John Hunter

Today I was saddened to read of the passing of John Hunter. John was a true legend of the Perth Highland Pipe Band, President of the PHPB for 20 years and granted life membership when he retired in 2000, just as I was leaving Western Australia.

There are many top blokes in the short lifetime I spent in Australia, and whom I remember with great fondness and respect. John was among the toppest. A truly classy and decent gent, always ready with a kind word and good humour.

Also he talked me and another bandmate past the bouncers and into a fancy Perth nightclub to celebrate the PHPB’s 50th anniversary when we were seventeen and had no ID, using nothing but pure diplomacy and the absolute choicest quality bulldust. Maybe not the most legal move, but one which spoke to a higher morality.


When I was later shamed into confessing to him that we were not in fact over the age of eighteen at the time, he said with a twinkle, “you know, I had a feeling you weren’t, but you lads were members of the band and you deserved to come and celebrate with us. The important thing is that you had a top night.”

Thank you for your service and your friendship, sir. The world is a darker place for your light going out – but you showed many, many people how to carry a lantern.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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