Oct Number 9
There is no break in Zapadores
Luis Demano, the author of the cover, was born in Alicante and lives in Valencia.
At his young age, the little Luis had a surprising revelation in the store “El Corte Inglés”, where Francisco Ibáñez appeared and whispered: “Remember, Luis, that Mortadelo doesn’t believe in God“.
The second mistery he experienced was that -coming from a family of artists- he wasn’t encouraged or taught to use a painting brush. Never.
When the conditions arrived, Luis came to Valencia searching for his destiny. Here he experienced a third supernatural event: for three times he applied to the faculty of Fine Arts and for three times he was rejected.
That chain of events caused that the act of drawing became a pure act of faith for him.
Thanks to his persistence and overflowing talent, he’s now one of the most recognized spanish illustrators, a privilege that allows him to have a double life that he projects in his personal fanzines, a little maximalists and troublemakers.
Among his intellectual findings, some people credit him as the inventor of the Acid criticism in the illustration field, a field where the sweet opinions are the rule. In fact, one time, when a successful illustrator read his most acid fanzine, she said: “I’d love to have something like this dedicated to me!”.
Just to finish, a couple of facts: A) He’s the only illustrator that combines his stage fright with his eventual stand-up presentations. B) He likes a lot the sound of the expression “huge and dantesque doodle”, and he uses this quote every time he can.
This is his website.
Stamp: ©Luis Demano
Nacho Casanova, the author of Lust in Marxalenes, was born in Zaragoza but he lives in Valencia.
You already know him because he’s a regular contributor in this magazine. In the issue # 4 of The Valencianer we revealed everything we know about him. This time we’ll discover what others think about him. Let’s read the commentary of a well known illustrator who wants to use the pseudonym of Felipe Sharpener:
“Some years ago I was stuck while adapting a twisted novel into a comic. The novel was full of unbelievable and scabrous events and contained a huge number of “special effects” in the best tradition of crap literature. So I asked a friend who draws comics to adapt the novel along with me. He accepted and we agreed that he’d do the first part. After some days he showed me a thirty pages storyboard where all the morbid situations were eliminated, and the simple, daily and sentimental events were highlighted, turning the plot into a colloquial story. This friend was Nacho Casanova”.
This is his website.
Stamp: ©Adele Amineva
Alba Abellán, the illustrator of Lust in Marxalenes, was born and lives in Valencia.
From the very first second of her life, she expressed an endless talent to cover everything around her with tender intentions, double reading messages, friendly codes, brainy metaphores and careless strokes.
Entretched behind her thick mane and her clean look, she plots. Remembers. Reads. Processes. Rewrites. She takes decisions and codifies them with an accurate childish skill.
Although Alba often confronts the problems that appear in the acts of creation, her true strategy is to confuse and disolve them in the most surprising way, to take them unguarded, making herself strong to transform the world into a place where the carefree attitude and the thoughtful mood reach a strange and suggestive balance.
In The Valencianer, we have the feeling that for Alba everything is like a canvas ready to be painted. We’re sure that the world would be a better place if there were plenty of persons like her. At least, we’re lucky to have the original one.
This is her website.
Stamp: ©Alba Abellán
“¡Vicenteta, sácate la teta!” (“Vicenteta, show your boobs!”) is an expression of the east of Spain that we all had the bad luck to hear sometime. It generates unleashed laughter, sonorous clapping on thighs and ocular search of the lover in case he or she picks up the hint and at night there could be joy in the bedroom.
Well, even though I have lived in this land for more than twenty years, I still have not understood the joke. In this east area (above certainly not, but I do not know about the south), this mixture of humor and sex is understood as a socially accepted fact. To such an extent that the maximum expression of local popular culture, las Fallas, recently converted into world heritage, is full of similar jokes.
I have to say that I am a smiling person, predisposed to smile and if the opportunity arises, to laugh. I agree that a bit of humor never hurts. And, why not, sexual intimacy should not be excluded. For me, dirty jokes are not sex: they are humor.
What I mean is that if Vicenteta finally show her boobs, I would be on the side of those who are laughing instead of those who are waiting for the lover to set himself or herself up for grace. That humor makes me laugh, and of course; dirty humor too, but it does not make me horny.
I know that in the editorial board of The Valencianer, where the 66% are native of this area, my anthropological vision produces interest as a seemingly integrated alien. So here I am willing to talk about my sexual experience. But not about my conventional sexual experience. Since I do not want to bore you, I have chosen a stellar moment; you are people of the world and the usual is already known.
Welcome to the day I visited a swingers club!
It all started two hours earlier. I had a meeting with a friend who was going to tell me about his recent break up. We will call him David. I was accompanied by my couple back then. We will call her Rosa. Not to maintain their anonymity, is that the two are called that way. The break up turned out to be more complicated than two hours of conversation, and although we were in a bar called The Paradise -and I assure you it is not a random name-, we saw ourselves on the fucking street at half of history. It was past midnight on a Sunday.
For those who do not know Marxalenes, this is a humble neighborhood, full of older people and workers from different countries. If you want to feel Marxalenes full of life, it must be drinking coffee just before going to work, or when picking up children from school. The rest of the time is wasteland. And of course, at night you do not hear a soul, since people have to get up early to go to work, and there is no space to joke about that.
David asked if there was nowhere else to go, and Rosa just looked at me. She had just moved to Valencia, so responsibility fell into my hands. So I opened my mouth.
–Well, once a colleague told me that there is a swingers club right around the corner. I guess that if there is something opened at this time, and in this neighborhood, that will be it.
As the phrase was coming out of my mouth, I was realizing what a bad idea was to go to such a place, accompanied precisely by those two individuals. Weirder than a green dog may be the kindest description we can attribute to them, despite how much I love them. Anyway, there was no turning back.
–Whaaaaaaat?! That there is a swingers club next to us and you never told us?!
As I was getting used to the warm feeling of regret and fear that was invading my body, my legs took us all three to the door of the place. In fact, it was just around the corner. Right in front of the door of a high school. Only in a neighborhood like this, in an area like this, is where logic advises to locate a business as peculiar as a swingers club right in front of the door of a secondary school.
We will give the club a false name, for example Rindebel. More or less that was what it was written under a bell that had to be pressed to open the typical window of a gangster club door. Behind, man’s eyes. It came a voice saying:
–What do you want?
–To come in. –Rosa answered without thinking.
The door opened. While we looked at him he counted us.
–You are three -he told us-. This is a couple club.
I was already leaving when David pulled out his social mastery.
–That’s true. But we have heard very well of your local. And the lady is curious. Besides, we are actually interested in having a drink, we will not disturb your customers.
–Well, let’s see. -the man put some order-. Couples pay 35€ and are entitled to two drinks each. The boys alone pay 20€ and are also entitled to two drinks, they can’t go inside the club. They can only access if someone invites them from inside. In the meantime, you will have to stay at the bar.
–Perfect, perfect, no trouble. What if we just want to have a drink? Can we go to the bar and stay there? – David was bargain as a professional.
We saw the confusion in the look of the guy, and I gave a discreet step back in case I could dodge a possible and unexpected unfriendly reaction.
–But then why do you come to a club like this?
A great goal into the corner of the net had just crossed. Although he did not notice. He looked at Rosa again and decided that maybe we were some interesting leads. When even David was hesitating, he let us pass.
–What do you want to drink?
Leaning on the bar, David finished telling us about his misadventures, while trying to ignore the fact that monitors had porn movies instead of football. When the waiter/doorkeeper noticed that our conversation had concluded, he approached us and shot us point-blank, knowing this time, that he was scoring a goal:
–Would you have any interest in seeing our installations?
As David and Rosa dilated pupils of pleasure, the guy specified:
–I can show you because tonight there’s no one there, so if you’re curious, I’d take the shot. We have been opened for over thirty years. We have more than 300 m2! –at this moment, I began to suspect that this man was a solid disciple of empiricism, as I later discovered.
–Look, it all starts here, at the bar. Do you see those mirrors all over that wall? Well, they are not just mirrors! From the other side you can see the people, and of course, invite someone to come in alone. They do this through this window here, which also works for ordering drinks.
–Clever! –Rosa took over as an official commentator.
–Come here, my wife will stay at the bar –said the guy, while who knows from where a woman of the same age appeared, dressed in a tiger print t-shirt, and a big smile on her face.
–Shit, what a fright! –it poped out from me, but very very very low. I already was with the attitude of low profile survival mode.
–I’ll take my flashlight. The flashlight is a tool that indicates that I am not in the club to have fun, but I am here for others to have fun. As you guys go with me, it’s like you are carrying a flashlight too.
The first sensation I had was that we were in a place that originally were two or three houses. That is not to say that it was a single open space, but quite the opposite: it was full of corners and different rooms with different levels of intimacy. Curiously, there were no doors, except for two exceptions that we would see later.
–This is the club’s main space. Since there is no one today, I haven’t turn on the music or the lights. However, here people dance and exhibit themselves. Do you see those chairs over there? Is, for example, for people to have sex. So some can dance while watching others perform the act of sex, but also works the other way around: there are people who like to have sex while around there are people watching and dancing. This is where people get to know each other. In these clubs there is a code: one touches lightly with the back of the hand on the shoulder of the person that is interested in. If this person accepts you, you can join the group or what they are doing. But if he or she does not accept you, there are no grudges or hard feelings at all. We are very educated here.
As a curious decorative element, there were around some shower curtains with children’s motifs hanging and surrounding what were clearly bidets. I also found many bowls full of condoms, scattered everywhere. That man was obliged to give explanations:
–Yes, the condoms here are obligatory. You know. And of course, proper hygiene seems fundamental for the type of fun offered in this business.
–The penguins in the curtains are so cute! –Rosa lied, who does not only hates penguins with all her soul, but also would have never used an expression like that to indicate that something pleases her.
We crossed a corridor, from which we could see the interior of two small rooms, but as I said before, no doors. One was decorated and illuminated with motifs that react to the black light: little stars on the ceiling, small motifs on the walls … The other was the one known as a mirror room, because it was all covered by narrow mirrors. Of course, both had as main element a bed, which covered 90% of the surface of each room.
–Listen, and one of these rooms… could we reserve it a group of very friendly friends, for example, to organize a private party, or a birthday…? –Rosa was pulling herself up– I’m surprised that there are no doors, really.
–No, no, no, no… –he made sure we understood him–. There are no private spaces here. If someone comes and wants to join you, will touch you with the back of his or her hand on the shoulder. Not accepting is enough. Look, here we get to the wet area, with the jacuzzi…
–Here he took a long time, explaining the obvious of here and there until we arrived to the place where my twisted neurons made crack and took me back to Vicenteta’s joke. To the only area of the club that, attention, had doors. There were two rooms.
–This is the sadomasochism room.
Indeed, there were shackles and a chair in a very narrow room. There was also a mop. First and foremost, hygiene. I never imagined that it would seem so full of customs logic that in a room with shackles there might be a mop, but now I can no longer imagine any dungeon without its mop prepared for discretionary use. The guy used his flashlight to light the other room.
And this is the one we call the dark room. It’s painted black, and when the door is closed, you can’t see anything. Here you do not know who you’re fucking with. It can be anyone. And any body hole. Here come men secretly from their wives. To feel free.
I heard my neurons. Crack.
–Do they come to this room in secret from their wives, who are here too? To be free? They come to a swingers club, but are not able to tell their wife that they want to nose around with other men? –Rosa could not believe it.
–Well, I estimate that 85% of our male clientele is interested in that, yes. But no more than a 13% say it openly. Almost no woman likes her husband to be interested in other men. The other way around, however, it happens very often and is widely accepted.
All the crude mathematical and statistical data provided by the empirical owner left David astonished and Rosa out of play, so I had to intervene to untangle this social collapse.
–But, from where do you get those percentages? Do you have a people account or something? Do people who have really skipped the taboo of going to a club to have sex with other couples can’t confess such a not surprising desires as experimenting with people of their own sex?
–No, but I pay attention. –Said while pointing at me with the flashlight.
At that moment we noticed that there was a couple in the club. They were waiting there, just before we finished our circular route and re-entered into the space called the bar. They were dressed in a bathrobe. Each of them had a drink. They were much younger and more attractive than the people who appeared in the photos that decorated the walls and which showed parties in the place. They looked at us. They were the hook that the lady in the tiger print t-shirt had prepared for us during our visit.
Their eyes said “Bastards, we were in slippers at home and they forced us to come here for you. If we don’t have sex… this is going to end very badly.”
David reacted as the scout master that he is and murmured a long polite sentence similar to “it`s-been-a-pleasure-we-already-know-where-the-door-is-will-call-you-about-the-party-good-night-don’t-need-to-come-with-us-to-the-door-enjoy-the-drink”, leaving intentionally disoriented for once the guy at the other side of the flashlight.
I do not remember how, but suddenly we were out of the Rindebel, staring at our feet without speaking, walking quickly at least to the corner, knowing that we just had an experience that we had to think over in order to digest it correctly.
The three of us have had this story in the back of our brain, but never forgotten, for the last ten years. Eventually we talked about it. We have tell it in small meetings. We have tried to exorcise it. Until the editorial board of The Valencianer proposed me to write a text of free subject about this narratively poor neighborhood.
Although I have not managed to close the circle between Vicenteta and Marxalenes (what did you expect, readers? The Valencianer does not contain the solution to the enigmas of the universe), I know that today I will sleep a little better than yesterday. And I hope that you, readers, sleep a little more restless.
HISTORY OF A COVER
There is no break in Zapadores
By Luis Demano
“I wanted to dedicate this cover to the CIEs (Internment Centers for Foreigners) and, above all, to the CIE of Zapadores, located in Valencia. One of the many ways the Spanish state has to normalize racism and the violation of human rights in our society.”