Sunday, April 29, 2012

Watching one of the films my sister prefers to enjoying a football match, I felt revulsion wash over me when three of the (female) actors took out cigarettes and lit them up. I felt a similar wave when I looked round the bar I was in last night and noticed a three-foot high statue of a (jet)black waiter with a bowler hat on his head and a tray of some sort on his outstretched hands. It's very hard to conceive of this being acceptable in Anglo-Saxon societies. Here in Spain it passes unnoticed. And I suspect any suggestion it should be removed as being offensive would be received with a degree of consternation born of a total lack of apprehension. Maybe in ten years' time.

Which sort of reminds me . . . One of my neighbours was yesterday executing a multiple-point turn in front of her house. With a mobile phone in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Which sort of sums up a thing or two.

The thinnest of thin wedges I mentioned the other day has now been thickened a tad. The president of the European Council has said: “Today, the growth debate is taking centre stage all over Europe, and rightly so.” He also suggested he might call a meeting of European leaders before the end of June specifically to discuss new growth initiatives. It'll be interesting to see how the Germans respond, as they've shown little sign of wanting to reduce the austerity punishment being meted out to the southern European sinners. And perhaps to that erstwhile scourge of the latter but now critic-turned-mendicant, Holland.

I enjoy only one thing more than writing and that's talking. So I read this article on texting and messaging with horror. But it does explain one or two things about my younger daughter's generation that have puzzled me about the way they communicate with each other. And with me. We have says one observer, confused connection with conversation – "the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship".

This article also contains the wonderful line - Anyone with 3,000 friends has none. I do know of one such sad individual. He was most upset when I defriended him and challenged me about it. To no avail.

Finally . . . I was sitting under the much-missed sun in Veggie Square with my sister yesterday, when she suddenly asked where the smoke was coming from. I couldn't see but, a minute or two later, I added that there was certainly a smell of burning coming from somewhere. Eventually we traced this to the El País I was reading. The sun's rays, passing through my glass of Albariño, had set fire to the edge of page 15. Incredulous, we experimented further along the edge of the page and produced another small fire in less than three minutes. So let that be a lesson to you all. Don't let the sun get on your Albariño.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Shows you that Albarinho is a Spark-ling wine in more ways than one!

As for the Germans coming around to alternative solutions: the very last thing you wanna try is to bully or blackmail a German into doing your bidding. While they might listen to a respectful plea, they are sure to put up a most stubborn resistance when pushed around by some brash, triumphalist featherweight.

Guess what Mr Hollande has been doing the last few days, when he congratulated himself on having changed Mrs Merkel’s mind merely by him Being There?

Colin said...


Don't know what's going on. I am receiving your comments in my email.

Colin said...

Victor's comment:-


I have not seen the figure you are referring to, but what was so offensive about it? I have seen small wooden figures outside bars & cafes in Coruna (Plaza de Pontevedra comes to mind,) but I would not say that they were derogatory just because they had obviously black features. Have you not seen small figures of white people outside shops or stores?

Colin said...


The (very black) negro figure is in a position of servitude and is thus reminiscent of slavery. I haven't seen any similar white figures but they wouldn't. I guess, have similar connotations. In the Anglo-Saxon world, connotations of slavery are simply not permitted.

Somehow I don't think this applies to Mayan or Aztec figures in Spain. Because there are none left, perhaps . . . .

paideleo said...

Incrible que plantases lume no periódico co viño. Como podes tardar tanto en bebelo ?.

Colin said...

A very good question. No lo se.

Perry said...


There are these still being carved.

Anonymous said...

Hi Colin,

"Anyone with 3000 friends has none." In Spanish we say:- El que mucho abarca poco aprieta."

In the US you still can find 6-foot wooden statues of Indians holding a cigar box. I've been told that anyone interested in buying one will pay an arm and a leg for them. I doubt that these were originally purchased by non Anglo-Saxon merchants.

In Mexico and Guatemala you can find similar statues of Mayan, Aztecs or Toltec natives holding empty trays[the merchants fill them with sundry items] In Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Paraguay you find similar statues of their native people as well. Never seen any of these people upset nor insulted by them.

SF Bay Area

Colin said...

Thanks, Jorge. Very interesting. But do you still get statues of negroes/blacks in the USA?

Colin said...

Thanks, Perry. You put me on to this
Which is very like the one I saw.

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