Three Reactions To Terrorism

It’s impossible not to comment on this today, as I have managed to be in the three main centres of terrorism most of this summer, London, Paris and Barcelona, and have seen distinct reactions to events. London’s attacks have felt like part of a long ongoing argument with dissenters that stretches back far into the […]

To Stay Or To Go?

My partner says he never heard the word ‘inside’ used to mean at home before he came to the UK. It’s true, we grew up thinking of us as being at home and everyone else as foreign. I blame the Victorians. I arrived back in Barcelona feeling virus-filled and exhausted, but after watching people in […]

That’s It, I’m Outta Here!

Well it’s official – I now have my new writing pad in Barcelona, and it’s going to be the opposite of the minimalist London abode that glares with light and trills with electronic devices. While I’m not quite going back to an Olivetti (heavy keys! mucky ink!) and a desk piled with papers, the place […]

Bowlers, Berets & Bullfights

A few days ago the Chinese told David Cameron that if he wanted to encourage Chinese tourism we’ll need to build more cottages with thatched roofs. At the same time, an interesting article came to light in (I think) Paris-Matin, suggesting that French culture was losing its way because of exactly this kind of conservative […]

How Edgy Is Your Neighbourhood?

Estate agents are forever looking for the next run-down area that can be gentrified, but certain spots defy what used to be called ‘Yuppification’, particularly in London, where post-war housing estates created no-go areas of criminality. For years I lived in Kentish Town, a slightly down-at-heel spot inhabited by council tenants, nurses, writers, artists and […]

Home In The City

Now that more than half of the world’s population lives in a city, I think we should continue looking at our urban surroundings, and I’ve been following the Gaudi comments with interest. One thing that must be taken into account is the fact that cities in Spain represent a unique case in Europe. After decades […]

Bloody Gaudi!

One last thing; I do have an issue with Barcelona that I’d forgotten about – bloody Gaudi. I traipsed around the Gaudi houses listening to an unctuous audio-tour and while I appreciate he was innovative in his thinking, I still hate that ‘Don’t put Shrek in charge of the icing’ look of his buildings. These […]

I Live In The Wrong City

I typed ‘Summer in London’ into Google and this is what I got. Then I typed in ‘Summer in Barcelona’ and got this. Last year, I took the cover off the barbecue twice, but wasn’t fast enough to beat the rain. Summer in London lasts for six weeks. The kind of weather we’d call summer […]

Eating My Way Across Barcelona

It’s true that you remember where you’ve been by what you’ve eaten, so here’s today’s Catalan treats – pinchos prepared to look like tiny iced cakes – in fact everything from crab and tuna to, well, I never did find out what the violet thing was. One was definitely creamed cheese and raspberry coulis, though. […]

Where You Going?

Barcelona. Oh. Enough Sondheim referencing. I’m in Barcelone for the weekend for several reasons. Making myself stop work. Blue skies. Jamon Iberico. The Rambla at Catalunya. Gaudi. Oh, and I’m getting my neighbour Shelley Von Strunckel some Marcona almonds from the Boqueria market, which has been here since medieval times. Since I was last here […]