A photograph from 1983: a party at George Steele’s house [Strathclyde Police Pipe Band]Â in Glasgow.Â
BarryÂ Ewen played in the band I played in at the time and knew George.Â With a party in theÂ offing a taxi load of us headed over with tins of beer and bagpipes.Â
I clearly recall the thrill of finding the great Duncan JohnstoneÂ there, too.Â As you know, Duncan J was one of the greats of his time and leaves a fantastic legacy of brilliant tunes and a lot of great players thanks to his dedicated teaching (Roddy MacLeod immediately comes to mind).Â
I can remember taking my pipes apart in a furtive – and futile – attemptÂ to reverse the dronesÂ (bass on the outside) so Duncan might play.Â Duncan was a “left-handed piper”; that is, he played his pipesÂ under the right arm.Â Not common, but not uncommon for pipers of his timeÂ with roots inÂ the Outer Hebrides.Â Duncan Johnstone’s family came fromÂ Barra.
Anyway, as you can see we were well in ceilidh mode and I ended up blowing the pipes while Duncan played with the chanter twisted in reverse.Â I recall him playing one of his great tunes, “Farewell to Nigg” and singing along at the same time.Â A really great memory.Â Â Â Â Â
It seems funny to me now that I would haul my pipes to a party – and to a party where I’d never met the host.Â No shortage of piss and vinegar in those days, I guess.
M. Â Â
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