Adam David's The El Bimbo Variations

Ang Huling El Bimbo unarguably is Eraserheads' most popular heartbroken song. It is the anthem of a generation, the nostalgic Pinoy Gen X and Gen Y (Basti Artadi practically described them as teenyboppers) demographic. It's easy to see that Adam David belonged in that group and using Queneau and le Lionnais' Oulipo system as his weapon-of-choice, the author here executed a well-planned literary "heist" and ran away unscathed making us readers asking out for more deconstruction+reform, and more fun. I am actually asking  for a Shake Yer Head Variations as a sequel. I think it's more fun.

The rule of the game looks simple: focus on the first line "Kamukha mo si Paraluman, nung tayo ay bata pa" then deconstruct/revise/reform it using Oulipian constraints while anchored within the 90's Pinoy context to create a new piece of literature. Try it and you'll realize it's not so easy as it seems. At this instant I can only create a "Bullied & Spiteful Version" of it, in my own childhood context. It's far from being heartbroken literally: "Kamukha mo si Buaya, nung tayo ay bata pa..."

My most favorite constraints here are Dalit (for obvious reasons), Ad Copy, Spoonerisms, and Limerick. The end notes I think is the best and most important part of the book especially for readers with weak or zero literary background like me. I would have rated this book lower if there is no end note. Reading this without an end note is like a Martian trying to appreciate an abstract art by Henri Matisse. Adam David describes the Oulipian technique of writing constraints as a marriage of mathematics and literature. The product of that technique is this book. And since the author promotes it freely from its first public release in 2005, you can download a copy here thanks to Cloudup.

Category: Poetry
Rating: 3.5 cuts of Goat Placenta soap

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