When you move to a new place it takes time to find your way around, find your favourite shops, cafes, record stores, book stores, venues, and knowing where they have the hummus in the local supermarket. Of course, it helps when the city is open, it helps to be able to get around, drop into Fado bars, sample the restaurants, go to the movies or the art galleries and museums. Yesterday I found the super helpful man (João) in the computer shop and he will be my go-to person if I ever have a problem with such things again. I also asked him if he could help me with my iPods. I have four 160GB iPods. When I plug them into the wall using a lead and my phone charger – they don’t charge. So João didn’t have a lead to sell me so he said (remember he’d known me for 5 minutes): “Take my lead, if it works, bring it back and I’ll order a new one for you” and off I went out of the shop with his lead. But the point is that he just trusted me. Next day (today) I went back and we figured it wasn’t the lead, it was the charger that wasn’t powerful enough to charge the pods. So he solved my problem and consequently I bought the new charger and he will have my custom forevermore. Isn’t it obvious that this is how it should work?
Leaving the magnanimous João we headed down a different street into the city. We took a pic by a red door. A man came up from across the street and was trying to tell us something in Portuguese. After a few minutes he asked a lady across the street if she spoke English, she did and she explained that he was telling us that the red door was a hostel not open till March – he was trying to be helpful. We got talking to the lady, she was Swiss and lived right here in the street. Her name was Nadja and we got on so famously that we exchanged numbers. She and her friend (Diana) were from the French-speaking part of Switzerland so I was able to say a couple of sentences in French – they humoured me. She offered to help out with any questions about living here as new arrivals. I asked her about parking. 60 euros a month in the car park right where we were standing, so helpful information already – now we need a car (we already paid for it), but we can wait. Olivia’s dad (Gerd) will drive a Fiat Doblo Maxi down from Germany as soon as he finds one at the right price and as soon as the pandemic lets him out – Germany just extended their lockdown to February 14th. Plus he wants to come here when the weather gets better and today the weather broke back to stormy, windy, rainy, and January was back.
We said our farewells and walked into town down this parallel street to our street. I wasn’t going to take photos today after taking 400 photos yesterday plus I have some issue with pain above my hip which has been bothering me for a while. So after yesterday’s mega walk and photo-taking sesh, a quick trip into town for a takeaway coffee and a brisk walk back was the plan, except I can’t walk briskly and I’ve noticed people who do and I’m jealous. I need a smart prognosis. It’s not just exercise because the same thing was happening when I swam 3 miles a week and walked everywhere. So exercise doesn’t help, and rest doesn’t help. One of my sessioneers, Matt in Brooklyn, is an acupuncturist, it may be just what I need, to relieve the tension in the muscle, but getting to Brooklyn for an hour a week might be tricky.
Back home, iPods charging and my other computer genius helpful man in London, Mohamad (from Lebanon), is sending me another power lead (I feel I need to have a spare) as well as a USB stick with Catalina OS. Why? Well, my plan is to put Logic Pro on my computer so I can work in a more convenient way with my sessioneers but my old computer has Mojave OS and I need Catalina to download the program. Another cool helpful man, helping me solve problems and yes, I will buy computers from him forever.
We walked past the Santa Catarina shopping precinct where I took photos yesterday of the people walking on the side of the wall. It’s one of those great, odd art projects, right in the middle of a large city that the local people probably don’t notice anymore, and like anything, it might be odd to start with but you get used to it. But that’s everything, isn’t it, everything is new to you – the first time you experience it. You won’t know if you like it till you’ve tried it and so it seems that the world, the humans, don’t want to evolve but we will, eventually, it’s just that there’s a lot of stragglers.
Music today was The Band’s first album, the classic Music From Big Pink (1968). After working with Dylan on tour and recording with him for the songs that appeared later as The Basement Tapes (1975), the band who had retired to a West Saugerties house (Big Pink) rented by Richard Manuel (piano, vocals), Rick Danko (bass, vocals) and Garth Hudson (keys, accordion, sax) with Robbie Robertson, guitars and Levon Helm (drums, vocals) proceeded to write their first album. It includes many famous songs – The Weight, written by Robbie Robertson, the Dylan/Danko song This Wheel’s On Fire, the Dylan/Manuel opener Tears Of Rage, and other classic songs. It’s Folk, it’s Rock, it’s Soul and R&B, it’s Country and it needs you to listen to it from beginning to end without interruption, no screens, no phones, this album is a much better experience than all of that. Note: Front cover painted by Dylan.
Music of the Daze
The Band sing The Weight with The Staples from the movie The Last Waltz (1976):