Web Log Archive
Postings 91 to 95.
Log #95. Madrid's New Metro Map
Today's papers carried pictures of the new map for Madrid's underground public travel system - El Metro. The re-design was prompted by the rapid growth of the Metro, which has added some 81 stations and 87 kilometres of tracks in less than 40 years, representing a 30% increase and making it the third largest underground system in the world - a fact of which they're very proud. The new map is based on the London Underground's iconic version whereby actual, or real, distances are subverted in the cause of clarity. The colours of the different lines remain the same with the addition of a pink colour for the new light-railway (the ML - Metro Light) in the West of the city, but the other main change is that the plan is represented with 90 degree vertical and horizontal lines at right-angles, as you can hopefully see in the piccie. Click here to see a better, full version of the new map which will become official in a couple of months or so.
Log #94. Hinchas Radicales
On Tuesday and Thursday two English (London) football teams were playing in Spain, one in the Champions League and one in the UEFA cup, and the papers and TV were full of talk about Los Hooligans. The Spanish are suitably fearful of English football supporters and no amount of persuasion will make them believe that our fans are any better than 20 years ago during the height of the hooligan problem. Sure enough, while the Chelsea match against Valencia passed off relatively peacefully, many of the Tottenham supporters got a kicking from a frightened and over-reacting police force in Seville. Spanish coppers tend to be uninhibited by human rights legislation and sensitivity is anathema. Basically, the majority of police are little fascists and enjoy bullying people with their truncheons. If you ever have the misfortune to be hassled by one when in Spain do exactly what they say and NEVER argue.
In Spain football violence is rare, although it does exist. The Hinchas Radicales (radical fans) operate on a far smaller scale and tend to concentrate on the internal politics of clubs, such as applying pressure on owners to select their favourite players and provide their members with free-tickets. That's not to say there aren't fights, although the last hooligan caused death was in 1998 when a Real Sociedad fan was murdered outside Atletico de Madrid's stadium. There are an estimated 15,000 hardcore radicales in Spain. Real Madrid has two factions. The Ultras Sur, who inhabit the South Stand, were founded in 1980 and are believed to number about 2,000 hardcore. Their 'philosophy' is explicitly Falange fascistic ("Siempre Fieles!") and racist. Orgullo Vikingo are located in the North Stand and were founded in 1992. They're a tad calmer and more concentrated on supporting the team than confronting the opposition. Atletico de Madrid have the "Frente Atletico" who inhabit the Grada Fondo Sur part of their stadium.
Log #93. Graffiti
The spray gang peeps at work in Nuevos Ministerios.
Log #92. Semana Santa
¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? It's Holy Week and Madrid is on holiday from Thursday until Tuesday. While half the population escapes to their bolt-holes in the country most of the other half get involved in a series of processions and church services to mark Easter. Madrid-Uno would have liked to show you some piccies of some of the traditional processions where religious statues, lit up by candles and dressed in holy paraphenalia, are shouldered by local people in differently coloured robes and pixie hoods, but he's been in bed knocked for six by one helluva cold. All emails of sympathy galdly received. Off to bed with a honey / whiskey concoction and a book of Spanish grammar.
Log #91. The Dreaded Cartoons of Death
¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Some excitement today in the M-11 Madrid bombing trial when the widow of one of the victims attended court wearing a white t-shirt with the infamous Mohammed cartoon emblazoned across her chest. Initially she sat among the audience and no-one was aware but at some point she walked up to the glass enclosure where the 29 accused were held (in Spanish public trials all accused prisoners are housed in large bullet-proof glass boxes) and stood in front of them for a few minutes - giving them a good eyeful. Then she left. Confusion ensued as the judge thoght maybe she was a relative of one of the prisoners and was passing secret messages via the shirt. Well, yes, it was definitely a message but perhaps not one the accused wanted to see. Filming of the trial was stopped and the judge sent to find out the woman's identity but when he was satisfied that she was not a sympathiser of the accused he announced that she was free to wear whatever she liked and the trial continued.
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