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I must have been… seventeen, eighteen? I was at the peak of adolescence, and I had found out that, besides pop and rock, there was folk music and that, intimately linked to folk, there was this thing called protest song. I had also found out that, even without trying, my manner of expression was prone to surrealism. So, it was necessary to condemn social problems but in the most surreal way possible.
I don’t think – or remember – the process being as conscious and thoughtful as what I’m describing now, but I guess that, in the back of my mind, my ideas must have taken shape in a similar manner… even though apparently it was just inspiration (raw inspiration, as I hardly corrected whatever I wrote).
And what was the social problem that most clearly fluttered in front of my eyes, even if it was just a conflict in the making? Unemployment. Emerging and growing unemployment (these days of monstruous proportions) caused by the first industrial robots. Something that didn’t even have a name: in Catalonia, the unemployed were mere “plegats de mans” as those that inhabit the song. That is people, workers, with their arms crossed. 
I put myself in the skin of one of those unemployed persons and that song came out without any effort.
El matí de Sant Esteve
In Catalonia we celebrate Christmas Eve with a solemn mass we call “missa del gall” because it is said it was a “gall” (rooster) which first saw and clucked the birth of Jesus. This mass takes place the night before Christmas Day, when it’s traditional in every home to stuff and roast a rooster. If there’s money a “gall d’indi” (turkey) is roasted; if not, a simple rooster.
Therefore, it’s understandable that the day after Christmas, that is, Saint Stephen’s Day – when, following the same tradition, cannelloni are prepared with the succulent remains from the previous day –, buying a rooster from either markets or farms becomes nearly impossible.
That small detail was enough to excite my teenage rage and move me to sarcasm. 
At such an early age, the idea not only of being a protest singer but to simply protest must have set deep roots in my mind in order for me to suggest, beyond my “chic” solidarity with roosters, something that is unfortunately very current today: the protest with pots and pants. Then, as revolutionary novices practicing with any excuse; today, as conscious and outraged revolutionaries. And not only that: at the end of the song I even threatened to call a strike.
Aquest carrer m’és prohibit
My girlfriend at the time, Mercè Pastor, lived on Dr Carulla street, a quiet street in Barcelona’s Tres Torres neighbourhood, surrounded by dense Oriental planes, in a house with front garden that was reached through some stairs. After school – we were in the same class – we used to snuggle under a willow tree (I still remember its strong aroma) near her house and then we would say goodbye, often for a long time, outside the garden’s fence.
And every now and then her father, a Franco supporter and hunting aficionado, would appear behind the rails, carrying a shotgun, and would make her daughter go in while pointing at me, shouting something as I ran away…
Those are the clues to the song’s story… which is a clear homage to Dylan’s ‘Girl From The North Country’, or at least its structure: “if you go… if you find… tell them from me…”. But I don’t regret it, I’m sure he also took his song or structure from something he heard around, probably something traditional, as such is its destiny (tradition).
Pau Riba

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