Viva España! A Spanish Vibe in Galway’s Film Fleadh

I occasionally teach Spanish to young people. It’s hard to get a fun vibe when you’re teaching a language outside of the country where it’s spoken, as it can be a little dull by comparison to be taught by one person.

Learning Spanish in Spain means the following:

– sun
– warmth
– fab new foods
– happy, loud people
– beautiful sights
– blue skies
– beer on terraces
– foreign young girls and boys loving your cute accent

Whereas learning Spanish in Galway means…

– cold
– rain
– same dinner as always
– one voice droning on and on
– grammar
– forgetting stuff
– no one around but your kid brother to hear your accent

So you have to come up with creative ideas to make it more fun: make some tapas, read aloud from a funny kids’ book – or go to a movie.

The newest cinema in Galway is called the Pálás. It aims to show slightly off-mainstream movies, and arthouse films, and they have been showing a series of films for the Junior Film Fleadh there over the last week or so. My son Paddy went to a Spanish movie with his class on Tuesday and he really enjoyed it, so, in an effort to make learning Spanish in Galway fun, I took my newest student Lily to the same movie this morning. It was called The Chessplayer and it’s about a decent guy in the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War who prefers to say and do nothing when he sees wrongdoing around him, but instead keep a low profile. In the movie it turns out that at certain moments trouble will find you, no matter how you try to keep your nose out of it. The protagonist’s desire to stay neutral reminded me uncomfortably of myself: I say nothing, ever. Maybe I should become more political. Or perhaps it’s a matter of temperament. I’m a detached person, always observing. Maybe that’s my lot as an artist. Maybe I’ll think differently when “they” come for my family.

Afterwards, Lily took herself off to school (bah!). The auditorium had been full of teenagers from various schools around the city – there would have been at least 80 there – but you could have heard a pin drop.
“That’s because their múinteoirs (teachers) were there,” commented Lily’s mum Lorraine.

I made my first sketch of the Pálás today (see above!) from the inside, in the very nice restaurant on the first floor. I liked the way they’ve used mirrors very cleverly in the café so that it looks huge…and my reflection made the perfect subject – and in an obstacle-free direction. It made an infinity sketch which I totally failed to pull off and do justice to. Next time I’ll do better – and the seafood chowder they served was superb, so there’s my reason to go back right there.

Back to the lovely Pálás for more sketches soon…

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