Give The Yak Some Toast

Laura belongs to some kind of CD swap meet thing. Every so often a group of cyber-friends exchange compilation disks of their favorite songs, or something like that. Lately I’ve been playing them to death in the car.

There’s one track by Lauri Anderson, wobbling on about living in a South American village with her anthropologist brother and unapologetically making bad tortillas. “Now all the other women’s tortillas were 360 degrees, perfectly toasted, perfectly round; and after a lot of practice mine were still lop-sided and charrrrred.” To get the effect of this, you have to hear her doing a bad pirate impersonation as she delivers the word, “charrrrrred” like “arrrrggggh!”.

She continues: “When they thought I wasn’t looking, they threw mine to the daaaags.” It’s hard to convey Ms Anderson’s complete immersion in her own pretension here. But, for me, it’s her inability to comprehend her lack of engagement with reality that’s really irresistable. At least if you like mocking Americans doing bad pirate impressions. And I do. Like gurning when the wind is changing, there’ll probably be a price to pay but it’s the neurons make me do it. “They threw mine to the daaaggghs! Aaarrrrh, Jim!”

Another track is a reggae version of the James Bond theme, which has to be heard to be believed. I totally love this. And then there’s Yak, the story of a farmer told by this fabulous stoner guy. The farmer has a yak and the yak gets sick. The yak gets a fever. “You have to feed the yak,” the farmer’s wife tells him. “The yak has a fever, you must feed the yak. Give the yak some toast. Give the yak some toast.” The word “toast” explodes preposterously from the vocalist’s mouth, capitalizing the T and taking him so much by surprise that he has to repeat himself.

“Give the yak some Toast! Give the yak some Toast!” My car journeys just fly by.