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Letter from Spain #25
Yet another rally ... plus TBC notes & research
They came to Barcelona on coaches, trains and planes today for another rally against the possibility of amnesty being granted by Pedro Sánchez to Catalan pro-independence activists and politicians.
According to reports, the rally was officially organised by the Societat Civil Catalana (SCC) - but thousands turned up from Madrid and Andalusia, especially the right-wing and far-right politicians, all to tell the Catalans what’s best for them.
They did all this in Madrid, just two Sundays ago, before Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s doomed investiture bid, so I can’t really see the point of repeating the exercise today.
50,000-plus people gathering outside Gaudí’s Casa Milà building, and then chanting ‘Puigdemont to prison’, ‘Catalonia is Spain’, and ‘Viva España’ as they strolled down Passeig de Gràcia in the beautiful sunshine, stopping in time for lunch, all to protest against amnesty for Catalan politicians still being pursued by the courts for holding an illegal referendum six years ago …
Let’s just put the world’s issues in context, shall we? Think Israel, Hamas and the Gaza Strip - Russia and Ukraine - child poverty - human trafficking and the migrant issues. Give me a break. It seems that Spain’s right-wing bloc has no other agenda than to moan about Sánchez being able to work with the Catalans.
I gave my view about the issue of granting amnesty or not in Letter from Spain #21, and I don’t intend to repeat it all here. I will just say that granting amnesty is not going to break up Spain. Sánchez has stated clearly that a Catalan referendum will never be on the agenda. Even if there was, I don’t even believe the Catalans would vote to leave Spain - not while there’s a left-leaning central government in charge. They would probably only do so if there was a PP-Vox coalition running the shop, and they’d never grant a referendum anyway - so it’s never going to happen.
Sure, there could be a few more ‘illegal’ referendums, but I’m sure Sánchez will handle that far better than Rajoy ever did, and Spanish politics always goes around in circles, as I’ve said before.
I spoke about this on the radio this week, in my fortnightly chat with Giles Brown on Talk Radio Europe - as well as about the fire in Murcia. Here’s the chat from Wednesday 4 October if you’re interested:
The Barcelona Connection - Research
For those of you following this blog’s research and the locations behind The Barcelona Connection, I had previously meant to mention Benjamin’s thoughts (and my notes) about Púbol, Port Lligat (Cadaqués) and Figueres in Chapter 25 - ‘Dalí’s Country’ or ‘the Empordà Triangle’, as the three locations are often referred to.
At the front of the book, I include a map (from Nîmes to Barcelona), that also pinpoints the three locations - all key to the overall story.
The first and only time I’ve been inside the Púbol Castle (also referred to as the Castell Gala-Dalí) was back in 2009, but I also drove to and from the area many times as part of my research. I’ve been in the Figueres Theatre-Museum and Dali’s House-Museum in Port Lligat (Cadaqués) many times, and both these locations will feature a great deal in this blog (with photos and videos) when I give more details about some of the later chapters.
Chapter 25 falls into the section of the book which is ‘Part Two - Time’, and that also fits with Benjamin mulling over the dates of when The Hallucinogenic Toreador was painted, and the dates that Dalí and Gala were looking for a castle to purchase and eventually renovate. I researched all this in great detail, and the fact that the painting was returned to Port Lligat in order for Dalí to finish it. I was also helped with this research by Joan Kropf, the former Chief Curator at the Salvador Dalí Museum in St.Petersburg, Florida. The dates are all true facts …
Next week, I’ll write about Chapter 26, ‘pijos’, and specifically Beltrán Gómez de Longoria …
Previous links to my research notes are here:
The Barcelona Connection - Reviews, News & Events
A date for the diary, this time in Barcelona. On Saturday 28 October from 2.30pm - 3.15pm, I will be participating in a roundtable discussion with two other authors and hosted by Barcelona City Council for their annual International Community Day, with the topic being ‘How to enjoy and rediscover Barcelona through literature’. The event takes place at the Museu Marítim de Barcelona. It is free to attend the International Community Day, but prior registration is required via this link: https://inscripcions.barcelona.cat/barcelona_international_community_day_2023-en/
Hope to see you there!
Links to reviews & articles
A review of The Barcelona Connection by Michael Eaude has been published in the October edition of Catalonia Today.
‘Short, fast-moving scenes and the deft joining of two completely different plots … the novel is not just breathlessly rapid and action-packed, but overflows with humour and satire.’
‘The excellent plotting, the local knowledge, the surreal humour, the political satire and the speed of events … it’s an admirable and very readable crime novel.’
Here’s the link for a review of The Barcelona Connection by Dominic Begg that came out in La Revista, a publication of the British-Spanish Society.
‘The Barcelona Connection is a fast-moving page-turner with a helter-skelter plot.’
‘The background to this thriller is realistic and familiar to those who know Barcelona well. It’s a world of cynical, ambitious politicians; civil servants promoted via enchufe; friction between Spanish and Catalan investigators; disruptive anti-capitalist activists; bumbling US dignitaries and security guards; the continuing influence of old supporters of Franco; the soulless 21st century, exemplified by apartment hotels seemingly without human staff-members …’
Here’s a link to a review of the book by Eve Schnitzer published by the Spain in English online newspaper.
‘Tim Parfitt very cleverly weaves together two parallel though quite different stories, set against the background of a contemporary Barcelona that is even busier than usual with major international meetings.’
‘Two plot lines interweave, with some highly ironic as well as suspenseful results … this book has a lot to offer the reader, from pure entertainment to solid information and, possibly, a fuller understanding of the complexities of Spain and Catalonia in particular.’
Here’s the link to an article I was asked to write for The Art Newspaper about my research on Salvador Dalí.
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