The fight against coronavirus echoes something hauntingly familiar in Spain, and it’s from this dark period in history that local artist Félix Rodriguez has found inspiration. From the confines of his home in Madrid where he remains, like the rest of us, under lockdown, a renaissance is happening.
I’d like to transport you to a place where the streets are paved with volcanic rock that braid the city, and crumbling houses wrap around outcrops of ancient lava flow.
There’s so much expectation from the moment babies appear, so much judgment. I feel like I am failing at everything – constantly. Your lack of time can lead to a sense of losing yourself, leading to the conundrum every parent puzzles over: what did I do with all that time before?
Bodegas Rojo, like any diamond in the rough, lies unbeknownst to many, tucked away on a residential street. Families and groups of teens walk by but few so much as throws a furtive glance its way.
Zoom out of Madrid on Google satellite view and red clusters begin to emerge. Between grey, gridded avenues and barren parks, see clusters of winding narrow streets with red roof tiles and tiny plazas, which were once independent towns with their own culture, economy and architecture. Today, even though they lie well within the city limits of Madrid, they remain different.
The bares típicos are one of the things I deeply love Spain for. The way you can pop in for a coffee in a glass, a caña, a tapa, a few words with the person behind the bar and other people in the bar – a sense of connection to simple uplifting things.
Down Calle Tribulete, just a few minutes from Plaza Lavapiés is Cómics El Coleccionista, where it has stood seemingly forever. Opened in 1993 by a pair of friends who met each other through their mutual love of comic books, El Coleccionista has remained virtually unchanged throughout its 27 years of existence.
A year ago, my photo series of 100 of Madrid’s no-frills bars reignited the nation’s love for a time-honoured aspect of Spanish culture, but around 20 of these no-frills bars are actually Chinese-owned.
I’d like to transport you to a place a few miles up the road from where I grew up. It’s a tiny, windswept port town that had its heyday up until the 1960s. After that, the industries shifted outwards, like the dunes that shield Blyth from the North Sea, switching from mining coal to farming wind.
I’m sitting on a concrete bench on Plaza Nelson Mandela, taking in the warm winter sun on my face. A local Senegalese man wearing an ivory silk boubou pours his friends cups of hot black coffee from a canister. On a bench near them, a group of young Argentinians top up their cups of mate and share a smoke.