With their blacked out windows and monochromatic signs, one of Spain’s most dangerous industries to public health does a good job of hiding in plain sight. As the proliferation of the casas de apuestas, (betting shops/gambling houses), continues, the fight to prevent growing gambling addiction in Madrid’s barrios becomes ever more urgent.
Yesterday morning, police carried out the eviction of Manuela and Jesus, and their four small children (9, 8, 2 and 1) from their Vallecas flat where they had lived for seven years. The family initially occupied the flat because they couldn’t afford to rent anywhere and, despite having two toddlers at the time, were not granted social housing. The flat they chose to occupy belongs to CaixaBank, with which the family tried to negotiate without success.
In January, Storm Filomena brought the capital to a standstill. While we were building snowmen, snowboarding through the streets and carving makeshift paths for the elderly, there was something we completely overlooked: the countryside.
Madrid was the first region in Spain to start fining people for drinking in the street. The Law on Drug Addiction and Other Addictive Disorders (the drinking bit is just a tiny part of this law and was coined the anti-botellón law) came into effect on 30 July 2002. From then on, municipal police were able to fine anyone €600 for drinking in the streets.
You always hope that the protest you’re attending will be the last. In the case of LGBTQI people, and specifically trans people, the end is no longer a distant light at the end of a very long tunnel of frustration, hate and fascism.
Street art and graffiti have long been forms of protest. When the streets speak, the voices we hear are of the struggles we bear and the memories we hold. But in Madrid, street art is increasingly being hijacked and weaponised and used as a form of colonisation by those who are more powerful.
Let’s start with an example. In 2010, Elisabet heard about a flat in a social housing block in Lavapiés that had sat empty for five years. She broke in, changed the locks, and made it her family home. With three children, now aged 14, 15 and 23, she was recently handed an eviction notice by the council telling her to move out.
Lo bueno de perderse por una ciudad es que, aunque te propongas un camino, no siempre llegas a donde esperas. Eso me sucedió hace poco, cuando quise ir a una iglesia y acabé encontrándome con dos cárceles, una que ya no existe y una que dicen que no lo es.
In 1946, Valencianxs José González and Pepina García caught wind that the market for horchata in the Spanish capital was untapped, so they packed their bags and hopped on a train from Valencia to Barrio de Tetuán and opened Oroxata (AKA the Horchata Factory) on Calle Pedro Tezano, 11.
Madrid, Madrid, Madrid… a fascinating city to live in, but only if you can afford to do so. If you weren’t born here, it’s difficult to deal with the stark contrast between the rich and the poor. The human mind cannot fathom such a contrast in the same place.
Having access to green space reduces depression by up to 40%, and reduces the feeling of worthlessness by up to 50%, according to a study by five doctors at the University of Pennsylvania. For those living below the poverty line, the improvement in mental health is proven to be even more profound.
Gran Via number 12, a splendid white building dating back to 1914, has seen many things in its 107 years of history, including the Spanish Civil War. But, at ground level lives the legendary Bar Chicote, once crowned the best in the world by MTV in 2004. Its bar top has seated a long list of personalities including Ernest Hemingway, Sofia Loren and Salvador Dalí, as well as royalty, sports, politics and intellectualism.
Siempre he creído que los bares de toda la vida son lugares inspiradores. Son puertas de entrada al Madrid obrero, al alma migrante y también son involuntariamente bonitos, tal y como lo es la ciudad.
On Sunday, 2 May, the night before the Madrid election, a group of activists broke into a derelict hotel in the centre of Madrid. Upon entering, they found 112 abandoned en-suite bedrooms, a decaying Andalusian patio, three large salons with a hundred wooden chairs, a sturdy stainless steel kitchen and an overall perfect space to build the youngest generation of social project La Ingobernable (The Ungovernable).
In 1950, amateur photographer Vicente Nieto Canedo took a photo of a maths teacher who was working at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Gráficas in Chamberí. It was so unusual to see a Black teacher that Canedo understood this an important moment to capture.