Right now I am expecting to get an answer and some news, from Gilberto, one of the three musketeers on the London mission! As everyone knows the musketeers were in fact four. Gilinho, Quim. Mané and I would perhaps rather be seen as conquerors. What sort of mission or conquest were we on, in those very first years of the seventies?
Pretty much looking for a future… All worked from early age and just as kids of any generation, meeting females was part of the essence that kept us going through thick and thin. Girls were in fact present in our lives and there was always some type of relationship going on. The teenage male image of the day, was to show that you were not really in love . The measurement of your success was rather down to how many conquests you managed to make! Or as a representative from the previous generation once said to me after being introduced to my girlfriend of the time!
– You want to follow the three F rule. – Ok, and what is that? Find them, Fuck them and Forget them! I will admit that that rule never really applied very much to me as I was more of the kind that Found, Fucked and Fell in love!
But going back to the topic in hand. Mané lives in Macau where he is in the business of selling Portuguese wines to the Chinese. Quim probably lives in Houston, Texas, but his restless spirit does not leave him put too often in any place. . Gilberto or Gilinho as we called him resides in Watertown Massachusetts. What he does I do not know as yet. As for myself I have been faithful to the small town of Sundsvall right in the middle of Sweden where I have committed myself to work for the town’s development, now in politics and previously teaching teenagers.
None of us stayed or returned to live in Portugal. In that sense we are like the millions that throughout history left Portugal following a good Portuguese tradition of “giving new worlds to the world”.
So I managed to find one of my friends from the London days, Mané Fernandes. He now lives in Macau and I last saw him in Lisbon, 25 years ago! Internet and Skype put us in touch! Mané took Gilberto’s place in the cloakroom at Maximus!
Maximus at Leicester Square was meant to attract the passer by. There were a few regulars but not enough to justify an economic stable situation for the club. The members of the staff at this point were mainly Portuguese as Quim Semião was in the bar and I was at reception!
There is a lot to be said about the cloakroom. There is also a lot to be said about London and nightlife’s employment and working conditions. What was above board and what was not, is unclear! As far as I remember there was hardly any salary to talk about! According to Mané, who seems to have a better memory than mine, we earned about £2 a night. Somehow the owners expected the staff to work for peanuts or maybe they accepted that the staff would find their own incomes in way of tips and the like! We could really say, illicit incomes for which no taxes were paid and everybody was happy!
The cloakroom gave enough to survive but still not enough for Gilberto who moved on to the restaurant business! Mané took his place and got another guy to replace him when he had to go somewhere. This guy seemingly “spilled the beans” to the manager, on the way things were run among coats and umbrellas and by doing this tipped the plates of the silent agreement! Mané had to go!
As young immigrants we lived in a world of eat or get eaten up. It was all a question of survival. Imaginative power was a main ingredient! Mané recalls for example how at one time we had run out of English money to put on the meter for the boiler! Someone discovered that some of the Portuguese coins of a lower value fitted exactly on these meters so they were used as long as possible! Later the bill had however to be paid!
Glad to have gotten in touch with you again, Mané!