Monday, October 25

Oriol Llopis: The corpse of the great rock critic is still in the morgue | Culture

After three weeks, the body of Oriol Llopis is still in the morgue. The body of one of the great pioneers of rock criticism in Spain, who died at the age of 65 on April 1 after taking his life in Alicante, remains in a mortuary chamber because no one has yet taken over the money for his incineration. If the 1,800 euros that it costs to assume funeral services are not deposited within a few days, Llopis, a charismatic character who promoted Spanish music criticism in the seventies in magazines such as Star, Disco Expres O Vibrations, it will end up in a mass grave. His last partner, María García Verdú, lacks enough money and is looking around the clock for help so that “Oriol can rest once and for all”.

The body of Llopis (who was born in Barcelona in 1955) is in the La Siempreviva funeral home in Alicante. Funeral services are valued at 4,000 euros, but the center has offered to burn his body for a symbolic amount of 1,800. However, María García Verdú and a small group of friends of the rock critic in the Valencian town have not managed to get all the money. “It has been a great one. He deserves a divine cremation and not end this way ”, Verdú assures in a telephone conversation, who says that Llopis did not want to be buried. “He always told me that he wanted us to incinerate him and divide his ashes. That one half were thrown into the Mediterranean Sea and the other was left for me ”.

Time again plays against Llopis, an icon of music journalism who always traveled the wild side of drugs and the rock and roll As he well related in all those articles with which he became known in the post-Franco regime and confessed in even more detail in his memoirs, The magnitude of the disaster (66 rpm). As Diego A. Manrique, another of the pioneers of music journalism, wrote: “He shone for his viscerality: more than musical or political-social analysis, what he wanted was to transmit the experience.” An experience that has brought this famous writer of rock experiences and excesses closer to Ian Curtis and Kurt Cobain. Like them, he hastened his death. He took his own life on April 1.

Oriol Llopis, on the left, in an image provided by María García Verdú.
Oriol Llopis, on the left, in an image provided by María García Verdú.

Until now there had been different rumors about his tragic end. In full confusion, some placed her in Malaga and others in Seville, the city where he lived with his last wife until before the outbreak of the pandemic. However, María García Verdú, his last partner, says that Llopis hung himself from the terrace of the pension at number 24 Altamira street in Alicante. His death was instantaneous.

It was not an outburst. Llopis had talked about committing suicide on many occasions. He even made failed attempts years ago. In Paraguay, where he was living for a while at the end of the last century, he tried to cut his wrists. More recently, when he was living in Seville in the Los Rosales neighborhood, he tried to do it with a cable, but it broke and, as a consequence, broke a bone.

He came to Alicante in love with his “Viking”, María García Verdú, belonging to Morticia y los Decrépitos, a band punk emerged in the late eighties. Verdú and Llopis met in May 2019 after a concert in which she took the stage. They began to see each other in Seville and Alicante until, in the end, the rock critic went to spend the confinement in the Valencian town to be with her. “He was a very weird guy. You had to know how to carry him, but we loved each other very much. I have many recordings of us on my cell phone and now memories of him are overwhelming me like hosts ”. A heroin addict, the music critic entered Seville a few years ago on a methadone detoxification program. In Alicante, according to his partner, he did not consume and took off his monkeys with the opiates that she gave him: “He took off everything, except beer.”

Llopis spent the last day of his life with her. “We were together until the bars closed at 18.00. We went to eat at a restaurant and have coffee elsewhere. He gave me a lava lamp that morning because he knew I loved it and he told me that he did it because it was his gift before he left this world. ” She didn’t believe him. “I said it so many times that I always laughed to downplay it. I did the paripe ”. Nor did his friends want to believe him, like Rafael Quereda Half, a member of the Café Greco group, which has promoted the initiative to raise money for its incineration. Fele called him that night: “He said there was no point in continuing and I tried to convince him that life is the only thing we have.”

Oriol Llopis and María García Verdú, in an image from 2019.
Oriol Llopis and María García Verdú, in an image from 2019.

Before committing suicide that morning, Llopis called María. He lived in the boarding house and she in her usual house. He appeared at 4.30 at night and told him that he was in the portal. She came down. He came to say goodbye. They were talking for an hour. He gave him a letter and gave him his leather jacket. “I was hoping he wouldn’t because he said it a lot and he didn’t, but I was crying like a cupcake for a long time thinking it could happen.” Step.

Llopis had long since lost all contact with his family, including his daughter. Also with his last wife in Seville. Among the few papers that she kept, María García Verdú says that one has appeared in which she had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Llopis, who used to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day although he had reduced that amount in recent months, had not told anyone. It was the only thing left untold.

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