As a warning: this piece has taken me ages to write. I’m not sure why I decided to do it, I thought it would be a good idea, but typical of me got half way through and got fed-up with it. So here is my unfinished symphony:Those travelling:
- Shaun Turner (Little Shaun)
- Ian Woodhouse (Blondie)
- Sean Burrows (Big Sean)
- Simon Heywood (me)
- Tim Finch
- Kiwi Andy
- James Woodley (Wobbly dog)
- Luke (What the fuck’s a girder mate?!)
Well I what I thought would never happen did, although even when I was in Barcelona I couldn’t quite believe it. Now I’m back, I can, and the reality of the cold winter nights is not nice to bear.
Sean Burrows first mentioned to me about going to Barcelona in the summer of 2001, I had only been out of Uni a year and so wasn’t exactly flush with cash but was willing enough to nail my credit card for flights. Accommodation was to be free apparently because Sidewalk had a place over there that people could stop at. As it turned out, the trip was a bit oversubscribed and I didn’t get to go, Sean did, which was useful on the occasions this year when he managed to get his sense of direction working.
Anyway, as soon as he got back he was banding about the idea of all the Huddersfield skaters going together. Of course everyone said yes, but I knew the chances of any us actually managing to get our act together and find the cash was slim. Especially without the leadership and organisational abilities of J (who was off around the world again with his missus).
So of course I had managed to get in more debt by this time, especially with the advent of Christmas (2001) and I finally maxed my credit card out to £2600. I couldn’t even see me saving the £110 for flights within the next ten years so I thought the chances of me managing to break my 13 years without a holiday were slim. However, things took a twist when I finally managed to escape my job and land a new one. I received a cheque through the post for my Pension contributions to date a sum totalling £300+. Being sensible I managed to transfer this out of my main account into a savings one, out of touch of my pissed up money withdrawing ability.
So I was game on again, but things were looking dodgy for everyone else, we are hardly the biggest bunch of earners on the planet.
With summer 2002 proving a let down, (the joys of Huddersfield), Sean took the lead and amazingly managed to organise all seven of us to get together and book flights. Originally we were meant to meet at Tim's house to book the fights over the internet, but since they were experiencing telephone line difficulties at the time the venue was switched to mine. Since I spend every waking hour on the internet this wasn’t a problem for me. So there it was all seven (well Blondie by proxy via Sean) all at my house actually booked the flights via easyjet for Tuesday 10 September. Ideally we would have preferred to fly from Manchester since it is easier for us to get to but, Liverpool would do. The cheapest flight was £110, Blondie unfortunately being the last to book by proxy got landed with £130 - for some reason the price kept climbing!
We hadn’t thought about the 11-September thing until well near the time of flight, but at least we were the day before, otherwise we might have been a bit more nervy. Another discovery I was to make just too late was that the annual BAM music festival was to be on in Barca the week AFTER we were there. Oh well, we were meant to be going skating so perhaps it was for the best.
So then the weeks passed, I was pretty busy at work so I didn’t really see anyone and didn’t do a lot of skating, and I hoped this would be a good thing and make me more up for it when we got out there. When it got within a week of going I didn’t dare go skating through fear of injuring myself. It still didn’t seem real, since when booking your flights over the internet all you get is a confirmation number, no ticket through the post or anything.
Kiwi, along with Sean and Tim seemed to be the crew when it came to sorting the accommodation out. I didn’t have to lift a finger. Sean and Tim had both been before, Sean stopping in a Hostel and Tim in a Hotel so they hand a bit more of a clue where to stop. I don’t really know how the decision was reached, but we ended up booked in at the Hostel d’Mar for £150 for 7 days, booked through STA travel in Leeds. As it turned out it wasn’t too bad. Nothing posh, just the basics. It was clean but a bit old and run down. There are probably better places if you are going. On a plus side security seemed to be pretty good, you couldn’t exactly sneak in and out. Plus it was near enough to the beach.
In the mean time I spent ages umm-ing and arrr-ing over whether to get a camcorder. I really didn’t want to go with the skaters I was going with and miss the chance for all that footage. I knew little Shaun had a camera but I could really do with my own DV one. So I took the plunge and racked up more debt on my credit card, at the same time getting a bigger hard drive for my computer for all that footage.
3 days to go. Stoked, it was definitely happening, off the the post office to change what little money I had to take with me for Euros (£50 = €75) and then to the bank for travellers cheques (£100 worth). Many people advised me to get travellers cheques, but my advice is that if you are taking as little money as me and only stopping for a short time just not to bother. Unless you want the hassle of going to the bank (the tricky thing here is getting up in time, not actually changing them). Everything sorted.
I also got a lingo book since I knew Barcelona was pretty proud on it’s language (Catalan) and that it would be useful to speak it. The best I could find was a Lonely Planet Spanish phrase book that also had a section on Catalan (and other dialects). A good guide book with sensible phrases, not useless stuff. An entire relationship from meeting someone, chatting them up shagging them and making excuses in the morning in is contained within two pages! If you have access to the internet I would try this very useful site for learning the language:
A few very late additions to the holiday occurred. One I half knew about, Luke, and one I definitely knew about because it was the same week Sean phoned me about 15 times to check the flight numbers. A few times for the taxi company and then for James so he could book the same flight. If James hadn’t of come the Holiday would have been no where near as interesting.
I have to say I felt like a kid at Christmas the night before. I couldn’t sleep at all. Well excited. The day had arrived:
We were all to meet at Tim's house for 1 o’clock although from speaking to most people everyone was going to get there earlier to be on the safe side. The taxi had been booked for 2 o’clock to take us to Liverpool airport in plenty of time for the Flights at 5, no need to muck things up this late in the game.
I set off to Tim's and got there at midday (hmm, maybe a bit too eager on my part) only to find everyone out, oh well, only to sit and wait. Sean and Blondie turned up with James in tow. This was the first time I had met James and I really had no idea. Which is probably good. I really didn’t think he was 16 anyway.
It wasn’t too long until Tim and Andy arrived back with the other addition, Luke. And then Shaun and Nick turned up a bit later. Somehow we managed to sit (although not very still) for the next hour or so until the taxi(s) arrived. A 5 seater took everyone but me Sean and Nick who had to wait for a normal taxi to come a bit later. The bonus being that it nailed the 5 seater van on the motorway and we got to the airport first.
Yet another long sit and wait. The bonus being that the airport had a bar. I couldn’t believe how small Liverpool Airport was, even though it was years since I’d been in an airport Liverpool is small, although according to Sean it has got bigger than last year. All our baggage got put through as oversized I think for the sole reason we had skateboards. Sean's was inside his rucksack but still got put through, and bizarrely Nick had a suitcase (with board strapped to the top that got put through as oversized as well. Luckily we had no strip searches and were deemed fit to leave the country. To the bar...
I was determined not to get pissed this holiday (which is unusual for me but I really couldn’t afford it, didn’t fancy getting lost on my own in the middle of Barcelona and really did want to get some footage down) so being presented with a bar so early on was a bit of a challenge. I of course had to have a couple but managed to leave it at that half through restraint and half through lack of English money. I managed to get in some early footage of a rather nice girls arse. Further temptation was to greet me when we where all boarded on the plane only to be told that we had to get off due to a fault. A further 2 hours spent in the lounge meant everyone got wasted (well James and little Shaun) and that I had to break into my already sparse holiday euros. Pissed skateboarder top trumps entertained us and the rest of the departure lounge until Titan airways (a business class airline, no less) turned up to take us to Barcelona. At last...
We arrived via a two hour plane journey, of which I spent most of asleep. The benefit of getting pissed at Liverpool meant that we were practically the last to board the plane which left us sitting at the back. This is without a doubt the best place to sit on a plane. Takeoff is like a roller coaster ride. It was ace.
Barcelona airport was slightly bigger than Liverpool! No wobbly metal steps out of the plane, a proper tunnel was attached to convey us into the now deserted airport. It was relatively easy to navigate and our baggage thankfully arrived with us which left us to venture outside to the 22 degrees warmth at midnight. I could get used to this. The plan was to originally get a bus into the city, but since it was a bit late by now we decided to take three taxis on a indecisive route that eventually took us directly to the hotel.
It is amazing how unbelievably English you can be and get away with it. We really are a shit nation for it, but it is OK as everyone in the world takes pity on our inability and laziness to learn another language and speaks English. Apart from these TAXI drivers. But when it comes down to it and you need to communicate some how you get the message across. If only I’d had time to read my phrase book!
On arrival to the hotel we had to leave James and Luke sat outside while we managed to get booked in. Somehow. The first thing we got told was to be quiet. Yeah right like that was gonna happen all holiday. James was going to crash in Sean's and Iain's room, and Kiwi2 obviously with Kiwi1. English seems to be the third language in Barca, with Castilian (Spanish) second to Catalya (Catalan). It was very odd that nearly everyone in the hotel asked for there room number (key) in English. Where ever they were from. In the only time I did try to ask for it in Catalya I think my accent was that naff they didn’t have a clue. Oh well.
From this point on in the Holiday, memories become blurry, so the part where I should be writing lots, I probably won’t. I know that we all decided to go out to the Ramblas, and the good thing about getting to Barcelona late is that things were well underway. We got some food on the Ramblas and had a beer and I managed to get my Catalan and Castilian mixed up oh well. Hmm hazy already. Then I don’t know if we went back or not, but i know that the rest of us (not Kiwis) ended up down on the harbour where all the cheesy clubs are etc. More blurriness. Then it was 3 in the morning and everywhere shut. So we wondered down to the side of the clubs where there are all these amazing brick humps that everyone has probably seen in a video or mag. We sat here for ages going on about what we were going to do over them, etc, only to never visit them again that holiday. On the wander back to the hotel we decided it would be a good idea to get our boards and go for a skate which is what we did. Some how big Sean's sense of direction was working and we got to MACBA and immediately bumped into some of James and Iain’s mates from Brum. I think I got some reasonable footage [it turns out I did], well at least a couple of tricks. I guess we got to bed at about 6.
So the first proper day. I’m not sure whether it was this day or the next when we managed to get up and miss each other and ended up in three groups. Anyway amazingly enough wandering to the Ramblas to get some food me, Shaun and Nick managed to bump into Andy, Luke and Tim who had probably already been skating for ten hours. So then I guess we went back to the hotel and got our boards and were forced to go skating. I think it was at this point I decided to get my camera. We went to the ‘yellow blocks’, don’t remember if the spot had another name (the place is covered with flys) and somehow Luke already had a map with spots marked out. He may have already gone to Free the skate shop and got all the spots marked out but I don’t know maybe this was later and he already knew where this was. I have never met anyone so enthusiastic for skateboarding in my life.
So apparently this is is a pretty famous spot, as I remember down the bottom end of town. It seems a pretty dodgy area so I would be careful with your bags and that here. The place is plagued with trees which makes filming a bitch - everything gets in the way. Guess it could be picturesque but I didn’t manage it. Tim managed 3 kick flips to manual in a row and i think I managed to miss every single one . But they were ace and nailed piece of piss style every time.
And then IT happened. I think I was following sean along doing a krook on the edge of the block, and somehow even though I’d purposely tried to avoid the gaps where the trees are I hung up and hit the floor. No time to do anything at all. And even though the camera was strapped to my wrist that was it bust. I was absolutely gutted at this point and maintained this feeling quite steadily for probably the following three days. I did try to skate but my heart wasn’t in it. Can’t remember a huge amount from the rest of this session.
We wandered off in search of some other bizarre treasures that no one really knew how to get to. We eventually reached the black box place (revisited from our first night). Now this place is ace. Probably nothing special to your average Barcelonian, but you don’t get many long black marble benches in England. Apparently someone famous did some ace trick here that is dead hard. And I can believe it. All I managed was a board slide, but Shaun was doing crooks, Luke doing b/s tail slides, Tim was probably doing something fantastic I’m just not sure what. I think this was the first and last time I skated here (was filming the first night) and I’m a bit gutted because It was good.
We set off back towards home via the Free skate shop but it was shut. Then, amazingly, we bumped into big Sean, Blondie and James who had been in a pub all day, we were just going for some food or something. So then something or other happened, I know we didn’t all go off together not that you care, I’m just trying to exercise my memory. Quite possibly we ended up getting arse holed. And this could well have been the night where we ended up in Sean and Iain's room and I decided I’d had enough and wandered off down the corridor to bed. I wasn’t really thinking here though since I had the only key and was about to enter a coma state that a nuclear explosion wouldn’t awake me from.
Being that I’d lost track of the evening’s events a long time earlier I was unaware of the teenagers’ ploy to go and find some prossies, so lo and behold Shaun and Nick come along five minutes later to get their euros and can’t get in the room. These events led to the teenagers nearly getting all of us in trouble. And James not recommending any of it in the morning: A trip to reception by Shaun and Nick to get a spare key with James in tow was a bad idea. Well, just the bit with James in tow was the bad idea, obviously the spare key was quite a sensible move since there was no way I was waking up. Harassing the hotel owner/manager is never a good idea and especially not whist ratted and at 6 in the morning or something.
But, somehow nothing bad happened, we didn’t get kicked out, and it is not rare for people in Barcelona to be kicked out of Hotels for anti-social behaviour. James is definitely one of those people that will get away with murder because he is just so cheeky.
Day 2 Thursday (dijous in Catalya)
I started trying to organise this bit into days, as I thought that would help me remember what happened, but it hasn’t really. Oh well.
So once again we probably got woken up early by the eager ones, but were too hung over to do anything. What happened here?
I think we decided to go on a mission with the mission people themselves. who had some bizarre route planned out to the suburbs because they’d been to the skate shop to get directions. We set off on the way on the metro. If its hot outside during the day time then the metro is a nightmare. I personally would avoid it at all costs although it is dead easy to do thanks mainly to the ULTRA helpful staff who recognise idiot English skateboarders from 100 miles away and come and help you outright. We had such a helpful lass, she told us how to get where we wanted to go and even told us to get a T-10 ticket (or something like that, that basically is a group ticket which would mean cheaper travel for us). She did give us a very dodgy look when we mentioned where we wanted to get to.
At some point on the route Blondie managed to convince the Kiwis that it was a waste of time trying to reach this spot. And in all fairness it probably was. The metro was rammed and well hot, and even with directions, we still didn’t know exactly where we had to go at the final stop. So we went to the Cathedral instead. This is a must visit if you go to Barcelona. The Cathedral is ace. It is an amazing piece of architecture and engineering. We all went up the tallest end, some 90m high. Absolutely spectacular views.
I think this evening everyone decided to take things a bit easier in an attempt to do some proper skating the next day, and also not to piss the hotel manger off too much!
Day 3 Friday (divendres)
Think I finally got around to changing my travellers cheques. I really wouldn’t bother with them if you are going for such a sort time, but if you need to change them just try to get up before 2 PM and go to one of the ‘La Caixa’ banks. Dead easy really, you just need to know: “Voldria canviar txecs de viatge, sisplau.” and that's it game on. Once I’d done that I tried to find the post office to send some postcards, this was kind of a case of not seeing the wood for the trees. Its the fucking huge building that looks like a museum. And not at all like a post office. Bit trickier in here, basically you get a ticket and wait for your number to come up on the display and it tells you what service window to go to. Then it’s just a matter of “ Voldria enviar postals, sisplau” Or something like that. Cost me €1.5 for three postcards. Then all you have to do is wait weeks and weeks for them to turn up whilst everyone is saying “I don’t believe you sent me one, blah blah.”
This was, I think, the day when we properly discovered the beach. Sean and Woodley had of course already discovered the beach and probably every pub and bar on the way. Woodley was definitely a bad influence on Sean. One good pub, just down the road from our hotel towards the beach was an Irish bar called The Fastner. Good Irish breakfasts and a very fit blonde who had just started working there.
The weather had been pretty good all the time, and it was well hot down on the beach. I personally hadn’t been swimming in the sea for years and I don’t think anyone else had been for awhile so of course we all piled in. Apart from Sean who insisted on being as English as possible and sitting on the beach in his jeans. We were in the sea for ages getting completely battered by the waves, but didn’t really think anything of it.
Day 4 Saturday (dissabte)
So back to the beach again, however, this time it became apparent why the beach wasn’t so busy yesterday, and that the 20 ft waves yesterday weren’t the norm. Aaah, graceful exits from the sea, no trying to sit my way out of the sea since if you stood up you got piled under, no more walking back to the hotel with half the beach in my trunks - we collected quite a bit of the beach in our bathroom.
Having spent nearly all day on the beach staring at the, quite frankly, amazing women, I guess it was time to go out on the piss again.
Woodley's Dive (Bez) into the Harbour
A complete story in itself. A legend that will no doubt appear in Sidewalk if it hasn’t done so already. I am so glad Woodley came on holiday.
I have no idea when this actually happened. It was on a night when we weren’t planning to go, out but we’d just gone down to the harbour to chill and sit and laugh at everyone else.
Anyway at some point in the evening we noticed something going off on the bridge over part of the harbour. A load of Spanish guys and girls had half stripped off and dived in, prompting a few others to follow suit. We of course all egged James on, since he is the kind of person you can persuade to do anything by merely suggesting the idea. It doesn’t take much. So that was it Woodley down to his boxer’s and with his one sock stees bezzed it over the handrail and into the harbour. We were in absolutely tears, it was well funny.
Everyone was swimming over towards this pier in front of where all the night-clubs are, so we picked up James's clothes and started to walk round to meet him. Only for that moment in time a load of police to turn up. And I’m not exaggerating (that much) either. There was a fair few cars pull up from nowhere and a few policemen pile out.
Dealing with police at the best of time is not much fun, but in another country and in another language - scary. They basically grabbed anyone who was carrying clothes, which happened to be me and little Shaun. I think they assumed we were part of the larger Spanish group who had all piled in. Some how, we slowly edged our way back from the group who were having their details taken down. We half expected to get shouted at, but nothing happened so we got rid of the evidence. Well put it on. Shaun had about tens layers of tops on, which must have looked odd since it was still warm even though it was late at night/early in the morning. I somehow managed to stuff Woodley's trainers in my back pockets and pull my top over them to hide them a bit. We wandered round to catch everyone else up to find out that Woodley couldn’t actually get out of where he was. Everyone had swam towards this jetty aiming to get out, only to find that they were on the premises of a (locked shut) private yacht club. Hence the reason why the police turned up, it seems that trespassing is not to be taken too lightly in Spain. Be warned.
We sat around on the steps for awhile pondering what to do. Since James only had his boxers on Shaun handed the clothes to one of the policeman at the entrance. I went up to give him his shoes only for me to somehow end up having to follow him in. At this point I really wished I’d learnt more Catalan. I was a polite as possible and said thank you, etc, and he led my through to the back where everyone was sat. James was glad to see me. There were a few people and police out the back, including some other English guy who had been thrown in by his mates (he was on a stag do) and now his mobile phone was knackered, plus all his friends had deserted him (remind me never to have a stag do).
Trying to understand the police was tricky, they kept crossing their hands to indicate handcuffs, scary stuff. I could see me and James having a trip to the cells. Eventually they mentioned something about money, and whether we had 25 euros. I was well apprehensive at this point, I thought they were asking for a bribe. Waving money about in front of Police is never a good idea, you never know if they are simply going to turn round and arrest you. I hadn’t realised at this point in time that the whole reason for the police turning up was simply because a load of people had ended up on some private property. The 25 euros was just a fine, and if you could pay it you went free. Thank fuck, I had just been to the bank earlier and got out 50 euros on my credit card, because I’d already spent all my traveller’s cheques money. (James, you still owe me 25 euros). The bit I found the funniest was being shown out. James had to fill in his details on a form and they kept asking where he was staying (which strictly speaking was nowhere), and James was telling them “Hotel D’Mar” in his Brummie accent, which the police understood none of. So they looked at me and I said “Hostel D’Mar” in the best accent I could, and that was it, understood! Ha, stoked. Must have a natural flair for the Catalan accent. Not.
After all that, James emerged to a hero's welcome, and that was it straight into the nearest club opposite. I well and truly needed a beer.
Day 5 Sunday - Death day - (diumenge)
Perhaps some of my hazy memories can be attributed to this day as well as all the beer I consumed. I really can’t remember much of this day at all. We probably chilled on the beach all day and then went skating later in the evening. We were skating the so called ‘ new spot’ probably because no one skates there. It’s down by the harbour and is plastered with Audi flags, looks a lot like an Audi garage without any signs of he actual garage.
It’s basically full of smooth surfaces and loads of benches to skate. Pretty good, and very chilled (no one around). I was mainly filming with little Shaun’s camera since I can’t skate for toffee any more, but I decided to have a bit of a potter about. Apparently all I was trying to do was ollie over one of the grass verges (you know the square holes in pavements where trees are planted) and fudged it. Completely. Only got about half way and since I was going at mach 10 just hit the floor well hard. That was it out for the count.
Came round with a massive bump on the head that I kept forgetting I’d got so every few minutes I’d touch my head and exclaim “fuck me I’ve got a massive bump on my head!” - apparently. Since I’d basically fallen sideways into the floor I also managed to knacker my shoulder. My collarbone was already a bit of an odd shape having broken it a few times, so I feared the worse, but it turned out I’d just torn a ligament. Mind you it’s nearly two months since now, and it’s still not 100%. Bloody skateboarding.
My head. Not a nice experience, I remembered where I was, but didn’t have a clue where the hotel was, so everyone had to walk me back. Didn’t get up to a lot that evening. Sean had stopped in all day , as he had developed a dodgy Spanish belly, probably mainly due to Woodley’s influence. Poor Sean was just too old to keep up with him.
That night was not fun, kept forgetting what I’d just done and generally felt shite. Finally managed to get to sleep sat up in bed at some stupid time in the morning only for “what the fuck’s a girder mate!?” to come in and wake us all up.
Day 6 monday (dilluns)
Well after yesterdays events not a lot was going to happen. Both me an Sean were feeling shit. So at the same time Blondie, Woodley and Sean had been postponing their flights home for a few more days, me and Sean decided to do one. I couldn’t really afford it, but when you are ill, home is best. It cost us about £120 between us to change our flights, but it was dead easy to do so off home it was. Taxis are dead easy to pick up in Barcelona, they stop everywhere all we had to do was walk out of the hotel and wander down the main road and hey presto taxi. Which was definitely a good thing since my knackered shoulder meant I had to carry my entire rucksack on one should with my other arm in a sling. Not easy and not comfortable for very long. Bizarrely on the way Sean bumped into one of his mates from back home who was out on Holiday with her boyfriend. Bizarre, but if you’re going to have that kind of thing happen to you it is going to happen in Barcelona.
We got to see Barcelona airport for what it’s really like this time - packed full of travellers. It is absolutely huge, stacked full of shops.
Going back a day early mean that they would be no taxi to great us. The taxi was booked for the following day to pick all seven of us up. Not really wanting to spend any more money then we had already we tried blagging anyone we knew back home. However, since we weren’t landing ‘til midnight ish and the fact that we were landing in Liverpool, everyone was a bit reluctant. Apparently no one loved us quite enough. Since hardly anyone was flying back on the planned date Sean phoned through to the taxi firm to tell them just to send one car and also to book a taxi to pick us up. Oh well, another £50.
We had a bit of time to kill in the airport, we were both meant to be getting our birds something so we had a look round the shops, but since we both felt like shit it didn’t really happen. We did manage to get some fags for one of Sean’s colleagues, and eat a bit of food.
The flight back went smoothly, it was a gutting feeling and one of relief as well. I really hated leaving those temperature behind. So that was it, back in Liverpool, taxi waiting for us. All in all we’d successfully brought back one dodgy stomach, a knackered shoulder, bust head, a smashed camera and 600 fags. Jobs a goodun...
THE END (Thank fuck we only went for a week)
Well, not the end. Further Instalments:
I can’t be bothered to sort out at what point these things occurred, because I’m pretty sure that I’ve not got anything in the right order anyway. But a few interesting highlights of the trip were:
Strange goings on on the Rambles
The Rambles, or Ramblas, or however it’s spelt is the focal point of Barcelona. Everyone has heard of it even if they haven’t been there and even if they haven’t got a clue what it actually refers to. You couldn’t avoid it even if you wanted to.
Although we didn’t intentionally spend time on the Rambles it is the main high street so if you are walking anywhere else invariably you will end up on the Rambles. If you have nothing at all to do it is the place to kill time.
On evening/night walking back from somewhere we passed this guy sat on the floor surrounded by pots and pans. James, being James, started talking to one of this guy's mates. Apparently the pots and pans guy was some music student who was basically out busking. I think the guy had finished for the day as he pretty much looked like he was packing up. However, since James had stopped to talk, it meant the rest of us had as well, which meant passers-by were immediately thinking “What’s this group of people looking at?” So, in the space of a few seconds this guy had a fair amount of people waiting for something to happen, so he must of thought there was no harm in playing one more time.
Now at this point, you are probably thinking the same as what I was thinking at the time, “It’s only fucking pots and pans lets go and get a beer”. But, then he let rip, and it was a different class from the kind of wooden spoon pots and pans drum playing you do as a kid. Packed full of energy, rhythm and other musical terms this kid was going for it. Faster than a drum and bass night. He also managed to play everything around him, including the corrugated paving tiles, the lamp post behind him and some junction box or other next to him. In fact he was playing that full on at one point this glass bottle he was playing exploded, which only prompted a massive cheer and him playing even faster in response. I guess he did ok for collections after that.
There are a lot of weird things on the Rambles, the kind of things that your council would put on as entertainment in the summer, and aren’t really that good, you know... cheap. The in thing when we were there seemed to be being a statue. The whole painted statue thing to dressing up in cheap imitation Simpsons costumes, but invariably involving being as stationary as possible, which, I guess, is pretty much the point of being a statue.
We actually did some skating.
On an evenings skating adventure (we did do some), we went on some really obscure sea front route. I bet this is ace fun normally, booming along the sea front feeling the sea air, however on this night we felt it a bit too much. As soon as we walked round the last row of buildings, protecting the rest of inland from the coastal weather, we where hit by wind. It made skating along not so much fun, but we did it all the same since we were there anyway. Someone had, on their travels (whether previous to or during this holiday I don’t know), found this ace metal topped ledge going down this pretty steep drive. It was far too gnarly for me, but James (ever reliable) was stepping up and landing to 50-50 on this ledge. He was reaching a scary speed and then bailing off. Anyway, a few others were trying and then someone (probably James) bailed off half way down only for their board to career down to the bottom of the slope. This brought the attention of some security guards round the corner at the bottom, as it turned out we we skating the main entry/exit to an ambulance station! Whoops on our part, and they we understandably less than pleased. We managed to escape ok, but at one point it looked like Blondie was going to lose his board to one of the burlier security guards. Another time when it really would have helped to speak the language (and perhaps read the big ‘ambulance’ sign!)
Just round the corner there was this massive (well for any normal skater) gap that Tim stepped up to. It was basically a marble ledge about a foot and a half wide and about knee height, with about a metre or more gap in-between ledges. The good and bad thing about it was that it had grass right next to it, which is good for falling off, but bad for hanging up on if your board didn’t run true. I think he cleared the gap in a couple of attempts. Pretty rad with a well hard run up and landing. How I wish my camera had been working!
Anyway, we continued on our journey (and god knows how anyone knew where this was because I sure could never find it again) to these really (again, apparently famous spot) sketchy concrete banks, little pool and spine ramp right on the sea front. Proper full on sea breeze must be a good feeling if you are able to skate the ramps, which I wasn't. Had a bit of a play on the bank but couldn’t do anything on that, even for me I was being piss poor. Sean, Blondie and little sean were comp-ing for kickflips to fakie on the bank which were impressive, becuase the bank has a well dodgy kink about half way up. Kind of 45 degree to vertical thing. The pool next to it was more fun for razzing about in. I’d recommend playing in this. Hmm, not much else to say about this place, it isn’t amazing, but I guess if you are in Barca it’s one of those spots you should visit. Apparently there was a comp on the next day so it does get used.
Well there are certainly a few places to choose from. Anywhere in the main square (sorry can’t remember what it’s called, but it’s off the rambles and you can’t miss it) is a good start. There will always be loads going on and loads to watch, the in place to hang out. Further afield in all the back street there are loads of bars worth visiting. There is a rock/metal bar that I can’t remember the name of, that is ace. It’s one long room, with two bars either side at the top end. It’s very dark and dingy and decorated with rock/metal album covers. Well worth a visit as long as it’s not too busy, since then it gets too sweaty. If you want cooler places to hang out (in more ways than one) the Magarita Blue is worth a visit. A groovy cocktail bar. Asking for cocktails is strange enough in your own language, let alone another, go ahead and experiment - at random. Oh and if it helps; to ask for a beer Politely is Voldria un cervasa, sisplau. otherwise just una cervasa sisplau. Still not sure how you say whether you want draught or bottle, but what the heck, a beer is a beer. Generally you will get a bottle rather than a pint. caña is draught so i guess it’d be cervasa cana, where as a bottle would be botella di cervasa, or something like. Either way they won’t understand your accent, but the attempt will be appreciated.
Club wise, all the shitty touristy rip off pubs are on the harbour front, well dodgy and not open to well late. If you are going to these you are best of getting leathered first and then not drinking when you get there. Just go for the ladies. The only proper club we did was the Karma club in one corner of the main square. This was on a Saturday/Sunday night and was a really good night. A good mix of locals and tourists. It’s a pretty small downstairs club, that looks pretty much like an underground bomb shelter or something, two long small archways, one containing the bar and one containing the dance-floor. Music was pretty mixed, the only song I can remember was Rebpublica and get ready to go, but stuff was along that vein.
One of the best (most funniest to me, probably not to read ..) beer stories of the holiday was the evening when me blondie little shaun were absolutely starving, I think we had been fannying about all day, and along the way James nick and big sean had got food, so weren’t bothered for any. Anyway we went to the Moka (these seem to a world wide chain although I can’t find a web site for them) because its good basic food cheap. The others disappeared up the road for a ‘point’ so we finished our food and were far less ratty, since it had taken us a while to get served wait for food and eat it we didn’t expect it to be too long before the others appeared back again, as they had ‘promised’ they definitely would. So we sat outside with a beer. Still no sign. Another beer and no sign. We were getting a bit pissed off because although we could bugger of it it’s a bit crap if they did eventually turn up. Eventually the did, absolutely leathered, well Nick and James were anyway. Nick after saying to me that morning he wasn’t going to get that pissed. It turns out they had just had gone for one beer but sean had ordered this grande’ beers that turned out to be just that. Absolutely huge. Apparently you couldn’t pick them up with one hand and had to use a straw, so by the time they’d finished them it was about the same as four or more pints. Since they were so leathered and therefore amusing, it set the rest of the night off on the right foot, best play catchup!
and that really is the end. I wish I’d never decided to write any of this.