Mayors all over the country are trying to find ways of combating a perceived deterioration in public behaviour. Adolfina García has dug up the still-effective Ordenanza de Policía Urbana y Gobierno de la Villa. Some rules:
- Shoeshines should wear uniform.
- Spittoons should be present in all lodging houses.
- Chickens, turkeys and other barnyard animals are not to be kept within the urban boundaries.
- Dogs should not be tied to moving carts.
- People with repugnant illnesses are not to be served in hairdressers. If the person affected is a child, he will be denied access to schools.
- It is forbidden to give serenades or launch into arhythmic tunes (“cánticos desacompasados”: I guess this is aimed at drunken friars, gypsies and Arnold Schoenberg).
- It is forbidden to use the rotating wheel of wafer makers for any type of game. (I guess some were adapted to double as roulette wheels; public games were forbidden in another article.)
- Inhabitants can be fined up to 25,000ESP (150€) if they fail to observe the composure and correction of language and behavior demanded by the high concept of citizenship for which the capital of Spain should be exemplary.
- Ladies and gents hairdressers are to be completely separate, with separate entrances.
- Florists are to offer their wares with exquisite correctness.
- Coalmen are not to exit onto the street after carrying out their work without previously having attended to their toilette.
- Servants are not to use lifts when carrying baskets or other objects, except between 7 and 10am.
- Vendors of churros and ice creams are to wear a white apron with sleeves (her) or a white jacket (him).
Contemporary Madrid mayors have shown no signs of retiring the legislation, and I believe that a few years ago it was used against public drinkers, although their conviction was subsequently annulled as unconstitutional. Javier Leralta says that a 1956 regulation forbids the use by traffic of acoustic signals, which I guess means horns and hooters. What the heck happened to that one?
- Victorian paternalism
We already knew from a footnote in Marx’s Capital that the Scottish industrialist Peter Fairbairn, who based his life and business in Leeds and was city mayor, “discovered several very important applications of machinery to the construction of machines as a result of strikes in his own factory.” Now Oxford has digitised a number of interesting old journals (thanks, Language Hat), including The Builder (not, unfortunately, a collection of Victorian bumshots) which tells us in Vol 10, Jan 1852, p 30 the following:
- Experts in dismantling and mantling funitures
roberto rob in Barcelona Metropolitan’s classifieds:
We offer the most reliable services of movings both within the town and outsidethe town,even outsside the country. we are experts in dismantling and mantling funitures, we are on duty 24 hrs and 7 days a week. just give us a trial,
I think mantle is a pretty nifty bit of back-formation,
- The Italians have the all best games
(Even if they can’t make a decent paella.)
- Bullfighting and Germanic imperialism
As you know, Barcelona city council this week held a symbolic debate on whether to condemn bullfighting. During it, according to El Periódico (free registration), local conservative Javier Basso
defended the “noble spectacle of the dance of bull and man” from harassment by “imperialistic cultures” like the “Anglo-Saxon and Germanic”. “Bullfights are part of our