Saturday, 26 December 2015

La chica de Los Planetas

by Holden Centeno

So what should a guy do if a girl stops responding his calls (emails, tweets, whatsapps, whatevers)? There are a few options, some of them less annoying than others. For example, he can try to get over her. Holden Centeno (taking his nom de plume, or, rather, nom de Twitter after the protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye) decided to create a blog dedicated to his failed relationship epic love as a big letter to his ex... and monetise it. Am I alone in finding this somewhat creepy? I say, the chances of her coming back to him after this must be slim to none. Unless there never was such a girl as la chica de Los Planetas in the first place. In which case, he still can get lucky.

I borrowed this book from the library since I read the opening passage of the very first story, El profesor que pudo ser una guitarra, and got hooked:

Un año en la universidad, en una asignatura, me tocó con el profesor más hijo de puta que había en toda la facultad. Lo juro. Cada vez que otros compañeros me preguntaban cuál era mi profesor, me decían: «Olvídate de aprobar con esa cabronazo. Es lo más parecido a Satanás, aquí, en la tierra.»
The first two parts of the book, Vida y encuentros and Muerte y eternidad, are quite short and consist of five stories each. Because of their randomness and self-sufficiency, I found these stories greatly superior to those from the last part, La chica de Los Planetas proper. Can’t say why, but I expected more from the main dish. Or, rather, less, for a good short story writer should know when to stop. The best story of this lot is Madrid—Cariño, thanks to the absence of the very chica.

I have a theory that most human males go through the Holden Caulfield phase during their ontogenesis. Some, however, do stuck there for quite a bit.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Fuerteventura

by Russian Red

RR’s second album is very different from I love your glasses but every bit as charming. A touch of country here, a dash of gypsy swing there, a mystery of song names — why, for example, Tarantino? Or Nick Drake? And what the title track has to do with my favourite island? And why should I care?

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution

a film by Jean-Luc Godard

After a year and a half living here, we just started to discover various free events and activities in Las Palmas. On Friday, we went for a free bus excursion organised by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria to watch a (not quite yet) winter solstice sunrise and visit a cave village called Acusa Seca. And on Saturday, there was a free open-air movie night. Godard’s Alphaville was closing Futuro, a cycle of sci-fi films screened at Palacete Rodríguez Quegles.

Sunrise at Acusa Seca, 18 December 2015. More photos of Acusa Seca @ Shutterstock.

Now I can think of a few pastimes more satisfying than watching a 50-year-old black and white French film noir. In French. With Spanish subtitles. Outdoors. None of them would be as cool though. (In fact, it was positively chilly last night. Next time we have to bring a blanket.) I mean, Lemmy Caution, aka secret agent 003, aka Ivan Johnson, a journalist for Figaro-Pravda — can it get Frenchier than that? Not exactly a comedy but full of deadpan humour (the car chase scene is priceless). Of course, Lemmy, played by Eddie Constantine, is nobody else than an early cinematic incarnation of Lazlo Woodbine, so expect a lot of gratuitous sex and violence, now and then unashamedly accompanied by “dun dun dun”. A great cast featuring Anna Karina and Akim Tamiroff; names like Leonard Nosferatu, Prof. Heckell and Prof. Jeckell; and fireworks into the bargain — well that was not a part of the original movie but that’s what you can get when watching in the open air. Marvellous.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Song of the Sea

a film by Tomm Moore

Once again, brought to us by Timur: a strange, not-quite-coherent story, beautifully, almost entirely hand-drawn animated. IMDb’s Parents Guide states that the “climax can be intense for some”. Which turned out to be true. Timur noted that, in spite of all the sadness, it still left more people happy, unlike The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, where nobody was happy in the end.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Cascadia

a film by GoPro

Looks like, at long last, scorchio made its way into Spanish language: ¡Buenos días desde Radio El Scorchio!

In this great new commercial for GoPro’ HERO4 camera, Scottish cyclist Danny MacAskill takes you for a crazy and colourful ride — guess where — across the roofs of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. And when I say “crazy”, I mean it. Don’t try this at home; don’t attempt this outside home either.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Buika Sinfónico in Las Palmas

If you know anything at all about me, you’ll know that spending a Sunday evening listening to symphonic orchestra is not my idea of a good time. In my early days, the (otherwise joyous) burials of the Politburo members were invariably but puzzlingly accompanied by sombre classical music on the radio and Swan Lake on the telly. But what a man won’t do for the love of Buika? Surely enduring a bit of orchestral noise is a reasonable price for a sheer pleasure to see and hear her live.

This was the first time we went to the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus. I mean inside. It is a beautiful venue, however I wasn’t much impressed by its acoustics. At least from where we were sitting. On this occasion, Buika was supported by Orquesta Sinfónica de Las Palmas conducted by Toni Cuenca, Iván “Melón” Lewis on piano and Ramón Porrina on cajón. It’s a shame that during the first two songs, Mi niña Lola and Nostalgias, Buika’s voice was practically drowned by the orchestra. It got better later though. Either my ear got used to it, or, what’s more plausible, the sound engineer finally found the voice fader. Not that the orchestra was bad; rather the opposite (and you hear that from someone who firmly associates symphonic music with Soviet-style humourless pomposity). I really enjoyed the orchestral work in Throw It Away. But the true magic happened on two or three occasions when, as if to illustrate that, after all, this orchestral grandeur was totally superluous, maestro Cuenca put down his baton and picked up the double bass. Frankly, I did not expect him to be that funky! Concha Buika accompanied by piano trio; just piano; just cajón; cajón and bass; Buika singing and dancing on her own, pure passion and joy. Encores included Que Nadie Sepa Me Sufrir and Siboney. Ahhh... Wish you were there.