It had to happen, I guess. I mean, they say things come in three’s, right? The Musketeers, Blind Mice, Wise Men, Amigo’s, ‘somes!
Should have seen it comin’, really. But, we thought that as we’d been through it once, then twice, they would realise we had nothin’ left of worth or that we hid things too well. But they didn’t think that, as it turns out. What they maybe thought was ‘Well, as they don’t seem to take the warning, lets pillage EVERYTHING they have’. And thus, they did. They came in like thieves in the night (although it was about as day-ey as you can get it) and robbed us of all and sundry. I came off the worst as usual, (that’s what you get for having best stuff), I mean, I had to put everything nice and meaningful in my bag the night before, right, instead of leaving it just hanging there, ‘there’ being the place that they didn’t take anything from. All my beautiful scarves, great collection of hats, ski wear, lovely coats, ‘mazin’ sock collection, cool shirts, jeans, yada yada yada. All gone. My co-driver lost some batteries, paperclips and some farm clobber from Worzel Gummage. Oh, don’t forget the rucksacks that we spent a day trooping ‘round London with a very bored and slightly annoying Kurd, looking for. And a big ski bag. ALL GONE……
So, I guess the fact that I had spent the previous 10 days being taught, among other things, to renounce all my possessions, came in slightly handy, really. I don’t think I could have been less annoyed if the pikey’s had left me a few grand to replace the stuff with, along with some photos of Romanian orphans wearing my clobber at a Disco and 20 quid in luncheon vouchers. I was still gutted though…
But less so than I would have been, thanks to Vipassana Meditation.
Now, usually, I wouldn’t hark on about something that I feel you should learn about and experience for yourselves, I mean, we all have our own paths, right? We all decide what is gonna work for us, we all take things on board at our own time when we feel we may benefit from them, or at times when we feel we need ‘something’ to get us through. And no matter what I say, the majority of you (that’s 2 out of the three who read this tripe) will process this info for a few seconds before carrying on with your pretence of work whilst actually being on Facebook for 7 out of your 8 hour days. But even if that’s how it is, remember the word Vipassana (pronounced Vipashna) and maybe look it up on Google, Wickipedia or better still go to http://www.dhamma.org and just spend a few minutes reading about it. And know this.
If I could ever give any of you, and many of you I love dearly, if I could ever give any of you anything, no matter the material worth or sensory pleasure it may bring, it would be this.
The knowledge of the practice of Vipassana Meditation.
For this knowledge is priceless. It is the knowledge of how to free yourselves from the mental shackles that hold you back in life. Freedom from your aversions and your cravings. Freedom from your inadequacies, from your pain and anguish. Freedom from negativity. Freedom from unhappiness. It sounds improbable, impossible even. But if you ever wanted to live a peaceful, harmonious, HAPPY life, the only way 99.99% of you would manage it, is by learning about Vipassana Meditation. None of you will, of course, cos most probably think its impossible, or more likely, that you’re alright as you are or even that you cant be bothered (the scourge of the English nation today is that its full of you who ‘Cant Be Bothered’). ‘I’ve got narcs to do that for me’ or ‘that’s what the weekends are for’ or ‘life’s not actually ‘that bad’ really’, or many of the other excuses we use (and I did it as much as y’all) to pretend that we are always happy and that things are ‘Just Dandy, ta very much’. Well, frankly, that’s BULLSHIT. I’m not preaching, just telling you, or offering you info on something that will change your lives for the better, forever. Check it out, for yourselves, not for me. I just wanted to tell you about it cos I know it’ll benefit every one of you.
I went on a 10 day Vipassana Retreat. It was a silent retreat. And if I can not talk for 10 days, any of you can! It was an experience that I won’t share because it’s personal, although those of you who want to know more, I will tell in the more intimate surroundings of an email. All I’ll say is that I am on the path to mental liberation, liberation from negativity and unhappiness. It’s a long path and it’s hard to push on. But once you’re on, you never get off. And I’m on it. So up yours!
Anyways, two days after I got back, all my shit got robbed and now I have fewer garms than the Littlest Hobo and he was a dog who didn’t wear any so you I’m sure you catch my drift.
But ‘Hey’, I hear you cry, ‘Sod all that crap, what’s been goin’ down on the streets o’ Barcelona since you got back, Saul John Stanley Abbott’? Well, children, I’ll give you a li’l rundown of the past week or two in the life of yours truly and the Ne’er-do-well Kid, whilst I listen to some Yiddish Swing Music on my headphones, to get me in the mood for some cheeky tale telling (check out Klezmer, it really is preety darn ace)
I had a very brief ‘fling’ with a Brazilian, who turned out to be totally incompatible in the sense that conversation was about as easy to come by as some pikey’s with a conscience, who after stealing your rucksack, decide that your clothes actually looked better on you after all and decide to give it back with aforementioned luncheon vouchers attached. Nice girl, not my type.
We moved our Trojan Horse of a House from the side of Barcelona’s busiest A road, from which for absolutely nothin’, you could have your choice of poisonous car gases, Monoxide being my personal favourite, to coat your evening meal (and the inside of your lungs, sort of a buy one get one free deal) to probably the most peaceful place within the city’s walls, Parc Guell. And check this. Parc Guell has a toilet! In fact, it has two toilets. So, we now had our choice of doing poopseys in either a normal toilet, with facilities to cleanse ones hands after, and dry them even, if that’s to your taste, FOR FREE, or to do so in a potty. And that’s not some witty description of a toilet that I mustered up from my hilarity containing brain bit, that’s actually what it is. A potty.
Many of you probably don’t remember what it is to do a woo in a potty. I won’t explain, I’ll leave it to your imagination. If you need help, just think of the ugliest creature you can , sat staring at your bum for ages, sneering as it does so. For 30 cents a pop.
I use the former. I used to use the latter. Nuff said.
Parc Guell is in a part of town called Gracia within which one of my new greatest friends, Marta Calvo Bafooeyooey, lives. Gracia is probably the East London equivalent of Barcelona. It’s not similar, but that’s probably the only description I can use to help you understand what it might be like. It’s where the ‘Cool’ people live, supposedly. To get to our trusty steed, we have to walk up 3 Everest’s and so although my shorts are 47 inches too big ‘round the waste due to my new svelte figure and so tend to fall down at the slightest waft of a breeze, they suddenly stop at my thighs due to their Canadian Redwood impressions. They’re like Russ Abbot in a fat suit.
I’ve been lucky enough, due to the amount of great people I have met here, to see many parts of Barcelona that most ‘tourists’ (of which I am one, I guess) would never see. For example, there’s Mr B, who lives in Poblenou. Now, Poblenou is probably your Clapham of Barcelona (sorry Poblenou). It has loads of street café’s, is full of young thirysomethings pushing prams and looks pretty respectable, albeit, it doesn’t have a load of wanky tossers, so its not exactly the same!! I like this area, there’s a street culture going on and it’s nice to be a part of. Then, there’s where we were parked up for a week or two, Forum. It has some amazing newly landscaped parks, is right next to the sea and is full of basketball courts, open-air table tennis and Magnums for a Euro 60! Probably a li’l Canary Wharf like in appearance, due to its high-rise swanky flats and dudes wearing tailored shorts! But if you wanna mix it up with the b-ball massive, Ally-oop your way down there.
The party capital of Barca is no doubt, Raval. It looks a lot more like East London than Gracia, what with dog crappola, dodgy dealers and the general stench of sewage and has quite a few wicked bars and a couple of awful but at the same time awesome clubs. Many a night out has been had here, many pigeon Spanglish conversations undertaken and many numbers begotten. Its off The Rambla, the World’s worst best-known street/road, on which you can buy a duckling for a few euros, an Eagle in a cage for a few more or have your arse felt up by one of the many Nigerian Ho’s (is it Ho’s or Who’s? If it’s Whore, surely its Who? But that sounds wrong, right? Doctor Who or Doctor Ho? How about ‘ho’s? That’s it, I reckon, ‘ho. I never got that abbreviation), that’s Nigerian ‘ho’s, who if you’re not careful, will take advantage of a wayward glance in order to accompany you to wherever you’re heading, however far, balls in one hand, wallet in the other. Think of it as another type of hand relief, their hand relieving you of your wallet. They… Are… Militant.
This week, i’m gonna check out a place called Sants. It’s the other ‘Cool’ place, full of Squats, Raves of an illegal nature and more street café’s. Sounds Anarchic, in a café latte sort of way. Right up my strasse.
Digressing, let’s get back to Marta Calvo Bafooeyooey, newly, this second, crowned Marta Calvo Hong Kong Phooey. Me and the Ne’er-do-well kid met her on our last trip to Barca, with her friend Belen and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. Belen, we’ve only seen once since our recent arrival. Marta, we see as much as we can. If ever there was anyone I would want to stash away in a box (one with holes to enable breathing and maybe a mini bathroom for ones relief, I’m yet a serial killer, this isn’t the sequel to Boxing Helena) and take with me wherever I go, its Marta Calvo Hong Kong Phooey. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a small number of Angels in my time and I would like to add Marta to that list. As well as being one of the funniest, caring, generous, whacky and downright fun inducing people I have ever met, Marta has given us the keys to her ‘WICKED’ flat for the weekend whilst being away (in which washing of all things was undertaken, lazin’ around made the most of and sleep, massively necessarily caught up on), introduced us to the best Shwarma kebab I’ve ever had and taken us to a lovely beach outside of Barca, the journey of which included Marta Calvo Hong Kong Phooey abandoning myself and the BFG on the platform so she could have an hour’s peace and a sneaky salad before we caught up on her and had some clean sea water frolics. The clean sea water fun was necessary due to the fact that Barca’s sea water is about as clean as the pants of a traveller who lives in a big tin box and who’s said pants must be peeled off by his companion before he gets into his cheese stenched sleeping bag for a night of slippery sweaty sleep. She also helped us to gauge on the worst Pizza any of us had ever had (an 84 cheese beast) and tried to feed me Boqueronies or something of a similar sound, which is basically little raw fish, marinated in piss before being drizzled with pigeon puss. She makes a blinding Gazpacho though…
I also met another Angel. And seriously, i’m not being flippant with my use of the word, for I know that truly, there are very few people in the World deserving of such a description, but truthfully, I really did meet another. Her name is Anh Thu. No, you don’t say it like that, you say it like this, Anh Thu (in a chinesey sounding way!) A Vietnamese Princess, who’s Angelic ness is expressed through both her outer and inner beauty. Myself and my co-traveller met Anh Thu and the heartbroken Deborah at a 42nd birthday party of a sort of friend, sort of failed romance attempt of Ne’er-do-wells. 2 days later, the heartbroken Deborah went back to Paris, leaving her friend in Barcelona, alone and wingless and so it was surely my duty to make sure this Angel spent as li’l time alone on the streets of Barca as possible. And so a non-physical, very soulful relationship was undertaken as I spent almost every waking, non-working hour of Anh Thu’s accompanying her through Barca’s many different site’s and crap restaurants. I even managed to couch surf on her hotel room sofa, for only TEN EURO’S (I’ll soon report her to couch surfing for extortion and going against the ethos of sharing one’s roof with a stranger for free). As one would expect from a heavenly being, conversation was deep, meaningful, easy and fun, and every minute was a joy. And thus, as explained in my last mutterings on these ‘ere pages, goodbye was sadder than a memorial of a faded pop icon who’s best years were 20 years behind him but still commanded Facebook updates of grown men saying ‘I’m crying, this is soooo sad’. Yep, even sadder than that! However, I feel that, again, I have been blessed in meeting this person and something yells at me from my innards, sounding something like the words ‘You’ll meet again, someday’. Maybe in a greater capacity than the original one, maybe not, but a piece of my heart is now in Hong Kong.
Wo shi ying guo ren, as I might say in Mandarin.
As living in a 24 hour city and being a social panther are the basis’ of the life of Mr S Abbott right now, I’m still reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and so have no reviews of said scriptures as yet. But, be patient, mine eyes have been wandering much and so next time, I’ll tell you how bloody great one of them is whilst telling you how I am no further through t’other due to its voluminous size and thought provoking philosophy.
I attended Montjuic festival recently, a musicy thang, where my cohort, once again, nuzzled up against the breast of a lady, only to have since nuzzled up against so many other breasts of other ladies that this nuzzle seems to have been one of a temporary nature and not pursued further than the feeding of some ‘Ace’ fish and chips from Barcelona’s only and damn fine Fish and Chip shop (East London run, of course) and a stroke on the beach. And that aint a metaphor. I saw the most amazing display of fountain trickery ever witnessed by mine eyes balls at said festival (photo’s on Facebook for those able to peruse) and had the longest walk home of anyone since that bloke who took a drunken’ wrong turn in Sidney and ended up in Dudley.
I also attended a flea market, where not only did we manage to sneakily set ourselves up in a corner to sell the most random assortment of items since Steptoe and Son (of which we surely resembled due to our unkempt hair and ungodly stench), but a snowboard was sold to an un-suspecting Catalan who had never seen snow but was talked into the purchase due to my old friend telling her that he was a weatherman and Barca was due a huge blizzard of biblical proportions within the next fortnight and the only way she would be able to feed her baby was by ‘boarding to the local Lidl whilst all around her shovelled in vain to keep the snow from pluggin up their breathe holes. For 20 bucks!! I also met Nadine, a sort of Bronx-ian, super fine, who’s company I would spend two days wallowing in, only for her to stitch me up at the last at an outdoor screening, against a castle wall, of In Bruges, proceeded by an Indo-Jazz Fusion band and me, sat alone, eating a wonderfully assembled picnic for two, looking like Billy No Mates’ ugly kid brother. Not a bad film though, weak script but anything with Brendan Gleeson in is alright in my book. 20 euros that picnic cost. Freekin’ fugazey…
I’ve also attended a house party, which I was invited to by an Italian male version of Deirdre Barlow and at which I got so drunk, I asked an acquaintance if the very large girl bounding towards us was his wife or girlfriend, in mocking tone, only to be told ‘No, its my sister’ and at which I also lost the power of speech, voluntary movement and consciousness.
I attended Nasty Mondays, a rock night, where I met more hotties but was too drunk to do anything but fall over onto them, shouting as I went down ‘I’m actually an alright bloke really’, (snot on face, drool on them), went to a funk night that wasn’t bad and went to another funk night, hosted by the leg end that is Keb Darge, who proceeded to play the Hill-Billy shit that these freaks in Barca prefer to his usual funk fuelled titty twisters. Basically, I’ve partied, partied, partied, met many cool peeps, a few alright ones and some Angels. I reckon that’s a job well done.
And thus, it’s soon to be over as I leave Barcelona for pastures new and tales of an altogether fresh and different nature, one which will be more lonesome but probably as fulfilling and exciting as those that have gone before and about as mundane to read about as the last 7 months’ adventures.
But I urge you, there will yet be one more blog of similar nature, as tales of ‘Real Life’ bumper cars, a gig involving a man whose surname is Scott-Heron and a shocking farewell take place.
It’ll be the last of its kind and one you wont want to miss out on………
Bit like me really
Party on, dudes…