Monday, May 09, 2005

in a little spanish town

entry 4 (officially)

monday may 9th

Current level of conviction in own genius (out of 10): fairly uncaring either way
Hours of composition achieved in last 24 hours: 1 hour at a push
Hair day: decent cut, bit mullety at the back though... dullish colour. am trying to decide whether to go for broke and peroxide the whole lot but keep chickening out for fear of turning into satsuma impersonation

Who needs a job when you can swan off to Barcelona with top-notch super-boyfriend for a mid-week jaunt in the sun? Well, me still it seems, but blimey, the Catalonian capital wasn't half bad either... highlights were:

1) the flat itself - a cute bijou gem in the heart of the port, Barceloneta, slightly worn around the edges and authentically local, cats and dogs lording the streets etc
2) the public art - everything from the obviously celebrated architecture to the stretches of witty grafitti blistering up the walls to the contemporary sculptures on every corner; somehow can't quite imagine each new addition being met with Daily Mail-esque 'Call This Art' puffed-cheek outrage...
3) the Gaudi, naturally. Andy and I were reduced to Beavis and Butthead-like 'hur hur's at our first sighting, the opening of Parc Guell, unable to quite pass comment on the sheer outrageousness of it all. In plastic and MDF and placed in a theme park, the buildings would be beyond vile, but in stone and mosaic, and in crazy kindergarten colours, they're pure, audacious genius. The park looked like Hansel and Gretel's dream larder. The Sagrada Familia was utterly daft, with preposterous near-dayglo clouds of fruit nestling amongst melting towers; the bizarre 'Sanctus' lettering, in its 'Nando's' style font, seemed the tackiest advert for Christianity ever; the Gaudi end looked like it was slowly dripping into hell. My favourite building was the Casa Batllo, another kaleidoscopic fairytale of a house nestled on a glam corner of the Eixample district.
4) tussling with my fears of taking a starring role in some Jaws-attacks-Roger-Moore-in-Bond-movie-remake by taking the cross-harbour cable car over to Montjuic. Didn't die! Whopping views from the castle up on the mountain.
5) the exciting lottery that was going to hardcore Catalan restaurants and ordering off the Menu del Dia in the native tongue, not having a clue what would be served up. Most hilarious was the al fresco portside seafood place, Hispania, where Andy most definitely got the short straw - 1st course: asparagus and eggs (oh dear. he's allergic to eggs); 2nd course: two grilled whole octopi on a plate (ha ha ha) 3rd course: an apple on a plate (HA HAAAA!).
6) trailing through the quirky maze of alleys in the Barri Gotic and La Ribera quarters, filled to bursting with hip eateries and lowdown coffee joints and galleries a-plenty.
7) having proper beach-style holiday experience of wearing cossie and slathering on Factor 35 and reading book whilst laid out on a towel and enjoying 'bracing' gallops into and rapidly out of the sea. I am used to skimming stones on barren windswept East Yorkshire coasts whilst craving a hot sweet cuppa.

And much much more, making it back in time to see El Tone squirm behind Reg Keys' electrically-charged speech in Sedgefield.

And really, the following was maybe the simplest, but the best bit of all:

catalunyanpoem (4/5/05)

after the siesta, all hell breaks loose

Barceloneta erupts, streams of rainbow racket
tearing through the seamy mesh of streets
and colliding in our room through the two open windows
batteries of shutters clatter shops into being
and dogs fire barks like hot bullets in the alleyways
which ring and ricochet with cheap motorbikes
and their criss-crossing ammo-rattle
Spanish kids yell a tumble of colour
and lemonlime birds on the balcony opposite
overlap their tin whistle and piccolo riffs,
metal beads scattering on the bruising bass boom
of the cargo giant that stirs in the port

inside we’re our own Catalan sculpture
cool and still but for your dream-twitches
tiny electric shocks of sleep
as you lie, a curved weight in my lap

melting into me like Gaudi stone


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