At the zoo

drawing, words

This is a note about the whole tourism thing.
I’m in the middle of a (hopefully huge) set of cartoons (see the post before this one) about tourism (and the new wave of wealthy migrants to Portugal, mostly from the US, UK and France) and I talk a bit about in our radio show (Antídoto, Antena 1, with my new pals Catarina Carvalho and Dora Santos Silva, in which we talk about STUFF), and I guess some people think I hate tourism and hate the wealthy western incomers.

Well, that would be some A-grade hypocrisy on my part if that were true, seeing as I am a great big foreigner myself.

I’ve never really been much of a tourist, so I find it hard to understand the desperate need to travel all over the world seeing, eating and photographing everything, but I think I’m the odd one out. Most people with any means, it seems to me, HAVE to get to see everywhere in a mad rush before they die.

Therefore, I see tourism from an outsider’s view, a bit like I see most things.

And what I see are two main things going on in Portugal (and everywhere else that suffers mass tourism, but the only place I live in and know is Portugal).

1. Tourists, while many are lovely, and respectful, and interested people, many are not. Therefore, I take the piss out of them. Wildly. I always have (as I take the piss out of almost everything in the world. It’s my raison d’être), and even the nice tourists will have the piss taken out of them by me, because even though they’re not evil, their behaviour is amusing (see above).

Tourists’ awfulness often relates to their nationality. The British are awful in their own way, the Americans, theirs, the French, theirs, the Spanish, etc., etc., etc. and sometimes it’s just universal awfulness.

I’m not expecting tourists to know anything about Portugal or the Portuguese, but of the people who move definitively to Lisbon I expect more. They move because they think it’s lovely and sunny and cheap and pretty (if you look in the right direction) and that’s… lovely, but are they becoming part of the community? Are they treating the Portuguese with respect? Are they learning the language? Or are they making the city change to suit their idea of what Lisbon is and forgetting that there are people being priced out of the city? My main beef is the language thing.

Please, learn the language beyond “Uma bica, se faz favor”. The rest might follow.

2. The Portuguese refuse to say no to any behaviour, any request, any demand that foreigners, especially from the West, let’s say, put to them.

I never see anyone removing stag or hen parties from their premises, even when they are visibly upsetting other people, or filling up the pavement around a esplanada. When people fill the pavements with wheelie suitcases, four abreast, making it impossible to get past on one’s way to work, nobody says a thing (except me). Being overly drunk, rude, shouting instructions in English (mostly by the English, obvs), being arrogant, blocking the way all over the place, all these things are just let past. Why?

Stand up to them and they’ll respect you more.

I’m not against change… I bloody LOVE change. But I see a lot of people behaving badly on their holidays and I see a lot of Portuguese being pushed around, and maybe the worst thing, I see a city being modified in a way to suit only the foreigners… and the city forgets, THE FOREIGNERS WON’T ALWAYS BE HERE IN THESE NUMBERS (because, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the world CAN change, on a dime, overnight, and this will end, one day).

Caricaturas Portuguesas (e outras) nos Anos do Turismo

drawing, words

In the 1970s, cartoonist, illustrator and artist, João Abel Manta, drew a series of cartoons called Caricaturas Portuguesas dos Anos do Salazar (Portuguese Caricatures from the Salazar Years). They were and are visceral, hilarious and scathing, about situations and society from 1926 until 1974, in the very defined style of Manta.

I’ve been struggling with what is happening to Portugal, mostly Lisbon and Porto, while tourism runs amok, but as much as I write about it, I just feel that cartoons express my feelings better. Tourism, marvellous, tourists, not all lovely, excesses excessive. etc.

So I’m drawing some cartoons, in slightly a Manta-esque manner, that mostly only Portuguese people over a certain age will recognise. But hey.

Meanwhile, in Avenidas Novas, life continues as usual
The Modern Pilgrimage

To be continued…

Cataloguing ugly shoes

drawing, words

About a hundred years ago, I had a blog, which I kept up until the Special Operation on the Blogosphere by the United Federation of Facebook and the Twitter. Some people even remember it.

In my blog, I used to catalogue the people and things of Portugal (and take the piss, sorry, I was a bit miffed back then). I’ve always meant to get back to doing more of that cataloguing in a consistent way, but work and life often get in the way, that and my extraordinary ability to get sidetracked. Most of what I do these days is motion graphics (a. because I love it and b. because the illustration industry is a husk of what it was… maybe I’ll tell you about it one day) and if you know anything about motion graphics, you’ll know that it takes all your time and all your attention.


However, sometimes, I get inspired to returning to draw all this (waves hand around head), especially since things have changed quite a bit since the early 2000s and my good old blog (it’s 19 years since I started blogging!), and because, last night, we went to the launch of the re-edition of João Abel Manta’s “Portuguese Caricatures from the Salazar Years” a full collection, in full colour, of his of cartoons from the 70s about those Salazar years. Good cartoonists always inspire me.

I took a while to appreciate Manta, but then one day, a good while ago, I got him. Look him up, if you are not Portuguese. The essence of his drawing style, as well as the caricatures themselves, encapsulates a certain Portuguese aesthetic. I love it.

The book launch was in Campo Grande and Campo Grande is where Lisbon University has its campus, and where, at certain times of the year, can be found gangs of these little sods (see above) hazing (praxe) first years. It’s a vile practice, even in the fact that you can choose to be praxed or not… having to choose to be the in or the out group and all that bullshit. Don’t imagine that this garb they wear is a university uniform or anything… it’s a self-imposed uniform that make the boys look like they’re trying out for the sixth form at Hogwarts, and the girls like they’re applying for the position of secretary to Doctor Evil.

They always give me the impression that they are lacking something in their lives… I don’t know what… a sense of self? taste in shoes?

(I have missed writing, too). Laters, hopefully.