Tie one on

Published: December 22, 2006

Iain MacDonald (Saskatchewan) is always good for ideas, and his response to Bruce Gandy’s response to my recent blog on autographs got me thinking about my collection of pipe band neckties.

To be honest, I ‘m not sure whether the tradition of trading band ties still happens much. Used to be (and perhaps still is) that, like footballers after international matches trading shirts on the pitch, pipers and drummers would often swap ties with members of rival bands in the beer tent or on the ferry home.

My vintage Duthart-Shotts tie.There are two types of people: collectors and non-collectors, and I am definitely in the first group, whether baseball cards, pipe-music books or vintage British railway posters. When I played in Scotland I amassed quite a collection of ties from Grade 1 bands. I never did attain a Strathclyde Police tie, since back then they seemed far too grown up to do that sort of thing. I always wanted to acquire a Muirheads tie, and wonder actually how many of those exist.

It wasn’t until the 1970s and the rise in popularity of non-number-one-dress that band ties became prevalent, of course, and I’m a proud owner of ties from now-defunct bands: Monktonhall, Woolmet & Danderhall, Toyota, the RUC, ScottishGas. I often wear the Eagle Pipers Society tie I scored from Martin Docherty, the former Fear-an-Tigh of that erstwhile organization.

But by far my most prized tie is the 1979 Shotts & Dykehead model given to me straight off of the collar of Alex Duthart. Like the autograph hound I used to be, I probably brashly hinted that I liked his tie and, like the altogether brilliant guy Duthart was, he thought nothing of presenting it to me.

I have maybe 30 ties in my collection, but I wonder who out there has the largest assortment of pipe band ties. If you think you might have a collection worthy of a feature article in pipes|drums, drop me an e-mail message and let’s talk!


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