Document Found in Saragossa

Time to go

Time to go

This is no more than a farewell notes from Heen and Sheen Mártinez, aka The Zaragoza Twins. After several years among you, we feel it is time to return to where we come from. Some of you already know our secret, others will not believe it anyway, but here goes:

 
We left Zaragoza in 1616, went forward in time to your “present” in 2006 and have missed it ever since. The Zaragoza where we live now is better in many ways, of course, than our seventeenth century hometown, but there’s no place like home, is there.

 
When we get back, we’ll be able to say “I’ve seen the future and it’s not all it made out to be but, hey, I’m glad I stopped by”. My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren will (I hope) be able to resume this blog; I’ve left the WordPress password in an envelope that I’ve hidden inside a biscuit tin and buried under a promising-looking olive tree.

 
I’d like to add, just in case, that 70% what we have written in this blog is absolutely true, 20% is absolutely false, and there’s another 10% that I really can’t say.

 
Anyway. We are going back to our time, our people, our home. There are so many things we’re going to miss, and so many people, but that’s OK. They weren’t really ours to miss in the first place.

 
Adiós, y muchas gracias a todos. Hasta siempre, Heen & Sheen.

Album Review : “Trouble in Paradise” by La Roux

Mario Gotze

I just woke up the other day and was surrounded by silence… Oh yeah, the World Cup had finished… The last vivid image was Gotze’s goal against Argentina in the final, of course, but there is so much more to remember.

At about the same time, La Roux’s latest album “Trouble in Paradise” came to my attention. In the best tradition of tidy electronic pop, what I like to call lippy-clippy-synth music, Elly Jackson has spawned nine impeccable songs featuring lyrics that could have been written by Robert Walser or W. G. Sebald, painted in lowfalutin synthesizer chords with undertones of Siouxsie or Gary Numan.

La Roux

And I was drawn to the adroitness of the titles of the tracks, each one cleverly mirroring an aspect of the recently-dead World Cup…

Track One is called Uptight Downtown. This could refer to the tension on the streets of Rio following the Brazilian team’s elimination. Alternatively, it may be a reference to Robin Van Persie’s general demeanour. Or maybe that’s just me.

Track Two, Kiss and Not Tell, obviously refers to Luis Suárez’s kissing Giorgio Chielini’s shoulder. Giorgio now has to go home and explain the hickey to his lady wife!

Track Three is Cruel Sexuality. This is either about Pitbull’s outfit in the opening ceremony, or the way the referees sprayed that foamy line at free kicks.

Track Four is entitled Paradise Is You. What the German team must be feeling right now. Or something that has been distracting Gerard Piqué for far too long.

Track Five is Sexotheque. Steamy Carioca beach scenes come to mind, and steamy shower rooms after sweating for 90 minutes, and, well, there’s so much, isn’t there, so I’ll stop now.

Track Six, Tropical Chancer, is a clear reference to Colombian forward James Rodríguez, who would have been playing second fiddle to Radomir Falcao under normal circumstances but, hey, the lad seized his opportunity and is now lined up to sign for Real Madrid.

Track Seven is called Silent Partner and is dedicated to Brazilian striker (?) Fred for obvious reasons.

Track Eight is called Let Me Down Gently. This song refers to the Spanish fans’ disappointment at being booted out almost as soon as the tournament started, or maybe it’s what Neymar Junior was muttering after making contact with Juan Zúñiga.

Track Nine, The Feeling, just about summarises the whole thing. It comes round every four years and occupies our brain like a migraine. A nice migraine, mind you, on the whole.

I understand that La Roux is now just Elly Jackson. It used to be a band but now it’s just one person. Not a good way to go, I might add. Team spirit and all that, not just depending on one genius to suddenly break away from half a dozen defenders and lob it over the oncoming keeper. Just saying.

The Sea of Fertility

Mishima

Japanese men have flat chests

And tiny nipples that are very dark,

Their torso is a white foil.

(The pieces of coal that serve as a snowman’s buttons)

Their shoulders don’t bend well

As they merge towards watery biceps.

Japanese women, by and large, tick the same boxes.

Going back to the nipple thing –

There’s always a faint taste of salmon.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed.

salmon

 

Vámonos pá Liang Shan Po

 

Here I was the other day, quietly pruning my hydrangeas, humming a Calle 13 song as I snipped, not a care in the world, when an inkling took foot in my thinking, a funny coincidence tickled my fancy. I was barefoot on my lawn – my white feet, soaking up the dew and thrilling with the newness of my occurrence; my scarred hands, grasping the shears and soaked in sweat and anticipation (and little bits of leaves and stuff).

 
Oh, but how is this…? Calle 13’s song “Adentro” is virtually a translation (of intent, if not of lexis) of the glorious Bert Kwouk preamble of “The Water Margin”. One is from Puerto Rico, 2014, and the other is hard to say… let’s see…

 
The Water Margin was a Japanese TV production of the mid 1970’s, a reconstruction of the medieval Chinese literary classic Shui Hu Zhuan. This has acquired a cult following in the UK, Germany and, to a lesser extent, Aragón.

 
So here is “Adentro” by Calle 13 and the introduction to The Water Margin. We all have so much to learn.

 

 

 

There are no barriers for the man who moves with the Tao, cuando la tiranía es ley.

 

What comes after the perfect ten?

Olga Barksdale

Olga Barksdale

Avon Randolph Barksdale is a fictional character on the HBO drama The Wire portrayed by actor Wood Harris. Avon is the dominant drug dealer of Baltimore’s West Side, running the Barksdale Organization. He runs the West Baltimore drug trade with total autonomy. Avon was counseled in his drug business by attorney Maurice Levy and assisted by his sister Brianna Barksdale and childhood friend Stringer Bell, who was responsible for the economics of the drug business as Avon’s second-in-command. Below Bell was a large organization of drug dealers and enforcers, including Avon’s nephew D’Angelo Barksdale, son of Brianna Barksdale. Accepting nothing less than absolute power, Avon is interested only in controlling the drug trade in West Baltimore, believing that the control of territory is key to such objective. (Wikipedia)

Nadia Stanfield

Nadia Stanfield

Marlo “Black” Stanfield is a fictional character on the HBO television drama The Wire, played by actor Jamie Hector. Stanfield is a young, ambitious, and extremely ruthless player and, along with Chris Partlow and Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, is head of the eponymous Stanfield Organization in the Baltimore drug trade. Marlo’s organization starts out small-time, operating in the vacuum left by the Barksdale Organization, and rises to the top of the Baltimore drug trade fairly quickly. A repeated theme in Marlo’s characterization is his demand for unconditional respect, which trumps all other concerns. He frequently orders the deaths of those who disrespect him or undermine his name on the streets, however unwittingly. He is arguably the most violent and ruthless of the drug kingpins portrayed in The Wire. (Wikipedia)

Nelli Little

Nelli Little

Omar Devone Little is a fictional character on the HBO drama The Wire, portrayed by Michael K. Williams. Omar is a notorious Baltimore stick-up man, frequently robbing street-level drug dealers. Omar has several unique characteristics that are likely responsible for his viewer popularity, including: his strict personal morality, whereby he both refrains from harming innocents and from using profanity (which also ensures his independence from most other street-level players); his characteristic face scar and use of a shotgun; his homosexuality and privately tender nature, held in obvious (and subversive) contrast from typical notions of masculinity attached to violent criminals; and his use of haunting whistling as presage to his robberies. Central throughout Omar’s trajectory is his steady descent into intractable conflict with both the Barksdale and Stanfield organisations, in both cases initiated by his robberies. Omar is also noted for his close relationships with his partners, and with his guardian and ad hoc banker Butchie. (Wikipedia)

Avon Korbut

Avon Korbut

Olga Valentinovna Korbut [nb 1] (b. May 16, 1955 in Grodno), also known as the “Sparrow from Minsk”, is a former Belarusian gymnast who won four gold medals and two silver medals at the Summer Olympic Games, in which she competed in 1972 and 1976 for the Soviet team. (Wikipedia)

Marlo Comaneci

Marlo Comaneci

 

Nadia Elena Comăneci (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈnadi.a koməˈnet͡ʃʲ]; born November 12, 1961) is a Romanian gymnast, winner of three Olympic gold medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the first female gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic event. She also won two gold medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. She is one of the best-known gymnasts in the world.[1][2][3] In 2000 Comăneci was named as one of the athletes of the century by the Laureus World Sports Academy.[4] (Wikipedia)

 

 

Omar Kim

Omar Kim

Nelli Vladimirovna Kim (Russian: Нелли Владимировна Ким; born 29 July 1957) is a retired Soviet gymnast who won three gold medals and a silver medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, and two gold medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics. She was the first woman in Olympic history to earn a perfect 10 score on the vault and the first to earn it on the floor exercise, rivaling Nadia Comăneci, Ludmilla Tourischeva, and other strong competitors of the 1970s. Nelli Kim worked for a long time as a coach, training several national teams, and judged many major international competitions. As President of the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Technical Committee, she coordinates the introduction of new rules in women’s gymnastics, as provided by the new Code of Points, developed by the FIG in 2004–2005 and in effect since 2006. (Wikipedia)

 

What comes after the perfect ten? On the heels of Nadia, Nelli and Olga, we saw the more muscular girls from the USA such as Mary Lou Retton and the wiry girls from China like Lu Li take over the top spots in women’s gymnastics, ditching grace for machine-like accuracy, and opting for body strength rather than natural agility. As good as? On paper, maybe.

After The Wire, what is the next level of TV drama? Where does villainy go? Who can stand up to Avon, Marlo and Omar? Who else can keep the devil down in the hole?

 

Floor Exercise

Floor Exercise

 

Yr wyf yn eich casáu, ond yr wyf yn dy garu di

I hate you but you love me

I hate you but you love me

John Ford almost made a disastrous decision but he really cut the mustard in the end. When making Mogambo, many voices questioned his choice of Grace Kelly as the foil to Ava Gardner, the love interest of Clark Gable. “Too obvious, too cold, too uptight, Marswell [Gable’s character] would never be attracted to Mrs Nordley [Kelly]” they said. Everybody was OK with him drooling over the tribal charms of Eloise [Gardner]; the earthy African technicolours and the steroidal gorilla enhance the lust, and drive poor Mr Nordley [Donald Sindon] to despair.

You hate me but I love you

You hate me but I love you

The thing between Grace Kelly and Clark Gable works, however, not because of that silly truism about opposite poles being attracted, but because they cover common ground – they’re both brusque, sarcastic, prepared to put somebody down even at the cost of gaining some personal reward. Marswell finds a kindred spirit in Linda Nordley, someone who isn’t going to be pushed around by his manly / simian charms.

I love you but I hate you

I love you but I hate you

And so it is with sriracha and mustard. A wiser man than me once said “Never add spice to fire, for it is sure to burn bitter” but lo and behold, sriracha and mustard are a miraculously delicious mismatch. The hotness of both doesn’t clash; one embraces the other with such loving passion that their offspring is of a spiciness which can only be described as mogambic. I like to think of Clark Gable as the mustard here; Ava Gardner would be a perfectly predictable honey and Grace Kelly is the never-saw-it-coming sriracha.

Seek out the unlikely. I hate you but I love you.

I loved you

I loved you

Bearing Down on Putin

pooh 1

The mess in Ukraine with the imminent conflict between Russia and the Rest Of The World shows just how little we have learned of diplomacy. We might have thought this kind of situation was easy to defuse before it reached such explosive levels, but we’ve got it all wrong. And the main reason we’ve got it all wrong is that we’ve been misunderstanding Vladimir Putin.

Understandably, perhaps, we tend to see Russia today as the continuation of the Soviet Union, especially in its role as the nemesis of “The Free World”, aka The United States of America. Our Cold War mentality makes us view Putin as the next Kruschev or Brezhnev and that doesn’t help at all. The guy dead set on invading Ukraine, bombing Kiev and grabbing the Crimea doesn’t live at the Kremlin, he lives under the name of Sanders.

 Because Vladimir Putin is the reincarnation of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Nobody's going to hurt you

Nobody’s going to hurt you

 

As he is a President of Very Little Brain, he thinks that Crimea is actually a part of the Hundred Acre Wood, you see. He’s arrogant and lazy and thinks he can just look cute to get what he wants, even it means posing topless on horseback. The pots of honey and oil reserves are worth it.

Poohtin has few friends. A stunted pig and a bipolar donkey don’t make for very stimulating conversation. So he has grown to be despotic and demanding, and even the steadying influence of Christopher Robin-Ki-Moon isn’t enough to restrain his megalomania.

So what can the west do to put our cuddly homophobic pal back on the straight and narrow? In the case of the original A A Milne version, I’d say Poohtin would eventually just get tired and bored and end up wandering off home. But the Disney version of Pooh is so annoying, I wouldn’t object to the United Nations moving in and giving him a firm slap on the paw.

pooh 2