Tuesday, July 5

And Sabina took off her hat for Almudena Grandes

Writing about how Madrid’s homage to someone of such giant stature as Almudena Grandes unfolded is something so difficult, so daring, that it can only be filled with the words that the writer from Calle Larra left as a legacy to her city, and that resounded in the Spanish Theater during a hot June afternoon in the mouth of his friends Blanca Portillo, Joaquín Sabina or Marta Sanz.

Almudena Grandes’ statement about the virtues of Madrid: “In this plebeian town, no one is more than anyone else”

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“Churruca Street, short and narrow, begins in Barceló Street and ends almost without realizing it in Sagasta Street, next to the Bilbao roundabout, which for me has always been and will be the true center of the city” -read Portillo- “very close to the corner with Apodaca, on the dark facade of another ordinary house, a small plate, excessively discreet for the gaze of the passer-by who is not looking for it, identifies the last address of the poet Manuel Machado. -Well, he was as good as his brother… -my father would say every Sunday, just before turning the corner, on the way to Fuencarral street and my grandfather’s house”.

This is how Almudena Grandes described her Madrid, a place that was present in different formats throughout the evening that began with the delivery of the Favorite Daughter medal to her widower, Luis García Montero, who collected it from the president of the plenary session of the Madrid City Council, Borja Fanjul, as municipal representative in the absence of José Luis Martínez-Almeida and Deputy Mayor Villacís.

There was not a hint of criticism or reproach in García Montero’s words of thanks, nor for the mayor’s contempt for not attending the event nor for the words he dedicated to him at the beginning of the year, when he said that Grandes “did not deserve ” the award. On the contrary, her widower dedicated several compliments to the City Council and especially to Levy’s Culture area, for allowing the act to be held at the Spanish Theater, a place very dear to the late writer, where she spent two years as moderator of her meetings with the public. and chatted with his workers, from the management to the box office.

We said that the afternoon was hot outside and -despite the air conditioning- also inside due to the affection of the multitude of relatives who surrounded his family in a simple and profound act, one of those that break the strongest voices. Sabina, who brought her already broken as a series, recalled in a brief speech the words of Almudena Grandes during her proclamation at the San Isidro Festivities of 2018, before assuring that Grandes “is not posthumous because she lives and will always live in her books , in the wonderful love poems of Luis García Montero and in the hearts of her friends, that we loved her, that we love her so much”.

Then, when saying goodbye, he left a great phrase to remember: “They don’t know why I always wear a hat. It was because she was waiting for the moment so she could take it off in honor of Almudena Grandes”.

Another of the peak moments was stitched together with her prose by the writer Marta Sanz, who instead of reciting a writing by Grandes dared to take the texts of her friend speaking the streets of Madrid to compose an exciting story about the city that paid tribute to her : “Madrid always in the lines of Almudena and Almudena walking with all five senses awake through the streets, roundabouts, parks, squares and walks…” he said at the beginning of his story that kept the public in awe for ten lofty minutes.

García Montero’s posthumous poem

García Montero went up and down from the stage three times, full of integrity when he saw himself surrounded by his own. In the first, he collected the medal together with the couple’s three children, thanking the people of Madrid for their recognition and “affection”, after receiving a two-minute ovation, which he himself closed by assuring that “this applause gives meaning to many things”. “When you have a big loss, it is difficult to find meaning in life, a life in which we have been floating,” he acknowledged.

Halfway through the act, the poet interpreted the Lavapies Fandango written by his wife, with piano accompaniment, in one of the funniest moments of the afternoon due to the ingeniousness of its lyrics. Finally, he went up to recite two of his own poems as a climax to the act: Madridas a tribute once again to the city that reminded him and The inmortality, a poem thought “of what she would remember of me when I closed the door, exactly the opposite has happened”, said García Montero about some love stanzas that will serve as an eternal memory of his wife. When pronouncing his last verses, his voice trembled: And when I am summoned to declare my acts / even if only an empty chair listens to me / my voice will be firm. / Not because of what death promises me / but because of everything that it will not be able to take away.


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