dissabte, 30 de novembre de 2013

La Via Catalana - Pepet i Marieta #ElProcésCatalà

Pos, si, torna el moment de fer un petit "actualització" del procés català - directament en anglès :)
Afraid so, it's that time of month again, time for an update on the never-ending Catalan Independence Show. I will not go into the reasons for and against independence, or details of how the situation has evolved over the last few years as all this is to be found in previous posts. No, today's is just a brief note on where we are today - obviously Catalans would like to be in the same situation as the Scots, i.e., with the central government (UK / Spain) allowing a legally-binding referendum on their future. However, it's not the case. The Spanish govt, and chief opposition party, have made clear that the Spanish Constitution will not allow a referendum or independence.
However, over 80% of Catalans believe they should hold a referendum. Plus there is a similiar percentage of Catalan parliamentary support  for this. Sooooo, the Catalan President asked Spanish PM Rajoy about this before the summer and got a clear NO for an answer. Now, they are going to ask again. This time, even more formally. The idea is that the Catalan Parliament passes a proposal for the referendum question and its date, and takes this proposal to Madrid for the Spanish Parliament to decide on. Presumably the Spanish Parliament will say NO, and Catalonia will decide to hold a referendum anyway. After this point, nobody knows what will happen ...
Will the EU step in, to avoid unrest and political instability in such a key area of Europe? Will Spain order the imprisonment of the Catalan President for organizing an "illegal" referendum? What will the people do if their President ends up in jail? Will Spain use force, even military force, to physically prevent the referendum taking place?
If the referendum cannot be held at all, will the Catalan Parliament make an unilateral Declaration of Independence? Then what?

However, let's not get ahead of ourselves. To reach this point, first, as I said, the Catalans want to make a final effort at getting Spain's OK, and to this end, they want to present a referendum proposal to Madrid before the end of 2013. The problem is that this idea is one they have been telling us all year, and now we're about to enter December and they haven't finished arguing yet. The beauty of proportional representation voting systems means there are 4 or 5 different Catalan parties who want to work together on this, but each has a different idea on how to do it. Each party has their own idea on the question and timing, and possible future steps to take. To try to present a unified front to Madrid, the Catalan President is trying to take on everybody's ideas but they are getting nowhere. Will they get their act together? How can they lead us into independence with all the possible risks this involves if they can't even choose a referendum question? Watch this space ....
... but to finish on a positive note, here's the video of the 1.6 million people 400 km human chain for independence held on 11th September. 1.6 million people who DO know what they want!

dijous, 28 de novembre de 2013

The Mississippi Squirrel Revival - Ray Stevens

Moral of the story - don't take a squirrel into church.
By the way, I first found this song a couple of years back on an excellent blog which I do not visit half as much as I should - Keep the Coffee Coming.

dimecres, 27 de novembre de 2013

On top of the world (2) - Moon landings and other wacky theories

Tornant al video d'ahir - quantes cosetes heu vist? Jo he trobat uns quants, i Google unes altres ...
Per a començar, ajuda saber que una de les teories sobre la no-arribada a la lluna es basa en que va ser el director Stanley Kubick qui va gravar la pel·lícula del fals atteratge - teoria que es va embolicar més amb el documental fals (un mockumentary) sobre aquests "fets". Els creients en la teoria aquesta també pensen que Kubrick va deixar pistes en la pel·licula El Resplandor (The Shining).

Bé, primera imatge, lo xiquet en el tricicle - una copia de l'imatge del El Resplandor. A més, porta un barret d'alumini per protegir-se dels suposats rajos que envien els russos.
minut 0:07 - nom de la botiga, anagram gairebé de  Stanley Kubrick
0:11 Nom al jersei del xiquet (i despres veiem que està als vestits dels astronauts; SNOGARD => dragons (nom del grup) al reves.
0:13 marca de la tele, Monolith - recordant la pel·licula 2001.
0:17 el paper de la pared té el mateix dibuix que la alfombra a The Shining. Aquesta alfombra de The Shining, en teoria tenia el mateix dibuix que el centre de control de NASA. Fins i tot a la Shining, el xiquet porta jersei de Apollo 11 i es fica al mig de la pista.  
0:25 numero de la casa, 2001! 
0:33 VW Beetle, com la pel·li The Shining
0:36 Foto de Paul McCartney
0:40 maquina d'escriure de The Shining, 2 besssons de The Shining, i un simbol masonic a la pared.
0:49 simbol del "all-seeing eye", la teoria que els franco-masons ens controlen.
0:51  237 = nombre de la habitacio de The Shining = distancia, en miles, fins la lluna
0:59 pas de viatnants, del LP Abbey Road dels The Beatles
1:03 la matricula del cotxe canvia, i ara diu "Ben is dead" (Ben s'ha mort); a un dels cotxes de Abbey Road dels Beatles van posar la data de neixement de McCartney, una pista de la teoria que deia que McCartney s'havia mort.
1:06 0009 LAH =>  HAL 9000, de la pel·li 2001
1:44 Mono com en una pel·li de Kubrick 
2:16, al clipboard, posa SK - Stanley Kubrick :)

Segur que hi ha més cosetes, a banda d'una ambientació bonissim - els russos, Nixon, els hippies, Easy Rider etc :) Enjoy it! 
So, about yesterday's pop video: to start with, it's worth knowing that some people believe the Americans never landed on the moon, and one of the branches of this "conspiracy theory" claims that film director Stanley Kubrick actually filmed the "landing" in Hollywood. This is complicated even more by the false documentary (mockumentary) Dark Side of the Moon which claims to prove this theory - but is itself one big fake!
Kubrick-moon believers also believe that in the film The Shining he put clues as to his involvement in the "moon con".
Anyway, here's what yours truly and Mr Google have come up with - but there's probably loads more to see ...
First image, the tricycle is like the one in The Shining. And the tin foil hat is great, many Americans believed the Russians were bombarding them with some kind of rays and wore tin foil for protection - apparently.
Minute 0:07 - The name of the shop is a rough anagram of Stanley Kubrick
0:11 Name on kid's jumper (and astronauts' gear) is Snogard, an anagram of the group's name - Dragons.
0:13 TV brand Monolith, remembering the film 2001.
0:17 Wallpaper has same pattern as the carpet in The Shining, which itself is supposed to be based on a plan of NASA launch pad. Kid in The Shining even wore an Apollo 11 jumper!
0:25 House number - 2001
0:33 VW Beetle - like in The Shining
0:36 Photo of Paul McCartney
0:40 Typewriter from The Shining, twins like in The Shining, and masonic symbol on wall
0:49 the "all-seeing" eye symbol which some link to the supposed running-of-the-world being carried out by the masons or other secret groups (Brian's comment: pretty bad job they're making of it!)
0:51 237 = room number in The Shining = distance to moon in miles
0:59 Abbey Road LP sleeve
1:03 Car registration number changes to "Ben is dead". Another wacky 60s' theory was that Paul McCartney had died and the Beatles showed this on the Abbey Road cover - Paul shoeless, and his birthdate was the registration number of a car.
1:06 0009LAH => HAL9000, the computer in Kubrick's 2001 film
1:44 monkey in another of Kubrick's films
2:16 SK on clipboard - Stanley Kubrick.

Apart from that, the music is great, and Nixon too! Pretty sure there's more stuff hidden in there, but I'll leave that to you ....

dilluns, 25 de novembre de 2013

On top of the world - Imagine Dragons #CoolVideo

Em sembla que els Imagine Dragons han passat una estona molt divertida fent aquest video - ple de referencies a coses que van passar, o no van passar, als 1960s o 70s ... a vore quantes coses veieu? Demà posaré el que he vist jo i els que he trobat amb l'ajud del Google :)
Looks like this group had a hell of a good time making this video. Packed to the brim with subtle references to things that happened - or didn't happen - in the 1960s and 70s. See how many you can spot. I'll post what I've noticied (some alone, some with the help of Mr Google) tomorrow :)

divendres, 22 de novembre de 2013

Radioactive -Imagine Dragons #Ceuta #Melilla

A monkey in Gibraltar.

Ceuta and Melilla border controls

Gibraltar border controls.

 A map.

Bé, m’han demanat si, després de Gibraltar, puc escriure 4 ratlles sobre Ceuta i Melilla! Bé, poso una mica d’historia – em podeu corregir si cal!

Quan els cristians van reconquistar la peninsula i van fumar fora als moros, van continuar fins el nord d’Africa. Aixi van conquistar Ceuta al 1415 i Melilla al 1497. Originalment Ceuta era de Portugal però per rotllos de reis etc va passar a ser espanyol – un cop s’inventes el concepte del païs d’Espanya (finals del segle XV). Al finals segle 19 i principis del segle 20, es va obrir “barra lliure” pels europeus a Africa i França i Espanya es van repartir el Marroc. Encara que Marroc va assollir l’independencia al 1956, Espanya es va quedar amb Ceuta i Melilla – i Perejil!

Entre les dos ciutats són uns 150.000 persones. Evidentment la majoria de gent que hi viu volen continuar sent espanyols, que vol dir que són ciutadans de la UE, igual que la gent que viu a Gibraltar vol continuar sent britanic. Que importa més, les reclamacions sobre la sobirania d’aquests llocs, o la voluntat de la gent que hi viu?

Mentre a Gibraltar la policia espanyola té un fart per registrar cotxes i bicis plens de tabac, les fronteres de Ceuta i Melilla són noticia mundial per les tanques de 6 metres de filferro i soldats armats que impedeixen que la gent d’Africa hi pugui passar. Els que si que poden passar amb facilitat són els europeus que viuen a Africa i volen  anar-hi per a comprar pernil i altres productes pareguts!
Mentre a Gibraltar la foto tipic és d'un bobby tipic anglès, molt amable i simpatic (normalment), la de Ceuta i Melilla és dificil fer una foto sense que surti un militar o un monument de Franco.
(La cançó no té res a vore en res de tot això!)
Following on from the success of my blogpost on Gibraltar, my fan club have insisted I write a few lines on a similar case – the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla in north Africa. I'll try not to get kicked out of Spain in doing so - although that is in fact every Catalan's dream !
These two cities, and other bits and bobs – mainly uninhabited small isles – have been Spanish ever since Spain itself has existed as a concept, that is to say the end of the 15th century. Before that Spain did not exist - the Iberian peninsula was made up of different kingdoms (Aragon, Catalonia, Castile etc), some forming temporary alliances, others fighting each other.

And how did the cities become Spanish then? Well, as you may or may not know, or can Google, the Moors conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula between the 8th and 14th centuries. As the Christians reconquered the lands, especially in the 14th century, they eventually crossed over into north Africa also, with the Portuguese king conquering Ceuta in 1415 and the Spanish conquering Melilla in 1497. The King of Spain also became King of Portugal in 1580 as used to happen through marriages and alliances etc, but in 1640 for some reason the two countries separated once more. However, Ceuta chose to remain Spanish.
When the Europeans shared out Africa between themselves, in the 19th and 20th century, Morocco was basically divided out between France and Spain. Morocco became independent  in 1956 but Spain kept hold of the two cities for strategic reasons.

Between them, Ceuta and Melilla occupy a mere 12 square miles with a total population of around 150,000 inhabitants. They are both in the European Union, being Spanish. And, as is the case with Gibraltar, the vast majority of their citizens do not want to change the present situation. So, however much Morocco may lay claim to them, who’s to say the 150,000 citizens can’t make their own mind up? 

A chief difference with Gibraltar – for obvious reasons – are the frontiers. The Spanish police spend a lot of time and effort trying to hinder people’s access to Gibraltar, and Spanish citizens spend a lot of time and effort trying to get in to smuggle cigarettes out hidden in their bikes, mopeds, car wheels etc. (for fairness, I must add that many Spanish citizens enter Gibraltar to work). However, the Ceuta and Melilla borders have a double 6-metre high fence of barbed wire manned by armed soldiers who have no qualms about shooting folk trying to get in. 
People who do get in easily though, and often, are the Europeans and/or non-muslims who live in Morocco and feel the urge to eat pork or get drunk.
While the typical photo of Gibraltar are monkeys or the smiling happy traditional English Mr Plod, in Ceuta and Melilla it's difficult to take a snap without a Spanish soldier walking past. There are thousands there, as well as lots of monuments and street names relating to Franco and his coup d'etât. Given that Franco was based in, and led his invasion from, north Africa he was (is?) a bit of a hero here.

Another difference is to be found in the fact that England conquered Gibraltar in 1703, but 10 years later Spain officially signed Gibraltar over to England for perpetuity in exchange for England dropping out of the War of Spanish Succession, whereas Ceuta and Melilla are Spanish basically through right of conquest but I don’t think Morocco has ever agreed to it.

The moral of the story; using history you could argue till the cows come home about what “should” happen, but who’s to say we have the right to boss 30 or 150,000 people around telling them which country they belong in? 

Right, couldn't think of a song related to this so I'm going with this one for the cool video!

dijous, 21 de novembre de 2013

Too much monkey business - Chuck Berry #Gibraltar

Gibraltar. No hi he anat mai i realment no tinc cap aspiració per a que continui sent part de "la meva patria" - no sóc gaire patriotic! Però entenc perfectament que si la gent que hi viu allì volen continuar sent britanics, pos, endavant. Per molt que sembla un cas estrany, una roca que fisicament està "penjada" de l'estat espanyol, el fet és que fa 300 anys que els espanyols ho van donar a Anglaterra. Clar, ara han passat anys, però la gent que viu allì continua pensant igual.

Si demà, la gent decideixi voler formar part d'Espanya, per mi cap problema - endavant. Realment és una questió tan simple.
Però, dins de tot l'embolic que es munta per aquesta roca, el que queda demostrat un cop més és que el govern espanyol no sap "guanyar amics". Com pensen que Gibraltar, Catalunya o qui sigui voldran estar amb ells si només rebem amenaces i insults?
Per més morbo, Gibraltar ja té equip de futbol internacional, cosa que demostra que Espanya tampoc sap fer amics dins de la FIFA!
Gibraltar, 2 and a half square miles of rock stuck on the bottom of the Iberian Peninsula, with a population of 30,000 people and 230 monkeys. Gibraltar was given to the English in 1714 - given, not temporarily lent - in exchange for England backing out of the Spanish War of Succession, thus leaving Catalonia in the lurch. I'm not one of those patriotic types who insists the English (or British) flag must fly over half the world, but I do believe that people should have a say in their own future. And however strange it seems that this rock does not belong to Spain, as long as its people are happy the way they are, so be it. If one day, the majority of the population would rather be Spanish , fine, but as for now that is not the case.
The Spanish tend to use the "Gibraltar issue" as a way to take people's attention away from all the sh*t going on in Spain - especially in the summer when there's no football to do that job. However, I'm not sure they really care - I mean, how do you convince 30,000 people to choose to be Spanish by threatening and insulting them?
Which brings us back to Catalonia - how do you expect 7 million people to be persuaded to form part of the "Spanish project" if all we get are threats, abuse, and our rights being cut back?
To top it all, this week Gibraltar played their first international football match - an impressive 0-0 draw against Slovakia - which just goes to show the influence of Spain's diplomats.
Anyway, as I say, I don't really mind what the Gibraltarians do in the future, but at present, anyone who irritates Spain is a friend of the Catalans :)

dimarts, 19 de novembre de 2013

dilluns, 11 de novembre de 2013

33 Revolucions

Per acabar per ara aquest serie d'apunts sobre documentals-musicals, si no els vau vore en el seu moment, us torno a recomanar els programes 33 Revolucions del Canal 33. Cada episodi, de mig hora, es dedica a donar un punt de vista diferent sobre artistes catalans, barrejant la seva musica amb elements de la seva vida, i tot explicat a un cert ritme "slow" que ens dona temps de reflexionar i absorbir la musica.
Last but not least, to finish off the series of blog-posts on music-documentaries, I'll recommend this series "33 revolucions" which was broadcast earlier this year on Catalan TV. The programmes are in Catalan, obviously, but don't let that put you off! Each episode is relatively short and gives a "slow", original look at the life and life-style of some, relatively unknown, Catalan singers. Mixing music with their family, friends, parties, work, meal-times, we get to appreciate just where their music is coming from. This link allows you to see all the episodes - hopefully it will work abroad, who knows?!
Singers and groups included are (hence you can google them if the link fails); Joan Colomo, Joan Pons, Mau Boada, Senior i el Cor Brutal, Anna Roig i l'Ombra de Ton Chien, Raul Fernandez Refree, Oliva Trencada, Maika Makovski, Maria Rodés, The New Raemon, La Iaia, Raynald Colom, Sanjosex, and Las Migas.

Just as a taster, here's one of the artists ....

diumenge, 10 de novembre de 2013

Hugh Laurie - Copper Bottom Blues

Fa uns dies vaig vore aquest documental, explicant el viatge /gir que fa Hugh Laurie i the Copper Bottom Band per les EEUU fins arribar a California i el vaixell el Queen Mary. L'objectiu és un homenatge a l'artista Professor Longhair qui havia tocat un concert de llegenda aquí fa 40 anys.
Els que heu seguit la carrera de Hugh ja sabreu que és un bon actor, i bon comediant, però el seu amor de veritat és la música. Ara fa un parell d'anys que s'ha dedicat a gravar i tocar blues, i de pas, explorar la seva historia. No us explicaré que passa al documental, ja que s'ha de mirar! Només dir-vos que és un fascinant viatge, que encara ens hipnotiza més quan ens ho explica una persona per la qual la música li representa tant.
Saw this documentary a few weeks ago - Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Blues band go on a tour of the USA with the objective of exploring the history of the blues and finally play a concert on the Queen Mary in California, just as Hugh's hero, Professor Longhair, has played 40 years before. 
If you've followed Hugh's career, you'll probably know that he is a decent actor, a pretty good comedian, but his real love is music. For the last couple of years he's been recording and playing blues and generally having a damm good time of it! This film is fascinating - whether you are interested in blues or just like hearing a real fan speak about their favourite subject.

dilluns, 4 de novembre de 2013

Beware of Ginger Baker

Continuant amb el tema. Aquesta setmana hem mirat el documental Beware of Ginger Baker. Bonissim!
Ginger és un dels bateries més coneguts i més bons de l'historia del rock, encara que, segons ell, el seu primer amor és el jazz. Als 60 va formar part d'alguns dels grups més interessants  d'aquella epoca, com Cream o Blind Faith. Després, la seva excentricitat, impulsivitat i ganes de experimentar noves coses li han portat per una vida "de pel·licula". No se sap com, però ha sobreviscut els excessos i les drogues i encara viu, i toca, a Sur Africa, el lloc on el documentalista li ha fet l'entrevista. Una altra de les histories inoblidables que ens ha deixat la bona musica.
Sticking with the theme - this week, yet another rock-documentary. The fascinating Beware of Ginger Baker.
Ginger first came to fame as the drummer of 60s' groups like Cream or Blind Faith, and was quickly recognised as the first great rock drummer - although he'd rather be known as a jazz drummer. After the brief exhilarating lives of these groups, his excentricity, impulsiveness, and desire for new experiences led him to an amazing series of adventures in the world of music (and polo!). Somehow he also managed to survive his lifestyle and all the drugs, and still lives, and occasionally plays, in South Africa - which is where the documentary-maker went to interview him. Another fascinating story that rock music has gifted us with.