Dancing and music fill the streets - everyone loves it, everyone does it; MADRID DAYS

They were having a little celebration down in Carabanchel the other day. Straddling the south-west fringes of the capital, this is not a beautiful part of town. Down-at-heel with shoddy higgledy-piggledy apartments, it is just a bus stop from dusty frontier territory beyond the ring-road, reminiscent of a scene from Paris, Texas.

But Carabanchel is perhaps the proudest of Madrid's working-class suburbs. In Franco's day it was notorious for its prison, where a number of today's illustrious citizens spent time at the Generalissimo's pleasure. The prison is still there,and so is the barracks, from which soldiers kept tabs on red-belt agitators.

The barracks is a community centre now, and the women from the province of Extremadura, vibrant in scarlet and emerald embroidered frocks, with broad brocade ribbons cascading down their backs, were heading up to the former military chapel to mark the first anniversary of Carabanchel's Extremaduran bar and clubhouse.

Most working-class Mad-rilenos come from somewhere else, fleeing rural poverty to seek a livelihood in the capital, and Extremadura is one of the poorest regions. But the 30 or so women and young girls getting ready in the back of their clubhouse, primping and preening and fluffing up each other's petticoats, were revelling in the prospect of celebrating their origins.

Sturdy, matronly Joaqui, a steely glint in her eye and makeup as startling as her sequinned bodice, came to Carabanchel 30 years ago from Badajoz. "We don't wear costumes like this at home," she confessed, "but being so far from home we feel the need to express our identity. It's an emotional feeling, and we like to pass it on to our daughters."

Their banter and raucous laughter ricocheted off the tiled walls, while Carmen behind the bar served up beer after frothy beer to the more sheepish menfolk, outdazzled by their resplendent wives. Loli, a shrunken nervy woman in normal life, glowed like a princess with her long gold earrings and a scarlet rose pinned above her ear, her bright shawl clutched round her skinny shoulders.

Carmen's crumpled husband, Manuel Calvo was European boxing champion in 1969. Their son Manuel, 29, with a beautiful fragile face and squashed nose, inherited his father's talent and is Spain's reigning featherweight champion. Manuel jnr is talking to Lourdes, 20, one of a handful of young women training to be a matador, who rents a room in Loli's cramped flat. Lourdes and young Manuel share the pinched, serious look of those striving to spring from their humble origins.

The Estremaduran women erupted on to the street, shoulder pads bumping, the young girls giggling and darting in their finery. And then, suddenly, the women started to sing, and the girls to dance, lifting their arms and swirling their bright skirts in the golden afternoon. They sang their hearts out on that dusty pavement, with the buses and lorries thundering by, in praise of their homeland.

Later that evening, I was eating dinner with friends in a good restaurant in Salamanca, which is a smart - what they call "pijo" - district. The place was unusually quiet and empty, and the waiters became more and more lugubrious as diners failed to materialise. We all knew why. Real Madrid, the "pijo" team, were playing their prolier local rivals Atletico in the deciding football match of the league.

Only ignorant foreigners would spurn their television sets on a night like this. Finally the waiter murmured with satisfaction: "Three-one victory to Real". But by then we already knew. A human tide was roaring through this prosperous Real heartland. Armies of fans, men carrying their young sons and daughters on their shoulders, trailing purple and white flags, some embellished with the scarlet-and-gold for Spain, chanted and surged along pavements where little old ladies usually walk their poodles, past wrought-iron portals and shop windows of designer textiles and soft leather handbags.

Scooters and cars created a city-wide traffic jam, filling the night with a deafening clangour of hooters. Young girls with velvet headbands leaned excitedly out of BMWs, their glossy, blazered boyfriends flushed with joy.

The sound of trumpets and kazoos floated through my bedroom window intermittently all night. A fanfare of car horns shattered the dawn lull, startling the swallows, as revellers ejected from all-night bars protested at finding themselves double-parked. Madrilenos of all classes love to celebrate, out on the street, at full volume.

Elizabeth Nash

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Mentor for people who have offended

This is an unpaid volunteer role. : Belong: We are looking for volunteers who ...

Business StudiesTeacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Supply Business Studies Teacher...

English Teacher

£110 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: English Teacher - CaerphillyT...

Cover Supervisor, Folkestone School - full time and part time

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We have urgent and multiple vaca...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?