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News and comments and events relating to Granada, 'the city where anything is possible, Granada, 'la bella y la bestia, and Federico Garcia Lorca's complicated love-hate relationship with the city, etc

the city with the greatest density of tourists

granadaPosted by Simon Sun, February 11, 2018 21:29:42

Would you believe that Granada is the city which receives the greatest density of tourists in the whole of Spain? Well, it is.

I’m not quite sure how they work this out but it’s to do with the number of visitors in relation to the permanent population and the total urban area. So Exceltur, in its study of the fifteen most popular tourist destinations, puts Granada in first place with an average daily tourist density of 11.7%. This tops even Barcelona, with a density of 11.1%.

This might not come as such a surprise if you visited the Mirador San Nicolás on a sunny Sunday, like today (11 Feb 18). Or if you walked down through the Albaicín facing the oncoming hordes on the morning of a Spanish ‘puente’ (long weekend: 6-10 Dec 17).

And it places Granada’s well above Spain’s average tourist density of 7.4%. In Madrid, by way of comparison, tourists would pass barely perceived among the daily crowds of locals, with a density of a mere 4.6%. Or what about Córdoba with only 3.7%? Granada is also well ahead of the two other major Andalusian tourist destinations: Málaga (8% tourist density) and Sevilla (7.1%).

A determining factor in the surge of tourist density in recent years has been the boom in residential tourist accommodation à la airbnb. Exceltur calculates that a daily average of 27,376 visitors come to Granada, of whom 15,078, that’s 55%, opt for airbnb-type lodgings. Only 45% overnight in proper hotels and hostals.

This is a high proportion, but it is not as high as Málaga, where 75% of tourists are reported to stay at these kinds of places. It is also behind most of the major tourist destinations in this respect: Alicante (67.8%), San Sebastián (66.7%), Palma de Mallorca (65.8%), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (60.6%), Sevilla (60.5%) and Valencia (60,3%). And it is this conversion of residential accommodation into tourist accommodation that has given rise to the greatest displeasure among the local population.

In Barcelona, it is the high proportion of private homes totally or partially converted into tourist accommodation that has fuelled open hostility to the influx of tourists. There, neighbourhoods are really being torn apart by a loss of affordable housing and the restructuring of services to cater for what are in effect holiday makers rather than for the local people. Of course, it is sheer numbers that cause the greatest problems. It’s ok if a couple of guiris pop into your local bar, but if your local bar then becomes a tourist attraction, you may have to go somewhere else for your coffee and toast.

So far, an open hostility towards visitors has not led to aggressive reactions among the local people of Granada. This may be because the places where tourists aggregate (Alhambra, Albaicín, Centre) tend to be outside the traditional neighbourhoods and residential areas. It is less likely to be a result of the sweet, tolerant nature of the indigenous populace.

Acknowledgements to Guadalupe S. Maldonado, Granada Hoy, 11 Febrero, 2018

http://www.granadahoy.com/granada/Granada-destino-presion-turistica-Espana_0_1217578603.html



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INAUGURATION PROGRAMME (REPRISE II)

The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Sun, January 28, 2018 10:19:40


In the coming weeks and months a suitable cultural programme will have to be worked out to mark the arrival of the Lorca legacy at the Lorca Centre in June this year, touch wood.

This of course will be the second time such a programme has had to be devised.

Seven years ago, a truly impressive programme, the aim of which was to position the Centre as ‘one of the most important cultural assets’ in Spain, was announced for the planned opening in the summer of 2011. I wrote about it in //blog.granadalabella.eu/#post4, dated 20 October 2010, and in //blog.granadalabella.eu/#post16, on 30 January 2011. The programme included:

· an exhibition about Lorca’s poetry collection Poet in New York.

· an artistic staging of the public readings Lorca used to give of Poet in New York in the 1930s

· an exhibition on Dalí, Lorca y la Residencia de Estudiantes

· a performance of the ‘impossible’ play How Five Years Pass

· a production fusing the unfinished play we call Comedy without a Title with its ‘play within the play’ Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

All this was not to be. As we now know, thanks largely to the fraudulent actions of the Foundation’s corrupt secretary Juan Tomás Martín, a financial hole of several million euros appeared in the accounts which prevented the completion of the work on the building and meant the ambitious programme had to be scrapped (//blog.granadalabella.eu/#post18, 9 June 2011). When the Centre was finally opened in 2015, it was a low-key affair without pomp, without ceremony, - and without the legacy. (//blog.granadalabella.eu/#post58, February 2017).

There is some urgency in finalising the new programme, as suitable sponsors need to be found for each of the chosen events.

It hardly needs adding that La Caixa will be a prime candidate for a role in these sponsorship plans. Compare #post76 dated 20 January 2018

Starting point for this post was also G. Cappa’s article in Granada Hoy, 17 January 2018 El emblema de La Caixa respaldará el Centro Lorca durante una década http://www.granadahoy.com/granada/emblema-Caixa-respaldara-Centro-Lorca_0_1210079196.html





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HOW MUCH IS LORCA WORTH TODAY?

The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Wed, January 24, 2018 17:53:37

As a poet-playwright, Lorca started making serious money when his plays, particularly Blood Wedding, got put on in Buenos Aires in the mid-1930s. In the years of the Second Republic he was doing alright. But the money he was worth during his lifetime pales into insignificance when we consider how much his works are worth today.

Of course, one would have to say that it’s impossible to put a price on the literary legacy that Lorca left us. In 2007 Christie's auction house actually had a go, estimating its value at between 11 and 17.5 million euros, but that was ten years ago. The consortium responsible for financing the Centre more recently used a figure of 18.7 million as an estimation to set up as a security for a one-million-euro debt. Otherwise it has been common to talk about 20 million euros or more.

Unfortunately, the private agreement between the Lorca Foundation and La Caixa (see post#76, 20 January 2018) failed to put a figure on the estimated value of the legacy, which is a pity because, even if we agree the collection is priceless, an erroneous valuation could have negative financial and even culture-political consequences.

For it is not only the legacy, but the value of the legacy, that attracts tourists to Granada. A legacy valued at 11 million euros will not have the same pull as one worth 20 million.

Lorca y Lola Membrives después del estreno de "Bodas de sangre" en 1933, en Buenos Aires. Marilyne Gourel de St Pern https://www.pinterest.es/pin/347199452493873465/

Acknowledgement: Facts and figures from G. Cappa’s article in Granada Hoy, 17 January 2018 El emblema de La Caixa respaldará el Centro Lorca durante una década http://www.granadahoy.com/granada/emblema-Caixa-respaldara-Centro-Lorca_0_1210079196.html



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JOB VACANCIES AT THE LORCA CENTRE

The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Sun, January 21, 2018 16:27:18

The Lorca Centre needs librarians, archivists, filing staff, and such, to keep a track of the thousands of original manuscripts and documents that make up the invaluable literary legacy left behind by the city’s outstanding poet.

Apart from the manuscripts, correspondence, and first editions in its unique collection, the Foundation is also in possession of a huge collection of books: all the books that have ever been written and published about Lorca in all the world’s languages, apparently!

Once the Centre starts operating properly, not only will staff be needed to manage the archives, there will also be a need for personnel to advise and inform the public and to assist researchers who will come from all corners of the globe. It is clear that the work will require specially trained employees with expert knowledge.

What a fabulous environment to work in. Any takers?A cross-section of the Centre, its library, and the purpose-built, iron-clad strong room where Lorca's material legacy will be kept.

Acknowledgement: information taken from G. Cappa, Granada Hoy, 17 January 2018 El emblema de La Caixa respaldará el Centro Lorca durante una década http://www.granadahoy.com/granada/emblema-Caixa-respaldara-Centro-Lorca_0_1210079196.html



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THE LA CAIXA-LORCA CENTRE?

The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Sat, January 20, 2018 18:41:35

La Caixa, once a savings bank for the Catalan working class, today Spain's third largest financial institution, is claiming its stake in the Lorca legacy, an invaluable collection of thousands of documents and manuscripts that bear direct witness to the poet’s life, times and works.

Their claimed share in the legacy is in exchange, it seems, for the part they played in filling the financial hole left by the Juan Tomás affair {blog.granadalabella.eu/#post57, 5 Feb 2017}, thus making the transfer of the legacy to Granada possible. It includes the right to display the company logo in the Centre’s foyer and on its webpage, as well as to figure as sponsor to various events it may organise. The presence of La Caixa in the cultural activities of the Centre is supposed to be low-key, and it will be maintained for ten years.

Exactly what low-key is supposed to mean is not entirely clear as details of the agreement between the financial institution and the Lorca Foundation have not been made public. It’s a private agreement, explains the Foundation’s new, honest secretary (Juan Tomás’s replacement and previously director of the Reina Sofía Museum), and it also covers things that don’t have anything to do with the Centre or the legacy. - I wonder what they are? I ask myself suspiciously - “But,” we are reassuringly assured, “all the involved parties have been fully informed of that part of the agreement that does have to do with the Centre”. Nevertheless, the exact nature of the participation of La Caixa in future activities has been left open, and besides, it is La Caixa’s policy, we are told, never to give details of its collaboration agreements. This I somehow find less than reassuring.

2018 is the ninetieth anniversary of Lorca’s poetic masterpiece Romancero Gitano and to celebrate the event I am half expecting a new commemorative edition to come out: The La Caixa Gypsy Ballad Book

THE LORCA LEGACY – brought to you by ...
Acknowledgement: What you have here is my interpretation of facts I read in G. Cappa’s article in Granada Hoy, 17 January 2018 El emblema de La Caixa respaldará el Centro Lorca durante una década http://www.granadahoy.com/granada/emblema-Caixa-respaldara-Centro-Lorca_0_1210079196.html



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Gibson's "Assassination of Lorca": update

Lorca disappearing and deathPosted by Simon Mon, January 08, 2018 19:16:33

It’s funny that just two months ago I could quote Ian Gibson as saying "I’m finished with Lorca and I don’t intend to revise or update what I have written and published about him up to now", while today in the first month of 2018 I can gladly announce that he is in fact working on an updated version of his book El asesinato de García Lorca, first published in France in 1971, translated to English in 1979.

The explanation of this contradiction included in my //blog.granadalabella.eu/#post72 is that Gibson tells Manuel Vincent in El País, 6 January 2018, that he started thinking about the compelling need to update this particular work about six months ago, whereas my November quote is from Maria Serrano, originally published in El Público on 27 February 2017. Gibson changed his mind soon after that interview. I’m happy to say.

Most of us know that Lorca biographer Ian Gibson has dedicated much of his life to digging up the facts and details about Lorca’s life, times, works, and his untimely death. His book about the killing of the poet had to be published in France because it was impossible to publish it in Spain. He was a pioneer in the field of Lorca research. Since then, things have changed.

For one thing, Eduardo Molina Fajardo’s widow was allowed, or possibly encouraged, to publish her husband’s research posthumously under the title of Los últimos días de García Lorca in 1983. Franco had gone, the conspiracy of silence around Lorca’s murder was being broken down (Gibson had played his part in this), and as a Falangist, Molina Fajardo had access to sources that were not so easily available to Gibson. These sources were given particular prominence by Miguel Caballero in his 2011 publication Las trece últimas horas en la vida de García Lorca, which leaves behind the last days of Lorca’s life referenced by Fajardo to concentrate on his last hours: Las trece últimas horas. Caballero’s findings were at the centre of my attention for several months on my return to Granada at the end of the summer 2017 and were the subject of eight posts in all: //blog.granadalabella.eu/#post64 - #post71. There is no doubt in my mind that Caballero is the catalyst for Gibson finally deciding to take a new look at his 1971 conclusions.

Pictures: Lorca researchers Molina Fajardo, Gibson, and Caballero Pérez

Gibson’s updated work will be out in April! Molina Fajardo’s and Miguel Caballero’s findings will be taken into consideration, of course, as will new facts contributed by other researchers over the years. Gibson promises to review all the theories about Lorca’s last steps as well as analyse all the searches for the poet’s remains that have been undertaken to date, but to no avail.

Nobody is anywhere near as well equipped for the task as Gibson. Nobody has his overview, combined with his in-depth knowledge of Granada in 1936 and the assassination of the city’s greatest poet.



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legacy - agreement signed and sealed

The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Fri, January 05, 2018 16:30:35
An agreement between the parties involved in financing the Lorca Centre has been signed and sealed and the invaluable archive containing the poet's legacy will be delivered into its purpose built iron clad strong room before the end of June 2018.

But before you get too excited, read on.

The first time I blogged about the Lorca Centre, situated in Granada’s Plaza de la Romanilla, just a stone’s throw from the Cathedral, was in October 2010. The Centre had been due to open by December, but earlier in the year a shortfall of 4.5 million euros in the estimated costs had come to light, leading to wrangling among the participating financial backers as to who should pay what. The opening was put back to an unspecified date ‘early’ in the following year. [//blog.granadalabella.eu/#post4]

The setback was not unprecedented. In March 2007 it had been falsely announced that the Centre, due to start operations in the course of 2007, would open its doors to the public before the end of 2008. The project went back to at least 2003 when it was declared that there was a unanimous agreement and a political will shared by all the financial backers of the Lorca Foundation to build the Centre, on which work was actually started in 2005, and which was to be an important cultural landmark and tourist attraction in the city, housing the poet's legacy, an archive of documents consisting of over 2,000 sheets of original manuscripts, thousands of other documents, original drawings, musical scores and photographs, all of them relating to the poet’s work and life, which until then had been kept at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid.

"Look out for news on the opening dates!" was my excited and overoptimistic conclusion to that #post4 of October 2010. In view of my knowledge and experience of Lorca’s Granada, the Granada of contemplation, dreams, and inertia, of grand projects that are rarely fully realised, I should have refrained from such boldness. By January 2011 it was clear that the much anticipated grand inauguration scheduled for the celebration of the 113th anniversary of the Lorca’s birth on June 5 that year was not going to come off. “It’s unbelievable," lamented Laura García-Lorca (President of the Garcia Lorca Foundation). "The Lorca Centre should never have been a problem.” But it was, and now she was doubtful as to whether the Centre would be operational by the end of 2011. Nor were there any guarantees for 2012! Worst of all, the ambitious inauguration programme that so much work had gone into had to be scrapped. [//blog.granadalabella.eu/#post18]

In July 2011, the official opening was rescheduled for March 2012, but that didn't happen, either. Then: October 2013. The workmen have moved in! To finish the job! It's actually happening. [//blog.granadalabella.eu/#post41]
"Work is being resumed on the Lorca Centre and it will be finished by June," I blogged then. "This time - it’s true!"

It wasn't of course. But even Laura García-Lorca, who had reason enough sceptical if anybody did, was quite confident that the Centre would be opened in time for the 116th anniversary of the poet’s birth on 5 June 2014. "I am totally convinced (this time),” she said, “that the problem of financing the Lorca Centre has been resolved and that we will soon see it open for business”.

I was in London during these years and it was easy for me to take my eye off the latest developments in this pathetic saga: there weren't any. The problem continued to be the 4.5 million euro hole that the original budget had not accounted for.

It turned out that this 4.5 million euro deficit more or less corresponded to the amount that was embezzled by the Lorca Foundation’s secretary Juan Tomás Martín, who had been entrusted to handle the Foundation finances. When we were assured that the legacy archive would be transferred from Madrid to the purpose-built Lorca Centre in time for the 119th anniversary of the poet’s birth on 5 June 2017 (it wasn't), I couldn't help wondering if this was such a good move in view of local corruPSOE petty crooks like Juan Tomás, constantly on the lookout for any opportunity to line their own pockets. [//blog.granadalabella.eu/#post57]

In the meantime, the Centre had been inauspiciously opened in the summer of 2015. It was a low-key affair, without pomp, without ceremony, and, of course, without the legacy.

A little short of two years later, Laura García-Lorca was at the Centre on the occasion of the Lorca Poetry Prize award ceremony. It seems that in the meantime she had fled Granada for Madrid and had not shown her face at the Centre since the Juan Tomás affair. The latest auditing of the Foundation's post-Juan Tomás accounts had been approved, she declared (triumphantly?), and now no obstacle stood in the way of the transfer of the archive. Only technical questions, formalities, remained to be dealt with. "My presence here is to show how advanced the project is and how near we are to realising it, as and how it was initially conceived." And once again she expressed her 100% conviction that it would all be done and dusted by the end of the year, 2017.

Actually, the Residencia de Estudiantes shared Ms García-Lorca's conviction for in June 2017 an exhibition was held there to commemorate the poet's time at the Residencia and to mark the imminent transfer of the legacy it had kept safely for the past 30-odd years to Granada (tierra del chavico/tuppence ha'penny land).

So now, weighing up the evidence so far, tell me: how certain do you feel that the legacy will be in Granada by the end of June 2018? Has the last bridge really been crossed; the last i been dotted?

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Leonard, Lorca, and the Little Viennese Walz

Federico Garcia LorcaPosted by Simon Sat, December 09, 2017 14:57:13

LITTLE VIENNESE WALZ

Leonard Cohen was a poet and some of his greatest inspiration he says he found in the works of Federico García Lorca. So great was his admiration, he actually called his daughter Lorca. But, as he said in his Fundación Principe de Asturias prize acceptance speech1, he developed his own voice; he knew he could never copy Lorca: he wouldn’t dare, so he never tried. On another occasion, he describes how he stumbled on Lorca’s universe of imagery- dawn throwing fistfuls of ants in his face, or thighs that slipped away like shoals of silver minnows’. He did not simply copy these images, he explains2; rather, they made it possible for him to find his own voice, which he defines as a sort of unique poetic ‘self’.

Cohen visited Lorca's birthplace in 1986

‘Take this Walz’ is, everybody knows, a homage to Lorca, and if it is a translation of ‘Pequeño vals vienés, it is quite a free one, where Leonard’s voice deviates significantly from Federico’s. To compare the works of the two poets, I will turn to a set of schemata that contrasts a classical approach to art with a baroque one, not in any historical sense, but as a general tendency applicable at any point of time. Here, ‘classical’ is used to talk about a style that is simpler and more restrained, aspiring to formal harmony and clarity via the balanced proportions of its parts. A baroque approach, by way of contrast, is formally less straightforward, with a more elaborate provision of detail, allowing a greater degree of emotional expression and conveying a richer sense of drama and movement. Within the framework of these schemata, which is explained in the Encyclopaedia Britannica3, I find Lorca’s poetry as more classically inclined, Cohen’s as more baroque.

To demonstrate my point, let’s compare the first stanza and refrain from the Spanish poem and the Canadian song (see below). Revealingly, Lorca uses 46 words to cover this ground; Cohen 67, half as many again. Cohen’s style is wordier, then: Cohen spells things out for us, in more detail, whereas Lorca is less condescending to his reader/listener. There are more discourse devices in Cohen, to help us follow his argument. ‘There’s’ occurs five times, with obvious, almost laboured parallel repetitiveness. In this repetitiveness we also hear the insistent rhythm of the walz in Cohen’s song, unrestrained, almost exuberant. The Canadian draws us in with ‘Now...’, making it sound more confidential (this is between you and me). Lorca itches straight in with ‘En Viena ...’ and ‘hay’ occurs just three times, to indicate (with one minor exception) a new simple sentence, and while his ‘y’ is used to link three noun phrases in one of the sentences, Cohen uses ‘and’ to link two clauses. So, in the six lines of the first stanza, Cohen uses as many as nine clauses to Lorca’s four: the three ‘hay’s plus ‘donde solloza la muerte’. Clauses, built round a verb, are necessarily more dynamic than noun phrases.

In Lorca, there is in fact only one action verb: ‘solloza’; whereas Cohen gives us six: ‘comes to cry/ goes to die/ was torn/ hangs’. There is much more movement, more drama, more telling here; Lorca’s walz is static by comparison. It is restrained and relies on a simpler, barely embellished structure. Cohen’s version more deliberately tugs on the emotions.

For Lorca ‘En Viena hay diez muchachas’ and he doesn’t tell us if they are ‘pretty women’ or not. Cohen’s song is more poetic in conventional terms. He gives us more detail, fills things in for us, is more visual. ‘A tree where doves go to die’ is easier to see than ‘un bosque de palomas disecadas’. Even 900 (windows) comes across as more precise, concrete than 1000 (ventanas), which appears to be more of a neat rough estimate than verifiable tangible fact. Finally, in the refrain, Cohen gives us the unexpected and visually powerful ‘with a clamp on its jaw’ for Lorca’s simple ‘con la boca cerrada’. Clamp = ‘abrazadera’, ‘grapa’, or ‘cepo’, something restricting by force and not simply closed. This is bold poetic translator’s license and lays bare a relationship that is not revealed in Lorca.

The great Leonard with the great Enrique Morente.

In the end, both poem and song offer us the same five images, rather startling in their juxtaposition; only in Lorca’s version, stripped down to the essentials, they make more of an impact: 1) ten girls, 2) a shoulder where Death sobs, 3) a wood of desiccated doves, 4) a fragment of the morning in the gallery of frost, and 5) a hall with a thousand windows. What are we to make of this? Fistfuls of ants thrown in our face! Lorca offers us little help.

So even in this little homage, Cohen takes care to maintain his own distinct voice. He knows that to copy would be fatal. Lorca’s verse, and his startling imagery, is rather a catalyst for Cohen. Cohen is giving us his view, while Lorca leaves more work for his reader/listener to do: his ‘self’ is harder to locate. And this observation is, I believe, generally valid for the poetic works of the two men.

But I may be wrong.

The official photographer at the casa museo in Fuente Vaqueros told me that Cohen asked him to leave the room where Lorca was born while he meditated in the youga lotus position. This photo is not in the room where Lorca was born and it is not the lotus position, though it is clearly in Fuente Vaqueros.

Notes.

1http://www.fpa.es/multimedia-en/videos/speech-by-leonard-cohen-in-the-2011-ceremony2257.html

2https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hnN9PwWezo&t=114s

3https://www.britannica.com/art/Neoclassicism

These are the lyrics I refer to:

Now in Vienna there’s ten pretty women
There's a shoulder where Death comes to cry
There's a lobby with nine hundred windows
There's a tree where the doves go to die
There's a piece that was torn from the morning
And it hangs in the Gallery of Frost
Ay, ay, ay, ay
Take this waltz, take this walz
Take this waltz with the clamp on its jaws

En Viena hay diez muchachas,
un hombro donde solloza la muerte
y un bosque de palomas disecadas.
Hay un fragmento de la mañana
en el museo de la escarcha.
Hay un salón con mil ventanas.
¡Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Toma este vals con la boca cerrada.



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