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Recognising Joe Strummer
• Journalist Giles Brown
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EVERY town in Spain seems to have a Plaza de Espana or Calle Madrid, so in the interests of diversity I was more than pleased to read in the Olive Press that the late great Joe Strummer will have a square in Granada named after him following a Facebook campaign.
Plaza de Joe Strummer will be formally inaugurated later this year, in honour of The Clash’s iconic leader, who mentioned the city in the song Spanish Bombs.
He also worked with local band 091 and spent long periods of time there with his Spanish girlfriend Paloma Romero. I think it’s great that Granada has done this for someone who has connections with their city.
It makes more sense than the spate of Nelson Mandela streets that we witnessed springing up around London in the 90s.
And since the PSOE government took down all references to Franco and the rest of the dictator’s cronies, there are plenty of calles, plazas and avenidas that could benefit from a name change.
Marbella already has a Avda. Julio Iglesias and Plaza Antonio Banderas, but it could really do with a statue to the Unknown Town Hall Planning Councillor.
Using Facebook to drum up support for name changes after music stars could have problems, however. Imagine seeing a Rincon de Rihanna or (shudder) Boulevard de Justin Bieber.
South American superstar Shakira – the hottest export from Colombia since Pablo Escobar went to that great drug lord hacienda in the sky – posed in a bikini this month.
Normally that image alone would have been enough to have me taking a lie down in a darkened room.
But for this photo, the heavily pregnant Shakira posed with her boyfriend, Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique.
Now, I’ve nothing against pregnant women – and normally give them a five minute warning before I light up a Monte Cristo.
But ever since Demi Moore was on the front cover of Vanity Fair, it seems that every soap star, pop singer and reality TV bimbo is wittering on about being pregnant and doing a nude photoshoot with their bump. Please stop!
Meanwhile, Spanish trainspotters will be getting themselves into a froth at the prospect of traveling from Madrid to Paris non-stop on the AVE this year.
The last high speed stretch of track went into service on January 9, allowing passengers to make the journey between the two capitals in nine hours.
New figures, however, reveal that Spain’s AVE obsession might be the biggest white elephant project of them all.
When Aznar was prime minister, he declared that no one would live less than 30 minutes from an AVE station.
Which is all well and good, but the only people who benefited from the AVE were the German and French companies that built the actual trains, plus the usual bunch of corrupt politicos who awarded station building contracts to their mates.
When I was living near Antequera I used the AVE to pop down to Malaga. But I’m sure that half-sozzled hacks weren’t what the high speed rail planners had in mind when they designed the service.
And talking of design, all the AVE stations suffered from what I call ‘quasi – Guggenheim syndrome’ – a manic desire to use wavy bits of steel.
The station at Antequera – a mere 20km from the town itself with no bus link – was located in the middle of olive fields, giving an impression at night that the mothership had landed.
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