Ballad of the irate Sunderland bagpiper - the nasty note which has left this musician flabbergasted
An award-winning bagpiper has been left fuming after an anonymous complaint condemned his music as a “nuisance”.
Alan Jamieson, 37, who has been a bagpiper since the age of 10, brought his musical love to Sunderland from Wishaw in Scotland when he relocated in 2015.
The IT manager with the Ministry of Justice plays with the City of Newcastle Pipe Band, has won a number of trophies for his piping, and has performed in Moscow’s Red Square and on Russian national television.
But not everyone appreciates the skirl of his instrument. He has been left flabbergasted by an anonymous critic who sent him a typed complaint by second-class post, referring to the “disgraceful disturbance” he is “causing to (his) neighbours”.
The note refers to the “horrendous racket you make while attempting to play the bagpipes”, his “pathetic attempt at playing” and his “so-called instrument” – calling Alan a “public nuisance”.
“This cacophony can be heard streets away,” it adds. “You have been warned.”
But Alan, who lives with his wife Georgia and their sons Harry, three and month-old Benjamin in their Roker home, said he only practises outside twice a week for 30 minutes at around 4.30pm.
“So many of the neighbours have been complimentary about my bagpiping. They’ve asked me to practise more,” he said.
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“The letter writer refers to themself as ‘emergency service workers’. I think if they were and they’d come round to have a word, I’d have been more than happy to accommodate them. If I was genuinely waking people up I would stop.
“It was a really disparaging and horrible letter to send. I doubt they’ve ever met me. If they’d knocked on my door I would have genuinely invited them in, listened to what they had to say and empathised with them.
Alan said he considers himself a good neighbour and condemned the anonymous letter as “cowardly”.
He added: “It’s a loud instrument. There’s no doubt about it. I’m very mindful of that and that’s why I was quite reluctant for some time to practise at home.
“It was a neighbour, who heard me playing inside and said she would love to hear me play more.”
Several neighbours spoke to the Echo, complimenting Alan’s playing and said they had no problem with it.