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Web Log Archive

Postings 96 to 100.

Log #100. Eurovision 2007

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Whilst in the UK the Eurovision Song Contest has long been regarded as a joke, in Spain they still take this festival of cheese seriously. An intense week long build-up featuring full coverage of the semi-finals, lots of round-table discussions about the participants and even featured news items on the national TV channel, finally reached its conclusion on Saturday night. Live TV coverage started about 6 in the evening and lasted 7 hours non-stop. Live interviews via satellite to Helsinki with the boy band representatives were followed by recorded interviews with their mums and families. Then we got another live studio debate featuring past Spanish Eurovision representatives and then rather emotional good luck greetings from Tenerife, whence the band members came from. The song? Forgettable. Nice latin rhythm percussion and very slick choreography but no real hook to help it stand out. Also, they had drawn the worst of starting positions, second. In 51 years, an entry had never won starting in No.2 spot, so our hot hispanic heroes looked doomed to fizzle-out in the Finnish snow and so it proved. They came 14th out of 48. Afterwards, in the final studio discussion, the reviewers were distraught and you had to laugh at their naivete as they bitched about the political voting by the former Eastern Bloc countries. "None of the Eastern European countries voted for the quality of the song, the voice of the singer or the quality of the act", complained one panellist. Well no shit Sherlock. Welcome to the delights of majority voting suckers. We'll soon have you guys understanding what the European Union is REALLY about when full expansion hits, Spain loses its generous grants and the Eastern European mafias really take hold of your costas. Lets see you defend the indefensible then.

Log #99. Getafe 4 Barcelona 0 - LOLOLOLOLOL

Getafe is a town just outside the city of Madrid that is part of the Comunidad de Madrid. As both places continue to grow rapidly it is not unimagineable that Getafe will simply become a suburb of Madrid city in the not too distant future. As of now, however, it remains the Spanish version of Watford. The local football team, Getafe C.F. have been going great guns in the Primera League and stand just outside qualification position for the UEFA cup. On Wednesday they took a great step to achieving qualification via another route - they beat Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey (Spain's version of the FA Cup). And not only that but they beat the Catalan whingers by 4 goals to nil. It was a massacre. Much hilarity ensued in Madrid the next day with the local TV and radio stations continually repeating replays of the goals, interviews with the victorious manager (Bernd Schuster, a German, who is rumoured to be a Real Madrid target in the summer) and lots of pictures of disconsolate Barca players and officials.

Log #98. Mini Stock Market Crash

Much excitement on the TV tonight as reports came in of a mini crash on the Bolsa de Madrid. The drop was precipitated by a collapse in shares in a company called Astroc - a Valencian property developer. That led to a wider sell-off in Spanish housing-related equities, leading to fevered talk that the property market itself was about to crash and much discussion of what a property crash would mean for the Spanish economy - the fifth biggest in Europe. Spain's property market has certainly been over-heated. Since 1997 house prices have risen by an astonishing 170 per cent. The resulting wealth effect has led to Spaniards borrowing more and more, with households on average now shouldering debts exceeding 120 per cent of annual income. The big concern is over-supply of housing. The Spanish are building 620,000 homes a year - four times more than the UK, despite Spain having 20m fewer people. The number of new Spanish homes is expected to reach 800,000 this year. So there are justifiable fears not only that the market will run out of buyers, but that, if prices do drop, deeply indebted owners will be forced into distress sales, causing prices to fall even more. That's why Spanish investors were worried and some of the gloom spread to the lenders too - the share price of BBVA, Spain's second-largest bank, also dropped markedly. However, the next days were calm and the shops on Goya and Serrano were full-to-bursting as usual by the weekend. Average salary here in Madrid may be only half that in London but the people spend just as hard. Let's see what happens in the long run.

Log #97. Madrid Marathon

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Shuffling through the sun-dappled back streets of Chamartin after a long, long night's clubbing, Madrid-Uno turned a corner towards Plaza de Castilla and was suddenly confronted with a herd of migrating wilderbeest blocking his way. Focusing a bit closer upon the teeming hordes it transpired that they were joggers, and they all had numbers stuck to their running shirts. Maratón de Madrid (sponsored by Telefonica) apparently. Marathon runners. "Blimey! That certainly puts me to shame," I thought. Grabbing one of the watter bottles from a drinks station close-by Madrid-Uno took some gulps, pointedly lit a cigarette and considered the stream of day-glo sportswear bouncing past. Some other fellow clubbers who were also blocked on their route came and stood alongside. It was an interesting contrast: sweat drenched hedonist freaks, eyes as big as saucers, dishevelled and giggling, versus sweat drenched fitness freaks, eyes narrowed against the morning sun, in their hi-tech running gear.

Checking the details on the net back at base it seems that this was the 30th running of the Madrid Marathon. The organisers, MAPOMA, were expecting 13,000 participants from 65 countries and this year's event was designed around a course starting in Paseo de la Castellana, finishing in Retiro Park and passing varous historical monuments on the way, although it seemed unlikely the runners would apreciate the finer artistic points of the places.

Log #96. Rebecca Loos

Do you remember Rebecca Loos? She was the Spanish interpreter who allegedly shagged David Beckham and made the tabloid headlines a couple of years ago. Last seen on British TV jerking off a pig for its semen in competition with Vanilla Ice and other C-list celebs on a 'reality TV' show, she's now at it again (not the jerking off bit - the reality TV bit) but on Spanish TV. It's the Channel 5 (Telecinco) television station's version of 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here', but set on a tropical island, like 'Love Island'. It's called Supervivientes and has the usual mix of minor celebs competing. Tonight's edition was a knockout round where each of the contestants had to nominate someone for eviction from the tropical island. Rebecca's brother was in the audience and he speaks fluent Spanish just like her and looks like her too. Some embarassment for him as well because during the nominations part one of the contestants nominated his sister and did so by calling her "Rebeckam" - to which the audience guffawed knowingly. Oh how cruel we monkeys can be! However, Rebecks (darn it, I'm at it too now) survived the nomination process as she only got the one vote. Instead, a rather butch stripper called Chiqui got the boot garnering some 80% of the nominations. Don't know what she had done to be so unpopular, but there you go. Further updates on Miss Loo's progress as and when Madrid-Uno bothers to tune in. Don't hold your breath though.

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