Jorginho in London

mane

The human memory works this way… You remember mostly the good times and forget the unpleasant ones. After the Hippie surge in the sixties it became rather popular and romantic to live together and share as much as you could. Some youngsters went off to the Kibbutz in Israel, but many tried to make it work near home. When four Portuguese decided to share a flat, it was mostly for practical reasons.

Gilberto worked in a restaurant, Mané, Quim and I worked in the same disco, The Maximus, in Leicester square. We worked at night and it was a good solution to change individual digs for a larger accommodation. I do not know, who found the flat in Nevern Square, but I was responsible for the contract, most probably, because I was the only one carrying a British passport!

Living together was fun most of the times. But it seldom lasts too long. Conflicting personalities, economic issues, standards of tidiness, sense of responsibility, love of privacy, female contacts. All these aspects could and did contribute to animosity and bad feelings. But who cares about this, some 40 years passed?

I was, unlike my flat mates, in the unique situation of having family nearby. Now and then, when not working, I could visit my grandfather in Croydon and stay with him over night and even for a few days. This is most obviously what happened at Christmas in 1971 when Jorginho came to stay!

Jorge Paixão da Costa was a Lisbon neighbour to Mané and Quim from the Avenida dos Estados Unidos! At the age of sixteen, this youngster came over and was left at their responsibility. Whatever prompted Jorge’s parents to put him in Quim’s and Mané’s hands I do not know, but I recall how worried Quim was that everything would go alright with “the kid”.The picture I am publishing here shows Mané’s farewell party with Jorginho and Tony Carolo present… This took place on the 1st january 1972.

Jorge went on to study cinema in Sweden and became a successful film director in Portugal, after surviving the London experience.

Die Fledermaus or London’s disco life

Die Fledermaus

As we approached the north of Europe things began to get serious again. Holidays were over and that Interrail trip in 1972 would soon be, but memories! Mona had to go back to Sweden as she had enrolled at the Stockholm University to study English.

As for me, I was unemployed and homeless. I needed to go back to London and get my stuff together before returning to Sweden. I think I crossed over at Hoek van Holland or wherever the train connection between the continent and England was made.

Once in London I must have looked up some of my friends to get somewhere to live! I finished not far from Nevern Square and my new address was Nevern Road. I am sure I stayed with Quim Semião and slept somewhere on the floor at the same time as he gave me a hand at this place he was now managing, Die Fledermaus!

Recalling the London scene that was ours it was evidently a limited section of the world of entertainment that London offered. To us it definetly was, the centre of the world. In retrospective these discos that we knew, were all most probably struggling to survive. I recall la Poubelle and Le kilt that had French influence, La Valbonne, Ad Lib and that place we went to sometimes after work, created, as it were, for those that worked in discos and had the strength to go out and enjoy themselves, now as customers. This place was called Candy Box.

These discos are dead and buried. Nobody remembers them and looking for them on Google and other search motors will certainly draw a blank! Die Fledermaus was also struggling to survive and Quim was making the effort for someone, who still believed in it!

A separação dos sexos

CIMG0130Vou hoje debruçar-me sobre o período de vida do Colégio Valsassina entre 1934 e 1959 que nos primeiros tempos desse período, teve como alunos o meu pai João Manuel Pinheiro e alguns dos seus amigos. Tambêm nesta altura lá andou o meu leitor assiduo, António Mendes, residente em Götene no Sul da Suécia!

Segundo nos relata Frederico César Valsassina primeiro director, nasceu o Colégio, dos esforços empreendidos com sua mulher Suzana Duarte, esta proprietária de um pequeno colégio, num primeiro andar na Rua de S. Marinha à Graça. Terá sido a partir desse colégio de instrução primária que cresceu o Valsassina. Depois de passar por vários locais foi alugado um prédio na Av. António Augusto Aguiar 130 e mais tarde em 1934 foi alugado o palácio dos Condes de Lousã no 148, nessa mesma avenida !

Não vou aqui alongar-me com muitos detalhes já que toda a história mais que centenária, do colégio Valsassina, está bem relatada e com muito pormenor no livro que aqui apresento em fotografia! Penso que houve uns pontos interessantes e que gostava de relembrar…Em 1934 o colégio era para rapazes e raparigas, por não existir ainda a lei que impôs a separação dos sexos. Na ocasião da lei, o Colégio perdeu de uma assentada, 140 alunas.

Em 1940 foi inaugurada a colónia de férias nas Azenhas do Mar que tinha como grande objectivo dar residencia durante o periodo de férias a alunos oriundos das colónias de África.

A filha Maria Frederica, do casal Valsassina, casar-se-ia com Mário Heitor que não sendo professor, veio fazer importante papel no que dizia respeito à economia e organização tendo sido introduzidas duas medidas de importancia sendo elas a divisão da anuidade escolar em 9 prestações e a obrigação de se depositar mensalmente uma determinada quantia para fazer face às despesas do verão.

Foi durante este período que se enraizou a prática do volleyboll que era sinónimo de desporto no Colégio. Quem lá andava jogava Volley! Entre estes temos o amigo do meu pai Angelo Valsassina, que fiquei a conhecer, por ter lugar cativo ao lado do meu pai no Estádio Alvalade (onde todos íamos sofrer) quando havia oportunidade, e foram muitas!

Foram estes anos que consolidaram a obra que permitiu a continuação e desenvolvimento do Colégio e que os seus ex alunos “não abandonam ao entrar para a vida sem a comoção e a dor da partida”!

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O espirito da Praceta

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Deu para recordar e reviver, deu sim senhor! Juntaram-se algumas personalidades da história da Praceta num café logo ali ao lado do Hotel S. Julião! As maninhas Teresa e Maria de Lourdes Matos. A Paulucha que deveria ser eleita presidente ou se fosse caso de monarquia  imperatriz da Praceta de Carcavelos.

Apareceu o João Paulo que se lembrava que os americanos do prédio ao lado eram tão altos, que para não descer as escadas, desciam à rua pelas varandas! Foram momentos bem passados. De muito se falou mas faltou de muito ainda falar. A grande força dos memórias é que sendo individuais, não nos recordamos todos das mesmas coisas.Um pormenor de que certamente tanto eu como o João Paulo nos recordamos era a assobiadela que se utilizava para convidar a saír de casa e ir brincar, jogar á bola, ir prá praia, etc. Não se utilizavam as campaínhas, a não ser para chatear as pessoas! Fii,fii,fii…fii,fii,fuu!

Depois houve uma altura que está relacionada com a casa dos Henriques que tem que ver com o espiritismo. Acho que andávamos curiosos em experimentar. Era só preciso arranjar a tal mesa com pé de galo. Lembro-me de ver lá umas revistas com artigos impressionantes sobre o ectoplasma e a qualidade de algumas médiuns ativas no Brasil!

Fizemos o passeio para o nosso encontro, recordando o caminho que fazia todos os dias escolares de segunda a sábado para apanhar o comboio até à próxima paragem de Oeiras e das aulas no liceu que me esperavam! A viela que escolhia era invariávelmente a da foto pois ia diretamente da Praceta à longa avenida que dava para a estação. Viva a Praceta!

Please, turn on the light!

paris

This is, after all, the most appropriate date to recall the events of 1972 on our entrance to France after leaving Madrid. Appropriate as the 14th of July is the day of national celebration. Our Interrail course touched Paris in August. We were not celebrating as we arrived in Paris, that much I can tell you!

Part of the adventure of travelling by train on long stretches was the innumerable encounters of which I already mentioned some! This was particularly interesting in the south as people are more open for new contacts and readily become more familiar. In France we were offered some fruit, I believe it was apples. Of these we ate.

Shortly after arrival in the “City of Light”, the most acute colic pains set in. After that the respective diarrhoea! Paris became a place where the necessity to find toilets became central. The sharp pains gave short notice of what would follow. The strategy was to go in to cafés, restaurants and the like.

On one occasion I did get into the toilet, but could not find the light switch. And it was as dark as could be! Eventually I had to implore to someone in the staff to explain how the light was switched on. The French have always been very technical and ingenuous. The light turned on as the door switch locked. What a relief.

We learned after this not to trust fruit not washed! Paris deserved better so we came back years later.

Our holiday was soon over. Mona would carry on to Sweden and I would find my way back to London. New separations and more problems to solve, before any definition about a lifetime’s future would clear through a foggy dim!

The bed in Madrid

calle Velazquez

The return train trip towards northern Europe started in Mérida and headed towards Madrid.

The Interrail tickets that Mona had fixed, in that summer of 1972, were bought by someone she knew in Finland. In those days the route between Sundsvall and Waasa in Finland was quite busy. The ferry boat crossed the Bothnia Sea daily and many people just went across for the cheap booze.

As far as Interrail was concerned it worked this way… You could not use the low fees in the country of purchase. Buying the passes in Finland meant that we could travel in Sweden without any extra fees. After completion more precisely after 30 days, the tickets had to be left in in order to receive a refund.

Our goal on this leg was to hit Madrid and meet my father’s cousin Martinho. Martinho was my age had been to Portugal and stayed with us in the Praceta in Carcavelos, just a few years before. I do not recall where we met but he invited us to for dinner which was most appreciated.

We were invited to his flat which was his parent’s home in the heart of Madrid, more precisely at the Calle Velazquez. We stayed there and even though we did not see his mother I do recall sitting at table and being served by a maid at a most ceremonial manner.

Later some of his sisters did turn up but I cannot today recall which ones of the three sisters Fatima, Maria Amélia or Soledad that we met on this occasion. We were invited to stay and curiously Mona considered that the bed she slept on was the most comfortable she had ever experienced. This particular fact was many times mentioned by her and many years after it happened!

Mas a minha mãe foi a Évora!

raul

Muitas vezes ouvindo uma canção leva-me directamente para um sitio ou situação e lá fico a magicar com esse momento. Nao sei se acontece aos outros, mas a mim,sim!

É como aquelas associaçãoes Proustianas à vista, aos sons ou ao cheiro, descritas naquela sua obra prima “A la recherche du temps perdu”. Evidentemente que recuando 50 anos na vida essas memórias pertencem ao tempo perdido e que já não volta mais. Pretende-se então reviver ou ao menos recordar os sentimentos que então vivemos e que muitas vezes na carga nostálgica ficam mais importantes do que certamente o eram quando vividos! Como bradava o Toni de Matos “Ó tempo volta pra trás” ou mais recentemente o José Torres quando treinador da seleção nacional de futebol em 1986 no seu “deixem-me sonhar” só serve para dar enfâse ao espirito portugues da nostalgia, da saudade e muitas vezes do que não se pode obter!

Já aqui me referi ao “She Loves you”, dos Beatles, que associo à Praceta do Junqueiro em Carcavelos e à casa do americano Steve.tambêm à Praceta estão ligados os exitos de Roberto Carlos. “O calhambeque” e “ O leão está solto na rua”, para o qual se faziam textos alternativos.  Dois exemplos de muitos que poderia enumerar. Mas hoje estou-me a lembrar, não duma canção, mas sim de dois monólogos do nosso já desaparecido Raúl Solnado!

Quem pertence à minha geração não pode deixar de se recordar o grande sucesso que foi o disco do Solnado em que ele  fazia rir quem escutasse. Os monólogos que datam de 1962 caracterizam-se principalmente por “A guerra de 1908” e a “História da minha vida”. Mais tarde gravou  tambem os monólogos ao telefone que ficaram célebres!

O estilo era de de um humor absolutamente absurdo e pelos vistos não era só eu que achava piada, mas provávelmente só eu, associo esses monólogos, à piscina da Praia da maçãs! Além disso com apenas 10 anos deviam-me passar uma coisas ao lado. Dizia por  exemplo Solnado que quando ele nasceu o pai que trabalhava em Évora, já não vinha a casa há dois anos. Risadas prolongadas que acabaram com o remate que dá o o titulo a este texto.  Onde estavas quando ouviste o Solnado?

O ditador visto do andar de cima

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Fiquei na criação de textos no meu blogue, até ao momento, estacionado nos primeiros 20 anos da minha vida ou seja entre os anos de 1952 e 1972. Tenho tentado captar e descrever memórias que tenham um interesse mais amplo e abrangente do que aquilo que tenha apenas que ver com as minhas mais íntimas e limitadas experiencias!

A internet permite entrar em contacto com muita gente e os média sociais são um importante complemento para intercambio de ideias e informação! No Facebook por exemplo coloco os meus textos em diferentes grupos se houver algo que possa interessar os participantes. Um desses grupos para nostálgicos como eu, é o “Recordar as décadas de 60 / 70”.

Foi aí que alguem colocou a foto que publico aqui que relembra os nossos autocarros da Carris de dois andares à londrina. Eram verdes e se bem que não fossem em grande quantidade faziam parte das características do transito da minha querida Lisboa dessa época!

Foi assim que me recordei de um episódio relacionado com um “Double decker”. Teria saído da Praceta de Carcavelos para apanhar o comboio da Sociedade do Estoril num domingo de 1967! A viagem era quase de certeza para a bola e para o Estádio de Alvalade!

Logo ali nos Restauradores e bem instalado no piso de cima vi aglomerado de gente e policia à saída do que era o SNI instalado no Palácio Foz. O SNI ou Secretariado Nacional de Informação  – era o organismo público responsável pela propaganda políticainformação pública,comunicação socialturismo e ação cultural, durante o regime do Estado Novo em Portugal.

Ora a alta personalidade não era outra senão o ditador de Portugal e chefe vitalicio do governo- O Salazar. Foi a única vez que lhe pus a vista em cima mas observei que não houve dentro do autocarro nenhuma manisfestação de alguma espécie.

Era naquele edificio que funcionava a censura que mantinha os portugueses condicionados e desconhecedores de tudo o que o Estado Novo queria omitir do conhecimento publico ou como o próprio Salazar na inauguração  expressou “Politicamente, só existe aquilo que o público sabe que existe.”

Em 1944 o organismo de censura passa a estar na dependência do Secretariado Nacional de Informação, que, por sua vez, estava sob a alçada do próprio Presidente do Conselho (Salazar).

Munidos com o célebre “lápis azul”, com que se cortava todo texto considerado impróprio, os censores de cada distrito ou cidade, apesar de receberem instruções genéricas quanto aos temas mais sensíveis a censurar, variavam muito no grau de severidade. De facto, verifica-se que houve regiões do país onde estes eram mais permissivos e outras onde eram exageradamente repressivos. Isto devia-se ao facto de constituírem um grupo muito heterogéneo a nível intelectual. Muitos reconheciam rapidamente qualquer texto mais ou menos “perigoso” ou revolucionário, enquanto que outros deixavam facilmente passar conteúdos abertamente subversivos.” Wikipédia

The spectators in Mérida

mérida

It was as hot as it generally gets in the town of Mérida that august of 1972. It was on this old capital of the Romans- Lusitania province- that we spent some time and met some of my family having reached the nearest point to the Portuguese border we would get to, on the Interrail stretch.

Mérida is an interesting place: founded in 25 BC by order of Emperor Augustus it preserves to our time the longest remaining bridge from the Roman times, the one over the Guadiana River. Some of its remaining monuments are the amphitheater, triumph arch and theatre.

“In 713 it was conquered by the Muslim army under Musa bin Nusair, and became the capital of the Cora of Mérida; the Arabs re-used most of the old Roman buildings and expanded some, such as the Alcazaba.The city returned to Christian rule in 1230, when it was conquered by Alfonso IX of Léon and subsequently became the seat of the priory of San Marcos de León of the Order of Santiago. A period of recovery started for Mérida after the unification of the crowns of Aragon and Castile (15th century), thanks to the support of Alonso Cardenas, Grand Master of the Order. In 1720 the city became the capital of the Intendencia of Mérida.” Wikipedia.

It was sitting on the seats of the ancient theatre that we chose to immortalize our family gathering in the Spanish Extremadura. My sister Joana, a 14 year old teenager, by brother Pedro 18 and my mother Pamela 43 can be seen in the picture together with me João, at 20.Mona, 20 holding the camera!

Nobody could tell when we would be able to see Portugal and being so near was a special feeling for me at any rate.

From now on our return trip was on and our holiday beginning to end. We got in touch with our Spanish cousin Martinho and it was decided we would pay him a call when we arrived in Madrid!

puente

 

Spanish hospitality

Europa

After the long stretch between Barcelona and Valencia we were convinced that we had done the worst trip that the Spanish railway company RENFE could offer her passengers. In Valencia we booked ourselves at the Hotel Europa to get a much needed rest. This hotel was spot on in the centre of this important Spanish city with a view towards the Plaza del Ayuntamiento.

Our destination now was Andalucía in the south. I am sure we touched on Sevilla and spent a few hours there before heading for the coastal town of Huelva. Once there we were looking for somewhere to stay. Since entering France I was left in charge of communication, as I knew the languages.

I approached a young couple and asked them if they knew where we could stay. They promptly invited us to their home. There was no question about it… They just would not hear of anything else. Mona was very impressed as this couple with a small child prepared their own double bed for us to sleep in. They somehow settled somewhere else. This beat all records of hospitality before or after. We talked about it many times later and sent them a postcard thanking them and inviting them to visit us, although we had not settled anywhere at this time.

We were now prepared to meet the Pinheiros as they planned to arrive. My father came by car bringing Bua along and perhaps Pedro. It was a much awaited moment this one of seeing my grandmother. It was decided that my father would drive us to Merida where we could meet the rest of the family, somewhat like the changing of the guard. We took in at a hotel in the old Emerita Augusta, important Roman town, in its day.

Pleasantly enough there was a swimming pool at the hotel to cool us down!