My point of view #7

MY POINT OF VIEW #7 (by Tatiana Sisquella)

How is it possible to be so modern without dying in the attempt? I already knew that Barcelona as a city was cosmopolitan, modern, eclectic, contradictory, expensive, environmentally and acoustically polluted…in other words, that it had all the ingredients necessary to form part of the world elite of top-level cities, but the latest thing that has just come out beats anything that has happened so far or is likely to do in the future. For two weeks now we’ve had our very own edition of Time Out…

TimeOut Barcelona

And here’s me who didn’t even know what Time Out was! Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not proud of my ignorance, but the truth is that in my humble little life I’d never come across this publication, which apparently is the Bible of the cosmopolitan tourist. So from one day to the next I decided that I had to put myself in the picture, not necessarily with the magazine in itself, but with what it represented for a city to have its own edition of it. So I went and bought the first issue and I looked through it, and a week later I went and bought the second one and I looked through that too, and there you are…I must have quite liked it, because here I am writing my weekly article all about the magazine in question. But before I start singing the praises of the publication, let’s do a good bread-and-butter sociological analysis of it.

The first thing to say about it is that it’s a weekly magazine written for the people of Barcelona, written in Catalan and which costs 1 euro. In the end, the price is the main thing. What else can you do these days for 1 euro? What other product can give you the same entertainment value for the same length of time as a magazine full of articles, recommendations and listings? Watch out, though, because this price is only to get you hooked: it’s only going to be for the first 6 issues…so buy loads of them, because in a month’s time it’ll cost double (€1.95).

A short parenthesis. Now I think about it, there really aren’t many things you can do these days for 1 euro, are there? But we’ll talk about that another day…Just to finish, a little question to think about while you’re standing in a queue: if you were walking along laden down with shopping bags and you saw €1 on the ground, would you stop to pick it up? End of parenthesis.

Well, let’s get back to Time Out. We’ve already said that it’s a publication designed for the people of Barcelona, so let’s try to find out what effect this magazine will have on the everyday lives of various different inhabitants of the city.

Who still doesn’t know that a new magazine has just come out?

My granny and her friends. They’ve been buying HOLA for years, and you’re not going to get them to change. But of course they aren’t the target readers.

Who doesn’t give a damn that there’s a new magazine that’s just come out?

My friend Marta. She has two daughters (one can walk and talk now, but the other one can’t yet), a husband who gets home too late in the evenings, a job in which she has to tell people what to do and at the same time still be nice, and parents and in-laws who pester her for one thing or another between four and five times a week. The last time she went to a restaurant you still couldn’t pay by VISA.

Who found out there was a new magazine that had just come out by accident?

I did, and as I’ve already said, I’m not going to boast about my ignorance…in fact, this article has turned out to be a sort of penance, in a way.

Who is going to find the fact that this new magazine has just come out is really good news?

My sister. She’s at the age where she never stops. She comes in, goes out, goes upstairs, comes downstairs, goes out again and comes back in, and of course a magazine like this is like a guide, a marker, a racing hare that sets the pace and keeps with you all the way.

Who couldn’t have anything better happen to them for the rest of the year than the fact that this new magazine has just come out?

The restaurants, companies, cinemas, shops, museums, parks, hotels, bars, discotheques, streets, markets, theatres, cultural centres and other key addresses in the city. They’re really going to do well out of it.

But, whatever way you look at it, what it boils down to in the end is a question of prestige, which is a bit like a latex mattress: you wouldn’t think so to start with, but you end up noticing it’s there. We’ve already seen that for the majority of the population the new magazine that has come out won’t affect their everyday lives, and probably won’t make them go out more or enable them to forget the headaches of working life, but nevertheless, even without them realizing it, their lives will be a little bit more sophisticated, more international, more progressive. And no, I’m not being sarcastic.

Personally, I’m very proud that my city has entered the Top Ten of smart cities. I like having this magazine in my newspaper kiosks, even if I didn’t even know it existed a month ago, as I keep on saying in case you hadn’t got the message. I feel quite chuffed about having something in common with cities like London or New York apart from the threat of terrorism, and I promise to buy at least the next 4 issues.

But why am I afraid that Barcelona doesn’t really quite believe itself to be as good and as smart as all that? Why is it that I get the feeling that, for one reason or another, this city of mine will never parade along the cosmopolitan catwalk with the same seriousness, arrogance and confidence as Paris or Milan? And why, in the end, do I like it like that?

Question: Why Barcelona?
Answer: Because if you get bored, it’s because you want to (the motto of Time Out Barcelona).

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