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Madrid Pop Culture

InMadrid is the city’s main English-language expat publication, filled with articles about Madrid’s culture and lifestyle. The nightlife, culture and dining listings are especially useful. Their website has an archive of back issues. Another good source of information is Map Magazine, which features lots of reviews. Many novels are set in the city. A recent bestseller is "Winter in Madrid" by C.J. Sansom, a spy thriller that evokes the early years of Franco’s rule. Several novels by Spanish writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte are set in Madrid. Some are historical novels, such as "The Fencing Master," which takes place in 1868, while others are contemporary, like "The Flanders Panel," a mystery centered on the Prado. The best treatment of the Spanish Civil War is Antony Beevor’s relentlessly depressing "The Battle for Spain." A good first-hand account is George Orwell’s "Homage to Catalonia," which has a few scenes in Madrid. The Spanish film "Land and Freedom" covers much of the same ground as Orwell’s account. Other films set in Madrid include Alejandro Amenábar’s creepy thriller "Abre los Ojos," and the wacky social satires of Pedro Almodóvar. Madrid is home to a lively music scene, both in old-school flamenco and modern rock and punk—with a healthy jazz scene thrown in for good measure. To catch what madrileños are listening to on the radio, visit for streaming audio from some of the top radio stations in Madrid. The station Antena-6 plays unchallenging Spanish pop, while Radio Círculo pushes the envelope with alternative music (real alternative, not the MTV label), world music and some English programming. Government station Radio Exterior de España features cultural programming with lots of traditional Spanish music.