Sugar daddies

Struggling with weariness and reading bits of Ricardo Palma’s Tradiciones peruanas (1883). There was no sugar cane in Peru at the time of its conquest, he writes, and the first plantations were not established until 1570. The first Peruvian refiner suffered from the abundance and cheapness of Mexican sugar until he hit upon the smart idea of sending to Mexico a boat laden with the produce of the manufactory on his Huánuco estate. Since sending sugar to Mexico was as sending coals to Newcastle–“roses to Barbary” is Palma’s metaphor–the Mexicans concluded that the Peruvian market was no longer theirs and ceased shipping from Acapulco. The industry has flourished so much, writes Palma, that to call someone a refiner, an azucarero, is to call them a millionaire.

Where there’s money there are generally (top) hats, and the population of Moyobamba exploited a 19th century trade treaty with Brazil and the establishment of regular steamship lines to produce and sell fine hats. I wonder whether any of them were as fine as the top hat worn by the gent seated on this Persian sugar axe, who is himself strangely reminiscent of some of Posada’s Día de los muertos caricatures.

Sugar daddies are sadly out of fashion nowadays. Joe Silmon suggests having “all the relevant, potentially inflammatory lyrics translated into an extremely obscure, possibly dead language or dialect, such as ‘Downtown-Upper-Southside Accadic Occitanian’ only spoken centuries ago by a highly civilised, but acne-ridden post-Bronze-age tribe on a small outcrop of now sunken rocks off the coast of La Rochelle,” which is kind of sweet of him.

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  1. F.A.O. “Trevor”
    I’m so glad you found my linguistic suggestions (regarding politically incorrect Jazz lyrics)amusing and a bit of an ‘edulcorante’. I’m pleased to see that I wasn’t taken too seriously, but was amused to find my comment in a non-Jazz context on “Sugar Daddies”, of all things and on a website with a Catalan provenance, to boot. A bilingual, I did Hispanic Studies (Hons) at Manchester Uni. in the 1980s (in my 40s)and remember snippets of Palma’s excellent “Tradiciones Peruanas”, in Pamela Francis’s erudite annotations. I never went much for poetry and prose but enjoyed his input immensely, especially the bits about “EL ALACRAN DE FRAY GOMEZ”. Happy Campus days. Best wishes.
    Joe Silmon-Monerri “Joe Silmon” (Jazz name). The Monerri name was originally ‘Montferris’, a place near Valls i Vendrells, Tarragona. [Etym: Montferris; Monferri; Monherri; Monerri (as it ended up in Cartagena; still with final ‘s’ in Murcia, in some occurrences).

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