Summer Concerts

Have you been to any concert this summer? Are you going to any?

I watched some of the performances at Rock in Rio, the Madrid concerts, on TV. I loved Amy Winehouse – such a good artist.

I was so ashamed about people who reported, though. What a bunch of gossips! (Don’t these people know anything about what the lives of many artists are and were like? I can’t imagine that kind of comment by people who love music and have the chance to present a real artist – wasting time talking about what an artist looks like or her or his habits! Instead of talking about music!) Such little interest in music! Shame on them! I almost went mad with the stupid ignorant comments by the two guys who were presenting. I couldn’t believe it! I was so ashamed that I just hope what they said was not translated into other languages! I mean, there are people in Spain who know tons of music, how could those two guys get the job? (I’m not talking here about the mulatto interviewer, who’s great!) Only guys who think Operación Triunfo people play music seem to get jobs lately!

Anyway, Amy Winehouse‘s music was awesome. On her page you can listen to many of her songs, and watch the videoclips too. If you listen to “Tears Dry On Their Own”, tell me, doesn’t it remind you of Marvin Gaye? That doesn’t make the song worse for me, though. I love Marvin Gaye too!🙂

I missed Concha Buika‘s gig. Listen to her here:

Another artist I loved was Buika. Gee, she’s an artist too! She merges flamenco and

How can you say & explain “sos@” & “saleros@”?

How can you say and explain “turrón”?

Off you go! Give it a try!

Squats (Okupas)

Misperceptions around this issue are so gobsmacking that we decided to start a thread on squats, squatters and squatting.
Let us start by saying that squatters are not homeless people who take an empty house to destroy it or live in it. Squatting is a social movement trying to highlight the fact that some buildings are empty and everybody has a right to have a home, some shelter.
In Madrid, in contrast with squats in London, squats are mostly cultural sites, not housing squats. Before squatting a building, squatters find out all the information about the place and they usually squat buildings like old factories which have been out of use for over 25 years, or things like that.
Once the squat is regained for people in the neighbourhood, squatters clean it, which is usually very hard work, and put the place in shape so that other people can be welcome. Then they set up all kinds of services: using what people bring along with them, they set up libraries, child care, even computer rooms (if they get one or two computers), but mostly, they offer the space so that people can give and take (free) courses (yoga, theater workshops, languages, etc.) and celebrate all kinds of cultural events (live culture!) like showing movies, offering talks and discussions, organizing parties and collecting money for noble unpublicized causes! You see, if you paint, write, perform, if you have something to say to people, our society doesn’t allow you to say it or do it anywhere: we can’t publish, we can’t appear on TV, not even on the radio, you cannot share your knowledge and your skills anywhere, and there are tons of people doing interesting things that deserve our attention. So what you do, if you are one of those people, is go to a squat, and for instance, set up the course you want to give, and just give it!
We’ve been to El Laboratorio squats in Lavapiés and to La Karakola women’s squat in Lavapiés too. In one of the El Laboratorio, accoustics in the building were so amazing (Pza Cabestreros) that the squat was used by musicians who couldn’t afford to rent a place to rehearse. Here they could play without being a nuissance to anybody. Also drama groups came, and we had the chance to attend wonderful shows, for free, of course.
Another important role of squats is that they are meeting places. They try to offer drinks or food at low prices, and they become hangouts or very interesting people!

Café! Coffee

In Spain, we love coffee. Some foreigners say that it’s so thick you can kind of stick your teaspoon in it and it will stay in an upright position! Not quite, but it’s funny!
I love coffee. I stopped having 200,000 coffees a day, naturally, not on purpose. However, I can’t live without experiencing the delicious flavor of my morning coffee, with some milk and a bit of sugar.

Bares (Bars?!)

Bars in Spain should be exported to Europe: in them, all kinds of people meet — children, teenagers, young adults, middle-aged adults, older people, men and women, talkative people and people who never speak, people with a sweet tooth, people with non-standard meal times, people who drink alcohol and people who don’t, yes, together, no problem! You can have ANYTHING ANY TIME with ANY KIND OF FRIEND. Yes, Europeans, it’s true! Sweet or sauvery, boiling hot or freezing cold, alcoholic or non-alcoholic. In Spanish bars, waiters and waitresses do not have to tell you that you cannot order a sandwich now and that you need to order a piece of cake, or the like! Aren’t Spanish bars a great idea? :)You don’t have to segregate your friends according to what they tend to have! (And anyway, what if they would rather order something different?) 

They’ve got a drawback, though. Noise. The noise of the coffee machine when used to heat the milk is really loud. And some bars are filthy, that’s true. I mean, if you press a finger against the counter, it might stick!

Spanish-speakers Abroad!

You can post here your adventures and misadventures as somebody from a Spanish-speaking cultural background who has traveled places! What called your attention? Any surprises or shocks? What did you learn which you were happy to learn? Anything!