Saturday, 30 June 2012
Menorca, island of sunshine, sandy coves, friendly people, and the craziest summer solstice traditions I've come across yet (more on that later). I was only there for two and a half days, but they were peaceful, dreamy, exciting days and they're going to be over-represented here on the blog. The water was turquoise (and cold!), I ate plums overlooking it, and only succeeded in reading two pages of my book. It was perfect.
The dress is from Boutique by Jaeger, and I wanted it as soon as I saw it, but it was definitely too expensive. I snagged it a few weeks back for 50% off but almost ended up returning it as it was enormous and made me look like a frumpy old lady (not that old ladies are inherently frumpy, but I was). Anyway, I had it taken in and the waist seam raised a bit, so all's well that ends well.
Monday, 25 June 2012
It's no secret that I've been going through an extra-strong 1920s kick this year. Maybe it has something to do with my own 20s winding down; I want to end them on a jazz-age worthy bang. A few months ago I read Barry Paris' biography of Louise Brooks and watched some of her classic German films, which inspired a sort of decadent frenzy in me (although the second half of the book read like more of a cautionary tale, and that had an effect too). I've never been a hardcore party girl, and frankly it's not my style, but I definitely feel a need these days to burn the candle at both ends, to not turn down that one-for-the-road drink, to go out on Monday (and Tuesday and Wednesday) night, to try new things. Preferably whilst wearing something a little bit reminiscent of the 1920s, like this Alexandra Grecco dress (April's splurge). My hair may not quite fit the decade I'm referencing--I'm just waiting for fall to chop a bunch of it off--but the building certainly does. These pictures were taken at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, designed by the German architect in 1929.
Photos by Albert
Thursday, 21 June 2012
On Sunday, my outing was no further than the park directly behind my flat, armed with a blanket, chickpea salad sandwiches, shandies and books. My need to go out and enjoy weekends is almost pathological sometimes... I've always felt that time spent at home, unless you're with people you really like drinking tea or wine, is time wasted. However, I've been working 50 hours or so the last couple of weeks with one thing and another (including a new, more interesting, temporary job), plus bashing myself up in bizarre ways (tripping over suitcases and smashing my elbows springs to mind). Under the circumstances, an outing that required as little time spent getting there as possible was needed. It was so nice to lie on the grass, wonder at everyone in Barcelona seeming to have a French Bulldog, and read a few pages...
Photos by Albert
Sunday, 17 June 2012
Pa-tum, Pa-tum, Pa-tum... a man wearing purple velvet with mutton-chop sleeves beats the drum, steadily, and thousands of people crowded above, below and around him let out a cheer. After hours of gathering and waiting in a small square never intended to hold so many, La Patum de Berga is beginning.
Men on horseback charge into the square, or rather, men dressed as though they're on horseback (complete with horse) and the show is on. This popular festival, unique to the Catalan town Berga, dates back to at least 1454, and has clear roots to pre-Christian festivals. We were promised demons, giants, dragons... and we got them.
Clearly the only thing to do when there are this many people around is... start some fires...
The "Guita" makes an appearance.
After they have thoroughly doused everyone with fire (one went into a nearby bar to make sure everyone there got a a taste as well), one of the Guitas moves gracefully through the crowd (at times with children riding on its back) to bring the drummer and the band leader a skinful of wine.
The eagle bows to the crowd. The man in purple on the tiny balcony (squished in with a number of children) is the drummer.
The eagle was my favourite; when it enters, everyone hushes and shushes until silence descends, and then the eagle dances to a haunting tune from the band, and as the tune picks up, everyone begins to dance along too, hands in the air.
And towards midnight there was a lengthy explanation about safety, and being sure to only dance in a counter-clockwise direction... and the square slowly filled with ... bushes (or rather, devils of the forest). With fireworks attached to their heads.
And then all the lights went off.
In 2005, UNESCO declared La Patum to be a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, which may be what has kept it so far from being banned in the name of fire safety. After seeing a documentary filming of the event a few years ago, I became obsessed with seeing it in person. I was worried it wouldn't live up to my ideas... after all, what is darkly majestic and quietly magical on the laptop screen can be exciting but uncomfortable in real life, with smelly people crowded all around and dragons pouring buckets of sparks on your head. But La Patum was even better in real life: three straight hours of standing amid fire and smoke, listening to the band play, watching an eagle dance and feeling like I was watching her through a haze (a smoky haze) of centuries, and understanding the common history that shapes people watching everyone from the village dance with her. I wouldn't have missed it for anything! Next time I'm bringing my fire-proof hat though.
Photos by Albert
Tuesday, 12 June 2012
For the past couple of years, I've been in pursuit of the perfect gingham picnic dress. It probably comes with the territory of sort of naming your blog after The Wizard of Oz. I'm not picky about colour, but I'm picky about almost everything else. This one came and turned out to be more plaid than gingham, so the search goes on, but I've been wearing it loads anyway since it arrived. I'm trying to decide whether to shorten it or not: I feel it's a bit long on me, but at the same time it's nice to cycle around without wondering where my hemline is.
So far no picnics in this dress though, just work and errands, sigh...
Photos by Albert
P.S. Here was my previous gingham dress purchase... I'm sure I won't stop with two either!
Sunday, 3 June 2012
This weekend was Primavera Sound in Barcelona, and people with fluorescent yellow wristbands, both local and imported for the event, could be seen all over town. This year's lineup was amazing: I saw:
Death Cab for Cutie (I'm sorry but snore, bring back The Postal Service)
Refused (hilarious Swedish hardcore band, I'd never heard of them but they were awesome live)
Franz Ferdinand (dance! happy!)
The Japandroids (Vancouver Represent!)
Rufus Wainwright (Canada and my adolescence Represent!)
and The Cure! The concert pic below is The Cure, not that you can tell.
I'm actually not very into music, but even I had to go this year (too bad Bjork cancelled though). Had a great couple of evenings staying up late, eating overpriced tacos and drinking overpriced beer, going to bed at 4 am and working at 8 am (hence my epic dark circles in these pictures).
Photos by Albert