December 31, 2005

Update 2: Our 2005 predictions: how’d we do?

Hey, we’re accountable, so let’s now take into account our predictions to see how our fearless forecasters faired. We’ll award ourselves one point for a correct prediction; deduct a point for an incorrect one; and no points for a net-neutral, hung jury, a joke prediction, or still-pending-decision.

Prediction: “Short-sleeved shirts and waistcoats are out. Leave that look to London taxi-drivers.”
What actually occurred: We witness a rapid decline in this ridiculous look, with only a few bands still wearing vests and short-sleeved shirts. Coincidentally, those bands usually also were sporting a (yuck) waist-belt with the waist-coat, a certain sartorial catastrophe. Full marks to SFU with their long-sleeved blue shirts.
Score: 1 point

Prediction: “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.”
What actually occurred: FMM of course didn’t win, but HOE-SAD did, and SLOT was consistently better than ever.
Score: 0

Prediction: “Orange will back as the most popular colour for tartan with soloists.”
What actually occurred: We did notice a few more orange tartan kilts, but this is a trend that will take years to take hold. Call this decision still pending.
Score: 0

Prediction: “Top Solo Competitor: Willie McCallum. Like FMM, Willie is way out there, and shows no signs of letting up.”
What actually occurred: Yes, indeedy, the Bearsden Music Machine was well oiled in 2005, even though he had a noticeable off-day at the Argyllshire Gathering due to non-piping distractions. The greatest all-round competitor ever?
Score: 1

Prediction: “The anything-but-white-or-cream-coloured-socks trend will peter out with solo pipers. More will opt for white, cream, or tartan hose.”
What actually occurred: Nope, doesn’t seem to be happening yet, but usually top soloists don’t wear whatever the bands have on, and more bands are opting for coloured socks, so wait for it.
Score: -1

Prediction: “The ‘tone enhancer’ products will be re-designed to fit into people’s ears. If you can’t hear it, it could be better . . .”
What actually occurred: This wasn’t a serious prediction, so we’ll not deduct any points.
Score: 0

Prediction: “The tune requirements for the 2006 senior piobaireachd events at Oban and Inverness will, once again, not be ‘competitor’s choice.'”
What actually occurred: Happened. An “own choice” year may never happen again. Stop hoping, all you finger-crossing Claspers and Gold Medal-trons.
Score: 1

Prediction: “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.”
What actually occurred: Kind of happening, though probably in 2006. Don’t know about how well TradTunes is doing, but the idea is right.
Score: 0

Prediction: “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.'”
What actually occurred: Don’t think that happened, but who knows? The Peter Henderson name came like water under a troubled bridge, so it doesn’t look likely, but there is nothing stopping anyone from launching a “MacDougall” line of pipes.
Score: -1

Prediction: “Balmorals are back, baby.”
What actually occurred: Oh, yeah, we saw more flat-topped pipers and drummers than ever in 2005, and the trend is growing. Could Jimmy-Hats be next?
Score: 1

Prediction: “The RSPBA’s 75th anniversary celebrations during World’s week could clash with the established Piping Hot festival. Hope they can get it together.”
What actually occurred: Well, this wasn’t even a prediction, but more an observation. But still, the two camps seem to be working well together for now.
Score: 0

Prediction: “I will win the Clasp.”
What actually occurred: Well, we don’t think that this came from the always humble Greg Wilson, so we’ll call this a Nuh-uh.
Score: -1

Prediction: “Uniforms: Bands will get tired of the vest look, and will revert to full jackets.”
What actually occurred: Waistcoats continue to be the blue-jeans of pipe bands. Just ditch the short-sleeved shirt. Or have we said that before?
Score: -1

Prediction: “Drone ribbons come back into style, and balmorals will make a comeback in band circles.”
What actually occurred: The 52nd Lowland in Grade 2 is festooned with drone ribbons, and very grand they are. The Patalia Pipe Band from Pakistan, which performed at the World’s in Grade 4B and won the marching and discipline prize in that grade, also had lovely ribbons.
Score: 1

Prediction: “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.'”
What actually occurred: City of Victoria-style bow ties were thankfully nowhere to be seen, and the dark blue socks of the Strathclyde Police were as close as we could find to black, which many people think look pretty sharp. We didn’t see the band clicking any heels, just kicking a bit of arse.
Score: 0

Prediction: “PlanetPipe will take over from Pipeline as the listen of the week.”
What actually occurred: Pipeline is more popular than ever, while PlanetPipe continues to improve. The Beeb still has the listeners, though.
Score: -1

Prediction: “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?”
What actually occurred: This was absolutely correct. Content on these places is more boring than ever. Some sites whisk away any contentious statement before anyone can even, um, be contentious. Try practicing instead.
Score: 1

Prediction: “A band will start its World’s medley with a new tune named, ‘The First 75.'”
What actually occurred: Didn’t. Didn’t need to.
Score: -1

Prediction: “Neil Dickie will find his piping muse, but this time will come back as a judge.”
What actually occurred: Last we heard the elusive Neil is coaching soccer in Yellowknife and teaching stand-up comedy to referees. Come hame, son!
Score: -1

Prediction: “Sheepskin bags will claim a larger share of grade 1 and 2 band purchases than in many years.”
What actually occurred: This is happening and, based on FMM’s drone-sound, more bands will go au natural.
Score: 1

Prediction: “Taking the FMM cue, ensemble will be focused more on beat and pulse, and less on creative interpretation.”
What actually occurred: Happened, although Shotts and other bands’ medleys were super-creative. The bands that got into a groove inevitably do better.
Score: 1

Prediction: “SFU will win the worlds.”
What actually occurred: Some would ask you to define “win,” but, using the conventional definition, they didn’t.
Score: -1

Prediction: “A major international piping competition will be cancelled due to the residual effects of a terrorist attack.”
What actually occurred: Thank goodness this didn’t happen.
Score: -1

Prediction: “The ‘What Not To Wear’ people will do an overhaul of any pipers wearing brown brogues with a black jacket.”
What actually occurred: A bit of humour, but, good Lord, brown brogues are bad enough without a piper becoming a walking Licorice All-Sort.
Score: 0

Prediction: “Another big pop act will be inspired by Madonna and put piping into his/her world tour.”
What actually occurred: Did Phil Collins tour this year? Never mind, he’s neither a piper nor a big pop act. Didn’t happen.
Score: -1

Prediction: “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.”
What actually occurred: Let’s see. Kind of happened, we guess. Lots more folks went into the biz full-time, and yes, more pipers are going for a cane-and-skin combo.
Score: 1

Prediction: “A tenor-drummer will take over leadership of a Scottish Grade 2 band’s drum-section.”
What actually occurred: Don’t think that this happened, but you never know. Some would say it’s already happened a few times in Grade 1.
Score: -1

Prediction: “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.”
What actually occurred: Didn’t happen in Grade 2, but it did in Grade 1. The Drm-Major for the New Zealand Police stood beside them when they played at Strangford in Northern Ireland. Okay, it wasn’t a championship, but we are giving ourselves a point.
Score: 1

Prediction: “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.”
What actually occurred: Are you kidding? These guys have to show the audience that, yes, they caught the wee blip, even if it distracts the competitor even more.
Score: -1

Prediction: “North American Champions: Toronto Police They will win it with the full package, followed closely by the 78th Frasers.”
What actually occurred: The T-Dot Cops played well in Canada all year, but not well enough to beat the 78th Frasers and their six first-placings.
Score: -1

Prediction: “A prominent piper will be caught finger-syncing at a major competitive event after his pre-recorded music malfunctions.”
What actually occurred: We’re still laughing at this one.
Score: 0

So, overall, how did we do? By our count, we got 10 of our 31 predictions absolutely correct, BUT, we scored a zero on eight of them, so in essence we got 10 out of 23 for a 43 per cent success rate, down from our 47 per cent last year.

Watch for our 2006 predictions, coming soon on Piper & Drummer Online.


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