May 31, 2009

Bagpipe Battle Royale

I've mentioned many times how the tourists swarm on the Mile and I'm sometimes afraid to leave my room during the day. I've also complained often about my buddy, the Bagpiper, who sets up shop down the street from me and toots his pipes all day, everyday. Well, what I haven't told you is that it isn't just one guy. He would probably explode if he played the pipes for that long. They switch posts every hour or so, kind of like the Changing of the Guard. They also don't just stay put, they move around to different spots on the Mile - closer to my flat. This is illegal. There is a law restricting noise on the Lawnmarket stretch of the Royal Mile, meaning no pipers can come higher up then High Street on the Mile... but that doesn't seem to stop them.  And now that it's tourist season, no one seems to care.

Well, I stepped out of the Mylne's Court Close on Sunday afternoon to go buy some groceries.  I didn't make it more than 10 feet down the Mile when I saw a crowd of people gathered.  At first, I figured it was some sort of street performance, but the sidewalk is pretty narrow in front of Deacon's Cafe, and there's car traffic allowed up there, so I took a closer look.  I saw two guys in kilts wrestling each other.  It was two bagpipers fighting over their territory.  How ridiculous?!  The funniest part was that it was a 6' scrawny 15-year-old holding back a 5' scrawny 75-year-old.  You could tell the boy wanted to stick up for himself, but didn't want to hurt the old man, so he just sort of kept him at arm's distance away, as the little old guy fought for his life.  He probably thought the youngun' was disrespecting him and taking over his spot - the spot that he had probably piped in for the past 50 years.  Of course the second thing that goes through my head is that they were on the Lawnmarket stretch and it's illegal for either of them to pipe their anyway.  The first thing that went through my head, naturally, was a Bagpipe Battle Royale!

It got me thinking, that there's probably underground bagpiper gangs, that each have their own territory in Edinburgh.  Like the Old Town gang, the New Town Gang, The Royal Mile Gang, etc.  Just like you would never drop in on a local Hawiian's wave, don't mess with a Scottish piper's turf... or should I say cobblestones?  But this gave me the great idea of having a huge Bagpiper Battle Royale.  Let them all duke it out, they can even use their pipes as weapons, and the last man standing deserves to play wherever he bloody well pleases, the Lawnmarket law be damned!

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