Once upon a time, in sunny June, on a bright Saturday afternoon (actually the one that should latter also be referred to as the bachelorette party day of Stephanie), I, Le Cül, was born. I emerged from the fantasy of my previous owner and creator Lydia while she was talking about such deep matters as the universe, life and love with Jamie, the master of mosaics.
After gaining the skill of cutting tiles, piles of blue, wine red and black little shiny stones were covering the table. Jamie, still being sceptical about the colour choice, advised Lydia various times not to use that type of darker blue stones and tried to convince her to consider lighter blue ones but I, being a very cunning and clever kind of creature, had already infiltrated her creative consciousness and made very clear to her that I wanted to be born! And that’s how a long and hour consuming process of selecting the right little stones in the right, precise way in order to stick them to a wooden template, began.
The template, well, that was my choice all along! It was the one, as you will see or already have seen, because you are the impatient kind of person that opens the presents before reading the card / letter attached, of a cat. Not just any cat, no! It was the template of ‘El gat del Raval’ (for those who are not acquainted with the Catalan language and Barcelona, it means ‘The Cat of the Raval’ which is the symbol for the Raval district and its local artisan market).
Hours passed and ‘El Gat’, later named ‘Le Cül’ (I am not sure yet if I like that sort of internationalisation of my name!), took form and shape. Sharp, cunning eyes, shiny dark blue and wine red stripes began colouring one by one my shiny, precious fur.
It was a slow birth and we all took our time, because I had to be perfect for you, my new owner. You probably (or maybe not, because you’re either the sporty or the couch potato type of person) ask yourself why it had to be that colouring. In the end they ain’t the most brightest colours which, on the other hand, you expect to see in a mosaic, that should always reflect the sunlight in many colourful ways. No, I wanted to be something typical from Barcelona for you – and not only from Barcelona – I wanted to be something special, representing not only Stephanie’s and Lydia’s district and on a larger scale, Barcelona, but also my name (for the Catalan and French speaking easy to divert and translate from ‘cul’ meaning, well, bum) stands for a special and historically formed expression for the fans of the F. C. Barcelona, which is very important for the city and its inhabitants. Its players are known worldwide. What is not known is why the Catalan term ‘Culés’ describes its fans. So here I will quote some history for you.
In earlier times, the F. C. Barcelona stadium was very small. Before 1909, Barcelona played in various stadiums, none of which were owned by the club. On 14th of March 1909, the club moved to the Camp de la Indústria which had a capacity of 6,000, and was the first ground owned by the club. The supporters sitting on the top-row of what was observed by passers-by from behind as a row of men sitting on the top of a wall while walking through Calle Indústria, was the origin of the nickname ‘cules’ as literally the only thing they could see was a row of bums.
So for me, Le Cül, this is nothing to be ashamed of – even if you might try to hide your telling smile now! In the end I am not your typical Barcelona souvenir. I am not the Gaudi Dragon or a set of coasters with the image of the Sagrada Familia or other famous places of interest in Barcelona. I am something that comes with a story – a personal souvenir that chose you to be its rightful owner (and believe me, I have my own will power!) – I am something from here. Something that wandered the streets without being discovered, something that lingered in the dark corners or doors in form of street art paintings or posters, something well-known in its Barrio and beyond its borders. Yet I am nothing to be afraid of: I represent the beauty and the diversity of the Raval and Barcelona! And in order to show you that we all mean well, I come with something special from my district: some instant chocolate from the Granja Viader, which since 1910 is located in Calle Xùcla 6 and quite an important landmark to my previous owners Stephanie and Lydia. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as they do and if you have time to visit the Granja, they’d highly recommend you having a ‘Suís petit amb Xurros’ or (as it is probably very hot for you outside) a Lemon or Coffee Granissat.
So as I am most likely leaving my habitat with you, the only thing I ask from you in return, is to cherish me as what I am: ‘Le Cül’ – ‘El Gat del Raval’!
Visit the local Mercat Raval BCN (https://www.facebook.com/MercatRavalBcn) in order to create your own mosaic