Saturday, May 21, 2016

Boss the SPaG


You know you're taking it all too seriously when Bruce Springsteen makes you think about SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) tests...


'The Boss' onstage at Camp Nou, Barcelona, 14.05.2016.
Well, OK, I'll be honest, it wasn't actually during the concert that this thought crossed my mind (but it's still worrying).



I had 'The River' on in the car and 'Hungry Heart' was playing. These lines caught my SPaG-infested attention, 

"Everybody needs a place to rest,
Everybody wants to have a home,
Don't make no difference what nobody says,
Ain't nobody like to be alone..."


Look at the line, 'Don't make no difference what nobody says...'. The logic often used to argue against double negatives is that they cancel each other out, as they do in maths. So, with three negatives in this line (thereby rendering it a negative again), does that make it grammatically correct?
(Shame he goes on to spoil it with a bog-standard double in the next line.)

I expect you'll have guessed that my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek as I do my mathematically-convoluted grammar here. I've never really understood the problem with double negatives. Nobody ever thought Jagger was 'satisfied' when he sang, 'I can't get no satisfaction...' Ditto Diana Ross ('Ain't no mountain high enough'), McFadden and Whitehead ('Ain't no stopping us now'). I always found it interesting that it seemed quite natural to use double negatives, as if they doubled the effect, as opposed to cancelling it out. ('I ain't dun nuffink,' was a regular complaint in my primary school.) It's always seemed to me that there's a major problem with a linguistic rule which is broken so frequently, and with so few consequences (except for the loss of a mark in a SPaG test).

And then I moved to Spain... and was delighted to discover that I'd been right all along. Here, it's perfectly grammatical to double negatives, and they do exactly what we all knew intuitively. They double the effect. So, No tengo means 'I don't have', while No tengo nada means 'I don't have nuffink!'

Here's the tail-end of 'Born to Run' from the Camp Nou... No reason.

Born to Run (finale), Camp Nou, 14 May 2016

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Correfoc

Correfoc, Valenciano language meaning, 'Run with fire.' There's not much more to say. Just run!

Except, of course, this being Valencia, there has to be a band...


Oh, and a sort of go-kart thingy. (Not sure what that is in Valenciano.)


Yes, and skeletons. 


And did I forget to mention the bull? On wheels?


Oh. And a train...


Apart from those, all pretty run-of-the-mill stuff...






Have a very pleasant evening.


And a big thank you to our hosts, Xarxa Teatre. Well run! 


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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Fallas, 2016


I wonder what we'll see this year?

I was in Valencia last weekend to get a first glimpse of this year's Fallas monuments as they were being unloaded and erected. Here are some of my favourite images:



















The traditional 'light-tunnel' in Calle de Cuba was spectacular.


We also stumbled across a small 'Moors and Christians' parade on Saturday night, which featured some rather splendid (panto) camels.






It's a long day touring the Fallas, everyone needs a rest at some time...


And if you enjoyed those, here are some from previous years:

Fallas 2014 
Fallas 2013 
Fallas 2012 

¡Felizes Fiestas!

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Anyone Want a Ticket for the Cup Semi-Final?

As a child in the 1970s, cup semi-final day was always a favourite for me. Villa Park, Old Trafford, Hillsborough, they all held a certain magic when the draw was made and the 'neutral ground' was chosen to play host. It was always a TV occasion, I never had an option to actually attend. And while the 'sudden-death' nature of the match was exciting, a replay (live on a Wednesday night) was always an extra treat. 'Why don't they make them home and away ties?' my friends and I often lamented.

Imagine my surprise (and childish delight) when in 2012 I bagged a couple of tickets for Valencia's King's Cup semi-final first leg against Barcelona (see blogpost la Magia de la Copa).

Cup semi-finals are two-legged affairs here in Spain. Great idea, I thought.

Valencia against Barça again this year. And this time up, the second leg at Mestalla! What could be more exciting? Could I possibly get another ticket? Well, yes...



Here's the map of Mestalla an hour before kick-off. Thousands of seats available. I paid 60 euros for my ticket last time. Here's the 30 euro section for tonight. Green spots are 'available'.




So what's going on? This is a cup semi-final! Well, what's going on is a mass boycott by Valencia's fans. The notoriously noisy 'Curva Nord' have promised to make their voices heard tonight, but from outside the ground. They've asked other ticket-holders to stay away. The club has been accused of 'obliging' all the canteranos (youth players) to attend, and of giving away tickets to local schools, in an attempt to hide the boycott.

The Curva Nord on cup semi-final night.

The Curva Nord in happier times, against Athletico Madrid, October 2014.

The reason for all of this? There are two. Firstly, Valencia's 'new' manager is the untried Gary Neville, ex-Man United, ex-Sky-Sports. 'His' Valencia has failed to win any of their first 12 la Liga matches with him in charge. The team has fallen to within 4 points of the 'drop-zone'. 

The second reason is, in effect, a last straw, namely the first leg result:


Barcelona-7
Valencia-0


So, with the match 'decided', and Barça set to show up with a second (or even third) eleven, even I ended up watching on the box. The result, in front of an estimated 10,000 fans inside Mestalla (capacity 55,000) was an unexciting 1-1.

If only Spain played their cup semi-finals over one leg at a neutral ground...

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