Friday, July 22, 2005


Two Weeks Of Mayhem

Yes I guess I haven't had a chance to check this Blog for a couple of weeks in the meantime, things have gone kind of ballistic, with some serious changes. Leading off on the personal - I've moved house again, hopefully for the final time this year, but that was all a bit of a drama in itself.

I had been waiting seven weeks to move into a rooftop apartment in Clot (photos earlier in this Blog, the huge 50m2 place with the terrace), however when I turned up to pay the remainder of the deposit, with a view to moving in on the 18th... the owner gracefully informed me that he had decided to stay put - he had been offered a long term job locally and it was something that he couldn't afford to turn down. As this was the second time he had done this to me, then needless to say my reaction was a little less than graceful - involving lots of cussing & waving my hands in the air, and as he was English it wasn't even possible to blame this on any kind of cultural misinterpretation. Resulting with my stomping off in a fury - spitting & cursing.

So I had to get down to some serious work in all the local English language websites - tracking down a new apartment, that was going to suit me. Managed to get through a good half dozen before I found the right baby for me... some were disastrous, one was just a smelly squat on a roof, one looked like your 80 year old maiden aunt had just nipped out to buy some sherry, one was in the mysterious "Catalan half floor" between the top of a shop and the rest of the apartment building proper... OK if you're a dwarf or like to feel like you're starring in "Being John Malcovitch". Another in Gracia was in a fairly modern 70's block with an incredible wall unit, full of the weirdest nooks and crannies, I liked that but unfortunately there was not a single stick of furniture, so that was out of the question for the time being.

Finally I came up with a kind of a compromise, which is a nice one bedroom, living room, kitchen & bathroom new conversion in El Raval, in the very beautifully named Calle de la Lluna or "Street of the Moon", not really as romantic as it sounds - but pretty cool. It's a bit more expensive than I would have liked (especially after the two months deposit & one month agency fee) however it has virtually everything I need - TV, washing machine, fridge, microwave, kitchen stuff, iron & ironing board all the furniture & bedding... and the rent includes all the bills and wi-fi web connection. It's up on the first floor, so there is a little balcony where you can sit with your feet up, drinking tea and watching all the domestic dramas unfolding in the street below or on all the other balconies - as it's pushing 30 degrees most days at the moment, there is a tendency for most people to live their lives outside anyway. Watched the beginning of Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" the other day - but had to turn it off - to many strange similarities, except for Grace Kelly of course... but a chap can always dream.

What else? place has a huge beautiful roof terrace, from where you can see all across El Raval to MACBA and beyond - so some nice lazy afternoons up there must be on the cards. The street itself is paved so there's no regular traffic coming through, except people making deliveries and kids on motos, there's a crazy parrot or miner bird a few houses down that chats all day long and a dusty old shop selling nothing but microscopes and cutaway display models of the human body (thats a bit spooky). Also by a complete coincidence by mate Lloyd & his wife live upstairs, I had no idea until I agreed the deal with the housing agent & she was telling me who else lived in the building - although we go out drinking & to gigs a lot, I had never been to his house before I ended up living in it! Other good things include the huge number of very cool old bars in the barrio, places that have obvious been here fifty years or more - the excellent La Paloma ballroom is just around the corner & it's walking distance to everywhere you could ever want to be in central Barcelona, so no more waiting for that bloody N4 Nitbus, back to Gracia at the end of a long nights drinking.

Bad points - the huge proliferation of tasty Doner Kebap houses in the nearby streets & on Rambla de Raval... and they are all open until really late at night as well, so wherever you may be after a few ice cold, foaming golden cerveza beer drinks - there is always going to be a tasty Shish Tawuck between you and your bed. Nothing like waking up in the morning & finding garlic sauce stains all down the front of last night's shirt, & wondering how long you'd been staggering around in that state without noticing. 

So last weekend was spent moving - despite the oppressive heat, trundling all my little boxes of goodies (well books, cds & vinyl really) onto the bus on my little trolley from Gracia to Raval - getting to a destination & crashing out with a litre of orange juice & plenty of ice, then back the other way & doing the same. Big ups to my friend Rebeca who was nice enough to help me out with her car as well... This week has been spent filling all the empty shelves & cupboards with all the stuff you need when you get somewhere new - all the boring shit, like cleaning products & cooking stuff... yawn. 

I do seriously regret not being able to have made it over to Las Vegas for Ned & Naomi's wedding on the 9th July, at the "Little Church Of The West" - it looked like great fun & a honeymoon in the giant pyramid of the Luxor hotel - that's living it up. One question though - what happened to having your photo taken on the giant revolving swans at Caesars Palace? Still I can always say "I was there back in the day when they 'nearly did it before', January 1999... remember it well, if it hadn't been for that big sexy Klingon in the Star Trek exhibition - he must have turned her head that day"... 

Need to write some more but it's going to have to wait until later - I can hear those Doner Kebaps a calling from afar...

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