Sunday, April 17, 2016

Catalan Graffiti

Somewhere in the bowels of the education ministry, of the ministry for non-participation and opacity, and Palma's department for culture, patrimony, historical memory and linguistic policy, there will be those muttering sweetly about graffiti bilingualism. Yes, when it comes to graffiti sloganising, the citizens (no more than two of them probably) avoid the temptation of using the third language - that imposed three hundred years ago by a distant relative of the current king. Tell tourists to bugger off, but don't do so in Castellano. That would never do. English? That's ok. Catalan? That's even better.

In my wildest fantasies, I imagine Podemos's Dave Spart and The Boot Girl stealing around ye olde Palma under cover of night, spray cans in one hand and a smartphone in the other: Google Translate into English from Catalan, tourists are terrorists. But Alberto and Laura wouldn't do such things. Let me make that perfectly clear. More likely would be members of the Més-ite sect. They, after all, want the tourist tax honeypot going towards the preservation of crumbling old patrimonial ruins. (Podemos want to spend it all on conserving the habitats of the ancient mountain ant and a small farming plot in Porreres where they grow organic lentils and hope that tourists will be mad enough to pay the vastly inflated sum demanded for a 400 gram jar with a nice eco-looking label; not that any tourist would, given that he will be out of pocket having forked out for the lentil grower.)

No, you see, if the Més-ites deface patrimonial property, a strong case can then be made for the 80 million a year going on some form of magical anti-graffiti gel (biodegradable) that forms a veneer invisible to the naked eye but which allows graffiti to be removed using a Brillo pad and a family-sized bottle of Eroski Ultra washing-up liquid. Bingo! The entire Balearic inventory of old and even older constructions can be protected, including the prehistoric Talayotic sites on which some miscreant might wish to daub "Visca la República!". Well they can. To their heart's and spray can's delight, but the newly diversified economy (pressed into service to protect ancient patrimony 24/7, 365 days of the year) will provide highly paid operatives to get out there and rub it off, with no damage being done to the original stonework.

Alternatively, the Palma graffiti may just have been the work of a couple of pathetic losers.

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