And Harry’s first annual Raspberry Awards go to . . .

Published: December 31, 2012
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It seems as though every Tom and Dick have some kind of year-end awards, so why not Harry? By no means meant to be a complete, comprehensive, or in any way serious attempt to write the history of the past year, Harry still would like to make his wee contribution to marking the passage of time and gas in the appropriate way.

And the 2012 Raspberries go to . . .

The Bands, They Are a Changin’ Award

Nothing says “change” like a good band dustup, and 2012 saw a few. Winner for 2012 was the House of Edgar Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band, whose over-100-year history teetered on the brink for a month or two following the resignation of P-M Gavin Walker and other players after the suspension of L-D Jim Kilpatrick. Following close behind in the dust-up category would be the abrupt end of Graham Brown’s tenure as L-D of Peel Regional Police. Also in consideration were Oran Mor for their less-than-slick process for selecting a new L-D, and while there wasn’t much of a dust-up, the sad demise of the Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band was not well received wherever folk remembered the mighty efforts put forth over the years to build and maintain the band in the nation’s capital.

The Six Seconds of Fame Award

The RSPBA officials at this year’s Grade 2 World Championships are no doubt scanning this online database for a new slogan to pull their team together for 2013. The 2012 World’s was marked by one band going overtime in the qualifier without penalty, and then a follow-up Internet flurry of videos, emails and posts, all with no real result. But the RSPBA “takes a licking and keeps on ticking” and Harry is certain there will be plenty more fun in 2013.  

The Better-to-Ask-for-Forgiveness Award

This award goes to the publishers of the Scots Guards, Volume 3, who did not ask for permission before publishing a number of well-known tunes by living composers. Harry’s not sure if this was oversight, laziness, lack of process or just plain thickness, but it stands as a major publishing no-no for the piping world, and a black eye on the face of one of the most beloved series of piping books.  

The So Bad It’s Good Award

The Live Stream commentary from the European Championships would’ve had Harry setting fire to the Acer, except that he’d just got it working again   after a nasty virus, and the commentary was so bad it was funny. Fans of daft comments can still get full value from YouTube, including them going on about how the Lothian & Borders were playing a “new tune” for a march ["David Ross"] that they’d not heard before. Really? The funnies continue all the way through, and Harry might just watch it all again to put together some material for the next pipe band stand-up open mic night.  

The Social Media Award

The legendary Jim Kilpatrick, M.B.E. added another chapter to his long history in pipe bands with his three-month suspension by the RSPBA for comments he made on Facebook about the judging at a previous championship. Harry’s not sure if Jim should get the award, or maybe the RSPBA, for the latter’s heavy-handed approach to the matter. Whatever you deem fair, Harry’s certain that the whole affair merits the Social Media Award for 2012, and he bets that Facebook is a lot tamer come the 2013 season when it comes to post-contest comment!

Best CD Photoshop of the Year

From time to time, correspondents send Harry items that he does and doesn’t use in his occasional rants, and often there are amusing efforts with Photoshop. Harry thinks the re-imagined CD cover for Dowco-Triumph Street excellent recording might be his favourite for 2012.  

The Adam Smith Award

Adam Smith was the famous 18th century Scottish political economist whose work still stands tall in social science and economics. Smith at one point attended the competition in Edinburgh for the Highland Society prize, and he also famously described the paradox of value theory, so it seems fitting that a prize in his name should be awarded to the buyer of Donald MacPherson’s bagpipe, who will have transformed Donald’s $50,000 bagpipes into an ordinary $2,500, just by playing them. The true value of Donald MacPherson’s bagpipe, was that they were played by Donald. Now that they are not played by him, they are just another set of old Lawries.  

Harry loves to hear from the readers! What do you think deserves a funny nod for 2012?

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