On C/Pallars, between Llacuna and Roc Boronat, once stood Garatge Club, a concert venue that was a cave in terms of facilities but whose programme was an epiphany for this writer. Historic nights I lived there: Mark Lanegan (with one member of Dinosaur Jr. and one from Soundgarden!), and The Hives, to give just two examples. It closed in 2002, but in one of those strange twists of life, my entry into adulthood was marked by fatherhood and the purchase of a flat just opposite where Garatge used to be. Every day when I come down the stairs, I remember where I am and where I came from.
But rock ’n’ roll isn’t dead in Poblenou. In the most desolate part of the neighbourhood, with a certain Mad Max feel and hidden by the huge Razzmatazz club, Sala Rocksound organises memorable nights of rock. It’s a small miracle: on the ground floor of a modernista house that’s falling apart is a rock club that combines the smell of rancid beer with an amazing soundproofing system. Local acts have played Rocksound such as Surfin’ Sirles, along with visitors like US singer Stacie Collins, a waitress-trucker mix, who performs a greasy, dirty version of country-rock. Rocksound is Barcelona’s CBGB.
From the street it looks like your typical video shop, one of those with the automated rental machines. But inside it’s an ample space that’s all about comics, new and second-hand, with a preference for US stories of terror and superheroes. In a wasteland for geek pop such as Poblenou, a visit to Mr Brown always perks up a Saturday afternoon. The owner has the power to mind meld with his clients, finding the exact books that suit everyone’s taste, and even better, he doesn’t make small talk. After perusing for a half hour, all you have to do is pay in civilised silence before carrying home your newly purchased bundle of joy. Just as it should be.