The Walking Dead of Qualifier Friday

February 23, 2019 on 9:49 am by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts | No Comments

With less than a score of grade one bands projected to attend the 2019 World Pipe Band Championships (and quite possibly an entry closer to ten than twenty) any case to be made for a Friday qualifier, or play-off, may likely come across as pretty weak. That the grade 4B contest in 2018 featured 18 bands in each run-off suggests that organizers have a perspective on optimum numbers for any contest (grade 4 is the less-experienced end of the grading spectrum, with grade one, the highest).

For those who aren’t dialled-in to the world pipe band thing – especially as it applies to the idiom’s premier grade – here’s context:
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Ronnie Rollo: Folk Artist

February 13, 2019 on 8:05 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Random Thoughts, Stories | Comments Off on Ronnie Rollo: Folk Artist

In a recent mid-winter clear-out of my house I found myself with a little extra wall-space. I also found a few things I’d forgotten. Anyone who knows me knows that walls were made for one thing: to hang stuff. When I was younger I used to move a lot. And here’s a Top Tip for the itinerant: I found that the fastest way to make a place feel like home is to nail to the wall a favourite photo, picture or poster (even before all boxes are unpacked). I say “nail”, I mean hang, as in hung. A well-hung picture makes any strange new place instantly more familiar.
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What is Traditional Music? [hint: It’s big. It’s bouncy. And it’s spectacular.]

March 13, 2018 on 5:31 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Music, Random Thoughts | Comments Off on What is Traditional Music? [hint: It’s big. It’s bouncy. And it’s spectacular.]

I think it was this past January when it came to me. It was one of those crisp, cloudless and cold sunny days, a kind of winter’s day so familiar to those of us who live in my part of the world. The sky was screaming an indescribable deep blue. And why? Why blue? A short simple question – surely the archetypal young child’s question, one asked just as a glimmer of awareness of the world beyond the back garden begins to show itself. Blue sky? Something to do with refracting light, I thought. Why blue? And this blue? Um, the temperature. Yes, it is the cold temperature and the universal prism…
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Ten Years Later & Heavy Pigeons

October 13, 2017 on 4:54 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Random Thoughts, Stories | Comments Off on Ten Years Later & Heavy Pigeons

I’ve just discovered today that this is the ten year mark for this website. Rather than congratulate myself (done) I’ve scrambled for a quick and dirty way to mark the occasion – such as it is. What to post? What to post?
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Isle of Gigha

August 31, 2016 on 6:54 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Random Thoughts, Stories | Comments Off on Isle of Gigha

If you’re looking for a change of scenery and a fine place to recharge, look no farther than …
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Fishing the Good Fish

June 1, 2016 on 6:42 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Random Thoughts | Comments Off on Fishing the Good Fish

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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