11 September 2013

Oh, Shanty!

Happy Independence Day, Catalunya (and thanks for the reminder, K!).

Talking of which...I’ve been merrily shacked up in my Penthouse bachelorette pad aka the Penthouse Shed aka BCN Shanty aka my silly little tin shed on the roof, for six months now. It’s love.

I’ve likened my little Shanty to an elderly relative. Absolutely adorable, but my god, at times does she test my patience.

Penthouse shed: exhibit a

Nothing works here. Nothing. Works. Here.

The walls are crumbling. My shower has one setting: drip. The oven threatens to erupt gas. I have to resuscitate my washing machine (which is outside), on a regular basis. The drains stink when it's too hot. My plants frazzled in the heat. The ceiling leaks. There are holes in my floor - yes, ACTUAL HOLES. In the floor. My Internet speeds are a joke - I quote my friend Sophie, who lives in Afghanistan - "We have faster internet in Kabul!" Oh, and when you enter the building, to pass dead cockroaches, flat out on their back, is fairly standard. There are 500+ stairs.

Sounds like some sort of dark, netherworldly existence, doesn’t it? Why on god’s green earth would anyone ever want to live in this 25m greenhouse/ice-box…..?

I’ll tell you why. I have a roof terrace – a private roof terrace – twice the size of the apartment that graces me with crimson sunrises, views of the Sagrada Familia and enough sky to see entire flights of swallows and gently quacking ducks emigrating to the Med. I look out of the window and see a slither of civilisation. The rest is pure space, sky and light. I’m closer to heaven here.

Yes, it’s a constant battle against encroaching insects. But up here, I am in their territory. But I love it all. Every single last ridiculous new encounter.

I constantly wonder what Shanty’s going to throw up for me next. But when something new breaks down, I just roll my eyes knowingly and shrug it off. I love her so much. 

In exchange for coming home during my lunch-break and sunbathing outside in the nude while I eat lunch, or sleeping beneath the stars when the heat is unbearable inside, I RELISH living here. The terrace has seen some serious action this summer – again, stories for another day.

Shanty is utterly disinhibited. She has a flagrant disregard for norms and everyday social constraints, which are of no use to her. Shanty knows you will LOVE her anyway. It’s true. Why on earth would anyone ever want a normal shower when you can have a drip-drip shower with a giant window that lets you read the time from a clock-tower just a few hundred metres away?! Why would you ever have a normal washing machine indoors when you can open the door, drain excess water straight onto the roof terrace, before hanging your clothes less than a metre away to dry in the breeze? She is completely off her head and utterly bonkers, but I forgive all of her sins. Maybe we're meant for each other.

Through the tribulations of caring for my dear old Shanty, ensuring she is as comfortable and as happy one can be when they reach that age and trying my best to spruce her up as best I can, she’s taught me a lot. She garnishes our time together with morsels of crone-like wisdom that I never would have learnt if I’d moved in to a fancy, new fangled place. She helps me regain my balance in the world and understand the things are actually important so I can disregard the superfluous. 

Fancy bathrooms and shiny kitchens? Maybe one day I’ll have it all, but for now you can keep them. I’m with Shanty.

Check out my Instagram account for regularly updated Shanty tidbits.

10 June 2013

The secret life of Barcelona's shop owners....

A few portraits taken of shop owners around Barcelona, for shopikon.com. 

1. Norman Vilalta
2. Ramón and Anna María, of Amato Sole
3. Claudia, of Mueblé

Some old and favourite portraits can also be found here.

15 May 2013

Music review: Sightings

A little something I wrote a while ago. This review appeared in the April edition of miniguide magazine, a cultural guide to Barcelona.


The crumbling asphalt and skeletal blocks of Poblenou’s industrial debris weigh down so heavily that some say come nightfall, you can hear the groaning landscape transmute into tangible white noise. Bands that make it to these strange edges of Barcelona are unafraid of aural poltergeists - just ask the small but dedicated congregation that gathers at Rocksound every weekend. A shrine to experimental rock with its endless subgenres and subcultures, this venue is well suited to Sightings, a New York outfit whose music evokes the same deconstructed ambience for which this neighbor­hood is known.
Returning to Barcelona this month after almost a decade since their last gig here, they will celebrate the launch of their “new album” released on April 1st, apparently – a new album on April Fools’ Day, really? This trio debuted in 1997 as Mark Morgan and John Lockie, later joining forces with Richard Hoffman to produce music with routine rock beginnings. The basic grouping of guitar, bass, drums, voice and occasional piano encouraged minimalism and their sound soon began its journey of metamorphosis into an altogether different beast.
Their last album, City of Straw, is at once organic and spectral. On the opening track, “Tar and Pine,” a disturbed morse code taps its way onto your subconscious over the din of bass and guitar. Vocals burst through metallic drudgery as the album works itself into a frenetic climax on “Sky Above Mud Below.”
Mike Wolf of Time Out New York said “those elements seem based on some intuitive science that the rest of humanity hasn’t quite gotten hip to yet,” and he’s right. If you shy away from the dark or visceral then you will probably misunderstand Sightings as pure noise. It will haunt the weathered hardcore aficionados among you, hard pressed to find comparisons.
Sightings doesn’t pander to their fanbase. This band is on a mission of artistic discovery, and with each new album they slice through another layer of musical confection, growing closer to the bones of raw sound.
Apr 16 at 9pm

11 April 2013

New Job, New Apartment, New Life.......New Website?

.....It has been an age, hasn't it?

Soooo. Cut a long story short: I've started a new life.

arrival day: ikea hysteria

A new job, new apartment and newly single. Born again.

Aside from that, over the last sixth months I've also travelled to China and Mexico for two weddings. Fun times :D

My portfolio website has stopped working (the costs were unnecessary, and had to go!), so for the time being, until i figure out my next move, all www.natashadrewnicki.com visitors will be graced by my presence here instead ;)

It's all about the simplification these days.

Much love xxxxxxx