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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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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Intransigence 911

August 20, 2012 on 6:01 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Tips | 5 Comments

The pipe band world is many things: unmercifully competitive, aggressive, cutthroat even – and, yes, occasionally collegial. But loving and nurturing? Not so much. The last little while I’ve stumbled on things said in public places (read: the Internet) and am genuinely incredulous at the anger, rage even, that pipe band music can elicit from people who purport to love the music. And to be clear: it’s not just the band I play in I’m talking about – it’s almost every band going, especially in the premier grade. It’s clearly powerful stuff we bring to the world through the wiggling of fingers and battering of sticks.
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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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When the Heat’s On

July 17, 2011 on 6:39 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts | Comments Off on When the Heat’s On

For anyone who has to regularly play their bagpipes in a place that’s hot, well, you may already know this secret.
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(Tunes for) Summertime

July 1, 2011 on 1:53 pm by Michael Grey | In Audio File, Music, Solo Piping | 2 Comments

Here’s a few tunes to help while away your day – a holiday if you live in Canada.

Here’s me playing my solo spot at the May 21, Toronto Police Pipe Band show at the el Mocambo club in Toronto.
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Japanese Cinema and Pipe Bands

February 17, 2011 on 6:46 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Music, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Video | 3 Comments

Now there’s a subject line you probably never imagined.

I always thought those old cheesy Japanese movies from the 1950s might benefit from a little kick, a little something to give them a boost. I’m not talking Seven Samurai or Rashomon here, I’m talking about movies like those from the Godzillaand Mothra franchises (did they call ever call old movie serials “franchises”?).

Anyway, I thought how great it would be for one to snag a pipe band soundtrack, music to go along with the badly dubbed English.
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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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A New Kind of Pipe Band

September 23, 2010 on 5:17 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands | Comments Off on A New Kind of Pipe Band

The last couple of weeks have seen a surprising spike in the disappearance of drum corps leadership around the world. I know it’s a temporary moment of change for all affected bands and a coincidence that so many top bands have experienced big drum corps change but…I wonder.
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Band Travel

August 29, 2010 on 7:37 am by Michael Grey | In News, Pipe Bands | 5 Comments

A quick note as I sit in a sunny Glasgow cafe digesting the entertaining editorial that was the band’s score sheets from yesterday’s contest in Dunoon (what a great day, by the way – congrats to Boghall! I’ll share more when I have easier access to technology).
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