Gaelic College Fiddles with the Great Highland Bagpipe

December 14, 2011 on 12:50 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, News, Whinges | Comments Off on Gaelic College Fiddles with the Great Highland Bagpipe

Cape Breton is surely a beautiful part of the world – in the summer, anyway. I’ve spent a good few summer weeks in the past teaching at the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts in St. Ann’s. Happy times, for sure, with a hundred kids or so running up and down the hills with their chanter and pipes and plans aplenty for pranking (mostly) suspecting teaching staff. Though “from away”, as they say in CB, my time at the GC gifted me some truly great memories, lifelong friends and some modest insight into how things “go” in that part of the world.
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Halloween, Geisha Girls and Fat Bastard

October 30, 2011 on 5:25 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Whinges | Comments Off on Halloween, Geisha Girls and Fat Bastard

I like Emily Post’s definition of good manners, “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use.” I wonder sometimes if the whole phenomenon we know as “political correctness” is a hammer-over-the-head attempt to fill a good-manners gap.
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Can I Have Your Postal Code?

October 2, 2011 on 7:43 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Whinges | Comments Off on Can I Have Your Postal Code?

A whinge today. No two-ways about it. That’s what it is. And, a rarity, completely unrelated to bagpipes or pipe bands.
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Get Your Bag On

August 4, 2011 on 7:01 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Whinges | Comments Off on Get Your Bag On

No surprise that I’m about to say I believe it’s a special (different, out-of-the-ordinary, etc) kind of person who’s attracted to playing the Great Highland Bagpipe. Loud, brash, hard to keep quiet and sometimes offensive – and I’m talking the instrument and not (necessarily) the player here – it seems to me shy folk are not generally attracted to playing bagpipes. Yes, exceptions to every rule but I say the bagpipe world is full the eff up with “type A” personalities (drummers included, here, too, but they’re another story).
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Thank You / Gracias / Merci / Tapadh leibh / Grazie

June 12, 2011 on 6:50 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Tips, Whinges | 2 Comments

A rare and wonderful thing happened yesterday. At Georgetown highland games we saw a most deserving public thank-you [understatement].
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A Healthy Band: It’s About Feeling Good

December 16, 2010 on 7:41 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Tips, Whinges | 6 Comments

We’re entering the time of year (in the northern hemisphere, at least) where pipe bands experience a drop in consistently good attendance. For as long as I have played in bands this has been a truth. From January through to March a good whack of the band, a sizable group of people (usually the same), fail to attend, or attend sporadically, due to “busy-ness” – or whatever. Excuses are legion and, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker [she of “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy”], they run the gamut from A to B. The reasons may be unique to those “busy” but to core membership – and every band has a hardcore group of members that keep the ship afloat – they bore.
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What Makes a Good Pipe Band Score Sheet?

September 15, 2010 on 9:25 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands, Tips, Whinges | 5 Comments

Having been around the game a while it sort of stands to reason that I will have seen a whackload of pipe band “score sheets”; you know, those near-impossible to read pages (sometimes due to penmanship) passed to bands following the announcement of results. And yay, reason prevails: I have.

It’s on these pages that bands usually learn what adjudicators thought of their competitive performance – and, by the way, it’s from these pages that pipebandspeople generally judge adjudicators. I’m a sentimental sort, believe it or not, and have, truth be told, quite a few pages dating back to my earliest times with bands laying around the old archives – and some recent artefacts, too.
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Gimme Shelter

August 9, 2010 on 8:08 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands, Whinges | 3 Comments

This is Worlds week and as usual the city of Glasgow is thronging with pipers and drummers and all kinds of related Piping Live! events. It’s looking like a damp week (to put it mildly) is in store for pipers and drummers. Between “heavy rain showers”, “light rain showers” and “light rain” the cape carriers of the pipe band world will be sure to be under-employed. A good thing a lot of the Piping Live! events are either indoors or under cover.
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Google Me a Picture

February 23, 2010 on 7:57 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Stories, Whinges | 5 Comments

I sometimes find Google’s search prompt annoying. It can be a distraction when I’m impatiently on the hunt for some bit of info. It’s way too easy to get drawn in to other lines of thinking, other searches and subject matter. Looking for a new Indian restaurant? Well before you know it you’ve got “indian names”, “indian consulate” and “indian railways”. Too many interesting prompts and challenges for my modest attention span. The prospect of a tasty new palak paneer dish just has to wait while I’m whisked away to some helpful, yet unplanned, visit to completely unconnected websites. Who knew that the Indian railway system carries 18 million passengers a day? Not me – until today.
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A Good Use of Time (Maybe)

September 27, 2009 on 5:06 pm by Michael Grey | In Stories, Tips, Whinges | 4 Comments

I was watching the local news last week and a segment popped up that talked about the release of new internet stats. I can’t find the link to the piece otherwise I’d happily provide it here. Anyway, the story centred on the internet: now preferred over TV for entertainment and info-gathering.
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