Auto de Fe: I got a bit ahead of myself yesterday in implying the St Juan celebrations would be last night, 21st June. They’ll actually be on Monday, 23rd. I suspect my subconscious felt events starting close to midnight and going on into the small hours would be moved to the nearest Saturday, so as to avoid people losing a lot of sleep before a working day. You’d think, after 8 years here, I’d know better. I also got my Johns and James’s mixed up; Santiago is the latter, of course. And, while I’m apologising, I should say my French partner insists they never use the expression chacun à son goût . If true, this seems very thoughtless and perverse of them. No wonder hardly anyone wants to learn their poverty-stricken language these days. For what it’s worth, I’m told that what the French actually say is chacun ses goûts or à chacun ses goûts or even à chacun son goût . You’d think that, as they have three options, one of them would be right.
Years ago, I used to record the percentages of drivers wearing safety belts as I walked into town of a morning. This would be an even more boring exercise now as my impression is almost everyone obeys the law and puts them on. Or at least in the front seats. In the back, things are somewhat different. Take the case I saw yesterday of a young couple in a large car containing them, their chica and a baby. The former were in the front – belted up - and the latter were in the back – unprotected. Worse, the baby was on the chica’s lap and being held forward between the front seats. Perfect positioning for being torpedoed through the windscreen. So, were the parents really convinced about the risky/safety argument? Or merely afraid of being fined? If the latter, do they really not know that the law applies to back seats as well as front ones? And that it specifically obliges them to strap a baby into a special seat? My market research of a single Spanish friend last night concluded that back-seat-belting-up had not yet forced itself into Spanish consciousness in any way at all. Hence the dissonance.
El Pais yesterday carried an article eulogising British humour. Its overview was that “English humour - with its quality, it sadism, its acrobatic capacity to triumph in any place – has not aged”. No, I don’t know that this means either but the paper singled out Little Britain and The Office for praise. Such a shame, then, that they illustrated the article with a still from the American version of the latter. Coincidentally, I read in today’s British papers that, if you’re really desperate, you can take a tour of Britain’s Comedy Towns. Apparently some non-Brits already do. Strange folk, foreigners.
And finally, still on the humour theme – The residents of the nearby coastal pueblo of Raxó – or some of them anyway – are demanding that their bendy road be called something other than Rabo do Porco. Or Pigtail Street. Must have all had a sense of humour by-pass. In contrast, I’ve never heard of any complaints from the residents of the nearby villages of Pozo Negro [Cesspit], Picaraña [Spiderbite], Parderubias [Couple-of-blondes], Esclavitude, [Slavery] and, my favourite, Gatomorto [Deadcat].
And a humour PS which I can’t resist – If you click here and scroll to picture no. 5, you’ll see that the last remaining political relic from the Franco era – the 85-year-old Manuel Fraga – is still in control of all his faculties. Mas o menos. As is La Espe.