Sunday, August 09, 2015

Regional TV; Impartial judges?; The Spanish tongue; & A sad clown.

If you travel around Spain - or even if you stay in the same spot - you'll eventually come into contact with a regional TV station. Or, indeed, 2 or 3 in the same region. My impression is all of these haemorrhage money. Taxpayers' money, that is. But, since regional identity is important in Spain no one seems to worry about this. Even though it's rather like crap Cheshire TV were competing with shit Merseyside TV to the north and indescribably bad North Wales TV to the south. La Crisis has done for some of these channels but not, by any means, all of them. The local flag has to be kept flying. Especially as there are thousands of jobs to be handed out. 

 So, why am I not surprised to read that two of the judges who will now preside over the government-implicated Bárcenas investigation are said to be close to the PP party currently in power? Said administration is currently addressing the election challenge of later this year by issuing the traditional swathe of phoney promises. And by bringing forward a 2016 budget that offers tax reductions to all and sundry. As ever, this will probably work, as most Spaniards seem to be good at cognitive dissonance - "They're all liars and I don't believe them for a second" and "Oh, look. We're going to pay fewer taxes. 

This is a paragraph from V S Pritchett's The Spanish Temper. It was written in 1953 but remains true today: Spanish is a dry, harsh stone-cracking tongue, a sort of desert Latin chipped off at the edges by its lisped consonants and dry-throated gutturals, its energetic "r's" but opened by its strong emphatic vowels. It is a noble tongue with a cynical parrot-like sound as it is spoken around one, but breaking out of this mutter into splendid emphasis. Castilian is a language in which one hears every word and each word is as distinct and hards as a pebble . Castilian is above all a language which suggests masculinity, or at any rate is more suited to the male voice than the feminine voice which, in Spain, shocks one by its lack of melody. Spaniards tell me that when they return from northern Europe, where the voices of women are melodious and sweet, they are shocked by the hard, metallic, or gritty, nasal voices of their Spanish women and by the shouting pitch all Spaniards use." As I say, I go along with this. But not all Spanish women speak so harshly. Some, like my neighbour the lovely Ester, have soft and gentle voices. At least when she isn't shouting at the kids. And South American speakers of Spanish are in a different box altogether, as they don't pronounce Ce and Ci as Thé and Thí, for example. And they may pronounce the harch Spansish J ('kh') as 'sh'. Other opinions on this sensitive subject are welcome.

Finally . . . My friend Jon has provided this foto of a clown performing in the square below his flat:-


Five minutes later, the police in the top left brought his performance to an abrupt halt. A British crowd might have reacted by just booing and jeering but the Spanish are more noble. Their response was to fill the clown's collection box with coins.

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