Monday, December 27, 2004

Crimes of violence against partners or ex-partners feature prominently in the Spanish media. I’d assumed this was because the incidence was high in a macho country where a significant proportion of males were struggling with female emancipation. Not so, it seems. For the rate of such crimes in the UK is more than double that of Spain. And Germany’s is not far behind. Even more astonishing is that all the Scandinavian counties feature at the very top of the European list. You know, the ones which tend to come top of the Quality of Life surveys.

Spain’s highest court has taken what might be the first step towards the legalisation of prostitution. It has said that the Ministry of Labour must recognise an association of hotel owners whose business is letting out rooms to people who ‘enter into contracts with third parties’. Only there must be no pimping and everyone must be acting of their own free will. There seems to be some confusion as to how this all fits with the prohibition on people – hotel owners, for example – from profiting from prostitution. More Spanish pragmatism?

A friend of mine was given a handsome poker set for Christmas. I mean the card game, not a collection of things with which to poke the fire. Anyway, it came with a note which thanked the purchaser for having the sense to buy it and ended with the sentence ‘Its feel is obviously larruping’. As far as I can tell, this is an old English word for ‘beating’ or ‘striking’ which has transmogrified, in American English, into ‘delicious’. Either way, its use points up the dangers of relying on a dictionary – in this case Chinese-English – to make translations that are not going to be checked by a native speaker. Or of employing a relative who claims to be fluent. I guess.

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