Monday, December 10, 2012

Up to La Coruña today - to hear an interesting talk on the travels around Galicia of George Borrow, author of The Bible in Spain. Well, I say it was interesting but, as it was all in Gallego, I'm relying on my galegofalante Dutch friend, Peter, for this assessment. 

Driving there and back, I was able to discuss with Peter the quaint Dutch character of Black Pete – something which was roundly condemned in a recent Guardian article. As a natural Devil's Advocate, Peter argued, convincingly, the case in favour or retaining the figure in Dutch life. One interesting aspect of the St Nicolas-Black Pete institution is that St Nick, at least, is believed to have come from Madrid by boat. Quite a feat.

So Little Lionel Messi has broken the record for the number of goals scored in a calendar year. Astonishing. And still 3 weeks to go. Shame he was born in Argentina. Though, sadly, not in Las Malvinas.

Finally . . . I heard today that Andy Warhol's definition of modern art was Anything you can get away with. Which has both the smell of perspicacity and the ring of truth about it. Wish I could get away with it. Warhol's biggest disciple is, of course, Damien Hirst. Who still seems to be getting away with everything.

Which reminds me . . . Berlusconi looks set for another stretch as President of Italy. The chances of him doing a stretch elsewhere now look very slim.

I'm off now to find out what a 'fiscal cliff' is. It seems to be the phrase of the moment.


Anonymous said...

Good evening, and congratulations for the blog. Even though I feel a bit disappointed by the air of superiority it seems to spread, I have to say it's verty funny, with great and sharp irony. I agree with many of your observations, me myself tend to look at the nonsense side of many habits, specially those consolidated with a consistent lack of criticism. But as a Galician, I must disagree with the approach you hold towards the question of language here. I don't support some of the most extreme and esterile legislation about Galician "normalization"; I don't like the artificiallity of some of it's "normativizarion", but I don't think someone should complain on the fact that any conference, TV program, official comunication, or whatever other message produced here, be in Galician. In my opinion that is a colonialist way of thinking, often cinical, when stated by English or Spanish cultivated people.

By the way, I don't consider myself a "nationalist" in the usual sense is given to this position; I don't think we are so different either. Neither I speak Galician usually, but that is personal stuff. But I know how the world has been working the last centuries, and languages, peoples and cultures don't have the same life expectancy, and everyone has the right to resist and fight -proportionally- any kind and grade of colonization.

kind regards,

Colin said...

Hola, Pablo.

Thanks for your message. My apologies for delay in responding.

I'm pleased you enjoy my blog and am sorry that you find it has an air of superiority. I certainly don't intend for this to be the case.

It's a long time since I've written on the issue of language. If you're referring to my comment about the talk in in La Coruña being in Gallego, I certainly wasn't criticising this, just regretting the fact that I had driven a long way to sit for more than two hours listening to something I didn't/couldn't understand. If I had been told that it was going to be in Gallego, I would never have gone and, thus, would have had nothing to complain about. But this is not a comment on Gallego itself. Only on my ability to understand it, I have never opposed the use of Gallego in documents but, yes, I have complained about official documents not being in both official languages. As they now are again, it seems. Which is fine with me. Fortunately Galicians are very pragmatic and no one has ever spoken to me in Gallego rather than Spanish, even if they prefer Gallego themselves.

I hope that clarifies my position.

All the best for the festive season. And many congratulations on your English.


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