23/10/07

HISTORY OF LA CONSULA

In 1953, life in Churriana was shaken up by the arrival of Bill and Annie Davis. They were brought by Cyril Connolly, who was the husband of Annie’s sister. He was a remarkable literary critic and considered to be “the big gun of English conversation.” Bill and Annie Davis wanted to buy a house in the south of Spain, so Connolly introduced them to Gerald Brenan and Gamel Woolsey. Brenan writes of them in one of his letters to Ralph Partridge, “Cyril brought an American couple called the Davies. I like them as they worship everything Spanish. Annie is good looking and Bill is slow and his voice is like a force of Nature, soothing to the ear but difficult to understand.”

Gerald Brenan was fundamental to the Davies buying La Consula, a house with land just up the road from him, for 50,000$. It had a surface of 10 hectares and lay about twelve kilometres from Malaga along the road towards Alhaurin de la Torre.

The building already had some historic importance, but with the ownership of Bill and Annie Davis it became the principle meeting place and cultural centre of the time in that area.

In La Consula, the Davies entertained on a grand scale. Bill was delighted by being the host; it gave him grateful guests and power. He was a perfectionist, a flatterer of the famous who dragooned servants, chose delicious food, brought the best flamenco and went to the best bullfights. Barbara Skelton, Connolly’s second wife, in her book Tears Before Bedtime mentions that what Bill really loved was getting his guests drunk, to watch their reactions. And wait for their indiscretions. He liked manipulating people.

In 1956 La Consula was dressed in its best clothes for New Year’s Eve. They had two very special guests, Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh. Gerald Brenan and Gamel Woolsey were invited and sat next to the famous actors. Gerald found himself unable to remember a single film in which Vivian Leigh appeared. The party took off with a lot of drinking, everybody started dancing, but Gerald, who could not drink or dance, watched Gamel dance all night with Laurence Olivier.


Fragmento de "TIMES GONE FOR EVER: LA CONSULA" pendiente de publicación en The Olive Press West.