Monday, September 15, 2008

Writing about the events of 1968, the academic Terence Kealey says:- Thackeray's 'Vanity Fair', published in 1848, portrays the English as obsessed by money, sex, food and drink. After 1848, we had to navigate the empire (which turned us into prigs) and two world wars (which turned us into responsible statists). Only in 1968 could we start to reject the century-old self-denial and re-emerge as the superficial, selfish hedonists we really are. Bloody 'ell. If that's what he thinks of the English, how on earth would he describe the fun-loving Spanish?

I was intrigued to hear the British 'artist' Damian Hirst on the BBC explaining why he would be selling his stuff by auction, rather than via a gallery. In this way, he revealed, he'll get the full 65 million quid and not this amount less the gallery's commission. Of course, the buyers will have to pay the auctioneers' fee on top of his 65 million but he didn't seem unduly concerned about this increase in prices for them. And neither, in fact, am I. But I am singularly impressed by Hirst's artistic integrity. And I was touched to hear he's concerned about his kids having too much money. Aren't we all.

Galicia

In Galicia, you're officially poor if you don't have an annual income above 6,347 euros. Or 529 euros a month. There are reported to be around 500,000 people here in this category. Or around 17% of the population. My guess is that most of these are inland, up in the hills. Either that or they keep themselves well hidden down on this well-heeled coast.

Galicia is said to compare well with other regions in Spain when it comes to doctors per head of the population. But there are shortages when it comes to gynecology, anesthesia and paediatrics. So, I wonder if applicants for relevant posts from Portugal and other Spanish regions still have to have a formal qualification in Gallego?

The man who made a fortune last year out of selling a major Galician estate agency - to a development company which has just gone bust - has set up an operation which will invest in start-up ventures. Amongst its initial punts will be a chain of 115 'Asian fast food' restaurants under the name of Take-a-Wok. My own bet is that we won't see any of them here in Galicia or, that if we do, they will contrive to offer Chinese food which contains no ginger.

The warehouse fire in Vigo that exposed the illegal status of all but one of its 11 occupants has led the local press to uncover more shocking/unshocking discoveries. Principal among these is that there are 31 'clandestine business parks' in the city. I wonder what this can mean. That they are all covered by huge blankets? Anyway, they're said to exist because of the confusion on the part of the Xunta about its industrial policy. I don't know what this means but I knew it wouldn't be the fault of the businessmen.

The Galician savings bank, Caixa Nova, has become the controlling shareholder in the cable TV company R. Raising at least one question - Why? Aren't they busy enough trying to run a bank in difficult times? Sorry - two questions.

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