Monday, December 13, 2004

In post-Franco, more-liberal-than-thou Spain, sex is pretty much everywhere. Especially on the TV or in any space on the outskirts of town which can take a car. And Spanish women, of course, do little to downplay their sexual characteristics. So, in this environment of abandon, it's all the more surprising to find that one of the public TV channels hosts possibly the most sensible sex-education programmes in the history of the cathode tube. Being very popular, its thirty-second welcome is naturally followed by 15 minutes of [appropriate] advertising but, once it gets going, the programme is a model of how to approach quite delicate issues such as…. well, you know. That said, I have some difficulty believing that all the calls to the young female presenter are entirely genuine. Like the one from a waiter who said he reacted unusually to the electricity from the fridge he had to keep walking past, for example. The programme is naturally a talking point and, as a result of this, I get the impression that some of the information re women comes as rather a shock to the Madonna-or-whore generation of Spanish men. They do like to keep things compartmentalised.

The Spanish government has bought a battery of ground-to-air Patriot missiles from its German counterpart. These will be stationed along the south coast, on the grounds that Spain’s greatest threat will come from Islamic terrorists who have got hold of intercontinental ballistic missiles. I have some difficulty with this rationale but am more intrigued by the statement that the Spanish have saved untold millions by buying second-hand rockets. Does this mean they have already been fired? Be that as it may, the missiles will face Morocco, from whence came the Moors who invaded Spain in the 8th century and stayed for the next 700 years, until invited to leave by Isabel the Catholic in the 1490s. And who said generals always fight the last war?

The Spanish word for knife is cuchillo, which is rather similar to the word for spoon – cuchara. Why do I mention this? Only to admit that, whenever I read about someone being stabbed [acuchillado], I get the most ridiculous mental picture.

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