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.
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 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.
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
– 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!
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.
Down at the beach today, I found out that not everyone has heard the lesbian seagull song. This cannot be.
You cannot live your life without knowing the true romance of a love song for a seagull. Who likes girls.
Robadors 23, is a little gem of a bar situated on the dodgiest street in Barcelona. I don’t use the superlative lightly. It is!
You have to side step the prostitutes, pimps and pickpockets to get into the bar. Propping up the bar you’ll see some extremely dodgy looking characters, all runaway hair and earrings and intense stares….who later turn out to be the band members.
You won’t get past the scary looking gitano (Spanish Gypsy) blocking entry to the back of the bar, until you’ve paid your three euros.
Inside the crowd is a mix of locals, dodgy locals, extremely dodgy locals and guiris. All living in perfect harmony for these few moments because they’re all here for the love of Flamenco. The guitarist is the owner of the bar, and his band plays every Saturday night.
Prepare yourself for the shock, but the bar man will serve you with a smile. The cheerfulness doesn’t stop there. The band keep up the banter, the crowd throws it back to them, and all in all the whole place is dodgy but friendly. Just the way I like it!
The crowd and atmosphere is all forgotten when the Flamenco dancer steps up. Me, I was blown away. The way that woman moved her body, I thought she was going to set the stage on fire (I may have a little crush on her).
The verdict of the regulars though: Good, but lacking intensity(!)
Visit the Robadors 23 blog for details for more information on this and other music nights.
Pathetic Fallacy is the theme for the writing-illustration competition organized by BCN Mes. I had to go away and google it and even had to skim through a few literary critique articles. It was not fun.
But then I remembered the Ikea advertisement. I found it, watched it, and now I understand.
Watch and learn:
The pathetic fallacy is the treatment of inanimate objects as if they had human feelings, thought, or sensations. The word ‘pathetic’ in this use is related to ‘pathos’ or ‘empathy’ (capability of feeling), and is not pejorative. In the discussion of literature, the pathetic fallacy is similar to personification.
La Tela Marinera is the graffiti caption written on the title page of this blog, yet I’ve never known how to use it correctly.
Those days are behind me now. Thanks to Google. This is how to use this phrase (which roughly translates to ‘someone being f****d’, something being hard or being difficult.
He suspendido 4 asignaturas…….. tela marinera la que me espera con mis padres.
I’ve failed 4 subjects, hell awaits me with my parents (or my parents are going to give me hell)
Este vida tiene tela marinera (es muy difícil, o pesado o largo)
This life is hard.
Si, este vida tiene tela marinera. It is hard and I kinda feel like this young man here. Ever so so weary!
The Merce festival is here!
It’s Barcelona’s best street party, and it is completely free. Part of the reason this city is like no other.
Leave your worries at home, and get yourself to the streets. Don’t miss the lazer light show at the Sagrada Familia tonight, or all the good stuff which will be happening at Parc Ciutadella, Plaza Catalunya, the Raval and loads of other locations. Read the Merce programme here.
Last year I didn’t plan on doing much of the Merce. Yet in one weekend:
I watched Swan Lake performed in the night over the fountains of Parc Ciutadella. I played with an adorable ferret called Messi. I found an old friend putting up dreamlike inflatable illuminated sculptures in the park. I watched Pacman played out in lazer lights on the front of the council building in Jaume. We got singed and completely and deliciously terrified under the rain of fire that is the Correfoc (wear skin protecting thick clothes and sunglasses, that shit is crazy!). Then we danced under the fire department’s bizarre but very welcome ‘fire truck street shower’, and met a whole host of strange and funny people.
Adventures are waiting! See you in the streets.