What do you want, you bastard

The fact that the sun had been presiding over the morning horizon for two hours was not because of his joy. He jumped out of bed, put on his shorts and ran into the kitchen. Mom, I’ll get the bread. He looked at the clock and quickened his pace. Entered the bakery and looked for …

I had a farm in San Amaro

Melancholy can kill. In fact, it kills. The facts are not known because no one thinks it is relevant or worthy of change. Melancholy kills like sillines kills or ignorance kills. Or poorly attended healthcare. It kills like miscalculated accounts kill. Let’s not get dramatic either… It kills as life kills, but in this case, we don’t give it the importance it has. We are at war against melancholy, but we don’t know it because we are losing.

But laugh

For a man to speak for women as if he knows what to say means he is either foolish or presumptuous. Maybe both things come together. That’s why I’m only going to talk about the picture. The photo of women protected by the metallic covering of Caixa Ourense circulated on the digital world without the …

Towards Oira

It would be much easier towards Oira. To walk along the river bank, among the ghosts of old abandoned buildings and the civilized steps of almost furtive fishermen. It would be lighter to walk looking at the backwaters like the calm that comes after a decision already made. No matter how much river is left, …

Reconstruction of Fantasy

The story changed, and he asked Thumbelina to climb in. Climb up here. He took her for a trip in the forest in which all the fauns weaved a sound of glory with their wind instruments. Climb up here and hold tight, he told her, as the way is quite bumpy. He took her through …

Political readings of parody and capital

How confined is a spectator to his or her own prejudices, or to those of others? Why do we accept in some works what we reject in others, and why does liking an artist end up being so much like being a fan of a football team? Let’s consider, hypothetically, that Paolo Sorrentino is much …

Dismantling themselves

One day, the flowers, the costumes, the pageboy hair, the meditation and the dust of the fans came to an end. The fantasy of travelling and the world in technicolour came to an end. One day someone realized that besides love, many other things were needed. That day The Beatles came down from the terrace …

Chords and discords

Someone said that in popular music there are two categories: The Beatles and the rest. Fifty-two years after their dissolution, there were few new things left to see about the most influential band of all time, but Get Back was one of them. The docuseries that Peter Jackson put together about the limitless hours of recording of what was called Let it Be proves, once again, that there is always a difference between the group and the rest. Even at the end. Get Back might have been an ending, but it wasn’t the decline.

2 | With arms folded

Passing the broom in front of someone’s face is not very delicate. But it’s the day and the pilgrimage. You dip the broom in the powdered water, place the poster on the plywood that still has the remains of the posters from previous elections, put the broom in the middle of the poster and go …

Distribution of Power

He was walking through the corridor realizing that earth’s rotation wasn’t fast enough for him. He didn’t have enough patience to wait for the cycles that put day and night over the houses, and with a very slow desperation, he would ruminate a set of bad excuses. He was walking through the corridor with clear …

Bridal Parade

He had walked the entire supermarket searching for an offering. He had seen on television how certain Australian birds called for their partner by building a nest in which on one side of the entrance they placed fresh flowers and on the other a bunch of freshly caught beetles. He went through the shelves, checking …

Speech of the moviola

Time falls, football remains. He saw the black ball arrive and was a little frightened by the responsibility of being on the front line. Time passes, but football remains. He thought back, stopping the clock, and did not remember that he had never liked football, not even as a child. He had sometimes reflected on …

So much happiness

So much happiness illuminated the past life with the same light that illuminates the sea at sunset. There was no complaint in their silence, as they watched the receding forest from the suntrap of the house. They hardly spoke in the late afternoon hours; what was necessary had been said. In the twilight they did …

The loneliness of the murderer

He felt the repetitive ringing of the doorbell and with ill-concealed displeasure he got up and headed to the door. As he entered the narrow corridor he switched on the light and thought that, on his way back, he should raise the blinds to let in some of the afternoon sun. The doorbell rang again …

The moral rucksack

We Europeans never leave Europe. It’s intrinsic within us, as if it came on our backs, in the form of a passport, vaccinations, language breviary, protective ointments, cotton socks, mosquito repellent, embassy telephone and a moral superiority that no universal history, no matter how objective it may be, can justify. We travel with history in …

Bus Station

Getting off the plane and finding a bus station. It must be four o’clock in the morning. Everything looks like abandoned tile, scattered kiosks, short corridors with perhaps fortnightly cleaning. Maybe not. Maybe it is the dust of the desert announcing itself. Passing through customs and its lack of concern. The curiosity within the eyes …

I also read Kierkegaard

He was sleeping when the pressure on his bladder woke him. He woke up uncomfortably jolted by the need. He set the autopilot, ready to navigate the darkness of the bedroom. Sleep was still spreading waves of fog in his understanding. Outside, birds sang in the sycamores. The bladder sent a message again; two steps …

On the straight way

In summer, the city was sweating through the stones. I went into the grocer’s and Don Alfonso turned around, airing his checkered apron, to reprimand me for being late: I told you to take the straight way. Then he told me: take the bottle of Marie Brizard and take it to Don Ricardo, from the …

Dramas and anguish

Africa is one of those parts of the world that is not Europe. Africa would like to be Europe, but they don’t let them. Someone decided many years ago that Africa should be like Europe and changed the traditions, the language, spread a few streets with a certain ideal character, planted trees and dictated the …

Knowing how to swim

There was a graffiti in Ourense: The son of the fish knows how to swim. It was monarchical because it explained how the monarchy works and it was anti-monarchical because any explanation of how the monarchy works is reasonably anti-monarchical. We should not despise what the walls say or how the pictures end because in …

1 | Either you start adding or you are already subtracting

He pulled the car under the water tank in As Cancelas. He always ended up stopping there. He got out of the car, his car, and watched how Santiago descends towards the cathedral. In all the stories there are some clouds and that’s how the city was, a bit iridescent to his eyes. Due to the …

Four kilometers from home

When he answered he was four kilometers away from home. Hey, they’re saying that you’re not together anymore. He was four miles to home and carrying two backpacks to fill the fridge because there were complaints about how often he went shopping. They were full, to make up for the trip, of those documentary foods …

History of Galicia

In Muros there is no more paradise. There is a supermarket. It may seem a matter of the real estate market, but it is a radical change of era without transition. It is the story of a country that does not want to make history. Chévere made history with Eroski Paraíso, from theatre to cinema. A story between squid sandwiches and couples who get pregnant in the cemetery. Memory and humour that does not always make for a few laughs.

Hamlet Accuser

His love was sick with Parkinson’s. His heart was wounded, from atrium to ventricle, by the arrows of offensive fortune, and every time he began to declaim, a world of butterflies stirred his body and brought back the memory of a face floating among the water lilies. He climbed the boards with confidence, but as …

All that bites is fish

This man with a fishing rod and fish lived his whole life surrounded by a halo. But it was not a political sanctity halo. For some people he was Fraga Iribarne, for others he was Fraga and for many others he was Don Manuel. A sum of different uniforms that, in practice, only disguised an unusual …

Romanticism is what fucks us up

Because we’re culturetas we’ve inverted the process of understanding and we think that first comes the message and then the things. And we overthink it and let what we feel in our stomachs change the discourse until our own interests seem like collective reasons. Twitter helps a lot.   As we are culturetas it is unnecessary to quote Friedrich and, …

Do electric companies dream of synthetic sheep?

Perhaps sheep do not distinguish the quality of the shadow and go about consuming it wherever there is some, without bleating, without entering disquisitions, without stopping to think if that shadow corresponds to their social class. It was Christianity what brought sheep into the comparative imaginary of humanity. Lamb of God and all those metaphors …

Step inside

To enter the forest you have to accept three conditions. Trees are methodical, they resist standing, being unaligned, in the best sun of the day. They gently move the rumours like the corridors after a resignation. There is an unadorned bush, some signs of abandonment, a path without alternatives and an iron gate that civilizes …

What love has to do with bicycles

It is not true that the Dutch are quiet people. Maybe they are quiet until they get on a bicycle and the world changes for them. The point of view changes. They ride higher than pedestrians, higher than drivers. Much more than those who ride in the back of an official car. The Dutch are …

Letter from Theo

Dear Vincent: I hope you are well, and that Ibiza has the weather you were looking for. Amsterdam is having a quiet summer. Lots and lots of people and the same old doubts. I think you should seriously think about spending some time here. Now is the time. There are some discreet houses in Hoekenes, …

Hard Rock

Across the canal from the Hard Rock Café the ambulance parked. While someone was in a hurry, the rest were salivating at the prospect of ounces of grilled meat and photos of immortally famous and mortally purchasable musicians. Ambulances in Amsterdam are yellow (the most famous submarines in history are fictional). In front of the …

Coffee for all Humanity

The most visited place in the Rijksmjuseum is the café. It is strategically placed next to the foyer and has a hot table system: it is all busy between nine in the morning and five in the afternoon. A very high rotation system. It’s not cheap, though. On the other hand, the Van Gogh Museum’s …

System of a Down

Humanity is scary. Not because of the panic produced by nuclear weapons or by going through Anne Frank’s house in detail – a surname that is incredibly widespread around the world – to realise that her comfort as an inner refugee responded to a system of barbarism. Humanity is frightening when we realise that for …

We shall sell

When his father sold the land, he felt no pain. Perhaps relief. He was more in need of novelty than of that sure condemnation of the rural lex. He was tired of the peace without horizon, of the siesta in the summers, of the shadows of the gardens and the bugs in the orchard. He …

Sushi for two

Years ago, they had received the news of her death as when a couple ends: circumstances that change without any logic. Doors disappearing from the corridors of houses overnight. And hits against the same partition everyday. The news had been given bluntly and that hung over them for a long time. Even for no reason.  The news resisted …

Theory of the Center

The centre is one thing, and the suburbs are another. In politics as in cities. In philosophy as in the radio. We govern ourselves under the idea that what is important is always in the centre, placed there with hierarchical exactitude, with demonstrated authority, following the example of a lying urbanism because the centre of …

Bruno Ganz (The heaven over Amsterdam)

There’s a queue for the little piece of paper that says when your turn is. The modern science of signage relies more on the intuitive nature of the design than on translation. The queue is typical of touristic cities: Europeans from all walks of life, Japanese teenagers and Chinese families going everywhere as if they …

With death on the balls (Spanish culture)

There is a day in 1992 that nobody remembers anymore. It’s weird that it’s like that. That no one remembers because it has a lot to do with everything. The day existed, although we don’t know what it was. For the first three quarters of the year, whatever happened was welcomed. The daily verbena or …

Previously on Tondela

 All the faces I see refer to a previous one. I live in permanent deja vu and each face is evidence of forgetfulness or misplacement. I live in uneasy walks because every face I pass on the sidewalks, instead of shouting equality as it would be logical to do in unbalanced times, shouts: don’t you remember …

Blame it all on

Either we are old or the slogans are old. John Lennon would turn 80 years old in 2020 and Yoko Ono is in delicate health. They formed the artistic couple of the twentieth century even above the other great couple of the same century: Lennon-McCartney.    Ono is a “victim” of her biography, but one should not trust …

English Week

Lunch’s ready! Lunch’s ready! A child’s voice echoing throughout the courtyard. Lunch’s ready! Lunch’s ready!  From afar it sounded like an invitation. A Saturday morning, the voice escaping through the cement of the streets, reaching the passers-by. Saturday mornings, that concept of rest that will soon disappear. That day of shopping, of rummaging through the city… The …

Criticism was not the worst thing about Galician theatre

“Criticism is not the worst thing about Galician theatre”. The quote is from a theatre critic, pronounced towards the end of the decade of 2000 and, at the same time as having a preventive disposition, it conceals a falsehood dismissed as naive. At that time, as now, it is necessary to understand that if something …

All you need is you

At the very moment when All you need is loveended, the hangover began. It was an imperceptible but unstoppable movement. Like when the drunkenness ends. Like when Saint Paul fell off his horse and had an attack of lucidity. For 30 seconds, he was lucid and everything glowed. Then he sat up and lacking intelligence as …

We can talk

We can talk about football, about sheep, about fairs in all the meanings of the term, about the confusion of words, about the confusion of pain, about the people not being in charge, about good wheat, about bad wheat, about the bread of Cea, about the mark left by the carts on the roads, about …

Life goes on

Perhaps they hate each other. Perhaps they feel for each other what the Madrí press calls African hatreds but which, in view of the statistics of customs, are quite Galician. It may be active indifference. Or loneliness. They come across each other because one comes and the other goes. One comes from the supermarket and the other …

No homeland, no show

I’m still confused by this escapist idea that childhood is man’s homeland. As if it were a primitive saudade, unrecoverable and, therefore, unfair. As if the homeland were the past and not the will.  But when the homeland is exhibited like a movie trailer, there are going to be blows. And when blows are announced, the …

Norma & Ivo in Monmartre

-Shall we go up and down?-It’s just going for the sake of going… They went through the shadows of the trees and let themselves be surrounded by the October tourists. A funicular is an elevator that respects the law of gravity. They entered, but instead of looking at the landscape, which was beginning to be …

The soldier in winter

In winter, we do not fight. We stay in the shelter of the sheds, while outside the rain prevents any advance, any defence. It rains four months of the year. All together. The rain soaks into the earth until it forms a meter of combined: impassable, unusable, a material without a periodic table. A material …

Bottle of nerves

Televisions were half a meter wide. Maybe I should say depth. It was because of the cathode ray tube: the bigger the screen, the bigger the back. Looking at the back of the TV was almost as interesting as looking at it from the front, except when Eliot Ness was on. The most interesting part …