The absence of Lluís Cerveró

We met Lluís Cerveró in 2000. He and Adelina opened the doors of their modernist house in El Cabanyal to us and we had the chance to contemplate the original collages of Josep Renau hanging in their hallway, the best exhibition space you could think of. A house that explains their love for books, travels, arts, and comic books. Anyone who has had the fortune to visit it in any of the editions of Portes Obertes will remember his exquisite hospitality, the clarity of his arguments about the struggle to defend the neighbourhood and, always, his sense of humour. Lluís’ eyes and smile cannot be forgotten. This is why we waited for the next announcement of Portes Obertes to visit again, until we ended up getting involved in the fight of the residents of El Cabanyal; being part of their resistance allowed us to make peace with the city we live in. In 2011 we began to work on what would eventually become Welcome to El Cabanyal, a book that brings together the memory of this beloved town, which then became a neighbourhood of Valencia. Lluís was an irreplaceable informant: builders of ships with a love for adventure, Republican teachers who featured on stamps, eminent doctors at American universities, children’s songs impossible to forget[1]. We learned, through his stories, the history of his family and his neighbours. Paediatrician at El Peset Hospital, he took advantage of his retirement to reconcile medicine, llengua and literature: we were lucky enough to hear his wise and entertaining speech at the Octubre Centre de Cultura Contemporània on diseases in Tirant. All these years we looked for Lluís to know his criteria, always elegant, discreet, calm and firm. The delicious dinners at his house went on for hours and hours: we could talk about film, art, politics, or travels. He devoted a lot of time to the excellent research and writing work for El Cabanyal, per Exemple (1998-2013) Crònica de quinze anys de resistencia, a civic resistance manual.

And although his absence pains us so, there will be no suffering: this is what Adelina asks of us, with the complicity of Pablo Neruda and Gene Kelly.

Begoña Lobo

[Lluís Cerveró has passed away in Valencia, on 30 August 2016. The photograph was taken by Sergi Tarín in 2013.]


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«Soneto XCIV», Cien sonetos de amor (Pablo Neruda)

Si muero sobrevíveme con tanta fuerza pura

que despiertes la furia del pálido y del frío,

de sur a sur levanta tus ojos indelebles,

de sol a sol que suene tu boca de guitarra.

No quiero que vacilen tu risa ni tus pasos,

no quiero que se muera mi herencia de alegría,

no llames a mi pecho, estoy ausente.

Vive en mi ausencia como en una casa.

Es una casa tan grande la ausencia

que pasarás en ella a través de los muros

y colgarás los cuadros en el aire.

Es una casa tan transparente la ausencia

que yo sin vida te veré vivir

y si sufres, mi amor, me moriré otra vez.


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Singing in the Rain (Gene Kelly)


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[1] Nadala for the night of the Three Wise Men. Each verse is started by one person and everyone else chants the end.


A los Reyes,

Xiques i velles

I casades

I donzelles.


La xica de Roc

Té unes mamelles

Com a plats de foc

I uns mugrons

Com a cigrons.


Senyor Rei, jo estic ací,

vinguen casques per a mi.

Senyor Rei, jo estic allà,

vinguen casques per ençà.