Friday, November 18, 2005

The friday lunch

... is something they do well here. I met up with Orland and two colleagues from the education department (home of this blog's biggest fans) at La Reina, a teriffic bar/restaurant/vinoteca on C. Valencia.

(One colleague, Ramon, had the best ipod collection i have seen including the Ramones 'Sheena is a punk rocker' which I last heard so long ago that some of the Ramones still had a pulse).

The food was great - fried eggs and grated fish, a real Spanish market dish that i could eat very day - and we went through the whole gamut of why catalunya wants/needs/should have independence/freedom from the rest of Spain.

It's not about Catalunya using the word nation (although that's what grates with the rest of Spain I think) to describe itself but the fact that the culture is so different and the economic base so strong that they want to keep the money they earn here and not stump up for glistening motorways in Galicia so that the donkey carts can go that much faster.

It's an intriguing situation because unlike most other cases for independence (formal or otherwise) Catalunya is so economically strong and not a basket case dependent on hand outs (step forward wales, scotland, basque region, cornwall etc etc).

And throw in the language. Virtually everyone here speaks Catalan and it is the language of instruction in all state schools.

Back in Scotland the polemcist Alan Massie once wrote that '
Scotland has probably more households where Urdu is spoken than Gaelic-speaking ones'.

In fact the 2001 census showed '
over 92,000 people in Scotland (just under 2 per cent of the population) had some Gaelic language ability and that almost half of these people lived in Eilean Siar, Highland or Argyll & Bute.'

Wales is slightly better - 21% - but that's still pretty low (not that it prevents bucketloads of english taxpayers' cash going to subsidise welsh television, gaelic radio, yada, yada)

Catalan outside catalunya (and a few villages in languedoc) may be as useful as a chocolate fireguard but so is finnish outside finland and nobody suggests they drop that.

It's all getting a bit angry with calls in the rest of spain to boycott Catalunyan Cava and other goods, presumably to give the Catalans a little lesson in what it's like to be a foreign nation.

We then moved on to Barca's chances against Real Madrid tomorrow (5-0 to barca according to the most respected sports journalist here. hmmm.) and, curiously, ended lunch around 5.30pm
by drinking gin and tonics from swimming-pool sized brandy balloons.

It comes to something when even the Catalunyans are straying from their Cava.

No comments: