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?
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