International House Blog
Do you want to improve your Spanish conversation without signing up for an extra course? This is becoming an increasingly popular choice thanks to the popularity of the language exchange programmes available in Madrid. The idea is fairly simple: a group of people from the most diverse countries gather in a room –usually located in a bar- and, while having some coffees or beers, they speak about subjects they find especially amusing or interesting to learn about.
Simon Manley, the British ambassador in Spain since 2013, visited International House Madrid facilities last Thursday. During the morning he spent with us he was able to personally meet our academies’ team, exchange impressions with many of his fellow citizens settled in Madrid and get to know the work carried out by IH in the dissemination of English language and British culture.
Before taking up his duties as ambassador, Manley was the Director for Europe at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), as well as FCO’s Director of Defence and Strategic Threats. Married to a Spaniard since 1996, he knew Spanish before settling in our country, although is currently improving his mastery of that language; he also fluently speaks French, thanks to his previous position as ambassador in Bruselas and the long periods of time during which he lived in Switzerland. Mr. Manley is a friendly and approachable man, and he offered proof of that during the breakfast he had with us, during which he shared some anecdotes about his travels around Spain and his appreciation of Spanish gastronomy –he has a reputation of being a kitchen wizard-, his experience in learning several languages or his duties as an ambassador; not for nothing, after our meeting with him he had to take an urgent trip to London so he could discuss about the Scottish independence referendum with the Prime Minister. Given that, we were glad to realise that, although it was a day of historical transcendence for the UK, all his attention was focused on IH during the visit.
El Día de la Bestia (Day of the Beast) [Álex de la Iglesia, 1995]
Tired of conventional horror movies? Fed up by those inadvertently hilarious films about Satan and his crew? Well, you’d better try this outrageous comedy made by Alex de la Iglesia, a true filmmaking hooligan who has perpetrated some of the funniest and most shocking films of recent Spanish cinematography. “El Día de la Bestia” is, of course, about the Apocalypse, which allegedly was about to take place in Madrid, 1995. A crazed priest and a no less crazed heavy metal fan are struggling to find out when the ominous event is going to take place. Throughout this frantic adventure you can take a look at some of Madrid’s most emblematic places, including Torres Kio -¡a symbol of the Fallen Angel!- and the huge Schweppes advert hung in Callao. A ridiculously funny cult film not to be missed.
Remember the good old days when Encarta ruled the world? Even more, do you remember keeping those heavy, venerable paper encyclopedias in your shelves? That’s pretty vintage, huh? Since Wikipedia came into our lives like a bull in a china shop, the mere action of browsing through a book to look up some information may seem as eccentric and old-fashioned as carrying a walkman to hear some music.