2019 began with bagpipes, dancing and camaraderie and looks set to depart in a similar manner. There have been huge changes to the social fabric of the band with new characters arriving and some well loved friends departing. I’m told this is the way in the world of Pipe Bands, it’s transitory and people move between bands looking for something fresh.
It still hurts
A wee look back at this blog over the past 12 months has seen the usual list of events with the usual suspects and I’m beginning to wonder if I need to shake up the format to encourage new visitors. And then I look at what happened to Ian Rankin when he retired Rebus; so thanks to all 2,344 of you who visited over the last year, I hope you’ll stick around to see where this bagpipe journey of mine ends. If you don’t mind I might throw in some non pipe band events to spice it up.
Yearly Stats for Nerds.
3,344 visitors viewed the site 3,811 times, that’s 1.63 views per visitor. The drive for world domination continues but we are no longer big in Japan and only medium sized in Hong Kong. The bulk of readers are UK based with USA and Canada making up the rest of the top three, then it gets interesting as we span the continent of Europe and reach all the way over to Dolomite Dave in Australia. The thought of posting the entire blog into Google translate to produce a German or Portuguese version briefly surfaced but I tend to slip into colloquialisms and slang and fear it would end up reading like an ‘Allo ‘Allo script so, “Sorry South America, you’ll just have to wait for the paperback version.”
Stuff that happened
The early part of the year saw us working on new tunes and Pipey trying out new stratagems and rouses. Sanquhar gave us an insight into his mind when he dropped a tune we had murdered rather than give himself an ulcer trying to remedy it. On the playing front we’ve always had two long running issues; hamfistedness and inexperience and both have the same remedy; practice, practice, practice. Many of our players now have private tutors and the standard of playing across the piece has greatly improved. We ran a Summer School with huge success bringing in yet more talented youth and the addition of Jim Collins to the teaching staff was an unforeseen boon. The biggest change to the band has been the number of weans capable of holding their own as players and the size of the drum corps. There will be Grade 1 bands next season gasping, “Check the size o’ Kilbarchan’s back line.”
Socially lots happened; Mikey Blue Eyes and Mags were engaged to be married, I always suspected he had ulterior motives when he joined us. The Duke bought a house and so did Lulu, not the same house and throughout all the upheavals and vicissitudes James the Hat and I sipped a wee whisky and kept an eye on things. The Hat was injured on Islay earlier in the year at a non-bagpipe related event but has turned up to every parade, party and rock gig limping along to the beat.
As we move into 2020 we wish bon voyage to all who have left and welcome all those who have joined the party. 2020 will see us at the UK championships in Belfast for the first time and at all the other Majors trying to improve on the 2 top 6 placings of this year. I plan to be there; playing or photographing who can say. Happy New Year