The end of Planet Fidhle
So here I am again. This is sadly the last programme in the series. After many years, the Fidhle tribe is moving on from its settlement here on the island of Taransay. This is not being spoken about openly in the tribe, but various signs and symbols are evident in their dealings with each other.
Ceremonial goblets have been issued to each member of the tribe. An archive of some of the tribal wisdom – in terms of the TEWNS they have played and the food, cooked by elders Isobel and Catherine – is being ritually offered to all tribal members in exchange for monetary coinage.
Kenny, one of the elders, has also written a symphonic scale work which attempts to encapsulate the shared experience of the whole tribal community over the years.
In other respects, this year is similar to others. The wise ones (called TEWTORS) who hold the knowledge and wisdom of the TEWNS, have continued to pass on this wisdom to the tribe at set times called CLASS-EZ. The younger tribal members have been encouraged to create new wisdom, and a ceremonial playing of these TEWNS by PATTSEE led to Robbie Leask being held up high in ritual celebration as the WIN-NER.
There have also been, as in previous years, intense gatherings called SESH-UNS, where the tribal members share their collective wisdom, assisted by ceremonial concoctions prepared by RO-OZ and her herbal acolytes.
But the question hanging over the island community is – what will happen to the elders of the tribe: DOWLANN – the one on a chair, WOOODEE – the one with a parcel, WILLY MAACREE – the one with a boat and KENNEE – the great one (assisted by the newer elders, Murdo, Alastair and Willie2)
How will they manage their time when the tribe disperses for the last time? Have they secretly bought the island to start a new tribe?
I can exclusively reveal, following extensive hacking of their phones, that they are to buy up BSkyB – which they are renaming BStornowayB, and which will continue the tribal traditions by transmitting FIDHLE TEWNS 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Chris Davidson (a.k.a. David)
(David Attenborough 1 – Taransay 2006)
And so here we are among the remote community of Tar-nan-say – a tribe of fidhlers so primitive that they still communicate using carved pieces of wood attached to their chins. We have an example here – (shows a fiddle)
In order to communicate, they scrape lumps of horse hair across the strings
(- demonstrates making screeching sound)
There are lots of communication patterns – sometimes one person on their own will communicate – perhaps to a deity perhaps to themselves. Sometimes this is done in a field away from the other fidhlers. Sometimes, during a “sesh-un” everyone plays at once. This process seems to be very difficult for the fidhlers.
Sometimes the fidhlers huddle around in small groups with a wise tribal elder called a “tew-tor”, who seems to carry the old knowledge called “tewns”
Some of the elders can be described. Dow-lann (the “one of the chairs”) is a mystical figure who floats around the island and is talked about with hushed reverence.
The “Wooden One” is known for sending parcels to distant lands.
The “Kenny One” wears pink tee-shirts and quietly gets things done.
“Wheelie Markree” is a very distinguished elder who has the ability to carry people over water to foreign lands (he uses a special craft known as the Wilmac Ferry) He often makes prophecies in words of four letters. We have observed him become impatient with people who fail to honour his status.
Thene we have the Sisterly Ones – Eesable and Karthrin. People come and pay homage to them three times a day and leave with food to eat. They are often brought to their place in a chariot.
Another tribe are the 4 legged “woollies” who sometimes invade the fidhlers territory and leave mementoes.
(David Attenborough 2 – Taransay 2007)
So here we are again on the remote island of Taransay with the Tar-an-say Fidhlers.
This year we have observed some of their secret ceremonies.
A-lek is the elder of the stove ceremony. Here he tries to capture the elusive “fire” and does the “ray-king” of the stove, using a long ceremonial dagger.
The regular annual ceremony of the mar-a-kee involves many of the male fidhlers. They link four totem poles with yards of canvas using long ropes. This mar-a-kee is growing each year – showing the flourishing of the tribe.
Interestingly the roof ceremony involves one of the female fidhlers. First a disc is thrown onto the rook of the stee-ding building. A female fidhler then climbs on the roof and adopts a ceremonial fidhler pose.
The fidhlers try every year to harness the magical power of the “e-lek-treek” but so far their rituals don’t impress this deity who shows his anger by withdrawing his energy at the most awkward times.
The fidhlers have developed an initiation ceremony. This elaborate ritual involves a fidhler entering a darkened room (please see the previous ceremony) removing all of their clothes and spraying themselves with freezing water.
We must pay tribute to one elder called Day-vee who was not on the island this year. He had volunteered to begin a new generation of fidhlers and was too busy with the ceremonies of the na-pee and the fee-ding to come.
It has seemed for the first time that the fidhlers use human sacrifice. Two female ca-no-ists arrived in the week and have not been seen since. We fear this may be the beginning of a very worrying trend.
An finally the most important ceremony of all. The tribal elders build a huge effigy of the Do-lan (the “Man of the Chair”) and carry it to the beach where they have lit a ceremonial fire. After chanting mystical prayers, they throw the effigy onto the fire and then cheer loudly. We believe that this ceremony is undertaken to purge “bad tunes” from their “sesh-uns”.