The DSK affair: After watching a good bit of France24, I've been pondering why the French feel such a sense of shame over this. Is it because they maintain the Mediterranean (Arabic?) concept of honour, so one dishonourable member besmirches all the family? Or is it because DSK is such an exemplar (negatively as well as positively) of the French political class that they realise their entire way of doing things is under the unsympathetic global microscope? Or both, perhaps. Of course, they're also angry at the US treatment of DSK (the perp walk especially) and see the Anglo accusatorial legal approach as less sophisticated and humane than their own judge-driven way of doing things. And of covering such things up. None of it will help France's view of itself, given how they've lost control of the EU in the last decade or so and their language has to take second or even third place to the bastard tongue of English. On this, did you know that France was the only country to refuse to give its Eurovision results in English? Understandable but rather pathetic and petty really. To use a word stolen from French . . . Or possibly two.
French Culture: From a Times columnist . . . "I am intrigued to learn that the traditional cinq à sept, the two-hour window when the whole of France comes to a standstill to pursue the national sport of adultery, has recently migrated to deux à quatre instead. This shift represents one of the few French concessions to the hectic pace of modern life. It used to be you could knock off work shortly before five in order to knock off another chap’s wife shortly afterwards, then home for tea with your own wife, who had, of course, been busy entertaining another woman’s husband in the meantime. Longer working hours, however, mean that the late afternoon adultery slot has had to be moved to earlier in the day. The knock-on effect of that has been the truncation of the traditionally long lazy Gallic lunch. To summarise, the typical French working day has now shifted from the pattern of “work — five-course lunch — work — adultery — home” to the more streamlined model “work — three-course lunch — adultery — back to work — then home”. Thus does today’s cut-throat globalised economy erode sacred national rituals."
Another ten conspiracy theories: Click here.
Spanish consumer service - I called Línea Directa yesterday to ask a couple of things. And to complain that two letters of last year about the write-off value of my car hadn't been answered. The matter-of-fact response was that they didn't have this data, as if this excused bad manners. No hint of an apology or a recognition that this wasn't the right way to treat a (long-standing) customer. In contrast, I got a letter from my water company last week suggesting I check for a leak, as my consumption in the last quarter was three times what it usually is. With a corresponding bill. You could've knocked me down with a feather at this example of helpful service. Though perhaps it might have been better (and quicker) if they'd phoned me. Which reminds me, the Línea Directa call was naturally a premium rate number. But, then, almost everything is these days here in Spain. Rare is the company which offers its customers a freephone number. Once you're a (tied-in) customer, the treatment of you invariably changes. That said, Orange keep offering me a discount for the next year if I tie myself up for another 12 or 24 months. As if.
The Spanish property market: See here and here, for statistics that may or may not be totally accurate.
The revolting Spanish: See here for a report on recent cross-party demonstrations in Spain's major cities.
The disinclination to use native speakers: See here for the latest superb example of this antediluvian (antediluviano) attitude.
Blatant obscenity: The football player who scored Manchester City's winning goal last Saturday is reportedly paid 220,000 pounds a week. Or 11.4 million pounds a year. Who does he think he is - a bloody banker?
Word of the Day: Apisonadora - Steamroller
Unkind and Kind Neighbours: I see someone broke one of my tail-lights during my absence. And then sealed the cracks with sellotape. I suspect Nice-but Noisy-Tony but he insists, with a logic that escapes me, that it can't have been him because my car was facing the wrong way.
Finally . . . Own Trumpet blowing: I've waited a long time to say this . . . . Google Reader has now reached 130 kind folk who read my blog. Whether these are different from the 65 who are Followers (dread word), I haven't the faintest. But I hope not.