Fishing the Good Fish

June 1, 2016 on 6:42 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Random Thoughts | No Comments

In my part of the world we’re just a little past the opening of fishing season for the “good fish”; that is, the fourth Saturday in April. That day triggers the good-to-go mark to land brown trout, speckled trout, brook trout and Atlantic salmon. Regrettably, I haven’t fished for anything – bagpipe prizes aside – in years. Fishing, I think, is a great pastime: it focuses a person’s thinking, yet relaxes; water flows, or, at least, is present (and how great is that) and daily stresses usually become less, even fall away.
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A Musician’s Struggle: Rehearsal Space

January 9, 2016 on 7:51 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Whinges | Comments Off on A Musician’s Struggle: Rehearsal Space

When you’re a musician it’s never easy finding practice or rehearsal space. In big cities especially, high density and thin walls make snagging the right reliable place tricky in the extreme. But when you’re a piper – or group, like a pipe band – the challenge is layered with bias, barriers and brutal complication. I’ve found myself “practicing” tunes in some seriously ropey places: the B3, or third sub-level, of an underground parking lot on Bay Street across from Toronto City Hall, pretty much every men’s WC of any indoor contest or event I have ever participated in and the reclined front passenger seat of a Renault 5 (in the pouring rain while parked on Dunollie Terrace, Oban).
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The Balmoralist (Life Imitates Art)

September 28, 2015 on 3:45 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Tips | Comments Off on The Balmoralist (Life Imitates Art)

A couple of years ago I asked John Slavin, MGD (Master Graphic Designer) if he would work up a logo for me, for Dunaber Music. And so, after a little quick consult, he did. What John came back with, with his first sketches, is what I use today. As I have said time and again (usually to an open-mouthed gathering of rolled eyes): you just can’t beat the impressive presence of a piper wearing a Balmoral bonnet.
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Clachantrushal [say that three times fast]

September 13, 2015 on 6:56 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Whinges | Comments Off on Clachantrushal [say that three times fast]

There are a couple of instances where people might talk and, so, where I find myself more riled up than other times: those that get me going more than almost any other: the first, the georgebushian “nucular”, for nuclear (as in war and bombs) and the second related to the pipe tune, “Pipe Major Manson’s Farewell to Clachantrushal” for “Major David Manson AT Clachantrushal”, the later being the accurate and right name for this bagpipe 2/4-timed march – played always and often in bagpipe circles.
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Battle of the Birds

January 12, 2015 on 6:45 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Photographs, Random Thoughts, Stories | Comments Off on Battle of the Birds

The desperate battle of the birds. And, no, not a rare Friday night girl-fight, and no talk of the pibroch generally known by that name; a few words this moment on fighting flying feathered creatures.
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Field of Drones

September 17, 2014 on 8:11 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Random Thoughts | Comments Off on Field of Drones

I was out for a bike ride around where I live this evening and could’ve sworn I heard pipes coming from the corn fields.
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Mary Aitken

June 16, 2014 on 6:21 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Random Thoughts, Video | Comments Off on Mary Aitken

One of my favourite two-parted jigs is that named, “Mary Aitken”. It’s a tricky little finger challenge first published in 1936 in John Wilson’s outstanding first book of music. Written by Malcolm R MacPherson (son of “Mrs MacPherson of Inveran” and Angus), a piper more famous for his playing than his composing, the tune is named for a champion Highland dancer of the day: Mary Aitken of Aberdeen.
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Spring

May 4, 2014 on 6:07 pm by Michael Grey | In Delightful Data of the Day, Photographs, Random Thoughts | Comments Off on Spring

After the longest, coldest, most miserable winter I can ever remember I’m finding myself overcome with child-like awe at the slightest sight or sniff of green. Stop and smell the roses they say? The weakest hint of a sprouting dandelion has me weak at the knees and stopped in my tracks.
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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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What’s in a name?

March 9, 2014 on 6:08 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Random Thoughts, Stories, Whinges | 4 Comments

Me and my Grey kin – at least they with the gray Grey name – have spent our life times correcting people and playing the tut-tutting primary school teacher with government workers, call centre agents and any number of pizza and Chinese food delivery order-takers – and anyone else who tried to spell our name: “that’s Grey, with an ‘e’ we’d say: G-r-e-y”.
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