Madrid glossed over

A Load of Bull: an Englishman’s adventures in Madrid by Tim Parfitt

Its the late 1980’s. Publishing giant Vogue aims to launch in Spain. With six weeks to go, and production dangerously behind schedule, a young and naive Tim Parfitt is sent from London to Madrid to get things back on track.

Fighting culture shock, lousy bedsits and haphazard mealtimes, Tim saves the day. The Spanish don’t want him to leave. Six weeks turns into nine years of intensive Spanish lessons, serial flathunting and massaging the egos of the rich and famous, all distilled into this slim volume.

Like Vogue itself, the book is a light and frothy read, but no less fun for that.  We follow Tim’s progress as – painfully – he almost becomes used to the quirks of Madrid working life: its plentiful holidays, its erratic hours and its serious partying.  On a more serious level, the book shows Madrid as it finally shakes off the vestiges of Franco and embraces the yuppie era with gusto. Read it very carefully and you’ll notice Madrid slowly but surely moving towards the 21st century, whilst Tim does his own growing up.

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