As you'll know there is a referendum on the future of Catalunya planned for tomorrow, October 1st.
The question on the ballot paper is:
'Do you want Catalunya to be an independent state in the form of a republic? YES/NO'
As well as sending in an additional 6,000 National Police officers and Civil Guards with orders to dismantle and disrupt the logistics of the vote, the Madrid government has closed down more than 140 pro-independence websites without warning; have ordered Google to take down a Google Play app which gave instructions on how to vote; seized control of the regional government's communications centre; mobilzed an army of internet trolls; and tried to block dozens of Twitter accounts and feeds.
Madrid is spewing out vast amounts of propaganda and misinformation, much of it exaggerated beyond parody and much of it based on fabrication.
Used to be a regular reader of El País and El País in English — not any more.
For a concise, and more accurate, summary of events up until September 28th watch the introduction to Matthew Tree's English language Avui TV programme: HERE.
For more up to date information go HERE: El Nacional.
Adéu Monarquia — Hola República.
Wishing you a healthy, productive and prosperous 2017. And, if you can squeeze in some happiness, all the better.
See you next year. Sincerely hope it’s a great one for you.
The illustration is by our good friend, Oscar Astromujoff — a brilliant artist and illustrator —and a wonderful human being.
Oscar’s work is best known locally through his regular illustrations for the newspaper, La Vanguardia. In fact, there was one of Oscar’s illustrations in today’s (31/12/2016) edition. His artwork extends beyond simple illustration.
Thanks to Lali, his lovely partner, we were at Oscar’s apartment on Sant Esteve (Boxing Day) last week for a tea party. All good fun.
Anyway, here’s wishing you all the very best for 2017.
A glimpse of how life is lived here.
Caught up with a friend from the States en route to Italy.
We headed to Bar Bodega Quimet for a few vermuts before grazing around and settling awhile in a tapas bar, Gastarea, on Carrer Verdi, which I’ve never visited before, to enjoy a couple of montaditos before tucking into plates of bacalao al pil pil and pebrots de Padrón. I’ll be back.
After a stroll, and a relaxed cocktail at La Cigale, we ended the night in one of my favourite drinks bars, El Cine on Carrer del Torrent de l’Olla.
First thing, met with an esteemed international theatre and opera director to discuss his forthcoming visit to the Edinburgh festival.
Later, after spending an hour or so on a novel in progress (Heavensfield), and an hour or so on a non-fiction book (How to Eat like a Local in Barcelona), I met with a trusted friend at his parents’ apartment in L’Antiga Esquerra de l’Eixample. We discussed plans for a very special tri-lingual wine-tasting I’ll be hosting in November.
Today that once very special design store, Vinçon opened and closed its doors to the public for the very last time. I didn’t go along. I’d read Quim Monzó’s piece in La Vanguardia and… well, for slightly different reasons…couldn’t face it. Something about being here, in Barcelona, has now died.
In the evening I met with the film-maker, Justin Donlon, at Gredos, a granja, or snack bar, across the street from Verdaguer metro, to discuss my role in a planned documentary about the artist, Geoff Harwood.
In the evening, we met up with dear friends at Gredos and went along to a Beer Festival in Poblenou. It was a good do, and a grand time was had by all.
In the evening my better half, her son and I met at Bar Oller for a drink before traversing across Gràcia to a 22:20 screening of Isabel Coixet’s, Learning to Drive at Cines Verdi. We dropped into Bar l’Amistat, where we had morros and zarajos, before calling in at Lucania II, where we hoped to spend time enjoying slices of delicious pizza. However, it was really very busy, as always, and the clock was against us. We ate what we could but, at the end, had to ask for a doggy-bag. But it was still delicious, excellent pizza, which we scoffed surreptitiously during the movie.
The movie, Learning to Drive, starring Ben Kingsley, and directed by local dirctor, Isabel Coixet, was ok, verging on good. The acting, camerawork and editing all superb. But for me, the script lacked a certain necessary tension.
February 3rd, 2015 —
Off to an art exhibition opening at Vinçon for 8pm and to meet with two visitors from Montreal — Binky and Jennifer.
Very interesting evening.
The opening seemed much more busy than is usual. And, the age profile of those attending seemed much older than usual. The older demographic is in part explained by the fact that the artist, Francesc Artigau, first exhibited at Vinçon in 1975 — two years after the gallery opened. The exhibit consists of just one large painting split over three canvasses.
We met Binky and Jennifer, and, from the off we hit it off. We had a Moritz beer and a few bites of cheese, crackers, olives and llonganisa then took a tour of the store.
Bar Bodega Quimet
Then we all headed up to Gràcia and Bar Bodega Quimet — one of my favourite haunts for a bite and a drink. At around 9pm it’s a comfortable 15 minute stroll — during the day it can be a frenetic hike. During the day you spend as much energy, if not more, sidestepping the shoppers, gawkers and strollers, as you wend a way up Passeig de Gràcia.
Bodega Quimet was packed. Tuesday night on a cold, damp February evening — packed. Must tell you something.
We perched ourselves at the bar and ordered a bottle of Montsant and a few delicious bites. Then got ourselves seated at a table and ordered more bites and more wine. The chat flowed readily. Laughs came easily — in part prompted by my being locked in the toilets.
Good food, good drink — great company.
We met having exchanged a few emails — we parted as friends.
The Barcelona effect — again.