Jan 102014
 
Tamara Rojo, Spain’s greatest ballerina?

Undoubtedly one of the greatest examples of the contemporary high culture of Spain lies in Tamara Rojo – who is one the greatest ballet stars performing now. In fact, The Telegraph has just nominated her number 2 in their (2014) list of the best ballet stars in the world, praising her for her ‘keen intelligence and total dramatic engagement’. She was only beaten into second place by Sylvie Guillem, who is a living legend within […]

Oct 022013
 
Extraordinary photographic exhibition in Gandia

Starting tomorrow (at 19.00 hrs) and lasting three weeks, is an extraordinary photographic exhibition in Gandia that is well worth visiting.  Indeed, you will be privileged to see a part of recent history – and a controversial part, at that! World famous documentary photographer Jurgen Schadeberg is presenting a series of his photographs about the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa – together with a selection of his pictures detailing rural France. Jurgen, as you may […]

Jan 172013
 
Moving to Spain: Caution! le mot du jour?

I am notorious among my pals as a caution-to-the-wind, who dares, wins, sort of chap. These same pals have been vastly entertained down the years by the results of this M.O. but as they approach Pensionville with prospects of modest comfort or better, they are [very kindly] a bit concerned that I might go one brilliant wheeze too far and end up destitute. It was this thought on my part that had me bin my […]

Jan 102013
 
Spain and the year ahead – 2013

So – we enter the New Year, 2013, after a tumultuous year for Spain in 2012, in which the country entered into the perfect storm, economically. 2012 saw unemployment in Spain reach an average of 26.6% as a whole, with some areas far exceeding that dreadful figure.  Meanwhile, some 55% of under 25 year olds have no work and little prospect of finding it – with some 426,000 more people unemployed in Spain, than at […]

Sep 272012
 
Demonstrations in Spain, a dangerous spasm of despair

I sense a change occurring in Spain – which is manifest in the on-going street demonstrations in Spain (particularly in Madrid and Barcelona) and from conversations with Spanish friends, of all ages. Finally, I think the Spanish have come to the conclusion that their country and way of life is in very deep trouble.   This may have seemed obvious to many of us for several years but has not been really apparent amongst the Spanish.  […]

Sep 262012
 
The amazing story of Spain from dictatorship to democracy (Part 5 of 5)

AWAITING THE TEMPEST (Spain from dictatorship to democracy) Part 5 The aftermath… On the 20th November 1975 General Franco died in La Paz hospital, Madrid.  He was 82 and had long outlived Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, his contemporary dictators.  He had also managed to die in bed surrounded by physicians, after a long life, something that he had so cruelly denied many Spaniards during his 36 years of power. Right to the end of his […]

Sep 222012
 
The amazing story of Spain from dictatorship to democracy (Part 4 of 5)

AWAITING THE TEMPEST (Spain from dictatorship to democracy) Part 4 Imagine it is the early 1970s and you are in Spain… Fiestas may not be emblematic of Spain but they do spring to some people’s minds when the country is mentioned.  They occur annually everywhere in Spain, in every town and village, last several days and take a bewildering multitude of forms, some of which are very bizarre.  However, most have a religious basis, and […]

Sep 212012
 
September fiestas in Spain and an excellent new book

Contrary to what you may believe, September is a good time for fiestas in Spain.  This was pointed out to me recently by my pal, Rod Younger, who runs Books4Spain – the best on-line bookshop for Spain related books on the marketplace. Indeed, Rod has just produced an article on some of the unusual fiestas in Spain in September and these may be of interest to you, if you are in Spain now or thinking […]

Sep 192012
 
The amazing story of Spain from dictatorship to democracy (Part 3 of 5)

AWAITING THE TEMPEST Part 3 Imagine it is the early 1970s and you are in Spain… Needless to say, the building boom has had an extraordinary affect upon the demographics of Spain. In fact, since 1960, well over a million Spaniards have left the countryside for the towns and coast.  This has been encouraged by Franco after his adoption of conventional economics and his issue of the Stabilisation Plan of 1959.  This explicitly recognised that […]

Sep 172012
 
The amazing story of Spain from dictatorship to democracy (Part 2 of 5)

AWAITING THE TEMPEST (Spain from dictatorship to democracy) Part 2 Imagine it is the early 1970s and you are in Spain… Of course, in some ways, life is better than it has ever been in Spain.  There is negligible crime, the economy is undergoing miraculous growth and there is more money in the country than ever before, which is producing a burgeoning middle class.  This is an extraordinary phenomenon within a traditionally impoverished state, noted […]

Sep 152012
 
The amazing story of Spain from dictatorship to democracy (Part 1 of 5)

AWAITING THE TEMPEST Part 1 Imagine it is the early 1970s and you are in Spain, with the country still firmly in the grip of General Franco (El Caudillo).  He is in his late 70s (he was born in 1892) and has held absolute power for the past thirty plus years, since the end of the brutal Spanish Civil War (1936-39). Over 500,000 Spaniards were killed during the Civil War and memories of it are […]

Sep 082012
 
Bullfighting back on Spanish public television

That most emblematic part of the culture of Spain, bullfighting, has returned to state TV (RTVE) having been removed from its prime time slot by the previous (socialist) government of Spain.  Needless to say, this has outraged animal rights activists and the many people who oppose bullfighting, which was banned in the Catalan Region from the 1st January of this year. Of course, few things raise the hackles of foreigners more than bullfighting.  To many […]