My daughter's Madrid barrio - Malasaña - appears to be the epicentre of hipsterdom. There's even a specialist hipster barber in Plaza Dos de Mayo, with a line of hipster products on display in the window, including a mug to keep your drink off your moustache, and wax for the latter. The good news is that their business is a little down on next year.
Here's an account of my daughter's visit to the police yesterday, about getting the clearance she needs to teach at Eaton College in the UK in summer:-
I've come to see about the certificate. I haven't received it. Why is it taking so long?
Didn't you receive our letter?
Well, that's odd because we sent it. And it hasn't come back to us. We'll have to start the process all over again.
NO! That's not acceptable. If I don't get the clearance now, I'm going to lose the job.
Hang on. I'll go and see what we can do.
[Returns with a document and starts reading from it]
Is that a copy of the letter giving me clearance?
Well, why can't you just give me a copy of it?
[Pause] Oh, alright.
My daughter's insistence that she'd lose the job was, of course, a lie. But this is how you have to get to beat bureaucrats whose priority is to generate more paper, waste more time and protect their jobs. There seem to be a lot of these in Spain.
Years ago, it was said there was a 2-tier labour system here, comprising secure older workers, on the one hand, and insecure ('precarious') younger workers, on the other. The trade unions (set up by Franco and comfortable with their own huge bureaucracies) only worked in the interests of the former. Things were supposed to change when the labour market was fundamentally restructured as per the EU's demands. But I don't recall reading anything about this in the last few years. So, are things different now? The huge unemployment rate among the young - higher than 50% - would suggest not.
Someone protested the other day:- I'm not one of those who picks up a book and smells the pages as if it were fine lingerie. I had 3 responses to this: 1. Well, I am. 2. Who goes around smelling fine lingerie? 3. Is that something I've missed out on?
Finally . . . Here's another Hitler-rant pastiche, this time on the subject of cricket. If you know nothing about recent developments with the English team, you probably won't find it funny.