Lost & Found

AOG, Madrid

(Thursday, January 13, 2011)

This is the first post of January.

I’ve been thinking about it for a long while but, frankly, I have been busy with “stuff” and I figured I just had to get the blog started somehow so as not to do what I did last year which was to leave it alone for months on end.

So here goes.

So, what do I have to say for myself on this fine morning?

Well, if I may recap the past 13 days, the year ended in a more boring way than 2009 and at the end of it all, over the holiday season I realized I’d found some things, and lost some others. Some, if you like, I found for a second time, since they had been, if not lost, then certainly misplaced, long ago. To celebrate the end of 2010, my partner and I went to the same Bar in Soho we did last year, with two friends of ours who also met with us on that occasion. Unfortunately, this time around the premises were was a bore-fest of almost epic proportions. Why?

Perhaps the economic climate had something to do with it. I don’t know. But we were all a bit disappointed by the events. Something got lost in the past 364 days inside that place. The culmination of the night last year had been the broadcasting on television of the events down by the Thames -Big Ben, fireworks-, as well as the broadcasting of the celebrations around the rest of the planet up to that point. But this year, the bar in question decided to keep the TV off throughout.

We all thought they would turn it on closer to the hour of midnight. But nothing.

At midnight, all they did was play the Big Ben recording and some music. Anticlimax does not even begin to cover it. We felt like we’d been cheated somehow. I don’t think we’ll be going there again next year. Eventually we went home around 2:30 AM, and, on the first of January 2011 we went to the movies.

I have to say that the only other time I remember going to the movies on January 1st, was back in 1980. And it was nice to remember this.

A memory I got back, and for which I am grateful.

We -my family and I- were living in Mexico City at the time, and I still remember that night.

My mother, my sister and I left home in the evening; it was cold and dark outside, and we took a cab to the movie theater at the Plaza Universidad shopping center.

I remember this because we always went there, the first shopping experience of my life.

The first time I saw that famous Farrah Fawcett poster I was there. And my first Levi’s and Lee ads, those with the feet and the sand, I was there. It was there where I saw my first ever copy of my favorite late childhood/early teenagehood magazine: Vampirella. But back to films.

The movie in question?

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

It was a movie I could not wait to see.

The next installment of the Spielberg saga, Return of the Jedi, we would watch in Houston, Texas, roughly three years later.

I remember thinking how exciting it was that the movie theater would be open on such a day, and of how grown up I felt for leaving home on a public holiday. And I was over the moon that this movie was out. I think the Star Wars saga is one of the first, if not the first, movie I was anxious to see as a child. There was something about them that mesmerized me back then. I don’t know quite what it was, perhaps an early form of infantile escapism? I don’t know for sure. But I do know that something went on in my psyche back then which, to a large degree, is still with me now.

Childhood was slowly coming to an end, and a new and exciting period of my life was beginning. But, of course, at the time, I knew nothing of this.We never do, do we?

Fast Forward to 2011. My partner and I also decided on a Sci-Fi saga, but of a different caliber: Tron Legacy.

I have to say, the movie is visually spectacular., much like the original was at the time, yes. But the plot is a bit of a turnip, and I can’t really say what the movie is about.

But, of course, the Special FX are amazing and you can watch the movie and listen to the soundtrack on your iPod and not worry about missing the plot. The other movie we watched over the holidays was the Spanish animated film Chico & Rita.

It was drawn by Javier Mariscal, one of Spain’s top designers (and responsible for Barcelona’s 1992 Olympic logo) and directed by the Spanish Oscar winning director, Fernando Trueba.
We watched it in Spanish and my personal anecdote of the film is that, whilst listening to the dialogues, I thought to myself that they reminded me of the speech that some of the characters have in Pedro Juan Gutiérrez’s novels, such as the King of Havana or Dirty Havana Trilogy.
Imagine my surprise when the movie credits roll and I read his name as the speech consultant on the dialogues!

I must admit that Gutiérrez was one of my favorite authors of 2010 and I read both aforementioned novels this past year thanks to a work colleague who introduced him to me. I was able to distinguish his literary speech style in a film and I was very happy with myself that afternoon and for a few days afterwards. Certainly, watching the film has made me want to revisit Havana 10 years on. Perhaps the only sad point of these past few days was the fact that I left one book on the plane. Something I’ve never done before. It was a short book on the life and times of Emperor Augustus Caesar. I had only just begun to read it, having bought it two weeks before, and was hoping to finish it in a couple of days. Yesterday I went to the place where I bought it, a second-hand book store on Santa Catalina’s Square, but they didn’t have another copy. I am thinking about contacting the airport to see if it was turned in by the stewards on the plane. One never knows.


Originally published at www.spanishamericanenglish.blogspot.com.es on January 13, 2011.

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