Monday, August 31, 2009

Edinburgh International Festival

If you want to follow the festival events, just have a look to this link. It may be helpful.

Edinburgh Festival

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The secret is in the sauce!!!!

Tomorrow, "La Tomatina" will take the streets of Buñol, Valence, Spain. A settled tradition nowadays, it all began long time ago.
It was on the last Wednesday of August 1945, when the young people of that time were in the village square, where the “Tomatina” is celebrated. As the local authorities and the music band were parading during a festival of “giants and big-headeds”, a group of these young people who wanted to participate in the festival pushed the other young people who were wearing costumes. One of the young people fell on the floor, and when he got up he started to hit everyone there, so everybody started fighting. Nearby there was a vegetable market stall in the street with the boxes of vegetables ready to be sold. The young people started to throw tomatoes to each other until the police took control and stopped that “battle” and ordered the responsible party to pay for the damages.

The following year, the young people of the village repeated the “battle” but they brought their own tomatoes from home. Again this was broken up by the local police. After repeating the same celebration during consecutive years, the festival was non-officially established. These people did not imagine that they had established a tradition that would grow year by year.

In the beginning of the fifties the festival was forbidden by the City Hall of Buñol. But it did not stop some people from repeating the event and they were imprisoned. The village asked for the festival to be allowed and they insisted so much that finally the local authorities agreed to allow it. Each year there were more and more people participating in the festival, they had their pockets full of tomatoes and they were ready to throw water to each other, to jump in the fountains and to participate in other ‘loutish acts’. The problem was that this battle also involved the people who were only interested in watching and sometimes there were important people being ‘attacked’. So the festival was forbidden again.

In 1955 and as a protest the people celebrated ‘the tomato funeral’, a big demonstration where the villagers carried a coffin with a big tomato inside and they were accompanied by the band of music playing funeral marches. In 1957, the festival was definitely allowed and nowadays the City Hall organises and promotes this festival which made them famous all over the world.

The festival became popular all over Spain due to the Javier Basilio’s report, broadcasted in the TV program Informe Semanal.

Since 1980, the City Hall supplies the people with the tomatoes, and every year more and more tons of tomatoes are used, also there are more and more visitors.

On the 27 August 2002, the General Tourism Office awarded the Tomatina of Buñol with the title of Festivity of Cultural Interest.

Source: La Tomatina 2009 webpage

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sing and have fun!

On the photo, Mike Oldfield (1953, Reading,Berkshire).

Songs are a very good way to put into practice all the English we have studied. On this occasion, I've chosen a famous song by Mike Oldfield composed long time ago, I confess, but it won't become old-fashioned because of its catchy rhythm and its extraordinary mixture of styles.

Its title: Moonlight shadow. (From the album Crises, 1983).
Why Oldfield's? Because he has developed and fused Music from all over the world together with Electronics so as to prove that innovation is not imcompatible with the 1970's!!!! He can be considered a forerunner of electronic music. Since then, many musicians have followed in his footsteps.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A touch of Art

Although Gustave Klimt (1862-1918) was constantly criticized for his works being too sensual and erotic at that time, he stands out from the whole of Austrian painters. In 1909, Klimt dealt with the juxtaposition of a promised new life with the destroying force of death. Using art like a mirror to show the convulsive reality of a continent while a world war was been forged, menacing the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he managed to evolve his painting by the use of symbols and abstract techniques enhancing the freedom of spirit that impregnated the twentieth-century artistic vanguards. Many historians agree to point out eclecticism as the key for his success. A hundred years later, that idea of conjunction of different disciplines and cultures to create our own perception of the world and have a critical viewpoint becomes one of the targets of this blog. This brief retrospective on Klimt's paintings make us enjoy and wonder about the relevance of art as a means of communication and thought. Please, leave your commentaries about this exhibition. Your participation in this blog is always welcome.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Edinburgh International Book Festival

As I told you before, Scotland is the best place to travel to in August because of its vast cultural offer. The International Book Festival takes from 15th-31st. August. This festival is well-known as it achieves to join the most acclaimed writers of the moment. Moreover, there are many performances entertaining the visitors. Are you next?

For more information:

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

Although its film adaptation is being released this month, the bestseller The Time Traveler's Wife was published in 2003. It is the debut novel of American author Audrey Niffenegger. She tells the love story about a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to travel through time unpredictably, and about his wife, an artist who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences. Many critics have labelled it as science fiction and romance. Despite this classification, after its reading, we can watch the film and then, compare both versions. Only then, we can declare it's a good adaptation or if it's just a distant reminiscence of the novel. Anyway, cinema becomes the best showcase for literature. It is a very effective lure for attracting new readers. This has been the case of blockbusters such as Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings or Twilight. Let's wait and see how The Time Traveler's Wife works. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stargazers' night

The Perseid Meteor Shower (also known as the Tears of St. Lawrence because of the date of this phenomenon) will let us see about 200 shooting stars per hour.

The Tears of St. Lawrence can be watched from 20th July to 19th August, reaching its peak tonight. They consist of a pile of meteors as a result of the disintegration of Swift-Tuttle comet. This shower is the most popular and the most observed in the Northern hemisphere. It will have its highest activity between 19.30 and 22.00 hrs.

The Perseids are named after Perseus' constellation as the radiation seems to come from there. At its peak, balls of colourful fire and sparkling meteors can be noticed far from the city lights.
In addition to this popularity, it has a remarkable historical relevance because it marked a turning point on Astronomy when it was officially recognized there was a correlation between comets and shooting stars.
In 1862, two astronomers, Swift and Tuttle, discovered a wonderful comet that made a long orbit around the Sun in a 120 year time. Thereafter, it was named on their honour.

If you want to learn more, you can visit this interesting webpage. You'll know all the forthcoming events...because it's written on the stars!!!

International Year of Astronomy 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A ritual in the Rugby league

This Maori tradition is kept by New Zealand Rugby teams. They are used to performing it before a match as a challenge thrown down to their opponents on the field.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Abbey Road

Going a step further in the history of music. That's what they might have thought when they took this photo for the sleeve of Abbey Road, as this one turned to be the last work in the Beatles' career as a group. Since then, 40 years afterwards, they are still present.
Happy 40th anniversary!

You will notice there are all sort of Beatles' imitators. Legoland and The Simpsons made their own tribute to the band from Liverpool.

Tourists keep on visiting this street in London where their recording studio was set and The Beatles were then photographed.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This festival takes from 7th. to 31st. August. During these days, Edinburgh becomes the capital of arts. You can find all kinds of activities on any corner. Here is the link to the festival. Discover what's on!!

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Just for fun!

Despite its weather, Scotland has a warm-hearted busy lifestyle. Indeed it's reflected in its interesting cultural agenda for the summertime, which attracts people from everywhere. As its festivals are well-known, I'll be publishing all the information I get during this month. This comic strip is just an advance.