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Spanish Eyes, English Words

A blended blog - Spanish life and culture meets English freelancer who often gets mistaken for Spanish senora. It's the eyes that do it, rather than the command of the language. Anything can and probably will happen here.

Catalonia Calling! - A great new v-log from Simon Harris
13 December 2015 @ 17:09

When I first came to Spain on holiday back in the 1960s when the planes still had outside toilets, we holidayed on the Costa Brava. When I met my husband Tony, I returned there, after a gap of more than 30 years, and fell in love with the area all over again. 14 year old me was more interested in getting Brahms and Liszt on Bacardi and Coke, chatting up the waiters and getting a suntan, but by the age of forty-something, I was interested in what made the area and the people so vibrant and unique.

On a trip to Tossa de Mar, we met Luis, the owner of Bar Esclop near the ruins of the Roman villa. He was clearly Catalan, but spoke English in a broad Lancashire accent, as the result of a misspent youth in Manchester. He told jokes, acted silly for Tony's grandchildren - and opened my eyes to the Catalonia Question. Fast forward another 15 years, and I 'met' Simon Harris, through my Writers On Spain Facebook group. Simon was just writing his book Catalonia is Not Spain: A Historical Perspective, and he was 'blogging the book' by publishing a chapter at a time, and using the followers on his blog and the group as a sounding board for ideas and critiques. When he set up a crowd funding project to publish the book, a lot of us chipped in too, so my involvement in Catalan culture and politics has grown over the last couple of years or so.

Simon isn't one to rest on his laurels, and he's now working on a biography of Catalan President Artur Mas, as well as setting up a YouTube video channel - Catalonia Calling! - which is basically a weekly digest on Catalan and Spanish news. Basically, it's bite-sized Catalonia, delivered with Simon's trademark wit and insight. If you object to phrases like 'arse lickers' and the like, you might have a bit of a problem, because Simon tells it as he sees it, and he funked the tact and diplomacy workshop. However, if you want to get a grasp on life and politics in Catalonia, learn a bit about the culture and have a few laughs at the same time, you will love this channel.

The latest episode - Number 11 - is Simon's assessment of the Catalan candidates in the forthcoming Spanish General Election. Here's a word for the wise - don't try to watch this and have a drink at the same time, because your keyboard will suffer! Episode 10 is longer than usual at around 30 minutes running time, but it's a really interesting overview of Independence and Social Change in Catalonia. Here's what Simon has to say about it:

I'm in London this week to give a talk to the Basque and Catalan societies entitled "Independence and Social Change" so I've decided to make that the subject of this week's Catalonia Calling #10.

As the remit of Independence and Social Change is so broad, I've decided to focus on some of the reasons why I think independence is necessary for Catalonia and then I'll look at some of the elements included in the road map for independence and also the key clauses in the recent Declaration of the Beginning of the Independence Process.

The list isn't exhaustive and the idea is to give key information for those of you who don't follow what's happening in Catalonia very closely and stimulate discussion from those who do.

Don't just take my word for it though - head over to Simon's channel and check it all out for yourself.

There's plenty more to read at Sandra in


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