The creative sprout that lead Ana to an insomnia that seemed to last forever came to an end. After weeks of good sleep, she woke up determined to go on a trip to the city she has been gazing to through her bedroom window. With nothing more than paper and markers in her bag, she started her journey, having this city’s metallic tower as her guide, the same one whose lights fascinated her to the point of counting them over and over again.
The first days went by fast. Moved by all the illusions Ana had about that city, the colourful fields she walked through gave a nice background to her hopes. She imagined how she would meet other ziners, her creative siblings, her tribe. But, as she got closer to the tower, the weirder she felt. The weather seemed to be cooler. The green pastures and perfumed flowers were now behind. In front of her, in the middle of a gloomy atmosphere, reigned by a fog suspended in a sky full of crows, there it was: a sign that welcomed her to the city she longed so much for. The city’s name was Berlin.
She rushed through the grey streets, first with caution, then anxious. Berlin seemed to be full of people, but none of them seemed to understand her, nor she understood them. “Hey, look! I have drawings!”, she said to them in excitement, just to have the most awkward responses. Some of them, talked about the clothes they bought to follow the latest trends. Others, about the drugs they were carefully planning to take the next weekend. Some of them, about all the swipe rights they were getting this month. The more she tried to make them look at her zines, the more they would babbler, while keeping an aloof look in their eyes.
Exhausted, she was losing all hope until she heard a voice. “Say no more”, it said. She turned around just to see this tall guy, with a black and white moustache; Charly was his name. From a country far, far away, he moved to the city 40 years ago. “Berlin hasn’t been always like this, now it’s changing because of a virus”, he explained. “What? What virus?”, Ana answered, perplexed. “It’s called Blahblahblahitis”, he said. “People get infected after spending too much consuming and not creating, and the main symptom is talking non-stop about the stuff that distracted them from their mission in the first place”. “How come you did not get infected?”, she asked. “I was but, with my last trace of creativeness left, I recorded this song”, he explained before starting singing Influencia.
Ana listened to him carefully. “Charly, I think we may have the cure”, she said when he finished. “Ana, I’ve tried many things, none of them worked! It’s hopeless, we are alone in the world”, he came back at her. “Say no more”, she said, and showed him her zines. With apprehension at first, he started browsing the zines, but after a while he started feeling embellished. His eyes were lightened in a way they haven’t been in a while. “This is marvellous! But what do you want to do with this?”, he asked. “I am certain that, if infected people made their own zines, Blahblahblahitis will go away… They will start expressing themselves instead of blabbering, turning words into images. The solution is not shutting them up, the antidote is filling with meaning what they say”.
Inspired by Todd Rugen’s Influenza, argentine artist Charly García recorded a cover in Spanish of this song in 2002. One of the most prolific and talented artists from Argentina, this record shows him in one of the darkest moments of his drug addiction. Influenza captures how sick we feel in a culture that ends devouring us through what we choose to consume in the first place. We try to scape, but it’s everywhere, and it seems to gain control over us. Tough, there is a cure; there has always been a cure to emptiness: our creative impulse, art. Let’s turn the non-sense, the anguish, the fear into an universe of meaning through self-expression. Let’s make zines.