Thursday 12 April 2012

Working in Montréal today --A good day to be Scottish

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Montréal today.

Hey, what sounds like two scruffy tom cats fighting over a twitchy calico in heat at 3 AM in your backyard?  That's right kids.. Bagpipes!

Now just before my Scottish brethren get their dander up and start pitching dwarves or capons at me I will explain that I do enjoy a good tune squeezed out of the old windbag, my favs include Scotland the Brave and Amazing Grace.

But when the playing is bad, oh Lordy, it's bad.

So it was probably the sounds of this feline fugue that inspired Vancouver's regulations preventing buskers from playing the pipes on that city's streets.  But wait.. is that city's mayor not the kilt wearing Scotsman Gregor Robertson ? (sounds best when you roll the r sounds a bit)

Good news prevailed yesterday though when the good mayor announced that the city has reversed its position and not on Gregor's watch will the pipes or drums be banned from the city streets.

Piper Joe McDonald said that he could see both sides of the issue, and called on the city's buskers to not hang about all day in the same place playing their pipes.  "If someone's in a shop and they've got to listen to six hours of bagpipes, that's like drinking too much Scotch".. "Scotch is great, but you don't drink the bottle all in one sitting."

Oh, and just so someone doesn't fire back at me with some claim that the pipes were banned in Scotland as weapons of war in the 1700's.  nay I say.

Many misinterpret Piper James Reid's death sentence after his capture after the Battle of Cullenden as indication that the English court viewed the pipes as weapons of war.  No, Reid was tried for high treason for marching into battle with the Jacobites, that he didn't carry a weapon was of no consequence.   Further, The Proscription Act of 1747 does not list the pipes.

Why do I even mention it?
Piper Dave Brooks was tried in London for disturbing the peace with his pipe playing recently..  Not sure exactly when but Dave tried to claim his pipes weren't a musical instrument, but a weapon and cited James Reid's case.  The judge said they were "an instrument of war in war and a musical instrument in peace". It caused laughter in the court when he added however if he wanted to continue to claim them as a weapon he would charge him with bearing arms and put him in the cells.   Dave was fined 45 pounds, about $100 and sent on his way.

Have a good day, even if you're not a Scot.