I’ve said many times how impressed I am by the obit columns in Spain’s serious press. This week, I was astonished to see one of these dealing with the British actress Mollie Sugden, one of the engaging stars of the 70s sitcom, “Are you being served”. I was even more surprised to read that she and fellow star, John Inman, had become cult figures in the USA, thanks to HBO. It’s an odd world.
El País yesterday carried an excellent article on the stupidity of Spain’s far right on the issue of Gibraltar. Entitled “Three hundred years of futility”, this stressed the point regularly made here, viz. that the PP’s arguments over the rock apply equally well to Spain’s African possessions and that what’s sauce for the Gib goose is surely sauce for the Ceuta and Melilla ganders.
Over in the UK the “Consumer Watchdog” is fining the energy company EDF for ‘poor consumer service”. Bloody ‘ell. If this approach were adopted here, corporate Spain would face overnight bankruptcy.
Which reminds me . . . Nine years after I first started moaning about it, the government says it’s going to talk to water companies about reflecting actual usage in the bills. In theory, this should mean people living alone like me should see their bills reduce, as the fixed cost element falls. But, as the water companies will remain monopolies, I am less than optimistic.
Talking of profit margins . . . Here’s an article on the huge gap between what’s paid to risk-exposed British scallop fishermen and the prices paid for these in London’s restaurants. I imagine much the same is true of Galician shellfish. Perhaps most notably so in the case of percebes (goose barnacles), which are very dangerous to harvest and sell at ludicrous prices, especially at Christmas. The real irony in their case is that, fifty years ago, no one here would even feed them to animals. Having had the pleasure of tasting them, I can understand why. But, of course, they are an aphrodisiac. Like the equally repulsive oysters. How gullible is Man.
A Spanish audience is an amiable but not always the most attentive creature. At least on its fringes. Attending one of our Jazz in the Street events last night, I found myself wondering just why the many talkers had come to it. Possibly only because the music provided the loud backcloth they needed to their simultaneous chatting. Which is, of course, a function normally served by the 1 to 4 loud – and equally unwatched - TVs on the walls of the country’s bars and cafés.
Another question I found myself re-asking is why these events always begin at 10.30 and go on until well after midnight. After all, it’s not as if we ever suffer from nocturnal heat up here in Galicia. I concluded it’s because – as the evening traffic jams prove – many folk don’t get home for their evening meal until well after 9pm. Their kids having been looked after until then by the ever-helpful grandparents. Or - as with my next door neighbours – by the contemptuously disregarded household chica.
Finally . . . Quote of the week:
Pessimists and reactionaries make the best prophets because they are without illusions, because they can see behind as well as beyond contemporary viewpoints.
David Gilmour, in his biography of Rudyard Kipling – “The Long Recessional”.