Another NZ World Champion


Not sport this time. From the Royal New Zealand Pipe Bands’ Association‘s Facebook page:

A kiwi claims a World Championship title! Congratulations to Scott Marshall, who competed with the Johnstone band and claimed the grade two World title in the wee hours of the morning. From all of us at home here in New Zealand, Scott, we are very proud of your efforts!

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Scotland The Brave


It’s St Andrew’s Day.

Probably best known as the patron saint of Scotland, his patronage also covers of Ukraine, Russia, Sicily, Greece, Romania, Diocese of Parañaque, Philippines, Amalfi, Luqa (Malta) and Prussia; Diocese of Victoria, fishermen, fishmongers, rope-makers, golfers and performers.

You can find 10 more facts about him here

In recognition of my tartan genes and in memory of my father who would have been 99 a couple of weeks ago, here’s Scotland the Brave:

P.S. While searching YouTube for a clip to post I came across this one of the Black Watch march past in Dundee, which was Dad’s home town, and on another clip this comment:

There’s an old scottish saying…

We’ll play the bagpipes until the english love ’em!

P.P.S. It’s also Andrei’s name day.

Scottish govt, Shadbolt advocating for piper


Scottish piper and rugby fan Matthew Strachan who’s trying to get the ban on bagpipes at Rugby World Cup games overturned has got some high level support – his own sports minister and Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt.

Scottish sports Minister Shona Robison has written to Rugby World Cup organisers asking them to overturn the ban on bagpipes at matches.

The move follows a complaint from Scotland fan and piper Matthew Strachan, 32, who has also written to John Key, the prime minister of New Zealand.

Mr Strachan, a GP from Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, said: “After spending considerable money getting to New Zealand to support my country, I was shocked to hear bagpipes were not allowed in the stadiums.

“I’ve played the pipes in most of the UK stadiums and also in France during the last World Cup and they have always been gratefully received. Why then after many sporting years have the World Cup organisers decided against having them in stadiums?”

He added: “At least pipers should be allowed to play up to the start of the game and afterwards. What is a touring piper supposed to do with his pipes when refused entry to a stadium? I would not have bought as many tickets to other games had I known, because as a piper, rugby games to me have always included my pipes.”

Tim Shadbolt is also supporting the piper:

Invercargill is the official host city for the Scotland Rugby Team.

Shadbolt attended both games involving Scotland at Rugby Park Stadium and says pipe bands playing outside the gates added to the atmosphere.

He says he also heard bagpipes playing during the game and people spontaneously started singing Scotland’s national anthem. . .

Rugby World Cup spokesman Mike Jaspers said earlier in the week that there was no specific ban on bagpipes, but a range of musical items, such as drums and vuvuzelas, are not allowed in because they can interfere with others’ enjoyment of the game.

He was not aware of anyone bearing bagpipes being refused entry to any grounds, nor of the Scottish minister’s request.

RWC organisers are no doubt concerned that everyone is able to enjoy the games without disruption and that letting one man and his pipes in to a stadium sets a precedent for other people and their instruments.

Blame the bias from my tartan genes if  you will, but I think there is a special case for the piper. Bagpipes  are at least as significant to the Scots as the haka is to New Zealand.

Providing the piper undertakes to restrict his piping to before and after the game and in appropriate breaks it would enhance the match experience not detract from it.

I[‘m not alone in that view – the  Facebook site supporting the campaign has 1002 members .

In other RWC news: Italy scored a bonus point with a  53-17 win against Russia last night.

This evening Tonga meets Japan in Whangarei.

Piper shouldn’t have to pipe down at RWC games


The pipe band which played before the match between England and Georgia added to the enjoyment of the experience.

There was also someone with an instrument which I couldn’t identify. It sounded a bit like a bugle and was blown to produce a brief volley before the ref blew his whistle for each re-start.

It didn’t interfere with the game in any way and was greeted by loud applause from the crowd.

I don’t know if the musician smuggled her/his instrument into the stadium or if the security people let her/him in with it.

It would be more difficult to smuggle in a set of bagpipes and a Scottish visitor is lamenting the musical instrument ban which means he won’t be able to take his pipes to any games.

Scotland supporter Matt Strachan launched a Facebook page to overturn the ban after being told by New Zealand police that he would be ejected from match venues if he played the pipes he brought with him from Aberdeenshire.

“After spending considerable money getting to New Zealand to support my country I was shocked to hear bagpipes were not allowed in the stadiums,” he told The Scotsman newspaper.

“I’ve played the pipes in most of the UK stadiums and also in France during the last World Cup and they have always been gratefully received.

“Why then after many sporting years have the World Cup organisers decided against having them in stadiums?”

Musical instruments, which in spite of what might think about them does include bag pipes, are among the prohibited items are on the list of items banned from the stadium by RWC  by organisers.

Strachan’s Facebook page had more than 500 supporters early Tuesday, with comments overwhelmingly calling for the ban to be dropped and blaming it on “sassenachs and numpties”.

Strachan said he was advocating “responsible” bagpipe playing and did not want to drown out entire games in a monotonous drone, as the vuvuzelas did at last year’s football World Cup in South Africa.

Sassenachs and numpties indeed.

I love the skirl of the pipes and don’t think the piper should have to pipe down. Providing the pipes were used responsibly, as the instrument was in Dunedin on Sunday, they would enhance the RWC experience.

The Facebook page is here.

Today Italy meets Russia in Nelson. I usually back the underdogs but this evening I’ll be cheering Italy.

The pipes were calling


While eating lunch in Roxburgh yesterday we could hear bagpipes.

When we left the cafe we found they were being played be a man standing outside the town’s pharmacy.

I remember reading about this in the ODT but haven’t been able to find a link. I think the piper is the Roxburgh pharmacist and he plays outside his shop every week day lunchtime.

Piper bagged by noise control officer


Dunedin’s reputation as the Edinburgh of the south is under threat after a busking bagpiper  was silenced by a noise control officer.

There’s something wrong when people can disrupt the peace with noisy vehciles which endanger themselves and others night after night untroubled by the law, yet a lone piper with a busking licence and the permission of the shop outside which he stands is banished with the threat of the consfication of his $2500 pipes.

Robert Burns who sits in the Octagon not far from the street from which Simon McLean was banished might have said: the best played schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley. . .

Jim Mora  has just finished interviewing Simon about the ban – but he didn’t invite him to give us a tune.

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