Fun ATMs (unless you’re Ugandan, Russian or Arizonan)

Two GAYTMSHere are two of the cutest ATMs you will ever see. As usual at this time of the year, Sydney is hosting the gay and lesbian Mardi Gras festival (the street parade is this Saturday), and in the centre of town today I happened to come across these two ATMs dressed up for the occasion. My favourite is the one with the moustache (facial hair on men seems to be back in fashion). Congratulations to ANZ bank for getting into the Mardi Gras spirit.

Mustache atmI was going to write a serious post about the history of the Romance languages today, but as usual I got distracted. While setting myself up at the computer I decided I would listen to Portuguese music, and opted for O Melhor Do Novo Pop Rock Português (The Best of New Portuguese Pop Rock), a CD that I bought three years ago in Porto, but haven’t listened to much. After giving it a spin, I looked up some of the artists I liked on YouTube, and this led me on a four-hour musical journey which surprisingly took me back to the times before the 1974 revolution in Portugal. Somehow, that seemed appropriate, given the bloody events that have happened in Ukraine in the past week or so – a reminder that benevolent government is, alas, all too rare even in the so-called modern civilised world, and that people must always be vigilant in not allowing their own governments to turn into terrorists or bullies.

Since this is supposed to be a language blog, I had to think of a language element to go with these pics. And then it came to me! On the above-mentioned CD there is a song that deals with gender issues, and men exploring their feminine sides. The track Tenho Barcos, Tenho Remos (I have boats, I have oars) by Os Golpes* always causes some amusement among my Portuguese friends here in Australia. The relevant lines are:

Já fui moço,  já sou homem   –  (I’ve already been a boy, I’m already a man)
Só me falta ser mulher           –  (All that’s left is for me is to be a woman)

Unfortunately I could not find a good quality live recording or even an official video release of the song, so had to make do with this instead.

I thought this was an original song of Os Golpes, but it is not. However, I will save the song’s history for another post.

Rainbow atmReturning to the Mardi Gras festival … while it is now renowned as a fun and colourful celebration, it wasn’t always like that. It started out as a protest movement and as a push for gay rights and tolerance. This week in the media I have read depressing articles from all over the world about torture and brutality in North Korea’s prisons, lynch mobs luring and attacking gays in Russia, laws enabling the persecution of gays in Nigeria and Uganda, and how the Arizona House of Representatives has passed a bill granting businesses (such as restaurants, etc) the right to refuse to serve gays. What will be next – refusing to serve fat people? Throwing ugly people into jail? Will it soon be legal again to persecute Jews and Blacks? It is bad enough when individuals are prejudiced and discriminatory, but when intolerance and discrimination are enshrined in law you have to wonder what is the world coming to.

*  Golpe (m) can mean many things in Portuguese: a blow, stroke, hit, injury, wound, gash, incision, stab or thrust. It can also be a shock, crisis, scam, deceitful action, misfortune, or a gust of wind or draught. De golpe means all at once, suddenly, at one dash. Dar um golpe is to have a whack at. Um golpe decisivo is a knockdown or knockout blow. Um golpe de estado is a coup d’état. Um golpe de mestre is a masterstroke. Um golpe de sorte is a lucky hit, or a stroke of luck. The related verb is golpear  to strike, beat, knock, hit, thump, smash, whack; to wound or injure; to cut, slash, stab; to cut out; to afflict, anguish or grieve.


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