Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The "Hurt" of "Hurto"

The Spanish government prides its self on protecting industry. Since robbing tourists is a major bulwark of the Spanish economy the government have introduced a fantastic law to protect those involved in this sector. It's called 'hurto" and it means that any theft under 50,000 of the old Pesetas (around 300 dollars) is not considered a ‘crime’ at all - providing no violence is used. Great hey?..this means that in the unfortunate event that a thief-sorry entrepreneur- is caught they will be released from police custody with a little pink next time you are in Barcelona make sure you carry less then that 300 dollar threshold and give the Barcelona entrepreneurs an even break!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Special Airport Tax at El PRAT??

With all the fancy fuel surcharges and airport taxes that Easyjet or Ryanaer flight might seem slightly more expensive than you bargained for.....However some of the good citizens of Barcelona don't feel you are paying enough to visit their wonderful city and have banded together to implement their own charge.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Great Spots for Picnics in Barcelona.....

Barcelona is full of lush and verdant open spaces. One of my favourite spots for a picnic is.....

On a hot summer's day pack up some tasty snax and treat the kids to a delightful picnic. Barcelona at it's best!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Misdirection-Some of that Barcelona Magic Revealed

"Misdirection is a form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing in order to distract its attention from another.|" Wikipedia

Barcelona is a magical place. However, as any witch worth her broomstick will tell you there is white magic and there then there is black Barcelona there's an awful lot of people throwing some nasty voodoo around. Here's a run down of some of my favorite tricks from the Barca grimoire.

The make your Camera, Phone and Wallet Disappear trick- This is the basic one, the trick that every budding young sorcerer's apprentice must perfect. There are many variations and the more advanced of Barcelona's magicians take great pride in developing their own 'signature' moves, a trick of such skill and daring that leaves even their comrades in thievery-sorry i meant magic-breathless with awe and wonder. The basic premise of this trick is to separate a member of the audience-the unsuspecting victim- from some of his/her portable goodies.

One of most common methodologies involve going up to a member of the audience and shouting "football, football, football" while performing a dance worthy of a dervish before linking arms in a gesture of international male solidarity. While the victim is remarking upon the warmth of the Barcelona natives or replaying a compliation of Wayne Roony's greatest goals in his head, the Barcelona native is performing some magic worthy of the great Zinadine Zidane and relieving the audience member of their wallet. Some of the more literal minded exponents of this trick take the whole football thing at face value and assemble a 'team' of 11 and descend en mass. Football is big in Barca and you dont't need to go to the Camp Nou to see it.

The Sleepy Sleepy Trick- A reoccurring theme in folklore is the enchantress or wizard who manages through arcane ritual to place a princess into a prolonged deep sleep. The Barca natives recreate Sleeping Beauty on a nightly basis. It's simple, head into a bar with a bag of Rehipnol or GBH, slip them into a couple drinks while the audience's attention is elsewhere.
Wait a couple hours, smile and chat to the audience- preferably a single female with a nice handbag. When she starts getting tired offer to take her out for some air, then bobs your uncle..the audience is putty in your hands.

The Magic of Art Trick- Barcelona has a well deserved reputation as being one of Europe's artistic capitals-Picasso, Dali and gaudy Gaudi have all left their mark on the city. Proud of this heritage, some of the Barca natives continue to weave this artistic magic on Las Ramblas and make a buck. The key to this trick is to get up early, pick up a half finished poster or even better a reusable stencil for 50 cents and some cheap paints. Next, find yourself a nice spot on Barcelona's famous throughafare. Set up a bowl or hat to collect the oodles of cash that will soon be coming your way. While making overly exaggerated artistic poses and gestures fill in the poster during the course of the day with your cheap paints. Next, watch the as people shove money in your face and offer you their bodies in praise of your wondrous artistic skills. The key to this trick is to create the illusion of spontaneity. You need to make it look as if you have been down on your hands and knees enslaved by the artistic muse and couldn't really give a shit whether someone chucks you a tenner or not. The correct attire-beret perched on head, jumper full of holes to give off that starving artist look- goes along way to maintaining this illusion.
For extra dosh you can even send some of your apprentices out to frisk the crowd while people are distracted by your artistic magic. The power of art hey?

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Fine Beverages to be found In BARcelona

Most of the yoofs coming to this resplendent and glorious city-see Freddie Merks and the Dons homage above filed under DELUSION- will be wanting to put the 'Bar' in Barcelona so I've prepared a quick and handy hint sheet to see you on your way to getting four sheets to the wind in Barcelona!

Now, while it may be true that the Catalan Capital possess' many fine drinking establishments, a true nightlife connoisseur wishing to sample some of Barca's nocturnal delights will dispense with the notion of visiting a bar altogether. That's right visiting a bar in Barca is unnecessary. Simply head down to your local supermarket and get your grubby hands on a couple litres of vodka at a knock out price. Upon leaving the shop swig them back immediately need for mixes and glasses. Neat and cheap, thats how the locals drink it!

Easy isn't it? step stagger down the Ramblas shouting obscenities and singing as loudly as you can in your native tongue to make yourselves known to the upstanding entrepreneurs who line the street awaiting your custom. These upwardly mobile salesmen will provide you with the 'top ups' you require. "CERVEZA, CERVEZZA beer" are the magic words you should look out for. They will offer you the finest domestic brews at a great rate. If you are really fortunate you might get nice a dose of wails disease thrown in for good measure.

Just so you know. that beer you hold in your hand has been carefully stored and matured in one of Barcelona's famous cellars, cellars so clean and hygienic it would make your granny proud. Seeing how this is Barcelona you know that these same cellars are guaranteed rat free.

Vintage drinks at non vintage prices..drinking al fresco..what could be better?.. A punch in the face? A nice mugging? a spot of sexual assault?...well it's your lucky day..all these things are available at no extra cost!

A number of confused visitors have written in to pick my brains as to why Estrella Damm beer sells for 1 euro and Coke sells for 50 euros on the Barca market?...the answer I give, as always, is CATALAN PRIDE!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Barcelona - Such a beautiful horizon/ Such a wonderful Delusion

Let the songs begin
-Déjalo nacer
Let the music play
Make the voices sing
-Nace un gran amor
Start the celebration
-Ven a
And cry
Come alive
And shake the foundations from the skies
Ah,Ah,Shaking all our lives

Barcelona - Such a beautiful horizon
Barcelona - Like a jewel in the sun
Por ti seré gaviota de tu bella mar
Barcelona - Suenan las campanas
Barcelona - Abre tus puertas al mundo
If God is willing
-If God is willing
If God is willing
Friends until the end
Viva - बार्सेलोना
Freddie Mercury

Now I'm a big fan of Freddie MerK , he got many things right-the dress sense,the sexual promiscuity and he could certainly carry a good tune. An intelligent bloke with good taste hey? However he let me down when it comes to Barcelona.That's right, Freddie joins the herd for once and perpetuates the general delusion held by the rest of the tourists who trek down the 'famed' Las Ramblas like so many caribou. The only line that rings true in this song is the "and cry" bit.
I've seen lots of people crying in Barcelona-I've done a fair bit myself I can tell you-I've seen old women crying after they've been dragged across the ground because one of the locals took a fancy to her fake Louis Vuitton handbag, I've seen junkies crying for want of a fix and pumped up Glaswegians weeping because they got one.
Delusion wafts around Barcelona like methane on a pig farm. Speaking of of the most delusional comments I've ever heard came from a champion pig eater from Galicia named Don Enrique. This guy used to munch on more boars than Obelix from the kiddies comic book series Asterix and Obelix. In between gobbling on piglets he would offer long and tedious discourse on the glories of Barcelona. 'No thieves in Barcelona" was a one of his favourite phrases. A bit like Freddie M he was deeply smitten by the beautiful smitten he failed to notice the infestation of mice in his own apartment. When someone drew his attention to a particularly large mouse/rat thing with big red beady eyes making merry on top of his fridge he solemnly pronounced "there are NO rats in Barcelona" and if Don Enrique says there are no rats in Barcelona then there are NO rats in Barcelona.
Both Freddie Merk and the Don had trademark Moustaches...both were deeply smitten with the equation runs like with distinctive moustache +Barcelona= visions of beautiful horizons and a city without rats=DELUSION