It is a very little-known fact, but each year on Shrove Tuesday, the Pancake Turtle travels the world with a huge stack of steaming hot pancakes perched on his back. As he travels the world on this special day, he delivers his stack of pancakes to good little boys and girls everywhere as they prepare themselves for Lent.
I know this ancient tradition may nevertheless be new to some of you, and you may even suspect that rather than having any basis in fact, it is merely something that a group of us made up one night in the 80’s after drinking way too much cinamon coffee in Winnipeg’s old Blue Note Cafe on Main Street, the haunt of such notables as Neil Young and the The Crash Test Dummies… guys who hung around or played The Blue Note before anyone had heard of The Squires or Bad Brad Roberts and the St. James Rhythm Pigs.
To some children though, the Pancake Turtle must be as important an annual figure as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or the Great Pumpkin. Remember, all traditions have to start somewhere.
Ah, the Blue Note. I remember sitting there on Main Street listening to some fine blues and jazz bands.
I also recall playing there when it moved to Portage & Arlington, when I was still with “The Meaning Of Fish”.
Pity it’s shut down. The end of an era, to be sure.
Long live the Toad In The Hole in Osborne Village!
Dunno if you knew, but a mutual friend and former Saskatoon youth pastor was in attendance the night in ’87 when Neil Young walked in without fanfare and played a set with the old band. Lucky stiff. Neil then renamed his band after the place. For those who don’t know, you have to imagine a dingy smoke-filled coffee house that seats maybe 100 people. They kept getting their liquor license suspended for serving beer to people who didn’t have a table (standing room only), but they also served the best cinnamon coffee and tunes in town. Sad to see it go. Ah, the good old days.
It was also a strange place to play (in the Portage & Arlington phase) because the owner insisted on doing sound for the bands. Which wasn’t all that bad, except he’d do our sound check, and then disappear for an hour or more out back getting stoned, while the band and those that came to see them tried to appear patient!
Still, definitely a cultural piece of Winterpeg that will be missed, in spite of (maybe because of?) it’s idosyncracies!