The Lung Brothers

Hanging out at the extreme end of the long tail ...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Misty Porter-Coloured Memories

I am not by nature sentimental and in general, the sentimentality of others gives me a royal pain in the chunk. There is however one exception to this inert rule. Places - any place where I have enjoyed a pleasant experience and retained a good memory, immediately becomes a soft spot in this otherwise icy heart.

A few weeks ago my sage old barber made a comment which rang so true that it almost brought a tear to my eye. He said that the problem with the old historic quarter of Barcelona is that it’s no longer a genuine neighbourhood but instead has become a theme park.

True indeed. The world discovered Barcelona during the 1992 Olympics and has since been sending its tired, rich and huddled tourists yearning to breathe in the storied pomp of the Catalan capital. Which is all well and good, the benefits to the economic well-being of the city are obvious. It’s backstreets are cleaner, safer and don’t smell (quite) as bad as before.

The problem is that any environment will inevitably adapt to its market and the centre of Barcelona seems to have lost too much of its character to the travellers’-cheque brigade. Where once there hailed dingy smoke-filled cafés full of ugly griping locals, you’ll now find a spanking new Irish pub or fusion-food restaurant. And what really chafes is that most of these johnny-come-lately establishments are done up in a pseudo-authentic way to give the impression that they’ve always been there.

A huge proportion of the wonderfully grimy hangouts that we used to frequent when we first arrived in the city many moons ago, no longer exist and that really cuts me up. OK fair enough, one of the reasons is because it makes me feel old but there is more to my chagrin than the vanity of a grumpy middle-aged fogy. These places were truly unique and you always knew that anything could happen from the moment you crossed their thresholds.

So as a homage to these delightful, defunct dives, I’ve decided to do a series called ‘Obits and Pieces’ where they will be deservingly honoured. Of course some of the old haunts still exist but it wouldn’t really be fitting to include them in the series. Partly because they don’t qualify but mainly because as a cynical old fart, I truly believe in the wise adage that one shouldn’t speak ill of the dead nor well of the living.

So if you're reading this, go to Hell.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Getting Old.

Doesn’t the expression ‘INFORMATION SUPER HIGHWAY’ just seem so damn quaint now?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Parenting Taliban

The wife (CS) and I used to be good friends with another couple, lets call them Ricardo and Nieves.

Now Ricardo and Nieves were great fun to be with, we even holidayed with them a couple of times and I never recall there being any tension. Ric was the consumate gentleman and Nieves, although a bit of a diva, had a razor wit that kept any boredom well and truly at bay. But then sadly….

….kids came along.

Now let me be quite clear about this, CS and I love and adore wee Nic and would do anything for him. If I have one priority in my life, it’s that he grows up to be happy, healthy, safe and loved. Nonetheless, we have tried to maintain another aspect to our existence …. It’s called a life.

We always try to put aside a little time for ourselves as a couple, we try to maintain friends who are not part of the parent cabal, we read broadly and can hold fourth on topics of conversation unrelated to children and we don’t fret about every little thing that Nic says, feels, does, eats or shits.

Kids are resilient, adaptable, devious, fun-loving little buggers that happen to be made of rubber. They need to be fed, loved, exercised and educated, not wrapped in cotton wool. As a result of this philosophy, Nic is turning out to be an affectionate little thug and I have very few worries about his future.

Ricardo and Nieves have two kids and a third has just arrived. Ricardo and Nieves read paranoid articles about parenting and talk about little else. Ricardo and Nieves’ friends are now almost all parents. Ricardo and Nieves have become food neurotics and will only feed their kids some sort of virgin soy extract due to the horrible things that cows’ milk does to the human body. They have held vicious protests at their kids’ school in the past due to the fact that the lunches there consisted of normal food. Ricardo and Nieves almost never leave their kids out of their sight and carry them around in a contraption attached to a bicycle. In short, a long time ago Ricardo and Nieves began to tocar nuestros cojones.

But the best was yet to come.

Last week their third child, Vanesa was born. I shall translate the text message we received from Ricardo verbatim.

Vanesa was born on the 1st of July at home in the bath and breast fed for the first time right there while the umbilical chord was still pulsing with the blood that was both hers and Nieves’. In this way, they were united as one until the chord ceased to softly beat, all taking place before this humbled father. This was the process which inscribed Vanesa into her new life. A true welcome.

What’s with the fucking gore? A simple - ‘Vanesa born 1st of July. Mother and daughter doing well.’ - would have sufficed perfectly.

It’s amazing the way having kids can turn normal people into David Cronenberg.


We found out on the sly that Nieves had to go to hospital later on the night of the birth anyway, due to complications. I feel really bad about this but BWAAAHHAAHHAHAHHHAHAHHA!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

You Utter, Utter Bastille.

Although our cousins across the pond have already celebrated their joyous Independence day, we must not forget that in less than a week the Fete National de France shall occur and with much aplomb. Yes indeed, we are now on the eve of le quatorze julliet which nobly commemorates the storming of the king’s Bastille prison.

So let us toast this milestone of Gallic bravery which marked the end of feudalism in central Europe, put pay to the ancien regime, laid the seed for the Declaration of the Rights of Man and bestowed value upon each and every citizen from the lowest pauper to the most revered city bureaucrat. A day that has immortalized the cry which rings in the ears of every soul that craves freedom: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.

So please accept this humble homage to modern France.