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Promoting the Bagpipe Revival since 1986

The Bagpipe Society

Grace Notes

There’s not much room for Grace Notes, even in this slightly extended edition of Chanter, so I will keep my reflections short.

I am especially pleased to feature an article on the baghèt, an instrument which I’m hearing more and more about, but one which is still in the early days of its revival. There is also a thought-provoking piece from Yannis Pantazis, with regards the item that is so essential to the soul and very being of the bagpipe – the bag.

Normally, the Autumn edition carries a review of the Blowout but, for very obvious reasons, it was postponed, along with so many other events, until 2021 ….but the IBO did proceed, albeit digitally. I was so disappointed not to have made the trip to Boston back in March. When I heard that it was still going to take place but online, I must admit my heart sank a bit because I was not particularly enthused at the thought of sitting in front of a laptop all day, listening to papers, albeit on my favourite subject of bagpipes. But how wrong I was! It was a great day and all the better for how it was organised and operated. It was my first experience of a full-on Zoom meeting and with the numerous pauses for refreshments and break out groups, it felt very easy and even sociable! Sadly, I was unable to attend the post conference party and it seems I missed a humdinger (but it did mean my head was still safe the next morning, unlike some of the participants’!). The idea of an online gathering has sparked a new initiative as explained at the end of Cassandre’s review of the IBO. Do join in!

I hope that wherever you are in the world, this Autumn edition finds all members and their loved ones in good health.

Dear Editor

I am attaching a painting that I recently commissioned from a friend of mine, John Harrold, who drew and painted Rupert the Bear for 30 years in the Daily Express and the annuals.

Rupert was a great part of my childhood and I had my first annual at the age of just two. Rupert was created by Mary Tourtel whose husband worked on the Daily Express. The paper wanted a rival children’s character to Teddy Tail (a mouse) of the Daily Mail and Mary created Rupert in 1920, so Rupert is 100 years old this year. When her eyesight started to fail, Alfred Bestall took over and his work in the newspaper and the annuals went from 1936 to the mid-1970s. After a couple of rather poor annuals drawn by Alex Cubie, John Harrold took over and his work went from 1977 for over 30 years. It is John who I commissioned to do the painting and I thought the Andor Vegh bagpipes looked just the right ones to be playing in the painting. John cursed me, as they are very intricate and he had a hell of a job to paint the detailed pewter inlays. He did a fantastic job I must say. We have had some high quality prints done of the painting and will be making them available very soon. Best Wishes, Mike Billington

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