19 May 2009

San Isidro's Bane

Last weekend was the St. Isidro festival. Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid, and the locals like to honour his memory by dressing oddl… I mean … traditionally and putting on various cultural performances in the city.

Normally I can link the saints’ names with their Anglicised equivalents, like San Pedro (St. Peter) San Paulo (St. Paul) and Santa Kieda (St. Kilda). The most obscure one I’ve come across is Santiago, which is the Spanish derivative of St. James (more to come on that later, potentially). Something obviously went wrong in the English rendering of that one.

The closest English equivalent to Isidro I could come up with was Isildur. I’m not prepared to claim that it’s a direct cognate, just a possible conceptual link. Wikipedia suggests that actually Isidro is a form of the name Isidore, but I’ve discounted that because that’s obviously not a real name. Who ever heard of someone called Isidore?

Anyway, the celebration is a week long cultural festival. The only events I really had any access to were the Friday traditional festival of wandering around in strange clothes, and a public musical theatre number in the main city square on the Saturday night.

I came across a group of strange clothes wearers sitting around a table singing a traditional Madrileño song. As usual, I couldn't catch any of the words, but I am reliably informed by the internet that they go something like this:

Ai! laurie lantar lassi sūrinen
inyalemīne rāmar aldaron
inyali ettulielle turme mārien
anduniesse la mīruvōrion
Varda telūmen falmar kīrien
laurealassion ōmar mailinon.
Elentāri Vardan Oiolossëan
Tintallen māli ortelūmenen
arkandavā-le qantamalle tūlier
e falmalillon morne sindanōrie
no mīrinoite kallasilya Valimar.


The musical theatre piece was equally opaque to me. Normally it’s okay if you have no idea what the words are; the whole concept of opera is premised on exactly that principle. However, this wasn’t exactly classical art, and furthermore the female lead couldn’t really sing, which is normally a prerequisite for people making a living from singing. So I bailed on that one pretty early and went to watch some street chess, until they were shut down by the police for creating a public disturbance*. I did catch one particularly stirring soliloquy by the male lead, who took centre stage and boldly proclaimed:

“Miro en os ojos el mismo miedo que robaría mi corazón. Podría viene un día en que el valor de humanidad falte y abandonamos nuestras compañeros y rompamos todas las fianzas de compañerismo. Pero no es hoy día. Una hora de lobos y escudos destruidos cuando la época de humanidad se calla. ¡Pero no es hoy día! ¡Hoy día peleamos! Por todos que aprecias en eso mundo bien, os mando a quedarse en pie. ¡Hombres del Oeste!”

I need to get out more.

Far from home




Garry with 2 Rs

*I feel compelled to point out that, while this entire post is, more or less, complete rubbish, the street chess bit did actually happen, as did the police intervention. And you thought chess players were just geeks and little Asian girls. Hell no! ¡Somos bandidos!
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