Butter Fingers' Blog 13/01/2017
GOOD LUCK TO all those going to Winter Storm this weekend. This event, held in Kansas City and run by the Midwest Highland Arts Fund, has established itself as a great weekend of competition, concert and workshops in the midwest of the US. The pipers performing this year are: Callum Beaumont, P.M. Brian Donaldson, Ken Eller, Ann Gray, Matt Kline, Jack Lee, Terry Lee, Ian K. MacDonald, Colin MacLellan, Willie McCallum, Fred Morrison, Michael O’Neil, Richard Parkes, Terry Tully and Tristan Wilson.
The drummers are: Hugh Cameron, Kahil Cappuccino (what a great name!), Stephen Creighton, John Fisher, Jake Jørgensen, Stevie McQuillan, Duncan Millar, Jason Paguio, Johnny Rowe, Jim Sim, Doug Stronach and Paul Turner.
The concert looks like it will be be a sell out. I think it may be Livestreamed as well.
THE UNITED STATES of America swears in its 45th President next Friday (January 20). Five pipe bands have been selected to play at the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue:
Coastal Florida Police & Fire Pipes & Drums (from Palm Coast, Florida);
Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums (from East Meadow, New York);
NYPD Emerald Society Pipes & Drums (form East Moriches, New York);
the US Border Patrol Pipes & Drums (national);
the DCFD Emerald Society Pipes and Drums (from Washington DC), pictured.
Still in the US, I didn’t know that there are 22 states which have an official tartan. This could rise to 23 if Maryland resident Paul Wiedorn’s design for the state is adopted. Paul’s initial attempt in 2015 failed but he’s trying again. Good luck to him, I say.
A STORY IN The Sun last week caught my e’en. For readers outside of the UK The Sun is a popular newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, aka the Dirty Digger although the word ‘newspaper’ really needs to be in inverted commas. Anyway, the story concerned a guy in Falkirk, central Scotland, who was fined £800 at Falkirk Sheriff Court earlier this month. John Darling – great name! – had had a domestic argument with his wife in December but then went to his bedroom and began playing his pipes “in a bid to drown out what his wife Mary was saying to him.” He later stopped playing but the argument resumed and his wife called the police.
However, shortly after the ‘quality polis’ of Stirlingshire arrived, Darling, who had taken a dram or two, attempted to head butt the police officer and was promptly arrested. His solicitor, a wit by the name of Gordon Addison, said his client thought the police should not have entered the house, and that Darling had done his best to avoid the domestic argument. Addison told the Sheriff: “Your Lordship will be aware that the definition of a gentleman is someone who knows how to play the bagpipes, but doesn’t. Mr Darling knows how to play the bagpipes, but unfortunately did.” What a wit! Put this man on the stage!
Helpfully, the Sun included a photograph of someone, from the neck down, playing pipes, presumably because its readers are too stupid to picture in their heads what a person playing pipes looks like.
However, after reading this story I was reminded of a time someone complained when I was having a wee tune on the Kyle of Lochalsh-Glasgow train many years ago. I took the only action one can take when confronted with a situation like this: I threw the guy off the train.
SAD TO HEAR of David Murray’s passing. He was the very definition of the 'gentleman piper’ and was an extremely knowledgeable man in matters piping and military. Well do I remember the Northern Meeting of 1991 when he asked Alasdair Gillies to leave the competition platform due to him tuning for too long. There now remain only two surviving Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders who defeated the Japanese at the Battle of Kohima in 1944. In Inverness a couple of years ago David attended a service in remembrance of the battle. There are not many of his kind left now.
WE KNOW THAT it takes intelligence to master the pipe but I doff my Balmoral to young Harry McLachlan of Aberfeldy who displayed evidence of his precocity recently. The Breadalbane Academy pupil scored the highest mark in Scotland for Higher Physics and attended an award ceremony before Christmas at Our Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh organised by the Institute of Physics. Meanwhile, on the competition platform, Harry continues to display a sound understanding of piping science. At the recent Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band junior solo piping competition, the unassuming lad came second in the Under 18 2/4 March and first in the Strathspey and Reel,
Harry was taught by PT Editor Stuart Letford and now goes to Willie McCallum. He continues to be an exciting prospect.
A crowd-funding campaign has been launched to help build an arts centre in Daliburgh, South Uist. The new centre will promote Gaelic arts and culture through formal and informal provision of music education. The building will be called Cnoc Soilleir which means ' Hill of Bright Light.’ Go to: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/cnoc-soilleir-2/