Thursday, February 26, 2009

So, here are details of Acts 5 and 6 of the National Comic Opera. We will presumably get Act 7 if and when the case is transferred not to the Madrid and Valencian regional courts, as first expected, but to Spain’s Supreme Court. This is because people with parliamentary privilege are now said to be implicated. It’s hard to know who’s winning. Though the PP certainly seems to be losing.

But on to more important matters . . . I’m always impressed by the football match commentaries of the national newspapers, such as those for last night’s dour duel between Real Madrid and the other team from Liverpool. Those on the TV are, however, quite a different matter. Someone once said that much of Spanish TV is really radio with pictures. I suspect they were thinking of the ‘discussion’ programs when 6 to 10 people sit in a horseshoe and shout at each other, simultaneously. But nowhere is this description more true than for a football match. Invariably the commentary is a pause-less, mechanical, blow-by-blow description of absolutely everything you can see with your own eyes on the screen. Which might just make sense if you were blind but, for some reason, preferred to sit in front of a TV instead of a radio. Needless to say, this leaves no time or opportunity for analysis. In fact, I’m surprised it even allows time for the drawing of breath.

Spain’s anti-smoking law was introduced in January 2006 and was roundly criticised at the time as being less than onerous. Looking at these statistics, one can see why. It’s certainly true that it’s still hard to avoid cigarette smoke here, whether you’re eating or merely drinking. Though, personally, I was lucky enough to be a patron of a café-bar large enough to compel segregation of smokers and non-smokers. Eventually.

I mentioned the other day that there’s a certain ambiguity and flexibility around rules here in Spain. Of course, this isn’t all bad. I managed, without too much difficulty, to get some antibiotics for my still-suffering dog today, after the pharmacist and I had briefly – and jocularly - discussed the formal requirement of a prescription. I’d gone direct to the pharmacy as I didn’t want to be relieved of my other arm and leg in order to get said prescription from the vet. If this 3 euro box of antibiotics does the trick, it will mean I only over-paid 162 euros for the useless treatment they initially gave him a month ago.

Talking of spending – I was going to write last week that my own observation was that recessionary pressures were keeping the price of a normal coffee down to one euro ["Un eurolito"]. Or little more than what it rocketed to when the currency was introduced in 2002. But that was before I was charged 1.40 in one of Pontevedra’s little squares last weekend. A survey since then reveals that prices now range from 0.90 at the bar of a common-or-garden café to 1.40 on the terraces of the town’s more pijo options. Which may or may not be good value compared with other cities in Spain.

But back to politics and the promised statesman-like pix of the two other candidates for the position of President of the Galician Xunta. As it happens, both of them use the word 'forza’.

1. The incumbent, Sr. Touriño of the socialist PSOE party


2. Sr. Quintana, of the nationalist BNG party.

Sr Quintana was yesterday shown enjoying the hospitality of a major businessman who did well out of the recent tender for wind turbine contracts presided over by the BNG. His reaction was to dismiss the publication of this photo as “An attack on Galicia”. Which suggests that four years in power as the coalition partner of the PSOE may just have left him prey to the occasional delusion of grandeur. An occupational hazard for politicians, of course. Especially for those with only 19 or 20% of the popular vote.

I leave you with a picture of what I, at first, thought was a banner for a candidate of Russian extraction but, when I thought about it, wasn't . . .

If you're stumped, imagine driving under it and then looking backwards.


Graeme said...

I don't know Colin, I think the last one makes more sense if you look at it backwards.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I knew that one on the Spanish TV football detailed and unnecessary comments ... it reminds me of horse racing in the UK.

However, the good thing about that habit is that it leaves, as you rightly point out, little time for analysis. In the UK you have to put up with ridiculous or enlightened comments by retired footballers or demoted coaches desperate to make an impact to justify their TV contracts, and with their regional incomprehensible accents. It gets even worse when you get to listen those footballers who'd hardly get a Level 4 in an English SAT (supposing that organizing such a national test was within the capabilities of this country, which is quite a lot of supposing), using the same formulae (in their own native tongue) to answer the same predictable questions ...

By the way, very funny that "forza" thing of the other two campaigners! Why the heck would they turn to that Italian word?! (Mussolini?!)

Midnight Golfer said...

I don't smoke, the whole idea of it seems like a backwards way to go about getting stimulants into one's system, and I avoid spending money in places where I can smell tabacco.

That being said, I don't think it should take a law. Obviously the law barely makes a difference, anyways.

If people who really dislike smoking stopped going to places where it is permitted, it would make at least as much a difference as the law has.
And, if it doesn't make a difference, and smokers spend more money than non-smoking diners, then why should the government dictate that us non-smokers are more important?

Colin said...


I guess one answer to your last question is that, where there are national health services, then the state [i. e. the taxpayers] pay for treating the conditions associated with smoking. So it feels it has a moral right to dictate what shouldn't be done. Then there are the Health & Safety considerations of the people who work in places where smoking is allowed. . . .

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