The message to love


If any among you, dear readers, is 20 years old and love stricken, avoid at all costs long separations. It happened to Mona and me in May- June of 1972. Why Mona and her best friend Åsa had to leave London I do not remember. There were two things that could have prompted the decision. Tourist regulations in England and a telephone operator’s summer job with the Swedish National Telephone Company Televerket for both!

During those months and through intensive mail exchange the dialogue concentrated on how fast we could be together. Being in love is like an illness. You’re weak and not fully in control of your reasoning. What would be the best way to travel and how would we get the time off for a holiday? I was  informed that a charter to Stockholm would cost about £ 40.50, with the cheapest hotel included, whereas the m/s Saga would take me to Gothemburg  for £ 30. Then there was the train and all in all I would expect to pay between £ 55 and £ 60, for the chance of being together for a few Days. I have not mentioned it but there was still the small matter of a car trip from Stockholm and back to Sundsvall, a distance of about 400 kms.

Mona was already into cars and for her it was a minor problem to travel by car providing she was driving. At this time I did not have a driver’s license and it had not even occurred to me that I might ever need one.

Telephone calls and many letters kept us in touch and then there was that “ Message to love” with Jimi Hendrix to deepen memories!

The red crushed velvets


Back in 1969 I would do my shopping in Richmond-upon- Thames. It had boutiques that Barnes did not! It was there that I acquired a pair of red crushed velvet trousers. These trousers disturbed my relatives that evidently were not sure where this choice of clothes was taking me. In reality they made a strong contrast from the City suit I wore during the working week.

At this time and with my 17 years of age the attraction was going to Piccadilly  Circus. Something was always happening there and I would spend whole weekends there. There was a fantastic atmosphere. Young people from all over the world would gather there. All of a sudden some demonstration was organized and youngsters showed that they were not happy about the way things were going. Cries for Mao Tse Tung were on many demonstrators lips.  This was the Hippie period at the aftermath of the 68 events. The Vietnam War was raging on and everybody was against it. Italian partisan songs- Avanti o popolo, alla riscossa Bandiera rossa, bandiera rossa … would be followed by Spanish Civil War songs making mockery of Pablo Franco and his wife… La mujer de Paco Franco  bumbala, bumbala, bumbala…

A bit down Green Park some large mansion was occupied by homeless hippies and defended by Hells Angels. The police came in and got them out to everybody’s disgust and sense of injustice. It wasn’t fair! These were exciting times and I could not find anything more entertaining than those weekends doing my bit for world revolution on my red crushed velvet trousers!

O Coliseu de recreios


Quando era  pequeno em Lisboa havia um acontecimento anual que gostava de fazer e que antecipava com euforia infantil. E fi-lo vários anos talvez ainda na década de 50. Era o circo e era no coliseu dos recreios.

Há muitos anos que não vou lá ou seja desde esses tempos já remotos. Era uma sala impressionante e eram espéctaculos de maravilha. O circo de Natal era geralmente constituído por um programa muito variado em que alem da excitação dos numeros apresentados era acompanhado por uma banda de música ao vivo.

A sala do coliseu sempre em funções até aos dias de hoje, foi inaugurado ainda no tempo da monarquia, mais precisamente em 1890. Foi um grande projecto com ambição de ser uma das maiores salas de espetáculos da Europa. A sua enorme abóboda de ferro é um marco de arquitetura.

Os palhaços fazem sempre a alegria das crianças e sendo portugueses podia-se seguir os diálogos das cenas clássicas da palhaçada em que segundo a tradição o palhaço branco que é inteligente tenta que os outros façam um número de tarefas que não conseguem portando-se como crianças mal educadas. Um dos palhaços a que ainda hoje se faz referencia era o Kinito. Depois havia os animais e o trapezismo em que sobressaía nessa época uma artista espanhola muito famosa a Pinito del Oro da familia Segura.



Os Chinchilas no Ié-Ié


Em 1966 deu-se a finalissima do concurso Ié- Ié. Foi em Lisboa no Cinema Monumental a 30 de abril, um sábado. Fui lá mas nem me recordo quem mais ía comigo.

Para nós que tinhamos descoberto os Beatles e os outros gigantes do Rock inglês e americano era assim um pouco provinciano mas havia um motivo especial para nós que viviamos na Praceta.Um dos grupos da final era de Carcavelos. Eram os Chinchilas.

Só sei que houveram várias confusões à volta deste certame pois diz-se que os Chinchilas atuaram com dois nomes diferentes nas eliminatórias sendo primeiro os Monstros para depois aparecerem como Chinchilas. Os Sheiks que eram os melhores não participaram na final pois tinham um gig em contato e não puderam faltar.

Tambem se diz que o público teria votado na vitória dos Rocks de Luanda que tinham o Eduardo Nascimento a vocalista, mas foram os Claves que ganharam.

Os Chinchilas, nossos conterraneos, eram constituidos por miúdos pouco mais velhos que eu e dos quais apenas me recordo do Mário Piçarra 19 anos que aparecia lá na Praceta de guitarra na mão. Os outros eram o Vitor Mamede 15 anos, o José Machado  16, o Filipe Mendes 17, e um Fernando cujo apelido não consta mas que tinha 19 anos na altura.

Os nossos Chinchilas não ganharam para nossa desilusão tendo ficado em 6º lugar.

1966-DP4 Como prémio receberam um microfone “Shure” uma pandeireta e cinco gravatas!


The passport that flew away


I have touched on this subject before and I am doing it again today! It is about the question of nationalities. People have many times asked me what I see myself as. I have to be honest and explain that I am convinced that our first years are most important in shaping one’s personal identity.

I carry today a Swedish passport and it makes sense since I have lived in Sweden for the most part of my life. But I have had the Portuguese and British passports before. What happened for me to lose the Portuguese nationality which emotionally best correspond to my own feelings and identity!

I will explain. When I was living in London my thoughts were always to go back to Portugal which I missed grandly. Apart from my nearest family that lived there and the friends I had left I missed the Atlantic coast. I often talked about it and the people that came closest to me during those London years knew and could plan on going there with me. But I couldn’t so when my father came to London in 1971 he looked up some of his old acquaintances at the Consulate, from his own time there.

We were told that if I wanted to go back I would have to lose the Portuguese nationality first or I would risk being sent to the army and subsequently to some of the fronts in colonized Africa. Of course this was said on an unofficial way as a personal favour. I was give some forms, filled them in handed in my first passport with the national symbol on the front and the word PORTUGAL.

As I left for Sweden in 1972 it wasn’t until years later that my request was granted and sadly it was already after the revolution of 1974.

This is not a picture of my passport but mine looked something like this!

Memory lapses


Memory is tricky. Some things you remember others you don’t and these, can be forever lost, if not registered. I am going through the letters between Mona and I, in May and June of 1972.

I have discovered that I have no memory of a certain Pepe that shared the flat in 1972 when Mona and Åsa went back to Sweden. I had also forgotten that many people owed me money and that this caused difficulties for me as I needed it. Perhaps that is the reason even today, that it upsets me, to have to remind people that they need to pay their debts. Accordingly I try to settle any debts to others as soon as possible.

Someone wisely once said,” never borrow, never lend and you’ll never lose a friend”

In our letters we expressed the longing and the uncertainties of any couple in love but torn by distance and insecurity. As the weeks passed and the longing grew, it was decided that I would leave my job at Tramp’s to come to Sweden. By this time I was beginning to get tired of some customers at the club who in drunkenness had little manners or consideration for the staff.

I reported to Mona from the royal table at Tramp’s and could tell that the Prince had heard that I was connected to Sundsvall and I became known as Sundsvall without having been there. As to his bachelor situation it was evident that the chase for women or potential wives was there.

As you are not, dear reader, all alone in perusing through this blog pages I can now leave you some data concerning the blog. Number of viewings is today 5,186. 124 comments have been left and I have written over 100 texts in English and in Portuguese. People in 46 countries have visited the blog and visits top 5, are as follows. Sweden 1971, Portugal 1882, UK 460, USA 306 and Luxembourg 90. Thank you for your interest.


Homenagem aos professores


O primeiro ciclo do liceu foi práticamente feito no Colégio Valsassina. Já falei de alguns professores dos quais sobressaiem o prof de Canto Coral muito querido velhote de cabelo comprido e bengala que se sentava num pequeno orgão para nos acompanhar nos hinos da escola e no Nacional. Era o maestro Cruz Brás.

 Já recordei tambem o Arq. Bairrada no desenho e trabalhos manuais que gostava de usar palmatória para punir os alunos, segundo ele, mal comportados. Fiquei com a mão a arder algumas vezes, já nem sei porque! Depois havia a professora de frances baixinha que dava com o ponteiro na cabeça e o Nuno Crato que fumava nas aulas. Recordo-me tambem do professor de ginástica, o prof Barros que me chamava pinheirinho da silva! Enfim a minha ideia é que a escola era boa, mas para os alunos terem boa prestação era necessário estarem concentrados no trabalho escolar e este estar adaptado ao nivel de desenvolvimento intelectual dos alunos. O nosso sistema era um de empinar e como se diz na nossa giria bom para marrões. É claro que esses sistema não diz nada sobre as aptidões dos individuos quando entrarem para a vida profissional.

 Andava tudo à volta das notas. O sistema era de 0 a 20, mas para ajudar a perceber melhor os professores podiam designar os resultados por palavras, começando com Muito Bom e seguindo para Bom, Suficiente, Medíocre e Mau.

 A entrada no segundo ciclo que era do terceiro ao quinto ano do liceu coincidiu com a mudança que fiz para a Praceta em Carcavelos e o liceu escolhido foi o de Oeiras.

Foi um tempo escolar mais feliz. Eram mais professores, não eram permitidas punições fisicas e embora as classes fossem grandes os professores eram bons e tinham reputação. Alem disso tinham alcunhas como não podia deixar de ser… Os alunos sabiam porque linhas se escrevia. Quem fosse expulso da classe ou tivesse muitas faltas podia ser  expulso do próprio ensino.

 Para os professores se lembravam dos alunos tinham umas cadernetas verdes onde colavam uma foto dos aluno que alêm do nome tinha o seu número da turma. Era educação industrial sem espaço para grandes aprofundamentos pessoais. Recordo-me no entanto duma professora de Português que convidou um numero de alunos  a sua casa e que nos deu umas explicações gratuitas para nos ajudar a passar os exames.  Bem haja!

 O professor que mais dava nas vistas era o professor de Ciencias naturais conhecido (entre nós) como Pato Marreco. Esse professor jogava ao ataque e muitos alunos sentiram na pele o seu humor irónico. Gozava e fazia rir mas penso que ninguem ficou deprimido por causa do Pato Marreco.

Quem às vezes pagava as favas de tanto bom comportamento na classe, era o pobre continuo, com quem alguns gozavam pois não dava notas. Era o Monas!

As escolas


Já tenho aqui falado da educação escolar e dos diferentes estabelecimentos de ensino que frequentei. De mais pequeno para maior foram o Liceu Francês Charles Lepierre, o Colégio Valsassina, o Liceu Normal de Pedro Nunes, de novo o Valsassina e finalmente o Liceu de Oeiras. Para os rapazes lisboetas os liceus mais conhecidos eram o Camões, o Passos Manuel e o Pedro Nunes.

O sistema em Portugal na década de sessenta, que é práticamente quando ando na escola,  estava afinado para que uma elite chegasse aos estudos superiores.Penso que nessa altura como agora os primeiros anos criam a base que nos serve depois para o resto do ensino e da vida em geral. O sistema de dar notas e fazer exames centrais e nacionais, a torto e a direito, é um sistema muito criticável. Como comecei no Liceu Francês aprendi imenso francês e nunca tive dificuldades. No entanto nunca consegui nenhuma nota alta. No primeiro ciclo que seguia à quarta classe, que era obrigatória tive muitos problemas na escola e senti-me verdadeiramente burro!

A verdade é que não me conseguia concentrar já que tinha problemas exteriores à escola em si.

Quanto ao exame da quarta classe nem me lembro de o ter feito, onde foi e qual o resultado.

Quando comecei no Pedro Nunes era num anexo e só me lembro de jogar à bola nos recreios Como não conhecia lá ninguêm e para ser popular aceitei ir para a baliza onde rápidamente fiquei com o alcunha de Gilmar. Andava radiante com esse facto. Penso que os meus pais foram lá chamados para lhes explicarem que eu não andava muito bem e não percebia patavina!

 Lá voltei para o Valsassina onde tambêm não percebia patavina mas lá fui passando de ano até chegar ao exame do 2º ano. Tinha que se ir ao Camões. Havia a prova escrita e depois a oral. Era numas salas por baixo dumas arcadas. Chumbei! Penso que andei bastante envergonhado porque devia ser muito burro mesmo para não passar de ano! A verdade é que o sistema era cruel e não dava manobra a crises pessoais.

Unique minerals


When Mona and I started to be a couple it needed to be officialized. The family approval is universal and no exception in our case! I told my grandfather Joseph Ineichen, that I had met this girl from Sweden and she was my first girlfriend to be introduced in this manner! Serious staff, in other words… He wanted to know where she was from in Sweden so I remember telling him the odds were he had never heard about it. Sundsvall, a small town somewhere along the Baltic coast…

How wrong I was! Dad had heard about it as he had many times insured cargo to and fro…Mona and Dad got on very well and jokingly he called her “Moaner” and what are you moaning about?

My curiosity was growing. What was this Sundsvall like? I recall dreaming about it. Many wooden houses perched on hillsides…

Mona in turn came from an island that had its own rocks and some were even named after the island as Alnoit was. At the London Geological museum I remember once looking curiously at theses volcanic, rather unusual minerals!

My information about this land and what to expect grew as letters poured in from Sweden in 1972. We started to talk engagement and marriage and even children. The idea was clearly that of big changes in our lives! And we were right!

On the first letter from Sweden I was told that the trip had taken ages. After the boat there was a train, and it took 12 hours to go from Gothenburg to Sundsvall.

Life in Sweden started to take shape. Mona’s father Olle Hillman worked a whole day on his boat, they went off at weekends to the mountains and visits to graveyards were common in this new culture!

El Gay Sombrero



My blog really appreciates comments! Åsa has shared some memories from our time in London in 1972 and it gave me a flashback or two. Still very dim it touches on the subject of gayclubs in London. What I remember is that I went there once with one of my waiter colleagues at Tramp’s. He was Spanish and perhaps called José. I really do not remember. I do recall that he had on a very flashy and glittering top when we walked in to this cellar place at 142 ,Kensington High Street. It was the basement underneath a restaurant called El Sombrero.

This was a disco and it did not take me long to realize that it was meant for rather expressive homosexuals!

 Åsa recalls that together with her boyfriend Desmond we had decided to meet there and that the couple tried to get in but was denied entrance. They stood there and couldn’t really understand why they couldn’t’ get in! I honestly do not recall playing this prank on Åsa and Desmond, but she does, and consequently I have but to admit that we must have done it to have some fun! Åsa has googled and found out that this joint was really called “Yours or mine”.

One of its particularities was that in order to spend a night there consuming drinks and to comply with the law everyone was served a thin slice of pork and some coleslaw on a paper plate!

Reading on it was visited by well known people in the London music scene such as Mick and Bianca Jagger, Angie and David Bowie, etc.

Sorry Åsa!