Sunday, 29 August 2010

Bootle 04 November 2007 19:01


Sunday morning in bed, had breakfast in bed too and remembered when I used to do the same in Garagoa -that is a little town 4 hours away from Bogotá D.C. in Colombia and also my hometown. I used to read in bed and before breakfast all stories that talked about distant hot cities by the beach. The memories of the sound of the rain against the window and the unstoppable plots of the stories were still fresh, as if they had happened yesterday and remembering those memories so vividly despite the time and distance had a taste of unavoidable nostalgia. After having some late lunch, my landlady invited us to go to the beach...the beach! Up to this point of my stay in Bootle, I didn't know there was a beach near my neighbourhood. She asked us to get ready and we (me and Ann, my flatmate who had woken up in a great mood) just took our cameras but my landlady suggested to wear wellies and coats. That was the end of my excitement: No heat or paradise weather as I had read in my morning bed stories. I didn't know what to expect from Crosby beach then. Off we drove there without many expectations and after going over a grassy sand dune, I MET THE SEA!!!!!! For the first time in my entire life! It was cold and windy and there were "quite a few" iron men standing forever in the beach. A master piece, my landlady said. For me, it was a kind of intervention to the landscape, as Christo did but in a smaller scale. Since it was the first time in the beach, I tried to reach the waves to contemplate how my wellies sunk in the damp grey sand that contained tons of dead starfish and starfish arms and long shaped shells. Some of them were still alive so I and my landlady's daughter and niece went on a mission: taking the still alive starfish back to the sea. We had no equipment of any kind -just our wellies and our hands. So the long shaped shells became tweezers if we used them as Chinese chopsticks and we started to pile up still alive starfish. The task seemed quite simple but the weakness of our tweezers didn't help much and the starfish started to fall on dry sand and that was very sad to see. We were not saving them at all I said to the girls. According to the them, the mission was aborted for the sake of the starfish and because of a strong lack of appropriate tools. The high tide would accomplish the mission better than any of us together, I said to the girls. In the meantime, my landlady had a cup of tea to keep warm which I wanted too but my hands smelled of starfish and that was simply great for my first time in the beach .

My booky Wook by Russel Brand. Hodder & Stoughton. London. 2007


22:20

This book is an autobiography of a young British comedian who was born in a typical 70's family: divorced parents, lovely nana, overprotective and spoiling Mum and careless and absent father. Their lack of discipline and a good example of way of life made him a real pain for absolutely everyone especially if they loved him. Thus he easily became a junkie: he wasn't taught any limits. This chap annoyed me until the very end of the book with stories about his childish behaviour. However, he is quite clever, sarcastic and sharp. I would like to highlight the fragment where he was telling the story about the "cloak of love". He finishes the story like this: "one of my greatest pleasures in life is coining a mischievous phraseology that then other people have to accept as a linguistic fact. It's exciting to be able to interrupt and alter language. It's anarchic and subversive to lay dirty lingo eggs that people are going to have to say, then watch like a voyeuristic cuckoo as they hatch. - there speak like that. Now talk all stupid!" p.p. 114 That paragraph is brilliant!!! If I ever taught a linguistics course, I'd use this chapter as an introduction for a lesson! It's a perfect example of how you can exercise power through words. After this marvellous paragraph, I had to read how he destroyed himself with drugs, alcohol and/or sex. I just got tired of his i-don't-give-a-shit attitude, his ego and his bitter irony. Only til chapter 30! He started to be conscious of what he had done to himself. The stories of his rehabs are a kind of relief and the arrival to a port after a rough storm. The most beautiful pages are the last four. There he thanks to the ones who had loved him and also suffered his presence. He concludes apparently sensibly about his addictions. Thus he makes it up with everyone and at the same time shows one of the most human and beautiful aspects of man: learning.

Dover-Calais 23 December 2007 18:34


My trip had just started and I was so excited I had my camera in my hands -programmed in automatic, of course, ready for the perfect shot. Because of the thick fog I couldn't even see the trace of the ferry on the water...If there’s nothing to see outside, look inside, I said to myself trying to keep up the excitement despite the cold and darkness of the scenery. I was getting quite bored trying to look through the window, so I looked around and found it: if there’s nothing to see outside, look inside...so I took my camera and surfed the scene. There was this guy reading in front of a window containing that boring sea and automatically, I remembered this article about photography which said one should ask the subject to be photographed. Though he looked entertained with the reading, I dared to ask if he minded taking him a picture. He said he wouldn't, so off I went and took several shots. I didn't like any of them but he did. He grinned and asked
-Where are you going?
-I'm going round Europe during the next 10 days
-By train?
-Nope. By bus.
He told me he was German and I got glad about it because of the nice memories I have about Germany.
Although I find the German language quite intelligible, I had listened a thousand stories about the country, the cities, the people. That is why I felt confident asking. The stranger was from the South of Germany by the end of the Rhine river.
He looked like taken out of an 80s movie of Nordic sailors: white to the bone, blue eyed, earring and red moustache. After laughing at my face about the number of days I was going to be locked up in a coach around Europe, he recommended some places I definitely couldn't recognize. The picture showed the head of a man sitting by the window with his feet on its frame. While reading, he ate an apple in the same way any Nordic sailor from an 80s movie would have.

Daniel Ruiz García La canción donde ella vive. Editorial Calambur. Colección Narrativa, 43 2009


El último día que estuve en Jerez de la Frontera, me invitaron al lanzamiento de una novela gracias a un amigo librero de quien me hospedaba allí. El ritual era el mismo: el autor sentado junto a algún amigo entrañable y un "presentador". La diferencia de este evento residía en el lugar: un patio de una casa antigua en el que se sentían el sopor del atardecer y el olor a naranjas frescas. Ya llevaba varios días husmeando en las entradas de las casas antiguas de Cádiz, Jerez y Sevilla para ver los hermosos patios que protegen estas edificaciones del calor inclemente del verano andaluz y estar por fin en uno resultaba complaciente a mi curiosidad. Llegamos un poco tarde con mi amiga, así que apenas tuvimos tiempo de escuchar el primer capítulo. El tema de lo urbano más la música me recordó a Andrés Caicedo, a Chaparro y su Opio en las nubes. Esta novela pensé, bien podría caber en mi clasificación de obras calcinantes que me producen desespero. No me equivoqué.
 
El argumento de la historia era vertiginoso e imparable. Ahí recordé a Andrés Caicedo y sus trágicos personajes, y cada vez que se nombraba alguna canción más me acordaba a Chaparro y su modo de insertar estribillos en las escenas. Por eso, la devoré en menos de una semana. Sin embargo, encuentro dos elementos que le dejan un tono inacabado. Primero, su exagerado modo de describir repetitivamente un estado, emoción o pensamiento. Por ejemplo, en la pag 57 hay 7 frases para describir un sólo estado emocional del protagonista. Todo esto palabrarerío para describir algo bien se podría reducir a dos o incluso una frase. Segundo, ese tono de culpabilidad con que el protagonista le cuenta la historia a su mejor amigo. Aquello de perdóname, sigue leyendo, no juzgues, no pienses mal, etc resulta muy soso. Uno de los elementos más interesantes de esta novela es que el narrador tenga un interlocutor específico. Eso hace que el lector se ponga en el lugar de ese interlocutor y se acerque a la historia de un modo cómplice. Pero cuando me tropecé con ese tono de culpabilidad indulgente, ya no quise sino saber el final de la historia y el efecto enganchador se perdía.
 
A pesar de todo ello, llegué al final sin mucha a demora. Hacía tiempo que no leía este tipo de novelas. Pertenecen a un momento en mi vida en que yo creía que me había perdido de muchas cosas al crecer en un pueblo pequeño. Estas novelas alimentaban mi avidez de nombres, títulos de canciones, autores, compositores, etc. Hice largas listas tratando de ponerme al día hasta que llegué a Rayuela de Cortázar. Las descripciones de embriaguez de los personajes del Club y los soliloquios de cada quien me sonaban como en otro idioma. La canción donde vive ella me recordó a Rayuela porque el discurso de los protagonistas también estaba plagado de nombres, autores y músicos. En mi mente, leer La canción donde vive ella fue como hacer un gran flashback a una época llena de acelere, discusiones literarias y lecturas trastabilladas.

" Charles Bukowsky: Locked in the arms of a Crazy life" by howard Sounes.1998


Just loved this biography because of the accuracy and the direct style of the story. It shows Bukowsky as a real man: his love life, his boozer lifestyle, his non-stoppable writing, his humour. Bukowski must have been one of those men you could hate and love at the same time... an annoying man but so clever when writing...I first got to know bukowski in my "Espanol funcional 1" lesson on my first semester at University. This drunk professor smoked in class and drank cheap wine with students. He tried to "baptized" students in terms of literature by reading Bukowski and Julio Cortazar. He also pretended to be like Bukowski. I guess he just left me the habit of drinking and discussing about literature. Now I prefer not to drink and read more :) If I think about it twice, it's around 10 years since I ever heard about Bukowski. After ten years I get to understand that people like him is better to read them rather than being friends or love them. This book also reminded me of this classmate who is the kind of guy I would definitely continue reading every single line he writes but would not be one of his mates. He used to drink as much as Bukowski did and adopted the typical lifestyle of a drunk poet. But this one writes short stories as far as I know. I hope he doesn't give up writing because he is pretty good at it. As you can see, I loved this biography because it reminds me of those days when I was so desperate to know it all with this wrong feeling of having missed it all when growing up in Garagoa, Colombia (my hometown). And learning so much about this writer, once idealized by a drunk professor, is very rewarding and enlightening: it's like turning on a candle where there were shadows before.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Thank you note

Sr. Robi Draco Rosa:

Esta nota tiene un único propósito y es agradecerle de corazón por todo. Gracias a su trabajo, pude conocer cosas que de otro modo no hubiera sido posible. Podría hacer una gran lista, pero seré breve: Si no hubiera tenido en mis manos el disco Frío, no hubiera conocido a Camarón de la Isla, y por ende no hubiera sabido del cante jondo ni de su visceral forma de contar/cantar; si no hubiera tenido en mis manos Vagabundo, no me hubiera obsesionado por encontrar el verso al que hace referencia Hablando del amor y no hubiera conocido a Panero, ni hubiera comenzado a entender a Baudelaire ni a Verlaine ni a Rimbaud. Cuando estaba estudiando Literatura Inglesa en la universidad, tuve que leer a Blake y mientras escuchaba Vagabundo y Penélope pude comprender un poco más toda esa imaginería con todo y guitarras. Yo no sabía tampoco lo que era Chopin ni Vivaldi; ese tipo de música no me había interesado hasta entonces.

Pero lo más importante de todo eso es cómo su música me sienta a escribir. A Vagabundo lo dejé de escuchar por un buen tiempo, y fue impresionante cómo al escuchar ese disco por “segunda vez” me produjo otro mar de sensaciones que me llevaron a escribir cosas que sólo se me ocurren al leer literatura. Cuando escuché Mad Love sucedió lo mismo: muchas cosas venían a mi cabeza y tuve que plasmarlo en el papel. La diferencia con la literatura está en la música que contiene todas sus letras. La música es la que me toca y me lleva. Aunque no sé de eso, puedo apreciar cosas como cuando escucho la Orquesta Sinfónica tocando algo de Bach o Rachmaninov en vivo: toda mi piel hormiguea al son de cada nota y eso mismo percibí en Mad Love. Por todo lo anterior, muchas gracias. Por todas las puertas que quedaron abiertas, por todos los momentos que su música ha acompañado, porque no ha sido en vano, mil gracias.




Bogotá, febrero de 2005