The present recession in the UK and bad weather have seriously affected the bagpipe farmers of Scotland.
Angus MacStonedeef, head of the Scottish Bagpipe Farmers Association, with the help of a sign-language expert, explained to our reporter that waning popularity, global political stability and bad press have resulted in a slump in the market.
"The relative costs of growing the instrument what with the rising price of insecticides and so on and the bitter winter we have had this year certainly haven't helped. Sadly, as with many firms such as ours, sales are very much dependent on areas of political unrest around the world."
With things gone relatively quiet in South America there is less a demand for bagpipes on the part of military dictatorships. In the past, the instrument was used for the interrogation of prisoners and proved very effective at extracting information in record time. Adding to their woes is the very bad press the industry has received of late. For example, recent reports are circulating of a yachtsman lost overboard in Lake Ontario Canada who was thrown a set of bagpipes by his mate as there was no lifebelt on board their craft. The instrument, against all expectations, failed to prevent the man from drowning. According to eye-witnesses, a squid apparently tried to mate with the bagpipes and the poor man was dragged to his death.
""I shall never forget," his friend told me in person; "the plaintiff sounds emitted by the instrument, interspersed with Chuck's cries for help as all three sank beneath the waves." In his memory, the friend has written a wonderful bagpipe melody called "The Drowning Bagpiper's Lament", a worthy addition to the instrument's repertoire...for those who can hear it," said Angus.
In Melbourne Australia, during an unprovoked attack, a visiting Scottish bagpiper was clubbed to death with surfboards in broad daylight as he played "Amazing Grace". Scottish nationalists, I regret to report, have been no help whatsoever. No funds have been awarded this year to help towards the acquisition of new bagpipe harvesters and, after years of persistent lobbying, schools have yet to embrace the instrument as part of their music curriculum. It baffles all members of the Bapipe Farmers Association why this should be so.
Time and time again their pleas fall on deaf ears. Angus' only hope is that war breaks out somewhere soon and Scottish regiments are sent overseas.