According to our former MP, Eric Joyce, Falkirk is the constituency in Scotland that most closely resembles the country as a whole - that is, in terms of demographics and economics, we're proportionately as close to the whole of the country as anywhere. That being the case, it's probably fitting that Camelon & District, being a Falkirk-based band, so closely resemble Scotland as a whole's sporting prowess - typically oscillating between humiliating disaster and the most narrow, painful defeat, with the occasional minor success, just to keep the flame of hope painfully flickering...
Yesterday was the Scottish Pipe Band Championships, and it was another of our narrow, painful defeats. Following the Europeans, we had put in a lot of hard work to adjust our style and to tighten things up. And following our successes last week, we were confident of a success. Of course, it being a major championship there was a need for us to pass a qualifying round, but with 6 bands out of 14 going through, surely that couldn't be a problem, could it?
Well, I think we know the answer to that one!
Actually, I didn't think the performance was particularly bad - it seemed to be at a nice tempo, it seemed to start pretty well, and all in all I thought it was okay. Though many of the other people in the band didn't seem to think so - when we came off the mood was pretty depressed.
In the end, we were 7th out of 14, missing qualification by a single place. We were 9th and 7th in piping, 3rd in drumming, and 8th for ensemble. (That said, although this sounds like a narrow defeat, it's not all that narrow - that gives us 27 points, where the bands that were fifth and sixth scored 21 each. So we would have had to be significantly better to nudge one of them out.)
The one mote of good news in that was that our failure to qualify meant that I was able to head home early, and so avoided a fairly cold and unpleasant afternoon. But that's scant comfort - I would much rather have been there.
Oh well. Five competitions to go to the end of the season, including one major. Alas, there's little chance of us qualifying at the Worlds, given that only four of twenty bands go through. But that's okay - gives us a chance just to enjoy the remaining few weeks.
#37: "Matter", by Iain M. Banks