Summer '18: A Mixtape Meowlist

We often associate the summer months with celebration; impulsive road trips, sun-kissed hangouts by the pool or the beach, fugacious flings, and reckless fun. It is how it’s been marketed to us since at least the 50’s, with brightly-colored images, exuberant locations and loud, youthful music. But I’ve always been a bit skeptical with this depiction of summer, and this is coming from someone living in a tropical place where you can have beach parties pretty much all year long. You see, I have always associated this time of the year with longing, with memory. Most of my favorite recollections of summer come from my teenage years — otherwise a nightmare the other three seasons — and I’m quite sure I have spent most of the summers of my adult life actually thinking back. Reminiscing about how great those times were, how much I liked certain people back then. Pop Culture gets this terribly wrong; it keeps pushing the idea that this season is all about the now, about seizing the moment. Au contraire. I believe this is one of the times where we most rely on the past.

Summer 2018 has been such a rollercoaster ride: Besides navigating an ever-so-complex social landscape in a world of rampant inequality and political upheaval, this has also been a year of deep personal confrontations and emotional discoveries for me. If this just wasn’t enough, as a Mexican, this summer was marked by perhaps the single most important presidential election of my lifetime, in which decades of protests from marginalized communities, hopes for a more progressive government, and generalized economic anxieties all condensed into a candidate who won by a historic landslide, and it was primarily made possible by people my age or younger.

However crazy these past few months have been, I’m absolutely thankful for the end of August. To me, this particular time of the year is a sort of hangover from the intensity of June and July; a time to reassess our priorities, to reflect on our actions, and most importantly, on the way we react to this mess of a world. It is a time for a specific kind of nostalgia, where we dig deep and greet the ghosts of summers past, of lovers past, of travels past. Here is where you honor all those times, all those sights and all those friends you promised not to forget. Here is where all those songs are back in your head and make sense again.

We all have a soundtrack for days like these. Here is mine.


Gonzalo Caps – El Caleidoscopio
El Sueño de Morfeo – Nunca Volverá
Matthew Good – Born Losers
Saybia – The Day after Tomorrow
Oasis – Where did it All Go Wrong?
Paul Weller – You Do Something to Me
Amanda Shires – Devastate
Kristin Hersh – Your Ghost
Low – In the Drugs
Anna Roig I L’ombre de ton chien – Que bé, ser aquí
Alanis Morissette – King of Pain (MTV Unplugged)
Alice in Chains – Down in a Hole (MTV Unplugged)
Anouk – Birds (Live at Symphonica in Rosso)

Leonor de Pourtalès is an independent Art Curator, Film programmer, literary Translator and Editor from Oaxaca, currently living in Mexico City. She is a Muxe. Muxes are a two-spirit people that, in Zapotec culture, are considered a “third gender”; they're said to have both sexes, and none at the same time, and are usually associated with community healing, religious service and magic. Leonor is currently working on a large translation Project, an anthology featuring writers from marginalized, mainly indigenous communities in Mexico. You can find Leonor on twitter @leonordelalma.