Sunday, 14 August 2011

Baptise Me, Lord, And See My Nipples

Part of this has stopped being fun. Unfortunately it's the cycling part, the bit that takes up six to eight hours of my day. Now that I've hit Spain, the temperatures have gone mental. Yesterday it was 167C, and this is still northern Spain, in the shade. My stupid eyebrows exploded right off my face, which has at least solved one problem.

And in order to finish the tour with enough time to reach Majorca in early September for the OU astronomy residential, I've had to up the daily mileage. Today it was around 140 kilometres, and that's not actually a joke, although I wish it were. It was boiling. Every half an hour I'd buy a bottle of cold water, and within ten minutes it was tepid. Ten minutes later, the plastic had melted.

But eventually I reached my target, Zaragoza, a Spanish city I knew absolutely nothing about. Was it industrial? Was it a secret gem? Was it twinned with Peckham? I didn't know. From the smoking stacks visible from the hills around, it didn't look too promising, and then I descended and things picked up. After negotiating the suburbs, suddenly there was a magnificent mosque-like cathedral. Great! More about that later.

The mosque churchy thing

I cycled around and eventually found a cheapish hotel, the Hotel Sauce, a Carry On film hotel name if ever there was one. And then I popped out for a wander. Oh Lordy, what was going on? The streets were full of religious types, all in their teens, from all nations, parading around with banners and t-shirts and testosterone. Some of 'em were even dressed in robes, and these were, let's not forget, teenagers. Surely God isn't that twisted?

Homoerotic teenage monk fondling

I continued to explore. It turned out that the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, the big churchy thing which isn't a mosque though looks like one from some angles, where some miracle didn't happen in 40AD despite what numpties think*, was to be the centre of a massive international youth Godathon. In the same square as that frankly gorgeous church is an equally impressive water feature. My Mum would love it in her garden. If her garden were eighty times bigger. It's a sort of cascading irregular shape where the water eventually ends up in a trough that could easily accommodate a dozen or so people. The Christians were in there today.

With the wheelchairs gathered around the fountain, it was clear that some well-meaning types had intended to get the crippled walking again with the power of tap water. When that hadn't worked they'd resorted to baptisms. When they'd realised that this was Spain and everyone was already baptised, it basically turned into a wet t-shirt competition with the blokes dunking the girls and then getting semi monk-ons and becoming all guilty about what they would own up to at their next confession.

God loves you! Especially in that wet t-shirt!

Oh hum. I went for a Chinese, which was the quickest meal I've ever had. At one point I had three courses on my table at once. (Here's an idea. Let me finish this course before you bring the next one. OK?) It was soon over - about 15 minutes later - and then I went back out to see how the revival was going on.

Jesus. The square now had a floodlit stage containing a dozen seated Vatican types. At regular intervals a squadron of national Goddies would get up and deliver a monotone piece, while something like two thousand teens sat enrapt. What were they getting out of it? What about nightclubs and cider and feeling up girls in the park? Surely that's fun, not this. This was clearly going to go on for hours.

Where else would you rather be on a Saturday night?

I couldn't take it. The crowd was with them, lighting candles and swaying like alcoholics at a Bryan Adams gig, but I wasn't. Yes, I know you're only 15 but GROW UP! Despite what your t-shirt says, God doesn't love you. You've made Him up. He actually does nothing for you. You, yes you, just have to make this world work for you. Which I suppose is what you're doing. By being happy in your deluded, dream-like state. Which is not really something I can knock you for. Better that than have you smash up the place, like in London or Manchester. Hell, I hate it when religion provides some sort of answer.

Oh, next time, please could you chuck the fit ones into the fountain instead.

* How do I know? Read David Hume's "Of Miracles".


  1. Great post. I read it over breakfast. It's a lovely mild morning here in the UK. With a slight breeze on the decking. ;o)

  2. I'm so genuinely happy for you. No one needs it this hot. It's just stupid. My eyes have melted.

  3. ". Hell, I hate it when religion provides some sort of answer. "

    Like it :) I'm very pro karma/ anti god, but even more anti theiving/rioting little gits on the streets of council estates :)