I was saddened to hear of the death of country singer Glen Campbell on Tuesday. Glen was of Scottish descent and was proficient in many instruments, including the pipes. In 1973 he performed Amazing Grace on a US show although he mimed playing the pipes as he was still learning at that stage.
By 1981 he was accomplished enough to record the tune on a live album. That same year he played Mull of Kintyre on a chat show. Here’s a clip:
Perth Games has been cancelled for the second year in a row. A great shame but the news didn’t come as a great surprise. The official reason given by Perth & Kinross Council is that the ground is unsuitable to use following Perth Show last weekend. Which begs the question: why was Perth Games planned for the South Inch (which is prone to waterlogging at the best of times) instead of the North Inch, where the games have been held for the past few years, and which is less susceptible to being damaged during heavy rainfall?
A spokesman for the games said: “It is with much regret that we announce the cancellation of this year’s Perth Highland Games. Unfortunately, the Lesser South Inch is completely out of commission, and due to a lack of suitable alternative venue, the difficult decision was made to cancel, following a site visit by the games committee.” A lack of suitable alternative venue? The North Inch!!
This weekend is, of course, the World Pipe Band Championships. The Herald newspaper – apparently we should still refer to it as a ‘newspaper’ – last week carried an interview with the RSPBA’s omnipresent and venerable John Hughes, pictured right. Read it HERE.
How many of us knew that John was a highland dancer before he came a piper?
Speaking of highland dancers who became pipers, David Wilton of Lomond & Clyde will be expecting a good end to what has thus far been a great season for him and his band. It is surely only a matter of time before David is asked to take over a Grade 1 band.
The Grade 2 competition itself will take place in the Main Arena. And why not?
The Grade 1 contest will, as ever, be hotly contested. Inveraray & District Pipe Band is still on a high after winning its third major this year at Dumbarton last weekend (the Scottish Pipe Band Championships), St Laurence O’Toole, ScottishPower and Shotts are ‘chapping at the door’. All eyes will be on the adjudicators whose job is difficult enough at this level without one well known, recently retired Grade 1 pipe band Pipe Major phoning his fellow adjudicators to voice his personal criticism of Field Marshall Montgomery. This type of lobbying is disgraceful but unfortunately typical of the way the pipe band world has become, in my view, more political in recent years.
The Lorient Interceltique Festival kicked off last week with Fred Morrison winning the MacCrimmon competition in Lorient. It’s the ninth time Fred has won it. Andrew Carlisle won the piobaireachd with Lord Lovat's Lament.
The festival finishes on the 13th but, ultimately yer auld da’ opted to stay in Glasgow for Worlds Week. There was a lot of good stuff going on all over Glasgow and I thoroughly enjoyed the lunchtime recitals at the College of Piping, particularly Brian Lamond's recital on Monday. I could have listened to Brian's playing all afternoon. And the playing of Johnstone Pipe Band's Callum Douglas on Thursday was simply brilliant. It was touching to hear one of the kids in the Youth Band play Butter Fingers, wee Donald MacLeod's composition that he named in my honour.
The guys in the College shop have asked me to remind you that the shop's 5% discount off everything (except lessons and the Piping Times) lasts until next weekend.
Now it's off to the Green I go! Before I go, here's the Grade 1 order for tomorrow:
Grade 1 – MSR. Commences 10:00
10:00 Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia
10:10 Inveraray and District
10:20 Glasgow Police
10:30 Police Scotland Fife
10:40 Dowco Triumph Street
10:50 Pipes and Drums of the Police Service of Northern Ireland
11:00 St Laurence O'Toole
11:10 Vale of Atholl
11:20 Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia
11:30 Field Marshal Montgomery
11:40 Simon Fraser University
11:50 Scottish Power
Judges: John Wilson, Donald MacPhee, Alex Dudgeon, and Anthony Sloane.
Medley. Commence 13:15
13:15 Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia
13:25 Inveraray and District
13:35 Glasgow Police
13:45 Police Scotland Fife
13:55 Dowco Triumph Street
14:05 Pipes and Drums of the Police Service of Northern Ireland
14:15 St Laurence O'Toole
14:25 Vale of Atholl
14:35 Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia
14:45 Field Marshal Montgomery
14:55 Simon Fraser University
15:05 Scottish Power
Judges: Tam Brown, Samuel Young, Gregory Dinsdale and Robert Mathieson.
See you on the grass.