A piper who is a member of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers has said he is groped, humiliated, sexually assaulted and photographed indecently by women on a regular basis while wearing his kilt.
Willie Armstrong is one of the founding members of the world famous piping rock group which was founded in 2007 and which normally performs around 200 live shows each year. Willie expressed his comments during an interview with BBC Scotland yesterday, the day the United Nations had deemed International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The interview was part of a discussion on ‘upskirting’ – the practice of capturing photographs or videos under a person’s clothing in order to see genitals or underwear. The practice was banned in Scotland in 2009 but was only banned in England and Wales last year.
Wille said he was weary of the ‘true Scotsman’ cliché and feels men are not taken seriously if they complain of inappropriate behaviour. “It’s the constant ‘are you a true Scotsman?’ – basically asking you if you’re wearing underwear or not. If you reversed that behaviour and I was to say to a woman, ‘can I ask what you’re wearing underneath your dress’ it would be a whole different ball game.
“Quite a lot of the time we just accept it,” he said. “It’s not just me, it would happen to every member of the band and it’s not just guys in the Chilli Pipers. I think you need to look at it from their perspective – if you’re going to say something to someone or touch somebody you need to have their permission first.
“There’s a boundary there you cannot cross. And too many times it’s been crossed.”
Stuart Samson MBE, the former Pipe Major of The Gordon Highlanders and then, after amalgamation, with The Highlanders, has launched a new website – S. D. Samson Music – to showcase his music. He said: “The site gives the buyer the ability to purchase my music books directly and receive them instantly. Very importantly, there are recordings available within the website for all the tunes as written.
“It has been a number of years since I published the printed version of my first collection of compositions, Land of Bens and Glens and Heroes and there are now very few copies left. Instead of doing a reprint, I have decided to produce a second edition in digital form for download, which is now available on my website. This has also provided me with the opportunity to refresh the layout of the music within this book and also to enhance some of the musical content.
“In addition, I have produced a collection of Christmas Carol arrangements entitled Piping Noel which I hope will be of interest to those who want to get into the Christmas spirit.”
As well as his new website, Stuart will shortly release a new collection of compositions. Entitled The Parkgrove Collection, it will be available in early 2021.
Stuart is a former Director of Army Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming and in 2008 he was awarded an MBE for services to army piping as well as to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. After leaving the armed forces, he worked at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, teaching the degree students on the Royal Conservatoire BMus (Traditional Music – Piping) degree course. He is senior judge for the Solo Piping Judges Association. He is a former member of the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band and a member of the Atholl Highlanders.
Stuart won the Silver Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering in 1988. A native of Aberdeenshire, he recently moved to Blairgowrie in Perthshire.
Meanwhile, still on the subject of new music, we understand Fred Morrison has just published his second collection. We have no details as yet other than the price – £18.00 – however, isn’t it encouraging to hear so much new music being produced during these testing times?
The second ‘in person’ pipe band event in less than a month has taken place. Earlier this month, the St. Andrew’s College Pipe Band of Christchurch, New Zealand played a concert in front of around 500 enthusiasts. Now, a pipe band competition has taken place in Australia. Overall, both countries have handled the COVID-19 pandemic better than others.
Eleven bands (comprising over 300 band members) took part in the competition at Pittwater Rugby Club in Warriewood (a suburb of Sydney) in New South Wales, Australia on Sunday. A spokesman for the local pipe band association said the way is now clear to facilitate a full-blooded return to outdoor activities in the new year.
Grade 2 – 1. Pipe Band Club.
Grade 4A – 1. Scots College, NSW No. 1; 2. Knox Grammar School.
MSR – 1. Scots College No. 1; 2. Knox Grammar School.
Medley – 1. Knox Grammar School No.2; 2. Governor MacQuarrie Memorial No.2.
MSR – 1. Castle Hill RSL; 2. Knox Grammar School No.2; 3. Governor MacQuarrie Memorial No.2; 4. Governor MacQuarrie Memorial No. 2B.
Novice Juvenile A
Medley – 1. Scots College No.1; 2. Knox Grammar School No.1.
Selection of Marches – 1. Scots College No.1; 2. Knox Grammar School No.1.
Novice Juvenile B
Medley – 1. Knox Grammar School No.2.
Selection of Marches – 1. Knox Grammar School No.2; 2. Knox Grammar School No.3.
Gary Barker, Adam Wishart (piping) and Greg Weber (drumming) judged all grades.
Despite these glimmers of hope, the Waipu Highland Games remains cancelled for 2021. It usually takes place on New Year’s Day on the north coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
The Piobaireachd Society plans to hold an online recital this Sunday (29th) evening. Angus MacColl, Iain Speirs, Sandy Cameron and Cameron MacDougall will play live from the host venue, the National Piping Centre in Glasgow. Tickets to the stream cost £5.00 and are available from the Society website.
The current Scottish Government guidelines are being followed.