November 15,



A false friend means being betrayed by vocabulary. Writing open letters to unknown characters might be a reckless thing.

Illustration by 

False friends: 4. Alejandro Jodorowsky – O Production Company

In this section, Rubén Lardín sends an unasked for weekly missive to the stormy electrodynamical sea.

Jodo, look, let me tell you this: the other night I left the house with the intention of having a bite, I didn’t feel like cooking at all so I went out to eat anything, without any strategy, without any planned route and with my palate focused on one single subject, devastated by tobacco and experience. I sat down at a terrace, you know what I mean? I sat down to eat in the street, Jodo, and what happened is that while I was eating a hotdog, Ferran Adrià just happened to pass by.

For a moment it was like witnessing the demolition of my entire life. A coach, a trainer, a high impact charlatan would say with his mouth full of self-realisation and personal growth that success is feeling happy every single second, that my duty is to be grateful for being alive, to grow and to overcome any block or fear and to develop competences. But I stayed there, adding more ketchup to the bloody sausage, knowing for certain that positive thinking is the most negative of thoughts, that using an adjective to describe thought is like adding more weight on its shoulders, diminishing its stamina and wanting it exhausted. In order to weaken thought, nothing better than anticipating the positive and giving it to those people who embrace favourable things, the abstract kindness’ rubber ring and the sea’s dead calm they wish for as their everyday state.

What entered my mind at that instant was to seduce or at least kidnap the creative cook for him to make my dinner everyday, but I thought of it too late and by then another individual was already calling my attention, a guy who stopped by my parked bike, framed it with his mobile and trapped a Pokémon with wings that was flying over it. And all of a sudden I was filled with a burst of happiness. Right then, I was happy, Jodo; I’ve said this afterwards to people and they look at me funny because it seems they’re all sick of the whole thing, but I keep myself quite on the safe side and I really loved that isolated moment because I got back my faith in augmented reality, in intervened landscape.

Thomas Berhnard, magnificent writer and splendorous humourist, used to say that when one has taught himself how to be alone he keeps on discovering more and more things everywhere. Where others see nothing, to them reality is revealed in a dazzle. Do you remember The Purloined Letter, Poe’s story? This would be the same thing, but the other way around. Or look at Christo, the artist, who covered monuments and buildings with canvases in order to hide them and thus show them to us for the first time. Before, photography used to do the trick, but the camera has been earning more and more terrain and has ended up by stealing it from us. We used to go to photography ourselves, or it came to us, because it was travelling. Then it became home photography, for birthdays and holidays, and now it’s everywhere, it does no longer imply an event, although it insists in simulating it: prawns looking delicious on a plate, a new day before the mirror or a sleeping kitty cat. Selfies. Selfie could be the name of a Pokémon, a tiny being with aquatic qualities, for instance, a little amphibian creature with the frozen and ready posture of a squatting superhero. But selfies are the opposite of self-portraits! I’m sure you remember that film by John Carpenter, They Live, in which people put some glasses on and they understood the depth of horror, they could see its chains. Well, the Pokémon thing is the same, but at the same time the complete opposite. Scary as fuck, right?

But there’s time for everything, we only need to decide to never ever die. I guess Pokémon is a Japanese invention, and Japanese things are usually fun. The Japanese are a people sick with hypertrophy and fear, but I adore lots of their stuff. Shin Chan, for instance, so much better. I don’t know whether you have seen or read any of his adventures. Shin Chan is a very new kid that shows his bum when he’s happy or all of a sudden takes his dick out and spins it in front of his mum. The most beautiful thing about Shin Chan’s stories is that in them adults always end up crying, they don’t understand a thing; that and its sensuality, an aspect that when covered with such joy reminds me of the films Alvaro Vitali used to shoot in Italy. In my opinion, Jaimito films were a kind of humble pie where the sadness of the macho man was portrayed as a kind of misery, the pathetic nature of man inside his own skin, always subdued by a turbo diesel pair of tits or a female science teacher. Eroticism is the summary of all we are (the only thing we are) and that reminded me that at times you have confessed among common friends (I hope not to be telling any secrets here) that you always carry your tarot deck with you for a much more prosaic reason than your followers think: scoring.

I don’t follow you on the Internet, I don’t know what you’re up to there, but I guess the same thing we all do, making a fool of ourselves. It’s not your fault, the Internet is pure drone, intoxicating, like sucking an exhaust pipe, but the scoring thing I think it’s OK, I don’t know, I’ve never done it, but I guess it must be as much fun as the Pokémon safari, which I would join should it work with bow and arrow because I still feel a certain hunting spirit within me. Another thing is what we call social networks, I think they’re like a pigsty because they trivialise adults, they don’t even infantilise them. But people my age have become fanatics, Jodo, it’s a real rat race, and I’m telling you this a bit down. Having everybody present at all times is the annihilation of any kind of freedom, because yours is always going to end where some other simpleton’s starts. And for art, this is unacceptable. I think three more generations need to extinguish before social networks conquer any kind of dignity, and then it will be too late, of course, it’s always the same. Today I prefer riding my bike, at the end of the day it’s still summer and it’s a very nice night. Outside social networks you can roam, waste time, but really waste it, squander it, which is one of the biggest luxuries we have in our hand. Riding around the city with no destination you end up getting distracted by some reflections. The author of Shin Chan died while he was having a walk, that’s a true fact, he fell down a cliff like a Warner character, I doubt he was looking at his mobile. Rest in peace, I think he did a great deal of good during his life. I think that the day you and Arrabal leave us will be another nail on our coffin, but there’s still a long time to go for that, because there’s always time, be it in front of us or behind.

Where a bird sings better is on its genealogical tree. That was the first sentence I read by you, some time ago, and later I found out it isn’t yours, but Jean Cocteau’s, to whom you nicked this thought to explain your method, which consisted in using psychoanalytical tradition, already pure humour, to propose a pantomime of psychoanalysis that would be no more than looking back, taking some steps back to move forward. With that you re-invented yourself as a guru to cure people from their immediate and literal ‘me’. You do it well; you don’t spread evil or nonsense. You sell your rosaries, drink from many different gospels and re-interpret them and synthesize them as fiction, although fiction is something that worries people, they start not to get it… Be it as it may, you propose actions and images, games, you mix menstrual blood with a Himalayan nectar, poetry with performance, return words their ghostly condition and thus your worldly wisdom and your ideas create a reaction with the sad life of modern man, generating experiences, little alterations, improvements. I am completely sure that something like that is bound to work.

But listen, you’re a man of letters. You are also an anomaly inasmuch you are a well-read film director, because even if we thought they all are, it is not so. Before, a ‘man of letters’ was whoever managed to escape the tyranny of work and devoted his life to reading and learning, who isolated keys and generated fabrics, and in that sense you have been an authentic artist node. You created Moebius, for instance, what would have happened to Jean Giraud should you not have invited him to try some drugs? Very few people know that you have practised psycho magic for years without expecting anything in return, and that in fact what you have earned a living with is something very difficult to earn a living with, cartoons! You have done it by dictating scripts over the phone, this is what I’ve been told by many of the great cartoonists that have worked with you, and today, from your almost always imperfect, but stimulating, works one can extract great teachings.

These summer nights I’ve been reading Vathek y sus episodios (Valdemar has published an excellent complete edition) and I like a passage in which it is said that we are but instruments of both good and evil, although we always want to feel responsible for the first. I guess we men are neither good nor bad, but the complete opposite, illusory matter.

Well, in fact I’m writing this to you just for the sake of writing to someone, because I don’t like writing for the Internet. Internet would seem nice if when placed against the light you could see a watermark in the shape of a greyhound, but this is the way it is, they kindly ask me to write and I do it, I keep on writing, I write only for that moment of joy that rears its nose once every seven years. And I also write to send you my love and to leave written that the day I die I would like to be buried embracing a wasp nest. I hope this won’t be a problem for anyone.

I send you a hug, feel free to return it anytime, no hurries.

Rubén Lardín