Thursday 9 April 2015


Dipping in to the UK election debate last night, they were discussing the abolition of tax breaks for Non-Doms (Russian oligarchs who live in Britain and own football clubs there but are not legally resident). However, I was struck less by the policy differences as by the sartorial similarities between incumbent prime minister, David Cameron, and the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband:-

Blue single breasted suit, cream shirt and plum tie.

Dress says a lot about politicians: much has been made of the open necked look affected by the new Greek government:-

Is that a pint of Guiness Varoufakis is holding?

Having got over the cheap nylon shirts and squint ties they were prone to in previous decades, ex-Soviet bloc leaders continue to embarrass themselves with over-sized hats and even bigger tits:-

Not that the leader of the free world should be feeling too smug: I always feel American presidents look particularly cringeworthy in their Air Force One bomber jackets:-

But all of this is a paling into insignificance introduction to what the FUCK is President of Venzuela, Nicolas Maduro's anorak all about?

More chav than chavista?

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Proper bread

Set in a fictitious working class suburb of Manchester, England, "Coronation Street" is the world's longest running TV soap opera.

Ken Barlow appeared in the very first episode in 1960 and the actor who plays him, Bill Roache, remains perennially youthful at the age of 82 despite having been caught up in the dragnet of British 60s/70s celebrities accused of sex crimes and acquitted.

The fourth of Ken's wives, Deirdre, has been in the Street since the early 70s and still is despite the fact the actress who plays her is dead. This is because Deirdre remains "away" sine die. You know, in that way soap characters go "away" at short notice to impossibly remote places like Scotland or sometimes even (shivers!) countries in continental Europe like Spain where, apparently, there are no telecommunications, low-cost airlines or even postal services allowing them to communicate with back home as if they were jihadis who'd gone to join IS.

Anyway, in what proved to be one of her latter appearances in the Street last year, Deirdre and Ken were on a caravanning holiday. Deirdre (but not Ken) is a townie uncomfortable in the country and is on the phone to her daughter, Tracy, back home in Weatherfield when she delivers one of the best comic lines in the history of soap:

Your dad's gone to the farm to get fresh milk. I don't know why he bothered - I told him they've got proper milk at the petrol station down the road!

That's all by way of a very long introduction to the fact that we've now got proper bread on Flores. You know, the sort that's already sliced and in a plastic bag and you buy in a supermarket instead of that awful rubbish you have to buy in a baker's and cut yourself.

I don't know if there's an equivalent expression in Portuguese (a melhor coisa desde pao laminado?) but in British English we talk about "the greatest thing since sliced bread" (as in "my mother thinks my brother's new girlfriend is the greatest thing since ..."). Well, we're currently living that moment on Flores - experiencing the arrival of something eponymously that good!

Anyway, the bread in question is imported from a Spanish company called BIMBO. Now I'm not some kind of namby pamby, hoity toity, la-di-dah, raggety arsed faggot of a lefty liberal tree hugger by a long shot but even I feel a tad queasy about the food miles involved in having beans (did I mention they've also got "proper beans" made by Heinz here as well now?) on toast baked in Barcelona of all the bloody places! Delicious though they may be.

The outermost ripples of globalisation are well and truly lapping on the shores of Flores but I'm often asked by tourists why you can't buy fresh locally grown vegetables in the shops here. The answer is, I think, that plenty of stuff is grown here: it just doesn't get into the shops because it's used at home by the people who planted it. The food economy has sort of skipped a generation (or two) and is presently sitting at an uneasy cross-roads between grow your own and import it from Barcelona.

Ken Barlow would understand. Deirdre wouldn't. Not sure I do. But I think these guys know the answer:-