Link sink for 28/05/2009

Drinking, driving, cursing.

Early evening yesterday, and hordes of thickos supping water from the Canaletes fountain on the Ramblas in order to show their allegiance to the mighty Barça. Historical epidemiologists might be tempted to enact a re-run of the great John Snow/Henry Mayhew/London cholera/pump handle show.

Canaletas was at some stage the point where the water channelled into Barcelona was least likely to kill you. My good friend tradition, who is not as old as he looks, says that now if you drink here you will return … for the stomach operation.

On the day of yesterday in 1533 at a dance held down-town for Emperor Charles white wine spurted from the fountain. A repeat last night would have been a great news for troubled wine producers. Are they troubled? My favourite cheapo is doing fine, but he drinks so much of his stuff himself that the market remains a fairly vague concept. My favourite class act used to do a lot of business in the Far East, so prices may be coming down shortly. Doom awaits the discoverers of the economic merits of oak chips soaked in donkey’s piss.

The greens have woken up to the fact that eco-Zapatero is subsidising cars but not bikes, and Greenpeace says the Catalan eco-socialist-nationalist-communist government is subsidising climate change. I assume in my state of blissful ignorance of the subject that there must also be a positive side to owning a car when firemen are being fined for speeding and someone else has been penalised 33 times for offences committed with a car he had reported stolen, but it’s not as if cycling in Spain is a bed of roses either, even when the dogs don’t get you.

No Good Boyo suggests “that smaller languages, or those of subject peoples, tend either to curse less or to adopt patterns of profanity from their dominant neighbours”. I think that’s true for Catalan and other peripheral languages vis-à-vis Spanish and increasingly English, and it strikes me that swearing in Catalan tends to be a self-conscious exercise. Scope there for the language police.

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  1. My northern Welsh great grandfather was born in 1870 and told me when I was young that the Welsh didn’t swear before they learnt English and English swearwords. He was brought up by a Calvinist aunt, so that may have had something to do with it.

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