Monday, April 08, 2013

I did finally get to see a re-run of the Grand National, not long after my arrival from Santander. Everyone involved seemed inordinately pleased it went off well. Which appeared to mean it was sunny, no jockeys were hurt and, most of all, no horses were killed. On this, it's reported that 28 horses have been 'raced to death, already this year, including 2 at Aintree earlier in the week. Such is the concern for horses these days, I confidently expect to see protest groups emerging in the near future. Probably the same people who used to protest against fox-hunting until it was banned. And who must now be at something of a loose end.

I turned up more pix of the ladies who besported themselves at Aintree on Thursday. Some of these were quite elegant and the rest, well, weren't. And that's just those who stayed vertical. 'Elegance' isn't the word that springs to mind for the quintet who were primarily interested in showing off their knickers. At least I can now understand why undergarments are also known as 'briefs'. These 5 turned out to be actresses from a Welsh soap opera called (what else?) The Valleys. Anyway, you can see these and many more here. Concentrate on those labelled One or Two Days Ago,

The Aintree course is, of course, located in Liverpool, about which an interesting fact (or myth) re-emerged this week. Namely that Adolf Hitler spent some time in the city in 1923 and patronised a well-known pub – The Poste House. You can read about it here and make up your own mind.

A Spanish vignette. When I was getting my stuff out of the car at 2am this morning, a car stopped and out stepped one of my neighbour Ester's friends and greeted me like a long-lost relative. Which occasioned mixed emotions in me – pleasure at the affection shown and embarrassment that I couldn't remember her name. Or not until she'd driven off at least.

Just what the Spanish royal family needed. As affection for it plummets, new concerns are raised by the imminence of a biography of the Crown Prince's wife, Letizia, a commoner with a colourful career. At least before she joined the royals. Read more here. As someone has said, the fall in popularity of the royal family finally marks the end of Spain's Transition – from dictatorship to democracy.

An El País article threw up the word escrache today but no one around me in the bar could give me a translation. And neither could the online dictionary I use. It turns out to Argentinean in origin and to mean a group which stands outside the house of a politician and protests. In some way or other, it's said to be derived from the English word 'scratch'. In Spain it's become associated with people who protest about the vicious evictions which take place here when someone defaults on a mortgage obligation.

Finally . . . I was pleased to see my wi-fi was still functioning when I got back last night but not impressed to find the download speed was a mere 68kbps, against the 'up to 6 megabytes' promised in my contract. Things were no better today so a call was made to Telefónica. Eventually it rose to 1001kbps or 1 mega. Still poor but as good as I've ever had. So, musn't grumble.


Ferrolano said...

Well Colin, after looking at the photographs of “Liverpool’s Lovelies” at Aintree, I can only hope that it wasn’t as cold and miserable as here in Galicia – if it was, they’re a very brave and hardy bunch of lasses!!

Miquiztli said...

Sobre vuestros curtidos rostros de paloma endurecida,
sobre vuestras sonrisas de sal y vino agrio, ya sobre los duros cristales de la niebla,
está mi alma, están mis ojos, amigos,
y sobre el último dolor de la tierra,
y sobre el último dolor de mis manos, tanteando el duro cemento de una puerta vacía,
y sobre la última agonía de las aguas está flotando mi corazón, señores, mi corazón.
Por favor, abridme paso, dejadme cruzar este túnel de plomo,
que quiero ser el primero en llegar con mi sangre a los muelles de Liverpool.
Amigos, vosotros que os perfiláis como aletas de pescado
sobre las últimas esquinas de los buques;
vosotros que de cada rincón saltáis de una bodega a otra
como sapos de azufre ardiendo, como tristes pezuñas de lagarto,
para husmear el rojo carbón de las calderas,
para darle vida al hierro como al alba le dais su fruto,
para darle aliento al agua que se aleja para siempre de la tierra,
del polvo que tanto amáis tras unos ojos,
decidme que puedo soñar en vuestros rostros de ceniza
y en vuestras sucias calles de alquitrán, y en vuestros hogares de nata corrompida,
y echar la raíz de mi sangre como un ancla sobre vuestras jurisdicciones marítimas,
porque además de ser un hombre como vosotros, soy un poeta,
y un poeta es un corazón más sobre la niebla del mundo.
Por favor, abridme paso, que quiero ser el primero en saludar con mi sangre vuestras sonrisas de azufre,
vuestras mujeres de estopa. Por favor, abridme paso.

Perry said...


The term "escrache" does not directly convey its meaning into English, but Rough Music or Rantanning is an English folk custom, a practice in which a raucous punishment is dramatically enacted to humiliate one or more people who have violated, in a domestic or public context, standards commonly upheld within the community.

A rough music song originating from South Stoke, Oxfordshire:

There is a man in our town
Who often beats his wife,
So if he does it any more,
We'll put his nose right out before.
Holler boys, holler boys,
Make the bells ring,
Holler boys, holler boys.
God save the King.

As forms of vigilantism that were likely to lead to public disorder, ran-tanning and similar activities were banned under the Highways Act of 1882.


Terry Pratchett used Rough Music in a subplot about a young girl called Amber in his Tiffany Aching book "I shall wear midnight"

All the best,


Colin said...

@Perry. Where do you get this stuff from? Fascinating.

Colin said...

@Miquiztli. Many thanks for this, even if I am having a little difficulty translating bits of it. I will give it wider publication in my blog tonight.

Miquiztli said...

"que quiero ser el primero en llegar con mi sangre a los muelles de Liverpool...." un verso impactante, casi de poner la piel de gallina.

El poemario se titula Liverpool, no podía ser de otro modo.

Colin said...

Si, lo descubrí el titulo cuando buscaba detalles de la poema. Pero ¿por que escribió de Liverpool? ¿Vivió ahí?

Apellidarse Millares Sall no es cualquier cosa. said...

Liverpool es un libro con nombre de ciudad, pero no es la ciudad lo que allí se plasma, sino el puerto, que puede ser cualquier puerto, porque los puertos de mar tienen todos algo en común, pero llamar Liverpool a un libro en 1949 también tenía otras connotaciones.
Le canté a Liverpool pero pude hacer lo mismo con otro puerto.Me gustaba el nombre: Liverpool. Los puertos son
todos iguales. Te encuentras borrachos, marineros, la
estiba, las prostitutas, los que se venden por un vaso de sangre, esa miseria es social Y luego los interiores, el gato que se muere en las axilas, el niño que muere de
-Los Sall eran irlandeses, según tengo entendido.
-En efecto. Vinieron en la primera década del XVIII; El Sall que vino aquí era doctor en Teólogo y trabajó con el cabildo catedralicio

Colin said...


Muchas gracias. Me alegra el idea que Liverpool puede sierve como el modelo para todas las puertas del Mundo.

¿Un gato que muere en las axilas? Armpits???

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