The Line Must Be Drawn Here

Yes, that’s a Picard line. No, I’ve never watched even a single episode of Star Trek. However, it’s famous enough to transcend that particular level of pop culture, and it suits this past weekend just perfectly.

What with flight week drawing closer (I’m giving myself until the end of this week to buy my flights for good), I’m getting money-savvy and making fewer travel plans. And me being me, that’s resulted in a knee-jerk spontaneous Moroccan adventure with a few Spanish friends and a Semana Santa celebration in Córdoba. The former is largely reliant on my two friends actually getting back to me, so in a way I’m none too bothered whether I end up crossing the Strait or not – I’ll still be heading to Tarifa for the weekend anyway – but it’s there on the table and I’ve budgeted accordingly.

This term has been no less sparing on the adventure front, but I have been a lot more sensible money-wise, forking out on only one big adventure per month: Madrid in January, Cantabria in February and Tarifa in March. Accepting that I’m coming back for at least two years more after Durham has removed me of my desperate need to see all Spain whilst I can and that’s been a very healthy decision on all counts. It means that (with the exception of rent) I rarely need to draw anything out of my account: my weekly private lessons cover groceries and all other expenses, as well as buying the majority of my travel expenses. To fill the time, I’ve allocated at least one or two weekends a month to being sociable in Almendralejo, something I didn’t do nearly enough last term and am currently making up for lost time.

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It’s been a big weekend for swallows – there’s a few here to stay now!

Almendralejo is a bigger town than Villafranca and as a result there’s a lot more to do, especially on the nightlife front. This weekend was the twenty-second anniversary of one of my usual haunts, the Concha Velasco, a kitschy bar decorated with Gothic props (most of them from a film set) and plenty of Goya paintings. It’s usually playing a selection of 80’s rock and it’s a nice place to chill before or after a dance. To celebrate, they were holding a concert for a few local bands, beginning with a free paella and caldereta lunch in the street.

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How long do you think a concert lasts? Four or five hours, perhaps? I’ve been playing in concerts for most of my life and the longest was about five. Not this one. There were about four acts and each one had a two-hour set, there or thereabouts. Due to start at half five, things finally got moving at around ten to six. That’s normal.

First up was the band we had come to support, with our friend Miguel on electric guitar. I’m told it was their best gig yet. I’ve only seen them perform this once and I’m sold. Rock is one of the last frontiers of music that I haven’t really reached into and I’m sold on a few of them. Beginning with the theme tune from Back to the Future sold me and I enjoyed the set immensely – and still found time to take some snaps. Consider me now a fan of Spanish 80’s rock (ed. BB, will you ever learn to be normal?)

I felt pretty voiceless and worn out when the set was over so Fran and I set off to De Blanco, a quieter local, for a change of mood and a few early birthday drinks. Having gorged on all the freebies on offer at lunch, I forgot dinner completely, which was a mistake for several reasons. The most obvious was the effect of a single rum and coke (ron barceló). Having been teetotal until this year, my alcohol tolerance still isn’t brilliant, and I felt rather dizzy for about half an hour. Motoring through a bowl of fizzy sweets the bartender brought didn’t help in the slightest. Fortunately, we weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere and I regained my senses after a time. Still, I know what I’m not doing in future.

One of the strangest things about being English abroad is the simple novelty of being English. Apparently it’s motivation enough to strike up a conversation, and this was just another example. A trio of Spaniards sitting next to us joined us after a few minutes out of curiosity and ended up inviting us out to go dancing with them at another nightclub, Almen’s Whisky A Go-Go. Apparently there was supposed to be a star from Spain’s Gran Hermano turning up, but whether she did or not, I have no idea. At any rate, there was no sign of her by ten to four in the morning, at which point Tasha and I returned to Concha to see if we could catch the end of the last set for the night.

Remember what I said about concerts? Well, here’s the thing. The fourth set hadn’t even started when we got there. At four in the morning. A DJ and saxophone duo (who knew?). This is probably the first time I’d heard a full set without even a single reggaeton number – all dance, from start to finish – and I went into a creative overdrive of at least half an hour before I ran out of ideas and returned to simple jives. The result was that several of the crowd were egging me on for the rest of the night every time I began to run out of steam. At about half five the five hours of almost non-stop dancing, ten hours of music, general fatigue and more pressing hunger began to wear me down. Tasha insisted that I could keep going and kept me fuelled on glasses of water, and I’d like to say that on any other night I’d have willingly stuck it out until the end… but we had been going for almost ten hours, and I hadn’t eaten since three o’clock the previous day. In the end we retreated at the ‘early’ hour of six o’clock for a quick bite to eat at the kebab shop opposite and then, gratefully, I crashed on Tasha’s sofa and slept.

Until the Breast Cancer fun run woke me up at nine o’clock the following morning, that is. I’ve been recovering sleep ever since.

Here’s to a more relaxed weekend to kick off the Easter holiday this weekend. I could do with it. BB x

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