Monthly Archives: December 2006

2006 in review

Two thousand and six has been a pretty eventful year, politically and personally. While for me, the most important event was my wedding to Gemma at the end of September, numerous moments featuring Lt Gen Aguado, Spain Herald, Reial Madrid, FC Barcelona and Solidaridad Española Con Cuba have added spice, and traffic, to the site.

This has also been a year during which Catalan and Spanish nationalism have been among the top issues discussed on blogs, including Much has been written in these pages about how I am not a nationalist, nor a supporter of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya – the left-wing Catalan nationalist party. I have, however, spoken out several times against a series of myths and falsehoods which are circulated and often repeated by their critics. Beyond a broadly leftist outlook, I have no party loyalty here or in the UK. I’m most interested by the ways people use language when engaging in political debate – and this includes popular misconceptions about ERC as well as the PP.

This year’s FIFA World Cup wasn’t the most awe-inspiring tournament in history and I reckon it’ll be remembered as something of a low point for international football. But that doesn’t really matter because Barça won la Liga and the Champions League. I predict another league title for them but the Champions League is going to be much tougher. A final against Chelsea is possible but I don’t think that Barça would beat them. But they will have Eto’o and Messi back, so you never know. Anyway, they’ve got some hard work to put in before we need to start thinking about that.

I’ve spent a lot of time this year delving into the back catalogues of various artists on the roster of Drag City Inc., the Chicago based record label. While my obvious link with them is my passion for Royal Trux (I recently purchased “Hero / Zero” with the prestigious release code DC1), I’ve built a strong affinity for Silver Jews, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Neil Hamburger – who has left a comment on this very blog. We were also lucky enough to see Silver Jews in June on what was their first proper international tour despite a career of more than 10 years. They rocked.

As I said before, the highlight of my year was undoubtedly my wedding with Gemma. We had a fantastic weekend in Tarragona and then a splendid honeymoon in post-coup Thailand. We both fell in love with Bangkok and we’re looking forward to a trip to India next Christmas. Meanwhile, we’re passing this year’s holidays in Modbury, my home town in Devon, England.

It’s been a good year: let’s hope that we can say the same for 2007. Though I should mention that I’m not planning to marry again, just to boost ratings.

Three top BCN gigs for December

As the winter rolls in, so does what seems to be the best season to catch live music in Barcelona. Don’t get me wrong: the summer and spring festivals are awesome… but I’ve seen some pretty spectacular performances over the last few years during the colder months (such as the Flaming Lips, the White Stripes, the Kills, the Strokes, RTX).

This month, Gemma and I will be rocking out at concerts by Lambchop (cool funk-country with a million-piece band and loads of Curtis Mayfield: Thursday 7th at the Casino d’Alliança de Poble Nou); Albert Hammond Jr. (the guitarist from, and coolest member of, the Strokes: Wednesday 13th at Sala Apolo); and Jarvis Cocker (wise-mouthed northern lanky man off of Pulp: Friday 22nd at Razzmatazz).

If anyone’s planning to go to any of these fine concerts, let me know and we’ll share a beer and a Ducado (if you’re lucky!). Oh… plus, two bank holidays this week and a massive Barça game tomorrow… what a month!

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