“Marvelous technology is at our disposal and instead of reaching up for new heights, we try to see how far down we can go…how deep into the muck we can immerse ourselves!”
– Eric Bogosian, Talk Radio
It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. I’d thought, initially, that the pandemic would enable me to do some sort of ‘Journal of the Plague Years’ a la Daniel Defoe, but that soon faded when I realised that, when you’re locked down, there are no events to write about. Not for me, anyway. No baking banana bread or learning to crochet here. Just the endless, repetitive routine of being stuck in my tiny Barcelona apartment, with my windowless bedroom, trying as best I could to not interfere with my roommate having to work from home in our tiny living room. Continue reading “Of pandemics, social media and mental health…”
It’s the third week of living under lockdown here in Barcelona, and things have been changing rapidly. For a start, we’ve had to develop a whole new vocabulary. Previously esoteric medical terms like “herd immunity”, “flattening the peak”, “self-isolation” and “social distancing” are now common currency, as everyone becomes an amateur epidemiologist. Continue reading “Journal of the Plague Year – Life under Lockdown”
“Isn’t it odd? You talk about millions dying in India and China, and it has no impact at all…”
Survivors episode 1 – The Fourth Horseman, 1975
It started slowly, like it always does. A new report about an outbreak of a new disease, somewhere remote from where I was. Nothing new, nothing unusual – we’d seen it before, with Ebola and SARS and countless others. Distant tragedies that had no real impact other than a bit of humanitarian hand wringing until the outbreaks inevitably flared and burned out. A story I’d seen a dozen times before. Continue reading “Journal of the Plague Year – Part 1”
After the accidental excitement of Friday night, you’d expect that I’d want to “remain indoors” for the next evening, right? Well, so would I. But again, that’s not how it turned out; this time, though, I was forewarned by my experience, and genuinely curious. What would the protests be like before they descended into chaos? Would it happen again? And if so, how? Continue reading “Barcelona, city of protest – Saturday”
Gosh, it’s been ages since I updated this blog! A whole summer went by – I went to a music festival in the mountains of Girona, had a few weeks back in England (which felt very odd now), and started a new teaching job here in the Catalan capital. All, or some of these, I’ll hopefully document at some point.
However, I’m writing now so I can cover the events of this week, which have been pretty dramatic – especially as yours truly ended up caught in the middle of them. While the UK has been tied up in knots over Brexit, the US concerned with the possible impeachment of its increasingly deranged President, and cities all over the world disrupted by Extinction Rebellion, Barcelona has barely noticed any of that. This city’s been preoccupied with issues of its own, as the months long trial of the former Catalan leaders wound to a ghastly but inevitable conclusion. Continue reading “Barcelona, city of protest – Friday”
The shindig on Thursday night was only the beginning!
Pride weekend proper here in Barcelona begins on Friday. Thus it is that, after recovering from the Thursday night bash at Placa Universitat, and teaching my solitary Friday afternoon class at Arc de Triomf, I remember that Paolo said there was yet another party on Friday at Placa Reial, just off La Rambla. Pride or not, you’re never far from a free party in Barcelona! Continue reading “Barcelona life – Pride weekend!”
So ok – I’m back at Bar Berlin, in the lengthy break between faraway classes I have every Thursday. These two, Abertis and Bayer Pharmaceuticals, are so far out (but in the same direction), that it’s not worth me going home for the two and a half hours between them. It is, however, an excellent chance to enjoy a cervesa in the sunshine, and write a blog post!
Continue reading “Barcelona – a week in the life”
The beer here isn’t cheap. Most places you go to, they only have that continental lager, the sort of stuff that, if you’re an ale snob like me, you’d turn your nose up at anywhere in England. Thing is, it works here. It’s so warm so much of the time that your classic nearly warm pint of Scruttock’s Old Dirigible, with the twigs and the bits of beak still in it, wouldn’t be all that refreshing. A glass of Estrella, though, chilled near to freezing, is about the most perfect alcoholic beverage in this climate.
Continue reading “Barcelona life – the beer”
Barcelona. I’m sitting in the sunshine outside a slightly shabby Cerveseria
grandly named ‘Bar Berlin’, having a cheeky beer between teaching classes, and
it occurs to me I haven’t written anything about the place for months. In fact,
not since that first day of the CELTA course.
Continue reading “Barcelona life – five months in”
It’s a civilised start for the first day of my CELTA course –
it begins at 11am. Plenty of time for a bit of a lie in and a leisurely stroll
to Oxford House TEFL language school. It’s easy to find; a couple of minutes
walk to the next left turn off Carrer de la Marina, then just a long schlep
down Carrer de la Disputacio. All told, it takes about twenty minutes. I don’t
think I’ll be bothering with the Metro for this journey at all.
Continue reading “Barcelona – the CELTA course, day 1”