Volume XVII Number 4 - April 2006

After the wettest March on record here in Ess Eff it's STILL RAINING and not likely to stop in the near future....the new Royal Regiment of Scotland had its first parade on the Esplanade at Edinburgh Castle on the 28th. New bunnets were passed out and the old ones ceremoniously carried away on trays, covered by the new tartan to be worn by all ranks except the pipe bands - we'll see how long that lasts. The only difference between batallions will be the hackle colour - black for Royal Scots Borderers, white for RHF, red as usual for the Black Watch, royal blue for the Highlanders, and green (what were they thinking?) for the Argylls. The new badge, now dubbed 'the crucified cat' is pretty unpopular, but time will tell....

We'll be packing up the old Van Go and heading off to Woodland for the annual confab on the 29th and 30th - hope to see some of you there! Bring Money! We'll see if the downpour halts long enough to make a couple of bucks. Quite a few interesting new products, including the new Ross and Gannaway zipper pipe bags, and the Roo hide bag reviewed last month.

Here's a look at what our friend Chip Robinson is up to these days:

Apparently he trundled this little beauty from Florida up to Nashville for an airshow and got it there minutes before all hell broke loose with tornadoes and other mischief of the gods....this is the new Apache used in precruiting and promotion.

Speaking of mischief of the gods, Tuesday the 18th is the 100th anniversary of the Great San Francisco Shake-n-Bake; the 7.9 earthquake hit at 5.12am. I will NOT be among those comemmorating the event by going to Lottie's Fountain at Oh Dark Thirty and singing 'San Francisco' - but I will be with them in spirit - eighty proof! There are plans for some serious celebrating and goings-on - let's just hope that Mother Earth doesn't decide to join in! Apparently 1906 was the wettest spring on record preceeding the rumble - we've had record rain for the last 30-plus days...oh, hang on to your drones, boyzngirls....

The Dan Reid Memorial will be upon us on May 6 - those of you who can go are strongly urged to do so. It's the best piping on the Left Coast, with Jack Lee, Roddy MacLeod, Willie McCallum, Stuart Liddell, and Angus McColl competing in the Masters this year. See for details and tickets. Go for the full deal with the dinner if you can afford it - the food's great and the piping after dinner is worth it!

Black Part Speaks:

Well I'm just back from the Highland Games at Las Vegas. These were well run in a beautiful venue. Good Job! Lets do it again next year!

There was supposed to be professional piping contest. But one of the contestents was a no show. There were two other pros present. One was still drunk from the Saturday night/Sunday morning; the other was very hung over! I played anyway for critique. Damn if I wasn't going to play after I drove all the way to Vegas!

I talked to quite a few people while I was at the games. A couple of "issues" have come up:

1) Where's the Bull? As most of you know, Iain Whitelaw was the President of the Southern Branch, but "bowed out" last year. This left the mantle of authority falling upon "Bull" Henderson, the Vice-President, and now of course the President of the Southern Branch. Problem is, we can't seem to be able to find Bull, or phone him. or email him and get a response. So where's the Bull? Jan Richey, Vice-President of the WUSPBA said she hasn't been able to find Bull either. I helped her look under some rocks there in Vegas, but....No Bull!'d better hope Jan finds the rock you're hiding under, and not me. I'll simply toss the rock back over you and stomp you on down. I have no respect for individuals in the WUSPBA who take offiices, and then simply disappear, or do nothing. You are violating a trust that we members have in you. You said you'd perform the duties, but now you do nothing. Slackers on pirate vessels could be keel hauled, flogged, have ears cut off, or even worse simply marroned. We can none of these evil things to our past and current slackers. But there is nothing we can do as well to halt the evil they hand us by not performing the duties they said they would do. Bull! If you don't want the job, stand down! There are others that will stand up in your place.

2) It seems there will be quite a few names removed from the adjudicator's lists this year. Names that should not be removed. I'm going to single out one name. This is a well known, highly respected piper, and one of my harshest critics. I hope Helen Gladden will forgive me for yet more reasons to dislike me, but here goes...(Hell, I got nothing to lose here anyway). Helen has been a successful professional piper for many years. She is better known for her work with the Alameda County Sheriff's Pipe Band, which alas, no longer exists. She has been on the lists as a piping judge, and for bands as a piping judge and ensemble judge for many years. Helen has been the judge for a few professional piping contests where I have performed. She has always approached her duties as a judge with the highest standards of professionalism. Helen though, recently, has been very busy with her full time employment. She has not been able, and this will likely continue to be so, to get to many, or any of the required adjudicator's seminars, let alone study for the tests. But does she really need to go to seminars, and take tests? Is there really anyone in the WUSPBA who really believes Helen is not qualified to be a judge? If so....Stand Up! ..... None! Then why take her name off the lists? And mind now, Helen's is not the only name about to come off! Some names will be really big surprizes to most of the membership. Among the WUSPBA's most talented and succesful pipers and drummers will come off the list. Mine too, because I can't get to seminars nobody informs me of, receive study materials for these tests, or even be present for tests that nobody informs me of. So...the WUSPBA has gone from the "Old Buddy System" to get on the approved lists, to a system that doesn't seem to work. Now...its a good system...for Ontario and Toronto...but not for the WUSPBA. So this "good" system is simply not the "right" system for the WUSPBA. So... the membership needs to reign in Campbell Naismith and the rest of the Music Board. FIX THE PROBLEM! Lord knows I tried to help! At the AGM I tried to get the Music Board another $1000.00 to have more seminars, to publish study materials, and schedule more tests. Campbell stood up and said "Thanks, but no thanks!"

In my opinion, based on what is about to happen to the names on the lists, and not wanting the resources necessary to promote the adjudication certification program, is that we have a program that not only isn't right, but also out of control. What we have is a program to take names off the lists, and make it nearly impossible for anyone to get back on the lists. This IS NOT what was intended. So again...I call upon the members of the Music Board to FIX THE PROBLEM!!! Give the WUSPBA a system that's right for the WUSPBA. If you don't know what is right for the WUSPBA, you'd best take some time to find out! If you don't want to do that....well....STAND you are not fullfilling the duties you were apponted to do for the membership; you are, rather, on some private, and inappropriate agenda.

Aharrghhhh! Black Part Speaks!!!!



(The management of Cuillinn Craft takes NO responsibility for any editorial statements made by John Eric Partanen PhD. Any and all comments should be directed to BLACK PART)


back to Notes

last month's issue