Take out 5. Stick the Kettle on. Dig out the bourbons. Stick Granddad on the allotment. Slide off those thigh length boots and put your tired footies up on the dog, for today, the GazpachomOnk not only talks about how the past is shaping us today, but, he's giving it away too. Yup, free today, a bite-sized chunk of yesterday - this 1930's Photobook on Spain that may just be as old as that cardigan your Granddad has on. READ MORE....
Ancha es Castilla
I'm told that some people come to live in Spain for the climate. Others come for the pace of life, the food, the sense of community or the views from the pool-side terrace of their newly purchased country home. All valid reasons of course, but not too long ago, there were other ones that drew people to these shores.
From Brenan's latent sense of libertarianism: "I found in Spain a kind of freedom and spontaneity that I missed at home. What in our country one gains in social order and justice, one loses in zest and vitality." To Bethune's search for a cause : "I'm going to Spain because it is in Spain that the real issues of our time are going to be fought out" (Read more on Bethune here...) Principles still as valid today as then.
The past is never dead
We all have our stories, and if I'm honest, I too came in search of one. It was a story about a people that had survived a remarkable past, and I wanted to see how much of that spirit was still present. I needn't have worried, for as I arrived I saw the truth of what Faulkner had said...The past (in spain) is never dead. It's not even past.
It was as if history hadn't died, but somehow co-existed with the present. It infused, fuelled, inspired, overlapped, and at times even obstructed the present from coming out to play.
But history - I'm told - is not everyone's taza de té. YouTube compilations of snoring dogs, or a slideshow of Sean Connery's eyebrow postures after the last UK election result, tend to be more popular amongst recent immigrants. Even those who have dunked a toe into the tides of change, who with great pride, can identify Franco from a identification parade when lined-up alongside Michael Fish, Bernie Winters and Walt Disney - generally start to nod off when greater details get thrown around.
Some still believe today is happening today
History has always been more than dates and names. History tells us that the story is never over. There is no escaping her call. Step outside your door and there she is, waiting sensibly in the shadows. Step back inside the house and there she is again, seeping out between the cracks on the walls, behind the loose repro al-andalus tiles, or that that patch of damp coming through from next door.
She is our constant companion. She's what gives context to the now, explaining and accounting for all we see and hear around us. Her presence (hopefully) is what distinguishes the 2-week sun worshipper from the you.
Go out on a limb, for that is where the fruit grows.
So invite her into your life. Because, some say, history repeats itself, and this year, we are seeing a move away from the cosy centre ground and a return to an era of ideals. An era in which the edges are taking shape again - as they have done before in this country. Look around and you will see that the past is not over yet. It's alive and kicking just as vigorously as always.
And let's remind ourselves, history runs forward, never backward.
Get the Free Photobook on Spain from another era - here
SPAIN : Released 1936 to North Americans
To commemorate the circularity of life, the mOnk presents this wonderful publication from 1936. Yes, of course, it's a magazine of pure historical propaganda - it's noble aim was to raise awareness for the struggle of the Republic - to raise money for clothes and provisions for the people, whilst a anxious world looked the other way.
Today cliched and simplistic, but back then it composed a desperate plea, from a desperate country, it was published by the United Youth Committee to aid Spanish democracy and features Fernando de Los Rios, Spanish ambassador to the U.S, who writes the introduction.
Find a free downloadable copy here:
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