‘This is better than Disneyland!’ I exclaim.
I’m in a supermarket.
I really love supermarkets.
Barcelona, by the Forum, where we’ll be going nocturnal and partying through the somewhat chilly nights for Primavera. It’s a supermarket full of fresh vegetables that Liverpool has never even seen.
Choosing cheese takes about 20 minutes. We go nuts over a plastic tub of red chillies. Accidentally buying walnut bread ‘cos none of us know Spanish is one of the best things that happen to us the whole time we’re on holiday.
I really, really, really love supermarkets.
In Scotland, we say ‘going for the messages’, when we go to buy groceries from the supermarket. It’s a phrase from my childhood that’s very dear to me. It reminds me of being small, of visiting my Gran’s house every weekend where we’d play with the dogs and watch Tom and Jerry with the sound on mute so the adults could talk and eat homemade soup with Mother’s Pride (not the crusts).
I’m in the habit of saving notes on my phone whenever I’m doing something fun/exciting/humorous in case I decide to Time For Twee it later on. Alice might think this means I write down everything she says. Alice is wrong (haaaaa lol burn).
My notes on going to a music festival in Barcelona are almost entirely about food.
Apart from the one about the sombrero.
Which I tapped out in a Mexican restaurant while consuming my own body weight in guacamole (something I’ve been doing daily for the last week or so - Hey Hips!).
In Rosa Negra, Chris frowns at the gaudy black and pink interior, with the brim of a sombrero on the wall and asks ‘Where’s the top?’
Simon shrugs casually and replies ‘Well, it’s hot in Spain, isn’t it?’
Alice laughs (before she’s even managed to say anything, presumably thinking she’s about to be funny… haaaaa lol burn) ‘So you take the lid off your hat?!’
Simon nods – and it seems the most reasonable explanation any of us can think of, and there are more important things to be considered anyway, such as inhale that guacamole.
Daniel worries about what he calls his ‘Rob Me Pockets’ – shorts featuring pockets perfectly placed for any pickpocket to slide in a paw and pilfer his pennies. But after a few minutes of brain-storming great ideas for deterrents (bear traps, tiny cacti, one full of feathers, one full of tar), all concerns (apart from where/when to eat next) are tossed aside.
We try to see Veronica Falls but apparently The Breeders are playing a secret show which isn’t so secret because everyone in the queue knows about it and the doorman volunteers the information without any pressing. For some reason, still undiscerned, this means we can’t see Veronica Falls who aren’t playing ‘til two hours later anyway, so Murray (my favourite Scottish indie boy, previously my dj-ing companion post-Pete’s desertion to Toronto, and currently living an enviable life of teaching English and drinking beers at 3pm on Friday afternoons, on a Swedish boy called Pancake’s roof terrace in the sun) leads the way to a tapas place.
‘We might need to order some food with our beers if we wanna sit outside’ Murray tells us apologetically.
How terrible, we think, then order and eat everything vegetarian on the menu.
We sink some beers and the percentages are definitely working on those because when me and Alice go to the toilets, we find it the most hilarious experience of our lives, mainly due to an unusually high urinal in the gents, and a lot of jigsaw-puzzle style wriggling around other folk in the hand-washing area. We make a half-hearted second-attempt at getting into Veronica Falls, but fail, which is fine, because we want to get drunk without having to pretend to listen to a band.
Murray leads the way to Bar Psycho, although he goes striding past it and Alice is the one who spots it and tells us to hold up, presumably feeling dead pleased with herself for noticing something that any of us might have spotted a fraction of a second later anyway (haaaa lol burn).
We’re all having a lovely time, and a load of our other friends manage to find it too, and it’s pretty much an excellent night. Made all the better by Simon’s chair collapsing. While Simon is sitting in it. But Simon manages to catch it, somehow, miraculously, before gingerly rising to his feet, and proceeding to knock it back together with his hands.
This attracts the attention of the entire bar.
Who watch with delightful anticipation as Simon, having hopefully repaired his collapsible chair, slowly rests himself back down onto it and… it stands.
The entire bar erupts into cheer (although I’m sure we would have equally enjoyed a slapstick splat on the floor) and it feels like Simon should have gotten his picture framed on the wall for such an incredible feat.
I get really worried about the moon in the taxi home. Alice tries to convince me it’s waning instead of waxing, but I know she’s totally wrong as usual (haaaaaa lol burn) and I go to Primavera feeling superstitious about the potential full moon hanging over us.
I needn’t have worried. It was ace.
I could tell you all about the bands I saw, of which there were many, but you could just go and read some reviews instead.
What’s far more interesting is that we went to La Sagrada Familia and spent ten minutes plotting how we’d climb it.
‘I’d use the stairs inside’ volunteers Alice at first, which is a lame and wrong answer (haaaaa lol burn).
‘No! You have to climb it from the outside!’ the rest of us bleat, as though this is obvious. We take this far more seriously than is necessary, and for far longer than is sensible as we all end up with sore necks. We have to go eat a Maxibon each in order to get over the pain.
By the time Saturday rolls around, we are all in prime party mode. ‘I feel mental and brilliant. Like I have an enjoyable headache’ Simon says, as we totter to the metro in high spirits. It sums up how we’re all feeling.
I’m wearing triple sparkles – black sparkly tights, blue sparkly ankle socks and gold sparkly cat shoes, so I not only FEEL awesome, but I also look absolutely brilliant.
While Simon and Daniel are presumably having some other sort of food related conversation, me and Alice steam on ahead, chatting about how we’ve made all the wrong decisions in our lives – obviously we should have chosen to do things that meant we ended up living in Barcelona and eating amazing salad and avocado and bread for breakfast (at around 3pm) every day.
‘We need a recipe other than panzanella if we’re going to live here though’ I tell Alice.
‘We could vary it’ she suggests. ‘Take out the bread… and add coriander. Then we’d have salsa!’
‘Along with the guacamole we’ve been making every day… So basically we want to live on dips?’ I ask.
‘Well we need protein. So. Hummus. Chickpeas, yeah?’ Even I have to admit, Alice is definitely onto something here.
‘I’ll build up my tolerance to sour cream’ I immediately resolve.
I feel like I could be really happy with that scenario and Daniel is in his element too, having found a wide range of unidentifiable crap sweets.
He sniffs what looks like a sweet version of sushi omelette from a bag of jellies and assesses it – ‘It doesn’t even look like food’. He eats it, then ‘I’m still not convinced that was food’, before swallowing and having another.
Our last night at Primavera is drunken and hazy and full of that new Jack Daniel’s honey, drunk straight, with ice, and a shedload of giggling. At one point, Alice and I start talking about anime, and how much we’re into Last Exile. This turns into us pretty much yelling at Chris ‘You have to watch Last Exile’ for about fifteen minutes. Chris goes to get a drink. Comes back twenty minutes later.
Alice and I are still talking about how bonkers Last Exile is, and how much we love it. Woah – did I just make Alice sound cool there? Oops. That was a mistake! She’s not. (haaaaa lol burn).
I chatter incessantly at Richard for about four hours, lose a Converse and demand Daniel makes me a peppermint tea which I do not drink – it seems like a perfect end to a perfect festival. We spend our last couple of days in the recovery position, manhandling our hangovers out of our heads with more tapas and avocado and bread. What else?
Our last day is spent on a tour bus – maximum tourism for minimal effort on our part – and we even get to a point where we can drink again. Although that’s marred by a six thirty start the next day to get to the airport.
At the airport, I go into a childish sulk, and every queue is an opportunity to beg that we don’t return to reality – that we just stay. Forever. This gives way to a familiar and unfortunate feeling creeping over me, of dread hanging in the air. At first I assume that the six million Kalms I’ve taken for the flight aren’t working, or that I’m coming down with a festival illness, but as the flight progresses, I realise exactly what’s going on. This has happened to me a couple of times in the past – a weird intuition, I guess.
As soon as the plane lands, Daniel tells me it’s okay, we’ve made it.
‘I need to speak to my Mum – something’s wrong. I know I’m probably being silly but I think something bad’s happened, I can feel it’ I tell him.
I text her as soon as I can, and while I’m going through passport control, she rings me with the bad news I was somehow already expecting, that my Granda passed away while I was on holiday.
I don’t think my Granda was ever on a plane, his whole life. But he did go to the supermarket for the messages every now and then.
Who needs Barcelona when you’ve got something better than Disneyland down Paisley Road West, anyway?
*** Hey Alice, thanks for that genuine hug when you dropped me off today. You’re the best worst person I know ***
(Not really… haaaaa lol burn etc)