Twenty toasts under the Sun

I come from Benicassim with a Capi ant (Benicassim’s emblem) in my pocket. Antonio Fernandez Molina’s smell of cookies awakened my appetite this morning. And on my morning stroll by the sea I kicked a Pelota Postal Descascarillable (Peelable Postal Ball) four times. We owe the PPB to Pepe Cardona, El Persa. I recite these verses Serafín gifted to us: «Charon’s hostess / let them search for you in my sockets / drugged from the horizon!».

Bovine ladies, bovine gentlemen: today, in their natural habitat, La Alegría de la Huerta will joyfully play for us the hymn of the Society of Friends and Promoters of the Peelable Postal Ball, composed by José María Pagés, whose first performance, in September 2014, reaped great applause and theatrical pieces from those who attended his first Congress, held in the Botanical Garden of Valencia. The hymn’s lyrics are being handed out by Macoté and his friends. This way we can all sing together.

What is the PPB? It is a ball. And also postal, therefore it can be used to send and receive messages. It is also peelable, therefore is has a peelable shell. But, above all, it is round, as any ball. Its roundness is what allows it to roll and roll until it reaches its destination, or get stuck in a random pavement, until someone spots it and kicks it back on track. The PPB is round like friendship. Round like fortune. Round like the sun with which we toast today.

With Vicente and Begoña we are bound, above all, by friendship. I would even say above poetry, art, or illustration. Begoña, from the first time we saw you, as young twenty-somethings entangled in a discussion about waves, we understood the beauty and freshness of your gaze, which, if possible, increased Vicente’s insatiable creativity. Your bond was magical then, and it is remarkable the magic you continue to show today. This roundness of the Goddess of Fortune is not by chance. Let us not repeat Mallarmé. This is the fruit of PPB, ephemeral in its contemplation. Friendship is also at the origin of the PPB. Santi told me, from the ears of Pepe Cardona, who heard it from his great friend and mentor Salvador Armell: ‘The PPB never ceases to be a metaphor for friendship’. And it is true. Only a generous heart could think of showering the planet with generosity. And to spread the PPBs around the most hidden corners of the Earth.

Media Vaca, like a PPB, follows an unpredictable path, since it learned to associate with chaos, rather than go against it. We have grown together surrounded by your projects. To the power of your will responded our will to power. The creative juices flowed, and still do, to the rhythm of a sheet of paper folded in four, which, rather than being a symbol, expressed a way of doing things, a way of being in the world. Your friends attended ready and hungry in the warmth of the cricket on the hearth, sometimes with a t for ‘tedium’, others wrapped around a tea with lemon, with a crown of corners, fruit of fallera’s wisdom. Slipping on the margins of the photocopy, you carried on towards places where cinema, image, illustration, and writing as illustration took giant steps towards what was most ephemeral, most minimal, the irremediable beauty of the useless. Action twins contemplation: if all roads lead to aroma, a fly with ink-stained legs sows your table with chances. Its strayed verses combine to rhyme.

Media Vaca is a wise blend of Quevedo’s atmosphere, the shadow plays by Fernández Molina, the celestial sonnets of Eduardo Chicharro Jr., Edward Lear’s limericks, Capi’s ants, the postal ball hullers of Pepe Cardona El Persa, or Serafín’s eye sockets, satiated with horizons. Because, whichever way you cut it, poetry always falls on the other half of the cow, as a bovine pamphlet I still have around the house says.

Thank you, Begoña. Thank you, Vicente. This continues to be another filler with aromas of old leather, where the cow’s skin ends up as an ink-stained fly-swatting tail. Now, putting an end to cricket-like romances, let’s give way to La Alegría de la Huerta. Enjoy the music!!

Valencia, 26 January 2019.

Ximo Ferrando

Text read at the closing of the exhibition ‘Toast to the Sun. 20 years of Media Vaca’, held at Las Naves. The celebration took place in Alquería del Pou, in the Horta of Valencia, on Saturday 26 January. After Ximo’s words, the PPB anthem was played, interpreted by La Alegría de la Huerta, which was chanted by the audience, who danced madly and then enjoyed two delicious and monumental paellas. (Photograph by Santiago Martí.)