Sunday, 23 February 2014


I don't announce this as news, now that it's a few hours in the past, but man, it was pretty tense in the Irish pub, especially with a couple of dozen Liverpool supporters needing numerous beers, courtesy of me and my Canadian mates, to let the Olympic gold medal hockey feed superceed (how do you spell it?) the routine English football feed.
But never mind all that. It was just fucking deeply pleasurable to witness how well the boys played--so patient, skillful, opportunistic, unfazed. How I wish I could congratulate every one of them.
I did shake the hand of all the blue-eyed Swedish supporters (which was all of them), telling them that my favourite player ever was the magnificent Swedish/Maple Leaf defenseman Borje Salming, which brightened them up a bit, though they filed out of the pub into the Lisbon afternoon so quietly.
The second half of my national passions day in Lisbon--nash-pash mash-up, I call it--was the L'Arpeggiata concert ("a musical journey from Portugal to Turkey in homage to the cultural cross-fertilization stimulated by the Mediterranean") at the Gulbenkian Centre. The group consisted of piano, five different guitars, a percussion set, woodwind, dancer, voice--11 performers in all. Full house, fabulous venue, and could those people ever play/sing/dance. I didn't know it when I bought the ticket, but one of the group is the superstar fadista named Misia. When she strode slowly to the front of the stage in her black gown and started to sing, accompanied by traditional fado guitar, well, those Portuguese love their fado, which is one thing I love about the Portuguese, and the place went crazy when she was done. I haven't seen many performers who command a song like she does. The cries of "bravo" and whatever else they were shouting exceeded any drunken whoops I'd heard down at the pub (even the Frenchman belting out La Marseillaise before the rugby match against Wales).
Call me thrilled and exhausted by all this. 

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