The Week that was/The Weeks that were – Lisbon and the aftermath. 15.07. & 22.07.2018

“We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”… I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Churchill speak those words, but it must have been often. This week, more precisely Friday, I heard them again.

 

Whenever I hear them they are usually followed by the intro riff to Aces High, one of THE classic Iron Maiden tunes. The same Friday July 13th. With a difference. Usually, when I hear them, I’m listening to a recording, most of the time the classic 86 live album Live after Death. This time I heard it stood in the middle of a crowd of fellow Maiden fans and the band which I’ve absolutely adored in my very early teens, and which I still proudly count among one of my favourite bands, were live on stage at Lisbon’s Altice Arena. It was a great experience!
But before going into any more detail about the concert (and I’m  not going to write a full review anyway), let’s look back a bit further, all the way to that first Sunday (July 8th), when the location for the Week that Was was being set! It’s worth mentioning at this point – I didn’t want to spoil the intro – that at the time this is being finished and published we’re speaking of the Week that Was previous to the week that just was. Sometimes that’s how it goes.

I already published a, hastily written (in Lisbon), post on that very first Sunday, so there shouldn’t be too much surprise. And, well, to be fair, there isn’t that much to be said about the ongoings of that particular day. Other people have, I’m sure, written about flying with RyanAir, and my experience doesn’t top that, not in one way, nor the opposite… It got us there… Doing the whole thing on foot, camel back or even coach would probably have sucked more. Doing it on Zeppelin, hovercraft or via teleportation would’ve been awesome, but I now I’m just waffling!
Arriving in the second part of the afternoon, by the time we’d (I was travelling with a mate of mine) arrived and checked into our AirBnB home for the week, our host having been friendly to copiously explain a bunch of things and matters about the town to us, there wasn’t too much time left for any big deeds or adventures. Thus the week, we’re talking of here, pretty much ran from Monday to Sunday. On that first day we simply got settled in. A short walk, some food & some supermarket shopping made for a wee bit more entertainment, before retiring saving our energy for the days to come and tasting the local Beers. On that note, we found Superbock to be the best, though Sagres wasn’t too shabby either.

 

And energy we needed, as there was a lot of walking to be done. Uphill, downhill – there are definitely enough hills in this town.
Truth be told I didn’t know all that much about Lisbon before the trip. Sure, Capital of Portugal, historic, inhabited since before Roman times. I knew about the earthquake of 1755, mostly because of the reference in Voltaire’s Candide. Oh, and the Lisbon treaty and its famous Article 50. I could go off on a tangent here around the news around Brexit, but that’s actually the week of writing, and we shall stay in Lisbon for the time being.

 

It’s a nice enough town with some beautiful nice stretches. Beautiful in many ways – there is classic “beauty”: Pomp, circumstance and all that included. And there is this beauty which I’ve – more often in Mediterranean than in more northerly realms – quite come to like: that of partial decay, often on the facades that, while still belying their original design, have turned into weatherworn wounded skins. With completely neglected edifices in between, silently (mostly, as it is a slow process) crumbling down, being turned into receptacles of waste and debris, non-places in between homes, places of business and pathways. And, in a lot of places, there’s graffiti. From beautiful street art, to hastily smeared tags, from messages to varying audiences, to acts of vandal communication; a spectrum of the ephemeral traces left behind by locals and visitors alike.

 

I did end up taking a lot of pictures of those… (You’ll find a few at the bottom of this post, but as I wanted to give a good representation of the whole trip, there will be more specialised albums going up on my flickr, one dedicated to Streetart, one to Street photography – both not only limited to Lisbon!)
Lisbon actually, supposedly, has an ephemeral museum – I’ve read of it too late to verify if it is still in existence. And if, whether it still is in Lisbon, but it is dedicated to street art, to cataloguing it and it does exist in the great outdoors, where the art is, rather than bringing it all together in a gallery.
Other museums there are as well. But I visited only few this time around. A walk through the grounds of the Gulbenkian, a visit to the Archaeological Museum which is part of the ruins of the Carmel Monastery as well as an extended stay of a couple of hours at the Old Electricity station in Belem (skipping the modern art bit, though, rather focusing on the old industrial machinery and kettles and a quite decent sound installation in there.)

 

Some sights of the sight-seeing appeal variety had to be seen, of course, such as the Tower of St Vincent in Belem and the Jeronimo’s Monastery, the (weird modernist yet somewhat conservative) monument to the explorers leaning out over the river Targus. And “back in town”, some of the viewpoints, most giving a view over the river, of the castle or both. Along the way the famous yellow trams, stuffed with tourists (one assumes) and TukTuks coming around corners at breakneck speeds, while you’re just hoping to make it safely to see the old aqueduct (part of it, to be precise) & water reservoir, or the Castle (at least from the outside), the botanic gardens also and/or the world famous Santa Justa elevator… all pretty like a picture. Just that your photos of it never turn out that great as they do on postcards…
Anyone else surprised that postcards are still around, btw? Not in abundance, as I remember them from when I was young(er).. and not even counting all those “x-by night” and similar jokes from the 80s/90s trips I recall, but they are still there and I deduct (like Sherlock) from that fact, that people still are writing postcards.
(For a great selection of Postcards from the Past, check out the twitter account of that name, btw.) I didn’t buy or send any postcards, but I did post on Instagram, and you should follow me there. Totally.

 

That was the daytime. Let’s have a wee gander at what happened after dark: On Wednesday we went to see an electronic live jam at a small independent bar called Destero. There, in a cozy (well…) basement a bunch of mostly men, fewer women, had gathered together around a table laden with musical machinery. Synthesizers, effects, laptops, midi controllers – that sort of thing. The way these things go, speaking from experience as both a listener and back in the day a Dondrine/Dystopian Dub Developer, they are generally a mixed bag. There are times when things develop nicely, take off so to say and you get a couple of minutes of great music in exchange for sitting through parts that drift along somewhat more aimlessly. But all in all the one that night was OK.

 

The next night there was a book presentation by DJ Balli & a bit later a DJ set at a place called Lounge. Which was hard to find, having not even a sign out front…
With basically no night busses and all Taxis are the only way to go at night, an unusual experience for a 21st century Londoner (or even a guy previously from Vienna, where night-busses debuted in the mid/late 90s.) It seems that Lisbon may not be a city that never sleeps…
Friday, finally, there was the Iron Maiden gig. It was fun! I must admit that I dreaded the prospect of being at a concert this size a bit. Indeed, despite being a fan of some rather popular bands, I haven’t been to too many large concerts and none of them fairly recently. I’m just not a fan of big crowds. But I kept my stride and rocked with the crowd!
Only caught a bit of the support act (Tremonti) and then it was waiting for a while until, at last, Doctor, Doctor being played over the PA announced the imminent start of proceedings. Above mentioned Churchhill speech and Aces High got us off to a flying start (insider pun!) and for the next 90+ minutes Iron Maiden treated us to many of their greatest hits. There were a few tracks I would’ve liked to hear and the odd one I would have swapped for some of those, but either way it was awesome to see Steve doing his machinegun-bass thing, Bruce’s antics, Dave delivering his awesome guitar playing with a big smile, Adrian rocking, Janick being Janick and – hiding behind his usual large drumkit – Nicko banging along! Stage props, pyrotechnics and light show sure have evolved since the 80s. And the sound was great! So, if you are into that kind of thing, go see them.

 

Soon after the whole Lisbon affair was over. Saturday and Sunday were still made good use of, the latter I left the city behind for a while and took the train to Cascais, a nice little town by the sea. The kind of thing I needed to unwind.

 

Monday morning – early morning, it was back home. And I was happy to be with my cat Schnitzl again.
The week that was since wasn’t too eventful. Back to work on Tuesday and busy there until Saturday. Trying, on the side, to make up for needed sleep (not too successfully) and, little by little, working on this post. Sorting through photos. Doing all those kinds of things.

 

And, over the course of the week, publishing the remaining 4 releases I had had lined up on the Ivory Bunker Recordings Bandcamp page. Which means that now all the 13 re-releases of my Tomoroh Hidari past are available there, all with new covers designed by dfkt and, until August 23rd 2018 available at half price if you buy the full digital discography. Have a listen!

Future Tomoroh Hidari (the current incarnation after my vantablack sabbatical) also saw a release – that of a remix for Marhorka records 200th release, a collection of reworks of krallar‘s track “withdrawal” check it out here – it’s a free release.

Slowly getting to the point where I have, more or less, caught up I’m hoping to soon find the time to sort out a better wordpress template for this blog so that I can better combine photos and text… for now, find a couple of shots from Lisbon below. And make sure to keep an eye on my flickr account where more will be uploaded as I get around to it!

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