Saturday, December 01, 2018

Thoughts from Cologne, Germany: 1.12.18

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 pagehere. Garish but informative.

Matters German
  • Not only was I able to buy New Zealand wine in a German supermarket but it was only €3.99! Not the best Sauvignon Blanc I've ever tasted but drinkable enough. And a nice change from Spanish whites, the only ones you can get in Spain. By and large.
  • Generally speaking, I don't get the impression food prices are much – if at all – higher in Germany than in Spain. Given the difference in per capita income, this is rather surprising. Assuming I'm right, of course.
  • Today is my last full day in Germany, as early tomorrow I head for the Eurotunnel and Blighty. And Thoughts from the UK for a while
Matters Spanish 
  • Two interesting articles from The Economist today:-
  1. Why Spain had to overlook its painful history, and
  2. How 2 films about Spain's gypsies have prompted a debate.
  • Here's the explanation – a surprise to me -  for the temporary ban on Winnie the Pooh in Madrid.
  • That the PSOE socialist party will win tomorrow's regional elections in Andalucia is not exactly newsworthy. After all, they've ruled there – very corruptly say some – for 36 years. But what is newsworthy is that Vox will get 2 to 5 seats and, in doing so, will gain a foothold for a Spanish far-right party for the first time since Franco's death, 43 years ago. Spain will, therefore, lose one of its major boasts, immediately becoming less 'different' from other European countries. Vox, says the Times, is a hardline anti-immigration party which also opposes Islam and Catalan separatism. En passant, the relevant local facts are: This year the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean outstripped those landing in Italy or Greece. The International Organisation for Migration said that up to October 45,145 illegal migrants entered Spain by sea, more than in the previous three years combined. 
  • A propos . . . . Here's Politico on the 5 things to watch for in tomorrow's elections.
  • Still down South . . . Marbella is targetting reluctant foreigners. But there's not much it can do about the Modelo 720 tax law introduced (sneakily) in late 2012 and responsible for many, many expat departures from Spain. It's hardly surprising that those who've remained don't want to break cover - as Madrid and Brussels take at least 10 years to decide which of its provisions are illegal under EU law and how many fines should be paid back by the Hacienda. Actually, we already know the answer to the last question - Go whistle.
Social Media
  • Food for thought: The youth mental health epidemic of self-harm, anxiety, depression and body dysmorphia has not come from nowhere: it has risen in parallel with smartphones now owned by 75 per cent of teenagers. There is, says the Office for National Statistics, a “clear association” between length of time online and poor mental health. Today’s teenagers sleep and exercise less, spend more time alone. Social media feels like human contact yet it is hollow, empty, like gorging on doughnuts when you need the nourishment of real friends. Why is the taxpayer funding treatment for addictions deliberately created by tech companies? Their apps and devices were constructed to deliver dopamine hits, yet keep us perennially dissatisfied, stealing us away from the world where real happiness lies. It is Facebook, Snapchat and Google that should pay to heal the children they have left sad and unhinged. The heads of these companies make sure their kids don’t get high on their own supply. . . . Dealing with children’s screen obsession means facing up to our own. Maybe it is time to admit phones rule our lives.
Finally . . .
  • Apologies for boring nearly all of you with this . . .
- After reader Geoff kindly alerted me to a problem with getting my blog in Feedly and after I looked into it, my readership there yesterday shot up from just 1 to 83 today. Geoff is no longer alone!
- As for The Old Reader, I've still no idea what's happening there. It didn't throw up yesterday's post for me until I clicked the Refresh button. I hope this isn't the same for other RSS readers. Assuming anyone can get my blot there at the moment.

© [David] Colin Davies


Sierra said...

An update on the "club" posting earlier in the week - the sign has disappeared!

Perry said...

These Tony Gatlif films are more informative about the Roma. Latcho Drom & Vengo

Colin Davies said...

Perry, Neither of those Roma links works for me . . .