Then word gets out I am desperately bored…some good souls who are taking me too seriously…being bored in Madrid in August is part of the natural yearly cycle…it’s a part of being in Madrid in August…but it is also what makes it so seductively quiet and purposeful for my needs…if I were a bored serial killer, that might be cause for alarm…so let’s focus on hurricane Irene, a name which will spark conversation in close circles, and see just how close she comes to slamming into Connecticut. It’s been a while since that last happened; a long time. I remember as a kid a couple roared through. I especially remember the cat sitting still in the front hall, sitting immobile and making a constant groaning sound for a couple of hours. The poor thing didn’t really take a liking to those things. Irene will begin to peter out as it crawls up north, but it should still pack enough punch to keep Greenwich on its toes.
Meanwhile, I’m over in Madrid enjoy late summer warmth and cool evening. Think I’ll have to wander into the center and see what’s happening there. I was over in Lavapiés last night seeing some friends. Lavapiés is an old blue-collar neighborhood in Madrid which has recently ceased to be Spanish territory. Now it is run and owned or owned and run (depending) by an international conglomerate of cultures looking for something that will make what they had seem less. It’s become a multinational without the executives, the suites and the board rooms. We had dinner at a Senagalese restaurant. Boy, you couldn’t have done that ten years ago. I’d recommend Lavapiés to anyone looking for a new a different side of Madrid.
Meanwhile, I’m over in Madridin my living room (why hasn’t that become a compound noun by now?…it should) working on my upcoming books and enjoying my very local film festival. This week’s fare seems to be cine noir, because last night featured Orson Welles Touch of Evil. Watching Charlton Heston as a Mexican detective was interesting to say the least. Welles was outstanding. And his movie was a visual masterpiece. Now of course Welles was one director who I had heard of before I came over, in part because he was the fat bearded guy who told us to buy Ernest & Julio Gallo wines back in the 70s (I haven’t seen a wine commercial for ages, come to think of it) and partly because in 8th grade we were subjected to Citizen Kane and told about how wonderfully incredible it was. The problem was it bored us stiff. It was definitely one of those films that you had to watch again at a later age before you really started to appreciate all of its qualities. I still think it drags…but now I know why it’s wonderfully incredible. Except for maybe The Third Man (another classic which a Stars Wars generation kid like me was not going to necessarily get any kicks out of), just about everything else Welles did had gone to oblivion in most of our minds.
Ironically, when it came to directors, it was the European ones we tended to all know about; Fellini, Truffaut, Hitchcock, Bergman…even Almodovar. Can you believe that I had heard of Almodovar and not Billy Wilder? Nor George Cukor? There must be an explanation and there is, but that is a long subject which has been covered extensively by people far more knowledgeable than me.