On Fools name is written everywhere (Contraluz), Pablo Carbonell (Cádiz, 59 years old) plays an acid satire on show business that begins with the protagonist waiting his turn on death row. There is for everyone: talent shows, child exploitation in industry, managers bullies, fraudulent radios … A dive into the industry of someone more than authorized. In the last forty years, Carbonell has been a comic partner of the unforgettable Pedro Reyes, part of the liberating hosts of television The Cristal ball, leader of the irreverent group Los Toreros Muertos, member of that first lineup of impertinent reporters commanded by El Gran Wyoming in the program Whoever that fails, director of Tuna and chocolate, writer of three books and inventor of countless other things. Perhaps that curiosity and an evident taste for precision when expressing himself make Carbonell the ideal interviewee.
After his The Tarantula World: Memoirs (2016, Blackie Books), this is her second novel (the previous one was Pepita, in Ediciones Destino, 2019), do you feel more comfortable writing fiction? I think that writers always talk about what they know and what you always want to know is yourself. Fiction was only invented to feel more free. I already knew that writing a fake biography was going to put a lot of myself into it.
Do you qualify it as such, fake biography? Yes. We could even say fake autobiography, which would be a new genre. I hoped that the plot of the novel would nullify the force of the concern to know how much of my reality there is and how much is invention. Practically, almost everything is reality.
Seriously? Yes, sadly yes. In any case, my gaze towards show business is more affectionate than that of the protagonist. He is more disappointed, he has studied music theory, he has had an exploitative mother, he has not been free in his creativity, he has been betrayed … A series of things that have not happened to me, but that I have been able to see around me.
He wrote it in lockdown. The event that leads the narrator and protagonist to jail and death row crossed my mind thirty years ago. But he needed to live those thirty years in show business to be able to write it. He never found the ideal moment, but the pandemic came.
Pablo Carbonell signs copies of his first novel, ‘Pepita’, at the 2019 Madrid Book Fair Pablo Cuadra (Getty Images)
Now you live in a town and you seem to be writing. Is it better to get away from all that gibberish? The trigger for my going to live in the countryside was the pandemic. I don’t want to go back to the city anymore. I have become more leisurely, healthier, I have taken years off, I am much more handsome… I live close to the sun. Before dawn, I’m on my feet. Walk from eight in the morning. One of the great tasks that I imposed on myself since I was little in the world of entertainment was to demolish the distance between artist and audience. I noticed a lot of nonsense in the stars of the song and decided to make a group of clowns to laugh at that attitude. During the pandemic I was unable to get on stage to play the clown and I asked myself: “How do I continue my demolition work on the star system? ”. Well, writing this satire.
Is there something in the book that responds to a certain reckoning? Because it makes some good setbacks. It is true that I do not walk around with warm cloths, but you have to understand that this man is waiting to sit in the electric chair. It’s not going to get great either. I have tried to control his bad temper, put a lot of sense of humor and a bit of pedantry because the man expresses himself quite baroque. I love words. Reckoning? Not really. I have always shot with rubber bullets. When I was in Whoever that fails everyone said to me: “Give them a shot!” when all I wanted was for people to laugh. All human behaviors are understandable to me. I have no ability to throw stones at anyone.
It seems that you are not very fond of that slippery concept of fame, do you? Actually we who are in the world of entertainment or fame have no right to complain. It saddens me that they call me famous. I prefer to be told “You are an actor.” Or writer, or whatever. I can even allow them to tute me. But to be told that I am famous seems a bit insulting to me because famous is one or one who gets famous because they sleep with someone or because of who their parents are. Spectacular nepotism.
He has done television, directed a movie, published some books, was and is the leader of a band. How do you cope with the imposter syndrome? I have it! Totally! Throughout. When I go on stage I always think: “Will they realize?” I see myself singing 35 years ago at Radio 3 parties and I think the world is worse than me. The protagonist of my book is actually the same: he is one of the most lucid of those around him.
You, who have lived through the eighties and the Movida, have you also felt a bit like that, the most lucid of crazy people? In my family I am. I have not diagnosed any mental illness, which is already a milestone. Possibly my hyperactivity is in a state of madness, a continuous state of forward flight and inability to stay still.
Maybe it’s just his way of escaping madness. Yes, and also knowing that this way you create your space in which to do cartwheels without disturbing others. The crazy people who do not make their space are giving the ass to others. Art has taken a lot of social dangers off the streets. In the book I say: how many people have taken an electric guitar as a substitute for a submachine gun? Art is very liberating.
Portrait of Pablo Carbonell in 2004 Jose R. Aguirre (Cover / Getty Images)
Other glancing themes appear in the book, such as parenthood … I am a happy and very responsible father. I wish it reached the level of mine. My mother, very severe, and my father, a flown. A great balance. My grandmother was Belgian. And I think my father was brought up as they are brought up in Northern Europe: children are people from the moment they are born. Here, we Mediterraneans consider that children are only people if we educate and tame them well. I am from the Belgian school. But I do not want to garden talking about concepts such as fatherhood or motherhood, which is why I have made a fiction, so as not to get my fingers caught.
It is true that in your book there are some things that can generate some controversy… I have read wonderful interviews with colleagues in which they have demonstrated a humanity that I lack. Two days later, the headline of that report has provoked the anger of a huge population group and the man had to come out to apologize. In a world where information is almost always provided out of context, it has to be caught with cigarette paper. I have no waist or any desire to be reminded that the world is an atrocious place full of people with spectacular bad blood. It makes me very sad.
And how do you handle yourself on Twitter, a place that is not exactly friendly and where you have more than 150,000 followers? I cover my nose and go inside. Anyway, recently I was just following Yoko Ono.
But he no longer follows anyone … Anyone. My opinion is for me or my friends. Twitter is a showcase where I put the products I want to launch. I am very happy on Instagram seeing life as if I were a tourist. I miss a less cheerful, less fake site.
However, one might think that reporters from Whoever that fails they were almost about prototroles… I was actually a good troll. I have never laughed at people, but with people, at the nonsense that arose. My proposal was to humanize politicians and show that beyond the official version they had a human side. An impossible task, really.
With Esperanza Aguirre he was close to achieving it. Yes Yes. One day I don’t know what I said well about her and she called me. I didn’t know I had my phone. What friend of hers has passed it to her?
Or yours. Or mine, yes. So I invited her to the presentation of the book, the latter, and she told me that she would do her best to come.
And went? It did not come. In part I am glad. Because imagine that now she presents a book and makes me go. Well, nothing happens. Put “laughs”. [Risas]. I will be delighted. Do you know what happens? I don’t know if it’s because of age, but every day I care less about what ideology the people are. The other day, by the way, and nobody knows this, [Santiago] Abascal and [El gran] Wyoming were talking in a bar.
But if you tell me this I will publish it. I already know it.
Well now you will have to develop it. Suddenly, Abascal greeted Wyoming in a bar and it was all very dark. I don’t know what time it would be. The case that said, “Hello” and Wyoming replied, “Hello.” And Abascal said to him: “Do you know who I am?” and Wyoming said, “No fucking idea.” And then he said: “I am Abascal”, and Wyoming replied: “Well, you are very well for the age you are supposed to be.” Because Wyoming thought he was a Real Madrid footballer from a ton of years ago. The fact is that he said: “No, I’m the leader of Vox.” And Wyoming told him: “I think that in all of Spain there are not two more disparate people talking together.” And they continued talking. Well, I believe in that, in finding meeting points apart from who we vote for and how we think. The other day Fran Rivera came to my house to interview me. I have never worried about what Fran Rivera votes but everyone thinks he votes for Vox. I peel it off. Did you come to my house doing the Roman salute? No. Did you come in singing the Face to sun? Either. He came, we laughed and he was lovely with me. There are people who are very upset about this. Well, you take a pill and you calm down. And I think that artists are here, among other things, to build bridges between people. And just as if I had been the son of a bullfighter, maybe I would have been a bullfighter. That seems like a horrible sport to me …
Well you’ve been a dead bullfighter. I was very surprised that that interview became trending topic by the fact that you talked about your addictions when you have already counted it a thousand times. I take it patiently because I think my opinion on drugs is more important than the queen’s, that she is the honorary president from the Foundation for Help Against Drug Addiction, because I know what drugs are and the time and health that make you lose, the circles in which you get into … But it saddens me that the information is distributed with these contents because the truth resents. And actually, I was going there to talk about my video clip with the Flip flops…
You, Los Toreros Muertos, have joined forces with No me Pises que Llevo Chanclas, the thug pop mega-band. Do you return to the stage in style? We have done it to go partying. The road and the rocanrol They are very healthy and very good at everything.
And, apart from that, something else will go … I’m walking a new book in the field.
A novel? Yes!
Another bogus autobiography, rather, right? Sure, like all.