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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 07-15-2019, 09:12 PM   #1
Joseph Diodato
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Default Pierced Pipers?

Piping has always struck me as a culture that is very traditional in some ways, and yet progressive in others.

I wonder if there are any other pierced pipers (or drummers!) in the activity? Do folks take issue with stretched ear lobes, septum rings, etc., or are piercings more of a non-issue? Thinking more so of the competition circuit where appearances and perceptions can matter.

Practice is the best of all instructors. - Publilius Syrus

My Piping Blog- A student's musings on learning the Great Highland Bagpipe.
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:40 AM   #2
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Pierced Pipers?

Just like every other facet of life, there are jerks everywhere. You do you Joe, and let those who focus on appearance filter themselves out. Someone has to remember it’s about the music! For some of us, anyway...

(I have no piercings.)
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Pierced Pipers?

I don't see it as an issue. We have several in our band with tats, piercings, gauges (or whatever those are called), etc. Good pipers and drummers; and nobody cares about anything, as said above, than their music and participation (here, in any event).
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Old 07-16-2019, 12:10 PM   #4
Green Piper
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Default Re: Pierced Pipers?

It shouldn’t matter of course, but I wonder what perceptions may be for paying clientele when the piper for a funeral shows up with multiple piercings and tattoos.

Musicality should prevail.
"Melancholy as the Drone of a Lancashire Bagpipe" (Behn, Aphra 1678. Sir Patient Fancy)
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Old 07-16-2019, 01:42 PM   #5
3D Piper
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Default Re: Pierced Pipers?

I have gotten several gigs based on "we don't want a piper with tats, piercings, or long hair", so I guess some clients out there want a cleaner looking performer.. Interestingly enough, they did not mention skill level.

Speaking of piercings: just today I had surgery to remove an ulcer on my left vocal cord (yes! ouch!). The anesthesiologist was talking to me about piercings (I have none) and mentioned if I ever get a tongue piercing to get a plastic one. He said the metal ones continually knock at the back of your teeth and sometimes chip off the enamel (possibly leading to losing the tooth). I had never heard that before!


(in recovery)
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: Pierced Pipers?

Matthew, I,too, have had similar requests. Apparently there is a piper in our area who has tattoos that can be seen, even with the kilt uniform on. Some people don't want to see tattoos, piercings, purple or green hair, etc at a funeral or especially at a wedding.
Carpe Diem
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:32 PM   #7
piper Q
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Default Re: Pierced Pipers?

Other than some noticeable scarring and deformities from injuries, I do not have any modifications or skin art. However, I know a few pipers and drummers who do, and they are technically proficient in their craft.

As for the people seeking pipers and drummers for an event or occasion, they may have a preconceived notion of how all pipers and drummers should appear and wish to hold us as a community to that standard. Yes, I know it is a silly notion, considering the number of other professionals I've worked with in the Armed Forces, Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services who have visible tattoos and piercings and still provide exemplary service in their chosen fields.

I may do a double take if I see a piper with large gauge earlobe adornments, and stare some. But usually after getting to know the individual and their qualities the body adornment becomes a secondary attribute. However, you'll find as you travel about to some events, most participants will tend to tone down or not wear some items as it can be a distraction. Maybe not so much for their playing abilities, but if in competition, to the Judges who'll be watching style and technique as well as listening for the quality of performance.

We're as much a visually centered society as we rely on the sounds we hear.
Breaching the peace? What bagpipes officer?

Last edited by piper Q; 07-16-2019 at 08:34 PM. Reason: correct spelling error.
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Old 07-17-2019, 08:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: Pierced Pipers?

Reading the posts above, perhaps this is a regional thing. However, there were some good points regarding requests for pipers at some events (e.g., funerals). Again, I don't see that as an issue in the Northwest, though perhaps I've just not seen or heard of objections.

On a related note, however, there have been some expectations regarding uniforms. Many players now wear what might be called 'civilian' uniforms; yet there are many non-players/hiring individuals who still want to see someone in 'military' (e.g., Full Dress/No. 1) kit.
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: Pierced Pipers?

Darn! I guess I can't wear my utilikilt and combat boots?

Originally Posted by piper Q View Post

As for the people seeking pipers and drummers for an event or occasion, they may have a preconceived notion of how all pipers and drummers should appear and wish to hold us as a community to that standard.
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Old 07-17-2019, 02:30 PM   #10
Andrew Lenz
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Default Re: Pierced Pipers?

I think it's proper form to let the client know what they are getting in advance of the event. As much as they are buying music, they are also buying a performer. The music may be great, but if it's done in jeans and a T-shirt, they are going to be disappointed—that's where the performer aspect comes in. Or maybe the groom's evil ex-girlfriend is a tall redhead and a tall female redhead bagpiper would be a bad reminder at the wedding. It's up to the client.

A few competition judges might have prejudices. These days tattoos and piercings are becoming more common. That said, many businesses have dress codes that restrict the appearance of employees that represent them—the feeling is that such things may make a subset of their customers uncomfortable. That translates somewhat into the piping realm since it's simply a slice of society. Personally, while I just a person by their actions and not their appearance, I can't help but be grossed out by some piercings or giant earlobe stretchers—my natural reaction is "ooo, that looks painful"—but that why folks do it, right? To look cool and get a reaction?

Andrew T. Lenz, Jr.
www.BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." ---Mark Twain
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