In This Heat
By Viggo Mortensen and Fabián Casas - translated by Ollie and Zoe
18 December 2013
Are you all right, Cuervo? Can you stand the waiting? Your silence unsettles me; I think you are feeling very anxious. Is that so? Everything is all right, brother. We are going to the dance and the music will send us where we have to be. We already know the steps, champion. I found the Stegner book I told you about last week (Angle of Repose) and I will bring it to you on Sunday. I arrive at dawn and I´m going to Boedo to spend the whole day. Shall we meet in the San Antonio [pizzeria]?
I have a Cuervo friend here in Madrid, Fernando Bassi, who is a writer and film director. He says he vows to become an astronaut if we win on Sunday. He sent us a photograph in the white suit he would use, complete with CASLA´s emblem. A dedicated supporter, take a look:
© Fernando Bassi.
The photo of the astronaut is brilliant. Yes, I´m feeling half overwhelmed by things: the damned New Year´s Eve, the obligatory parties, the little Christmas trees that flicker on and off following the cardiac rhythm of Father Christmas. Since I was a boy, the holidays have had an impact on me. At first, I would experience them with great joy: the whole family would gather at my parents house, a humble and beautiful house with two huge inner patios perimetered by all kinds of plants (the great Lady of the Night!) and there we would dance (my parents danced tango,) eat and chat. Afterwards we would go out on Estados Unidos street, where we lived, and we would go around Boedo celebrating with friends of my parents and my friends. It was a great happiness. But suddenly something happened. One New Year´s Eve, I felt I had something in my throat that wouldn´t let me swallow. It wasn´t a bacteria or a virus; it actually was Kierkegaard´s angst, this damned anxiety that's kept us company since we came out of the sea and stepped on solid ground. It´s not anxiety at nothingness, but anxiety at the void. Like your astronaut friend, we revolve in the emptiness of the incompleteness and with us, our dear ones. I understood that everyone was going to vanish and I think that was what altered me. That´s what it is to be an adult. To understand that life is hell and there´s no possibility of a good ending. And once you understand that, when looking around you find pain and suffering everywhere, to understand that you have to work spiritually to overcome it. Then the social rituals, those small rituals like going to the stadium with my father, walking up Boedo, crossing over by Avenida Pavón and reaching the Viejo Gasómetro to see the CASLA of '74, champions of the Nacional [tournament] - it´s a bit like opposing the world of pain, building a story in the midst of universal impermanence.
That, in broad strokes, is my passion for the Cuervo: the smell of my old man´s perspiration in the wooden stands of the Gasómetro. The azulgrana colours against the blue sky, the voice of the announcer that would come out of the loudspeakers ... anyway ... call me on Sunday and we'll watch it wherever you want, OK?
Oh, brother! I think I understand you a little. Among my first memories, there's the one of waking up and thinking about death. I´ve done it all the mornings of my life that I can remember, even if it´s only for an instant before gearing up and getting into other things. I think we talked about that once in this column, where I was telling you that when I realised that animals and people died, I would wake up angry with death. I wasn´t afraid of death; I hated it. As a kid, it seemed unfair that the people I knew and loved had to die, and I couldn´t understand how my life could be taken from me. There were so many things to do, adventures to live, books to read, places to discover. I guess that my eagerness to travel and learn new things has something to do with that, the need to move, explore, to look for inspiration in the present to counteract the inexorable approach of the great shadow. I´ve always liked (for their useless bravura) the Spanish expressions "I shit on your dead ones!" and especially "I shit on my dead ones!" To sum it up, I sometimes say "I shit on all the dead!" That way nothing and no one is missing. It´s hard and disconcerting to see the ones we love suffer and disappear little by little. Like you, I´m going through that now. We know it´s part of life, that similar things happen to all human beings, but that doesn´t take the pain away, the feeling that physical/mental decay and death are absurd injustices. And other times, I feel it´s the most natural thing in the world, that there´s no need to worry, that the absurdity is actually feeling resentment toward death, which is like feeling resentment toward the sunset. I think it´s good to learn as a kid that animals die, that they suffer. So you realise early and in a natural way, without so much ceremony, candles, or convolution, that you are fragile and mortal. I hope that Leonardo Da Vinci was right when he equated death to the good sleep brought on by a well-spent day, saying that a life well spent brings a happy death. In any case, there´s no escaping it, my friend. I know you know that. And Pizzi knows it too. That´s why he doesn´t get worked up, that´s why he goes on, in spite of the blows he´s suffered, seemingly at ease. He knows there´s always another day, another match - until there isn't - and that this one will always be the most important.
Leonardo Da Vinci.
Kierkegaard also seemed to have accepted death rather well when he said that life was not something we had to solve or thoroughly understand, that we simply had to experience it. I think that´s what we do in these chats; we explore life a little, we live it and share it. I´m going to give you a big hug on Sunday.
I salute you from Marrakech.
© Viggo Mortensen.
As I did last year in mid-December when I was in Buenos Aires, I went with children yesterday to see the new Tolkien instalment by Peter Jackson in 3-D. The entertainment was good. We had a great time in the first row watching the second part of The Hobbit with our special glasses, and I stopped thinking about Sunday´s match for a good while. We were left half blind, but happy, after the almost three hours of visual assaults. It was lovely to see some of the New Zealand landscapes I knew, and some of the old shooting partners from Lord of the Rings. I think Jackson increasingly relies on shots mainly built on special effects, taking advantage of the latest advances in technology, but in many shots you can still see the natural beauty of the real woods, mountains and rivers of that beautiful country called Aotearoa (Land of the Long Cloud.) If you can go with your family someday, especially to the South Island, I´m sure you´ll love it as much as I did.
Now I´m leaving for the airport to catch the plane to Buenos Aires. It will be very early when I arrive, but I´ll call you at a decent hour to see how we´re going to watch the match against Vélez in the Fortín.
Wow, life is amazing, brother! I had an incredible surprise ten minutes ago. I'm waiting for the plane here in the Barajas airport in Madrid. The plane's delayed and they don't know when we'll leave. I hope they don't leave me stuck without being able to be in Boedo tomorrow. Well, the surprise was like this: I go outside for a minute after doing the check-in because I prefer to be in the open air as much as I can before flying, instead of inside the terminal full of people and noise.
It's a little cold, maybe 5 degrees, and the sun's going down. There's another person outside, one single person. I think, "That looks like Caniggia, but it can't be…" Since we just included him in the last entry of this column, I thought that was the reason I was reminded of him. But it was Caniggia. It was him! We said hello and spoke together for a good while. He let me take a photo of him with the flag that accompanied me on the Moroccan shoot. I hope that it brings us luck tomorrow.
© Viggo Mortensen.
We talked about Diego and what he did in Naples, about the National Team of the 1990 World Cup, about Messi and the team that Sabella is assembling for Brazil, and lots more things - also about the great goal that Caniggia made at Chilavert playing for River in 1987, tearing off to his side of the field. It was the last goal of the match that ended up 2-4 for the Gallinas against a good San Lorenzo [team] managed by Bambino Veira. Here I'm sending you a video with six goals from that match. However good Claudio's was, San Lorenzo's second one is the best goal of the match, a brutal kick by Giunta. Just watch:
Caniggia told me that, as a player, Maradona had more magic and ability than Messi to carry a team, that he carried it on his shoulders in an impressive way. I'm sure that it's true that only Maradona could have done the individual feats that he did with Naples, almost single-handedly beating the great clubs of northern Italy and all of Berlusconi's dough. At that moment in his life, you put Maradona in to play as 10 with the Sacachispas Soccer Club of Villa Soldati and he'd win the Libertadores for you immediately.
I met Maradona once on Susana Giménez' program. I think it was when I was promoting Cronenberg's A History of Violence for its Argentine premier at the beginning of 2006. Beto Acosta, our great striker, was also on the program. Maradona seemed to me to be a sensitive, open guy with a good sense of humor. The idea was that his arrival would be a surprise at the end of the broadcast, but someone got excited and told me a few hours before going to the station. I took with me in my pocket a CASLA t-shirt with "10" and gave it to him during the program. I told him that there was a gap in our lineup because of injuries (maybe it was Walter Montillo that was hurt, I don't remember now) and that the following day, since we were playing against River, maybe he would like to join us. The idol took it very well and Susana, who's a Cuervo, laughed too.
you can see the azulgrana t-shirt folded on ….
In the last minutes of the program, I took off my boots to give him the San Lorenzo socks I was wearing and I think I told him that he'd have to look for the shorts himself. He also accepted that gift with a lot of dignity and in an extremely generous spirit. If he thought that I was an idiotic Cuervo, he didn't say so. Afterwards he told me a couple of jokes about the Pope and the Vatican (not Bergoglio, the Cuervo Francis, but the German Ratzinger known as Benedict XVI). I had told him that I'd crossed paths with Pelé at a film festival and Diego revealed that he'd met the Pope and that "Ratzinger didn't know who Pelé was until a priest told him, 'He's the one who was on the Maradona program.' " And he continued on from there telling things like that. Maradona is an unpredictable guy, sharp, an artist. The talented film director Emir Kusturica tried to make a film about him, supposedly to capture his art and magic for posterity, but the thing didn't turn out well for the Serbian. I think that if you play with Maradona, you have to leave your ego aside and surrender to creative outbursts from him. Kusturica tried to play with him as equals, even showing how well he kicks the ball himself, and he looked like a jerk. The movie is insignificant. For me, the best movie about Maradona is Amadeus, directed by the Czechoslovakian Milos Forman. The genius who was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the work unquestionably above everything else that was being composed in his time, the manipulative and jealous people surrounding him, the self-destructive trait ... they are rather similar Amadeus and Pelusa.
Tom Hulce as Mozart in Forman's movie.
I prefer Messi for his efficiency from match to match, but it´s true that Maradona has been the Mozart of international soccer, the kid with the golden feet and the soul of a tormented poet. I´d love to see him succeed as a coach, but I don´t know if he´ll have the chance to manage a great team. I hope so.
CUERVO, WE ARE CHAMPIONS!!!
I woke up with my clothes on, my head wrapped in a flag with the image of Pope Francis, as if it was some sort of turban, and the TV full blast showing The Mummy with Boris Karloff, but we are still champions!
Yesterday was an unforgettable day. The only snag was that I lost the San Lorenzo Campeón flag (the one that was at the top of the Atlas mountains last week) during the celebration last night in San Juan and Boedo, and I think that amid the azulgrana craziness, someone gave me the one with the Pope to make it up to me. It doesn´t matter! I´m over the moon, brother! Today I too am becoming an astronaut. I don´t know where to begin … Torrico to the national team, by God...![tr. note: SL goalkeeper] And Mercier too. Kanemann, implacable warrior ... Pipi Romagnoli, you can´t ask for more from this great one, although I would have gone mad with joy if his surprising shot 30 meters from the goal had gone in. (Incidentally, great catch by Sosa.) Imagine if Pipi had given us the championship this way - totally epic. He played very well, and I didn´t like his leaving the match so early one bit, because he was ready to do something special. He´ll give us more gems next year in the Libertadores [Cup]. Piatti fought, but he lacked accuracy like several others yesterday. Luckily, thanks to their collective effort, the team was able to adapt in order to compensate, like they did during the whole tournament and someone always presented himself to pull the cart. Like you said, Torrico crushed it. He saved us in the last minutes just like he did in the match against Boca. Yesterday was an endless, tense and finally euphoric day. The best thing was that we spent it together, Cuervo.
© Viggo Mortensen.
© Viggo Mortensen.
Some sad things that do have to be mentioned: two La Lepra [tr.note: Newell's] supporters died last night, Walter Palacios and José Leonardo Boladian, and it seems that a little kid remains gravely injured. Some thugs from Central [tr. note Club Atlético Rosario Central] that were going by on a motorcycle shot at them. They were Newell's supporters from Buenos Aires who were returning to the capital after the match between their team and Lanús.
And Peter O'Toole, the magnificent actor, died. My mom took me to see David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia with O'Toole, Sharif, Julie Christie, etc when I was very little. In some way, it had to do with my mother's admiration for that actor that I then entered the same profession. I would loved to have known him, worked with him.
© Horizon Pictures.
Also sad - and shameful - were the comments that I just heard from Barros Schelotto, saying that Lanús was the best team of the tournament and not San Lorenzo. Pizzi never would have said something like that if Lanús had ended up champions. He would have congratulated them without excuses and insults. That's what makes our coach stand out, the humility and good head that he has. The Twin´s [tr. note: coach, Barros Schelotto] bitterness and jealousies are deplorable. El Granate had one good campaign, winning the Copa Sudamericana, but it's too bad that they don't have a more noble coach. Buffarini replied perfectly to The Twin the bad loser. "We came out the champions. If they had been the best, they would have raised the cup." What the old pain in the ass Roberto Perfumo said on "Speaking of Soccer," calling Pizzi a loser even after ending up as champion, was very shameful as well. We scored more points than the others, we were the best team of the tournament, period. It doesn't matter that we played the last two matches desperately badly. It doesn't matter that the referees delayed our crowning in those two matches with their lousy refereeing. The very clear penalty to Cavallaro that Lunati didn't whistle two weeks ago and Pitana not giving us a penalty, not even if they'd cut Gentiletti´s throat on the field yesterday - the refereeing thing in Argentina is scandalous. But we held on, damn it, and we are champions. The others are going to have to get used to it, because we've just begun with this team of kids and veterans. We're going to play La Libertadores and see what that brings.
Hello dear Cuervo, I´m thinking about Peter O´Toole. A very great actor. There´s a scene in Lawrence of Arabia that's remained in my mind forever. Lawrence loses one soldier from his caravan in the middle of a great crusade through the desert and he gets hold of a camel, and against all the advice the Arabs give him telling him it´s impossible to go looking for him and return alive, he goes anyway and comes back with the Arab safe on his camel. That´s having courage, guts, that sort of thing. Anyway, here the insane heat continues and the water and the lights are cut off , the streets are cut off by people protesting because the lights and the water are cut off, as if everything was a drawing by Escher that begins and ends and begins again right where it ends, like that, time and time again.
In the early hours of Monday morning, after the festivities, Guadalupe said to me, "It´s a good thing you ended up as champions; just think if you had lost in this heat." I remembered a friend whose wife suggested a separation, and he, in flip-flops, sitting at a table under the shadow of a tree, said to her, "In this heat?" I think you and I spent an unforgettable Sunday, a huge, long day like the feeling we have for our club. Do you remember that time between two and three in the afternoon that was never-ending and it seemed as if everything - the sun, the heat, the dust, the world, the noises in the street - had stopped and nothing was happening again for us to reach the so longed for recognition in Liniers. And later, already watching the match, those last two minutes we experienced holding each other, tearfully watching the TV while, once again, time came to a standstill. But there Torrico had already cleared that unavoidable goal and you knew that once again we would be champions. For me, it´s an infinite joy to meet with my neighborhood friends, two blocks from the house where I was born, to celebrate CASLA´s title. There weren´t any people from CASLA in Vélez stadium, but since we San Lorenzo supporters have Wifi in our minds, the encouragement got there just the same and we got another star. There´s a Bioy Casares novel called An Uneven Champion; this San Lorenzo had something of that. But they were the rightful champions. Because of Pizzi, because of the big goals by Piatti, Correa, Verón, Cauteruccio, because of the dynamics and the presence of mind we had to win River and Boca, because of the idea CASLA had of always keeping an eye on the opponent´s goal, no matter what. And the huge Pipi Romagnoli, already a legend for me. He played the Promoción [tr. note: a tournament] and this championship with the same eagerness, the same strength as usual. Just as in Richard Matheson´s novel, he could say, "I´m a Legend." A pity , of course, that amid the festivities, there are dead people, that the opponent´s supporters cannot just go and see their team, that soccer, a huge phenomenon in our country, is not a tool for social integration and, instead, is a tool for politicians to use cheap labor to preserve their private hunting grounds. The mafias organised by politicians and [soccer] executives and Barras [tr. note organised gangs with links to soccer clubs] who are killing off soccer and our whole society must be disarmed. On the other hand, it´s necessary to pay close attention to not confusing homeland and religion with soccer. Soccer is a beautiful game that deals in legitimate emotions, but homeland and religion make everything serious, and many times people end up killing each other in the name of these two things. None of that interests me. Shortly we will be playing a World Cup, but Argentina´s honor is not being played. Argentina´s honor is played by having a better country, egalitarian, helpful to everybody. I heard Tinelli on the radio who was travelling to Rome to give the cup to the Pope. And [he was] saying that God was in Torrico´s great save. Total crap. Me, I like Torrico without metaphysics. Pope Francis is proposing a poor Church. He should have told Tinelli, "This dough you're going to spend on plane trips and lodging, give it to the poor." Torrico saved that shot and Boca´s penalty because he is a fantastic goalkeeper, not because he is touched by some metaphysical entity.
Why would God interfere to change a soccer match and not to save a little boy who needs a transplant? I want a club with social responsibility, with less stained glass windows and more supportive roofs, a club that knows they have an immense power to change the reality of many kids. It´s necessary to work for that.
I´m returning to Madrid; I've already entered the northern hemisphere, flying over the lapis lazuli winter sea. Tinelli, Lammens, Cetto, Torrico and Bernie Romeo are already in Rome, waiting for their appointment with the Pope. I'm glad they can give the Cup as a birthday present to the supporter Bergoglio, and that he is kind enough to meet them. Appropriate high-profile gestures from both parties. I don´t need to go to Rome, or see the Cuervo Pope, as much as I like the city and the man. I was in Boedo on December 15, 2013 with you and thousands of other champions, supporters as committed to CASLA as they are to the Ciclón´s return to their neighbourhood. There´s no better, more luxurious gift.
© Viggo Mortensen.
I totally agree with you on what you say about Tinelli and his invocation of the Christians god to give more impact to his second trip to the Vatican, taking advantage of the club´s good moment and their link with the Cuervo Pope. Sure Francis will like seeing the Cup, but he is and will continue being a supporter with or without a special visit from the board. In any case, it´s worth remembering that not all members and supporters of San Lorenzo are Catholics or believers. In the club, as in the Lorenzo Massa Chapel of the Sports Complex, everyone is welcome. But it doesn't matter. Marcelo got excited as a supporter and as a businessman. He wants something great for San Lorenzo and he knows how to use the media. We all have our own way of expressing ourselves. What the board of our club should do if it wants to stand out in the long run, as I've been saying for a long time, is commit to cleaning up the CASLA barrabravas. [tr. note: gangs associated with soccer teams].
They can do it; they can set an example for other clubs. They can force the politicians to begin to do something. For the good of the club, that should be the board's most important task. Until they address this very serious problem, we can't truly feel different from the supporters of the Bosteros and the Gallinas, or the others that suffer from the scourge of these criminal groups supported or at least tolerated by the boards of our clubs. In the year with the most deaths linked to Argentine soccer in a decade, in spite of the sad ban on the visiting public, something has to be done. Enough already. The excuse that it's complicated, that it's difficult, no longer works. It was also complicated to turn around the disaster that the previous board and Mini-Mou Lombardi left us, but they managed it and now we're champions. I don't know if it suits Tinelli to set an example - unless he'd see the elimination of the barrabravas in CASLA as a relatively easy thing to bring to an end, a secure investment of his money, reputation and time. I think that Lammens would be capable of confronting such a challenge; we know that he has the intelligence and the balls to make a real difference. Let's see if the Cuervos get to work and clean our house of these fuckups once and for all. If we do it, the other clubs, the national president and regional politicians will see themselves as obligated, sooner or later, to follow our example. Pope Francis could also participate in that.
San Lorenzo barrabravas raising hell, people who ….
Now I'm returning home wearing the Pipi t-shirt and an indelible smile. I have a springtime of positive impressions sprouting in my head. Happiness is feeling inspired by everything, without judging. So that's how I'm flying tonight, while the other passengers snore.
© Viggo Mortensen.
I was still thinking about Pizzi, like Jack Kerouac was thinking about Dean Moriarty/Neal Cassady (I'm referring to the last paragraph and the last phrase of Kerouac's best known book, On the Road). Well, since that last paragraph is such a lovely example of the Beat style of the 50's, and since I have the novel in my suitcase, I'll quote it for you:
"So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars'll be out, and don't you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty."
In that paragraph, there's a mention of Iowa, a state in the USA that you know quite well, since you studied literature there. I remember that, I remember you. Also I remember Iowa, all of the Midwest. I've crossed the USA many times, by car and by train, by motorcycle and hitchhiking. I remember Iowa in the winter and summer, at night and in the daytime.
Kerouac listening to the radio.
I'm going back to Pizzi. There's a lot that I could say about him, but it's all summed up in the following: The most outstanding thing that's occurred in CASLA since Juan Antonio Pizzi took charge of the team is that Juan Antonio Pizzi took charge of the team. In the sports thing, and the state of mind thing, that's been much more important for CASLA than the election of Bergoglio as Pope or Lammens/Tinellis as the leadership of our club (although the board's support - that these gentlemen have known that the best thing was to let Pizzi do things his way - has been crucial to the well-being of the team and the club.) The humility and common sense of Pizzi and his technical crew can't be compared with what San Lorenzo had to bear until little more than a year ago. Pizzi changed everything and other clubs and other supporters don't see us like they did before.
Juan Antonio Pizzi, playing for Barça.
There will alway be those who are jealous or clueless, unable to see or accept the radical positive change that our manager has generated, emotionally damaged people, bitter guys and hellraisers like Schelotto or Caruso Lombardi, but any minimally rational person can see that Pizzi has understood better than anyone that if he didn't change course, CASLA was going to end up exactly where it was headed, into the shit. It wasn't easy to right the ship and explain to the crew what could be found beyond the horizon. Many supposed experts in Argentine soccer, including people connected with San Lorenzo, have underappreciated Pizzi. They've joked about his way of speaking, of calmly relating to his players, the media and the public. Now almost the whole world seems to agree that Pizzi is a good manager and an admirable person. The majority of journalists agree that he is an excellent example of professionalism. No wonder. Since Argentine soccer, institutionally and at a sports level, is in the shit, it´s nice to have a "healthy" person to praise a little. Only a little, of course. They seem to imply that there´s no need to overdo it; it's not necessary to attach much importance to this naive newcomer who, deep down, in spite of being crowned champion, remains, for them, a lucky cold fish. Reading the papers and listening to the dumb asses on TV these past days, I felt that "the experts" still think that they are somehow above what they consider Pizzi´s mediocrity and this San Lorenzo [team]. I don´t know if the previous situation (the one that existed until we became champions last Sunday) - in which almost all those makers of public opinion seemed to say that Pizzi and CASLA was foolishness and something you shouldn´t take seriously - or the one that exists now, the one with a smile and condescending words that insinuate "You are a nice kid, full of promise, but you were very lucky to end up with the championship." The truth is that CASLA managed by Pizzi has been a brilliant transition and thinking of how they criticized him, it's worth remembering the quote from Albert Einstein: "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
I haven't been able to sleep much on the plane; I'm still going a thousand miles an hour with images of our supporters in San Juan and Boedo and the happiness that being a Cuervo brings me. As well as re-reading part of the Kerouac book, I read your new book that you gave me before watching the game (The Supremacy of Tolstoy) and a little more of the transcriptions from the literature classes that Julio Cortázar gave at the University of California Berkeley in 1980. I love what you wrote; there's a lot to talk about when we're together again. You start out with a very interesting observation:
"In Argentina, a writer occupies no place; nobody cares what a poet or a novelist says, let alone a philosopher. This snub is a blessing; it's useful for writers to get on with their writing, keeping their mouths shut, thinking only about their work, be that an essay, a poem, a novel or a short story."
I suspect that that's the case for writers in all the countries of the world now, with the advances and distractions of communication by means of tablets, telephones and I don't know what other gadgets that threaten to suck up the time and brains of all human beings with increasing intensity. Maybe they'll keep giving importance to the writers in Iceland, a country that's still the one that produces the most authors, readers and published books in relationship to the size of the population. But apart from that Nordic aberration, human mental and emotional preoccupations exist increasingly in a virtual world, constantly seeking to move away from the here and now itself, at the same time that it claims to be more present than ever with the aid of these machines. The effort to read and write are bread and wine for me, a simple, direct activity that produces complicated, tangible, fragile, beautifully imperfect sensations that take me everywhere but that anchor me in the world, in real life.
In Cortázar´s book, there´s something he says to his students at the beginning of his cycle of literature classes, a sort of confession of what he learned during the two months he spent in Cuba in 1961, that made me think of what you say about writers, and the social commitment that they or other artists may or may not have:
"At that moment, due to a kind of sudden revelation - and the word is not exaggerated - I felt I was not only Argentine; I was Latin American, and this phenomenon of attempted liberation and conquering of a sovereign power which I had just witnessed was the catalyst. What was revealed and demonstrated to me was that not only was I a Latin American who was experiencing that up close but also that I was being shown an obligation, a duty. I realized that being a Latin American writer essentially meant you had to be a writer [who was] Latin American: you had to reverse the terms and the nature of [being] Latin American, with all that entailed in responsibility and duty and you had to put it in the literary work as well."
There weren't very many writers who related to the world in that way then, that wore their political convictions on their sleeves, no matter what their lineage, and who showed, above all, a sincere everyday concern for others. I think that there's even less of that among artists today. It's true that there are many who talk about having social convictions, who participate in charitable events and present themselves as great fighters against the injustices of the world, but the rather anonymous gesture of generosity - or at least the act of social conscience that isn't designed for the consumption (and approval) of the media and the larger public - seems less common now. Artists, like the rest of the people with some personal purchasing power, live in their own media bubble, in their Twitter world, with the heads of each one of them like complex but closed-circuit televisions, afraid to be alone, afraid to be alone if they're not accompanied. This book by Cortázar, the teacher, is as worth reading as those of Borges, the teacher.
Speaking of quotes, do you remember the Alejandra Pizarnik quote? While we were suffering through the interminable hours before the match in Liniers, we went walking along Palermo and entered the Libros del Pasaje bookstore and when we opened a book of Pizarnik poems, we found the phrase of hers that seemed to describe everything we were feeling in that moment - the uncertainty, not being able to know anything in spite of our ideas and hopes about the possible development of the match between Vélez and the Ciclón. We laughed; it relieved the anxiety for us. I'm putting it here, so that we don't forget what was essential in that moment that we shared:
"And above all to watch with innocence. As if nothing was happening, which is true."
Five Beauties! [tr. note: Bambino's ranking system for films he liked], as Bambi would say, although I don't understand completely now the link between our delirium and the writer's words. It doesn't matter; they are perfect phrases for yesterday and for today, for any moment or occasion.
Another gift I must thank you for, or should thank the musicians, is the CD you gave me on behalf of the Bestia Bebé guys. It´s very good.
I found an incredible photo the other day. It can´t be true that the guy has put the Return to Boedo t-shirt on; of course it´s a photo montage , but I very much like to imagine our world could be like this, since Ringo Starr always seemed the most interesting of the Beatles to me. With that image, I wish you and all the Cuervos….
I´ve arrived home in Madrid. We turned the TV on and almost the first thing we saw/heard is that Pizzi is leaving San Lorenzo to be Valencia´s coach. I can´t believe it. He´s not going to be our coach for the Libertadores [Cup]? Have you heard anything about this? Very worrying. If it´s true, it would disappoint me as much as the strategy of placing the team at the back for the defence in the second half of the match against Vélez last Sunday, or putting in Alan Ruiz as "9". That match turned out all right for us despite these weird decisions of Pizzi's, but if he leaves for another team now, I don´t know what to say. There´s no remedy or luck that compensates [for that.] I support him to the death as manager and human being, as you do, and I don´t want to lose him so soon. Pizzi is free, and has to do what´s best for him and his family, but CASLA needs him in order to consolidate what has been built with him. I´m in a state of shock.
I´ve been informed from CASLA´s headquarters in Avenida de Mayo that someone found the San Lorenzo Campeón flag, and they are going to return it to me. Cuervo supporters are so great!
Jack Kerouac´s evocation of Neal Cassady is so great. I had almost forgotten that magnificent ending of the book. And the Ringo Starr photo, although I imagine it´s been manipulated, is also very good. Today there was a feature on Pichi Mercier and I liked what he said very much. Piatti did the same thing yesterday, and I also saw Ortigoza, Romagnoli and Villalba speaking.
El Pichi Mercier taming Vélez.
I like CASLA´s players because they are low profile and they all stick by Pizzi, a great coach, as you say very well. I haven´t stopped enjoying the title and I´m already thinking about the Libertadores tournament that begins in February. Let´s hope we can keep the team together and give priority to the youth teams. Notice that we now have little kids who are champions and that adds a lot. Finally, as we said here, we finished this year of correspondence with a championship, something unthinkable when we started and were playing the demotion. I think that in this final part of On the Road, we can change Neal Cassady to Romagnoli, right? A true legend that we Cuervos think about to encourage and thrill us.
I completely agree. Pipi is a legend and still has feats to accomplish in 2014. And it seems that Pizzi is staying to coach CASLA in the Libertadores. Excellent news. Forward Ciclón!
Many of the Moroccans from the film crew for Loin des hommes, there in the Atlas mountains, were supporters of the Raja Athletic Club of Casablanca. They told me that they were going to win the Club World Cup and I thought they were crazy. When the shoot ended, they gave me a club flag signed by them, and told me "You'll see, you'll see" with the same faith that we Cuervos have in San Lorenzo. Today Raja eliminated the Mineiro Athletic Club of Brazil, Ronaldinho's team, 3-1. They played very well, providing a surprise once more in this international tournament. They had a little bit of luck because their second goal came from a penalty that never should have been called, but in the 90th minute, Mabide put in the third [goal] to do justice in a match controlled by the local [players] who had destroyed the players from Belo Horizonte with their speed and lethal counterattack. Now they're going to confront Pep Guardiola's Bayern München and that is to going to be a great challenge. Forward Raja!
© Viggo Mortensen/R.C.A..
Pizzi left. In the end, he decided to go to Valencia and not to stay for the Libertadores. It's a pity, but we wish him luck as coach at La Liga [tr. note: the Spanish League].
© Valencia C.F..
They must call Bernie Romeo immediately. He'd be a great coach for this San Lorenzo team that he knows better than anyone and which respects him. If the idea interests Bernie, that's it.
Or Bauza [tr.note: Bauza is the new coach]
Last edited: 30 April 2014 13:03:48