It’s time for Trailing Drones’ second annual Raspberry Awards, the accolades given by Harry Tung to the year’s most notably dubious achievements in piping and drumming. There was a bountiful harvest to nosh from, and Harry’s hardest task was picking which to regurgitate, to spew forth in his usual tongue-in-cheeky diatribe of frothy goodness.
And the 2013 Raspberries go to . . .
The Harry Tung Band Management Award
Harry likes to start with something cheery. Henrietta points out that he whistles “Colonel Bogey” on the way to bed each night, and what’s cheerier than that? Maybe “The Cock of the North” at 100 bpm, true enough. In any event, the HTBMA goes both to venerable Grade 1 bands St. Laurence O’Toole and Simon Fraser University for their seemingly slick management of some fairly major changes in their respective outfits. Harry pointed out in the summer that Terry Tully would be greatly missed on the corner, and now we have Terry times two. The great news is that those bands thought things through, came up with a plan, and managed to make a major change without, at least to Harry’s notice, having really rocked the boat. Harry sends best wishes to Alan and Allen (the pipe-majors, not the Australian accounting firm) for a great start to their careers as P-M.
The Let Them Eat Tunnock’s Tea Cakes Award
When you’ve fundraised all year to bring your band to the World Championships from Stornoway, Dromore, Queensland or California, and taken all your holidays, used your family cash, and paid a fortune on food and lodgings all week in Glasgow, nothing beats the sight of a wad of RSPBA and Glasgow insiders supping free tea and bevvies in a posh tent arrangement while you pay ?6 for greasy chips and curry/cheese to stand in the rain and kindasorta hear bands playing. That’s when you as a performer feel really valued, and like this event is all about you. No? Harry thinks that maybe the RSPBA should get real on the quality and size of the sponsor tenting and courting, and start thinking a little more clearly about the thousands of RSPBA members for whom this whole show is supposedly run.
The Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Band Management Award
There were a few nominations in this category, which featured the City of Chicago Pipe Band meltdown, the painful last gasps of Oran Mor, and some serious ball-dropping in Ontario and Nova Scotia. The City of Chicago situation was difficult, and sad to see a band with such potential just down and fold, although the new unit in the Midwest makes some possible amends there. The Rob Ford “Are You Smoking Crack?” nod has to go to the late Oran Mor, for the end of a great band with very unfortunate circumstances and decisions. (Harry did consider naming this the “Miley Cyrus Wrecking Ball Award” but the visuals for that were just too disturbing.) Harry expects and hopes for great things from the venerable Stuart Highlanders and all the other bands in 2014 and for many years to come. May your ability to weather storms be as good as the Crack-Smoking-Mayor-of-Toronto’s, and may your tenure at the top be a lot longer.
The Set Fire to the House While Cooking Award
Nothing says “You’re buggering this up” better than when the good people run for the exits, and this was the case over the last year or so, as the PPBSO kitchen fire drove quite a few good heads out of the house. After a series of pretty high-profile resignations, things seemed to settle, but what a shame that some of the most experienced heads on the Ontario scene feel they can’t be a part of the once leading association’s Music Committee.
The “Wow, I Didn’t See That Coming!” Award
Awarded to BBC crews at the World’s for indiscrete coverage of winners before the announcement. Really Is that the best you can do? Once again, the BBC spoiled the big moment by crowding up in front of the winner to get the shots. How about waiting for 10 seconds?
The Website Recovery Award
What if your website got hacked and no one noticed? Fear not, friends at RSPBA Headquarters! Harry was paying attention, and he got the evidence to show that you folks have some Albanian connections. Harry was surfing the web and went to the RSPBA site to purchase a recording of a tune he wrote and was never paid for, by a band who recorded it without permission and was never paid for that, and in the end came away with a recipe for Albanian chicken and some kind of fruity wine. Henrietta’s been on about it ever since. The wine, I mean.
The John Knox Tyranny Award
John Knox, the great Scottish Reformer said, “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.” And tyranny was what was dished out to Australia’s Knox Grammar School Pipe Band when they weren’t allowed to compete at the European Championships in June. RSPBA officials who made this call were not acting in the best interest of bands, championships or the music. Gi’e yer heids a shake.
The Mother Earth Award
Like a solid bookend of happy, Harry wants to end on this very positive note. He just loved this video, culled from the net this summer, and hopes the project went well. Harry still wants to see the tune on the Great Stave, and thinks that maybe a multi-tone tenor harmony would be just the thing to launch Mother Earth gently into 2014.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to keep sending Harry your scoop, and maybe you’ll have uncover one of the great Raspberry stories of 2014!