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Home Culture Javier Gallego ‘Crudo’ portrays a generation between drugs and the commitment of 15-M | Culture

Javier Gallego ‘Crudo’ portrays a generation between drugs and the commitment of 15-M | Culture

by News Room
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Read the new novel by Javier Gallego (Madrid, 49 years old), alias Raw, it’s like being drugged. A group of friends, who are dangerously ceasing to be young, go through a long weekend, a string of Madrid nights and mornings, parties, loves, tensions and hangovers, in a time that is becoming distant: the weekend. in which the 15-M citizen protest movement ignited in May 2011. A few weeks ago the tenth anniversary of the founding of Podemos was celebrated (that is to say): this is still further away.

A frenetic journey of drugs, music and gambling dens, of uncontrolled breath. The author says that one of the first people who read his novel described the book as a mixture of History’s part The crown by Jose Ángel Mañas and The Jarama by Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio (there is a recent reissue in Cátedra), passed through the sieve of The Stake by Lluís Llach. There are those who see sordidness in this text, there are those who see nostalgia, there are those who see poetry… There is all this in The fall of the empire (Random House).

Ask. Raw afternoons. It might seem that the novel is about 15-M. But not so much.

Answer. The demonstration of that day appears because it is the founding fact of a generation, the catharsis after the crisis. What I want to tell is the political, social and personal context of those years through a group of friends. It is a novel of characters.

P. And the manifestation appears little, and at the end.

R. Yes, two gears occur in parallel. The march of those who are after in a house and those who participate in the march policy. This dilemma between evasion and reality is shown: I think it is a generation that has moved between those poles. Hedonism and commitment. The flight and the confrontation.

Javier Gallego ‘Crudo’, at one point in the interview.Samuel Sanchez

Crudo receives in his brand new premises on the northern border of the Madrid neighborhood of Lavapiés, on a corner where there was very recently a musical instrument store: there are still those who stop by looking for violin strings. But it’s something else: there is a radio studio, a relaxed office area, in the back a kitchen with a dining table, with its checkered tablecloth. On the walls, colorful posters of his activities and other friendly activities. Cool. Here it is done Raw meat, the long-running radio project (it has been broadcast since 2008) supported by the fees of its listeners, by its live events and some external productions. If possible.

The 15-M was, in fact, important for Raw meat, who went from dedicating himself to alternative culture to experiencing a greater inclination towards a political side that, otherwise, was always present. Gallego encouraged the movement of the indignant from the airwaves, without hesitation and with enthusiasm. This growing politicization led to his departure from Radio 3 and his journey through other media until he arrived, through the Ondas Award, to this independence of which they are very proud here: the Independent Republic of Radio.

P. Is this a generational novel?

R. I don’t believe it. José Ángel Mañas wrote History’s part The crown when he was in his twenties, and conveys what the youth of the time is like. I have been writing this for eight years, when I am already over forty. It is a novel that reflects on youth, but in retrospect.

P. They say that you only realize what it is to be young when you stop being young.

R. It’s true. And these characters rather refuse to stop being young, as happens to several generations now. But not only for hedonism: it is impossible to stop being young when you continue to depend on your parents and grandparents, when it is difficult to emancipate yourself or have children. It is not always a desired eternal youth. Of course, many of us are old and we still dress in youthful and rock clothes.

Javier Gallego ‘Crudo’, in the studio of ‘Carne raw’.Samuel Sanchez

Los peter panes de Gallego, the classic bars of Madrid at night are visited: the Sala Sol (where, this Wednesday, by the way, the book was presented with a dramatized reading and a meeting of Crudo’s old group, Forastero), the Wurlitzer, the Vía Láctea or the much missed Temple of the Cat. For those who were not in Rock-Ola in the 80s, another Movida of the many that there is and has been in Madrid and which is not talked about as much is recreated here. The style of the book collaborates with the sound and fury of the night and drunkenness, and is reminiscent of his previous poetic works such as The scream in the sky o Abolition of the death penalty (both published by Arrebato); and to his radio editorials. Raw is Raw.

A very sensorial, very visceral, very sonorous poetics; which also replicates some elements of linguistic avant-garde, very to this to capture the drug experience. Or the situationist adventures of some of the characters, who have a group of radical and poetic artistic contestation in the vein of Adbusters or The Yes Men. Poetry is also seen in references, veiled or not, to Jaime Gil de Biedma, Ted Hughes or William Carlos Williams. And music and sound drips everywhere, not in vain Crudo is a radio player, musician and poet: a man who listens.

P. He undergroundwhich is no longer known if there is.

R. There still being underground: young musicians who make music with few means. The difference is that now it is not out of conviction: people seek to emulate the millionaire rapper. Before you could be a sellout, now you want to sell yourself. We live in a showcase era, the networks encourage you to be known, influential, to have followers. Before, the prestige was to be off the radar, now it is to be at the center of the radar.

P. One of its characters, Juan Cuervo, is arrested for selling drugs… and is the son of a socialist gyrfalcon.

R. The 15M generation has been marked by generational conflict. With the particularity that progressive parents, not conservatives, who had betrayed that discourse, were called to account. What had happened to the Welfare State when we were going to live worse and worse? It was seen as a deception, when a decent life was promised if one studied a degree. In the book, the father claims a Transition that was done as best it could, but the son criticizes it as unfinished and battered.

P. 15-M started then, then things happened as they happened and now we are here. How are we?

R. We are in a political moment that has to do with the closing of a generational life cycle. It has left many people disenchanted because when you aspire to everything and you stay halfway… But life is the management of expectations and if we think about what has changed, it is a lot. Without that, plurality would not exist, the visibility of discourses outside of the hegemonic or the way of thinking about the country and the system in many aspects.

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