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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Sunday, December 26, 2021 @ 1:13 PM

Here we are with a fine opportunity to write about Spain, and well done to the bloggers who usually stick to this fascinating subject. The truth is, for we foreigners (expats or immigrants - but that's for another day), we can never learn enough about this marvelous country. There will always be references in everyday conversation we shall miss - unless you had the good fortune to be raised here as a child.

In that case though, your reading will probably be in Spanish - as (y volvemos a lo mismo) their writers will be better informed. Their newspapers are better, too.

But, sometimes we foreigners, with some (or no) experience, decide to start up a newspaper or a magazine, together with some bloke who is going to wander around the bars and sell advertising, another chap with an old van who says he knows the area well and will deliver, a young whizz-kid for the layout on the computer (in my day, it was cut and paste) and a printer that we found - God knows how - up in Ciudad Real who won’t charge too much.

Between the adverts in the mag, we are going to have spaces, which will need filling. We are going to need a writer.

Now, the given. We are in Spain; we are continually learning about this country and we are all, readers and publisher alike, part of the same great adventure. We shall learn together about the geography, politics, language, literature, art, gastronomy, history, flora and fauna, films, music and folklore. What a fabulous opportunity!

But our readers are, apparently, unadventurous, and thus, let’s print articles about lipstick. Articles about the North American fox, about Coronation Street, the First World War, Red China, Marks and Spencer, Manchester, fajitas, Iraq and facelifts; maybe some brainless quizes, rants about Muslims in the British 'homeland' and the price of strawberries in Oxford.

There’s a splendid opportunity to write about sports (if such a thing grabs you), about the victory of the Spanish basketball team, the Spanish Grand Prix champion, our cycling and of course, our football. But no, with the exception of the odd incoherency about or from David Beckham, we will treat you to articles about Fulham or Arsenal.

To remind you further that we are now living in Spain – presumably at our own free will – we will offer you the week’s or even month’s television entertainment. The 'full TV satellite guide' from Britain. Good Lord, it's snowing in Birmingham.

With rare exceptions, the items we shall reproduce for your reading pleasure will appear unsigned. Yet, some poor joe wrote (or translated) them. Writers usually get tuppence for their efforts anyway, but they do like to see their name in print.

When one of our local newspapers prints some piece – apparently to fit some hole on page nineteen next to the advert about cesspit repairs (seventeen years experience, man and boy) – as often as not, there will be no credit for the writer.

Much of the material which appears in our local newspapers and magazines if not about Spain will probably have one thing in common, one general point of union. The articles will come from the Internet.

You can imagine.

‘Geoff, I’ve got a hole on page 32’.

‘Don’t worry, Alice, I’ve found a bit on the Pyramids’.

Another kind of scrip will sometimes float around in a newspaper. Sometimes it will be labelled ‘advertising feature’ and sometimes not. It will be an article handed in by an advertiser with, let’s say ‘not entirely impartial recommendations’ regarding building, eating, investing, shopping, funerals (ahem!) and buying a second hand car. Since these ‘puffs’ are invariably set in Spain, the reader might fall upon them with more enthusiasm and unalloyed relief than they in fact merit.

I like good writers. I think that they make a newspaper worth picking up. I think they entertain and educate the reader.

I think a good writer is worth paying something. I think it’s an opportunity worth taking. 

Forget plagiarism, cynical and bad editing and gratuitous puff pieces. Ask to read something decent about Spain.

Like 1


sdeleng said:
Tuesday, December 28, 2021 @ 11:38 AM

I wrote a blog on El Maestrat in the Communidad of Valencia for for about 3/4 years. No pay. Terrible template to display my photos and I am a photographer principally. I understand what you are saying. I felt unrewarded and frustrated, despite many people emailing me. Mostly they wanted advice for free of course on moving to Spain etc. I was just writing about local life and funny incidents. Off-grid, no TV and mostly Spanish friends. I resigned eventually and the blogs are still online. Probably copied and pasted everywhere in little newspapers....

So I hear you.

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