We arrived at Barcelona (or ‘Barcelona’ as Freddie Mercury would’ve said, actually, he’d have loved Sitges the big girls blouse, no offence) at four-ish. We located our hotel near the old part of town, dumped our bags and took the metro to the Sagrada Familia, which was a bit of an anticlimax to be perfectly honest. The Gaudi part was more than acceptable, it’s the new part that’s so awful, it somehow resembles the aesthetic modernity of Milton Keynes made out of piss yellow sand.

Disappointed, we made our way to Las Ramblas (crowded, tourists, corporate) via Gaudi’s famed houses, more of a question box-ticking I’m afraid -don’t get me wrong, I like them but they didn’t have that ‘FUCK!’ factor I was expecting- and arrived in the old part of the city and a bar therein.

This was more like it, up until this point I was feeling a bit disappointed with the Barcelona, especially after having heard so much about it with regard to Madrid, a place I’m both familiar with and fond of. Getting lost in the cool alleyways that snaked and twisted endlessly through the tall, close buildings was just the ticket, at last I found myself being charmed by the city, then beguiled… Oh look! Another bar! Cava please, I mean por favour. And one of those meat things, Stavros.

We had dinner in a tiny seafood restaurant that featured a scaled down version of Picasso’s Guernica on the wall, the staff were very friendly and the food excellent, though I couldn’t help thinking we’d caught them off guard. We were the only two diners in there for the duration of the meal but lots of little blokes kept coming and going, I’m sure there was something going on but we couldn’t have cared less.

After a final snifter in a beautiful little gaff we went back to hotel. IC had managed to get a deal (£50 a night for a four star job close to the centre) but the room, albeit very acceptable, was a bit small with no view to speak of. Still the bathroom was good and the bed comfortable so we were happy.

The following day the weather was particularly hot so we dived back in the alleyways where it was cool and relaxed. We had a few hours to kill before setting off for the airport at four so we allowed ourselves time to eat tapas and have a few farewell glasses of cava which was most agreeable. I decided that I’d only just scratched the surface of Barcelona’s true potential, and that the people in this corner of the world were very nice, I certainly didn’t feel ready to leave.

We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare, so I was rather alarmed that our flight was called just as I’d ordered some wine from the bar. I popped over to the gate and noticed people were already boarding, yet we still had more than an hour before we were due to depart. IC was very laid back about the whole thing but I wasn’t, the thought of flying stuffed in between a couple of wankers was far from ideal. I insisted we drain our glasses and join the queue which was diminishing from the front and increasing on the end as other passengers started to arrive, reluctantly she agreed, probably sensing the rising panic in my face.

When we finally boarded the plane I was half cut, just as well really because the flight was packed solid, there wasn’t a double seat available so we were forced to separate and sit where we could. In front of me a plump woman in a floral dress suddenly burst into tears.

‘I want to sit with my husband!’ she cried. Behind her in shorts and sawn-off Slayer tee-shirt was yours truly, I decided to comfort her.

‘S’alright love, I wanna sit with my missus but we can’t have everything, sit there…’ I gesticulated generally to a space between a pair of middle-aged real-ale types.

‘You’re not helping!’ She bleated, as if I’d knocked her buritto out her fist, at which point a stewardess approached and very calmly asked me if ‘that was my partner.’

‘Piss off!’ I said, rather loudly I’m afraid (it just came out) which had the duel effect of instantly making the woman sit in the nearest seat, I can only assume I’d offended her into submission, and giving the stewardess a fit of the giggles, to the extent she had to rush down to the end of the plane to contain herself.

As it happens the flight wasn’t too bad, but that was only after taxing about on the runway for half a sodding hour. I could see IC a couple of rows ahead of me which was of enormous comfort and I was nicely arseholed to boot, I even bought another glass of wine for good measure. Fuck Easy Jet, by the way, I’d actually rather Ryan Air, and that’s saying something.

Speaking of Slayer tee shirts, I’ve just taken delivery of my first ever pair of reading glasses, apparently my regular pair are no longer able to cope with my dwindling eyesight when it comes to close-up views. For practical reasons I’ve had to attach my reading glasses onto spectacle keepers, a length of cord that enables you to dangle them off your neck when not in use, the sort of thing old fuckers have. Think Hinge and Bracket if you’re of a certain age. Anyway, they don’t work with the aforementioned attire.

Gerry’s chart, tune et al.

NO. ARTIST SONG TITLE Last Week Weeks On High Pos
30 Kate Bush Wild Man NE 1 30
29 Foo Fighters Arlandria 17 8 11
28 Cage The Elephant Aberdeen NE 1 28
27 Evanescence What You Want 20 6 14
26 The Big Pink Stay Gold 28 3 26
25 Blink 182 Up All Night 15 8 3
24 Manic Street Preachers This Is The Day 30 2 24
23 All The Young Welcome Home 19 16 1
22 The Jezabels Endless Summer 23 3 22
21 Alice Cooper I’ll Bite Your Face Off 24 2 21
20 Cerebral Ballzy On The Run NE 1 20
19 Brett Anderson Brittle Heart 21 4 19
18 The Kooks Is It Me? 12 8 10
17 Birdy People Help The People 26 2 17
16 The Subways We Don’t Need Money 10 9 2
15 Arctic Monkeys Suck It And See 18 3 15
14 I Am Giant And We’ll Defy 22 2 14
13 Cherri Bomb Spin 9 6 8
12 Airship Algebra 16 4 12
11 Bombay Bicycle Club Shuffle 7 9 1
10 Enter Shikari Sssnakepit 14 4 10
9 The Horrors I Can See Through You 5 7 3
8 White Lies The Power And The Glory 13 3 8
7 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds AKA What A Life 8 5 7
6 All The Young Quiet Night In 11 3 6
5 Mastodon Curl Of The Burl 11 5 5
4 The Duke Spirit Surrender 5 4 4
3 The Howling Bells Into The Sky 2 5 2
2 Battles ft Gary Numan My Machines 3 4 2
1 Jane’s Addiction Irresistable Force 1 4 1

8 responses to “barslona

  • JonR

    you really have to go all the way up to the top of the towers to appreciate the sagrada familia – i suffer from insane vertigo, so both times i’ve been up there it’s been trippy as fuck, because of the fear and giddiness.

    that poor woman on the plane. she only wanted to sit with her husband in case the plane went down and you all died. honestly, flying is awful, i avoid it as much as possible because i hate having to stare death in the face just to go on a fucking minibreak!


    Or Larry Grayson. I think Russell Harty had one as well. I also wear one of them efforts when I am sailing. So you are in good company and not in any way effeminate- a cross dresser, some one who’s least gay feature is that his best mate is called ‘Everard,’ a waspish camp TV star and a sailor (of sorts.) And now you. Just hope it’s not pink.

  • Fiona Mayhem

    I came here to say what JonR did about the Sagrada Familia. For some reason, I only get vertigo when descending a spiral staircase, but oh god what a knee trembler – for the view as well as the descent.

    Next time, I recommend hanging out in Barcelonetta. Great markets, lovely local bars, and Caves for the testing of wines and sherries (with tapas accompaniments, of course) and far far fewer tourists.

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