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Showing posts from December, 2017

Rhythms of the City: art, eats, blues : Madrid

Petit Espanish Blues Festival held a warm-up party in the Big Mamma Ballroom. I laughed out loud as I realised I was dancing to filthy lyrics. It was a blues song called Kitchen Man. “Oh, how that boy can open clam
No one else is can touch my ham
I can't do without my kitchen man.
When I eat his doughnuts
All I leave is the hole…”

Later, when the singer Jesse Gordon asked us for requests, I called for more dirty songs. She began to sing a jazz song… after the first verse Gaston gestured us all to gather around. The small audience sat on the floor before the beautiful redhead with her ukulele and joined in for the chorus "... my girl's pussy!" Singing those lyrics in unison was probably the funniest, most intimate moment of the whole festival weekend. I wonder did everyone understand what we were singing about?


Art about architecture Mads is a dancer from Denmark who I had met at Mountain Blues in France. Now in Madrid for the blues festival, he joined me for lu…

Physical poetry – Contact Improv in Madrid

On my first visit to Madrid, I wrote about exploring Lavapies Tabacalera by day – sophisticated art installations in warehouse galleries. On this second visit to Madrid, I discovered the Tabacalera studios by night – a living, breathing art community. Cuban flautist and poet Liz stayed in touch after our chance meeting in Lisbon, and joined me for this contact improvisation adventure. Tabacaleras are former tobacco factories, given over to the arts by many Spanish municipalities. Passing through the unmarked portal into this furnace of creativity, I quickly felt relaxed and at home. Liz said she had never seen anything like it it. To get the dance studio, we traversed a cavernous room of giant murals into a corridor of spectacular street art, past booming reggae and African DJ dens, out into the yard. A few oil drum fires burned, and people gathered around to keep warm, under the gaze of Albert Einstein. If only he could see his two-metre high portrait, spray painted on old wooden ga…