The Formula One race ended, I wrote my race report, I went back to work figuring out how I would dodge the volcano dust and get out of China and back to Paris, and then, by 11 PM, I made it to the Blarney Stone. There was no way I would let the volcano do me out of a meal and a sing at the open mic.
So I arrived at the old Irish pub and felt like I was in Ireland, and truly, truly wished I was. Within I found some of the same spectators who had been at Bee Dees, notably a racer from Australia and the man who had told me the story about the Chinese suicide on the bridge. I also found several other people and a couple stranded, like me, because of the volcano – only they’d been here since last Thursday.
“We took an extra day,” said the downcast woman, “we were supposed to return to England last Wednesday. We would have been able to.”
Their airline paid only one night extra hotel for them.
That’s why I am getting out as fast as I can, and returning to Paris by first going to Toronto. A number of the British media people are also going back to England via the United States.
In any case, when I arrived at the Blarney Stone at 11, the first thing I did was speak to Allan Cowell, who was preparing to play. He said I could play when I wanted, just join in. Jam-like. Allan is a Scot and lives in Shanghai, and he has put out a CD of a lot of songs, and it was produced by … Paul Meredith. My friend from Oscar’s.
I will put up a little video I made of Allan, who sings in a strong voice that carries up and down the old rafters of the Blarney Stone as if in an ancient Celtic hall. This is an advantage, as there is no microphone at the Blarney Stone.
I ate a plate of cooked ham, potatoes, vegetables and a beer and then I went to join up with Allan. The first thing we played was some traditional tune. Then I jumped into “Crazy Love,” and they liked it and asked for more. So I did “I Shall Be Released” by Bob Dylan. And they liked it, and asked for more. Allan and I exchanged songs, and I threw in some traditional songs for the environment. I did “High Germany” and another.
Allan eventually left and joined a group at the bar to watch TV and the news of the volcano on the BBC. Where were we again? Shanghai?
Then the stranded couple asked me for more songs, and I went through close to a dozen for the whole night, I think, including a couple of my own. By the time I left the Blarney Stone at 1:30 AM I was fully recovered from the shock of the dread of the coming day’s travel. Let’s see how that unfolds.