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That crazy sunny day we had this week #100happydays

24 Jan

That mad sun which came blazing out on Wednesday this week. It transformed the Face of Barcelona.
Whoever said blue skies are overrated is wrong, wrong, wrong. Blue skies are the business.


Barcelona Face by Roy Lichtenstein



Food in ya belly! Dinner time in a social squat

8 Feb

La Otra Carboneria, is a squatted community space next to mercat Sant Antoni. Every Thursday they host a vegan dinner, open to all.

The food is tasty, simple and satisfying. The atmosphere is loud, friendly and relaxed. Yes you will stand out a little as a guiri but nobody cares really. If you wanted to dip your toe in the social/community/alternative living scene in Barcelona, this is a good place to start. They also host art exhibitions, a free shop (exchange stuff you no longer need for stuff you do), workshops and talks.

Go with a group of friends and get a table to yourselves, or go alone and perch at the bar. It’s all good.

Payment is by donation. Give what you can, a euro, a couple of euros or more. Beer is one euro.

La Otra Carboneria describe themselves as free space for people to collectively create and fight a city model which wants to sell everything. A model which treats people as little more than scenery in the ‘Barcelona Theme Park’.

Visit them at the junction of Carrer Urgell with Carrer Floridablanca.


Pepper spraying women, angry mobs, armed robbery: usual Christmas cheer or a sign of things to come?

28 Nov

Around 20 people were injured in a Walmart shop in Los Angeles, U.S.A when a woman attacked them with pepper spray so she could grab herself a discounted Xbox.

Picture it, she’s waiting along with a large crowd for staff to unwrap the Xbox pack. Panicking in case there aren’t enough to go around, she unleashes her pepper spray on the others. In the ensuing screams and confusion, crazy lady grabs an Xbox, quickly pays for it (she doesn’t believe in robbery, just assault) and runs….with her two kids!

For some reason I imagine her with red hair cut in a bob, red lipstick and a beige winter coat: your typical middle class female lead in the Christmas family movie from the nineties. God help me, I can’t stop laughing!

I have a few questions about this story though, and I hope we get the answers soon.

  1. Did she get the Xbox for herself, her kid or her partner?
  2. Which idiot cashier actually processed the sale?
  3. Does she have red hair, red lipstick and a beige coat?

This wasn’t the only case of violence on the eve of the Black Friday sales. In another store the security guard had to subdue crazy shoppers with pepper spray and armed robbers lurked in parking lots scuffling with shoppers on their way home. In one night across the country people resorted to ridiculous lengths to get what they wanted.

So is this just another crazy story from the Land of Crazy Stories  U.S? In 2008 a temp worker in Walmart was trampled to death by Black Friday shoppers when he opened the shop door. Shoppers stepped over him to get to the stuff, and complained when told to leave because of his death.

Or is it a sign of things to come?

Economies are based on human beings with potentially unlimited needs making do with scarce resources. So with all our collective economies doing their wobbly dance on the edge of the precipice, are we all going to revert to the primitive (and still popular, as seen in Iraq) means of acquiring these resources?

Violent force!  (queue ominous drums- dum dum dum!)

I hope not. I already get pushed out of the way by bossy old ladies at the vegetable market. If the world does collapse, I’m dead meat.

Strange clubs and crazy groups

24 Oct

I was doing a bit of background reading on the author Chuck Palahnuik, author of the book which Fight Club was based on and I wondered if there were any copycat real life Fight Clubs out there. There isn’t. Not in the sense of a Brad Pitt look alike, spouting philosophical theories on society and a modern life while taking part in a little gratifying violence. I’ll admit it. It does look soooo ever so slightly cool. I know. I am so unevolved.

However, Chuck was the member of a strange little group which must have lent him some ideas. The Cacaphony Society is a loosely banded group of strangers who meet up to create and take part in random whimsical pranks and experiences beyond mainstream society. They describe themselves as ‘the squeak in the door of normalcy’ or the ‘happy dog rolling on the carcass of preconceptions’. The members and creators of this group helped establish the Burning Man Festival. Another achievement of theirs is ‘The Brides of March’ an annual event in which members dress in thrift shop bridal dresses and go on pub crawl/street theater caper.

The Cacaphony society in turn has it’s roots in an older group called the San Francisco Suicide Club. The Suicide club was a secret society formed by Gary Warne and three of his friends in his used book store – Circus of the Soul and doesn’t appear to be half as morbid as the name suggests. One of their famous pranks was the naked tram ride.
So in conclusion, Fight Club does not exist but what did and does exist in reality is a hundred times more intriguing and entertaining.

What does Barcelona have to offer in terms of crazy societies and mad capers? A quick look at meetup groups in Barcelona throws up nothing stranger than the Einstien’s Hardresser group which sounds talk heavy and action easy. I think its time for a Barcelona chapter of the Cacaphony Society. Only thing is, we would need to work extra hard to become the crazy to Barcelona’s ‘normal’. Is it possible?

Naked cable car riders

Am I pretty?

14 Jan

A poem by Katie Makkai

When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother, “What will I be? Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? What comes next? Oh right, will I be rich?” Which is almost pretty depending on where you shop. And the pretty question infects from conception, passing blood and breath into cells. The word hangs from our mothers’ hearts in a shrill fluorescent floodlight of worry.

“Will I be wanted? Worthy? Pretty?” But puberty left me this funhouse mirror dryad: teeth set at science fiction angles, crooked nose, face donkey-long and pox-marked where the hormones went finger-painting. My poor mother.

“How could this happen? You’ll have porcelain skin as soon as we can see a dermatologist. You sucked your thumb. That’s why your teeth look like that! You were hit in the face with a Frisbee when you were 6. Otherwise your nose would have been just fine!

“Don’t worry. We’ll get it fixed!” She would say, grasping my face, twisting it this way and that, as if it were a cabbage she might buy.

But this is not about her. Not her fault. She, too, was raised to believe the greatest asset she could bestow upon her awkward little girl was a marketable facade. By 16, I was pickled with ointments, medications, peroxides. Teeth corralled into steel prongs. Laying in a hospital bed, face packed with gauze, cushioning the brand new nose the surgeon had carved.

Belly gorged on 2 pints of my blood I had swallowed under anesthesia, and every convulsive twist of my gut like my body screaming at me from the inside out, “What did you let them do to you!”

All the while this never-ending chorus droning on and on, like the IV needle dripping liquid beauty into my blood. “Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? Like my mother, unwinding the gift wrap to reveal the bouquet of daughter her $10,000 bought her? Pretty? Pretty.”

And now, I have not seen my own face in 10 years. I have not seen my own face in 10 years, but this is not about me.

This is about the self-mutilating circus we have painted ourselves clowns in. About women who will prowl 30 stores in 6 malls to find the right cocktail dress, but who haven’t a clue where to find fulfilment or how wear joy, wandering through life shackled to a shopping bag, beneath the tyranny of those 2 pretty syllables.

About men wallowing on bar stools, drearily practicing attraction and everyone who will drift home tonight, crest-fallen because not enough strangers found you suitably fuckable.

This, this is about my own some-day daughter. When you approach me, already stung-stayed with insecurity, begging, “Mom, will I be pretty? Will I be pretty?” I will wipe that question from your mouth like cheap lipstick and answer, “No! The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be, and no child of mine will be contained in five letters.

“You will be pretty intelligent, pretty creative, pretty amazing. But you, will never be merely ‘pretty’.”