Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Okay Lads - Put Down the Pipes

A lot of people are annoyed by the bagpipes. Everyone likes to poke fun at this fine Scottish instrument. Plenty of jokes about dead cats and the like. Or something like that. I've pretty much ignored these people over the years (one of which is the Missus) and figured them to be intolerant musical snobs who don't know how to appreciate the multicultural mosaic of instrumentation that lives on our fine planet. Until now...

Last Friday night, my son's baseball team which I proudly help coach, was playing a game in beautiful Duncan. The game took place in the shadow of the world's biggest hockey stick right by the highway, if you're familiar at all with Duncan (I know my readers from faraway might not be, but suffice it to say that it's a landmark). Behind our dugout and the backstop was a parking lot for the hockey arena to which said humongous hockey stick is attached. Early in the game, in this parking lot within a baseball throw (actually less than that even) of our game, a group of bagpipers began to practice.

Now we're not talking one set of pipes here, it was a whole marching band of them. I'd say at least ten guys. They were pumping out the volume and marching back and forth behind our game. It was quite surreal to look out onto the field and see the action being accompanied by one of the three songs written for the bagpipes. It was headache producing. I guess my tolerance for the bagpipes was just a little stronger than the masses, but I now know what the fuss is all about.


  1. Bagpipes and Scottish style songs great, like Amazing Grace, Flower of Scotland, Mull McIntyre. They are even great in that AC/DC song, can't remember it's name? But the rest of the time, horrible! It's not dead cats they sound like, but live cats being squeezed!For real Scottish music listen to bands like Shoogilnifty, now that's good music! Now this is coming from a member of the " Leslie Clan" yes we have our own tartan, etc. Unfortunately it's nothing to be proud of, my Scottish ancestors were a pack of robbers and thieves!Thank goodness I'm only a quarter Scottish, otherwise I might be playing the bagpipes at your work place Jack! Och the noow, xelA.

  2. Bagpipes, noise for the unmusical.

    When I was 16 I drove my Mom to a terminal client who was receiving nursing services at home in Lands End by Sidney. I was invited in by the woman's teenage grandsons, visiting from California, who forced me into blowing into that god-awful instrument. On my way home I ran into a rabbit which crossed my way while driving through Mt. Doug Park.

    2 months ago, I went to Starbucks at the mall on an early Saturday morning. I could hear the pipes blowing and wondered how anyone in their right mind could think it was appropriate muzak. The noise kept getting louder + louder. It turns out it was live pipes opening a function in the food court before the stores opened. Coming out of the parking lot distraught, I hit a parked car. Coincidence? Before anyone makes cracks about my driving skills, I must add that I have a great driving record with the greatest insurance discount given. The bagpipes have evil powers.

    Anyone who knows me will know how my stomach turns at the slightest sound of this evil creation. What annoys me just as much as the sound is the sense of entitlement prevalent in pipers. Why is it ok for a piper to blare his noise in a public place. It's noise pollution and disrespectful to others. In the days of ghetto blasters, many teenage kids would have been ticketed for lesser offences.

    And another thing, why is it that they always play the same song? Doesn't it say something about the instrument and people who continue to play it that there are no songs written for it, and if so, that no one plays them?

    For funny bagpipes jokes check out on FB the group "I fucking hate bagpipes" for classics such as:
    Q. What do pipers and Mike Tyson have in common?
    A. Both are mighty tough on the ears.

    -the missus

  3. There is a nice ol' bagpiper in the inner harbour I run by... no more said.