With band activities moving from the practice phase to the practice like dafties phase and many and varied reasons for not attending practice presenting themselves I thought I’d digress.
The new year had hardly got settled in before I was missing practice, it’s not ideal and it calls for a lot of work on the practice chanter and a lot of exercises in-between times. A guy sitting in the car park next to me asked after ten minutes of the same two bars if I knew the rest of the tune. The first big event of 2020 was the Scottish Pipers Association Centennial concert. There was a good turn out and many weel ken’t faces in the crowd at Otago Street. Tommy Johnson was MC and recounted the history of the Association and regaled us with anecdotes , our very own Wee Emily, one of the Associations youngest members, was one of the soloists. Normally James the Hat and I attend some of the Solo Knock Out competitions to hob nob with the great and the good of piping and to air our ignorance.
I had been asked to attend four Burns Suppers this year and either pipe or recite at them all. The first is the most stressful as I have to organise a lot of it and can’t really relax until it’s over. Mickey Blue Eyes was piping, I was reciting Tam O Shanter and James the Hat was castigating the top table as Holy Willie. The next one is more of a cultural outreach as I pipe in the Haggis at the Orange Tree in Chelmsford, it’s a Burns Supper but not as we know it, I managed to slip the Selkirk Grace into this years proceedings. It’s a cracking night but there isn’t enough singing for my taste although I was asked to speak some celtic and play, “that Scottish tune.” Number three is the Whisky Society supper and it has plenty of singing (Gaelic and Lallans), plenty of speechifying and plenty of recitation. Thanks are due the Medic and my brother for getting me home, I have no idea.
Before number four I was shipped off for a weeks forced labour on the Isle of Man and only just made it back to civilisation before storm Ciara cancelled the ferries, the drive over the Pennines was horrendous (I wasn’t lost) but it made sure I was home in time to attend the St Mary’s church Burns Supper. The proceedings were being filmed for an American who’d never witnessed a structured Burns event. Mickey Blue Eyes reprised his ‘piping in’ of everything and everyone, I gave a recital of Tam that Richard Burton would have been proud of and James the Hat let the top table off lightly. All the suppers I attend are semi formal, people expect certain items to be included (apart from the English who just want a good feed) and they expect a good laugh and to be entertained. With few exceptions the speakers, players and readers are local talent who do it for free or for a wee token of thanks.
So, with all the Burns Suppers and business trips out of the way I’m ready to return to Practice but I’ve just remembered I have a Kilbarchan General Society managers meeting on Tuesday so I’ll see you all on Thursday pipers.