The year abroad is like a new relationship with an exotic foreign boy/girl/man/woman [delete as appropriate]. It’s exciting, romantic, mysterious and completely different to anything in your life that came before. I am not having a love affair with a tall, dark and handsome man named Manuel contrary to my parents’ suspicions – is this really the reputation I have built for myself? I am however spending a year abroad in Madrid! (I thought I’d just mention that in case it had gone unnoticed in the rest of my blog… ahem.) Much like a relationship the year abroad needs commitment, but it is one in which you may find yourself doing all the giving and swimming in unrequited love from an abusive lover. Spain will reel you in with sun, sangria and fantastic food. You’ll come, you’ll see, you’ll conquer. You’ll spend your hard-earned cash in Zara in an attempt to help boost the economy (or at least that’s how you’ll justify it) and in return you’ll receive…well, nothing. (See You Can Take the Girl out of England, but You Can’t Take England out of the Girl) Throw aside your hopes of true love and just revel in the fling that it really is! It’s fun, it’s cheeky and most importantly it’s brief, so savour it and make sure to keep it spiced up so as not get stuck in the two month itch. I did. I cheated on Spain and had a five night stand with England. Espero que puedas perdonarme España; te quiero en realidad.
Last week I went to see The xx at La Riviera, and I have to admit that I was a tad apprehensive. Now I love me some xx; I love to get into bed with a candle and my book and unwind to the beautiful mixing of Jamie xx and there lay the problem. Standing for two hours, pint in hand, swaying awkwardly to ‘Crystalised’ – could it work? IT COULD. I loved it, and more specifically I loved the Spaniards shouting out lyrics that they couldn’t understand. When the beat dropped at the start of ‘Intro’ I almost pushed a guy over the side of the balcony out of sheer glee and screamed at a pitch only audible to dogs and new-born babies. What I didn’t love was the pricing of a pint at 9€ and the American boy next to me who wouldn’t shut up about the ‘shit sound system’. In all honesty I had to agree with him; the system that The xx normally use was apparently too big to fit into the venue and the one that stepped up just didn’t step up, yet somehow this American/Spanish hybrid believed that repeating this fact to me A GAZILLION times would change that. He was however friends with John Talabot, Spanish DJ and supporting act for the night. Súper mola.
This week’s spice injection was again performance-based, but involved regressing to my inner child. After weeks of flirting glances with metro bilboards, my flatmate and I finally took the plunge and booked tickets to see The Lion King (in Spanish El Rey León). Motivated by a fear that I wouldn’t understand a single word of the entire show I took it upon myself to watch the film in Spanish beforehand in order to familiarise my ears with the way it would sound and I was pleasantly surprised. The script was largely undamaged by the translation and, what’s more, I understood it! The show itself was simply amazing and rendered me speechless for one of the first times ever; anyone who knows me will know how huge an achievement that is (last Christmas I received a trio of presents relating to Little Miss Chatterbox). Everything about it, from the music to the costumes to the choreography was completely wonderful and I’m still struggling to string together a coherent sentence about it. The child Nala and Simbas were adorable and the adult Simba was just something else; a ripped, painted, beautiful something else that made me wish I were a lion so that we could run off into the savana to make beautiful lion babies. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it mother!