Semana Negra in Xixon or Gigon, Asturias, Spain is out of this world. The man who runs the festival, Paco Taibo, is a writer of mysteries andf non-fiction (his works have been translated into English), and he is a book pimping genius. Imagine, if you will. a shot, tubby, chainsmoking, kindhearted Mexican blessed with the power of ten thousand....no, 100, 000 vandermeers. He has combined a literary festival with a street fair and carnival, and, as a result, has created an engine that sells books at a rate of 60 per minute for the ten-dayduration of the festival...and he does this while staying up every night till 4, talking with the writers he has invited to the festival from every portion of the world. Gigon is a beautiful city in the north of Spain, 300,000 population, with a lovely harbor and beach, a city like many you find in southern france or northern italy, having an old quarter and an exciting night life....Bering here has made me realize how staid and stodgy and downright boring the USA is.
It's hard to describe Semana Negra. I guess a series of feasts, book events, and parties is about all one can say. I'm in Madrid now, one day removed from the last feast, and I'm too sleepy from the partying to have much perspective. I'll just say two more words. Manzana verde. Green Apple. That's the name of a special Asaturian liquor they have over here. You got to try it,. Ask Chip Delaney who fell in love with the stuff.