Friday, June 18, 2004

I have a low opinion of Spanish TV. For those interested in seeing them, my views are set out in detail in ‘Initial Observations on Spain’ on my web page []. They haven’t changed since I wrote them two years ago. So I was amused to see a dismissive description of Spanish TV in the 2004 edition of the Rough Guide to Spain. I was particularly taken with the suggestion that much of Spanish TV is merely ‘televised radio’. This is a reference to the many shows which involve a panel of up to 10 people who talk [more usually shout] all at the same time. These luminaries face the camera but have their backs to an audience which sits in serried ranks behind them. However, it has occurred to me that these are, in fact, essentially visual programmes in that the radio would not require the participants [of every age] to have plunging necklines and mini-skirts. Nor, on radio, would one get the full value of the facial gestures and gesticulations that are a necessary concomitant to the ‘discussions’. And the occasional fights make much better TV than radio. By the way, I have been told recently that there is a very large mirror behind the camera, allowing both the panel and the audience behind them to see the faces of the ‘celebrity’ participants.

I have discovered that my local council included a direct debit form in the glossy brochure about the upcoming fiesta activities. That’s how seriously they take these things. No such option is available for the annual household taxes. Thank God everything is in Galician and I can’t understand it.

WordWatch Special
Wellness: My medical insurance company has launched a new offering – USP Wellness. To no great surprise, this centres on cosmetic surgery. Wellness is a translation of the Spanish word bienestar and so it seems that the company felt that ‘wellbeing’, ‘welfare’ and ‘comfort’ were simply not trendy enough. Call for a new word. Or perhaps the resurrection of an obsolete one.

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