The squawl^H^H^H^H^H^Hskirl of the pipes...

This post is more than 17 years old.

Posted at 16:03 on 20 October 2006

We are being treated to some Highland bagpipe, erm, entertainment, this afternoon, from a busker in a kilt and a T-shirt just outside our offices.

It is absolutely excruciating.

Now before my readers north of the border burn me at the stake for being a Sassenach heretic, let me hasten to add that bagpipes can sound good in the right setting. At the Highland Games in Braemar, for instance, or at a wedding, when they're played by someone with a bit of talent. Or, of course, on a Delirious? album.

Unfortunately, they never sound good just outside your offices. Especially when you're a geek up to your ears in computer code and trying to concentrate.

Besides which, you need quite a bit of talent on the bagpipes if you don't want to sound like you're trying to give a cat a bath. And this gentleman doesn't have an awful lot of that. He keeps making mistakes, with the result that it sounds at best like the musical equivalent of a teenager's typo-ridden MySpace blog, and at worst like Vogon poetry.

In any case, he seems to be ignorant of one particularly important fact about Scottish culture. Kilts are formal dress. They only have the desired effect when worn as part of the full Highland regalia. Combining one with a T-shirt is on the same part of the bad taste scale as the combination of shorts and socks and open-toed sandals on a fifty year old obese American.