Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pontevedra Pensées: 29.9.16

SPANISH SOCIETY

Cash: This is possibly still used here more than in other European countries. But things are gradually changing, if this article is to be believed.

Planning: We all know the Spanish adore having fun and put spontaneity on a pedestal, meaning that planning gets 3rd place, at best. But a friend surprised me last night with the news that football fixtures here are not known for more than 2 weeks ahead. And that in one of the Cups (the King's?), the final venue isn't decided until the last 2 teams are known. Actually, this might be very sensible.

Almodovar: Here's a few comments from a review of his contribution to cinema. I might now watch one of his films:-
  • There is a bawdiness in Almodóvar’s work that taps into an essentially Spanish approach to life, one that dates back at least to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Unlike its British equivalent, Spanish humour has never turned on a nudge or a wink; there is a frankness to everyday conversation that can be disconcerting to outsiders. Fat people often get called “fattie,” bald people, “baldie.” This is a country where you can innocently ask for a bag of “nuns’ tits” in a bakery and come away with some suggestively-shaped marzipan
  • Popular culture is awash now with gender-bending characters and so it becomes more and more difficult to find the transgression that was so easily found after 40 years of National Catholic dictatorship.
  • Spain has been rushing headlong into things, racing forward with the Pacto de olvido [the Pact of Forgetting, an agreement not to pursue political grievances related to the dictatorship], with the European Union legislation and new democratic freedoms. By contrast, he’s not afraid to take his time.
  • The church in Spain had recently taken offence at a gay pride event. The Spanish thought they had shaken off those shackles, but the atmosphere is very different now. Almodovar wouldn’t be able to make those early films now.
A Nice Story: About a truly exceptional Spaniard.

SPANISH POLITICS

The PSOE: The leader of Spain's traditional main opposition party is in deep doodoo, following what are seen as poor results in 2 regional elections. This, of course, is the result of Podemos splitting the vote of the Left - thus, as elsewhere, entrenching the Right in power. If it weren't so serious, you'd have to laugh at the irony. With the UK being a classic example right now, it seems the Left will never learn that idealogical purity that splits the voters will never deliver electoral victory. If the PSOE's current leader is, as expected, replaced by the ambitious (and disloyal) Presidenta of the Andalucian region, it'll be interesting to see how she handles accusations of eternal rampant corruption down there. Meanwhile, the unimpressive Sr Rajoy of the right-of-centre PP party must be laughing his socks off. I wonder if he'll now withdraw his offer of a coalition with the PSOE and go all out for an absolute majority in a 3rd general election in December. You could hardly blame him. Especially as he'll be seen as a strategic genius, if he succeeds.

Meanwhile, here's an article on the allegedly corrupt ex-mayoress of Valencia who's taken Sanctuary in the Senate. She clearly takes her duties there very seriously. 

THE EU

Banking:s Don Quijoñe has been warning of collapses for some months now, most recently in respect of Germany's giant Deutsche Bank. Here he is on the subject of the EU's failure to deal with the problems of weak banks:- Investors who believed in all the hype and in Draghi’s promises and in Merkel’s strength and in the willingness of all of them to do whatever it takes to protect bank bondholders and stockholders, and who believed in the miracle of Spain’s recovery, and in Italy’s new government and what not – well, they’re not amused. More worrying observations – and a fascinating chart – here. And here's another article on DB - slightly more optimistic? - in today's Daily Telegraph.

I think I'll move my account to Bankinter . . . .

THE UK

The Labour Party: The besieged leader, Jeremy Corbyn, yesterday gave us his vision of the future under a Labour government. Socialism for the 21st century, he labelled it, proudly and defiantly. He's yet to tell us how exactly this differs from socialism of the 19th century.

ELSEWHERE

Russia: It's hard not to be shocked/disgusted by this, even if you've been watching RT News for a while: Russia faced accusations last night that it had deployed a weapon capable of blasting a massive ball of flame across wide areas of Aleppo. The TOS-1A launcher has been dubbed the “Blazing Sun”. The 24-rocket fusillades it fires cause chemical explosions designed to suck up all the oxygen in the target zone. Western diplomats last night said they were “reasonably confident” the rocket launcher has been in action in Aleppo. TOS-1A is basically a huge flamethrower,” said one western diplomat. “It’s one step down from a nuclear weapon.”

PERSONAL STUFF

Onion Frying: Stimulated by reader Perry's advice, for the second attempt at this for a curry, I set the timer to 10 minutes. My phone duly rang. And I duly ignored it. But this time I enjoyed eating the three-quarters-burnt offerings. A new dish?

FINALLY

Words: Reading an article in Prospect Magazine yesterday, I learnt 2 new words:-
  • Scrim, and
  • Shisha.
I'll leave you the fun of finding out what one or both mean(s). I've added that S for the benefit of pedantic readers . . .

THE GALLERY

More examples of Finnish/British nightmares:-



4 comments:

Anthea said...

In Manchester recently I have seen young people paying amounts as small as 15 pence by credit/debit card, usually contactless. Some people are following the queen's example and aimply not carrying cash on their person!

Emma said...

Hey, fascinating blog! Im currently on Erasmus in Barcelona and loving it. I'm writing a blog on Erasmus experiences and would love your input. Are you still in Galicia on your Erasmus?

Emma | Fashion Photographer and Model | emmanmh.com

Patrick Glenn said...

Almodovar is the most well known Spanish director. I would recommend TODO SOBRE MI MADRE. After that I would look for titles with Banderas and Penelope Cruz. Cruz plays a pregnant nun with AIDS in TSMM. My favorite Spanish director is Fernando Leon de Aranoa. [ PRINCESAS, LOS LUNES EN EL SOL] Fernando Trueba and his young brother David are good. The Spanish cinema is in a steep decline, audiences prefer big budget special effect nonsense from USA. The new movie EL OLIVO looks good. A good American movie this year is HELL OR HIGH WATER with a score by the great Nick Cave. It is a modern day western with Jeff Bridges in a supporting role. Set in Texas. Sort of a road trip chase picture.

Colin Davies said...

Many thanks, Patrick. I will follow your advice.

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