Posted by: nastypen | November 19, 2008

Art And A Blood Test

I dropped by Solidaridad Bookshop today.  I haven’t visited National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose for quite a while and I went to say hello.  When he saw, he blurted “Are you competing with me?”  He remarks about the weight.  I told him I am cursed because despite the godforesaken salary I get from UP, I do not lose weight. 

He and I chatted about certain artists.  He gruffed about a certain National Artist for Visual Arts (who shall remain unnamed in this blog) whom he thinks is not even a good craftsman let alone artist.  When I asked Mr. Jose his thoughts of a certain painter, he was brash, “Oh God, that painter never grew up! …still paints the same old thing ever since 1940s.”

I laughed on how Mr. Jose had a diva walk out recently at the necrological service for the National Artist Lucrecia Kasilag.  He was fuming because First Lady Imelda Marcos was there and he had to sit near her.  I guess the organizers forgot that the Marcoses are not looked upon by Mr. Jose favorably.  Hence, he walked out.

Mr. Jose then paused and took out a small bag from his desk.  He opened it and it was filled with medical implements.  I thought he was about to take his meidcation.  I stood up and looked at his book shelf so as not to stare.  I think it is impolite to look at people who have to take their medication, especially if they had a lot.

“Give me your hand,” Mr. Jose instructed.  I held out my left hand and he jabbed something and a red dot appeared on my finger.  I cannot believe a national artist just wounded me!  He proceeded to collect that drop of blood with a small gadget.  “Let’s see if you are diabetic,” Mr. Jose said.

Ack.  Ack.  Ack.  I don’t want to know!!!!!  but too late….

“Hmmmm.  Normal,” Mr. Jose said.  thank God.  thank the heavens.

I guess I am smiling widely not just because I am not diabetic (yet) but how many out there have had their finger punctured for a blood test by a National Artist?

“I have to get down,” Mr. Jose remarked, “I have to see they stack the new arrivals of books for the store.”

NEW BOOKS!!!! I love it!

I was all giddy with a new lease in life (Hey, that’s how I see it, although my mom later said, “You better exercise and lose weight soon.”) and of course to see the new titles Solidaridad bookstore has.

I saw some really interesting titles like The Sex Lives of Saints: An Erotics Hagiography (Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion).

The Title is fantastic!

and they even have a copy of Che Guevarra‘s Guerrilla Warfare….God, I will get that soon….but I can only afford this Japanese novel translated to English.  It’s Lala Pipo by Hideo Okuda.  The blurb had me at hello:

“This sleazy novel is not recommendable for ladies and gentlemen.” So reads the jacket of the Japanese edition of this collection of six dark, interrelated, tragicomic chapters dealing with themes of desire, inadequacy, and failure, using the underbelly of sex as its canvas. As misheard by one of the characters, ” a lot of people,” is “Lala Pipo.”

Lala Pipo is an ingenious tapestry of absurdity, whose cast of unlikable characters cross the line of good taste that even those who have crossed the line cannot help but notice. Each act pushes the envelope past the one preceding it. It’s like an episode of Seinfeld directed by Bob Guccione, all the story elements cleverly weaving together, taking the reader from shock to gut-busting hilarity with each tale. The main difference: these losers are X-rated.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.



  1. It’s been ages since I’ve been to La Solidaridad. I couldn’t even afford to buy books then.

  2. Oo nga pala, you’re a friend of Mr. Jose. Hope you can bring me to Solidaridad Bookshop one of this days and I get to hand shake a National Artist (and a photo op) of F. Sionil Jose. I hope he won’t give me a quiz about his owrks, current events or Philippine History… you’ll see me melt! Heheheh…

    Oh, good thing you’re not diabetic. What would you do or react when you find out there na you’re diabetic? Hihihi… poised ka pa ba (since you with a National Artist) or scream ka to the max? 😉

    Just wondering…

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