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‘The suit burns’: Madrid’s street performers suffer in record Spanish heat

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There are many better places to be in Spain than Madrid when recordbreaking temperatures bring summer’s ruthless heat in spring, prompting government health warnings, action plans from regional authorities and the familiar agonising wait for outdoor public pools to open.

There are also many better places to be in Madrid when the mercury nudges 30C (86F) than under a woolly hat inside a furry Sonic the Hedgehog costume in the elegant, shadeless air fryer that is the Spanish capital’s Plaza Mayor.

But for Carlos, 49, the perspiring Peruvian beneath the Sonic suit, and for all those who work outdoors – the street sweepers, postal workers, builders, food delivery cyclists, waiters and hawkers, to name only a few – the job is the job, whatever the thermometer says.

Carlos and his colleagues in the plaza – who today include Chucky the homicidal doll, Super Mario and Bart Simpson, decked out in the Real Madrid kit of Vinícius Júnior – know that the sun brings tourists, and tourists mean photo opportunities and money. But the work is punishing. How is it inside Sonic’s…

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