We took Ariel out for a spin today, literally, all around Porto (twice). Saturday is my only no alarm day, so I stay in bed till I wake up and as I usually don’t do sessions or swim or gym it on Saturdays, it’s a free evening. So I got up late and Olivia got up later and as I don’t swim I watched some Olympic swimming to see how the pros do it and of course, it’s another world of technique and fitness, desire to win and get medals. I guess sportsmen want medals and trophies whereas musicians get awards, Grammies (Grannies), gold and platinum albums. I have four gold albums and a couple of awards, Oz Hall Of Fame being one and an innovator award from San Francisco, but I have to say all that was the last thing on my mind when I started making music. Hits, success, were not dreams, making a record was, in fact making a single was, it was all cream from thereon. Making music is its own reward but for professional sportsmen and women you need to be winning things, it’s all about the competition, being the best, in music it’s not like that for everyone, for some, topping the charts is secondary to making a great record. Of course, even in sport, not everyone can be the best because your body is a major part of your success and although your talents might make the difference if your body fails, it’s all over. In music, your body isn’t the point for most. Of course, good-looking pop stars attract an audience but so do pop stars who aren’t Adonises, musicians with only skills and talents and broken bodies can go far.
Navigating our way out of Porto on roads we’d never seen wasn’t as easy as we thought. A couple of wrong turns and we found ourselves going around the ring-road and the city twice to find ourselves just two minutes from where we live and if we’d just turned towards the football stadium down the back streets, walking distance away, we would have saved about an hour. Still, a drive through the streets of Rio Tinto (twice) and the cornfields (twice) was entertaining. Seeing some real Portuguese farmers jumping onto tractors and old grey-haired ladies walking by the fields. We were heading for Miramar where the Senhor Da Pedra chapel built in 1636 sits on a rocky outcrop on a popular sandy beach. Once we finally made that right turn we were soon there and as we descended onto this little beach town we could see the sea and we really felt like we were on holiday. We followed the signs for the chapel and as we were arriving as late as we did (around 6.30 PM) we found a space in a car park (free) right next to the beach and a short walk to the chapel. Welcome to Portugal.
We got a snack at one of the cafés, a plastic bag with a brown paper bag inside it full of chips and a couple of cokes, feeling sophisticated we headed past the other cafés and a whole lot of stalls selling horrible plastic fluorescent toys, like lime-green dinosaurs and turquoise yapping wind-up dogs. No souvenirs of Portugal, no buckets and spades, just this plastic rubbish to entice the children and make the parents think of an excuse as to why not to buy. We hit the sand in a minute, Olivia had her boots off immediately, getting the sand between her toes. Five minutes later we were standing at the back of the chapel looking out into the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean, eating chips.
We took tons of photos, which we’ll post over the coming days, and had a lovely late afternoon into the early evening in the sun, taking pics of seaweed and rocks and each other at this wonderful old building right on the sea. Whilst we were there Olivia amazingly ran into somebody she knew, it was an Italian girl student that she was doing the online Portuguese lessons with. She was with a friend from Bulgaria from Sofia and she had a small red dog with her called Ginger that was rolling over and over in the sand, the greatest day of its life. After a while, we headed back to the car via an ice cream and drove back home in about 15 minutes, a lovely day out in paradise.
Music today has been diverse because in the car we listened to All Together Now by Argent from 1972 with the long version of Hold Your Head Up and Tragedy which is not really like The Bee Gees but they must have heard it. I’ve had this album since day one and know it well, I Am The Dance Of Ages and the thirteen-minute Pure Love and its four parts. But I also went the other way tonight and listened to Savages‘ fantastic debut Silence Yourself from 2013. Scary singer Jehnny Beth (who’s actually French, real name Camille Berthomier) has just put out a duets album with Primal Scream singer Bobby Gillespie called Utopian Ashes (2021). She also released a solo album, To Love Is To Live (2020), but despite her powerful presence this album is all about the band, Gemma Thompson on extremely great and inventive guitar, Fay Milton on drums, and a great bass player, Ayse Hassan, who was something else when I saw them live in Stockholm, they all were. Hassan has an experimental group, Kite Bass, their first album Latent Whispers was released in 2017. Great music if you like this kind of thing or like me, likes all kinds of things.