Friday, April 27, 2007

If Only You Believed In Miracles

I have witnessed a miracle. Stone effigies weeping? Dead men walking? A handful of fish and loaves becoming more than a mere handful? None of these. Something the more miraculous as it was so unexpected.

Trafico stopped a cyclist who went through a red light.

Maybe I should revise all that stuff about not being a believer. It was a divine moment. Not even Trafico could not have done anything. If you are going to cross a red, it’s always best to do it when a Guardia 4x4 isn’t coming out of the road that has the green. But she did. There is a God after all.

It has been a while since corruption reared its immoral head here, but today news comes of major raids in Palma. I was slightly worried that it was my lawyer who happens to be in the same road as an office raided. Phew.

Anyway, that’s by the bye. Locally, the little local issue involving the ex-mayor of Santa Margalida (done for a spot of less than appropriate behaviour) rumbles on in that the concession for providing sunbeds and parasols on Can Picafort beach is unlikely to be granted this season. Seemingly, the only offer came from someone associated with the former mayor. So, if you are off to Can Pic, you will just have to enjoy getting thoroughly sunburnt and getting a small quarry of sand in your cossies.

Pop quiz update – Geoff says The Who’s song was originally a Motown thing. Come on, you lot, get answering. The group from last time was the amazing Spirit, and the guitarist was Randy California.
We’ve been here before, but the line of this piece’s title is from …?


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sonne in der Nacht

The miserable weather that did indeed last thirty days and thirty nights has given way to a week of blissful Mallorcan spring. At one stage, you might have expected to have found an arc perched atop the local puigs (hills) and animals embarking two-by-two, which apparently is how animals enter arcs. Now, there are moans about the heat. I was at Didi’s bike place in Puerto Alcudia yesterday. Two hale-and-hearty Germans returned with their bikes. “Zuper”, it had been, but “zu heiss”. Well, if you must do over 100 kilometres in 24 degrees what do you expect.

While at this bike place, Didi was telling me that he also promotes Nordic walking. Now this is an odd thing. I first became aware of the Mallorcaisation of Nordic walking when clocking some Germans in a supermarket. Skiing, I thought. Where were they skiing? And why carry their sticks into a supermarket? Slaloming down the north face of the bakery section?

Now in Germany you can find vast hordes traversing the plains in earnest pursuit of aerobic activity supported by two sticks. But here, for the most part, the sticks are used as … sticks. To extract any benefit from the sticks, what you do not do is just use them as a form of crutch. Still, there are those who do it correctly. Some have just gone past the house. “Click, click, clack, clack.”

And something of a German theme today as Trencadora in Pollensa has had its re-opening. Some of you may know that Trencadora is owned by the rock guitarist Peter Maffay. For many that name will mean nothing, but he is big in Germany. And speak to a German, like my neighbour Carina, and you’ll hear he’s a top bloke.

Anyway Trencadora, which is a fabulous place, hasn’t really worked, but now the charming Jutta has her hands on it, and let’s hope it does well. The photos are from the re-opening.

Many thanks by the way to Geoff who offered The Who as an answer to the Run, Run, Run question, in that he said they did a cover of a song by this name. I had in mind Jo Jo Gunne. So, if anyone knows who did the original that The Who covered, do please let us know.

And keeping this going. Jo Jo Gunne were formed by Jay Ferguson, who was a member of which American West Coast band, the guitarist in which was related to Jimi Hendrix? And as a word of explanation, the title of this piece is also the title of a Peter Maffay hit record – so now you know.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Run, Run, Run

Appropriately enough, given it’s the London Marathon tomorrow, a bit of a running theme, if only because – and it is a tad tenuous, granted – there was a touch of quaint old Mallorcan tradition at play in Alcudia and elsewhere today.

According to Ian at Chess, a man who knows about these things, the racket outside the town hall was all in aid of something known as “corre llengua”, which literally – I think – means run language, or more likely, forward with language or some such. Anyway, whatever it means, it is all to do with promoting the local lingo. So here is a photo that does that, apparently. Told you it was tenuous.

The Scottish band was of course Deacon Blue. And today’s poser – which American group had a hit with the title of today’s piece?


Friday, April 20, 2007

Four Thousand Holes

Yes, pop-pickers, yet another musical motif. No prizes for the title. Everyone knows the origin. What everyone may not know is that Blackburn, Lancashire has been shifted. Shifted some hundreds of kilometres south. Shifted to Puerto Pollensa in fact. Not that Pto P is much like Blackburn – and yes I have been to Blackburn, and Darwen and Accrington, before you ask – but it does share holes. Bloody great big holes. Bloody great big holes in roads. And roads in a state of nuclear winter.

Every year, just the same. Four thousand holes in Puerto Pollensa, Mallorca. But I suspect some of the holes – and roads – may have to do with Taylor Woodrow’s building on the old Garbi hole. From one enormous hole to four thousand small, but still tyre-cracking holes. Taylor Woodrow – “We deconstruct since months”. Or something like that. Dodgy English.

And the answers to yesterday’s quiz. Steely Dan was William Burroughs. Starship built that city, and The Shamen thought e’s were good. An adjunct question. Which Scottish rock band was named after a Steely Dan song?


Thursday, April 19, 2007

The State Of The Estate

“We built this city on rock and roll.” Thus sang who (one of today’s pop quiz posers).

More like, we built this city on estate agencies. Puerto Pollensa at any rate. And it’s not the only place. There is a street in Puerto Pollensa, Juan XXIII, that could easily be re-named Estate Agency Street. How many estate agents does a place need, for God’s sake?

Well, more than thirty in Pto P, that’s how many. More than thirty chasing a commission that would make even that most hard-faced breed, the British estate agent, blush with embarrassment.

But this is not my theme. No, we’re back to that old friend – dodgy English. So, what’s with the estate agency angle, I hear you all ask? State, that’s the angle. State, as in missing an “e”. In this particular instance, “e’s” are most certainly good. However, take this example. There is a magazine called “Miramar”. Front cover has the words “Real State”. The context is property. It is a common error that I can only but attribute to an over-compensation to avoid putting an “e” in front of an “s” (as would be usual in Spanish) but cocking it up. A mistake, yes, but, once again, I ask why. You can find estate agencies ballsing this up in a similar way. No excuse.

So there I was, just about to exit a side road from the carretera by Restaurant Boy in Playa de Muro. The lights were flashing to let me go.

I know to look left. Just as bloody well. Straight through the red comes a line of German cyclists. They just don’t give a shit, do they. The last couple waved by way of thanks. I had an idea for a wave. Quite different. Two fingers forming a circle, my arm going up and down in a pumping fashion. Not worth it, is it. Forget it.

Answers to the previous Pop Quiz. “Peg” was Steely Dan. “Jake The Peg” was of course Rolf. Today’s bonus quiz question. Where does Steely Dan come from? And the two regular questions, one has already been posed (in the opening line here), and the second is about “e’s” are good. Who was it? Too eezy.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

“I’m Jake (or Jose) The Peg”

It’s ok, it’s ok, the weather’s ok. “DON’T PANIC, DON’T PANIC.”

And the cry “DON’T PANIC” can be heard resonating across Puerto Pollensa’s church square. No, it is not – sadly – Corporal Jones, bayonet a-fixed and a-pointed, scattering startled Germans. “They don’t like it up ‘em, Captain.”

It is of course Jose from Bony. A man, a catch-phrase. For all your 4Ps of marketing, when it comes to bars, if you ain’t got the fifth one – personality – you may’swell jack it in now. And Jose has it in buckets, or rather in large glass jars from which he throws sweets to the kids.

Now it does help that Bony is in the church square, but Bony still manages to attract custom from morose competitors. In a word – Jose.

Is he crazy? Not a bit of it. Clever, my friends. And shown here is one of his marketing images. Yes, it really is a clothes-peg. Make of it what you will.

Britain is England. England is Britain. The Spanish are not alone in not quite getting the difference. The Germans and Americans also stumble. Let’s be honest, there are a number of English, or British, who don’t know what Britain is. But it takes the offer of food to put this all into sharp relief.

Eroski Syp is publicising a tasting of English products this Thursday. Not British, English. Pre-empting this feast, Syp has set out some products already. The Welsh and Scots should be grateful. On the display are – amongst other items worthy of avoiding – … Hula-Hoops. Yes, Hula-Hoops. The crème de la crème of English products, the Hula-Hoop.

The fact that the sign advertising this must-be-missed event is in English suggests that the Spanish will not be eschewing their paella for something soggy in tomato sauce. (Actually, the Spanish do soggy in tomato sauce quite well for themselves, thank you.)

This whole English-British confusion was also to be found recently on a note sellotaped to the Perspex surrounding of the pool at the Africa Mar Hotel in Can Picafort. (Class, eh, sellotaped note.) It asked for a waiter proficient in the “idioma británico”. That’s the “British language” if you don’t know.

British language. Muppets.

And in tribute to Jose and his peg, here is today’s Pop Quiz. Which American rock band (mainly the seventies) did a track called “Peg”? And of course, which Australian was responsible for the unbracketed title of this piece? Clue – it wasn’t Kylie.

Prize. As always, there is no prize.


Sunday, April 15, 2007


At the risk of this blog becoming a form of benefit gig for Vamps, here are some pics of the opening thrash.

Good luck to Les and Lesley.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Winter in Spring

And for thirty days and thirty nights did it rain. And the rivers of hell did overflow and bring forth a flood. The keeper of the wells did cast his eye skyward, and declare it good. For it was good, for wells and ducks. But lo, there came upon the northern domain a group of travellers bedecked in football shirts and shorts, and they did cast their eyes skyward and declare it a pile of shit. And so it was. And so it was. For thirty days and thirty nights.

Well, a bit of an exaggeration perhaps, but it really is lousy. Yet apparently the weather people say it has rained less than average in some parts. Hard to believe.

No bright news. Despite the introduction of the licence points system, road deaths have increased again. The Guardia want more resources. But, and I say it again, does it really combat reckless driving and speeding if you stick your resources at roundabouts where the most they might pick up are seat-belt and mobile offences? Yes, you might also get some drink offences, but the real problem is what goes on on the open road, like the carretera that passes in front of my house. Want speeding? It’s here. Want reckless driving? Ditto.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Beware A Tie And A Smile

I am not a believer.

No, this is not by way of a contradictory Monkees thing. I’m going religion here, in a roundabout sort of way.

I am not a believer. But some are. That’s for them. This is not my point. What is, is religious apparel. No, not habits, nothing like that. Ties, I’m talking ties.

In Mallorca, the wearing of ties is generally reserved for those with a serious business intent, unlike most of us. But it is also the accessory of choice for those of religion. Some while ago, close observers of this blog will recall my encounter with a protagonist for the Gideon Bible outside Eroski Syp in Puerto Alcúdia - as you do. Nice chap he was. But he wore a tie. And he smiled.

Yesterday, ambling along the Paseo Colon in Can Picafort, I happened upon an acquaintance. She was with a group outside a cafe. I clocked the bible. Then I clocked the smile and the tie of one of the group. Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I claim no great knowledge of their ways, except being woken from boozy slumbers of a New Year’s Day lunchtime by a ring on the bell and Peter Knowles giving up a career with Wolves to embrace a tie, a smile and a foot in the door.

So, when in Mallorca and a smiling, tie-wearing Brit sidles up to, run for your lives or be prepared to give up a good half-an-hour of your lives.

Well I mentioned the fact that “Vamps” was on the point of opening, and it will do so - this coming Saturday. And here is the logo that Les has kindly sent me. See more info on the What’s On Blog.

And given that there will be, amongst the entertainment on the Vamps opening night, an Elvis impersonator, here is also a photo of some metal art from the Tattoo shop next to Vamps, courtesy of the very nice Guido and Fernanda. Well, I think it looks like Elvis.

Grupo Boulevard’s colonisation of Playa de Muro is more or less complete in the sense that much of their DIY centre has opened to the public. Well, the optimistically monikered “Hyper Market” is open at any rate. More than can be said of other places.

The Rose and Crown remains neglected and unloved, as it was all last summer. The George and Dragon is up for rent, as is Shooters (which has been for some three years). Maybe Boulevard will make a go of things. They may not be loved by all, but at least they are trying to put some class into - as I have said before - a singularly unlovely part of the Playa.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Roads To Hell

It’s started. The early-season harmonies of vehicle horns merrily hooting and a-tooting as those attached to the horns come up against the first trikes-on-the-main-roads of Spring. Oh, and the woman on the roller blades pushing the baby buggy. Yep, she’s back. May not be the same woman, but always this time of the season there’s at least one.

The joys of motoring when the season starts to kick in. One can be happily driving along the glorious avenue that is the Greasy Mile admiring its splendid architecture, and suddenly - from behind a parked bus - out veers a junior lard mountain struggling to control a trike.

I have a further suggestion for clogging up the roads with things that should never be allowed near a stretch of tarmac. Take the wheels off the trikes, and let the fitness fanatics who would normally be on bikes, run with them, like the cars on “The Flintstones”. Better still, if the cyclists were to keep their shoes on, imagine the fabulous cacophony of clipping and clopping. A sure winner, I fancy.

And finally, here is the photo of the Pointed Thing Roundabout. Well, it wasn’t a nice day, but the whatever-it-is still looks resplendent. More I look at, more I go dental equipment. Or maybe it’s some form of punishment. Sit on that - as it were. Very Vlad, very Impaler.

Coming up, our great competition – name your favourite item of roundabout decoration. Remember, only this blog would come up with such incredible competitions.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tomato, Tomato, Tomayto, Tomayto

You say tomato, I say tomayto. In fact I say tinned tomato, and Les at The Canny Lad says plum tomato. Now this all stems from 2 August last year when I did something about breakfasts. To reprise: The Canny Lad, or so I said, offered just yer tinned tomato. Turns out it doesn’t only do the plum variety, but the fresh one, too. So I’m pleased to right this scurrilous wrong. These things matter, you know.

And while I’m at it, let’s add Foxes near the Magic Roundabout to the list of breakfast establishments, and – likely too – JKs in Puerto Pollensa. Jane and Kevin have thus far eschewed the full English, but this could be about to change.

Also while I’m at it. Les (and Lesley) are on the point of opening another bar. This one’s to be called “Vamps”, it being an adult-themed bar. Work thus far on it looks good, and it is situated on the Calle Astoria, just off the Greasy Mile by Bells. And on the same strip, what was Agra is now Taste of India. Much as I loved Izzy (at Agra), the place badly needed a makeover, and it is getting one, courtesy of the new boss, one Sirag, which sounds like Shearer, much to the delight of Geordies amongst us.

I’ve been asked to talk about parking, There is parking, and then there is Mallorcan parking. Why park in one space, when two will do nicely. That’s but one style of Mallorcan parking. Then there is the all-road parking, i.e. in the middle of the road. Or the pedestrian-crossing parking. Given that crossings are treated with scant regard by drivers here, that some might park on them should come as no surprise. And finally, there is the parking in hash-marked-boxes-which-are-meant-to-tell-you-not-to-park-or-you’ll-get-towed-away parking. Great sport, this one. I heartily recommend a coffee at Bar Norai in Puerto Alcudia just so you can wait for plod to come along, book a car improperly parked in the car park opposite and call for the removal truck. Excellent stuff. More of this.

Early-season Holiday Brains (an old friend of a theme from last season). Look, it’s only about 15 degrees, it’s raining at times (and a lot), I know folk want to make the most of it, but why are they walking across main roads in bare feet. Nuts, or what.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Lovely Sa Pobla By-The-Sea

Well, I really did seem to start something. All that talk of global warming and flooding reaching as far as Sa Pobla brought literally thousands of responses all expressing the same concern. Whither the wicket at the Sa Pobla Cricket Club? Whither, or wither indeed.

Most notable was this highly evocative appraisal of the SPCC circa 2050 as the sea comes ever closer. I am indebted to Alastair and Angela for this Cardusian description which juxtaposes the old splendour of the great days of the SPCC threatened by the predicted encroachment of the sea.

"The ground slopes slightly towards the sea and a ball from this end can sometimes get lost against the stand. This, and the sea fret which makes the ball swing and dip, can bring early thrills on a green wicket but too often when the life is gone it becomes so very placid.

"Of all the great names of Sa Pobla cricket perhaps Maurice Tate is remembered with the greatest affection. From 1912 he shouldered the bowling of Sa Pobla and England over the next 25 years and when he finally sent down his last over the club honoured him with a magnificent pair of gates at the main entrance.

"Towering blocks of flats now hem in the ends of the ground but they cannot change its character, for it has mellowed in the history of the game and is an area worthy of the best in cricket. Set no more than a stone's throw from the sea, Sa Pobla has the atmosphere of a seaside resort, and the deckchairs at the northern end add to that feel. The sea can be glimpsed from the pavilion (side on to the wicket) and splendid views of the Tramuntana are partially obscured by the flats.

"These days, Sa Pobla has a slightly decrepit air, but that adds to its appeal."

Truly peerless, I'm sure you will all agree.

The attached photo shows the marvellous SPCC from the early 1930s digitally remastered to show the proximity of the sea, as might be expected by 2050. In this, we can just determine the great Maurice Tate (pictured separately) bowling to the Nawab of Alcudia during the famous Potato Series of matches between the SPCC/MCC and the Gentlemen of Northern Mallorca XI. Yes, boats could be drifting onto the outfield. Save the SPCC now! Curb carbon emissions!