The real story, which we have grown unaccustomed to, is chemically free of explanation. . . . The story is always about something unexplainable. The art of narration declines as explanations are added. -Aira


[César Aira]

back in Yanquistan! MuddUp now resumes its irregular service

big thanks for MuddUp reader Thraiped, who commented “I’m sort of obsessed with César Aira, Argentinian, ridiculously prolific… Most of his stuff is short – I recommend Como me Hice Monja (translated as How I Became a Nun) as a place to start.”

Thraiped’s obsession is now my own, Aira is amazing… and painfully undertranslated. Since this recommendation i’ve worked my way through El Pequeno Monje Buddhista, Las Noches de Flores, and Como Me Hice Monja. All great, surprising, and a fair amount unlike each other.

here’s a bit from this interview, in hasty muddy translation: “The meaning of the word ‘novel’ has expanded so much that it’s ideal in terms of freedom. It doesn’t occur to me to write anything else. I don’t like short story (as a form) because it depends too much on quality; if it’s not good, it doesn’t work. On the other hand, in the novel you can appreciate other things beside the author’s virtuosity, it’s a more relaxed form, let allows for changes of idea, regrets, asymmetries, sinous paths that I think adapt themselves better to my imagination.”

& an excerpt from a nice essay: “El vanguardista crea un procedimiento propio, un canon propio, un modo individual de recomenzar desde cero el trabajo del arte. Lo hace porque en su época, que es la nuestra, los procedimientos tradicionales se presentaron concluidos, ya hechos, y el trabajo del artista se desplazó de la creación de arte a la producción de obras, perdiendo algo que era esencial. Y esto no es ninguna novedad. San Agustín dijo que sólo Dios conoce el mundo, porque él lo hizo. Nosotros no, porque no lo hicimos. El arte entonces sería el intento de llegar al conocimiento a través de la construcción del objeto a conocer; ese objeto no es otro que el mundo. El mundo entendido como un lenguaje. No se trata entonces de conocer sino de actuar. Y creo que lo más sano de las vanguardias, de las que Cage es epítome, es devolver al primer plano la acción, no importa si parece frenética, lúdica, sin dirección, desinteresada de los resultados. Tiene que desinteresarse de los resultados, para seguir siendo acción. “

One has to be disinterested in the results to maintain the action.

Action! fire, gaitas, cumbia, interrupted silence:


Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto – Fuego de Cumbia

Los Gaiteros, folk but fierce, will play in Queens on August 2nd. $20/25 plus you have to go out to Queens (not easy from Brooklyn w/ no car)…


  1. ah, no not easy at all. if the G was running on the weekends, it’s a cinch, but it’s perpetually under construction every weekend. the brooklyn to queens buses, though, are great (i ride at least two everyday). a slow but scenic crawl through the neighborhoods. and queens, especially flushing, is good eatin’. so ride the bus to queens, graze around, and catch the show.

    magabo was amazing, btw! caught your blog entry in time to get to the water taxi beach in time. many thanks and welcome back.

  2. hi, sorry for unrelated comment, but i wanted to pass this new mash-up mix i made. i think it’s right mudd up your alley 🙂

    01_00:00 Deadbeat – Lost Luggage // Indonesia – Spring Water
    02_03:20 itoa – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart’s Dub Band D1 // Indonesia – Morning Sun
    03_05:50 The Mahotella Queens – Muntu Wesilisa // Wiley – Bang Bang Instrumental
    04_08:12 African Headcharge – Belinda // Blir – 19_4_04
    05_09:28 IndonesiaTraditional – Sanda Kandung // Unknown Grime instrumental
    06_11:24 Benga – Half Ounce // [Burundi: Music from the Heart of Africa] bernadette ii
    07_14:52 Indonesia Traditional – Ngantosan // Mark One – Slang
    08_17:28 Danny Weed – Dirty Den // Huseyin Ali Riza Albayrak – Ey Zahid
    09_19:02 Ragga Twins – Spliffhead
    10_20:35 Burial – Unite
    11_22:14 Dub Terror [ft. Echo Ranks] – Technology
    12_25:07 Hiripsime – ces femmes qui me ressemblent // Cyrus – Random Trio – Bounty
    13_28:33 African Headcharge – Run Come Saw // DQ1 – Wear The Crown
    14_32:00 Indonesia Traditional – Padang Magek // Omen – Rebellion
    15_35:05 L-Wiz – Sub // Armenia Traditional – Boulbouli Hid (Le Chant du Rossignol)
    16_38:54 Vex’d – Destruction // from 2046 soundtrack
    17_40:05 Hijak – Nightmares // ø – Toisaalia
    18_41:54 Shackleton – Blood On My Hands / I Want to Eat You // Dashti – Abdoinaghi Afsharnia
    19_47:54 Kode 9 – Magnetic City // Akhenation – 361 Degrees
    20_50:24 Mulatu Astatge – Kulunmanqueleshi // Dj Hatcha – Just a Rift
    21_52:53 Loka – Fire Shepherds – Freda Mae // Dubwoofa – Devoliz
    22_56:00 The Mahotella Queens – Ndodana Yolahleko // Skream – Skunkstep

    direct link to mp3:

    bigup rupture!

  3. Hey J,

    How goes it? Man, weird things happening. Thanks to Myspace, I hung out with this cool ass writer from Barcelona the other day named Javier Calvo in Brooklyn–turns out he lives here and is J.Lethem’s brother in law. Weirder still were all these anecdotes about Bolaño (he hated Calvo and once kicked him! ha!), Fresan and Aira who he’s met a few times. He told me that Aira is a nice guy but super socially inept and weird as hell. I want to meet him! I just bought “How I Became a Nun” and can’t wait to read it. You should also check out Alberto Fuguet’s “Mala Onda” which was very formative for younger Latin-American writers.


  4. Jace,
    A friend had turned me on to C. Aira, good stuff.

    Gotta admit, at the moment very much into the fuzz where crónica and “fiction” rub against each other, and how a lot of the people I seem to like of late also make/write about music/film/plástica. Fuguet’s Mala Onda was formative for me for sure when I ran across it in 92, and he writes really well about film (I think he studied at USC).

    This guy who lives in NY but writes in Spanish has been doing some cool stuff of that sort, the “almost like real life” short story, all online:

    The Bachata Roja guys and the Gaiteros are in Qns in the same week! May have to invite friends with cars to go with…

  5. So…I heard this song on the radio today and fell in love with it, but I seemed to have missed out and the mp3 is already off the internets. Could you e-mail it to me? I just got back from studying abroad in Russia, and unfortunately am 2p4m (too poor for music).

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