Bigwigs from Portimão

The history of any place, town or city, in a broad sense, always portrays those figures who became notable political, intellectual […]

The history of any place, town or city, in the broadest sense, always portrays those figures who stood out politically, intellectually or artistically, that is, men and women who practiced superior actions in favor of their land or country.

Despite the merit and courage of these heroes being carved in stone books and their essence being “ad eternum”, it is also worth remembering the particularities of those who, among the anonymous masses, were forgotten, without the right to memory and, above all, exempt from commemorations or other laudatory manifestations.

By way of introduction, I intend, based on this reflection, to make an apology for the outlawed men of Portimonense society, singular people who, for reasons of various nature, could well be character in an almanac, hero of a tragicomedy or protagonist of Ettore Scola's films .

The generation of Portimo in the 70s undoubtedly remembers “Zé das Cabras”, a creature of short stature and lame by nature. He always wore the same shirt and trousers patched from pure virgin wool, in fact, clothes that gave off a putrid and filthy smell that compulsively drove away passersby.

He had an obsession: listening to the tinkle of coins; he was the one who could see the poor man walking leagues in the Largo da Casa Inglesa to pick up a few measly pennies that the most daring would persistently toss onto the pavement as a ploy for amusement.

Another surrealist image, in the political sphere, extends to the person of Hélder “Bolinhas”, a shrewd representative of the young democratic right at the time of the PREC, who managed, at the height of his political career, to gather a significant number of signatures to form a political party.

It is obvious that the lords of the installed power did not like the idea and, of course, the political cabal was so engendered that Bolinhas found himself behind bars for having "dishonored" a foreigner, a delicate English lady who did odd jobs in a of those bars of the night and for whom the said leader, according to the bad language, nurtured an excessive platonic love (?).

In the artistic field, I highlight the character known by the artistic name of “Lola”, a notable duo from Amália Rodrigues, a Portuguese emigrant and head of the Parisian stage, who inglorious ended his career in the “bas fonds” of our city , ostracized by his countrymen.

Currently, in this gallery of heroes, who has not yet seen Luís “Marreco”, a man of seven trades and of great public valence, playing the role of man-statue, a true artist from Praia da Rocha who, naturally and without resorting to big disguises, there he was rehearsing some libidinous positions to the sound of coins falling into his cap; this one is the real man on the streets of Portimão.

Ordinary men, with stories and dreams, with joys and tears, unknown in general, but who left part of their existence in our memories and, therefore, here I make my contribution to their memory. The enumeration of the chosen entities was random and their presentation will never correspond to a list due to their degree of importance or any other priority.


Luísa Penisga Gonzalez is a member of the BE at the Portimão Municipal Assembly