Friday, October 05, 2012


The Rough Guide is rather dismissive of Palencia. Or at least my 2004 edition is. The one where I get a mention in the acknowledgements. As I recall, it doesn't even name any hotels, which contributed to my failure to find one for 30 minutes. This may seem harsh on the part of the Rough Guide but, as there was no sign of a Turismo in Palencia, you could argue the city is dismissive of itself.

I get to see quite a few towers and fortresses in my travels around Spain. And my impression is there isn't one of them that wasn't used by Franco and his gang as a prison for Republican captives, many of whom were taken from them to be killed in bloody reprisals after the end of the war. Incidentally, perhaps Franco's most staggering piece of bloodthirsty double-think was to treat anyone who fought against him as a traitor to (“Catholic”) Spain, rather than as a defender of the legitimate government against which the Nationalist forces were rebelling. History, they say, is written by the victors. So, thank God for revisionist historians.

Another bit of Spanglish, I think – Runrún: Hum, humming; Rumour

Which reminds me . . . “The Lavender Hill Mob” became El Quinteto de la Muerte in Spanish. No, I don't understand why the title had to be changed either. It's not as if El Quinteto de la Muerte means more than La Banda de Lavender Hill. Or not to me, anyway.

The final report on the 5 hotels I stayed at is:
  • Accepted my out of date ID – 5
  • Mucked up my name – 5
  • Asked me to sign a chit, even though my credit card has a chip – 5
  • Photocopied my ID – 2
  • Asked me to enter my PIN - 0
I think I see a pattern emerging here.

Which reminds me . . . when you go in a café/bar and the only three papers there are being hogged by a guy and his wife (who isn't even reading but doing the puzzles), then you're tempted to conclude that the reputation of the Spanish for being inconsiderate of others is well and truly deserved. And your blood simmers a tad.

Nice cartoon in La Vanguardia (I think) – One observer saying to the other “It would be good if for once the number of prostitutes fined was less than the number of pimps arrested.”

Referring to Sunday's astonishing performance by the European Ryder golf team, a leader in El País said the comeback “was a question of something never seen on a golf course before – Cojones." The irony is that, if you use the standard English translation of 'Balls', it doesn't work as, of course, there have always been balls on a golf course. So . . .  knackers?

In the last few months – in a wave of spending unprecedented in my life – I've bought a digital TV recorder, an oven, a hob, a fridge/freezer, a set of bathroom scales and, most recently of course, a car. Each of these – even the bloody scales - came with a detailed guide on how to operate it. Inevitably, the most daunting is that for the car, if only because it weighs a kilo, or 2.2lbs. I've got as far a chucking away all the non-English pages in the guides but really must knuckle down to reading the residues. It would have been helpful during my just-finished 3,800km trek if I'd read the car manual. Or even brought it with me. As it was, I had to spend a good deal of time experimenting with the buttons on the steering wheel before cracking how the cruise control worked. Then there was the radio/CD player.

Finally . . . I'm guessing Arthur Alexander is a name unknown to most of you. And, indeed, to most of the world. He was, though, a favourite singer of The Beatles, who played some of his R&B songs in their stage performances. And, indeed, recorded one or two of them as well – Anna and You Better Move on. Alexander is the only songwriter whose songs have been covered by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. But he never achieved the recognition his own singing or for his tunes deserved. Possibly because he was an uninspired stage performer. Anyway, why not sample a few tracks on A Night Train to Nashville, via Spotify or Grooveshark?

2 comments:

kraal said...

Hi Colin, I have a couple of Arthur Alexander numbers on my ipod. Soldier Of Love by the Beatles and You'd Better Move On by the Roadrunners. Good music compared with todays non-stop racket, but I'm sounding like my dad. Kev

Colin said...

That's goof to hear, Kev. I'm now going to check out The Roadrunners. C.

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