Friday, November 08, 2013

Life in Valencia; Bullfighting; The Judicial system; A case in point; Tired eyes; and A couple of lists.

The (ex)employees of the Valencia TV shut down this week have initiated a lock-in and accused the local politicians of 'fascism', Spain's standard adjective for people who annoy you. Incidentally, the same people who closed the station on economic grounds have just announced they're to spend another €25m on the infamous Castellón airport which has so far cost €1.3bn and has yet to see a passenger or a plane. I guess this must cover more than just the annual cleaning budget. But who knows? Especially if Fabra family members are involved.

The Spanish parliament - dominated by right-of-centre PP party politicos - has now designated bullfighting a cultural heritage. Meaning the government can now subsidise the industry again and that Cataluña may be forced to reintroduce it. Doesn't really smell of progress, does it?

My understanding of the Spanish judicial system proceeds but not apace. I now know that the decisions of any investigating judge can be appealed to a superior court by either those charged by the judge (e. g. the Santiago train crash) or by the Public Prosecutor (e. g. the ERE corruption case in Andalucia). The Prosecutor (El Fiscal) is an employee of the Ministry of Justice and, thus, a political appointee. Which probably explains quite a lot of lenient quasi-judicial developments which have confused me over the years. Going through the process right now is the case of a driver who (deliberately) drove the wrong way down an autovia and killed someone. Originally sentenced to 13 years in jail, he/she was pardoned and released after only a few years. However, the relatives of the murdered driver appealed to the Supreme Court and the pardon has now been annulled. It's expected that the driver will be returned to prison but there seems to be no certainty on this. Interestingly his/her identity has never been revealed, which raises a question or two - particularly in the light of the pardon. Someone senior has recently said that the pardoning system needs to be debated, or at least explained. Amen to that but it isn't going to happen, is it? Too useful to governments of any stamp.

Still on the judicial system . . . A lawyer friend has filled me in on the case of the Santiago child whose parents have been charged with her murder. It turns out the original financial motive suggested by the media was misplaced as the child hadn't (as reported) inherited all her grandmother's assets. And the allegation that the father had sexually abused her has been dropped because the semen on her T-shirt was that of a man arrested for rape in a separate case. Someone, it seems, allowed two garments to come into contact with the same table. How do we know all this? Because it's all in the public domain. As are the views of 'experts' on the wife's handwriting, who discussed their opinions for 3 hours on a TV program earlier this week. Yesterday's allegation was that the wife was having an affair with a man whose wife knew of and consented to the affair, forming a scandalous 'trio'. Will it be possible for the parents to have a fair trial? And can it be long before Almodovar makes a film of this?

Did you know that "Throughout the day your eyes can lose moisture, leaving them dry and tired"? This seems to be the latest problem to worry about. Brought to you by Optrex. Who just happen to have the/a solution. Creative marketing for you. The very essence of capitalism.

I've cited a few lists from The Local, and here's another one. Ten signs that you have been Spanishised - I have to say I come of out this pretty well. 

Finally . . . Here's a list of my own, filched from somewhere, of well known depressives. Obviously not exhaustive but quite thought-provoking. Could anyone object to being in this company, other than to the qualifying factor of having suffered depression? Which is no joke, even if the list includes quite a few humorists.

A
Caroline Aherne, British comedienne
Hans Christian Andersen

B
Frank Bruno, British boxer

C
Alastair Campbell, British political adviser (the inspiration for The Thick of it and In The Loop)
Helena Bonham Carter
Winston Churchill
Eric Clapton
Leonard Cohen
Stan Collymore, British footballer
Joseph Conrad
Catherine Cookson

D
Larry David
Diana, Princess of Wales
Charles Dickens
Bob Dylan

E
T. S. Eliot
Queen Elizabeth II

F
Stephen Fry

G
Francisco de Goya
Graham Greene

H
Tony Hancock
Ernest Hemingway
Audrey Hepburn
Sir Anthony Hopkins
Frankie Howerd

J
Henry James
Samuel Johnson

K
Franz Kafka
John Keats
Akira Kurosawa, Japanese film director

L
Hugh Laurie, British actor
John Lennon

M
Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer
Paul Merton, English comedian
Michelangelo, Italian painter and sculptor
John Stuart Mill, British political philosopher
Spike Milligan, Irish comedian and writer
Morrissey, British singer and former frontman of The Smiths
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer

N
Isaac Newton, British physicist
Matthew Newton, Australian actor
Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher

O
Bill Oddie, British comedy performer and naturalist
Ronnie O'Sullivan, English snooker player

P
Jeremy Paxman
Gwyneth Paltrow
Dolly Parton

R
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Charlotte Rampling
J. K. Rowling
Winona Ryder

S
J. D. Salinger,
Siegfried Sassoon, British poet
Will Self, British novelist, reviewer and columnist
Brian Sewell, English art critic

T
Catherine Tate, English comedienne and actress
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Emma Thompson
Leo Tolstoy
Mark Twain

V
Vincent Van Gogh

W
David Walliams, British actor, writer and comedian
Evelyn Waugh
Ruby Wax
Oscar Wilde,
Kenneth Williams, British Comedian
Robbie Williams, British pop singer
Tennessee Williams
Virginia Woolf (Adeline Virginia Stephen), British novelist

Y
Thom Yorke, Radiohead

Tune in tomorrow for another of my own lists.

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