Since “The New Normal” has been a theme today, here’s Sergio Godinho with a song of that name, written in August last year and containing obvious references to the long nightmare from which we hope we will soon awake (although I’m writing this the day after “Freedom Day” and I am regning in my optimism…)
Dadas as circunstâncias Given the circumstances Mantenha as distâncias Keep your distance Respeite os espaços Respect the spaces Controle essas ânsias Control your urges De beijos e abraços for kisses and hugs Refreie as audácias e as inobservâncias Refrain from risks and non-observances
One of the things I’ve been doing in my non-portuguese life is trying to learn poems. I had some idea that it would be nice to have more poetry in amongst the clutter of my brain, and also good mental exercise now that I’m well into middle age and finding myself forgetting stuff all the time. In the last couple of weeks I have memorised two. I can now recite Weathers by Thomas Hardy or The Subaltern’s Love Song by John Betjeman by heart. I like the Betjeman best; the rhythm of it is amazing, and it really conveys the sense of being giddy and excited and in love.
Anyway, I was thinking of doing “Mar Português” by Fernando Pessoa next. It’s shorter but I’m expecting it to be harder in anotgher language. So I was really excited to see this video drop into my Youtube recommendations today. Mar Português is the fifth of the five poems she reads. I have been subscribed to the channel for a while but not really following it closely but I can see I am going to have to keep a closer eye on it from now on, because I like this a lot!
For no real reason, I decided to look for a portuguese workout channel to use instead of my normal Joe Wicks routine for a change. What I found was that the market seems to be dominated by Lidl, the supermarket chain. It’s quite a canny way to build a relationship with your customers, I suppose, during lockdown. There are dozens of videos on there. Here’s a basic playlist for example, but there are loads more, each with a long list of workout videos from little shorties like this guy doing power curtsies with his very patient dog…
…through yoga and pilates
…to half hour circuit sessions
They even have a few hosted by this guy Jorge Fonseca who is an actual world Judo champion who… what? Runs the deli counter at the weekend for a bit of extra cash? I dunno.
If you prefer your workouts without any unexpected items in the bagging area, the only other channel I know is “Dicas do Salgueiro”. He has the same beard/long hair combination as Joe but he’s got a slightly different style – he does crossfit videos rather than mucking about at home with his kids in the shot, dressed as Scooby Doo. I was having a laugh at how seriously he seemed to be taking himself in this video but then the last few seconds of it when he goes to put the sword away made me warm to him.
So I think I might see if I can go through one of his (hour long!) videos from the Treino em Casa Quarantena playlist one day when I’m feeling energetic.
I’ve just written about O Superman, the satire on the career of António Ramalho Eanes. One of the things the book mentions is his visit to London where he does a typically Portuguese (?) thing: rearranging the cushion before sitting next to the Queen. I didn’t think much of this but you can actually see it happen in this video of the state visit.
Of course, the Queen is not scandalised by this and it doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. I don’t know why the satirist thinks it’s such a big deal but I guess it’s all grist to his mill, showing how uncultured and yokelish the president is that he’s never taken a ride in a royal carriage before!
The video is interesting (to me, anyway), since the announcer conveys the palace’s statement, putting forward Britain’s official stance towards the nascent democracy, which in a few short years had veered from fascism to a vanguardist, near communist junta, via a counter-revolution to a broadly left-wing government, ruling under a democratic constitution. So I’m glad to see they are recognising that process and trying to help it along.
I’m not sure, but I think we british play a larger role in the book. Early on, Cropcon, Superman’s home planet, is destroyed by a rival planet, which the author calls Brybton. Well, I don’t know what Brybton is meant to represent, but it sounds like “Britain” and “Bribe” might be contributing ingredients – in other words, the author reckons the military junta that acted as midwife to the democracy was unable to withstand the corrupting effect of international capital, as represented by England! I might be reading too much into that but it’s a fun historical factoid so I’ll enjoy it at least until someone tells me it’s wrong!
If you enjoyed the audiobook post a couple of weeks ago you might also enjoy this new YouTube channel started by Booktuber Silent Wanderer. It’s called Em Voz Alta and it’s looking to release two chapters per week of short stories read by Portuguese readers, many of whom I already know from their own channels. So far, they’ve finished O Principezinho (everyone’s favourite!) and they’re well into The Canterville Ghost.
One of the things that struck me after posting my list of audiobooks is that there aren’t many that are aimed at younger children, and if you’re a new reader that might be exactly what you need. I did check all the Portuguese children’s stories on Audible but with the exception of O Principezinho they were all Brazilian.
It seems like the best way to listen to stories for children is through videos. There are some on YouTube and some on the RTP Estudo em Casa site under “Hora da Leitura” (Reading Hour).
Here are a few lists you can tap into. If you want to listen to them as audiobooks, with the screen off and your phone in your pocket, there are a couple of settings you need to change on your phone, and I’ll put a video about that down at the bottom if you need it.
This one isn’t a playlist, but you can see the RTP Hora da Leitura videos here. Obviously, these are for home-schooling during pandemic lockdown so there’s a bit of discussion around each. If you’re reading this during a lockdown, consider watching them outside of school hours so as not to add to network traffic.
Obviously, you might be happy just to follow along with the video, especially since some of them show the actual text, or animations that can be good visual clues, but if you want to treat them like normal audiobooks, here’s a video that will explain how to set your phone up to play the audio only, even when the phone screen is off.
I’ve been in a kind of limbo lately, simulatenously working too hard and feeling like I’m not getting anything done. Restarting this blog properly seems like a good way to get things moving a bit on the portuguese front at least. Here are a few updates on stuff that’s happening in my… lusosphere at the moment anyway
Podcasts and Videos
There are quite a few new podcasts and Youtube channels that have started up since the lockdown as teachers who used to do 1:1 lessons have had to find new ways to make money. Here are a couple I know about, but I’m sure you can find others if you dig around. These are all for beginners, so probably not much help if you have been learning for a while.
Simpleton Portuguese (I find the branding on this one a bit naff but the first video I clicked on started with the guy saying “Even if you live in an anarcho-syndicalist commune where the concept of property has been made obsolete, you will eventually have to deal with possessives” and that’s a winning start to a video right there!)
So the big news is that Netflix has commissioned its first original series in European Portuguese. It’s a cold-war thriller called Gloria. Liz from Talk the Streets has done a couple of videos about watching TV in portuguese and one of the things she recommended was a Nteflix plugin called Language Learning with Netflix, which is quite useful if you want to have bilingual subtitles with your shows. I’ve been playing with it and it’s pretty good so I second her recommendation!
I came across a new (to me) channel on YouTube today and the first video I tried was full of good tips. She’s British so she seems to be coming at it from a practical standpoint of how to get by as an immigrant in Portugal rather than doing a lot of detailed stuff about grammar. Bookmarked for later to try the rest of her videos.
Será que alguém no site se lembra “restaurantes”? Tenho saudades deles. Eram parecidos com a casa do meu avó, mas em vez de uma velha há uma equipa de pessoas vestidas de branco que cozinham os pratos e trazem-nos* para a mesa. Não se lembram? Bem, perguntam a alguém mais crescido.
Ontem, vi um vídeo antigo, gravado antes da quarentena, em que um “chefe de cozinha” (acho que este senhor era um género de super-herói ou padre) fez um Bacalhau à Brás. Infelizmente, como estava doente de um delírio, em vez de batatas, andava a usar outros ingredientes como abóbora, cenoura branca e carne de macaco.
*=interesting switch from imperfect to present here. “They WERE like my granny’s house but instead of an old lady there IS a team… that COOKS the dishes and BRINGS them” feels a bit wrong but the person who corrected this on italki was sure it was right.
I’ve really been enjoying the videos Rita Marrafa de Carvalho has been publishing from her house where she’s quarantined with her kids and a ukelele. They seem to be having a lot of fun and she can really sing/play too, which helps. I’ll try to embed one of them here but it’s on Facebook and Facebook is a bit awkward so I don’t know if it’ll work. They’re all really nice though, so you could do worse than go and look at her complete set on that platform if you have an account. A lot of them are on her Twitter too but I’m taking a Twitter break at the moment.