The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119892 Message #2606233
Posted By: balladeer
07-Apr-09 - 01:35 AM
Thread Name: Toronto Folk History
Subject: RE: Toronto Folk History
Well, Eve, you also may not know I babysat a lot for Estelle and Jack when Paul was just a little gaffer, which meant I spent lots of time chatting with Paul's mom and dad about the emerging scene. (I also got to listen to their great record collection after Paul was tucked in.)
From here on, I have to qualify everything I say, by saying again, all my Toronto folk memories were formed between 1958 (when Tom Dooley hit big, and a zillion kids, me included, said to themselves, "Hey, that's so simple anyone can do it!" and April 1964, when I left for England right after my 21st birthday, became totally immersed in the London scene, and lost touch completely with life as it was unfolding in Southern Ontario. Which is simply to say I don't completely trust my memories of the times to be accurate.
It seems like I knew Estelle for a long time before she took over the helm of Mariposa, and I knew she liked to organize stuff. It may have been at a party at the Klein home on Humewood (there were lots of those, and one of them was where I interviewed Bob Dylan, but that's another story) - anyway, it may have been at one of those gatherings that a bunch of us began tossing around the idea that if we banded together we might be able to agree on a standard fee for gigs. It's likely Estelle was the ringleader, but I think her sister Pearl might have been in the thick of it as well. So we had planning meetings and drew up some possible aims and goals and it was all a lot of fun and felt like - o God, here comes the cliche - it felt like we were creating a family for ourselves. We were becoming a team. And it was fun and not at all desperate. The meetings were social as well as businesslike and I looked forward to hanging out with everyone who attended them, but I can't remember who all that was.
At some point, AFofM woke up to the new world order and discovered that folksingers were getting all the gigs, and the word went out that we had to join the union if we wanted to continue working, so we all joined, and we all worked for scale after that, and I guess the guild carried on with other good works.