Mournful music – Música triste – is wonderful at those moments when I subconsciously feel the need to feel sadness, pain or the suffering of life in general. The music helps to magnify that feeling. I can go two ways with this: sink into self-pity or observe the feeling in my body from all sides without judgment and let it melt away. I am not very good at the first option, because I know that every tear I shed is the beginning of a new story that I can hold on to. I prefer the second option and I am getting better at it.

Since living at the foot of Marvão in Portugal, I have little need of music. The sounds of nature are so harmonious that everything man does, seems to make noise. I can, however, tolerate Bach or Mozart or that beautiful concerto by Poulenc. Especially when I am writing and it is dead quiet inside the house except for the snoring dogs and cat. Only when I am in the car I turn on the Portuguese radio. Antena 1. The normal mainstream media. They can talk just as much as on the Dutch Antena 1 or the BBC. I listen because it is good for my Portuguese and because I still want to know what the people have to believe.

Suddenly, the announcer says: “Just before five o’clock, we have a new item called Música triste. My ears prick up. What, I think to myself, sad music? I have to laugh. Could it be that this choice stems from the suffering nature of the Portuguese? When I get back to the car, it is almost five o’clock. I listen. No Portuguese fado, just sad English pop music about a lost love. I am disappointed. Because I don’t know any sadder music than Fado, which is full of an indefinable longing that will never be fulfilled, and I love it. Just listen on Youtube to the Mozambican Mariza when she sings the song with the title Chuva (rain).