Sunday, 8 August 2010

77. Blast from the past

8th August 2010. I thought I'd take the dog for an early morning walk while it was still cool to his favourite Place des Basques - a grassy tree-lined square on the edge of the town centre - where he can go loose. We were walking down the big avenue that's lined with apartment buildings on one side which leads to the Place when I thought I heard in the distance the distinctive sound of a street organ. I suddenly realised that the mellifluous tones weren't coming from a radio somewhere but from the genuine article. This was the first time I've heard one of these in years and it was being pulled along the road surface by a father and son team.. (straight out of a 60s Italian film - except they were probably East Europeans) Mounted on rubber tyres, it was about the same size as the one in the clip below and it sounded very similar.. Pops was cranking the handle and Junior was holding out a tin cup to catch any centimes that might be thrown down from the balconies..
At just after 9am on a Sunday morning, I thought they were being just a tad optimistic in trying to generate some interest and a few euros from the still-shuttered apartment blocks. I doubt if many people would be up and about and the only people out on the streets were a few dog-walkers like me or those in search of a fresh croissant or baguette. I think the penny suddenly dropped with him too for he suddenly stopped the music in mid-crank and they headed back towards town.  

I'd like to have filmed the two of them as it was a real sound from an age gone by..

For the last few evenings we've had to endure the sound of bullfights from Les Arènes (just a few hundred metres away) - the stupid music, the whistles, the applause and the jeers.. I don't understand how, in an otherwise civilised society, the State can continue to sanction the practice of this degrading and cruel activity within its territory in the 21st century. And, to add further insult to injury, the bull ring is part-financed from our local taxes.

If bull-fighting is to continue, then this is the sort of level playing field I'd like to see a lot more of. In my view (and you may have your own opinion) these spectators got exactly what they deserved:

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