dissabte, 22 de setembre de 2012

Crocodile Cryer - Martin Stephenson & Daintees #Whatever happened

Continuem amb el exitos serie d'apunts anomenada “Que els va passar als ....?”. No per parlar de grups o cantants que han desaparegut del tot, sinó dels que han desaparegut de la meva vida. Aquells que en un moment donat, han sonat molt en la meva vida, però després els he perdut de la vista – potser encara toquen, però ja no m’arriben, o potser pels canvis en la meva vida ja no m’arriben, o potser s’han marxat a l’espai en un ovni.
Avui toca el turn a Martin Stephenson & the Daintees. Al finals dels 80 el meu germa em va gravar 2 excellents albums, Boat to Bolivia, i Gladsome Humor and Blue. Vaig venir a viure a Catalunya amb les 2 cintes a la maleta i no he sabut res més .. fins ara.
Es veu que van gravar un LP més, i van desfer la banda. Martin va continuar gravant amb altres grups o alguns albums ell tot sol, però sense tenir massa fama. Al any 2000 van tornar a formar la banda i al 2008 van tenir un petit exit amb LP  Western Eagle. Al 2012 han fet un gir tocant el LP Boat to Bolivia, del qual us posem Crocodile Cryer.

So, another thrilling installment of our successful series of posts entitled Whatever happened to ...?”. Not necessarily those singers or groups who have disappeared completely off the radar, but rather those who have disappeared from MY radar. Maybe they still sing, maybe they don’t, but I’m referring to those artists who at some point in my life have meant something to me, but then either through their or my fault, I’ve lost track of them.
Martin Stephenson & the Daintees. Towards the end of the 80s my brother taped two great albums for me; Boat to Bolivia , and Gladsome Humour and Blue. Then I came to Catalunya with the two tapes in my suitcase and never heard of the band again ... until now ...
Turns out they recorded another album and split up. Martin continued recording solo albums or with other artists throughout the 90s and reformed the band in 2000. They've made a couple of albums since, with 2008's Western Eagle being the most successful. In 2012 they've been touring with a show where they play the full Boat to Bolivia LP - from which, you're gonna hear this beauty, Crocodile Cryer.


dijous, 20 de setembre de 2012

Waterloo sunset - The Kinks #MadeMyDay


Aquest estiu ho hem passat de meravella mirant les olimpiades per la tele a Anglaterra. La cobertura del BBC ha estat molt bé, i hem vist de tot, i, com no, xalat com mai amb els èxits dels Team GB !! I els de Yorkshire – crec que van explicar que si Yorkshire fos un país hauria acabat 11 o 12 en la taula final de medalles.
Una de les coses més interessants que gairebé tota la premsa ha remarcat és que aquests jocs son un bon exemple de com es pot fer esport i ser educat, generós, honrat, humil – quan fins ara per molts de joves els seus role-models havien sigut els mals exemples dels futbolistes. A modo d’exemple, la primera dona en l’historia dels jocs en guanyar una medalla en boxeig, va resumir el seu èxit amb la frase, “It’s made my day” (m’ha alegrat el dia)!
A banda de l’esport, aquest any vaig decidir de mirar les ceremonies d’obertura i de closura com ja us vaig dir al bloc, bàsicament per a la música. Bé, si la d’obertura em va agradar molt, no puc dir lo mateix de la de closura. Va tenir moments impactants  com els Pet Shop Boys o The Kinks, però també trobo que, per ser una festa per als participants, es van dedicar massa temps als “vells” (George Michael, per exemple), que els esportistes de 20 anys ja no coneixen.
En fi, a veure fins a quan podem fer aguantar els bons sentiments que va generar el London 2012 
....
Luckily we were in the UK for the Olympics and, although we couldn’t go to London, we managed to get through hours and hours of the BBC’s relatively good cover. What a year for Team GB, and for Yorkshire!
I was particularly interested to read many articles referring to the fact that most Olympic sportspeople seem to be polite, humble, honest, fair etc, and may provide a better role model for youngsters than some of our football players! If I had to stick with one phrase to sum up the Olympic spirit, I’ll go with what the first female boxer to ever win a gold medal (in the entire universe!) had to say, in a typically down-to-earth manner: “It’s made my day”. Wayne Rooney, watch and learn!
Apart from sport, I also made an effort to watch the opening and closing ceremonies for a change – basically for the music. I was impressed by the opening one, but found the closing one a bit of a let-down. If it was supposed to be a party for the participants, why did they have on so many “elderly” singers and groups that most 20-year old Russian athletes will never have heard of. Obviously a few exceptions made my night, such as the Pet Shop Boys and The Kinks. 

dimarts, 18 de setembre de 2012

Stop me if you've heard ...The Smiths #vacances









Fa dies (i setmanes!) que van acabar les vacances per un altre any. Com que no som molt originals, entre altres motius, aquest passat mes vam tornar a visitar Anglaterra, passant uns dies amb la família i uns dies a la costa a la mateixa zona que visitem cada any – North Yorkshire. Com ja vaig dir l’any passat, és una zona xula si t’agrada jugar a la platja o buscar fosiles o vida marina o passejar, però evidentment no cal pensar en prendre el sol ni banyar-se! Us podem recomanar visitar pobles com Staithes, poble de pirates allà on hi hagi, o Whitby, el poble de Dracula entre altres coses!
Fotos i una altra cançó NO conectada amb el tema.
....
OK, summer holidays over and done with but we still haven't blogged about them! Not being ones for original exotic adventures, we went on holiday in August to the UK, to visit family and to spend a few days on the North Yorkshire coast as usual. Staithes, Whitby, Scarborough ... a grand time fossil hunting, crab catching, walking, chip eating, rock pool observing. 
Some photos, and another song completely UNconnected to the post. 

diumenge, 16 de setembre de 2012

Some girls are bigger ... #Catalonia Part 3

Anem a per una tercera i ultima entrada sobre el tema de Catalunya, i despres ho tornarem a deixar en mans dels "experts" ...
Quan explico el cas de Catalunya i les seves demandes d'independencia als meus amics anglesos, normalment em contesten amb la mateixa opinió que tinc jo - "Per a que esteu esperant?". No veuen cap problema, i la majoria (dels pocs amics que tinc) tenen clar que l'independencia no s'ha de demanar -s'ha d'agafar.
Aixi que, amb tanta historia darrera, i tants arguments a favor, per que els catalans no han fet el pas encara? Jo tinc dos teories que m'atreveixo de publicar per a que me'ls corregiu ... una, la paraula "seny", però mal entes. Els catalans que conec semblen tenir molt de seny i sentit comú i potser aixo se'ls para els peus, pensant que una cosa "radical" com trencar en EspaÑa no és de "seny". Jo opinion lo contrari, lo que és una bojeria seria no trencar!! El sentit comú i logica meva em diu que ja tardem en partir peres ...
La segona teoria; que la democracia és molt jove encara i la gent d'una certa generació està molt lligats als partits, i aquí concretament a El Partit. I fins que El Partit no diu JA, no es pot pensar per un mateix. Crec que, abans per temor (cops d'estat i democracia precaria), i ara per ordens dels partits, la gent no s'ha atrevit a anar més allà. Com he dit, tinc l'impressió que una certa generació de votants tenen el tema "partit" com a una religió - per exemple, aixo no havia notat a Anglaterra, o no fins el mateix punt. Que la gent des dels 18 anys ja tenen clar a qui votaran els propers 60 anys - per no esmentar els "enllaços" que hi ha entre favors, feines, i vots ..... no soc cap expert ni hi he viscut alli des de fa anys, pero crec que a Anglaterra els caps de educació, salut etc no depenen de quin partit mana, i a més conec gent que ha votat tant el partit socialista com el conservador sense manies. Tinc l'impressió que això ja està canviant aquí també i potser els jovens (com jo) si que demanarem passos dels partits en comptes de "callar i obeir".
En fi, hem esperat molt, massa, però sembla que anem bé ara .... 
La cançó no té res a vore, però ens agrada ;)
............
Ok, third and last (for now) comment on the future independence of Catalonia. For more information on the reasons behind this demand, you could click on my previous rants. But today I will attempt to answer the question that most of my English friends ask after I've convinced them of Catalonia's case - "So, what are you waiting for?"
Exactly. The same question I often ask myself. I've come up with two theories which I will unleash in the hope that my readers will be kind and not debunk them outright.
One, the Catalans are characterized (or stereotyped) as being a people with "seny" - common sense. Whereas many Latin or Mediterranean people are stereotyped as being quick off the mark, emotional, rollercoaster feelings etc, the Catalans are the calm reflective ones, apparently. And this "common sense" is the aspect which is holding them back from making a drastic break with Spain. Bad move, I say - the "common sense" move is to get out while you can - who'd recommend someone to stay with their partner in a marriage if everything went wrong, and your partner hated you, and you'd tried for 300 years to reach a "sensible" agreement on how to stay together?
Two, the Spanish and Catalan democracy is still very young, just over 30 years. A certain generation of people still remember Franco, or the coup d'etât back in 81, and have always been reluctant to shake the boat. Even worse is the party system. Many people here owe their allegiances to certain political parties as they or their family have managed to get a job through an intricate process of back-scratching. Many people, again of a certain generation, have the Big Party in Catalonia in their minds, and know they will vote for the rest of their lives come what may. And this Big Party (the "national" conservatives) have up to now always recommended negotiating agreements with Spain, rather than splitting up. Until now .... watch this space or better still, read the articles I linked to in my previous post).
Song, nothing to do with the post, but I just love it!!


divendres, 14 de setembre de 2012

Videos and news #Catalonia Part two

Avui penjarem 4 noticies en anglès pels que no viuen aqui (o pels que només miren TVE!), per intentar explicar una mica que va passar el dimarts i els motius. I un parell de videos - ja sabeu, un imatgen val més ....
So what do one and a half million people look like? Here's a couple of videos trying to give an idea of  Tuesday's demonstration in Barcelona. But first, a few links to English news articles about the day.

Protest Rally in Catalonia Adds a Worry for Spain (NY Times)

Catalan independence rally brings Barcelona to a standstill (The Guardian)

Huge turnout for Catalan independence rally (BBC)

And some opinions "the day after" ...

Catalans are ready for independence – but are their leaders? (The Guardian)

Catalan Message (Financial Times)   (to read this article you have to register - it's free! If you can't be bothered, you can read the highlights here at Col·lectiu Emma)

Click here for fantastic Catalan TV (TV3) video with the Best Images of the demonstration.

And, finally, the following video also shows the demo, as well as interviews in English with Catalan businessmen. 


Footnote:one and a half million people are a hell of a lot of people (21% of the 7 million who live in Catalonia). Is it a realistic estimation of the participation? Birds-eye photos would seem to indicate so. Experts reckon on 3 or 4 people per square metre, meaning one million people would occupy a space 50m wide and 5km long. Given the length and width of many of the streets taken up, and the immense squares too, this is definitely possible. Statistics show that over 1000 coaches ferried people in from outside Barcelona - 50,000 people. If we assume another 50,000 went by train, and maybe the same quantity again by car, it's already adding up. And the people who came to Barcelona (spending a full day and probably near 100€ for a family of four) will always be a minority compared to the people of Barcelona (a couple of million) who just had to step out or get local transport. Finally, if the police say a million and a half, who are we to argue?!
Adding up interest in the independence we could add on probably another million or so who couldn't get to Barcelona. Returning home at midnight the day before the school term started put many off, as well as the cost in the times we live in, but judging by conversations and social network comments, the "virtual" support for independence is also massive.

dilluns, 10 de setembre de 2012

Breakaway - Tracy Ullman #Catalonia


Tomorrow is the 11th September, a day on which 298 years ago Catalonia lost its independence (that’s cutting a long story VERY short, but history ain’t my best subject). This defeat is commemorated every year on this day, the National Day of Catalonia (i.e. a bank holiday). Apart from the usual formal political speeches, there is always a march in Barcelona with the aim of showing support for Catalonia to regain its independence.
This feeling has been growing and growing over the 20 years I’ve been here and now it looks like the break-away option is getting closer and closer .... This year’s march promises to be a belter, with over one million people expected to take part (in a nation of 7 million).
Digressing for a moment - on our summer break in the UK we visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park,  which this year is showing an exhibition of work by the Catalan artist, Joan Miró. A great time was had, a wonderful park, great art and great walking, and grand food! While there we read that the Park would be organising a special activity on the 11th to celebrate Catalonia’s National Day. To quote the Barnsley Chronicle – “ The national Catalan Day commemorates the 1714 siege of Barcelona defeat that meant the loss of independence, the abolition of all Catalan institutions, constitutions, rights and freedoms, and the beginning of a centuries-long suppression of its culture, traditions and language. Sculptor Joan Miró was rooted in a deep sense of national Catalan identity and his work is often personal, celebrating his Catalan identity ...”.
So if you can’t make it to Barcelona tomorrow, try the Sculpture Park – failing that raise a glass of Catalan wine or cava for the soon-to-become next EU member state!
....
Cada any des que estic aquí es nota que les ganes i les possibilitats de l’independència de Catalunya estan creixent, encara que en  apunts anteriors he dit el mateix i encara estic esperant tal dia ... a vore si demà el crit del 11 de setembre és prou fort per fer reaccionar el nostre Parlament.
Aquest estiu hem estat al Yorkshire Sculpture Park, un lloc preciós, on aquest any estan fent una exhibició especial de la obra de Miró. Mentre estàvem allí, vam llegir que també volen celebrar la Diada demà amb uns actes especials sobre l’artista. I al diari local, el Barnsley Chronicle, han dit això: “La diada del 11 de setembre commemora la derrota al 1714 que va significar la perdua de l’independencia, l’abolició de les institucions, constitucions, drets i llibertats, i el començament de segles de supressió de la cultura, la llengua i les tradicions de Catalunya”.
En fi, que poc a poc la situació de Catalunya es va coneixent pel món!