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Old 11th September 2006, 07:35 AM   #1
Ben
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Default Notes from Spain podcast 47 - Chris Stewart interview

What fun! This weekend we headed deep into the Alpujarras, a mountainous region south of Granada, to interview Chris Stewart, author of Driving Over Lemons, A Parrot in the Pepper Tree, and the Almond Blossom Appreciation Society. After a rather fine lunch overlooking his valley farm, we sat down to discuss topics including:

- The history of the Moors in Spain and the Alpujarras
- The Moorish influence on his lifestyle and farming techniques, including Moorish irrigation techniques
- Olive trees and olive farming around Jaen
- The similarities between the Alpujarra and Morocco
- The writing process
- Moroccan immigration in Spain and El Ejido (a town in Andalusia where many Moroccan immigrants end up working in intensive greenhouse farming).
- The African immigration problem facing Spain now, and the treatment of Moroccan immigrants in Andalusia
- … and finally, a great recipe for Gazpacho!

Listen here, and please comment or ask any questions below!
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Old 11th September 2006, 07:50 AM   #2
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I only took 3 photos while we were there, really because we were there as podcasters, rather than photographers. All 3 were of a herd of goats that surrounded us with clattering bells when we arrived in the valley and began the walk towards Chris's farm. Here is one, which may help to give you a further idea of the surroundings (click to enlarge):
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Old 12th September 2006, 10:47 AM   #3
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If you have heard the podcast we would love to know what you thought. So far the only public comments we have got are from a certain 'Cesar' on the blog (see comments below the post), which are not all together positive. One way or another, we would love to know what others think too!
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Old 12th September 2006, 11:06 AM   #4
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An interview between Chris Stewart and César I'd pay to listen to. In between the vitriol César does make some accurate observations, but, far be it for me to offer him a single word of support.

I wonder if you uncovered a problem in the podcast with the 3rd and probably last book in the series. Driving over Lemons was uplifting and I am sure inspired many to make the move to Spain if not explore that region on holiday. Almond Blossom sees Chris Stewart on his soap-box tackling a subject he clearly feels strongly about but offers no practical solutions to solve. I think for the first time I can see why most Spaniards would have no interest in his books. Sorry about that, I do want to be more positive but I can't.

Perhaps somebody could come up with a subject from the podcast that has a less negative tone to it? I'm not convinced that this is the place to tackle Zapatero's immigration cock up.
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Old 12th September 2006, 11:26 AM   #5
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I am aware that more judicious editing would have left a shorter podcast with a lot of interesting information about the Moors in Spain, farming techniques, olives, and writing, which would have been more in tone with the usual NFS archive.

But at the time of editing on Sunday night, I thought, why not leave Africa in, it's an important topic and one that most of us usually forget about. I hope that the earlier part of the podcast, the majority in fact, is not lost to the Africa debate, as there was a lot of good stuff in there as well.
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Old 12th September 2006, 11:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marbella View Post
Almond Blossom sees Chris Stewart on his soap-box tackling a subject he clearly feels strongly about but offers no practical solutions to solve.
...which he does admit in the podcast.

Quote:
I think for the first time I can see why most Spaniards would have no interest in his books.
The first one, Driving over Lemons, is being published in Spanish for the first time later this week, so we'll soon find out what they think! It's already been translated into 15 other languages, and only now is coming out here.

Last edited by Ben; 12th September 2006 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 12th September 2006, 12:03 PM   #7
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...which he does admit in the podcast.


The first one, Driving over Lemons, is being published in Spanish for the first time later this week, so we'll soon find out what they think! It's already been translated into 15 other languages, and only now is coming out here.
That's good news, I hope it does well. My wife liked that book but didn't the other two.

There is an interview with him in 'Wanderlust Magazine' which I think is quite recent. A good quote:

"How do the Spanish view your books?
They’ve not been published in Spanish, so the jury is out. My local bank manager is one of the few Spaniards I know who has read Driving Over Lemons. He said he thought it had no merit at all, but hoped we might remain friends."
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Old 12th September 2006, 01:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben View Post
If you have heard the podcast we would love to know what you thought. So far the only public comments we have got are from a certain 'Cesar' on the blog (see comments below the post), which are not all together positive. One way or another, we would love to know what others think too!
Ben,
I have to say I really enjoyed the podcast and I am glad you did not cut parts out. I have never read any of the books - I think I overdosed on the genre a while back - but maybe I will now read the first one to see what all the fuss is about.

What came across to me was his passion about the topics he was talking about. Whether you agree with him or not is another issue but it is an interesting discussion to have.

thanks again
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Old 13th September 2006, 07:50 AM   #9
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Thanks Guapo! I certainly recommend reading the first book some time, it's definitely the best of the three.
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Old 13th September 2006, 12:44 PM   #10
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Although I had never heard of Chris Stewart before listening to the podcast, I certainly found it to be a very charming, informative one.

I was certainly amazed by his knowledge of the land in which he lived.

I'm a bit curious- how did you get the interview with him? Did you just ring him up out of the blue, or did you know him beforehand?
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Old 2nd March 2007, 05:06 PM   #11
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I enjoyed this podcast so much that I went out and bought the books.
I enjoyed the books so much that now I'm considering the Alpujarras for our next foray into Spain. Any tips on places to stay? things to see?
But I definitely won't be spending a day looking for Chris Stewart's house :-)
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Old 30th October 2009, 02:22 PM   #12
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Default Contact for Chris Stewart

Hi there,

I am hoping you can help me. My boyfriend is a ginormous fan of Chris's and this christmas I am hoping to get him a signed copy of his new book "Three Ways To Capsize a Boat". My boyfriends copy of Driving Over Lemons is nearly dead so I may even get him a new one of these.

Would you be able to give me his email address. I appreciate if not .

If not would you be able to pass a message to him with my email address.

Would love to take a trip there someday .. maybe some day we will be able to.

Thanks in advance for reading this.

Laura Kennedy
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Old 30th October 2009, 03:41 PM   #13
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Hi Laura,

As above, I think the best way to get hold of him is via his publishers - they are very friendly!

Saludos from Madrid,

Ben
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