2015 19/05

Barcelona – 10 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit In

Barcelona: 10 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit InLast summer I was asked to contribute to a guide called ‘Barcelona – 10 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit In’.

Well I did. And Gigi Griffis who produced the guide sent me a copy, and then I promptly forgot about it. I came across it on my iPad recently. So I read it. And it’s actually pretty good.

Gigi interviewed 10 people who live in Barcelona and asked them where their favourite places are in Barcelona, their hidden gems, and any tips they might have for visitors to the city.

The guide has had some great reviews! Read the rest of this article…

2015 16/05

Into the Night: A Timelapse Video of Barcelona at Night

photo of Jordi de Temple

Jordi de Temple at work

There’s something very evocative about watching the city at night from up high. Wondering what all the people below are up to. And I’m a big fan of the timelapse technique when used well. So Jordi de Temple’s video, Into the Night, is right up my street.

I’ll let Jordi explain it:

“Into the Night” is an exercise of light and colour of 4 minutes that tries to show Barcelona, its surroundings and some specific areas of Catalonia, from a different, unusual and cinematic point of view.

To achieve that, has been used the time-lapse technique, which allows to capture the time at specified intervals, frame-by-frame, using mostly, in this case, long exposure.

Part of the project has been made in the so-called blue hour, whose diffused light has some features that allow to capture spectacular sunrises or sunsets full of warm colors thanks to the position of the sun relative to the horizon. It is in these moments when the skies still have shades of color and the natural light is mixed with the artificial light of the city, thus being able to capture skies in detail and urban buildings illuminated simultaneously.

I’m always waiting for that moment when the light changes and becomes something special, a brief moment where the urban or natural landscape collides with light and composition to create beautiful images that are hidden to the naked eye.

This has been a photographic adventure of understanding the light and color of the night. An opportunity to observe the urban space and its density and to contemplate how these elements converge. An exercise of patience and perseverance throughout dozens of nights and dawns of cold carrying heavy stuff. And of course many hours of postproduction.

Read the rest of this article…

2015 12/05

Barcelona Neighbourhoods: El Born

Santa Caterina roof tiles close-up

Mercat de Santa Caterina roof tiles

I think El Born would have to be my favourite neighbourhood in Barcelona. It’s absolutely stunning. It can be a bit touristy at times but there are quiet streets to escape from the hustle and bustle. It is one of the smaller neighbourhoods, part of La Ribera which itself is part of the old town, Ciutat Vella. If you see a beautiful photo of a narrow Barcelona street in the sunlight, then chances are it will be from somewhere in El Born.

The food market for this neighbourhood is Santa Caterina with its beautiful mosaic tiled roof by the architects famous for the Scottish Parliament building. El Born also has my favourite church in Barcelona, Santa Maria del Mar, with its high vaulted ceilings and fascinating history. This church was the subject of the book Cathedral of the Sea. Set in 14th century Barcelona the construction of the church provides the backdrop to a story set at the height of the Spanish Inquisition. Read the rest of this article…

2015 30/04

Inside Barcelona with… Homage to BCN

Inside Barcelona

Inside Barcelona with… Homage to BCN

I was asked by the guys at Generator Hostels to answer some questions for a series of interviews they are doing called Inside Barcelona.

The questions were:

  • Introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
  • Tell us about your blog and what made you start it.
  • What aspect of Barcelona life excites you most?
  • How prominent is design in Barcelona?
  • Tell us about your favourite historic Gothic and medieval buildings in Barcelona?
  • What about your favourite contemporary style buildings in Barcelona?
  • Tell us about the Barcelona landscape, what do you like most about it? Where are the best places to go to capture it?
  • Tell us about some of your favourite hidden gems in the city?

Read the rest of this article…

2015 18/04

Lapin: Crowdfunding and Filmmaking in Barcelona

Lapin (final frame)

The final scene of Lapin

Mention Barcelona and lots of things come to mind, but filmmaking is probably not the first. Yet you’d be surprised how fertile a filmmaking ground this city is, and it’s not just the sunshine. The locals are very film literate and have a long list of festivals to prove it, from D’A and L’Alternativa to In Edit and Mecal. There’s even a festival dedicated entirely to film and football!

At a time when obituaries are being written for cinemas all over, Barcelona has seen several new art-house venues open. But it isn’t just film buffs that love this town — so do filmmakers. Plenty of big name directors have come through here, from Woody Allen to Alejandro Iñárritu, but we’re talking about homegrown talent, filmmakers who live and work in Barcelona.

photo of Andrés BartosAmong them is Andrés Bartos, the writer and director of the short film Lapin, une étrange histoire d’amour. The film is a dark fable about a man who falls in love with a rabbit-like girl and discovers a strange world under his apartment. The director described it to me as “though Before Sunrise were directed by David Lynch possessed by the ghost of Chuck Jones.” Consider my curiosity piqued. I met up with Andrés Bartos to find out more about the film and get his take on what makes Barcelona a good place to shoot a movie. Read the rest of this article…

2015 28/03

Multilingual Families in Barcelona [A Study]

You may already have seen one of Francesca’s posts, posters, emails or articles somewhere in virtual or real space over the past couple of months as she’s been campaigning hard to find as many English-speaking parents in and around the Barcelona area as possible to fill out her questionnaire.

A family having a picnic

Multilingual Families in Barcelona

If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, read on! I put a few questions to Francesca to find out why she wants to know so much about us. Read the rest of this article…

2015 15/03

What Constitutes Freedom?

A dear friend of mine asked if I’d like to publish this article. I answered in the affirmative.

Freedom definition

Whether you live in Catalonia or Scotland, the USA or Russia, most people are interested in “freedom”. The question is “What constitutes freedom?”

Freedom for a Russian could mean actions to prevent invasion and perhaps the people are easily misled to think that invasion is likely. An American considers freedom as lack of government interference. The French are an enigma! A significant majority are happy with a country with more government control and involvement than most other European countries.

Democracy does not guarantee freedom. Consider Egypt, not a straightforward place to contemplate freedom but one thing is sure: A democratic election voted in a majority government which then thought that it had won the right to remove freedoms from a large proportion of the population. Nineteenth century Great Britain was not a democracy but its population had a significant degree of personal freedom.

“Freedom from a foreign yolk”. Are the people of Zimbabwe freer to express their opinions or develop their lives with education, health-care and job opportunities available, under Robert Mugabe rather than Ian Smith? Will the people of the Donbas ever rebuild their lives and have freedom, if they achieve union with Russia, compared with their potential future if a less corrupt and better-run Ukraine emerges from the changes taking place? I make these points, not as political judgements but, as evidence of the complexity of the concept of “freedom”. Read the rest of this article…

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