Stage dive by Davy Armstrong

In The early eighties, I was part of a duo that was scheduled to open for the Battlefield Band at the Bermuda Folk Club. As openers, we had neither a sound check nor much if any room on the stage (which was occupied by multiple instruments, all belonging to the headline act). Our first tune was to be an instrumental of “Carrick Fergus” on the whistle and guitar.

As I raised the whistle to the mic and mid way through what should have been a soulful opening refrain, I realized that only three legs of my chair were perched on the stage. Too late, I fell off the stage and plunged my right elbow through the rear end of a custom made guitar that was resting on a stand on the floor. This fine instrument belonged to a very large and understandably animated member of the Battlefield Band (Mr. McNeil). We gently explained to the audience that we wished we were in Carrick Fergus and spent the next five minutes peeling the guitar off of my elbow. We made it out alive, lived to tell the tale and thanked the Bermuda Folk Club for their robust insurance policy.

Davey Armstrong

MK Whistle Story

On recieving my original MK whistle, the pipe band was asked to perform at a Tattoo in South Korea, so as with any gig that i’m piping at, the MK Low D came with me. Performing the festival tune on a Low D with a load of Korean Musicians was brilliant. Shame it never ended up in the show.

D

Stuck up a water tower in Timbuktu by Misha Somerville

I decided to climb a water tower.  Half way up I started to question my plan; perhaps unsurprisingly ladders always seem to get more difficult as you get higher.  I avoided looking down until some locals started shouting at me.  I looked up to see how much further I had to go and spotted four or five owls higher up on the ladder where it was enclosed by the water tank.  Just at that second a volley of owl shit rained down on me.  I laughed at the absurdity of the situation – covered in owl shit and stuck half way up a water tower in Timbuktu – I had just wanted a good view from the top of the Water Tower.  In any case it became obvious that climbing back down would probably be a good idea.
Such was Timbuktu – you’ve got to make your own entertainment.  Fortunately I had good company; I’d met a French guy Damien on the cargo boat, and had been sharing laughs and hassles since then.  Later on I was playing some music – a few tunes on the whistle, out on the roof of one of the village’s mud houses.  As it turned out Damien was a really good juggler and there was soon a crowd of people watching us.  They stood keeping a distance, watching us like we were some sort of wild animal, until one little boy plucked up the courage to come closer.  He walked slowly, stopping every so often until he was up on the roof and a few yards away from us, and there he stayed – mesmerised – while the others dared not come any closer.   Although interesting to me at the time, I didn’t realise how much this little experience might influence and inspire ideas in the future.

I decided to climb a water tower.  Half way up I started to question my plan; perhaps unsurprisingly ladders always seem to get more difficult as you get higher.  I avoided looking down until some locals started shouting at me.  I looked up to see how much further I had to go and spotted four or five owls higher up on the ladder where it was enclosed by the water tank.  Just at that second a volley of owl shit rained down on me.  I laughed at the absurdity of the situation – covered in owl shit and stuck half way up a water tower in Timbuktu – I had just wanted a good view from the top of the Water Tower.  In any case it became obvious that climbing back down would probably be a good idea.

Such was Timbuktu – you’ve got to make your own entertainment.  Fortunately I had good company; I’d met a French guy Damien on the cargo boat, and had been sharing laughs and hassles since then.  Later on I was playing some music – a few tunes on the whistle, out on the roof of one of the village’s mud houses.  As it turned out Damien was a really good juggler and there was soon a crowd of people watching us.  They stood keeping a distance, watching us like we were some sort of wild animal, until one little boy plucked up the courage to come closer.  He walked slowly, stopping every so often until he was up on the roof and a few yards away from us, and there he stayed – mesmerised – while the others dared not come any closer.   Although interesting to me at the time, I didn’t realise how much this little experience might influence and inspire ideas in the future.

Extract from Bamako Boom Boom by Misha Somerville.



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