Friday, January 27, 2017

The Tattoo

This is a very bad tattoo.
I think it's Freddie Mercury suffering from some kind of rigor.

I however, went to a very good tattoo. More this type of thing.
Edinburgh  has a very famous tattoo of course, all castles and history and outdoors.
As few Glaswegians would survive the weather,  the first Glasgow International Tattoo was indoors.
We have, as many cities do, an area down by the river that sports an exhibition centre ( exactly what it sounds like), the Armadillo ( Sydney opera house in miniature) and the Hydro - a weird circular building with fantastic acoustics.
The seats are steeply banked in a semi circle - notorious for making folk dizzy - but the view is great. The arena below can be seated for Andre Roux, empty for dancing to Rod Stewart or a pretend esplanade for the tattoo, complete with castle backdrop.
Now, logistically, with 10 pipe/drum/flute bands... there is a lot of folk down there, so there was as much room behind the 'castle' as in front.

At one point  a cast of Riverdance types appeared. I have never got out my head that comedian who said  Riverdance  should be the first wave of any intervention of the UN. I mean, imagine that lot coming over the hill,  dancing,  heads bobbing knees going sideways. Everybody would lay down their arms and a clap resulting in world peace.
This was the advance party of the night.

The first piper appeared at the door..... we lifted the roof, we got very patriotic and  joined them in song about beating up the English or being beaten up by the English.
We had to be careful as the band of the Royal Marines was on the programme with some dangerous looking tubas.

As you may know, Alan used to  drum in a world championship pipe band. He said doing this marching into Anchor shape tattoo type performance is very simple; follow the guy in front and don't look up, he will be following somebody else.   Alan's biggest tattoo performance was in..... Israel!

A Scottish drummer and a Indian Drummer having drum off in the style of duelling banjos.

I really hated this. This is not Scottish, Scottish highland dancing or even country dancing does not lend itself to  lining up and poncing around. There are some blokes in there. They are wearing black jackets with their skirts.

The Riverdance type people making a dash for the exit, you might just be able to make out the tiny one third from the back, dancing as quick as possible to make it out the arena before she was run over by the marching souza band.

Bagpipes? Tick. Tartan? Tick?
Scottish? no. Spanish!

The Royal Marines, life on the Ocean Wave etc.

This was a Dutch marching band who did incredibly complicated marching routines, hence the conductor on a podium.

The Irish flute band.  A bit more ragged marching but boy could they play.
I think they were from Vow and Deloy on the Emerald Isle.

And the secret drum core with their precision drumming. Its interesting that precision drumming is always Swiss or German .... and by the way, they weren't that secret because they were right there in front of us.

At the end, everybody in the arena.... all playing Oh Flower Of Scotland.....( That's the one about sending the English home to think again!)

Much  fun.

Caro Ramsay  27th Jan 2017


  1. It's too bad Tim Hallinan doesn't still hang out around here regularly. I hear that he really enjoys The Little Drummer Boy.

  2. Donald Trump will claim that this was about him. There were more people on the stage than at his inauguration.

  3. Hervé Jean-Pierre Villechaize would be proud of his namesake.

  4. Glad that the tattoo you enjoyed was the latter and not the former, Caro!