, although there is one Spanish competitor, Barcelona born Ruben Xaus, who rides for Ducati Sterilgarda Berik. For the 2007 season, which started March 10th in Qatar, there are 17 Spanish riders including 3 in the premier Moto GP class - Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda team), Toni Elias (Honda Gresini) and Carlos Checa (Honda LCR). Hopes are especially high for Pedrosa who has the talent, is still very young, but suffers from a hot-head. Let the games commence!
Corredores Española

Log #87. Liars!

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? This entry is a quick whinge. On Saturday, Madrid-Uno decided to try out a new pub to watch the 'Six Nations' rugby matches Scotland vs Ireland and Italy vs Wales. Taking note of an advert from the Elcano Tavern which said, "All national and international football and rugby on wide screen TV", placed in In Madrid, the capital's major English language monthly paper, Madrid-Uno had decided that a nice stroll over to Chamberi would fit the bill. Timing it nicely, he arrived with 5 minutes 'til kick-off only to find the place closed. Bollox! A sharp sprint to the nearest Metro and down to Sol to Dubliners then to watch the games. So listen up Elcano Tavern: If you advertise that you show all matches then you should show all matches. So "Screw you ya buck eegits".

Log #86. Déjate Besar

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? A mid-week drink to catch up with Zipper sees us down a couple of cañas at pub / club Déjate Besar on Calle Hermanos Béquer 10. Opening at ten in the evening it's the sister place to 69 Pétalos, a popular Saturday boite that features artistas al desnudo bopping about on stage. They do the same thing here, have these semi-clad dancers pole dancing and what-not, but on this night that only meant one particularly ropey tranny, a black cuban girl with a body to die for and another girl who’s legs were really stringy. But no, we were not interested in the go-go dancers, Zipper was instead bringing us here to check out the Argentinian blonde babe behind the bar. Heart meltingly sweet and quite laid back she seemed a little out of place next to the flashy talent waving their bottoms on stage. We let Zipper do his thing and retired to a small alcove behind the stage to watch the action.

The music is from a live DJ and its pop, pop and more pop, but actually very well done. You think it’s cheese but you find yourself bopping along and enjoying the tunes anyway, old and new. On Saturdays the DJ is some chap called Jorge Albi, who is famous in Madrid. Never heard of him myself but then unless it’s house or electro I ain’t got no idea. It’s not a large place and can get really, really crammed at weekends, but has been fitted out very well with a top sound system. It is frequented by professional types often still in their suits from work. A definite ’singles club’ where yuppies come to flirt and maybe score. The US embassy is just up the road, no more than a 100m, but we didn’t hear any Yank accents the night we were there. But then again, we only had eyes for Miss Argentina.

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