Fancy a bit of styrofoam?

Photo taken today at El Corte Ingles supermarket.
Buy a -styrofoam- plate, get six free apples.
Compre um prato de -esferovite-, leve seis maçãs grátis.

Who in heck buys this polluting, insulting, unnecessary packaging in 2019?
Bad, bad corte ingles.


Happy 50, Damasceno

Yesterday in Coimbra for the 50th anniversary of Tipografia Damasceno.

Honoured to have contributed with a co-authored essay for the commemorative volume, as part of our Anti-Amnesia research project (Unexcpected Media Lab, 2018-2020)!

Just put it out of its misery, folks.

The lexicon of new media is fascinating, full of avoidance and metaphor. Today Google sent me a message saying it’s shutting down its Google+ venture: essentially, it didn’t work in captivating social media users. But saying “shut down” would make it look like a failure, right? And it sounds so… final, so traumatic.

So they chose to say Google+ is “going away”.

Where to?… Like… on vacation?… Will it ever come back?… Meanwhile, can I go visit?… Questions, questions.


Felicidades para a Banda

Encontrado nos arquivos da nossa banda dos anos 80, enquanto preparamos a iminente edição audio, este guião de entrevista por via postal.

Não faço ideia se respondemos na altura, mas as perguntas soam no mínimo curiosas volvidos 30 anos, quase contendo as respostas que seriam uma reiteração dos paradigmas e estigmas então vigentes::

– como é que uma banda consegue “suberviver” na província “quase esquecida”? (Aveiro? Onde fica?)
– qual o “plano de actividades”? (falta a cabimentação, senhores)
– sentem-se “marginalizados”? (muito! Escorraçados!)
– 88 “será melhor ou pior” que 87… (foi muito pior! Acabámos zangados a meio de 87, como qualquer banda de rock and roll que se preza; nada que 30 anos não curem).

E seguem os preparativos editoriais!

Osiris e os estigmas

Um dos motivos que ouço invocados por parte de quem não aprecia a canção “Telemóveis” de Conan Osiris é a suposta “estupidez” da letra. Acho curiosa esta observação: encontro na letra uma série de figuras de estilo que se reportam à excessiva fiabilidade que colocamos na tecnologia, à falência das relações, à renúncia da complexidade, ao espectro da falência pessoal. Intuo que a suposta “estupidez” da letra vem de uma convenção tácita no que diz respeito à poesia: que haverá supostamente temas e palavras que não são suficientemente “nobres” para figurarem neste léxico literário.

Subjacente estará a ideia de que não se pode usar o telemóvel como metáfora, porque será demasiado trivial. Como se o nosso quotidiano fosse irremediavelmente divorciado da elevação da “Arte” com “A” maiúsculo. E como se os clichés do “amor”, da “lua”, do “outono”, do “mar”, etc etc etc, contivessem intrinsecamente os limites da expressão poética.

Ou seja: mais um estigma que Osiris estilhaça. Bem haja.



Tuxedomoon archives, one year on

Tomorrow will mark one year since the launch of the Tuxedomoon bandcamp archives page… I am grateful to Blaine, Steven and Luc for having entrusted me with curating and designing this project. I try to develop it as a labour of love, an act of reciprocity for all they have provided us with throughout the decades, the musical enjoyment, inspiration, intellectual and artistic sophistication, historical lessons…
I am honoured for the privilege and can only hope to pay justice to this 40-year-plus epic.

Additional thanks to Isabelle, Anselmo, Gretchen, Ann, Saskia, Dok, Alessandro, Pierre, Richard, Patrick, Marc and everyone else whose advice, content and consent have been essential ingredients in these editions.

Edition 11 out shortly, may a thousand more follow!
Support the band! 

A Family in Retrospect


Today was a day of pilgrimage, one of those moments that defy the perceived linearity of one’s life course…

Over 30 years ago I was a young, curious, naive, thirsty creative who had the good fortune to hang out with a few luminaries in the performance world: thanks in no small part to António Olaio and his international networks, I found myself at the epicenter of a performance art maelstrom in Clerkenwell in early 1988. I presented a piece, which in retrospect was all I was – peripheral, young, tentative. But I was certainly taking notes from the masters – André Stitt, Hester Reeve, Lucia King, Bruce Gilchrist, Tara Babel, Marie Kawazu… all under the mindful eye of Rob LaFrenais.

A reunion took place this evening, to signal the birth of an archive of that era (and a page is thus written for posterity), and to enjoy the immense pleasure of an in-person reunion. In a day and age of hyper-legibility and safety regulations, upon arrival this evening I felt a homecoming, I sensed echoes of the open-endedness we then pursued, the sense of adventure, the sheer vibrancy of it all. I felt an immense melancholia tonight, but also an enormous pride in having somehow been offered a place and a role, however small, in this particular legacy.

The archives will be an important part of this attempt at perpetuity, but how to convey having lived through that era, when the foundations of our desires and celebrations have meanwhile lost their context, their lexicon? In a way it’s simply called growing old: reconciling oneself with the fact that we can recover, evoke, testify, disseminate – but never quite convey what was at the heart of it. We know because we lived it, but that is ultimately where it ends.

In retrospect I now see much clearer how that moment in time, how these friends were so decisive to who I became, so decisive to the paths I carved in life. I am grateful for this family, a family I now finally recognise and fully acknowledge as such, no matter how circumstantial. I am so thankful.

Regrets and Gratitude

And so we look back, regrets and gratitude
For those last words not uttered to the departed
For affection envisioned and clumsily scattered
For a youth further faded, the one we never lived.

A wealth of failure and antagonism turned acceptance
A heritage of misgivings turned forgiveness
What could have been
Now sways, brimming with hope: we still can, somehow.

Promises of self-discipline, soon to be swallowed
Through the cracks in our character
The ones we are blind to, the ones
That fall prey to yet-unwritten disasters
And oh, they will come.

And yet we persist
While this Life belongs to us.
I am thankful for this Year
To you, my protagonists, I am indebted
You know who you are.




Comet loops

I first saw Telectu live back in 1985/6 at Teatro Carlos Alberto; they played “Halley” alongside a performance by our dear departed Brinquinho, who enmeshed himself in silk tunics and incarnated a comet among the audience. I remember the acoustics being vast and majestic, my young ears opening up.

A few years later I saw them again in passing at Pinguim Café; the vibe now was of course very different, this was a bar, not a seated auditorium. People drank and chatted (myself included) as Jorge Lima Barreto grooved away on the keys and Vítor Rua held it together as ever. Somehow it worked, as a hesitant prescience of this future-now-turned-present where music is the backdrop to the self-fixated feature film called “our lives”.

I look forward to Telectu tonight at SEMIBREVE, no doubt a very different experience from the previous two. Sparse crossings that help read a broader map of our brief time in this particular cosmic guise. Or if you’d rather, a recurring intersection, much like the loop of a comet.

Image: detail from António Palolo’s cover for Telectu’s “Halley”, 1985