The Bagpipe Society

I spent last weekend at the Blowout, the annual gathering of the Bagpipe Society. I was hoping to regale you with photos of what was an excellent festival, but I was having such a good time that I didn't take any - that's how good it was.

Anyone who used to read Asterix will surely remember how Getafix disappeared off to the annual conference of the druids in the forest of Carnutes, and once there indulged in a frenzy of badinage, in-jokes and bad puns. Well, the Blowout is a bit like that. With bagpipes instead of druids. And it's not in a forest. But you get the idea. It's good to be among like minds.

There were great concerts (Paul Martin (Border pipes) and Belgian piper Remi Decker), some brilliant talks (bet you never knew how important bagpipes were at the Tudor court revels - nope, neither did I), and a rocking band for the Saturday night bal, Mister Klof, all the way from Montpelier. I was teaching rather than performing, but I did end up playing till 3am in a late night session.

One of the things I've been up to lately - in my guise as Publicity Officer - is redesigning and rewriting the Bagpipe Society website (along with techie virtuoso Joe Wass, the man behind Folktunefinder) and I'm pleased to say it went live this week. I've been enjoying the challenge of writing for the web - saying what you mean in as concise and as welcoming a manner as possible. And it's been fun sorting through hundreds of photos trying to pick the choicest images. So do come and check it out.

And what's more, we have a fantastic new logo commissioned from none other than Rima Staines.

Rima also came up with this extraordinary image, a vignette for the website. I actually staggered backwards across the room when I opened up the file for the first time. Here he is, the spirit of the bagpipes, the Green Man piper.

And if you ever wanted to know why I play the pipes, why I am so obsessed with this ancient, honking, parping beast of an instrument, half plant, half animal, a wild, untamed, horned thing, well, this image says it all. Lord of the dance indeed. Play on.


  1. Bagpipes clutch at my heart and make me cry...they move me more than any other instrument. I've been hearing them all my life, even before I was born! Love the illustrations by Rima, but she's a genius so of course they're wonderful!

    I loved Asterix...I think my favourite character was Cacophonix the Bard, though he played the harp, not the bagpipes!

  2. Hello Andy. I too enjoyed Asterix but I would like to argure, from an anorak's point of view, that we would now term the instrument played by the bard as a lyre rather than a harp.

  3. Thanks for the clarification George - the perspective there of an early music luthier of great repute, in case you didn't know. But hold on, I'm sure I remember Cacophonix holding a set of bagpipes at one point. They were utterly unplayable (not that I'm an anorak, oh no)...

  4. And if we're being really picky, I'm not sure poor Cacophonix ever got to play ANY instrument...



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