MY POINT OF VIEW #6 (by Tatiana Sisquella)
Barcelona can be a city of many colours. The different tones depend on the weather, the city's inhabitants, its festivals and even on whether the streets have risen in a good mood or not on that particular day.
But for the last three years the first week of February in Barcelona has been strictly black. I'm not making any metaphor here, no, I'm just announcing that once again 'BCNegra', the city's annual crime fiction event is just about to take place.
Now, if I was a real journalist I would produce an article full of details and curious facts concerning this event in order to inform visitors, lost and bewildered by so many new things that they can’t take them all in, but being as I am, I will allow myself the luxury of focusing on a parallel matter: the bookshop 'NEGRA I CRIMINAL' (‘Black and Criminal’). Ah! I am polite enough, however, to give you the e-mail address so that you can find out all the information you need on the event in question yourselves (www.bcn.es/cultura/bcnegra )…good luck!
Lots of cities have small gems hidden away in streets that appear on maps by chance. The bookshop I want to tell you about today is one such gem. In fact, if you are reading these lines and you do not like crime literature, you may think that this article does not concern you, but this is not the case…on the contrary. If you are addicted to this type of literature you won't have come to Barcelona without knowing that I'm talking about the only bookshop of its kind in the whole of Spain. Therefore, this information is directed at you, dear reader with no interest in crime fiction, and now you will find out why…
Montse and Paco decided one day they'd had enough of their respective jobs, and as they had to do something to earn their living they decided to dedicate all their efforts and energy to their real passion: crime fiction. As they were not over-energetic it was not too difficult for them to think up a name for their business. NEGRA Y CRIMINAL. In fact, the simplicity of both their shop sign and of the process that had brought them to decide upon that name would set the editorial line of this new bookshop in Barcelona: let’s make it easy. The other great dilemma when one opens up a new business is where to locate it. In this case there were several options: on the Avenue 'Diagonal', right next to the 'Illa Diagonal' shopping centre; in the Passeig de Gràcia between the Louis Vuitton and Loewe boutiques; or down a small street in Barceloneta that is known by as many people as there are letters in its name. After days and nights thinking it over, the Camarasa family decided to go for it and, thinking that it would also be best for the city they settled on Number 5, Sal street…which you will have deduced is neither the 'Diagonal' nor the 'Passeig de Gràcia', but is in fact, right in the middle of the old fishermen's neighbourhood of Barceloneta.
As soon as you enter this small space, bursting at the seams with books, you are greeted by Bogie, one of the best characters of Humphrey Bogart, with a cigarette in his hand and a large poster which states “Smoking allowed here”. And its true, you can smoke while you are looking for the latest offering by that prestigious Polish author. First distinguishing feature. When you have lit your cigarette and you have pulled down the brim of your hat (yours or Humphrey’s, it doesn’t make any difference), if you enter further into the world of Paco and Montse you will find yourself face to face with the “Motive of the Crime”, a structure created by the couple themselves, and on which one can hang a telephone, a gun, some handcuffs…all in all, a motive for sending a sinister child to sleep…and so continues the experience of visiting this bookshop…full of its special moments and details, with the words of Paco who will always lend you a hand or the mussels Montse offers if you go there on a Saturday morning.
I'm not an avid reader of crime, intrigue or detective fiction…but visiting 'NEGRA Y CRIMINAL' is an experience in itself…and additionally, you will probably end up getting hooked on the genre.
A question: Why Barcelona?
An answer: because it also looks good in black.