The journalist and writer from Martorell Light Saumell just published DesBARrando (Editorial Rubric), a book that is a collection of anecdotes about conversations that take place in the bars of bars. Part of the contents of the book have been collected from establishments in our town. Mostly from past times, but also some from today.
DesBARrando follows the style of Saumell’s earlier literary creation, This is the green cover book, a collection of funny stories that happen in bookstores and libraries. Regarding this work, Saumell has repeated the project with the illustrators Txemi Sánchez and Nerea Landajo Gorroño. Previously, the martorellenca had published Stories of the drunk frog, Traveling with strangers i I would change the ending, emerged from the writing workshops he led at the Deusto Bookstore for a decade and a half.
In the following interview, this Martorell resident who has lived in Bilbao for years explains more details about the book and how interested people from Martorell will be able to acquire it.
Why is this book called ‘DesBARrando’?
It is a play on words between the bar and all possible anecdotes, conversations and misunderstandings that can occur in a bar.
Is it already on sale?
It has left this Thursday and will soon arrive in Martorell, although it is not yet fully distributed. We already know that distribution is complicated at the moment.
What does it contain?
DesBARrando it’s a collection of things that happen in bars and restaurants and that kind of follows the style or path we started with This is the green cover book, which was dedicated to bookstores and libraries, with experiences from the Deusto bookstore and other places. It includes anecdotes from old or current premises, some from Martorell, with illustrations by Txemi Sánchez and Nerea Landajo Gorroño, and there are sections entitled Eye to the data which explains some curiosities in this area.
Such as the origin of the word Sandwich, why the bikini is called that in Catalonia and the rest of the state is called mixed, if the salad is really Russian or who invented the potato omelette, among others. These are the questions that come to mind when you are in a bar with friends one day.
You told us that the stage was bars and that some were from Martorell. Can you name some of them?
Yes. Needless to say, some have given us permission, and with respect to those that no longer exist we have taken some license. The Catalunya -el bar comes out how much-; the girl; the Honey and Curd -o Ship-. The latter will provoke some smiles among the readers of Martorell, as it was a very important social center in La Vila. And there are also current ones, such as El Bocinet. There is also an anecdote about Francesc Pujols.
Is it a book started before or during the pandemic?
We started it when we were finishing the previous book of bookstore anecdotes, just before it came out published. Therefore, before the pandemic. When we started writing it we didn’t think we would experience a bar closure like it was from March 14th to June. At that height we already had it quite lined up and during the confinement we were able to finish it, each at home.
Did it mean any change in the way you work?
Yes, because the research work had to change a bit. We couldn’t go to the bars to ask questions and listen, but go to social media. In fact, there is a chapter devoted to closure and some anecdotes from this period are told. And since the restrictions still continue today, I would give for another book.
Speaking of the period of confinement and pandemic… has it been a good or bad time for reading?
It went fine. We have spent many hours at home and not everything can be audiovisual consuming. In these times, fiction is useful, whether in the form of series, movies, music, radio, or culture in general. I think a lot of people have reconciled with reading and a lot have taken the opportunity to write, those who said they wanted to but didn’t think of anything or didn’t find the time. Now they have it. And it has been noticed with many editorial novelties.
And on a personal level?
At home we took advantage of the confinement to review all the books we had, sort and catalog them, and read the ones that were pending. In my case there hasn’t been much change, because I already have the reading habit, and all I’ve done has been to change the scope. I usually read a lot in bars or on public transportation, and I had to change it for home.
Are your writing workshops in Bilbao and the surrounding area going on in one way or another?
Now we have them completely stopped. On the one hand, because for a while now it was less and they were more punctual and scarce, because now there is more supply and people are looking for other things and other motivations. And because the Deusto workshop was active for 12 years and there were people who had been there for 12 years. A change of group with other people and other dynamics was needed. On the other hand, I have stopped doing reading workshops for the elderly because it is a risky group and you have to be careful. And finally, other workshops I did outside of Bilbao cannot be done because we continue with the municipal closure. It is difficult to re-propose a workshop with some continuity for these changes, although I have participated in some fun and enriching experiment through WhatsApp groups.
Do you have any new anecdote books in the pipeline?
I don’t know if we’ll make another book of these. We have fun, even though I look like Grandma Chives, with so many anecdotes! They like it because they are small, short stories. Some make more fun, some excite or stir and others leave you indifferent, but they are short and the illustrations are a lot of fun. It is possible that yes.
And in terms of what topic?
Now we don’t have as much unanimity on the issue. I would like to make one of radio, municipal radio, but it is sensitive material, because the person who stars in the anecdote can experience it differently and you have to laugh at the situation and not at someone. On the other hand, my illustrator worked for many years at TVE in the Basque Country and has many television shows. But on the other hand I have been asked to write about those of pharmacies, of doctors… we are at a time when uncertainties and desires are great, an impasse that makes us not just decide and encourage. In any case, I do have the promise of writing one in Catalan dedicated to bookshops and libraries, with other anecdotes. And also one of musicians, a very wide field, of which stories have already been sent to me.
Is it very different to write an anecdote than other genres?
In the anecdote there is a part of inspiration, of imagining the scene they are telling you and locating it, but it is more a work of writing and journalism, of chronicle, than as in the stories or the novels, which are more expensive.
Where we will find ‘DesBARrando‘ in Martorell?
In the Alfambra bookshop and the Martorell Library. If anyone wants to contact me to purchase one, they can also do so through Facebook or email and I will be able to send them.
Will there be a possible presentation of the book here?
For now making presentations is complicated, but it must be said that in the case of This is the green cover book we presented it last summer’s Sant Jordi in Martorell, with many measures, on July 23, at the Alfambra bookstore, and it was a very beautiful, enriching and different experience. I guess so, that later there will be the opportunity to organize a presentation here.
Source: Web de notícies de l'Ajuntament de Martorell by martorelldigital.cat.
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