Andrew Birch writes:
This is my first blog about being a British cartoonist living abroad, in Malaga, Southern Spain. My first blog ever, in fact. Matt Buck suggested the title. This has a pleasing symmetry, as I started working for the Spanish press with a series called Postales de Malaga – Postcards from Malaga – in which a naive and rather foolish Englishman (me) writes a series of cards to his doting mother in England, telling her of his adopted city, and misunderstanding everything.
I got the job in a typically Spanish way, being invited to a bar by a writer friend “to meet some journalists who are starting a new paper.” I went along, got drunk with some friendly new people, and at the end of the evening the editor asked me to be a contributor. This was presumably based on my boozing ability, as he hadn’t even seen my work. When I realised that he wanted a daily cartoon I was panic-stricken, but jumped in at the deep end. It was, surprisingly, a great success. All the doors closed to me as no more than a long-staying tourist opened, and I was accepted as an honorary Malagueño. When I eventually ran out of ideas, I changed the strip into a political one, commenting on local and national (Spanish) news. It ran for five years, until I was sacked for not heeding several warnings to lay off the Mayor.
Here’s the first cartoon published. I’m dressed as a horse-rider at the yearly fair – almost as incongruous as walking through the city centre as a bull-fighter. I’m immediately spotted as a “guiri” – a North European, usually British or German.
In traslation the card says: “Dear Mum, I’ve arrived safely in Malaga. I’m wearing typical Andalucian clothes, to fit in with the locals. Love, Andrew.”
Ed says: In the spirit of the present European unity, Andrew’s postcards will be winging their way to the blog on a regular basis henceforth.