Sunday, 23 December 2007

Top 10 Albuns of 2007

LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver

Bill Callahan - Woke On A Whale Heart

Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, are You The Destroyer

David Vandaveer - Grace & Speed

Battles - Mirrored

Blackstrobe - Burn Your Own Church

Go-Team - Proof Of Youth

Kevin Ayers - The Unfairground

Klaxons - Myths Of The Near Future

Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Poem 16

like a change to come
a grip recoils a glimpse of hope
when starting to see a million possibilities
where there was none
i fall in love with an old song
and even if “torn between jupiter and apollo”
i will not account to anyone
a swagger, bold gesture, a swift manner
that entices the tip of my lips
conjures a pair of hazelnut eyes
so sweet and robed of malice
and never an assortment of tea biscuits
has brought me so much mirth

Monday, 27 August 2007

Poem 15

a bad boy with a heart of gold
throws a dot of crimson jello
has the sun rises and the thunder cracks
if my backbone had been broken
maybe it all was cleared at once
that day you were away, I took your bed
in the morning, four times I washed my skin
tiny drops of you, fuzzy glow
a castle of ice cubes, a tray of jade
amazing whims, a jointure of swirls
a roaring fire, caged lion, and in no time
i would like to fully see what those trousers hide

Friday, 24 August 2007

Poem 14

that curious smile of yours intrigued me
i’m not distracted from my body
just keep myself away from disenchantment
showered with attention, charmed sweetly
still not liking to account to anyone
I started to perceive a thousand possibilities
- far more shinier – where nothing was
one foot on hold, maybe unwanted sadness
would creep again, I begin allowing
a sunnier, summery flare in
if for nothing more, for you

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Poem 13

i liked it when there was share
in a confined space of debate
it was an extraordinary time
of genuine anger and defiance
no sentence was random
none of my books vulgar
a daily practice of speech
buttoned up in golden sealing-wax
twice a day, small talk
then, a night of wonders

Monday, 16 July 2007

Poem 12

come gather gratuitous grace
only for a few boyish, exalted and
tactful moments of stolen delight
may a wrong thing taste so good
and a nuisance to everybody be
a joyful bliss in leather seats
for a cast of spells and two drops of want
that wins a ride in a slippery slope
even if not all that glitters is gold
an hour of honey gestures
makes the deed but betrays reason
and if time would to still and apologies redeemed
the tale could had not been fully told
addressing time, will, wit to the
hasty but gentle discovery

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Poem 11

in trying to deny herself, anna saw a way out
if everybody departed who is to stay?
Is cowardice just a wise judgment?
what is so honourable in leaving?
if staying demands such a greater effort?
anna kept asking one question after another
but the answer did not show
a fortnight passed, her firm trial
from a box of principles, surrender a smile
at last! an answer
if she would stand still, just letting time pass
not making a fuzz nor using her will
it all should fall into place
since nothing changed and the cosy safety
remained a gentle requirement
to any distress to occur
the next day, a sunny one,
anna felt reassured in her thought
so happy, wondering and rightful
but a mile down the road, brusquely
the path twisted and a detour sign
made her turn left
left felt wrong, a liberating nuisance
yet a betrayal to reason
and reason, we all know
it is an uttermost possession for anna

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Poem 10

it has been a time of paint
two walls, side by side, arranged neatly
an unfashionable fashion of sorts
mirrored in layers of funky swirls
unfathomable sparks of a happy past
too narrow for its own sake
eager fingers running across soft skin
parading thrills, tidy, immaculate
restored links. never moved nowhere
a friendly gesture, let the guard down
embrace the exquisite surprise
found among avocados and palm trees
a velvet tiger, ready to jump, tearing claws
take my hand, come running, come running
come here today, depart, replace
have a roll in the wide trimmed lawn

Friday, 25 May 2007

Poem 9

tell me, what was the point of it all?
the fuzz and the thrill of methodically collect
precious unique things
creating layers of amazeness
never give away, never lend, never let go
stash in boxes, pile in corners, cover from dust.
a labour of love, threadbare from impulse
a fête turned fester, carving fast
inside it rebels, aghast by lost wander
the gentle candour of an empty triangle
a life built around sweets and treats
retain your possessions, a coup d’etat of the heart
no fall from grace, no elegance, no ethics
only a small trace of failure taken aback
by the smooth sound of the tide

Poem 8

for you i resign my power
it is one thing or the other, not both
no, not both. so sadly one can not have both...
in the orange stripped roller-coaster
the simplest of things, so hard to spell
a sly fellow swirls around the flowerless magnolia
i rise, my hands on your hips, a drowning stare
the vast sky broken by tv antennas and concrete facades
just the other day i have heard you, laughing for her
i was there, in the other room
nicely throwing away your books
a slow burn turned inwards, look at me
can you see it? is it there, under the cupboard?
obvious as a cat tail out of the door
being the quiet spec­tator in the background has no other meaning but to keep
an overwhelming urge under restrain

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Poem 7

it is almost there, it is almost there
all set aside, brightly shaped, soon to be taken
the silver bus on the side lane awaits
for the never to be unfolding drama
here my will is broken, such a confined pretty room
row, row up the stream, find a gem, turn it down
a perfect line of leavesless trees
it is spring, in a minute a soft greener than green roof
will mute our thoughts
i kiss and caress your hair, words undone, of no use
goodbye my love, it was great
slowly, slowly, pass towards an ageing garden
do not. do not do that old trick, do not walk on the wire
i will not be here to hold you
there is a dash of pink around the corner
a fresh smell of strawberries, a river gaze
through the window a more pleasant view
inside is cold, a caged growing ambition
now it is almost there, it is almost there
your smile wakes me up, i long for it
just let me come across these feeble roaring dragons
and soon, so soon, in a second, i’ll be with you, sweetie

Saturday, 7 April 2007

an older poem #1

it’s not the smile I want
but the marble flesh
no time to waist,
please lay by my side
let’s play that game of wanders
as your poem rises
when it sets, a moment of pause,
and then, let’s move on

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Poem 6

crushing parties, crushing parties, crushing parties
all night, no stop
leap forward, leap forward, leap forward
back into my arms
sing a nasty song, sing a nasty song, sing a nasty song
crush me above and below
set a riot on the wall
search aside, search aside, search aside
turn to me , fall on your knees
make the night a day, stay away
dig for gold, dig for gold, dig for gold
lay down, come close, let me strike you
let me take you under the waterfall
don’t make a sound, be mine

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Poem 5

box the books, cage the cats, come up
a dressing-table full of talcum powder
laying my back on the kitchen floor and, funny, the ceiling is spinning
my special speciality unravels
and the unacceptable face of freedom is so bright
but, what about me, now I am here and you may just go and die in a far way war
I stay, curled up in safeness
a grey snapshot of normality, a blizzard of pink dreams, the risk is elsewhere
the Pulitzer lands on someone else’s lens
I frown, no dear, not for me, not this time
so endless the talk less days
here it is cold, too many carnal ghosts, hidden, lurking
cut short perfection
I could had had a rock’n’rollish way of life but I choose not to
dare taking it all too far, a bold gesture, no tears, no regrets
just the quiet preciousness of sterility
the disused courage ingrained in a soulless shell
roaming around re- writing the manuals, running from precipice
box the books, cage the cats, come up
suffocate the malaise, bribe failure, line every marble so straight, so tight
quit self-obsession, move on, dismantle ardour, give in to reason
now it is exile on the street behind the main street
through the window of the back balcony a glimpse of sea
some comfort, at last

Poem 4

I miss going abroad and get a kick out of it
I miss gigs in impossible places shut down by the police
I miss pulling a vodka bottle out of my bag and sharing it
I miss handle you a glass full of jack daniels
I miss bossing the gang
I miss the rushed thrill of deadline
I miss arguing and winning
I miss fighting for what I want and get it
I miss you, I miss sex, I miss love
I miss rock’n’roll and I am tired of a tireless life
I am tired of behaving
I am tired of lead by example
I am tired of holding on
I am tired of being caesar's wife
I am tired of putting a strong face
I am tired of a dull job
I am tired of my politeness
I am tired of hiding the damaging scars
I am tired of missing you

Friday, 23 March 2007

BRETT ANDERSON - Brett Anderson (Drowned in Sound)

It is ironic that Brett Anderson first solo album comes out in spring. This is, without a doubt, a fall record. To be more accurate it is the winter of our discontentment. We have been the bravado and defiance of the early twenties, playing and heavy petting in rooms filed with feather boas and glitter, oblivious of anything but ourselves. Passed through glowing nights, filled with stimulation, flittering, swinging, among the most lavishly in-crowd, in a swirl of craze and fun. We believed in love, we challenged the world, our brightness so amazing, and our sweetness so candid. Mightier than a knight in a shining armour, we were there, battling everything and everyone, so together no one could tell us apart. Like Brett with have aged, graciously and in fabulous style. But life caught us without warning, crawling in slowly but lethally. We were looking the other side, absorbed by this and that, the bits and the bobs, the dos and don’ts. In the morning the phone rings and love is dead. It is dead, gone, swept away and thorn. The resentment that has grow so high, the too many demands – baby needs the curtains, the carpet, the cars, the money to burn and be flashy -, intimacy turned into disgust, sex one more chore, even if fun. And there was nothing more for us there, the failure of a great love a disaster of gigantic proportions. Brett voice is in the back guiding us in the cold, allowing for the melancholy to set in. Here we are, still waiting for spring with autumn leaves in our hearts.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

AMY WINEHOUSE - Back To Black (Island)

Having a bad temper and a short fuse, hit boyfriends and fans, is all just fine to turn up in the tabloids and those many celebrities web sites and magazines. Still, with Amy Winehouse, even it does help to put her name on the spot, the displeasure and the aggressiveness blends on her music, mighty soulful voice and lyrics. She’s the bad girl, the dame – from the old film noir, not the hip-hop male lady friend. The one that wants the entire catch and the spoils for herself and, one way or another (her way, most surely) gets it. Drinking problems, eating disorders, depression, insanity are just some more strong colours in Amy’s wardrobe, helping to forge a legend and placing her up there, along those mythical, tragic, bigger than life female jazz singers like Sarah Vaughn, Aretha Franklin or Josephine Baker. If Winehouse will go down music history as a rebel and a maverick it remains to be seen. “Back To Black”, her second album is certainly worthy as many praise as it is been getting. An astonishing voice, half soaked in disdain half scarred with sorrowfulness rises upon a blanket of cool, elegant music, piercing our hearts, making us shiver and painfully look inside. Albeit her countless problems it is always refreshing, in a kind of perverse way, in these over cleansed, übber sanitised, everybody follows the book and is hyper healthy and fit times to see someone, even if for the sake of fame and glory, to go exactly the opposite way, and crash in great (rock’n’roll&jazz) fashion.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Poem 3

you wore shorts and played with toys and i was old enough to sleep with boys
she danced upon pomegranates and fed mangoes to the goldfish
he turned to cat fights and removed all the leaves from the pool
the constancy of inconstancy is as precise as a swiss clock
those past bright days of summer were shaping a needless will
under fire cracks and a star bursting sky spins the colourful merry-go-round
in a seaside house among the pine trees lay gigantic sponge balls
so big one could get into them and roll down the hill
the constancy of inconstancy is as precise as a swiss clock
an ox blood coach on the old rail tracks, cut short, drove nowhere
a discarded mil package soiled the rocky sand
magnetic glamour encompasses the naïveté of our childhood games
a hand stretched to reach an armour of lemons and prunes
the dates we’ve had, sadly salty, masked untold truths
a lacquered body displays its inner sorrows when we arrive so out of tune and time
and the constancy of inconstancy is as precise as a swiss clock

Poem 2

take me through the flesh claded forest
along schematic landscapes of rubble
there are a million stop signs in the city
crimson as hate blood
tea is served in the motorway detour
the sassy girl says: how can i ever
regain my innocence now that i’ve tasted love?

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Poem 1

a strenous line of embarecement, held with cellotape
withdraw the pain of time
so silly the laugh, so tired the trick, so worn out the tumbler
the day brakes into a cup, lurking from behind reason
past tense, past safeness, past ordeal
past the past of crystal clear waters
led me till down there
where joy always ends up in tears

OF MONTREAL Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (Polyvinyl)

When reviewer and writer dwell in similar personal problems, it gets to close to home and heart. It is like watching what went wrong with our life under de magnifying lens of a microscope. The outcome of the writer’s tormented affairs, however, provide a strange, but much needed sense of quietness and of “it will work out just fine”. Kevin Barnes lyrics for “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?“, Of Montreal new album, come from the singer nearly completely breakdown in Norway - a subject he very openly approaches in “A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger” – and the separation from his wife, right after the birth of their first child. If not for the music, uplifting, dance oriented, pop, punctuated with an array of peculiar sounds an almost over the top hysteria, this would be a record to send us straight to the abysm and the realms of utter depression. The centrepiece of “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?“, the amazing spiralling and tormented “The Past Is A Grotesque Animal”, a nine plus minutes long song about love’s excessive weirdness, nearly gets us there, on the edge. We are quickly rescued by “Bunny Ain’t No Kind Of Rider” a popish and ironic song that makes us want to laugh and the madness of “Faberge Falls For Shuggie”. By the end of the record we have been taken through misery and pain with a disco beat and a grin in our faces.

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM - Sound Of Silver (DFA)

At first it was hate. I detested LCD Soundsystem, apparently for no particular reason. I just didn’t stand them. So much that I even went to see James Murphy & CO only to hate them more. But like so many other love stories, irritation and dislike turned into a crushing passion, so overwhelming that for the past weeks “Sound Of Silver”, LCD Soundsystem latest album has been often playing on repeat for hours on end. Looking back it is hard to say what I did abhor the most: if the cowbell, Murphy’s voice and appearance, the many 80’s references or just the all package. But the cowbell, Murphy’s voice and appearance, the many 80’s references along with the lyrics and the powerful musical mish-mash are exactly what turns LCD into a unique band. True, there are a million bands out there with cowbells and drowned in the 80’s and the post-punk, still, in the end, it all comes down to how one lays the foundations, the bricks and the paint. And LCD Soundsystem do it with sharp uniqueness. “Sound Of Silver” begins with “Get Innocuous” growing devilish groove and ends in a down-tempo schizophrenic lament for New York – “New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down”. Between there are seven songs of pure joy, sorrow, departure, love, party and disdain. All in all life full spectre in a singular danceable pop album. Sometimes, if for brief instants, there is more to existence than books, and this is one of those (long and lasting) moments.

Of Montreal & Scissor Sisters

ou de como hissing fauna, are you the destroyer? e ta dah! são dois miúdos separados à nascença em que um se perde nos mundos do indie rock (ou lá o que é) e o outro se arrasta pelos clubes de disco sound nova-iorquinos. depois encontram-se, por acaso, num bar mal afamado e descobrem que tem tantas muitas coisas em comum, acabando por perceber, que, na verdade, são irmãos. o miúdo de montreal, educado nos melhores colégios britânicos e dado à poesia e às belas-artes, por vezes pende para uma melancolia e uma introspecção quase doentia, que o levam a olhar para o passado e a constatar que entre este e um animal grotesco a diferença é pouco. ambos são ridículos, abafantes, doentios. já o mano de nova-iorque, crescido e educado por entre apartamentos camarários e empregos de uma semana, não liga a coisas profundas, preferindo o puro prazer dos sentidos ao pensar. mas isso são pormenores de somenos importância. juntos, o garoto canadiano e o fedelho americano são o terror das festas dos amigos, chegando mesmo a acabar inúmeras noites numa desconfortável cela de uma qualquer esquadra.

* written early this year for forum sons.

Vasco, um homem de princípios

Por brincadeira, como nunca houve uma eleição em que não votasse, costuma dizer que aos 35 anos pode candidatar-se a Presidente da República. Nas próximas eleições presidenciais Vasco Durão, nascido em 1972, se assim o desejar, já pode realizar o seu intento. Mas, se a possibilidade de se candidatar ao cargo de mais alto magistrado da Nação não passa de uma dessas coisas que dizemos por graça, escrever sobre um Presidente da República é algo a que este lisboeta, estratega de marcas – o nome e conceito Selo.Fan, a loja dedicada à filatelia dos CTT, a que queria conferir o estatuto de bela-arte (a 11ª), são criação sua -, sociólogo e historiador, não é alheio.
Num prazo relâmpago, “um mês e meio”, teve prontas as palavras da Fotobiografia de Jorge Sampaio. O tempo para pesquisar também não foi muito. No Verão passado Vasco estava na praia, com a mulher e a filha, quando recebeu um telefonema do Museu da Presidência da República a convida-lo para integrar o projecto das Fotobiografias de todos os Presidentes, da Fundação da República até ao Presidente ainda em exercício. Aceitou o desafio e mergulhou nos arquivos de Jorge Sampaio e da Presidência da República. Ao contrário do habitual nas fotobiografias, em que os textos complementam as imagens, Vasco optou pelo oposto porque quis criar “um texto analítico e depois ilustrá-lo com imagens”.
Mas procurar as imagens para acompanhar o texto não foi fácil. A preenchida vida profissional do biógrafo e o parco tempo disponível para uma tarefa de tanta responsabilidade obrigaram-no a pedir ajuda na pesquisa de fotografias que ilustrassem os vários períodos da vida de Jorge Sampaio focados. E o pior mesmo foi chegar às fotografias pré-Presidência. Optando por defender o texto e enfrentando as dificuldades da busca de imagens, mesmo nas relacionadas com a Presidência, o resultado final acabou por não ser exactamente o esperado.
Com o texto, e apesar de também não ter sido uma empreitada menos árdua, a situação foi diferente. Baseado essencialmente “nas extensas conversas” mantidas com Jorge Sampaio – fruto de uma franca relação pessoal entre biografo e biografado –, complementadas pelo acesso privilegiado ao arquivo pessoal do Presidente, que “felizmente é uma pessoa que guarda tudo, pelo “óptimo acolhimento e abertura” do Arquivo de Documentação da Presidência e das publicações da Presidência “onde estão a maioria dos discursos e acções políticas do Presidente Sampaio”, o texto cresceu e tomou forma naquelas exíguas seis semanas de 2005. Nos momentos mais angustiantes que um escritor, seja ele de novelas cor-de-rosa ou de biografias de políticos, a preciosa ajuda e a necessária inspiração vieram de Nuno Brederode Santos, cujo apoio foi inestimável.
O conhecimento prévio que Vasco tinha de Jorge Sampaio, quer a nível pessoal, quer profissional, facilitaram-lhe a elaboração da biografia. Não se recorda nem de quando nem onde viu o Presidente pela primeira vez. Calcula que tenha sido em criança, talvez “nos encontros informais que o grupo de Jorge Sampaio promoveu no Alentejo desde sempre, ou então nas campanhas e comícios a que o meu pai me levava”. O pai, João Durão, além de militante do PS há muitos anos, é amigo de longa data e conselheiro informal de Sampaio. Isso, porém, não foi entrave à isenção e ao rigor colocados quer na elaboração do texto quer nos assuntos abordados. De fora das conversas nada ficou, nem nada foi considerado intocável pelo biografado, que nunca deixou nenhuma pergunta sem resposta, até porque Vasco nunca faria “um serviço por medida”, tendo a sua independência sido “garantida desde o início”. No texto final, e apesar de terem sido abordadas nas conversas mantidas, apenas não surgem “algumas questões de ordem pessoal, ou de pormenor” que “necessariamente afectam os políticos” ainda no pleno exercício das suas funções.
O conhecimento próximo e de vários anos que tinha a nível pessoal do Presidente, foi complementado pelo trabalho académico. A tese de Mestrado “Intervenção Socialista” (Livros Horizonte, 2002), aborda a história da Intervenção Socialista, da qual Jorge Sampaio foi um dos membros do núcleo fundador. Associação política cuja vida decorreu entre o pós 25 de Novembro e Fevereiro de 1978 (altura em quase todos os seus membros aderiram ao PS), cujo grupo central era constituído, além de Jorge Sampaio, por João Bénard da Costa, José Manuel Galvão Teles,
João Cravinho, Joaquim Mestre, Armando Trigo de Abreu, César Oliveira, Nuno Brederode Santos e Luís Nunes de Almeida. Apresentando-a como uma “elite política de esquerda” que “marcou presença nos momentos políticos fulcrais do seu tempo, com uma influência maior do que o número reduzido dos seus membros.”, a pesquisa sobre a Intervenção Socialista permitiu-lhe conhecer bem o passado político de Jorge Sampaio e analisar em detalhe um lato período da História Política nacional, incluindo o PREC (Processo Revolucionário em Curso), outro dos seus grandes interesses.
Em comum com Jorge Sampaio, Vasco Durão tem a simplicidade – o título da Fotobiografia é “Um Cidadão Igual a Nós” –, não se achando nem mais nem menos do que os outros, um espírito aberto, o respeito pelos valores solidários e igualitários, pela Liberdade, pela Democracia e pelo espírito do 25 de Abril.
A biografia de fundo de Jorge Sampaio terá que esperar, pois por ora não passa de uma “possibilidade informal”. E porque não é preciso “dar tempo ao tempo para fazer uma coisa a sério sem o fantasma do politicamente correcto”, como Vasco precisa de tempo, escasso na sua vida diária, para si, para os seus gostos (o cinema e a música estão entre as suas paixões de sempre, tanto que saídas nocturnas, regra geral só para ver filmes ou ir a concertos) e para aquilo que este homem de família considera mais precioso: “tempo de qualidade para a minha mulher e a minha filha.”.

* written in early 2006 for Público newspaper but never published.