And the hotel management seem to have finally sorted out the wireless internet in this part of the building.
Barcelona is just so wonderful. I can’t wait to bring my wife back. I hope to have time to walk to the ocean today. I am sure it’s spectacular. There are palm trees everywhere. I hope to go to the Ramblas tomorrow and buy some dates.
The coffee here is just extraordinary, which is the only reason I am still able to type this after last night’s short nap before this morning’s flight.
Yesterday, W.I.Z. invited me out to see a movie on my last night in London before I left for B’lona and he went out on tour with his lovely and talented girlfriend. He was being kind of cagey about what film it was, but he can be like that. I grabbed the #87 bus from Clapham Commons (where we’ve been staying) and rode it to the Vauxhall Bridge, which is a little place where Londoners like to hang out in their cars and honk their horns at each other.
I finally got let out at Trafalgar Square, whereupon I promptly got lost in Soho whilst looking for the Groucho Club.
I did finally find it with the help of a very sweet homeless guy who noticed I was lost and said “Look, this ain’t the place to be squintin’ at street signs, bruvvah.” I am sure he was right, and he got a quid for his troubles.
So, W.I.Z. is sort of in a state when I drag in, kind of pacing and looking at the space on his arm where he often thinks about putting a watch. He and I run out the door and towards the theatre district south of Shaftesbury Avenue. We have to try and go around this massive throng of people who are bunched around some sort of ridiculous red carpet celebrity thing, with spiraling searchlights and a big fence and tabloid photographers and all that. “God, what a spectacle!” I shout to W.I.Z. as we’re breezing around the outside of this teeming throng. He gives me this sort of nod, a patient smile, then we turn a corner and SUDDENLY…. we’re headed down this fucking red carpet. He hands two tickets to a very nice policewoman, and suddenly we’re on the inside of the throng, and the fence and the spinning searchlights, and above our heads is this giant marquee that says “50th Anniversary London Film Festival: Babel, with Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal. LONDON PREMIER!”
W.I.Z. knows how insanely fond I am of the work of Guillermo Arriaga, the screenwriter who wrote Babel, but also 21 Grams. I love his fatalism, his meditations on the relationships between parents and children, his lack of fear about writing about loss and sadness… and here we were at the premier of his latest film.
The film was introduced by the Director, who is also one of my favorites, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Gael, who is a friend of W.I.Z.’s. They were humble and funny, and told funny stories about each other, and talked about the work some. It was astonishing to watch their creation unfold after they left the stage. Babel is a spectacularly sad film, and it is told with Arriaga and Iñárritu’s unflinching lack of sentimentality. See it, see it, see it. BUT adjust your medications accordingly.
Afterwards, we adjourned back to the Groucho Club, where I met a big chunk of the production team with whom W.I.Z. has been doing some work. They are all very successful, stylish as hell, at the tops of their respective fields, and were yet unfailingly kind and indulgent of an American redneck drummer with what I call “fork issues.” (“And what do I use this one for?” “Why did that guy just take my knife away?”)
I forced myself to quit the table and catch the N87 bus back to Clapham Junction at 2am. We had to get up at 6:00am to catch our flight to Barcelona. I think I got two and a half hours of sleep.
As I was coming up the hill to Kim’s house, there was a drunken guy with a thick Scots accent and a $500 suit mumbling to himself, smoking and pissing on the wall of the pub across from Kim’s. I thought, “What an asshole! Someone needs to give that guy a talking to, perhaps knock him down and teach him a little lesson about staggering around drunk and pissing in neighborhoods where people live.”
Of course, I had more important things to do that to rough up some piss drunk Pict, so I bounced up the steps, lifted the mat, retrieved the key and then heard this drunk slurring “Oi!… yah shouldn’a oughtta… leave out….ssshhhh…. key… I could have ROBBED yoooo….oooo…..”
I turned around as I was closing the door and said “Funny thing, that. I could have robbed you, too.”
There was a long silence, and then he said “Aye…. I can’t argue with that…”