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’ll say: G-r-e-y”.
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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 | No Comments

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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John Wilson (Edinburgh/Toronto)

November 6, 2013 on 9:45 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Photographs, Solo Piping, Stories | Comments Off

A glance at the “this day in history” section of pipes|drums just now reminded me that John Wilson (Edinburgh/Toronto) died on this day in 1979. He was a great hero of mine. Confident, bold, full of epic stories and opinionated in the extreme (oh, and a superb piper, even in the last years of his life). John Wilson both fascinated and intimidated me. Before I attended private lessons at his Willowdale (Toronto) home I’d be in his small classes at Moss Park Armouries (downtown Toronto), in the 48th Highlanders band room; we’d almost always travel home together riding street car and subway – John Wilson never owned a car. I loved his sureness. I loved his stories.
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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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Tip #1: Be There

March 29, 2013 on 3:59 pm by Michael Grey | In Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips | Comments Off

Not so long ago I was talking to Colin MacLellan. He was telling me (among other things) about one of his fairly recent bagpipe lesson experiences [sorry, CRM, hope this wasn't secret]. Anyway, his story involved bagpipes, teacher, student and iPhone.
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A Canary in a Coal Mine

March 17, 2013 on 5:46 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Stories | 2 Comments

Anyone who knows me knows my parents are real collectors, especially of interesting old things. My dad ["William Grey" the hornpipe] in particular has an eye that is drawn to the old and quirky – like so many of our best piping judges. And usually his “quirky” finds translate to rarities and bargains galore.
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For the Love of the Pipes

March 3, 2013 on 7:13 pm by Michael Grey | In Delightful Data of the Day, Random Thoughts, Stories | 2 Comments

I recently started teaching a young fellow in town [and to give you an idea of how close he lives to me this is what he said at his last lesson: “I see you were having work done on your house this week...” Welcome to small town life.] Anyway, he’s a keen piper (redundant words, I know) and full of enthusiasm to move forward, to get better.
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A Tune in a Canoe

January 27, 2013 on 6:55 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Stories | 5 Comments

I’ve been inspired, I’ve a new aspiration: to play bagpipes in a canoe. And the inspiration?
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Another Year-end List: My Top 12 in ’12

December 30, 2012 on 3:49 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Stories | 2 Comments

I thought I might as well jump on the year-end list bandwagon and dream up my own list. Blogs are made for lists and here’s one: my “top 12 in 12”: a random list of twelve of my very personal standout mostly piping memories of 2012 (“random” meaning I might have a different list if I sat down tomorrow and again thought about the year that was).

In no particular order:
Continue reading Another Year-end List: My Top 12 in ’12…

The Artist’s Bagpipe

November 26, 2012 on 6:49 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Photographs, Random Thoughts, Stories | Comments Off

I don’t know if it’s due to its many appendages (all projecting from its grand inflated centre) or if it’s just plain unobservant carelessness but it seems to me the bagpipe in the context of art is much maligned.
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