Jed is playing his church music and trying to communicate some of its significance.
“The high notes are the spirit. The low notes the abyss. Listen to the ‘high C’ soaring, it’s like… it’s like Jim singing, ‘I can’t live through each slow century of your moving.’… exactly the same sentiment. They only sing this at certain times of the year!”
Jed can see I am struggling to get there…
No one has ever before drawn the comparison between a seventeenth century ecclesiastic and a sixties rock star and expected me to comprehend.
“But it doesn’t come across properly on this thing… Merde!” Jed swerves swiftly as we round an outcrop of rock and are propelled out to the precipice of the cliff.
On my left a young buck, lying dead by the side of the road, is being approached by an enormous snake.
“Did you see that?” says Jed, straightening the van, his eyes alight.
I saw it all right. It calls to mind… Saint Exupéry’s drawing of an elephant inside a boa constrictor which in his story, The Little Prince, all the grown-ups mistakenly believed to be a picture of a trilby hat.
I had always thought that was just a charming joke.
…And that wild life special which devoted half an hour of film to observing a pencil thin sliver of muscle toiling in the undergrowth, painstakingly extending its mouth a thousand-fold to fit round an ostrich egg.
I try to imagine what common household item a young buck swallowed by a snake might resemble… but it defeats me.
Extract from The Living One