There are rare times when things become or simply are, more than they ought. Be it a person achieving beyond expectations, an event with outcomes out shining its station or indeed a place that lives bigger than its borders. Welcome to Valparaiso, or as only seems appropriate given the irreverent disregard to the norm here, the common affective: Valpo.

There’s so much to say about Valpo and all of it defies words. The ebb, flow and surge of what makes Valpo is wedged in those spaces between the words, those spaces where imagination is disturbed to motion for lack of constraining dictation. Pablo Neruda, Chiles nobel prize winning poet once said of Valpo:

How absurd you are…
You never combed your hair,
you never had time to get dressed,
Life has always surprised you.

It takes the barest emergence from the bus terminal to appreciate all that Pablo has said in between what he said. For us Valpo conjures a relationship, one of distant admiration the like of which one might have with a vintage star of the cabaret stage. Distant only because the flighty artistic nature of Valparaiso won’t stay still, but floats about the room never quite bogged in a single one of the conversations it’s having with everyone who wants to be that only one. Indeed Valpo has forgotten to comb her hair and is constantly surprised by the inferior trends that have overtaken her, but still she plays on. She plays on to an adoring crowd that cherishes lines on her face, skin that speaks of a busy life, that waning voice that dances every tone and the stories that make her show more than it ever ought to be. And they cheer, we all cheer through the smoky room into the dim lights of a dame in the mended gown who will always have one encore for the stage that is her home. To the audience that is her world. The way it used; ought to be.

The papers write of the mystique, the charm, everything that is this yesteryear star shining brightest in the sky for only those that care to come to the show. Those that care to see the spaces in between what the papers put into words. The applauds come, the tributes continue but she will never leave her small stage for a large; the lights can shine brighter upon the new, her brightest lights are reserved for her audience. May the show always go on and those spaces in between ever be greater than the words that confine them.

Play it again Valpo. We’ll have that conversation that you only reserve for us without a word spoken. You give us everything that can’t be put into words, those spaces expanded to a universe you designed; your stage. And we listen. We know you’ll never stop but we ask anyway; play it just one more time.