40 years of the informal start of the Madrid Movement



As a long-awaited and discussed memory, the phenomenon of the Movida can even be classified as countercultural, since it was not in vain that it gave up the definitive abandonment of the social and artistic patterns that had characterized the recently finalized dictatorial period, when profusion happened to the gray tone of Francoism multicolored of the recovered Spanish democracy. As the Argentine liked to remember before the media Alejo Stivel, vocalist of the rock band Tequila, in the streets you could still see “much Loden“, in reference to the star garment of the time, a symbol of rigor.


Whether it is a stream of fresh air or an agenda overloaded with musical, literary, pictorial, photographic or cinematographic events, the start date of the much crowded Movida is somewhat controversial, as it differs according to the sources, which are often its direct protagonists and the means that gave account of her.

On the one hand, the celebration of Tribute Concert to Canito held on February 9, 1980 at the Higher School of Civil Engineers in Madrid, it is usually considered the day of the launch of a phenomenon that illuminated a large number of pop rock groups of insulting youth. But, on the other hand, not everything started in 1980, much less. Such is the argument that vehemently defend the rock bands created in the mid-seventies, with the dictator Franco still alive. Long hairs, powerful guitars and thunderous drums dragged the masses of the neighborhoods from the beginning, in need of new emotions. The Invasion of the Cochambre, titled the now disappeared newspaper The Voice of Castilla, referring so contemptuously to the public gathered there on July 5, 1975 in the bullring of the city of Burgos to see, among many others, now legendary groups such as Madrid Burning or the Andalusians Triana.

As regards modern music, this chronological dilemma is solved according to gender; pop groups like The secrets or Nacha Pop indeed, they began their journey in 1980 after the Concert of Tribute to Canito (who was the drummer of Tos, the germ of The secrets, who had died shortly before in a traffic accident). But hard rock bands like Wildebeest, Log, Asphalt or Kick they came from behind and already had a more solid baggage. Songwriters like Javier Krahe Y Joaquin Sabina they married well with the new momentum of the new decade and punk artists like Ramoncín they had already acted in 1978 even on the television show Applausewhere, microphone in hand, dedicated the song Velvet Sissy:

“To all who are in the maco, placed without distinction”

Maco It is a prison slang word to refer precisely to prison. And Ramoncín, dressed in white, spiked wristband and starry eye with sunglasses, pronounced it at a time when The Amnesty Law had not yet been enacted and the Spanish prisons were still full of political prisoners, whom he met with common criminals to humiliate them.


The groups of the Movement have the particularity of having become bands of worship, even if some of them were of ephemeral existence. Such is the case of punk wave pop groups like Kaka de Luxe or Permanent Paralysis, going by Alaska and The Pegamoids, Y Aggressive Executives or Arias Demolitions, these last two formations led by the ineffable Poch, character of delusional activity, almost Dadaist. The pop scene produced bands that cultivated success both in terms of sales and criticism. Future Radio It’s a good example. The sociological and class contrast was also somehow present in the musical aspect, since it is true that many of the members of these first groups came from a wealthy social stratum, when not directly from families of the upper bourgeoisie.

“We had to work to buy a guitar, but those were bought by his father,” Ramoncín explains in documentary reports about those years.

In such a way, the groups that promoted the record label Lock, hard and metal style like Red Baron, Howitzer or Log, they invited a large mass of faithful followers of the most popular social extract in pavilions and football fields, as well as formations such as Alaska and the PegamoidesFor example, they barely gathered a handful of spectators in the Rockola room of Madrid, one of the totemic centers of the music scene of the early eighties.

In a sense, the former were the favorites of the masses, while the latter were the critics of the mainstream media. This argument is defended to satiety by the iconic radio announcer and producer Vicente “Mariskal” Rosemary, who emphasizes that the theoretically called protagonists of the Madrid Movement were “posh” and “dad’s children” in whose songs nothing was said that could disturb the system, unlike the lyrics of the rock groups (sponsored by Lock, the record house that he created), more concerned with influencing his lyrics on people’s problems. “They didn’t worry anyone and they were subsidized by the PSOE”, he says, referring to groups like Alaska and the Pegamoides, and the Socialist Party, which then ruled the city of Madrid.

This contrast also serves as a basis for the opinion that precisely because of wanting to break the trend that Spanish rock bands formed in the mid-1970s were setting, the proliferation of more frivolous and carefree message pop groups since 1980 can consider itself countercultural. That is, one counterculturality against counterculture which meant the genesis of homeland rock in the throes of the dictatorship. In short, the only thing clear of all this is that since 1980 in Spain there are groups for all tastes, although the sharp pen of critics never had any qualms about showing from the beginning special predilection for pop wave.

The Mayor of the Movida

Certainly, he is the mayor of Madrid of those years, Mr. Enrique Tierno Galván, free spirit (convinced Marxist) within the PSOE, who in his own way conforms to the expression of the Movida and one of its most media stars. Intellectual, author of original municipal sides and very cultured character (Doctor of Law, Doctor of Philosophy and Letters, Professor of Political Law), the “Old Professor” received in 1982 Pope John Paul II speaking in perfect Latin and his is the phrase of “Blessed be the chaos, because it is a symptom of freedom”.

However, this was nothing compared to his brief opening speech of the 24-hour Music and Radio Festival organized in January 1984 by National Radio of Spain-Radio 3 before a crowded Palacio de los Deportes in Madrid and broadcast live on the Spanish Radio and Television (RTVE). His words, live for the whole country, were:

“Rockers, whoever is not in place, put on … and the parrot!”

The controversy was served, because in the Spanish youth slang ‘Be placed’ it also means getting high, and ‘be at the parrot’Stay tuned Subsequently, the Mayor specified with his characteristic finesse: “As every normal person understands, I said about putting oneself in the sense of cheering and being happy”. Death came to Enrique Tierno Galván two years later and near one million people they went to the passage of their coffin’s procession through the streets of Madrid.


Photographers like the surrealist Ouka Lele or the fleshless Alberto Garcia-Alix, a kind of official portraitist of the Movida, are just two examples of the excellent artistic production that generated the movement in the photographic field. Still active, the first works the color, and the second the black and white copies.


Without a doubt, the figure of the deceased Ceesepe, painter and illustrator whose style can be framed in pop art, is the most relevant in this aspect. His creations were among the most sold at the 1984 Arco art fair, and an illustrated cartoon of his political dye gave rise to the furious reaction of the political party Popular Alliance (the current Popular Party) against Madriz, the magazine that edited it, and the Madrid City Council, which financed it.

Press, Radio and TV

The public entity RTVE He was immediately infected with such a unique atmosphere that he moved to his sets and studios. Under the direction of bold José María Calviño (already deceased), at that time director of RTVE and father of the current Minister of Economy of the Government of Spain, Nadia Calviño, sponsored a series of groundbreaking programs, among which If I were president, talk show of the unrepeatable Fernando García Tola, or the musicals The Golden Age Y Musical Express, by Paloma Chamorro and Ángel Casas, respectively. In the radio universe, journalists like Jesus Ordovás (Radio Spain), Moncho Alpuente (Radio El País) or Julio Ruíz (Popular Radio) complemented a cosmos where, on paper, apart from magazines like Madrid Kills Me or Moon, the typical medium was the fanzine, almost handmade production.


Director’s name Pedro Almodovar It is perhaps the most strongly linked to the phenomenon of the Movida, thanks to films like Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls of the Mound (1980) or In darkness (1983). Nevertheless, Fernando Colomo, one of the summits in Spain of the genre of comedy, is the author who perhaps best collects the imprint of those years in films such as What does a girl like you do in a place like this?, Paper Tigers (1977) or Download Al Moro (1989).

There is a circumstance that music and cinema were communicating vessels, as singer Olvido Gara (Alaska and Los Pegamoides) has a leading role in Almodóvar’s debut opera, while the legendary group Burning, author of the soundtrack of What does a girl like you do in a place like this? He ends up composing his most famous song from the title that Colomo wanted to give to the film, in which its members also act. By the way, Burning, still active, it is perhaps the only Spanish music group that has managed to win criticism and a mass of loyal followers equally regardless of its membership in this or that urban tribe.


Vicente Molina-Foix, Gregorio Morales or Luis Antonio de Villena they are just some of the writers who, gathered in the Circle of Fine Arts of Madrid around the Creator Talk, proclaimed, among other things:

“The overcoming of the nineteenth-century narrative and the avant-garde. Complete assumption of the present, precisely to define it, deny it and jump over it”

They were all regular contributors to the magazine Moon.


Again, communicating lines between the different artistic manifestations. The painter Ceesepe and photographer García-Alix founded together with The gardener Y Agust the colective Cascorro Factory, where his inspiration crystallized in his cartoons in pure transgression, which they first sold in El Rastro, the popular Madrid street market. In Barcelona, Nazario He is considered the father of the underground comic country and, of course, the weekly The Papus It reaches the top. His writing suffered a terrorist attack by the Triple A (Apostolic Alliance Anticommunist) in which the concierge died. With his motto ‘Satirical and Neurasthenic Magazine’, The Papus, a publication that confronted fascism through satire, ended up giving prominence (and collaborators) to another Barcelona weekly, the inimitable Thursday, last survivor of that boom of this type of publications.


Designers like Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, with his genuine style that borders on the quirky, or the already deceased Manuel Piña, some of the founders of the Cibeles Footbridge and creator of a very personal ‘pret-a-porter’ style that the photographer Alberto García-Alix immortalized, are perhaps the two best exponents of those years.

Validity and legacy

Well it was a popular expression of the desire of the world of culture to start a new stage with young people as protagonists, whether it was the logical settlement of the new and incipient cultural life of Spain already started in the seventies, the truth is that The phenomenon initiated a consumption of cultural products and ways of managing new culture. Festivals and music competitions, movies, photos, record companies and publishers, radio and television programs … A golden age that did not survive the change of the decade, but remains a reference.

The City Hall of the capital does not plan to organize any act of homage on the occasion of such an event, which gives an idea of ​​the emotions found that that groundbreaking movement still provokes, unthinkable for some, vital for others, and that radiated almost instantly to the rest of the country from the Spanish capital, where sui generis bulbs were created. In the local council they affirm “not to consider the 40 years of the Movement sufficiently round” to organize a commemorative event.


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