We were out early this morning attending the first of two meetings to become Portuguese residents. There were some scary moments in the paperwork, things you’ve never heard of or never thought about, but the first meeting went well and tomorrow is hopefully the last and final stage, one day before Brexit becomes real. I won’t keep on talking about this because it’s only one phase, we’ll see what tomorrow brings. The most noticeable thing about getting up early is the confirmation that mornings do exist – I’d heard about them, read about them in books but now we were really experiencing one. It’s a different light, a different vibe, there’s different people and whenever I see these bundles of energy, I’m amazed at their enthusiasm. Then of course I remember, they went to bed 6 hours earlier than we did, they can cope with it.
After the meeting, we went and had coffee with Carla who is helping us with all the red tape. She took us to a typical Portuguese cafe with enough baked goods to increase your belt size three-fold and we succumbed to an extremely messy sugar-covered doughnut filled with tasty yellow vanilla custard cream. It wasn’t the easiest to eat and I think the little men and women who are operating the machinery in my digestive tract and stomach were cursing wondering what the hell to do with such an indulgence with absolutely zero nutritional value. Mind you, the crew in the temptation department were quite satisfied and were falling asleep. In the brain, the thinkers were both angry at such a bad decision and happy for some light relief after a stressful meeting.
It was sunny, then raining, cold, warm, too bright, cloudy and our umbrellas were up and down all day and what do you do with this soaking wet thing that ruins everything paper in your bag or hangs off the end of your arm dripping everywhere. We went into a shop to buy a garlic crusher and left the brollies by the door. They were nice in the shop, friendly, it seems people here are mostly this way, welcoming. I always nearly forget to pick the brolly up when I leave and I can’t lose this umbrella because it was a birthday prezzie from Olivia’s Dad (LFC). We looked at a few shops and Olivia browsed some vintage clothing stores. Some of the shops reminded me of the days of how grungier European cities used to be before they became gentrified and the crusaders who made them cool were forced out by higher rents. It happened in Manhattan, in Berlin, it’s what happens.
There were two musical stores both closed for lunch till 3 PM, after another coffee and a fight with another display case full of pastries, we went back to the music store – I’d seen something in the window. It was a Chinese Strat and it was 130 euros (£113/$US138/$A182). I need an electric guitar but I can’t buy a 1957 Les Paul for $80,000 (ok that’s a ridiculous comparison), I can’t buy a ‘proper guitar’. I sat in the shop for two hours noodling, stretching the strings in, trying to see if I could keep it in tune. We were talking to Fernando and Eugénie who own the shop, they were really cool and we had a nice afternoon fixing the universe as I decided if I should buy the guitar. So I did, I need something to practice tricky Anekdoten riffs, to use as a lead guitar if I get my music program working and something to fiddle around with that’s quiet, a solid-body guitar to stretch my fingers over and as Fernando said, “It’s the guitarist, not the guitar” and as I say it just depends on how much you want to wrestle with what you have in your arms – my guitars generally play themselves, I just guide them.
We left to get back up to the flat. I had a sesh with Matt in Brooklyn at 6 PM and Jeff in Ohio at 9.30 PM. Between us all, we solved even more of the world’s problems and planned for a brighter future as this year comes to an end. Sadly the turning over from 2020 to 2021 won’t fix anything, numbers don’t fix things but we see the light in the distance, unfortunately, there’s a lot of pain to traverse before we get there.
Music today has been the first two, and the latest Blackfield album For The Music (2020) – Steven Wilson’s collaboration with Aviv Geffen. The first self-titled album was released in 2004, the second in 2007. We were expecting the newest album to be troublesome but ended up mostly liking it (the single is the problem) – the first two albums are great, the three in between have their moments. But at some point, I hope to be able to afford a decent stereo system to give justice to all this music we are always listening to. We’d seen a note on the ex-pats page that a girl was selling a couple of computer speakers in Porto for 10 euros, so we went and picked them up, they’re ok, at least I have a spread stereo sound instead of the sound coming out of just one box. It’s fascinating to think that before stereo the idea of it seemed alien. I heard somewhere that The Beatles were not that interested in the mix of the stereo version of Sgt Pepper’s and that George commented, why would you want to hear the sound coming out of two speakers rather than one? If I am completely making this up I apologise, there’s nothing worse than bad information and half-truths, these days we need truth pills for all. Can anyone confirm if this Beatles story is true?
Music Of The Daze is chosen by Olivia because she’s a fan, she used to be a standard lamp and before that a wardrobe.