Complaints dept.

I heard a “news” item the other day about a survey of who the world’s biggest complainers are. The Swiss came in a first, the British second, Australians third, and Canadians a solid fourth. Not sure how the data was derived, but I’m surprised that Canada is so low on the list.

I don’t mind people who complain – as long as they actually try to do something about whatever it is they’re complaining about, and they’re not complaining about something, like the weather, that can’t be helped. I constantly complain about inert complainers, so I complain to them that they should trying doing something about whatever it is they’re complaining about rather than just complain. Follow?

Americans are great, productive complainers. Most Americans will complain about something but then demand that it be changed. They’re also not afraid to be heard. Canadians, on the other hand, will often just mutter to themselves and stew in their mysery, afraid to create a scene or be any trouble to anyone. Most Americans revel in confrontation; most Canadians avoid it at any cost.

And that is the single biggest culture divide between Americans and pretty much the rest of the world. Inert-complaining Europeans and Canadians, like the Swiss, can’t understand how Americans will actually demand that they get what they want, and follow through on their complaining with action.

The piping and pipe band world(s) are full of complainers who don’t like many of the antiquated, unethical and often bizarre customs we face. The most progressive associations are the ones where complaining comes with the courage to be heard and to act to make positive change.

If and when American piping and drumming eventually leads the world, that will be one the main reasons why.



Just thinking about tune titles. A good tune title is hard to beat. I can’t stand the jokey, hokey ones that generally get put on tunes that are as bad as their names. A great tune always but always has a good name. A bad tune title makes me lose interest in the tune fast.

My favourite name for a tune is “A Cup of Tea,” which was applied to the really excellent two-parted reel. Anyone who drinks tea knows that there’s sometimes nothing better than a cup of tea. It goes down quickly. It quenches thirst, makes you want another cup, but more than just the right amount is too much.

The tune rolls off the fingers. It’s just the right length, and you want to hear it again, but three times gets a bit much.

Of course, there’s also the expression Not my cup of tea. But the reel and title and a cup of tea itself are mine. Perfect.


Miles better

Glasgow really is a great city. My comments before were just a few observations, and, yeah, they were a bit negative. As with things like that, the positive sometimes gets overlooked. Here are some very positive things about Glasgow, at least to me, for whatever they’re worth:

Even with the long red-light-waits, it’s easy to get around by car or, even better, on foot. What’s more, people don’t mind walking, which is far different from Toronto where people often drive a block to get a pint of milk.

Style. Glasgow does have great style. People are more interesting and friendly than other parts of Scotland, and certainly more friendly than most Torontonians.

The parks. Glasgow Green, Kelvingrove, Bellahouston. Glasgow has lots of green space.

Very few Scots talking with an English accent. Edinburgh’s got lots of Englishified Scots claiming to be proud to be Scottish, but Glaswegians are proud to be and sound like like they’re from Glasgow. Is what it is.

It’s where my mother was brought up. She was raised right in the city around WW2 and weathered that storm except for a brief evactuation to the Pitlochry area. She went to Glasgow University. I’m half-Weegie and will never forget that, zombies, smog, four-quid lattes and all.