I arrived (home) in Barcelona today. It's been two months since I was last here and while this is a city that is as famous for its urban change as it is for the Sagrada Familia, the difference this time is phenomenal.
The grafitti has gone.
Really. It has disappeared. The underground overground art that made every corner of Barcelona so extraordinary has been painted over, wiped off - wiped out. The Civismo laws have been dramatically tightened in the last few months, and the city's authorities have taken action to crack down on grafitti artists, imposing (among other penalties) huge fines on anyone caught in the act.
One of the reasons Barcelona's street art used to be so incredible was that La Guardia Urbana would turn a blind eye. Perpetrators could make their mark in broad daylight - taking their time over their work as they pleased.
The result, I'm told, is that the good stuff has been forced out of town, and anyone with a stray spraycan is resorting to quick - but ugly - tagging instead. Street art has become part of this city's cultural identity and - while it will always be moderated - should also be protected.