Thirteen years ago we were going through another major crisis – the financial crash. Fortunes were lost; governments in a panic; western capitalism on the brink. At the time I penned a piece which suggested how we pipers could cope. I’ve updated it for our current ordeal….
The nights are darkly dim. Black forces rattle on the window pane. The insidious virus threatens to wrest the porridge spoon of prosperity from the hand of civilisation. In these straitened times aren’t you glad you love the pipes?
Lockdowns, social distancing, vaccines — all is worry, worry, worry. Yet we are lucky. We can retire into our bagpipe bubble free for a time from the medical maelstrom raging above. Then what matters more than a good going reed or a princely performance preserved if not in aspic then in memory?
By Robert Wallace
Entertainment? Pshaw to your expensive restaurant, your fol de rol theatre, your dramatis personae of amusement. Who needs it? We have the pipe. We have the Green Hills and the Piob Soc 1 – 16. We have the never ending quest for glorious effect.
Many times we relate the tale of the high court judge, the millionaire and the pauper all equal in the eyes of the great God crunluath and united in a never ending toil worthy of Sisyphus. Put the litany of grim in its place; be absorbed in trying to perfect that F doubling, that dodgy darodo.
Mind and body, we are the healthiest people on earth and don’t forget it. So spend all that accumulated gilder not on the latest tv subscription but on that new chanter, that good chanter, that chanter more precious than any Netflix newbie.
Who knows the pleasure it will give long after the pandemic has learned to know its place? Invest in that new bag too, that new reed. Social life in tatters, the renewed pipe will remain sounding strong, sounding well, sounding true through all woe. Yes, that is the real way to tackle the long, lonely evenings. You’ll be richer by far.
In times of turmoil the bagpipe provides all the mental ballast you need. There is nothing more uplifting. Only the artist has the answer someone once said – and he was right. The piper’s health is corporeal and spiritual, and with art – all relative – we find all succour.
The nights are darkly dim. Black forces rattle on the window pane. Worry not. You have the pipe.
Finally, from the late comedian Spike Milligan: