Category Archives: General

How are things in Catalonia? Migration, Exports and Plan B

Things in Catalonia aren’t great.

Unemployment dropped slightly during a cold April and hopefully as the tourists arrive, it will drop some more over the summer. But it’s still very high and the various cuts don’t seem to be stimulating job-creation. Someone asked me the other day if I’d thought about leaving: migrating somewhere. The answer is no: if Catalonia and Spain are to have a decent future, good, decent people need to stay here. And me, obviously. Seriously: I wouldn’t consider it for a second. Besides, I’ve booked my summer holiday: I’ve got something to look forward to.

The PP in Madrid announced a plan to get rid of the Generalitat’s ACC1Ó agency which helps Catalan businesses find new markets in other countries. The argument is that Spain’s ICEX agency already does this. The Spanish government knows very well that ICEX and ACC1Ó have agreements in place not to duplicate efforts but this is a nuance the PP neglects to mention. The Generalitat has said that ACC1Ó is sacrosanct – its work is dedicated to increasing exports, which is supposed to be the sort of thing that governments like – but we’ll see. I obviously have some personal interest in ACC1Ó remaining.

Meanwhile, the ‘Plan B‘ that Catalan commentators have been bickering about has been clarified somewhat. The newspaper Ara (subscription totally worth it: you get the supplements and everything!) had a bit yesterday explaining the process Artur Mas is likely to follow in order to force Madrid to give us more money. Part of the plan could be calling early elections (never a bad idea when opinion polls look favourable) – and organizing some sort of national coalition of the Catalanist parties, i.e. CiU, ICV, ERC, SI. Assuming they manage to beat the PP and PSC, they’d then introduce a law in the Catalan parliament which will give Catalonia the power to manage 100% of its tax revenues within Catalonia. In other words, Madrid would get sod all.

The problem with the plan is that it’s almost certainly illegal. It’s essentially an appropriation of the central government’s fiscal power. Fransesc Homs said a few days ago that by calling (and winning) an election on this issue, the Generalitat would have the moral authority to act in this way. It would be a mandate, but more importantly, it could set up the most significant confrontation between Catalonia and Spain in decades. If Spain refuses to negotiate, Catalonia will have taken a key step towards self-rule. I don’t think it’ll get that far, mind.

Not much news about Eurovegas recently. My suspicion has always been that Artur Mas doesn’t really want the giant casino complex to be built in Catalonia, but he made sure we are in the running, in order to have a negotiation chip with Madrid at some point in the future. Not much evidence to support that, unfortunately. Eurovegas is a disgusting idea and I’d rather it didn’t land anywhere in Spain.

We’re eagerly awaiting the result of the French presidential election. There is definitely some hope here that a Socialist victory could change things in Europe. I’m not so sure. It’s nice to have hope in your heart but I think we’d be better trying to force our own government to change tack, instead of hoping for someone else to do it.

And finally, Pep Guardiola has left FC Barcelona. He’s being replaced by Tito Vilanova.


How are things in Spain?

How are things in Spain? 23% unemployment. 50% youth unemployment. Public services slashed. Salaries cut. Labour rights attacked. Strikes. Corruption. Decay.

And the king of Spain – always careful to make it look like he cares about these problems – decided to use his time to go on holiday in Botswana, hunting elephant.

Hunting elephant

These people are so out of touch, it’s disgusting. Completely fucking disgusting.

The declaration of a new republic might not solve our problems but it would be a step in the right direction.

Like a haircut

I’ve got stuff to do, stuff to write, stuff to discuss. But rather than get on with that, here’s a haircut of sorts. While I decide on whether or not I’ll be rebranding this blog and retiring ‘thebadrash’ to millennia of purgatory. Have a nice diada on Sunday, by the way. is on holiday

…not that you’d notice. We’ll be in Cerdanyola, but also visiting some places here and there from time to time. Behave yourselves and try to enjoy this abysmal summer.

We will consider your orders after we are back in town but till then i let this review on The laptops you should consider for photo editing, so you can stay busy and learning.

I’ll leave you with this paean to Steven Segal, ‘Stevie (for Steven S.)’ by the ever wonderful Royal Trux.


Some TV shows we’ve been watching

I’m a big fan of TV as a cultural medium. A well made TV series can often be much more detailed and consuming than any movie. Seinfeld’s plot arcs are famous, but so – I reckon – should be the BBC’s excellent TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (a TV show which has rendered all films of that novel, prior and subsequent, rubbish). Here are some of the shows we’ve been watching recently.

Arrested Development

The first time I watched this show, I couldn’t get into it. We watched the pilot, and perhaps I was in a bad mood or something, but it just didn’t take. This year, we tried again. And I’m so glad we did. Arrested Development is one of the best comedies I’ve ever had the pleasure to see. The cast is perfect and the scripts are wonderful. The Bluth family, backbiting and conspiring against each other, is a jewel of TV comedy setups. That Fox cancelled Arrested Development is yet another tragedy in that network’s history. That the writers found numerous ways of mentioning this in season 3 only confirms their wit. Gemma and I will forever have GOB’s chicken dance as a happy, surreal touchstone of great comedy.

Mad Men

Perhaps controversial in content, I grew to love this portrait of advertising executives on Madison Avenue in the 1960s. Yes, it has product placement, is broadly capitalist in its outlook, and sometimes seems to go out of its way to celebrate ‘the good old days’ of chauvinistic extravagance. But Mad Men isn’t uncritical. The pompous, fatuous alcoholism of its title characters is loathsome, and the program makes this clear. What’s more, Mad Men is shot better than any TV show I’ve ever seen. Both because of its perfect direction and immaculate production values, Mad Men is a must see.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

This program was described by someone on Popbitch as being a bit like Friends, only where all the characters hate one another and plot against each other constantly. The backbiting (yes, I like that) and unscrupulous behaviour of the characters always leads to their inevitable downfall, often at the hands of an array of recurring enemies.


Dexter is a TV show which received widespread praise among critics and friends alike. However, it’s not actually a very good show at all. The writing team aimed at a serious plot arc, but the episodes themselves are bogged down in character development of the dullest, most pedestrian kind. The acting is often quite terrible, and this goes for the lead as well as almost all of the supporting characters. The main problem is the lead character: he’s a sociopath with whom we’re supposed to somehow bond. I found Ted Bundy in the eponymous movie somehow less hateful than the lead character Dexter. At least Bundy was completely insane. I know that the writers are offering us a challenge: accepting a serial killer as a hero. But, because of the writing and the acting, it never quite works. Which makes it bad.


From the creator of The Wire and Generation Kill, Treme is a story of music and rebirth in post-Katrina New Orleans. Tracing various characters as they attempt to rebuild their lives in the near-ruined city, Treme has as its focus the city’s jazz scene, second line bands and Mardi Gras Chief parades. The writing is excellent, the cast formidable (along with some familiar faces from the Wire, John Goodman and others lend real gravitas to Treme), and the story is uplifting and heartbreaking. But it is the music that makes Treme a practically perfect TV show. From John Boutté’s theme song to the Rebirth Band’s second line tunes (and this is just in the first few minutes of episode 1), Treme is infused with New Orleans music from beginning to end. Celebratory, mournful and tragic in turn, Treme is probably the best TV show I’ve seen since The Wire. It might even be better. Season 2 is on the way. If you watch one TV show this year, make it Treme.

Is it the end of the world?

I heard a story yesterday that made me chuckle, but also left me feeling a little unsettled. A friend’s colleague quit work without warning a couple of weeks ago, effectively vanishing before he’d even explained why he was leaving. This sort of event can be pretty worrying for co-workers, particularly during a recession (was he laid off? does he know something we don’t know?). So it must have been something of a relief for his colleagues when they saw an email from him appear in their work inboxes. It turns out that he does know something that the rest of us don’t.

In his communication, he announced that he was in Brazil and that the reason he’d gone there was simple: next year there will be an apocalyptic event and he wanted to find some high ground (literally) from which to sit it out. He seems to be referring to the impending impact of the comet Sedna which a handful of Bible-code ‘scholars’ and other eschatologists believe will take place some time between 2010 and 2012. Claiming correlation with the ‘3rd prophecy of Fatima‘, the gibberish of Nostradamus and Mayan astrology (among other, even less reliable sources), the doom-sayers foresee a great cataclysm after the comet strikes the Atlantic ocean.

I’ve always been fascinated by theories that claim to know not only the cause but the date of a forthcoming apocalypse. These people are even more self-assured by holding ‘secret’ knowledge than traditional conspiracy theorists – indeed, many modern eschatologists are conspiracy theorists who have encountered apocalyptic prophecy presumably because it tells of an even bigger conspiracy, a cosmic one.

The trouble is, it’s hard to know who to trust. There are reports of comet strike in 2010, geomagnetic storms in 2011, and the famous Mayan doomsday ‘predicted’ for December 22nd 2012, to name but a few. And what happens when these events fail to occur (as I’m certain will happen)? Then the eschatologists will ‘reinterpret’ their texts and come up with another date.

I suppose that in the end, I’d rather not be in the same office as someone who seriously believes that they have secret knowledge relating to the end of the world. They’re probably best off sitting on a mountain in Brazil, waiting for the rapture that will never come.

Here’s a representative apocalyptic website, picked at random. Note the numerous factual discrepancies when trying to link cosmic events with Earth events (something you’ll also see on conspiracy theory websites).

Things I love: A Confederacy Of Dunces

The perverted (and I suspect quite dangerous) mind of Clyde has devised still another means of belittling my rather invincible being. At first I thought that I might have found a surrogate father in the czar of sausage, the mogul of meat. But his resentment and jealousy of me are increasing daily; no doubt they will ultimately overwhelm him and destroy his mind. The grandeur of my physique, the complexity of my worldview, the decency and taste implicit in my carriage, the grace with which I function in the mire of today’s world – all of these at once confuse and astound Clyde.

So writes Ignatius Reilly, hero of A Confederacy Of Dunces, in his trusty Journal, one of the main devices employed by the novel’s author, John Kennedy Toole. I’ve recently rediscovered this incredible book as Gemma’s currently reading my copy and I’ve purloined an audiobook version to listen to on my journey to and from work.

‘Dunces’, for those who haven’t yet read it, is one of the finest comic novels ever written. Telling the story of Reilly and his one man struggle against modernity (and his valve), the book’s set in New Orleans in the 1960s and features a range of outlandish and hilarious characters, though none more outlandish or hilarious than Ignatius himself. If you’ve never read it, go and buy a copy tomorrow, stop reading whatever you were reading before, and devour this masterpiece. If you’ve already read it, read it again.

Israel invades Gaza… again

Sadly, it seems that the Guardian’s predictions were accurate: the invasion was obviously going to happen. As usual, the leading liberal democracies are backing an illegal invasion (quietly in public, slavishly, no doubt, in private).

I wish I could attend one of the demonstrations going on around the world but it doesn’t look likely. If anyone has any reports from the demos, I’d love to hear them.

[Written on highly expensive Internet access from monsoonal Darwin]

Ein fucker indepentist of catalonia makes the case for Catalan independence

Catalonia my pute patriot selfdetermination we are a nation with statut!!!!!!
this is the new himne of Catalonia.I am sure that in 2014 will celebrate a new referendum for part of josepo lluis mosso carota rovira.

Mossos Carota=gossos de la Quadra=Gossos de la tura(montse tura)=gossos d’atura

we must exclode of the nation all that is spanish,services burn spanish flag,the constitution book do pis,etc.

We must fight against the transfer selfdetermination country with statute because we are a nation!!!!!!

Our outside minister is apeles carota rovira.We must6 to create delegation in the foreigner and shout as pig or rabbits:selfdetermination we are a nation with statute!!!!autodeterminationen wir sein a nationer mit Statuter!!!!!!!!Catalonia ist ein fucker nationer!!!!!!!

Who said Barcelona Reporter was dead?