Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Taste Of Spain 2011

It is always an undiluted pleasure to return to Liverpool. Awaiting me on every street are treasured and poignant memories, many of them dating back to when I last worked there, across from the Liver Buildings, on Water Street, six years ago. My most recent visit was last year, trudging through the snow and slush from Central station down Lord Street to Liverpool One for lunch. Today’s weather has been markedly different: 19°C and sunny. How appropriate, then, that this year’s A Taste Of Spain fiesta (Figure 18.1) took place under a Spanish sky rather than a typically English one.

Figure 18.1: First stop, Liverpool

Copyright 2011 A Taste Of Spain

I took my family – well, part of it – down to Williamson Square this afternoon. There were a couple of hundred people, including a fair few from Spain, if their linguistic fluency was anything to go by. When we arrived, Spanish rockers Walden Uno had just completed their penultimate show, to be replaced by folk band Radio Cos (Figure 18.2), whose violin-clarinet-guitar-percussion sound filled the Mersey air with an authentic Galician flavour.

Figure 18.2: Radio Cos, live on stage in Williamson Square

Copyright 2011 Paul Spradbery

For the adults, there was a ‘husband crèche’, namely a small stand at the foot of the stage offering strong Galician liquor to a long queue of enthusiastic, sharp-humoured Liverpudlian men. There were plenty of children’s attractions, too, most entertainingly a ‘surf simulator’, which defeated most who tried their luck, including my own brood, who displayed all the poise and balance of some of the blokes propping up the booze stand. provided a ‘fantasy image experience’ (Figure 18.3) where any pathetic exhibitionists could pose in front of a selected backdrop. My teenage daughter, first in line, chose for herself some sparkly eye-wear – and for me the most ridiculous set she could find (Figure 18.4). It serves me right, I suppose, for telling her that I liked Elton John. Gracias, mi chica.

Figure 18.3: When in Spain ...

Copyright 2011 Paul Spradbery

At two o’clock, Comunitat Valenciana cooked up enough paella to stuff everyone in the Square for about a month. Two Valencian chefs tossed hundreds of pounds of chicken and duck into something not much smaller than Jodrell Bank’s radio telescope dish. The resultant smoke resembled that from a bushfire in the outback. The delightful aroma, however, more than compensated for the fact that no one could see anything.

This afternoon was certainly well spent, and we all wandered back to James Street station with not a word (of English) spoken. It was, if you like, home from home from home.

Figure 18.4: Not quite Gran Canaria as I remembered it from 2003 and 2004

Copyright 2011 Paul Spradbery

From Liverpool, the ATOS bandwagon will now roll on to London, Leeds and, finally, Edinburgh in July. More info can be found at the websites below.

Copyright 2011 Paul Spradbery