Carnival, Coldplay No-Play…

.…Or Comic Hero Convention

I first met Lara Hernandez when she was eighteen around seven years ago, and despite her being fifty years younger than this seventy year old man we found out that we both enjoyed recorded music, live events and reading and we have stayed lightly in touch ever since, occasionally bumping into each other in the street, and otherwise staying in touch via social media. In some ways she has become my muse, ever since I wrote a song for her, called Para Lara, which described her as a ´Red Bull Girl in a White Wine World´. These days she keeps me informed of arts events that matter to her generation of young ladies here on Lanzarote. 

In the seven years since I first met her, when she was eighteen,  she has helped her mother come out on the good side of very bad health and, furthermore, both of them have returned to college as mature students, with Lara studying International Interior Design. At twenty five she now harbours dreams of maybe setting up an office in Australia and creating her own solid business.

So when we bumped into one another in Puerto Del Carmen a week or so ago, I soon learned that both Lara and Mama are very happy and that Lara is incredibly excited about the forthcoming annual Carnival events soon to take place over a ten day period in Arrecife.

´Oh. Norman,´ she said before actually saying hello, Ï am so excited it is Carnival time this month.´

We haven´t actually seen Carnival parades or processions for a few years years, due to the pandemic, but Carnival Time is about to be open all across the island. It has long and proud tradition here, but whilst the carnival days I remember from living in Prestwich and Heywood in the UK were relatively traditional and tame, with perhaps a dozen decorated wagons, a few bars or two from a brass band-

Here there is a touch of the Diablo about a carnival and there is devilment in the air.

My young friend makes off my comparison and makes light of the devil and his works.

´No, no´ , says Lara, ¨Carnival is about costume and walking in the parade and dancy dancy to the music, then drinky drinky and party party until I fall asleep asleepy and then wake up in time for the next parade the following day.

Lanzarote’s carnivals are back this year, (after the pandemic caused cancellations of the last few years) and they are approaching fast. The carnival calls for colourful and unique outfits. Wendy’s Fantasy pop-up shop in Puerto del Carmen has a wide range of wigs, headdresses, and masks!

Whether you’re looking for eccentric headdresses, impressive wigs or mysterious masks, Wendy’s Fantasy pop-up shop is the place to be.

The shop features a wide range of styles including steampunk, candy, gothic, classic colourful carnival and more.

You can find the shop in C.C. Matagorda on the top floor. The shop is open Fridays from 6pm – 9pm and Saturdays 10am – 2pm (other hours by appointment.)

Be sure to follow the Wendy’s Fashion Facebook page to keep up to date.

During Carnival time on Lanzarote people have traditionally prepared food and drink to share with parading visitors who call in to grab a bite and enjoy music and dance. Normally owner’s boats gave fish to the local population, that is why on those days they were never short of sancocho, a traditional food in all houses of the island.

In Lanzarote the music of the foritos, or accordions, has always been a prominent sound of carnival whenever groups of people get together to have fun, always with musical instruments. The sailors of Arrecife, in those days known as  bucheros, would parade on the port´s streets on Carnival days dressed up with old country clothes, coloured ribbons, masks and, armed with dried fish bladders filled with air, used to run around and hit people on the way. Carnival has always carried this air of mischief, and perhaps with such revelry  in mind, Carnivals were not allowed in Lanzarote during the Spanish Civil War of the twentieth century and it was not until 1963 that the tradition was revived..

Carnival also now represents a range of island traditions and mythical / legendary figures such as Los Diabletes,  involved in carnival in Villa de Teguise. Los Diabletes seem to be drawn from aboriginal, Spanish and Morisco beliefs.. These figures, which can be traced back to the sixteenth century, embody the billy-goat, a symbol of maleness and fertility, just like the ram was in El Hierro and later Los Buches in Arrecife.

The typical clothing worn by Los Diabletes is a white trouser and a shirt painted with red and black rhombus. Also, performers wear a big mask similar to a bull face with emphasis on the enormous horns of a billy-goat and the red tongue.

Typically, those performing in carnival under this guise wear their costume, play cowbells and carry a baton to threaten and ´hit´ the pedestrians.

When speaking at the opening of Expo Carnival 2021 the Councillor For Culture, Daniel Medina, anticipated that ´those attending the exhibition will appreciate the great detail of the clothing of fourteen carnival groups, the posters that have illustrated the Playa Blanca Carnival for the last ten years and other images that show the creativity that surrounds this party´.

On the day after we had collected out T.I.E. cards ( a kind of resident´s id pass) it was great to see this reminder of how much Lanzarote is continuing to make its cultural offer to the indigenous, new residents and occasional visitors.  That is at least one of the reasons we can be so confident that tourists will return to the island once this covid bug is finally exterminated.

The Three King Parade, in which camels brought ´kings´ parading through the towns of the island is due to take place in a few days time, but this year, like last, the Kings will give their royal waves from the back of an open top car, and the streets will be lined with far less people because of covid restrictions, so diluting the celebratory atmposphere even if the reverence still remains.

We mentioned on these pages recently the wonderful line-up od concerts in The Classical Musical Festival due to be delivered across the eight islands this month, and although we are delighted to have acquired tickets for six the seven performances scheduled to take place on Lanzarote, the covid caseloads announced this morning must place a cloud  of doubt over whether the concerts will be able to go ahead.

So Lara and her friends have much to look forward to, and a few drinks at a Carnival is hardly hell-raising.

However, she raised Hell when she told me she had also been looking forward to attending a big rock concert by Coldplay! However, Lara has just learned that the particular bubble has burst and died. 

She told me she recently clicked on Google to try to book tickets for one of the two nights that UK band Coldplay are due to perform in May at The Estadio Olimpic de Montjuic Companys in Barcelona. This is a a concert still four months and more away and yet on the days she told me of her interest, prefaced with a WTF expression, she said the interest had waned when she had logged on to purchase tickets only to find only 2% of the 52,000 original tickets still available,….at the knockdown price of more than 450 euroes each !

She had begun our conversation by asking if I knew of Coldplay, and what did I think of their music.

Yes, my young friend, I first heard of Coldplay when you were still a very little girl of four years old. Now, with over 100 million records sold, 9 Brit Awards and 7 Grammys, Coldplay is an iconic, alternative rock band with hit songs like Viva La Vida, Hymn For The Weekend, Paradise, The Scientist, Fix You, Adventure Of A Lifetime and Yellow. The band’s legendary catalogue also includes eight #1 albums: Parachutes, A Rush of Blood to the Head, X&Y, Viva la Vida, Mylo Xyloto, Ghost Stories and A Head Full of Dreams, as well as popular collaborations like Something Just Like This with The Chainsmokers and Princess of China featuring Rihanna. 

So I hope you are suitably impressed by this wise, .old man with a wealth knowledge and the wisdom of sage. Actually I found that description on the official Coldplay web site, and was perhaps disappointed that they felt their fans might need to be reminded of that.

You also asked me if I like Coldplay,…hmmm, to tell you the truth I have never liked their music enough to put any of their albums on my personal playlists. They are fine song-writers and more than accomplished musicians, but somehow the delivery of their songs always sound easily delivered, but with little passion. I did love Viva La Vida perhaps because it was more upbeat and with a catchier chorus than we later became accustomed to from them. I think their music is good but actually is not very much fun.

I can imagine you among Chris Martin´s ´loyal friends and front row dancers´, in your expensive sunglasses, dancing in your designer clothes, with your mobile phone camera in one hand trying to take a selfie with Chris and the band in the background and with your other hand waving free.

What I can´t imagine is how as a mature student you could possibly afford that ticket price of 450 euros, so I reckon that concert might have to be put on a ´bucket list´  of  wishes to make true much later in your life.

These two Coldplay nights in Barcelona are part of The Music Of The Spheres tour in support of their new album of that same name. This is the group´s ninth studio album by the band, and released on 15 October 2021 by Parlophone in the United Kingdom and Atlantic Records in the United States. Although sales have been excellent they might have been even higher had the album not bee released during covid lockdowns in the UK, USA and Europe, so this tour might well lead to another spike of high sales.

According to a piece in Article: Talk on Wikipeadia, The Music of the Spheres World Tour is the ongoing eighth concert tour currently being undertaken by British rock band Coldplay. It was announced on 14 October 2021 in support of their ninth studio album Music of the Spheres and marked a return to live performing after the COVID-19 pandemic. The band had not toured for their previous record, Everyday Life (2019), putting shows on hold until they could work out how to ensure it would be environmentally friendly. According to a plan they developed for over two years, emissions are meant to be reduced by 50% compared to A Head Full of Dreams Tour (2016–17).

Similar to the Mylo Xyloto Tour (2011–12), the concert run features extensive use of pyrotechnic and confetti visuals. However, they were adapted to reduce emissions: the former has less explosive charge and uses new formulas to reduce harmful chemicals, while the latter is 100% biodegradable and require less compressed gas for ignition. Meanwhile, Xylobands were replaced by PixMob wristbands made from plant-based materials. Other efforts include the first ever mobile rechargeable show battery (developed with BMW) and a mobile application to interact with fans and help them to take environmentally conscious travel options.

Coldplay also partnered with One Tree Planted, ClientEarth, the Grantham Institute and numerous other organizations to ensure their endeavour’s success. Additionally, the band pledged to plant a tree for every ticket sold through a reforestation agreement. They broke many records in Latin America and Europe as sales began, moving over one million tickets in both continents. The tour started in Costa Rica’s Estadio Nacional on 18 March 2022 and was met with widespread acclaim from music critics, who praised their stage presence and joyful performance, concluding the shows were “triumphant”, “immersive” and “intimate”.

Between early March  and 1st October 2023, the band will play 47 gigs across Europe and over to the venues like The Rose Bowl in the States all at big stadium venues offering attendance figures like the fifty thousand I mentioned earlier and could earn the band up to 

105,750000 or to bring it down to earth, over 100million euros.

So you don´t really want use all your hard earned money contributing to their wealth, do you ? No, of course you don´t.

´Oh, Norman,.. you are right again. I have already decided what I want to spend my money on,´ she said excitably. Ï will take me and Mama to the Comic Con Convention in London at about the same time as Barcelona and Coldplay.

It is on for three days and is one of the biggest conventions attracting lots of people and many of them go in Costume as a comic character,… I will go as Batwoman, and Mama will go as …..well, I don´t know yet.

It will be great to see it all, and to see more of London, although I have been before´.

I thought it my duty to check out what sounded to me like a quite strange event , but Chris Arrant, writing on-line at Popverse suggested otherwise.

Chris Arrant is the Popverse’s Editor-in-Chief. He has written about pop culture for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher’s Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, Newsarama, TOKYOPOP, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press’ anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. (He/him)

The dates for London’s summer 2023 MCM Comic Con are here: May 26 – 28, 2023.

(And to make things even better, the Monday following May 29 is a UK bank holiday!)

Announced just days ahead of the fall 2022 MCM Comic Con, the summer 2023 MCM Comic Con will once again be in East London’s ExCel Centre just off the Thames. We’ve already added to our growing comic conventions schedule.

Popverse Superfans will receive a special MCM Comic Con May 2023 presale link today (October 24). MCM Comic Con May 2023 tickets will then be available for on-site purchase at this weekend’s MCM Comic Con October 28 – 30. Following that, online sales for the general public will begin on October 31. (Yes, Popverse is owned by ReedPop – which also runs MCM Comic Con.)

Launched in 2002 as the London Movies, Comics, and Media Expo, what is now known as MCM Comic Con occurs twice annually in London – with spin-off events in other parts of England. ReedPop acquired the MCM family of conventions in 2017, and at its height has welcomed over 150,000 guests in one ginormous weekend.

Stay tuned for more details about next year’s MCM Comic Con – and get ready for this fall’s MCM Comic Con with our coverage, which you can find here.

So, there you have it. A conversation between a wordly-wise seventy year old man and a sassy, street-wise young woman of twenty five or six,………………….. and guess which one of us learned the most.

Maybe drinky,-drinky, party-party, sleep-asleepy Lara IS a lot more fun than weary-weary, worry-worry Warwick !!