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fact I had a long talk with him on one occasion. I said to him ‘John I’m watching you and listening to you playing and I hear you putting in gracenotes and you are actually using light and shade in the way you are playing them, heavy and light. It just seems to bring the music out in the tune.’ He said ‘Yes, that was the way I was taught’. Other peo- ple are quite happy just to get the gracenotes in!


The Oban win meant you could play in the FormerWinners. Yes, I think it was 1965 I won the Marches at Oban and it was two years later that I won the Former Winners. I always remember that you got nothing to show for it, no trophy that your name could go on,no medal even though it was one of the most important prizes in piping. Just a £20 note that soon disappeared when I bought everyone a drink! It’s different now, thankfully.


Did you have the same success at Inverness? I did though band engagements always seemed to clash with the Northern Meeting. I think the first time I played there was in the late 60s. I remember I played P/M John Stewart in the March and I was about second last on and I knew myself I had made a reasonable job of it. I was pretty happy with it and was hopeful


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