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Up, up and away

Sunday, 1 October, 2017 0 Comments

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” — Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Up, up and away


Catalonia: Here the Russians, there Assange

Saturday, 30 September, 2017 0 Comments

One of the scariest things during the Catalan referendum campaign has been the instrumentalization by the government in Madrid of El País, Spain’s most widely-circulated daily and considered to be country’s paper of record. During the past week, El País has gone to great lengths to find “reds under the beds” in Barcelona and its articles on alleged Russian involvement in the referendum have been so transparently planted that one has to laugh out loud at their amateurishness. Catalan separatism is not indebted to Moscow in any way and its integrity is as far from Putinism as Montserrat is from Vladivostok. The crux of the matter is cultural:

“Many Catalans do not ‘feel’ Spanish. They have spent the years since the death of Franco recreating their country, taking what power they can and using it to consolidate the idea of Catalonia as a place as worthy to be a state as any other European country.” Colm Tóibín, The Guardian

Still, those who long for tales of Russian manipulation of campaigns will take a crumb of comfort from the intervention of Julian Assange in the referendum. From his self-imposed exile in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Assange tweeted:

“What is happening in Catalonia in the most significant Western conflict between people and state since the fall of the Berlin wall — but its methods are 2017, from VPNs, proxies, mirrors and encrypted chat to internet surveillance and censorship, bot propaganda and body armor.”

Like Edward Snowden, Julian Assange is a Russian tool and a nasty piece of work but his ability to influence events abroad or do harm at home is limited. Both are Twitter bores now and, as Ned Price, points out. “The only thing more insufferable than @JulianAssange is @JulianAssange with 280 characters.”

Robots voting


Last supper

Friday, 29 September, 2017 0 Comments

Catalonia is a geographically diverse region and it produces a variety of high-quality seafood, meat, poultry, game, fruit, vegetables and wine. These are often served in odd combinations: a main course known as mar i muntanya can contain meat and seafood, rice, fruit and nuts. Catalonia’s 10 denominated wine regions focus mostly on Cariñena or Samsó among red grapes, and Garnacha Blanca and ­Xarel-lo among white grapes.

Bicicleta


“Spain Should Remain United”

Thursday, 28 September, 2017 0 Comments

“”Spain Is A Great Country And Should Remain United.” With those words, spoken at the White House, in the presence of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, President Donald Trump guaranteed that he would be unloved by Catalan separatists. Already hated by the media, feminists and North Koreans, Mr Trump didn’t really need to bring down the wrath of Catalonia on his head, but he went there, nonetheless. From now on, Donald Trump will be depicted as the devil at the annual Santa Tecla fireworks displays. But he can live with that, one suspects.

Meanwhile, Madrid is increasing its pressure on Barcelona to cancel Sunday’s “illegal” referendum on independence.

Catalan unhero


A minor Martin Parr moment

Wednesday, 27 September, 2017 0 Comments

The great British photographer Martin Parr is famed for intimate images that often take a sardonic look at life. His seaside images are particularly revealing in their depiction of the different social strata at play. This non-Parr photo is a tribute to the master.

A Parr moment


Madrid vs. Barcelona

Tuesday, 26 September, 2017 0 Comments

Spain is in crisis and the government in Madrid has two options: bad and very bad. If it overreacts to the Catalan demands for independence, a dramatic backlash in Barcelona is inevitable, but if it ignores the rebellion in the north, constitutional order in Spain will be put at risk. Last week’s arrests of Catalan administration officials on charges of abetting unlawful acts in pursuit of the 1 October referendum have further inflamed the separatists, who control the streets and the means of cultural production. So, the situation is likely to deteriorate, solidifying the victim role that the Catalans are playing to the full. Neither side intends to retreat and the potential for tragedy is real.

Catalonia


Catalan: mot per mot (word for word)

Monday, 25 September, 2017 0 Comments

word (noun): (f) laparaula / (m) elmot

expression: word for word > mot a mot / mot per mot
expression: word of mouth > elboca-orella
expression: in other words > dit d’una altra manera / altrament dit
expression: to go back on your word > desdir-se
expression: word search > lasopa de lletres

Source: Catalandictionary.org

Catalan


Correfoc

Sunday, 24 September, 2017 0 Comments

The annual Santa Tecla celebrations end with an event called Correfoc, which means “fire running”. Catalonia’s streets fill up with characters dressed as devils and dragons spitting fire, with brave spectators running in and out between them. Meanwhile, giant male and female figures are marched around the streets to the ear-piercing sounds of the traditional tible and tenora, tarota and gralla.

Carrefoc


Tecla: key saint

Saturday, 23 September, 2017 0 Comments

Santa Tecla is regarded as the patron saint of Tarragona in Catalonia and her September feast day is the town’s major holiday. The event is accompanied by non-stop drumming, firecrackers and spectacular fireworks after dark.

Tecla celebrations

Note: In many Spanish-speaking countries, Santa Tecla is also considered the patron saint of computers and the internet, from the homophony with the Spanish and Catalan word tecla (“key”).

Tradition: Tecla (Thecla) was a saint of the early Christian Church and a follower of Paul the Apostle. She was miraculously saved from burning at the stake by the onset of a storm and then travelled with Paul to Antioch of Pisidia where an aristocrat attempted to rape her. Tecla fought him off and was put on trial for the crime of assaulting a nobleman. She was sentenced to be eaten by wild beasts but was again saved by a miracle, when the female beasts protected her against the male aggressors. She rejoined Paul in Myra and became a healer. Such was her popularity that the physicians in the city lost their livelihoods, so they hired a gang of young men to attempt to spoil her virginity at the age of 90. As they were about to take her, she called out to God and the ground opened up and then closed behind her. She was thus able to go to Rome and die in peace beside Saint Paul’s tomb.


Storm coming

Friday, 22 September, 2017 0 Comments

Surf's up

“They sicken of the calm who know the storm.” — Dorothy Parker


Shadow dancers

Thursday, 21 September, 2017 0 Comments

“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.” — Merce Cunningham

Dancing on air