Q.- What is "Madrid Babylon"?
A.- It is a novel written originally in Spanish by author José A Zorrilla under the title of
"El rey de la movida" and then translated into American by Asa Zatz with the words "Madrid Babylon".
Q.- What is the purpose of reading such a novel in order to learn Spanish?
A.- Well, "El rey de la movida" is a book slightly off the beaten path, therefore the kind of vocabulary
you are going to learn is not exactly the one you are likely to acquire in an academic environment,
though there are chapters written in classical Spanish.
Q.- Does it contain profanity?
A.- Yes of all sorts. It has to. The book is very idiomatic. It intends to be a shot of spoken language
Q.- May use the movida words I learn from the text in everyday situations?
A.- Let yourself be guided by someone who is the real thing. There are movida words you are not supposed to use.
If for instance, you are offered a glass of wine and trying to be appreciative you thank your host with the words:
"Hostia, qué priva" you are likely to be in trouble. Unless you are in the right company.
Q.- Any american model or counterpart?
A.- Not in literature that I know, though Salinger and Kerouac went more or less this way. Spike Lee in
movies might be next in kind.
Q.- Are all the words you use in the text still alive?
A.- Most of them are. But slang runs very fast. Some of them may be out of date by today´s standards.
Q.- Is the social and political picture you depict in the text still alive?
A.- No. The text refers to the socialist municipal term, long over. Do not expect to find the Madrid I
wrote about. Working class restaurants, tramps, lotto vendors dressed in gowns and the like are not part
of the landscape any more. In this respect those years were fascinating. Buñuel and Almodovar lived together.
Almodovar, the modernity, that is, has taken over. I am delighted to report, BTW.
Q.- Why do you do this? I mean leave this text on the net for free.
A.- I feel very honored that so many guys and dolls want to learn Spanish. Since the expense is already done
and nobody cares I rather help kids that keep the manuscript in the vault.
Q.- May I contact you for explanations or doubts?
A.- Definitely not. My life is very busy. Talk to your teacher.
Q.- Would you be available for lending me a hand if I write something on you or your work?
A.- Same as above. No.
Q.- Can I interview you or request any personal elaboration?
A.- Read and enjoy. This is as far as my commitment goes.
Q.- I am a senior professor of a well known university. Does all the above apply to me?
A.- No. If you have something serious in mind and you think you may find me useful for the purpose please let me know. Though my carnet de bal is quite full I will try to accomodate you and the project. This is not a formal promise.