Tuesday, 28 July 2009

What The Foc? Hell Comes To The Barri

They are the diables, horned performers rampaging through the neighbourhood, spraying fire to terrify, deafen and delight in equal measure. The event is the correfoc (fire run) and it is was a climatic act to the Festa Major this Saturday. 

Unusually for Poble Sec, this year's occasion was pretty grand, with easily over one hundred devils, drummers and associated hangers-on taking well over an hour to get from the starting point to our vantage point, between the Cevercería Jazz, and La Tomaquera, at the junction of Margarit and Magalhäes.

The Correfoc begins, as photographers fight for space.

There's always one nutter. Unless it's Spain where pretty much everyone (this photographer included) is prepared to get singed in order to join in the fun. For added frisson, strip down to your undies. 

A demon looks on.

Singin' In The Rain - of liquid fire.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Whole Lotta Luve.TV

                             Strummin' Steve Forster on the Salto stage during Poble Sec's Festa 

Back when we first arrived in Poble Sec, over 4 years ago, one of the few good places to go out for a drink was Bodega Salto, an amazing cavern of found object art, knowing kitsch and remains of a bygone age. It's full of self-described freaks, one of the most prominent is Steve Forster - barman, artist, musician - and the bar's designer and artistic director. I'll be writing more about Salto when I do a round up of local watering holes during a later post. Meanwhile, here are a few snaps I took of Steve's band - Luve.TV - last night as they performed outside the bar to a baying mob of fans. Enjoy.

"Don't whistle - I'm really a fella!" Edu the lead singer was heard to say to the audience at the start of the performance.

The band change their style and line up all the time. 

Tonight they played intense, psychedelic songs and made do without a drummer.

(left) An appreciative audience of Salto regulars   (right) This young lady jumped up on  stage and aimed a pistol at the next band's lead singer - this is the sort of performance art of which I heartily approve.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Bienvenguts al Barri!

Or welcome to the neighbourhood for those non-Catalan speakers out there. It seems like a fitting time to start blogging about Poble Sec - in my opinion the best spot to live in Barcelona - right slap bang in the middle of our Festa Major. 

The two figures  - gegants - pictured above represent Poble Sec on street parades and are duly dusted off for the Festa Major, too. They represent the Barri's past as a centre for gaudy theatre extravaganzas and saucier entertainment. The showgirl always goes first in any parade, followed by her older, greying (and presumably  married) admirer, who carries a huge string of pearls as a symbol of his - er - esteem.

They're very relevant to the area still, as a lot of naughtiness still goes on in Poble Sec, and this blog is where it might just get a mention. 

One spot in the barri that will definitely get name-checked is La Fontaine, my (or should I say 'our', as my wife insists on checking up on me all the time) second home. Run by our great mate Stuart McKenna, it is a focus for many of the more interesting characters that haunt Poble Sec.