January 31, 2005

Pipes|drums’s fearless forecasts for 2005

January is the coldest month, and, for us, it’s the boldest month. As is our wont, we have assembled a team of respected pipers and drummers around the world to provide their predictions for the coming year. What will be hot? What will lose favour? Who’s sharpening up? Who’s flattening off?

The predictions are in no particular order, and are quoted directly from our panellists’ written responses. Here we go:

  • “Short-sleeved shirts and waistcoats are out. Leave that look to London taxi-drivers.”
  • “World Champions: Field Marshal. The only real challenger could be SFU, although it is traditional for a Scottish band to win in RSPBA Anniversary years (read: Shotts). Watch for SLOT to make another gain in the standings all year.”
  • “Orange will back as the most popular colour for tartan with soloists.”
  • “Top Solo Competitor: Willie McCallum. Like FMM, Willie is way out there, and shows no signs of letting up.”
  • “The anything-but-white-or-cream-coloured-socks trend will peter out with solo pipers. More will opt for white, cream, or tartan hose.”
  • The “tone enhancer” products will be re-designed to fit into people’s ears. If you can’t hear it, it could be better . . .”
  • “The tune requirements for the 2006 senior piobaireachd events at Oban and Inverness will, once again, not be ‘competitor’s choice.'”
  • “Piping Books & Recordings: The average player can not keep up with the number of new releases, and more people will turn to TradTunes.com and other sources for sampling and cheaper options. Too many people have been burned by weak collections of music, and someone will initiate a music download site for sheet music.”
  • “Someone will rejuvenate the MacDougall of Aberfeldy brand, and the first set will go to a collector in Ohio. He will state on an Internet message board that he thinks they’re ‘sweet.'”
  • “Balmorals are back, baby.”
  • “The RSPBA’s 75th anniversary celebrations during World’s week could clash with the established Piping Hot festival. Hope they can get it together.”
  • “I will win the Clasp.”
  • “Uniforms: Bands will get tired of the vest look, and will revert to full jackets.”
  • “Drone ribbons come back into style, and balmorals will make a comeback in band circles.”
  • “Floppy bow ties will not come back. People will start to figure out that black kilt hose are just plain ugly, unless you have red brogues. Click your heels three times and say, ‘There’s no place like Glasgow Green.'”
  • “PlanetPipe will take over from Pipeline as the listen of the week.”
  • “Chat rooms and Internet blab bars will fade as the level of conversation drops to the lowest common denominator. What colour hackle were you wearing when the guy with the rabbit sporran showed us what he wore under his kilt?”
  • “A band will start its World’s medley with a new tune named, ‘The First 75.'”
  • “Neil Dickie will find his piping muse, but this time will come back as a judge.”
  • “Sheepskin bags will claim a larger share of grade 1 and 2 band purchases than in many years.”
  • “Taking the FMM cue, ensemble will be focused more on beat and pulse, and less on creative interpretation.”
  • “SFU will win the worlds.”
  • “A major international piping competition will be cancelled due to the residual effects of a terrorist attack.”
  • “The ‘What Not To Wear’ people will do an overhaul of any pipers wearing brown brogues with a black jacket.”
  • “Another big pop act will be inspired by Madonna and put piping into his/her world tour.”
  • “People will quit their jobs to make reeds and gear, and pipers will continue to keep buying, despite the fact that Gold Medals are still being won on natural bags and reeds.
  • “A tenor-drummer will take over leadership of a Scottish Grade 2 band’s drum-section.”
  • “For the first time in 28 years, a drum-major will stand alongside a Grade 2 band while the band competes at one of this year’s RSPBA championship competitions.”
  • “For the first time in the history of the event there will be a bench of judges at this year’s Northern Meeting that for one complete performance manages not to write anything in their respective notebooks.”
  • “North American Champions: Toronto Police They will win it with the full package, followed closely by the 78th Frasers.”
  • “A prominent piper will be caught finger-syncing at a major competitive event after his pre-recorded music malfunctions.”


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