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  • Writer's pictureArcachata

Another turn - RIP Pau Donés

"Hoy el mundo ha da'o otra vuelta, pero nadie me ha avisa'o." Today the world has given another turn, but no one has let me know. Pau Donés, the man behind Spanish melodic rock band Jarabe de palo, passed away yesterday. The urgency with which all these news of death hit me make me not want to spend too long writing this note and instead use that time to make progress on the projects I have going on. The older we get, the faster the clock ticks. As Donés said, "Yo al cáncer le dedico cinco minutos al día, el resto lo dedico a pensar en las oportunidades que me da la vida”, or "I dedicate 5 minutes a day to the cancer, and spend the rest thinking about the opportunities that life gives me."

I had no idea what Jarabe de palo's singer's name was up until yesterday when I came across the news of his passing on the web. His passing gave me the opportunity to remember his one song I both like and am sufficiently familiar with, "De vuelta en vuelta", a song that I remember from a very sweet time back around 2010 when I visited a friend's restaurant every friday for breakfast and talking about the project we were doing, a residential building close to the restaurant. These visits were not just talking real estate development, sales, architecture, and life, but also a shared time with my father back in the days of prosperity. It also led to a nice romance with one of the waitresses but that's a whole different story.

I remember listening to this song and wondering about the name Jarabe de palo and its obvious sexual reference to semen, which I thought was pointlessly irreverent. My friend Josué has said though, "Prefiero pecar de loco que de ahuevao", or roughly, I'd rather be judged for being reckless than for being feeble."

Ruben Blades, my senior compatriot and platonic mentor who's insights are usually kinder and far deeper than mine, said of Pau Donés' death that one of the worst things about getting older was how more and more of your friends passed away.

It is truly frightening to think of someone passing away so young. To me, 53 is just around the corner. But there's the matter of intensity. Life's in the end made up of experiences, not time. Do you have any idea how intense a life Pau Donés must have had? Back in the sunny days at the streetside cafe when I was eating my 3-egg ham and mozzarella omelette and drinking cappuccinos and shooting the breeze with my friend and my dad and eyeing that hot little waitress on the platform boots and listening to Pau's song, I thought that song was a current radio hit. This was 2010, more or less. But I found out yesterday, after learning of Pau's death, that this song was actually 2001. Then I rememered that what played over the Bose speakers at the restaurant was a "mixtape" USB, probably, NOT the radio. Yes, the songs kept repeating. So, imagine that. 10 years before that even, Pau already had a worldwide hit (among the spanish-speaking folk at least), gigs in New York City and elsewhere, and ... can you imagine the intensity of life this musical artist must have had back in the early 2000's in none other than Barcelona, Spain - I mean, the women, the partying, the booze, the... I was there in 2002 and then again around 2015. That town is amazing. He must have really enjoyed his life. God bless him.

It all reminds me of my song Life After Death, Pt.2. ( About someone passing away and life simply, inexorably, obliviously, going on. The world has indeed given another turn today, and will after give another tomorrow, and another after that. And no one will be letting Pau know.

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