I recently learned two things: one of which is that I will never, ever be able to get a note out of a bagpipe. The second? That bagpipers are incredibly talented – and strong of lung.
A few Scottish pipers stopped by Toner's Pub – a classic – for a couple of pints and gave me an authentic experience of how to master the bagpipe.
I told them to give me a few minutes to get it down but, as it turns out, it takes years. (Who knew?)
I got a few horrid squeaks out, to say the least, and it made me appreciate the Scots who make this look so damn easy.
Just imagine the mad prospect of an American girl playing pipes in the basement of an Irish pub. I definitely got some odd looks.
Yer man was raving about The World Pipe Band Championships, which took place in early August. Once I recovered from my dizziness, nausea and frustration of "making music", I listened in on what it's all about.
Apparently, this year marked the 30th anniversary of the event, and it sounded like Glascow was buzzing. There were 235 bands, from 15 different nations – about 8,000 pipers and drummers.
That makes 8,000 people just in one city who have somehow mastered an instrument I can't even hold onto properly.
"It stirs the blood like nothing else."
Gordon Boag, Communications Officer of Glasgow Life
It sounds like the Worlds were quite the friendly weekend event – sadly, my piping skills wouldn't quite be up for taking part next year, but they told me that if I work really hard on my technique, I could be ready around 2045.
Big shoutout to the ol' Scottish men for their patient instructions – it's not you; it's me.