A Jig is a Jig

September 9, 2016 on 6:01 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Music, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips | No Comments

THERE was a time when I thought that one of the hardest things I’d ever done in my life was to play Peter MacLeod’s tune Donald MacLean, twice through in the jig final at the Northern Meeting.
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Isle of Gigha

August 31, 2016 on 6:54 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Random Thoughts, Stories | No Comments

If you’re looking for a change of scenery and a fine place to recharge, look no farther than …
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Our Aunt Ethel

July 17, 2016 on 2:46 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Stories | Comments Off on Our Aunt Ethel

IT’S estimated there are over seven billion people inhabiting our dear blue place — planet earth. That’s a seven and nine absolute zeros. To me, an unimaginable number of anything, let alone a measure of human souls. And yet, time and again, in the face of big numbers, we encounter a small world.

“It’s a small world — though I wouldn’t want to paint it,” said comedian Steven Wright. And there’s nothing like a looming, inestimable paint job to put something in perspective. Sure, we know the world is massive. I think it’s knowing this that has us easily imagining cosy comfort when some serendipitous happening meets our day. Like finding your neighbour is sister to your high school English teacher’s mum. “It’s surely a small world.” “Awww, we’re all connected,” you might groan. Or not.
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Relatives and Hipster Beards

April 4, 2016 on 6:37 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Stories | Comments Off on Relatives and Hipster Beards

There seems to be a common line said among those that seek to know their genealogy: Know where you come from, so know where you’re going. That may sound great in that placard, protest-y, sound-bite sort of way but it seems to feel a bit trite to me. I “get” learning from your mistakes and successes, including those of rellies long gone; what has happened, history – but not sure my family history, by virtue of lives lived, has informed where I’m going – or where I’ve gone. My family history has laid the groundwork for circumstance, and maybe that is what that oft-said line is all about. Anyways, I write “not sure” in italics just to say, I’m open to convincing.
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Piping Fetishist

November 22, 2015 on 7:18 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Photographs, Solo Piping, Stories | Comments Off on Piping Fetishist

There’s an attention-grabber: bagpipe fetishist. Thinking here more drones than dominatrix. And fetishist in the context of “excessive attachment or regard”.
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Memories of Ed Neigh

November 17, 2015 on 5:05 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Stories | Comments Off on Memories of Ed Neigh

A few words here that I had the honour of passing along at this past Sunday’s Celebration of Ed Neigh’s Life in Kitchener, Ontario.
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Dunrovin Farm, North Hatley, Quebec

September 7, 2015 on 7:08 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Photographs, Stories | Comments Off on Dunrovin Farm, North Hatley, Quebec

This past Saturday I found my way back to the homeland, Quebec’s Eastern Townships, for a flying visit: there and back the same day. By far the shortest visit I’ve made to this place, about 750 kilometres from where I live today. Fleeting? Yes. But sweetly memorable. The occasion, sadly, was a funeral. Though the service, on this day in the small 19th century country church, was for a man who lived a good long life, a life lived well and one with a legacy of seriously fine people – and a lot of stories. Stories galore. Gordon Stuart was a big man who lived large. And so this day, marked a fine send-off and a quiet celebration marking goodness and a good life. Surely this is at the core of why we have funerals.
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Jane Campbell: An Early Look at a Tune [Drum Score]

July 20, 2015 on 8:21 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Photographs, Pipe Bands, Stories | Comments Off on Jane Campbell: An Early Look at a Tune [Drum Score]

You may know I’ve been working a little these days to help make the January 30, 2016, “Live in Ireland 87” concert happen. In doing that I’ve found myself going through my (many) boxes of scores, letters and other assorted ephemera. I can say with hand on heart that, over the years, I really have saved a lot of paper.
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Piping Today Magazine – Grey’s Notes: “Piping: No Excuses”

March 17, 2015 on 3:36 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips, Whinges | Comments Off on Piping Today Magazine – Grey’s Notes: “Piping: No Excuses”

My Dad always said that life moves forward at a pace in tandem with a person’s age. So when you’re 10, life seems to move along at a grindingly slow 10mph. At 10 a kid feels like it’ll take forever for summer holidays to come and even longer for the next happy birthday. By age 20, a healthy savings account is a nice idea for dull, boring people; but for most there’s nothing but countless, unplanned days of never-ending fun. Your forties come along and it’s all, whoa, something’s happening here: life is moving way past school zone speed. Bill made it to an Autobahn-friendly 86mph before he pulled over and stopped in the parking lot of the inevitable. And this is all to say, the obvious, you’ll know that’s my specialty; and that is, a person’s age goes a long way to inform how life is lived and, in turn, how life is understood.
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Cowal Games 1929

March 15, 2015 on 7:07 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips, Video | Comments Off on Cowal Games 1929

Say what you like, but I’ve always liked Cowal Games. Of those I recall, my memories are nothing but the happiest – or – at least – really good. OK. Not always, “really good”, but memorable. Yes. Memorable. Well, mostly memorable, but usually fun. Cowal, as much, if not more, than other contests, has given me some stuff to remember. I’ve socked it all away and stand today with a good few stories to regale the unsuspecting at the drop of a hat. Cowal Games: you rock.
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