My Spanish Career

‘Spaniards would go to opening of an umbrella’

'Spaniards would go to opening of an umbrella'
Brendan Murphy: "As an actor I've cornered the fat, ugly, 50-something with a moustache, niche"
The Local talks to Brendan Murphy, Irishman, actor, sausage-maker and sometime pub landlord about why the Spanish go crazy for St. Patrick's Day.

How did you end up in Spain and what have you been doing here?

I came here in 1984 on a one-way ticket in someone else's name. I had been working in advertising and felt I would be institutionalised if I stayed in it any longer. Like many people I started off by teaching English which was a great way to get to know people and a bit of Spain. I learnt more Spanish than my student's learned English. When the Irish bar fad hit Madrid I was lucky to be there from the start and have worked in a few of them.

This week is St Patrick´s Day, can you explain why Spanish people love that celebration so much?

We know the Spanish love a fiesta, that's why some of us live here, they'd go to an opening of an umbrella. It is also conveniently the first celebration since Christmas. San Jose can sometimes be overlooked within the curious timetable of Spanish fiestas, they have a few spare holidays just in case they don't make the quota. Saint Patrick's was celebrated more by the diaspora than at home though that has changed, but the idea of a bunch of people in green hats hosing down pints of Guinness on a Tuesday was too much to ignore.

Do you think there are similarities between the Spanish and Irish in their way of working?

Work hard-ish, play harder. I'd like to think we share a dislike of interfering regulators and jobsworth types but really that's a personal view – there are a lot of people everywhere who love quoting rules and regulations. There is also a massive distrust of politicians and the system that has been created but hey, from a population of reasonably intelligent and well-educated people we decide to vote for, well, you decide 

Do you see any other personality traits the Spanish and Irish share?

We both love the sun which is why I live here. There is a strong sense of family and a great loyalty to your roots by which I mean the village, town, province or county where you, or some distant relative was born. There is the whole religion thing but I'd like to think it goes further back into the mists of time.

What about the acting career – how did that come about?

While working in one of the Irish bars a casting director came looking for 'guiris' to appear in a series. Once I signed up to the agency, there was a regular stream of work looking for fat, ugly, Northern European-looking 50 something year-olds with a moustache, so I've cornered that niche.


Has it been difficult selling Proper sausages to a Spanish audience or is it just targeted at expats looking for a decent banger?

The idea to make the sausages came about to satisfy the ex-pat community. We still rely on care packages or a visit from home to keep the larder stocked with bacon, baked beans, Ribena and turnips. My Spanish friends try them, like them, but they still prefer the local chorizo. The Spanish are passionate about their food (among other things) so I won't rattle that cage

To read more from Brendan Murphy go to his blog:

Or for more about the Proper Sausage company: Facebook/TheProperSausage

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