Art and freedom

It was Father's Day on Wednesday and I didn't get farther than the local bar. I have the day off on Friday and I decided it was time to shrug off this lethargy; to do something. It wasn't a huge thing but I went to Cartagena and did a tour of the local exhibitions.

At the Archaeological Museum they had some good and well seen photos on the theme of women in flamenco; at the Palacio Molina they had photos, some of which I thought were excellent and some very ordinary, by a group of professional photographers who once belonged to a now extinct local photo group; at the Byzantine walls museum some paintings by a chap called Miguel Ángel Quiñonero which I thought were laughable and at the MURAM there were some paintings gathered together under the title Spanish painting 1875-1935 some of which I really liked even if it was only for the completely over the top gilded frames. They let me down at the Old Town Hall where the exhibition was being mysteriously re-organised in mid show and there was nothing on at the university building in the old Naval Training Barracks. Still not a bad haul for one morning in a small provincial city.

I am totally opposed to identity cards. They are a tool of despots and dictators. It's one of the things I occasionally talk to my language students about because all Spaniards have to carry an identity card. Each card, that is each person, has a unique number. That same identity number appears on everything from your tax return and health card to receipts for petrol or your phone contract. Strangely I used the ID card topic yesterday with an individual student and he told me that nowadays DNA samples are routinely taken from newborns shortly after birth. The idea is to build up a DNA database that will be linked to your personal ID and which will, eventually, cover the whole population. And what, you ask, has my visit to a clutch of museums got to do with ID cards?

Well, in the Archaeological museum as I walked past the desk in the entrance way and said good morning heading for the exhibition I was called back. They asked for my DNI or National Identity Document, which I don't have, but I did give them my NIE, Foreigner's Identity Number, and my name and my address.

Perhaps they need it for those nice people at the NSA.


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