My only attempt at “external” Culture this week was an abortive attempt to go to the Picasso Museum in the centre of Barcelona. The permanent collection here is not noted for the range and quality of the artist’s most iconic works but they compensate for a rather idiosyncratic range by holding very inventive exhibitions to bolster the scanty offerings. In was on the basis of an exhibition that I set out at the end of the day with Suzanne to boost our flagging Art Quotient.
The trip to the centre from our elevated position in school is always a frustrating one as calm driving is impossible with the constant swarm of pesky motorbike riders. They buzz about the traffic lanes like suicidal mosquitoes and my only regret is that it is apparently illegal to swat them.
They drive with almost complete and total disregard for their own and other drivers’ safety. Almost. There is a sort of breath-taking obliviousness to death and injury that would be amusing were one watching a TV programme of “Mad Drivers!” – but which is chillingly frightening when one is part of the performance.
Astonishingly, after one more than mad manoeuver by one of the death-head motorcycle brigade, I saw a trailing hand twitch in an unmistakable gesture of apology! Unique! It makes one doubt one’s sweeping assumption that all motorcyclists are the direct spawn of a debauched and defrocked devil, too evil even to be tolerated as a part of Satan’s true cohort. Might it be that they have humanity?
This is too radical an opinion to be held for more than a few nano-seconds. And I am not going to allow it to influence my long held opinion on their debauched breed!
In spite of the infestation of motorcyclists we managed to get to an underground car park beneath the Cathedral and then started our Cultural Expedition. Suzanne bleated that she needed “a little something” and, as we were passing an ostentatiously city-rustic, bare brick, organic laded shop I suggested that we have a coffee to sustain us on our artistic Odyssey. Our foray into the shop revealed lots of attractively presented good-for-you edibles in frighteningly un-priced containers. So unnerved were we by this “buy now and worry about the price later” philosophy than we fled in some disarray.
And when I suggested that we have a glass of wine instead of coffee Suzanne almost wept with relief that the character that she knew had reappeared in my guise!
I therefore followed her to a charming little summer courtyard location where metal seats and tables were set out for the knowing to partake of Cava and tapas. A bottle of Cava was duly ordered and much lubricated conversation followed. Indeed so much conversation followed that by the time we got to the Picasso Museum it was literally about to close. One could not, however count such a delightful end to the day as anything less than an authentic cultural experience, especially as we could see one of the early twentieth century Gothic towers of the Cathedral from where we were sipping.
Return from Suzanne’s house (after I returned her home like the gentleman I am) was courtesy of my Tom-Tom in which I have an absolute trust. And it was repaid by delivering me to my street in double quick time.
A home which is now threatened by the appearance of The Scumbags – our worst neighbourhood nightmare – who have returned to watch The Match. At the moment their proximity is tempered by the fact that Barça is winning by three goals. Barça dominated the first half in all departments and the game should be a “Perfect Goodbye” for Pep as he leads the team in his last attempt at yet another cup!
I do hope that our pool will not now be haunted by cigarette smoking harridans – one of the many curses of the summer season – whose constant smoking will be accompanied by the dire sound of the television left on at full volume outside the house. To make matters worse The Scumbags are fixated on the unutterable tedium of Formula 1 racing so Sunday will be accompanied by the sound track of the intrusive whine of rich people burning petrol for the enjoyment of other rich people while stupid poor people (who actually pay for it all) look on.
At least it is supposed to be fairly sunny during the weekend.
That is something.