BCN WEEK | Barcelona's Alternative Newsweekly
Vol 1, No 95 | March 17, 2011

Editors' Letter


by Jessica Butler

Estrella Damm - la cerveza de la Barcelona World Race 2011 - is losing the street.

Aviso: BCN Week wants your photos. Each month we'll print the best submission we receive, and put runner-up entries on the website. Don't be a chicken, participate:


Staring out at the rain through old window glass gives you a pretty good idea of what the world will look like when your eyesight’s no longer what it used to be. It’s easy to imagine that there’ll be a certain comfort in landscapes characterized by random bubbles, hazy forms and smeared edges. There’s no need to try to focus on your surroundings if you know you can’t. Once you’ve forgotten that you’ve forgotten the precise shapes of objects, you may not even miss them any more.

On the other hand, no one wants to rush into blindness, does he? For all the pains in the ass that life dishes up, there’s a lot of charm in the detail. A turn of phrase, a glint in the eye, a pack of pipas on a terraza...they all make waiting worth it. The skies will eventually part and that glorious southern sun will light up our streets.

Until then, we’ll have to content ourselves with seeking the best shelter we can, and hoping that tomorrow will be a little less soggy. Go to Venus on Avinyo and read a book. Hide out in the corner of Ginger with your lover. See a play instead of repeating a critic’s review. Buy a new napping blanket for your sofa. Make tea, not beer. Try to insert more hours into the day by refusing to let them slip by.

Just because the tiempo’s malo isn’t an excuse to procrastinate. Some of the best things in the world have been created in the pouring rain: Vietnamese food, La Pluie, Pourville, Belgium. Think of yourself as a little soil grub in your cocoon, eating your way through compost to a better future. By the time the sun comes out, you’re going to be big and fat and ready to go.

Los Editors



The cops who work at the station at the bottom of the Ramblas sit around like kings and ticket cyclists who ride their bikes across the walkway trying to get to the other side of the street. Perhaps there’s a monthly fine quota to fulfil? While of course it’s ludicrous to call this sort of thing “crime prevention”, it’s made even more absurd by the hypocrisy of the policemen themselves. How many times have I seen them ride their motorbikes, or even drive a fucking car, from one side to the other?

For every idealist that’s ever dreamed of working in a small, passionately caring environment: if you also want to get things done, an NGO might not be for you.

Thank you to the Ajuntament for continuing to put in new bike lanes. It’s a big step in the right direction. As it’s still a bit new for pedestrians, however, perhaps we should review a couple of the basics. The chief one is this: the bike lanes are not an extension of the sidewalk. They are not a good place to wait to cross the street against the light (you’ll get run over), or tongue-lash your boyfriend (you’ll get run over) or sort your rubbish (YOU WILL GET RUN OVER).

Online banking, what a treat. Between the slow-loading fancy features and the buried menus that seem to contain such interesting tidbits as the names of people that owe you money and your SWIFT code, it’s a wonder that anyone gets anything done. I seem to remember a day when things were easier. Uglier, maybe, but easier. Bring back the excel sheets and the one-page layout. I can’t find anything.

Please, patrons, when finishing up at the metro, grocery, stamp shop, etc., once you have completed your transaction, move to the side so that the next person doesn’t have to stand in line for ten years watching you organize your bills and metro tickets.

Darling grandparents: when coming for a visit with your children and their newborn, don’t forget that even though you’ve arrived to pamper and fuss over the baby, there are one or two extremely tired, extremely harassed people who could really use some help. Do something, do anything, but get off the couch.

Is it just me or is public discourse becoming more and more bullshitty by the day? Is there any chance that the anarchists will rise again, for real? I think we need a little decomposition in the structure of our political system.

I’ll be the first to admit that I become obsessed with songs and play them over and over again to the exclusion of all else. It’s actually amazing how the human ear just cannot tire of certain things that hit the right chord. Unfortunately, I’m now realizing that I have probably inflicted the same minor torture upon my friends, family, and neighbors that my current neighbor is inflicting upon me. Do The Strokes have a new album, or is there perhaps an Italian band that sounds like The Strokes that has one very catchy tune that has been playing on the other side of my bedroom wall for the last 21 days? Have any studies been done about this? How long can I expect to wait for the song to change?

I came downstairs this weekend to find that there were any number of soiled tissues in the entryway of my building. I suppose they were thrown there by some miscreant resident, but I don’t really get it. Does a window look like a trash can? Could they not make it to the trash can? Did the tissues jump out of their pocket? When I commiserated with the portera, she only said, “Imagine how they are in the summer when I’m gone for a month.”

Beloved BCNetas, you do an ugly job daily with great dignity and I wouldn’t want to complain (even thought it’s not me who let’s recibos and wrapping paper “inconspicuously” slide to the ground even though the nearest trash bin is only meters away), but it would be awfully nice if you could remember to let the trash bins snap back in after you’ve emptied them. There are situations in life when you need to hold on to them and you look terribly stupid if even the bin lets go of you.

It has come to the attention of our staff that some Barcelona residents do not find the city's civisme laws entirely adequate. That is, by choosing only to penalize normal city behavior (drinking, urinating, dropping a fiver for a BJ), the city is missing out on a panoply of more subtle, yet equally misanthropic, social assaults. While legal experts and Ajuntament budget planners may doubt the prosecutability of these lesser offenses, and therefore their revenue-earning potential, we here at BCN Week are ready to help you navigate these treacherous urban waters via those old standbys: complaint and conversation. Enviad vuestras quejas a

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