Grupo Republika at Águas Boas

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It’s been a couple of years since I have been to a local festival, and I had forgotten how energetic and spectacular they are. Last weekend, in Águas Boas, it was the Festival da Santa Margarida, held over the weekend of the third Sunday in July. Like all local festivals in Portugal, the weekend is an opportunity for church services, dancing, parades, fireworks, and of course the shows from the bands that tour the Portuguese countryside during the summer and autumn months.

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This year it was the turn of Grupo Republika to entertain the crowd on the Sunday evening. The bands travel around the country with their own stage, lighting and sound system in the back of an articulated lorry, and the stage for Republika was huge! The bands play a mixture of popular covers and traditional Portuguese ‘pop’ music known as Pimba: energetic songs with a bouncing simple structure, played with accordion, keyboards, guitar and drums, and accompanied by singers and dancers in a variety of flamboyant costumes.

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Republika were excellent, fronted by four singers – two male and two female – and backed up by two female dancers. The crowd was a little slow to respond, but as the numbers swelled people began to dance along with the tunes that the band belted out without stopping. As usual most of the music was beyond me, but I was swept up with the uptempo beat and recognised several of the covers of popular Portuguese songs that the band played.

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At around 23:30 the band paused while the organisers of the festival held a small celebration and firework display for Santa Margarida and then the music resumed and the band played into the small hours. I had to leave around 00:15 but it was reluctantly and I look forward to see Republika again.

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The moon and Jupiter

OK, I admit, I can’t say this is technically a good photograph, but it was awesome to see how close the moon and Jupiter were last night. On a ‘zoomed’ frame you could actually see three of Jupiter’s largest moons, but the exposure was so long they were just streaks. Fabulous, though.

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Into battle with the paintball warriors

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We had a great time this last weekend, joining paintballers in ‘battle’. The weekend was organised by the former workplace of our cousin and everyone had a great time. The ‘battlefield’ was a three-storey derelict discotheque, the Lua Pub and Discoteca, which is now just a shell but must have been a fabulous place in its glory days. Now windowless and covered in graffiti, the ground floor had been fitted out with barricades and obstacles for the paintballers to roam around in.

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Being indoors it was a little risky for myself and the camera to roam around while the battle was raging, but fortunately the organisers installed a couple of barricades outside the building too, so I could follow the paintball warriors as teams tried to sneak up on one another. I had a few preconceived ideas in mind, one of which was to get a shot of a paintball being fired – and I nearly achieved that.

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It was the first time I have been to a paintball event, but hopefully not the last.

Record Store Day 2017

Today, 22 April 2017, is the tenth annual Record Store Day, a day intended ‘to come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities.’ It started in the US, but is now celebrated worldwide.

Sadly I’m about 16km away from my nearest record store, and I no longer have a record player anyway, so the best thing I can do is present a couple (or three) of my favourite records. Vinyl that I treasure.

First up is Pink Floyd’s The Wall. This was a present from my sister and is still the best present I have ever had. There is nothing more to add to this.
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Second is The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis. This was not the first Genesis LP I ever bought, and it came second hand from the probably now defunct Selectadisc in Nottingham. There were two branches of Selectadisc and I would hop between them browsing the second hand shelves.
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Finally is Alice Cooper’s Lace and Whiskey. Now I have a confession to make here, I have never listened to this LP. What happened was that I was going to a signing of ‘The Last Temptation’, a graphic novel written by Neil Gaiman to accompany the release of Alice Cooper’s 20th album of the same name. I also wanted to get one of Alice Cooper’s albums signed but I hadn’t taken anyhing with me. So I scoured the London record stores and in a little shop behind the Tottenham Court Road I managed to find a copy of Lace and Whiskey. Fortunately he was more than happy to sign this, so I have a signed copy of Lace and Whiskey and inside this is ‘The Last Temptation’ graphic novel signed by Alice Cooper and Neil Gaiman.
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The bottom line is that the humble record store has formed a central part of my life for years and is well worth preserving. So I hope that everyone will have a lovely Record Store Day and to all of the record stores I have frequented, past and present, thank you.

Volta á Bairrada – Julho 2016

I think this was the Volta à Bairrada passing through Carris …

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Third Stage, Volta à Bairrada 2016

The third stage of the Volta à Bairrada passed through Carris and Oiã yesterday afternoon, which was a pleasant surprise.

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2016-02-21 Freestyle surfers

Here are the photographs from this morning’s session at Praia da Barra. There were some great waves!

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2015-07-19 Freestyle surfers

Freestyle surfers at the Praia de Barra in Portugal.

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