Saturday, February 24, 2007


Since I was 16 years old I always loved bikes. Its the perfect transport in Barcelona with its narrow streets and the intense traffic jams. Barcelona its one of the cities in Europe that has more bikes along with Milan I think. The perfect mediterranean climate makes things even easier. Back then you couldnt think of been on your teens and not have one, even if it was a mopet.

Vespa primavera 75-125cc 1970-80

My first ones were Vespa 'Primavera'. They were very popular on the 80s. You could see them everywhere, everybody had one. We used to paint and customize them in all colours and possible shapes. We also upgraded the engines from 75cc to 125cc and even change the exhausts to get more speed. There was Vespa races and gatherings near the university in Ciudad Diagonal. It was the perfect transport to go to college. What a fantastic feeling of freedom. I wont forget those days.

Honda MBX 75cc 1986

Then on the mid 80s the 2 stroke japanese models arrived. A brand new world. Honda Hurricane and MBX 75 cc and Yamaha RD 75 were the most popular ones amongst the young. They were small but very fast!

Barcelona Pza Lesseps 1986

This days bikes are a totally different concept. 90% of the models have a 4 stroke engine, which its a another driving style than the old 2 strokes ones. I would say less agressive.

Bultaco 'Metralla' 250cc

The classic 70s spanish factory. 'Metralla' was the 'big brother' but there was also a 75cc and a 125 versions. The mighty 'Bultaco Streaker'.
You needed strong arms to ride that. I used to drive one in the summer of 87 when I lived in Llavaneres.

But the Queen of 2 strokes japanese bikes was :

Yamaha RD 350 LC 1985

Andorra 1989

Liquid cooled, two stroke, parallel twin cylinder.

St Cugat 1990

I owned the first version came to market here in Spain , from 1984. Some other Brazilian manufactured models came later but they were not the same, not as powerful as the japanese ones .

This Yamaha could beat on short distances any 500 cc was on the market back then [And probably some still today]. It was a racing replica ready for the road. No bike beat RD 350 on acceleration. I will never forget those sundays mornings in the Montseny, Garraf coast or Andorra high mountains curvy roads.

Pas de la Casa -Andorra 1989

Check this out

The big brother of Yamaha RD 350 was the RD 500 cc one.

The mighty Yamaha RD 500

Liquid cooled,two stroke, 50°-V4 cylinder, reed valve.kick ignition.

It was not allowed to drive it here in Spain but my friend Tony had one with a german plate. Tricky but It did work to him for a while. We were noticed everywhere we went to with that bike. A racing replica on the streets of Barcelona.
4 exhausts, 88HP. and capable to reach 150 mph [240 Km/h] The paradise on earth. They dont make bikes like this anymore.

Check this out:

An acceleration test of a classical Yamaha RD 500 vs a newer R1

2 stroke 88hp vs 4 stroke 175HP!

Suzuki 750 R 1994

On the way to Seville 1994

115 HP of full pleasure. I went with Tony to Seville with the Suzuki once. We departed Barcelona at 8 pm one summer evening and 1 hour later we were having a drink in Peñiscola near Alicante 160 miles away [250 km], it was a very fast bike.

Tony ready for a wheelie

On the way back from Seville few days later we broke the engine on the motorway, there was smoke and oil smell everywhere, the engine was literally wide open and smashed. An oil pump failure apparently. We are very lucky to be alive.

Seville 1994

Yamaha XV 535 Virago

Ganduixer Park Barcelona 1990

Air cooled, four stroke, 70°V-Twin cylinder, SOHC, 2 valves per cylinder.
A completly different perspective.

Moto Morini 350 K2

Air cooled, four stroke, 72° V Twin, belt driven single cam operating pushrod 2 valve per cylinder. 35 HP
That was my last bike in 1995. It was a present from Tony right before he started his trips around the world he hasnt stopped since. I sold it two years after when I left Spain too.

Despite it was an old bike it was very noticeable too specially with the Italians. Apparently the V twin engine made this Morini one of its kind. And it was fast too 125 mph [200 km/h]. I made long distance trips with it and it was a highly reliable motorcycle.


Aprillia 550 SVX

This days I love Supermoto bikes also called Supermotard. They are a crossover of motocross and road racing.The motorcycles used are frequently custom-created combinations of off road motorcycles and road-racing rims/tires. The motorcycles currently used for Supermotard racing are predominantly single-cylinder 4 stroke powered dirtbikes with 17" or 16.5" wheels.

KTM, Husqvarna and Husaberg are the most popular models, althought Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha have some new models too.

Check out this cuties.

Honda FMX

160kg 37cv 650cc . It has the old Dominator engine but a bit limited in HP. Great bike perfect for SM starters.

Aprilia 550 SVX

125kg only 549cc two cylinders and almost 70 HP! Beautiful.

Honda XR 600 Supermoto

128 Kg 46 HP Pure power.

BMW G 650 X moto.

This is my favourite one. Its coming in Spain on Spring. Less than 150 kg and 52 HP.

My sister's boyfriend Albert rides a Buell. I took this photos last weekend.


Great engine sound, same like a Harley Davidson.

Its 10 years now without a Bike. But I havent close that door yet.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Shoegazing in the 90s

Slowdive were formed in south England in 1989 and developed a very short but intense career until the mid 90s, a decade which aside of few exceptions, was pretty poor when it comes to interesting releases for my music tastes. They were and still are one of the best shoegazer bands.

Slowdive songs takes me back to the early 90s when I used to go on holidays to the balearic island of Formentera. The paradise for scuba diving.
An unknown little place where is reported people like The Beatles, King Crimson, Jimmy Hendrix and even Sid Barrett visited in the late 60s.

Syd Barrett Formentera 1967
Blue skies, white sand wild beaches and clear pristine waters. The perfect ingredients for an unforgettable summertime.
Days of freedom.

Me Formentera 1992-93

I had one of those recorded cassette tapes I was given by an old friend and I used to play Slowdive music over and over again.

But we will speak about Formentera another day.

Rachel Goswell

Slowdive released only 4 albums: Just for a day, Blue Day, Souvlaki and Pygmalion, being Souvlaki [1993] my favourite one. They toured in the US with Ride and Catherine Wheel. In 1995 they split and some of their members formed Mojave 3 with 4AD, changing the sound to a new musical direction.

Here is a couple of live videos I found in youtube. The sound and quality are not very good but I love the songs. Top swirling guitars. Time travel.

Melon Yellow

Sitting by and watch you fall away
Sudden fall, watched you for a day
You know I don't believe in death
Follow the sun, watch you flow [...]
Sitting here and watch the death
Looking for the sun and watch the death
So long, so long It's just a way to [] you
So long, so long It's just a way to [] you
I saw you looking at the sun
I saw you looking at the sun
So long, so long It's just a way to [...] you

Mellon Yellow

The Kings of the 90s Shoegaze Scene?


Syd in Formentera photos:

Friday, February 02, 2007

C.D.Carmelo [Barcelona] vs Redfearns [Barnsley]

Last November my friend Tony from Barnsley [England] asked me the favour to try to arrange a Football match for 13 year old lads in Barcelona.
They were 40 english people coming over the 26th of January to see Barça-Celta from the spanish premier league. Tony thought it would be the perfect chance for Redfearns club, from the Sheffield League, to play some football with a local team. I promised him I would do my best to sort it out and find one.

Although I have no connections football related anymore [I dont play since I was a teen], I remembered my sisters boyfriend Manuel plays for the 1st team of a club in Barcelona called C.D. Carmelo. Very kindly he promised me to ask the management and see if there was any availability on the dates for the younger categories teams.
Manuel worked really hard on it, and asked as well several other clubs in Barcelona to see if it was possible to fix the International friendly match.
But It wasnt that easy, as here clubs were in the middle of their league season and they had to ask also their rival teams for possible date changes. So finally 2 days before the mentioned weekend, when I thought I was never gonna get a reply, Manuel rang me and told me everything was OK.

Apparently Club Deportivo Carmelo said yes!

C.D. Carmelo

So I rang Tony on thursday to let him know the good news and also to pass the message to the sports coordinator of the english team [Redfearns]. Nice one.
Carmelo is a popular working class neighbourhood up on a hill in Barcelona. It had a rough reputation in the 70's and 80's. During the growth of the city in the 60's some houses didnt have water and others nor even electricity, so due to the low prices on property, lack of public transport and its difficult access, lots of emigrants from the south of Spain coming to work in the Catalan industries settled there. In the early 80s a taxi wouldnt give you a ride to Carmelo. Needless to say it was dead easy to score dope, buy a 'hot' stereo for your car, or get in trouble with any local gang.

Redfearns JFC

But now things are starting to change. The local council is building up a new tube line in Carmelo [Google Carmelo and you will see the mess they are doing with it] .

With the magnificient views from the city, I can guarantee you properties prices are rising like a rocket. No more rents for 200-300€ per month with top views of the sea. Welcome to the Euro.

Street Parkour in Carmelo

It sounds like the end of Carmelo as we know it. I personally lived there for a while and I enjoyed it a lot [His proximity to the beautiful Park Güell is a bonus], so I'm not really sure if I'm gonna like the changes. Years ago nobody wanted to live there, now everybody wants to.
IAlways knew that was gonna happen.

So back to the match, on sunday morning we headed to the football ground in Carmelo Hill.

And there was Mik [Tony's friend and the Redfearns tour management] and also a bunch of 12-14 year old kids with some of their dads.

Pre-Match photos

Kick off was at 12 AM, and 35 minutes each half. There was another match before hand right when we arrived, so we had a little chat with our English visitors and shared a beer or two.
My friends Jordi and Guillermo despite the hang over from the night before turned up to the event too, so did my sisters with their respective man.

Manuel and my nephew Alejandro [1 year old], the new Barça generation!

The 1st match was C.D. Carmelo vs Trinitat, another neighbourhood in Barcelona, they were about 16 years old me thinks, and it did end up with some of the players sent off and a bit of a fight, they were arguing like mad and loudly screaming each other. Local rivalry I guess. I can tell you I was thinking and hoping right at the moment our friendly match would be a bit more....just friendly!

And no doubt it was.

I was pretty impressed to see the Barnsley kids warming up before the match doing some exercises with a lot of discipline.

Redfearns warming up

Barcelona and Montjuich hill at the bottom

All Carmelo kids parents and local friends gathered there to see the match, I noticed a mixture of curiosity and great expectation on the atmosphere. The local coach told me the young ones very excited about the event. I was surprised to see quite a few people turning up. Not too bad being announced only two days before.

The English were constantly supporting and cheering their team .

I dont think C.D. Carmelo had in the past that many chances to play with foreign teams really.

Redfearns skills

Meanwhile our english friends parents were having a good time.

It was a nice sunny sunday morning.

Redfearns were very well placed on the field, and they had really good oportunities to score on the 1st half. Quality football.

My nephew Alejandro was surprisingly quiet and seemed very interested in the match

C.D. Carmelo did an outstanding job

I couldnt watch much of the game really as I was a bit busy translating english to Spanish to my friends and The Barnsley Clan, mostly at the bar :-D

Barnsley Fans

I have to say on behalf of the Redfearns team that the field was sand, not grass, which is the normal thing here. Some clubs have proper grass, but only posh ones, which is not the case of C.D. Carmelo obviously. I guess Redfearns werent used to it and this affected their overall performance, some even had their knees bit wounded at the end.

My sister and my friend Jordi, and Alejandro doing his first steps ever!

Also Mik told me 2 of their best players couldnt make it on the customs due to passport problems with the airline and also for being underage, so they had to stay in England. You can imagine the poor lads were devastated. That made not possible to the Barnsley team to make some substitutions, they had to play only with 11. C.D. Carmelo did a brilliant match too although they seemed to me a bit more tricky playing. I wouldnt say bully but certainly well trained from their local league.
C.D. Carmelo 1st goal




At two o'clock the match was over. We all had a great time so did the kids. Parents were taking photos and also both teams exchanged a t shirt as a present.

The management agreed to set another match probably late this year.
Meanwhile absolutely ALL the draught and bottled beer from C.D. Carmelo bar was finish, so Mik offered a quick one anywhere nearby. Carmelo has plenty of top local nice bars so me and my friends decided to join.
How we could not?

We only had about an hour left though, they had to catch a bus to Barça stadium and I had to ran back to Madrid.
But we couldnt leave without the classic 'One for the road'.

A well deserved refreshment

And god they can drink. I was well warned with an SMS by my friend Sean who is from Barnsley too.
There was an obvious language barrier but everybody was very pleased and there was a fantastic friendly atmosphere. Our english friends did some video recording and I was told also the match will be reported in some local newspaper in Barnsley.

The bloke on the middle had a cool Man United tattoo

We had our beer and a nice chat.

Lots of beers ...
But around 3:30 they had to leave. It was a very nice experience and I was very glad that everything went OK at the end.

Me and my friends enjoyed it a lot. The main thing was to have a good time and also make a bunch of young man happy .
Goodbye Redfearns, we hope to see you again in Barcelona soon!

Man of the match
And the mission was completed, with the priceless help of Manuel, Tony, Mik and of course C.D. Carmelo and all the Barnsley clan.

Thank you all to make this happen. Now Barnsley and Carmelo are well connected.

Pedro Vila