24th Sept 2004. Abrantes.
I rolled into Guarda 3 days ago, butt-sore and dry as a bag of crisps. Rolled out this morning well-fed, well-watered, well-slept, reconnected (thanks to Guarda's free internet cafe) and with a mild hangover that was blasted away by hammering down the IP2 to Abrantes. 90 minutes of two-lane blacktop that winds through the hills all the way to Lisbon if you fancy it. There's too much scenery to bother concentrating on the road. Luckily the traffic is thinner than Gandhi's ankles.
I'm only here for one night, so I pick the first hotel I see, using Dr. Fitzpatrick's Portuguese Pleasure Principle, which states that everything in Portugal costs exactly half what you expect.
The hotel has the finest balcony bar I've ever seen, from which it feels like you can see the whole goddamn country. The universe obliges with an eye-wateringly magnificent sunset, the Super Bock is ice-cold, and breakfast - gratis - will be served in my room at 10. Ain't life grand?
Equally grand is iPod shuffle mode. Dear Richard Ashcroft - quit whining and eat some mushrooms. The tiny robot monkey inside the 'pod who chooses the next song realises that The Verve may be putting a damper on proceedings, so he follows "The Drugs Don't Work" with "Big Balls" by AC/DC ("Bollocks! Knackers! Bollocks! Knackers!"), just as the audience is reaching for the bleach bottle. I could go on but it just becomes a list of what's on my iPod, and you don't wanna know. Bloody hell though; Sonic Youth's version of The Carpenters "Superstar"! That's beyond maudlin. It sounds like Thurston Moore is lying in a bath full of bloody water with two open veins and five minutes to live. Ain't life grand!
Who remembers the name of Reggie Perrin's dentist, who painted terrible pictures of the Algarve? Not me, for starters. Unless it was Dr Snood...
Eight miles high baby. If you're going to go to the trouble and expense of taking psychedelic drugs, for Godīs sake make sure you take enough to butter you over the lawn. Pin you to the wall, chisel off your skullcap and Moulinex your cerebrum. Peel off your face and suck out your eyes and tonsils, ram a fist into your thorax and yank out your pulsating solar plexus. Otherwise, what's, like, the point?Posted by Simon Fitzpatrick at October 08, 2004 10:35 AM GMT
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