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Return of the body snatchers

27 Mar

This isn’t about Barcelona, but it’s one of the most fascinating talks I’ve heard this year.

Watch it if you like zombie body guards and mind control. I particularly like the brain surgeon wasp who unchecks the ‘run away’ button. Horrific beauty and ghastly tales!





Seeking a good-looking man in his 40s who rides a green Honda scoopy

1 Mar

HTC, the Taiwanese manufacturer of mobile phones and tablets is looking for a friendly local man who helped their CEO Peter Chou get to the Mobile World Congress on time.

On the 24th of February, Peter Chou jumped out of his taxi stuck in a traffic jam and asked the motorist zigzagging through the cars if he would take him to the conference. He very nicely agreed, and dropped the CEO off, refusing all offers of money and telling him he’d better run to catch his appointment.

It’s small. It’s trivial. Yet, it’s sweet. An act of kindness from a stranger.

If you are the motorist, or know someone who drives a green scoopy with a yellow licence plate, Peter Chou would really like you to get in touch. Email them at . 




More on the story here.

Congratulations to Barclays Bank and the Mossos of Barcelona

20 Feb

Starting at 12:00 yesterday around 25 vans full of riot police (reports put the number of police at around 300) with the help of an extremely-cheap-to-fly helicopter invaded the squat and social center La Otra Carboneria and evicted its residents. The operation went on into the night with small groups of residents putting up resistance where they could and hundreds of protesters gathering outside the building.

It’s a relief that the operation was finally completed successfully and Barcelona will never again have to deal with an iconic landmark of community spirit and art. We don’t have to be shamed by the availability of free workshops on skills such as drawing and tailoring, educational talks and debates, space to hold dance and music classes, and even free food. This was a serious problem for the city, and frankly the city had supported it by doing nothing, for far too long. We are talking  about people living under shelter, being independent, holding their heads high and doing things for free because they believed society should be more human and giving. It’s enough to make your stomach turn.

The building had been occupied by La Otra Carboneria after it was abandoned by the estate agent FBEX Promo Inmobiliaria which went bankrupt. Since then the space has shown alarming signs of thriving and engaging local residents. The vice president of the neighborhood association of Sant Antoni, Toni Sanchez, had the gall to say that he actually liked the squat which provided an important free and open community space. Clearly a man of low principles and poor judgement.

A spokesperson from Barclays said, “What this beautiful city needs is more buildings with bricks in the doorways and more hollow-eyed people sleeping in those doorways. Barclays has always felt deep concern for homeless people, and we provide luxury sleeping accommodation for them by leaving our ATM booths unlocked during the night. This is provided absolutely free of cost by Barclays.”

Some misguided people who object to this eviction and destruction will be gathering to demonstrate at Placa Universidad tonight at 20:30. I may be there. 

My intelligence was a bit off, the demonstration in Placa Universidad happened yesterday but the usual Thursday community dinner is happening tonight outside the building.


Residents suspended themselves from the roof of the building to protest their eviction. Photo courtesy of Thomas Tully.

A perfect bed #100happydays

23 Jan

It’s not very profound, but my happy today was waking up in a perfect bed. The warmth, the clean sheets under my shoulder blades, the cool of the flipped over pillow, the hot water bottle at my feet.


A perfectly warmed bed

Monday 20/01/2014. Pretty darn pleased with the bed.

A morning jog in Barceloneta

15 Jan

Golden blue on the horizon
Golden blue on my eyes
Sublime sunrise on the beach
lights on swimmers and bums alike

Young and shiny and blonde
Old and grimy and grey
Sleep misted, rolling smokes
Share a bench and papers

Past the enticing bakery
sidestepping the gesticulating grocer
Too late to spot the dropped calamari
I land squidgily on my ass.

barceloneta-beach at dawn

Sunday afternoon on a Barcelona rooftop

29 Sep rooftop sunset barcelona

An afternoon spent on a salvaged chair up on the rooftops of Barcelona. Music jarring out through hopelessly inadequate speakers. Last dregs of the vodka washed down with a dubious yellow coloured fruit juice and stolen ice cubes.

Before me, the sun furls and unfurls itself across this blue sky. After the grey concrete framed window of my internal bedroom, this expanse of sky seems obscene in it’s flagrant undulating beauty. As I watch, the quality of light changes from forceful afternoon fire, beaming out in a sanctifying halo from behind pure white clouds, to the the orange, edgy, defiant predecessor of the dark. A dying spirit but a strong one. A fitting one to herald the night in a city like this.

Over the rooftops of unfinished concrete sheds and half-hearted renovations, the love-children of so many heedless cowboy builders, the strains of Madonna’s thrusting music reaches me. Somewhere, a party is created. Maybe even a legendary one. Meanwhile on stranded terraces around, silent, solitary figures move about their business. Tidying. Tending. Furtive members of a private club I’ve discovered too late on the second last day of September. Teetering on the brink of a winter I thought I welcomed, I suddenly rediscover passion for my old lover the sun.

I remember with nostalgia.

Skin, ripened and warm and smelling of sunlight. Sand clinging in tolerated intimacy. Hair stiff with memories of the sea. Muffled chatter and the ocean roaring under a soft evening light. The unthinking way in which I loved and forgot. Recklessly sure of its constant presence. Mistakenly sure. A faint hint of charred meat on the wind.

Endless days are numbered too.

This is the last perfect afternoon of the summer.

rooftop sunset barcelona

Seeing the future in Neverland: there’s an App for it

8 Aug

If Peter Pan’s Neverland really exists, Barcelona is definitely it.

Step outside your door and you don’t have to look far to find the Lost Boys, the mermaids, the fairies and the pirates. Nowhere is it easier to run around frolicking with magical creatures and having grand adventures. No where is it easier to never grow up.

Sadly, our bodies still obstinately insist on this ageing business.

According to research conducted at New York University, our brain patterns change when we think of our current self and when we think of our older self. We think of our older selves with the same brain patterns as we think of strangers. The smaller the difference in these patterns, the more kinship you feel with your future self. The larger the difference, the more likely you are to live only for today and not give a crap about that old fool waiting for you up the road.

How do you think of your older self? Is she (or he) a stranger to you?

So in the interest of morbid curiosity and with a healthy appetite for art-house horror, I decided to find out what old me is going to look like.

I downloaded AgingBooth, a mobile app for Android and took a picture of my morning face (I’m a hard core horror fan). The app then pushed the clock forward thirty years to 2043.

Those with weak stomachs or faint hearts, look away now.



































Life of a stranger who stole my phone

5 Aug

Life of a stranger who stole my phone is a rather funny tumblr site which came about because a thief who stole a phone in Ibiza didn’t realise he had to switch off the automatic document upload function.

So all the photographs he has taken since stealing the phone have been uploaded to the original owner’s dropbox and then put up online.

The site is alright but the comic potential swiftly exhausted. The phone owner produces the occasional funny title, and then the occasional boring comic description.

Don’t stop though! Scroll down to the comments at the bottom of the page and that’s when it really gets funny. Now creepy Habib, the thief who stole a phone from a skinny dipping girl who was too drunk to realise that the person lying under the deck chair wasn’t her friend (these are her words I swear!) has decided he can make friends with her.

He’s left a comment on the tumblr page offering to return her phone. The people who responded to him had me in stitches.

Habib stranger who stole my phone

Artesan beer festival in progress: Sound the jungle drums!

13 Jul

As part of the neighborhood festival Poble Sec is hosting an artisan beer festival which started at 11:00 today.

The festival is in front of the Molino club, just outside the Parallel metro stop on the green line.

There’s a discounted hour between 4 and 5 pm. I’m not sure what this means exactly, but it can only mean good things methinks.

The beers being featured :

- As Cerveses, Montornés del vallès
- La Font del Diable,Vilanova i la Geltrú
- Holz,L’Hospitalet
- Les Clandestines,Montferri
- Cervesa Marina, Blanes
- Cervesa Popaire, Blanes
- Cervesa Nomada, Sabadell

There are going to be talks about about artisan beers, tasting sessions, a slow food co-op stall, beer making equipment on sale, live DJs, and a Brazilian percussion band at the end of night.

Much beery fun to be had!



You can take the half-wit out of the land of eve-teasing, but you can’t…

9 Jul

I was walking home from work at 9:30 p.m today. It’s a hot summer night in Barcelona, and the streets are teeming with the usual mix of tourists and crazies.

A young man in a grey hoodie passes me on Calle Ferran, cooing lovingly to the shifty looking grey pigeon perched on his arm. Clueless tourists trundle by with suitcases the size of small cars, ‘this town must have a night life, right?’


I cross La Ramblas, over into the Raval, and I’m walking up my street hardly two minutes from my front door. A car on the street slows down, a head pops out and an unmistakably Indian voice, in unmistakably ghati grammar,  yells out ‘Hey baby wanna sex with me?!!!’

Suddenly I’m transported back fifteen years. I’m fifteen years old, and having men in cars slow down to yell inane words or try to grab me is normal, and the relentless daily sexual harassment of women, girls, children, octogenarians (you name it) is all sweetly labelled ‘eve-teasing’. I’ve traveled fifteen years, two continents and three countries to be annoyed in the street by another half-wit Indian man.


Still, they never wait to hear my answer.

No I still don’t wanna sex with you.

I wanna high-five you darling.

In the face.

With a hammer.


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