So, tis time to reveal - the Legend of the No8Do!
For those of you just tuning in, 2log's intrepid foreign correspondant was in Spain, and was being trailed by strange signs all around the city of Sevilla - No8Do! But what does it all mean?
Whatever it is, don't do it on this pole (left)!
And really, don't do it while riding a bike (or so the bike-racks (right) seem to say).
Heck, they even created this spaceship (below) to chase you to space to make sure you don't do it there!
But what's behind the mysterious signs? The Illuminati? Dan Brown? Worse, Nicholas Cage (below, looking confused) and his tenth movie on the wonders of the US Constitution?
Well, turns out its much, much cooler than that. After much personal research, here are the fruits of my labor.
The Legend of No8Do!
Turns out the history of this strange symbol is quite long and storied. For as you can see, it is even engraved into the stone of city hall (below). The history of No8Do is long and deep (that's what Shay said!) For in fact, No8Do is the official motto and symbol of Sevilla. But why would they have a symbol that seems to be, well, in English?
The plot thickens. For those with good eyesight, you might notice that what's in the middle of No8Do is not in fact a number eight, nor even an infinity sign, but rather, a skein of rope. Now we go deep into the mysterious fogs of time . . .
In 1245, before Spain was united by Fergie and Isabella (and the other Spice Girls), Sevilla was its own Kingdom. Ruled by the everwise Alfredo III (wise ruler, maker of great sauces, depicted below), the land was a happy one, until yes, the damn English got involved.
At this time the English sent as an their Ambassador one Sir Henry, Duke of Wallsingham. Now, turns out that Wallsingham was a kinky little sod, and he quickly set about work introducing what was at that time and ever after referred to in Spain as 'the English Vice'. Turns out that Sir Henry enjoyed nothing more than being stripped down to his bollocks, and being given a damn good spanking.
Before long, Sir Henry had established a house of ill-repute specializing in said vices, where anyone who wanted could be whipped by wenches and mensches till red in the fanny. Now, the randy Spaniards, not being anywhere near as repressed as the English knigits, had not trouble with houses of ill repute (heck, they just called them houses!), but this whole spanking thing was something quite new.
This being quite long ago, before the Twitters made universal literacy a must, most people found their way to the butchers, bakers, and candlestickmakers by means of the pictures that were posted outside the door. A butcher would hang a picture of a cow's head outside the door, a baker a loaf of bread, and well, a house of ill-repute that specialized in spankings, well, made use of what made the most sense - a skein of rope. What better to tell people that inside they could have their culo whipped till it shined like the top of (yet to be built) Chrysler building?
The English vice, however, took off. Soon Sir Henry's house of ill-repute was the tops in town, and the reputable townspeople couldn't keep their wenches or mensches at home. Riots started to break out in the streets around Sir Henry's establishment, and finally, to stop the growing chaos, a group of the cities nobles went to complain to the King.
Well, when the King found out what Sir Henry had been up to, he was enraged. He had the kinky knigit brought to his court, and before all the assembled ladies and lords, he pronounced his sentence. Sir Henry was henceforth to be banished back to England. but not before being properly humiliated - he would be spanked by the King himself, before the assembled ladies and lords!
As the King prepared to give a whacking, he pantsed Sir Henry, and then a gasp went up around the crowd. Now, it was common in those days for a man to bind his penis to his preferred leg, so that it wouldn't get in the way when he put on his codpiece. But when they pulled down Sir Henry's pants, everyone noticed that not only had he tied his penis down, but he'd bound his balls as well! At first the reaction was gasps of horror, but then the tide turned to laughter. 'Why on earth,' the King asked, 'have you bound your balls?' Sir Henry (below, right) was quite surprised by all the commotion, and he answered the King with great haste, 'But sire, it is the English way, we all bind our balls under our codpieces!' And a roar of laughter went up round the hall - the English like to bind their balls!
Well, this was too much, and the King decided that before giving Sir Henry a thorough spanking, he'd humiliate him a bit more, so he called for a skein of rope, the symbol of Sir Henry's pursuits, and had it tied around Sir Henry's already tightly bound balls. And then the King began to dance around the room, pulling poor Sir Henry behind him, knees knocking and his pants round his ankles, led around by the balls! And as the King danced and pranced, he called out the words, "No me dejado, No me dejado!," which translates into "I don't tie mine up!" And everyone got a good laugh.
When word got out that the King had thoroughly humiliated Sir Henry and sent him packing back to England, the townsfolk were highly amused. Now, the word for a skein of rope in Spanish is a madeja. Some witty souls decided to poke yet more fun at Sir Henry, and they hung in front of a tavern in the center of town not Sir Henry's famed skein of rope, but rather, a witty rebus making fun of it - our famed No8Do!! For if you pronounce the skein of rope in No8Do as madeja, the whole phrase is no-madeja-do, which is almost exactly what the King said, 'No me dejado!' But in the language of the hated Sir Henry, it also means the same thing - don't do it, don't use rope to bind your balls!
Well, what was hung outside one tavern took off, and in a fit of nationalistic, anti-English sentiment, soon the whole city was hanging signs oustide their doors with the now famous symbol, No8Do! And its not hard to understand the sentiment, I mean, we have today the saying, 'don't get your panties all in a bunch' - and if there were ever a society that's a bit too uptight, its the English. Go commando, let em hang long and low (like some puggles I know!). Seriously, have a good time, live a little. And as the original story began to fade in the mists of time, that's what the symbol has largely come to mean - enjoy life, live a little, fly free! And that's what it means to this day. And to no-one's surprise, when Sir Henry got back to England, he was much mocked as, you guessed it, Sir Henry Ball-singham.
Of course, if you look in official histories, you generally don't get the story quite like this, because its a little too randy to tell directly. But spend some time in Sevilla, and the locals will open up on the real meaning of their symbol. Don't bind your balls! No me dejado! Don't bind your balls on a boat, don't do it ever with a goat, don't do it in the sewer or in a drawer, or with a friend or four! No Doo! And they tell you this everywhere and all the time, just so you don't forget the joys of letting it all hang out.
Of course, even symbols have to change with the times. When the sexual revolution arrived in the 60's, some thought the symbols was a little bit on the masculinist side, and some women (depicted below, right, with their No8Do t-shirts!) called for a more inclusive message. But that's when women remade the meaning of the symbol, and proudly said, 'we don't tie ours either!' - and they ripped off their bras and burned them in the streets. And a new tradition was born. As the gay rights movement took off at about the same time, the symbol took on yet more meanings, as SM clubs began to hang the skein of rope outside the door, surrounded by new letters We8Do, after which you usually see the motto, 'si tu quieres . . . ', basically, 'if you ask nicely'.
Now, some may say this sounds like a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing but a brain addled by too much cerveza. You might even wonder, did someone spend time typing this up? Did I spend time reading it?! But sometimes you find yourself wandering round Spain, wondering what the silly symbols mean, and in a fit of cerveza inspired glee, it all suddenly makes sense.
So what did I learn on my trip to Spain? Stay by the beer table, don't eat fish ovaries, don't go shopping, stay on the shady side of the street - all good lessons. But the best lesson, the most important one, is don't bind your balls (well, unless someone asks you nicely)! Live a little, let them fly fast and free! Women, let your boobies dangle in the breeze! Enjoy life like the Sevillianos do!
And that's what I learned in Spain.
You've Read it, You Can't Unread it! Tales of Interest!!
Aight y'all, time to rest on my laurels (below) a bit, because that's alls I gots in the way of dispatches from Spain. Travelling was a hoot, and with any luck, you didn't lose too many brain cells from reading my highly accurate, occsionally metaphysical, and always slightly beer addled reporting. And don't forget, when in doubt - no doooooo!