So there was no class for me last week because I had to go to a seminar. It was required. That’s all I’m going to say about that on this blog, because, yes, it is a happy blog.
I’m sure she is there on a mission of great Lusophone importance, for the woman is a walking tornado of Lusophone advocacy. However, my reaction….not so Lusophilic.
My reaction was “WHO MOVED MY CREPES????”
I, after a fifteen year separation, miss France. I didn’t explore Paris as much as I would have liked, either, when I was an exchange student in Toulouse. Sure, I have a certain affection for Toulouse that will never be denied, but PARIS, oh PARIS!
I would not mind a night spent reading at Sherpa right about now either….
If you have no clue what that means, you just had to be there. Your Gauloise burning in one hand, fork dipping into your Nutella crepe with the other….. As your heart bursts with the recognition of a kindred medieval soul as you read Charles D’Orleans. He was the Moz of his time.
And this brings me to my confession: I cheat on Portugal, the motherland, on a regular basis. It’s like I tell my mother I’m not hungry, and then go eat at my neighbor’s house who is serving twinkies and poprocks. It’s like signing up for millitary duty and being discharged for not showing up for duty because of an X-Box addiction. It’s part of being a second generation American, but it’s still…. sad.
There are those Americans who by no reason of genetics, birth, or faith, just end up obsessed with certain cultures? I’m the proud daughter of one of those Americans. My dad should not be the guru of French thought. He should not be getting rave reviews from French writers about his analysis of Candide; he’s a beach rat from LA, with the suspicious moles to prove it. But that kid was on the beach reading ten cent editions of Plato, so you could see where that was going pretty early. But still, he has two children with French names (though I would argue that MINE is more of a pain in the ass than the other, owing to punctuation…. and the fact that he ‘forgot’ to spell my brother’s name the foreign way at the hospital because he was ‘so sick’ at the time) and lives in a virtual palace of French and Spanish art knockoffs, surrounded by books in, you guessed it, Portuguese. For now. Because he’s teaching a class. And I’m sure he told his students how the French invented the world. He’s a bit like Checkov on Star Trek in that way….
But Dad cheats on nothing. He is no less American for reading a French book. America is a bit like vanilla ice cream; you decide the toppings.
But I was born with a flavor, a second culture, a second language, and what did I do? I poured on the French and British sauce like it was nobody’s business.
I have not been to Portugal in 15 years. Family has passed away. Children have been born. Portuguese has faded. BUT:
I have been to the Glastonbury Festival in Glastonbury, England, FOUR TIMES since I last saw Lisbon.
I have held jobs in the UK for weeks at a time over the summer of 1997. Jobs in Portugal: Zero! Though I did try to tell kids’ parents that they were “malcriados” when I was a teacher. That counts!!!!
I did not attend my godfather’s ordination as bishop in Lisbon in 1998. I think I was worried I’d blow my PHOTOSHOP final. Honestly. Who knew as a visual arts professional I’d be taking PHOTOSHOP CLASSES FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!!!
I have flown to England to watch Suede break up and play their last show.
Suede recently (#@#%!@) reformed. WTF? IF I HAD MORE STEADY EMPLOYMENT, I would have followed the herd down to Coachella and caught them if it meant wrestling tickets from the sick and weak in those lines….
If Portugal has glam bands that fit into the birth of Britpop , it’s news to me.
I have been to a wedding in Scotland of a close English friend. I have no idea if anyone has gotten married in Portugal. I think not, but I could just be out of the loop.
I have spent hours on the phone with said friend. But have not spoken to one person in Portugal in God only knows how long. Geez, though.. It’s scary when you’re guilty and the only word in your head is the word “socks.”
I spent the week after staring at comedy shows in Edinburgh, trying to forget how horrific my teaching career was…
I did not visit my family in Portugal – because I was lazy and wanted to watch comedy shows. Since then, TWO of my favorite people there passed away. Somehow, the fact that I saw a comedy show skewering the Harry Potter series does not make up for that.
I further spent four days in London after Edinburgh, mostly to go to the Borderline, an indie club, one of the few decent ones left. This was soooo much more important than Portugal; dancing to music I already own with fat 40 year old Englishmen.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved every second of it. And Portugal has been there for 800 years, and how long will I be Britpopping? Not. Much. Longer.
Instead of studying abroad in Portugal, I studied in France. Granted the program in Portugal was kind of do-it-yourself, and I was too wussy to navigate it.
Plus the UC wanted you to do two years of Spanish and then go to a Portuguese university cold turkey. This is an unbelievably stupid idea, especially if you’re not a foreign language major. So it’s not my fault. But I still kick ass at French verbs compared to Portuguese verbs….
I once flew to London just because I was pissed off at my life in the States. It was extremely passive-aggressive and immature. In fact, his one has happened more than once, especially the year that British Airways was selling $200 tickets from SFO-LON. I was going to stay. I chickened out and went home instead. Again, instead of going to Portugal, where maybe a relative could have talked some sense into me, I got piss drunk at the Borderline.
I didn’t seek solace in Portugal because well, I knew my relatives would force (well, not FORCE, maybe CONVINCE) me to be less passive-aggressive and immature. Not. What. I. Was. Looking. For.
I have spent countless hours in record stores buying Britpop Cds, photographing Britpop bands at meet-and-greets, trying to start up conversations with hot skinny English boys. Number of times I’ve seen the movie “Fado?” ZERO.
I can write an essay in French about Medieval poets. Ironically, this is made easier by my knowledge of Portuguese and the fact that my Medieval prof kept picking the right Franco-Provençal dialects for that.
I have written detailed analyses of Chaucer and the Sir Gawain and the Green Knight written in the Northern Dialect.
In Portuguese, I can barely write an essay about how my cat lives in my apartment, despite his having a Portuguese name that’s easy to spell.
I know my way around London.
I have no clue how to get around Lisbon without a family chauffeur. I’m pretty sure I can manage the train from Estoril, though.
I can tell you my opinions on all of the Astoria youth hostels in London.
Portugal has youth hostels? I thought they just had your tia’s back bedroom!
Here is a list of British bands I’ve seen that I can think of offhand:
The Charlatans (8 times) * Trash Can Sinatras (4 x, including in London) * Jesus and Mary Chain (3x) * Stereolab (4x at least) * Belle and Sebastian (5x) * Blur (5x minimum) * Camera Obscura (2x) * Stereophonics (9 times- THIS WAS AN ACCIDENT.) * Super Furry Animals (4x) * Ladytron (3x, including once when the opening band fondled donuts) * Catatonia (2x, once just listening in a tent) * Gene (2x) * Stone Roses (Once in France!!) * Coldplay (2 times. At festivals) * Pulp (only once -tears!!- at Glastonbury) * Delgados (2x) * Catherine Wheel * Ride * Medicine * Inspiral Carpets (2x) * My Bloody Valentine (pension show) * Suede (3x- never on American soil) * Cast * Mark Gardner (2x) * Radiohead (3x) * the Bluetones * Ash (3x) * Babybird * theaudience * Drugstore * Broadcast * Gomez (2x) * Spiritualized (2x) * Curve * Squeeze * Echo and the Bunnymen * The Levellers* The Tindersticks* Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci * Dubstar * Echobelly * Manic Street Preachers (2x) * James * Mogwai * Primal Scream (but not in its prime- DAMN!!) * Franz Ferdinand (2x) * Starsailor * Teenage Fanclub * Travis * Mansun (for five minutes) * Cornershop * the Beta Band * idlewild* Mull Historical Society * Sons and Daughters * Billy Bragg * Supergrass * Terrorvision * The Longpigs (2x) * 60 Ft Dolls * Symposium (2x) * Doves * Clinic (3x) * Rialto * Beth Orton * Space (2x) *
I saw a guy singing at an IDES hall when I was taking photos of dancers.
I heard a great traditional singer of folk songs at a symposium in 2001.
Both involved driving less than 45 minutes.
I really hope this at least has made you laugh a bit; what else can you do? I can’t visit either place at the moment…. and it’s time! This time I’ll divide my time equally between the rest of the British Museum AND the Gulbenkian.