The Barcelona writer considers the transformation of post-Olympic Barcelona: recovery of the seafront and the rise of tourism. He invokes childhood memories and comes to the defence of markets as public spaces.
Shared Spaces recorded this conversation with Juan Marsé in February 2012 when he visited the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) and joined António Lobo Antunes to speak about “Honesty” as part of the “Virtues” lecture series.
Marsé has a positive view about post-Olympic Barcelona, citing improvements in the old red-light district, the Barri Xino, and the fact that the city is now open to the sea, although he also notes that “the rise of tourism in Barcelona has destroyed a certain feel, a certain atmosphere”. He remarks on the fact that tourism has invaded the almost empty spaces of his childhood, for example Parc Güell, and how it has directly transformed other spaces like La Rambla.
His favourite public space is La Boqueria market, where he enjoys the hustle and bustle and conversations between stallholders and customers, this “spirited manifestation of life and culture, with a gastronomic accent.”