A Shadow In The Mirror

Source: Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro

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Viggo:

Hello Fabián,
I hope you are well these first days of 2013. I´m with my parents in the northeast of the USA, all of us glued to the fireplace because this morning it´s very cold outside, about -20 Centigrade. From the kitchen window, looking towards the north at the Saint Laurent river (San Lorenzo) [tr. note: in the original] that marks the border with Canada, you can see the bay is beginning to freeze. If temperatures continue like this during the week, the river could be covered with ice to the other side, a kilometre and a half away. Right now you can´t see the Canadian bank because of the fog. Beautiful colours, right?

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© Viggo Mortensen.
 
I go on reading things about CASLA, as always. It looks like the team is coming together nicely for the next tournament, and like the general interest in our club is increasing. Look at this which I read on the Mundoazulgrana page - a very interesting interview with a Canadian anthropologist who came to study the cultural soccer phenomenon in Argentina and became a Cuervo:

http://mundoazulgrana.com.ar/san-lorenzo/noticias/san_lorenzo_es_distinto_por_su_historia-12181.html

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© Mundo Azulgrana.
 
That a North American scientist goes to Buenos Aires, ends up as a CASLA member, and speaks with such clarity and intelligence about the latest in the club and their supporters is appreciated. That´s great. It´s obvious that this Canadian has "gotten acculturated" well and quickly in Buenos Aires, and has made the most of his luck at being a Cuervo to learn a bunch of things. Matt Hawkins´evidence is one more proof of the world-wide range of our club´s values and the red and blue contagion. I don't know what part of Canada Matt comes from, or his preferences when it comes to professional hockey, but from what he says about the subject in his interview, I'm sensing that he is not a supporter of the Montreal Canadiens like I am. I became a Habs fan at age 11 when I came to this part of the world from Argentina. There weren't people that spoke Spanish around here at that time and you couldn't watch our soccer. The Internet and satellite television channels to be able to follow San Lorenzo and the first division games didn't exist either. When I began to see on local TV (transmitted from the other side of the Saint Laurent river) how the French-Canadian Montreal fans were - as passionate as the Cuervo supporters and wearing the same colors - I joined up and began to educate myself about ice hockey.

Colours of the Canadiens
Colours of the Canadiens.
© Montreal Canadiens.
 
Hockey is a nice sport, similar to soccer in its tactics but much faster and more violent than soccer. What Matt says is true; Canadian fans in general are quite tame compared to South American soccer supporters. But the Canadiens fans are a separate case, very passionate - in part, due to the French base of the population of the province of Quebec, the Montreal fans bring with them the heritage of a certain Latin spirit. When I began to notice them, at the beginning of the 70s, that legendary club was building a new glorious era, with great players who were going to win many cups. To me, it was like a continuation of what I had last experienced in Argentina (and was deprived of when my mother moved my brothers and me to the north) with the Matadores. Back then, the Canadiens, like the San Lorenzo of Lobo Fischer and his companions, had a lot of talent and guts. The Canadien I liked best was Guy Lafleur, "Le Demon blond" [tr. note: The Blond Demon]. There are very few players in that sport who have brought as much elegance, speed and art as Lafleur. Among them, among those who stand out are Wayne Gretzky, Maurice "The Rocket" Richard, Bobby Orr, Jean Beliveau, Yvan Cournoyer, Mario Lemieux, Mike Gartner, Darryl Sittler, Sergei Fedorov and, among the current players, Sidney Crosby. Like Bambino Veira, Lafleur liked to go out partying, but he also practiced non-stop. He always was a phenomenon in the games - never let up - and was a good teammate. Quite likely he should have used a helmet when the rest of the players in the league were beginning to do so but luckily he doesn't seem to have suffered any brain damage because of the many blows he suffered during his career. I met him on the occasion of the Canadiens centennial, on December 4, 2009, when they let me introduce him to the thousands of fans who had filled the stadium that night to see the club legends reunited. It was an honor to be able to give him my hand and to get to know a little of North American hockey's "Eternal 10." On the ice, his look and style seemed to me to be a mixture of "Gringo" Scotta and "Loco" Doval. He was strong and fast; his presence dominated the games in a very natural way.

The blond demon
The blond demon.
© Unknown.
 
Let's see if the anthropologist isn't a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Ottawa Senators, or some other "anglo" team with fans a little less demonstrative than those of Montreal. Of course, I apologize, Cuervo brother if you are a genuine "Hab" as well.

As always, I'm also following what's happening with Real Madrid. Mourinho's behavior is becoming more despicable and harmful all the time. He's a man who seems to have serious emotional problems. It's so sad. I'm not going to say any more about him now, because if I begin, I won't stop. The only thing I'm going to say about the next Madrid match is that I hope that the great goalkeeper Casillas is playing.

Iker Casillas, captain of Real Madrid
Iker Casillas, captain of Real Madrid.
© Unknown.
 
By the way, this [piece] about Casillas just appeared on the ESPN Sports page:

http://espndeportes.espn.go.com/news/story?id=1693354&s=fut&type=story


Fabián:

Hi, Viggo: You make me die laughing when you lose it about Mourinho. It's true: the guy is a bit like Batman's enemy. Sometimes he seems like a fictional bad guy. One tends to think that Guardiola is good because his teams are always on the offence and brilliant, but maybe that's only a naive thought that one tries to believe - that the way someone plays is [the way] he is. I haven´t forgotten that the natural born attacking coach in our country, César Luís Menotti, was the coach who managed our national team in the sad 1978 World Cup, when the dictatorship was killing everybody and soccer was undoubtedly used by the state apparatus to hide what was going on.

Menotti and Videla in 1978
Menotti and Videla in 1978.
© Unknown.
 
On the other hand, the colours of the red and blue sky that you show in the photo are beautiful...I can only imagine how cold it must be up there. Here, I'm finishing an essay about Batman for a book that the publishing house Alpha Decay is going to publish in Spain. I´m attaching the cover of one of the Batmans I had when I still couldn´t read and which I'd spend hours looking at and speculating about what the balloon of text coming out of the bat´s mouth could be saying. What´s incredible is that after forty years I could find that magazine I had when I was a child (Editorial Novaro edition 2/10/66) and I finally could read what the little balloon said: "Oh, Robin! Incognito discovered our secret identity! Look!" Can you imagine that when I finally ran across the magazine in a kiosk in Parque Rivadavia, I got goose bumps and, as happens to Proust with the half moon, on feeling the smell of the paper and seeing the colors of the comic, the whole of Boedo and my childhood were set in motion and appeared in my heart and in my mind, filling my eyes with tears. The article about the anthropologist is extraordinary. It reminded me of an Englishman I knew in London to whom I passed along my azulgrana passion. I was saying to him that San Lorenzo wasn't a "mainstream" team, that it was a great lateral. And he said to me: "Boca - Rolling Stones, River - the Beatles, San Lorenzo...The Kinks?" That seemed brilliant to me! Right? Kisses to your parents, friend.

P.S. I was watching 2001: A Space Odyssey by Kubrick. I'd seen it already when I was a kid, but tonight I bought it and saw it again. It's a masterpiece!

Arthur C. Clarke's novel
Arthur C. Clarke's novel.
© Unknown.
 
Viggo:

Hi, Cuervo,
I couldn't open the image of the Batman cover from 1966 that you sent but I remember the comics of that era very well. If you want, send it again; I'd love to see it. I liked Batman and Superman, but the comics that interested me the most were the ones about "Korak, son of Tarzan," "Green Lantern," any issue of the "Treasury of Classic Tales" series (also from Novaro Publishing, like your "Batman") or "Patoruzu." This is one of the "Classic Tales" from my childhood:

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© Editorial Novaro.
 
One day when I was about 6 years old, I read my first comic without help. I was in sick in bed one stormy Buenos Aires afternoon. There alone, while the rain ticked against the window, I browsed my little treasure, admiring the drawings thoroughly, when suddenly I realized that I understood, more or less, what those "little balloons" were saying. I went back to the first page and began to read. It took a tremendous amount of effort and I don't know how much time - an hour or more, I suppose - but I read and understood the whole comic. When I got to the end, I was surprised and proud. And then I got angry because I knew that it wasn't the end of the story. It never is the end with comics. Like the story of this world; things never end. That comic was a copy of Batman from 1964 in which "The Green Lantern" appeared. I was impressed by the "Green Lantern's" ring of power and that the Guardians of the Universe had given it to him because he was so brave and beat the bad guys. Although I liked Superman (like Spiderman) because of the red and blue color of his superhero suit, "Green Lantern" had something special. Really there are a lot of characters that have had the name "Green Lantern" (I think there are like 4,000), but the one I knew then was 'Hal Jordan', a really temperamental guy. Sometimes he went crazy, like a Viking "Berserker", and no one could [withstand] his fury. I think the copy that I read that rainy afternoon was this one:

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© Editorial Novaro.
 
Getting back to what you said about comparing Mourinho with Guardiola - I agree. I don't think Pep is any kind of saint, but I like the way he organizes his teams, his way of playing soccer. He's a born bullfighter, and with Mourinho he made great faenas [tr. note: final passes at the bull in bullfighting], almost always leaving him on his knees, with his rage spent and spitting blood when the two greatest Spanish teams faced each other. The tormented Portuguese will never forget the 5-0 defeat in the first 'clasico' between those two coaches.

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© Unknown.
 
Guardiola almost never lost strategic control and psychological superiority over Mourinho. The "Special One" won the Spanish league last year for the "merengues" [tr. note: Real Madrid] in spite of his Machiavellian maneuvers, but Guardiola's Barcelona will be remembered as the best team in the world - and the best-coached - between 2009 and 2012. And I say this as a Real Madrid supporter. You have to say things as they are. I dedicate this translation of a thirteenth century Japanese poem to Mourinho's sorrows:

Es este mundo
lo mismo que una sombra en el espejo,
que no está donde está
ni ahí deja de estar.

(by Minamoto no Sanetomo, 1192-1219)

This world
is like a reflection in a mirror
it isn't really there
but it also isn't not there.

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© Unknown.
 
Fabián:

Viggo: last night there was another of those lethal storms that summer vomits out over Buenos Aires more and more often. Those rains that sounded like old records in the background, where one could read comic books and ponder without being alarmed, no longer exist. Those rains - which Borges used to say happened in the past - are gone. We're subject to a more tropical climate now. And the streets are full of trash; I think we're approaching the future that Philip K. Dick foresaw in Blade Runner. 'Hal Jordan' was also the name of the "Green Lantern" who came to Earth in the comics from Editorial Novaro that I read. The whole construction of the Guardians of the Universe fascinated me - did you see that they were from all the constellations, with monstrous faces?

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© Unknown.
 
Well, my daughter, to her mother's horror, spends her time singing, "San Lorenzo is a feeling/ it cannot be explained/ you carry it deep inside..." When you see her, you're not going to believe it. One of these days I'll make you a video and send it to you. That [interview] with the Canadian anthropologist still moves me every time I read it. And that's how it is, I don't know how anyone can be for a club that's not CASLA when they come to our country. A big hug!

Viggo:

Yes, Fabián! The next time your daughter starts singing, just record it. I'd like to see it - and it will be a lovely memento for you and Guadalupe (and for your little Cuerva) in a few years. Does she still climb up on the railings of your patio as if they were paravalanchas [tr. note: railings found in the standing-only sections of soccer stadiums] when she sings? I'm sure that you, who are such a good Daddy, have already advised the little kid that she should start saving up to buy her square meter of Boedo, right? Please give her a kiss - and another to her mother, who has to put up with this incipient azulgrana madness.

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© Unknown.
 
What you say about the Guardians of the Universe is true; they've come to have pretty ugly faces, but in the beginning, they were more like big-headed dwarves. Dangerous and super powerful, but they resembled the Wizard of Oz - disturbing little grandfathers. The intergalactic beings that the Guardians chose for the Green Lantern police team did have (some of them) terrible appearances. Others looked like a handsome manipulator like Mauricio Macri or Mitt Romney, guys with a suave exterior and the nice appearance of the decent (but severe) father from the North American TV in the 50s or 60s.

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© Unknown.
 
Fabián:

Viggo, under a lethal heat I went with my family for a walk. We took Rita for a run in the Palermo parks and Anita to the merry-go-round. In a restaurant where we stopped, I forgot my cell phone and they nicked it. I was never that interested in cell phones; it belongs to the company where I work and I accepted it when Guadalupe got pregnant. The thing is that when I got back home, I called the cell phone company to have it deactivated and - before the operator attended me - I got chained to a recorded message where a TV comedian was saying over and over "Claro is unlimited. Now we can call everybody unlimited; I play the sax in an unlimited way; being unlimited is the best thing in the world; when one is unlimited one sends unlimited mails and messages." Incredible. Suddenly I felt I had encountered an unknown culture where everybody was hopelessly crazy. What happens to people who can be turned on by the cell phone companies' dystopia that promises you an unlimited world? What the fuck do we want an unlimited world for? In any case that repetition of the word unlimited made me think of a great poem by Nicanor Parra -"El hombre imaginario" [The Imaginary Man]. Luckily, poetry always saves the day. You, who know how to look for things on the Internet and paste them (I´m still in the Stone Age), if you can find it, paste it here below for all the Cuervos.

Viggo:

All right, Fabián. I´ll post that prominent poem by Parra with pleasure. They are beautiful words, with a very sad foundation which is hardly mentioned: the woman towards the end of the poem. What´s most moving to me is that Parra wrote that the love of the woman was imaginary, like everything else. Terrible. There are wounds that never heal, never close. It goes very well with the poem by the Japanese Minamoto no Sanemoto.

I´m sorry you have lost your cell phone. Better to have it deactivated, as it seems you have done. Before creating the publishing house Perceval Press in 2002, I knew nothing about computers and didn´t have a cell phone. I had to learn to use those things, especially the laptop, that helps me with the work of publishing, writing and informing myself. And with watching San Lorenzo playing from anywhere in the world! I´m still buying newspapers and books, but it´s true that the Internet can also help you a lot to understand and remember. But you have to be careful, because technology is like ivy or a poisonous creature of the "Alien" kind that can suck more time out of you than it can save you, that can suffocate you if you get too hooked. I think that one day I´ll stop using the laptop. Before dying, I hope. I think it´s lovely to imagine the two kids we were, each one alone with his comic, smelling the printed paper, trying to understand a story and images which in that moment were the most important thing - maybe the only thing - that existed for them.

To you and to any Cuerva or Cuervo who is reading us, here is a recording of the great Chilean poet's words, read by himself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10NobVKg7fo

For those who don´t want to or can't look for the poem in that link from Youtube -or who want to read it instead of listening to it - here is the text:

The imaginary man
lives in an imaginary mansion
surrounded by imaginary trees
on the bank of an imaginary river

From the imaginary walls
hang imaginary ancient paintings
representing imaginary deeds
irreparable imaginary cracks
that represent imaginary events
that took place in imaginary worlds
in imaginary times and places

Every afternoon imaginary afternoon
he climbs the imaginary stairs
and leans out of the imaginary balcony
to look at the imaginary landscape
which consists of an imaginary valley
surrounded by imaginary hills

Imaginary shadows
are coming down the imaginary road
singing imaginary songs
to the death of the imaginary sun

And in the imaginary moon nights
he dreams of an imaginary woman
who offered him her imaginary love
he feels again that same pain
that same imaginary pleasure
and the heart
of the imaginary man beats again.

- Nicanor Parra

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© Editorial Novaro.
 
P.S. Thanks, I could open the document you just forwarded and could see the image of your precious 1966 comic. Very good!
Last edited: 30 July 2013 20:34:16
© Viggo Mortensen and Fabian Casas.