Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Spain MA? No Comprendo!

1. MAdrid Nice Streets Above at Templo de Debod. The most beautiful real sunset I've seen happened as I walked the palatial promenade. On Returning, in the lovely Parque del Oeste, I saw the most vivid rainbow I'd ever seen in a nice big fountain.

2. Mr MArx's TableThe second SEND song and the second song in Wire's recent live set, now revvved up to MAximum velocity. The lyric, "You have come a long way for such a short stay" seemed particularly appropriate for MAdrid, a city in which I never seem to spend more than one day.

3. Colin NewMAnA MAn not afflicted by Catholic guilt Paral-lel to the foot of Mont Juic. In Barcelona a 'strapcident' gave him proof that god does not exist. He objected to the stench of death under his nose on stage in Monasterio de Victoria and requested a temporary barbecue termination.

4. Mekon HeadMAnIntroduced as a song about a guy with a big head by Colin NewMAn in Puerto de Santa MAria, this is one of the best Wire songs that Lewis has sung and tends to be arguably the strongest performance of any of the newer songs. The number 4 is said to be unlucky by superstitious Japanese.

5. MArgaret Fiedler Wire guitarist who plays faster than Bruce Gilbert Used To. If MArgaret is 5 then Monkey is 6!

6. El Puerto de Santa MAriaA beautiful seaside town just east of Cadiz and south of Portugal. In October the temperature was at the level that would make front page news in Britain, as unprepared people drop dead from heat stroke. There is a great little castle in the centre, where some free gigs were happening throughout Monkey Week. The people were very friendly and scenery stunning. In a coastal forest north of the town I found a chameleon and on a mountain south of the town I think I saw a lynx. There was a loud rustle in the scrub and a big cat bolted away from me as fast as it could go. There aren't supposed to be any of these rare animals in that part of Spain, but they can walk about if they want to and it looked like a lynx to me. Half the dwindling Spanish Lynx population does reside mainly in another region of Andalucia.

7. MAnta RaySiouxsie album that seemed absolutely perfect as a soundtrack for walking the Nice Streets Above MAdrid. On the end of my tape is the last song from Soulsavers "Broken" which provided the best walkman moment of the trip: guitars chiming slowly in synchronicity with the appearance of the looming pillars of the transplanted Egyptian temple on the hill where myth has it that Isis gave birth to Horus. MAnta Ray is also a Pixies B-side, and Pixies were playing Brixton Academy at the same time Wire were playing Spain. According to Pixies, god is seven.

8. MAria Nice lady from Seville who was Monkeying in Puerto de Santa MAria.

9. Under the MAn in SpainChorus of The Stranglers song "Spain" which I played a hell of lot on the road trip. The MAn is the bastard Franco who executed the legally elected president of Catalonia exactly 69 years before the day I arrived in Barcelona. The whole of their "Aural Sculpture" cassette made an excellent musical accompaniment to the mountains, plains and castles rolling by, especially the Spain-Laughing-Souls sequence.

10. MAd HatterThe last song from "Aural Sculpture."

11. MAchineYeah Yeah Yeahs song on my tape with "Send" and DJ Fuckoff "Drill," perhaps the best song for railway travel yet made by anyone? This unreleased penultimate "Drill" with drum MAchine and Robert playing guitar I think opened just two gigs, at All Tomorrow's Parties and in Bristol. It seems to me that elements of it probably fed into "Nice Streets Above" and "Mr MArx's Table."

12. MAya GoldOrganic fair trade chocolate, one bar of which MAde it all the way around sunny France and Spain and back to grey old England.

13. MAnchesterPost-industrial dump in the north west of England which it's always a joy to escape from. The corrupt airport loving city council consumes tons of glossy paper promoting their recycling schemes to a populace too stupid to use the right bins, yet can't keep the streets clean from all the discarded aluminium, plastic and paper.

14. MAnuel RiveraSpanish artist with imposing image in the MAdrid museum of Modern Art. If you ever find yourself in Europe's highest capital city check it out as it is free.

15. Korega MAyaku DaAfri Rampo CD on Tzadik that I bought in Notting Hill just before setting off for Lyons on the first leg of the trip. These manic Japanese ladies will be playing All Tomorrow's Parties Nightmare Before Christmas at Minehead in December.

These reflections on a trip to Spain have been brought to you by the letter M, the letter A and the number 15.

Thanks to WIRE, MAria, Ruben,
Hostal Costa Luz, Juicy Jones,
everyone in El Puerto de Santa MAria,
Salvador Dali and Joan Miro.

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