Tuesday, May 03, 2005

As far as I know, there’s only one classical music channel on Spanish radio. This is a pleasure to listen to for most of the day but, come the evening, it’s taken over by people who clearly regard Stravinsky as too traditional. The result is atonal, cacophonous tripe. I suppose this is a form of stuff-the-proles elitism that, in other areas, I would wholeheartedly support. But not in this case.

The Spanish seem to love comparing themselves with other countries, particularly those in Europe. I suspect this is a hangover from 30 years ago - when the lags were sizeable – and so may reflect a continuing [if slight] inferiority complex. Closer to home, the statistics must be welcome material for local newspapers that need to be filled every day. So today, for instance, I learned that Galicia is 1st in Spain for giving blood; 5th in the number of agricultural workers; and 6th in the obesity rankings. Who’d have thought it?

I’m more confused than ever on whether prostitution is legal in Spain. I suppose it must be when the public prosecutor is seeking 8 months in jail for a chap in Lugo who declined to cough up the 600 euros he’d promised to a lady who’d stayed the night with him. On reflection, I can see why this might be a civil offence [breach of contract] but am hard pushed to see why it would be a criminal offence justifying a prison sentence. Another of my unfortunate phrases.

A friend has told me of a sign near the Royal Palace in Madrid which reads something like ‘People with bags should be careful as there are gangs of Moroccans and Romanians operating around here’. At least, it does in Spanish. In the English version no mention is made of nationality. “Racist, us? Nunca!’

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