While wandering the streets in a suburb east of Barcelona with Jehangir and Laurie, we happened upon a ‘rehearsal’ for a street parade. About a dozen homemade floats — pedal-powered creatures of the sea, some with pounding dance music and burst of fire extinguisher ‘smoke’ — were being pedaled up the street. The parade rehearsal reminded me of events I had witnessed also in Brazil; neighborhoods put together amazingly clever floats and low tech special effects, costumes and the like, in order to put on their own celebrations.
I admired the DIY aesthetic of the whole thing, the way that people were getting involved, the absolute lack of a boundary between audience and performers; people on the street passed bottles of water to the over-heating drivers of the fish floats as they laboured to propel their colourful floats with muscle power. On the one hand, it was more amateurish that parades I was accustomed to in the US. On the other hand, it was quirky and each neighbourhood had its own opportunity to put on a show. The parade wasn’t just a celebration of fish (or whatever — I still don’t know), it was also a demonstration of local mechanics and organizers.