The Mermaid & Barcelona

ftr-danish-jesMy friend Antonio, who owns a bar on the Granada coast is, I guess, about the nicest, gentlest man on earth. Also the cleanliest.

His bar is shining, and Don Limpio (Mister Proper) is a regular guest. From his left hand grows a cleaning cloth, I guess it just grew there, because it was always there anyway. When we shake hands, his right hand is always slightly wet from all the cleaning.

I sometimes wonder how he gets time to serve coffee, beer and food, but he does – in between the cleaning. Like I said, he’s so sweet, nice and gentle. But don’t get him wrong and don’t get on the wrong side of him. If you criticize the way he cuts a Serrano ham or if you do other things unpleasant to him, his gentle face turns ungentle.

And actually this sweet man is stoutly built, like a heavyweight boxer, and his face can look like a thundercloud, so don’t get in his way, if you like your ham thinly sliced.

I don’t know if the ex-president of Catalunya, Charles Puigdemont, ever commented on Antonio’s ham, but he certainly did other things unpleasant to Antonio. The magic liquid that taught me this lesson was anis seco. A drink I love to endulge in from time to time, also knowing that it is magic and also dangerous and must be dosed diligently and not too frequently.

Well, what the holy water told me was that here on the coast we are not Carlistas. One day I mentioned to Antonio, that his anis seco was produced in Barcelona. He didn’t put on the thundercloud-mask, but the next day he had changed his Anis del Mono from Barcelona for another product. Made in Madrid.

On the Granada Coast, as in Denmark, we are tolerant and friendly people, but facing separatism, even high treason and cowardice, we put on the thundercloud. And change the anis.

Anyway, after fleeing to Belgium, the separatist ex-president of Catalunya went sightseeing to Copenhagen, Denmark. Being tolerant and friendly, we didn’t prohibit his visit, though I don’t think anybody invited him, so he made a speech and went home. Or, rather, back to his exile in Belgium.

Somebody shared on the Internet a manipulated photo of the famous Little Mermaid – I don’t know why she’s so famous, she’s just a sculpture on the Copenhagen waterfront with a heart of stone – showing not a thundercloud face but the face of Carles Puigdemont. Well, as you might know, the Little Mermaid had her head cut off a couple of times. We don’t do that to real people in our part of the world anymore, and the beheadings of the fish-tailed girl were cultural or artistic events more than capital punishments.

Don’t mention Barcelona.

My absolute favourite comic sitcom is John Cleese’s Fawlty Towers (in Danish Halløj på Badehotellet). I laugh myself into hysterical tears every time, though I’ve seen them all a million times. From now on, when Basil (John Cleese) severely punishes his factotum Manuel and says to his hotel guests and the rest of the world “Oh, don’t mind him. He’s from Barcelona,” I will always think of another fella from Barcelona. And the anis seco.

(Feature/Danish)

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