From Julio Camba we have his phrases, his books, his articles of convivial and his unique perspective on life and a journalistic time that is gone, never to return. In the twentieth century, at least, the film of the pen/columnist/reporter painted differently. One spent the years alone, traveling through Europe and the United States, filling the belly and the memory of experiences that, at the end of the road, put on the folio even gave for a golden retirement in a posh hotel in Madrid. And so happy.
Table of Contents
Review of my best pages
En my best pages we have a book with a magnificent selection of the best of this very idiosyncratic genre: the do-what-comes-out-of-the-tail columnist. And if you can afford it, it's because quality is out of the question. The music of each sentence. The landscape of the whole. The best articles signed by one of the top top and, at the same time, most unfairly forgotten over time.
Where it is better to be funny than truthful, where the pen, if it is agile, pen twice, leaving everything covered in generalizations, clichés and, therefore, some truth. But broadly speaking, let's not believe we are sociologists now either. What is journalistic columnism about but this? If we are Julio Camba, the theme is to make us laugh, not to leave a single sentence without irony, to be passing through, and to tell it beautifully. Before lara, after Threshold, in the middle, Camba.
The bad milk You have to see how popular the bad host was in its day when it came to putting letters together. Sullen people with a rambling existence, a difficult smile and even more difficult company, trust.
Now we have Manual Jabois, Jorge Bustos. Alberto Olmos, Juan Soto Ivart and some other with a playful pseudonym and desire to mambo on Twitter. oh yeah Javier Marías in the background looking at us angry and cigarette in nose. Still not having been able to fully assimilate the sudden loss of the enormous David Gistau (RIP, friend, wherever you are), the landscape of Spanish columnism is strong and looks very old. And yet he misses something.
The columnism of bad host
There was a time when it seemed mandatory to have a bad face if you were published. But only on the outside, not so in the article, which he acted as a filter for these wounded lyrics, sedimenting the little remaining light in their cursed hearts and giving it the shape of a column. Outside the folio, oh, there everyone had come to talk about his book.
Julio Camba seems to have left only that in the memory: bad milk.
left it written Cesar Gonzalez Ruano in his obituary ABC ("I did not admire anyone, I did not love anyone"), he left it written Manuel Vincent en El País, where he assures that Camba did not like to eat with women because then they did not serve him first. Although the impression one gets when looking at Camba's work is not that of a stupid being. Rather, a lonely one.
Julio Camba: phrases of a happy loner from the Palce
One of the few who takes care to remember him less for the legend and more for the technique is his Galician countryman. As soon as something of the great has been read Manuel Jabois, the figure of Julio Camba that comes to one goes from Jesus Christ upwards. How good Camba was, what a watchmaker of words, what a precise columnist.
Of hyperbolic but very simple prose (the least easy to obtain), he went through several newspapers, died in ABC and today only a few labels survive (and a journalism award) that, docile, are repeated like an echo in any shallow Wikipedia description: one of the best Spanish journalists, demanding palate, tireless traveler, Palace hotel.
The hall of the Palace, from where he left with his legs ahead in 62, would have given him a good folio. There where, 19 years after his death, the 23F would unleash a monumental farce of journalists and politicians, Camba would have had good plasticine for, what do I know, something like that on that morning, the hotel manager, More than Tejero or Armada, what anguished him was that all those people staining his carpets would leave without paying. And so everything. Tell me it's not pure Jabois.
Camba's were eyes that looked at the world as if it were a shop window. Food was probably the only subject on which jokes were thought better, if she ever cracked them at all. There is Lucullus's kitchen, the, for many, best gastronomy book written in Spanish. We will have little impact on his anti-republicanism, a label that has earned him to appear as a protagonist in some other cultural program of Digital Freedom.
As an anecdote, it is worth remembering his column The Villagarcia train, where we read about a passenger who has been waiting for hours on the platform, outraged not by the poor state of maintenance of the locomotive or the delay, but because it is still called Alfonso XIII.
“England is a people that eats what it needs; France is a people that eats what it does not need. Spain is a people that does not eat what it needs. England is agile, France is fat. Spain is in the bones”.
When Julio Camba got bored of Spain, he went out for a tour of the world, to see what was being said. Made the rounds, lived life, he settled in the capital to rest his belly and gray hair. He was John March who, in gratitude for years of undercover writing (and who knows if something else), offered to pay him the 383 of the posh hotel in Madrid for as long as he wanted. The Galician spent his last days in fear of loneliness but, as he wrote Haruki Murakami en Tokyo Blues, also not willing to make friends at any price.
Mass Hyperbolization Weapons
The problems with Julio Camba they only appear when they are read to him. In strict fidelity to the stormy description given by Roan (“The writer Julio Camba didn't care about the most was Julio Camba. When the newspapers published things about him or something about him, he turned the page almost in disgust”), the Galician seemed not to want to be a writer in the same way that his articles they seem not to want to be articles.
my best pages it can be wonderful or absurd. Hyperbole dominates everything. Let's leave it to a rather silly book full of very specific generalizations and impressions of very specific things at a very specific time. But what is journalistic columnism about but this? Where but in the banality of the miniature is the very nature of a given reality better explained?
Everything will depend on the degree of tolerance of the reader towards irony, since it is quite probable that in my best pages there is not a single sentence free of it. It is not a bad idea to find a place for it in the bathroom and take it in small doses. It doesn't make much sense to read more than two articles in a row. my best pages in the same way that it is absurd to trap a Ribera del Duero just after the Vega Sicilia.
In his travels, Camba puts order in the world just like my grandmother did (without ironic intention) when he told me, when he saw on television that someone had pushed another onto the subway tracks in Madrid: "Child, be careful because Madrid is a very dangerous city."
So we read that the ugliest women in england are the ugliest in the world (“ugly in a resounding, fundamental and definitive way”); that Paris is a “village-boulevard with nothing inside, with no other morality, nor any other philosophy than that of the boulevard, container of all its virtues and defects”; what the Milanese are never at home, and that Americans walk around the world with a wad of bills that, if fat enough, are just as likely to buy Roman ruins as Voltaire's house.
With Julio Camba one decides when the joke ends and reality begins. Of course, the grace lies in seeing beyond the generalization, turning the cliché into a container in which truth and probability dance hand in hand, leaving the irrelevant clarification of whether what is being reading is sanity or literature. Rarely are both, in life in general. The important thing, both in Camba's life and in literature, was and is the path.