“The Heavies of the Gran Vía” – revolutionary or freaky?
When we opened our Trixi bike rental and bike tour shop on Calle de los Jardines, just a few steps from the Gran Vía, one of the main streets of Madrid, we already started to come across the The Heavies of the Gran Vía. At first we didn’t understand much about it… Who were those two guys with long hair and the look of a heavy metal festival?
Why were they always in the same place under the number 25 Gran Via? Why did people stop, chat with them and take souvenir photos… ?
Little by little we started to understand… The twins Emilio and José Alcázar (54 years old) are a legend, they are emblematic characters and a symbol of Madrid. They are very eye-catching and picturesque with their long hair, tattoos and leather jackets and they attract a lot of attention. Two equal men, dressed in Heavy Metal look (hence their name – Los Heavies de la Gran Vía / The Heavies of the Gran Vía) who are spending hours and hours on the pavement doing practically nothing. They are simply there. For 20 years now. Every day, between 19:30 and 22:00.
We wonder what reasons are hidden behind this persistent presence. What are the reasons for wanting to go to this place, assigned by them, day after day, as if it were their favourite bar, despite the cold, the rain or the heat? Who are The Heavies of the Gran Vía?
To understand this we take a look back in time – to the Gran Via of 20 years ago.
Emilio and José started spending some time in this street in 2001 when it was still full of small shops, second-hand shops, record and vinyl shops, cinemas.There was no H&M or Primark and no other well-known brand shops, but mainly a cultural atmosphere. La Gran Vía was not just a place to shop but to spend time in a unique atmosphere. As they themselves say… “at that time the Gran Vía still had its true spirit….”
Under the number 25 there had been the Rock Madrid shop where music fans could buy records and vinyls or concert tickets, chat, exchange opinions… among them were also our famous twins… In 2005, the Rock Madrid shop closed. An international textile chain offered the owner of the building a better proposal and he decided to close the mythical shop. The customers were desperate with this news and in protest they started to come and spend time in front of the closed shop. At first there were quite a few people but little by little only the most loyal remained: the Alcazar twins.
For them what at first was a form of revolution against globalisation has finally become a way of life. A permanent protest against capitalism and consumerism. A life in freedom. Emilio and José live faithful to their ideas and principles. They believe that all human beings are equal, that no one is better or worse. Each of us has to look at our own inner selves and evolve into a better being without judging anyone.
They are above political parties or religions. They only believe in Humanism.
They do not want to participate in a system that only favours the rich and disadvantages the poor and they do not want to enter the wheel of life of only working and consuming. That is why they decided not to work. They live a humble life in a small flat in the neighbourhood of Tetouan and walk down to their place on the pavement of Gran Via 25 every evening. However, they are very cultured, they like to read and are well informed about what is going on at all times. These Atlético de Madrid fans have only left “their place” on Gran Vía on very few occasions: during some festival or trip and during the confinement of the year 2020.
The Heavies of the Gran Vía have been living like this for 20 years now and hope to live like this for as many more simply by observing Madrid’s most emblematic avenue, its changes and its people. In this way they are defending the atmosphere of this street in a silent, special and almost mythical way.
They have courage but how free and independent they really are is up in the air….
Trixi.com – Discover the fascinating history of Madrid on our bike tours. Hear the legends and stories of the city as you explore the hidden corners and spots. Learn more about Spain’s culture, history, politics and traditions from the tour’s local expert guide.