6 Feb, 2007 @ 08:39
4 mins read

The Amputee – Issue 17

Reading between the lies

“I may not agree with what they did but I will defend to the death their right to deny it.”

It was not long ago that when someone talked about spin they were referring to a cycle on their washing machine. Nowadays, when we think about spin those mendacious bastards whom we dignify with the epithet spin doctors come to mind. Of course, Shane Warne, the bane of English cricketers, is also an experienced practitioner in the art of spin but most of my Pommy friends in La Alpujarra do not want to be reminded about that.

The New Scientist magazine recently reported that liars’ brains make fibbing come naturally – the structure of their brains make it easy for liars to think ahead and repress anxieties and the impulse to tell the truth. Adrian Raine, a psychologist at the University of Southern California found: “some people are better wired for the complex computation involved in sophisticated lies. (They) have more white matter in their prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain that is active during lying) and less grey matter than people who are not serial fibbers.” I would reckon Tony Blair is whiter than white in the prefrontal cortex.

Politicians lie with impunity and we seem to accept this fact as a political given. Our leaders know they must never admit they are wrong about something or that they lied about an issue in the first place. They give credence to Herr Joseph Goebbels, an early spin doctor, who wrote: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will come to believe it.”

Lying in state

If Bill Clinton had Pinocchio’s problem, his nose should now be longer than his Monte Christo. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,” insisted Clinton and later was able to argue that he was at least semantically correct. Bill once accused H Ross Perot of stretching the truth, to which Perot replied: “Nobody likes to be called a liar. But to be called a liar by Bill Clinton is really a unique experience.” “The American people are tired of liars and people who pretend to be something they are not” (Hillary Clinton). “Americans detest all lies, except lies spoken in public or printed lies” (Edgar Watson Howe).

You may have noticed that I have not mentioned George W Bush this week. Not that George would ever fib, card-carrying Christian that he is, but he does sometimes come out with the strangest statements. When commenting on undecided voters he noted: “It is no exaggeration to say the undecides could go one way or another.” Ain’t that the truth.

Mountain thievery

There has been alarming spate of robberies from houses and farms around La Alpujarra lately and the incidence of this type of crime seems to be increasing. Thieves broke into a house of a friend of ours a while back, forcing the steel bars covering a window. They stole the car keys for a 4×4 that was in the garage and drove away. The car was found a week later near Almería. Another house up here was broken into when the owners were off walking the dog one Sunday afternoon and, apart from money and some electronics, the crooks took the car keys and drove off in the car parked outside. They went to the closest pueblo and broke into the tobacconist to stock up on cigarettes, before they drove to Málaga to get rid of the electronics. The Guardia, by this time, were hot on their trail (Grand Theft Auto and Nicotine) and busted them all the next day. The car had been abandoned in a back street in Órgiva, undamaged and full of cigarette butts and fingerprints.

Solar systems are a very popular item on thieves’ wish lists. I know of a couple who lost their recently installed panels and batteries almost before they had turned on their alternate energy. This was a major snatch and had to involve more than one person and a hefty truck. It was the third such theft of solar equipment I have heard about in so many weeks. And note that, often, the loss of panels and batteries is not covered by household insurance. Other things stolen have included tools, bicycles, money, computers, jewellery, credit cards and documents.

Yesterday, I was told about a guy in Bayacas who returned to his partially-finished house to find that someone had stolen all the bespoke windows he had had only enough time to fix in place by insulating foam. The same chap was keeping an eye on an unoccupied house on the Rio Chico for a friend who was in the UK. Some nice person or persons unknown took a sledge-hammer to the door and robbed the house of furniture and appliances.

Who is behind the rash of burglaries? There are many suspects. I have heard from various sources that it is Romanians, Albanians, crystal healers, al Qaeda, same-sex couples, life-style gurus, illegal immigrants, itinerant street musicians, members of the UK parliament, hippies, or the Russian mafia. We at the Olive Press believe thieves to be responsible, though one could argue that thieves are totally irresponsible.

I fear that apart from opportunist robberies, still inexcusable, the “professionals” might be turning their eyes to La Alpujarra as a source of loot. Each of us should look out for any suspicious activities in our areas and report them immediately to the Guardia Civil. The central number for the Guardia is 062, the National Police are 091 and the Guardia in Órgiva are at 958 785 203. If you are offered goods that could be stolen please consider reporting it to the authorities, even if the offer comes from your brother-in-law.


I have been chosen by the editor to interview the best-selling author Chris Stewart for our next edition. Having recently finished a course at the Kazhak School of Journalism I knew I should prepare some questions for Chris, which I did and then I phoned them through to his office:

“Chris, is it true you were once the lead singer for the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band?”

“No, I was the original drummer for Genesis.”

“Genesis? Sounds like a skin infection. Didn’t I read in your book you were once a sheep dog?”

“No, a sheep shearer.”

“Is that like an Alan Shearer?”


“Forget it. Did you go to a school called Porterhouse?”

“No, Charterhouse.”

“Why did you charter a house?”

“That was the name of my school.”

“First name or family name?”

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