Tag Archives: Barcelona

Do it right, baby! Well, at least the best you can.

Oh, God! It’s been ages since I wrote my last post, Germany won the World Cup, and that event seems to have been ages away. I had opened a draft document and written some stuff few days ago but I was so busy and last week was such a shitty one I think I deleted it at some point or just lost it. Meh! What a shit!

Guess I have to take control of this and some other writing homework for the magazine I still got pending to finish and start focusing, but summer is the killer season for a writer, blogger or any asshole who loves spending time in front of the computer, for this unbearable heat becomes even more terrible in front of a boiling screen. Believe or not, my inspiration and motivation go on holidays in summer, and it takes me ages to concentrate and think of anything interesting enough as to waste my time melting. But I’ll do it. I have to, and the best way to do it is to recover one of the funniest episodes occurred lately in my life.

3 hours later…

I had in mind telling you about the day I had to dj with just one CD player for a musical vermouth session at Es Xibiu. Finally I broke my curse and was invited to play some music  10 days ago. the offer couldn’t be placed in a better moment as there were some friends from Zaragoza and Madrid spending the weekend in Barcelona, and we had a reservation for dinner at O’Barquiño, a restaurant feauring some live performances of copla by some (unknown) old glories, freaks and transvestites. Really worth attending if you want to know something of deep Spain in a very underground way. Thus, with the vermouth Saturday was fully booked, with friends.

es xibiu july

Problem was when one of the CD players decided not to work, and cancelation was not an option. I had to deal with playing music with a single player the best I could manage, so I did, without the comfort and security of pre-listening songs and trying to the music gaps of changing Cds were the shortest possible. Imagine I chose mostly 1 or 2 tracks of the CDs without the titles included, sometimes with good luck and sometimes creating awkward changes. Once I overcame the tension of not knowing how to handle, I started getting relaxed and ended enjoying lots of the good companion of all those friends who stopped by. At the end of the day you gotta take things as they come and try to make your best, no matter the adversities.

What can I say? It wasn’t my best session, of course, but we had fun, which at the end of  the day it’s what matters and the main reason for doing this kind of stuff. But I hate that Spotify is constantly removing songs as they please, so this playlist will miss Danny & The Champions of the World, ‘Over The Edge’ of Fu Manchu or ‘No Way Out of D Generation’, among others. My apologies.

Hope my friend Leon reads this. He was a good backup playing music. Thanks a lot!

10 years in Barcelona Shitty

Few nights ago, while talking to my friend Tani, I realized that on June 11th 10 years ago I arrived Barcelona with a suitcase, ready to start a new life in this city. Time goes so fast! It’s unbelievable!

The main reason for moving to a big city was that I needed to live in a more musical and cultural scene, looking for something resembling my experience in London, but this time being an adult and with some lessons already learnt. I had been working for a toy store chain for 2 years already in my hometown, and had requested a position in Barcelona, which took some time, but was firm. It was great this happened at the right time, when I was recovering from my 10 year relationship breakup, so I had new horizon ahead and cool expectations, so as the willing to have fun and live new experiences.

Sagrada Familia

As with every change, the beginning wasn’t 100% easy. I had a couple of incidences with some people until I found a decent place to settle, but I remember that summer as one of the funniest and craziest ones.

Sometimes I think of the reason why I chose Barcelona instead of Madrid, and the only certain explanation is that I knew the city and how to handle living in it, and I got friends. Plus it was a time I used to go to the beach. Not anymore. I don’t regret my choice either, but it’s curious how friends change depending on the kind of live you carry out and most of the close ones back then have disappeared, except for Jaume, one of my main pillars.

Let’s start with the result of a quick brainstorming related to ramdon personal facts:

1. When I arrived it was taking place the Universal Forum of cultures. I never visited it. I’ve been in the place attending festivals afterwards.

2. First series I watched on TV was Falcon Crest.

3. I moved 6 times. Sant Antoni, the current hood I’m living in, is becoming quite fashionable. I love this area anyway.

4. I lived with a hooker for one month. She never admitted her activities, but there were lots of signs which which proved it.

5. I’ve had 7 different employments and spent 6 months unemployed.

6. I must have attended approx. 600 shows. Wish they had been more.

7. I rarely speak Catalan no matter I studied this language at college in my hometown.

Barcelona port by Toi Brownstone

8. I hate the popular fests in the city. I hate national popular fests anyway.

9. I don’t have a favorite bar nor restaurant here.

10. The fact that they don’t serve free bread without requesting when having papas bravas or any other tapas still pisses me off. A lot.

11. I met some of my best friends during these 10 years.

12. It’s been said Barcelona people are close and cold, and it’s true, however I’ve never felt aside or rejected. Completely the opposite.

13. I don’t discuss about politics and even less about independence of Catalonia with anyone.

14. I support any soccer team but Barça just to break balls.

15. I hate humidity. Don’t get used to summer weather.

Festes de Gracia

Will I celebrate another 10 years in this city? Who knows. Right now I’d say yes without hesitating thinking of the kind of life I have, but you never know. Truth is that Barcelona has lost lots of its essence and charm on behalf of becoming one of the most touristic places in the country and in the world, so lots of business, commodities and services have focused on this money target, so the locals are getting more and more disappointed.

We’ll see…

PSSS PSSS, PRIMAVERA SOUND

I know, I know, I’m one week late. i should have posted this  days ago, but due to some circumstances I wasn’t able to write about this properly. Well, I did, but the draft was lost, and I was a bit busy and definitely not in the mood. Sorry.

After my last experience at Primavera Sound Festival, when the first set of tickets was available (for 10 minutes), I purchased mine blindfolded, as once the lineup was confirmed, this ticket would be an investment in case I wasn’t interested in attending it, or would be a bargain if bands suited me fine.

This festival has always been regarded as a hipster one, despised by the rock/metal communities for long time. The fact is that it is the only festival in Spain capable of covering all the styles, including classic rock bands and more metal sounds too. I’ve seen Neil Young, The Jayhawks, Neurosis, Neko Case, The Afghan Whigs or Hot Snakes. I think it’s time we leave all these prejudices behind, as this is a very respectable and well established festival, objectively speaking, the best in the country.

ps2014

Last Tuesday a short film was publicly streamed to introduce the lineup confirmed for 2014. Regardless of the quality or the script, I have to admit this formula was really exciting, as people were sharing impressions and confirmations through the social networks, and thanks to some of the bands confirmed there was some sort of hysteria and euphoria at some point: Nine Inch Nails, Queens Of The Stone Age, Slint, Touché Amoré, Drive-By Truckers, Kvelertak, Midlake… Just with these bands I’m interested in, the ticket’s been already paid off.

There’re still almost 4 months ahead to discover new interesting bands which will be attending the festival, and this is a good motivation for continuing investigating new stuff.

Holidays have already been confirmed for these days, probably in a couple of months I will know who will stay at the Hellhouse (my flat usually turns into a crazy community those days), and I’m looking forward meeting friends I don’t see very often. 

I think I confessed last year that even though I’m not a proper festival fan, lately I’m enjoying them lots, thanks to the vibe, my friends, the performances and the party. THE PARTY. HAPPINESS. 

Guess this week I will call Andrea to start looking for our complements. we gotta find something to beat the palms and flamingos shades.

MY FIRST SHOW IN 2014

Wow! I had never thought that the first show I’d attend in 2014 was performed by Depeche Mode but I guess I was lucky to be invited at the very last minute, and I’m glad I accepted, because this event has been by far the highlight of this rough week.

Never been a huge fan of the band, to be honest, but Violator was one of these first albums  learned by heart when I started digging music at age 14, and they’ve been always releasing cool singles. It’s a band I feel respect for, and David Gahan seems quite a character, very interesting.

This was not the first time I attended a show of this band. Many years ago I was invited to sneak into Palau St Jordi through an access from the Euroleague headquarters. Heh! i was a very funny night and my first contact with one of my best friends at huge events and festivals: Mr Beerman.

This time was a proper invitation, perhaps the entrance to the same venue wasn’t so exciting, but considering the expensive tickets, it was a good gift. The location in press area was a great one, and I could focus on the audience vibe and all the visual work through screens. Spectacular. There were videos recorded for each song, integrating live shooting at the same time.

My feeling is that it took some time to the band to warm up, and even though Gahan is a wonderful frontman, too dramatic and theatrical, I was surprised by the lack of interaction with the audience, which by the way was average 35-45 years old.

It was wonderful to listen to ‘Policy of Truth’, ‘Walking in my Shoes’, ‘Enjoy the Silence’ or ‘I Feel You’, but I don’t know, I missed more enthusiasm or intensity perhaps. Don’t know how to explain it.

Anyway, if there was a moment my eye won’t forget was during ‘Enjoy The Silence’, the main screen was showing some contortionist girls in awkward positions against a see through floor, breathing, moving and blinking for near 8 minutes. It was fascinating yet at the same time disturbing, but I couldn’t move my eyes from them.

Impressive, huh?

Depeche Mode

THE FIRST VERMOUTH OF 2014 @ ES XIBIU.

Last weekend was meant to be a relaxing one. It wasn’t. I’ve decided not to mention words such as “relaxing” or “chilling out” to plan my weekend because lately there are always events bringing out at the very last minute.

Last Thursday evening Fe, one of the guys at Es Xibiu, invited me dj again on Saturday afternoon, for the vermouth, and since I didn’t have any plan and love playing music, feeling sorry for not having too much time to spread the word among friends, I accepted.

vermouth torero copia

Attendance wasn’t that bad all things considered, many friends stopped by to have a beer and say hello, and I’m proud to say there was a 4 month old kid, Mireia’s baby, gorgeous Marc, smiling and not bothered, so now we can confirm rock suits babies. It was an experience to be changing songs with a baby grabbing my finger, hahaha!

Definitely musical vermouths are a blast. People can go out with kids, it’s in daylight, and dj’n while having wonderful tapas, believe me, it’s a huge pleasure. Also the venue, a proper bar, it’s like quite accessible for people to interact with the dj, so I could talk to my friends and move from the table, and the volume is not deafening at all, yet songs can be identified easily.

As usual I didn’t have any stuff ready but on Saturday morning while picking up the CDs I decided to play unusual stuff, for instance The Modern Lovers, Big Star or Iron Butterfly, thus the final result was a very eclectic session, quite interesting from my point of view.

Once again here’s the list for the first session held in 2014. As usual, not all the songs are available on Spotify, so there are few missing. Hope you like it and enjoy it as much as I did playing this stuff.

Thanks again to Es Xibiu for the invitation and especially to Bel, who was feeding me all the time with wonderful tapas so I didn’t starve nor got too drunk. That was with her, afterwards. Ha! I’m quite sure we’ll repeat the experience.

VERMOUTH ON THE ROCKS

What an awesome day, yesterday! I’m so exhausted after so many events, beers and vermouth, shows (I saw 5 bands yesterday!), music…I don’t feel like writing too much, but I have to tell you about the vermouth session I told you about few days ago.

The experience of djn in daylight from 1 till 5 pm was very positive. On one hand because some friends with kids could stop by, have some drinks and some tapas, and enjoy some music at a place suitable for children, avoiding the inconvenience of having to find someone to look for them. Also because while I was playing music I could enjoy some tasty nachos with cheese and guacamole. And finally because dj’n at a limited volume and at the same level as the attendants allowed me to interact with my friends.

es xibiu

I can’t thank enough for the attention received by Fer and Samuel, who made me feel very comfortable, and also fed me and supplied with drinks all the time. The atmosphere at Es Xibiu is excellent, and food outstanding. Everybody seemed to be delighted with the tapas they enjoyed and prices were very reasonable. This place has turn into a regular option at midday, and the combination of music sessions with food and drinks is unbeatable.

Last but not less, I wanna thank all the friends who came by for their support, and chats and the laughs. I think we all had a great time and I can’t wait for the next event with them.

Yesterday everything was perfect.

As usual, here’s the playlist. Hope you like it.

DECEMBER: LOVE/HATE

Oh shit! December already…AGAIN!

I can’t believe how fast time goes by lately. I always have the feeling I’m running out of time wasting it on shitty stuff, or suffering at work or sleeping too much. Nchst!

Change of weather is not helping much either, in fact I blame it for the flu I caught last week which has weakened me a little bit. I’m still a bit tired and low spirited. And now December. Cold and dark. Ugh!

The last month of the year has lots of pros, but awful cons, which you have to carry out as a burden and it’s impossible you can avoid them.

December

To start with, Xmas is the epicenter of most of our activity during this time.

On one hand, shopping. Not that I dislike making presents to beloved people, it’s just that I hate when this act becomes an obligation. A present for my mum is a real challenge (sorry but it’s the truth), as she’s got everything of everything and there are certain things,which are out of the picture. Our tastes are completely different and it’s hard for me. I want to give her something cool, but my concept of coolness is far from hers. Luckily, my dad is always willing to help and usually gives me a clue. With my brother and his wife I think it’s even worse. They always want clothes and I hate fashion and shopping clothes, plus it’s been clear through these last years that there’s no emotion or excitement in our presents. At least my dad and my nephew are closer to some sort of success, as I can easier identify cool presents for them. All this shopping issue wouldn’t be so stressful for me if I had more spare time to think and search, but December is usually a bad timing in my job, as the workload is huge, and all the holidays have a huge impact on the routine of the tasks I’m coordinating. Aaah! And all the stores are so packed…I really feel sorry for my parents when we were kids. It had to be a pain in the ass looking for the toys we wanted.

mall

Even though it’s the month with more days off and this year I will enjoy 9 days straight without visiting my office, all these breaks contribute to some sort of chaos and variation at work, in my daily life and everything. When this happens I also fall into a crazy spiral which might last till January if I’m not careful.

The familiar events are a delicate subject. They can work out fine or can turn into a complete disaster, and it all depends on everybody’s mood. You know when you grow up it’s been said you’re you and your circumstances, which doesn’t mean that your circumstances match the others’, so you have to be careful not to cause any trouble, but it’s hard sometimes.

Same with business Xmas dinner. It might be fine or it can be a source of trouble and gossip. I think I’m lucky though, but my expectations regarding this event are not very big, as, considering these last months at the office, everybody is tired, burnt, and fed up, so I’m not sure what will be the general mood.

But stop being grumpy about this season. I’m gonna see my family and my friends at home, I also have some interesting plans ahead, and hopefully if I overcome this writer’s shitty block caused by too much stress at work and this feeling of being exhausted, there are lots of interesting posts to write about, including list of the best releases of the year, my personal highlights and some other crap I have in mind.

I’m very happy about having scheduled 3 dj’n sessions in December, two in Barcelona and one in my hometown to open Xmas fests once I start my vacation.

The first one is the most exciting because it’s something different to what I’m used to. This Saturday, the 7th, my session will take place at a cool tapas bar named Es Xibiu near The Hellhouse, at vermouth time. Yeah, at midday, in daylight. I think it’s terrific! It’s like people can have their beers and wine with their kids, and enjoy some rock at the same time, and the atmosphere is not a “filthy” night venue. This will give the chance to some of my friends who are already parents, to bring their kids and spend some time with me. The sound is not too loud, tapas are fantastic, and the vibe at the place is really cool. I’ve already attended a couple of these musical vermouths with Jaume, and we’ve had a blast.

VERMUT ES XIBIU

Second one is in my hometown, at La Ley Seca, just the same day I arrive, as to open Xmas season. it was my best friend Diana who suggested I should talk to someone for arranging a session, as she enjoyed my birthday party lots, so I asked Patxi and he seemed thrilled with the idea. In fact he had said to me I could play music anytime I felt like. I think it will be cool, and a good chance to gather people, especially those like me living outside Zaragoza.

Finally the last session of the year will take at Hey! Ho! Bar, which is becoming a regular venue for me, last Saturday of 2013, the Fool’s day in Spain. I hope there are not many jokes. It will be a good training for New Year’s Eve.

There are also at least a couple of shows I’m attending, and hopefully some interesting plans will come up in the middle.

At the end of the day seems that it’s not gonna be such an awful month as I thought. We’ll see.

What are your plans for this loooong month?