Having just returned from a short holiday on the “White Island” of Ibiza my arrival at the Eagles felt more like I was returning to the company of long lost friends. Alas this was only to last around 30 seconds until the honorary Pipe Major laid into me about my choice of holiday destination and footwear. Fortunately people in glass houses often do throw stones and the conversation was swiftly diverted to his choice of Hunting Robertson trew and sweadette-effect waistcoat as outfit for the evening, more of this sartorial commentary to follow.
First up with the pipe was first time performer Jim Cooper who played a fine set of retreat marched including Colin’s cattle. His tunes were presented on a full sounding Robertson pipe and hopefully it won’t be too long before Jim gives us another tune at the club.
Next up was our President, Colin Maclellan, who was sporting a very nice Brogue, attracting compliments from many of the fashion savvy in the room, much to the envy of the Honorary PM who was still “taking it tight” about the waistcoat. Colin displayed his huge and varied repertoire starting with Samantha’s Lullaby and the some 6/8s including Dr Ross. Next up was a double MSR of Inverarey Castle, Caledonian society of London, The Cockerel in the Creel and Roddy MacDonald. Colin then gave us a fine excerpt from The Earl of Seaforth and finished of with a hornpipe and jig set of the HLI Hornpipe, John Paterson’s Mare, Joe Wilson and Alex MacDonalds. A magnificent set of tunes on an excellent bagpipe and a fine gentleman’s shoe.
Following Colin we had club regular Allan Harper, playing his own self-made bass drone reed, and very good it was too. Alan started with the Phil Cunningham classic Sarah’s song and then into some 6/8s including Redford Cottage. This was followed by the march The Athol and Breadalbane Gathering and finished by the ground of Mary MacLeod. It was at this time Tam Peterkin was seen to sneak in at the back and this could only mean one thing, the pies were en-route. At this point the honorary PM, yes the one with the waistcoat, informed us he had tried to procure chicken curry pies for the evening. Fortunately common sense had prevailed and steak pies were being readied as the next piper took the floor.
Young Lachie Dick, Uist, was our pre-pie piper. Sporting a barnet that could only be described as a cross between Justin Bieber and Harry Styles (a Harry Bieber) he played a cracking set of tunes with crystal clear technique. First the gaelic air, The Fairy Peat Bog of Bornish (an area of South Uist associated with the famous Morrison piping family). This was followed by Angus Mackinnon (from South Uist but written by DS Ramsey). Next was a competition MSR including John Morrison of Assynt House and then a finishing set of wee strathspeys and reels with a definite Uist flavour.
Lachie is a young piper with great potential and we look forward to hearing him again soon at the Eagles, as long as he does something about the Harry Bieber.
Pies suitably dispatched we then settled in for the second half of the evening. Yours truly had a tune to warm up the audience for the imminent arrival of Douglas Gardiner, who would be supplying the big music for the evening. Unfortunately I clearly thought I was performing at a nightclub in the aforementioned Ibiza, presenting all the tunes at around 120 BPM. Fortunately Donald Macleod (sporting a style that could only be described as sports casual) was on hand to provide a more calming set in including Not a
Sheep in the Field, the Lochaber Gathering and the Old Wife of The Mill Dust.
Appetites sated and crowd suitably warm we sat and awaited the arrival of Douglas to the floor. The word on the street was that he’d scarpered in a taxi earlier on in the evening but that was just a rumour (perhaps started by me). To add to the atmosphere, The President, Secretary and Jenny Hazzard took a seat at a “Judges Table” towards the end of the room, much to Mr Gardiners delight. Douglas took to the floor looking like a young David Niven (albeit in a kilt) and warmed up his pipe with a set of 9/8s including the Festival March, followed by a competion style MSR including the Glenfinnan Highland Gathering by PM Ronnie Lawrie and the Pipers Bonnet. This was finished by an interesting 3 parted reel, something we don’t hear enough of these days. Douglas then sailed into the Lament for Donald of Laggan, a Silver Medal tune for this year. This was very well fingered on a bagpipe that never shifted and displayed the musical beauty of this Macrimmon masterpiece in miniature.
So that was that, another fine night at the Eagles and all stylishly presented but not without substance. We look forward to the next one.