Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Music To Eat Cake By, by Lev Parikian. Many thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Through My Letterbox Tours for including me on the tour. Music To Eat Cake By is out now in hardback and ebook from Unbound. Today I’m sharing with you an exclusive extract from the book, so without further ado…
Exclusive Extract from Music To Eat Cake By
GETTING THE BEST OUT OF ENTHUSIASTIC AMATEUR MUSICIANS
Subject provided by Sharon Curtis
You are, let us say, standing in a room. Around you, for the sake of argument, sit fifty-two musicians, faces turned towards you. You sense in the air the sweet savour of expectation, and it’s only with the greatest reluctance and foreboding that you realise the inescapable truth: the expectation is directed towards you.
They have their instruments ready, but they do not play. They’re waiting for something, some kind of leadership, and they’re looking to you to provide it. Your task, should you wish to accept it (and at this stage you have little choice), is to unite these disparate individuals; to draw out of them something cohesive, convincing, even uplifting; to help them coalesce into an entity that is more than the sum of its parts, while still allowing them room for individual flair; to enthuse, cajole, exhort, nurture, tease, praise, energise and inspire them towards heights hitherto unimagined, manufacturing from the instruments in their hands and the conglomeration of dots on the page a sound to provide balm for the weary soul.
In short, to make music.
There flashes into your head a memory of a cartoon – The Far Side. Gary Larson, purveyor of talking cows, bewildered butterflies and laconic deer, at his most surreal. In this image, an elephant dressed in a tailcoat sits at a piano, a rictus of fearful realisation on its face. It gazes blindly at the audience, a thought bubble springing from its head in the traditional way.
‘What the hell am I doing? I’m a flautist!’
You’re not a flautist. You’re not anything. An elephant would almost certainly be better musically qualified than you, possessing as it does an impressive-sounding trumpet.
A cold lump of dread forms in the pit of your stomach. The silence grows. Someone needs to do something, and that someone is you.
Another cartoon pops into your head. A conductor, standing in front of a music stand, the instructions on the music written in easy-to-read block capitals. ‘WAVE YOUR ARMS AROUND UNTIL THE MUSIC STOPS, THEN TURN AND BOW.’
If only it were that simple.
Do visit the other stops on this blog tour for reviews and insights into Music To Eat Cake By.
Cover Blurb for Music To Eat Cake By
Today’s reader has choices: books about love, about life, about death – and everything in between. The variety is overwhelming, bewildering.
But what if the reader could play a part in producing something different, something about everything, about nothing, about everything and nothing at the same time? What if the reader could tell the writer what to write about?
Lev Parikian asked his readers those very questions, gathered their responses and then set out to write that book. Music to Eat Cake By is the result, a collection of essays exploring everything from the art of the sandwich and space travel to how not to cure hiccups and, of course, his beloved birdsong. Lev considers each subject with his signature wit and warmth, inviting the reader to wonder: what might we ask him to write about next?