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Web Log Archive

Postings 101 to 105.

Log #105. Air Conditioning

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? April was cold and rainy. May has been fresh and breezy. But everyone knows what's coming and the manufacturers of air conditioning units are saturating the airwaves and newspapers with ads for their latest machines. Mitsubishi have gone for your American second-hand car salesman approach - it's going to be hot hot hot, so buy at our low low prices or your family will die - whilst Fujitsu are playing on the silent operating aspects - Shhhhhhhh, the kids are sleeping. This will be Madrid-Uno's first summer in the capital so he's getting a bit nervous. Apparently 3/4 of the population call it quits in August and head off to the countryside or the coasts. At the moment the plan is to see it through but if it realy is unbearable then the purchase of a very large fridge may be on the cards - a fridge large enough to stand in that is.

Log #104. Elecciones

Let's see if we can work in the middle part now. Most of Spain had elections for local cameras and city mayors this Sunday. In Madrid, the ruling PP party increased its majority and gained 53% of the vote versus 34% for Zapatero's PSOE socialists (with minor parties picking up the rest) on a 68% turnout. That gave the PP 67 seats in the comunidad's parliament, to 42 for the PSOE and 11 for the IU-CM, and also meant Aguirre retained her seat as mayor.

The PP also won big in Valencia, Marbella, Castilla-Leon and Rioja, as well as picking up a majority in the Balearics following a financial scandal there involving the local PSOE party. However, as the cartoon shows, the PP did less well in other regions and nationally they only squeaked out the left-wingers / socialists by 0.2% which would not have given them a majority in a national election.

OK, this page is supposedly dedicated to the capital. But we couldn't resist including the following news snippet about a local election in Reus, a town of 100,000 people near Barcelona:

"Council meetings in Reus could take a turn for the bizarre after the northern Spanish town voted in a councillor who promised to turn up dressed as Elvis Presley and wants to turn the square into a nudist pool.
Ariel Santamaria, a former postman, stood for a small independent party dressed in full Elvis regalia complete with sideburns and won enough votes last weekend to take a council seat.
His platform included plans to paint the town hall pink, plant marijuana in the parks and give the town police global positioning systems to find people who might need a light while rolling a joint."

Log #103. Brilliant DJ at Club Moe

Madrid-Uno finished his 8th and final week of Spanish lessons at eleMadrid and was thirsting for a celebration so was dead chuffed that this coincided with sexy Leona's cumple (short for cumpleaños - or birthday party) over at Cuatro Caminos. Leona's mum had come to oversee events as well as provide lots and lots of lovely food and whilst she was a welcome presence, full of bonhomie and always making sure our glasses were topped up, unfortunately the 'president' of the building (or Piso - block of flats) was also there, and a bigger arsehole it is harder to imagine. He was one of those twisted figures who doesn't (or cannot) look at you straight in the eye. He kept up an aggressive commentary on just about every subject under the sun, butted his way into conversations and kept turning the music down.

Eventually, word got round that Leona had had enough of el presidente so whispered plans were made to escape to a club and quietly drop him. We were to rendez-vous at Acerca de Moe.Club Moe on C/. Alberto Alcocer, and what an excellent choice it proved to be. The place is more known for its jazz sessions but on Friday night we had house on the ground floor and soul-jazz-funk in the basement. The DJ, Marcos Aretio = Markmus (at least, I think it was him) was AWESOME. Madrid-Uno has not danced so much, with such abandon and surrounded by equally delighted funksters, for many a moon. This DJ cannot be praised enough. Great tunes, excellently programmed and delivering top-class technical skills. Easily the best session this Englishman has had since he moved to this city.

Log #102. Las Riadas de Madrid

A day of heavy rain, focused on the southern part of the city, led to floods in the streets around the Manzanares river, within barrios close to it and on the A-30 ring-road. The TV news showed cars floating along water-logged motorways and runied offices and shops where the high-water mark was above desk level. Flights from Barajas Airport were cancelled or delayed for up to six hours as the weather stopped planes arriving or leaving and the AVE high speed train from Madrid to Lerida had to be stopped near the capital, leaving hundreds waiting for hours. It didn't help Atlético de Madrid either - they got stuffed 0-6 at home to Barcelona in the Primera League Sunday evening match. It's grim down south eh?

Log #101. San Isidro Festival 2007

Madrid has two patron saints - one woman and one bloke. The bloke, San Isidro, performed a bunch of miracles way back when, including a fishes and loaves thingy and finding water in the middle of a drought. The Madrileños celebrate his life and works from the 9th to the 15th May with a series of public events, the largest and most important corrida (bullfighting festival) of the year, and lots of eating and drinking. Lots and lots of eating and drinking. Many of the locals also use this period as a chance to wear traditional dress, which is a checkered cap, waistcoat and handkerchief around the necks for the men and fancy lace-ridden dresses, bonnets and elegant shawls for the women.

As usual, this year we have some big rock concerts in the Casa De Campo, lots of street theatre, a big event in the Plaza Mayor (a Zarzuela - which is the traditional operetta of Spain) and various espactáculos throughout the city and finishing with the ever popular Cocido Madrileño which is a massive public cookout / BBQ featuring the local stew and barquillos, a kind of wafer, usually covered in chocolate. B-Boys givin' it some. On the 11th and 12th there was a festival of 'Urban Culture' at Parque uan Carlos I which featured some top breakdancing (pictured).

Madrid-Uno popped along to the Noche en el lago de los cisnes that was held in Retiro Park on Sunday night. This was an open-air ballet where the stage had been set-up in the middle of the park's lake. The place was buzzing and the grandstands packed. The Madrileños love any open-air concert and they super love any open-air concert that's free. To cater for the overfill various digital screens had also been set-up around the lake's edge and the seats around these screens were packed as well. Enterprising culture lovers had climbed trees to catch a view and refused to come down when asked to by the police - who eventually gave-up and retreated to their porta-kabins to watch the footy instead. Madrid-Uno couldn't get anywhere close so settled for a pint of beer and a seat in a park cafe where he could enjoy the music being piped over loudspeakers dotted around and watch the spectators without seats trying to peek a view. After an hour or so (it was a very slowly drunk beer) he made his way back home and found the tambores crowd. Usually on a Sunday night a large group (couple of hundred at least) of hippies populate the Estanque by the lake and spend the evening tribal drumming and illicitly smoking pot and drinking. Pushed out of their normal spot by the concert they hadn't given up - just relocated - but with the noise from the classical music drowning them out somewhat it all seemed a bit futile. They should have decamped somewhere else.

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