Lost in Translation

Online blog of life in Barcelona for a English guy making a life for himself out here and trying desperately to have a good time, become fluent in Spanish, and most of all - not be constantly mistaken for a tourist!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sniff up!

Saw a couple of films recently that I really enjoyed. The first was the new Bond movie Casino Royale. I’m not a big fan of Bond at all. I like the old Sean Connery and Roger Moore films, but once we got beyond that, I totally lost interest. I like Pierce Brosnan as an actor but I don’t understand what the fuss about how “great” he is in the Bond films. I find all of his films really tacky (too tacky even for 007) and the gadgets were just getting plain silly, not to mention the ridiculous accents on the villains. Robbie Coltrane doing Russian was a particular low point. Anyway, things have definitely improved with Daniel Craig and not only with him in the role, but also with the whole approach to the film. It’s far more real, less idiotic gadgets, and decent action that keeps you entertained. The fact that we see Bond get quite badly beaten up on a number of occasions, is far better than having him completely immaculate in his tuxedo after having just seen off half the North Korean army. Oh, sorry, it’s not North Korea, as they always “invent” a country in those Bond films. I reckon Austin Powers summed it up best when they used “Kraplakistan” (or whatever it was! Jeje). The finale of the film takes place in Venice, so I had my Italian friend (who was with me in the cinema) nudging me to say “Es mi pueblo!” with a tear in his eye! Bless! Jeje

The other film I saw over the weekend was Perfume. I had no idea was to expect from it, as I knew nothing of the book (which as usual, apparently the whole world has read… except me) and hadn’t heard any comments from friends about it. The only reason I went was because I was in the mood for a film and there was nothing else on that I fancied. The film is set in pre-revolutionary Paris and is a murder story with a difference. Very little (almost no) blood and guts (if you discount the fish market scenes at the start!) and lots and lots of atmosphere. It was filmed partly in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, along with country scenes which were filmed up in Girona (about an hour north of here). The basic outline is that an orphan is born with a heightened sense of smell and a growing obsession to be able to capture smells in any way he can as he grows older. The whole film had me glued to the screen, and I loved the narration. The scenes filmed in Barcelona are great, and although I haven’t been to Girona yet, I now really want to go! (I have a friend who lives there, so I can visit her and check the place out at the same time). The end of the film is just plain weird, and I wasn’t convinced that it really suited the rest of it. I won’t explain it here, but you’ll know what I mean when if you've seen it! Overall though, I definitely recommend it wholeheartedly, and I believe it’s out in the UK on Boxing day, so I might even go and see it again while I’m over there for Christmas.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Can I tempt you to a Spam Fritter Ma'am?

Well, it's been a quiet few weeks on the blog. Terribly sorry about that, but been pretty busy and couldn't psyche myself up into sitting infront of the PC to write anything, despite the fact that, once I get started, it usually takes me no time at all to fill a page.

Anyway, I'm back with a vengance and have got a fab update today that actually happened last Wednesday.

What happened was that my flatmate (he of the 24 carot gold social contacts) and his boyfriend invited me to a party at the new Cartier store on the Paseo de Gracia here in the epi-centre of Barcelona. At first I turned the invite down because I thought it'd be too out of my league, but my flatmate was appalled that I was about to miss out on such a cool opportunity and thankfully, he quickly talked me into going along. And I'm extremely glad I did. When we arrived, the street outside the store was carpeted in red and there were paparazzi and a huge throng of people waiting to see who was arriving. We turned up and made sure we lingered a little chatting outside! Only the invited were allowed to step onto the red carpet, all the riff-raff had to stand back! hehe. There were male models outside dressed in Cartier-type bell-boy outfits, along with a TV crew. The party started in the actual shop itself, which was absolutely beautiful, and afterwards it continued next door in a huge apartment next to the famous Gaudi building - Casa Batlló. You could practically “smell” the cash!!! It was amazing inside, and was divided into different coloured rooms, which each room represented by a different celeb in turn representing a nominated charity. Each room had a different coloured chain on a gold bracelet in a display cabinet, and a huge picture covering the wall, of the celeb in question - each one pictured wearing the bracelet, with just the bracelet shown in colour and the rest of the photo in black and white. The effect with the lighting was really quite stunning and the whole apartment was breathtaking.

We continued mingling around the apartment, drinking in the champagne while I tried to recognise some of the celebs. The only one I actually recognised (without help) was a guy from the TV called Boris who presents a show on La Cuatro. Other than him though, there was one of the most famous models in Spain – a guy called Andrés Velencoso (Google him for pics!) He was one of the “sponsors” of the bracelets. At one point, my flatmate pointed out that we were stood alongside the sister of the King of Spain! (Doña Pilar de Borbón). She was sat on a sofa directly next to where I was stood, and a waiter came over with a plate of tapas. Only 3 remained and he was just about to offer them to us when he noticed this lady, and kind of “froze” for a split-second, pulled the plate back and offered them to her instead!! The cheek! A second later and he would’ve had to pull the food out of our mouths! She refused them (apparently, the Royals don't eat anything at these parties), so he then turned and offered them to us again! How rude! Naturally, I refused them too! hehe. I don't want no sloppy Royal seconds!

As the party developed and the champagne did its stuff, things relaxed more and the bell-boys were brought inside with Polaroid cameras and sent round to take pics for people to take with them. There was also an official photographer, so I guess those pics could end up in next months Hola magazine! They're already on the internet at http://www.informativos.net/Noticia.aspx?noticia=47545 I’m going to have to take a truck to my local newspaper kiosk and buy every gossip mag they’ve got, just in case!! Hehe.

All in all, an amazing night. Not the type of party where you can truly relax for a moment, and I had to watch my Ps and Qs all night, despite the huge amount of champagne that I drank.

Talking of champagne, last night my flatmate dragged a huge suitcase into the flat. Turns out he's only managed to take a load of leftover champagne from the party! Our kitchen is now full of the stuff! How cool is that! We've already got a small branch of Interflora going on in the the living room with all the flowers that he's brought home!

OK, I better go. I need to prepare my aceptance speech for when I get my knighthood! Well, I think brushing up against royalty must surely entitle me to some fringe benefit or other!

Arise, Sir Dave. I like it.