Another Obituary, Alas
In Memoriam. Antonio Fraguas de Pablo “Forges”. 17 January 1942 – 22 February 2018
Last week another loved one, one of those I’ve never met but who had been with me from way, way back, climbed the cypress’ path, to put it with The Poet (Salvador Espriu). Antonio Fraguas de Pablo “Forges” left the world of matter and passed on into legend and cartoon heaven. He left us, his devoted life-long buffs, desolate, bereft and deprived. He left a vast and wondrous legacy, however. His gently biting humour, his irreverence, his love of life and of his beloved country and its languages will live and linger for as long as there’s ink and paper or pixels and screens. Back then, even long before Spain transitioned from the Middle Ages to Modernity, Forges was there for us with his Blasillos and his Marianos and his Conchas, his funcionarios and chupatintas, his corrupt politicians and his shipwrecked chaps, and his multifarious army of characters, both human and animal, all of them invariably sporting spectacles (yes, even his sardines wore glasses). In them dark days, the natives of “clean and noble, cultured, rich, free, clever and happy”*countries had existentialist philosophers and Noam Chomsky. We had Forges. On hindsight, and given that I never cared one fig for Sartre or his girlfriend, that Chomsky appears to have gone gaga, and that I’ve come to regard most Anglo-Saxons as a bunch of peasants, I’m so very grateful I was born where and when I was.
So, being a devout atheist yet feeling the need to formalize an expression of my grief, I betook myself to the shrine of the Great Un-Cognizable Celestial Auntie to pray for don Antonio’s subatomic particles. May they fare well and far, and fill the universe with their irrepressible joy, their kind-hearted sarcasm and their love. The pilgrimage was great fun and very educational, although most of the really juicy questions went unanswered, as I suspected they would. Like: is Auntie pregnant? If yes, who is the father of the fierce-looking maybe-baby that may or may not squat in her cryptic womb? Why are the two custodian FattyBumbums there? Have they taken to moonlighting as “security” to dodgy demiurges? And, most puzzling of all, why the scroll at Madamina’s feet bears a fragment of a poem by Joan Salvat-Papasseit? Never mind. It’s the thought that counts. And the willingness to ask the questions, especially the awkward ones.
Here’s a few links to the dearly departed stuff, mostly for the benefit of Spanish-speakers:
*Again, Salvador Espriu. Assaig de cántic en el temple