Snail. Please don't take it personally. It's only an opinion. I haven't been to your club and couldn't possibly comment - though I like the sound of how you describe it on Mudcat.
Maybe I've been harsh. Maybe - unlike other genres of music - amongst the whole of the folk world there is absolutely no-one who could be described as 'half arsed etc...' and everyone's giving it their all. If so, fantastic. I really hope it's true. even a little bit true would do.
It's just that it sometimes feels on this forum that some people (not you, Snail) are staunch defenders of the right to be... well, a bit mediocre and sunday painterish. 'Professionalism' frequently gets a bit of a pasting (whether its affront at how any 'folk' musician has the temerity to want to make a living or the tedious and regular sniping at the Newcastle graduates or the tired old Lakeman/Rusby bashing). There seems to be a belief its somehow wrong for folk music. This seems to be expressed far more frequently than the idea that the presence of professionals is good for the music. They're all derided as wannabe pop stars or johnny-come-latelies or whatever the putdown of the moment is. It's all a bit sad really. No, not sad. Pathetic. Insular. Smug. Self defeating. Short sighted. And so on.
From all this, the conclusion I draw is that in the folk club world, mediocrity is to be celebrated, defended and held up as how things should be. Maybe I'm wrong and some posters are just a bit bobbins at expressing themselves. After all, there are plenty of professional traditional musicians who do the folk club circuit who are excellent at what they do. Maybe some people think they detract from the purity of their scene and might attract outsiders and non believers like me (again not you Snail. I'm answering your point but I'm not assuming this is how you think). Still, apart from the fact thre are useful things to learn here, it's enough to make me not want to bother visiting. It's enough to make me think sod the UK folk scene: I'll just buy the traditional records I like and attend the odd gig and festival and not bother with the rest.
Meanwhile, I do tend to like Les's comment.
Personally, I feel I have no choice but to retain - and apply where necessary - my own critical faculties. As the parent of a young child, I only have a relatively limited amount of time to spend on nights out, which is why, with live music, I prefer either concerts of artists I really want to see or the truly participatory and democratic entity that is my local singaround (though they want me to join in and ruin it for everyone rather than lurk harmlessly in the corner!). I'm not saying everyone should be like me, but folk clubs end up being quite a bit lower on my list of priorities. Not least because they are entirely outside of my cultural frame of reference. During their heyday, I was either not yet born or a little kid... and when I was old enough to go to gigs, folk was rarely part of it. Coming to folk for the first time, over the past few years, as a fully fledged middle aged bloke and folk scene outsider, I have no emotional or sentimental or historical attachment to the concept of the 'folk club'. Hell I'm not even a folkie, I'm just an ex-punk rocker who likes traditional music. Halfway decent trousers, too...
You probably shouldn't take what I have to say too seriously - it comes from outside of your world.
Over and out.
Nigel (to steal Charlotte's thing, the view from outside the window).