pipes|drums is pleased to bring our readers four extracts from Bill Livingstone’s new memoir, Preposterous, Tales to Follow, on sale online starting August 1st.
In the 260-page book ($36.99 hardcover and $23.99 paperback, suggested list prices) Livingstone recollects many memorable experiences in his life in piping, as well as professional, family and personal stories from his youth in Copper Cliff, Ontario, to his present-day professionally-retired life. In his 76th year, Livingstone continues to be a front-rank competing member of the Grade 1 Toronto Police Pipe Band.
In the first excerpt, Livingstone dives into perhaps the biggest controversies in the history of solo piping, the infamous “Tape Scandal” at the 1974 Northern Meeting. The photos are not those used in the book.
This story starts (but doesn’t have its true beginning) at the Caledonian Hotel, because in 1974 the Caley, as it’s called, was the home of the Northern Meeting Piping Competitions.
In the year 1788, 13 Highland gentlemen met and drew up resolutions for an annual meeting “for the purpose of promotion of a social intercourse, and to liven up life in the highlands with activities for the Pleasure and Innocent Amusement of the members.” The original seventy-nine members consisted principally of landowners in the area, but also public officials and assorted lawyers, doctors and other gentry. Over time the various activities have changed, and the Northern Meeting no longer organizes the Highland Games at Inverness, although dress balls, cocktail parties, luncheons and the like still take place. The group’s activities eventually evolved to become the Northern Meeting Piping Competitions, still thriving two hundred and twenty-eight years later. Winning a prize at these contests is the absolute pinnacle of success for pipers from around the world.
So here I found myself at the Northern Meeting, held as always at Inverness over two days – in this particular year, on Thursday and Friday, September 12 and 13, 1974. This was my . . .