Saturday, May 11, 2013

I decided today to stop for a pedestrian at a flashing amber light. The result was that the pedestrian stayed where he was and the guy in the car behind me immediately blew his horn in impatience. Twice. I was tempted to write 'horned me' but decided this didn't quite convey what I had in mind.

Talking of words . . . Completing a Private Eye crossword last night, I learnt that 'To frig' can mean 'To masturbate'. Who'd have thought it? Just in case you're wondering, the relevant answer was fracking rigs and there's a large monetary prize for the best clue to fit it. Honest.

So, David Moyes is leaving Everton to replace Sir Alex Ferguson. I knew this, of course, quite some time ago, as David called me from time to time for advice. I doubt we'll get anyone as good but, interestingly, a Spaniard – Roberto Martinez – is said to be the favoured replacement. I guess it won't be long before he's seeking my advice.

Some of you may have noticed it was Europe Day yesterday. Or Europaro Day, as someone called it in El País yesterday. Paro being the Spanish word for unemployment/dole. Anyway, this secular holy day probably inspired the performance of Beethoven's 9th symphony here in Pontevedra tonight. (The one with the Ode to Joy in it.) This featured the Pontevedra orchestra and a 68-strong choir from North Portugal, who were all well received. The Only in Spain factor? The chap standing in the aisle with a one-year-old child in his arms. Presumably none of the grandparents could babysit.

I recently suggested it was a fundamental dynamic of Spanish life that things took longer here than elsewhere. This is certainly true of the latest portrait of the royal family, now in its 18th year of production. The artist, Antonio Lopez, has been moved to the palace to finish it before someone in it pops his/her clogs. Or possibly is sent to prison. Or abdicates. Why has it taken this long? With engaging honesty, López explained: "I didn't think I had the ability to do it prior to now." He's 77, by the way. So I take this to be either tongue in cheek or one of those excuses that readily spring to the tongue of the Spanish. Like “My grandmother died, again.”

I have to admit I didn't know there was a language here in Spain called Aragonese, though I do wonder whether it isn't, like Valenciano, pretty close to Catalañ. Be that as it may, I was intrigued to read that the Áragon parliament yesterday approved a new law that changes the names of two of the region's languages. LAPAO (Lengua Aragonesa Propia del Área Oriental or 'Aragon's own language of the eastern area') will become the new name for the Catalán spoken in the region while Aragonese will henceforth be known as LAPAPYP (Lengua Aragonesa Propia de las Áreas Pirenaica Y Prepirinenca or 'Aragon's own language of the Pyrenees and pre-Pyrenees'.) Languages are a sensitive issue in Spain and the purpose of this law – God knows how – is said to be to protect Áragon from encroachment by next-door Cataluña. Opposition parties have attacked the development but there's been just a shrug from Catatluña itself and the Áragonese man in the street says it will make no difference to his day-to-day activities. All a bit of a nonsense then.

Sometimes artists simply brighten up your day. So it is with Cristina Lucas, who's created this image of an adult Alice, trapped in the monastery of La Cartuja. Enjoy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Catalan is still widely spoken not only in Catalonia, but also in Valencia and the Balearic islands, as well as in the eastern fringe of Aragon. However, recognizing this linguistic fact may seem a threat to the Spanish unity and a boon to the Catalan. That's why they have to invent that notion of a new language apart from Catalan. Very similar with the Galician case, which from being the same entity as the Portuguese is being transformed into a Spanish version of that original language (Galician or Portuguese).

And under the official pretension of protecting enadangered languages lurks the sole purpose of asserting the Castilian language ascendancy over any other in Spain. It is the old spanish saying "divide y venceras ... " And I think they are doing pretty well ...

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