Gourock Draw & Times/ London Busking Problem for Pipers

The revised draw and playing times for the Gourock Pipe Band Competition to be held a week on Sunday (May 10) has now been posted on the RSPBA website. The revision was due to a number of late entries. Adjudicators: Arena 1 – (Piping) John Wilson & Ronnie McShannon, (Drumming) Jim Baxter, (Ensemble) Gordon Lawrie;
Arena 2 –  (Piping) Richard Parkes & Robert Shaw, (Drumming) Mick O’Neill, (Ensemble) Joe Noble.


PP Newspaper Watch: This appeared in the Herald newspaper the other day: ‘London mayor Boris Johnson has been accused of taking steps towards banning busking with bagpipes. A new code of conduct for street musicians in the city says performers who create ‘piercing sounds like bagpipes’ have to move regularly or find locations ‘with no flats, offices, shops or hotels’.

‘The new rules, which also cover complaint handling and money collection, class bagpipe music as a ‘repetitive loud sound’ alongside acts featuring beatboxing, highly amplified guitars and hard ‘attack’ sounds like drums. These, says the code, ‘can become annoying quickly’. London buskers have spoken out about what they believe is the first step down the road to launching a licence scheme for busking.

Alastair Campbell, former communications director at 10 Downing Street, is among the protesters. He said: ‘Having been a ­bagpiping busker myself in my student days I am a great supporter of buskers in our towns and cities. They add a lot to life. Inevitably there are good and bad – that goes for any instrument – but the dismissive attitudes expressed in this advice reveal an unjustified bias against the pipes.’

Piper Pat Sands, 58, who regularly plays in London’s West End, said: ‘We’ve been lumped in with electric guitars and ‘attack’ drums. Many pipers feel that we’ll be refused once licensing comes in, Boris has spoken before about how he finds them annoying. Most pipers can physically only play for up to an hour before moving on anyway, so none of us can see what this code is supposed to be policing other than just banning pipers.’

The Greater London Authority launched the Busk In London website detailing the new rules last month. A spokeswoman for the mayor of London, said: ‘We’re enthusiastic about all musical instruments played by buskers, but we point out that some like electric guitars and bagpipes can have more of a noise impact and that musicians should consider this when dec­iding where exactly to play. It is clearly not a proscription against playing these instruments, and all the stakeholders who were involved in designing the code of conduct, buskers, the musicians union, local authorities, and the Met police would confirm this. Bagpipers are very welcome in London and we have many fantastic players.’


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