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.                             Report by Jock Agnew

Dress was generally informal - characterised not by hodden grey, but by denim blue. This added to the relaxed and friendly atmosphere which was already imbued/kindled/inspired by the organisation/programme/eating/seating arrangements as well as by the Chair itself

(Jim Gilchrist). And the place? The upstairs room of the Blind Poet pub in Nicholson Street, Edinburgh. The Immortal memory was given by Kirsty McCue, broadcaster, singer and                    former director of the Scottish Music Information Centre. It was both erudite and witty and -crown of all crowns - ended with her singing “Ay Waukin O”. I don’t think there was a musical ear in the room that would not cheerfully have sacrificed some of the Immortal memories for more of the melodic ones. It was superb. As is ever the case with LBPS Burns suppers, the emphasis was on music rather than musings. The Immortal memory over, on came the pipes.

Iain MacInnes, playing impeccably as ever, on smallpipes (with strict adherence to Burns associated tunes) started us off. Later John Saunders on keyed smallpipes to demonstrate the use of high ‘B’ for ‘Banks and Braes’ and ‘Duncan Gray’, after which he switched to Border pipes with a variety of tunes including some with nimble cross-fingering.

Andy Hunter sang ‘Whistle Owre the Lave O’t’ - an old traditional pipe/fiddle tune now widely used for the Highland dance Sean Truibhs. Later, after an interval of piping, he sang ‘The Collier Laddie’, a Folksong collected by Burns and notable for its egalitarian content - and perhaps the only reference to the (then early) mining industry. The sympathetic acoustics of the place enhanced Andy’s rich voice.

Then the raffle. What would any gathering be without a raffle. Julian Goodacre moved among us with great persuasion, pointing out that the first prize was a bottle of malt, the box of which would exactly hold a smallpipe chanter in ‘A’. Would the winner please keep the whisky and let him have the box.... BUT, the winning ticket - Mercy Me! - was his. The unflappable Julian flapped. He turned to the Chair for guidance and said “What will I do? What will I do?”. “Take the whisky” came a chorus - so he did.

The formalities concluded, the rot set in. Did I mention that the bar was open? There was time for a drink and a crack. A set of Border pipes started up. Others joined in. A cittern appeared, a fiddle, a flute (Barbara Mooney had earlier accompanied Gordon as they played a selection of Border tunes to start the evening and get us into the mood). Smallpipes hovered on the edges. Familiar tunes were given the treatment - and some not so familiar. Numbers thinned as guests left to catch trains; relieve baby sitters; trudge home. The 01.00 bar extension still held a few sparks of life when I took my leave - by no means the last.

It was a good evening, Jim. Thanks for your hard work.