Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Friday, 27 September 2013
Madre del Dios
Ricardo and the gang walking toward their derelict flat on Mother of God street - I think they chose the place for it's name when they looked for a spot down in town, about 45 minutes drive from the mountains.
Picasso grew up around here - the image of the bull crops up everywhere on old posters from the era.
There is a wonderful bar close by, with huge barrels of Malaga wine hard up against the back wall, and a trickling fountain adding to the coolness of the dark interior. Each barrel has been signed in chalk by celebrities with links to the area - a famous actor is stacked next to a handful of people who all share the name 'Picasso', but Paloma isn't one of them.
The walls of the corridor are covered in photographs of many other famous people who have visited the equally famous bar, and most are black-and-white vintage ones from many years ago.
Very recently, Tony Blair (the repulsive ex-Prime Minister of Britain, in case your efforts to forget him have been successful) walked into the place and - never one to miss out on an opportunity to glorify himself - kindly offered to sign one of the barrels.
The men who run the bar said they would be delighted if he did, and handed him a piece of chalk. Tony (as we were obliged to call him) scrawled his signature, taking up as much space as possible on the face of the massive oak front, then had his photo taken standing next to his handiwork.
As soon as he walked out, smiling and waving to all the bemused customers as he left, the barmen took up a wet cloth and rubbed his name off the barrel.
That is what I so admire about the Southern Spanish - they are the perfect balance between fierce pride, and gracious, well-mannered politeness.