They call it a purple patch when you happen upon a sustained streak of good fortune, and over the course of the last three months Stuart Liddell has had one of the greatest purple patches for solo pipers in recent memory.
Since August he’s won the Dunvegan Medal, the Clasp at the Northern Meeting, the Glenfiddich Championship and London’s Bratach Gorm and Gillies Cup. Those are four of the very biggest prizes there are in piping.
So hearing Stuart play, jet-lagged and all, this past Friday in Hamilton, anyone familiar with his record probably realized that here was a guy at the top of his form, just coming off a sustained streak of big wins. (That there were only 30 or so people there to hear him out of a metropolitan area of about 10-million is a post for another time).
Who knows? Stuart’s purple patch may even carry on through the next year or even decade. But that night hearing him play right now was a rare treat. He’s known as much for his pipe band leadership as he is for his piobaireachd as he is for his competition light music as he is for his creativity as he is for his blinding hands as he is for his great sense of humour.
Here’s a sample from the night. Ho-ho-ho, indeed.