When I turn on the TV of a morning to get the BBC’s classical music channel via my satellite, I always get a Spanish terrestrial channel first, then the Skye menu, then the right channel. There's an appreciable change in the volume as I go, despite the TV setting being the same for all of them. If you live in Spain, you won’t have much difficulty in guessing in which direction the sound volume travels. It all rather endorses the theory that the Spanish get used to high levels of noise from the time they’re in the cradle. I dread to think what a kindergarten sounds like. Or even a crèche.
One of the tropes of the economic crisis is that few, if any, of the numerous commentators saw it coming. Well, should the entire global banking system eventually implode, at least no one will be able to make this accusation again. For Britain’s Daily Telegraph has a professional Jeremiah in its financial columnist, Ambrose Evan-Pritchard. And here he is, rather frighteningly, on the problem of worthless debts in East Europe and the threat these pose not just to the EU but to the whole world. If you like your Monday mornings to be light, you might want to leave this until later in the week.
Several press reports such as this one suggest that hard times are again leading to the rise of anti-Semitism around the world. This may be predictable but it’s also profoundly depressing. In the context of Islamic attitudes towards Jews, Janet Daley comments here on the British government decision to bar a controversial Dutch politician from airing his views on Islam in the UK.
I wrote yesterday that no one should be surprised at a 13 year old British boy becoming a father. Today we learn that two other whippersnappers are challenging his right to this honour, at least in respect of the almost-as-big-as-him baby he was pictured swaddling last week. It seems his 15 year old girlfriend may have been quite a friendly lass. Or possibly just someone smart enough to cover her bets. Anyone still surprised? Incidentally, the names of some of the female performers in this media circus are interestingly different – Chantelle, Maisie and – hard-to-beat - Barbie-Jayne. As I think someone once said, if all this makes me sound rather elitist, that’s because I am.
Killing time while waiting for my daughter’s delayed flight into Santiago this afternoon, I decided to check on flight options for friends thinking of coming at the end of the month. At the Iberia desk, they reminded me there are Clickair flights into Santiago, whereas Iberia now flies into La Coruña. “But it’s not Iberia” said the guy at the desk. “Yes, but it’s a subsidiary company” said I. “Well, no but it’s part of the same group” he replied. Your guess is as good as mine as to what the real difference is. And why it’s so important for Iberia employees to draw this distinction.
Here’s more on the links between Galicia and Ireland, from The Irish Times. Interestingly, it says there’s no evidence of Celtic genes in Ireland. Can this be right?
Finally, courtesy of a BBC podcast, I learned en route to the airport that Afghans began to play cricket a mere ten years ago; that last year they won two international competitions; and that they’re now in with a shot of qualifying for the next World Cup. Which is just about the most heartening news I’ve heard in weeks. Possibly the only heartening news.