Mr. Donald Shaw S.S.C. (a very good person)

January 4, 2022 on 12:46 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Tune Score, Stories | No Comments

While Shakespeare’s Juliet Capulet thought names were mostly irrelevant as “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” I’ve come to see that like most things in life, such things – names, for one – are seldom cut and dried. I’d have to think, for example, that it’s a good thing that your doctor understands the importance of noting the correct names in their script writing. To mix up, say, Viagra with Allegra might see stiff consequences: a potential hardship case for a person with a chronically runny nose. No. Names can matter.
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In Praise of Ear Learning

December 1, 2021 on 4:57 pm by Michael Grey | In Solo Piping | No Comments

It dawned on me as I waded through the day’s Duolingo French exercises: learning a language is easiest by immersion; that is, to be constantly around the sounds of the language. To live it, to learn what the sounds mean, what they represent. In childhood, for instance, I’d have to think it’s often the things done wrong that prove to be the speediest way to ingrain words. As goes the old axiom: we most often learn best from the mistakes we make: “Mon Dieu! Idiot! Le poêle est chaud ! Tu t’es brûlé la main !”.
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A Tune from John MacFadyen

November 13, 2021 on 5:13 pm by Michael Grey | In Solo Piping, Stories, Video | Comments Off on A Tune from John MacFadyen

The piobaireachd, Rory McLoude’s Lament has always been a favourite. The old Anglicized spelling of MacLeod is likely connected to its first appearance in the Campbell canntaireachd manuscripts. And, as this is the spelling chosen by the editors of book eleven of The Piobaireachd Society Collection (1966), this is how pipers generally spell the tune. But that’s enough on letters. It’s a fine piece; in fact, Joseph MacDonald, in his Compleat Theory (1762) described it as a “…very soft lament …”. This tune, too, was among the first I learned from the hands of Bill Livingstone. He, in turn, was taught this tune by John MacFadyen (1926-1979).
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Pandemic Travel: Positively Negative

October 24, 2021 on 2:32 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Stories | Comments Off on Pandemic Travel: Positively Negative

The last time I was in Glasgow was early February 2020. I wasn’t sure if a 2021 Atlantic crossing was in the cards but The Fool in the figurative Tarot card deck turned up (the fool: always up for travel, its said) and here I am: over-looking Glasgow’s iconic George Square and ready to head back west.
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Book Release Video! (with notes)

August 26, 2021 on 4:59 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Video | Comments Off on Book Release Video! (with notes)

Thanks to all who managed to tune in Facebook to the kick-off of the publication of my book, “Grey’s Notes on a life around Bagpipes”! Even as a (sadly) virtual part of this year’s Piping Live! festival in Glasgow it turned out to be fun to put together – and – I hope time well-spent for viewers.

The program is still available. Here you go:
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Bill Livingstone & Outlander

July 23, 2021 on 6:25 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Shout Outs! | Comments Off on Bill Livingstone & Outlander

This will be old news for avid readers of Diana Gabaldon‘s massively popular “Outlander” series of novels but it is news to me. This week, Sharon Duthart, in a random exchange related to mutual work, passed along an image her niece in Scotland had sent along – a phone pic of a page from an an Outlander book: The Drums of Autumn.
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Art and Gaelic Life in the Eastern Townships

July 16, 2021 on 7:04 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Stories | Comments Off on Art and Gaelic Life in the Eastern Townships

This week I had the chance to head to the Homeland. To Quebec: the Eastern Townships, or L’Estrie, to Francophones. And, as anyone might, I took it.
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John MacDonald on the Radio at 84

June 29, 2021 on 3:58 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Solo Piping, Stories | Comments Off on John MacDonald on the Radio at 84

Anyone who has visited the excellent G S McLennan website will have seen a smashing photograph of John MacDonald of Inverness. I include it here for easy reference (well, for those click-averse). This version is colourized and “enhanced” – and I’m not entirely sure its better than the original.
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GS & Lawyers: King George Versus Army

April 15, 2021 on 4:48 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Stories | Comments Off on GS & Lawyers: King George Versus Army

A follow on – of sorts – to the David Glen and Peter Henderson court shenanigans of 1900. I happened on the attached clippings following my musings on Dave and Pete’s court tussle(I say “happened” but it was GS McLennan’s grandson who kindly passed along – I think he prefers anonymity but knowing the source is important provenance for these things. And, not just that, shines a light on the inspiring importance the family has always viewed G S McLennan’s legacy).
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Music copyright: Glen v. Henderson

March 31, 2021 on 7:27 am by Michael Grey | In Stories | Comments Off on Music copyright: Glen v. Henderson

I don’t know if musicians end up in courts of law any more than other occupations. I do know that when they find themselves on the wrong side of a judge it’s more likely due to copyright infringement than serial murder. Just a hunch. I also know that if they’re famous musicians their cases get lots of press.
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