After apologising to James the Hat for traducing his name by association it’s time for a wee report on Piping Live and the influx of pipers and drummers to Glasgow.The Big Band starts the proceedings on Monday morning with some world class milling about but before that a huge Scottish breakfast with extra haggis and buckets of coffee is required. Some of the younger and dafter Big Banders had beer. I know, I was shocked too.
The march down the street was a bit chaotic with two lesser Big Bands competing for space to play, well done the kids who began the salute to the Lord Provost and thanks for the wee tour around the City Chambers, I’m now aware what my parking fines help support. James the Hat isn’t in the Big Picture as he was off looking for the buffet.
This is the only formalish part of the proceedings and normally we’d have settled into the Counting House and toddled over to George Square to hear bands or into the tent for coffee and piping but, and it’s a big but, the European Louping Aboot Championships had commandeered the Square and the loss of that central venue ripped a huge hole in Piping Live. The guys at the Piping Centre worked their socks off trying to pull everything together and it was marvelous for us Pipe Band aficionados who could plan what and when to hear but for the general Glaswegian there was a feeling of knowing there was a party on but being unable to find it.
I sat in a lot of pubs, ate a lot of breakfasts and heard a lot of fantastic bands and solo performances. Drank gin in the West End and sang at a presentation by Colin Campbell the historian. I’ve said it before but taking the week of Piping Live off work is the best decision I’ve made in years.
James the Hat and I joined Pipey (drinking coffee???), Wee Mel and Lulu for a large breakfast before joining other bandmates to sit in the cold and rain, I’d forgone the shorts and tee for heavy trousers, big boots and a cape. The piping and drumming was fantastic but by lunch time we were chilled to the bone and went in search of soup. We found a wee pub and asked, “do you do soup?” “Naw, we do drink.” “Two pints of heavy please.” It’s best not to fight the Universe when it’s shoving you down a path I’ve found.
Another fantastic week of bagpipes and camaraderie but as The Hat and I sat in another pub (me drinking him watching) we were aware that all those not in the Drappt would be beginning a fretful night of worry as the morning brings the Worlds and we’re first on.