Thursday, 26 February 2009

Barcelona Part 5.

Think I said I wasn't coming back here unless I had to.

But, back I am and very grateful for some very nice commissions.

Sitges was fun. Enjoyed my time there and may make it back for Sunday afternoon. Vilanova was just very, very, lovelly, but all to brief! The town itself is pretty shyte. I was just fortunate enough to enjoy very special company.

So, with cash in pocket, a safe bed and lots of work, I'm prepared to give Barcelona another chance. It's alright. It's beautiful. It offers opportunities, but why the fuck won't they let artists work on the streets here? This city was built on art.

I have new boots. Pretty much replaced all that was stolen and am almost rady to start the long trek to Santiago once again. Very keen to get going TBH. Just need a bit more in pocket.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Vilanova i la Getru.

Just down the coast from Sitges. Came here to find a cheap bed and shower. So fucked and sore footed I just booked into the first I found. They kindly changed my room without questions when they put me right next door to the party reception room full of a Zillion excited children.

Excited because carnaval is celebrated here also. A huge sweet throwing fiesta. The streets are currently littered with boiled sweets. Every step sticks to the pavement with a sweet, sugar coated 'siclick siclick'.

Also here to visit someone. Booked in for Three nights to recover from an almighty weekend of work and fun before hitting the road again. Need to take a break and spend quality time with quality company before I leave mind. I've had a fantastic weekend, but I'm well and truly fucked :)

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Sitges Part 2.

Carnaval :)

It's not the biggest by any means, but it is the most full-on public bingeing session I've ever witnessed each time I've visited. So far, I've been quite well behaved. Working hard and earning money. Planning to avoid a good Two hours of temptation tonight by using the 24/7 lavaneria and washing all my clothes - they really, really need it.

I was woken this morning on the beach by the sound of a tractor levelling all the sand sculptures :( Sadly, not allowed for carnaval and no way around it. I've been sketching instead.

Meeting lots of good people. My new (very bad) mates making sculptures on the beach are actually a very good bunch if you give them the respect they deserve. I've learned lots about the craft and business of sand sculpturing. There is a fascinating TV documentary to be made there. Great characters, quality artists and plenty of surprise.

Also met some guy who I'm hopefully meeting tomorrow. He tells me there is an International pilgrimage route frome here in Sitges to Santiago de Compostela. Yay! Another new find. He's searching out information for me. What a good guy.

Many other interesting and good people to mention later also. I'm enjoying Sitges. Despite it's superficial appearance it actually has much going for it. Especially during carnaval.

Couple of more days here to explore this new route (which is most probably going to replace Alicante as route 2) and save a bit more cash, then a quick visit to a beautiful and much admired friend close by, then I'm off again. Finally! And, with new boots :)

As for Barcelona; well, at least it didn't rain.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Police and Thieves!

Fuck it. Just as I was being ordered to pack-up my wares by some Port Police, some tricky fucker took all my money. Very difficult to make the streets work here after lunch time. After lunchtime is when all the junkies and cunts get out of bed for anyone who doesn't know.

Tired. No bed for tonight. Lost a days work in that grab. It's impossible. If you're sketching, or painting there is absolutely no way you can keep an eye on everything. Even just looking over completed sketches is tricky. If you're talking to police you don't expect any twat to nick anything under their noses. If you're talking to potential customers you have to try and keep them interested whilst looking all around you. Very difficult. Very tiring.

Think I'm off to Sitges sooner rather than later. At least it's safe there.

Very, very tough going ATM. Tired and ill, but, on the plus side, I am spending time in quality company with some very good people. Good work coming my way also, but I think the best option is to leave Barcelona again for now. I can make more elsewhere and live more safely.

Anyone know if Villa are winning?

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Barcelona Part 4

Back in Barcelona with bad feet, a bad knee and some ugly bug feverish illness. More than anything in the world right now I just want my own bed in my own home and possibly a bit of attention from a good woman. But, I can't have any of that. There's simply not an option, so back to the paseo to make some more cash.

I've often wondered what those white vans with green star/cross logos on them are. They're a bit like an ambulance, but smaller. Last night I watched one of them pull up outside a block of flats and remove a dead body. Well, I guess you can't just chuck them in the rubbish!

Not entirely irrelevant, but I don't think I'm quite that ill yet.

Sitges was good fun. I will return for carnival weekend to complete the naked volley ball sand sculptures.

Monday, 16 February 2009


I'm on holiday by the sea.

What a very strange, very rich and very conservative little town this is. Inspired by a Scottish guy I met yesterday, I'm going to have a go at sand sculpture. There's a volleyball net on the beach just begging for Five naked figures either side of it. It won't make me any cash, and it's possibly a little over ambitious for a first attempt, but WTF! I'm on holiday. Straying well off the pilgrim route.

The Scottish guy has built a Homer Simpson sand sculpture. Class. Very clever and good for a lot of money even off season. Homer lounging on the couch with a can of Duff in front of a real live, working fire. It wins in every department.

Got horribly drunk and wrecked last night. In the very beautiful company of someone I want so badly, but know I can't have I decided to turn my brains off with booze. Very stupid. Very hungover. Full of regret. I need a big art challenge to take my mind off things. Naked volleyball players it is!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Barcelona Part 3.

Bollocks! Bag stolen.

Other than that (and I'm really not to bothered) all is now going very well. Good company. Good work. Good cash.

For my own reference of things to replace (I'm sure there's lots I won't remeber until I need them)...


Craft Knife.


Permanent Markers.

Cork screw (already replaced ;))..



Acryllic paints and brushes.

Vanity set (bought fron Boots circa 19996) Did I already mention that?

Nylon fishing wire and needle.

My small leather bound sketch pad.

My credentials from Salamanca to Santiago.

My Compostela :(

About Five Quid in English money.

Mt fucking notepad. My fucking notepad full of contacts. It's in a bin now somewhere bewteen Arc de Triumfo and the subs :( Worth nothing to any body but me, and now it's in a bin!

Oh well. Onwards and upwards!

Oh! My passport and ID also. That's quite important and very expensive to replace!

Other that that, life is very hunky dory. Good company. Good money.

How the fuck my scruffy artists bag was stolen from under my feet is beyond me. But, hey! Much od life is beyond me. Thankfully :)

Friday, 13 February 2009

Barcelona Part 2.

Finally, I've found a half decent pitch that seems to be off the rounds of any police. I've been just about hanging on for the past few days. Thankfully receiving donations of €5, or €10 but selling nothing and collecting few coins. For some reason things have changed this time around. On my last trek I was selling plenty (most of the time) and collecting pockets full of loose change. With only Two very notable exceptions, I barely remember anyone donating paper money. Now I seem to be relying on a single generous drop a day and expecting nothing much else. Not sure why this is?

I'm nowhere near saving enough for new boots and pilgrimage route Two yet. I'm changing tactics. I've completed some small acryllic paintings. Going to mark them up at high prices and see what happens. One painting in particular I like very much. It's not for sale. It's a gift for a notable exception whether she likes it, or not.

Barcelona is very different to the way I remember it. The life has been zapped from the streets. Obviously, me getting hassle from the police all the time has tainted my view, but even if I was selling and had cash in pocket I don't think I would be enjoying Barcelona as much as I enjoy Granada, Santiago, Leon and Salamanca. All Four are far better places to visit.

One area of Barclona I do still enjoy is Sant Pere. Something about it reminds me of Clerkenwell and Exmouth Market of 10 years ago. Nice relaxed community feel. A sprinkling of trees and plenty of history still very apparent. Junkies and winos with the odd new trendy bar, or bistro. The hotels, tourists and money will arrive shortly no doubt.

I have a borked left foot and knee. Very tired also. Trying to save money and avoiding hostal fees, but I need my own bed in my own room tonight with a good shower. Also need to wash some clothes. New plan is to start walking from Alicante in a weeks time. Before then I will visit Sitges and possibly Girona.

Things are much more difficult this time around! The Crisis? Time of year? Bad weather? My new hat? A combination of all? Dunno!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


It seems I can't get permission to work the streets of Barcelona. Policia Local everywhere and all either tell me to pack-up, or move on. Just be a bit more descrete was the best advice I got. Some told me to get permission, but a trip to the town hall resulted in 'we dodn't give permission - you don't need it'. Guardia Urbana were absolutely adamant that I couldn't work anywhere in Barcelona. Permission to street artists on the Rambla is only granted to statue people. WTF! Seems at worst, I get stuff confiscated, so I'll just plod on. I have no choice, but money making is very difficult. Possibly thinking about trips to Girona and Sitges to test the waters there.

On the plus side, I'm meeting some lovelly people. A gorgeous friend from Granada, a very genrous and lovelly person I met in Santiago, and today, some nice woman invited me to her home for coffee and snacks before showing me where the nest art supplies shop was. Very nice )

Monday, 9 February 2009

Tara a bit Alicante.

Me and Alicante didn't get along to well. I find myself in Barcelona with much thanks to my good mate Rob and the good people of

Thank you all. Greatly appreciated.

Right. Time to make a bit of real cash in the smoke (and catch-up with some very good friends and very kind people). I may be here a while. Alicante can wait!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

A Huge Diversion, or...

Just a big stall?

Have to make cash. That's not happening here. A chance meeting and a couple of coincidental opportunity making moments look as though they're taking me to Barcelona for a few days. If a man can't make money there in February during a crisis and shit weather, he can't make money anywhere.

All makes sense to pause for a while.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Whilst I Was in Murcia...

Some guy approached me and asked if he could buy something for me to sketch on. He came back with a huge canvass, paints, brushes and charcoal. Fantastic fun :)

Some kind person photographed the finished painting and emailed me a copy. Here it is. Plaza de Santo Domingo featuring a 'Lillie' by Manolo (someone? - Spanish artist), a huge bronze sculpture currently on display with others as an 'Arte en le Calle' exhibition. I love these. Usually big sculptures just plonked in the streets of Spanish cities.

Just completed a sketch of the harbour here in Alicante. I'm dreaming about piracy! Nice sketch. Nice place, but very little cash so far.

Thursday, 5 February 2009


Totally mental last 36 hours, or so!

Murcia was good. Not brilliant for cash, but many good people and an extra special commission. A BIG thanks to Pedro :) Not everyday someone turns up with a huge canvass, full set of acryllicas, brushes and charcoal and tells you to paint whatever you want. Really enjoyed that, and did I need it?

I'm in Alicante. Finally. A good nights sleep in a relatively 'posh' hostal last night left me feeling a bit more normal this morning. All very nice until some total nutter befriended me at the train station. Funny guy who seemed to be convinced he was a world famous DJ. Also very obviously was expecting to be greeted by police at Alicante. No idea what he was running from, or what he had done (I suspect lots).

I can see this is going to be a ery different sort of pilgrimage. Alicante - what a place to start! I like this side of Spain in small doses. It fascinates me. Not so sure I can make money here. Not sure I could even in the best of times. The recession is beginning to cause many people problems now. Seems people went big time over Christmas just because. And, now everyone is feeling it.

No new boots yet. I've had to buy a very cheap pair of shoes as a temporary measure. My boots had transformed themselves into heavy duty, very loud flip-flops.

Cheap hostal in the cheap part of town. Let's see if I can make anything over the weekend.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


Thanks for the comment on the post below. Murcia wasn't on my plan, but I jumped off the bus on my way to Alicante. Murcia is nice, but very expensive compared to what I'm used to. Thankfully, I have a couple of commissions to complete before heading to Alicante tomorrow afternoon.

I had a nightmare leaving Granada. Missed the bus I was hoping to catch and had to wait for a 3AM bus. Found a quiet corner to sit down in the station with a can of Kaz Limon and a packet of biscuits. Set my alarm just in case. Half asleep sitting against a wall, Two guys approached me and told me to move. "Who the fuck are you?". They didn't look like security, or an sort of official until they pulled out their truncheons after kicking me in the thigh. Nice! No signs about nodding off being prohibited anywhere. Went to Policia Nacional. Their repsonse was that it's normal! Not in my Four years experience of Spain it's not. Insisted I wanted to report an assault and they told me to go to the commissioners office. Decided to make a complete on an official ALSA complaint form instead. Then the Two security guys reappeared and told the ticket attendent I had bought my ticket from not to give one. Then a few other guys turned up and just lingered around wherever I was sitting. Fucking cunts. They're not getting away with it.

Anyway, Murcia was sunny and warm today. That cheared me up. I've had to pay €36 for a room here mind. Must make good use of it.

I have a feeling this second route is not going to be financially easy at all for many reasons.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


Finally about to get the bus to Alicante. Granada just wouldn't let me go. More crap weather forecast. Hey ho - it seems to be an exceptionally wet winter.

Struggeld to make money here, but met loads of good people and enjoyed a great birthday party the other night. 5 x guitars, trumbone, cornet, violin, clarinet, some strange pre-cursor type thing to clarinet, saxophone and loads of drum. That is what I love about this city and what I'll miss for the next three months. It will still be here when I return :)

One last afternoon in Plaza Nueva, then I'm off a walking again. Yay!