There’s a little gem of a restaurant near us. You know, one of those places where the service is with a smile, the food is beautifully cooked by Mae, the beer is cold and best of all, the expat and tourist hordes haven’t found it yet. No, I’m not going to tell you where it is; I’m going to talk about CDs instead.
Remember how when CDs arrived on the scene, we were told “No more scratchy records, no more tangled tapes, your CDs will last forever”? Yeah right. After a few years that silver stuff flakes off and gets everywhere, and the CDs glitch and jump and stick and in the end become totally unplayable.
There weren’t many in the restaurant that night. Besides ourselves, there was a Portuguese group of ten or so; Mae was in the kitchen, and Pai was serving. We were eating delicious dourada, to the accompaniment of baile music on the CD player. Now baile music isn’t my favourite, but I’ve grown accustomed to it over the years, and even learnt to waggle my hips like a proper Portuguese old-timer. No problem there, and it went well with the dourada.
Then the CD stuck. Not just a duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh stuck – it jumped and glitched, going back a few seconds, then jumping forward and then glitching some more. There wasn’t quite a proper beat in there; if the dance music anoraks tried to pigeon-hole it, they’d be torn between glitch hop and broken jazz, probably settling on the new genre of Broken Glitch Baile.
And it stuck and stuck and glitched and jazzed and hopped everywhere – poor broken CD. And the seconds turned into minutes, and the minutes into hours, or so it seemed, and the glitch went on. And on. And nobody batted an eyelid.
Eventually the bearded patriarch of the other group of diners must have decided that the music had become a tad too modern for his taste, and went off to tell Pai that it needed changing. Pai was actually already getting himself in a little bit of a tizz, as all ten dishes for the group were ready to be served at the same time (I did say it was a gem of a restaurant), and also all ten wanted more drinks, so he dismissed the complaint with a contemptuous sweep of his hand and continued to serve.
And the glitch went on.
Not being known for my discretion, I was by this point starting to have a not-so-secret chortle at the ongoing scenario. As our drinks had run out, we called Pai over (having of course waited until he had finished serving the group) and asked for more beers. Unfortunately (well unfortunately in my opinion anyway) and to my great chagrin, when the beers arrived, my dinner partner asked Pai to fix the music. My partner being an attractive lady (in fact the antithesis of a bearded patricarch), Pai smiling obliged, disappeared into the kitchen, and the glitching stopped.
There were a few seconds of hushed silence and then the replacement CD started playing.
It was Death Metal.
I’d clocked the clock at the beginning of the whole sequence. We’d just been treated to nine minutes of pure Algarvean bliss: unadulterated Broken Glitch Baile, supremely finished off with a lethal topping of Death Metal.
Of course the dourada was mouth-wateringly splendid, and the Sagres chilled to perfection.