Thursday, September 29

Of reds, fagots and transvestites

She was blonde, as most brunettes are. Her name was Nadia, or so she said, and she spoke with a hoarse voice, as if a hoarse dog were barking in her throat. She sat next to me, on the grass that grew like herpes on the asphalt of the Castellana. It was those hours when the night is still priceless and I was smoking a joint.

He asked me for a puff and to strike up a conversation he asked me what I was doing there. I answered him the same thing I told everyone, that he was paying homage —my humble tribute— to an artist from the town who, in that same place, was beaten up by the gentlemen of the Falange; for red and for fagot. It happened years ago, his name was Miguel de Molina and David Bowie copied him in everything except his voice. That was impossible.

This Nadia listened attentively to the story and when I finished telling it to her, she released smoke as if releasing a load from deep inside. She passed me the last puffs and she told me that those things were still happening now. Without going any further from her, a colleague of hers, a certain Raquel who was making the street behind Gran Vía, one night they took her prisoner. At the police station they put her in a room where they had fun beating her up.

A group had made a song that was very famous, Nadia kept telling me. Although I didn’t listen to the radio and barely watched TV, I knew the song. I had listened to it in passing without paying much attention to it. From that moment on, the story interested me enough to follow the trail of the story and reach the record store that was in the Cuatro Caminos market. Once inside, I asked the clerk for the song Manuel Rachel and right away he took out the record for me, a single whose cover featured color portraits of four guys with eighties looks: pigtails, shoulder pads, soft-collared shirts, and serious mugs.

When I got home and played it, I realized the quality of that group whose strength had nothing to envy foreign pop groups. What’s more, the other song on the single was done in English and that, added to the name, Tam Tam Go!, made it the most international group I had ever heard. But the surprise came when I read the credits of the album. the letter of Manuel Rachel It was signed by Ricardo Franco, the film director who was Uncle Jess’s nephew.

For those who have not heard it yet, say that the song with which this adventure begins tells the painful story of a transvestite who ended up jumping into the void, fleeing misunderstanding and brutality, loneliness and abandonment; fleeing from the same dogs that barked at Miguel de Molina but with a different collar.

And these memories came to me the other day when I found out about the death of Rafa Callejo, one of the musicians who appeared on the cover of the single, the one whose song was forever etched in my memory, along with the hoarse voice of a brunette who was blonde.