Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shoot! Shoot! That octopus is strangling that man

The further you read, the better this story gets.
Bagpipes provoked Olympic alarm
A bagpipe player sparked a security alert at the Olympics - after Chinese police mistook his musical instrument for "some kind of weapon".

The Borders piper was in China to carry out a sponsored walk along the Great Wall to raise funds for the National Deaf Children's Society.

Mr Aitken said: "I'm not all that good on the pipes [how can you tell?] so I thought I'd go off on my own and have a practice before I had to play in front of the people I was doing the walk with.

"I had a silly soldier's hat on and my kilt and a few locals gathered round and seemed to be enjoying me playing, but just as I finished a police car pulled up with four officers.

"They weren't happy and it emerged that it was heightened security all over China because of the opening ceremony."

It took the intervention of a passer-by to explain to police what the bagpipes were.

"It was pure luck that a tourist guide was passing and stopped them from arresting me by explaining what bagpipes were - they thought the pipes were some kind of weapon," said Mr Aitken. [BBC]
They sure aren't a stealth kind of weapon.

You know what "perfect pitch" is to a bagpipe player? Being able to hit the middle of the lake.


John C. said...

What do you mean, "How can you tell?" Believe me, well-played pipes sound FUNDAMENTALLY different from ill-played pipes; it's just that a lot of people do NOT play them well, but play them in public anyway (it is said that the pipes are one of the easiest instruments in the world to play, but one of the hardest to play well).
As it happens, though, the pipes WERE declared a weapon of war by the British after the 1745 Rebellion, because they were used to raise the martial spirits of the Scots, but it sounds like this was not what the Chinese had in mind...

Daniel said...

"well-played pipes"?

Isn't that an oxymoron, like "jumbo shrimp", "invisible ink" or "live recording"?