‘Looking for action’ – review by Anthony Sattin.

The Sunday Times – 23 July 2006
‘Looking for action’ – review by Anthony Sattin.
Tim Parfitt’s A Load of Bull is presented as “an Englishman’s adventures in Madrid”, but he is no ordinary Englishman. Or rather, he has his ordinary side and, like most young men alone in the capital, he drinks too much, sleeps too little and is obsessed about getting laid. But his job is unusual, for he is a star of Condé Nast publishing, sent from London for six weeks to help launch Spanish Vogue; nine years on he is still there, as managing director of Condé Nast Spain.

Parfitt tells his story with a light touch and his neat line in self-deprecating humour helps him over any indulgences and perfectly suits his tales of long lunches and leggy models, soirées with Madrid’s beau monde, and long nights in search of a bed mate. But this lad’s tales of growing up is of interest because it takes place against the backdrop of liberality that was sweeping through the Spanish capital when he arrived in the late 1980s, epitomised by the films of Pedro Almodovar (who has a walk-on role).

As Parfitt revels in the fun, scarcely able to believe his luck at being in that place at that time, he nods gently at the seismic cultural changes taking place around him, noting that Spanish Vogue was being launched only 13 years after Franco’s death, and recognising the plight of pijos, Spanish “Sloanes”, who were ‘frustrated that someone like Franco was not still around, yet also frustrated and embarrassed that he once was’. Parfitt’s story fails to live up to its title, but does provide am entertaining urban spin on the old tale of Brits having fun under the Spanish sun.

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