miércoles, 7 de noviembre de 2012

The knife grinder

Some weeks ago I heard on the radio that some traditional trades that were disappearing are now coming back because of the economical crisis. The main reason is that, in hard times, we prioritize fixing things before replacing them with new ones.
Among those trades that are surviving there is one that is very related to our streets, a mobile profession associated with a repetitive melody of flute: the knife grinder.
If we have to judge me by the number of times I've sharpened my knives, knife grinders would already have disappeared, but luckily there are people who still do it, and some grinders still survive on the streets of Barcelona. The photo of this post, for example, was taken a couple of weeksago in the Rambla del Poble Nou.
In a city subject to all kinds of loud noises, there are some sounds that do not go unnoticed and that currently resist: that of "Butanoooooo" for example, is one of them. The knife grinder's "Tiruriroriroriro" is another very typical one. Hopefully, after the crisis, there will still be knife grinders circulating with their old mopeds on the streets of Barcelona.

An additional curiosity: Dani Cortijo explains in his blog altresbarcelones, that after the defeat of Barcelona in 1714, it was forbidden to have more than one kitchen knife per family at home, to prevent possible uprings or riots against Spanish troops.
Moreover, this single family knife had to be tied with a string to the kitchen table, and people who didn't obey this law could be punished even with the death penalty. Thus, the grinders did their work moving through the houses of Barcelona, and specifically working in their kitchens!

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