Wednesday, 17 April 2013
The Plot of the Pancake and the Pearl (starring Chris Thile)
I was at some sort of music festival on a hot summer's night. All sorts of my musical friends were there; Aoife O'Donovan was there( http://www.aoifeodonovan.com/ ). She was teaching a group of girls one of my songs and explaining to them the meaning of the lyrics. This is a song that does not exist in wake life as far as I know, because I did not recognise it. I was walking past the group as she was telling the girls that the lyric basically means that "you don't have to compromise". I stopped to correct her... "the lyric means that you do have to compromise". I travelled on. It was a balmy electric evening. Lots of energy in the air and people to see doing adventurous things. I came across a camp that was quite tramp-looking and I found my friends The Punch Brothers ( http://www.punchbrothers.com/ ) all standing around a fire burning in a metal trash can. Inside the fire they had rigged up an old pot that was filled with hot oil. I huddled in with the boys round the fire. Chris Thile, the leader of the band, poured into the hot oil a big portion of pancake batter. The oil engulfed it. We all watched with our eyes peeled. Chris took some sort of pancake fluffing tool and plunged into the oil and down into the transforming batter. He started to sort of rake the batter upwards to encourage the pancake to fluff and rise. He looked at me and winked. I took a single white pearl out of my pocket and dropped it into the batter just as the consistency of the batter stiffened and swallowed the pearl. Chris pulled the pancake out of the oil. We were all utterly convinced that this was the work of genius. A friend of Aoife's who had been learning my song came swiftly by and snatched the pancake up and ran off. We all grinned and nodded at each other like our plan had worked. Later on I came across Aoife and she said that her friend had died at the festival. Apparently, she was eating a pancake and a pearl got lodged up her nose and she died. That all seemed perfectly reasonable to me and I was happy to have a dance with Mr. Thile to some old-timer music. We all danced and danced until couches and beds filled the room and it was time to sleep. Chris slept on a wooden pallet that we laid down for him. The next thing I knew, I was telling a room full of people about the plot of the pancake and the pearl in a stand-up comedy act. It was working.. the people were laughing even though the stage was too far away and there were loads of book cases obstructing their view of me. Chris was distracting them as well with all sorts of nonsense that I cannot recall. I then stepped outside and found myself in my home town. It was day time and things around my village were looking absolutely picturesque. The folks of the town were all out dining under the oak trees in restaurants that I had never seen before. The food was something out of a dream and draped everywhere. Everyone was dressed in their Sunday Best, looking like they were in the year 1910. I noticed "wow everyone is dressed old fashioned but with a modern twist ", so many beautiful young women in their dresses and hair styles. The day was warm and sultry, colourful and luscious out. I walked between the clusters of people dining in the dry grass, past a train coach diner. I looked down at my arms. They were badly sunburnt.