Esteban Granero at Jot Down (III)
Here’s the last part of the Esteban Granero Jot Down interview, which is probably the most personal segment (my favorite kind), as the magazine delves into Esteban’s literary, musical and film tastes.
You shared a photo of many books: Valle Inclán, Maupassant, Gil de Biedma, Bukowski, Carver, Kafka, Miguel Hernández… have you read all of them already?
I’ve read all of them. The Valle Inclán one was good. You have to become the language, at least that’s how it is for me. There are some things that you need to read twice. I’m not used to the language from another time, one that is so literary, and I had to use the dictionary. But el esperpento [a type of theater developed by Valle Inclán] is still very much present now. I believe that works from that era are good ones to read, it was so complicated…
How do you and your teammates see this current time?
People are angry and that’s normal. We’re in the midst of a very difficult situation. Families and people are having a bad time. Meanwhile, we’re in a privileged situation; we don’t have to be ashamed of it, but in the least we have to be responsible enough to understand the reality and be conscious of what is going on.
How is the footballers’ union coming along?
It’s fighting for those footballers who need it. People think that football is all about fame and millions, but there are many footballers who aren’t being paid. And football is a job, it’s a living and footballers need a union to defend their fights like any other worker.
Returning to the books that you read this summer… Xabi Alonso told us that you love Kafka.
He said that because he saw me reading Kafka during a trip. Yes, I do like him. He’s different. He’s one of those writers telling a story that doesn’t seem to resonate with you until you stop reading, and then you reflect on it tranquilly for a few moments and you realize it has changed you. In this sense, he’s like Carver, you read one of his stories, it seems to be a normal and ordinary history and when you end, you’re left with this feeling… At the end of The Metamorphosis, I was left with this anguish that I didn’t feel when I was reading. It’s a book that is easy to read, it’s written even with sweetness although it talks about an insect, but after finishing it you’re left with an important sensation of anguish. With Carver, it’s similar, he wrote about everyday situations that have been told before but then there is something that’s not in the words. Bukowsi is the opposite. He’s pure and hard realism. The good thing is that you believe it is like that and has been like that. His character, his alter ego, Henry Chinaski, is real. You can identify with him although he’s a supposed loser. And you even get to the point where you admire him. And that’s the positive part of all of that. Gil de Biedma is my favorite poet. I’ve spoken a lot about him with friends, he was a great character. He has many very precise things, I like him a lot. I’ve only read three short stories by Maupassant. What happened is that I was browsing a flea market in Bogota, which has many old books, and I found this one of Maupassant that included the story Boule de Suif, my favorite one. I purchased the book and I’ve kept it with a lot of affection as a souvenir. And Miguel Hernández, you can’t believe that he wrote that in the situation in which he did. It’s hard for me to imagine myself in his place. In other words, how this man, with everything that happened, is capable of expressing himself in this way, of speaking in the way he speaks. It’s admirable. It’s more than admirable, and that’s why I like it.
Your tastes are much more varied that those of Xabi, who admitted that he’s addicted to thrillers.
I also like thrillers. But what I really like are good books. In both music and books, I have a special preference for the classics, because I always think that classics are classics for a reason, and I always think that’s something I have to read. I also like reading bestsellers. I don’t have the stereotypical bestseller, and I don’t always agree with the bad reputation they have in poseur circles. There are times where I don’t read the entire book, only three chapters, four lines, but I believe they are usually quality writers.
Are there literary gatherings in Real Madrid?
No, not much (laughs). We’re focused on the game. I do speak with Xabi about these things, but not too much, which is normal.
You’ve watched Annie Hall four times.
I like it a lot. I also like the script. I’m a big fan of Woody Allen. I think he’s great, and I also think it’s great that he invents what he does. Doing that is difficult, but inventing is even more difficult.
Tell us a bit more about your film tastes.
The Godfather. Before, I was more of a fan of Stanley Kubrick… (thinks for a while). I also like that Sofia Coppola movie, Lost in Translation.
I know that you also like to read Haruki Murakami. Have you seen Norwegian Wood?
I have seen the movie. It wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t at the same level as the book, although I also expected less than what I saw. I read the book when I was very young and it had a big impact on me. I believe it’s a book you should read when you’re 18, at least for me. These are books that you have to read as you’re growing up, as they make you a bit older. You read books such as The Catcher in the Rye or Demian when you’re growing up and they give you a push forward.
Love the monogrammed shirt!
Alonso also told us about your guitars.
It’s not huge vice, but I like to play the guitar. Now I play more because a friend gave me one that meant a lot to him and now it means a lot to me, so that’s why I make myself play it once in a while. Like everything else, it’s hard, but when things go well, I feel good.
The musicians you like include Ryan Adams, Lucinda Williams, Wilco, Josh Rouse and… Pereza.
I like all types of music. I also listen to classical music. I’m a big fan of Brahms. I still do not get electronic music or at least I don’t understand it very well. I like the guitar and American music, and yes, I do like Pereza a lot, I have for many years. I know them and they’re two great guys. I’m friends with Leiva. Now he’s embarked on a solo career, his talent is brutal and he’s a good friend, he’s helped me with many things. I have a lot of admiration for him. And Pereza is inspired by American music. I’m sure that Leiva also listens to Wilco and likes them. I also like listening to live music, even if it’s just one guy playing a guitar in a bar. I also like jazz, not only the music but also the ambience, which is very literary… I’m happy there.
To end, I’m going to give you the Soylent Green test. Have you seen the movie?
It’s a movie where the government made wafers from the remains of elderly people for the rest of the population. When these elderly people were about to die, they went to these centers where they would get to listen to their favorite music, eat their favorite meal, watch a good video and then peacefully die. I want you to tell me what meal, music and images you would request if you found yourself in this situation.
I would be running out of there! I like living a lot, I would flee until they hang me. But if I couldn’t escape… I would listen to a song by Quique González, it will be out next year, but he hasn’t decided the name of it yet… No, I’m going to change the song! I would put Sabina’s “Tan joven y tan viejo.” I would also ask for a Super 8 video filmed many years ago of my mother with my brother when he was small, my mother was 23 and my brother was two. I like it a lot. And for my last meal, a coffee.
So, the “Granero” Soylent Green wafers would taste like coffee.