Thursday, 6 May 2010

Madrid shopfronts continued

I have an odd penchant for retro shopfronts. And in Madrid there are so many little stores that haven't changed their frontage since before the end of the dictatorship. It's not just the fonts that are retro though, the window displays can also be, er, intriguing; the granny lingeries stores with 'floating' underwear suspended on transparent fishing wire so that knickers and nighties seemed to be dancing in front of your very eyes; restaurants that display their seafood on ice in a little 'peepview' window - more recently I have started to suspect that those fish might be fake, as it always seems to be the 'same' cod that stares back at you from behind the glass, even on a Sunday when the place is closed for business); shops that sell only potato chips, and actually fill their window spaces to eye level with unbagged chips that nestle greasily against the glass panes. The signage is often pretty cool too. Above is the front of Cafe Santander, and old-school corner cafe in Alonso Martínez (the barrio where I would kill to live). It's one of those landmark places where you arrange to meet friends outside but never enter, because you are under the age of 60 - inside it's pure 1973; aluminium, neon lights and waist-coated waiters. And it looks like I'm not the only one with a thing for old shops. Check out Store Front: the disappearing face of New York by James T. and Karla L. Murray, the next thing I'm going to order on Amazon.

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