Legends, Labyrinths & Lo-Fi

Chill beats to read stories from Latin America.

Nobody is as perfect as history tells in its most glowing praises, or as rotten as it writes in the most scathing words.

The world lost Diego Armando Maradona this week, arguably football’s GOAT player. I have never seen Maradona play live. All I ever knew of him at present were the antics and notoriety. If not for free information from youtube and Wikipedia, I would have thought him to be another one of those overhyped players who turn out to be very ordinary in reality (I never rate Pele because of this, man has no good quality youtube footage available).

Yet it feels like the game of football has lost something irreplaceable. Maybe its because he was bigger than football itself. I knew about that game against England even before I knew about football. Maradona was an underdog, he always played for such teams, for rabid fanbases which had suffered through loss after a loss but had never lost their love, and he led to them unprecedented glory. He helped those teams to conquer their demons and relieved their legions of followers from the terrible anguish, even ready to embody the role of a villain for this. And maybe this is why he is treated like a God by those people (There is an entire religion started by his fans, complete with their own church and commandments and all that).

He wasn’t just a great player, but he also loved to defy the existing order. A player who could score both a brazen handball and a magical dribble past six players to score an impossible goal, all in the span of five minutes. Maradona was a genius, but he was also a human like all of us. He had his flaws, but instead of hiding them away, he wore them like a badge of honour. He reached the top and still gave a middle finger to the establishment. And isn’t it what we all want to do in the end?

Recommended Watch

Maradona in Mexico – Maradona had a pretty ordinary managerial career, with few controversies and colourful incidents sprinkled here and there for good measure. But he didn’t exactly stop managing teams after that Argentina debacle in 2010. In fact, one of the most interesting spells actually came at the tail end of his life, when he took charge of a second division club in Mexico, Dorados de Sinaloa.

The year is 2018 and the club, which is situated in the cocaine capital of Mexico (ironical, isn’t it), has ambitions of promotion to top division. In comes Maradona, and what follows is one of the greatest single-season stories in football you will ever see. It is equal parts crazy, inspiring, passionate and heartbreaking. Especially when in the last game of the season, against all odds, this team goes out and………………….. I’m not gonna spoil that.

The Netflix docu-series is brutally honest in the depiction of his defects, but his passion for football is what really shines the most throughout the 8 episode run. It shows us a real, human side of Maradona, away from all the glitz & glamour & football records & skills. Just him and a crazy city along with their undying love for the beautiful game. A simple show, but sometimes the simplest things are the most powerful.

“Damn It, how will I ever get out of this labyrinth?”

Legends say that these are the last words spoken by Simon Bolivar on his deathbed. Simon Bolivar, El Libertador; the great General who rode 70,000 km on horseback (almost twice the length on earth’s circumference), fought more than a 100 battles in his lifetime, liberated almost half of South America from the Spanish rule, and at one point was subsequently the de jure President and de facto King of territories which comprise of modern-day Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela and Peru. Gran Colombia, the nation he created was one of the richest and most powerful in the world in the early 19th century and is home to more than 100 million people today.

Simon Bolivar statue on the front of National Capitol in Bogota, Colombia.

If there was a TIME’s list of most powerful people back in the 1820s, Bolivar would have topped it every year running.

Yet this man, whose life was nothing if legendary, died one of the most ordinary deaths. One of the greatest generals the world has ever produced died from tuberculosis at the age of 47 on his estate in Colombia, served by a handful of his most loyal followers. Everyone else had forgotten him while he prepared to leave the continent; expelled from the very countries he had liberated, his dream of a united Latin American superpower disintegrated. From being so loved that they named an entire country in his honour, Simon Bolivar became so loathed by the people that they even banned his name. The father of six nations and 2.5 million people never receive a proper funeral. (If you want to know more about Bolivar and his extra-ordinary life, check out this amazing six-part series on Youtube)

Many famous and beloved people fell from grace during their lifetimes, but few ever fell as hard as Bolivar. His story is the starkest reminder of the fickleness which is life, the universe and everything else.

Bolivar must have said something like ‘I’m thirsty’ or ‘Oh shit’ as he died. I don’t expect a dying man to say such cryptic lines. But when you look at the tragedy of his life, you almost want to believe that he should have complained to the universe as his time came to an end – “what else must I do to solve this puzzle of life?”

Talking about Latin American rulers…..

The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa

Rafael Trujillo was the dictator of the Dominican Republic in the 1950s, and Vargas Llosa’s book, which treads the fine line between fiction and reality, recounts those fateful years of El Jefe’s rule on the island nation in a such a graphic and captivating fashion that by the end you almost feel like you’ve lived through those years.

Trujillo is similar in many ways to a staple dictator figure – a charismatic & visionary leader who is also power-hungry with questionable morals. Told through the eyes of El Jefe, his assassins and the daughter of Trujillo’s closest minister who returns 35 years after the dictator’s death, Vragas Llosa’s interwoven storylines create a complex maze of flashbacks and conversations, letting the reader get lost into the world of 1950s Dominican Republic, the economic progress of Trujillo’s glory days and the censorship and crimes of his later years.

From the POV of the exploiter and the exploited, Feast of the Goat explores the relationships between masochism, power, morality, politics and memory. It’s hard to confine it within the bounds of a genre, and Vargas Llosa expertly uses the grand scope of his ambitious narrative to craft a story which is hard to put down. Its nothing less than a modern literary achievement from a writer who deservedly belongs in the pantheon of literary legends.


Parcels by Parcels

Parcels are an Australian Electro-Pop group that has worked with Daft Punk in the past. And that experience is clearly audible in their self-titled debut. Using a blend of modern electronic beats with classic disco and funk influences, the mellow sounds of this album flow real nicely from start to finish. It’s perfect when you are chilling out in the shade during a hot sunny afternoon, and also works when you want to relax after slogging through some office work.

Best way to describe it – As smooth as a knife cutting through a golden yellow brick of butter.

Standout tunes – Lightenup, Tape

Lo-fi gems

My friend has recently gotten into Lo-fi, using it as background music while he works on excel files and PowerPoint presentations. Talking to him made me go back and listen to some of my all-time lo-fi classics.

Nujabes – Feather

Nujabes – LuvSic (Part 3)

Joey Pecraro – Tired Boy

That’s it for this one.

Would love to hear about the stories that you have discovered lately or any feedback about the article.

Have a nice !!

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