I Hear Bagpipes!

“I hear bagpipes!”  Those three words are guaranteed to convulse my friends and me with laughter.

Yes, there’s a rational explanation. (Or at least as rational as I ever get.) It’s a reference to a little-known Canadian movie, “Men With Brooms”, starring and directed by Canadian actor Paul Gross, and I was reminded of it when I got a bagpipe-related joke in my email this week.

The movie is spiced with oddball glimpses of waddling beavers, and a lone bagpiper is frequently seen and heard for no apparent reason.  It also contains one of my favourite lines of dialog ever:  “How could you forget about three hundred pounds of defecating menace?!?”  The whole movie is like that:  Funny, irreverent, and well to the left of weird.  It never fails to make me laugh.

I was a child when I heard bagpipes for the first time. We were attending a funeral in our little country church, and the bereaved family had engaged two pipers who marched down the aisle in full cry.  (Or should that be ‘full tortured-cat-screaming hell-shriek’?)

Good Lord. If anybody didn’t have religion before the pipers started, they’d have been praying by the time they were done.  Bagpipes should be deployed from a safe distance, not used as a close-quarters weapons.  The sound was so deafening in the small space, I thought my poor pulverized brain was going to leak out my ears.

But ever since “Men With Brooms”, whenever one of our group hears bagpipes, we take it as a sign that it’s time to get together and watch the movie again.  Sadly, we’re now spread across four provinces so the get-together is out; but one of these days I’ll pour myself a nice cold quintessentially-Canadian beer, dust off the DVD, and laugh over some bagpipes and beavers.

To quote another line from the show, “We’re talkin’ the kind with teeth, right?”


Book 16 update:  I took a much-needed two-week vacation after Book 15 was released, but now Book 16 is knocking at my mental doors.  Plotting begins this week!

61 thoughts on “I Hear Bagpipes!

  1. “laugh over some bagpipes and beavers.”–I wouldn’t expect anything less from you! 😄

    You just released your fifteenth book? That’s incredible. Congratulations! As I said over on my blog comment to you, I’m beaucoup impressed!


    • Thank you! That means a lot coming from you. 🙂 I’m impressed at the way you tackled your second series, and a cozy mystery, too! I don’t have enough bandwidth in my brain to work on more than one project at a time. I have first chapters written for two other series projects, but no brainpower left to tackle them. Maybe someday…


      • Thank you, but I worked on them separately. While one was being beta read, I shifted to the other. While the second was being beta read, I made revisions on the first. And so on. I’ve started something new for my agent now, and it’s nice to focus on just one project for a change. Of course, there’s a part of me itching to start book 3 in my series.

        Stay safe and healthy up there. You guys have done far better than us. I’m thinking that depending on how things go in our November election, I might be taking a one-way trip to the moon. 😉


  2. I hear bagpipes must be the Canadian version of I hear banjos.
    I love the pipes. Massed pipes and drums make a parade. Pipes are truly an instrument of war. And the Scots were/are some of the finest warriors.


  3. My Dad used to play the pipes and I have to admit I don’t mind them at all. However, I once video recorded his group at an indoor performance and yes, the bagpipes are really not meant for an indoor venue. They are LOUD! I did a quick research and here’s a quote: “As a musical instrument of war, the first mention of the bagpipes appears to date from 1549 at the Battle of Pinkie, when the pipes replaced trumpets to help inspire the Highlanders into battle. It is said that the shrill and penetrating sound worked well in the roar of battle and that the pipes could be heard at distances of up to 10 miles away.” No wonder your brain wanted to leak out from your ears!


    • TEN MILES?!? Yikes, that explains a few things. I think it’s also significant that they were classified as “instruments of war”. 😉 Jokes aside, though, they’re a fascinating instrument and I like the sound of them… at a distance.


  4. We lived a block from the Co-op grocery store and in the evenings this guy would walk around the empty parking lot practicing the “pipes”. Fortunately, by the end of summer he wasn’t half bad. But yes, Diane, bagpipes should only be heard from a distance! Miss you here in Manitoba! Hugs!


  5. As you know, down east we think bagpipes are a necessity for weddings, funerals, parades, grand openings, tourist events and even at grocery stores. My favourite joke, in case I haven’t yet subjected you to it, is “what’s the difference between bagpipes and an onion?” “Nobody cries when you cut up the bagpipes” …

    You amaze me with your drive and enthusiasm for jumping right back into writing!


  6. I can appreciate the brain leaking out your ears reference. Yikes to listening to that inside a church. Wowza. I think i saw the movie a very long time ago. Sounds like a good dose of Canadiana laughter.


  7. I could see – based on your descriptions – why this movie cracks you up. I’ll have to check it out myself, one day. The humor sounds a bit Monty Python-y. I hope you had a nice, relaxing, and rewarding vacation, Diane! I can’t believe you are ready to dive in again! Phew… Have fun with the plotting. You sure are on a roll.


    • I’m not sure whether you’d call it a “roll” or a “compulsion”. I’m very lucky to be able to make a living doing something I love!

      The movie is a bit Monty Python-y, but it has a plot and some character development, too. Good fun! 🙂


  8. Diane;
    First – thanks for Book 15 which I really enjoyed reading!
    Second – if you can’t find bag-pipes someone learning to play violin or tuba will at least temporarily traumatize the dogs. I know this because over the years parents around the neighbourhood have sent their children out to practice at the playground RIGHT BEHIND our house. To save their own ears. The tuba player was, it seemed required to play for 40 minutes per afternoon. In the two months he was out there EVERY school day until the weather cooled enough to freeze his lips to the mouthpiece he had not improved despite the practice or his continued enthusiasm.
    The child whose favorite toy was a portable karaoke machine and who decided the top of the jungle-gym was a lovely stage was more entertaining even tho’ the only song she ever sang was “Hot Diggetty, Dog Diggetty, Boom What You Do to Me”! That only got the dogs barking madly! Really! Every Time!
    – Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the reminder! That movie has been exported to Sweden as well. I am the proud owner of a Men with Brooms-dvd. It is an important part of the Canadian education your sister has given me. Hilarious even if I am pretty sure I only understood half of jokes 😉
    I will watch it, enjoy a cold beer with you through time and space, and make a toast to your wonderful country.


  10. Bagpipe music always, but always makes my eyes leak.
    That movie sounds right up my alley though. Which, given I really don’t do movies, says a lot.
    I might not do movies but I do do quirky and irreverant. Both have kept me from drowning more than once. My sense of humour leans firmly to the dark side.


    • Dark humour is far better than no humour. If it keeps the demons at bay, it’s all good.

      It’s odd how some types of music connect directly to the tear ducts. It must be the wild and lonely sound of bagpipes that does it.


  11. Your government has seen fit to keep the border closed until at least the end of July to keep the infectious hordes to south out of your country. A very smart move, but it still leaves me longing to go north for a cold Molson or LaBatt’s or better yet, a Puppers Premium Lager and listen to the local chatter. If I got lucky, the Pipes and Drums of Thunder Bay or the Macgillivray Pipe Band and their Whiskey Tasting Night fundraiser might be happening, but the Covid-19 has put the kibosh on all that. There’s something comforting, in a twisted way, about the ear-splitting shriek of the pipes heard in its native habitat. Now I’m all depressed!


  12. I think bagpipes are OK when heard in the distance, Diane, echoing on the wind. They sound better like that. Close up, they sound like they’re constantly being retuned and refilled with wind that’s squeezing its way through any hole it shouldn’t, and almost but not quite flat. Not that I’m musically minded, mind, and with my track record with musical instruments I probably shouldn’t comment, but have to on occasion should someone decide they need my help to make them sound better. 😳😨😖
    Do the beavers like the bagpipes?


  13. The only real downside I can find to being a Native Texan is that I don’t have a single piper amongst my acquaintances. Of course, there are others who would proclaim that to be an advantage. Perhaps history will decide… 🙂

    Book 16? BOOK SIXTEEN is on the horizon? Once again, if nobody has told you today that you rock, please allow me to be the first!

    Book Sixteen…(walks away muttering quietly, eyes unfocused, shaking head in appreciative wonder and disbelief)


  14. I could do with a laugh so may have to look up the film.

    I started back working from home it’s been kinda fun I’ve been doing lots of courses I did a course and finished it today, it was called world of spies.

    It was about ciphers and encryption, I did it in 4days but its a 4 week course.

    Stay safe all

    Does happy dance there will be a book 16, I can wait for it


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