Yesterday I received a letter from Holland whose relevance was diminished somewhat by its having been stored for four weeks en route, presumably here in Barcelona. Correos, the Spanish post service, is one of the many relics of a culture that Francis Bacon described four centuries ago:
As a child I acquired from Victorian and Edwardian historical fiction the notion that the Spanish did one to death in a more dilatory (and dastardly) fashion than more practically-minded folk to the north. I presume that this had more to do with the Black Legend than with historical reality, and that it is in fact nothing more than a specific motif from the mythology of confrontation between a nimble island state and ponderous continental imperialism:
In Europe Bacon’s deadly differential no longer holds true. If anything it is the Spanish who are now ahead, particularly given Spain’s rise in recent years to world leadership in that most competitive of markets, spectacular high-speed road accidents. I fear, though, that none of us will ever again be able to compete with the US, where GatlingGuns.com sells kits which enable you to add a simple cranked trigger mechanism to several normal guns so as to create something that sounds to me like a fully automatic weapon but which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms classifies as semi-automatic. That’s what I call progress.
- German lords on the Ottoman periphery
Istòria de Jacob Xalabín is a 15th century historical romance written in Catalan (or translated into that language) that recounts the
- Barcelona and the great European fire sale
And an explanation of why “La gata sobre el tejado de zinc” is, in metallurgical-roofing terms, an inappropriate translation of “Cat
- The green of the louse/Lo verde del piojo
An etymological hop from kite-flying with Juan Marsé back to Concha Piquer’s greatest hit.
- The Nicaraguan and Spanish characters compared
Bizarrely honest or honestly bizarre?
- Napoleon couldn’t write French
“I am dying before my time, murdered by the English oligarchy and their hired assassin. The English people will not delay