Monday, 20 August 2012
Today, in Plaza de Santa Ana I was sketching. Just sketching. Two Policia Municipal told me to stop, pack up and leave. It is my work. I am doing as my client wants. I am not doing anything illegal. Charge me with something, or leave me alone. People like what I do. It is nice work. And, whilst the drug dealers and bag snatchers continue their business just a Two minute walk around the corner (the police know this) municipals decide to give me a hard time. They couldn't charge me with anything because I wasn't doing anything illegal. So I thought. However, it seems drinking a can of lager in a public space (a public space surrounded by people drinking beer and wine on open terraces) is illegal. So, to avoid a fine I had to sign a piece of paper admitting to being alcohol dependent. This is Policia Municipal in Madrid. Get your bag stolen and they will apologise for having to tell you there is nothing they can do. Sketch, or paint in a public space and they will shit on you. It is my work. I am just trying to make an honest living.
Thursday, 9 August 2012
It's not until after midnight on a hot summer day when the real Spanish culture wakes. Many tourists miss it. Where is the Crisis in Spain? It's not with the foreign tourists. They fear it, but don't really feel it. I feel it. I am in debt. Not with a bank, but in debt. Not a great debt, but debt. This is my Crisis. Back in the Dark Ages when I was 15, 16, 17... 29(dunno - I lost track), a hot summer night in England during the low of Thathcer years I would be drinking Super Brew, smoking Benson and Hedges, experimenting with something a bit more exotic with friends. This evening I was offered a Lucky Strike by a teenager named juan who invited me to join his mates drinking rum with fruit juice and ice whilst smoking something a little more exotic in Plaza de España. Nothing new here then. I'm 45 now by the way. I remember the 80's fashion for trendy worn out jeans. Why does this happen. People see a threat of recession and hard times and try to sort of unite by spending loads of cash on brand new worn out jeans. It has happend again. However, when people spunk their cash on bad clothes and realise the reality is that they may well be wearing the genuine article themselves very soon, they react by buying poncey designer jeans on credit. A sort of denial when they don't want to address the truth. It is reported that unemployment is now at 70% amongst the under 30's in some areas of Spain. That is crisis. BIG CRISIS. No new clients for the banks to rob! Back to jeans. Once people have been told their credit is no longer good for a pair Ives Ponce Sauren €120 jeans they look at alternatives. I'm in Madrid. People are living with crisis here. Young people especially are finding their own unique style. They aren't thinking about the future. They don't give a shit what people think. Well, some of them. From parameters enforced from times of apparent austerity comes creativity fuelled by cheap rum, ice and a carton of fruit juice with something a little more exotic. Everybody is different in Madrid. Everybody is unique (apart from the evergreen, never dying Goths - ignore them). Young people are deserting the High Streets and getting into fun stuff. ------- Things are not going as planned. I have interviews with photographs. I don't have cash. It's tough making money on the streets ATM. Very tough.