How to be Spanish: Lesson 2

I came across this wonderful photo on an Ibiza photo archive site recently and it was captioned, “Ibiza 1970s”. That was quite wrong and I knew it immediately. The red Porsche in the photo was only there for a year and it was 1965, the year that I first started taking photos of interesting cars on the island witha Kodak instamatic camera (12 or 24 shots, B&W or colour…)

It is the road to San Antonio out of Ibiza town and it could not possibly be the 1970s as that road had been developed by then. Besides, I followed that red Porsche in 1965 and finally photographed it in San Antonio while cycling around the island circuit (home-Ibiza-San Antonio-San Jose- home). It was only on the island that year. So I can date the photo 1965.

I don’t quite know why, but I find it so invigorating when I see such a photograph, as it plunges me back into that marvellous world of Ibiza in the 1960s when I was supposed to be in school and sometimes was, but quite often was not, and drinking whisky or smoking substances in the waterfront bars of Ibiza town while looking for opportunities to wash cars for 50 pesetas a time.

Here in the libreria Vara de Rey, I would spent the money I earned from washing cars while bunking off from school buying the glossy colour Formula 1 fans magazine Motor Sport and the US motor magazines like Hot Rod that kept me up-to-date with drag racing.

I had never seen a drag race and I still have not, fifty years later. I have seen many impressive drag acts in London’s Vauxhall Tavern, but never a drag race. Next to Vara de Rey bookshop (on the left) was the boys club for the right wing youth movement of the time, where we learned to play tabletop football and give a Nazi salute. Happy days. Capitan Nuñez was our hero: he taught us history in school (IES Ibiza now) and at the weekend helped us shoot ancient Martini rifles into the sea – near Ibiza Airport – to practice opposing a communist invasion of the island, which he expected any moment. He had been told that personally by Franco.

Capitan Nuñez lived in a terraced house on the road into Ibiza town from the airport and his sons were in my class. They reassured me they were ready to defend Ibiza to the death when the Russians invaded. I never found this quite as interesting as their fishing tips when we bunked off school and went angling in Ibiza harbour where we mostly caught poisonous fish that killed our pet cats when we took them home.

Around us a revolution was happening. Hippies, US draft dodgers, artists, writers, jazz players; mixing alongside a very conservative society virtually unchanged for a thousand years.

I can never forget that time because it was an experience of the way the most reliable and the trusted, the most stable and the unquestioned, can be removed overnight. I learned that in Ibiza 1964-1967.

And when I look at the country I left in 2010 – the United Kingdom – and see the disaster overtaking it in June 2019, I have been here before. Goodbye to a way of life you thought would continue forever.

Hello vulture capitalism.

But on Thursday in Alicante I have my CCSE Spanish citizenship exam, and I begin to pick up the pieces from 23 June 2016. I begin to assert my identity and choose to ditch the new fascist United Kingdom. Oh, you want to dispute that word? Just try me.

2 thoughts on “How to be Spanish: Lesson 2

  1. Wonderful memories and photographs. A very moving blog post. Golden teenage days, but tinged with a wider reality, which you can better understand now. These are not golden days here in the UK, in 2019. You are doing very well at being Spanish so far! – got the Donks – you need Sarah to teach you how to flamenco though! Ha ha!


  2. Can we get Sarah’s flamenco dance video on here? 🙂

    Must ask her. Ideally, we need to set up a situation in which Sarah and I are both pissed – and have had enough paella to sustain the energy required – and there is a flamenco guitarist available very cheaply. Poco Penis.. no Paco Peña that’s the man.


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