Catalans drive the rest of the Spaniards crazy. While attending Mass one day in Barcelona in 1959, Luís de Galinsoga, the pro-Franco director of the city’s leading newspaper, La Vanguardia, couldn’t stand it any longer. He stood up in church and memorably shouted: ‘¡Todos los catalanes sono un mierda!’ (All Catalans are shit!) Enough protests were raised, and enough people boycotted the paper, for Franco to sack the newspaperman personally. Barcelonans didn’t have much to laugh about that year, but Galinsoga’s fate must have evoked at least a few smiles.
They probably weren’t even as miffed as they let on. Just as Brussels is renowned for its Mannekin-Pis, Barcelona has a jolly fixation with Number Two. It may be because the medieval city grew up between two torrents, the Cagallel and the Merdança, ‘turd taker’ and ‘shit stream’. Both were buried centuries ago, under the Ramblas and the Rec Comtal, only to become scatological streams of consciousness.
Images by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls, Emi Yañez