Harry’s mailbox has been rattling of late with e-letters dropped in and some interesting banter from Downunder following the conclusion of the major championships there. Regular Blogpipe readers will have seen the Double Dip post that garnered quite a few replies – for and agin – and a commentator pointed out that the guest players were rife in the Australian Championships as well, and some players even reached into their third Grade 1 band for the season.
Apart from anything else, Harry thinks it must be hellish filling out the Facebook profile for these people. Which band are you? “Uh, depends what month of the year.” Big bonuses for learning all the tunes, but what is the point? Given that players are spreading themselves out across bands in Scotland, New Zealand and Australia, surely this devalues the heft of any championship trophy? Harry thinks it looks like great fun in the sun, but makes for a less meaningful championship. Feel free to disagree.
Up in the Northern Hemisphere, the fun is about to start outdoors, and Harry is thinking about a career as a heavy athletes manager. What a gig they have! Many of the games fly them in, play for their hotels, meals and local travel, and then they get to compete for cash prizes. Meanwhile, hundreds of band musicians are spending the family savings and holiday money to enter solo contests, pay for travel, hotels, meals and beer and to be asked to march up and down the field playing the Tunes of Glory while the “heavies” are in the beer tent using up their complimentary tickets. Harry’s a forgiving type though. After all, he’s just not a heavy athlete, he’s my Highland Games brother.
In other fun news from the sunbelt, reporters say that Hawkesbury Nepean Valley in Grade 4 “hit the medley circle with towards 50 players.” The band had players from Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and from various AU locations. Wow. Most amazing was the report of the band having 11 tenor drummers. A pair of tenor sticks is £30, so £330 for the first set, and if you imagine that each player had an extra set, that would be £660 ($1,100 US) in that band alone. Add to that the cost of 11 drums, not to mention all the hair gel and personal grooming products, and you likely have enough to buy full No. 1 dress for a standard-size 1960 pipe band.
Nothing beats the dancing events at the games, and Stone Mountain Highland Games has apparently been staging a “Scottish Interpretive Dance” event which is drawing raves from the spectators at the Games. Standing ringside, Harry couldn’t help but shout, “Fifty bucks says the ginger takes it!”
Harry keeps tabs on the big names in the game. Rumour has it that recently retired P-M Terry Lee is in rehearsal with brother Jack for a “Blues Brothers” tribute act that is going to take the games circuit by storm, replete with Jack’s stylish Ghillators.These impeccable D’s will be coming to a games stage near you, or somebody you love.
Keep the love commin’ through the rye to your pal Harry.