Saturday, March 02, 2013

I've been trying to arrange a drink, or even a dinner, with two separate groups of Spaniards between tonight and Sunday night. This task is complicated by Spain's cultural norm that 'Yes' always carries the rider - 'Unless something better crops up'. The good thing about this is that everybody is at it and no one minds if arrangements get changed at the last minute, or even cancelled. This carries through to restaurants, who never seem to mind if you book for 15 but turn up with 5. Or even vice versa. Every attempt is made to accommodate you. As of now, nothing is yet arranged but vamos a ver. I'm hanging loose, as they probably don't say any more.

Having quoted a review of Richard Fletcher's Moorish Spain, I decided to go back to the original. The word convivencia doesn't appear in the index but, fortunately, I'd marked the relevant text. And here it is, for completion: Moorish Spain was more often a land of turmoil than it was a land of tranquility. . . . The Romantic interpretation of Andalusi history has been propagated by writers such as Washington Irvine and Richar Ford. . . . The nostalgia of Maghribi writers was reinforced by the romantic vision of the nineteenth century. This could be flavoured with a dash of Protestant prejudice from the Anglo Saxon world. A powerful mixture. . . . Moorish Spain was not a tolerant and enlightened society even in its most cultivated epoch. The Mozarabic Christian communities whom John of Gorze met on his embassy to Córdoba were cowed and demoralised. Ibn Hazm, so often and misleadingly presented as a beacon of enlightenment, was learned but not open-minded. The Christians of al-Andalus were second class citizens like Christians under Muslim rule elsewhere in the world such as the Copts of Egypt. What else should we expect to find? The treatment of Mozarabs by their Islamic rulers foreshadows that of the Mudejars by their Christian ones. If the disabilities experienced by the Mudejars can be known in more detail than those of the Mozarabs, this is owing to the changing nature and survival of our sources; we know far more about the thirteenth and fourteenth century than we do about the tenth and eleventh.

Back to the present and an Advance Scandal WarningWe already know that a German princess called Corinna is romantically linked with the king of Spain but the word on the street is that she has also been dallying with the latter's son-in-law, who's currently up before the beak for massive financial skulduggery. Sexy emails which prove this are said to be in the hands of one of the co-defendants, who's naturally threatening to publish them, if his trial continues. You couldn't make it up, could you? But it could all be stuff and nonsense and we will have to wait and see. It's certainly plausible but almost everything is in Spain these days. Who knows, she should have been using the Palace for meetings with the Pope. Which would explain one major event of the last week or so. And also why His Eminence came here so often. As it were.

Finally . . . I watched Chinatown last night, for only the second time since it came out in the mid 70s. A classy film. Or as someone put it: There is a word, impossible to spell, that describes the alignment of solar bodies like the planets when they all fall into place together. A similar word would describe this film. Everything about it is right. If my memory serves me right, my first daughter was named after one of the stars. And I don't mean Jack Nicholson. Anyway, if you haven't seen it, I wholeheartedly recommend it. Just make sure you don't miss a line as, if you do, you've no chance of keeping up with the plot. Best, then, not to see it with a chatty Spanish woman. Unless you can rewind.

The word is Syzygy, by the way.

But Alfie knew that, even if you didn't.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Yes, of course I did. But only because I admire so much the epirrhematic variety of syzygy in The Frogs and Lysistrata.


Colin said...

Yea, I thought so . . . .