I imagine we all have a song or music that takes us to a certain time or a certain place. Feelings and memories, somewhere tucked back in our subconscious, suddenly swell in waves of nostalgia and encapsulate us. The sounds of forgotten pasts scratching to reclaim our psyche. Lisbon was an extremely emotional experience for me. Not for the city, or the pace, or the culture shock. All of these things paled in comparison to the lost city, imported from America, buried in the back of my mind.
As part of my stay in Lisbon, I attend a three day music festival called NosAlive 2016. NosAlive is an annual music festival that features some of the most popular musical artists of the time and this year’s festival is no exception. The atmosphere is absolutely explosive- but perhaps it’s best you judge for yourself by watching some of the videos I have included (if the copywrite gods haven’t deemed them illegal).
Some honorable mentions includeM83, Foals, Four Tet, Grimes, Calexico, and Xinobi – a DJ from Portugal that played with a live band and no computer.
As Tame Impala plays on, I am taken to a very special time and place. The first time I listened to this band was at the condo/apartment of a person I barely knew. We had met after she sent me a message on Facebook about an educational outreach fundraiser I was organizing. Her condo was such a shit hole. She lived with these two roommates that were polar opposites. One was straight out of Half Baked- smoked weed all the time, left her bong out, potato chip bags, Oreo cookie sleeves on the couch- you get the idea. The other was very high maintenance, health cleanse, sugardaddy.com type website bait. My friend pretty much confined herself to her room when she was in this place. We used to hang out in her room and listen to hipster music- Tame Impala, Flume, that kinda stuff. The story of this person begins in the wake of what was a very difficult time in my life- let me put it all into context for you and perhaps you’ll understand the first paragraph of this section of this entry.
It was 2013 when I separated from my partner of nearly six years. It was one of those events where it’s like, you know, you’re never hungry, sweat things taste salty, smiling takes effort, sleep just kinda happens sometimes, and you wonder every day about all the what ifs. What if I had said this or done that? What if she only did this? All the songs on the radio are suddenly all about you, and your life, and your break-up. We had some big plans, my former partner and I. We were gonna fly to Peru, we were gonna see this band in that country. We were gonna play it by ear, live in spontaneity, just kinda follow the wind. The first time we ever kissed was during a Radiohead album I played on my computer- Amnesiac to be precise. It was the first time she ever heard the band. It’s such a surreal and magical album, and it was such a surreal and magical night.
When Thom Yorke started his set, it was with a new song- it didn’t matter. The instant I heard his voice I had to hold back the tears from coming down my face. It was in that moment, I realized, just how deeply the context of this music impacted me. I looked around, at all the people on this secluded beach in Lisbon, Portugal with a cool breeze on a cloudless night under the stars. People from all over the world had traveled here to experience this special moment- Thom’s voice having touched them in some meaningful way. I looked around and I thought, “how special, how meaningful, is this moment?” And yet the space and the time seemed so misaligned. As I stood there, watching the performance, all the what ifs rushed through my mind- it was 2014, it was 2015, 2016. Where was I? When was I? The show continued and these feelings began to subside.
You see, as I mentioned in a previous post, there is a time and a place for everything in our lives. And as we go through the experience of life, we live through those times and those places, not to keep them, but to encounter them. And what more could we ask for than that? In the course of my ephemeral journey through twenty nine years of life, I feel that I have already lived through so many times in so many places, and looking back, I wouldn’t trade those times or places for any other moment in the world. And, as with our minds and our bodies, everything subsides over time. Eventually we must come to understand how all of these things, when strung together, form a lifetime. This realization is what I take with me- that the moments that make up our lives are just that, moments, and that our lives, together, summate to so much more than the all the pieces of all the moments put together.
Which brings me to Tame Impala and the last track of their set, right before Radiohead, titled ‘New Person, Same Mistakes.’ By the end of Radiohead’s set, this song was in the back of my mind… and I couldn’t help but smile.
The night I leave is the night of the Eurocup. The Eurocup is the soccer match that will determine the best team in Europe. The match is France vs Portugal. This is only the second time Portugal has ever been to the world cup. Now, for the semifinal match, I was in Portugal when their team won- everyone went crazy at the prospect of Portugal playing in the championship game. However, my train is scheduled to leave Portugal during half-time at the Eurocup.
Now I present: Creepy (mostly) Mannequins of Portugal!!! [For no other reason than that creepy mannequins make me chuckle.]