Friday, March 31, 2006

World Cup fever

or not. there is not much of it here, to be sure. Earlier this week, Spain's 6th free to air analogue channel, la sexta, launched (the 2nd such channel this year. not much sign of an analogue switch off here, mrs jowell) with the astonishing news that it had won the rights to show half of the 64 world cup games with the other half being shown on digital canal+.

had this happened in the UK - ie none of the games on the established channels - pages 1,2,3 etc would have been cleared and questions asked in the house. here? it barely made page 25 of the sports paper. how many people will actually see the games on la sexta is another question. we get a very bad picture here and the channel is offering a free aerial booster to all block of flats . how and when it will get done i dont know.

The causes of world cup apathy are two fold. first, too much energy goes into supporting club teams for there to be any left over for the national side. second, spain are diabolical underperformers at the world cup. they nearly always qualify but never get past the quarter final. ranked sixth in the world, this explains their odds of 12-1.

of course other factors apply in barcelona. we are, er, not actually in spain as far as many are concerned, while with Xavi still injured, we may see Spain take the field with just one Barca player, the monumental Puyol, or the same number as Mexico, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina ...

Friday, March 24, 2006

Having a crap day? This story will cheer you up

Indian farmer D Jaggalah died after drinking bootleg booze. Villagers at his cremation raised a glass to toast their friend, but used the same batch of alcohol that killed Jaggalah.

Ten funeral goers were poisoned. And died.

From popbitch

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ronny and Becks

A friend was in town to shoot a TV advert and told me this story.

Most of the crew was local and their bread and butter is doing the local version high budget Nike/Pepsi/whatever ads featuring Ronaldinho, Beckham and the like.

Ronny they said was an utter delight to work with. All smiles, happy to pose for pictures and prepared to sign autographs until his arm fell off.

Beckham? They all had to sign a contract saying they wouldn't talk to him take his picture, ask him for a photograph or basically disturb him in anyway during the shoot. If they didn't sign, they didn't get the job.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

reasons to be cheerful

  1. Barca won last night to go 14 points clear in the league.
  2. Eto'o scored twice to pass 100 league goals
  3. Ronaldinho was 26 yesterday
  4. The Estatut giving Catalonia more autonomy took one step closer to reality after being approved by a Parliamentary commission in Madrid
  5. The mercury is nudging up
  6. Best of all, ETA has declared that from Friday it will observe a permanent ceasefire

The fossa's penis

Worth taking a look at who gave a lecture yesterday about the size of teh fossa's penis. Click here

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Disco Ben

Ben went to school camp in the week where they camped out, fed goats and generally had a brilliant time. But the outstanding event of the camp was the disco where he was voted joint best dancer out of 120 children! His friend Fernando was the other winner...

John Travolta eat your heart out...

Monday, March 13, 2006

is it just me...

... or is James Blunt not really, really crap? And is 'You're beautiful' not an utterly tedious dirge? And how did it get to number 1 anywhere, let alone the US?

Apart from being a turgid moanathon, the song, as my razor sharp children point out, is down plain contradictory. One minute 'I've got a plan' and the next 'I don't know what to do'. Give up mate is the answer....

I'm with Paul Weller on this one who said "I'd rather eat my own shit than do a duet with James Blunt". Even allowing for Weller's huge case of wrinklyrockercus grumpicus, it's hard to naysay such a sentiment.

Crapulent Oldies

barcelona's radio stations tend play a pleasantly inoffensive selection of oldies but occasionally will fixate on something really awful. one station this week seems to be playing 'just another day' by wings whenever i get in the car.

a truly ghastly, minging song about some bedsit spinster secretary that was Paul mccartney's worst song until he came up with the buttock-clenchingly embarassing, so PC it ached, 'ebony and ivory.'

Sad, so sad
Sometimes she feels so sad.
And that was before she got to play a duet with james blunt...

Real warmth

the sun put its proper hat for the first time this weekend (and yes i know it was freezing in britain and if it is any consolation it was manchester style mizzle today). we had friends staying in the flat in el born and all was basically well with the world.

we ate on friday night at Arrel del Born, very close to the flat on the (as usual very good) recommendation of Andrew Swift. Not failed us yet and this time was no exception. great fish which apparently the chef's uncle catches and delivers personally every day.

i took ben to play football in the park with his friend Fernando and he ended up spending the day with him. this is always amusing because he comes back speaking with a very heavy spanish accent. sarah and bex went to the diane arbus exhibition at caixaforum which they said was teriffic.

we also crossed another rubicon by going en famille to a pop concert for the first time - Jack Johnson - who was playing at a giant basketball stadium just out of town. sarah and i did our best not to embarass the children by not dancing. tempus fugit ...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

98,436 afortunados ...

... as mundo deportivo described those lucky enough to at the camp nou last night. Two of them were ben and I after our fairy godfather (or St pepe of pedralbes as he is now known. Thanks pepe) secured two late tickets for us, curiously almost in the very same spot where I watched United win the Champions League final in 1999 (and doesnt that see a long time ago ...)

It was a great night if not a spectacular game. Barca cruised it and were in control for virtually all the game. Chelsea never came to the races and ended rather pathetically by putting Thomas Huth, their big fat centre half up front as a desperate centre forward. We waved Mourinho good bye and invited him to go to the theatre.

It was Ben's first ever 'big' game and his eyes were on stalks for the whole evening. Mine was seeing United play Real Madrid in the European Cup semi final of 1968 and I remember every detail as if it was yesterday. Let's hope Ben has similar happy memories of last night in 38 years' time.

Monday, March 06, 2006

weekend in madrid

we went abroad (bad catalan joke) for the weekend to madrid and loved it despite the foul weather on saturday when we all got soaked. we stayed at the hotel miau (really) which is as central as you can get and right on the beautiful plaza santa ana. here in no particular order are some of the things we liked:
  • the museums - the big three are fantastic and very near each other. ben liked the prado with its very sinister goyas and el grecos and was very swayed by the labours of hercules pictures and saturn eating his son (he has been warned). Becca much preferred the bright modern art of the Thyssen collection and neither cared much for the Picassos of the Reine Sofia
  • Retiro Park. Barcelona lacks a really big park and this one is great
  • Plaza Mayor. same thing
  • El caldero restaurant - great for Murcian paellas cooked like soup rather than stir fried
  • The bars of placa santa ana. Great tiled and mahogany wood places with great beer and tapas
  • Real Madrid's stadium tour with nine (grr) European Cups on display and a great restaurant.
  • The late night life. even later than barcelona and very laid back. hordes of people thronging the streets at 2am and later even in the pouring rain.
  • The new terminal at Barajas airport designed by Richard Rogers. The most stunning airport building I have ever seen.