The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #109916   Message #2302199
Posted By: Harmonium Hero
31-Mar-08 - 01:32 PM
Thread Name: Our ghastly folk tradition
Subject: RE: Our ghastly folk tradition
I think the objection here is not - or shouldn't be - to Matthew Parris stating a personal opinion; if he does this on 'Grumpy Old Men', for instance, then it's just taken as the opinion of a GOM, which is what you tune in to hear. However, when he does it while presenting a programme - where he is, as it were, the voice of the BBC - then he is abusing his position. This is not an isolated example of this kind of thing; I can't recall specific examples, but I have often been angered by similar abuses of position on radio and TV, and in the press. And English traditional culture is a regular target. Of course they don't have to like it, but so what? No-one has to share their tastes. They need to - as the saying is - get over themselves. I think Tom Bliss is right to send off a stiff letter, however.
Regarding the thread drift about the trials of Young Folkies; (must first make it clear that I'm not having a go at anybody!) I first sang in a folk club in 1968 - in my 22nd year. There was no such thing as a 'Young Folkie' then; we were all just 'Folkies'. There were no Folk Music Degree courses, no Young Folk Awards, and it wasn't so easy to make a record; the equipment didn't exist to make your own, and recording companies didn't want to know you unless you were famous. It was, however, far easier than it is now to get bookings in folk clubs. I dropped out of the folk scene in 1983, and it was 1990 before I ventured back in. My reasons for dropping out were partly family-related, but there was an underlying disillusionment with the way the clubs were going. I'm now in my 62nd year, and facing a long and painful process of trying to get established nationally. The folk clubs don't owe me a living, any more than they owe anybody a living, but there are a lot of things wrong with the clubs, about which much has already been written on other threads here. I have my own opinions on this score - based on long expereience - but I won't bore you with them here. I just wanted to point out that it isn't just Young Folkies having a hard time; some of us Old Buggers aren't having much of a laugh either. There IS an audience out there, if only we are allowed near them. And many of them are young, although I don't think we should be concerning ourselves too much about the age issue; I think this has only become an issue due to the fact that there is a generation gap, which there wasn't in the old days. Folk music isn't an age-related music. My advice to Gene Burton and other disillusioned performers - of whatever age - is not to let the buggers grind you down. I made a mistake dropping out before; they are not going to get the better of me this time.
John Kelly.