Barcelona and Lou

I fell in love with a city, with the colours, the architecture, the art, and the markets. And the churches. I could have spent the whole week in the churches, but I kept being distracted by Gaudi, Miro, Picasso and the joy of the city.


A day trip to Montserrat; a train journey out of the city to see a church on a hill. How did I not grasp that a cable car was going to be involved?

Four of us in a city centre hotel room, yards from the Gothic Quarter, with a festival going on outside our window. Early morning drums and parades- I’d spent the summer in Belfast and refused to stir for another blimmin parade- then one of us looked over the balcony and demanded I get up.

Days of wandering and discovering.  Drawing attention to ourselves by being the palest people in town.

The mind blowing, headache inducing awesomeness of Sagrada Famila. The football club. Some bizarre fountains.

My head is full of those days, and one of those nights. The night I made my friends huddle together on a crowded street, while I clambered on to a ledge, balanced myself against a scooter, and watched Lou Reed perform in front of the cathedral, as part of the festival. My friends were bored; I was wildly excited.

Lou Reed, three minutes from our hotel room. Free.

His music had been in my life forever. He lived up to all expectation. He was fabulous.

Thanks Lou.



14 thoughts on “Barcelona and Lou

  1. My goodness, what an experience to remember! Love Barcelone! What were you doing in Belfast for those “blimmin parades”? I did my degree in that city 🙂 Parade happy, they are. But Lou Reed? Exceptional. Lucky you.

    1. Welcome, Jackie- it was a wonderful night, as much because of the surprise of it all. I had my VU tapes (it was the last century) with me and was playing them happily in the days before I realised we’d get the chance to see Lou. I nearly combusted with the excitement.

  2. We were having a family party this afternoon and my son-in-law interrupted to tell us he’d heard of Lou’s passing. What a big loss! I’d never seen him perform live, but I can understand your excitement at having been so close. What a wonderful memory, Fiona. ox

    1. Like so many, I got to know Lou & VU when I was a student. Late nights, smoky rooms, great music. All the joys of 18. Barcelona was many years later, but I was still that excited!

  3. This story brought a tear, Fiona. Like you, I am so glad I got to see him perform. (And, I didn’t even mean to. I went to see Laurie Anderson at Spoleto. At the end of the concert, she announced that it was her birthday, and she wanted to do something special for her birthday, and out walked Lou Reed. They played a set together and gave the audience a gift.)

  4. I bought Transformer because of the Bowie link and loved it; although must say Walk on the Wild Side is probably my least favourite track.. It reminds me of my student days in the early 80’s. I can only imagine what it would have been like to have heard him play live in Barcelona- the atmosphere sounds terrific.

  5. I just heard on Channel 4 News that Lou Reed has died. Like you, I discovered him in my teens after being introduced to the Velvet Underground’s music by a friend’s older brother. I saw him live twice. Once he was brilliant, once he was dreadful.

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