Friday, November 28, 2003

A couple more gerunds in today’s papers:-

Rafting – white water rafting, fairly enough.

Puenting – jumping off bridges [puentes], usually with a bit of rubber attached to your ankles. This nicely combines English and Spanish to make a word which exists in neither language. Spanglish, I guess.

When I wrote that Spanish society has an unusual immediacy, I meant to add that it was also an oral culture. But I suppose these are much the same thing. Both are quintessentially ephemeral. The oral aspect reminds me of an old boss of mine who responded to my first memo to him by taking me aside and recommending, paternally, that I avoided writing things down in future, especially minutes of meetings. This way one could always deny that one had said or agreed to something, whereas written evidence narrowed one’s options somewhat. I now wonder whether he had Spanish blood.

The papers today feature David Beckham getting his gong yesterday at the Palace. The way they report it, he has joined the British nobility and is now only a hop, skip and kick away from the knighthood he so richly deserves for scoring one goal this week and making another, ensuring that Real Madrid went through to the next round of the Champions’ League.

In the week in which Madrid Zoo’s celebrated albino gorilla was put down and the ‘father’ of Basque nationalism passed away, I read that several places in Spain are seeking to remove the latter’s name from their street signs and replace it with the former’s. Not sure what this says about Spanish society.

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