Tim arrived in Madrid in 1988, to help launch Spanish Vogue, without speaking a word of Castilian. His book A Load of Bull, published in 2006, is a hilarious and painfully honest account of that period. As Director General of Prisma Publicaciones, in Barcelona, he is responsible for a range of Spanish magazine titles, including Lonely Planet, Psychologies and Playboy.
I got into magazines by mistake. I was driving to enrol in an NCTJ journalist course at Harlow, but had a car accident and never arrived. Spent a few weeks on crutches and missed the course. So I thought I would try magazines instead of newspapers. As soon as I could walk unaided again, I walked into Vogue House in London and asked for a job. I got one. I was 18.
Mucho Toro, the Spanish version of my book, got some great reviews. La Vanguardia called it “desternillante, brillante, conmovedor, hilarante y veraz”, whatever all that means, but it sounded good. Personally I think the title, Mucho Toro, was a disaster. It doesn’t mean ‘a load of bull’, but then I’m used to being misunderstood over here! It’s sad enough searching for your own book in a bookshop, but even sadder to find it in the bullfighting section!
I love both Madrid and Barcelona as I think most guiris do. We don’t have that regional ‘prejudice’. Madrid was a great place to be a bachelor but I wouldn’t necessarily think it would be the best place to raise a family, unless you could also get out of the city regularly. Barcelona—and Catalunya—has everything for kids. And bachelors, I guess.
I don’t think Spanish culture and customs have changed much since 1988 when I arrived, but I think a huge change has come about in sport. It must have a lot to do with Barcelona having hosted the Olympics, and with Madrid also being keen to land 2020 now, having lost out twice before. I am very impressed with all the sporting facilities in Catalunya. The real stars of Spain’s national football team are mainly Catalans. Success is everywhere, in basketball, golf, cycling, tennis… even Andy Murray was coached in Barcelona. Even I feel fitter than when I lived in the UK.
I have written a film called The Barcelona Connection. It is an English-language romantic comedy set in Barcelona. We are still searching for a director, so if there are any comedy film directors reading this, please get in touch! I wrote the script and it has been several years in development. In the meantime, I have almost completed writing the novel, entitled The Adventures of an Art Detective: The Barcelona Connection. I am hoping it will be the first of a trilogy.
I have embarrassing moments when I am not even physically present. When we moved here to Barcelona, my son had to stand up in class and tell the teacher and classmates what his dad did. “He publishes Playboy,” he said. “You know… he looks at pictures of naked women all day.” I always wondered why I got so many strange looks at parents’ evenings.
The thing I miss most about the UK is belly laughs, although I think the Catalans have a great sense of humour, too. I suppose they have to.
My worst habit is impatience. And believing I can one day win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The longer that takes me, the more impatient I will get.
I don’t have a favourite bar; I like them all. I also like hotel rooftop terraces, especially if they can mix a good mojito. I have happy memories of La Venta, a restaurant on the way up to Tibidabo. Great views.
In my spare time, I read. I write. I laugh. I run. I go to the gym. I play bad tennis. I enjoy good wine. Not necessarily in that order.