Sunday 7 December 2008

Song for a Winter Sunday Morning

- No.

Act 1, Scene 1. London. Winter. Indoors. A fire is lit and two figures are stooping over it whilst rubbing their hands.

Me: No.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: But, why?
Me: Oh, I don't know, it's... it's... it's beyond my control.
Juan Antonio Pesetas (getting exasperated): Beyond your control? Who are you? Bloody John Malkovich playing Vicomte de Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons, rejecting Michelle Pfeiffer?
Me: No, I mean it, it really is beyond my control. You see, I expected to find real winter in London when I arrived in the city eleven years ago. The kind they tell you about in fairy tales but the snow rarely materialises. And that's why I've always felt that winter in this city is fake. It gets cold, surely, very cold, but no snow.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: But you got it wrong, my friend.
Me: Don't call me your friend.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: I didn't call you 'your friend'. I called you 'my friend'.
Me: Yes, that's what I meant, 'my friend'. You're my alter ego.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: The dandy one.
Me: Yes, the dandy one.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Because in the absence of real taste you have to appeal to a man who knows how to dress properly.
Me: Hmmm...
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Don't 'hmmm' me. You know I am telling the truth and that's why you're reluctant to begin a new section of songs for winter Sunday mornings.
Me: No... I... it's hard to explain... I still don't believe in winter.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: That's not the point, is it? The point is, it has nothing to do with you believing in winter or not, it is to do with us, your alter egos, having some independence.
Me: Who's ever heard of alter egos being independent from the matrix?
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Have you seen 'The Matrix'?
Me: Yes, why?
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Because... ahhh, nothing... So, you are not going to budge, are you?
Me: I have no reason to.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: You have no reason to? How about the overwhelming response you had to your 'Song for an Autumn Sunday Morning' section?
Me: That was different. Autumn is different. It's full of delicate auburn hues, nostalgic sunsets and a sense of complete, melancholic abandon.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: And winter, on the other hand, carries its grey, white and blue very well. It's a far more elegant season. It lays bare landscapes' anatomies. It unearthes gardens' bones and through its microscopic eye we are able to see the various components that make up our surroundings without the distraction of those terribly garish summer colours.
Me: I take it that you're not a summer person.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: You know that very well, don't you? At the end of the day I inhabit your brain. By the way it's getting a bit crammed in these days up there, what with Autumn Songs, Song for an Autumn Sunday Morning, Road Songs and Food/Music arguing over space I can barely stand upright now.
Me: Sorry about that.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Oh, yes, and Living in a Bilingual World was complaining the other day about inappropriate working conditions. The word 'trade union' was muttered in Spanish, French and German.
Me: Thanks for the tip.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: You're welcome. Back to winter. Yes, or not?
Me: OK, what have you got for me, then?
Juan Antonio Pesetas (growing visibly excited): Oh, boy, you're going to love this. Songswise, I've got 'El Cóndor Pasa', 'Hallelujah', 'Angie', 'The Secret Life of Plants', the list goes on.
Me: And artists?
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Artists? The lot. I. Have. Got. The. Lot. From Beny Moré to Billie Holiday, Rufus Wainwright, Cesária Évora, Simon and Garfunkel, Chambao, Martine Girault.
Me: Well, it seems to me that you have everything pretty tied up.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Yes, none of your 'it's beyond my control' malarkey. And what's more, Song for an Autumn Sunday Morning did a little compilation for us, readers and fellow bloggers, of all the tracks it played recently, week in, week out. Scroll down to the bottom of this post and relive again those beautiful, orange-tinted mornings. The order has been altered, though. It's more like a random playlist.
Me: Well, that's it, then. (looking at YOU out of the computer screen) From today until the spring every Sunday morning you, my dear reader and/or fellow blogger, are invited to come in, sit down in my little cyber-house, kick your shoes off and enjoy watching a clip especially selected to withstand these cold winter mornings (only if you live in the northern hemisphere, mind). In the meantime I will be busy in my cyber-kitchen making us both a hot cuppa, coffee for me, though. I am not a tea person. And all thanks to one of my alter egos, Juan Antonio Pesetas. Thanks, Juan.

Silence. Juan Antonio Pesetas stares at me intently.

Me: What's the matter?
Juan Antonio Pesetas: There's something else...
Me: Yes?
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Have you made a decision yet?
Me: About what?
Juan Antonio Pesetas: About... you know... what you've been working on for a very long time...
Me: Ahhh! I almost forgot! No, I'm sorry, Juan, it's been hectic these days.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Yes, but you started it, seventeen years ago.
Me: I know, I know, Juan, and I am also aware that I had a stab at it about two years ago and I managed to squeeze a few ideas out of it.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: How many pages so far?
Me: Forty-seven at the last count.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Forty-seven? Forty-seven pages in seventeen years?
Me: Well, you know that I did not start it in Cuba.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Yes, but you conceived it there! Did you not?
Me: Juan, I don't need your aggro now, mate. It'll get done when it'll get done.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Really?
Me: Don't look at me like that. It'll get done.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: That's not what I would like to hear. I would like to hear the phrase 'it will be done'.
Me: OK, it will be done.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Fine, can you crouch down now, please? I need to go back in.
Me: Be careful.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Yes, I don't need reminding, though. The other day I almost fell on top of Road Songs' head.
Me: Can you give it a message from me, please? Tell it that I am preparing a one-off post to be uploaded very soon. It's a type of hootenany.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Consider it done. Cheerio.
Me: Cheerio, Juan. Chao.
'El Cóndor Pasa' - Performed by Drip Trio

'Song for an Autumn Sunday Morning' Compilation

Image by photographer Cornell Capa, from Life Magazine Archive.

Copyright 2008


  1. Fun read this morning!

    Oh...and I prefer coffee, thanks.

  2. No probs, thanks for passing by.

    Greetings from London.

  3. Thanks, Mr. Cuban! I enjoyed my regular Sunday morning visit, as usual.

    We have snow at the Manor this morning just like your lovely photo.

    Yes, I would "rather" be a hammer than a nail.


  4. I enjoyed meeting Juan Antonio Pesetas; I like how he holds his own with you :-)

    'El Cóndor Pasa' will forever remind me of our wonderful family trip to Ecuador and Peru in 2007. It was literally played everywhere we went. I enjoyed hearing all the renditions of this beautiful song, including the ones you and Juan chose.

  5. mmmmm...sudden insight into your eclectic music choices!

  6. EL Condor, the Gig... Nice selections for a cold winter Sunday morning.
    Also great the Times' picture.
    They are promising snow for tonight so I might take some pictures tomorrow morning.
    Al Godar

  7. Thank you all for your kind comments. Yes, Juan Antonio Pesetas augurs well. Hopefully.

    Greetings from London.

  8. Martillo siempre, las canciones tienen algo de introspectivas. Las tardes de domingo suelen serlo.
    Un abrazon, tony.

    hoy MDC, mató a lennon hace 28 anos, bro. un regalo para ustedes, Mind Games - John Lennon

  9. forty-seven pages I would love to read. I'm in a scurr this am but will stop by again to listen. So glad your cold is caput

  10. Thanks, edi, they're in Spanish, you know :-)!

    Asere, que te puedo decir? El Lennon fue un son-ador y activista de los buenos.

    Saludos desde Londres.

  11. Juan Antonio sounds like a force to be reckoned with, but I quite like him. I also like a dandy very much (I live with one).

    I bet Juan makes a mean cup of cocoa for those wintery cold cold London days.

  12. Your conversations with yourself go far better than mine tend to. Also nice Dangerous Liasons reference. :)

  13. Hermano, pasame una tasita de cafe Cubano. El te me repugna aunque lo tomo de castigo. Que masoquista verdad? Me encanta el caballero Pesetas. Yo se que eres muy celoso prestando libros pero quizas cuando acabes el tuyo me lo dejas ver?

    Gracias por la musica, muy buena idea la tuya estos Domingos. Tengo un "request" por favor el proximo Domingo algo de Martine Girault.

    La Yoli

  14. now isn't Juan Antonio a bit tough with you ? or i guess he loves you and means well...

    nice to know you've started a book.
    i'm all ears..

  15. Thank you all for your kind comments. Cuban coffee at the moment is but a distant memory, however I still have some nice ground Fairtrade that I will be putting in the cafetiere in no time.

    Yoli, we'll have Martine Girault in a few weeks, the next performer in line is Mr Wainwright with a lovely rendition of 'Hallelujah' by Leonard Cohen.

    Greetings from London.

  16. hmm :-) have you heard Govi? the Beach fire dancers
    makes me spin/fly
    Thank You

  17. Gracias Cuban y tambien por favor, ya que eres un experto en musica, me puedes decir quien canta esta cancion? La oi una vez por una mujer y quede facinada. Mi mama me dice que es vieja. Se llama Nostalgia pero no se quien la canta. Aqui esta la letra:

    Quiero emborrachar mi corazón
    para olvidar un loco amor
    que más que amor es un sufrir.
    Y aquí vengo para eso,
    a borrar antiguos besos
    en los besos de otras bocas
    Si su amor fue flor de un día
    por qué causa es siempre mía
    esta cruel preocupación.
    Quiero emborrachar mi corazón
    para olvidar mi obstinación
    y más lo vuelvo a recordar

    Nostalgia de escuchar su risa loca
    y sentir junto a mi boca
    como un fuego su respiración.
    Angustia de saberme abandonada
    y pensar que a otra a su lado pronto, pronto,
    le hablará de amor
    Hermano, yo no quiero rebajarme,
    ni pedirle, ni llorarle,
    ni decirle que no puedo más vivir.
    Desde mi triste soledad
    veré caer las rosas muertas de mi juventud.

    Gime, bandoneón,
    tu tango gris, tal vez a ti te hiera igual
    algún amor sentimental.
    Llora mi alma de fantoche,
    sola y triste en esta noche,
    noche negra y sin estrellas.
    Si las copas traen consuelo
    aquí estoy con mi desvelo
    para ahogarlo de una vez.
    Quiero emborrachar mi corazón
    Para poder así brindar por los fracasos del amor.

    Nostalgia de escuchar su risa loca
    y sentir junto a mi boca
    como un fuego su respiración.
    Angustia de saberme abandonada
    y pensar que a otra a su lado pronto, pronto,
    le hablará de amor
    Hermano, yo no quiero rebajarme,
    ni pedirle, ni llorarle,
    ni decirle que no puedo más vivir.
    Desde mi triste soledad
    veré caer las rosas muertas de mi juventud.

  18. Thank you yoli and edi. No, edi, I have not heard them, so I will have to look them up. Cheers for the tip.

    Yoli, you had me almost in tears. That song was part of my childhood in Cuba. There were a few performances I remember very well, but the two that stand out are by Dyango and the other one by either Elena Burke or someone similar. Thank you very much.

    Greetings from London.

  19. Cuban thank you for the response on my blog. You are so right. It grabs you and does not let you go. It is timeless, so achingly beautiful. Rocio's rendition took my breath away. Gracias amigo por los links.

  20. You're welcome.

    Greetings from London.

  21. Thank you very much, Edward, so do I.

    Greetings from London.

  22. If you want seasons and real winter, come to Maine! We've had 3 days of snow, but sadly it has now melted in today's rain. Last year in England we enjoyed the one real snowstorm, but it came in April. I guess it was no more weird than daffodils in January. I do love our seasons but spring all year is nice too. Great magazine cover shot of winter and your dialogue with it was fun.

  23. Thanks, Sarah. Apparently we had snow in London a few weeks ago. I write 'apparently' because some people saw it and some others didn't. Was it snow or the effect of God covering himself in baby powder?

    Greetings from London.

  24. quite enjoyable. :-D

    and i'll take tea. thanks!

  25. There's a cuppa on its way to you, fly. Thanks for your visit.

    Greetings from London.

  26. You better be careful! If "Living in a Bilingual World" manages to get the "syndicat" going I see many a "manif" in your future! LOL!

  27. Hahaha! Yes, my alter egos will need a little bit of the ol' 'rough treatment' :-).

    Thanks for passing by.

    Greetings from London.

  28. It can snow for two days - 25th and 26th. Anything more than that is just a pain.

    Give me sun and long days any time:-)

  29. Thanks, Lane :-). A little bit of snow will never go amiss, chez moi.

    Greetings from London.

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