. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

More sinned against than sinning? I think not

As I write this, images of England football fans clashing with French locals, Russian ultras and riot police in Marseille during the European Championships are being beamed around the world. Drunken fat...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

Tipping

This month's topic is one which could not be more culturally distinct: tipping. By which I mean leaving a gratuity for a service received, not dumping stuff illegally somewhere or predicting which horse...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

An Easter homage to JC

I'm writing this column at Easter so you'll understand why I'm dedicating it to JC, who has had such a profound effect on my religion. What may come as a surprise to some, although not those who know I...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

The customer's always right, right?

One of the challenges of taking your vehicle to a garage is not knowing the terminology used by mechanics, especially as they are notorious for using customers' ignorance to charge as much as they like....

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

The language thing

This month's column touches more on language than culture, but then the two overlap, so that's my excuse. The thing is, some aspects of language use here still feel strange, even after having lived here...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

Zen and the art of umbrella usage

First, an admission: despite the above title I'm not going to mention Zen. It's a reference to a book by Robert M. Pirsig - Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance - which had a huge impact on my own...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

MOT trials and tribulations

I recently took our car for its MOT (the British acronym for the ITV) in Barcelona for the first time since returning to the metropolis from Girona. I booked the nearest place to our flat, which is on...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

Get up, stand up, don't give up the fight

Although they are now long gone, this is the first column I've written since 27-S so I find it impossible to address any other issue than the Catalan election results. Naturally, I won't be the only Britalan...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

Good grace

Grace: it's a name that has fallen out of favour in the UK, associated as it is with Victorian flounced skirt-wearing ladies and Dickensian drawing rooms. If we ignore the archaic religious meanings and...