Pipes, pigs, Piccolo

Sorry about the alliteration; it's a cheap trick, we know ...

Some say bagpipes sound like a wounded sheep. Others say worse about the sound piped through reeds using pressure from an air-filled bladder that in the old days (whenever those were) was made of goatskin.

GMLc's favorite insult to the bagpipes reportedly was uttered by Alfred Hitchcock:

"These are bagpipes," he said. "I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the manmade sound never equalled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig."

Highland bagpipes are blamed on the Scots ... as they say, "Twelve highlanders and a bagpipe make a rebellion" ... but there were piping traditions in Brittany, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Persia, India, Greece, etc.

Although casual visitors to bagpipe music are most often familiar with "Scotland the Brave" and "Amazing Grace," bagpipes have a wide repertoire. On YouTube, you can find a video of a guy in a Darth Vader mask playing the "Star Wars" theme on a bagpipe.

But never mind all that.

The Lowcountry's resident experts in piping, The Citadel's Regimental Band and Pipes, invited us to a free concert at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday.

It will be Tax Day. Maybe you could use some cheering up.

The Regimental Band has horns and things and will play British marches, Sousa marches, patriotic songs and Big Band jazz tunes.

The concert will be in McAlister Field House.

Speaking of pigs (earlier), "Pigs on the Patio: My Life Riding Herd on a Lowcountry Plantation" is the title of a memoir by Lowcountry resident Liz Tucker.

Tucker lived at Limerick Plantation on the East Branch of the Cooper River in Berkeley County during the 1970s with her husband, four children and raccoons, cows, calves, dogs, crickets, ducks, snakes and ... pigs.

A Kentucky native who moved to the Lowcountry in her youth, Tucker is solidly rooted here. She named the mule and the rabbits, learned early that Lowcountry men are obsessed with some kind of hunting 12 months of the year and earnestly practiced what she calls Duck Blind Banter.

Limerick Plantation dates back to 1707.

Tucker's book, whose cover has original silhouette art by Clay Rice, is hilarious. She'll sign copies of it at Middleton Place on April 26 during the plantation's Sheep and Wool Days, April 26-27.

Sheep and Wool Days will involve sheep herding, sheep bathing, sheep shearing, wool dyeing, spinning, weaving and knitting.

There also will be cow milking, corn grinding, lamb cooking and butter churning.

Also, there will be a wine and sheep cheese (ack?) tasting for adults. Tickets cost $10-$25. Call 266-7489.

On to Piccolo ...

GMLc was discouraged. It was the day The P&C ran the story on the breaking of a 5-foot- diameter branch off the Middleton Oak, the Lowcountry's largest live oak and possibly the oldest (the Angel Oak is a contender).

An online commenter called ImplantedYankee asked: "Slow news day?" Well, no, but the Middleton Oak is big news around here and we hope will be until it is dead (which won't stop us from talking about it, either). Why can't people understand that?, we thought.

Then Le Voiture GMLc suffered a dead battery downtown and stranded GMLc was thinking about walking to work from a coffee shop on East Bay Street when in walked an old friend. He complained that he's no longer recognized at his long-time bank, but we celebrated that we "bin yahs" are "still yah."

Piccolo Spoleto will screen a film that explores the struggle between "been yahs" and "come yahs" in the Lowcountry.

"Bin Yah; There's No Place Like Home," a documentary about the potential loss of important historical African-American communities in Mount Pleasant because of development, will be shown at Mother Emanuel AME Church, 110 Calhoun St., on June 3 at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Put it on your calendar. It's free.

GMLc