Bad dream last night, in which the leaders of the Basque and Catalan regional governments were being held hostage in the refrigeration cell of McDonald’s by the imam of Fuengirola (background here). It all got quite complicated – particularly when my cat walked over my head – but the essence was that messrs Maragall and Ibarretxe wouldn’t take off their shoes until they were let out and the imam was calling their bluff. Since none of the individuals concerned is known to be a regular customer of Ronald, I think this probably relates to my discovery earlier on the day that our local tufty Catalan-Indian restaurant, Govinda’s, is part of Hare Krishna Inc.
Survivors describe the cult as authoritarian, misogynistic and dishonest, but my swamic trauma hurts less and relates to an afternoon in London back in the time when I was young and not getting enough to eat. The faithful used to hand out cards in the tube promising a free vegetarian lunch worth £4.25 to anyone who turned up at the temple off Soho Square at a certain time. So, one day, having removed my boots, I entered a little room paved with cheap plastic tiles and smelling of Bombay bosom where, in the company of half a dozen heroin addicts and alcoholics, I spent an age listening to Madman A index-fingering his way up and down a small harmonium while Madman B moaned fitfully.
Trembling from a rich melange of withdrawal symptoms, we finally emerged to discover that some individual of obscure parentage had nicked our shoes. One of my lunch companions, in an outburst of materialism for which he was swiftly reproved, exclaimed: “How could they do that to me now I’m having to inject in me feet?”
Fuengirola’s imam is currently on trial here, accused of publishing with malicious intent a manual on how to beat women without leaving scars. He has received support of dubious value from a local colleague, who said that a good Muslim always talks to a woman before hitting her. The man will probably get off lightly if recent judicial misogyny is anything to go by: in June a judge here reduced a serial sex offender’s sentence to two years on the grounds that grabbing a woman’s boobs, masturbating in front of her, and threatening to kill her “did not constitute degrading behaviour.” The politicos – in potentially serious trouble for threatening to act unconstitutionally – may be less fortunate.
- incomprehensible shock jocks
The difficulty of interpreting intent in materials published in a different language and cultural context was one of the interesting facets
- Passionate kisses
I’ll bet you’re grateful that I didn’t call this Chirac kisses … OK, just forget it. Mark Doyle did a little
- Translation of Den Haag Connection rap calling for death of Dutch MP
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a highly talented Somali immigrant who started as a cleaning lady and, although still only in her
- Fact-dodging Geoff Nunberg
Sez he: The fact is that the right owns those object+present participle compounds, as surely as it owns values, media bias, the
- Catalan women are fat and ugly, say the Greeks
Here are a couple of fragments from Antoni Rubió i Lluch’s L’Expedició catalana a l’Orient vista pels grecs (The Catalan Expedition