When I was 19 I went to Barcelona with University.

As part of my University Design Degree course.

It was an experience meant to be highlighted by Gaudi’s architecture.

But one of the most memorable things for me was seeing my fellow female course members in bikinis.


The broader experience was mostly a blur.

We drank a lot.

And messed about.

You see, I never really invested properly in my degree.

Life was superb and I made great friends.

But the course really didn’t fulfil me.

Anyhow, on this Barcelona trip, I had ‘a moment’.

Not just lying on the roof of a beautiful building with bikinied colleagues.

Something more memorable even than that.

Black and White. 

One evening, I found myself alone in a jazz bar.

(Not innuendo; it really was a bar playing jazz music).

I was sat right by the stage.

The music was not too loud from the 4 piece.

I had a glass of whiskey with ice.

Everybody was smiling.

I was 19 years old.

And the whole experienced seemed, somehow, to be in black and white.

It felt really lovely.


It was, I think, the first time I felt like a man.

(Not another innuendo, thank you).

…It was the first time I felt like the world really was my oyster.

Like I could do anything.

Nobody mattered at that moment.

Nothing mattered.

It was 31 years ago.

More than half of my lifetime ago.

And I still remember it.

I felt like anything was possible in that moment.

Lost In Translation.

When I watched ‘Lost In Translation’ 25 years later, I was reminded of my time in Barcelona.

For Bill Murray’s character Bob – Charlotte arrived.

For me, on that occasion in Barcelona, no one arrived.

Even though my scene was so beautifully set for such a meeting.

Maybe my Charlotte was there an hour earlier.

Or an hour later.

Or not at all.


I left the bar with no special new friend.

But I still smile today when I think of that night in Barcelona because fate sometimes creates things for you.

And sometime it doesn’t.

Nevertheless, unless you put yourself out there, it can’t happen at all.

Possibility is very seductive for me.


If you’re reading this story in your email, pop to  http://www.50odd.co.uk/barcelona/ to see 3 minutes of one of the nicest and most beautiful looking films I’ve ever seen.

It reminds me of my moment in Barcelona.

But without the Charlotte.


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