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Bearskin hats and pristine spats

Bearskin hats and pristine spats

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey Piping Today #62, 2013. I was at lunch with a work friend the other day when the subject came up:  just how old is the general public’s idea of the stereotypical pipe band? You know, Scotland the Brave, Black Bear, Green Hills and yards and […]

What have the Romans ever done for us…?

What have the Romans ever done for us…?

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey Piping Today #61, 2012. The pipes, and maybe along with the accordion, are the poor bullied souls of the music world.  So often the butt of jokes, especially in the world of “classical” music — and, by the way, that’s only from my own experience. […]

The value of a picture

The value of a picture

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey Piping Today #60, 2012. We live in the most documented world there ever was: everyone has a digital camera and everyone uses it. Not just that, almost everyone leaves their easily-seen fingerprints all over the internet for their friends to see, for their families to […]

For love nor money

For love nor money

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey Piping Today #59, 2012. What makes us do what we do? Cross a street with the red man aglow, hold the door open for someone, jump the queue at an airport check-in? We might be in a rush, we might just love people — or […]

The rose-tinted glasses of time

The rose-tinted glasses of time

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey Piping Today #58, 2012. There’s one sure thing about being involved in the piping game: there’s never a shortage of memory-making material. The bagpipe seems to have a way of finding the centre of the most percolating social action. Or maybe it’s the pipes that […]

An extrasensory sense of place

An extrasensory sense of place

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey Piping Today #57, 2012. It seems to me that the more we visit a place and the more we get to know it, the stronger are our feelings for that place. It dovetails, maybe, that the deeper our memories connect with a place then the […]

Playing the parrot blame game

Playing the parrot blame game

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey Piping Today #56, 2012. One way psychologists have been known to test how word meanings are stored in a person’s memory is by word association. In a word association test, a person is given a word and asked to respond with the first word that […]

Salute to the old-school time shifters

Salute to the old-school time shifters

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey Piping Today #55, 2011. I’ve always thought John D. Burgess came as close as anyone to the title of ‘maestro’. Burgess was surely a true artist of consummate skill and not without a hint of charm and eccentric personal colour thrown in for good measure. […]

The Scottish Parish of Piping

The Scottish Parish of Piping

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey Piping Today #53, 2011. It’s that time of year when Scotland is especially magnetic for travellers. Games season, the big pipe band championships and August’s Piping Live! festival all do their bit to attract pipers and drummers from all over. I was 20 when I […]

Give (new) music a chance

Give (new) music a chance

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey Piping Today #54, 2011. When a brand gets to be used as a verb you know the product is a popular, if not powerful, thing: “Facebook me when you’re done practicing your birls” and “Great idea about twice-through pipe band MSR contests, I’m gonna Twitter […]