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.

Sexual entertainment soon on these premises?

photo

Back from London I have some news of little if any importance to the reader.

I told you about the Maximus, where I worked after leaving City business life, and whose owner Mr. Nat also was in charge of the Concorde Club which was the first disco I went to on more regular basis.

The Maximus is gone and all shut up according to the notice boards on the door. Whoever owned the Club Concorde since 1999 and ran the premises had now and after action from the landlord lost the lease. Simowa Limited has the 28th February applied to open a new sexual entertainment venue at what is called the Koru basement, at Victory house, 14 Leicester Square! Anyone opposing this application is required to contact the Westminster City Hall and its Licensing Service.

Leicester Square like most of London has changed but very much remains the same! The big difference after all is that it is today free of traffic contrary to what it looked like back in 1971. In those days you could park your car outside the club and I remember getting invited by manager john to listen to a cassette player on his Jaguar. It was the very first type of cassette music player and the cassettes were enormous if anyone ever saw those short lived models as they were soon replaced by the smaller and more practical variety.

We stayed very near the East End (where many of my ancestors lived) by the Southwark Bridge Rd. very close to London Bridge and all the Elizabethan theater history which really spells Shakespeare and the Globe Theater.  An area that once upon a time saw an industrious river related activity has been transformed and today invites millions of visitors to see contemporary art at the Tate Modern and go to the rebuilt theaters!

Picture taken from a fast food restaurant opposite old Maximus, lately Metra!

The paradigm shift

Maximus

In that autumn of 1971 my life was very much divided between 10, Nevern Square and 14, Leicester square. The Piccadilly line united my flat in Earl’s Court and my work place, Maximus Discotheque. Almost every week we paid a visit to the Ginger group’s hairdressing school in Knightsbridge where our hair dos were created and developed. And all at reduced prices! Maximus manager Jay had fixed us up with his brother who taught hairdressing at this school.

Two blue eyed girls with long blond hair in hot pants did come in one evening after pub hours. These were Mona and Åsa. They were in my opinion the two most beautiful girls that ever came into Maximus. They were childhood friends and they did not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. It was as if they were from another planet, these two nineteen year olds…

Quim and I decided that we should invite them for a date to get to learn some more about the two Nordic angels from the mysterious country of Sweden.

I was at this point completely unaware that one year later I would have married one of these girls and that this particular event would mean that my life would soon change so drastically. It was as Mona would have liked to describe it a real paradigm shift, if those words would have been put together in 1971.

Unfortunately I have not been able to find one single picture showing the entrance of maximius as it was in those days, where at one time a blond American called Mike would stand outside as a barbarian gladiator.

Nevern Square SW5

Gilinho

It is just as one thing leads to the next! As I started to work nights the question of residence was important to fix.

Earl’s Court was an ideal place for anyone without a car and no money to put down on mortgages and the like. The underground was practical and took me wherever I needed to go in the Greater London area. The place was full of restaurants and their numbers were increasing. As I moved into this area the fast food chains seemed to be doing the same. Pizza Hut, Kentucky fried chicken and a hamburger restaurant called “The hungry years” appeared.

As I recall the hamburger restaurant had the tastiest hamburgers ever and even the fried chicken tasted much better than it does today!

There were plenty of digs around so when Quim Semião and his neighbour from Lisbon, Mané Fernandes turned up in the London night scene, we had enough people to rent an apartment. This was a step forward and together with Gilinho we advanced.

My new address became 10, Nevern Square. The furnished flat had two rooms, a bathroom, a dining room and a kitchen. I do not remember anyone ever making any food there. It suited us perfectly!

Even though the rent was high we always managed to pay it. We ate out, left our clothes to the dry cleaners and turned the dining room into card playing premises. In the dining room there was a record player and some LPs to go with it.

As we all worked until 3 o’clock in the morning it’s easy to understand that day was night and night was day. In the photo, above Quim Semião and Gilberto Matos on the roof in Nevern square.

nevern