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Happy New Year, 2020 from Barcelona

31st December 2019

Wishing you a healthy, productive and prosperous 2020. 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, warm human being.

Oscar’s work is best known locally through his regular illustrations for the newspaper, La Vanguardia and the journal, Mercurio. 

Anyway, here’s wishing you all the very best for 2020.

Fins aviat!

BLOG, Now

October 14 protests against Spanish state.

14th October 2019

Commentary on Monday, October 14 protests in Barcelona 

20:24:

The October 14 protests were convened as a response to the Spanish state’s savage revenge prison sentences handed down to 9 political prisoners.
The Democratic Tsunami have succesfully blockaded Barceloa-Prat airport. So far, 108 flights cancelled.
Tsunami-D have also blockaded Madrid-Barajas airport with 1,200 cars.

72-hour student strike in all Barcelona’s universities.

General Strike called for on Friday, October 18th.
Catalan writer Quim Monzo says the concentration of peoeple at Barcelona airport is growing. He advises people heading to the airport to take plenty of food and drink — it’s going to be a long night, and possibly longer.
Here’s a link to a summary of some of the day’s events as up to 18.33: HERE

20:39:

Here’s a link to El Nacional in English HERE

Police at the Airport have impounded all the fire-extinguishers from the car-parks.

Only 3 arrests confirmed so far.

A journalist for RAC1 was hospitalised following  his head making contact with a police truncheon.

21:00:

The tractors are out on the streets of Masnou.

Protests too in Vic, Girona and Manresa..

Latest video news from the Airport HERE

21.15:

Aerobús service to Airport is only running between Placa Espanya and the Airport.

Large demonstration in Lleida.

Can hear a cassolada in progress.

21:45:

Cassolada now ended.

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City FC manager and all-round good guy has issued a statement on You Tube HERE

Just watched a short video of protests outside the Spanish Embassy in London shot earlier this evening.

22:20:

Protestors are leaving the Airport. Mission accomplished.

There is now evidence to prove that the police at the Arport did use rubber bullets (or balls) — use of rubber bullets and balls is illegal in Catalunya.

 

 

 

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Feliç Sant Jordi 2018!

23rd April 2018
Sant Jordi rose by Oscar Astromujoff

A rose for you, as created by my friend, Óscar Astromujoff.

You may have seen Óscar's illustrations for La Vanguardia and other periodicals.

To explore more of Oscar's artwork go HERE.

Ok, so now you have your rose you'll need a good book to go with it: HERE.

Enjoy Sant Jordi.

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The News in Barcelona

30th September 2017

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'

Repression

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.​

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Happy New Year 2017 from Barcelona

31st December 2016

 

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.

Fins aviat!

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A week before Learning to Drive in Barcelona

6th July 2015
Bacalao al pil pil con pebrots de Padrón by Bil Sinclair

A glimpse of how life is lived here.

Sunday

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.

Monday

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.

Entrance to an apartment building on Carrer Provença

Entrance to an apartment building on Carrer Provença in L’Antiga Esquerra de l’Eixample

Tuesday

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.

Vinçon, Barcelona

Thursday

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.

Friday

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.

IMG_4220IMG_4229

Saturday

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.

IMG_4356

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.

Enjoy Barcelona.

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Art, Food, Wine & great company in Barcelona

5th February 2015

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.

Francesc Artigau

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.

  • Here’s a LINK to background about the exhibit.
  • And, here’s a LINK to the artist’s website.

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.