Thursday, August 11

poor devils

ANDn the parish church of La Alhóndiga, in Getafe, Madrid, there is a mural on one of its walls depicting Christ together with his apostles during the Last Supper. To the right of Jesus, the apostle John has been characterized with the face of José Luis Manzano, Eloy de la Iglesia’s favorite actor and protagonist of El Pico, Colegas y Navajeros.

For those who do not know yet, José Luis Manzano is part of the imaginary of a time when drugs crossed the destinies of youth. According to what Iñaki Domínguez tells us in his new anthropological study entitled Macarras Ibéricos (Akal), drugs were the common attribute of that youth born in the sixties, regardless of social class, race or family structures. The fall was general. In Madrid, downtown neighborhoods such as Malasaña or Chueca woke up with corpses in their doorways. The syringes – chutas – crunched at every step and the neighbors fled from their houses, selling them at low prices.

I am one of those who think that the arrival of drugs was designed by the State to sacrifice youth and in the long run obtain real estate benefits. For this reason, with the entry into the euro and gentrification, the sale of drugs was displaced to the outskirts; a way to clean the center and the closest thing to hiding a few kilos of shit in the bread bag that hangs from the kitchen door. A connoisseur of the periphery, Alfonso J. Ussía tells Iñaki Domínguez about the adventures he experienced when he had to work as a machaca for Antonio Vega, who spent an average of 1,000 euros a day to get comfortable. Las Barranquillas was the usual landscape where Alfonsito moved, dealing with all those people who survived by chewing their own teeth.

But if there is a document that is a living memory of those years, that is the cinema called quinqui that offers us a sentimental portrait of the mythology born on the margins of the big cities during the 80s. A whole collective imaginary that was reflected in films What Stray dogs, Navajeros either hurry hurry—among others— and which has its continuation in current cinema with directors such as Juan Vicente Córdoba (Quinqui Stars) Anthony Hens (Clandestine) or Carlos Salado (raising rats ).

References to this film genre could not be missing in the new work by Iñaki Domínguez, offering a journey through the period we know as Transition, showing it from the field of marginality when the shanty towns grew on the outskirts of cities that were increasingly They were getting tighter. Caño Roto and UVA in Madrid, Otxarkoaga in Bilbao or La Mina in Barcelona are examples of how Franco’s developmentalism promoted the industrialization of large cities. From the second half of the 1950s until the end of the 1960s, the city welcomed rural people as cheap labor. That was the breeding ground for the Iberian pimps.

To “contain” the entire flow of immigrants, the Franco regime designed a plan of towns called “directed”. Looking at it well, the “managed towns” was quite a euphemism. With this, it was avoided to say that they were suburbs of houses built with the most discarded materials. In this way, the vacant lots that embraced the capital were populated by a proletariat ready for a hard life. Decades later —during the Transition— the introduction of heroin would neutralize any possible class consciousness, turning the outskirts of the city into the natural habitat of the lumpen, a social class without class consciousness that brought with it citizen insecurity that was reflected in the those films where José Luis Manzano’s smile shone like a switchblade knife. Today only the memory remains of him, his image as an eternal adolescent in the films of Eloy de la Iglesia and a religious painting that we can visit in the Alhóndiga parish in Getafe. More than a street dog, Manzano was a poor devil.

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