A slap in the face- Made in Portugal


Dear followers of the Portuguese Wolf. I am on the road again, thus my routine is what you know already- venues, airports, hotels-   with the obvious advantages that it brings to the body and soul, hehe.  Yet, even if I am not actually running the marathon, everything around me moves top speed, celebrating the only certainty, at least one of the few, in this line of business: the incredible binary of wait and rush.

Now I fly over Russia, straight into the Ural (goth forbid) to make our debut in one of the most famous and important cities in Russia: Ekaterinburg. I won’t tell you about Russian History (that fascinates me like no other, except for the Portuguese) because more than 15 years have passed since our first show in Moscow, being that we are now able to write our now lines. It won’t be Jules Verne’s Michael Strogoff: we didn’t kill a bear with our own hands or drove a broken carriage through the piercing Siberian ices, or fought the wolves with benzine; but we have been in places where sometimes I can’t believe myself we were. Last big tour we did here, included 12 round shows and took us to magnificent places like Ufa, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Yrkustk just to name a few. We saw the Baikal Lake, the drop dead gorgeous Siberian women, we dealt with drunk people and made a lot of miles by plane, bus (with the unavoidable tourist experience of our own bus crash) and of course train, our favourite mean of transportation in Mother Russia.

Also I have been working as hard as possible on the translation of my poetry collection and some progress was done. Another book of memoirs, this time in Portuguese, is taking great shape as well and of course Moonspell, our Lady and Domina, it’s keeping busy with a new EP, DVD and in general surviving in ‘’a future is dark’’ world.

Meanwhile in Portugal our Culture Ministry lost his boss (João Soares) who resigned after threatening on FB (where else?) to slap one of the most disgusting critics of our time. Like my father would say,(even tough I do not promote violence at all and let’s be fair there is much worse than promising a public bitch slap online) the only bad thing would be those slaps which would miss the target. Augusto M.Seabra (Publico), that’s the critic name, is one of those that knows it all and that covers every form of art he sees in a mantle of brown disgust. In a nutshell he is not one of the people I would look up to to contact with Art; and in fact no one else but this sickening intellectual decadent cultural journalist rat pack came to his rescue after the absurd post of the Minister. Of course ‘’public facebook opinion’’, has really brought up the usual revolted vox pop ( for sure ignorant of that critic’s body of ‘’work’’)stating, rightfully, that a member of the staff shouldn’t go online and vent like this because of his social responsibility. Quite right, I  agree. Too bad that the stone throwers are exactly the same who defend a twisted and offensive, bulletproof freedom of speech but only as long as you write in a paper. I have been there recently. I don’t write in papers or magazines in Portugal (that’s a privilege reserved for the well behaved Portuguese musicians and their politically correct stances) so I was in the grey area of fools with a big mouth and a bigger pen (see New Intolerance post). These puritans, offended by a perspective of maybe a politician saying something fucking human for a change, are exactly the ones that cut your priority line at the supermarket when you are waiting with your kid or pregnant woman; the ones who run over people in zap crosses and yell obscenities through the car windowAll of this when they are not in their offices wasting their paid  working hours online, being better than anyone else. I love you Portugal but civility is not our strong, is it?

Let it be said that I didn’t like the Minister of Culture.  It was more like a Mystery of Culture as very little is happening in Portugal right now. Also because  beneath that State umbrella there is only limited seating for a  already chosen few. I rather walk in the rain, anywhere in the world. What really makes me wonder is how a Government (who pressed the minister to present his resignation) sees any advantage of ruling and governing the country according to a journalist’s agenda. That’s for me way scarier than any public bitch slap. Finally, I can’t help to think that the big words of journalists, musical, cultural, political do not mean at all they have big balls. Actually I find them a bunch of offended virgins and pussies, that earn their life destroying what others try (correctly or not) to do. It might be a simple vision but indeed a truthful one. And I am quite sure that people writing who could take the contradictory, the  heat back, the ricochet,  are long gone from the Portuguese written press.

My thing is not politics folks, it’s music. Of course politics is so generic and such a natural ruler of human relationships (like religion or  internet, it has ‘’just’’ fallen on the wrong hands) that it penetrates everything and due to my recent polemic I could finally understood that most music reporters are not happy with what they do and they really need to dwell further to a political and intellectual space that divorce them, with gusto, from the common folk or from the minister who responds with threats of slapping via social networks. Many articles I read now, that i save up to read onboard of my meaningless flights and travels with Moonspell (pun intended) are laughable and it doesn’t surprises me that the comedians in Portugal are now taking the top of the chain in when it comes to ticket sales for shows. Everybody wants to laugh. And stop thinking for awhile. It’s healthy but Portugal is not only a joke and our artists are not all comedians.

I laugh at any reference of Tidal and  Kayne West, designed to be, by the biggest music magazine in Portugal   (to us all, blindman) the saviour of all music business.  I think this Yezzus thing just went too far. I laugh when journalists try to second guess touring agendas and how they affect musical production. My teeth clench but this time with hunger when Portuguese journalists declare on a daily basis the death of the physical format (then make a hipster fuzz about Record Store day) while our (and many others) special editions and vinyls sell out constantly, and I can still see people happy after shows or coming out of a record store with a couple of records under their armful and not checking tidal for a new update in the life of Parvo (that’s Portuguese for dumbass). If my own ass is  now sitting on an Aeroflot flight; if us and other bands are packing venues everywhere in the world and things are blossoming (again) is exactly  because we didn’t follow the noise of those false and ugly sirens. Like good old George from Seinfeld, we did the opposite. New and valuable albums. We do have something they can’t grasp at: we are creative, and something does burn inside us. Call it a poetic exaggeration all you want but new albums are virtuous and not what most of the Press makes of them:just an excuse to show up and sell shows. That’s stupid, reductive and wrong. Musicians are not stupid. In fact they are better adapted to the world they move in than journalists because they depend on themselves and the fans and no one else. Metal press might be troublesome and unfair sometimes but it’s vibrant and intense and understands the style and the need for novelty. Mainstream press has no hope or course to follow.

So while the words we buy to read and learn are forever poisoned by the arrogance of presumption, bad analysis  and ignorance of realities outside their written bubble; music journalists in Portugal (the usual suspects I mean, there is still good people working) are just not qualified to write about a lot of the stuff which is happening in music these days.  Remember  what happened with Moonspell just a few months ago and agree that we must stay put and think for ourselves instead of wasting our time with over-sensitive, excruciating and bad journalism. Times they are a changing and musicians have evolved and adapted, even if the press says we’re just a bunch of nostalgic 80’s and 90’s loonies. For example: I am not just a singer. I help to organise tours, I carry stuff around, I deal with merchandise, social-networking, promo, and whatnot. Physical and intellectual work. A complete blue and white and dark collar job. The same goes for almost the entirety of the musicians I know and share my career with. in Portugal you can count by the fingers the musical  journalists who makes more happen  than just waking up late, go to his favourite coffee, have a great and expensive brunch, read the papers, go online and write for their belly. That’s it and a DJ career please that doesn’t count for shit guys!

I was just invited by one the most prestigious Art and Technique schools of Lisbon (ETIC) to orientate the forthcoming musical production course and my main subject will be definitely multi-tasking and the necessity of a modern musician to be a bit more than  just a musician. A reality that is taking shape in Portugal and that we should press on, instead of kicking ministers out and cry wolf whenever someone contradicts what we write in the papers. As a footnote I would say if I was Prime-Minister I would definitely invite this journalist to take office as Minister of Culture. Then we’ d see his true value and how he would fare.

A slap in the face- Made in Portugal

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