Monday, 30 May 2011

Leeds en Barcelona...

When you think of Barcelona, the next city to pop into your head wouldn’t necessarily be Leeds, but a group of influential movers and shakers from both cities are determined to show you why it should be.  This May in Barcelona saw the second ‘Leeds in Barcelona’ event, created by collaboration between Marketing Leeds,  the UK city’s strategic marketing organisation, Hebe Media, a Leeds based company, and LeLook, which is arguably Spain’s most influential fashion and style website.

Discussion panel - photo courtesy of
The two day event began on Friday 21st of May with a talk and Q & A session at the European Institute of Design (IED) in Gracia. The panel was headed by Lee Hicken of Hebe Media and Jurgen Salenbacher, the director of the institute, joined by technology expert Imran Ali, Barcelona fashion designers Juan Antonio Avalos and Chidy Wayne, Leeds designer Dom of Dom, Dick and Harry and lead singer Guiseppe de Luca of Leeds band ICS (I Call Shotgun). It was fascinating to hear the panel’s thoughts on the similarities and parallels between the two cities, and the qualities that all felt were going to be necessary for either city to grow in the future.  The current economic climate and the important role of new technologies, as well as environmental concerns and the influence of music on fashion, were just some of the issues that were discussed. The Leeds contingent did an excellent job of selling their city to the audience during the discussion, although Barcelona had the last word by making sure that everyone was well fed after the discussion ended with a selection of tapas and some macaroons from the popular Vioko,washed down with plenty of Cava and beer.

Vioko macaroons - photo courtesy of
After all the focus and discussion on Friday night, Saturday was all about fun and celebration. The Hotel Me on Diagonal was the perfect venue for a night of music, fashion and style. The lobby was a maelstrom of beautiful people being treated to a performance from the band ICS, makeup artists preparing the best dressed from the crowd for a photo shoot and a catwalk show of fashion by the Leeds designers James Stewart, Dom Dick and Harry and Nicholas Deakin, with glasses provided by RETROSUPERFUTURE®.  As if all that wasn’t enough, upstairs on the sixth floor we were treated to DJ sets from DJ Mustache representing Barcelona, and Dave Beer and Tristan da Cunha from Back to Basics representing Leeds.

Tristan da Cunha and Dave Beer of Back to Basics - photo
As someone with a good knowledge and love of both cities, I hope there are many more opportunities for collaboration between Barcelona and Leeds. As mentioned by members of the panel on Friday night, neither one is Paris or London, but they are both known for punching well above their weight when it comes to industry, the arts and the vitality of their citizens. The event made me very happy that I live here in Barcelona, but when it gets really hot in August, I’ll be seriously considering heading to the cool surroundings of Leeds for a short getaway and some Theakstons Old Peculier Ale.

Audience members - photo courtesy of
You can also find some photos of Saturday's event on Le Look. 

Monday, 23 May 2011

United Jumble: First Flea In Public

Yesterday, as well as visiting Pla├ža Catalunya to see how the protests are progressing, we also paid a very quick visit to El Flea, the really good market I covered in one of my previous posts. Here is a link to their blog with some photos from yesterday's event behind the Maritime museum in the Raval. This is the first time they've held it in the street and it seemed to be a success from what we saw, so here's hoping they'll get permission to do more. Sadly I'm on a buying ban till June (nearly here!) so didn't do any shopping, even though there were bargains galore. Definitely at the next one!

I'll be back soon with some longer posts and some photos, including a visit to a street full of second hand shops. I'm starting a new job so it's all been a bit mad here, but routine and order will soon return (well, as much routine and order as there ever was, anyway).

Friday, 13 May 2011

Anthony Llobet Hair Salon, Barcelona

I’ve been putting off getting my hair cut for ages, for a number of reasons. Not only have I been trying to grow out quite a short bob, which I had dyed a bit too dark, but I’ve also been anxious about finding a hairdresser here that I’ll like as much as my London one. I have very annoying hair; it’s the bane of my life. It’s fine but there’s lots of it so it looks quite thick, it’s wavy and it takes any bit of moisture in the air and uses it to puff up and frizz in quite an alarming way. 

Phil Spector (or me on a really bad day)

However, recently I’ve been losing the daily battle with it more often than not, so it was time to take action. I’d heard very good things about the Anthony Llobet salons here, they’re a small chain owned and run by the aforementioned Anthony, who is of Anglo-Catalan descent. He actually grew up and trained as a hairdresser in West London, finally making his home in Barcelona in 2000. I’d been looking at his Facebook page and thinking about making an appointment for a while, and luckily managed to win their 10 year birthday competition for a free cut. So it really would have been rude not to check it out.

My appointment was with Kelly (from Manchester!) in the Gracia branch. It was reassuring having someone that I could explain what I wanted to, without struggling over the translation. I’m sure I will feel more able to tackle that someday, but as I find it tricky to explain what my hair’s needs and issues (oh, such issues!) are in English sometimes, I think it’s best to leave that for a future date.  I had a bit of a comedy moment trying to get into the salon at first, there are 4 locals joined together and they all have doors but only one opens. Cue me trying all of them like an eejit till I got to the proper door. The salons have a great retro vibe with proper old school barber chairs and vintage style wall posters. Right up my street.

I wasn’t after anything too drastic, my main concern was not losing too much length while getting rid of the darkest dyed bits, and having something that I wouldn’t have to blow dry straight, as I’ve had enough of wrestling with the hairdryer, especially in this warm weather. Kelly got what I wanted straight away; she was lovely and friendly and had some great tips for me as well. She was quick too, I hate spending too long in the chair and love it when someone can get straight to it but still give you a good cut. I’ve popped in some photos so you can see the results. (No before shots, they’re censored). I’m very happy as I think it’s a good transition style to get me to the longer hair I want, as well as getting rid of the blunt fringe that I’ve had for ages. Excuse the terrible quality of the photos, I need to get a tripod so I can do better timer shots.

Bizarrely it also turned out that one of my neighbours from my building works in the same branch; I hadn’t even known she was a hairdresser. I thought she looked a bit familiar when I walked in but as she had her back to me I wasn’t sure at first. I’ll try not to harass her too much for freebies now that I know…

 Anthony Llobet have made another convert in me and I’d recommend them if you’re looking for a haircut while you’re here. They have branches in pretty much every corner of the city, so wherever you are, they should be easy to find. I’m going to leave my colour for a bit, as I want to go lighter and still need to grow a bit of the darkest brown hair out, so I’ll post another review when I go back for that.