Thursday, April 28, 2011

I touched on corruption among Spanish politicians the other day. Right on cue, the Presidenta of the Madrid region boasted that she had a 'clean' list of candidates for the upcoming elections, only to admit shortly afterwards that almost a dozen of them have been indicted. But only for 'little nonsenses', she said. Such as “The misuse of funds, bribery, influence peddling, perversion of the course of justice, environmental crimes, and the carrying out of activities banned to civil servants”. Not worth worrying about, obviously.

A few of the many thousands of words written about last night's (boxing?) match between Real Madrid and Barcelona:-

Clásico, crásico.

But for Messi remembering that football should be about joy, adventure and imagination, and Xavi also playing with style, this was the game that dignity forgot. There was no respect, no charm, no integrity. In front of a global audience stretching into the hundreds of millions, this Champions League semi-final proved more head-case than showcase. It was scarred by play-acting from both sides.

When Jose Mourinho finally disappeared into the night, it was a pity because we could not see how he then reacted on the evening when he was well and truly hoisted by his own ugly petard, the evening when his cynicism and mind games meant Real backfired like a spluttering second-hand Robin Reliant, the evening when, frankly, the Special One got found out.

Rarely has so much talent been brought together in just two teams and never has it been so wasted on stifling tactics, time-wasting, late challenges and off-the-ball incidents, with both teams guilty.

Worse than the cards, and worse than the fact that Mourinho has now finished his last five games against Barcelona with 10 men, was the complete lack of sparkling football.

Messi unlocked the doors to Wembley last night so exquisitely even Jose Mourinho had to square up to the most unpalatable fact. It is that no football coach on earth has the wit or the invention to stop the pure gusts of authentic genius.

As Messi brightened up a blighted scene, the stadium seethed, controversies lined up to run and run and the two sets of fans denounced each other as "whores". This was not really a football match. It was warped political theatre and there is more to come next week.

Arbeloa, a man who might create tension at Evensong.

For the complete demolition of Mourinho, click here.

And for the overview of someone who knows Spain better than any of the British commentators, click here.

Changing the subject drastically, I've long said that the best living arrangement for a couple would be two cottages side by side, with a connecting door that can be bolted from either side. I see that the columnist Julie Birchill has much the same view. Scroll down here.

This is Spain's entry for the Eurovision song contest, sung by a nice Galician chanteuse. Her backing players include someone on the Galician pipes. As nearly everyone will know, these have one less drone than their Scottish equivalent. Those who want to see the lyrics can click here.

Finally . . . I can't hold this back any longer. . . I got very close to Lady/Princess Diana on a couple of occasions. Once when we literally bumped into each other in a corridor in the Savoy Hotel in London. Truth to tell, she wasn't as beautiful as she was often portrayed and I'd have to give my vote to Kate Middleton. Us commoners have to stick together.

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