There's No Tomorrow
13 July 2015
I've just received the postcard with the metaphysical cave that you sent me from Denmark. What a strange painter, right? It made me really glad to receive it. Somehow my spirits go up like beer foam. Yesterday Julián woke up a lot during the night and I slept very little. Today I taught some classes and now I'm beat; tomorrow I teach again. Maybe I will watch the National Team against Paraguay tonight, but I won't promise because nobody from CASLA is playing. I love Pastore. I hope this time Tata [tr. note: Tata Martino, the coach] won't take him out. I miss you.
P.S. That nut Lisandro is location scouting in Brazil. He´s unstoppable.
Yes, our friend is very crazy. It seems that he's inventing another unsettling story, inspired by the ethnographer Max Schmidt, the German scientist who used to go wandering in the Amazon jungle at the beginning of the twentieth century. No doubt the result of these preliminary investigations by Lisandro could end up being another unique film.
Did you receive the order from our French friend so that you and I can write about Cruyff for the So Foot magazine? I'm going crazy right now, about to get on another plane, but it would be fun to talk again about that Dutch genius, as we've done before in this column. If you want, I'll start working on it, although I don't have much time to do it. If you can't, I won't do it either. I saw the first two Albiceleste matches. The first one against Paraguay they played like they were in a potrero game [tr. note: a system of amateur, unsupervised soccer used as "farm teams" in Argentina] without thinking much about the advantage that they already had. I liked that. You already know that I think that it's necessary to play and live like that, going all out. There's no tomorrow, friend. There's no tomorrow. I don't know if you finally saw that match, but the tie had the taste of defeat and Pelado Díaz, who had no idea what to do against Tata Martino's team (except playing at the back like a coward, from the big faint-hearted ones like Mourinho to the half invisible faint-hearted ones, of which there are many) doesn't deserve the attention that he got after the match. What does it matter if he celebrates that tie as if he'd won a World Cup? Let the Riojan mercenary enjoy it. That's fine with me. And the game against Uruguay was like the Chaco War or like running five kilometres with a huge hangover in full summer - brutal and ugly. I don't understand why they criticize Messi so much in his home country. He's a unique artist. Against the charrúas, he did everything in spite of being boxed in by three or four guys on top of him, and putting up with a thousand kicks and elbows. I admire the wizard from Rosario more all the time. There are Cuervos on the National Team: Lavezzi and Zabaleta. Currently they're not from CASLA, but they came out of our club to triumph in Europe. I hope they have a good tournament in Chile.
I just finished writing a new script about a North American family. It came out quickly, almost without thinking, a story that had to come out. It has something to do, emotionally, with my old man and my mom, although the characters are quite different from them. I'd been writing another script for a long time based on the Mari Sandoz novel that's called The Horsecatcher. I finished that script a couple of months ago, but since then a lot of things have occurred in my life, above all many deaths of people I'm close to. Suddenly a couple of images came to me, a mixture of events from my childhood and things that I've been dreaming about lately. I set out to write one scene and then another. I think that what came out of me works as a story, but I have to let it rest a little. Then I'll look at it again to see what it would need to be a road map for a film. I'd like to try to direct it.
P.S. I don't give a shit about flags, passports and borders. They are less important to me than yesterday, less than tomorrow. These things and the kingdoms and shirts and exclusive rituals are the fucking sick shit that's killing us little by little, more and more. I have flags, credit cards, slips of paper that say that I'm a Cuervo and a member of this or the other, passports, songs, and favorite poems. I value those things like antiquities, like personal memories. I appreciate them and understand them as talismans, substitutes, "tics," fragments of languages that I use to feel less close to death, less alone facing death. I´m going to free myself of some of these crushing symbols, those I can do without. I don't need cards or bits of paper to know I'm a Cuervo and I'm still alive. It's true that San Lorenzo is a beacon for me, as I believe it is for you, brother. An inextinguishable light that helps to illuminate the journey through the fucking night we carry inside ourselves. It has to do with our colours, our loves and tribal disappointments that we've inherited and made our own. We share a way of celebrating certain beauties and certain sufferings, a complex and mostly intangible aesthetic that gives us the necessary tools to cope with the series of big and small defeats that our bodies and our way of thinking suffer throughout this life. We share an endurance that has a voice and a name, a most stubborn feeling. I could never say that CASLA doesn't matter to me. After my mother, my son, my father and the next breath that allows me to go on, the Club San Lorenzo de Almagro is what matters most to me in this beautiful and terrible world. As you can see, I feel a bit down but quarrelsome this morning. Although there are things that irritate me, the truth is that I want to keep seeing new things, learning. I never tire of discovering and rediscovering the wonders of our planet, of finding unique landscapes, of admiring the strange behaviour of all the creatures around me. I appreciate the opportunity I have this morning to continue participating in the current ecosystem. I have to live.
By the way, I didn't tell you, but on Thursday last week, I had to take Libby, my mother´s dog, whom I got to know very well during the thirteen years she lived, to the vet to be put to sleep. She was very fucked up. She had a lot of health problems, a lot of pain, and it was a great effort for her just to get up. She could hardly eat. It was time to offer her relief. What happens - and this is the terrible thing about having to say goodbye to a horse, a female dog or any other beloved being - is that one knows it's an eternal relief, that there's no coming back.
Libby in 2010.
© Viggo Mortensen.
It's complicated, but I'm convinced I did the right thing, as I was some years ago when I had to do the same with beautiful Brigit, the one who looked so much like your Rita.
Brigit threatened by a neighbour's female dog in ….
© Viggo Mortensen.
Anyway, although I felt and feel that ending Libby´s suffering was the right thing to do, it shattered me to feel with my right hand, on the floor of the clinic, that her heart had stopped beating. There is no deeper hole, no silence more complete. This morning, as in so many lately, I woke up thinking that it's mysterious and extremely weird that I keep on breathing and thinking while family members and my friends are dying, while I keep being informed reading the newspapers and listening to the radio of the thousands and thousands of horrible deaths everywhere. Life is a drum that keeps beating. Being a small part of it is the most wonderful and absurd thing there is.
Libby and Grace in 2008.
© Viggo Mortensen.
I've just seen again, on this plane between Charlotte (USA) and Madrid, the documentary on "Citizenfour," the work of director Laura Poitras that tells how Edward Snowden, with the help of Glenn Greenwald the journalist from The Guardian, uncovered what the US government had been doing for a long time with the participation of other governments and many telecommunications companies to monitor everything we do, where we go, who we talk to, what we buy, how we move - practically everything that fills our time in this world. It is my view that Poitras and Snowden´s work is as important as the novel 1984 by George Orwell, or the efforts of the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. We want to know the truth; we are not afraid to know it! There's no motivation more human, more honorable.
Edward Snowden, the "citizenfour"
I´m sending you a quote from Snowden that refers to the obvious moral problem regarding massive spying of all the possible communications of North American citizens and from other countries:
Not all spying is bad. The biggest problem we face right now is the new technique of indiscriminate mass surveillance, where governments are seizing billions and billions and billions of innocents' communication every single day.
P.S. We know the four quarter final matchups for the Copa América; Brazil and Colombia moved on but just, but they are teams with a lot of potential. Argentina will be matched with Colombia, who's playing ugly and kicking a lot, like almost all the teams in the tournament, except Chile and Argentina. I think that the national team that's playing the best soccer is Chile. I imagine the host reaching the Final. If Argentina can stand two hard matches against Colombia and the winner of Brazil-Paraguay, a Trans-Andean final could take place. Brazil is playing as badly or worse than it did in last year´s World Cup. With and without Neymar. But, like Italy and Germany, it's historically a lucky team and maybe it will reach one of the semi-finals. And afterwards...who knows? I would like to see a semi-final between Brazil and Argentina, and a Chile-Argentina final. For its dramatic value. And if there's good soccer, all the better. It would also be interesting to see another showdown between Argentina and Paraguay. Neymar is a player with great talent who's been spoiled too much. He is a diver crybaby who harms his team, and who deserved to be sent off. The difference between him and La Pulga, who is also putting up with a lot of ugly attacks but keeps playing for the team without blinking, is gigantic. The Brazilian kid is a baby who doesn't know how to lose and who considers himself above the rest, and Messi is an adult and committed player who doesn't put his technical skills before dignified and supportive behaviour on the field.
Hello Viggo, this is a break in the day's hustle and bustle. Julián is behind me sleeping in his stroller. Anita went to some cousins' place and Guada is taking photographs for a fashion campaign. I didn't get anything from the So Foot people. I think Johan Cruyff is a huge ace. I remember that I always associate him with the first time I watched soccer in colour in my country. Playing for that 1974 Netherlands National Team that was a revolutionary team that somehow prefigured Messi's Barcelona. Something odd happened to me the other day; I almost went with the Argentina National Team. As you know, it's very hard for me to go along with the blind patriotism of my fellow citizens and the elitism surrounding the National Team. But I liked how the team played against Colombia and it seemed unfair to me that they didn't win that match. I liked seeing Pastore play, although he wasn't as brilliant as the last time, but his ungainly walk - so similar to Cruyff's - always holds the promise of miracles. Julián is no longer sleeping behind me; he´s restless and upset. I proceed. In my neighbourhood, there was a boy whose nickname was Chaplin who made the ball do what he wanted. He was good-looking, thin, an ace who didn´t allow the sometimes pressing circumstances of the match to pressure him when playing. He always had the right move, the precise word, as Flaubert would have it. I think that player from a potrero is like Borges' speculation about Keats' nightingale - the mold from which all future Pastores will come. If Messi and Kun are two guitar players from hell, Pastore is the bass player of the team, a discreet soccer genius. Julián is now crying. I have to stop. Hugs.
Jorge Luis Borges and John Keats
Many days have passed. With my two brothers, Charles and Walter, I've been preparing our mother's funeral. It was lovely. We sang a couple of songs and I read a poem I wrote at two in the morning the day of the funeral. When I see you next, I will read it to you. A few days before, I saw my dream of a Chile-Argentina final come true, and previously I saw the National Team playing very well when they tore apart Ramón Díaz's Paraguayan team in the semi-final. Since I was already sad about my mother, the horrible defeat of Argentina in the final neither killed me nor cured me. In my opinion, Tata was wrong about not getting Tévez to play in the second half (why did he bring him?), and those who criticize Messi are ignoramuses. Lionel Messi is a huge soccer player, a poet that once again played very well but again without the prize he wanted for his team. As much as they deserve it, great poems don´t need to be awarded with cups. Great poems are the prize. Poor Higuain. After missing that sure goal in the World Cup in Brazil, he couldn´t score the winning goal in the Copa Américana in Chile. This past year he missed by very little being a great hero in the history of Argentine soccer. Now the evil- tongued would like to finish off Napoli's forward; they are going to ask that he never plays for the National Team again. I´m sorry Pipita, life is unfair. You blew it forever. Even if you score many beautiful goals in your career and manage to win the 2018 World Cup on your own, they are never going to forget what happened in Santiago and in Río de Janeiro. You had glory at your feet, but luck was not with you.
Well, since the second half of the national tournament is about to begin, I guess I´ll get used to this defeat. San Lorenzo will help me to forget the 2015 Copa América, although I do like to see the National Team playing and it pains me when they lose. One must always remember, as Borges said, that "Defeat has a dignity that victory doesn't know."
P.S. And those I know and love keep dying. Now it was the turn of the exceptional Egyptian actor, Omar Sharif. About 12 years ago, I shot a film with him in Morocco and California. I had a very good time with him. He was a great fellow and a special friend. An intelligent man, elegant, creative, temperamental, with a great sense of humour, And a great raconteur. He usually didn't eat anything during the day, until eight in the evening; then he dined very well and would have several whiskeys. He made me laugh a lot with his fabulous stories. I'm going to miss you, maestro. Good-bye, dear friend.
Shooting of "Hidalgo"
When I was a child in Buenos Aires, my mother took me to see him in Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. She adored him. When we had the grand premiere of our movie Hidalgo on Hollywood Boulevard in 2004, the old leading man kissed the hand of my old lady. She blushed and almost fainted. My stepfather almost beat the shit out of him. It was an absurd scene but very lovely, there in front of the El Capitan cinema. As a companion to the gala, I had my horse TJ. We arrived at a trot on the red carpet.
With TJ, Zuleikha Robinson and Omar Sharif at the …
The great goalkeeper Iker Casillas is leaving Real Madrid. He´s going to Porto. I hope that things go well for him, that he has many years of sporting success, and that the Portuguese treat him well. This letter about Iker - very accurate in my opinion - appeared yesterday in the magazine Marca:
P.P.S. Now, the next day, I have not yet posted this instalment of Sobrevuelos. Partly because I've been very busy, with my two brothers, with the details related to my mother's absence and the current situation of my father's health, but also because I wanted to see San Lorenzo's match against Unión before putting an end to this chat.
Thinking that CASLA was playing an official match again after a long pause, I was expecting a somewhat inconsistent collective performance, certain errors caused by the lack of regularity. I was also expecting to see great eagerness to protect the team's top position in the national tournament in the best way possible: attacking, attacking and attacking. What I saw was a group of players in good physical shape, but, again, a rather conservative approach by Bauza. After the goal by Blanco at 39 minutes into the game, the team played to protect their minimal advantage, and, after Malcorra´s goal for Unión at 45 minutes, with a bit of stage fright. During the second half, Bauza played not to lose instead of attacking with all the available weapons to validate the obvious superiority of his team. A true champion doesn't do that. It is not the San Lorenzo tradition I respect most as a supporter, the one with an attractive game, ambitious, daring. With approaches that shackle the team instead of freeing them to build strong offensive play, it's quite unlikely that our coach will win this tournament. Patón got us the Libertadores, but there he almost always opted for non-offensive soccer. Ciclón had a lot of luck and defensive strength. And a goalkeeper and defensive midfielder. But if Torrico or Mercier, for example, make a mistake only once, the team is against the ropes and has difficulty winning, even against inferior teams. There's no margin; they don't try to crush the rival. Last night Torrico was wrong in his position for Malcorra´s free kick, and the opposing team was able to reach an undeserved tie. It's true that the foul that ended in Unión´s goal didn´t exist, but after this unexpected blow, there were 45 minutes left to score another goal! Instead of going all in, Bauza made the team recoil and decided to wait for a safe counterattack opportunity, as if he were playing against FC Barcelona. Absurd. Last year our club won the coveted Copa Libertadores with a rather careful game. Of course I loved to see San Lorenzo Champion of the Americas at last, but in that tournament as in the Clubs World Cup, Bauza´s petty approach bothered me. Now they have to give their best and restore the reputation of beautiful attacking soccer; they have to play each game to death. What is being proposed now bores me, and as a supporter, it angers me and makes me sad. The coach knows how to propose a more ambitious soccer. He's done it many times in his approaches, line-ups and replacements, but apparently he doesn't feel comfortable playing that way. That's what I saw last night and what I've been seeing since last year.
After the 1-1
I´m sending you a big hug and kisses for all your loved ones.
Hello brother. Yesterday was a dull day that seemed to infect the match, which was very bad, in the evening. A friend of mine who doesn´t belong to any club had come to see it and I told him he should become a member of CASLA, that we were first in the ranking, but he fell asleep watching the fiasco on TV. Now I think that Boca is playing and today the headlines in the newspapers were saying that San Lorenzo had left the top ranking and Boca could be alone at the top. Well, there's still time. Here it's raining. I spent the afternoon at my dad's with my two children - it's incredible what you have to do to go out with two children: milk, nappies, folding stroller, dummy, etc., etc. I'm listening to the Babasónicos and now Anita is combing a doll's hair by my side. Tomorrow back to the daily struggle. Schopenhauer had it right; he said that the most important thing for a person was to have a good disposition, that the rest would follow. He was right. Yesterday a postcard from you arrived, a reproduction of the Jauja Danish poster, which made me very happy. It seems incredible that the writing, filming and presentation of the movie is already something of the past. In August, a novel I wrote comes out; I´ll send it to you later. Kisses and hugs to all.
All right, Cuervo. I would love to read your new novel. I went to the cemetery to water the flowers that my son Henry and I planted around my mother's grave, and to remove the weeds that had appeared after the rain and the intense heat we've been having of late. As the poet from Murcia, Miguel Hernández, wrote, "Among the flowers, you went away. Among the flowers, I remain." It's strange but lovely to be there alone. The cousins, grandchildren and old friends who officially said goodbye to her a few days ago have gone. Henry has already left. I'm calm. There´s peace and there are flowers that grow little by little.
I finish with the poem by Borges that pays homage to Keats, and which includes the nightingale you mentioned. It can also be read, for the purpose of this column, as a tribute to the Argentina National Team and to Iker Casillas.
To John Keats (1795-1821)
From the beginning to his youthful death
A terrible beauty lay in wait for him
As proper fate for others bared its teeth
Or the reverse. It waited for you grim
In London's dawns, and in the casual pages
Of a dictionary of mythology,
In ordinary presents of the day,
And in a face, a voice, the mortally
Born lips of Fanny Brawne. O intuitive,
Enraptured Keats, whom time has now made blind,
The lofty nightingale and the Greek urn
Are your eternity, O fugitive.
You were a fire. In the frenzy of memory
You are not ash today. You are the glory.
- Jorge Luis Borges
From the book Six Masters of the English Sonnet. Translation by Willis Barnstone.
P.S. I saw Iker Casillas' farewell press conference. The goalkeeper was alone in a small room, a press room in Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, in front of journalists and photographers. That was a rather sad seven minutes or so, but the legendary captain spoke with dignity and left with his head held high. Florentino Pérez didn't deserve to be present, and I'm glad that neither he nor any other Real Madrid representatives have been present for Iker´s public farewell. He probably asked that it be like this. He asked to face one more bad moment alone, the last of the bad moments this player and special man has been put through. Enough of this nonsense. I support Real Madrid as I support CASLA, but I can't stand the current cowardly and manipulative Board of Directors of the greatest club in Europe. I had never followed the Portuguese League with much attention - except for some clubs every now and then, if they had a Cuervo in their ranks (I´m not saying ex-Cuervo because if they played for San Lorenzo, they will always be Cuervos, no matter how many other teams they have in their CV) or if they played in the final rounds of the Champions [League], but now I'm going to follow all the Porto matches, wishing the best to this team and their new goalkeeper.
Last edited: 20 August 2015 08:45:46