Sunday, March 12, 2006

After a long period of agreed silence, the Spanish are beginning to talk openly about the Civil War and its attendant atrocities. I guess it was inevitable someone would demand an apology from the German and Italian governments for the support given to Franco. What next, I wonder. An apology from God for creating the Devil?

Racism is still a feature of Spanish football but it’s encouraging to see the criticism its now getting in the media. Relatedly, Spain is reported to have around 650,000 of Europe’s 3 million gypsies. Generally speaking, they're not well regarded, though the truth is 80% of them are said to have been assimilated into the country’s middle class. Sadly for me and my neighbours, we have some of the other 20% living nearby in squalid shacks on land granted to them by a local marchioness. Given their tendency to disregard civic laws and norms, it’s a little hard to take a positive view of their life style. Especially, when they come begging at the door.

A radio station owned by the Catholic Church stands accused of providing fraudulent data to the organisation that monitors audience numbers. The initial response was it was just an investigative exercise, aimed at showing how the process was open to manipulation. I guess this would have been more plausible if the confession had been volunteered before exposure rather than after. This is how things were done when I was a Catholic.

I was going to write that the positive side of Spain’s obsession with paper was that the photocopy shops are not just vital but also extremely efficient and cheap. Plus the one I use features two of the loveliest young women in town. But, in one of God’s little cosmic jokes, only one of these was working yesterday and I had to wait almost 10 minutes for my single copy. Still, it had its compensations. Or half of them, at least.

The raves in Spain . . . Next Friday will see attempts by the young of several Spanish cities to congregate in the largest numbers for the purposes of downing the greatest number of bottles of something alcoholic. Given the noise and mess the normal Friday night botell├│n causes across the country, this should be quite an event. Though not one many of us over 25 are looking forward to. Probably a night to stay home and knit some socks.

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