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Franco Darling, I Don’t Give A Damn

Hard as it is to believe it is now forty-seven years since the great 20th century dictator of Spain General Franco died in the Presidential Place in Madrid on 20 November 1975. Just as remarkably, it is now more than fifty-eight years since Professor Thrupiece, heavily disguised as an easel-toting tourist entered the country on (it is now revealed) a covert diplomatic mission to re-educate the General and bring him back into the international fold. How far the Professor succeeded in his broader mission is still an open question [tapas in general and pulpo a la gallega are, for example, still conus non grata in several otherwise politically forgiving EU states] but in securing the free flow of Seville oranges, the British marmalade industry,, if nothing else, surely has much for which to be thankful and quite as much for which to be relieved*.

Popular in England but - despite Professor Thrupiece's advocacy, not in Spain, Thread Speed was a trusted brand and threats to its supply constituted a national emergency. As the novelist observed: "The past is a foreign country".

* Back in 1964, the Great British Marmalade Shortage was headline news across all of the broadsheets as well as the more popular (and ever alarmist) “gutter media” [eg the BBC], briefly edging from number one spot the Great Drought, The Great Storm, the Great Freeze and even the Great Soprendo. Few will now recall and even fewer properly understand the alarmingly existential nature of the threat posed by the conserve crisis to the Great British Breakfast and all it represented. Housewives reported that their husbands were so disoriented by the absence of an early morning citrus/sucrose-based stimulant that they forget to kiss them farewell, missed their trains and failed to return in the evening, spending the night time hours instead in a state of confusion in various bedsits rented by their secretaries across the length and breadth of the capital.

But we digress ... Coincidentally Spain and General Franco are once again back in the news as the Threadbone Press prepares to republish - in its Threadbone Art series - General Franco, Paella and Me, the marvellous Memoir by Professor Thrupiece recounting his adventures on his 1964 visit. Heavily redacted at the time [and heavily redacted still] this astonishing portrait of a vanishing Spain has been far too long out of print. Critics have hailed its return, with one remarking, with keen critical awareness, that its return now "fills a much needed gap in the literature".

Readers interested in snatching a pre-publication peak can do so, at no risk of arrest under the Official Secrets Act [1989] by clicking on the link HERE

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