20Q

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Q6. How many pipe bands have you played with over the years?

Five. The very first was the band my fa­ther ran and it was called the Cop­per­cliff High­landers Cadet Pipe Band. There were no grades back then but if there were they would likely be grade 5 or grade 4.

Q7. What qual­i­ties does a pipe ma­jor have to have?

A. You’ve got to be a very good player, first and fore­most. You also need the pa­tience of a saint. You have to ad­min­is­ter psy­cho­log­i­cal coun­selling to the wounded egos that you'd deal with. Most good pipers find their way to a lead­er­ship style that works for them. The days of the scream­ing bul­ly­ing pipe ma­jor have long since gone and I was never one of those in the first place.

Q8. How many times have you been to Scot­land?

A. I cant count. It’s be­tween 70 and 80 times. It’s al­ways re­lated to pip­ing.

Q9. Do you have a favourite part of Scot­land to visit?

A. Ev­ery­thing about Scot­land is won­der­ful. Glas­gow is won­der­ful, Ed­in­burgh is great. The low­lands, where my fa­ther was from, is in­cred­i­ble and the west­ern High­lands are breath­tak­ingly beau­ti­ful.

Q10. You’ve com­peted in the World Pipe Band Cham­pi­onships in Ed­in­burgh a num­ber of times. Do you have a favourite mem­ory from there?

A. Of course. Win­ning it in 1987. It changed the course of pipe band his­tory for­ever. We were the first non-Scot­tish band to win the world cham­pi­onship at the Grade 1 level. I think it’s been won 18 or 19 times since by Grade 1 bands out­side Scot­land. Our win opened the door for judges to be more open-minded and say “God almighty, these guys can re­ally play.” We com­peted against a dozen other bands back in 1987 and it was pour­ing buck­ets of rain the en­tire time. To­day there are at least two dozen com­pet­ing at the Grade 1 level.

Q11. You gave up be­ing pipe ma­jor of the 78th Frasers. How come?

A. I stepped away in 2010. My rea­sons for do­ing so are de­tailed in great par­tic­u­lar­ity in my mem­oirs.

Q12. Ah yes. Your mem­oirs are com­ing out and will be avail­able at the High­land Games.When did you start writ­ing them and what’s the name of the book?

A. The first note of first draft is dated Jan­uary, 2011, when I was on va­ca­tion in Bar­ba­dos. So this was a long time com­ing. The ti­tle is Pre­pos­ter­ous: Tales to Fol­low. I have a dear friend in pip­ing who is in love with Italy, as Lil­ian (my wife) and I are. We went on a trip to Italy and my friend asked how it went and I replied “Pre­pos­ter­ous: Tales to Fol­low” and he told me that should be the ti­tle. Af­ter all, I was the son of a coal miner and I some­how man­aged on a ca­reer in law and a great pas­sion for pip­ing and then to have I had the temer­ity to pen a mem­oir. The whole thing is not the nor­mal run of events and I would call that pre­pos­ter­ous.

Q13. How long is the book and what does it cover?

A. 276 pages. It cov­ers pretty much the en­tire arc of my life. From the very get-go up un­til the present time. There’s one chap­ter called Pip­ing Guys I Have Known and it de­tails all the won­der­ful, dif­fi­cult, and funny char­ac­ters you meet in pip­ing and that was a lot of fun to write. Some sec­tions weren’t all that fun though. I’ve had a life­long strug­gle with anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion. I don’t have a bill­board to talk about it but I’m not ashamed about it be­cause it’s a dis­or­der and it’s com­pletely out­side of my con­trol.

Q14. What would you say to peo­ple about de­pres­sion?

A. De­pres­sion isn’t just for losers. You can’t just pull your­self up. Peo­ple would say to me that I have a beau­ti­ful wife, a suc­cess­ful law prac­tice and a great pip­ing ca­reer and they’d say “just get on with it.” But the thing is you can’t pull your­self to­gether. It’s a con­di­tion that needs to be treated and I am grate­ful that my doc­tor has found med-

ica­tion that works for me.

Q15. Will you be sell­ing the book at the Games?

A. Yes, I hope they’ll have a ta­ble set up for me so I can sign the book and maybe they’ll bring me some glasses of Chardon­nay.

Q16. Ad­vice to young peo­ple start­ing in pip­ing?

A. You’d bet­ter make sure you have a nat­u­ral mu­si­cal abil­ity and a nat­u­ral phys­i­cal ap­ti­tude with your hands. Once you’ve got that, you need great in­struc­tion. Then you need to re­al­ize that great mu­sic will sus­tain you for­ever. I’m a case in

point. I’m 75 and I’m still play­ing at a grade 1 level.

Q17. Out­side of pip­ing, do you have any other pas­sions?

A. Phys­i­cal fit­ness. I’ve spent en­tire life run­ning, play­ing squash, weight lift­ing cy­cling.

Q. 18. Do you have any favourite movies or TV shows?

A. I was a fa­natic for Break­ing Bad. And if I’m think­ing fool­ish, Blaz­ing Sad­dles rises to the top of the movie list. If I’m think­ing dark and heavy and great moviemak­ing, the first two God­fa­ther movies qual­ify.

Q19. If you were a High­land Game ath­lete, what would be your spe­cialty?

A. Cy­cling. They do that in Scot­land. They just don't do it at the Cana­dian High­land Games and I won’t say any­thing more about that.

Q20. How did you feel about be­ing asked to be guest of hon­our?

A. Maxville Games are pin­na­cle of High­land Games com­pe­ti­tion in On­tario and per­haps all of Canada. Be­ing asked to be the guest of hon­our in Maxville, which is the pin­na­cle of small town ru­ral On­tario, is an amaz­ing gift.

PRE­POS­TER­OUS, Mr. Liv­ing­stone’s Mem­oir

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