When I’m in Barcelona we often go and have a Sunday lunchtime beer on a bar terrace near Park Güell, ethnic Andalusian with scatterings of La Mancha and the Maghreb. The other day there was a new guy, well-dressed, which is uncommon here, and reading El país, which is even less usual. I’ve never heard a word of Catalan spoken in the bar, but he ordered his beer and olives in Catalan, as is his perfect right. Half an hour later, and it’s time to pay.
–That’ll be €4.95 please.
–Here’s five. The five centimes are for you.
The barman, already equipped with a fine red heart-attack complexion, doesn’t take this munificence well and returns a couple of minutes later.
–We made a mistake. It’s €5.95.
The guy pays and leaves behind the whole dish of olives, worth €4 according to this new scheme of things. I and the hardfaced lady on the table behind him eye each other up. “Fancy a couple of olives,” I jest, but she doesn’t reply and takes the whole dish, whereupon a swarm of friends descend on her. It’s that kind of bar.
One of the regulars is an tall thin spotless-denimed Algerian–cool as a cucumber, eyes like a ferret–who has a quiet beer at the bar with a compatriot, strolls over to Güell to rob a tourist (we’ve seen him at work), and then strolls back past and goes home for lunch. I used to stay in a flat in Carme in the Raval which was haunted by another creature of habit. Every night between four and five from the entrance of Malnom, an alley opposite, would emerge the sounds of a struggle followed by someone running away and drunken northern European female screams and weeping–“HELP, LAD-RON!” I don’t know if the mugger switched to a day shift or retired or what, but it suddenly stopped.
- Santa Maria de Siurana
With that grace alate/ which thy stool embalms/Shelter neath thy cloak/our humble homes and farms.
- El santo mocaro
Snot-nosed pseudo-saints in a Lingua Franca song by Juan del Encina.
- Granada, Andalusia:Santa Fe de la Vega::Granada, Catalonia:Santa Fe del Panadés
But was the Andalusian Santa Fe a copy of the Catalan one, or did they really arise without reference to one
- Dutch words that sound obscene in English
Cock/Kok: family name. Also kok: cook, coccus. Re David Cameron’s #piggate laddishness, British Labour MP Emily Thornberry has posted a pack
“A creamy dessert and espresso? Puff, puff.”