Oriol Llopis, the cowboy of Barcelona | Culture


Image of the cover of 'The magnitude of the disaster.  Memories of an unreliable rock critic ', book by Oriol Llopis.
Image of the cover of ‘The magnitude of the disaster. Memories of an unreliable rock critic ‘, book by Oriol Llopis.

Early seventies, last century. In the Spain of the twilight Franco, rock was a cultural product as appreciated as it was elusive. There were hardly any stellar concerts, the discs were censored, it was even difficult to access the minimum information. A void that the FM stations and the music press were filling, with a staff illuminated by enthusiasms unimaginable today. The most colorful character of that generation was Oriol Llopis, who took his life on Thursday at the age of 65 in Tocina, in the Sevillian valley of the Guadalquivir.

A Barcelonian from a good family, born in 1955, rock and roll crossed his path, as Lou Reed sang with The Velvet Underground. Oriol sneaked into atypical magazines – the countercultural Star, the weekly Express Disc, the monthly Vibrations– where he shone for his viscerality: more than musical or political-social analysis, what he wanted was to convey the experience.

Many of their rudder movements were due to the voracious relationship with opiates, which required getting closer (or away) from their suppliers

His charisma helped: like his distant models, the Parisian Patrick Eudeline and the Londoner Nick Kent, he decided to adopt the role of rock star. Something frankly utopian, taking into account the narrowness of the profession and the conditions of the country. But he gave the type: handsome boy, he even starred in a photo session where he lay naked on Salvador Dalí’s lap.

Many of their rudder movements were due to the voracious relationship with opiates, which required getting closer (or away) from their suppliers. Thus he maintained a deep friendship with Burning, perhaps the most toxic Madrid band of the time. He disappeared towards South America, settling in Paraguay. He returned to join the publishing house that published Special Rock and other magazines, where he maintained his vices – he would later tell about it with hair and signs – surreptitiously emptying the Newsroom.

The only time he felt adequately paid was when he entered as a screenwriter at The Golden Age, with Paloma Chamorro. In reality, there was little to script in a program that was guided by the fashion; There, his main job was to deal with foreign guests. He even had to take the gruesome Johnny Thunders to a bullfight in Las Ventas, an unsettling experience even for him. killer New Yorker.

After going through TVE, Oriol evaporated between rumors and legends. They were two decades of discreet existence, with unlikely jobs outside journalism, usually near the Mediterranean. Until he was picked up by a good Samaritan woman who installed him in Andalusia. Simultaneously, the magazine Route 66 it was acquired by some of the old readers, who revered Oriol’s writings, both those of musical excuse and his occasional stories; an attempt was made to get him to write again.

He even had to take the gruesome Johnny Thunders to a bullfight in Las Ventas, an unsettling experience even for that ‘killer’ from New York.

This concatenation of circumstances allowed the appearance in 2012 of The magnitude of the disaster (66 rpm), book carefully subtitled Memoirs of an unreliable rock critic. A glorious roller coaster of memories and proclamations, all marked by whimsical musical preferences: better Golden Earring than the Rolling Stones, Elliott Murphy more than Bob Dylan.

Living near Seville, he learned to love Silvio, Dogo and Los Mercenarios, Pájaro. However, it did not capitalize on its proximity to authentic rock. Broke up with Route 66 and the anthology was self-published in 2015 Unreliable writings. At some point, they say he went back to his old ways. Better not inquire into those abysses. He decided to accelerate his departure, which makes sense: he defended that option in his farewell to Claudi Montañá, a colleague of Vibrations


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