Along the way, Lives and Times has come across many interesting places and faces. After more than three years of producing passionate and unique writing, Lives and Times now presents The Best Of Lives and Times, where you can view some of the most popular and potent pieces that Lives and Times has yet produced…
In a world of sterility, Jerez offers pungency; in a century of homogeneity, it offers difference; in contrast to cosmopolitanism, it has community; and against all that is postmodern, Jerez yet retains what all the world once had: romance.
Intoxicated by the music and the manzanilla, a friend jumps up off her seat – arza! they cheer – and slowly moves towards the old man; her waist swaying and his heart singing the two dance in circles and the crowd cries out Olé! Olé! and the clapping grows louder and faster until the final big-bang of a clap closes the show and the old man and young jerezana thank each other with two kisses on both cheeks. A roar explodes from the onlookers pouring out onto the street; Bravoo, Bravoooo!
I learnt that few ordinary men would freely elect to go into the fishing game. As a one of them told me, a fisherman is born into his profession. And if he is not born into it, he is only there out of sheer necessity.
Waiting to meet Gordillo on Marinaleda’s main street, my friend and I spot him easily: his bushranger’s beard and wild eyes make him instantly recognisable. In a pair of red rugby shorts and matching mallorquina sandals he greets us and takes us to the council chambers just up the road, the engine room of this town’s revolution.
But more than this, what will move you is the music. Played in exaltation or commiseration, to a victorious tune or on a darker note, the music of the marching bands in-tow is spectacular. The horns, snare drums, big drums, clarinets; you’ll want them all closer, louder.
La Feria del Caballo. La Feria. Feria is a dream, a kaleidoscope of colours and faces all flying by and blurring with the other, every day and night a dream within a dream, each a layer deeper than the other; you forget when one begins, when another ends, lose track of the chain of events which led you to be lost in this world where above you is a multi-coloured milky-way of fairy lights and below you a whirlpool wind of dust flying around your feet.
Approaching the river a flock of goats came clanging down the hill with their bells swinging at the necks and their udders swinging at the ground. Their shepherd told me with pride that his cheese is 100% cheese, no added nothing for him and his old man old-man calling at him from the hill. The old fella was telling him to bring in the young one, a little kid goat born three days ago, her umbilical cord still drying off in the sun. Spring is well and truly here.
A megalomaniac rooster was their tormentor for so long, a malevolent patriarch who would have his fill of the birdseed before allowing the females to eat; his heavy claw would scratch at the ground to warn them off, like a terrifying bang of the fists at the tyrant’s table.
Leaving behind Barcelona is like leaving behind the summer; you know there’s a new season coming but you breath deep every last breath of warm air, you catch every last ray of light, remember every adventure and each romance and you let one more ambling afternoon pass you by on the grass or the sand, but you now there’s a change in the air and it’s time to decide: build a nest or migrate south.
Lives and Times… Writing on the World Around Us