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Pablo Malaurie

Pablo had a little box that he carried everywhere. From time to time, at a quiet bend in the road, he would pull out a joint and take two or three small tokes before putting it discreetly back in its place. We never thought about asking him to share, it was his box, his survival kit for his own personal illness.

He was not the kind of person who trod heavily on the earth, someone for whom hope disappeared step by step. He was the type who walks a fine balance between observing in silence and quietly adding delicate notes of music, even if he hasn’t been asked to and no one is looking at him doing so. I had met him a few days before in a neighbourhood café, I liked the tone of his voice when he occasionally spoke; his discretion and his way of moving through the room made me think of those wise and noble people of a bygone era who have come to observe our own. But his nature was such that he would immediately vocalize his opinions. “Hey, a little more red here. Here, add a childish melody there. With a high-pitched voice to trick the crowd. But stay almost hidden in that dark corner. A little to the left. There, just like that.”

He developed his plans at home, overlooking one end of the city. He had the leisure to observe the way the world works, its quirks and its radiance, and to reflect on how to create a little something which could bring beauty, meaning and happiness to the world around him. But he always kept his impassive manner, without changing anything, without loudly stating “Society needs this and that, goddamnit”. Just a nearly silent passerby who in an instant understood more than those who had stopped to watch.

We went out at night, a short ride to meet some ghosts, my friend in a car, underneath lights which flickered, annoyed at having to light a city that could stand to shut up occasionally. We didn’t have a route in mind, as we set off the world around called to us; while Pablo mused about what to bring with him, I worried that he had forgotten the key.

And soon a park, a seemingly neverending sphere, where we wondered how to use the space with what we had and soon everything made sense, in a few minutes the music took the form of the place that it should never have left, the purifying balm from the box of the little Argentinean magician. Is this where the new music of the year 500 emerged? But Pablo understood: he was just a passerby, the city around him was full of stories one could only experience through his melodies.

Pablo Malaurie

Translated by Tara Dominguez