I’ll Give You Five Dollars To Stop Playing

All morning long, I’d been looking forward to going outside for lunch on this beautiful end-of-summer day, getting a slice of pizza (from Jack’s), taking it to the Confederation Centre concrete lawn, sitting down and eating it.  I was looking forward to listening to my iPod, sitting and eating a slice of pizza, and watching the people walk by.
It was all ruined by a bagpiper.  Yep.  I got my slice, went to the Confed Centre, sat down, all the while listening to various songs on the iPod.  Then the bagpiper started.  Or, more likely, continued. And wouldn’t stop.
Let me tell you right now that I enjoy a good bagpiping.  In its proper circumstance, there’s nothing more lovely than a piper piping.  Okay, well not “lovely”.  How about stirring?  I’m of Scottish heritage and have a special place in my heart for the pipes (not so much with haggis), in its place. There’s nothing more stirring (yeah, “stirring” works) than a piper leading a regiment of Scottish Highlander soldiers off to battle, for instance.  Or the image of a loan piper, kilted the whole nine yards, playing out in the glade on a misty, foggy morning.  It’ll get me every time.  Or, at least, once in a while.
But when I hear the pipes in unexpected and unwanted places, such as by the round benches in front of the Confed Centre on Queen Street, in the middle of a work day, I don’t long for the hearth and heather.  I long for a poisoned dart.  The problem with the pipes is that the sound travels so far.  You can be hundreds of yards away, and the sound still pierces your ears like a banshee’s scream pierces the night.  Like the news of Jon Bonet’s not-murderer’s capture, there’s no escaping.  Especially when the piper isn’t very good, as this guy was (or is it “wasn’t”?).  It sounded like he was hitting random notes.  Random high-squawking notes of no particular melody.  And of no particular rhythm.  And it travelled all over the community, on the wings of the fresh late-summer breeze.  Ugh.  Not even Rob Zombie’s Dragula through the headphones could dilute the noise.
Go ahead and busk.  Just use an acoustic guitar is all I ask. Or juggling pins, if you must.  Or get white-faced and mime (can’t believe I’m longing for the silent busking of that mime guy!!) and get caught in an invisible box (outside the box – see previous post).  Just do something that limits your range of influence.  Don’t go and spoil the whole neighbourhood.
So, anyway, thanks, bagpiper.  Thanks for ruining my anticipated lunch hour.


  1. Steverino says:

    I thought, for sure, that you were going to post about the clarinet man. The title, the location… but nope. ‘Twas about a piper. I can’t say I’ve seen/heard this chap. For this, I’m glad. I pity anyone working within earshot.


  2. dylan says:

    Things could be worse Rob. You could have been working all day at Lightning Bolt Comics. Which is only about a half block away from the bagpiper. Then you would have had to listen to him all fricking afternoon. Luckily I’m well trained from the Confederation Center Brass playing all summer and can mostly tune it out. That and throwing on some loud music helps.


  3. Rob says:

    I was thinking of you, Dylan, and wondered if the squeals and squawks would have made their way down to your lair.


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