highlights

Out and about in Lisbon

Iphone Pics 061 Lisbon is definitely the place to visit. The global village of the moment considering the number of foreigners from all walks of life flocking here.

The best way to arrive in Lisbon is by plane and we recommend the national airline, the best in the world, now partly owned by a Brazilian, but such is life in the capitalist world.. Taxi is the best option to arrive in the city centre and the cost of a ride in a Mercedes driven by a local is around 10 euros. Despite some bad publicity and the voices from the competition, most of the drivers are nice. Should you prefer the metro take the red line to Alameda and change to the green line. Once on the platform make sure you walk all the way to the front otherwise you will be forced to join the stampede of foreign tourists running along the platform to reach the wagons, a funny show, courtesy of the Metro administration. When in the city centre, drag your trolley uphill to your hotel or rented apartment. Make sure you arrive early in the morning or late at night and that the wheels in your trolley are loud enough. By waking up neighborhood you will have had your revenge for having to run like mad along the metro platform. Put on your sports shoes and walk out the door to the nearest café. Be a local and have an expresso, the best way to start the day. Three a day will keep you up and running and awake. Pastries are tempting and go well with it. Do not worry about the number of calories in each custard, you will lose them quickly going up and down the hills. I hope you have improved your French. You will need it to greet the French now living in the city centre. Be nice to your neighbor waving at you by the castle walls. He is here too with his family. And so is your boss, your schoolmates and your distant cousin. Grab a piece of paper and start counting the number of locals you have seen so far. Lisbon is a modern city and ladies with moustaches, men with army tattoos and children with rotten shoes are quite rare these days here, hence make sure you have your camera ready should by chance come across one. Restaurants and cafés serve lunch at affordable prices nearly everywhere. But you may wish to try also the new sensation in town – gourmet food courts. The Portuguese are very fond of shopping centres and spend a great deal of time in them. Probably with that in mind the city now offers a number of food courts in local markets and historic buildings operated mostly by kids from well-off families. Prices are higher in these places and the quality of the food is generally good, prepared by renowned chefs, a new phenomenon in the country – the country now has more chefs than tram drivers. Tram 28 is highly overrated. For your information I believe there are only half a dozen of them, hence put some sun block and get ready to wait for a while in the sun by the tram stop. If you are lucky enough to find a seat open the window and enjoy the breeze. Otherwise you will find yourself trapped and squeezed in a small tram whose final destination is a cemetery. No kidding. Once you get there visit The Cemetery of Pleasures, a curious name for the most beautiful graveyard in the city. Visit the residential neighborhoods and the local shops and restaurants where the attendants and waiters, contrary to Spain, will make the effort to speak you language. Book a table after 8. I know it is 7 P.M. and you are now thinking of dinner. But forget it. Take to a terrace and have a drink before that. Locals only go out for dinner at 9 and before that you will only find foreigners… and you neighbors. Fado is ok but it can be also a saddening bore. The melody is fine. As for the lyrics, thank God you don’t understand the words. If you do not wish to get depressed don’t have them translated. Buy shoes while you are here and the next time your boss tells you Italian shoes are better kick his royal ass with your fine leather shoes made in Portugal. Have a nice haircut. Hairdressers and barbers are now in full fashion in Lisbon. It’s a highly competitive sector and prices start at €4.5. Take to the beach. You probably didn’t realise but there are dozens of beaches around and it is fairly easy to reach them by bus, train or car. The water is not as warm as in the Mediterranean, but then again who wants to swim in a bowl of warm soup?! If you wish to stay know that there are lots of advantages for you: if you have half a million to spend we give you a golden visa and grant you the right to stay as long as you like.

Carlos Tomé Sousa

David Bowie – The Prettiest Star

bowie station to station

The world lost today the biggest artist of all times and everything you say will never be enough to describe the man we owe so much to.

Bowie has been in my life ever since I bought my first Bowie record at the age of 15 when I was living the town in Coimbra, Portugal – “The rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”. I still remember the day, walking down that green avenue with tall trees. It was the late seventies, guitars still ruled the decade and his songs were just mind-blowing. I was fully into science fiction and his songs spoke of creatures from outer space. This is was just the beginning of a close relationship with the music and the imagery of that fascinating character. I used to play zero gravity games in preparatory school and months after I had discovered Ziggy I would meet Major Tom, a character floating in space in the most peculiar way. Two years later I became more interested in dance sounds and there he was, he had a record full of American soul and you just could not stop dancing to “Young Americans”. Bowie had also a close relationship with Berlin. My parents had moved recently to Germany and I was travelling often to that country. Planes were too expensive those days so I used to take the train and there I was listening to Bowie for two days. I used to get the train in Lisbon listening to “Hunky Dory”. Reading was an important element in these long journeys on the Sud-Express. I was pretty much into George Orwell and so was Bowie who had recorded “Diamond Dogs”, based on “1984”. Upon arriving In Paris I would take the train to Cologne, which reminded me of course of the track “Neuköln”.  Warsaw was the final destination of that train and I still retain the memory of listening to “Warzawa” crossing Belgium. I was 17 by then and “Heroes” was my hymn, “We can be heroes, just for one day”. Synthesizers and fashion were two of my major interests at the turn of the decade. While in Köln and Bonn “Low”, “Heroes” and “Lodger” were the perfect soundtracks for my long stays in Germany. Those were also the days of punk, I was into it and “Look back in anger” had the very same aggressive mood.

Bowie mime 2

At the beginning of the 80’s fashion took to the clubs. I was fully into the New Romantic movement when he released “Scary Monsters”. Ashes to Ashes featured Steve Strange on a video and it was just perfect, another great soundtrack for club nights when we used to, like Bowie himself, dress up, adopt a character. And I was fascinated with his mime, which he had learned with Lindsay Kemp. Hairdos were also extremely important those days and his orange hair in Station to Station was just about the right colour. “How do I want be remembered? Well I hope people will say ‘what a great hairstyle he had’!” he joked. In 1982 I moved to Lisbon and before leaving Coimbra i dyed some strands of my hair blond. It was the closest I was to a Bowie hairstyle, my hair closer to the polite hair of Bryan Ferry whom I saw live that year. I arrived in Lisbon on October that year and the city was booming and Bowie was there in the clubs too and that’s when I met two friends, Rui and Toni, who shared the same passion for Bowie and the same orange hair and hairdos. “Absolute Beginners” was the perfect song, it was the beginning of my life in this city. In these early years of the 80’s David Bowie reached worldwide audiences with “Let’s Dance”. It was Ok, but I preferred the previous Bowie whose lyrics I had learned by heart, the darker and more mysterious by this man who was somehow into black magic, who composed dense soundscapes, who had produced “The Idiot” by Iggy Pop” and “Transformer” by Lou Reed.

bowie paris

Bowie’s records kept piling in my room and despite the fact that they did not have the same intensity as before I listened a lot to “Tonight”. I fell in love at the sound of “God Only Knows”, a Beach Boys classic he raised to perfection. For every important stage in my life there was a Bowie song to go with it. And I knew he would surprise us again and be back to his avant-garde spirit and so he did when he invited Louise Lecavalier from the avant-garde dance group La La La Human Steps. Some of his records at the end of the 80’s and 90’s did not match his previous masterpieces. But by then my vault was full with Bowie sounds. I could always go back to “Time” and “Lady Grinning Soul”. I learned the opening sequence of Diamond Dogs, “Future Legend”, by heart and I was rock and rolling with him. And I had in the meantime found a number of pop stars who acted and sang a bit like Bowie, who had inherited his good taste and some of the mannerisms, people like Billy McKenzie from The Associates, Richard Butler from The Psychedelic Furs, Brett Anderson from Suede or Jarvis Cocker from Pulp In 1995, Bowie was back in force with “Outside”, produced again by another hero, Brian Eno, and I loved every little bit of it. “Strangers when we meet” was the perfect song from that record. In 2001, I had the pleasure of meeting him in New York at a cocktail party. Thre he was there, nice, smiling. We talked a bit and I was just fascinated. The man was not only a great artist but also a very nice person.

david-bowie heathen

In 2002 he released “Heathen” another great album and “Slip Away” a great song about friendship which I dedicate to my friends and to Bowie. A ten-year hiatus followed and the man did not release any record. But I had crammed so many things by him and I had a lot to see and hear. I had movies like “The man who fell to earth”, “Just a Gigolo”, “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. I had “Baal”, a record of Brecht songs, I had his version of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” narrated by him”, I had bought “Black Book” a book with pictures of him. And I had retained his sense of style. In recent years, like Bowe, I travelled often to Berlin to visit close friends. Everywhere I would go I would find something related to Bowie. The Wall described in “Heroes”, the neighborhood of Neuköln where my friends had moved to, Schöneberg where he used to live. I went to some of the bars he had been drinking and spoke to people who remembered him. And then he released an album “The Nex Day” which was a true trip back to Berlin. The man was following me as much as I was following him. In 2014 I had the chance to see “Bowie is”, an exhibition on Bowie and like today I cried so much that my face was wet. I was in a large room surrounded by sounds and images of the man who, since I was 15, had been there all along. I know all his songs by heart, I saw him live and I have always been eager and curious to find new things just like him. An important part of my life was in that exhibition room.

Bowie boy

I was awakened today with the sad news of his passing, two days after having released his new album with the opening line “Look at me I’m in heaven”. You are and the world will thank you forever for being such a great man, for having moved so many people. We do not have five years left to cry you. We will cry your death for all eternity and we are extremely thankful for the body of work you have left us. I absolutely love you, David Bowie.

Carlos Tomé Sousa

1173909_733976649951613_859740196_n

Two years after the death of the iconic designer Jesus del Pozo, New York was the stage for the third presentation of the re-baptised DELPOZO brand, now a Spanish venture with major international aspirations.

1003917_733976539951624_1144268927_n

The Gypsy spirit seems to have taken hold of DELPOZO for its new collection shown today at the New York Fashion Week. Inspired in the painting “Gipsy woman with tambourine” by Corot, Josep Font created a simultaneously elegant and relaxed  collection rich in nature-inspired patterns and profuse flower prints, voluminous skirts with high waists.  This is the second Spring/Summer presentation under Font and after a first DELPOZO collection full of detail, embroidery and applications. Contrary to that first collection that seemed to show a too abrupt rupture with the original brand’s past, this collection does bring back some of the elegant austerity of the late Spanish designer, without failing to bring a fresh look and details. It is clearly a Josep Font collection, where we can clearly see his mark and legacy as an experienced haute couturier, but it is a more balanced work for the brand, thus appealing to old and new DELPOZO clients.

1230084_733976163284995_931408836_n

The Gypsy spirit seems to be present also in the current brand’s strategy, considering the brands “nomadism”: After showing in Madrid, New York was the city chosen for the second time to present a collection and chances are that one of these days a new city will be announced as stage for the next presentation. DELPOZO has a clear international strategy and after having opened a first flagship store in Madrid some six months ago, Moscow, Dubai, Shangai and New York City are some of the cities where the brand wishes to establish a foothold. Nearly a week before the Mercedes-Benz Madrid Fashion Week, the Spanish capital will not have the possibility to see this collection live, something many Spaniards we spoke to consider unfair given the brand’s Spanish origins, the legacy of Jesus del Pozo and the fact that Jesus was for years the president of the Spanish Designers Association whose members regularly show their collections in Madrid.

Carlos Tomé Sousa