Appreciating the ugliness of (Spanish) vernacular architecture

José Fariña is writing about Galicia, but his comments are generally applicable: form follows function, so rural flight and the conversion of C20th smallholding culture into industrial agriculture and bear forests will inevitably lead to the entire replacement of the gloriously heterogeneous building culture of the past by drab “rural” 2nd home estates of Asterix…

Two Brad Pitt exclusives

  • French farmer tells him, “Get off my land!”
  • Did a Pakistani Dracula turn Brad and Angelina into zombies?

On preparing an anthology of English-language nursery rhymes for a Pyrenean baby

Dead space is newish horror survival game set on board a stricken interstellar mining ship. You play an engineer fighting a polymorphic, viral infestation which turns humans into grotesque alien monsters. Reviewing it Seth Schiesel asks: When did fear become fun? I’ve been thinking about that a lot as I’ve played Dead Space, the new,…

Spanish traditional theme park architecture

More traditional building for Colin Davies: Real stone is expensive and makes it hard to plug holes and to plaster, so in Spain@Disney you stick (pre)machined chunks or carpet tile-type stuff onto the concrete prefab with glue. Chorus: Cladding imitates but also improves on reality.

Burning dog: bizarre and brutal winter solstice celebrations in Spanish Pyrenees

The sun dog is seen above reborn, having previously mysteriously died at the end of the solar year: While its soul wanders the underworld, its old and weary body is barbecued and consumed in dark hovels by fearful peasants: I’ve forgotten who it was who believed the Old Testament was originally written in English, or…

Tripartit

The old ones are always the best ones. In the Dresden Files the Old Ones are demons, or dark gods who ruled the world before mankind. They were apparently banished from our reality. The Fifth Law of Magic prohibits the summoning of both the Old Ones, and their foot soldiers the Walkers, or Outsiders. In…

Video of sheep near the Bielsa tunnel

Photo 7 on this page shows a lamb being carried by refugees from villages on the Spanish side of the central Pyrenees as the Stalinist-led 43rd Division prepared its famous last stand–the Bielsa Pocket/la Bolsa de Bielsa–against Franco’s advancing Navarrans in spring 1938. Bielsa was completely shattered by the latter’s artillery, but the scorched earth…