Imagine that one of your favourite bands makes a new album and before showing it to anyone, decides to organize small listening parties for a limited amount of people in only 5 cities around the world? Imagine that one of those cities is the city you are living in and you are one of the lucky few to get a ticket for such event? Imagine that they decide to take you to a beautiful place by the ocean at dusk, hand out an ipod and let you enjoy their music freely? Imagine also that the guys from the band hang out with you after the event and you get to spend a night you'll hardly forget? Sounds amazing, right?
All this happened to me this last Monday. Words cannot begin to describe what I felt and still feel about such experience and such moments. I was one of the 7 persons who attended the event, together with two members from the band and somehow I feel we all now share some kind of ethereal bond that is beyond any human understanding.
I'm talking about a post rock band called Caspian, from Beverly, MA. I've got to know their music only last year, in an amazing concert at Hard Club, here in Porto. I remember that it was on a sunday, a perfect summer day. I read about the concert, checked their sound and it was love at first sight. And later in the night, what an intense and emotional concert it was for me. They had conquered me forever. Little did I know that one year later I would be part of such wonderful experiment and talk with them about music and other stuff over a few beers, on another wonderful summer night, in Candelabro, a place where I spent other unforgettable moments before.
I guess I first started listening to post rock around 2005. It started with Explosions in the Sky, but I don't remember how I got to know them. Back then, I was drawn to the instrumental and melodic sound, usually in a crescendo towards a huge wall of guitars and distortion. I guess that mixture between melody and noise, peacefulness and heaviness, always fascinated me maybe because that's a metaphor for my own way of existing. I also remember that in that time, long and instrumental songs would only seem appropriate for very rare moments of my life. I guess I was too young then, but over the years the sound kept growing inside me and I kept discovering new bands and becoming more and more connected with that type of music. For the past 5 years, post rock is a huge part of my life and it has been the perfect soundtrack for some epic moments I lived. That's the beauty of it, it makes me feel epic and larger than life. Post rock music can turn a random drive between work and home into a decisive moment where all answers are revealed and life gains a whole new meaning, where I feel glorious.
As usual, I'm getting lost with my thoughts here...back to May 2015.
One thing I loved the most about Monday was that it didn't feel like 2015. It felt like being a teenager in the late 90's or early 2000's. Being surrounded by people with a genuine passion for the band, talking about rushing to buy tickets before they would sell out and the excitement of getting one, sharing opinions and music in general and feeling that kind of connection that you can only feel when you speak the same musical language. Noticing that people were more focused in living the moment rather than take pictures and all that stuff that destroys any magic these days. Maybe it's me, but that's so rare these days, to have all these elements combined at the same time!
I have to confess that I have an incredible admiration for anyone able to create something artistic, especially music. My dream is to spend most of my time surrounded by artists (I mean real ones, not posers of phoney arrogant pricks who think they are better than the others) and people that use art to make questions, to make statements or simply to create something that put us all closer to the divine and transcendent. I'm not an artist nor have I been able to create something so far, but I never stop searching for those moments of revelation and creation. Art and nature are probably the most noble things that we can enjoy during our lives.
Nature. In this good year of 2015 I found a renewed love for one of the most beautiful places in Portugal, Gerês National Park. Been there two times in the past two months and both times were transcendent and ethereal, although for different reasons. Since my last time there that I've been thinking in writing here about this old man I found there, sitting on a rock on the top of a hill.
I was driving around to show the views to a dutch friend of mine and I parked the car at some point so we could enjoy the scenery. By coincidence, I stopped close to some rocks where this old man was sitting very graciosly, eyes looking at the horizon. As usual in small places, he stared at us, strangers, as we walked by. We said "good afternoon" to him and sat a few meters ahead, overlooking the valley beneath us and feeling the timid rays of sun passing through a foggy sky.
A few moments later, he spoke to me. I don't remember his exact words but I know how I was so overwhelmed by the peacefulness, kindness and serenity his voice emanated. I was instantly touched and I felt so happy in that moment. Something happened there, although I'm lacking words to properly describe it. Maybe it's a part of my inner self longing for a life away from the turbulence of the city and dreaming of a simple, slow paced life.
Anyway, I want to immortalize that moment. I want to keep it present somehow, to rememeber it and perhaps use it as some kind of ethereal place for hope and dreams. As if in the voice of that old man lies my own salvation.
This month of May was definitely special. I had some other amazing moments that made me feel alive. It's good to feel alive.
I write this words in this fucked up caffé next to my flat here in Porto. I've been here very often to write or work in my laptop since I moved to Porto. It's full of drunk people sitting by the counter, but somehow I always felt comfortable here. I guess it's because this place is what it is, it's genuine. There's no posing nor pretention here, just reality as raw as it can be. People don't look at me, they let me be. I'm just a person, just like them. I guess that's what I love the most, to feel like I'm seen just as a person. Out there in society, people tend to qualify each other in other ways, I guess. Or maybe I'm romanticizing too much my view about simple people. But I'm again getting lost in my thoughts here.
Today is the 28th of May. I realized today that in a month I'll be leaving my flat and Porto, towards an unknown new life. Lately I'm more focused into savouring the little pleasures that made my life better over the past two and a half years. I'm feeling something similar to what I felt in 2012, before abandoning my flat in my hometown and travel to the States. I guess that, unsconsciously, I plan things all at the same time to represent a drastic change in life. I probably need those changes, every once in a while. Sometimes it is hard and I fear a little bit, but experience has proven me that this is the period right before the magic happens! So I'm looking forward to the magic this Summer.
However, to add to all this mixture of anxiety and excitement about how my life will be after my roadtrip around Europe, this time I'm also not sure about what I will be doing to make a living. Long story short, after 7 years putting all my passion and energy into building something beautiful, tomorrow I will have a decisive meeting with the Mayor of my hometown. Starting from scratch in 2008 and having some of the worst tennis facilities, I built a wonderful spirit between the kids, coaches and parents and we became the biggest club in the region (with over 20 clubs) in terms of number of children and teenagers. Now I need that effort to be duly recognized and supported by the city public institutions. But I'm affraid that in a society where merit is not taken into account, I won't be able to continue motivated in pursuing my dream and bringing tennis to as much people as possible.
Somehow, I also feel like it's time for me to leave the comfort zone and start over, somewhere else. In tennis or something else. There's so much life out there to be lived, so many things to experience, so many people to meet. And maybe I need or belong to a different kind of life.
As I was typing, this is the song that came on my iTunes. Haven't listened to Josh Rouse for a long time, but somehow it just perfectly fit the mood.
But I also wanted to end with a song from Caspian, which is the first song of their first LP, The Four Trees" (2007) and it's called "Moksha". Moksha is a central concept in hindu traditions and can be interpreted in different ways, but they are all glorious. It's a perfect name for the first song of a first album. It's also one of my favourite from them.
It's late. Time to go home and sleep. As always, Thoreau comforts me.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”