10 March 2023

Awake, for morning in the bowl of night has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight.

And, lo, has caught the sultan’s turret in a noose of light!

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable

 Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’

Cosas de España/Galiza

The International Women’s Day seemed a strange time in which to display significant differences . . . Competing Women’s Day rallies expose rifts between Spain’s feminist movement.

The headline of an article in a UK paper: Brits are too grotty for Lanzarote. And some text: Brits and Germans have earned a reputation as obnoxious tourists in parts of the Med. Now, though, the leader of tourist-saturated Lanzarote says the island has had its fill of Brits and will seek to a reduce dependence on them and attract higher-quality [ie higher-spending] Germans instead. BUT:Perhaps, she should be careful what she wishes for. Mallorca, which is so packed with German tourists that it is sometimes described as the country’s 17th federal state, has given rise to an entire sub-culture known as “Ballermann”[See below], noted for its pounding eurotrash dance music and booze-powered exuberance. In 2016 the authorities felt themselves obliged to step in and ban Germans from slurping sangria out of 10-litre buckets. “They drink until the doctor comes, they dress as though the Eighties and Nineties never ended, and all the time they act as though the island belongs to them,” one horrified Berlin newspaper wrote.

I wrote a dyspeptic piece on the Costa del Sol years ago. I don’t suppose it’s improved but I can’t know as I vowed never to return there.

HT to Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas for these titbits:-

  • Meet Bluff, the man who drew cartoons of Franco, and got executed for his pains.
  • An article on the oldest city in Spain – Los Millares in Santa Fe de Mondújar, Almería.
  • The hoaxer who said that Pedro Sánchez’s wife was really a transsexual claims that “God entrustedme with this spiritual battle”. More on this nutter here, in Spanish.
  • Another nutter, the eccentric ex-Minister of the Interior, says the end of the war in Ukraine will come when the Immaculate Heart of María deigns to intervene, Seems to be a patient entity.

Having suffered in one place midday from the noise of 8 Spaniards at the next table, I took sponge earplugs to another place in the evening which I know to be noisy. They were good at reducing the chatter but, thank God, even better with the relentless, tinny music coming from the speaker above my head. Probably a permanent feature of my life now. At least in that place.

Portugal

Got €400,000 to spend on a place in the Algarve?

The UK

Something is tormenting Britain and it isn’t Boris Johnson.

While I’m on the subject . . . How low can he go, albeit ‘legally’?

See below the view on this depressing episode of the very estimable Caitlin Moran.

Russia

Western sanctions are based on a wildly naïve assumption: that Russia still has a powerful business elite that can influence Putin and even change his handling of the war. The truth is: there are no powerful Russian oligarchs left. They were created by/for Yeltsin and politically de-fanged by Putin. Full article here.

The Way of the World

  1. Who’d be surprised? . . . Mobile app stores run by Google and Apple are flooded with fake reviews.
  2. I guess it had to happen: Jill Biden gives an award to a transgender woman on international Women’s Day. Let’s hope she really deserved it and wasn’t a ‘toofer’.

Quote of The Day

In recent years, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her husband, the CEO of the Scottish Nationalist Party, have ruled the SNP with the same lightness of touch which made the backstabbing Borgias such delightful dinner-party guests.

German

  1. Ballermann, a combination of ballern – drinking excessive alcohol – and Mann, or man. Its more widespread use refers to the music associated with a “party style” – a combination of Eurodance, electronic techno-style music and the German Schläger[Bat; Hit/Bestseller]This often concerns partying, love, or just something entirely made up without any logic or theme. A nice example here – Fliegerlied (Kite Song).

Did you know?

As Easter approaches, the UK again sees the annual fight between M&S’s Colin the Caterpillar cake and all the other supermarket rip-offs – Cecil, Charlie, Clyde, Cuthbert and . . . Wiggles. But M&S has now launched its nuclear weapon – Colin the Caterpillar Giant Choc Face – ‘an outsized, chocolate caterpillar face only – no body, or legs – and hollow, in the manner of an Easter egg. ‘

Finally . . .

My readership rose 20% above the average yesterday. No idea why, unless it was the citation from The Pink News. But I do hope some of the new readers stick around. Which could well double my annual income from this blog of nil euros . . .

Which reminds me . . . For early readers yesterday, the correct link to yesterday’s full Flow article is here.

An impressive slice of London . . .

For new readers:-

1. 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.

2. Should you want to, the easiest way to to get my post routinely is to sign up for email subscription. As opposed to using a Bookmark or entering the URL in your browser. And there’s the Thoughts from Galicia FB group.

Boris Johnson: Caitlin Moran, The Times

Boris Johnson is a generous man, isn’t he? With his words — here, allow him to give you a “piffling”, “mugwump”, “popinjay”, “boondoggle” and “oomph”, where perhaps you might have sought a simple “yes/no” reply, in an urgent moment. Say, when simply asking him if he’d turned the gas off or not. Or, if he lied to parliament.

Johnson is equally generous with his spermatozoa, of course — in recent years, there have been so many Facets Of Boris to discuss that his testicular lavishness has slid down the charts to become the fifth, or maybe the sixth, most-commented-on aspect of his life. And yet — there’s all those children, exact number still unknown, born of women with romantic preferences we might term “HoneyMonsterosexual.” The scattering of his seed has been far and wide. Wait around long enough, and you too could catch some!

And Boris is always emotionally generous — to Boris. There is nothing Boris can do that Boris will not forgive Boris for. It’s a very loving relationship. Boris is endlessly understanding of Boris’s Borisness. Or, to describe it in the most Johnsonish way possible, his sedulosity, Johnson-wise, borders on spunky hierophancy. Look! Now I’m being Boris Johnson! Quick! Make me prime minister

However, Johnson’s primary form of generosity is different to the above-mentioned aspects, to wit: he’s very generous with other people’s things. Gold wallpaper for the missus? Paid for by someone else. Holidays in nice villas? Paid for by someone else. £126,000’s worth of funding for the American tech entrepreneur — and, latterly, his alleged lover — Jennifer Arcuri? Paid for with public money.

And that’s the stuff that actually manifested. Remember how Johnson — so generously! — promised Britain £350 million a week for the NHS? And yet, it never happened: along with the Garden Bridge for London (cost £53 million in planning, never happened), and the Bridge To Northern Ireland (never happened), and that Oven-Ready Deal (never happened). Amateur psychologists could, I’m sure, have a field day over Johnson’s constant need to be handing out presents, or promising presents, to everyone. What could it be about a boy — shy, and initially deaf — with a generally absent, “larger than life”, judgmental father, that would make him feel the need to be constantly offering people things? Sweetening the deal of his own existence with . . . stuff? I just can’t figure it out.

And so to this week’s big story/psychological case study: The Times scoop on how Boris is planning to give his father, Stanley, a knighthood, in his resignation honours list. Boris being Boris, it’s not the only knighthood being chucked around, of course – generous once more, Boris has apparently nominated up to a hundred people for honours. By way of contrast, Theresa May’s resignation honours ran to 60 people, while David Cameron nominated 62. But now, there’s Stanley – Old Pop Johnson – lined up to be a knight.

Often, as a vaguely humorous writer, one must lean on exaggeration, or faux-naivety, to make a point or highlight an issue. However, in the case of a knighthood for Stanley Johnson, no such devices are needed. In all sincerity, the only response to this news can be, “Why? For what? In what possible world does Stanley Johnson’s life work need to be recognised with a knighthood?”

The primary things I, and most people, know about Stanley Johnson are a) that his wife alleges he once hospitalised her with a broken nose, b) that he greeted his own son’s lockdown rules with the quote “If I need to go to the pub, I’ll go to the pub”, and c) both a female MP and a female journalist have accused him of groping them.

It’s certainly a CV that would embolden, say, Andrew Tate to nominate Johnson for a knighthood — presumably for services “to the Manosphere, and general Top G-dom” – but still maybe only if Johnson were Andrew Tate’s father, and thus had the extra emotional leverage. Let’s face it – there’s a lot of old guys with this resumé. He’s not exactly a pioneer. If every alleged handsy nose-breaker who liked going to the pub got put on the honours list, the House of Lords would have to relocate to the O2. And get extra security. And keep all the women in a separate area. It would be a logistical nightmare.

And Boris’s generosity towards his father continues his favourite technique: being generous with other people’s things. For it’s the King who has to give Stanley Johnson this knighthood – it’s the King whom Boris Johnson has signed for this lavish, inexplicable gift to his father. In recent weeks, we’ve heard a lot about Nepo Babies – offspring of the famous who have used their parents to nepotistically gain jobs in acting or music. Stanley Johnson is, I think, the world’s first recorded Nepo Father: marking another groundbreaking moment in Boris Johnson’s career.

The older I get, the more the vast majority of politics looks like complex unresolved childhood traumas metastasising, decades later, into political actions. The children of immigrants banning immigrants; the daughter of Labour voters trying to be the Most Conservative Prime Minister Ever; and, now, the 11-year-old boy sent to boarding school by his father, desperately trying to win his approval – and roping the King into the whole, poignant affair. If only the Commons bar did subsidised therapy, instead of subsidised booze.

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