Alfonso XIII: Playboy King and Porno Pioneer

Spain’s first pornos As with the internet, it didn’t take long for pioneers to see the pornographic possibilities of film with early pornos appearing pretty quickly after the Lumiere brothers first displayed their invention in Paris in 1895. However, unlike the internet, this was no democratic tool, the first silent pornos were mainly made to …

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The Habsburg Jaw

Maybe you’ve seen the signature pouty lips and jutting Habsburg chin caught on canvas in Velázquez’s paintings of Felipe IV or perhaps you’ve seen it grow to even more ridiculous proportions in portraits of his son Carlos II (pic above). But just how did this jawline get so out of control? Interbreeding for power The …

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Books about Madrid

Photo from Guide to Madrid’s Literary District by John Dapolito Last month my book A Guide to Madrid’s Literary District was published by Secret Kingdoms. To celebrate the launch, I’ve put together a reading list of other great books about Madrid that will give you a good grounding in local lore. Whether you’re a history …

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Book launch: A Guide to Madrid’s Literary District

I’m delighted to announce that A Guide to Madrid’s Literary District will be officially launched in Secret Kindoms bookshop on April 20, 2024! Illustrated by Nathan Brenville and published by Secret Kingdoms, the book is a glossy bilingual guide to Barrio de las Letras. In honour of Cervantes, the launch of A Guide to Madrid’s …

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A brief crawl around Madrid’s most historic bars

There’s a reason why Madrid’s most historic bars are still in business. After finding the right formula for success, these places have stuck to doing what they know best. Sometimes it doesn’t do to change with the times! Casa Labra There are some bars that, rather than advertise their existence, seem to actively discourage new …

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Hidden Corners of Retiro: The Artificial Mountain

A romantic folly I’ve spent a lot of time exploring hidden corners of Retiro recently while making my new audio tour for Voicemap. However, as Retiro’s Montaña Artificial (artificial mountain) lay well off my route, I hadn’t had time to visit since was reopened this summer. Still, I’m glad I waited. With the autumnal leaves …

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