When I first started writing for GSA last year, one of the first articles I penned gave a brief overview of the metal scene in Puerto Rico.
Not too long ago, academics announced an international conference focusing on metal would be held at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan, the gorgeous capitol of the commonwealth.
One thing that makes San Juan so cool is the cobblestoned streets. They are a strange shade of blue. I stole some kid’s box of crayons to look up all the shades of blue, and it’s close to a darkish cerulean. The shade can’t be replicated 100-percent accurately, though, because it’s made of the ballast from Spanish and Dutch merchant ships in the 1700s.
Ballast, for the non-geek who didn’t read about medieval naval practices, is weighty material mariners would put in the lower chambers of their ships to keep their vessels from rocking back and forth too much in the waves…and it could be pretty much anything. There was no standard ballast. So when the merchants got to the harbor at San Juan, they needed roads to haul all their wares. They melted their ballast down, whatever the crap it was, made cobblestone roads out of it, and filled the empty chambers with merchanty goods.
That doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with metal, but, ya know, I think it’s pretty cool. And tell me “ballast” isn’t fun to say.
Ballast aside, looks like there’s a full blown documentary about the Puerto Rican metal scene, and it looks stoke-worthy. Get stoked, blokes and lady-blokes.
And when you’re watching the movie and you see those cobblestones, you can be the coolest cat in the theater and yell about how that shit was crafted from ballast! Then tell ‘em you soaked that knowledge into your brainsponge on GSA, yo!
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