Friday, 1 August 2014

New places again and popularity.

On Tuesday, walking back from chess club we popped into a cafe at the end of Aragón, the end where you see the crazy fountains that change into lurid colours in the evening. It was a hot evening and we fancied a refreshing drink on our way back, and then we spotted this cafe with wifi and went in. It's called Mid Century and is nicely decorated with odd artefacts from the fifties, such as one of those portable record players that fold up into a mini suitcase. You have to be a certain age to remember those. The music is fifties/sixties music as well and on Thursday evening the TV screen was showing a jive dancing session. All very nice. 

We've passed it numerous times before and have always remarked on how empty it is. On Wednesday evening, wanting a bit of a walk as the evening got cooler, we went back again and found more people there, both inside and out. Now, this may, of course, be just a coincidence but I have my doubts. At lunchtime we had been commenting with friends on the oddness of what makes some places popular while others remain empty. Remembering our friend Colin's theory that Spaniards, entering a cafe or restaurant, will choose to sit a table close to another occupied one (unlike the British who typically sit as far away from strangers as possible) we wondered if this had anything to bear on the question. 

We have often joked about offering our services to quiet restaurants: regularly sitting at a table where passers-by can see us and thus encouraging them to come in. The restaurateurs could offer us cheap food in return. Is this what has happened at the Mid Century? Did people see us in here on Tuesday and decide to try it out? 

At the weekend the Mid Century is organising a mini fiesta. People are invited to turn up in fifties/sixties clothes. On Friday there will be a make-up demonstration with Mary Kay cosmetics - these are the cosmetics sold by Evelyn Couch in the novel/film "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe". And then on Saturday, dance teachers will be there to teach customers to jive, or rather, to do the Lindy Hop. We found this out when we congratulated the charming young lady running the place on the decor and the music. It's all happening at mid Century!!! 

Oh, and the loos are very nice too. This is an important factor. I say this, having listened to Phil and our friend Grant complain about the gents' toilet at the Pygmalion, where the lights have a tendency to extinguish themselves far too quickly, apparently. The ladies' seemed all right to me but there you go. 

New words always interest me as well. My Italian friend Adalgisa used this on Facebook: selfiearsi, meaning to take a selfie. And on Travesía de Vigo, here in Vigo, I saw a shop called Mi Leidy, a boutique, I suppose. Then I worked it out; it is supposed to say "mi lady". It's that lovely Spanish habit of changing the spelling to match the pronunciation. Unlike penálty for pénalty, which I commented on in my last post. 

In the Spanish novel I am currently reading, "Malena es un nombre de Tango" by Alamudena Grandes, the protagonist is studying English at university. One evening she is chatted up by a chap who asks if she gives private English lessons as he is keen to improve his conversational English. She suggests he might be better with a native speaker, especially as she admits her pronunciation leaves something to be desired. His response - " Well, yes, but I don't understand them." - is so typical of Spaniards talking about learning English that it had me laughing out loud. 

Having said that, I remember teaching a pair of sisters in an advanced. French class who could read and write French quite competently but had been taught the most execrable pronunciation imaginable. 

You see, we and the Spanish have so much in common really.

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