Boats! Big, Bigger, Biggest

People at Clydeport Greenock must be thinking we’re moving in.

The band have played on the quayside four times in the last two weeks and as I’ve mentioned before we all love playing here. Well done to the guys who turn out mid afternoon in all weathers when others can’t escape from work. We played for the cruisers from the ships La Boreal and Saga Pearl 2 on the thirteenth and fourteenth and the Queen Mary 2 and MSC Splendida on the twenty first and twenty second.

All the ships are beautiful and playing for them is a huge privilege but playing for the QM2 has an atmosphere all it’s own. The size of the thing is daunting and the profusion of official provostorial limos and flunkies lends a gravity to the occasion. It’s also a late start so we had a huge band for Brian, Neil and Big Stewart to get tuned and it was freezing outside so we tuned up in the warehouse with all the rolls of brown paper in the world.

Last time we played for QM2 the weather was appalling but the wind seems to have dropped, the drizzle stopped and it seems inconceivably warmer. Brian formed us up and gave the command and we marched out of the customs shed, left wheeled and spread out into an enormous band, seven pipers abreast and five ranks deep including the drum corps. Shock and Awe!

Before hand, Brian had said we would march up to the crane and countermarch, Dougie, who was looking the opposite way thought we were heading for the cranes at Greenock Harbour and looked dismayed, but that would have made us Kilbarchan’s Premier Subaqua band so we marched the other way. As followers of this blog will know we have a nemesis on the quayside. Ten foot of inflated highland pride and he dances about us and in between us and makes a right spectacle of himself. However this time he had his wee brother with him and they scared one of our Tenors to tears. I have no idea why she is afraid of clowns as the band is full of them.

We marched right up to the pointy end, did a quick turn around and played for the Provost’s as they departed after their dinner then marched back down, formed a circle and gave it laldy for the passengers. As the boat moved away we formed an impressive Johnstone style concert crescent with double rows of pipers flanking the drummers and played Scotland the Brave and then the fireworks started and it felt like we were right under them. They were breathtaking.

The guys who were out playing the following day reported that the Splendida was indeed splendid, appeared even bigger and they had a great time playing for them. We have one more ship to play for and then it’s the British Championships at Bathgate.

Cannae wait..


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