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from Wednesday, May12th of the year2010.

The end of the tour was marked by a series of really intense travel negotiations. The volcano is still erupting, and while some airlines seem to have figured out ways around it, others are involved in strange compromises and re-routings. We all split up after a show in Uppsala, in Sweden, and three of us went on to play a show in Latvia, and the rest went on 24-28 hour journeys to Iceland. It’s all very old-fashioned.

Latvia! I had never been there. My first piano teacher was Latvian, and I never really got a sense of what her life had been like before she came to America. What little I knew was her shouting down the hall to her husband or talking on the phone to her son or organizing piles of paper in a funny language as I arrived. In any event, this place was fabulous. We were playing in Ventspils, a Hanseatic-league town about two hours from RÄ«ga. Everybody was so-o-o-o-o nice and fiendishly well-read and curious and friendly and everything you want people to be like (occasionally, you turn up in a town and the people involved in putting on the show are wary, suspicious, unimpressed & opaque). We had a point-person with the very Dick Traceyesque name of Micks Magone (wasn’t that actually the name of Madonna’s character from that movie?). The added bonus was that this completely out of control great performance-art-cum-electro-pop band called Instrumenti played a short set before us:

What’s better than that!?

I’m now installed in Iceland. I have another round of workshops for Two Boys in three weeks, so I have a bunch of that to finish, and then a series of smaller pieces, and then, and then, and then! So, a good long desk is in order, with some coffee, some trips to the pool, some exercise (finally) and some time away from the internet. People ask me if I have a ritual when I compose, and I’m always struck by a little pang of sadness when I have to truthfully answer that I travel too much to have a proper one. I’m trying to see if I can stay in one place for longer stretches this next concert season, so that I can have if not one ritual, a series of continuities to try to impose some order on this mess.

I will conclude this with a recipe:


  • Wow, I love “Let your Sauce be Butter, Gravy and Lemon, and your Garnishing sliced Orange”.

  • It’s like the new and improved Irish Blessing. “Let your Sauce be Butter, Gravy, and Lemon, and your Garnishing sliced Orange!”

  • I’m bringing Bigness back.

  • Our friend Mark Dancigers is of Latvian descent, and reports that dill is ubiquitous in Latvian cuisine. I would like to at some point hear from you whether this is the case even in the haute quarters.

  • I hope you’ll come to Estonia in one day too. I think you’ll love it.

  • In regard to Judd and dill-

    I’m Latvian (born in England) and when I went to Latvia one of my lasting impressions was DILL. They even had it on pizza. Yes, pizza. It was actually rather nice.