“Julio Camba wrote like very few people: with precision, subtlety and a sense of humor, which is why his texts have aged so well,” says Acer Álvarez, journalist and curator of the exhibition. Julio Camba, the man who wanted to be nothing. “It’s not that I didn’t want to be something,” he explains in a telephone interview with elDiario.es, “what happens is that he wasn’t pretentious at all.” A journalist born in Pontevedra in the town of Villanova de Arusa, he began publishing in some Spanish newspapers in 1900, first in the republican media and then in conservative newspapers. He was distinguished above all for his articles and travelogues, always written with very few words, with great force and characteristic humor, which managed to captivate the Spanish population of the time for more than fifty decades.
“There are many famous profiles who decide to live in the hotel”, explained the management of the Palace, and Julio Camba was one of them: “he reached an agreement” to live in one of the rooms for twelve years. Álvarez, who went to the hotel to film his next documentary on Camba, at that time saw the palace’s “English bar” as the perfect place to “get to know the story” of the Galician journalist.
Through the various investigations that the documentarian conducted about the writer for his first audiovisual work, The Beginning of the World by Julio Camba, He obtained some important material that manages to create a “very original tour” through a “small sample” inside the Museo Bar of the Westin Palace Hotel in Madrid (on view until December 15). The exhibition includes photographs, letters, personal items, illustrations by the artist Siro and several articles by a Galician journalist.
The exhibition begins before entering the opulent bar, with a display of one of the two original suitcases that Camba left at the hotel, which “were his only possessions at the time,” Alvarez says. He poses on a stand near the door, inside of which is a screen showing a two-minute “sneak preview” of Usher’s documentary as an intro. Very close to the entrance, on the right-hand side, is a wall full of hanging frames, which contain the main material of the exhibition: a sepia-colored photograph of a very young Kamba with his personal information, a travel postcard or a piece of paper. Here are some of them from the original article. Near each object, a QR code to access a selection of Kamba articles in audio format, which can also be heard on YouTube.
His stay at the hotel was “quiet”: “He didn’t go out too much and stayed in a modest room,” hotel sources explain. Of course, he developed a A special taste for gastronomy and became “perhaps the first gastronomic journalist of the time,” Alvarez says, so much so that he came to write The House of Lucullus, or the Art of Eating Well, a book “that might be called gastrophilosophy,” in which he “narrates his travel experiences eating at restaurants in European capitals.” For this reason, the palace exhibition is complemented by a tapas menu designed around Kamba’s “likes and phobias”: sardine, “one of his favorite dishes,” even cod, an animal he says is a “fish mummy” because of its ugliness. It also includes a glass of Albariño from the journalist’s homeland.
He talked about politics, gastronomy, society and worldly issues. He did this from a much more lyrical writing than the media used in Spain at the time. “I was 10 or 12 years old when a pious man tried to convince my parents to send me to seminary and become a priest,” Kamba wrote. in one of the articles As is heard in the palace exhibition, “I have a lover, blowing smoke from my nostrils, and being in the secret of church things: I only needed a cap and a little mustache to be an atheist, a temptress, and a cruel one.” “. The young writer ran away from his parents’ plan, claiming that his ideas did not allow him to become a priest, and was put on a ship bound for Argentina, a country where he discovered the fervor of anarchist revolutionary groups.
Writing and Anarchy, Julio Camba of Youth
Adolescent Kamba has marked a very important stage in his journey. He wrote for some of the minority Argentinean anarchist media, gave conferences and collaborated on political pamphlets. For these reasons he was expelled from the Latin American country along with other foreign anarchists, but when he arrived in Madrid he continued to surround himself with the bohemian and politicized atmosphere of the time and worked as an anonymous editor for the republican newspaper El País. while collaborating with various anarchist publications. At this time, he founded the weekly newspaper El Rebelde, which was closed a year later due to the accumulation of various trials for thought crimes. His texts were loaded with strong anarchist rhetoric.
The great event that split Julio Camba’s career and life in two occurred on May 31, 1906, when his friend, the anarchist Mateo Moral, threw a bomb from his balcony aimed at Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia, who were walking together along Calle Mayor. With the crowd about the wedding. The bomb left the kings unharmed, but twenty-five people died. This event had a strong impact on the writer, and “he was very disappointed,” explains Aser Alvarez, “so he was slowly abandoning the anarchist ideas that had so seduced him in his youth.” At that moment, “a new Julio Camba was born.”
The period of journalistic maturity
Since then, the writer has further polished the sarcastic, witty and powerful tone of his texts, making irony his special feature. His first serious contract is in El Mundo. The newspaper where he lives at the height of his career: Although Kamba was already famous, entering the workforce makes him one of the most engaged journalists in the country.
Spanish readers wanted to read Julio Camba
– A biographer of Julio Camba
There he took the opportunity to talk about his travels back to his native Galicia, but he was really a travelogue in 1908, when “by chance,” says Alvarez, “while walking in the Plaza de Cortes in Madrid with himself. Friend José Ortega Munilla, father of Ortega y Gasset, meets Leopoldo Romeo and offers him a position Spanish Correspondence to take the correspondent to Constantinople”. He resigned after two months because he didn’t like the country, and back in Spain El Mundo rescued him to take him to Paris.
By this time, Spanish readers were already clamoring for his presence: on a day when he was not writing in the newspaper, they called the newsroom to ask why Julio Camba did not appear in the column. Julio Camba’s modern and contemporary history researcher and biographer, Francisco Fuster, who recently won the Antonio Dominguez Ortiz Biographies Award for his book. Julio Camba. Journalism lessonIn a telephone interview with elDiario.es, he explains that “at the last stage of his life, when he returned to Lisbon after being exiled due to the civil war, he no longer wanted to write”, and then ABC, newspaper St. Which he already worked as a correspondent and left to go to El Sol, “began to republish Camba’s old articles, changing the title and changing them a little because readers wanted to read Julio Camba.” Kamba was one of the most recognized and highest paid journalists of that time.
“It is very difficult to develop a biography of Kamba, because he did not write a memoir or an autobiography, and the books published in his life are very poorly edited: he did not care about preserving his memory, leaving a legacy, says the archive or foundation. Foster. “Also, he was a very shy person who never talked about himself and his feelings. There is nothing close to Kamba.” Only one hundred articles that he left in the legacy of Spanish journalism serve to introduce the Galician writer who revolutionized journalism. Although it was difficult to place him in one place because he was “in the middle of two great Spanish generations, 98 and 14”, says the biographer, “Camba created a phenomenon” as no other journalist did. “Such short articles in such a personal style, loaded with humor and irony that no one else has.”
Today’s journalism is full of kambas, but the press is no longer enough to live in the Palace Hotel
José Manuel Pereiro
– Journalist and director of the Galician magazine “Luzebi”.
Despite his origins and references to his homeland, “Camba didn’t have much influence in Galician journalism in that sense” because “he hardly wrote in the Galician language or in the Galician media,” Fuster explains. However, Xoe Manuel Pereiro, director of the Galician Journal lights, argues that “what is very prominent in Camba is the influence of the Galician character”, which is evident in the sarcasm of his texts. protect, for example, illiteracy, on ABC and from New York!, arguing that illiterate farmers or sailors have more culture than university graduates, I don’t know how he would have understood in his time. I think about ABC, many will take it at face value. But today his writings should be full of #IronicModeOn,” says Pereiro.
“Here, in the recent past, there were followers of Kamba. “Perhaps the most obvious of his literary efforts was Francisco Umbral, but he was confined to Madrid and was going to buy bread,” explains the director. lights, “and in Galicia, Carlos Casares, whose daily column was most widely read in La Voz de Galicia”. But today it would be very difficult to experience a similar phenomenon around a journalistic figure. “Today’s journalism is full of kambas and some of them are very good,” says Pereiro, but with the difference that “today the press is no longer enough to live in the Palace Hotel, all its narrative efforts are directed at developing arguments. Its followers are devoid of irony. Ბevre”.
Source: El Diario