Sep 26, 2011

A barbaric sport vs. an artistic tradition

La corrida de toros - FOR or AGAINST. The most widely talked about Spanish tradition from GCSE classes to finals at University and beyond..

This weekend the last EVER bullfight in Barcelona took place at La Monumental, after 600 years the tradition which made Spain famous, has come to an end. 

WHY? and Why only in Catalonia?

Most people believe it was for animal rights arguments - a cruel, bloody and barbaric way to kill a beautiful animal which has to stop, the ban is to those activists is an  'enlightened move away from mindless barbarity'.

HOWEVER, the real reason is this: The Catalonians want their own nation, they are fiercely independent and have an extremely strong sense of national identity due to having their own language (and by god they will not tolerate castilian spanish!), their own cuisine, their own football club  ...

The fact that bullfighting is so emblematic of Spain means that they must separate themselves from it and ban it completely.

For many Spanish and Catalonians alike their heart is broken by the banning of what they see as a beautiful and majestic art. 

Will Catalonia gain independence by continuously banning anything 'spanish'? Vamos a ver... 


A step forward for Saudi Women

Great news! Saudi Women can now vote in the municipal elections! and join the advisory Shura council allowing them to have more of a say in how the country is run ... in 2015... 

Let us hope their voices are listened to, so that Saudi women are given more freedom because at the moment they still can't:

*drive OR
*travel, work or receive medical care without a male relative

It is a great step for such a conservative country and slowly liberalisation, starting with women's right, will start seeping through the country, just like it has in other Middle Eastern countries.

As the great Michelle Bachelet says: “As a bird needs two wings to fly, a society needs women & men leading together to evolve to a higher level” 


Sep 19, 2011

Let the RICH fight it out...

Russian oligarch punches rival in TV debate

The economic crisis is clearly having a marked effect on the oligarchs.. Uh oh.... We're in trouble....


Sep 18, 2011

Be green, cycle!

I dislike the tube, not a fan of buses during rush hour, don't own a car, the taxi-boat is too expensive so my only option is.... CYCLING! 

What a GREAT way to get around a busy city like London. Terrifying much? Oh YES! But I get to work in 20/25 minutes and I don't have to put up with sweaty pits rubbing against my face! WINNER!

My first rush hour cycling experience was not the most pleasant one: 10-15 cyclists very closely packed together, waiting for the light to turn green and then WHOOOOM... off they go! Over taking the slower ones (me), whizzing past with a flash of neon yellow and disappearing off into the sunset.. For slow cyclists it's quite a scary time as you feel like you're being pushed onto the curb and have to fight your way to stay on the road.
I have, since starting cycling to work, become more of a pro and can now over-take! whizz past! also sporting a rather sexy yellow jacket..

Be green and cycle. There are SO many advantages: get fit, save money and time, help the environment, avoid sweaty pits.... how many more reasons do you need?!

I'm back in London baby, and so is my bicycle!


Where were you on 9/11?

Sarah Macshane, aged 13: "I was standing in Victoria Station and looked up to the big screen, there were pictures of two huge buildings in New York crashing down to the ground. It felt like the whole station was on standstill, staring at this screen, not really understanding what was happening. I ran to my friend's house and told her to the turn the TV on - there it was, 9/11 had happened."

Holly Whittaker, aged 13: "At school with you! We went home early and I watched the whole thing on tv whilst on the phone to Eva! Everyone remembers..."

Peter Thomas, aged 12: "Was sister's bday so mum was home when i got back from school. The tv  was on and saw 2nd hit. Glued to tv, mouth-open. Weird birthday 4 her"

Michael Albert Brown, aged 14: " Was in 3rd form at the oratory, ripple of news spread very ominously. some people afraid that the school might have been in danger too."

AJ Reus, aged 12: "I remember it vividly, sitting in a class at school being told the news"

Hannah Vasdekys, aged 13: "We were in our form room, someone came in and told us to put the TV on, we all sat and watched the news. We were young and didn't really know what this meant"

I was in Hannah's form room, but I don't remember finding out about 9/11 until after school. Funny how memories can play tricks on you and funny which ones stand out the most.

It's the first global event that marked my life and I will never forget where I was or how I felt on that day. The act of terrorism is a horrific one but what western societies have done since then could be judged just as horrific.. We have become suspicious of our neighbours, fearful of planes, quick to judge anyone with a big rucksack and a beard, more racist towards Muslims, less accepting of differences. We have, in effect, let terrorism win.

Remember how we were when those Twin Towers stood proud? Well, let's not forget those days either.      


Would you befriend a murderer?

Human Writes is a NGO which befriends people on death row in the USA, giving these men and women a 'burst of sunshine' in their dark, lonely, cell filled lives. 

I am against capital punishment because I think that too many mistakes have been made in the past and innocent people can lose their lives. However, I  (and this may come as a shock to many of you) believe that a criminal should suffer for the crime they have committed. If someone has murdered, raped, abused, tortured (the list goes on) a small child, a young woman, an old man they should, in turn, suffer. If this means sitting in a cell with little light and no human interaction for the rest of their lives then so be it. 

What Human Writes does is in essence a lovely thing - forgiving and giving hope to those that deserve it the least. But for some reason, I just can't find it in myself to even contemplate forgiving these people.

This discussion can also be extended to a broader one about the justice system in general. I don't believe that mentally ill or disabled people should be on death row - clearly they need special attention in a psychiatric hospital. I believe everyone should be given a fair trial - innocent until proven guilty (although it seems to work the other way around these days). BUT, my current view is that those who end up on death row must have committed a truly horrendous crime. If they made their victim suffer, then why shouldn't they suffer?

"An eye for an eye" OR should I learn, through Human Writes to "But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matthew 5:39)

My friend Malou offers a different version, read her blog to find out her thoughts on Human Writes. 


Sep 5, 2011

A Arte Do Filme Brasileiro

This week and this week only............ 3rd London BRAZILIAN FILM FESTIVAL!

Being back in London is great because suddenly, the world is at your doorstep.. and this week it's Brazils turn to entertain me..

Some great films are being shown, starting tomorrow - romcoms, MPB music with Joao Gilberto, the story of Boca (one of the most dangerous Brazilian criminals in 1950s), Samba!, a Brazilian version of Romeo and Juliet... and many more!

Don't miss out on this great once a year opportunity and get yourself down to Covent Garden Odeon!



How To Be A Woman: by the Brilliant Caitlin Moran

Want to figure out if you're a feminist or not? According to Caitlin Moran here's the way to do it:

"Put your hand in your pants.

1. Do you have a vagina?
2. Do you want to be in charge of it?

If you said yes to both, then congratulations! You're a feminist!"

Her book is hilarious, crude, slightly uncouth, real, to the point and just bloody BRILLIANT.

She's made me feel more comfortable about talking about masturbation, abortions and hating heels. And she's also potentially terrified the shit of me at the thought of giving birth.... (But it did go well second time round for her!)

It seems to be for a specific generation, say from 20- 40, because my younger sister (18) didn't find it particularly humourus and nor did my mother/aunt/uncle.

Moral of the book: Masturbate, forget about Brazilian waxes and high heels, shout your feminist views LOUD AND PROUD, don't feel like you need the latest Prada to 'fit in' and... BE THE TYPE OF WOMAN YOU WANT TO BE, not who you think you should be.

Go buy it.. NOW!