Just got back from the Museu Thyssen-Bornemisza, where they were showing an exhibition of George Braques paintings, and a sumptuous late-lunch at a vegetarian place in midtown Madrid with my aunt. I leave for Prague tomorrow morning, and am pondering whether to further explore the Madrid nightlife, or stay here, get some work done, and rest up for the trip. I probably ought to do the latter, and probably will do the former.
I went out for a while last night, and, since today’s a holiday in Madrid (in honor of Joseph, of “you got pregnant HOW?” fame) there were a fair number of people out. I think I have some inkling of what a citizen of the Roman Empire must have felt like. Half the pubs and clubs in this town have English names, and play (bad) American music. Hell, the grafitti is in English — a sure sign of cultural colonization if there ever was one. I picked a bar called “New” more or less at random, and found it festooned with old-western Americana: photographs of The Duke, Native American chiefs, maps of the frontier, and (incongruously) James Dean. They were playing the aforementioned crappy American music, including, oddly, that Shakira song “Whenever, Wherever.” Oddly, I say, because there are two versions of the song: one with lyrics in Spanish, the other sung in English. Guess which one they were playing?
My initial reaction was that, at least by comparison with Barcelona, this town had no game. I liked that it was nocturnal — there were old ladies walking their poodles at 1:30 am — but whereas in Barcelona I’d passed any number of places that looked enticing just wandering the streets, few of the spots I passed last night tempted me. (Probably there are hepper areas of town, but still…) Eventually, though, I found my way to a decent club near the Puerta de Toledo called Down (see what I mean?), with walls made of huge rough-hewn rock and artificial foliage covering the ceiling. Fairly standard beats, and a moderate booty-shaking deficiency, with the exception of a few fly-girls and gay-boys gyrating on platforms, but a totally satisfactory diversion for a Monday night.
Anyway, as I mentioned in an earlier post, Tom Palmer over at Cato put me in touch with a Czech publisher of libertarian books named Radovan Kacin, and with luck he’ll be able to spare a few hours to show me around while I’m there. I’m a bit curious about the Czech libertarian scene: my only contact with Europolitics so far has been the opposite side. And as far as I’ve been able to determine by skimming the Free-Market.Net directory, there aren’t any libertarian organizations in Spain or France. And you thought we were a minority in the U.S.! My unscientific impression is that we’ve made the most headway across the pond in those countries which were at some point under Communist tyranny, and where Hayek and Friedman and the like were passed around as revolutionary (or, I suppose, “counter-revolutionary”) materials.
Oh, and I did indeed decide to adapt my Barcelona-post below for my LFB column; it should be up around noon on Wednesday.