Bunburying: to write in the style of Spanish lyricist Enrique Bunbury

In 2020, Spanish poet Fernando de Val published El Método Bunbury (The Bunbury Method) about the lyrics of Enrique Bunbury, the lead singer of the Spanish rock band Heroes del Silencio.

The book, only available in Spanish at the moment, demonstrates that the inspiration for some of Bunbury's lyrics might be closer to imitation than inspiration: "Many of the lyrics Bunbury has written are comprised of fragments from writers he does not quote. My book demonstrates that this is a habitual practice throughout his entire career….The formula, perhaps close to Pop Art, intertextuality, and appropriation, coexists with vernaculars from popular roots such as the proverb, the refrain, and clichés."

Among the findings are 539 fragments from 37 songs and 14 albums as part of Heroes del Silencia and as a solo artist, including Amado Nervo, Frida Kahlo, Leonard Cohen, Mario Benedetti, Charles Bukowski, Haruki Murakami, Fernando Arrabal, Felipe Benítez Reyes, and Nicanor Parra.

This is some layered inter-textual mixed-metaphorical literary irony. Bunbury is a notion and a way of being – Bunburying – in Oscar Wilde's play "The Importance of Being Earnest."

From *SparkNotes:

"The double life is the central metaphor in the play, epitomized in the notion of "Bunbury" or "Bunburying." As defined by Algernon, Bunburying is the practice of creating an elaborate deception that allows one to misbehave while seeming to uphold the very highest standards of duty and responsibility. Jack's imaginary, wayward brother Ernest is a device not only for escaping social and moral obligations but also one that allows Jack to appear far more moral and responsible than he actually is. Similarly, Algernon's imaginary invalid friend Bunbury allows Algernon to escape to the country… all the while seeming to demonstrate Christian charity. Through these various enactments of double lives, Wilde suggests the general hypocrisy of the Victorian mindset."

So perhaps the lead singer has been simply Bunburying, elaborately weaving escapes from literary obligations and responsibilities, escapes that stitch patterns between songs, albums, and bandmates.

Or as another devotee of Oscar Wilde, Steven Patrick Morrissey wrote once in the song "Cemetary Gates,

"If you must write prose and poems the words you use should be your own/Don't plagiarise or take "on loan"/'Cause there's always someone, somewhere with a big nose, who knows/And who trips you up and laughs when you fall/Who'll trip you up and laugh when you fall."

Fernando del Val assures that he did not write the book to harm or denounce, but rather to raise the question of how far the limits of creation should go."

The video image above is for "La Chispa Adecuada," one of the 37 songs Vals highlights, claiming that the opening lyric is from La bicicleta del condenado byFernando Arrabal.

"Las palabras son como avispas y la calle como un cohete cuando te espero"; "Tengo un ataúd para tus besos y una corona para tu pelo"; "Eres el verano y mil tormentas y el león que sonríe en las ortigas" (La bicicleta del condenado by Fernando Arrabal).

"Las palabras fueron avispas / y las calles como dunas / cuando aún te espero llegar"; "En un ataúd guardo tu tacto y / una corona / con tu pelo"; "Eras verano y mil tormentas, yo el león que sonríe a las paredes" ("La chispa adecuada" byEnrique Bunbury from the album Avalancha).