Jimmy Giménez-Arnau: «The fact of staying alive shows that life has been generous»
In times of pandemic, lyrics can be the best balm to heal souls. Perhaps that is why the book of poems that in 1971 signed Jimmy Giménez-Arnau, ‘Whose jungle’, which more than growing old, lives a second youth. ‘Enfant terrible’ since then, continues with the long tongue and the same sharp beak as always.
In the 70’s he was a young poet who is now republished. How does it feel?
The Vitrubio publishing house is relaunching the poets of the 70s and it gave me great joy because, even today when I read it, there are things I don’t understand and that is because at that time the word dominated me. Back in the day I paid for that first edition. It was my first book.
Then came ‘The different solitude’, ‘The transparent islands’ and then ‘Yo, Jimmy’. I have promised that I will write a book of sonnets within a year.
What remains of that Jimmy who did not reach 30?
The best thing about poetry is that almost no one messes with you because it doesn’t generate envy by not entering the commercial circuits. And I know a lot about that because whenever you take out a book, the normal thing is that they make you give birth. In my case it even worked and I asked for it because that way everyone would find out.
The rebel profile with or without a cause has always worked for him.
You must always be in opposition. Note that in my previous book, ‘The played life’, the launch coincided with the pandemic and I couldn’t even present it.
How is it living in times of Covid?
Luckily I haven’t caught it and I’m also one of those who have even vaccinated against rabies (laughs) in order not to have it. Every time a vaccine comes out, I sign up. We’ve been three winters with this shit and on top of that with the buzz we have in La Moncloa. Imagine how angry all the guilds are.
I follow him and I verify that in matters of politics he gets very involved and is very critical of the Government of Pedro Sánchez.
The normal thing is that those of us who write about politics place ourselves in the opposition and more so with what we have now, which are ruining Spain.
Have you felt fear in these years?
I have been terrified with Covid. Think that at my 78 years if I take it, surely it will give me bilateral or triple pneumonia if there is one. I have not gone to anything at all of all the calls that invite me. I only go out to go to ‘Sálvame’ to work because I have to eat. All the offers that were before have been pulverized. It’s bleak. My only joy in these years has been the appearance of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, of whom I declare myself a total fan. He has done a lot for Madrid and its people; and the best thing is that they will not be able to with it.
You won the lottery the day you met your wife, Sandra. I’m wrong?
Sandra is everything that I am not. Responsible, compliant, serious…
But you have also changed in these years. He is no longer the Jimmy he was…
That is out of respect for Sandra because if it were up to me I assure you that I always harm myself. I wouldn’t trade Sandra for the world. He is the love of my life without a doubt. We have been together for 16 years and eight years ago I asked him to marry us. It was very clear to me.
How have you been with the interruption of the marriage of the Urdangarin?
What they have done is a plagiarism of García Márquez’s title ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’. That marriage had been dead for a long time, even before he entered the Brieva prison.
These last few years have not been easy for his ex-political family, the Francos, either. From the exhumation to the expropriations that they are suffering.
But they never do a tax inspection. That must have been a political agreement when Franco died with Don Juan Carlos and that is why the Treasury has not investigated it. I am sure that if they were done they would get so much that we Spaniards could spend four years without paying anything.
Still no news of your daughter?
Neither I exist for her nor she for me. It’s something I’ve digested a long time ago but I didn’t do anything to make him react like that. I tried to get her back when she was still a minor and with a lawyer I fought as far as I could both in Spain and in the United States, where I traveled to see her. She won all the visitation lawsuits but then they never let me see her. The last time we were together was the two months he spent in Spain with me and we had a great time. She then went to the Virgin Islands with her mother. Since then I haven’t been able to talk to her again. My parents died, who were his grandparents, and they always behaved well, and he did nothing to say goodbye to them. With the coming of age, he showed that he did not want to know anything about me. Loving someone who doesn’t love you is very difficult.
Do you think life is fair to you?
Life has been very fair, I think too much, because I should be in a jail in Jamaica or there (laughs). Seriously, I think I’m lucky because among other things I’m still alive.
With Covid, mental health problems have increased. Has confinement made you emotionally worse?
I lack mental health and it is true that I lead a very homely life but when I can I go to the house of two good friends to spend a few days. I love being with Sandra at home because I’m not boring at all, quite the opposite.
What headline can you give me about your wife Sandra?
If I had met her 50 years ago I would still be with her.