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Tag: Barcelona

Maradona was before Messi

Saturday, 4 May, 2019

It’s Lionel Messi’s world now. His talent seems infinite and he hammered that point home against Liverpool on Wednesday night. And all the while, this mostly modest man remains a mystery. How very different he is to his over-the-top countryman Diego Maradona. The differences will be on display presently at the Cannes Film Festival where Asif Kapadia, the director of the excellent Senna and Amy documentaries, will present his latest work: Diego Maradona.

Blurb: “Having never won a major tournament, ailing football giant SSC Napoli had criminally underachieved. Their fanatical support was unequalled in both passion and size. None was more feared. But how they ached for success… On 5th July 1984, Diego Maradona arrived in Naples for a world-record fee and for seven years all hell broke loose. The world’s most celebrated football genius and the most dysfunctional city in Europe were a perfect match for each other.

Maradona was blessed on the field but cursed off it; the charismatic Argentine, quickly led Naples to their first-ever title. It was the stuff of dreams.

But there was a price… In a city where the devil would have needed bodyguards, Maradona became bigger than God himself. This is the wild and unforgettable story of God-given talent, glory, despair and betrayal, of corruption and ultimately redemption.”

By the way, on 1 May, when Messi was deploying his genius against Liverpool, HBO announced that it had bought the TV and streaming rights to Diego Maradona.


Venice goes there. Is Barcelona next?

Wednesday, 27 February, 2019

We’re talking about an entry fee for day tourists entering the lagoon city. Initial plans aim at charging them €3 ($4.75) for a single-day trip from May. In the coming year the fee would double and can be raised to as much as €10 ($15.83) on heavy tourism days.

In 2016, heritage group Italia Nostra estimated that 30 million people visit Venice every year, with a daily influx of more than 82,000. Under the entry fee scheme, visitors staying in hostels will be exempt from the payment, while hotel guests already have to pay a local tax for their stay.

Will Barcelona follow? The city has been groaning under the weight of “over-tourism” for years now and the pressure is on the municipal authorities to reduce the flow or turn into a revenue source that be deployed to deal with the problem. Talking of Barcelona, Márton Mogyorósy takes an overhead view of the city and his photos only confirm why the world wants to go there. Says Mogyorósy, somewhat cryptically:

“A series of aerial photographs from the capital of Catalonia, which captures the city’s abstract and architectural wonders from a bird’s eye view. As the former fishermen’s quarter which is characterized by its narrow and lively streets. As well as one of Barcelona’s lesser-known masterpiece, Ricardo Bofill’s utopian vision for social living that found form in the cubist heights and halls of Walden 7.”

Barca

Barcelona


Catalonia, 1 October

Monday, 1 October, 2018

Even if the referendum on Catalan independence was ruled illegal and therefore non-binding, 2.3 million people out of 5.5 million eligible voters cast their ballots on this day last year, despite intimidation and violence. When the counting was done, 90 percent had voted to break from Spain. The regional government in Barcelona promised to declare independence within 48 hours of the vote if the “Yes” side won, but when it finally did issue the declaration on 27 October, tellingly, no country recognized Catalonia, and Madrid promptly sacked the entire Catalan administration, causing several key figures to flee abroad, including deposed president, Carles Puigdemont. Others were jailed, accused of rebellion.

Today, separatist groups will mobilize hundreds of thousands of supporters to protest in Barcelona to mark the anniversary of the referendum and to ask that “the wishes of the majority of Catalan people be put into effect.” The reality, however, is that disagreements over independence have deepened since the plebiscite and arguments about implementing “the wishes of the majority of Catalan people” have led to accusations of betrayal. As well, the separatist movement is now divided into three parties and there are also divisions between its leaders who are outside Spain, those who are in prison and those who remain at liberty. Meanwhile, the relationship between Barcelona and Madrid is as fractious as ever, and Catalonia, with all its beauty and wealth, is damaged and disunited, tragically.

“Beware of my partisanship, my mistakes of fact, and the distortion inevitably caused by my having seen only one corner of events.” — George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

Homage to Catalonia


Barcelona for the AIR

Saturday, 7 October, 2017 0 Comments

Vincent Laforet is a French-American director and photographer and one of the most influential people working in contemporary photography and film today. His AIR project is a collection of high-altitude aerial photographs taken over 10 of the world’s most iconic cities: Barcelona, Berlin, Chicago, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Sydney. This is Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, with its arrays of perfectly honeycomb-like blocks.

Barcelona


“Spain Should Remain United”

Thursday, 28 September, 2017 0 Comments

“”Spain Is A Great Country And Should Remain United.” With those words, spoken at the White House, in the presence of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, President Donald Trump guaranteed that he would be unloved by Catalan separatists. Already hated by the media, feminists and North Koreans, Mr Trump didn’t really need to bring down the wrath of Catalonia on his head, but he went there, nonetheless. From now on, Donald Trump will be depicted as the devil at the annual Santa Tecla fireworks displays. But he can live with that, one suspects.

Meanwhile, Madrid is increasing its pressure on Barcelona to cancel Sunday’s “illegal” referendum on independence.

Catalan unhero


Madrid vs. Barcelona

Tuesday, 26 September, 2017 0 Comments

Spain is in crisis and the government in Madrid has two options: bad and very bad. If it overreacts to the Catalan demands for independence, a dramatic backlash in Barcelona is inevitable, but if it ignores the rebellion in the north, constitutional order in Spain will be put at risk. Last week’s arrests of Catalan administration officials on charges of abetting unlawful acts in pursuit of the 1 October referendum have further inflamed the separatists, who control the streets and the means of cultural production. So, the situation is likely to deteriorate, solidifying the victim role that the Catalans are playing to the full. Neither side intends to retreat and the potential for tragedy is real.

Catalonia


The Barcelona of Whit Stillman

Saturday, 19 August, 2017 0 Comments

The 1994 film Barcelona by Whit Stillman deals with the romantic and political adventures of two American cousins in Catalonia during what the director described as “the last decade of the Cold War”. The energy left over from the post-Franco revolution is being diverted into hostility to the US and it’s onto this dangerous stage that Fred (Chris Eigeman), a Navy officer on assignment from the visiting American fleet, strolls.

For the local intellectuals and wannabe terrorists, the supremely self-confident Fred is a symbol of all that’s wrong with “America Abroad”. He deflects their attacks, though, with fast talking and glib wit. Along the way, he entertains and infuriates his cousin Ted (Taylor Nichols), who works for a US corporation in Barcelona, and the two of them fall in love with the enormously attractive local women.

The clash between the Old World and the New World Order is played out on many levels in Barcelona. Ted dreams of big business and quotes management guru Peter Drucker, while Fred wants the infantile Marxists to get a life. The two characters resent the paranoid view of America that Europeans indulge in, but they also make use of the American stereotypes when circumstances dictate.

Whitman has an excellent feel for dialogue and in a film that is both hilariously funny and painfully accurate.

Ted: “I was trying to convince them to look at Americans in a new way and in one stupid move you confirmed their worst assumptions.”
Fred: “I did not confirm their worst assumptions…I am their worst assumption.”

Mira: “You can’t say Americans are not more violent than other people?”
Fred: “No?”
Mira: “All those people killed in shootings in America?”
Fred: “Oh, shootings, yes. But that doesn’t mean Americans are more violent than other people. We’re just better shots.”

On this day of mourning in Barcelona, it’s important to remember that the city has always provided a panorama for those who have sought to view themselves and the world through its magical lens.


Light in Barcelona

Friday, 18 August, 2017 0 Comments

Barcelona light

“Barcelona has always been more a city of capital and labor than of nobility and commoners; its democratic roots are old and run very deep. Its medieval charter of citizens’ rights, the Usatges, grew from a nucleus which antedated the Magna Carta by more than a hundred years. Its government, the Consell de Cent (Council of One Hundred), had been the oldest protodemocratic political body in Spain.” — Robert Hughes, Barcelona


The carnival of Nazaré

Sunday, 5 March, 2017 0 Comments

It is said that that the Portuguese town of Nazaré got its name from a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary brought to Spain from Nazareth by Christians in the 4th century. The statue arrived in Nazaré in 711, carried by a monk named Romano, accompanied by Roderic, the last Visigoth king of what is now Portugal.

Barcelona-born filmmaker Kylian Castells is more interested in surfing than statues. Here, he captures the black-and-white power of the Nazaré Canyon, which creates the “epics” that have made the town a hotspot for big-wave surfers like Garrett McNamara, Carlos Burle and Maya Gabeira. The music is by the Dark Jazz Trio.


Mobile is everything, everywhere

Friday, 19 February, 2016 1 Comment

On Monday, the annual Mobile World Congress begins in Barcelona and the slogan this year is “Mobile Is Everything.” Those who follow the industry, will be aware that the Barcelona motto echoes the title of a presentation made by Benedict Evans in October 2014: “Mobile is Eating the World.” Both claims sound somewhat bombastic, but that’s only because many people are unaware of how powerful smartphones have become.

Most mobile phones today are equipped with an array of sensors and these enable completely new kinds of connected experiences. This can be seen in the title of a Barcelona event titled Digital Farming and Connected Car. Visitors to the “Digital Farming” presentation will see how “how field sensors transfer data directly to the farmer — with important information on water needs, fertilizer supplies and the right time of harvest.” The informed farmers will then drive (laugh?) all the way to the bank in their SEAT Connect cars, which will “initiate parking and fueling transactions,” while “Payment will be conveniently done in-car through Samsung Pay.”

“Where there’s muck, there’s money” was the old saying about farming. The updated version goes, “Where there’s data, there’s money.”

Looking at the bigger picture in which connectivity is redefining farming and transport, we find ourselves in a world where our bodies, homes and factories are becoming part of an invisible network of sensors called the Internet of Things (IoT). Is mobile a subset of this Fourth Industrial Revolution or is it the catalyst? That’s the debate that will rage this year. In Barcelona, it seems that they’ve made up their minds: Mobile is everything.

Mobile World Congress


Visca el Barça vs. mia san mia on the second screen

Tuesday, 12 May, 2015 0 Comments

A number of initiatives have been started in recent years to encourage more women to learn about computing, such as Ada Developers Academy, and Google, for its part, says it has given more than $40 million to organizations working to bring computer science education to girls. The reality, though, is that tech is still very much a man’s, man’s world and this impression was reinforced last week at the EIT Innovation Forum in Budapest, where Emanuela Zaccone was the only female nominee for the 2015 Awards.

Zaccone is the co-founder of TOK.tv, a platform that lets users chat to their friends while watching a game, such as tomorrow night’s Champions League semi-final between Juventus and Real Madrid. As it happens, the two teams are TOK.tv partners and Zaccone pitches her second screen play as a win-win for both sides as their fans, scattered around the world, can sit on the same virtual couch during a match and the clubs can monetize this engagement. And what about tonight’s Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich game, which pits the Catalan Visca el Barça against the Bavarian mia san mia cultures? Zaccone smiles. “We’re talking,” she says. The two teams are global players in every sense of the term and their joint presence on the TOK.tv platform would add considerably to its reach.

Back in 2007, when Emanuela Zaccone was working on her PhD thesis at the University of Nottingham, she had a hunch that a combination of social media streams and audio-visual content would lead to to new forms of audience participation in entertainment. She was right. From her vantage point in Rome today and in her role as Social Media Strategist at TOK.tv, she’s proving that a woman can transform a man’s game.

Emanuela Zaccone