Street Garlic

Went to the studio today and had an argument with some garlic. Not a complete fall out, but a bicker, a long bicker and I leave a bit tired and grumpy as what was going to be the delicate, exquisite subtulties of whites and purples is not apparent. Now I know why I started with an egg last time. Not sure how my huge painting of the arc will pan out if a bit of garlic is an obsticle.

It wasnt very nice garlic anyway, ( now I am bitching ) I bought four bulbs from a guy on the street corner for one euro, thought it would be poignant to draw from one of the people selling on the street but tomorrow I think I will go and buy some expensive flowers.

sea looked amazing this morning

finish the argument with the garlic the next day

Falling in love

I wrote not so long ago in my sketchbook that the narrow streets and I were getting on better… I think I am in love.
They have worked their magic. I wasn’t worried that I didn’t like them, as I kind of new I would in time. As the sun gets whiter the shadows get blacker, but it only makes it more dynamic and yes now they do seem romantic and if I had the guts to stand out there I would paint them.
We have moved to a new apartment today away from the big blocky buildings by the park into a potentially more realistic ( if thinking long term which we arnt ) location. Still in the lovely area of Sant Pere or El Borne but ‘in a bit’. Something that, the lizard light junky I am, was a bit worried about before I fell in love.
Graham has gone off to class and Molly and I are getting ourselves acquainted with the place. A slither of sun appears on one of the tiny balconies around 2pm, as it passes across the top of our crevice.  This is a corner on a back street so any noise is just the clanking from the gas man as he goes round and the occasional conversation down below that gets Molly and I rushing to check it out, like nosey puppies, ears pricked.
Someone very close makes a telephone call and it seems loud but I dare not look across as with all the windows I haven’t worked out the etiquette yet, its so dark inside you cant see if someone is there and its so tempting to stare in as other peoples lives are so close but I am quite sure its not appropriate! Molly thinks she may bark as she is as confused as me by the proximity but then I remind here she’s not that sort of dog.
My opposite neighbor, up three, shouts and waves at the gas man ‘iqui’ and he laughs and curses as he fianly spots her waving from the top floor window, 6 flights up. The bottle goes on the shoulder and he is buzzed in. I think the gas man must be fit.
Later there is a load crash and a man runs full pelt, little legs spinning down our street, I think the pick pockets must be fit too. I couldn’t see what happened as it seemed to come from under the arch slightly round another corner, he had a bike helmet so not sure if he was a ‘pickyphoner’ maybe he was trying to steal the bike as it sounded like plastic crashing; its like being in a film where you cant see everything going on, add Catalan to that and really, it becomes fiction!
I saw a bag grab in the park when I was drawing the other day, so quick, only the sprint from the thief starts the explosion of emotion on an otherwise calm, beautiful day. The poor elderly chap took chase but there was no catching him. Frustrated and feeling a fool he returned to his group throwing his jacket down. A day, possibly a trip ruined because someone wanted what he had and felt it was ok to take it from him. A lesson to beware of what lurks in the bushes behind you, probably better to sit with the full time festival. Its such a shame as it just doest feel like that kind of place here although nearly everyone I spoke to before I got here said it was.
The flat, although in an old building, is a complete contrast to the last, it is small and clean and modern. Like a posh bedsit. Waking up this morning the interior design colours slightly remind me of the place we stayed at in Lagrasse but it’s not half as posh and more ikea than the beautiful french done by english designers look, looking so easyily so thrown together but means hours of prep, painting and scouring antique shops.
It is white and chrome and black and tan, apart from the beams holding up the convex arches, well ridges really of ceiling which are reddy brown and set off by small spotlights. The floor is very pale, and like in lagrasse where they had beautiful white concrete set off by a row of little pebbles this is cheap ikea flooring which echoes as Moly tip taps around. But it does the same job, it lightens the space and gives it a light airy feel. I have always wanted white floorboards for the same reason. The curtains are sea through wispy white with dark grey blinds behind, with a big dry twiggy thing on the table suggesting somebody cares.
White painted window frames when open are brown and bring in more tan, the sandy brown of the building opposite with all its textures of railings and windows and washing.
There are a few resident ants here at the mo but I feel happy for the change and to leave the ( thankfully lonely) cockroach and the much more pleasant bees that had arrived in the last few days. We saw a swarm in the park that had settled there and here as well, up high was another family making a home in a ventilation draft of some sort, only spotted as the dead tired workers were starting to collect on the terrace.
Its going to be weird not having a terrace, but its an airy flat, it has two balconies and two other windows of perfect elbow height that I can hang out of. I think it will be a place to rest and write a bit, not to hang out in so much, which is a good thing as in a city where there is so much going on it seems a shame to hang out at home.
Better to drift from one street performance to another, or watch the skateboarders endlessly repeating small but impossible tricks, or the beach vollyball, or the roller bladers riding convex curves of far too much concrete to make it restful to watch, or the more tranquil boule players, the chess game, or which ever festival or march it is you happen to bump into. Basically if you are out you are taking part, if your in your not.

1.There is a building gone opposite us so there is a big space where the light gets into the street.2. Molly looking at the people below, she is not so sure about it.3. Our front door4. View from the sitting room5. The front door from above



The large white bulk of a beautiful clown

Had a both brilliant and weird evening at the ANTIC TEATRE last night, having a beer in the gorgeous beer garden of which the chatter you can hear coming down the street, you go through the wall and up the stairs and you are into an oasis of beautiful people drinking and talking in the classic rustic/unkempt (sometimes verging into dirty) charm of a look that they seem to pull off here. The French also pull this off but a bit cleaner and more feminine?
Two levels, a big fig tree in the middle, a ginger cat, railings, stone terraces, enveloped by buildings that echo the atmosphere back into the space lit in part by fairy lights and part by the windows that look onto it.
Waiting by the bar to go in, I test Graham’s Spanish (useful theater vocab!) as the program is in Catalan, Spanish and English and in the quiet (or dark horse!) way that he is he pretty much gets it all right! Not being able to practice his Spanish out of class (certainly not on me) I don’t know that he is quietly, 2 hours a day, acquiring a hidden talent! bien hecho chico! (pathetically I had to do google translate for that…..again!)
Anyway the performance was in a black rectangle of a space with a small audience and one light spotting a cello playing and a figure in the corner in white rags by the look of it. The figure breathed and moved and soon the figure of a man became clear, through the performance he came forward and seem to grow in size disproportionally within the space he was using, close up he was massive.
There was a slight horrific moment as I had a coughing fit as he was on all fours staring, grimacing at me like a heavy jowly rockwieler, his sweat and white macup only making the scene more surreal, and then he moved slowly completely silently into the audience towards a light at the back (coughfing fit subsided now through shear terror ) he stops three seats in, at us, uses Grahams head as a steading devise and moves his huge, sweaty, white vested fat but muscly bulk around weirdly rocking the empty set of seats behind us.
His interest in Grahams head and the empty seats subside and he, what can only be described as a dance, continues. So he was a clown, a very big clown moving his large arms and long feet and huge belly as if he were a ballerina, but in his own very sad and beautiful way.
Slightly bewildered or traumatized ( in part by horrifically embarrassing coughing fit) we waddle off down the streets to our newly found favorite square, Placa de Sant Pere, eat in a french bar en aparte a couple of hearty salads and discuss over a bottle of red, future plans that as swiftly and lightly as our large white clown friend moved around the black rectangle of space drift from permanently spending half our lives here, buying an industrial space and me learning Spanish, briefly to Rome and then off more weirdly for me (as I always insisted it would never be) to Berlin.