Barcelona is Killing My Feet by Maggie Scratch

I happen to have a sprained ankle. I’m in my pajamas. I know I should have retired by now, but it’s too late. The school term just ended. Do you know the expression “Limping to the finish line?” Well, that’s me. I’m not a limper by nature and believe me, I don’t like it. The ankle in question has had me in a spin. And I’ve been spinning, and I mean schlepping, until tonight. And what a night! Dusk! Magical and golden! It’s that pink fairy dust from San Francisco! Of course, the  full moon will be coming out and waking me up, but I hope not too soon. I love to watch the gold sky lighting up the dusk. It’s so calm and relaxing. I had a hard day. That’s why I’m in my pajamas, because of all the schlepping. I’m beat. I’m exhausted. I’m done. Wherever you are, if you’re NOT in Barcelona, I’ll  tell you what you’re NOT missing. Schlepping on the streets of Barcelona, with a bad ankle— can kill ya!

panot+margaritaPure Pain Tiles

even

with Nike Free

Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Today With Goosebumps in Gracia on Easter Sunday

Here I was walking towards the Verdi Cine to see Mustang. I highly recommend it. I highly recommend walking in Gracia, especially at Easter. There are people, some tourists, it’s crowded, but not overcrowded. You can see things and hear things and get up close.

graffiti.jpg

The graffiti grabbed me.

Ed! Ed! Who is Ed?

The heart says it all.

 

folk

The lady folksinger had the voice of a bird.

I listened, she was sweet, but I was drawn to another voice right up the street.

flamenco

I never heard Flamenco like this.

Right in front of me! Songs of pain and bliss.

I leaned back against the wall.

Why wasn’t everyone as stunned as me?

How could they talk? How could they stroll by? Didn’t they know what they missed?

Didn’t they hear that miracle?

The cry, the wail, the notes this singer sang!

I had goosebumps, I was thrilled, I was honored to be in their midst.

Not famous. Not digital. Not electronic.

Pure. Chilling. Essential. Spiritual—this!

They sang for you and me, for Easter Sunday, for all of us.

And they were a gift.

Artists on the street.

Artists playing.

Anonymous.

Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Tonight with Lee Scratch Perry, the Apolo and the Full Moon

I saw the full moon and was under its spell.

full moon.jpg

“Are you angels?

I’m the black king.

The king of kings.

King of the Jews.

Judas.

I see Judas in the trees.”

I had no idea Perry was a poet. Or a prophet. The truth is, I didn’t know him at all.

I danced. I was free, I was wild for a while.

The Apolo’s red lights made my notebook pages pink. The Apolo won my heart. The bathroom is great. Chipped black paint on the walls, big wide mirrors for shaking out your hair and sheets of paper in the stalls. Unisex. Brand new shiny metal toilets. No seats! No lid to pull up or down.

I went back to my booth.  The Apolo filled up.

Slowly but surely the crowd rolled in, couples, love, kissin, sex!

Apolo

Imagine that space being body to body.

“Exercise! Exercise!

Push up!

Push up!”

 Lee Scratch lit a joint.

“Life is spliff!

Life is spliff!”

The king coughed.

At eighty he has arms of steel.

He waved at me, he was blessing us.

lee Scratch.jpg

“My spirit is bright.

My spirit is delight.

My shadow is black.”

Apolo I love you, Apolo you enchant me, thank you Lee Scratch Perry, thank you Apolo, I’ll be back.

The Author of Maggie Scratch Reads in Ibiza at Libro Azul

I landed on Ibiza in the dark.

The whole island smelled like firewood!

Chimney smoke! Damp earth! Trees! Sky! Balmy air! Home!  The moon!

The sky ablaze with stars just being born!

I slip a mini-flashlight out of my bag and take notes in the back seat with bright little Alba while Paloma drives us along the dark, smooth, paved roads I don’t remember. My heart and eyes  overflow with the old familiar faces, all the faces come to me, stay with me, smile at me. New faces too! People in Ibiza.

What an honor, what a privilege to be invited to read my book.

The perfect place

for

Maggie Scratch

Santa Gertrudis

a magical place

Libro Azul

Now back in Barcelona, I have a few things more to say. Henry Miller once wrote, “Writing is a luxury.” For me, “Luxury is writing.” It’s luxurious! I don’t need much! It’s free! “All you need is a bare light bulb!” A friend  in Ibiza told me once. In those days I was living without electricity. Writing was a luxury because there was nothing to need. To this day all I need is a pen or a pencil or  an eyeliner stub. “I’m a writer with a place to sleep.” Charles Bukowski took the words right out of my mouth.

Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Tonight On Her Favorite Bench

Casa Fuster

Casa Fuster.jpgTry to imagine my bench. It’s directly in front of this building. I had just finished a very juicy dubbing for bottled water that was being aired in Mexico. I had to have a fluid voice and let the water flow through me.

I LOVE WATER.

The dubbing studio was down the street from my favorite bench. It’s a stone bench, smooth and rounded, fluid, almost watery. I have met friends at this bench.I have smoked cigarettes at this bench. I have written emails. Talked on the phone. Done nothing. Looked at the fountain. At the building. At the trees. I bought an Orbea bicycle at a shop on the corner. But the thing I do most on this bench is write things down. Take a few notes. Try to catch TIME. To pin it down. To trap it. To make it stand still. To eat up the seconds with words. To capture the beauty I see all around me. To hold the night. The secret in my palm. The wonder. The moment. Like water. Let it flow through me.

Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Tonight Making Friends

Sometimes you meet incredible people. I’ve been to L’ Astrolabi Gràcia a few times but I never met Jordi Cantavella until the other night. Not only does he have a million stories — he’s written a million stories! And, gaging by his energy, his wit and his love of art and   living it — he’ll write a million more! How he does it, I don’t know. He juggles people and stories and booze and gigs as if he were shaking  martinis with a half a dozen arms.

Jordi Cantavella.jpg

Jordi Cantavella

singer.jpg

El Justì

And where did he find these musicians?  A singer-guitar player  and a magic violin. Was it vintage? Folk? Cantautor? Yes, all of the above. It was more of that singer-songwriter stuff that I love.

The next surprise was a photographer named Rich. Just got back from a six month gig in India. Now Rich was one of those people  Jordi  juggled before the crowd came in. He juggled the three of us, Rich and Montse and me, and in fifteen minutes we connected — we were a threesome of old friends!  You can see by his photo what kind of person he is. Kind is the first word that comes to my mind. But not only that—he photographed my book and started tweeting Maggie Scratch ! It was Rich who imitated Jack Nicholson’s Easy Rider tick, which not everyone can do, it’s a rapid fire elbow movement with the words, “Nick nick!”

Rich Bowen.jpg

Rich Bowen

Montse Prats

Montse.jpgTalking to Montse was a breath of fresh air, what a smile — she’s beautiful ! She’s smart! She’s soulful and real! She has many stories and I hope to read them some day. Hello Montse! Hello friend! What a treasure we all found in Astrolabi that day!

Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Tonight With The Magic

Café D’Automne

16.Ducreux-Martín-Auditori-Barcelona

Claire Ducreux

I call this Café D’Automne a ballet. Is it? Why not. It’s movement and dance and music and magic. It’s Art. It’s Artists. It’s artists at work. It’s inspired, it’s inspiring, it’s a father and daughter  tap dancing, it’s whistling, it’s singing, it’s a tree. A park bench on wheels and umbrellas that fly, it’s thunder and rain and a stage floor full of musicians and my favorite thing — dry autumn leaves! It’s fall, it’s a bar, it’s a cafe, it’s love! It’s a feel good treat. It’s Claire in her body that you really shouldn’t miss. Is she a bird? Oh! That’s Mayte’s voice! What? You’ve never heard her sing?  A soul bewitched, that voice, it’s an other-worldly string. For a moment, for several moments, Claire hardly moves, but she flies — she flaps wings! She graces this earth with hardly a sound, she twirls, toes on the ground, arms full of Mayte’s sound. Come see for yourself this stage full of charm, of all kinds of strings and many more things — only three nights, what? And then, the show, the magic, the Flamenco and all the songs…gone?

Mayte.jpg

Mayte Martín

The Author of Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Today With Evelyn

Evelyn

Evelyn Lopez

This is a person I met by chance. How could it be possible that such good fortune would come my way? I mean, you can see she is a beauty, but the truth is, that’s besides the point. The point, of course, is the question: What kind of person is she? I really didn’t have a chance to ask myself that. It was a flash, our meeting. She was waiting for me at a table outside at the Velodromo in her dark sunglasses, looking like a queen. It was great, both of us in our glasses, grinning ear to ear! It was an immediate YES! It was magic. We connected and that was that. Slowly, I am discovering : Evelyn believes in me. She believes in my story, she believes in the screenplay. I was once told that’s all it takes is one person to believe in you.  I’ve been working on this project for over twenty years. Many people have come and gone. The original producer died. There has never been another one like him, so devoted, so convinced, so determined to bring The Blue Shepherd to life, until now.

Eve car wash.jpgThank you Evelyn

Eve air.jpg

Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Tonight with The Magic Kings, Better Than Broadway!

 

reyes

Tonight is THE most important night of the year here and all over Spain. It truly is magic. You know what the most magical thing about it is? Being here. Being on the streets where the most beautiful creations float by you with drums and dancing girls and confetti and candy and balloons and howling roaring faux animal events and it can get pretty scary too. I mean, claustrophobic. Body to body in a pool of bodies hungry for magic. Leaning, pointing, begging for magic, waiting for one of the three kings to step down off his Disneylike float and sweep you off your feet. Better than Broadway. Than just about anything I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been here at least a dozen times, but this year the floats were brighter, more musical, exotic, more fantasy…the magical mystery tour! And people, people in the shops, in the cafes, in the bars, in the metros, on the streets, bulging out of Barcelona. Yes, better than Broadway, it’s Barcelona! Better even than any night in Barcelona. I saw everybody! We were all together. We were one big happy family. Even in the crowd, the mob hungry for magic, we were one. Everywhere we were one. It was magic! I saw you there! I saw you! We are the magic! You are the magic! Be sweet! Be good!

Be the best you can be!

sweets

Look!

To the left of the red thumb…is…? Yep!

churros

Chocolate con Churros?

Never tasted it?

Better than Broadway!