On Sundays of the writer Andrés Trapiello (Manzaneda de Torío, León, 1953) they began 40 years ago at the Rastro de Madrid, shortly before eight o'clock in the morning and "on an empty stomach, like the executioners". A habit and a way of being in the world to which you have dedicated a book, The Trail. History, theory and practice (Destination). Personal chronicle generously illustrated, erudite and somewhat melancholy, guide to read Madrid and discussed the nature of collecting and "what we look for in old things", the essay is also the testimony of how a friendship forged around a hobby, the old books and other odds and ends, resists the passage of time.
Of all that there was last Sunday in a morning that began at the time when some still cling to Saturday and ended with the flood of clueless people down Ribera de Curtidores, while the gypsies offered voices "two jerselitos for 10 euros. "
The friend is Juan Manuel Bonet, companion of decades of early mornings, who has been director of the IVAM, of Reina Sofía, and, until July, of the Cervantes Institute. The route was the usual one: a repetitive going up and down from the Plaza del Campillo of the New World to that of Vara del Rey.
Many (rastromanos and rastreros, "regents of a mancebía specialized in paraphilias") know and greet the writer by name. Some of them come out in the new trial. Trapiello examines the stalls with a light step, bends down to look with hidden interest or pry into a deck of old photographs. Remember anecdotes of the move, the reform of Tender that halved the streets and limited the Trail to Sunday or that time not so long ago that was found an original Cernuda for a euro.
The work is also the testimony of a friendship forged around a hobby
But above all he shares his wisdom over the traditional murmur: "To read a lot, better buy little. Book that you do not have to read, let it run. Or in a different edition, the books say something different. " In the essay, which were previously some lectures at Juan March ("although if you pass them the turnitin of Pedro Sánchez ", he warns," only 1% of coincidence will come out "), goes further by fixing a Theory of the Trail, with laws such as that we only look for what we have already found, that we should not ask for the price of an object with he in his hand, or that one always remembers more than he let go of what he bought.
Trapiello offers a geographical delimitation (the Rastro is "a fan, whose nail would be the statue of Eloy Gonzalo" in Cascorro) and historical, which is above all literary: from Baroja or Gómez de la Serna to Gloria Fuertes; from Galdós to Mesonero or Blasco Ibáñez, part of the letters of two centuries parade through the pages. The book closes two lists: a recount of findings, not precisely valuable, and a series of images taken by the writer. They reveal the possibilities of the Rastro as "a place of poetry, of subtleties". These are accompanied by an anthology of fragments on the subject taken from its monumental Hall of the Lost Steps, newspaper that the writer began to publish in the nineties and that is already in the twenty-second volume.
Although perhaps the most interesting part of the book is the one that theorizes about collecting, bibliophilia ("I have not been nor am I bibliophile") or the old. "Old things," says Trapiello during the walk, "are more eloquent. They do not have the lights on them and that is why they are more free to say what they have to say. There is no imposture, they are, like the dead in cemeteries, on an equal footing. People come to the trace to rediscover their childhood. It's like the sleigh scene of Citizen Kane, for whom all the success is not worth what that first toy of the attic (the trace that is in each house) ".
According to the author, one remembers more of what he let go than of what he bought
Despite the first impression, the writer does not give in to nostalgia. "El Rastro, yes, has not died. We, who knows, "he writes. Although nothing is as before. "Now there is a Virtual Trail, Internet, with millions of pieces. There you have to search; If you do not search, you can not find it. Here you find even if you do not search. Another difference is the context; in the Network there is no ".
That, a bit of context, is perhaps the best piece that Trapiello (who avoids the hunting lexicon) has taken on the Trail, "I consider myself more a fisherman than a hunter"). "To a large extent, the weapons and the letters He leaves here, "he says, referring to his influential essay on the literature of victors and losers of the Civil War. "Chaves Nogales without the Rastro is not possible. Or Clara Campoamor. Or part of the third Spain. Now everything is edited, but 40 years ago it was not like that. Or you found the original editions or nothing. And looking for those authors you get many others. In 2019, an enlarged edition "with a lot of data obtained in these walks" will serve to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its publication.
Now he is looking for books from Madrid for an essay he is preparing. Something found on Sunday, although the morning was not very fruitful. "The day you find something, it's a good day; and the one that does not, almost better, "he writes. "I'm happier bringing a story than a book." And, if not, there will always be what was recently said by "one of the most veteran": "This is over. El Rastro has become a social club, stay with friends, take a walk, have breakfast and go home. " Last Sunday it ended up for him a little like this: with his friends, before a coffee with milk in a glass and talking about Galdós.
One Sunday in the summer of 1980, when the march dragged on, Juan Manuel Bonet telephoned Andrés Trapiello from the Rastro to say: "By midmorning, we have been missing the best". The next time they advanced their arrival. They "expected the best library that has ever come out of these positions," recalls Trapiello. Thus began a liturgy of early mornings that remains unchanged.
For years, always with the company of José Vázquez Cereijo, mayor of the City Council, who has already died. And in the seasons in which Bonet lived in Valencia, Trapiello continued going alone "or with the company of Galician friends". Lately, Germi has joined, who met Bonet in Paris.