Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 18.8.21

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable. 

– Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’

Cosas de España/Galiza 

The Guardian here covers an interesting development down South. 

Talking of drug smuggling . . . Yesterday I happened upon this article on our local major industry.

On a more positive note . . . Places to see in Galicia.

It’s not hard to identify a visiting Japanese female; she’ll be covered up from head to foot and even wearing gloves. This is in sharp contrast with Spanish young ladies, who walk around dressed in almost as little as they wear on the beach. Which is not a complaint, of course.

Collecting a registered letter at the Post Office yesterday, I was asked for my email address*. When I asked why, I was told it was for a bill. When I said I didn’t need this, I was told it was obligatory. So I caved in and, when I got home, found an email from Correos with an attached PDF of a ticket simplificado. All totally unnecessary. And looking rather like spam. Perhaps it was . . . 

* Some time ago, I managed to get a rubbish/garbage/trash email address in the name of drossbin for when you’re obliged to give an address but don’t want to expose your real one. 

The Way of the World

In the UK, a rejected partner watched her ex-boyfriend’s new lover via the property’s CCTV – from more than 100 miles away. And then hijacked his Alexa and used it to turn the bedside table light on and off and tell his new girlfriend to get out of the house.  

Finally  . . .

I’ve never liked Tarantino either. Or, rather, his films. In truth, I know nothing of him. So, I loved this scathing review of his book:-

Squeezing the pulp 

“Once upon a Time in Hollywood”: Quentin Tarantino.

In his middle period, after the early, funny films and before the long slow slide into pointlessness, every new Woody Allen film would be greeted with essentially the same review. The last one may have been crap, but this one’s really good. A real return to form. Then, a year later, another film, same review. The last one may have been crap, but this one’s really good. 

The new Woody Allen (in only that way, let’s hope) is Quentin Tarantino, whose every cinematic release is greeted with joy unbounded from fanboy film critics, who. will admit if pressed that his last few haven’t been up to much, but this one is the bee’s knees. So off we all troop, trustingly, to our local cinema to watch the same load of skilfully wrought but emotionally stunted 

 Uber-violent drivel with a running time so extended you could probably conduct a small foreign war before the final credits. There should be a technical term for the terrible mass disappointment suffered by cinema audiences after every new Tarantino film . . . but on second thoughts there is one, for the word “Tarantino” should suffice. 

The problem is that the now SB-year-old Tarantino is still, at heart, the late teenage Tarantino who used to work at a video store and had watched every film ever made in his spare time. He is, in his way, a formidable technical filmmaker, but his films bear no relation to any human interaction that has ever taken place. All Tarantino has learned from life comes from other films, which is why his own films feel like lots of other films cleverly cobbled together. Like a McDonald’s cheeseburger, it looks like food, it very nearly tastes like food, but it isn’t food, quite. 

Lockdown, though, cramped Tarantino’s style as it did everyone else’s, so he occupied himself by writing a novelisation of his last, not very good film, Once upon a Time in Hollywood, which was set in 1969. The publishers have done him proud. His book looks exactly like a tatty novelisation of the 1970s, when episodes of Columbo and Kojak were routinely turned into A-format paperbacks and there were at least a dozen books based on Upstairs, Downstairs. 

However, most of those novelisations were written by real writers slumming it for the cash. Tarantino, it turns out, has no ear for prose at all “Then there’s a small tap on the office door, just before the mini-skirt-wearing Miss Himmelsteen enters the office, carrying two cups of steaming coffee for Rick and Marvin. She carefully hands the hot beverages to the two gentlemen.” It looks like English, it feels like English, but it isn’t, quite.  Conversations go on FOR EVER. You think Tarantino’s characters ramble on about nothing in his films, but here the dialogue doesn’t have a cinematic budget to them it in, let alone the editorial blue pencil someone should surely have wielded. As this is about Hollywood  in the late 1960s, names of real actors, directors and films Tarantino has seen are effortlessly dropped into the action, as though specifically to slow things up. Cliches are everywhere. Rather than eschewing or even subverting them, Tarantino greets them like old friends and deploys them with the joy of a man who thinks he may have thought of them first. 

What you swiftly realise is that Tarantino has always been very lucky in his collaborators, the people on set who say: 

“I don’t think this ten-page dialogue scene is truly necessary.” And even luckier in his actors, who can make something of this drivel and have done so on many occasions. 

More at fault than Tarantino himself, though, are the fanboy film critics who have greeted this book with unanimous sycophantic approval. Maybe he will write another novelisation. If so, when it comes out you know exactly what the fanboys will say. “That last one may have been crap, but this one is the cat’s pyjamas”.