Long-term resident



Last month a friend of a friend went on a business trip to Madrid, in which city’s Salamanca district he ran across a shop that calls itself ’La Bodega Del Humor’ (which translates roughly as ’The Funny Off-Licence’). Its stock in trade is a wide range of beers, wines and T-shirts with humorous or political labels. As far as the humour is concerned, there are sexualised slogans such as ’Only No Means Yes’ (a twist on the Spanish Socialist Party’s legislative slogan ’Only yes means yes’, meaning that a lack of verbal consent from a woman before sexual intercourse is tantamount to abuse or worse). This is followed by some pseudoscientific labels, including: ’I won’t get vaccinated because I fucking well don’t want to [’no me sale de los cojones’) and: ’Before, parents had three or four children and now children have three or four parents…is that also the fault of climate change?’ (It’s amazing, in fact, how much they can squeeze onto one wine bottle label if they try). But where the Bodega del Humor excels is with its political messages. These range from the simple ’I’m Spanish and this is my flag’ (accompanied, logically enough, by a Spanish flag) to the well-worn symbols of the Falange and the Spanish Foreign Legion which are grouped, tellingly, with the current symbols of the Spanish National Police and the Civil Guard; there are also various portraits of Franco (accompanied by that old chestnut ’España, una, grande y libre’), plus, on one bottle, a photo of the dictator, raised rifle in hand – presumably taken from one of his beloved wildlife hunts – saying: “Where is Pedro Sánchez?”; equally present are slogans such as ’More Spain, less autonomous communities’, or, more insistently, and possibly addressed to some people in those same communities: ’If you don’t like Spain, go fuck yourself!’. To top things off, a brand of beer asks us to give our support to Isabel Ayuso, the ultra-conservative president of the Autonomous Community of Madrid (once famous for having said that the name COVID-19 came from a virus which started on the 19th of December, and whose partner is now being investigated for tax fraud involving a shell company he set up in Miami).

The owner of La Bodega del Humor is one Antonio Durán, who used to run a small chain of shops selling spy gadgets, but – sensing that during the pandemic people needed liquor more than they did hidden cameras – he switched to smearing his singular sense of humour over a wide range of alcoholic beverages before flogging them on a major street in the Spanish capital. The odd thing is that no one there seems to have batted an eyelid at this bulging display of far-right horseshit smack in the middle of a city they are rightly proud of. On the contrary, an interview with a local business magazine presents Durán as a jolly old soul whose establishment is a right royal barrel of laughs.

Among said laughs is a T-shirt which says ’Me gusta la fruta’, a reference to a moment when the aforementioned Isabel Ayuso referred, sotto voce, to Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez as a ’son of a whore’ (’hijo de puta’) in the Spanish Parliament. When asked to clarify what she’d said out loud, she replied ’Me gusta la fruta’. This is what passes for humour in Spanish far-right circles. However, in the unlikely event that I get a chance to tell Mr Durán what I think of him, I will not be using any euphemisms, preferring as I do to talk turkey to tasteless chickens.


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