“IKEA” sung to the tune of “Volare” is a firm favourite to sing to and from the yellow and blue giant castle, with its flags and banners, signalling the success of its campaigns and battles in the corporate capitalist market to give chipboard Scandinavian style to the whole of the world. But did you know this: “Started in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA has been the world’s largest furniture retailer since 2008. The brand used by the group is derived from an acronym that consists of the founder’s initials, those of Elmtaryd, the family farm where he was born, and the nearby village Agunnaryd (his hometown in Småland, southern Sweden).” Now you can sleep better knowing why IKEA is called IKEA. We were summoned there today by needs, budget, and time constraints. Now, how can I make it interesting telling y’all about it?
Ariel’s in hospital but we’ve never been to IKEA without Ariel, it’s north of Porto, not too far but you need a car. We considered taking buses but it’s just the time it takes, time we don’t really have. So we took an Uber (Bolt). It cost under 10€ and seemed worth the cost for the time saved. It was a lovely warm day and I opened the window in the car to feel the breeze. It was then that I noticed that the driver was a little mad. Was he aiming or driving? At one point a car braked in front of him and he didn’t react at all, he just carried on at the same speed, as it happened it was a brief braking but he couldn’t have known that. He was too close to the cars in front and when a car wanted to change lanes in front of him he did his best to not let them in. The blandest death ever, en route to IKEA.
When you get there, it’s connected to a massive mall and there’s one of those moving walkways that take you up to the first floor. What is going on with people who turn into statues on these things? It’s a moving WALKWAY. It gets you there quicker with less effort, but what do people do? They stand on it, blocking the way, making a short walk take an eternity. Are they sightseeing, reading? How can you just stand there like that at that speed? It’s the same at airports. Aggghh…rant over.
Inside we found our way almost immediately to the damaged/reduced section where we found all kinds of chipboard wonders that will help furnish The (recordless) Archive. All this effort, the renovation, the rent costs, will we ever be able to get everything there? We are trying and trying. What a place this will be if the Portuguese authorities let us bring everything into the country and we can raise enough funds. We carried on buying bits and pieces, things a studio/archive/hang would need. We suddenly realised we had five trolleys worth of things…and no car.
We asked about a delivery, the pieces in the reduced area would cost 30€ each to be delivered, which kind of defeated the object of them being reduced. Add the normal delivery charge of 40€ on top and we were really missing Ariel. Then they told us we could hire a van for 15€ an hour so that’s what we did. It took ages to get the damn cards to work but around 7 PM we were on our way into town to drop everything off at The Archive. Only problem, it’s Friday night and The Archive is in the ladies of the night (and day) street.
Traffic was bad and when we arrived on our street we realised we couldn’t just stop outside and unload. The street is narrow with parked cars on one side and the ladies on the other. I jumped out to open the gate and Olivia drove around the corner. The gate is very difficult, old, rusty, and hard to open. When I finally got in, I saw Olivia on the corner, she was beckoning to me. She’d seen someone vacate a spot she’d already driven past, I need to save it and she needed to reverse back down the street (in a sprinter van, in the middle of town, on a Friday night). She’s never even driven a vehicle this large before. Someone tried to drive into the spot as I stood there, I stopped them, picked up their car, and hurled it over the buildings. Olivia reversed into the spot just around the corner from the entrance to The Archive.
It was then that I saw the guys from across the road who are renovating a restaurant. I told them we had “muchas cosas” and they immediately came and helped carry all the heavy pieces into The Archive. They had another man guarding the open front door and one of the ladies of the day guarded the open van. Welcome to Portugal. When we were done, one of the ladies asked me “massage agora?” – “massage now?”
We drove north, back out of town to deliver the car back to IKEA within the three hours we had hired it for. It was like, did that just happen? We shopped on a little and got a Bolt back into town, surprisingly only half an hour late for a sesh with Noel in England. There on the desk was my phone that I’d forgotten, still charging. Almost a disaster as one of the cards had sent a code that I couldn’t confirm and Olivia had tried to call me as I waited outside and she soldiered on with paying for the van. So we made it in the end. Veggie hot dogs at IKEA, beans on toast, and our ten-day home, and the final episode of Bosch, Season 5…and here we are.
Music today has been Steeleye Span – Below the Salt (1972) because I spoke to Boydie today and he’s a folk and folk rock fan and he had played this one earlier today. On our UK tour he told me ticket sales were slow in Glasgow and Leicester…how do we fix that? People who don’t know us would like us if they knew. I guess it’s hard times and no one can afford to go see something they don’t know. Back to Steeleye Span, the album features their first hit single, Gaudete, which reached No. 14 in the UK chart. Great, love it.