I always loved the term “swanning around”, so as I was swanning around Porto today in February in shorts and T-shirt with a temperature of 66/19 I thought, yes, the weather perk that we hadn’t considered is really a bonus. Of course, I wasn’t actually “swanning”, I was on a mission for a toothbrush, how could a search for such a thing, be “swanning” even if it was – in February – in shorts and T-shirt. It was simple, essential, important, down-to-earth, hygienic even! Well, I found one, yet to try it, it has a battery like the old one that died (back to planned obsolescence). I should have bought three of the type I like knowing that they’re always going to die young. But you don’t really think about cultivating a stock of toothbrushes. If you find a car you like, you should really buy two for when the one you like breaks down. You should buy at least two and probably three of everything. The only problem is that you don’t know if you like what you’ve bought till you’ve had it for a while, if you’re not careful you could end up with three Vauxhalls or toothbrushes you don’t like, then what?
I called sessioneer Craig in Atlanta and told him that if I’m late for the sesh today blame the toothbrush but as civilized as we are we rescheduled for Monday which suited both of us better (Noel was later on and didn’t threaten the toothbrush). These walks around town are so nice, taking streets we don’t know if I just didn’t get that pain in my lower back. Yoga time needs to be found, that and less sitting. Sessioneer and acupuncturist Matt in Brooklyn told me that a lot of his clients’ problems come from simply sitting down too much in front of the computer and one solution is to buy a stand-up desk. It’s not going to happen, especially as we enter week 7 of the lockdown and there’s no open shop or room to put it. I don’t know why people who read lots of books don’t get back pain. It’s not as if they are standing up. It must be something to do with technology, waves that penetrate your muscles but then how do they get to the back?
I was in ‘needy computer mode’ today. I have been having trouble with my headphone output and whenever I play music, watch anything or do anything audio my speakers are full of interference, hisses, crackles, and electrical bangs, especially when I type. So my man Mohamad in London who helps me with all the computer hoo-hah suggested I get a USB speaker output adaptor and next time I’m in London he’ll fix the headphone socket. So I went to my trusty Portuguese connection around the corner, João and Hélder. When I got there the roller door was down with two men working on it – closed (I thought), but then I realised ‘open’ but they’re just working on the door. After five minutes they opened it up and a queue of three of us ran in while we had a chance. Here’s the thing, the guy behind jumped in front of me! I thought screw this I’ll go and get some pão da avo while I’m waiting. I did that, came back, the roller door was closed with the men still working on it. Ten minutes later they opened up again, I quickly entered and they closed it behind me, trapped. Not only trapped but trapped with the man who jumped the queue. I waited patiently till he was done and then HE was trapped, JUSTICE I thought! João wasn’t there today so his equally easy-going helpful partner Hélder helped me with what I needed. They are so cool in there – “Take it home, try it, bring it back if it doesn’t work, come pay if it does”. Wow! Trust! The door opened a little, I told the queue jumper he should limbo dance out of there (really I did). Soon after he ran out and two others ran in.
When I was done, the door was down again and I had to wait for a while before I could escape but through the grill, I saw the queue jumper leaving in his car. He had been parked right outside the door and I realised that he wasn’t a queue jumper at all, he had been sitting in his car waiting for the door to open. See, you never know the truth till you know the facts, lesson learned. He might have been waiting there for half an hour before me, no wonder he ran past me – I had only just arrived. It’s like the scene with Cary Grant in Hitchcock’s North By Northwest (1959) where the stabbed victim falls into his arms and the people think that he stabbed him. That’s why we have innocent until proven guilty – and even then!
When we arrived home from the toothbrush excursion we got the news that They have approved my tax number here so I am now officially a Portuguese tax-paying resident. Although I still don’t have my resident’s card – they send for you. Julian the photographer who we met here has been waiting since September. I’m hesitant to leave till I have it and of course, leaving isn’t really on the cards anyway. We’ll see, at least now we can open a bank account. Although the European and UK dates we were planning have been cancelled we will have more time to settle into our new country (buy different types of shorts, haha). I’ll have more time to work on the Logic Pro programme and lots of time for sessioneers, writing, persevering with the French and starting with Portuguese whilst revisiting Spanish – it’s so close, one hour to Galicia.
Music today has been an odd mix of seventies Prog, Blues, and Space. Gary Moore was one of the great Blues guitar players dying of a heart attack whilst on holiday in Spain at the age of 58. It took him a while to find out what he wanted to do but after he dismissed his own foray in AOR, Rock, Hard Rock, and Heavy Metal as “the biggest load of effing s*** he’d ever heard”. That music certainly made him no fans with the hipsters. But he settled on playing the Blues which was his forte. What a player, what a tone and wielding Peter Green’s 1959 Les Paul which he sold to him for £100 (he sold it to Kirk Hammett from Metallica allegedly for between £750,000,000 and £1,250,000.000). Moore’s history included stints with Ireland’s Skid Row that originally included Phil Lynott on vocals, Colosseum and Thin Lizzy, the records all overshadowed by his post commercial excursions. Major success in America eluded him, odd for a great Blues player but take a listen to Blues For Greeny (1995) using THAT guitar exclusively and Old New Ballads Blues (2006) if you want to know how to be one of the best in your genre.
Before we went out I put on Genesis‘ Nursery Cryme (1971) and Foxtrot (1972), more for Olivia as I was in and out of the house but I got to hear a good chunk of those amazing albums. We were talking about Phil Collins singing For Absent Friends uncredited on Nursery Cryme. When we came back from the street I randomly found Hawkwind on my iPod and listened to Blood Of The Earth (2010) and Doremi Fasol Latido (1972) with one run through Silver Machine (1972), Urban Guerrilla (1973) and Brainbox Pollution (1973) for good measure. Something else, if you like this kind of thing.