“… the solemn sadness that inhabits all great things – the summits, the great lives, the profound nights, the eternal poem.”
I made a quick stop to a weird local record store, where the patron was an ageing man of 50 or so who remained in deep conversation with his similarly aged friends as I entered, not even acknowledging me. He had a fine collection of jazz, indie and the more eclectic side of commercial rock. He looked away nervously when I asked him the price of a rare Spectrum clear vinyl 12” hanging amongst his first addition Spacemen 3 singles on the wall, but I did pick up Spiritualized “Amazing Grace” ep with its alternate versions. The messy, slow free jazz squall of the “Star Spangled Banner” (entitled here “Amazing Grace (Peace on earth)”, perhaps cynically) is also something of a metaphor for Portugal: a country mangled in its own history and delusion of past grandeur.
And of course I picked up some Fado. One of the cheaper albums amongst his collection of old vinyl was an album by Amália Rodriguez called “Vou dar de beber à dor” ("I´ll offer pain a drink") from 1969 who’s title track is one of her and Fado’s defining moments.
Second stop of the trip was to the little sea side village of Nazaré, just west of Fátima on the coast. The sea was a far cry from the calm of the Mediterranean, with the big, rushing Atlantic waves causing most of the people to stay on the shore watching in excited fear and going in up to their knees only once the waves had broken. At night there was a little local festival with a stage set up on the stand and plenty of activities spread out along the shore. One of the curiosities of this show was the two Peruvian pipe bands. I say curiosity not for the novelty, but to emphasise one of the most frustrating cultural questions of our time: How and why do Peruvian pipe bands proliferate and disseminate about the world?