Cosas de España/Galiza
Life in Spain
The dial rose from 38 to 39 degrees in Pv city yesterday but up in Ourense it hit 44. These are 102F, and 111F, respectively and seeing the latter numbers sent me straight back to summers in Tehran.
Regular readers will know that, every morning, I have to negotiate umpteen learner drivers – 13 yesterday – as I drive to my parking place on the Lérez side of O Burgo Bridge. But they aren’t the real problem; this is the instructors – all of them – who don’t teach their charges how to indicate, or how to go round a roundabout sensibly/correctly/legally. They should all be shot. In the middle of a roundabout.
In response to a complaint to ToyPro, their response was 4-fold:-
- I didn’t chose the premium delivery service. So, my fault.
- Customer demand is high. So, customers’ fault.
- There are mail delays: So, Correos’s fault.
- I should be patient. As if I had any other choice.
That’s service for you!
Cosas de España/Galiza
The final bull-run was muy rápido and muy bonito. Although the bulls were the noble and feared Miuras, there were only 2 injuries, both resulting from stumbles. Of which, as ever, there were many, as the corredores crashed into each other – the ‘Fallen’ of the First Battalion of innocent Bystanders. The only incident I noted was a youth being hit on the head by a horn, ironically that of a cow, not a bull.
I think I’ve mentioned that this year – for whatever reason – there’s been an explosion in the number of guides taking folk around Pv’s old quarter. The groups range from 4 or 5 to more then 30. But whatever the size, the stragglers at the back don’t seem to be paying much attention. I was recently told of this newish site, which might well be a factor.
I had lunch yesterday with a Gallega friend and her Finnish husband. At a nearby table, 3 Spanish ladies talked loudly, continuously and, of course, simultaneously for almost 2 hours. More, he said than he’d talk in an entire year – Finnish society being rather different from the Spanish variety.
Linguistic nationalism and sociological Francoism. No, I don’t really know what they are either. But a Spanish columnist claims they’re two illnesses which, if left unchecked, could put an end to peaceful coexistence and the secure future of the Spanish people.
The Way of the World
A bit of a surprise . . . New Zealand is voted the second-worst place to move to. And Canada is the best??
If we ever do arrive at the point where you can’t say anything that could possibly upset someone somewhere in the world, what will become of Scouse humour? I’m a tad biased, but if this were ever to be proscribed – de jure or de facto – it’d be a great loss to the world. As with Galicia’s retranca.
Quote of the Day
With only one white man left in the contest for PM, I think we can confirm that the Conservative party is not sexist or racially bigoted.
Not to be confused:-
– Guión: Script
– Guiño: Wink. Hint. Tip. A nod towards. Seen twice in local newspapers yesterday-
Finally . . .
Some of us will remember this well. Especially my then wife, who was pregmant with our first daughter throughout that very hot UK summer, when my new lawn turned very brown.
For new readers: If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here. If you’re passing through Pontevedra on the Camino, you’ll find a guide to the city there.
Things I’ve learnt from Boris Johnson. What the PM’s reign has taught me: you can only get away with so many fibs in a year and ‘sorry’ seems to be the hardest word: Caitlin Moran
Well, here we are: the Era Of Boris Johnson is over, pending him actually leaving. In truth, at 2 years and 348 days before the full-scale Tory party rebellion forced his hand, it was too short even for the word “era” – it’s more of an “er”; fitting, given how often Johnson would say that word in between one digression about, say, Peppa Pig World and the next. Forgive me. Forgive me. Forgive me.
Still! Every cloud has a silver lining, and it’s an ill wind that blows no good. In Victorian times, a reasonable living could be made as a “pure collector” – picking up dog excrement from the street and selling it to tanners. What I’m asking is, are there things we can glean from the unparalleled chaos and sleaze of Boris Johnson’s unprecedentedly ruinous premiership, which brought the oldest political party in the world to the brink of dissolution? Is there a “learning moment” to be had?
And what I’m replying is, “Yes – yes, of course there is.”
So: What I Have Learnt From Boris Johnson Being Prime Minister.
1. You can probably tell about two big lies a year, maximum
The national digestive system can process a couple of fibs over the course of a year – parliament, the press and the electorate will chew hard on them but eventually they will be swallowed and the course of nature will soon leave them as ever vanishing fibby poo-piles in the rear-view mirror of history.
Try a third, though, and the whole system starts to gum up. You can’t start eating a new plate of fresh cobblers while you’re still, metaphorically, on the toilet dealing with the last one. It makes people tetchy. They don’t know if they’re coming or going. Soon there’s a queue of people banging on the Bathroom of Events, desperate to say farewell to the last lot – even as they desperately masticate on a fresh delivery. Basically, by piling Partygate on top of Wallpapergate on top of Chris Pincher, Boris Johnson turned Westminster into that scene from Bridesmaids. You know the one. Our moral digestive systems were thrown into chaos. It got messy. That was why we wanted him to go. Simply, our bums of forgiveness were tired.
2. Boris Johnson would never have become prime minister without Ricky Gervais
In the creation of The Office, Gervais popularised the concept of a boss who was “more of a laid-back entertainer” – a persona that I would suggest was very much the “infected bat” of the coronavirus of Johnson’s premiership. Before David Brent became a national icon, we liked our prime ministers to basically act like souped-up bank managers: bit of policy here, lot of ironed suit there. People who would be happy – nay, desirous of – being referred to as “the establishment”.
Post-Brent, however, our Archetype File had a new entry: people who were terrible at their job but oddly loveable. People who brought “a bit of fun” to serious issues. People who rebelled against the idea of being “some square in a suit”. People who just “said what you’re really thinking” – about piccaninnies and bum-boys and letterboxes – but not in a nasty way. It’s just banter! It’s a parody of that kind of thinking! So, erm, bagsy no returns, libtards!
Of course, in the end there is no real difference between “ironic” bigotry and actual bigotry – other than, if it upsets you, you can be accused of being “uptight” and “humourless”. So is it worse than “actual” bigotry? Yes, it is. As the 375 per cent rise in Islamophobic attacks after Boris’s “letterboxes” quote – 42 per cent directly referencing his words – proved.
Boris has, hopefully, taught us that “the comedy mores of early Noughties TV translate very badly into a role where you represent 67 million very diverse people” – because it’s clear that, to him, the citizens of this country divide into two categories: the targets of jokes and the audience he’s playing to. Divide and LOL. Unpleasant.
3. That there are levels of middle-class decor way above Farrow & Ball and Fired Earth
Most middle-class people would like to think they’re all across “spendy interior decor” possibilities. Got the Heal’s gold velvet sofa that “pops”; got the giant £235 Diptyque “outdoor” candle in tuberose; got the mid-century Scandi ceramics and Big Green Egg barbecue.
However, it seems that – like Area 51 – the really rich people know about secret, amazing stuff that is totally classified to bog-standard ABC1 shit-munchers. Soane’s Old Gold wallpaper at £840 per roll? The services of interior designer Lulu Lytle, who sells “rattan hanging lights costing £7,200” and “a forged iron Bascule Desk costing £10,400”? Even the most “comfortable” members of “the chattering classes” didn’t know that technology had made a £7,200 straw lamp possible. It took Boris Johnson’s £200,000 flat refurbishment to make us realise what the true dandy playas are capable of. So long as someone else is paying.
4. In the end, hiring known sex-cases doesn’t work out
I thought we all knew this but, huh, it turns out we didn’t. And so we have learnt that, against all common sense, you can get away with it for months – indeed, years – at a time, but eventually, employing a mutant arse-grabber will bite you on the arse. Indeed, they might bite you on the arse. Important information going forward, guys.
5. As the immortal line in Fleabag has it, ‘Hair is everything’
Or, as Danny the Drug Dealer in Withnail and I puts it, “Hair are your aerials. They pick up signals from the cosmos, and transmit them directly into your brain.” Or, as I would parse it, “Always be wary of a man who has exactly the same haircut he had as a child.”
Hair takes up a lot of real estate on your head. It’s 50 per cent of your passport picture. Therefore, if a great deal of the message you are projecting to the world is, “I am still essentially the same person I was when I was seven,” people would be wise to be wary around you. Boris Johnson – the Blond Bumshell – has resolutely stuck with his “tousled, pie-stealing scamp” do since he was two. The subliminal messaging of the hair – which has been recorded daily by Johnson’s three official tax-funded photographers – is, “I am still an adorable child. Do not judge me by the mores of adults with sombre, square hair: I answer to an older magic still. I am Tom Hanks in Big, dancing on the giant piano of British politics during an adventure you will never forget. Maybe for all the wrong reasons.”
6. Specific words matter
During Johnson’s “resignation” speech, he never actually said the word “resignation”. Or, indeed, “sorry”. Kind of amazing when most British people will say, “Sorry,” if someone treads on their foot or has put a bag on their train seat. You would have thought bringing the entire government to a grinding halt during a cost of living crisis, as Covid rises and war rages in Ukraine, would merit a humble “soz” at the very least.
And this is why I break the news: I suspect we haven’t stopped “learning” from Boris Johnson yet. This guy’s not going anywhere. Caretaker prime minister for the summer? He’s going to totally Ferris Bueller’s Day Off this – he’ll spend the next few months spending his best friend’s dad’s money on tax cuts, being legendary, stealing a car and dancing to Twist and Shout on a float. Reminding everyone what fun he is.
Come October and the Tory party conference, otherwise surrounded by dull, old-fashioned “squares” in suits, he’s gonna do a triumphant, LOL-tastic appearance – total Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special – to rapturous applause, undermine the new prime minister, foment a bunch of shit from the back benches for the next six months and then run for the Big Job again. Because what I have ultimately learnt from Boris Johnson is that you rarely waste your money down at Ladbrokes betting on him never, ever getting his comeuppance. He is the Hotel California of politics: we’ve checked in to him. And now we can never leave.