We were talking the other evening over a post-concert glass of wine or three, about books and things, as you do. The wine we were drinking was called Jacinta which brought to mind “Fortunata y Jacinta” by the nineteenth century Spanish novelist Galdós. This led us on to reminiscing about the Spanish TV serialisation of the novel, made in the 1970s, starring the actress/singer Ana Belén. Somewhere at home I still have the series on video cassette. If we ever get around to setting up the old television set with the old video cassette player in one of the now rarely used bedrooms, I might just watch it again. According to Wikipedia Radio Televisión Española re-released it on their webpage in 2009 and it may just be possible to see it there still for free.
How odd, I reflected, to come all the way to Galicia, get to know a French person who has herself come a fair way to settle her, and discover that we have a shared culture.
We went on to talk about Ana Belén and her husband Victor Manuel, also a singer-song-writer, and the fact that they have managed to bring up their children completely out of the public eye. How very different from other singers and celebrities whose children often seem to be designer accessories to be shown off wherever they go. As one of our friends put it, “son gente discreta”.
As we were talking about writers, we asked if our friends had read the local man, Domingo Villar, whose detective stories set in Vigo have been translated from the original Galician into Castilian Spanish and other non-Spanish languages. Another friend of ours back in the UK has read “Ojos de Agua” in English and thoroughly enjoyed it without being able or indeed needing to identify places mentioned: restaurants, bars, beaches, well-known buildings, well known around Vigo anyway.
Yes, our friends here knew the work and not only that but Emilio, the Spanish half of the couple, says he is a longstanding friend of Eligio, whose restaurant our detective hero frequently visits. We long ago located the restaurant, in a street behind Príncipe, but have never managed to find it open. Now we have half a plan to go there with Emilio. Are we going to become literary groupies? Dominique warns me, however, never to use the toilet there: not a good loo, much better to drink little and wait to go elsewhere.
These are all things for our next visit but before we head for home tomorrow I have a new word to add to my collection of Anglicisms in use in Spanish: el ranquin – Spanish spelling for ranking. And from reading the paper just now I have found that the English expression “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” translates into Spanish as “No tocar lo que funciona” – Don’t touch what works!
There you go!