Monday, 29 April 2013


My friend Colin wrote recently in his blog about changes to the law in Spain to make it obligatory for cyclists to wear helmets. I’ll be interested to see how well that works in a country where many people don’t see the need to strap their babies into their buggies and don’t always have functioning seat belts in the back seats of their cars. In any case, most of the cyclists I’ve seen out and about in Vigo recently have been on the pavement rather than on the road. Maybe they should make pedestrians wear helmets in case they are knocked over by cyclists. 

Here in the UK I have heard that an increasing number of cyclists wear not only helmets but cycle helmet cameras. If they have any problems with cyclist-blind motorists they have instant video evidence of what happened. One case of road rage recently went viral when the cyclist put it into the public domain. He’s even had to appeal to viewers not to bombard the driver concerned with hate mail. He never intended to ruin the poor man’s business, he said. But there’s something rather wrong with our society if people feel such a need to gather evidence JUST IN CASE anything might happen. 

On the other side of the world, in the USA, specifically in Colorado, parents are buying oversized bullet-proof rucksacks for their children and making sure that they know how to use them as shields in the even of another madman attacking a school. Tiny children of five years old are carrying rucksacks they could almost hide in. The schools’ administrators are joining in as well, equipping classrooms with bullet-proof white boards which can be wheeled into protective positions. They have stacks of bullet-proof clipboards for use in emergency as well. Someone has benefited from the school shootings then. And yet a lot of senators still block gun control measures which might make such protective efforts unnecessary. 

I’m surprised they manage to recruit teachers at all. 

Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar has been speaking about violence as well, this time in his own country. He’s concerned that the continued repossession of houses in Spain as people can’t pay their mortgages will lead to out and out violence. Children seeing their parents forcibly removed from their homes and people watching their brothers, friends or neighbours pulled resisting from their homes are going to respond to that violence with violent protest, says Almodóvar. Former socialist president of Spain, Felipe González may well appeal to protesters to respect the homes of his fellow politicians but his appeal won’t work if their own homes are not respected. 

The wild child of the "movida", the almost perpetual party that went on in the immediate past-Franco years, is speaking out. This is a man of principle who apparently once banned Berlusconi’s companies from distributing his films in Italy because he disapproved of he bunga bunga king. 

 I look forward to seeing Almodóvar’s new film, “Los Amantes Pasajeros” (“I’m so excited” is its English title), another outrageous story involving stories such as a call girl with a compromising videotape of the king – strangely reminiscent of the kind of troubles the royal family has been having lately. I saw a clip for it yesterday. It looks tremendous.

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