I happened, by chance, to hear the sad news on WMUR (Channel 9) news this morning. It was quite a shock. I had no idea that he had been that sick — or for that long. Though we were at best but nodding acquaintances I would have gone and seen him. He was quite the man.
I first met him at the ‘NH Highland Games‘, in Loon, probably around 1999 (given that he emigrated to NH in 1998). I would invariably say ‘hello’ and a few words. A few years later he started playing — or bringing some of his students — to the Laconia ‘Multicultural Day‘, which I attended, assiduously. I would chat to him there. The Laconia event was less hectic in those days. I, like now, was very homesick and wanted, desperately, to go back. He would tell me that I was crazy and that life was better in the U.S.!
I remember the role he — and for that matter, Denis Carr, of ‘The Brigadoons’ — played at the obviously memorable 2011 Highland Games, which took place on the weekend of 9/11. It was a very ‘charged’ game. I wrote this, in a post here, in 2012. You should read it. It talks about the 2001 Games as well as Gordon playing for the Queen in a sinking rowing boat!
Great shame. A great loss.
I read some of his Facebook timeline. Wow. It had not been fun for him over the last couple of years.
I could not, for the world of me, find out how old Gordon was. Doing some extrapolations from comments associated with posted pictures I have a sinking feeling that he is much younger than I — which makes him quite young.
Gordon Webster, R.I.P.
360 lbs Strongman, Ex-NYPD, Gerard Benderoth, Who Shot Himself Yesterday — Was A Loon, ‘Highland Games’ Participant.
Click these two snippets to ENLARGE and read here.
This picture, which appears in the ‘Daily Mail’ article
clearly shows the Loon logo (highlighted)
and the unmistakably Loon ski lift (highlighted)
Albannach’s Star Piper, Donnie ‘Bullfrog’ MacNeil Gets His Own Personal Dressing Room At NH Highland Games In Loon.
Picture supplied online, on Facebook, by a member of ANOTHER band playing in Loon — who obviously was quite put out that he, much senior (in terms of age), does not get his own private dressing room. I won’t say who he is to save him the blushes.
Since I discovered it in 1998, serendipitously by happening to drive past, the New Hampshire “Highland Games” was a much anticipated highlight of my year. For a number of years I used to go for the entire weekend, borrowing a condo from a friend. I marked my year in terms of the “Highland Games” — before the “Games” and after the “Games”.
Between 1998 & 2015 I only missed two “Games” — both because of high dudgeon. One was the second year when it was in Hopkinton and I just could not stomach going there rather than to Loon. The other time was more recent, viz. 2013. I had had enough. It had just become sheer exploitation of the punters — i.e., folks like us.
And I am boycotting them again, expect I don’t think I will ever be going back! Enough is enough. Yes, we had a GRAND TIME last year. One of the best. But when I look at the schedule it is deja vu all over again with one new band, i.e., “Skerryvore“, thrown in. I could have even overlooked that IF not for the conspicuous shortage of Pipe Bands, especially the lack of bands from the Mother Country. In the late 1990s and early 2000s they always paid to have a decent band from the U.K. fly over. No more. And it isn’t as if they have reduced the prices.
This is exploitation. It is banking on us loyal ‘Scots’ truding up there and ‘paying the piper’, irrespective, even if they just keep on watering down the show. I had it. I, as ever, studied the schedule. Found but explicit references to two pipe bands: “Hampshire Pipes & Drums” and “Kiltie Pipe Band“. Two fine bands and there will, of course, be five or six from around New England and possibly even as far as Pennsylvania. But I don’t even see a Canadian band on the schedule and they have some fine bands up there.
So I am DONE. Through. Kaput. Finis.
The 2016 Scottish Highland Games
in Loon, New Hampshire
will be on Friday – Sunday,
September 16 – 18, 2016.
The name “Skerryvore” comes from the name of a reef OFF the Scottish west coast island, Tiree, from which the original band hailed (in 2005).
Not as strident as Scottish groups of the past … but this could be the mellower sound. Easy on the ears. Looking forward to checking them out.
Here are 2 recent YouTubes of Skerryvore.
Click pictures to ENLARGE.
All pictures taken with a Fujifilm X-E2s.
Attribution WILL be enforced.
One Picture Each Of Each Of The Performances.
See list below — in order, of appearance at the Festival,
and as such also of the pictures
[left to right –>].
The List of Performances (in order and corresponding to above gallery).
Emcee Victoria Adewumi, Wah Lum Dragon and Lion Dance, Capital Celts, In the Field Irish Dancers (x2), NH School of Scottish Arts’ Highland Dancers, Himalaya Heritage Music Group (x2),
Holy Trinity Greek Dance Troupe, Nepali Performance, Filipino Folk Dancers of NH, Salsa Colombiana, Nepali Performance, Song of the Lark, Filipino Folk Dancers of NH (2nd dance), Cumbia Colombiana & Akwaaba Traditional African Drumming and Dance Ensemble
It was good. Very, very good. Loved it. 4 solid, packed hours — 2 to 6pm — in what was, again, picture perfect weather (high 70s). It was brilliant. Vary varied, fast paced, 15 – 20 minute performances and a wonderful ambience and spirit. I would say there was always at least 200 people in ‘that’ corner of the State House Lawn and towards the end, with the African Drummers in full voice we probably had 300 – 350 folks — many dancing.
It was great. So good to see such events in still 90% white New Hampshire. Bravo. Kudos.
I liked, without exception, all the performances. We, given our annual pilgrimage to Boston’s Chinatown for Chinese New Year, are no strangers to Dragon Dances. We have seen plenty. So seeing one here was not that special. We have also seen the Himalayan, African Drumming and Nepali acts in Laconia. But they never get old. They were good. Since we go to the Loon “Highland Games“, religiously, the Scottish/Celtic parts were not new to us either, BUT they too were good.
If I had to pick three favorites I would have to say Himalaya Heritage Music Group, Akwaaba African Drumming and Irish Field Dancers. But, I again stress, it was all good.
The Emcee Victoria Adewumi was outstanding. The PA system needed to be bigger (i.e., more ‘oomph’ with more speakers). But that minor.
I am and I was so happy. Great day. Ended up with another huge meal at Tandy’s Pub in Eagle Square as we had done on Thursday.