Barcelonaby Skin

I flew into Barcelona without too much hassle, got a taxi to the airport, and slept through what was left of the day. I awoke after my siesta to some of the loudest DIY ever played. It turned out our hotel backed onto an apartment construction site only 50 yards away¿it sounded like the drills were coming through the walls. Late in the evening Arto Saari and Kerry Getz arrived with Fred the filmer after a long drive from Biarritz.

The mood was happy, because Arto and Kerry had just placed first and second at the Glissexpo contest. Next morning at about 7:00 a.m. we were woken by the sound of the Royal Barcelona Makita Orchestra blasting from all angles. Early that afternoon we headed out to see what the famous Barcelona had to offer. The city is regarded by many to have the finest streets for skating in Europe, with some of the best ledges and marble available¿most of which is due to the town planners of the 1970s, who must have been smoking some of Morocco’s more illegal exports at the time. But whatever they were doing, those babies were not afraid to take risks. So, for those about to draw, we salute you!

Fred the filmer had already been scouting out some spots the previous night, so we got in the van to see what he’d seen. First off, we went to this long set of three perfect marble benches in the middle of town, perfect for warming up. Next we ventured out toward the suburbs to skate a long ledge in the middle of some apartments¿Kerry 50-50ed it and Arto noseslid it. All the neighbors seemed stoked on us, but apparently somebody wasn’t, because the police came and threw us out. We hit another small transfer bar just before the heavens opened up and made us head for shelter and food.

“It’s like eating while trying to film a four-trick line,” is how Kerry described ordering and eating in Spain. Luckily, we found a half-decent Chinese restaurant that Arto loved (if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it), so we ate there every night. Later that same evening, we tried to skate some statue with a transition. It looked good for a potential photo, but the Spanish cops came along and threatened to make us eat skateboard if we didn’t leave. A cop’s a cop, no matter what country you’re in¿they’re always thinking of food.

Each day’s outing would begin with Fred taking the parking ticket off the van’s windshield¿they were starting to mount up like badly printed rave flyers. “Sheet!” Fred would say. On the third day a revelation came to Fred: leave the ticket on. The good old “we already got one” plan seemed to work fine. We started our third day on dog-shit infested blocks just down the road from our hotel. Arto slammed into what looked like a puddle of Alsation piss and had to run for a shower. In the afternoon we hit up the train station¿Barcelona’s very own EMB. The pickings were slim, but Kerry found a nice gap and ollied it.

One of the best things about this trip was taking the piss out of Fred, which Arto eventually got down to a fine art. In fact, Arto had mastered two things: ragging on Fred and talking to fine Spanish women. He was way more successful at giving Fred shit, but he did say, “Hola” to more girls than we could count. Arto and Fred’s feud came to a head the next day, when an argument developed over what radio station we should listen to¿nobody but Fred wanted disco flair. Arto hit the radio, and as punishment Fred parked the van a mile away from the hotel; we had to skate back. The troops were not happy.

Fred and I spent the next morning at Parc Geul, which was designed by Gaudi and is some pretty amazing stuff. Gaudi and Miro are Barcelona’s two most favorite sons. The next day Fred hit the roof when he smacked the corner of a ledge with his fish-eye while filming Arto. Things weren’t going well. The last two days were spent skating outside the modern-art museum. We saw a guy beat the shit out of a girl on Sunday, which definitely freaked some of us oout. We cruised around looking for spots, Arto bluntslid a perfect-looking ledge out in the suburbs, and Kerry went back to some unfinished business and nollie noseslid the huge ledge we’d hit up the first day.

Our last night, Arto tortured me into loaning him some of my mini discs so he could record them. Arto knows nothing about music, because before Arto found skateboarding he lived in a tent in the middle of a field with no electricity, and where the elders used to make their own music, which involved the banging of reindeer antlers together in harmony. This is true.

On our last night some freak in the opposite apartment was singing, “The lights all went out in San Francisco.” It seemed as good a way as any to end a trip.