Monday 27 January 2020

Culture Vulture Birthday

I had a birthday this weekend. Thank you, thank you! Benedict Ambrose and I celebrated by having a boozy lunch at a French/Scottish restaurant in the New Town, walking to The Filmhouse to see Fellini's La Strada, and then going home to work on Assimil Spanish Lesson 1.

La Strada, if you don't know, involves human trafficking--in this case a circus strongman buying a mentally fragile young woman as a slave from her grass-widow mother. I turned it off 20 years ago or so when I really couldn't cope with such a story. However, I'm glad I have seen it now.

Once again I reflected that part of Fellini's popularity outside of Italy is the visual quality of his films and the minimum use of dialogue. Still, a year or so of weekly Italian lessons has unplugged my ears enough that I would have understood most of the film without the subtitles--always nice. By the way, one of the things you discover when you really start concentrating on languages is that subtitles are often inaccurate.

Assimil Spanish Lesson 1 was daunting because I didn't know any Spanish and B.A. won a Spanish prize in school. He won't study Italian because he is afraid it will further erode what is left of his prizewinning Spanish, so I thought we could go through Assimil Spanish together.* It is a nice activity to do in the evenings, supplementing the watching of British cooking shows.

It might be a fun project to work through all the Assimils that interest us. A fun but potentially expensive project would be to completely master an Assimil kit that claims it takes you up to the European Union B2 standard and then take the official B2 exam. If you failed, you could write to Assimil and demand a refund.


  1. Happy Birthday :)
    I am also learning Spanish at the moment and I find your advice on languages really helpful :)