West African joke about white people in snowstorms

The last time the issue came up, my dad rated Percy Shaw as one of the 20th century’s most under-appreciated inventors, on the grounds that his cat’s eye road studs have saved more lives on British roads than any other single measure. Ojos de gato or tachas reflectantes are not (widely) used on Spanish highways,…

Fuck Bicing

Being Barcelona Council’s corporativist scheme to marginalise private bike ownership and bike shops: 59euros is going round chaining random stuff to lampposts in protest at the council’s policy minimising facilities for non-council bikes and then removing perfectly roadworthy examples from the streets to make way for yet more council bikes and illegally parked motorbikes. Saltada…

Of faggots and Fords

Unlike motorcars, bicycles take you through village centres and allow you to park outside at any interesting-looking drinking hole you encounter. Friday afternoon on my way up-country for a weekend engagement I stopped at a village café in the mountains between Montseny and Montserrat, where a nice but weary barmaid was serving brandy to some…

Barcelona-Cadiz, part 1

Brief report on carnival, goat à l’africaine, and a night out with the Belarussian putimafia.

Daisy, Daisy, give me your serpent, do!

One of the proudest memories of my musical career is of a mission undertaken on behalf of the Dutch nation to a Swedish folk festival, at which a programme of James Last covers was performed to accompany the wobblings of a display team of penny-farthing riders. Some believe that the deep affinity that exists between…