Being colour-blind might mean that my artistic proclivities should be somewhat stymied, but I’ve found that I still enjoy doodling and painting unduly. When I was doing pottery at school, I tended to daub my organic/architectural pots in garish oil paints because I was too lazy to test-fire colours on them I couldn’t see anyway. For this reason, my teacher said I should look at Gaudi’s work; I did, I loved it, pinched elements wholeheartedly, and fell headlong in love with that whole Catalan art thing; well maybe just Gaudi and Dali (I love Goya, but have no idea if he’s from the same region.) Put shortly, the place I’ve single-heartedly most wanted to visit in the world was Barcelona, and particularly the Sagrada Familia, his eternally-building, monstrous cathedal at the city’s heart.

Now I have (for a press trip, noch), and I’m still in love with it. I spent most of my free time in Barca climbing it, and I’ve stocked up my memory palace (See below) with another Cinerama-image from the top of the half-built church. It’s fantastic, a molten mass of dark stone covered in mosaics, angels, snails, flowers and birds, with criss-crossing walkways and dark towers building to the sky. It’s a petrified hand, a lava-clad crab, silhouetted against the cornflower sky. And inside it, there’s nothing, a void packed with scaffolding, new traitorous architecture, cheap concrete replacing Gaudi’s hundred-year stone. I swam on the beach at three in the morning and could still see the glinting gaudy towers…

(The memory palace thing, I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, but here it is in summary: A technique used by medieval types to keep important memories at close hand, the memory palace is a familiar place within which memories are embedded. It’s mentioned by Umberto Eco in The Name Of The Rose I think. Until I hit the top of the Sagrada I’d forgotten all about mine, indeed forgotten the location. After scouring my brain, going through all my childhood locations I realised, to my shame, that the location I chose all those years ago was the first level of a game, Ultima Underworld 2, which I was more familiar with than any real world location…)

Argue with me