Winters Traditions

30th of November marks the switch from autumn to winter and start of the Season of Lights. We as a band have traditionally stood or marched at these sparkly events dressed in festive black and scowling. This year is different. Pipey, still hallucinating from the Benylin™, has insisted we wear Christmas jumpers and smile.

The first outing of the new policy was the Kilbarchan Village lights event, this was also a change to tradition as it moved from the Monday to the Friday and had reindeers. This was mockingly known as the Turning on of the Light for many years but has truly shrugged off that image with new investment in bling and spectacle. George Bowie off the radio was there using a PA that made it sound as if he was still on the radio, a 1930’s crystal set to be precise. At one point, after we had unleashed our garish jumpers on the public and played a couple of sets, all the weans zoomed off to see the reindeer’ and left very few ‘grown ups’ to carry on the milling about. We seem to have become a really young band sometime last summer; young adults seem to be popping up and asserting themselves at an alarming rate. And don’t get me started on the number of young drummers. It’s good to see in a world where higher grade bands hoover up all the talent that Wee Jim is bring through a cracking team of young players. The future is rosy.

Meanwhile back at the Lights we unveiled a new set of Christmas carols to a crowd that was rapidly thinning as they streamed away to meet Santa. I thought that with it being a Friday night we’d be off to the pub for some hot soup and nibbles before maybe a wee Babysham or two but Fraser Landlord had let us down and there was nothing for it but to go home and remove the padding from my Christmas jumper.

Erskine Hospital

Our next outing is an old favourite for the fans of frostbite, Erskine Hospital Tree of Honour sees us leading a short parade of school weans and sojers to the main building where we are joined by meenisters, auld sojers and wee Corporal Cruachan IV looking splendid. The weather was horrible but the march mercifully short, some of us hadn’t got our drones struck in before we were fell out. The weather caught a few players out, Crystaltips was dressed for -10ºC, wrapped in more layers than a parcel being passed, but a balmy 8ºC with high velocity smirr wrong footed her and saw thermal vests being shed just prior to us playing.

We blooded our newest bass player, Big Deek managed admirably on his first march with no training wheels or wing mirrors. After a short service and some beautiful singing we played indoors and the combination of a glass house temperature and big wooly jumpers nearly melted a few pipers. As for the low key panic at the start of the night when the set up room seemed too quiet and I phone Pipey in case they were in another room but they were just late; forgotten about after the first mince pie.

Next up, probably me playing Auld Land Syne at the hogmanay Waifs and Strays party. Cannae wait..

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