Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The EU elections; The bulls; Spanish friendship; The call from Microsoft; & The Wels catfish

As you'd expect from Spain's long (and profitable) love affair with the EU, there is no UKIP-like eurosceptic party among those standing in Thursday's elections. Instead, protest votes may well go to the ‘Empty Seats’ movement. On reflection, there is a eurosceptic party in Spain; it's Galicia's nationalist party, the BNG. They have advised their supporters - all 23 of them - not to vote as the EU is not socialist enough.

Talking of the elections . . . . There was a TV debate this week between Spain's minor parties. It was reportedly seen by just 4% of the TV audience. So, surprisingly high.

There are those who love the bulls and those who hate them. You may be surprised to hear that the former are a minority in Spain. Even though they're supported - and subsidised - by the current right-of-centre PP government. Though not in Cataluña, where bullfighting has been banned as being too 'Spanish'. But I digress . . . Most non-aficionados would concede that the matadors are brave men (and occasional woman). Though I know one chap - Alfie Mittington - who argues vehemently that things are so rigged there's virtually no risk whatsoever. I've offered to pay him a thousand euros if he goes into the ring but am still waiting for his reply. Anyway, something happened yesterday in Madrid which possibly undermines his argument - all three matadors were gored and had to be carried off to hospital. And the event was then cancelled. Of course, in these days of antibiotics, there's little risk of death from blood infection from a filthy horn but back before the 50s, there was every prospect of a goring proving fatal. Perhaps even Alfie would concede they were brave back then. More here.

The Spanish consul in the UK has resigned after it was discovered he'd given the use of his house for a month to a former bank manager charged back home with fraud. Presumably a friend. And there's little in Spain more important than friendship. Which in this case extended to providing the accused with a chauffeur service as well as a place to lay his head. Above and beyond the call of duty, I suppose.

I guess we've all been there - the call with a few seconds delay before anyone speaks. And then a guy with an Indian accent says "Hello. I'm Michael Williams and I'm calling from Microsoft headquarters." And I reply "And I'm the effing queen of Sheba" and put the phone down. And then I regret it because it might have been my chance to hear the spiel about me having a fault in my computer and needing to give him access to my passwords, etc. etc. Which reminds me - There is on the net a video of a knowledgable techie asking questions of "Michael Williams" that ties him in knots. Quite funny.

I saw a program last night on TV about the Wels Catfish, which grows to over 2m and 75 kilos and is capable of sucking a child, woman or even a man down into the depths. And which lives in Spain's river Ebro, among others. That's one place I won't be swimming.

Finally . . . Don Keith of Probably Madrid has set up a new web page providing recipes. Click here for more.


Perry said...

Carlos Arruza retired as Matador in 1953 & in two years spent 2 million dollars. Then he returned as a Rejoneador & was asked what happened to the money? He said spending it had been very difficult & it had taken a lot of work. I read his autobiography.



Colin Davies said...

Thanks, Perry. Looks worth a read.

sp said...

I see you have adopted the Spanish meaning of "love the bulls" - in which love means to enjoy watching them being stabbed.
It does give one some hope when the comments below the story (on at least) largely take the opposite view.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

I cannot remember ever having been offered 1000 Euros to step into a bullring. You must have dreamt that, and I suppose that the desire to see me 'gored' was the mother of that dream…

As for your offer, now publicly repeated: if you first finance my four years training, and then pay me the 1000 Euros, I will gladly live up to your challenge. As I have always said: these fellows are not brave, because they have learned to predict every move the bull may make and have the evading pirouettes down to their fingertips; while the animal does it for the first and last time, and has no idea what's happening or what's next. A rigged battle if any.

For all the rest, you may look at the larger argument in my old post 'Do Bullfighters Have Ball?' at

Yours, fearless Fred.