Héctor Ángel Benedetti

Eight thousand million Internet pages

hen tango calls it's necessary to answer. It's true that many times (and especially, at certain ages) one answers «tell him I'm not here», or «tell him to call later». But sooner or later we have to answer. He insists. And when finally one is summoned, it's hard to keep on answering him with a negative.

This is story of a lot of people that, on some occasion said «yes, here I am, thanks for calling me, for waiting for me, for being there». It is a small and happy collective story.

Two or three weeks before somebody remembered that May 16 is Todotango's Day. Then, with punctual diligence, an event that nobody wants to miss began: the preparations for the Anniversary Dinner.

Those that don't understand these things suppose at once that it has to do with a Secret Ritual with a Hermetic Liturgy, practiced by a Closed Lodge that only admits Initiate Members in a Forbidden Place to which you can only enter by invitation of a Supreme Council. But after the first loaf of bread thrown at somebody while they chant «he has girlfriend, he has girlfriend…», this two- pesos image of freemasonry collapses…!

And in fact it doesn't exist. May 16 is Todotango's Day in homage to the first gathering which took place in 2002. Three years have passed since then and tango continues picking up friends. No «sectarians». The latter stay out. And at this time of the year in Buenos Aires it's awfully cold outside.

Nobody can deny it: on Monday, even in the morning, everybody was anxious. How long does it take to eight in the evening? Will they all come? Who will be in charge of of the photographs? Are there enough drinks? Shall I have to take a cleaner in case I stain myself with sauce?

Coco del Abasto, as organizer-in-chief, and José Pedro Aresi and Alberto Rasore, as secretaries without right to resign, put everything so that this would result in the best possible way. And they got it.

Finally it was time. The appointed hour, as that movie with Gary Cooper (but in this case it wasn't High Noon). We even felt like humming Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling while waiting for Grace Kelly's appearance... and by the way several princesses entered! The diners were finding their seats happily, filling the classic restaurant of these meetings: Il Vero Arturito located in El Abasto. Tango neighborhood. Gardel. Pichuco. No other choice would have been better.

Each table was a symposium. Among them was Gabriel Clausi, Chula, a bandoneonist whose name means a summary of the history of tango. He's the musician that saw Eduardo Arolas himself playing and who later toured throughout America with his own group. He's as active as always; to such an extent that we surprised him writing his memoirs. Further on, surrounded by affections, the singer Roberto Mancini sat down; he was the one who at age fourteen already studied with Eduardo Bonessi and when he was eighteen joined Miguel Caló as vocalist. Ben Molar, instigator of so many ventures in tango, and Bruno Cespi that will always be like a kind of a box with surprises for the collectors also were present in this unforgettable tonight.

Tables full of a beautiful cordiality. Conversations about tango that included everybody, because exclusion is a bad word. Main characters, recordings, stories, memories; the past and the present of our culture) were present in each sector. Artists, researchers, archivists, dancers, boys and girls had met thanks to a strange magic. Or not so strange, if one keeps in mind the way tango people are.

The Mediterranean diet recommended it: after a miscellaneous cold meat and some turnover pastry, the fusilli round began with a «I don't know what» capable of waking up the Beautiful Sleeper. It was maybe because of that hunger with sweet basil perfume, or some ultra secret spice whose ingredient zealously kept it is only transmitted from generation to generation (for example: Celusal salt); the question is that all dishes were cleaned as if recently brought from El Emporio de la Loza. And everything was sprinkled with a wine that at that time was already almost therapeutic. And later came some indescribably delicious chicken slices.

Mario Pino caught the microphone and then he didn't allow anyone to hold it. He called the roll as if we were attending first grade, with the plated pitcher and the Faber Nº 2 pencil to check who were present after a general applause. Meanwhile, the German Enrique Snider emptied reels taking out pictures. There is still an argument about his belonging to Henri Cartier-Bresson's documentary school or if he comes from the optical-cinema-photo house round the corner of the street. But it is unquestionable that he did it well.

Osvaldo Serantes who always brings a gift for everybody, distributed a closed envelope to all the tables. It was the touching moment: the homage to the friend of all of us, the unforgettable Boa who passed away recently; the one who, when someone addressed him as «Mr. Bianchi», used to answer «Mr., the b…», and everything was said.

«El_boa. In this printing we have wanted to show your image and your way of saying, so that they will continue accompanying us together with your smile and your friendship. You will always be in our memory with your opportune interventions and your emilios that we will keep like a valuable inheritance. Your goblin will continue floating on the tables of Arturito, always ready with your photographic camera to grasp forever the moments of happiness that the healthy friendship that we managed to build thanks to our passion for Tango gave us. Ángel Oscar Bianchi is not gone. El_boa will always be with us to raise the glass of wine, as we do in your memory, because today we don't toast to you, but with you…»

Next, the lucid chronicle that El Boa had written for his admired Benito Quinquela Martin. A hug to the beloved family of El Boa that, with their presence, honored this Anniversary Dinner. And the certainty that now both, El Boa and Quinquela, are talking face to face about art and tango on some heavenly tin counter.

Soon later Ricardo García Blaya spoke. The Director. The Authority. The Visible Face, the Restorer of the Laws and the Width of Swords. Silence in the night, everything is in calm. The anniversaries invite to speech: he preferred a loosened chat among friends. He threw a figure that left us astounded: in the web pages exist… and Todotango is in the 75.811 place of the ranking and continues ascending. Impressive.

The musical numbers came soon after. The singers Mario Pino, Ernesto Ariel, Gonzalo Lozada and Abel Palermo, accompanied by Sergio Crotti's guitar offered the best of their repertoires; even we danced to the beat of the milonga “La fulana” and we sang in a choir the refrain of “Melodía de arrabal”. Roberto Mancini sang a capella what later would be defined as «a beautiful lesson of life». And Adolfo Sozzi recited his unusual «backwards» renditions of tangos and milongas, putting the humorous touch as usual.

The clock struck twelve and the happiness continued. After the first second past midnight we entered the following day (yes, good; it was not necessary to go to the dinner to realize it), and we all sang Happy Birthday to the director. Two celebrations with the toast: García Blaya's birthday is the following day to Todotango's! And nobody asked «how old are you?», but «let them come».

By the time desserts were brought, everything was already out of control. Benedetti that had had his sixth or seventh Pepsicola, claimed in vain his right to sing No me tires con la tapa de la olla. Darío Murano insisted on organizing barbecues right there just to continue with the good mood. Guada had grasped Cespi by his lapels while he told him “I don't release you until you hand me that Sintonía magazine that I'm missing”. Zulema was explaining that she was not but another Zulema the one that was tossed from the Quinta de Olivos. Coco del Abasto was shouting that ballots with the Perón-Quijano formula were missing; and Dr. Scocola had challenged someone who had dared to say that Firpo in '35 was better than Firpo in '27.

A piece of information was floating in the ambiance: the eight thousand million Internet pages. Eight thousand million. And none, none like ours…!