I made an impulse buy of a $30 Elvis suit 3 weeks before leaving Australia in Jan 2008 to travel for a year.
It's crap....and now it's coming with me.
I don't sound like Elvis, look like Elvis, or sing like Elvis.
I am Crap Elvis.


World trip montage - Crap Elvis in 25 countries

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Elvis Cutre (Catalan translation: shabby Elvis) - Crap Elvis in Barcelona

Fiesta or siesta - Spain seems to randomly choose one at any moment. This time, sleep was the Eddie the Eagle Edwards style clear loser in the battle during my Barcelona stay as I'd timed my arrival with their biggest festival of the year - Fiesta De La Merce. Now I'm sure there is a lot of history and reason behind the events at these festivals, but the only prerequisite I could deduce is that they combine heavy drinking with dangerous activities (see also Running of the Bulls, La Tomatina etc which seem only to exist to injure as many Aussie backpackers as possible).

With that in mind it was out to one of the many packed "plazas" one night, with a "bar to human" ratio only rivalled by the "human to amount of drinks in one night" ratio, to down a few beers and then head to the Correfoc. This translates into English as "run-fire," which is obviously just an irrelevant name as the last thing you should be doing after drinking heavily is running through the streets amongst a load of fire. Except this is Spain, so the name suggests exactly what it is, ie running throught the streets amongst a load of fire. I normally live in a place where fireworks are banned and too many candles on a birthday cake can cause a neighbour to dial the emergency services, so when hundreds of crazy drunk Spaniards appear dressed as the devil, swinging nuclear strength sparklers above their heads into the crowd, and throwing brown-noise threatening ear-splitting bangers with the care of a 2 year old, a little voice in my head says "go on, join in...what's the worse that can happen?"...even when the procession starts attaching fireworks to the nose of model dragons they are pushing.

I'd been forewarned that my usual suit would likely disintegrate in 3 seconds, and if the wig stayed on, memories of Michael Jackson and a Pepsi commercial could come flooding back, so fortunately the only scars I can boast are a hoody full of burn holes. However I'm sure there are a few participants, who if they want to read this update, will have to wait for the braille translation.

The next day of the festival focussed on another group of sado-masochists. The Castellers. These teams of otherwise sane Spaniards seek more tradition in building human castles competitively. Much like building castles with playing cards, you start with a huge group of people at the base, then try to balance additional layers. Obviously the more layers, the more unstable, the more easily affected by wind etc. Therefore, sometimes they fall. Unfortunately with humans it's not as easy as gathering the fallen cards up and chucking them back in the packet, namely because the broken bones, twisted limbs and bruises don't fit in the box anymore. Luckily the adults have found a way of minimising their chances of injury, and that's by sending 5 year olds up to the top levels.

As the teams entered the plaza, I was extremely lucky to be standing in the exact part of the crowd where they decided to commence their human Jenga games. In fact the base levels of the teams were so close that I thought it would be a great chance to get a stupid photo pretending to help firm up the base. What I now know is that pretending to help, looks like you're trying to help a particularly unstable castle which needs more help, and despite being the only one not in traditional dress, and in fact dressed as a poor man's Elvis, suddenly I'm reluctantly helping. Help!

With my only task seemingly to nuzzle myself into the man in front's armpit (sadly not a day celebrating the patron saint of deodorant), I heard the crowd suddenly hold their breath, although not for the same reason I was. As I glanced upwards, the upper levels were wobbling. So as a sea of screaming humans toppled over onto us, self-preservation kicked in, and I crouched down allowing the taller people to take the full force. Hey, it's not my traditional event. Plus, disaster could have happened - I could have lost the wig.

OK, from looking at this picture, I'll admit it. It was probably a mistake to tickle the guy above me's foot.

For some reason, Spanish TV were interested as to why someone dressed vaguely as Elvis had become an integral part of thier various traditional Casteller (human castles) teams.

For the human castle coverage, including some crazy falls and the Crap Elvis interview (about 5mins in) click here: http://www.tv3.cat/videos/693729
I have been dubbed into Spanish and branded Elvis Cutre - literal translation is Elvis Shabby. I've never sounded better, or been described better for that matter.

Parade of the giants (lead by the shuffle of the idiot in the white suit)

Also checked off the usual Gaudi (replace it with gaudy if you want) sights of Barcelona.
Sagrada Familia

Gaudi's Park Guell

Don't you hate it when you're having a quiet coffee, and a famous racing driver calls you over for a photo. Thanks Ralph Schumacher.

Why haven't I heard of this exclusive collection before?...

1 comment:

pim said...
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