We woke up at 4:30 GMT to catch a cab to catch a bus to catch a plane to get back to London. This is where my spanish skills really came in handy, because I had to tell the cabdriver which bus we needed to catch, tell the busdriver which part of Girona we were going to and once in Girona, I had to make sure everyone got some coffee… 😉
I really did like Barcelona, even if parts of it were really touristy. It seemed more like a beach town to me, and that’s ok. I still want to get back there with Lisa and have a look around with her. It might be fun to rent a car and wander spain for a while.
Once back in the UK, several things hit us rather jarringly- #1 was that we hadn’t had enough sleep. We had some difficulty falling asleep the night before we left B’lona because we weren’t sure if we were going to get a proper wakeup call, seeing as how the phone in the room didn’t work. Plus, y’know, in Spain there’s a certain kind of “Eh, se puede…” thinking that goes into the planning of almost every future event. We set alarms on our cell phone, our watches, our computers, etc. Then we laid awake worrying that we were going to somehow miss all of our connections. No rest for the weary.
#2- London may not be colder on the thermometer, but it’s damp here. It got under my coat like I would imagine the cold in a refrigerator gets down beneath the leaves of a head of cabbage… I was cold all the way down, and sadly,
#3- No more cortados. Daniel got the first cup of coffee in the UK, and it had that UK coffee smell. Mweh, pfui.
We went to the practice space of Keith, our driver, and worked out a couple of acoustic songs for our appearance on the BBC world service broadcast. Speaking of cold and damp… oy. The space was in the basement of some old, old building in Shoreditch. We had to walk past the moderately disinterested stares of the staff of some electronic music label. The only guy who took any interest at all was this guy named Charlie, who was a part-timer at the label working on cataloguing their past releases. He was very nice, pointed out the tea kettle and even hung around for a bit while we practiced. He is the first person I have ever met whose favorite Neil Young record is actually Trans. (We were speculating that in a couple of years, everyone is going to turn around and hail that as the inevitable marriage of Kraftwerk and Graham Parsons, and that it is in an overlooked masterpiece. “Ve knew ve vere right, jah….”)
From there, Keith took us to BBC World Headquarters. I have to confide to you that I am ridiculously sentimental about the BBC World Service radio broadcasts, because back when I was living at the cabin by myself, before blogging, before I lived in Chicago, etc, I was living alone in the woods, in a 1000 acre forest, with no one but the dog for company. I would come in from work in the evenings, make some coffee and turn on Public Radio, and at 7pm, there was Fergus Nicholl telling me what was happening in the world. I don’t mind telling you that were some dark and lonely evenings out there in the woods, when I was wondering why I had ever left Athens and if I was ever going to have saved enough money to move to Chicago and be close to Lisa. BBC World Service was a connection with the rest of the world.
So, here we were at Bush House (no relation to the failed US President(s)) and we were ushered into the studio, where Mark Coles, the exceptionally well-informed and generous guy from the BBC World Service’s program The Beat, interviewed Parker while we all watched from behind the glass.
Daniel, who also has an abiding interest in all things audio, and I were amazed, just stunned, at the sound quality of the speakers BBC had custom built for the control room in the Radio 6 studio. They sounded so nice we just melted into our shoes listening to them. As Mark the engineer pointed out, unfortunately no one is listening on speakers that nice. Yeah, it’s true.
At this point, The Low Lows and your humble narrator had been awake 45 of the previous 48 hours, and we were flying low (low). We were tandem napping- one of us was almost always nodded out for ten minutes, as we wandered our way back in Keef’s van to Kim’s flat. HOWEVER, suddenly, an obsessive need for fish and chips overtook us. Keef shouted “WAIT, THERE’S AN EXCELLENT PLACE CALLED SUPERFISH RIGHT UP HERE!” and a crazed hunt for hot grease, fried fish and potatoes overtook us.
I don’t know what we were thinking, but there we were, sitting in Superfish, exhausted and stuffing ourselves ridiculously full of fish and chips and laughing about Keef’s description of the film The Holy Mountain:
“So, of course, y’see, the second part of the film is a bunch of toads and a bunch of iguanas dressed as the Mayans and the Conquistadors, respectively, and they’re re-enacting the Spanish arrival at Pre-Columbian Mexico… what? No, they’re DRESSED as Mayans and Conquistadors… really… well, you have to see it… and then, all of the pyramids start to run with blood…. OH, and then everything explodes…”
We were goggle-eyed at his description. I think I need to see this film.
So, from there were returned to Kim’s lovely house, and I found myself horribly nauseated from the fish and chips. After consuming an ocean of coffee and tea yesterday just to keep moving forward, I think that a meal as heavy as f’n’c was a bad idea. I would have been slightly better off if I had swallowed a live bear cub. Gosh, just thinking about it now kind of makes me a little queasy.
I spent a few minutes coughing at the toilet thinking “Oh, god, please don’t me barf… oh… ooooh… please let me barf… ugh… ugh…”
I finally laid down and got some sleep. Remind me not to do that ever again. This morning I still feel a little odd, but Daniel insisted that I have some yoghurt and granola and I am starting to feel a little more normal.
Today, on to Oxford!