Snowflake is back

Shortly after Snowflake passed away, with the city still in dismay, my dearest Julia Otero asked Joan Clos about who could take “the charismatic relief” of a icon as irreplaceable as the only albino gorilla in the world. The then mayor, a guy who has always generated in me a kind of tenderness born of perplexity due to his talent for screwing up on the most solemn occasions, replied: «What is most appreciated is that we have ten gorillas in the Barcelona City Council ».

Perhaps that was an involuntary confession about which council team had devised something like the Forum, perhaps it was just an innocent lapse, perhaps it was a settling of accounts with Copito himself: legend has it that when Porcioles, the Francoist mayor, received him for the first time at the municipal headquarters on November 1, 1966, the animal defecated in the Town Hall. It has rained, even snowed, since his death, but everything remains the same. Or similar.

One million euros

This week we talk about him again. I heard the other day in Rac 1 the news that a project to honor his figure is prospering. Eduardo Bare, owner of a restaurant and activist ‘floquetinero’, began collecting signatures through for an initiative to be undertaken. The symbol of the city for so many decades had neither streets nor statues. Chance would have it that the idea reached the ears of the co-owner of This is Houston, a technology company based in Barcelona. And it seems that the idea will soon reach the municipal plenary session: a possible animatronic sculpture, a monument 2.0 about 3 meters high, which would cost a million euros.

Without knowing if the thing would be a horror or a prodigy, I support from this humble tribune not to forget the character, shortly after twentieth anniversary of his death. Barcelona without Copito, as without Messi, lost a unique being in its kind, of those that give relief, character and projection. For better and for worse.

A myth-souvenir

I am not speaking out of childhood nostalgia, although I drew Copito on my desk a million times (it is said that, when asked about the olympic mascot they would want for 92, 90% of the children chose him). Nor from adolescent empathy: seeing that king, to whom everything was granted, looking with punk rage and folk sadness, making bald men, throwing their own feces at the bars before the rapt gaze of tourists (in a city that was dedicated to that sector) always enchanted me. I speak beyond personal memory. Keeping Copito in mind is not amnesia about how the Catalan bourgeoisie made a lot of money without paying tariffs by exploiting the Spanish colony in which he was born (now Equatorial Guinea), when he was around until Felix Millet playing sax in a combo called Banana Boys. It is to raise the relevance of make a claim of a captive animal. It is not to forget the touchstone (that cover of ‘National Geographic’) of the unstoppable (and poorly managed) globalization of Barcelona. It is to reflect on the artist and the unique being, who, because he is unique, feels alone, no matter how surrounded by people he lives. It is, on the other hand, rescuing a city in which we wanted, and had seen in person, our icon.

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Even now, when I go to the zoo, I look for it beyond the stuffed animals that are sold in the store, the myth turned into a souvenir, and I wonder: what would Copito think of his city?

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