Piping Today Magazine – “Grey’s Notes”: A band, a team, is not a thing. It’s people.

October 26, 2014 on 2:05 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Pipe Bands, Tips | No Comments

If you want to make a fast million, forget trying to invent the perfect set of drones or never-fail chanter reed, like, say, a possible brand like the SkweelAway or, maybe, the NaySkirl2000. If you’re looking for fast coin to roll in hard and fast, figure out a way to build the perfect team — and sell it. The business world is reeking with countless people, companies and websites touting answers-for-a-fee to the forever-old question: how to create a great team. Now that’s where the money is.
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Advice to Pipe Majors (from Madonna)

September 2, 2014 on 5:27 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Tips | No Comments

It strikes me that when we look for fresh eyes on a problem and a new way of tackling a challenge, it’s not always such a bad thing to look for insight – if not answers – from places beyond the usual. For pipe bands this is New Years; the competitive season is over (for those of us in the Northern hemisphere) and so a new pipe band day dawns. And for Pipe Majors – the hardest working people in the pipe band world – it’s the time of year where reflection is deep and decision-making and planning can take a lot of energy.

So why not look to Madonna for answers? “Why not”, I say!
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Piping Today Magazine – “Grey’s Notes”: Dear Old Glasgow Town

August 19, 2014 on 5:17 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Humour, Music, Pipe Bands, Stories | Comments Off

You know you’re a seriously regular visitor to Glasgow when someone stops you on the street, asks for directions and you can help — and with mostly reliable info. It’s the last Friday of the Commonwealth Games and thanks to years (and years) of tramping the streets of the city, I did my bit as a sort of on-again off-again local and helped two ladies from London find their way to the bowls. I was tempted to ask them why they were interested in lawn bowling — a snoozefest to me — but then, had they known I was something of a keen piper, they’d been in their rights to ask the same: “Piping! What’s That For?” When it comes to human colour the place is unconditionally iridescent.
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Win a T-shirt [ooooooh]: Vintage Old School Pipe Band Photo

April 30, 2014 on 8:11 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Stories | 5 Comments

Here’s a photo I just stumbled on. This photo was taken in Glasgow – by me – in a flat that I can assure you faced the infamous Rottenrow. Lots of well-kent, yet mostly fresh, young faces.
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A Spring Test for Summer Pipe Band Success

March 23, 2014 on 4:19 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Tips | Comments Off

From my experience there are three things that mark a band in the off-season; three things that are markers of excellence and predictors of a good season ahead. Three simple words usually tell the tale:
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The Australian Ladies

February 17, 2014 on 7:40 pm by Michael Grey | In Delightful Data of the Day, Photographs, Pipe Bands, Stories | Comments Off

Here’s a neat old picture: a postcard from 1926. Here we have “The Australian Ladies”. The inspiration for William Fergusson’s great pipe tune.
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Sheepskin Bagpipe Bags

January 31, 2014 on 8:35 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts | Comments Off

Firm under the arm.
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Bagpipes in a Canoe: Aspiration Number 27 … Check

September 29, 2013 on 6:30 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Photographs, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips | 2 Comments

Back in January I wrote about Sir George Simpson, the Dingwall-born Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. As part of his 18th century trading adventures in the Canadian wilderness he’d travel with an entourage of honking big canoes and always – apparently – with a piper. Sir George’s piper always played in the big canoe – white water rapids notwithstanding - and for years, knowing this small fact, the piping-in-a-canoe thing has intrigued me.
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The Medley: That’s Entertainment

July 15, 2013 on 7:10 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Tips, Whinges | 3 Comments

A funny thing happened at work the other day, among the real world of work-a-day people, I came across a true fan of the GHB – the Great Highland Bagpipe. Had my employer been a bagpipey teaching sort of place you wouldn’t be surprised – nor would I. But I work in a *gulp* bank; not the usual employer of bagpipe-loving types – or so has been my experience.
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Overheard: Judges Losing Cred

June 20, 2013 on 6:45 pm by Michael Grey | In Overheard, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Tips | Comments Off

Here’s something: an abridged version of something I overheard in the Cobourg, Ontario games beer tent last weekend (just after Boghall & Bathgate had played their entertaining victory sets). I assume the man talking played in a competing band that day. My impression was he was more bundt than cake. He said:
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