IN Melilla, the North African Spanish enclave, a new wave of religious fundamentalism, Salafism, is gaining strength; its doctrines are abomination to liberal values.
Singing, dancing, theatre going, watching television are outlawed. One edict is that ‘music is the horn of Satan.’
I must confess to having mixed feelings on this one.
To be sure I would be desolate if my hearing failed and I was denied listening to what I consider to be world-class music.
On the other hand I think rap, garage and similar din should be considered sinful to play and sinful to listen to; devotees should be beheaded.
Country music has been described as a series of dirges about dead cowboys, dead romances and dead dogs.
It is hard to disagree with that. The great composer Sir Thomas Beecham described a harpsichord recital as being like ‘two skeletons copulating on a corrugated tin roof.’ Maybe tolerance is the solution; there’s always the ‘off’ button.
A TIP to dictators; don’t have children. When Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco passed away on November 20, 1975, his family fared very well indeed.
Granted they were no longer on the A list for state functions but to this day they have benefited from the General’s largesse and reputation.
His widow received a state pension higher than that of Spanish prime ministers. The tax authorities never investigated the family’s accounts. Assets that should have reverted to the state went unclaimed.
Franco’s daughter heads one of Spain’s major real estate concerns; no one knows about her assets; it is guesswork. Other members of the Franco clan haven’t shown quite the same tactical skills as their illustrious grandfather. A grandson was arrested for poaching, and investigated for fraud.
Another was a career ne’er do well whose fame rests on one notable remark made when in the army: ‘The uniform makes me look like a dixxhead.’ The dictator’s widow was cornered at Barajas airport trying to exit the country with gold coins; the charge wasn’t pursued.
You wish to hear the rest? Perhaps not.
CLINKING glasses and wishing each other good health has interesting origins. Before the use of ceramics became commonplace heads of neighbouring tribes would meet each other.
Crashing their filled wooden mugs together they would exchange similar good wishes.
The collision between their mugs would splash the contents into each others drinks, thus ensuring one had no intention of poisoning the other.
Spain’s current healthcare might become equally hit and miss as we learn that many regions can no longer afford to settle their bills with pharmaceutical giants.
Spain’s regional health authorities are estimated to be in debt to the tune of €10.56 billion. This is equally divided between prescription costs and much else between syringes and scanners.
It is no wonder health centres can’t afford interpreters; some suppliers haven’t seen a cheque for over a year. Cough up!