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Death by bagpipe

JennieG 11 Mar 13 - 04:52 PM
GUEST,highlandman at work 11 Mar 13 - 05:10 PM
JohnInKansas 11 Mar 13 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,Calum 11 Mar 13 - 08:47 PM
gnu 11 Mar 13 - 10:06 PM
frogprince 11 Mar 13 - 11:30 PM
JennieG 12 Mar 13 - 12:32 AM
Wolfhound person 12 Mar 13 - 05:44 AM
Jim McLean 12 Mar 13 - 07:21 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 12 Mar 13 - 09:48 AM
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Subject: Death by bagpipe
From: JennieG
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 04:52 PM

Many many years ago when Himself worked at a tyre factory, a bloke bought in a set of pipes with a request for a bag made of rubber. When the tartan cover was removed and the bag cut open - with the owner's permission - the smell nearly knocked out everyone in the room......years of accumulated smoke (said owner was a smoker), alcohol, mould......unfortunately the rubber bag experiment didn't work.

Then today I read this article to him and it brought all that smell back.

Makes my ukulele seem positively angelic by comparison.


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Subject: RE: Death by bagpipe
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 05:10 PM

Yikes! I've always been reasonably good about cleaning my pipes, just out of fear of something like that happening, but I never knew of an actual case!
I use a hide bag and natural seasoning; before putting the seasoning in I slosh some alcohol (not the expensive stuff tho) around in it and dump it out. Not for human consumption!
And I'm compulsive about keeping the blowpipe McValve clean. Ick!
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Death by bagpipe
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 07:52 PM

A harmonica from my childhood days, dug out afer half a century of neglect, showed a rather disturbing layer of "fluffy stuff" on the reeds and reed plates. It wouldn't have been easily visible except that one of the cover plates was bent and I pulled it off to see if I could straighten it. (In the condition when I found it, a quick gliss up or down might have left me short one lip.)

I was really glad I looked at trying for the fix before I tried to see if it was still playable. I can't say that playing it would have made me sick, but looking at the crud after I'd played it certainly would have.

A survey of instruments in the wind section of a typical high school band/orchestra likely will find quite a few instruments with "peculiar odors" (some quite strong) but few of them are played in a way that involves "backflow" of air through them. Whether that reduces the risk enough to justify ignoring them in the customary manner might be worth some analysis. (At least a study for some bright kid's science fair project?)

John


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Subject: RE: Death by bagpipe
From: GUEST,Calum
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 08:47 PM

What a load of shite (that's a notional pipe major talking, not me, of course).

Frankly, pipers are pretty lax in their hygiene routines and if the bagpipe were really any sort of risk they would be dropping like flies. I find it far more likely Shone infected his pipes than vice versa.


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Subject: RE: Death by bagpipe
From: gnu
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 10:06 PM

In case the link fails to work in future... as is recommended by "the powers that be"... allow me to quote the link...

Beware the dangers that lurk deep inside the bagpipe.

Today via ProMed-Mail, I read about the case of 77-year-old John Shone, an expert classical bagpiper from Wiltshire, England. While preparing for an upcoming performance, Shone fell sick and was hospitalized for four weeks with a near-fatal lung infection.


Doctors were stumped by what was sickening Shone, who found himself "extremely tired and slowly fading away," according to The Scotsman. But then a consultant questioned him about his hobbies -- and discovered his love of Highland music.

Shone's son fetched his bagpipe and pathologists discovered "a heavy growth of fungal cultures lurking inside," The Scotsman reports -- and the spores were being inhaled by Shone as he practised. Having finally identified the culprit making Shone sick, his doctors were then able to prescribe him medication that worked.


According to Shone -- who is now recovering but about 14 pounds lighter -- he had neglected to clean out his bagpipes for about 18 months.

His experience has led the Piping Times -- considered the "bible of the bagpiping world, according to The Scotsman -- to issue a warning about the potential perils of dirty pipes.

As for Shone, he is now back to playing his favourite instrument -- and, presumably, improving his bagpipe hygiene habits.


Jennifer Yang is the Toronto Star's global health reporter. She previously worked as a general assignment reporter and won a NNA in 2011 for her explanatory piece on the Chilean mining disaster. Follow her on Twitter: @jyangstar

No. No need to thank me. I take pleasure in doing my superhero duties ensuring wisdom for the masses is never lost by getting stuck on a satellite or debited from existence when a server account payment is late. The thanks I get is just being a superhero, knowing I have served well.

Carry on, citizens. Blow your reeds at will and do so safely. I am off to save countless others from instrumental demise. It is my duty as a SUPERheroooooo.


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Subject: RE: Death by bagpipe
From: frogprince
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 11:30 PM

True, it quite likely started with Shone infecting the pipes. But that could have been with a little something incidental in his breath. Then the stuff runs rampant in a nice fertile medium for awhile, and pretty soon he's getting consistent doses of a nice concentrated mess.


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Subject: RE: Death by bagpipe
From: JennieG
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 12:32 AM

Thank you, gun!


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Subject: RE: Death by bagpipe
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 05:44 AM

A better argument for preferring the bellows-blown pipes I have never heard!

Paws


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Subject: RE: Death by bagpipe
From: Jim McLean
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 07:21 AM

I played the pipes throughout Europe, Turkey and Egypt in 1959/60, making reeds out of whatever was available and keeping the bag tight by sloshing the inside with beer. I never suffered once from any infection before the bag was eventually replaced back home in Scotland. I never saw the inside of the bag and it was probably just as well.


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Subject: RE: Death by bagpipe
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 09:48 AM

Actually, if the blowpipe valve is working correctly (and if not the thing is a bastard to play) the airflow should be one-way.
But still.
-G


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