Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Modern marriages; The Art of Translation: Spanish Tribalism: Spanish Localism; and Spanish Un-ruleyism

I see that President Sarkozy and his lovely wife, Carla Bruni, are each reported to have taken a lover, not terribly long after they got hitched. Which brings, I suspect, a whole new meaning to the phrase Pre-Nup Agreement.

I failed to post a blog last night because – after lunch with my friend Alfie B Mittington – I foolishly acceded to his suggestion of “Just one more copa before you go.” Well, one thing led to another and I never actually got to go. Anyway, one of the things we discussed over the meal was Alfie’s contention that, however fluent one is in two languages, it’s well nigh impossible to get the exact tone when translating between them. I thought of this today when reading this bit from the Introduction to some offerings from modern Galician writers – “Organising a selection of texts implies adopting quite a commercial perspective which sits uneasily with the essentialist and immamentatist feelings that sometimes bind the work of critics and literary histories. . . . Delved into the Galician narrative production of the last few years allowed me to affirm once more the variety and quality of proposals offered, the rigour, the originality and the will to transgress in many of them, and the dynamism that, as a discourse, gives it impulse, and that is its best guarantee for the future, welcome to all of you who wish to share it with us.”. Well, yes. This must read a lot better in the original Gallego and I suspect the translator – as is usually the case here – was not a native speaker of English.

Another fine article from Qorreo. This one expanding on the theme of political tribalism that I occasionally touch on here. And also on the subject of the left-of-centre judge currently under attack from the Far-Right. Incidentally, members of the latter seem to think it’s OK for the leader of the Opposition to criticise the judge in question but not for the President to praise him. Which says a lot about their neutrality and their conception of freedom of speech.

Another theme I occasionally address is that of Spanish localism. Which people have been doing for at least two hundred years, of course. I mention it now in the context of the possible merger of our two Caixas, or savings banks. This has been the centre of a long struggle between our regional government and the central administration plus the Bank of Spain. The former wants the Caixas to be merged, so as to keep them Galician, while the latter don't. No one knows what the outcome will be but at the moment they seem to have battered each other into a stand-off. Be that as it may, here's how the local parties stand:
For the merger – The right-of-centre PP government of Galicia and the very left-of-centre BNG Galician nationalist party. Normally, members of these parties wouldn’t urinate on those of the other if they were on fire but each of them is now vying to prove how ‘Galicianist’ it is.
Against the merger – The local PSOE socialist party, which is towing the central party line, in the face of accusations of betraying Galicia. And the mayor of Vigo, who (regardless of his party affiliation) opposes the merger because it would mean La Coruña winning out against his city.
Standing on the sidelines: Everyone in Pontevedra, who would love to see the upstart city of Vigo lose out, even if it meant La Coruña becoming more important. On the principle that My enemy's enemy is my friend.

Finally . . . Inspired by a car I saw yesterday that was illegally parked in four different ways at once – partly on a zebra crossing, partly on the pavement, partly on some chevrons at the side of the road and partly on the yellow lines of a box junction – I set out today to take fotos of illegally parked cars as I walked into town. This was not, I must admit, a challenging task and I gave up after only ten minutes and twenty fotos. I will now categorise them and post some of them in a gallery tomorrow. Just a sampler for now – a Post Office van parked entirely on the pavement just outside the town’s main medical centre. Possibly delivering urgent medical supplies. And possibly not.


Alejandra said...

Hi, I noticed this blog in the states before leaving and now that I've arrived in Santiago I've stumbled upon it again. I'm a student at USC for the semester. I was in Pontevedra (historic area) on Saturday. I really liked it. Would you recommend any places to eat? Or any places to visit nearby (I'd like to go to OGrove?) Best, Alejandra

Colin said...

Hola, Alexandra. Well, if you haven’t been to my Galicia web page, now is the time do it –

You will find a guide to Pontevedra there, plus some eating recommendations. You can also try the site
if you want to know more about towns along the coast. Or write to me on
if you have specific questions.

Enjoy your stay. And keep stumbling!

santcugat said...

I think there's a rule that the shorter your stay, the more illegal you are allowed to park.