'Interesting article. There's no-one I can think of either [doing new things on the Spanish music scene]. Everyone likes one, some or all of the same handful of Spanish groups - Amaral, Oreja De Van Gogh, El Canto Del Loco, Melendi, Estopa, the still fashionable Alaska. They get played on the radio all the time, and obviously don't alienate the older generation.
Because Spain is a very inclusive society in terms of age. Young people only have silly hair and fight because they are young - they will soon get the jobs and raise the families which their families expect them to. A very very crucial difference in society here is that becoming an adult does not mean leaving the family as it does in our society. Thus there is no serious attempt at alternative lifestyles here as there is no need for alienated generations to forge their own identities like hip hop or new wave - because they are never alienated.
There are, however, two alternative groups to the mullet and tight T-shirt mainstream and they are both ironically homogenous within themselves - hippies / artists... beards, glasses, Jamiroquai and Camden Town T shirts (as you said) or metallers.The former can develop, as thirtysomethings, into a mildly intellectual / cosmopolitan movement which doesn't really scratch the surface of what we perceive as global culture. It also involves the wearing of ridiculous designer glasses. (Though the designer frames phenomenon here has spread wider, to hands-on-hips housewives wearing chessboards on their faces. Elton John and Dame Edna fans should come over and marvel!)
Spanish people have never got into digging. Most people would find the idea of listening to a 60s rock or funk record extremely strange. Why are you listening to ''old''music?? Unless its a cultural landmark like James Brown or Bob Dylan. And an old Dylan record probably seems similar to them as, say, The West Coast Experimental Pop Band might feel to me. Something obscure, from another time. And me listening to the new Moodymann is like them listening to the new Fatboy Slim. The new shit!
Their mainstream is made up of only the incredibly famous (Madonna, Shakira) and alternative artists then need only constitute a handful - The Ramones, Bruce Springsteen and AC / DC are mentioned continuously as THE alternative. People talk excitedly about a new 'artist' like James Blunt or Michael Buble as if they heard it on a C90 of a John Peel show originally broadcast in Finland in 1987.
Though a lot of ex-pats here scorn the Spanish for their rigid lifestyles, lack of fashion sense, bland food tastes, lack of underground / alternative culture etc etc, I have become accustomed to the way things are here. Its not just a cliche - people here really are more laid back. And I feel a lot more relaxed wandering around in a T shirt from one of the half dozen clothes shops in the high street than I would panicking that I'm not wearing the right scarf or hat in Nathan Barley land.
Something quite exciting could still happen here musically. But they're going to take their time about it. And do it their way, of course.
The flamenco dancer in the picture is actually from Argentina.