Monday, July 16, 2012


There was a TV still in today's El País from a particularly inane Tele5 program called Sálvame. This 'stars' an unprepossessing woman called Belén Esteban, who's famous for two things:- 1. Being the ex-partner of some bullfighter or other, and 2. Being even uglier after plastic surgery than before. Which is no mean achievement. Anyway, the foto seemed rather emblematic to me:-
1. Four of the six people in shot are not listening to the other two. Indeed, three of them are on their mobile phones.
2. All five women are blondes. Or the bits we can see anyway.
3. Ms Esteban is representing herself, faithfully, as a loudmouth.
Needless to say, she and the program are extremely popular with the masses. Why, she even garnered most votes on Spain's high-on-talking, low-on-dancing version of Celebrity Come Dancing, when she can't dance for toffee. I'm pushed to think of an equivalent program or woman in the UK.

Talking of strange women . . . There was one on British TV on Sunday morning, taking part in a discussion on racism in football. Her opening oration included the sentiment that "Use of the C word is deeply misogynistic." Which leaves me asking what we should call use of the P word? Misandrogynistic? Where is Alfie when you need him?

Taking of words . . . There was a headline in yesterday's Faro de Vigo which simply said. Que se jodan. Now, this can be translated in a number of ways but all of them must contain the word fuck. So, whereas I can't hear this word in Family Guy at midnight on the BBC, a respectable Spanish newspaper can print it without qualms. A more robust culture here, perhaps. Or less hypocritical.

I'm sorry to say I've once again missed the annual Celtic Music Festival in Ortigueira. I'll get there one of these days and will then be able to witness the finale featuring the massed bagpipe bands of the five Celtic 'nations' – Galicia, Asturias, Castille y León, Scotland and Brittany. Don't ask. Or at least don't quibble.

Meanwhile, I've got Pontevedra's annual Jazz and Blues Festival this week. Which rarely disappoints.

I was wrong with my estimate of Spain's current deficit as a percentage of GDP. I thought 6.8% but it turns out to be fractionally under 9%. From which heights it must, per the command from Brussels, be brought down to 3% by the end of 2014. The target for this years has been eased from 5.3% to 6.3%, in recognition of the fact Spain isn't going to make any of the numbers previously bandied about. I see I'm not alone in believing this is not going to happen; today's papers report that Goldman Sachs dismisses it as impossible. So what next, Mariano? By the way, it's at the very least, amusing to see that the 2012 target was as 1.9% in February of this year. Prompting the question - In what bloody universe were the politicians living? Which is just a rephrasing of the question - Were they lying through their teeth back then, or just stupid?

I've mentioned once or twice the competition between Madrid and Barcelona for EuroVegas. Click here for a good article on this from IberoSphere.

Finally . . . Back to words. Reading something about my native language in a Spanish newspaper, I was brought up short by the statement that English was "the language of Shakespeare and David Beckham". The only connection I can see is that the former had a vocabulary of around 200,000 words and the latter 200. But I could be wrong.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Colin,

I don't have a clue as to how many words Billy Shakespeare really knew. However, I've heard Beckham and his lovely wife bark several times while being interviewed on tv. You're very generous with the number 200. Combined!

Jorge
SF Bay Area

Ferrolano said...

Colin, over the years I have often thought about driving along to Ortigueira for the Celtic Music Festival, but the thought of it pouring down with rain, while camped under canvas has somehow put me off. Tongue-in-cheek, I was thoughtful about the Celtic Nations that you had listed, thinking that you had missed out Ireland. For curiosities sake, I typed in “Celtic Nations” at Google and was surprised to see that by some accounts that; Cornwall, Wales and the Isle of Man should also be included. Interestingly, Galicia and Asturias is listed as one nation, but not necessarily as true Celtic because a Celtic language has not been spoken there for many a year. Obviously, Gallego doesn’t count.
I would have also remarked on the extent of Beckham’s vocabulary but saw that Jorge in SF got there first. The combined 200 words is good….

Victor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin said...

Hey, Victor. Where's your comment gone?

Colin said...

@ Ferrolano. Yea, I discovered all this stuff years ago, when I was dealing with Galician nationalists sending me offensive messages. I even joked about the Cornish National Front but now there is one! Seems to me that the only criterion for being a Celtic nation is to have a minimum of 5 bagpipe players who can play well enough so as to ensure that the entire audience doesn't leave en masse.

James Atkinson said...

I consulted my percy Scholes, and it would appear that its more a case of who doesn't/hasn't played the bagpipes. The germans call theirs a doodlesack which sounds quite onomatopoeic to me. For a change the teutonic version is smaller and sweeter sounding.It would appear though that although most nations have played the bagpipes in the past, most have since abandoned them. As I have a scottish great grandfather, I will not express an opinion which might incriminate me.

Colin said...

Yes, well I have Irish, Scottish, and Welsh grandparents (not uncommon on Merseyside) but don't regard myself as Celtic. But I might if I could play the blasted pipes.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

And HERE'S ALFIE!

Women who hate men are called Misandrists. As opposed to a Misanthrope who is anybody who hates everybody.

Colin said...

Thanks, Alfie. I knew you wouldn't let us down.

Anthea said...

At the rate at which I keep spotting English words in Spanish they'll soon be speaking nothing but the "language of Shakespeare and David Beckham".

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