I first discovered Zara more years ago than I care to remember. I had gone to Valencia on a residential course for teachers of Spanish and that’s where I first went into a Zara store and was most impressed. In those days Inditex did not have stores all over the UK as it does now. One of my companions on the course said she had been to their shop in London but at that time Manchester area had no such thing.
Nowadays, of course, Zara is ubiquitous. No high street of any merit is without its Zara store. Together with Mango and Sfera it has become one of my favourite shops. I also like to pop into Juan Blanco but their sizing policy is definitely biased towards the skinny. They have small, medium and large but since large is more or less the equivalent of a UK size 12, you really have to be at your most slender before you even stick your head through the door. However, they do give you your purchases in extremely nice cloth bags rather than paper carriers or horrid plastic bags.
I rarely even set foot inside Stradivarius or Desigual, even though their window displays have some nice things; their dimly lit interiors and loud music always make me feel I have strayed into a young people’s domain where I really should not be trespassing!
Today I learnt that a Russian company, the Melon Fashion Group, has been opening shops all over Russia called Zarina. These have the same kind of policy as Zara: rapid turnover of clothes which are reasonably priced copies of high fashion items. According to a gallego, Luis Gutiérrez, a frequent visitor to Moscow apparently, the clothes are the same, the price is the same, even the lighting and the way the shop assistants dress is the same. However, Mr Gutiérrez says the quality is nowhere near as good; Zarina es todo made in China. One of their tricks though is to open their stores next to Inditex shops. The main Moscow shop is next to a Stradivarius store, one of the Inditex group, and in some 15 cases they are right next to Zara itself. What is more they don’t use Cyrillic lettering on their shop signs but do their best to make it look as if Zarina is in fact Zara’s baby sister. Crafty stuff, eh?
Back here in Galicia, it would appear that Darth Vader has joined the many who go on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. A group of Star Wars fans decided to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the original film by organising for around 300 people to dress up as Star Wars characters, in particular as troops from the Galactic Empire's forces. As fans watched the procession through the Obadoiro some of them went so far as to say that this is another religion. In that case they went to the right place!
Another foreign arrival into Galicia is going to be the American series The Wire, one of my all time favourites. V Television, an offshoot of La Voz de Galicia, is going to be broadcasting the first two series this year. Now, when we started watching it we found ourselves turning on the subtitles so that we could fully understand the Baltimore street slang of the corner boys selling their drugs and, for that matter, the fast-talking Baltimore police. The language is so much a part of the series that I find myself wondering just HOW you can dub it into another language.
I would seem not to be the first to be concerned about the language question. One comment at the end of the newspaper article said the following: Espero que la den en V.O.S. porque el doblaje que oí es una m*****. (I hope they transmit it in the original version with subtitles, because the dubbing I have heard is a load of s***.)
But another clearly would prefer it to be in gallego, as he said this: Quería saber en que lingua se vai emitir, se en VOS, castelán ou galego... ou vaise poder elixir entre as 3 ou dúas delas. Supoño que o galego estará excluído (coma sempre) pero aínda teño esperanza. (I would like to know what language it will be transmitted in, whether in the original with subtitles, castellano or gallego … or whether it will be possible to choose between the three, I suppose that gallego will be excluded (as usual) but I remain hopeful).
What it is to be a pessimistic patriot!