Re-issue of ‘A Load of Bull – An Englishman’s Adventures in Madrid’

Eighteen years since it was originally published, ‘A Load of Bull – An Englishman’s Adventures in Madrid’ has just been re-issued, with a new cover, new introduction and five extra chapters that were cut from the original book.

It is available in print and as an eBook, and this time worldwide, in both formats. Bookshop distribution is underway but in the meantime you can order the new paperback or digital edition via Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or the digital version on Apple, Kobo, Smashwords, or on many other platforms by clicking here.

If you’ve never read the book, I hope you will now acquire a copy and laugh out loud. If you did read and enjoy the original edition, I think you’ll love this new edition with additional chapters! More details about the book and links to many reviews are below.

A LOAD OF BULL – An Englishman’s Adventures in Madrid

The hilarious true story of an Englishman sent to Madrid to help launch Spanish Vogue

In the late eighties Tim Parfitt blagged his way into a job at Condé Nast in London and from there into a six week stint in Madrid to help launch Spanish Vogue. Six weeks turned into nine years, and helping out turned into running the company. Along the way, Tim Parfitt discovered the real ‘real’ Spain. He never saw a Costa and he certainly never bought an olive grove. Instead, he discovered a booming city in hedonistic reaction to years of fascism, where sleep was something you only did at work and where five hour lunches invariably involved a course of bull’s testicles.

Tim Parfitt’s rise from unwanted guest to paparazzi-pursued mover in Spain’s glamorous social scene is a hilarious comedy of errors. Frothing with a language designed to make foreigners dribble, hospitalised by tapa-induced flatulence and constantly frustrated by the unapproachable beauty of the women parading through the Vogue offices, he nevertheless falls in love with a city, a country and its people – despite the fact he hasn’t a clue what they’re on about.

You can click here for all the reviews of A Load of Bull on Amazon, as well as on Goodreads.

Links to newspaper and magazine reviews:

‘A hugely entertaining memoir … frequently laugh-out-loud funny.’ (The Daily Express)

‘Parfitt is no ordinary Englishman … his light touch and neat line in self-deprecating humour perfectly suits this entertaining urban spin on the old tale of Brits having fun under the Spanish sun.’ (The Sunday Times)

‘A love letter to Madrid … brilliantly captures a truly eccentric and hedonistic place.’ (The Daily Mirror)

‘Often hilarious … a side-splittingly funny travel memoir.’ (BBC Online)

‘Vivid yet affectionate … fascinating, escapist stuff.’ (OK! Magazine)

‘Magnificent … brilliant and moving, hilarious and truthful.’ (La Vanguardia)

‘Don’t miss it … Madrid through the eyes of an Englishman.’ (Vogue España)


On Friday 20 September 2024 I will be doing another event at the Secret Kingdoms Bookshop at the C/ Moratín 7 in Madrid. Whilst the event is free, places will be limited. You can reserve a place by buying a €3 voucher redeemable in the store on the night. Hope to see you there! You can reserve your place here via this link.

The Barcelona Connection

A murder. A kidnapping. A lost Salvador Dalí painting. Just 36 hours to resolve all three.

Benjamin Blake is no ordinary detective …

Specialising in the criminal underworld of stolen and forged art, things don’t always go the right way for Benjamin. But when they don’t, he has a stubborn determination to put them right.

Within hours of being sent to Barcelona to authenticate a possible Salvador Dalí painting, Benjamin is left stranded without his cell phone at a service station alongside a bloody corpse in the early hours of the morning, after being savagely attacked with his hire car stolen, together with the painting.

Helped and hindered by the fiery Elena Carmona, pursued by a psychopathic hitman, Benjamin becomes the prime suspect in a politically motivated kidnap and murder. All this on the eve of Barcelona hosting a G20 summit and UN climate change conference, with the police in hot pursuit fearing a wider terrorist threat.

From Nîmes in the South of France, across the border to the sweltering humidity of Girona, Barcelona, Figueres and Cadaqués, The Barcelona Connection is a fast-paced, gripping page-turner sprinkled with black comedy, blending the real with the surreal, art crime and mistaken identity … and where the clues at the crime scene might just be the mirror image of a long-lost work of art …

Click here to follow the weekly Substack blog and free newsletter (‘Letter from Spain‘) that includes notes on the research behind The Barcelona Connection, as well as its development for the screen. All events related to the book are also posted on Substack.

If you can’t locate a copy of The Barcelona Connection in your local store, it can be ordered from any bookshop simply by giving the ISBN number: 978-1-7393326-1-7.

It is also available in print or as an eBook via Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or you can also click here to choose where else to order your copy from.

Click here for the latest reviews on Amazon and on Goodreads.

A review by Michael Eaude of The Barcelona Connection was published in the October 2023 edition of Catalonia Today.

‘Short, fast-moving scenes and the deft joining of two completely different plots … the novel is not just breathlessly rapid and action-packed, but overflows with humour and satire.’

‘The excellent plotting, the local knowledge, the surreal humour, the political satire and the speed of events … it’s an admirable and very readable crime novel.’

A review by Dominic Begg of The Barcelona Connection was published in La Revista, a publication of the British-Spanish Society.

‘The Barcelona Connection is a fast-moving page-turner with a helter-skelter plot.’

‘The background to this thriller is realistic and familiar to those who know Barcelona well. It’s a world of cynical, ambitious politicians; civil servants promoted via enchufe; friction between Spanish and Catalan investigators; disruptive anti-capitalist activists; bumbling US dignitaries and security guards; the continuing influence of old supporters of Franco; the soulless 21st century, exemplified by apartment hotels seemingly without human staff-members …’

Here’s a link to a review of the book by Eve Schnitzer published by the Spain in English online newspaper.

‘Tim Parfitt very cleverly weaves together two parallel though quite different stories, set against the background of a contemporary Barcelona that is even busier than usual with major international meetings.’

‘Two plot lines interweave, with some highly ironic as well as suspenseful results … this book has a lot to offer the reader, from pure entertainment to solid information and, possibly, a fuller understanding of the complexities of Spain and Catalonia in particular.’

Here’s the link to an article I was asked to write for The Art Newspaper about my research on Salvador Dalí.

‘Mucho Toro’ now available on Amazon Kindle

If you read in Spanish and enjoy a laugh, then ‘Mucho Toro – Las tribulaciones de un inglés en la movida‘ is finally available to download here on Amazon Kindle.

Mucho ToroOriginally published in English by Pan Macmillan as A Load of Bull: An Englishman’s Adventures in Madrid, the Spanish edition was published by Almuzara in 2008, translated by Antonio Rivero Taravillo. Don’t ask me why the publishers chose ‘Mucho Toro’ as the title – which I also question in the introduction.

The book covers the ten years I spent in Madrid in the late 80s and early 90s, working for (and eventually running) Ediciones Condé Nast, and launching the Spanish editions of Vogue and GQ magazines. A sequel about the 12 years I have since been working and living in Catalonia will eventually follow – although a forthcoming crime novel will be published beforehand.

My weekly blog will also return this September. More soon …




A Load of Bull – An Englishman’s Adventures in Madrid

“Hugely entertaining memoir … frequently laugh-out-loud funny.” The Daily Express

“Parfitt is no ordinary Englishman. His light touch and neat line in self-deprecating humour perfectly suits this entertaining urban spin on the old tale of Brits having fun under the Spanish sun.” The Sunday Times

“A love letter to Madrid … brilliantly captures a truly eccentric and hedonistic place.” The Daily Mirror

“Vivid yet affectionate … fascinating, escapist stuff.” OK! Magazine

“A fast-paced, tapas-fuelled, sleep-deprived ride through Madrid before it was even a glint in David Beckham’s eye.” East Anglian Daily Times

“Will do for Madrid what ‘Driving over Lemons’ has done for Andalucia.” Spain Magazine

“No te pierdas … Madrid, a través de los ojos de un inglés.” Vogue España

Reviews, interviews & articles:

EADT – ‘Englishman who beat Beckham to Madrid’ – 8 July 2006
BBC on-line – 26 October 2006
OK! – 25 July 2006
The Sunday Times – 23 July 2006
The Daily Mirror – 21 July 2006
The Daily Express – 7 July 2006
In Madrid Magazine – July 2006
Spain Magazine – July 2006
The Independent – 5 June 2006


Mucho Toro – Las tribulaciones de un inglés en la movida

Mucho_toroMucho Toro –
Las tribulaciones de un inglés en la movida
Haga clic paraLa Tormenta Blogspot
Haga clic para Dossier de Prensa (Editorial Almuzara)

A finales de los años ochenta, Tim Parfitt tiene que trasladarse a Madrid para ayudar a lanzar la versión en español de la revista Vogue en un período de seis semanas. Seis semanas que se terminan convertiendo en nueve años. Sin idea alguna de español, alucina con una floreciente ciudad hedonista en reacción a los años de dictadura, donde dormir es algo que sólo se hace en el trabajo y son normales los almuerzos de cinco horas con la invariable tapa de criadillas de toro. Extrañado, Tim Parfitt ve cómo no tiene que comprarse un olivar o «ponerse colorado y ciego» en la Costa del Sol, en definitiva, no tiene que revisitar el mítico solaz mediterráneo para descubrir la verdadera España real. Su ascenso desde invitado no deseado a objetivo de los paparazzi en la escena social más glamurosa se convierte así en una hilarante e irrepetible comedia de malentendidos.«Parfitt no es un inglés al uso. El tacto sutil y la fina línea de humor negro que usa en su libro se ajustan perfectamente en su entretenido giro urbano del viejo cuento de los Brits divertiéndose bajo el sol de España.» The Sunday Times «Un jugoso itinerario el de Parfitt, siempre gracioso y en muchas ocasiones desternillante.» The Daily Express «No te lo pierdas.» Vogue «Un relato vívido hasta encariñarse …, perfecto material para echar un buen rato.» OK! Magazine «Una carta de amor a Madrid … capta brillantemente un lugar verdaderamente excéntrico y hedonista.» The Daily Mirror «Hará por Madrid lo que Entre limones ha hecho por Andalucía.»Publishers Weekly


Tim Parfitt es un guiri, pero lo lleva con dignidad. Su primer libro, Mucho Toro, es un divertidísimo relato de sus años de vida en Madrid ayudando a lanzar las revistas Vogue y GQ. El libro ha tenido una gran acogida en Reino Unido como la visión menos idealista, pero sí divertida y encantadora, de España. También es autor del guión The Barcelona Connection una historia detectivesca sobre el secuestro de un famoso torero por un grupo de defensores de los derechos de los animales – Tim insiste en que es una comedia romántica –. La película ha estado varios años en desarrollo como coproducción internacional (EE.UU.-Reino Unido-España). A pesar de plantarse en Hollywood para insistir en su desarrollo, ¡todavía nadie ha empezado rodarlo! Mientras tanto él está adaptándolo todo como una novela … 

Mucho Toro –Las tribulaciones de un inglés en la movida(Editorial Almuzara) Traducción de Antonio Rivero Taravillo

Spain Magazine – July 2006

Spain Magazine – July 2006
While most holidaymakers and settlers head for the costas, short trippers and culture vultures flock in increasing numbers to the cities, and thirst for books about these is on the rise. The subtitle of Parfitt’s tome, An Englishman’s Adventures in Madrid, makes you fear the worst. But it is the perfect antidote to all those books about living in the countryside. It is a hilarious account of him finding his feet in one of the most bewildering, chaotic and fun-loving cities on earth. It could do for Madrid what Driving over Lemons has done for Andalucía.

OK! Magazine – 25 July 2006

 OK! Magazine – 25 July 2006

In the late 80s, Tim Parfitt worked for publishers Condé Nast when he was asked to head over to Madrid for a six-week stint to help launch the Spanish Vogue. But six weeks became nine years, and helping out turned into running the company. Tim has a pretty vivid yet affectionate picture to paint of a country and city he grew strangely attached to, even though he admits he wasn’t always quite sure what the heck people were on about. An Englishman in Madrid – fascinating, escapist stuff.

The Daily Mirror – 21 July 2006

The Daily Mirror – 21 July 2006

Discomfort was not something Tim Parfitt ever had to endure during his 10-year stay in Madrid. A Load of Bull is more a love letter to the city than a guide, and entertainingly charts an ex-pat’s experience of the glamorous side of the city. As an employee of Spanish Vogue, Parfitt moved in a glittering social scene, rubbing shoulders with everyone from Pedro Almodovar to Penelope Cruz. He brilliantly captures a truly eccentric and hedonistic place, where five hour lunches are the norm and sleep was something you only ever did at work. And then there were the women!

‘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.

“Taking magazines, Madrileños and bulls by the horn” by Peter Burton.

The Daily Express – 7 July 2006

“Taking magazines, Madrileños and bulls by the horn” by Peter Burton.<

 Aged 18, Tim Parfitt strolled into the London offices of magazine publishers Condé Nast (Vogue, Tatler, House & Garden) and asked for a job. His cheek won over the personnel director and he was employed. Evidently he proved a success. Almost a decade later he was dispatched to Madrid to help launch Vogue España. He had been invited for six weeks, he stayed for nine years and in his hugely entertaining memoir, A Load of Bull, he relates the story of those outrageous years.

 There are three main themes running through Parfitt’s account of his life in Spain. Firstly, this is the story of an Englishman’s love affair with the country in general and Madrid in particular. Secondly, it is an account of the author’s mostly hapless attempts to find romance or, at they very least, a woman to share his bed. Finally, the book details the launch and success of a high-profile glossy magazine.

 Like many an Englishman abroad before him, Tim Parfitt appears to be both bumbling and ineffectual. However, the very fact that he stayed with SpanishVogue for so long, steadily rising up the corporate ladder, suggests that his buffoonishness was but a pose.  He clearly knew what he was doing. The English have always been drawn to southern cultures and that attraction has produced some classic travel books (Gerald Brenan’s South toGranada and Norman Douglas’s Old Calabria are two memorable examples). Parfitt’s book has a lighter touch than these but it has in common that passions which overtakes men (and women) from more austere climes and makes them forever exiles in their own lands.

 Most appealingly, Parfitt has a laddish sense of humour which makes A Load of Bull frequently laugh-out-loud funny. A night out in a swelteringly hot Latino nightclub on yet another quest for a compliant señorita ends in hysterical disaster when he accidently demolishes the men’s toilets. And a siesta, more-or-less innocently shared with two young women, takes a comic turn when one of them answers his telephone to discover that the caller is Parfitt’s jealous and possessive ex.

 Tim Parfitt writes particularly well about his move into an alien – albeit welcoming – culture. He has to get to used to working hours and working practices unlike anything he has known before. Lunch hours stretch until five in the afternoon. Meals consist of waist-expanding quantities of food and mind-numbing quantities of alcohol. He even takes up support of the bullfight with enthusiasm.

A Load of Bull is a highly diverting tale about a curiously English kind of insouciance in which good humour invariably wins the day. This book proves Parfitt to be the most agreeable of companions.