13.11.21 — Journal

Luz Madrid

Epilepsy Warning: This post contains videos which include flashing lights.

The weekend after another busy week brought plenty of fun stuff to be getting up to, even if the weather was continuing it’s downward spiral as we head into winter. I say winter because the weather in Madrid seems to skip spring and autumn: it’s either unbearably hot or freezing cold!

Despite the chill, I’d made plans to head out for tea at a lovely restaurant in the centre before handing out for some drinks and then to a karaoke with some colleagues. It had been a good while since I last went out, and even longer since I last went to my favourite karaoke bar!

The next day, and having somehow miraculously avoided a hangover, I’d arranged to meet up with some other friends to watch a theatre piece written, directed, and starred in by one of their girlfriends. The comedy, called Reset, was a great laugh and took place in a cute little theatre down in the La Latina district. Once the show was over, we all took shelter from the rain in a nearby bar, where we had a round of gin and tonics whilst awaiting the arrival of the cast. 

As 11pm approached, however, I decided that I simply could not miss the last night of Luz Madrid. This was an event taking place all over the city consisting of light installations across some of Madrid’s most emblematic buildings and spaces. I’d been meaning to go during the first two days of the three-day event, but karaoke plans and the third season of Sex Education had wound up distracting me.

The walk down to the centre from La Latina made me begin to think that perhaps my idea hadn’t been the best, as it began to pour it down with rain the moment I stepped out of the bar. With my brolly in tow I wasn’t fazed, however, and I marched determinedly down towards Cibeles, where the bulk of the installations were taking place. 

The reflections of the city lights looked lovely along the wet streets.

The first light show I stumbled upon turned out to be the most enthralling, as the whole of the gardens of the Cuartel General del Ejército de Tierra (Headquarters of the Spanish Army) had been turned into an interactive light show with music and lasers.

I got closer and stood with my head against the railings for a good while, taking in the surreal atmosphere generated by the “Planum et Lumen” installation by Maxi Gilbert. I’d have wandered in, but there was another spectacle I wanted to witness just down the road.

It doesn’t really show up well on camera, but there was a column of light reaching upwards.

The next installation was “Camino a la Vida” by Juanjo Llorens, which took over the facade of the Cibeles Palace, a beautiful building my dad likes to call the “wedding cake”. This piece illuminated the facade as much as it did the sky, with lasers pointed towards the heavens and spotlights scanning the area from atop the palace.

As I stood in the middle of a closed-off roundabout with my shoes absolutely drenched and the rain coming down heavier and heavier, the clock struck midnight and signalled the end of Luz Madrid. I waded back through the empty streets (everyone with any sense had retreated back home when the torrential rain began) and eventually braved the packed metro back home.

The next day saw a break from the rain, but the cloudy skies prompted me to spend the day having lunch and watching a film at a colleague’s house. After a plato combinado (basically a dish with many different types of food on it), we settled down under some blankets on the settee and watched the Almódovar classic “Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios” (titled “Women on the Verge of a Mental Breakdown” in English). I absolutely loved the film, and particularly the song “Soy infeliz”, which I will use to end this blog post…