Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 21.8.18

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable. 
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here. Garish but informative.

Matters Spanish
  • The toxic porcine future I referred to yesterday has been termed the Aporkalypse by some wit. Nice.
  • If you need a new Spanish ID card or passport, you'd better plan ahead.
  • And if you're not Spanish, here from The Local, of course, are your 10 Commandments for enjoying life here. Pretty accurate, I'd say. Especially the one about never being ambitous as to what you'll achieve of a morning. Spain is different. Simply put, things just don't happen.
  • I'd add a Superordinate Commandment: Always establish a personal relationship - one way or another - with someone you have to deal with. This can be as simple as citing the name of a shared friend.
  • Click here if you still need to see just how crazy political commentary can be in the USA.
  • If you thought Fart's tweeting couldn't get any worse, you were wrong. As someone said last night, he's now freaking out for the entire world to see. Is this really happening??
The UK
  • I heard on a podcast yesterday that Shakespeare was old English for Masturbator. Which struck me as probably untrue. But I did some research and came up with the article below.
Galicia and Pontevedra
  • On my way into town yesterday, I passed a group of around 10 gypsy boys aged between 5 and 12. Every one of them was overweight, and more than one was already obese. Can this be down to only poor diet, or are there also genetic factors at work? Most, though not all, adult gypsy women are rather large. Or, as we used to be permitted to say, fat.
  • We have a newish Indian restaurant in Pontevedra city – plus one even newer. As with vegetarian and previous international restaurants, their survival chances are not high. I've seen at least 2 Indian (i. e. Pakistani/Bangladeshi) restaurants close in my time here. Plus one in Vigo, now that I think of it. Anyway, if – armed with their leaflet - you're looking for the New Bombay Palace at Plaza de España 2, you won't find it there, but a couple of blocks away. Nor will you be able to access their webpage at www.newbombaypalace.com. Not good signs . . .
  • The newer place – New Surya Restaurantcan be found at its purported address of Rúa Álvaro Cunquiero, on the corner with Rúa Cruz Vermella(Bermeja). 'Red Cross street' to you and me. En passant . . . hoping to cater for Spanish customers, its lunch-time hours are 1 to 5pm. Equivalent to 11 to 3pm in most(all?) other countries. I plan to try their menú del día today.
  • Below is the translation of a nice article on Brits in Galicia from the Voz de Galicia of the other day.
Finally . . .
  • Having just re-read Ian Kershaw's monumental Nemesis, I thought I was fully aware of just how nasty Man could be. But last night I learnt that – after the American post-Pearl Harbour retaliatory air-raid on Tokyo - the Japanese slaughtered as many as 250,000 Chinese, for helping the pilots to escape. This contrasts with 50 people killed in the air-raid. Even worse than the Nazis. What an accolade.
© [David] Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 21.8.18


1. Shakespeare and Sex

The sexual puns that would be obvious to Shakespeare’s audience are now interpreted by modern readers as the epitome of English eloquence, simply because half of the time we probably don’t realize what Shakespeare is really talking about. I stumbled across an interesting book called “Filthy Shakespeare,” which translates Shakespeare’s jargon into today’s vernacular. One of the first things you appreciate is the overwhelming number of idioms for “penis.” Basically you can assume that anything that is longer than it is wide is a phallic symbol. Also Shakespeare’s name itself is a sexual pun, since Will was a colloquialism for penis, vagina and sexual desire. And the word Shakespeare can roughly be translated to “masturbator.” So you can only imagine the kind of teasing the poor kid had to put up with.

Examples of Shakespeare’s idioms for male sexual organs include (but are certainly not limited to): beggar, carrot, dewlap, holy-thistle, instrument, kicky-wicky, little witness, needle, pizzle, potato-finger, pudding, three-inch fool and weapon. The corresponding female idioms are more numerous than males and include bird’s nest, bogs, dearest bodily part, low countries (including the Netherlands), medlar, rudder, salmon’s tail, snatch, tongue and velvet. Puns on sex itself include: boggler, change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail, dance with one’s heels, dribbling dart of love, fill a bottle with a tun-dish, horsemanship, nose-painting, paddling palms and tickle one’s catastrophe. And I am just scratching the surface here.

Shakespeare certainly did not have to depend on clever idioms to get his point across. The following is an example of his signature word play, where the word “will,” repeated 13 times, can mean either Will (referring to a Christian name), or “will” referring to either a penis or vagina. In this sonnet, the poet wonders if he can join the ranks of the Beloved’s lovers [ there is a translation into modern english below. I wonder if this piece doesn't also include the 3rd meaning of 'will' as 'desire']:

Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will,
And Will to boot, and Will in overplus.
More than enough am I that vex thee still,
To thy sweet will making addition thus. 
With thou, whose will is large and spacious,
Not once vouchsafe to hide my will in thine?
Shall will in others seem right gracious,
And in my will no fair acceptance shine?
The sea, all water, yet receives rain still,
And in abundance addeth to his store;
So thou, being rich in will, add to thy Will
One will of mine to make thy large Will more.
Let no unkind no fair beseechers kill;
Think all but one, and me in that one Will. 

Here is the translation from one Paula Kiernan, author of Filthy Shakespeare:
“While other women can only wish for sex, your sexual desires are fulfilled by your Will, and you’d get my penis in the bargain, in fact you would get an excess of sex.
I can perform better than all of your lovers put together and I will keep tormenting you with my sexual advances.
Will you not, with that vagina of yours which is large and spacious from so much use by other men, let me hide myself in you?
Are other men better endowed, and I cannot measure up?
The sea is all water, but it still receives rain, and adds to it abundantly. It’s the same with you.
Even though you are already rich in the number of your lovers, I am asking that you accept me as a lover. I am already aroused and my penis has grown larger.
Please stop saying no to my reasonable advances. Think of all your lovers as being a single one, and treat me as the only one that you desire.”

So . . . Pick the meat out of that. As it were.

2. The British press discovers Galicia

A group of English journalists disembark in Vigo to visit a country that goes from being "a mystery, or little less" to the best recommendation for tourists

"Galicia remains a mystery, or a little less [...]. Its natural wealth, its wonderful landscapes, its archaeological jewels, its industries are, so to speak, newly discovered. These are the words of Arthur M. Moody, editor of The County Express, who toured Galicia in 1910 together with several British colleagues.

The journalists arrived in Vigo on board the steamboat Hillary at the end of July, invited by the recently created Association for the Promotion of Tourism in Galicia. The aim was to promote the site in the UK press, which is now so keen to include Galician sites in its quoted lists. La Voz paid special attention to the visit, and from August onwards, it picked up the results of the initiative from the English newspapers.

"Breathtaking speed."

Almost all the members of the expedition agreed that they were in a land of contrasts. "The squeaky and heavy ox cart sometimes has to stop on the secluded village roads to the metallic sound of a car horn, a herald that heralds the arrival of a real boss, as the Spanish chauffeurs drive their cars at an astonishing speed taking corners with dizzying speed. In some cities, the serene, picturesquely dressed, sing under the arcades of the soportales all hours of the night," explained Moody, who was surprised by certain similarities with his country. "Along the roads there are huts where you can recognize the characteristic details of the same houses in Ireland. With no windows or fireplaces, the smoke from the fireplace escapes through the tiles.

Miss Adams, one of the four women of the group, highlighted in the magazine Truth her first impression from the deck of the boat: "Vigo is offered to our eyes, wrapped in a mantle of countless little lights that in their blinking seem to say to us in a mysterious language words of fraternity and welcome. Even nature itself seems to have prepared itself to receive us. "Galicia, A Terra as her children call it [...], is a land of contradictions, where trains crawl along with difficulty and modern automobiles cross the tortuous and risky roads with incredible speed; where women grind the grain by the same rudimentary procedure that Abraham knew; where [...] English engineers build ships 600 feet long.

What amazed A. R. Hill, director of the Cambridge Chronicle, was Santiago. "I will never forget my summer holidays of 1910," he wrote, "while my compatriots were scattered on our islands[...], I was standing beside the magnificent silver altar of the cathedral of Compostela, contemplating the swaying of the great censer, [El botufumeiro] which is one of the best shows in the world.

He made further discoveries: "The grain is stored, while it is not necessary, in curious small barns [hórreos]that are characteristic of the Galician landscape; they are long, narrow, built on walls or columns". And he saw "brave women" carrying "enormous weights on their heads, barefoot and walking fast".

"The feet are watched."

What follows is a scene he wrote down when they were invited to try "the delicate fish that the Spaniards call trout". "Several women villagers fried fish in huge frying pans, hanging over bonfires." The "cheerful meal" was served on "rustic tables, with crockery and wine glasses". At the beginning of "the inevitable sounds of the bagpipe", men and women began to dance "the dance of the mills (muiñeira), the favorite dance, in which the couples do not touch but carefully watch each other's feet".

"In Galicia there is everything that can interest the tourist", concluded James Baker. The "illustrious secretary of the British International Association of Journalists" wrote in the Evening Standard: "We have passed through lush vineyards, crossed wide cornfields, admired full-bodied and fertile fruit trees...". At some points, the sharp profile of the mountains, weakly veiled by a faint haze, brings to mind the memory of the aerial Greek mountains. And the very wide estuaries, of incomparable beauty, speak to the traveller of those Norwegian fjords". "In Galicia, a country of poetic legends, you can find - even if the chronicler has dedicated forty years of his life to travel - new and unknown impressions. It's the best recommendation anyone can make."

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator


Sierra said...

Further to yesterday's comment - watched the first episode of "Cocaine Coast" - very B-movie, sort of thing you come across late night on Channel 4

Colin Davies said...

Thanks. I knew it was on Netflix as both Fariña and Cocaine Coast. In fact, I think I cited this a week or 2 ago. But wasn't aware it was on terrestrial TV.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

BOTAFUMEIRO, you illiterate oaf! With an A, not a U!

And why, one wonders, would the Gallegos store their grain, at much cost and effort, in the Hórreos if that were not necessary? Ah, British city boys that take the foreign rustics to task! Always love that!