Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spanish matters. And Brexit.

Spanish (non)Government: A dose of reality for the far-left Podemos party that's keeping the socialists out of power? Since the high of 28% of electorate support in January 2015, they've now fallen to only 15%, compared with 21% in December's general elections. Perhaps the voters are fed up with the stubborn arrogance demonstrated by these 'pure' far-left political tyros and, especially, with their abstentions which are keeping the right-wing PP party in power. So, stand by for some softening in their unrealistic demands. In order to avoid losing even more support and negotiating leverage in any June elections they effectively bring about. And which would surely result in another irritating and worrying stalemate.

Spanish TV: Staying with Spanish friends, I've had the fortune to see more of this than usual. Without doubt, Telecinco is the worst of a poor bunch of channels, showing 6 hours of dross between 4pm and 10pm and, some nights, another 4+ hours between 10pm and 2.15am. The former is a 'current events discussion' (i. e. gossip) program called Sálvame and the latter is Celebrity Big Brother. Examples of Sálvame can be seen here and here. To enjoy these barrel-scraping programs, it undoubtedly helps to have been lobotomised. Or at least to have spent years watching them so that your brain has progressively spongiformed, like that of a mad cow. In the way smoking works perniciously on the lungs. It also helps to to enjoy ugly people shouting at each other.

Spanish Gypsies: These tend to be more colourful than the Irish travellers variety. Up in the Galician city of Ferrol yesterday, things at a kid's birthday party got a little out-of-hand when the 4-600 attendees took to brawling. In the subsequent melée one of the adult males was stabbed to death and many others injured by broken bottles and items of furniture. Dozens of local and national police descended on the scene but, having been beaten off, called on the military in the form of the Guardia Civil. Whose 5 patrols eventually restored calm, if not peace. I have a suspicion no one will be prosecuted, as witnesses will be hard to find. But a new tribal war may well break out and last many years yet.

Finally . . . Jávea: This is an ex-fishing village between Alicante and Valencia. For good reason, it's known as the jewel, the pearl and/or the secret of the Costa Blanca. But don't tell anyone, as it's already overflowing with foreigners. It's undoubtedly pretty and quite upmarket but the incomers have generally raised prices, in comparison with authentic Spain. Specifically, some research suggests that restaurants have adopted the iniquitous Anglo habit of charging twice the retail price for a bottle of wine. That said, it's still probably relatively cheap to the expatriates who live here, either for part or all of the year. If I wanted to be British, I'd certainly consider living here. Despite the fact I couldn't get a simple coffee at a nearby place this morning. The standard café con leche cost €1.90 and came with froth. And a long spoon to mix its 3 layers. Que va! It's Spain, Jim, but not as we know it.


A British survey throws up Liverpool, parts of Wales, barrios of London and the whole of Scotland as the most enthusiastic supporters of the EU. What they have in common, of course, is relative poverty and a love of EU subventions. What the Spanish always refer to as 'solidarity', at least when the money flows from Brussels and not towards it. And who can blame anyone?

FB fotos:

A notice in the toilet of the place I had my coffee in yesterday:

I've often seen signs saying No Dogs Here, but here's one saying almost the opposite - No Kids Here. Because it's a sand box for canines to do their stuff in.


The Singing Organ-Grinder said...

Is the "can" in "pipi-can" the dog or some notional receptacle? Is there a "poopoo-can" too? When are we putting on the Mikado?

Colin Davies said...

You know very well that 'can' is Valenciano (and Gallego and probably Catalan) for 'dog'. Or 'canine'. Only Castellano uses 'perro'.

The Singing Organ-Grinder said...

Oops, Mikado's been banned: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/18/mikado-production-canceled-over-racial-concerns/ The comments are good.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

I don't know where you get your hasty info, but Catalan and Valencian for 'dog' is 'gos', not 'can'.


Colin Davies said...

Thank-you, Mr Kow-all.

So Can in the sign means what? American for 'toilet'? Or dogs can piss here?

Are you really so bored that the most important thing for you to do, before you quickly become incapacitated by booze and drugs, is to fact-check my blog????

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Quite possibly you might have noticed that the sign is actually in… Castilian! In Catalan/Valencian it ought to read 'els excrements del seu gos'. And it also happens that 'can' - from the Latin that brought forth all the Peninsular tongues except Basque - is an -admittedly rare - word for 'dog' in Castilian. Don't ask me why they're using it here. Ask the local alderman that runs the dog shit industry…

Your blog pretends to be instructive for poor foreigners who intend to settle in or visit Spain. It is however constantly full of silly mistakes which - if they remain uncorrected - will lead innocent folk into trouble with the locals. High moral duty obliges me to apply the noble art of unconditional criticism.

MorAl B Mittington

Colin Davies said...

'High moral duty' my arse!

As for correctness, you persist in using the word 'pretend' as if it meant 'claim' in modern English? Are you perhaps a throwback to the 17th century?

Or, topically, just a shit?

As if more than a couple of foreigners want to be fluent in Catalan and Valenciano! Get real, old man.

The Singing Organ-Grinder said...

There must be a market for the pipi-cancan: a chorus-line of dancing, urinating doggies in Parisian lingerie.

Colin Davies said...

If anyone can sell it, you can-can.

Perry said...

Doggerels about dog dodo? ------------- Don't!

As for Spanish Gypsies, I can recommend Tony Gatlif's "Vengo".


His Latcho Drom is a history lesson about music.


India--Kalbelia people gathering in celebration.

Egypt--Ghawazi people sing and dance while children observe and begin to learn the artistic traditions.

Turkey—Turkish Roma in Istanbul sell flowers and play their music in cafes while their children observe and learn.

Romania—A young boy listens to Roma musicians sing about the horrors of Nicolae Ceausescu and his reign before returning to his village, where the musicians from earlier begin a semi-spontaneous and joyous music session.

Hungary—A Roma family on the train sing of their rejection by non-Romani people. The scene cuts to the train station ahead, where the waiting family set up a fire as they wait across the tracks from the train station while a Hungarian woman and her young son wait on a bench. The boy, seeing that his mother is sad and cold, ventures over to the Roma, who strike up the music and cheer the woman up before their family on the train arrive and they walk away singing.

Slovakia—The train screetches along a barbed wire fence as an old woman sings a song about Auschwitz and the camera pans down to reveal her imprisonment tattoo from her time in the concentration camp. A series of shots show a winter camp before the occupants return to the road.

France—French Romani set up camp with their metal vardos in a summer field and briefly go about their business, making baskets and other crafts before being driven off by landlords. They leave behind clues that a fellow Romani musician Tchavolo Schmitt uses to find them. They all meet up for the celebration in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and celebrate the festival of Saint Sarah, patron saint of the Romani.

Spain—Latcho Drom closes in Spain, showing flamenco puro performed by local "Gitanos". The famous "gitana" singer La Caita sings mournfully of the centuries of persecution, repeatedly imploring "Why does your mouth spit on me?" as her query echoes out over the town.

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