Monday, 22 March 2021: AMT Torrent 2013. Valencia, Spain.
AMT Torrent is one of my absolute preferred concorsos. I first heard of it through an American friend — Adam Wilder —who posted photographs in 2004 on Missing-Links, a popular forum for modellers back in the day.
When I saw the photos of beautiful sunny weather, a location with palm tree lined terraces with umbrellas to sit under and have drinks surrounded by modelling vendors, add to it the quality of the entries in competition, I knew I had to visit.
In 2006 I attended my first AMT Torrent. I knew nothing of the organisation or the show at the time, save for what I had seen in photographs. It was enough. The show did not disappoint. It was Euromilitaire with a warm Spanish sun. I travelled with Adam Wilder and MIG. Upon arrival I discovered all the KMK guys I met at Euro were in attendance, as were the Italian figurine painter continent who arrived in a massive tour coach, Mario Eens and his crew, and to my surprise Raymond Guliani and the Steelmasters crew who were in attendance to photograph the concorso entries.
I met Raymond at Dragon Expo 2004 (A Weekend of Héroes) in California. He had offered me the greatest honour to publish one of my models on the cover of Steelmasters. Raymond and I became fast friends. I visited his offices in Paris during a work trip during Paris Fashion Week 2006. He gave me a tour of the Histoire & Collections offices before lunch in a marvellous traditional Parisian cafe. Afterwards I was given a complimentary shopping free-for-all in the H&C warehouse. A dream come true!
I lost contact with Raymond for a few years between the crisis of ’08 and my eventual move to Spain in the summer of 2012. In fact, I lost contact with almost all my modelling friends during those in between years.
But, by 2013 I was comfortably secure in my own home in Spain and travelled with my modelling mate Xavier by car from the Costa Brava to Valencia. A trip of about five hours. Whilst the concorso location is phenomenal — a performing arts centre in the suburban community of Torrent only a few minutes from the spectacular coastal Mediterranean City of Valencia, the Hotel Alaquàs where most of the modellers stayed was a bit spartan, the restaurant inside limited of menu.
Having a little walk about Torrent we found a great restaurant in a commercial called Tapanui, Tapas & Copas. With full service terrace, bar serving not just wine and beer but spirits also and a menu including not just traditional Spanish tapas in a cosmopolitan setting, we felt sure we had found the right place to take our meals.
On the first day of the concorso, who do I see but Raymond Guliani and Olivier Antoine. I was happy to see him. Raymond was a connection to my old pre-crisis LA days and we had a lot of laughs together over the years.
I invited him and his crew to dinner with us. He happily accepted. Being French he preferred good cuisine and had a difficult time with the rather limited choices in Torrent. All that was to be forgotten over dinner at Tapanui.
Xavier and I drove my Audi A8L to the restaurant from the Hotel Alaquàs, but the Frenchies
had never left the venue and walked over to the restaurant from the concorso. There was another table of Spanish modellers in the restaurant…among them Javier Soler, who being from Salamanca, likes the fine cuisine. In fact, I think it was Javier who took this photo.
It was a terrific dinner. Way too much wine and vodka, massive beef burgers done in the American style and endless conversation over free flowing bottles of wine and endless trips outside for cigarettes.
Dinner turned into after dinner drinks as the restaurant became more of a lounge and the bar scene got out of control. A fight broke out between some guys and Xavier launched to his feet to run outside and watch the fight. The rest of us remained with our precious drinks as the table.
Our night came to an end soon after midnight as we paid the bill and made ready to leave. The distance from
Tapanui to the Hotel Alaquàs was 6.1 kilometres. There were just the three Frenchmen and we offered them a lift. The Audi A8 is a big car, but the problem was the back seat really had only two seats separated by a wood storage cubby. Not really meant to sit on. But Raymond made the best of it and we drove them all back to the hotel, saving them a long 45 minute walk after midnight.
One of the French modellers is a fb friend. Olivier Antoine sent me this fb memory of the night.
I had no idea he even took this photo, but I am glad for the memory. It show me driving the
A8 on the return to the hotel from the restaurant. A nice detail is the time displayed on the infotainment screen -12.12. Also a silly side note, the CD playing is 1 of 6 I made for the journey and remained in the Audi for 5 years more until I sold the car in December of 2018.
A night to remember. It was to be but one of many.
Below I am tossing in the few social scene photos I have from AMT Torrent 2013. For some reason I can’t find my stash of photos from this year at Torrent.