Category Archives: Observations

Holy Shit! The Catalan Caganer

It’s one of the world’s most instantly recognisable scenes. The Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, the faithful Joseph looking on, and all around shepherds, wise men and farmyard animals paying their respects to the new-born Messiah. But who is that red-faced peasant lurking in the shadows? And what the hell is he doing? Surely not! Not in front of the son of God? And yet your eyes do not deceive you: the impish wretch in the red beret has hiked down his britches in the middle of the manger and is taking a shit!

Pass me the bogroll will you?

In most Catholic countries this would be considered blasphemy of the first order, and no doubt require convent-loads of rosaries to reach atonement, but here in Catalonia taking a dump in the nativity scene is surprisingly enough considered good clean fun. Indeed the figure responsible, called ‘the Caganer’ (meaning ‘defecator’), is held up as a symbol of fertility and even equality (everyone has to shit, is the logic here) and celebrated with great mirth by the Catalan folk.

Indeed Catalan kids take great pleasure in hiding the Caganer somewhere in the nativity scene and seeing if their mates can spot the little shitter. Typically the Caganer is a pipe-smoking peasant who wears the traditional red beret of Catalonia but, sensing a merchandising opportunity, a large number of traders will happily hawk you Caganised versions of all manner of familiar faces, from local favourites such as Messi and Joan Laporta to global figures of Barack Obama and the Pope. It seems no one has been spared the indignity of being portayed with their arse bared performing a poop. If this seems like an irresistable stocking filler you can pick them up at the Christmas market by Santa Eulalia Cathedral for 3 euros (plastic peasants) to 15 euros (ceramic celebs).

Obama follows through on the Nobel piss prize

Read more about the Caganer on Wiki, or head to Caganer.com for some more famous faces bearing their buttocks…

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More Footballers in Photos

…continuing on from the most pointless photo gallery of all time, I bring ye Footballers in Photos part dos.

That's Mr. Towers to you

I'm too lazy to Photoshop this...


Arsenal reject


Arsenal legend


Quite pleased with this one


Selhurst's finest

So there you have it… proof that Barcelona lives and breathes football? Or proof that I’m a sad and lonely individual… No need to answer, that’s a rhetorical question.

(While I’m here and we’re on theme, I suppose it’s a decent opportunity to introduce my new Arsenal blog… I like to think of the Arse as the Premiership’s equivalent of Barca, but without the world’s most irritating right back.)

Footballers in Photos…

Yep, I’ve really outdone myself this time, but there’s only so many times I can walk past a chemist called ‘Fabregas’ and not take a photo. And then I noticed Kaka, Puyol, Reyes and even Gerrard lurking in quiet corners of the city… the idea for the world’s most pointless photo gallery was born!

Hands off Laporta! He's a North London boy...

Hands off Laporta! He's a North London boy...

Haha, the (second) best footballer for innuendos ever. Mahorn  slips inside Butt, dribbles and then shoots!

Haha, the (second) best footballer for innuendos ever. Mahorn slips inside Butt, dribbles and then shoots!

Eh, puta, get back to Madrid! (Cue spitting sound)

Eh, puta, get back to Madrid! (Cue spitting sound)

Surely the answer to England's midfield problems?

Surely the answer to England's midfield problems?

Don't pick holes in the spelling, it still counts. Stevie without the Frankenhalf

Don't pick holes in the spelling, it still counts. Stevie without the Frankenhalf

No idea what this means, but considering it was taken in Catalonia's heartland it's unlikely to be overly friendly...

No idea what this means, but considering it was taken in Catalonia's heartland it's unlikely to be overly friendly...

One more of the great man. The more you see his name around town the more you have to fear the inevitable...

One more of the great man. The more you see his name around town the more you have to fear the inevitable...

Right, Puyol and Reyes have been spotted but not when I had my camera. I’ll add some more as I find them…

Girls, Girls, Girls…

This blog is barely a couple of posts old and I’m already receiving – and taking – requests for topics. This one goes out to Big Al Barriga!

As Big Al (and I) have noticed, Barcelona is absolutely crammed full of smokin’ hot totty, cheeky chicas, sexy senoritas, bootiful babes, gorgeous gals, luscious ladies, badass bitches and dribble-inducing divas… what more can I say? Nothing really, which is why I’ve gone for a musical tribute instead. Here are my top five tunes about God’s greatest creations:

1) Peaches – Dub Pistols cover of Strangler’s classic feat. Rodney P

2) The Girls – Calvin Harris. If I was a boxer I would want this to be my grand entry tune…

3) Peaches – same name different track. Good BBQ song this one, by A. Skillz and Krafty Cuts

4) Girls – hmmm, not much variation on the names here, but I assure you they all sound different. Much silliness from the Beastie Boys.

5) Senorita – I can feel my impression coming on. No top 5 would be complete without a little JT in the mix.

Right, I’m sure I’ve missed some really obvious tracks here, so let me know and maybe we can make this a top 10! Girls, out of respect for sexual equality I give you boys, boys, boys…

Eau de la Ciudad

Barcelona smells. It really stinks. If Patrick Suskind were to ever write a follow up to Perfume then the labyrinthine streets of Barcelona’s Old Town would make the perfect setting for his sequel. As distinctive as much as it is unpleasant, Barcelona’s unique odour is so characteristic that my friend once claimed she could tell if someone had just arrived from the Catalan capital, because she could still smell the city on their skin. And I believe her.

How best to describe the cocktail of BCN’s heady bouquet? I’d say it is two parts brine, one part rank garbage bags left vegetating on the street, another part the stench of city drains, two parts wafts of tangy marijuana, a sprinkling of oniony kebab remains, and three parts urine intermingled with sooty pavement filth, vaporised by the heat (the natural result you might say of failing to provide any public toilets anywhere in the city). ‘Eau de la Ciudad’ probably won’t be making it to the Chanel laboratories any time soon.