Giant’s Rolling Pin

Friday 2 May 2014, by Cécile Desbrun

America’s South also makes a tangential appearance in Giant’s Rolling Pin. It’s a pithy, spry, jig-like satire on the NSA/Edward Snowden affair that also references the magical, truth-giving powers of pies made by "Beth," "Marlene" and "Caroline," three remarkable women based out of a cafe near Amos’s beach home in Florida.

"I love these women! You look out of your glasses at them and think they’ve got some kind of alchemy going on in that kitchen. You just feel better when you’ve had their food!"

As to how the revelations of the NSA’s mass spying on the civilian populace impacted on Amos, she replies that she responded the only way she knew how.

"As an American you have to ask all kinds of questions, and as a writer you have to, too. You have to think, yeah, probably everybody does spy and not just the security arm of our governments. But, um, interesting choice to run and hide with the Russians, who are really great to gays and women!" she notes archly of Snowden’s choice of asylum. "I’m not," she adds, "being one of those crazy American patriots. But as a writer I try and pull back and be fair. And you kind of think: wow, these revelations needed to happen, but some of ’em didn’t. When you’re putting certain people’s lives at risk, you have to ask yourself, "Would I have gone that far?"

"So, it’s a commentary on all those things. It’s about the tax man as well – there are no checks and balances with our tax authorities. I try not to pick a side when I write like that." (Mercury Classics Press Release, March 2014)

« As a songwriter, sometimes I have to step back and you have to see all sides in order to be fair. And "Giant’s Rolling Pin" is hopefully fun and cheeky but at the same time, there should be some truth in it and the story is that there are these truth-telling pies. It we all had eat these pies or got to eat these pies, then it would be a very different playing field, wouldn’t it, if Russia had to eat these pies, or whether we’re talking about Ukraine, and everybody had to eat the pie. Then, you’re hearing people speak from a place where they must tell the truth. When we think of the NSA’s spying on us all... they’re not the only ones spying on us. Surely. The Germans are spying, the Brits are spying – I wave to the Brits who are spying – the Chinese are spying, the Russians are surely spying... And so, yes, you’re going to expose your own country for spying on you and I don’t think that sits well with Americans and yet at the same time, the Russians are spying on you too. So you have to think everybody spies, we know that. The worrying thing though is in the spying to keep us safe because when you think about the plane that’s gone missing and that you sure hope that somebody knows the answers to some of these questions... Are there ways that the information that the governement has kept from us and, it’s not just the government, is it? Think of our medical records, everything that’s digitally there, people that are trying to pretend they might bank... Every week I get something trying to get me to book my information into and to steal that. So the NSA, yes, pursuing them up a little bit (?), but they’re not the only ones. You know there’s a long line of people that are spying on us.

And the question is, how is our information going to be used? That’s scary. That, what now, the tax people come after you because somebody gives them the heads-up that possibly you are trying to invest in a creative way ? So that information just get shared so you get targeted. I’m not sure. Or because of your beliefs, and because you may be stirring it up with the youngsters, then certain parts of the governement come after you to make your life a little uncomfortable. That’s why we talk about the tax men in the second verse. It’s not just NSA, it’s our friends, the nice taxmen, who we honor very much, do they put pressure on certain people, because they’re stirring it up with the young and we need them to feel a little heat.

But these are questions. "Giant’s Rolling Pin" is offering you questions. Do I think there is abuse? Yeah, of course, yes. And that’s what the song is saying. Would I betray my government and its secrets? Absolutely not. No. That’s why I wrote "Giant’s Rolling Pin" : there are other ways to address the issue than, you know, expose your country and maybe certain lives, certain agents in the field. I think that how it was handled, there were other ways to handle it. I don’t think there are any heroes in that story. Not from my point of view. There are no heroes. And you can’t run over to Russia, they’re really good to women and gays, aren’t they, and say, ’Ok, I’m with the good guys now.’ No, no, no, no ! It doesn’t work like that. So there are no winners and I don’t think we as the public are winners either. I think that it’s for discussion and how we are going to handle it in the future. But where are we now? Because we can have a Constitution that some people are talking about on the Net, but where are we now? Are the governements just going to have to be forced, in order to be the police of the planet, to keep it more locked in? I mean, these are questions, because of the exposure. » (Unrepentant Geraldines interview DVD)