------Est. 1980 Glasgow city centre's oldest bagpipe shop------
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Dear Piping Enthusiast,
Season's Greetings to you from Glasgow. At this time of year, you'd expect that our shop would be quiet but actually it's quite the reverse - lots of products flying out to New Zealand, Oz and all corners of the globe. It's putting pressure on at my end but I am happy with that. We have a stock of Degers in for Christmas (see special offer below) and other items such as the Worlds cds, dvds, books etc so check out the website for any requirements.
Glasgow was in the news recently for the wrong reasons with that terribly sad helicopter crash - virtually every Weggie knows the Clutha Bar and surrounding pubs. My brother Bill played his fiddle in the Clutha Bar in the early 70s and in fact met his future wife at the Scotia Bar just opposite. I played with the Clutha folk band quite a bit - they are one of Scotland's oldest folk bands and pioneers in the mixing of pipes with other instruments, which today is quite commonplace. You may not know that Clutha simply means the Clyde or river Clyde. This essentially was Glasgow's main artery for the merchant ships from the 1700s onwards when Glasgow prospered from the tobacco trade with the Americas and subsequently became the second city of the Empire after London. We perhaps now feel that part of our river has ebbed away and our thoughts are with the victims and their families.
James C. Begg
I recently played at the Armistice Day Parade with the 1st Lenzie Boys Brigade Band and was glad to help out again. Ken Roberts has a great input to the Boys Brigade in general and admirably doubles as both Captain and Pipe Major. Many of us have benefited during our formative years with the BB and this is all due to the volunteers like Ken - their efforts are much appreciated.
After my comments on the Worlds in our last newsletter, it appears a rather ad hoc solution to the Worlds has been arrived at. We now have something that is neither one thing nor another, with a Friday/Saturday scenario. Perhaps the Friday may work ok but then to change it again the following year does not help continuity. It will lead to confusion, uncertainty, and ultimately a poorer world championship - perhaps it's a case of too many cooks and too many vested interests.
It is interesting to see that the RSPBA's Pipe Band Magazine is changing to an exclusively digital, online format. The following is a statement from the RSPBA
"The Board of Directors of the Association have agreed that from January 1, 2014, the RSPBA's Pipe Band Magazine should become a free publication available digitally around the world courtesy of the Association. It will be available for download on or around the following publication dates: January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 both from the RSPBA website and for tablet computers via the free CoP Bookstore App available from the iTunes and Google Play stores." This move will definitely improve their global footprint and I wish them well.
Shop timing over Festive Period - closed from 1p.m. 24/12 until 10 a.m. 6/1, with exception of 30/12 - open 12 noon - 4 p.m.
If you have any urgent requirements or repairs over this period when we are closed, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to resolve the issue.
Stuart is one of the world’s most exciting pipers and is noted for his excellent solo performances and recordings. In addition to his glittering solo career, Stuart played with Scottish Power and subsequently SFU, winning the Grade 1 World Championships on three occasions. He is also a founder member of the Inveraray and District Pipe Band and as Pipe Major, has directed and propelled a very young and inexperienced group of musicians to the upper levels of Grade 1 in a dramatically short period of time.
Q. At what age did you start playing and who were/are your tutors?
A. I started at the age of 9 with my grandfather P/M Ronald McCallum M.B.E. I then went on to study at 13 with Arthur Gillies of Taynuilt when my grandfather passed away. Subsequent instructors have been Jim Henderson and Hugh MacCallum - I still see Hugh occasionally for his guidance.
Q. What is the best piping advice you’ve had and who gave it to you?
A. I have had lots of advice over the years, but there is no one particular piece that stands out from the rest.
Q. What would you say has been your biggest piping difficulty?
A. The e doubling from f - it's easily missed if you are not careful with it.
Q. Which is the best piping book?
A. Scots Guards vol 1, but also the main books of the Piobaireachd Society collection plus the Ross books.
Q. Who is your favourite player and why - past or present?
A. Two of my favourite players are Gordon Walker and the late Gordon Duncan, but P/M Alasdair Gillies was my icon. The best performance I heard from him was the MSR twice through at Inverness in 1987. Jack Lee won but Alasdair's 3rd place didn't reflect what was a truly outstanding performance - so well presented with a great marching style and composure.
Q. Is there something in piping you wish you could have done but haven’t as yet?
A. Winning the World Championship as a Pipe Major - but that is a very hard nut to crack!
Q. What is your pet hate within piping?
A The night is just getting going and then the guests complain about the noise! People come to Scotland for culture and the scenery but why in that case do establishments not encourage more music and piping? There is only one bar in Colonsay where we are welcome but on a Saturday night, the pipes have to be put away by 9 p.m. There are of course other places which totally contrast with this scenario and the Tulloch Castle in Dingwall is one such event - they could not do more.
(I had a similar episode with Allan MacDonald a couple years ago - Molly Malones, an Irish traditional pub in the centre of Glasgow, would not allow Allan to play a single tune - disgraceful! James)
Q. What has been your happiest piping moment?
Q. What is your most prized piping possession?
A. My 1915 Macrae pipes are my most prized possession.
Q. What do you do outwith piping that might surprise us?
A. I have many other interests including piano tuning, walking, cooking, clay pigeon shooting and playing the accordion and drums.
It's been great to get input from Stuart. I remember meeting him as a boy when he came with his Mum into my shop in Renfield St. At that point, he was looking for advice and I suppose in some small way I've helped in Stuart's piping development. I seem to remember Barry Donaldson, ex-Strathclyde Police was in the shop at the same time and he willingly imparted his knowledge and advice to Stuart as well.
Stuart - thank you so much!
Special Offer - free case with every Deger. The case is really an essential piece of kit to go with the Deger and this offer gives a saving of over £32
The leading electronic pipe - reliable, versatile and comes with headphones. Can be put through stereo computer or midi - various octaves and sounds.
If you would like to report on any aspect of the Piping World from wherever you live, or if you would like to comment on any articles or issues, we'd be pleased to hear from you. mailto:email@example.com