Carpe Diem

December 18, 2019 on 6:40 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag | Comments Off on Carpe Diem

It says something about me – or, at least, my age – that when the clocks struck midnight on December 31,1999, I thought the wild empyrean future had arrived: the year 2000. The year marked the beginning of the third millennium, one predicted to start with, among other things, a massive failure of the world’s computer systems. Then, to even say 2000 in the context of a calendar date fairly tripped up the tongue. To George Orwell, his 1949 novel, 1984, was his imagined distant future. By 2000, the year 1984 was old news. And here we are: at the front steps of the remarkable year, 2020.
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Backstory and Reflections: Live in Ireland 87 Project

March 3, 2017 on 5:14 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Photographs, Pipe Bands, Stories | Comments Off on Backstory and Reflections: Live in Ireland 87 Project

Writing a blog has to be the ultimate in vanity exercises, or “vanity projects”, as is usually said when referring to almost anything a person undertakes that requires a healthy ego. We flatter ourselves imagining – or blindly assuming – that people are gagging to get a dose of our words and unsolicited opinion. I invite you (surely countless readers) to consider otherwise. But I do believe this to be true. A blogger rides the pud-puller that is the web log – the blog (come to think of it, Facebook musings are much the same).

It seems to me, too, that the blog can be that and something more. It can be this and that: in my words here, I try to also use this self-made forum as a record of stuff that happens to and around me. I guess you’d call that a diary. Yeah, that’s it; a diary. I’m not as a faithful a diarist as I’d like but when I look back on the last ten years of my dunaber blog I’m reminded of people, events and opinions changed and retained. So, in looking back, I’m happy I kept a little record of one part of my life.

With this in mind I want to provide a little context and reflect briefly on the “Live in Ireland 87” project, so in future years I’ll recollect and today you’ll know a little of the background of the thing.
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Halfway through 2016 and Reflecting

June 16, 2016 on 4:29 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, News, Photographs, Pipe Bands | Comments Off on Halfway through 2016 and Reflecting

I think it’s the early sunrise and especially bright eye-squinting mornings, just a little south of the 49th parallel, that reminded me today that we’re almost at the halfway point of 2016. Whoosh! That’s how time goes – and that’s how time flies. And so, as not to forget, and maybe omit something from what will surely turn out to be a mighty and interesting late-December 2016 summary, I thought I’d jot down a few personal highlights of the year that’s been so far. Not for you, of course, but for me! Me. Me. Me.

When thinking, in processing thoughts, just what makes a person think – of anything? What ignites a thought? A chance meeting with a new acquaintance or old friend? An email, a text, a dog’s bark, the weather, an online video, the news – the cat licking it’s arse – what random action or environmental thing triggers (and apologies in advance for using that word) a thought or thinking? And, again, in this case, thinking as reflection.
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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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Piping Today Magazine – “Grey’s Notes”: A band, a team, is not a thing. It’s people.

October 26, 2014 on 2:05 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Pipe Bands, Tips | Comments Off on Piping Today Magazine – “Grey’s Notes”: A band, a team, is not a thing. It’s people.

If you want to make a fast million, forget trying to invent the perfect set of drones or never-fail chanter reed, like, say, a possible brand like the SkweelAway or, maybe, the NaySkirl2000. If you’re looking for fast coin to roll in hard and fast, figure out a way to build the perfect team — and sell it. The business world is reeking with countless people, companies and websites touting answers-for-a-fee to the forever-old question: how to create a great team. Now that’s where the money is.
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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:
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One Sunday Morning

December 2, 2011 on 8:18 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Random Thoughts, Stories | 2 Comments

Here’s a photo from the archives; one of my favourites. I especially like the soft light in this pic. Here we see mid-August morning sun stream through the great stretch of high windows squintifying the weary, mostly hungover band of friends. [apologies to Sister Wendy: I may’ve ripped off her commentary/patter there].
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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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Ceci n’est pas une Bagpipe

December 29, 2010 on 7:44 pm by Michael Grey | In Random Thoughts, Tips | 2 Comments

The world is full of surreal moments. We sometimes catch them, see them, live them and take them in and we’re almost always better for it. And sometimes we’re oblivious to the thought-provoking charms of the surreal around us. The surreal moment: that dream-like, unexpectedly fantastical and completely out of context with what we expect from our usual here-and-now.
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