“Palacietas and Villanuetas o viceversa”

Martín Serrano · Photos: Fran Montes

Book: Palacietas and Villanuetas: Juan Antonio Palacios and Carlos Villanueva

Palacietas and Villanuetas

Palacios and Villanueva have once again come together to produce “Palacietas and Villanuetas o viceversa”

On Thursday the 9th of May, the writer and the illustrator will be presenting their second version of “Villapalas”. Longer ‘tweets’ and extensive drawings combined in a book full of lessons and humour.

Juan Antonio Palacios and Carlos Villanueva are re-editing their first shared experience in the world of literature two years after they devised “Villapalas”, a novel literary experience in which tweets written by Palacios are combined with the illustrations of Villanueva.

An innovative experience that will now reach readers in a different manner because, contrary to the Spanish adage, second parts can be good, too.

Palacietas and Villanuetas: Juan Antonio Palacios and Carlos Villanueva

“The most important part is the idea itself,” Palacios replied when asked about the title of the project, “what people get from the book’s title is a wordplay of the authors’ names; it is quite complicated to decipher.”

The cartoonist jokingly points out that he is not to blame for this. “I have nothing to do with it. If someone is to blame and should be sent to prison, it’s him. I will defend him as much as I can, but that’s about it.”

Having overcome this obstacle, I ask if “Palacietas y Villanuetas” is “Villapalas 2”. The tweeter answers no. “This could totally be Villapalas 1 and the second part could have come before the first, but we don’t need to confuse the public.” Villanueva teasingly adds that he doesn’t understand anything. “You’re getting on my nerves. The one thing that has changed is that the tweets are longer, almost double in length, just with fewer pages.”

“In the first book, the tweets were short, like a punch in the stomach; now they allow more space for reflection and thought,” Palacios says, to which Villanueva adds that, throughout this second literary experience with the former mayor of Algeciras, “I had to work less, 120 illustrations less, and the tweets are now of medium to large length.”

Palacietas and Villanuetas o vice versa

Palacios and Villanueva are preparing the presentation of their work on Thursday, May 9th, at 7:30pm at the Centro Documental José Luis Cano, where the singer-songwriter Manolo Báez will sing. A world of surprises awaits those attending the event, though the stars of the evening refuse to reveal any of them.

“We are thinking about hiring the Artillery Regiment’s corps of drums and bugles,” the humorist jokes. “Could you bring the legion?”, “No, because they still work for the mayor.” Palacios points out, that “we are going to give away many things, people are going to be surprised, I think it’s going to impress everyone. People will participate in some way, although we’re going to be brief, it’s not about torturing anyone, we won’t exceed 45 minutes.”

Palacietas and Villanuetas o vice versa

We return to the book and ask the cartoonist if he has tried to relate the content of his vignettes with Palacio’s brief thoughts. “No. This time, I went my own way. I made 230 drawings. As the book is divided into sections, it hasn’t been difficult for me to place thirty in each of them, so some are related, others are not.” Palacios points out that, “our work is one of thought and illustration. It’s up to the reader to find the relationships and links between them. Both in “Villapalas” and in this one, there are two books in one.

“Meaning,” the humourist boasts, “you can cut the book in two pieces, and have two books in one.”

Villanueva admits, “My drawings are meant to say things, although I always try to make sure there is a half-smile, as some drawings are also meant to make you think.”

Palacietas and Villanuetas o vice versa

In spite of the good humour, Palacios ends our conversation with a warning, “this is a very serious project, and we have improved on it. The drawings are more intense, and I love them. There are drawings that are literary works in themselves. One of the most serious things in life is a sense of humour and Carlos has a great sense of humour,” to which Carlos adds, “the humourist always tries to spark a laugh, but it’s not always possible.”

“And the Tweets,” Villanueva adds, “at first they were limited and now my partner has the space to elaborate; it is dangerous to give Juan Antonio more rope to expand.” Palacios chimes in, “this is not the work of two sane, committed authors; you can’t be crazy if you’re not committed.”

The edition of this work is being published by Imagenta, and opens with a prologue which is once again written by Pedro Delgado.

What do you think?