So we are going to have a new pound coin, are we? Look out for the new twelve-sided coins next month and spend all those old-fashioned, outdated round ones by October 15th. Why do we need new pound coins? Is it to differentiate from the euro, a coin very similar to the pound coin? Surely it will cause havoc with all the slot machines. Think of all the payment machines at the exit of carparks and the self checkin machines at supermarkets, to mention just a couple of things. And then there are all the supermarket trolleys. Will we all have to carry one of those smiley-face tokens on our key rings so that we can liberate a trolley to our use?
I hope they use all the right ingredients when they mint the new coins. We have had quite enough uproar about the new five pound notes which use tallow in their production and are offensive to vegans and a number of religious groups. It has been decided, however, that these various groups of people are not numerous enough to persuade the government of the need to withdraw the notes and produce them without animal products. I have no objections to them personally, although they still don't look like real money!
Do other countries have similar problems when they produce new currency? Or is it a peculiarly British thing?
For all our cultural differences, fundamentally we remain vary similar in our various countries. All right, some are VERY different but similarities keep,popping up. My sister, who has lived far longer in the south of Spain than she ever did in the northwest of England and is probably more Andalusian than Lancastrian by now, commented recently about voting patterns in Spain.
Her comment regarded the difficulty she had in understanding how working class people in Spain could even consider voting for the right wing Partido Popular. And yet they do! A fair number of them anyway! This led to replies from myself and a number of her friends about the numbers of working people in the UK who puzzlingly vote for the Conservatives. I suspect the same sort of thing happens in other countries as well. And I don't mean just USA!
Then there are the fallen idols. When Franco died and Spain wrote itself a new constitution and everything changed, my sister and her Spanish husband were delighted to see Felipe Gonzalez become the country's leader. He was a bright, shining star, indicating a new and better future for the country. Now I find her despairing at the corruption that her former hero has fallen into. How many people here in the UK cheered when Tony Blair became PM? And look at him now! Cries of "How dare he?" arise when he puts forward his views on Brexit and the lies that were told during the referendum campaign.
We are all much the same under the skin!
Yesterday, or maybe the day before, my friend Colin wrote about names of films and posted a link to an article in the English version of El País about names of films in different languages. It's something that has always fascinated me. "Gone with the wind" became "Lo que el viento se llevó", literally "What the wind carried away": not a bad translation at all. Almodóvar's "Amantes pasajeros" had a crazy play on words to do with the lovers (amantes) being passengers (pasajeros), not to mention the fact that both words could be nouns AND adjectives, giving us "loving passengers" and/or "fleeting lovers". They gave up on getting that into English and just opted for "I'm so excited"; the song did feature quite importantly in the film. I never managed to understand why the Disney film "Up!" did not become "¡Arriba!" when it was released in Spain. For some kind of copyright reasons it remained "Up!"
Anyway, my friend Colin's link gave me this information about the title of the film everyone is apparently talking about, "La, la, land" (not "La-la-landia" but "La Ciudad de las Estrellas"):
"In the musical La La Land, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone fall in love while dreaming of making it big in Los Angeles. The title is a play-on-words that even an advanced student of English might miss. To be in “La La Land” means to be detached from reality, a state in which the film’s protagonists often find themselves, especially during the musical numbers. At the same time, ‘La La’ is a reduplication of Los Angeles’ initials – L.A. – which is often how people refer to the city that is home to Hollywood. The title even works on a third front: ‘La’ is the typical sound that Anglophones give to music notes, which stresses the fact that this movie is a musical, while in Spain ‘La’ is not necessarily the sound of choice for singing music scales or forgotten lyrics."
It was the last point that struck me. I am sure the newspaper people are correct about "la" and it's musical use. They are Spanish, after all. At least, I presume that is so. But I remember 1968 when Spain won the Eurovision Song Contest with a song called "La, la, la". It had a lot of quite patriotic stuff where the young Massiel sang about how she was singing for her country, which had been good enough to let her be born there and lots of optimistic stuff about how she was singing to LIFE and how wonderful it was. But they clearly ran put of ideas for the chorus because it just went on and on with a whole lot of "La, la, la, LA, la, la, la, la, la, LA" and so on.
Not so much forgotten lyrics as non-existent lyrics!
So we are more similar than we might at first appear.