Monthly Archives: May 2009

FC Barcelona, the penya and Primavera

So here we are. Unless things go on for much more than 90 minutes tomorrow evening, in 24 hours we’ll know the outcome of the Champions League final. F.C. Barcelona face Manchester United in what should be a mega-clasico of a match. We’re going to watch the game at the Penya Barcelonista de Cerdanyola del Vallès, the same bar where we saw Barça win three years ago, and where we saw them knock Chelsea out just three weeks ago.

If you’ve never been to an official penya (they exist for most football clubs but around here they’re predominantly F.C. Barcelona-affiliated), these official supporters’ clubs are often the finest places to watch a good football match, provided you back the penya‘s team. You need to make sure you get there early, though. For the second semi-final, I got there over an hour before kick-off and barely managed to snag a couple of stools in the non-smoking area (shock, horror!). For tomorrow’s game, I’ve booked a table in the smoking area – three years ago, I did the same thing, and when I offered my name, the owner simply shook her head and said ‘Els estrangers‘, ‘the foreigners’. This time, she at least admitted she knew me and allowed ‘Tom’ to go on her bit of paper. We’ll see how well this works out around 8 tomorrow evening.

I’ll avoid predicting the outcome of the game because my hope that Barça will win is far greater than any knowledge I’d ever profess to having of the game. Suffice to say: I reckon it’ll be hard for both clubs, and while Man U may be favourites, I do think that Barça can win it.

And if they do, it’ll set off a great long weekend of celebrations. Because while I’ll be in the office the next day, whatever happens, Thursday night sees the start of Primavera Sound – Barcelona’s pop festival and officially the first party of the summer (well, that’s what I always say). The lineup is pretty good, and this year I’ll probably be aiming to take in a few newer bands I don’t know so much about (any recommendations are welcomed). The festival runs until Saturday, but even better news is that Monday is ‘second Easter’, meaning we get another day off! Skill!

So it could be a brilliant few days or just a very good few days. And you can’t say fairer than that.

Força Barça!

TVE censors crowd disapproval of Spanish national anthem at Copa del Rei final


When the Spanish national anthem was played on Wednesday night, it was met with whistling, klaxons and a lot of other noise from the predominantly Catalan and Basque supporters present. TV España switched to its outside broadcasting units in Barcelona and Bilbao in an apparent attempt to hide this, and then played coverage of the anthem being played, with edited sound. The sport director of TVE has been sacked for this ‘human error’ which actually looks a lot more like the Spanish national broadcaster trying to hide a potentially embarrassing truth.

More coverage at Cataloniablog.

Copa del Rei seen in Barcelona

As I was walking back from the Mississippi station today, I happened to bump into a TV3 OB team and a bunch of Culés. I asked a likely young lass if, perchance, El Barça would be coming through shortly and she confirmed that they were on their way.

I stood around for about five minutes and then spotted the TV3 team moving into the middle of the road, a surefire sign that the bus was on its way. And then, there it was. Heralded by flashing blue lights, cheers and foghorns, the Barça bus made its way across Carrer Numancia towads us. The cup itself was displayed proudly at the front of the bus, and some figures could be seen behind the tinted glass, waving and cheering. I imagine Eto’o led the chants.

Behind the bus was a fleet of hundreds of motos and cars, horns sounding and flags waving.

But this was fairly subdued by Barcelona standards. Everyone knows that within a couple of weeks, we could all be celebrating a much bigger triumph. If Barça can win the Champions League and secure a historic triple (yes, that’s a big if, but it’s there to be won), Barcelona will party for days on end.

(All 9 pics here. By the way, the pics aren’t great: I was using our compact camera and I was somewhat hurried)