Editor’s Notebook: Band Practices are Go/ Dan’s Book Controversy/ Wedding Disaster/ Ivory Pipes

The way now seems fully open for pipe bands in Scotland to practice and perform. From September 3 the following applies under covid law:

‘These regulations (which come into force on 3 September 2021) amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 (‘the principal Regulations’).

‘Regulation 2 amends ….requirement to wear face covering in certain indoor places [and] inserts ‘rehearsing for a performance’ as an activity falling within the exemption ….

‘Regulation 2(3) inserts a new paragraph into regulation 5. This creates an exemption from wearing a face covering indoors for those performing or rehearsing for a performance where the use of measures ……would materially impede the performance or rehearsal …

‘The exemption will apply as long as there is either a partition or a distance of at least one metre between the performer(s) and all other persons (except those who are performing or rehearsing with the performer(s) or assisting with the performance or rehearsal).’

A bit gobbledygook I know but it basically means no masks in the band hall and keep one metre apart. Throw in some sanitisers, fresh air (windows open when weather allows) and off you go.



Not having read the book I’m not sure of the context of Dan Nevans’ ‘Dead White Men’ title for Chapter 1 of ‘Piobaireachd is for Everyone’ (see yesterday’s review by Duncan Watson).

Steve Rooklidge in our comments section says the origin of the phrase is well understood by those in the know. Well I wish he would enlighten we less educated mortals.

It is stating the obvious that our tradition bearers would be dead given that we are talking several hundred years ago; they would be white because other than the Spanish Armada spilling a few poor souls onto our shores in the 16th century that would be the skin colour of the populace of the north west Highlands and Islands; and the pipers would be predominently men because of the social construct of the time – though we read that the MacCrimmon women could handle the bagpipe alright.

In the circumstances, DWM seems disrespectful to the pipers of old.


I had to laugh at this video forwarded by reader Fraser Maitland. How not to prepare for that wedding. This sort of thing gets us all a bad name. I take it the fee was returned. Advice: don’t watch till the end:


Reader Graham Hislop writes: Do you know of any rule changes that will affect taking pipes to say France following Brexit? I haven’t heard of anything but don’t want to risk taking mine (they contain ivory) if there is a problem. I’m only going on vacation! I would be very grateful if you could advise.’

When the UK was part of the EU Graham we conformed to the bloc’s CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) rulings. As far as I am aware the UK still keeps strictly to these rules.

My reading of the current situation is that ‘worked’ ivory on products pre-dating the trade ban, such as that on your pipes, is unaffected by this legislation. New instruments may be a problem unless the provenance of the ivory could be proved beyond doubt to have come from a legitimate source, old snooker balls and the like.


1 thought on “Editor’s Notebook: Band Practices are Go/ Dan’s Book Controversy/ Wedding Disaster/ Ivory Pipes

  1. FWIW, the Collins dictionary definition of the expression “Dead white men” is : [men] whose importance and talents may have been exaggerated because [they] belonged to a historically dominant gender and ethnic group.
    The terminology may be unfamiliar in discussing the history of pibroch, but the argument that playing and competition were shaped by such men (whether you agree or not) is one that’s well worn.
    The misconception that piping can only be judged by pipers has been used for years to devalue the contribution of “the gentry” to piping and of piping to highland culture .
    The implication that an understanding of scottish music is not enough – piping is piping and music is music, and never the twain shall meet – runs the risk of becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.

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