Unpacking, finally catching up with Wednesday on Friday (geddit) and realising that our flat is too small, or are we telling ourselves that because we have to move? No, after two years we are certainly outgrowing it and today we went to our first viewing of another place. The location was pretty cool, right in the centre of town, if you like city living that is.
We arrived ten minutes early to find we were third to arrive, a solo fellow and a family were there before us, it’s competitive. Another couple arrived after us too. The landlord would be there between 4.30 and 5 PM and we all waited cagily looking at each other wondering who would get the place, would we like it, would the family like it, would the landlord like us, did he want a family, a solo bloke, two foreigners or a Brazilian couple? He arrived and invited us in, down the hallway, up the stairs and then he told us to view the apartment in order of when we arrived, the family went first.
We had an idea of what was behind the door because we’d seen the pictures but reality is another thing and when the family went in and the door was closed behind them we felt a mixture of curiosity, anxiety and intrigue. Was it the perfect place, would we have to fight for it, would the landlord be nice? (He seemed very business-like.) Next in was the solo man from Rio de Janeiro. We’d talked to him a little on the landing, he’d only been in Porto for two weeks. The family, two kids and the parents, came out and descended the stairs, the Brazilian man was next in. Just the two couples left, we were next. The Brazilian man came out of the door, I saw him shaking the landlord’s hand, did that mean he had made the deal? No, everyone did that.
We went in, it was renovated, four flats in an old house in the city that had once been a family home, now turned into a money machine, especially as Porto and Portugal are becoming one of the most popular destinations to come and live or to retire – it’s warmer, cheaper, friendlier, safer, cooler, more aesthetically appealing than a lot of the world’s ridiculously expensive cities that have forced the Bohemians out. The artists make it cool when no one wants to live there, then the money comes and makes it exclusive and the Bohemians leave and set up another cool place for the rich to follow and drive them out. Is this Porto’s fate?
The first thing you do when you get inside is assess where you’d put your life. Where would the desk go, the couch, the bed? There was a small bedroom, two showers for some reason, a smallish main room that had a kitchen area attached to it and then stairs upstairs to a place where you couldn’t stand up without hitting the ceiling with your head. It was about then that we realised that it was too small for us. We left shaking hands like the man behind us and knew this was the beginning of our search for a home. We went and ate at Wok to Walk, an Asian place that serves nice cheapish veggie food. Then to Tubitek the record store to see Jorge and José and tell them we were back. We decided to pick up the records I’d ordered another day because we were going for a walk down by the river. We told them that we were looking for a new flat and let us know if they heard about anything available. A man came in who I know from the pool, and said hello, he left and when we told Jorge and José that we were looking for a place they said he was the man to ask as he had places! Damn, but we’ll get in touch with him somewhere.
We went down to the river at Ribeira, it was packed, February in Porto is like the summer anywhere else, so you can imagine what the high season is like. We watched two guys on drums and guitar play Come Together, constantly singing the second verse and making a right racket, not bad though. We didn’t stay long, we looked at the full moon beyond the Dom Luís I bridge, stared across the Douro at all the Port wine signage and the buildings of Gaia and then headed back up the steep hills into the city. We went via Dance Planet to tell Miguel that we were back and that we were looking for a place and walked through the bustling city home. There we sat, as you do when you’ve been out all day and it wasn’t long before my sesh with Noel in England, it’s been a while since the busy American trip. That was cool, we talked for a while and afterwards, I had to listen to Arktik Lake mixes with a critical ear, concentrated, before I spoke to Andreas who is mixing them in Sweden. We also talked for a long time, analysing the tracks, sorting out what needed to be done. Now it’s so late I can’t even tell you, I didn’t even get to the pre-house viewing part of the day, Maybe Tomorrow.
Music today, how about the Television 12-inch Little Johnny Jewel (1975) on Ork Records. Yes, please.