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Folk Club Manners

GUEST,Amber 18 Oct 08 - 01:59 PM
breezy 18 Oct 08 - 02:39 PM
paula t 18 Oct 08 - 02:56 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Oct 08 - 03:09 PM
Acorn4 18 Oct 08 - 03:14 PM
Bernard 18 Oct 08 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,Pete the hat 18 Oct 08 - 03:26 PM
melodeonboy 18 Oct 08 - 03:39 PM
Leadfingers 18 Oct 08 - 03:44 PM
bruceCMR 18 Oct 08 - 04:21 PM
MartinRyan 18 Oct 08 - 04:56 PM
John MacKenzie 18 Oct 08 - 05:07 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Oct 08 - 06:15 PM
Mark Dowding 18 Oct 08 - 07:00 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 08 - 07:30 PM
melodeonboy 18 Oct 08 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,Captain Swing 18 Oct 08 - 07:38 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Oct 08 - 07:38 PM
Jack Campin 18 Oct 08 - 07:50 PM
GUEST,Greycap 18 Oct 08 - 08:10 PM
GUEST,Amber 18 Oct 08 - 08:38 PM
mg 18 Oct 08 - 09:03 PM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Oct 08 - 09:04 PM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Oct 08 - 09:39 PM
GUEST 19 Oct 08 - 04:47 AM
SPB-Cooperator 19 Oct 08 - 05:52 AM
Tim Leaning 19 Oct 08 - 06:32 AM
GUEST 19 Oct 08 - 06:43 AM
Jack Campin 19 Oct 08 - 06:56 AM
GUEST 19 Oct 08 - 06:59 AM
Will Fly 19 Oct 08 - 07:00 AM
Silas 19 Oct 08 - 07:08 AM
Will Fly 19 Oct 08 - 07:19 AM
GUEST 19 Oct 08 - 07:58 AM
Mark Dowding 19 Oct 08 - 08:09 AM
Silas 19 Oct 08 - 08:12 AM
Jack Campin 19 Oct 08 - 08:28 AM
mauvepink 19 Oct 08 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Rafflesbear 19 Oct 08 - 08:50 AM
Marc Bernier 19 Oct 08 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,woodsie 19 Oct 08 - 09:29 AM
Will Fly 19 Oct 08 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Dave Mc 19 Oct 08 - 09:37 AM
GUEST 19 Oct 08 - 09:46 AM
Will Fly 19 Oct 08 - 10:04 AM
Acorn4 19 Oct 08 - 11:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Oct 08 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 19 Oct 08 - 11:20 AM
Aeola 19 Oct 08 - 11:46 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Oct 08 - 03:26 PM
The Sandman 19 Oct 08 - 03:52 PM
GUEST 19 Oct 08 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,Pete the Hat 19 Oct 08 - 03:58 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Oct 08 - 04:02 PM
GUEST 19 Oct 08 - 04:16 PM
Maryrrf 19 Oct 08 - 04:28 PM
Gervase 19 Oct 08 - 04:40 PM
The Sandman 19 Oct 08 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,Rafflesbear 19 Oct 08 - 04:54 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 19 Oct 08 - 05:13 PM
John Routledge 19 Oct 08 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,Pete the Hat 19 Oct 08 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,Girl Friday 19 Oct 08 - 05:26 PM
SPB-Cooperator 19 Oct 08 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,Pete the Hat 19 Oct 08 - 06:23 PM
Tootler 19 Oct 08 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Greycap 19 Oct 08 - 07:04 PM
MoorleyMan 19 Oct 08 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,Pete theHat 19 Oct 08 - 07:11 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Oct 08 - 10:18 PM
fisheye 20 Oct 08 - 05:51 AM
breezy 20 Oct 08 - 06:32 AM
Proogle 20 Oct 08 - 06:36 AM
breezy 20 Oct 08 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,Malcolm 20 Oct 08 - 07:32 AM
Nigel Parsons 20 Oct 08 - 07:36 AM
OldFolkie 20 Oct 08 - 08:25 AM
The Sandman 20 Oct 08 - 09:01 AM
melodeonboy 20 Oct 08 - 09:02 AM
Silas 20 Oct 08 - 10:00 AM
breezy 20 Oct 08 - 10:18 AM
Acorn4 20 Oct 08 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 20 Oct 08 - 10:36 AM
GUEST 20 Oct 08 - 10:51 AM
The Sandman 20 Oct 08 - 11:13 AM
Will Fly 20 Oct 08 - 11:52 AM
breezy 20 Oct 08 - 11:52 AM
henryclem 20 Oct 08 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,keith ferret 20 Oct 08 - 12:43 PM
mauvepink 20 Oct 08 - 01:01 PM
Will Fly 20 Oct 08 - 01:05 PM
Piers Plowman 20 Oct 08 - 01:28 PM
GUEST 20 Oct 08 - 01:56 PM
mauvepink 20 Oct 08 - 01:57 PM
Piers Plowman 20 Oct 08 - 02:05 PM
mauvepink 20 Oct 08 - 02:13 PM
Acorn4 20 Oct 08 - 02:16 PM
GUEST 20 Oct 08 - 02:30 PM
Nick 20 Oct 08 - 02:39 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Oct 08 - 02:52 PM
Acorn4 20 Oct 08 - 04:07 PM
Acorn4 20 Oct 08 - 04:52 PM
The Sandman 20 Oct 08 - 05:09 PM
John Routledge 20 Oct 08 - 05:25 PM
Rumncoke 20 Oct 08 - 05:41 PM
Tim Leaning 20 Oct 08 - 05:43 PM
Phil Edwards 20 Oct 08 - 06:34 PM
Richard Bridge 20 Oct 08 - 07:32 PM
GUEST 20 Oct 08 - 09:07 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Oct 08 - 11:49 PM
Piers Plowman 21 Oct 08 - 02:52 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Oct 08 - 03:40 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Oct 08 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 Oct 08 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,LJW - at work 21 Oct 08 - 04:32 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 Oct 08 - 04:50 AM
Simon G 21 Oct 08 - 05:18 AM
Silas 21 Oct 08 - 05:32 AM
mauvepink 21 Oct 08 - 05:52 AM
GUEST 21 Oct 08 - 05:53 AM
Mark Dowding 21 Oct 08 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,LDT 21 Oct 08 - 06:40 AM
Manitas_at_home 21 Oct 08 - 06:48 AM
Silas 21 Oct 08 - 06:55 AM
Mark Dowding 21 Oct 08 - 06:56 AM
Richard Bridge 21 Oct 08 - 07:02 AM
treewind 21 Oct 08 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,baz parkes 21 Oct 08 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,Amber 21 Oct 08 - 07:43 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 21 Oct 08 - 07:44 AM
mattkeen 21 Oct 08 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,chris 21 Oct 08 - 08:51 AM
Silas 21 Oct 08 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,LDT 21 Oct 08 - 09:00 AM
GUEST,chris 21 Oct 08 - 09:56 AM
Piers Plowman 21 Oct 08 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,LDT 21 Oct 08 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,LDT 21 Oct 08 - 10:37 AM
Nick 21 Oct 08 - 10:37 AM
Manitas_at_home 21 Oct 08 - 10:41 AM
Piers Plowman 21 Oct 08 - 10:46 AM
Silas 21 Oct 08 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,James H 21 Oct 08 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 21 Oct 08 - 11:18 AM
John Routledge 21 Oct 08 - 11:22 AM
The Sandman 21 Oct 08 - 12:31 PM
Drowning Fish 21 Oct 08 - 12:39 PM
Girl Friday 21 Oct 08 - 12:50 PM
The Sandman 21 Oct 08 - 01:01 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Oct 08 - 01:40 PM
VirginiaTam 21 Oct 08 - 02:22 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Oct 08 - 02:39 PM
Tim Leaning 21 Oct 08 - 02:50 PM
Aeola 21 Oct 08 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,Amber 21 Oct 08 - 02:56 PM
The Sandman 21 Oct 08 - 02:57 PM
Nick 21 Oct 08 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 21 Oct 08 - 04:07 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Oct 08 - 04:10 PM
Marje 21 Oct 08 - 04:13 PM
The Sandman 21 Oct 08 - 04:44 PM
The Sandman 21 Oct 08 - 04:46 PM
Tim Leaning 21 Oct 08 - 05:13 PM
GUEST,Bruce M. Baillie 21 Oct 08 - 05:21 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Oct 08 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,Rafflesbear 21 Oct 08 - 06:20 PM
Gervase 21 Oct 08 - 06:21 PM
Silas 22 Oct 08 - 02:56 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Oct 08 - 03:50 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Oct 08 - 04:13 AM
Acorn4 22 Oct 08 - 04:31 AM
Alan Day 22 Oct 08 - 04:34 AM
fisheye 22 Oct 08 - 05:25 AM
The Sandman 22 Oct 08 - 05:28 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 22 Oct 08 - 05:47 AM
Banjiman 22 Oct 08 - 06:40 AM
The Sandman 22 Oct 08 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,Neovo 22 Oct 08 - 07:57 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Oct 08 - 08:29 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Oct 08 - 08:30 AM
Northerner 22 Oct 08 - 08:43 AM
Bryn Pugh 22 Oct 08 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,woodsie 22 Oct 08 - 11:53 AM
The Villan 22 Oct 08 - 12:03 PM
Girl Friday 22 Oct 08 - 12:58 PM
jacqui.c 22 Oct 08 - 01:04 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Oct 08 - 01:20 PM
rodentred 22 Oct 08 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 22 Oct 08 - 03:23 PM
GUEST 22 Oct 08 - 07:13 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 08 - 03:52 AM
Acorn4 23 Oct 08 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 23 Oct 08 - 05:11 AM
mattkeen 23 Oct 08 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 23 Oct 08 - 07:17 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Oct 08 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,woodsie 23 Oct 08 - 07:25 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 23 Oct 08 - 08:13 AM
Gedi 23 Oct 08 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 23 Oct 08 - 08:49 AM
Dave the Gnome 23 Oct 08 - 08:50 AM
Dave the Gnome 23 Oct 08 - 08:55 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Oct 08 - 09:10 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 23 Oct 08 - 09:11 AM
Bryn Pugh 23 Oct 08 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 23 Oct 08 - 09:43 AM
Nick 23 Oct 08 - 09:56 AM
Piers Plowman 23 Oct 08 - 10:06 AM
Silas 23 Oct 08 - 10:11 AM
MartinRyan 23 Oct 08 - 10:16 AM
Piers Plowman 23 Oct 08 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 23 Oct 08 - 10:24 AM
melodeonboy 23 Oct 08 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 23 Oct 08 - 10:30 AM
Piers Plowman 23 Oct 08 - 10:32 AM
Silas 23 Oct 08 - 10:38 AM
Piers Plowman 23 Oct 08 - 10:40 AM
Piers Plowman 23 Oct 08 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,James H 23 Oct 08 - 10:49 AM
Piers Plowman 23 Oct 08 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 23 Oct 08 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 23 Oct 08 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 23 Oct 08 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,Pete Mariner 23 Oct 08 - 11:19 AM
Piers Plowman 23 Oct 08 - 11:27 AM
Piers Plowman 23 Oct 08 - 11:28 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Oct 08 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,LDT 23 Oct 08 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,James H 23 Oct 08 - 11:57 AM
Marje 23 Oct 08 - 01:05 PM
Nick 23 Oct 08 - 01:30 PM
Nick 23 Oct 08 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,Amber 23 Oct 08 - 01:55 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 08 - 02:28 PM
Acorn4 23 Oct 08 - 02:37 PM
The Villan 23 Oct 08 - 02:53 PM
TheSnail 23 Oct 08 - 02:58 PM
GUEST 23 Oct 08 - 04:15 PM
Girl Friday 23 Oct 08 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,Girl Friday 23 Oct 08 - 06:04 PM
Acorn4 23 Oct 08 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Pete the Hat 23 Oct 08 - 07:00 PM
rodentred 23 Oct 08 - 07:03 PM
paula t 23 Oct 08 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,Pete the Hat 23 Oct 08 - 08:24 PM
Suegorgeous 23 Oct 08 - 09:29 PM
GUEST,Pete the Hat 23 Oct 08 - 10:54 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Oct 08 - 02:16 AM
Silas 24 Oct 08 - 02:51 AM
GUEST,Lil 24 Oct 08 - 03:45 AM
GUEST,chris 24 Oct 08 - 04:11 AM
Acorn4 24 Oct 08 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,LDT 24 Oct 08 - 05:04 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Oct 08 - 05:36 AM
TheSnail 24 Oct 08 - 05:38 AM
Marje 24 Oct 08 - 06:33 AM
Bryn Pugh 24 Oct 08 - 06:41 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Oct 08 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,The referee 24 Oct 08 - 06:47 AM
TheSnail 24 Oct 08 - 07:38 AM
Silas 24 Oct 08 - 07:46 AM
Aeola 24 Oct 08 - 08:17 AM
Bryn Pugh 24 Oct 08 - 09:53 AM
GUEST 24 Oct 08 - 01:04 PM
The Villan 24 Oct 08 - 01:30 PM
paula t 24 Oct 08 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,Amber 24 Oct 08 - 01:45 PM
Alan Day 24 Oct 08 - 02:11 PM
Acorn4 24 Oct 08 - 02:25 PM
The Villan 24 Oct 08 - 02:31 PM
jacqui.c 24 Oct 08 - 02:34 PM
Acorn4 24 Oct 08 - 02:46 PM
The Villan 24 Oct 08 - 02:49 PM
Acorn4 24 Oct 08 - 02:52 PM
Tim Leaning 24 Oct 08 - 02:54 PM
Phil Edwards 24 Oct 08 - 03:04 PM
Acorn4 24 Oct 08 - 04:07 PM
BB 24 Oct 08 - 04:52 PM
The Villan 25 Oct 08 - 04:48 AM
Silas 25 Oct 08 - 04:53 AM
Big Al Whittle 25 Oct 08 - 05:17 AM
evansakes 25 Oct 08 - 05:21 AM
Piers Plowman 25 Oct 08 - 05:58 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Oct 08 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing. 25 Oct 08 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Calm Voice 25 Oct 08 - 10:10 AM
Tim Leaning 25 Oct 08 - 10:39 AM
Silas 25 Oct 08 - 10:43 AM
Piers Plowman 25 Oct 08 - 12:24 PM
Tim Leaning 25 Oct 08 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,Amber 25 Oct 08 - 12:37 PM
Richard Bridge 25 Oct 08 - 03:18 PM
Geoff Wallis 25 Oct 08 - 04:54 PM
Dave the Gnome 25 Oct 08 - 05:53 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Oct 08 - 06:36 PM
Acorn4 26 Oct 08 - 05:48 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Oct 08 - 05:56 AM
Tim Leaning 26 Oct 08 - 06:41 AM
Acorn4 26 Oct 08 - 06:45 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Oct 08 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 26 Oct 08 - 07:34 AM
BB 26 Oct 08 - 08:33 AM
jimslass 26 Oct 08 - 08:36 AM
GUEST 26 Oct 08 - 08:56 AM
TheSnail 26 Oct 08 - 08:58 AM
The Villan 26 Oct 08 - 09:20 AM
Acorn4 26 Oct 08 - 09:34 AM
Piers Plowman 26 Oct 08 - 10:22 AM
Piers Plowman 26 Oct 08 - 10:34 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Oct 08 - 10:57 AM
Piers Plowman 26 Oct 08 - 11:16 AM
Piers Plowman 26 Oct 08 - 11:22 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Oct 08 - 04:15 PM
Tim Leaning 26 Oct 08 - 04:23 PM
Phil Edwards 26 Oct 08 - 04:47 PM
The Villan 26 Oct 08 - 04:49 PM
Acorn4 26 Oct 08 - 04:52 PM
Tim Leaning 26 Oct 08 - 05:01 PM
Girl Friday 26 Oct 08 - 08:18 PM
Melissa 26 Oct 08 - 09:31 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Oct 08 - 12:08 AM
Dave the Gnome 27 Oct 08 - 04:15 AM
Mrs Banjiman 27 Oct 08 - 05:18 AM
Mrs Banjiman 27 Oct 08 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 27 Oct 08 - 07:56 AM
Gedi 27 Oct 08 - 09:18 AM
jacqui.c 27 Oct 08 - 10:30 AM
Mrs Banjiman 27 Oct 08 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 27 Oct 08 - 10:54 AM
wysiwyg 27 Oct 08 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 27 Oct 08 - 11:25 AM
Dave the Gnome 27 Oct 08 - 11:51 AM
jacqui.c 27 Oct 08 - 01:49 PM
Colin Randall 27 Oct 08 - 02:50 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Oct 08 - 05:06 PM
BB 27 Oct 08 - 06:19 PM
Nick 27 Oct 08 - 06:26 PM
Tim Leaning 27 Oct 08 - 07:07 PM
GUEST 27 Oct 08 - 07:46 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 08 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Black Hawk on works PC 28 Oct 08 - 05:43 AM
The Villan 28 Oct 08 - 05:56 AM
Will Fly 28 Oct 08 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,Guest Samuel Wild 28 Oct 08 - 06:43 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 08 - 07:23 AM
Will Fly 28 Oct 08 - 07:55 AM
Acorn4 28 Oct 08 - 09:15 AM
Nick 28 Oct 08 - 09:38 AM
TheSnail 28 Oct 08 - 10:43 AM
Richard Bridge 28 Oct 08 - 10:52 AM
Colin Randall 28 Oct 08 - 02:28 PM
Tim Leaning 28 Oct 08 - 02:50 PM
Dave the Gnome 28 Oct 08 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,Mark 28 Oct 08 - 03:19 PM
Richard Bridge 29 Oct 08 - 04:33 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 08 - 05:08 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Oct 08 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 29 Oct 08 - 05:58 AM
Will Fly 29 Oct 08 - 06:39 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 08 - 07:05 AM
Silas 29 Oct 08 - 07:12 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 08 - 07:20 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Oct 08 - 07:21 AM
Bryn Pugh 29 Oct 08 - 07:48 AM
Richard Bridge 29 Oct 08 - 08:30 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Oct 08 - 08:30 AM
The Sandman 29 Oct 08 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 29 Oct 08 - 09:05 AM
Silas 29 Oct 08 - 09:10 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 29 Oct 08 - 10:21 AM
Nigel Parsons 29 Oct 08 - 10:22 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Oct 08 - 10:47 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Oct 08 - 10:48 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Oct 08 - 11:04 AM
Silas 29 Oct 08 - 11:05 AM
Spleen Cringe 29 Oct 08 - 11:10 AM
Bryn Pugh 29 Oct 08 - 12:23 PM
Spleen Cringe 29 Oct 08 - 12:29 PM
Aeola 29 Oct 08 - 01:06 PM
Nick 29 Oct 08 - 02:11 PM
Nick 29 Oct 08 - 02:17 PM
Banjiman 29 Oct 08 - 02:30 PM
TheSnail 29 Oct 08 - 03:38 PM
Acorn4 29 Oct 08 - 04:36 PM
Dave the Gnome 30 Oct 08 - 11:08 AM
The Sandman 30 Oct 08 - 11:42 AM
TheSnail 30 Oct 08 - 12:55 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 08 - 01:10 PM
TheSnail 30 Oct 08 - 01:30 PM
Dave the Gnome 30 Oct 08 - 01:39 PM
John Routledge 30 Oct 08 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,Joe Steel 30 Oct 08 - 02:09 PM
TheSnail 30 Oct 08 - 03:15 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 08 - 05:15 PM
The Sandman 30 Oct 08 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,Captain Swing 30 Oct 08 - 07:49 PM
Acorn4 30 Oct 08 - 07:50 PM
SPB-Cooperator 30 Oct 08 - 07:56 PM
John Routledge 30 Oct 08 - 07:57 PM
Dave the Gnome 30 Oct 08 - 08:08 PM
Dave the Gnome 30 Oct 08 - 08:08 PM
SPB-Cooperator 30 Oct 08 - 08:11 PM
Dave the Gnome 30 Oct 08 - 08:20 PM
Richard Bridge 31 Oct 08 - 03:43 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 08 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Cliff 31 Oct 08 - 04:31 AM
Richard Bridge 31 Oct 08 - 05:30 AM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 08 - 05:30 AM
Musket 31 Oct 08 - 06:20 AM
Silas 31 Oct 08 - 07:09 AM
trevek 31 Oct 08 - 07:34 AM
TheSnail 31 Oct 08 - 08:02 AM
Lowden Jameswright 31 Oct 08 - 08:14 AM
Dave Sutherland 31 Oct 08 - 08:40 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Oct 08 - 08:46 AM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 08 - 09:30 AM
TheSnail 31 Oct 08 - 09:32 AM
TheSnail 31 Oct 08 - 10:08 AM
Bru 31 Oct 08 - 10:17 AM
Silas 31 Oct 08 - 10:17 AM
TheSnail 31 Oct 08 - 10:52 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 08 - 10:56 AM
TheSnail 31 Oct 08 - 11:03 AM
Silas 31 Oct 08 - 11:04 AM
Silas 31 Oct 08 - 11:06 AM
stormalong 31 Oct 08 - 11:17 AM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 08 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Calm Voice 31 Oct 08 - 12:26 PM
The Villan 31 Oct 08 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 31 Oct 08 - 12:36 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 08 - 12:47 PM
TheSnail 31 Oct 08 - 01:25 PM
TheSnail 31 Oct 08 - 01:34 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 08 - 01:40 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 08 - 01:42 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 08 - 01:53 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 08 - 01:57 PM
TheSnail 31 Oct 08 - 02:00 PM
The Villan 31 Oct 08 - 02:07 PM
Waddon Pete 31 Oct 08 - 02:14 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 08 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Girl Friday as a Catfish 31 Oct 08 - 02:36 PM
BB 31 Oct 08 - 04:20 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 08 - 06:19 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 08 - 06:23 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Oct 08 - 08:12 PM
TheSnail 31 Oct 08 - 08:57 PM
Richard Bridge 31 Oct 08 - 09:38 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 08 - 04:37 AM
The Sandman 01 Nov 08 - 05:36 AM
Silas 01 Nov 08 - 05:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 08 - 06:11 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Nov 08 - 06:16 AM
The Sandman 01 Nov 08 - 06:24 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 08 - 06:24 AM
Richard Bridge 01 Nov 08 - 07:10 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 08 - 07:47 AM
melodeonboy 01 Nov 08 - 07:59 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 08 - 08:25 AM
TheSnail 01 Nov 08 - 08:37 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 08 - 08:44 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 08 - 10:19 AM
TheSnail 01 Nov 08 - 10:26 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 08 - 11:07 AM
BB 01 Nov 08 - 12:05 PM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 08 - 12:22 PM
TheSnail 01 Nov 08 - 12:27 PM
Tim Leaning 01 Nov 08 - 12:59 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 08 - 01:11 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 08 - 01:23 PM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 08 - 02:36 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Nov 08 - 04:10 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Nov 08 - 04:33 PM
Girl Friday 01 Nov 08 - 04:38 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Nov 08 - 05:38 PM
BB 01 Nov 08 - 05:52 PM
Girl Friday 01 Nov 08 - 06:00 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Nov 08 - 06:38 PM
Tim Leaning 01 Nov 08 - 08:42 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Nov 08 - 04:11 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 08 - 04:34 AM
Richard Bridge 02 Nov 08 - 05:32 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 08 - 05:42 AM
Silas 02 Nov 08 - 05:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Nov 08 - 07:02 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Nov 08 - 07:05 AM
The Sandman 02 Nov 08 - 07:10 AM
TheSnail 02 Nov 08 - 08:43 AM
Richard Bridge 02 Nov 08 - 08:52 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Nov 08 - 09:07 AM
TheSnail 02 Nov 08 - 09:09 AM
Silas 02 Nov 08 - 09:10 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Nov 08 - 09:16 AM
The Sandman 02 Nov 08 - 09:22 AM
Silas 02 Nov 08 - 09:23 AM
TheSnail 02 Nov 08 - 09:31 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Nov 08 - 09:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Nov 08 - 09:55 AM
TheSnail 02 Nov 08 - 10:15 AM
Vic Smith 02 Nov 08 - 10:42 AM
Gervase 02 Nov 08 - 10:45 AM
Vic Smith 02 Nov 08 - 10:50 AM
Gervase 02 Nov 08 - 10:56 AM
Will Fly 02 Nov 08 - 10:59 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Nov 08 - 11:03 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 08 - 11:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Nov 08 - 11:33 AM
Vic Smith 02 Nov 08 - 11:40 AM
The Sandman 02 Nov 08 - 12:17 PM
Dave the Gnome 02 Nov 08 - 12:52 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 08 - 12:58 PM
GUEST 02 Nov 08 - 01:00 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 08 - 01:01 PM
TheSnail 02 Nov 08 - 02:36 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Nov 08 - 02:46 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 08 - 02:57 PM
TheSnail 02 Nov 08 - 03:30 PM
Dave the Gnome 02 Nov 08 - 03:32 PM
TheSnail 02 Nov 08 - 03:33 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Nov 08 - 03:42 PM
Dave the Gnome 03 Nov 08 - 03:51 AM
TheSnail 03 Nov 08 - 04:53 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 08 - 05:16 AM
Piers Plowman 03 Nov 08 - 06:18 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 08 - 06:34 AM
Richard Bridge 03 Nov 08 - 06:47 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 08 - 07:21 AM
Mark Dowding 03 Nov 08 - 08:26 AM
TheSnail 03 Nov 08 - 08:33 AM
Dave the Gnome 03 Nov 08 - 08:38 AM
Bru 03 Nov 08 - 08:54 AM
Richard Bridge 03 Nov 08 - 09:00 AM
Dave the Gnome 03 Nov 08 - 09:18 AM
Banjiman 03 Nov 08 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 03 Nov 08 - 10:06 AM
Dave Earl 03 Nov 08 - 10:17 AM
The Sandman 03 Nov 08 - 10:26 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Nov 08 - 12:57 PM
Acorn4 03 Nov 08 - 02:49 PM
BB 03 Nov 08 - 03:14 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 08 - 03:26 PM
The Sandman 03 Nov 08 - 05:35 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Nov 08 - 06:29 PM
TheSnail 03 Nov 08 - 08:41 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 08 - 01:41 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 08 - 02:47 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 04 Nov 08 - 04:18 AM
Will Fly 04 Nov 08 - 05:44 AM
Dave the Gnome 04 Nov 08 - 05:54 AM
TheSnail 04 Nov 08 - 06:00 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 08 - 06:26 AM
Dave the Gnome 04 Nov 08 - 06:45 AM
Suegorgeous 04 Nov 08 - 07:17 AM
Dave Sutherland 04 Nov 08 - 07:43 AM
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Subject: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Amber
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 01:59 PM

We had a new person at our folk club last night, he had a couple of guitars and a dulcimer. He waas obviously looking for gigs andhad a list of folk clubs which he had visited. Very talented if you like folk rock.

BUT Oh dear, oh dear, he:

                     Looked bored when other people were performing

                     Played with his guitar strap instead of
                     looking at the performer

AND WORST OF ALL HE CRUNCHED CRISPS AND NIBBLED NUTS.

Set me thinkin about folk club manners. When my son first started in folk at the age of 16 I told him:

NEVER come in or go out when people are performing.

NEVER sing a song which you know someone does regularly.

What examples of bad folk club manners can you give?

What advice would you give?

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: breezy
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 02:39 PM

Did he perform?

Why were you not looking at the performer yourself ?

Does the club not have signs to guide folk club virgins through the mine field?

One sign had words to the effect of 'eat crisps at your peril' and Fleggy did, ! what happened next was borrowed from Joe Stead gig 1969 ish

perhaps he was bored !!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: paula t
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 02:56 PM

Kathryn and Sarah were playing at Banbury festival last weekend. A guy's 'phone rang and then he proceeded to have his conversation while sitting right in front of them. Luckily ther girls were not too upset and in fact thought it was quite funny.Sarah actually invited the guy on the other end of the 'phone to join in with the song too.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 03:09 PM

Big signs up all round our folk club calling for silence while people are performing. Once I was in the middle of a number - a pretty difficult number, at that* - when someone's phone rang. And rang. And rang. It was the standard Nokia ringtone, as immortalised by Dom Joly. It turned out to be the MC's phone, which he'd left behind (switched on) while he went to the bar downstairs.

You've got to laugh, really.

*Round Midnight. This was before I got heavily into trad.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 03:14 PM

I think flicking through folders of words to decide what you're going to sing next when others are doing their bit can be a bit offputting.

I've occasionally resorted to it, I will admit, when arriving a bit late, and wanting to try something new out, but only ever briefly. Some folks seem to have the need to do it incessantly, made even worse when they're the organisers.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Bernard
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 03:16 PM

The best approach with mobile phones is to point out that the club appreciates people may have emergencies requiring them to leave their phones switched on. However, there is a charge of five pounds for charity each time one rings...!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Pete the hat
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 03:26 PM

Hi I am Pete The Hat from the Tudor Barn home of Folkmob Eltham. Folkmob.com

Our code is you shut up when folk are performing.and if people are to noisey we ring a bell to shut them up before the performer/s start. You dont cut across performers line of vision on route to the loo or anywhere else, you wait till the performer is finished

All our Smokers sit by the main door to the barn so they can go puff outside when they wish without disturbing singers or players.

I sit with the smokey noisey naughty lot has we are known but we do have respect for fellow performers and we expect the same in return
Regards Pete the Hat


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: melodeonboy
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 03:39 PM

"NEVER sing a song which you know someone does regularly."

I'm not so sure about that one. We don't have a problem with that at the clubs that I go to. In fact, on a number of occasions someone's sung a song which others have enjoyed so much that they've been stimulated to go away and learn it themselves. Nobody owns a song, and it actually becomes very interesting to hear how different people interpret and sing/play a particular song.

This does, of course, all have to be done with respect, and if I'm aware that someone gets a special pleasure out of singing a particular song, then I'd be considerate enough not to do it before them on every occasion.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 03:44 PM

Regarding singing 'Other Peoples Songs' - What about stealing arrangements ?? Happened regularly local to me after 'The Trio' split !
I just took it as a complimentt to how good we COULD have been !


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: bruceCMR
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 04:21 PM

"Once I was in the middle of a number - a pretty difficult number, at that* - when someone's phone rang."

You've got the mic... say "go on, answer it.... tell them you're on your way home..."

I stole this one - it's (c) the referee at a snooker tournament


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 04:56 PM

I was at a session recently which is mostly (Irish) instrumental but with room for occasional unaccompanied songs and even
a recitation, dance.... whatever. Anyway, I was asked to sing a song. Among the dozen or so musicians was a trio of teenage girls - a fiddler, accordion and concertina player, respectively. While I was singing, not only did they chat among themselves - but they were simultaneously busy texting their friends! I was torn between being annoyed and being lost in admiration of their multi-tasking skills!

All three are already good musicians but, Jeez, they still have a lot to learn!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 05:07 PM

If that's you wife, tell her I'll be round in a bit


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 06:15 PM

The fact that the guy whose phone was ringing was out of the room narrowed the options for a witty putdown. The fact that it was the MC didn't help, either.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 07:00 PM

Did the chap in question ask for a booking at the end of the night and when you refused did you tell him why?

A good way to shut an unaccompanied phone up is to drop it in the owner's beer - or answer it and give the caller an ansafone style message.

I put a notice on the door telling people to wait until the performer has finished before coming into the room. It's surprising how many people can't read!

We have someone who will play sudoku or whatever on their PDA all night. I need a suitable put down for that one.

If someone does your song better than you then learn from it. If you do it better then do it the next time they're in the club.

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 07:30 PM

Sometimes we have "upset Little Legs" nights in which we ALL take it in turns to do one of John Matthews' songs before he can!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: melodeonboy
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 07:36 PM

Indeed. And ain't it fun?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Captain Swing
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 07:38 PM

This all reminds me of why I left the folk scene.

It's full of precious performers who don't learn their songs and have to resort to crib sheets and bore the pants of the audience.

Many folk floor singers no longer have the ability to capture the audience with their music because they are not used to playing to 'live' audiences. They expect silence and attention when their performances seldom warrant it.

People usually talk, eat crisps etc because they are bored! It's the performer's job to engage them.

Try the open mic scene or a real pub with real people for crying out loud!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 07:38 PM

I sort of agree. I think we should all be courteous and nice to people, and careful of each others feelings.

On the other hand, I DO feel that somehow we sort of lose something when we insist on the rapt attention of the audience. After all much of this music sprang from noisy alehouses and the like.

There are some clubs and radio programmes that are very disrespectful of people that play folk clubs, but also are capable of doing pub gigs. It makes me wonder, if theres not an element of jealousy in the equation - because if you can't have at least a brave attempt at dominating a room - you will have a job making a living as an entertainer. That is if you're not one of the folk scene's elected- who all seem to do 'very nice - thankyou!'

Also its sad. because depending on a silent respectful audience is very limiting. I was amazed once when i was corresponded with Noel Murphy and he told me he could not bear to play noisy Irish theme bars. Similarly Jack Hudson would never touch the country and western clubs. Both artists could have made a fortune if they could have got their heads round gigging such places when they were thriving. Well not a fortune - but enough money to live comfortably.

I know what's coming. You people are such aficionados that a gross character like myself could never understand your fine feelings - but ordinary people have to make compromises. they go out to jobs they hate, they get their lives wasted. Why is it wrong to say to a musician - well theres supply and demand. And there ain't a demand for what you WANT to do, but there is a demand for someone with your sort of talents.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 07:50 PM

I'm with the "make it noisy" crowd. For the sort of music we're talking about, performers have been expected to carry on through multiple simultaneous sex acts, opium smoking, ecstatic religious possession, gambling and gunshots.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Greycap
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 08:10 PM

Captain Swing has defined it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Amber
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 08:38 PM

Well I'd better just go and join the Ladies choral Society!

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: mg
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 09:03 PM

I certainly wouldn't criticize someone for playing with their guitar strap or silently texting somone or playing with a non-noisy game boy. How does it hurt anyone? Maybe they are along with someone else who likes the music and they are just providing company or whatever. mg


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 09:04 PM

There's RULES?!!!


So THAT's why they kicked me out!


.....

:-P


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 09:39 PM

"If that's your wife, tell her I'll be round in a bit"

Tell your wife I'm not finished here yet - what time do you lock up?

"We have someone who will play sudoku or whatever on their PDA all night. I need a suitable put down for that one."

We DO like to share here, mate! The nine in the top right corner! :-)


"I'm with the "make it noisy" crowd."

While it is good (from personal experience) to start out performing in front of a quiet appreciative audience, It's actually more fun to work a noisy room. If you can shut them up and get them involved, you don't need to ask anybody else how good you are... I actually find it MUCH harder to work a handful of people, than a large mass (The smell of the crowd and the roar of the greasepaint - Come feel the noise!) - a few hundred is probably the largest crowd. Telling a story that gets the audience involved so hard that they say afterwards that they were actually frightened and saw the beastie... wow!

While playing an instrument and/or singing - that takes far more internal focus and concentration than 'just talking' - for me at least.

I once watched a master at work. He started on banjo (normal volume) - the crowd was noisy. He gradually got quieter and quieter - then Boom! loud. All eyes in the room turned to him and all conversation stopped! :-)

"On the other hand, I DO feel that somehow we sort of lose something when we insist on the rapt attention of the audience. After all much of this music sprang from noisy alehouses and the like.""It's full of precious performers who don't learn their songs and have to resort to crib sheets and bore the pants of the audience. Many folk floor singers no longer have the ability to capture the audience with their music because they are not used to playing to 'live' audiences. They expect silence and attention when their performances seldom warrant it."

The top British performers (musos and comedians) in the 60s/70s (till they died) learned their trade in The Music Halls - only the trapeze and knife throwing acts got silence! There is an expression - 'dieing' - which I can assure you - you should experience ONCE, so you never want to feel that again and work harder!

"not used to playing to 'live' audiences"

And that IS the whole point of 'entertaining'... otherwise these days, just put it on a self published CD and make your own webpage which you always put in your signature at the end of every post on the web in which you tell everybody else how brilliant your ideas are, and they don't know what they are talking about because you once attended an Adult Education course on beadworking and take long walks in the country where your muse inspires you to make music by smashing trash can lids together while gargling Listerine... that way you don't have to deal with real people and their illogical ideas.

I can, at times, walk the walk - but it IS hard work - and I can understand the idea of showing respect, and especially ENCOURAGING beginners.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 04:47 AM

Well, sorry, I don,t think texting or playing on a game boy, evenly silently, is acceptable, although it depends on how noticeable it is I suppose - if it is in a smallish room or with people sitting round in a circle, these type of activities do give give the impression of being bored and I may be old fashioned but I don't think that is polite or appreciative. The guy's body language and facial expression gave a definite message of, ' I'm bored amongst these amateurs. When is it going to be my turn again? They should listen to ME'. I have to add that he may have been bored I suppose, but he shouldn't have been as there were some excellent performers there that night, doing a wide range of interesting stuff.



Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 05:52 AM

In my view what is/isn't acceptable depends upon the setting. On one hand singing in bars/pubs where the public are free to come and go and at a lot of socials where the music is largely 'wallpaper' it is up to the performer to earn the attention of the audience.

In a club then it is nice to have mutual respect between performers who should know better; folk clubs do have two purposes - one to perform folk song/music and/or see it performed but also as a social gathering where one meets up with friends. However, it is good manners to to keep any conversations down to a reasonable level, at the back of the room - not just for the performer, but also for the audience members who rather listen to the performers than other peoples conversations/mobile phones, etc.

In a concert venue, then everyone should display the same manners as would a theatre or opera audience, especially if the tickets are expensive.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 06:32 AM

"Noisy crowd"
I think a lot depends on the noise.
I find it quite nice that once in a while the pool players wander through to have a listen or the drunken lad is singing along.
But sometimes the muso's are far to precious and sulky about how much attention is being payed to them.
Of course much of the noise can be coming from yer fellow performers,and if you just decided that you should play in a local pub on dominoes night, or seem to be trying to take over "their" local
you do get resistance.
Now if you have a room set aside for aconcert or just for a singaround tell em to shut the f*** up!
I find a simple honest aproach works.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 06:43 AM

Never mind being too noisy. What about people who actually go to sleep in folk clubs? I was once in a concert where Les Barker was performing when a guy was fast asleep and snoring on the front row! I don't know how he managed it but I think the 8 - 9 pints might have had something to do with it!   Les came right down, stood over him and sang right down his ear!

Charlotte


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 06:56 AM

It's the ones who go to sleep *while performing* you worry about more.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 06:59 AM

Yes, I've been in clubs where the performer stands noodling away, eyes closed gently swaying - you do wonder!

Ella


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 07:00 AM

Horses for courses, isn't it? If we're playing in an open acoustic session - in a pub bar - and the punters in the bar want to talk, that's up to them. If they want to listen, jolly good! One thing I do know: there's nothing like a girl singing a song in a quiet voice to get the background noise down to nothing. Good tip, isn't it? Drop the volume to get the attention.

However, in a folk club, say in a room set aside for the occasion, then audience quiet and respect is a sine qua non. As for those high and mighty performers who are up their own arses, I usually find there's someone around to show them up or make them look small. And if they behave like that and then want a booking, then it's always a pleasure to tell 'em to go and f--- themselves!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 07:08 AM

OK guys. What is the best way to tell a performer who just turns up to a regular session in a pub, that he is utter crap?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 07:19 AM

If it's an open mic, open stage or folk club setting - i.e. with performers taking their turn to do a spot - then I think you have to let them have their spot. Depends what kind of crap you're talking about. If they're full of themselves and obnoxious, then I would have a quiet word with them outside the set. If they're a pure beginner and not very good, then I think patience is essential - so many of us learnt what to do in a sympathetic folk club setting.

If it's an acoustic session with everyone joining in, then you can either (again) have a word to explain why they're not gelling, or - more likely - they'll probably just get drowned out anyway! Once again, people have to learn, and you can't get always the feel of a tune from music. Not easy though!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 07:58 AM

Because I am a teacher I have a real job in stopping myself from saying to people who use their mobile while people are performing, 'I think you know the rules. I'll look after that until the end of the session!' That would go down well, wouldn't it?

Millie


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 08:09 AM

"OK guys. What is the best way to tell a performer who just turns up to a regular session in a pub, that he is utter crap?"

"If they're a pure beginner and not very good, then I think patience is essential"

Everybody has the right to get up and have a go - they may have been practicing for weeks at home and go to pieces in front of an audience. Why not have a quiet word with them and say something like "you seem to be having trouble with those chords - can I suggest a better way of playing them?" or you get the people who start too low because it sounded OK in their front room - again a word of advice like "It's not a problem if you want to stop and put the capo up a couple of frets - we've all been there"

I don't expect concert performances from people who come to my club - we're there to enjoy ourselves at the end of the day but it's good to see how people improve over time if you give them some encouragement and advice now and again.

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 08:12 AM

The guy I am thinking of is not that much of a beginner, he is a refugee from another club that has closed down - his guitar playing is pretty poor and his voice is dire. He does, though, bring a few people with him who can sing and play well.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 08:28 AM

I know of one session that was thrown out of a pub because of a particularly dire singer (he was funny the first time but less so when he did it every week).

Maybe you could get the bar staff to ban him?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: mauvepink
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 08:29 AM

Manners maketh the man and woman. They cost nothing but can have major effects when not used...

I thought I was pretty well mannered until I read this thread and saw some of the things that annoy others. By far the biggest thing I am guilty of is sometimes choosing my next song while someone is singing. I do it quietly but I can see how it could be contrived as being uninterested in that performer's song. I will no longer do that and try to go better prepared in future.

My phone once went off in someone's performance break (a few seconds earlier or later it would have happened while they sang). I have corrected that since.

Yes, I have done some of the things above unintentionally but thanks to the thread will now do my utmost to correct it.

I try not to sing somone's song if they are there. I would hate to make a mess of their song. But if I go to another club I will gladly 'advertise' who I heard sing that song and why it got to me. I like to plug ability in others that I do not have. I can only aspire to get anywhere close to those I admire and listen to the most but it is also important to listen to the newcomers too because I am clsoer to that time than most. We all began somewhere and I have had a great deal of help and encouragement from so many in the few months I have been on the scene. I now frequent at least three clubs regularly and have to say that most members are never intentionally rude or bad mannered. Manners can also come from a mutual respect.

As there are so many Teachers in Folk in this part of England I think I should listen to the above report and do something about "Must try harder" in future. Both with songs and manners! I have certainly been guilty of bad manners and yet would have considered myself most polite before reading this thread.

Let her who is without song cast the first note! ;-)

Best wishes

mp


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Rafflesbear
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 08:50 AM

If you can't sing, don't sing - I can't sing and I don't sing

They also serve who only sit and listen


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 09:18 AM

Don't try and talk to me while I'm trying to listen!!!

We don't have "Folk Clubs" here. And, being a musician who gets gigs, I don't get to see others perform very often. But at every festival I do, I'll be stand in the back watching some, or trying to, and invariably someone will come up and start to tell me a story.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,woodsie
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 09:29 AM

"Don't have folk clubs here"

Where?

Good opportunity to start one I'd say!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 09:31 AM

Mark Dowding:

"I don't expect concert performances from people who come to my club - we're there to enjoy ourselves at the end of the day but it's good to see how people improve over time if you give them some encouragement and advice now and again."

Amen to that, Mark. I can still recall my first performance at a club - back in 1965 - shaking life a leaf, but grateful for the chance, and overjoyed at the applause. We all have to start somewhere and folk clubs are/were traditionally quite forgiving environments. And I learned good manners in these clubs a well!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Dave Mc
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 09:37 AM

If I look bored through the residents' spots at my local folk club it is because they are boring me. Surely courtesy goes both ways? After sitting patiently through hundreds of renditions of the same badly sung, badly written, out-of-tune guitar schlock by the same culprits, week after week, aren't I now entitled to have a quiet read and a sigh while they are busy wanking in public? There are a couple of exceptions on the panel of residents who do a good job, but the rest really are only delaying the main act's appearance. They are an inconvenience not an asset. I find that discourteous to the billed artist and to me as paying customer.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 09:46 AM

Excellent post Dave Mc - excellent


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 10:04 AM

Dave Mc - I know what you're talking about. There's a club near me where many of the "regulars" I( can't call them "residents") are, on the whole, absolute tosh. In the end, I decided to not go there and take me interest elsewhere. However, there should be places where newbies can start - if they don't improve, then so be it - but let's not diminish the opportunity.

By "tosh", I mean things like: (a) bringing the music when they know they only have two songs to perform - not taking the trouble to learn them beforehand; (b) singing inappropriate material - Abba at a folk club anyone?; (c) thinking they're great when they're absolute crap - no self-critical sense...; (d) add your own. A penance, to be sure - but where do you draw the line.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 11:03 AM

We go to a range of clubs within a 30 mile radius of where we live.

The most successful ones are where the organisers actively encourage all the performers whatever the standard.

Those where the opposite happens remain "incestuous" and cliquy.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 11:15 AM

I remember one night i was watching Wizz Jones at the Mansfield club and there were these really noisy sods at the back chattering excitedly in the first half. And next to me was this guy who had come all the way from south of Leicester to see Wizz and I could see the chatterers were really spoiling several peoples enjoyment inclusding this bloke who had come miles.

thankfully - someone shut the buggers up somehow for the second half. there has to be some sort of tough guy (or tough gal!) who can face down the idiots.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 11:20 AM

Some years ago we had a super Folk Club in one of our village pubs run by a doctor. The pub was noted also for it`s cuisine, one speciality being Cumberland sausages with mashed potatoes, onions and gravy you would kill for. One evening a visitor brought his meal into the club and proceeded to enjoy his meal whilst the performers strutted their stuff. His table manners were impeccable, he appreciated the songs and music, was quiet and attentive and applauded sincerely. BUT, he offered nobody a taste of his dinner, even the guest would you believe. Now that is the acme of bad manners.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Aeola
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 11:46 AM

Mark,....' I don't expect concert performances......'

Nice one ! One of the good things about Folk clubs is the fact that you get a wide range of abilities. This can serve a useful purpose of perspective of your own perceived performance. Also you get a lot of encouragement and at the end of the day ' practice makes perfect'. I'm sure everyone has experienced that wonderful feeling when you realise that everyone is listening to you, after that the odd noise here and there doesn't really matter. Good job the gymnasts aren't put off by a little bit of noise!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 03:26 PM

Bad manners come in all shapes and sizes. It used to piss me off no end when 'booking seekers' turned up, left their names at the desk, then went down to the bar, making no effort whatever to find out what the club was about. On numerous occasions when I did the door I was asked to page such people when it was 'their turn to go on'. Invariably they had nothing to offer the club and we had nothing to offer them, so they were not booked - arrogant prats.
"One of the good things about Folk clubs is the fact that you get a wide range of abilities"
In the light of a currently running thread thread 'Folk music ridiculed again', while it is true that abilities can vary, unless you set a reasonable standard, and if you allow your club to be used as a place to practice in public, it will never raise above being 'amateur night at the Frog and Ferret'.
It is unfair to those who have put in the work, an insult to the perception of the audience and a contempt for the music to encourage people to perform if they have not put in enough work to make an acceptable job of a song. Clubs should be places for 'the finished article' and not 'work in progress'.
When I was involved with The Singers Club we were regularly visited by a young woman who was totally incapable of producing two notes which related to each other. She invariably asked to sing and was allocated one song (not by me).
Over the year she attended she never improved; she was invited to attend our singing workshop but felt she didn't need it.
After a year the audience committee received a letter of protest from her and her friend complaining that she was only allowed one song.
If you are serious about encouraging new singers run a workshop.
Otherwise folk music will roundly deserve all the ridicule it receives.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 03:52 PM

If you are serious about encouraging new singers run a workshop.[jim carroll].
yes,and perhaps instrument workshops too.
The sign of a good club [imo]is among other things good organisation,it is perfectly possible and can be acceptable if a weak singer,is followed by a good singer or a resident,so this is the reponsibilty of the organiser or mc.
in this way singers who may or may have potential[but need help] can be encouraged,and sandwiched between good performers,making it more acceptable for the paying public.
Bad Manners,does come in all shapes and sizes,it is the responsibility of the organiser,to have a decent mc,so that everyone gets a proper introduction,and gets the guests name correct[it happens more frequently than one thinks]
some while ago,I was guesting at a folk festival.and the MC[a professional performer himself,introduced me ;now we have Dick Miles,what sort of a bloody introduction is that.
this MC was paid to be at that festival,whether he likes the performer or not,he is paid to present and introduce people properly,this involves at the very least,stating what the performer does [plays concertina sings traditional songs is over here on tour from Ireland etc etc]and convincing the audience that the person is good.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 03:52 PM

I totally agree with your post Jim. It be nice if an experienced singer acted as a sort of informal 'mentor' to give newbies advice in choosing songs etc.Some new singers choose such bloomin'complicated songs instead of something simple to begin with 3 -4 verses, a chorus and a strong rhythm.

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Pete the Hat
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 03:58 PM

Whats the problem with learners who bring there music up on stage with them and stumble through a song? with the help and encouragement from appluse they will get better and more confident. Trust me I have been there. And still there in other respects
A friendly amosphere helps. If someone sings your song so what?

There,s a diferrence between a Folk Club and The Dead Dog Saloon at the OK Carral?
Kind Regards Pete


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 04:02 PM

"Whats the problem with learners who bring there music up on stage with them and stumble through a song?"
If you don't know why it's unwise to encourage incompetent singing, I very much doubt if there's any point trying to explain it.
The problem is that your audience has to listen to it - but that will soon sort itself out as, if they have any sense they'll piss off and find another club where the singers can sing.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 04:16 PM

I think its inevitible that most new singers are going to want their words with them as a 'safety net' if nothing else. There's nothing like nerves for stealing the words from your head! It doesn't meam they havent practised. However, I do think that they should be encouraged to do without asap - most people will recognise thenmselves the difference it makes to their singing.

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Maryrrf
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 04:28 PM

I would agree that before performing people should learn the words, but I think it's acceptable to have a 'cheat sheet' available to glance at in case of a senior moment or forgetfulness brought on by a case of the jitters. I have occasionally been surprised at people who pull out a piece of paper and haltingly stumble through a song they are 'just learning' rather than singing something they know well and saving the new piece until they've practiced.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Gervase
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 04:40 PM

Jim has said it here - and on innumerable other threads over the past couple of years - and it's a message that needs heeding. If you still don't 'get it', then it's hardly surprising that folk aren't beating a path to your club's door.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 04:45 PM

Songs should be performed without any crutches.
if a performer forgets the words,they should keep cool, ad lib,and/or carry on to the next verse,that is what performing is all about,


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Rafflesbear
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 04:54 PM

If a performance shows no merit or gives you no enjoyment, if it was in your opinion unworthy of putting before the audience, don't clap

If enough people agree with you the perpetrator will slink off to the sound of their own footsteps. It is actually true that in a folk club people WILL clap anything

As not clapping at all is in itself bad folk club manners there are a number of devices that can be used without necessarily having to go to the loo - make sure you have a drink in your hand when they finish and gently pat the table or your knee, drop something on the floor so you have to pick it up, or if you clap using the boney parts of your palms it makes precious little noise. You retain your standing with other club mambers and have made your point


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 05:13 PM

Just a thought.

I know two singers who have very good voices, more than reasonable musical skills, and lousy memories. Both sing from sheets on music stands, and both are VERY well worth listening to.

Neither would get a look in at Jim's club, and the club would be the poorer for it.

Any thoughts on how you avoid missing a worthwhile musical experience, while trying to keep standards high?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: John Routledge
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 05:14 PM

There is a world of difference between someone who has learnt a song and has a cheat sheet as a prop and someone who has made no attempt whatsoever to learn a song and then stumbles through the words from a sheet whilst trying to remember the tune which they haven't really learnt either. And then repeats the process next week - or even the same night - with another song. And the week after ....

Oh that we all would read and digest Jim Carroll's two posts of 3.26PM and 4.02PM today.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Pete the Hat
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 05:15 PM

Please Jim Enlighten me re incompetent singing. You dont have       to write a book.

With the help and encouragement of the folk at the club I attend I have managed to ditch the lyric sheet, ditch the music sheet and both sing and play with confidence. But it was helpful having both to begin with at the start. To avoid distraction and the odd Idiot I have also learned to do both with me eyes lightly shut. Inregards to aldiences buggering off else where well it dont happen at the club I attend indeed the numbers seem to get bigger and return each week with friends in tow.

The club I attend is not situated above a Pub. The Pubs gone and we thought it would have a inpact on the members but no it did not.ok some have gone not to return but we are allowed to bring our own beer with us damn sight cheeper.
A decent club with decent commitee and reasonable subs and above help and partisipation with learners is what makes the club I attend so good . Ok its not strictly folk folk folk Trad but whats wrong with that?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Girl Friday
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 05:26 PM

John from Kemsing if you're looking for a local folk club see the Fox and Hounds Folk Club thread. I run that, and Orpington Friday Folk. A few years ago, we were recording a live c.d at Orpington, and put up a notice on the door politely asking people not to go in and out whilst the guy was singing. Not only was this ignored, but someone slammed the door causing us to lose 3 songs which tied in together. Compared to that, leafing through your song book or using a crib sheet is a minor misdemeanor!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 05:37 PM

I used to find singarounds ideal for trying out new songs/tunes and would from time to time look at the words/dots. On the other hand I wouldn't use crib sheets for floor spots/performances.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Pete the Hat
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 06:23 PM

I still prefere to steer clear of floor slots due to still not being that confident under lights and on mike I accasionally put me name down but if not I am aways asked if I want to. I love singarounds

Girl Friday you can put notices up and from my experience of working for 30 years with the General public people take not a blind bit of notice of them I see folk on CCTV every day ever walk past a notice. look at it directly and still proceed or rip it off the wall
completely. Notices from my experience with a small number of folk are like Red Rag to a Ball

I worked down Chislehurst caves for 20 years and 1 day we roped off and noticed a certain tunnel on the tour route and hid round the back watching people diliberately wandering off the tour route at that point of the tour so we jumped out at them and scared then shitless.
Served em right too.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 06:45 PM

When people are laying down the law, saying that this or that should be the case and generally being dogmatic, they would do well to reflect on the different types of situation covered by the term "Folk Club".

If it is a singaround, then it is not about entertaining the public at large, but it is a sharing of songs and a social evening where people who share an interest can get together to enjoy that shared interest and for the most part, anyone who wants to can sing a song in their turn. It is also worth bearing in mind that not everyone who goes to singarounds regularly performs before an audience nor, in some cases, do they have ambitions to do so.

If, on the other hand, it is a concert where someone is being paid to entertain, then it is reasonable to expect a certain minimum standard and the kind of standards that Jim Carroll argues for are entirely appropriate.

Please just show a degree of tolerance and when making your statements about what should and should not be and bear in mind the, to my mind, fundamental difference between a singaround and a concert type evening.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Greycap
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 07:04 PM

Dave McC. So very, very well put.
I can say no more, except, maybeas follows:
Don't go to a folk club to do your practising. We can do without that.
Learn the bloody song by heart, at home, and then, when you are absolutely sure you are ready, do it really well in public.
That'll be great. You will have a great feeling of achievement, well-earned, too.
There is absolutely no shame in not knowing the song by heart.
The problem lies in reading the words off a crib-sheet and not knowing all the chords properly, people don't want to hear you practise on their time, they really, really don't.
I'm talking from 45 years of folk club experience.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 07:08 PM

So true, Tootler. Well expressed!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Pete theHat
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 07:11 PM

Tootler
I agree with you and so now with Jim.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 10:18 PM

I think te "standards" mob overdo it.

Karaoke seems in general to be more popular than folk nights - yet if you go to a karaoke night you will hear a lot of truly dreadful singing, but everyone seems to enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: fisheye
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 05:51 AM

We would all like to be perfectionist however surely the idea of a folk club is to entertain and encourage people to enjoy folk music. If one is buying a ticket to see an artist you should expect a level of professionalism. I believe I can handle a guitar with some degree of skill, as for remembering words 'I cannot'. Practice before performing, yes i agree, but then some of us have nerves that seem to throw all practice skills out of the window when you are on the stage. I know I have been suffering from them for over 40 years of playing music.

Fisheye


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: breezy
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 06:32 AM

would you pay to go to kareeokaycroakie I would not

If its a freebie folk session its free for all

if you pay then you expect something for your moneyif not you have the right to complain

so if you sing before a paying audience please be good enough and if you are amongst others as a memeber of a paying audeinece dont do anything to distract the listeners


or else

you have been warned

and if you attend one of my pub gigs , you talk at your own risk!!!

no prisoners

theres always the other bar

but if I'm engaged for 'ambience' purposes feel free to ignore me,

but

you have been warned

again


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Proogle
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 06:36 AM

Too much to read again...read some...making point :P

I stewarded the Ham at Sidmouth this year and there was this lady who was sooooooooooooooooo stroppy...the lights were too bright, her seat uncomfortable blah blah and then she would get pissed at the stewards and walk out in the middle of the efing concert especially when she was sat at the front in the middle of a row! argh!
I may be young but i do care about folk manners!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: breezy
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 07:29 AM

next time leave yer mum at the home


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Malcolm
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 07:32 AM

It seems to me that the idea of a folk CLUB is that you will have members at all levels. Tolerating the weak and helping them improve (where possible!) is part of being a club.

If you just want to listen to good performers (ignoring how they became good), you want a concert.

A local club has some singaround/open mic nights, some nights with a paid performer with local support, and some nights with no floor singers just paid acts. It seems to survive pretty well on this mix. (Admission price varies accordingly)

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 07:36 AM

So, I gather that (by some definitions) the person who gets up ands sings a song with poor phrasing, and off-key,with a badly tuned guitar, but has learnt all the words, is preferable to someone who sings beautifully but has to refer to a lyrics sheet.

Obviously I am taking this to extremes, but I think I make the point!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: OldFolkie
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 08:25 AM

Being somewhat one of the 'older generation', but also having been a beginner once, I do agree with a lot of the issues on this thread.

Yes, beginners need to be encouraged - otherwise the folk scene will die.

On the other hand those who are not beginners should have at least practised their songs beforehand. If nerves or forgetfulness do strike very occasionally (as they do)to those of us who are, and wish to remain, unpaid performers at singer's nights or singarounds then I believe most folk club audiences will accept very occasional failures. On the other hand, if the words or chords are forgotten every time by a so-called experienced performer, then, I for one do get fed up.

At one of the clubs that we go to, there is a guy who has been around for many years (so he tells us) comes in every time with a new song that he has written. Hasn't learned either the words or the chords; brings in a music stand and his reading glasses. Result is a song performed lifelessly, with no feeling, with little audience interest. This last time, as soon as it was his turn, there was a rushed exit to the bar by several of the people in the room. I wonder whether he'll get the message?

And there is definitley no place for mobiles being on in a folk club!

However, as others have noted, a few of the other contributions to this thread have made me think about things that I do that might others might find annoying..

Grumpy Old Folkie


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 09:01 AM

running workshops is good but running workshops successfully requires skill and diplomacy and tact.
firstly singers should not be told they must sing in a certain way[stylistically],
workshops should concentrate upon improving technique,suggestions can be made,directing the singer to recordings of differing singers that the person might benefit from listening to.,and then let the person chhose their own direction,suggestions can be made that a singer might be more suited to singing shanties or whatever,but that is about as far as you should go.
the singer has to make their own decisions,telling people what to/ or how to sing will often be counter productive and is bad manners.
it is also bad manners,to say to a performer while they are on stage: we dont allow political songs here,or you must only sing songs from your own culture or in your own accent[ Ibelieve this is what happened to Lisa Turner,a fine blues singer at the ballad and blues club,or was it Maccoll/Seegers singers club].
A club may have rules,but the time to sort that out is not on stage,but during the break or afterwards.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: melodeonboy
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 09:02 AM

Surely there needs to be give and take on both sides. It's worth looking at John Routledge's comment again:

"There is a world of difference between someone who has learnt a song and has a cheat sheet as a prop and someone who has made no attempt whatsoever to learn a song and then stumbles through the words from a sheet whilst trying to remember the tune which they haven't really learnt either. And then repeats the process next week - or even the same night - with another song. And the week after ....".

Absolutely!

I'm not particularly keen on singers reading the words while singing, for obvious reasons, and I don't do it myself. However, I know performers who do bother to learn songs and perform them well, but through poor memory, nervousness or other reasons, feel more comfortable when they have the words with them. I don't find that particularly offensive.

What I do find irritating is the kind of experience that I had about a year ago when visiting another folk club (which will remain nameless!) for the first time. This bloke got up behind the mike with his guitar and words and started to sing a song which I knew. He seemed to find it difficult to read while he was singing and misread words on a number of occasions, rendering the song, for the most part, meaningless. He seemed to be unaware that he'd been singing wrong words because he hadn't put any effort into learning them in the first place!

As I said, it's a matter of give and take. In the first example I gave, the singer's doing his best to give something to the audience, and he may need a bit of help to do it. In the second example the singer's not really bothered about the audience (or even the song):he just wants his five minutes of fame.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 10:00 AM

The trend for people to bring looseleaf binders with a hundred or more songs that they can't sing seems to be growing. If a song is worth singing, its worth learning, in my opinion. However, we do have a chap who is a very accomplished singer, one of the best we have actually. He cannot perform without his songbook in front of him - its a battered old A4 hardback with songs he has collected over the past 30 odd years in it. He never reads from it, or uses it for much more than deciding which song he is going to treat us to, but without it he would be lost.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: breezy
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 10:18 AM

All choral works are usually sung from the score

what the heck anyway its only an English thing !!!

us celts learn to perform before we walk


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 10:27 AM

A few years ago, there was a performer who came to a club we went to who was really excellent at delivering comic poetry, timing , everything spot on!

He decided to become a singer, and went out and bought himself a top of the range Martin before he'd even learned a chord.

He got up to perform and announced that he was going to do the Mick Ryan song "The Man that I did Kill". Those of you who know the song will realise that it is quite long, but such a good song that you don't notice the length when done by a reasonable performer.

He accompanied himself with one chord per syllable, completely ignoring any time signature, having switched on his video camera to record himself performing.

About three quarters way through the song, he forgot the words and siad:-

"Oh, I'll have to start again!" He did this and began all over again.

At least it makes a good story to tell.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 10:36 AM

Acorn4.
       I am just reading your thread and it conjures up such a hilarious picture that I burst out laughing. Please tell us more tales from your club to brighten this dreary day.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 10:51 AM

I totally agree with your post Melodeonboy. There is a very big difference between someone who has not even attempted to learn the words and a new singer who wants a cheat sheet, 'just in case'. Dick, I don't think you can expect a newbie to easily be able to ad-lib or just carry on, when they are half paralysed with fright anyway, but ready to have ago. Have you never had the experience of singing a song perfectly a dozen times in your own home but messing it up when you are standing at the front? Also, some people may be very good singers, but find it very difficult indeed to learn songs by heart. It seems a shame to discourage new singers from performing by sending out negative vibes.

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 11:13 AM

,when I started as a floor singer 1971,the competition was tough,nobody ever sang songs with words in front of them.
I can remember going out to the toilet to run through words ,to make sure I had it right,if you werent any good you didnt get a chance to sing the next week,if a performer forgot a word they carried on,we had to learn how to perform,as we were doing it,and that[ imo] is the only way.
I experienced all those things as a newbie performer,but I got up and did it,I practised a lot before I went on,if i played a wrong chord aor sang a wrong word [I let it go ,and made sure I got the next verse right].
making a mistake can happen to anyone,the most important thing is to learn to feel at ease,whilst performing,[this is what the alexander technique is about],throw away your word sheets,if you make a mistake,make it up or make a joke.,carry on,nerves have to be conquered.
on the other hand Iwould never criticise anyone in a club if they were singing with words [if I was guesting,or whatever],Iam not that bad mannered,I am just stating my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Will Fly
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 11:52 AM

Your experience, Cap'n B, sounds like mine - except it was 1965 when I started. I can't remember anyone ever bringing along music to a club on those days. We simply practised and practised until we got it as right as we could. (Monty Python:" If you told the young people of today, they wouldn't believe you...").

At a club I used to go down here in Sussex - until recently - almost every single performer plonked their music down on a music stand. Now, I don't mind a bit of that, and I do appreciate that people have to learn - and I also occasionally stumble over a word here and there - but it's as far removed from the folk clubs I remember as it's possible to be. I got so fed up with it, I just stopped going there. The whole evening just seemed so lifeless, only generating any interest when someone got up and performed from their heart.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: breezy
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 11:52 AM

Heres an idea

listen to the source over a period of weeks, nay months if needs be until you find yersel humming the odd phrase, then add on bit by bit, to see if you can sing one verse , hurry not the learning unless you are gifted with total recall and of supreme intelligence, but imerse yersel totally in the piece

then when still alone

ditch the words and try
one verse at a time maybe in front of the mirror



Know your stuff thoroughly before attemping to perform it please   

respect the song and its author

I wanted to perform particular song before an audiencea few years back but luckily, I couldnt even start it, its taken me 3 years and I performed it perfectly last week.

Even the source artiste refuses to perform it, and he is a very famous folker indeed,

So the answer is 'practice' a discipline learned from 8 years of purgatory on the piano when very young

Good luck to one and all


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: henryclem
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 12:24 PM

There seems to be such a variety of formats - clubs, sessions, singarounds, concerts; every time a thread of this nature crops up it seems as if there is a collision of worlds!

I go to a few weekly clubs (and they are clubs) where they have a "name" guest maybe once a month, with singers nights otherwise. In my experience there is never a question of the regulars getting preference, whether it's a guest or singers' night - the format (except for spotlight nights) is one song each, and new visitors always get a turn, or two, even if we don't get round the room once/twice in the course of the evening. Basic courtesy towards visitors, I'd say. And everyone pays on the door, every week, whether or not they perform.

We have had people come in for the first time and do their song/tune
then pack up as soon as the next person starts, leaving while that person is actually performing. They are in the room long enough to observe the general proprieties practised by the gathering, but choose to ignore them.

Too much is made of the occasional lack of expertise. I regularly make a 70 mile round trip to Swindon Folksingers Club (which will celebrate 50 years in January 2010) because I think it is a great club for the very reason that it has a community of members of all ages, experience, ability, levels of self-confidence etc. Above all it's a happy and welcoming club (as I'm sure you'll agree, Dick). I've never had a bad night there, and I don't see that my paying at the door gives me the right to be intolerant of anyone who chooses to perform.

Henry


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,keith ferret
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 12:43 PM

If you don't know the words to the song then how can you give it any feeling and interpretation. It's a disrespect to both the audience and the composer......all songs were written at some point... not to know, and be comfortable with the words and the tune is inexcusable. Because the folk tradition is oral....and possibly aural too...then it's ok if you don't sing the words exactly as written or heard.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: mauvepink
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 01:01 PM

There seems to be some elitism being suggested which occurs on a higher level with some rather than others. I have seen the same thing expressed over people who do not use a capo over others who do. If you cannot play a chord in a key then you are less than useless...

Surely Folk is about folk, of all levels of experience and expertise, and that is what makes it so diverse. Some Folk clubs allow Country songs others not. It is all singing.

I had encepahlitis many years ago which left me with a short term memory deficit. I never realised how bad it was until I picked up my guitar again in May after a 13 year break. New songs just do not go in like they used to and I remember songs from 2 decades ago easier. So it is I use cheat sheets all the time. I really find it hard to remember all the words to new songs and the more I find the harder it is.

This does not stop me from being able to pass across some of the emotion in a song. I have been know to make people cry and not just because I have a terrible voice! ;-) Many comment about the emotionality in my singing... sometimes. Other times I am useless and a song I sang 10 times in the afternoon perfectly falls apart in the evening at a club. The cheat sheet is a great help.

But what helps me most is the attitude of those around me at the clubs I attend. These are warm, caring people, who do not judge me. They give me my turn and allow me my expression. They encourage me and share their knowledge and songs, thier emotions and compassion. My life is richer for it. THAT is what folk is about surely?

Would I charge people to hear me? Certainly not. I am not, nor never will be, good enough. I can only aspire to try and sing well and play correctly. I often fail but am also forgiven. I confess at being almost alarmed at some of the comments I have read. We all started somewhere and we all make mistakes. Some, like me, more than most.

You have given me great food for thought and I will certainly try to 'clean up my act' but try not to condemn those who try their best and make mistakes. Because of them it makes the perfect ones look even better and more polished! ;-)

Sing and let sing... that's folk for you :-)

mp


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Will Fly
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 01:05 PM

Mauvepink: try not to condemn those who try their best and make mistakes

Ah - well that's the point. You obviously do try your best - and good on ya - however, many don't try their hardest and it's those wot gets up me nose sometimes.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 01:28 PM

From: mauvepink - PM
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 01:01 PM

"There seems to be some elitism being suggested which occurs on a higher level with some rather than others. I have seen the same thing expressed over people who do not use a capo over others who do. If you cannot play a chord in a key then you are less than useless..."

A capo is a very useful device. I don't use mine that often, but it's great for playing in the "flat" keys. A great deal of guitar music is in the sharp keys G, D, A, or E and it's quite nice to have some variety. I also sometimes have pain in my hands, and when it's bad, a capo can make things easier. The main disadvantage is the loss of some notes and/or possible fingerings, but that's not something that should concern the audience.

There are good reasons for wanting to play something using voicings with open strings. If I wanted that sound in, say F or Bb, I'd use a capo. One could use a different tuning, but I don't see any moral superiority in doing that. Who cares? What counts is the sound that comes out.

Not everybody wants to or can be a virtuoso on the guitar. Sneering at someone for using a capo is just silly, in my opinion, even if it really was just a crutch (which it isn't).


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 01:56 PM

Well said Mauvepink and Piers Plowman. Exactly. Most of us do the best we can but are not, and never will be, virtuosos. Also,many of us work full time and with the best will in the world get a limited amount of time to practice. We do have other lives. I go to two folk clubs a week and both of them are warm friendly places where people are encouraged to do their best but mistakes are forgiven. It is quite different when we have a paid guest. Of course we expect a certain standard then.


Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: mauvepink
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 01:57 PM

I was not disparaging capo use. I used that as another example of elitism that sometimes comes out. People who never need a capo looking down on those who do. (I always use a capo myself)

Sorry. I should have been clearer. My intention was to show attitudes often expressed with those of lesser skill though, as you point out, many with great skill use capo too.

Hope that clear up any misunderstanding

mp


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 02:05 PM

Sorry, mauvepink, I understood what you meant. I didn't think you were disparaging the use of the capo. I was just adding my two cents.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: mauvepink
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 02:13 PM

... and me my two penneth

We cannot even agree on monetary units! ;-)   Where will it all end?

hehe

I am glad I I did not offend

I will be out soon to one of my Clubs of choice and just always know it will be a relaxed, cordial affair with good songs and like minded folks

Have a great day/evening/night everyone

mp


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 02:16 PM

John from Kensing.

Glad you found the little tale amusing - I'm not sure i know of any others relevant to this thread, but if I think of them I'll post them.

I do recall a story told by Jez Lowe at a songwriting workshop he ran.

He turned up to do a gig one night and was greeted by one of the organisers, who told him that he could do any of his songs except this one, that one, etc because the residents did those.

Fortunately Jez always sees the funny side of things.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 02:30 PM

After singing his famous song 'The First of May' Dave Webber was, ever so gently, once reprimanded by an old lady at a concert in Cornwall, 'My dear, leave Cornish songs for the Cornish!'

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Nick
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 02:39 PM

After you I insist - have the 100th post


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 02:52 PM

"Please Jim Enlighten me re incompetent singing.
You might start with being able to hold a tune and remember the words - not enough, but I'd happily settle for it for a start. When you've got that mastered, then perhaps you might go on to understanding and liking the song you are singing. I'm not asking for virtuoso performances; they will come later.
Speaking personally, I got very tired of feeling embarrass on behalf of would-be singers who made idiots of themselves in front of audiences; patronising a poor singer is doing nobody any favours - help them to be good ones and then give them an audience.
If you are serious about attracting new blood you owe it to the music to present singing at a reasonable standard. A new punter who walks in from the street and hears naff singing takes that impression away with them - that for them is folk music - are you happy with that image?
I totally agree with whoever said that you can't have interpretation from crib-sheets.
Cap'n' suggestion of running through your text in the jacks is an excellent one - and you make some wonderful friends in there.....! but not on stage - please.
If you are going to turn your club into a Freemasons lodge and only give access to the initiated - fine; you are entitled to perform your songs naked while standing in a bowl of custard; if you are a public club - you owe it to the music to set a standard - and to yourself. Nobody but a sado-masochist likes bad singing, from themselves or their fellow performers.
Singing can be fun - even if it's belting out Yellow Submarine five minutes before closing time - but for lasting pleasure and satsfaction you can't beat making a song work, knowing you've made a song work, and knowing that your audience knows you've made a song work.
Not unlike The Virgin Queen who said she had Calais carved on her heart; I have something MacColl once said in an interview back in 1980.

"Now you might say that working and training to develop your voice to sing Nine Maidens A-milking Did Go or Lord Randall is calculated to destroy your original joy in singing, at least that's the argument that's put to me from time to time, or has been put to me from time to time by singers who should know better.
The better you can do a thing the more you enjoy it. Anybody who's ever tried to sing and got up in front of an audience and made a bloody mess of it knows that you're not enjoying it when you're making a balls of it, but you are enjoying it when it's working, when all the things you want to happen are happening. And that can happen without training, sure it can, but it's hit or miss. If you're training it can happen more, that's the difference. It can't happen every time, not with anybody, although your training can stand you in good stead, it's something to fall back on, a technique, you know. It's something that will at least make sure that you're not absolutely diabolical
The objective, really for the singer is to create a situation where when he starts to sing he's no longer worried about technique, he's done all that, and he can give the whole of his or her attention to the song itself she can give her or he can give his whole attention to the sheer act of enjoying the song".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 04:07 PM

I've just got the joke, Nick.

The thread is about manners!

A bit slow on the uptake, sorry!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 04:52 PM

This is honestly a true story and I'm not making it up.

We went to a folk club, just after the "Herald of Free Enterprise" ferry disaster, which will give you an idea how long ago it was.

We were a bit late and when we came in there was a bloke at the front dressed in yellow oilskins, sou'wester and wellies. He was obviously determined to be the first to write a song on the subject, and had just finished his intro and then began the song:-

"Oh, the Herald of Free Enterprise, she sail-ed on the sea..."

It went on for a bit, but was OK.

In the half-time break, he collared us in the corridor and asked "did you like my song?". We made encouraging noises and he then went on to explain how there was an episode in the disaster, when a young girl was assumed to be drowned, but was later found to have been washed up safe and alive some way from the ship.

He explained to us that this had "ruined his song" and he'd had to re-write some of the verses.

He didn't actually go as far as to say "they should have thrown her back in!"


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 05:09 PM

The objective, really for the singer is to create a situation where when he starts to sing he's no longer worried about technique, he's done all that, and he can give the whole of his or her attention to the song itself she can give her or he can give his whole attention to the sheer act of enjoying the song".
Jim Carroll.
EVERYONE, PLEASE TAKE NOTE.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: John Routledge
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 05:25 PM

Jim's last post has it all - in one sentence


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Rumncoke
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 05:41 PM

When I found my memory going I wrote down as many of the songs in my repertoire as I could - I still find one or two to add from time to time even though I have over 300 now. I must admit that I now look for versions on line to jog my memory.

These days I can usually remember the chords, as long as I don't try to sing at the same time, but I usually forget either one whole verse or mix up the first and last halves of two or more, or what is worse, I think there is another verse and try to remember it, but there isn't one - so I use my book.

I have had to rewrite it recently - larger - but as long as I can get a glimpse of it from time to time I can cope fairly well.

It has knocked my confidence, as at one time I could steal anybody's song just hearing it once, so I don't go out of my way to sing in folk clubs - but I can't be the only person who needs to compensate for the effects of getting older.

If someone does produce a song book or sheet - perhaps waiting to see just how good they are would be the kindest thing, rather than instantly giving sighs and other signs of exasperation.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 05:43 PM

"Don't try and talk to me while I'm trying to listen!!!"
Here here!
That realy is most annoying.

I got sneered at for my music stand(trying to play some very basic chords for someone who was realy desperate)By a realy good performer who had very copious amounts of "wall paper" stuck on his guitar.
I was a bit suprised but then I dont have the experience of thirty/fourty/fifty? years of experience like some of you.
I agree that it is better to know your song and the resultant performance does seem better.
But what if I bloody forget??????
Arrrrgh!
Just playing at home is probably best bet if you are not a "Pro " slummin or networkin for gigs.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 06:34 PM

What I like about singing unaccompanied is - well, the main thing I like about it is that it doesn't involve playing an instrument I can't play. But one of the other things I like about it is that you can't just get up and bash it out - without the guitar for safety-net, a poor performance sounds really poor. I've certainly heard far fewer ho-hum performances from unaccompanied singers than from guitarists - some are good, some are bad, but very few are mediocre.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 07:32 PM

Aaaaah SHOOT!

I probably should not start this, not now, because I am in seriously grumpy mode, been a hard day, got in from lecturing (now that's a form of performance skill) at past 11 pm and been at the VaT to relax.

I have not had the pleasure of hearing you Jim sing, and I don't claim to be better than you Cap'n - I leave it to those here who often hear me sing and play to pass inertial judgment (mostly without safety nets) but   (rant on) FARDLES how conceited can you get?

There is ALWAYS someone better than you and the point of folk is that they don't turn their nose up at you if you can only do something so long as you can and do do something. Before you start laying down the law about how good people have to be - go and get your worst enemy, not your best friend, to compare you with the standards. Go find yourself on Youtube and see if you wince.

Now Dick - can you sing as well as Martin Carthy? Or Peter Bellamy? Or Ian Bruce? Or the late Dave Bryant of these environs? Or the Barden of England?

Or play guitar like Martin Simpson (actually he's a murderous deliverer of a traditional song too) or Martin again, or Dave Reay the killer blind guitarist form Kent - or my old mate Andy/Geoff/who is he this week? Or Brian Rodgers of No Worries (who was here for a while until some politoco got at him for taking a hoilday in Cyprus, and he left, to our loss).

Can you squeeze like the God Kirkpatrick, or the bloke from up north, what was his name, was it Atterson or Anderson or was there one of each?

Can you work and command an audience like - to take a semipro - the late Pete Hicks of this peninsular?

No matter how good we are, there is always someone better and this time you have both delivered yourself like a braggart and succeeded in condemning a whole bunch of acceptable performers - the current bearers of most folkmusic - as being not good enough for you.

Great. Till you get to the big time - like our occasional guest elizaC - you are not good enough for me.

Rant off.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 09:07 PM

Hear, hear!!

Perhaps one day YOU'LL find yourself resorting to 'cheat sheets' too, Dick, in order to jog YOUR ageing memory - or will you then decide it's time to give up up? Others prefer to carry on giving good performances with or without 'safety nets' So until that time - please bear with others a little more graciously.

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 11:49 PM

well i can appreciate some people have real difficulty in learning songs. and if they need crib sheets fair enough - no one would want their voices to be stilled, I hope.

But breathes there a soul so dull, who doesn't give an inward sigh of grief when he hears the words - I wrote this, this afternoon and I might get it wrong; or I haven't sung this one for twenty years but I was thinking when I was driving here, I' d like to sing it tonite its just the words and tune I've forgotten: and that old chestnut - I just got my guitar out after twenty years this afternoon, so I AM sorry if its not in tune, but I don't pretend to be an expert; or I got these uillean pipes off e bay last week - look they're new in the box and they're dead easy.......

I mean seriously sometimes you can feel the whole room mentally reaching for the machine guns. The Americans are so brave letting everyone have access to firearms.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 02:52 AM

From: weelittledrummer - PM
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 11:49 PM

"I just got my guitar out after twenty years this afternoon, so I AM sorry if its not in tune [...]"

Oh, no! I say, "I can't understand it, I only tuned it last week!" You mean, it's not original?!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 03:40 AM

Richard,
It's not really about being as good as anybody- it's about making a reasonable attempt at a song and making it work. When I was singing, if that happened I went home happy (and hoped that at least one of the audience did likewise).
When I started to sing it was usually on CND marches or such like; some people who heard me were kind enough to encouraged me and it became my major interest. I worked at my songs and became a little better; I was invited to perform regularly, till eventually I was asked to join The Critics Group. I was never more than a competent singer but I came to value and respect the songs enough to realise that the harder you worked at them the better they got - and above all - THE SONGS WERE WORTH THE EFFORT.
In the seventies I found my interests expanding into other fields of folk music so I wasn't putting in the time - my singing deteriorated and I wasn't prepared to sing in public on automatic pilot, so I stopped (basically because I stopped enjoying it). Nowadays, if I am pressed to sing (it happens a lot over here) I will fall back on the two or three songs I constantly sing about the house because I know I won't make a complete hames of them; I seldom enjoy singing them because, as much as I still like them, I no longer connect with them - I don't see the pictures any more.
For me, it can never be about competing with other singers, nor can it be about having an audience - it has to be about that beautiful moment when the song takes over - when it becomes part of you, and when you become part of it, that has to be the objective of a singer or they become little more than clever parrots reciting words they don't understand.
I have said a hundred times before - ANYBODY (unless they have a physical problem) IS CAPABLE OF BEING A GOOD SINGER. In forty plus years of involvement, at least twenty of those spent involved in singing workshops, I have never met anybody who is genuinely 'tone deaf'. True, some have to work harder than others, BUT ALMOST ANYBODY CAN SING if they work at it.
If in the end someone finds they are 'tone-deaf', isn't it a little bizarre to try to sing publicly - rather like that wonderfully tasteless Monty Python sketch about the one-legged actor auditioning for the role of Tarzan.
I believe the secret (no secret really) lies in the work, putting in the time, whether you do it on your own or with others.
Sticking non-singing singers in front of an audience like so many 'Florence Foster Jenkins' is not the way to do it - that's cruel - to the singer, to the listener, to the song and to the tradition.
MacColl used to talk about the feeling of 'having the right to be there because you knew that you had something to say' - that's when you are ready and that's when you start to sing well.
Crib sheets
There are ways of dealing with a flagging memory, but again I believe that has to be offstage, not in public. The minute I see somebody using one I automatically think "they're not feeling the song; they're reading it" and I ceased to be convinced - even if it's word and note perfect.
One of the simplest ways of dealing with a song you think you might forget is to rehearse it at double speed (and not to sing it until you get it word perfect that way).
Another is to 'tell' the song as a story using your own words so that you become totally immersed in it as a plot rather than a text.
I watched MacColl as he got old and began forgetting the words, but he was so steeped in the language of the songs he was singing that he always managed an on-the-spot repair repair so only those who knew his singing intimately noticed.
Surely it has to be about singing the song and not the words (I think the Cap'n already said that).
It may well be that we become too old to do what we want to do, Joe Heaney once told us rather plaintively that "It now takes me all night to do what I used to do all night". Some of the source singers we met were in their eighties, and even nineties and, while they might not remember what they had for breakfast that day, they could give us songs that they hadn't sung for half a century (sometimes they had to work on them, sometimes, like MacColl, they patched them up as they went along - but they eventually got there).
For me, isn't it about being a singer (an interpreter of songs) rather than a 'performer' or rememberer of songs?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 04:06 AM

Personally I love thst line about... I don't believe in electronic tuners!

As though they're an abstract concept like god and require a belief system to sustain them.

Or, I got this from a book ....(yeh go on! blame it on the book!)

Or the Newcastle oyster catchers/South Wales steel workers/miners of South Devon - they all used a wodger at work. So when I sing, 'Haul away on me Wodger lads.....!'

Or, I've had a cold all this week and lost me voice something shocking, so I can't 'really' sing...... (ah yes! one thinks, but its 'reality' we are involved in tonight!)

Or this is my son Edgar who has been for guitar lessons and he's going to sing and play for us, 'Cocaine Blues'.

Its that sort of mismatch of material that really grabs you.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 04:22 AM

Capos? A crutch for poor players? Are there really people around who think that? Lorks! Things are even worse than I thought.

In classical music, yes - blues, rock and jazz, perhaps - but there's an entire style of guitar playing (which intersects intimately with 'modern roots music') in which the use of a capo is as essential as the use of a bow to a fiddle player. (You can play the violin without, but you're not going to make the most of the instrument). Capos have been around since the invention of the guitar (Some old ones were secured through holes drilled through the neck)!

It's frequently not physically possible to make the noises you want, with the sound you want, in the key you want without a capo. You might as well suggest that a keyboard player is cheating if he uses the black keys!

Staggered of Leeds.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,LJW - at work
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 04:32 AM

Nice one Tom - the acoustic guitar is an amazing instrument made even more versatile with use of a capo. A friend of mine is a fantastic guitarist who NEVER uses one because he can play anything in any key anywhere up the fretboard to the last fret - but he can't touch those beautiful sounds and colours you can reach when using one. There are many examples, but the playing of Alan Taylor comes to mind - no way could my friend get his sound.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 04:50 AM

"he can play anything in any key anywhere up the fretboard to the last fret" - only, as you correctly say, actually he can't - unless he has six fingers on his left hand. I guess you could manage some open tuning shapes over a permanent barre, for example, but the drone strings would never ring the way they are intended to do without a fixed capo.

I trained in classical guitar and frequently use the teenage frets - but I only do a handful of songs without a capo - and that's solo where I have the freedom to choose. If you play with another instrument that has it's own range issues - specially any tune-leading sonophone like fiddle or banjo, or most squeezeboxes - where cross fingering is crucial to the sound feel, you'd be a fool not to embrace the capo.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Simon G
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 05:18 AM

We went to the Room at the Top folk club last night for a fantastic evening, which welcomed all comers. As Mark Dowding said earlier in the thread we did have a couple of people, who couldn't read, come in during a song despite his very legible sign on the door.

A very well behaved audience, without the need for Mark do resort to his whip to bring them to order. It was a treat to hear people in such silence.

There was all sorts of performances, but all were enjoyable (mine might not have been, but I wasn't listening). I got the impression from everyone that they hadn't put their all into the performance.

One guy with a lovely tenor voice and a sweet guitar picking style performed two songs, he has only been singing regularly since March, so much potential you just know he is going to get better and better. It took him at least a couple of years to work up the courage to sing, because of attitudes like those exhibited by some on this thread.

Many people need lots of encouragement, not only to start singing but to continue working at it. People like Mark Dowding and Joan Blackburn to name but two locally are great at this, but we all need to take some responsibility for encouraging our fellow performers.

Artificial rules about paper, capos etc simply end up being hurdles for someone - everytime you get on you high horse someone takes a step back, someone with potential take it no further and we all loose.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 05:32 AM

Well Simon, if you saw and heard some of the absolout dross that we sometimes get at our club, you may think it worth the risk of losing a potential good performer. I am all for encouraging people with even the slightest amount of potential, but some folk are clearly not cut out for it and need to be jumped on from a very great hight.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: mauvepink
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 05:52 AM

Well said Simon G. I totally agree.

In the short time I have been on the folk scene I have seen many people grow in confidence and ability because the clubs they attend have open attitudes and respect for all. I am thankful not to have seen more than a couple of Prima Donna's (or should that be Prima Dona's as they were male?) in that time. These men could sing, sure, without a crib sheet, but there was nothing in their voice that suggested feeling or emotion. They were 'delivering' a set of words, parrot fashion, as they had obviously done hundreds of times before. I was not touching at all though the subject matter should have been.

Converse to that I have heard many a good song delivered by somone reading off a crib sheet who have captured the emotion of the words. I cannot subscribe to the idea that singing off a crib sheet kills the message, or dulls the sense, as I have witnessed great songs sung by great singers... but with crib sheet.

Of course it is wonderful when you get someone who knows the words, their instrument, and can sing flawlessly. But I refuse to consider anyone as doing less than that as being some kind of sub-species. I was once at an opera work-shop, with Sherrill Milnes (a great Verdian baritone), when he came out with a comment I have always tried to remember. "Sing the song like it is the first time you have given those words to the person you are saying them to" and I try to do that even now (even with a crib sheet, or cheat sheet as I call it). In other words, don't go parrot fashion with a song. Sing it always the first time and mean it. The emotion will be built in.

Surely, the person who is singing their song off a crib sheet is quite capable of still showing emotion. They may be concentrating on the words or the music, and that may detract on occasion, but such musical nudity - singing there in front of peers - deserves our respect as they are showing all they have to give at that moment.

It is easy to snigger and denigrate someone of lesser skill. But remember we are all lesser skilled than others in our midst. Should they then snigger at us? What has been an amazing thing for me to see is how many good singers - and pro artists - show full respect to their lesser admirers and how many are more than willing to give tips and join in with helping. Many should take a leaf from their book.

Another essay. I apologise. I am just grateful I obviously attend the right kind of clubs with the right kind of folks because, without their encouragement and support, I would be far lesser a whole person than I am. I owe a lot to Folk and folks in it.

I'll shush ;-)

mp


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 05:53 AM

So who makes this distinction of who is cut out for it and who is not and 'need to be jumped on'? Who do you see as entitled do this 'jumping on', Silas? Most people who actually DO have potential, as already said, nearly everyone can improve. Many new singers who have experienced harsh, uncalled for criticism, whether it is direct or indirect, especially if the individually concerned is of an even remotely sensitive nature have been put off from ever singing again in public. IMHO a great pity.

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 06:36 AM

I thought a capo was an essential part of the guitarists' armoury - I mean how else do you shut up melodeon players who want to join in with your sensitive songs. Capo on the first fret and play in Ab - sorted!

Simon - The guy you referred to said to me that he had been told not to play at one club! (he didn't say which one) Since he's been coming to our club he's had all sorts of encouragement from people who give him tips on the guitar or his performance style and he's really come on. OK ocassionally he trips up as do we all but you get back on the saddle and carry on. Actually last night I personally thought everybody raised their game a bit perhaps because we had a guest on (Bryony - excellent) which we don't normally do at our place so maybe it gave people incentive to put more into it.

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 06:40 AM

I've not been to a 'folk club' before and reading this thread they sound quite scary places....like x-factor for folk music.
And so many rules. :O very daunting.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 06:48 AM

Hi Mark,

What do you suggest we melodeon players can do to stop guitarists joining in with the wrong rhythm(Grin)?

For that matter, what do you guitarists do about the piano accordions? Or the man with the bag of whistles?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 06:55 AM

OK, we had an issue some months ago. A certain person who had been attending our club (Its a session club really - nothing too formal)decided he was going to learn to play the guitar and sing. He managed to learn a few chords and cribbed loads of lyrics from the internet and proceeded to regale us with his reditions of some of his favourite songs. He was trying to run before he could walk, which is OK, many people do this and eventually manage, with help, to get there. This guy had a really poor voice, his timing depended on how difficult the chord change was. People did try to help him, one guy offered to pop round his house and run through a couple of songs with him. He would not accept any help or take on board any crittisisms.
It was bad enough when he was doing one or two songs per night, but he started jumping in at every lul in the evening and was doing up to NINE songs in an evening. Despite the fact that when he started singing people went to the bar, bog or out for a fag and when he finished there was little or very scant aplause, it was like water off a ducks back - good performers stopped coming, people who poped in as a one off heard him and never came back. Eventually, the landlord of the pub banned him form singing. Sad, but there you are.

I play and I sing at home, I don't think my voice is too bad, but I would not like to inflict it on others - some people just can't do it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 06:56 AM

Manitas - Wire cutters, a sharp knife and a welding torch are all useful tools when faced with those problems!

Seriously though how many people have arranged tunes or songs with "interesting" chord patterns only to have the effect ruined by the three chord trick strummers who insist on joining in anything that's being played.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 07:02 AM

Capos have two uses. One is for getting into either Ab or F#, the 6 black notes soon sort out all but the best squeezers and tootlers. But the other is for the sound palette. I doubt if anyone could do some of the songs I use a partial capo for, anything like the way I do them (you might not like it but that's a different issue) in the keys I do them, without a partial capo. It's not because I'm brilliant - I'm not, it's the capos.

Sneering at them is stupid.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: treewind
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 07:31 AM

Look, lets get this "words on paper" thing straight...

There is a HUGE difference between:
(1) learning a song (really learning it) and taking a crib sheet in case you forget the words,
and
(2) not learning a song at all, and reading it all, - no question of forgetting the words because you've never learned them in the first place.

It's the same with all other technique whether playing an instrument or singing. We don't all have the same abilities or skills but we do owe it to our audience to spend some time at home practicing what we do to the best (or something approaching it) of OUR ability.

It's elitist to put down somebody who's basically not very talented but is making an effort, and IMO it's quite right to chastise someone who quite clearly can't be arsed to practice or learn anything and is wasting everyone's time.

Even the most musically illiterate audience member can tell the difference. It's not about how good you are, it's about how much effort you make.

(I think I posted something like this earlier, but it didn't seem to stick)
Anahata


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,baz parkes
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 07:42 AM

So do we/would we ban the Coppers (Young or Old...I'm being rhetorical here)for using the famous Book?...:-)

Baz


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Amber
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 07:43 AM

Please don't let put you off Guest LTD. Most folk clubs are really warm, friendly and supportive.

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 07:44 AM

he started jumping in at every lul in the evening and was doing up to NINE songs in an evening

Perhaps if this starts happening the "jump in when ready" approach needs to be tempered by a bit of firm-but-fair MCing. JIWR is brilliant when it works - I love the flow of song from one voice to the next - but I don't think "have you got one for us, Silas?" disrupts the flow or harshes the buzz excessively. Or "have you got another one for us, Pip?" That works very well, I find.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: mattkeen
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 07:46 AM

Surely its about context

Be equal let everybody have a go IN A SINGAROUND OR SESSION

Good and capable performers in performances though


Discrete back up sheet is ok for a while providing the performance is good


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 08:51 AM

Hi
LDT shouldn't you be practicing concertina or are you using a time machine?

Whilst I personally prefer not to use a'crib' sheet I do have a problem playing concertina without having 'dots' -guitar -no problem, words-not too much of a problem tho' i have been known to 're-write' a song as the words 'disappear' from memory and 'new' ones 'appear'. I do wonder why it is acceptable for orchestras to use music, for choirs to use music, for opera (recital) singers to use music but not acceptable for 'amateur' performers in folk music to do the same. Are we saying that these professional performers can't be good enough because they use music? Is it just in folk music?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 08:52 AM

No problem withb people who site read music - different thing altogether.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 09:00 AM

"LDT shouldn't you be practicing concertina or are you using a time machine?"
actually I should be working 'sussh' ;) (your from c.net I'm guessing)

I can't remember music off by heart...any tips for how to? I've tried the old trick of associating the thing you want to remember with a familiar object...but its not working for notes. I have a hard enough time playing the right thing with it written down in front of me, my fingers seem to have a different idea to my brain.

I don't think I could perform in public....I get nervous if I even think someone is listening.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 09:56 AM

Hi LDT yes
If I had any tips I wouldn't have the problem :-) but it really only applies to concertina. does anyone else have a 'selective' memory for just one aspect of music?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 10:26 AM

From: GUEST,LDT - PM
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 09:00 AM

"I can't remember music off by heart...any tips for how to?"

Measure by measure. Repeat a measure until you can play it without looking at the music (assuming you're learning from music). Then learn the next one the same way. Then try to play both together, referring back to the music until you can do it without looking. Continue memorizing small segments and combining them into larger ones. It requires lots of repetition. It will probably take a couple of days and when you go back to it, you will find that you've forgotten a lot of what you could do, but it will be easier to learn it the second time.

Some people find visualization helpful. I don't particularly like this technique and never use it for memorizing music.

Really, what I find helps the most is the ability to play by ear and basic knowledge of harmony. That way, it's not really necessary to memorize something perfectly, since one eventually comes to "just know" what's coming next. It's taken me a long time and I'm far from perfect, but I have noticed a big improvement in my ability to do this recently. I find that it makes it much easier to figure out songs, too.

Many songs have simple harmonies, too. If you can "feel" when a tonic, sub-dominant or dominant is coming, you don't need to sit down and memorize the song. I find I'm sometimes able to do this when playing without too many mistakes, but I need to be playing; I can't do it without a guitar. Perhaps that will come.

Do you have trouble whistling a melody? Most people, even non-musicians, don't. The trick is to be able to do that on one's instrument. I wish someone had told me this when I was a child taking music lessons. If you've got the melody, the chords are usually (but not always) a piece of cake.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 10:34 AM

"Do you have trouble whistling a melody?."
Yep. I even have trouble whistling! lol! (usually I get a long whistle so high only dogs can hear it.) And don't suggest humming or singing either...I can't hold a tune to save my life.
;)

I am unfortunately not naturally musical....and envy those who take to it naturally. For me its a lot of hard work and concentration.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 10:37 AM

Thanks for the suggestions though. I think I may be a lost cause...and won't be inflicting my poor attempts on anyone except on youtube.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Nick
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 10:37 AM

Over the past couple of years I have had some of the most enjoyable times of my life playing music and singing and I owe a huge debt to the people who have encouraged and put up with my improving efforts over the last 6 years. I think that had I been faced with the attitudes of some of the people on this thread then I would probably not have had the resilience to have kept trying because I spent the best part of forty-eight years not playing in front of people. Earlier this year I sang at a beer festival in front of a few hundred people and there is no way in the world I would have - or could have - done that five years ago.

But from some of the comments of people on this thread I think I'd have been weedkillered out of existence before my shoots were much out of the ground so that a fully grown shrub could have been substituted - either for their instant gratification or for the sake of quality. Thank f*** I didn't meet them at the wrong time.

So on a positive note I thank the people who put up with my faltering efforts at starting to sing, my acute shyness and the times when I've died in the friendliest of surroundings much to my chagrin and no doubt the listeners' frustration and embarrassment.

So - because it's another side of good manners - let me give out some thanks to a few people who come to mind: my local friends and visitors to Flaxton (formerly the Blacksmiths Arms in Farlington); Ossonflags; Gedpipes; Linda Kelly and Hazel of Hissyfit; lots of folk in Beverley; Mark Kane; all the people I've sat in sessions with from Sidmouth to the Isle of Arran who hopefully have enjoyed some of the things I have played and that we've shared with each other. Just a few of the people who have been a real encouragement and opened a load of doors and avenues.

And to those of you who would discourage people from contributing - bollocks to you.

From my end I practice hard and learn more and reckon I get better as I play with better people. Hopefully in turn we encourage people in the weekly gathering we organise (?!) to get involved if they want to and go out of our way to make it easy for people to feel at home rather than exclusive and up our own arses. Personally I get a huge buzz out of having seen people I know go from non-participators to (in some cases) solo performers at folk festivals within a two year period. They work very hard at what they do I know but if the door had been slammed shut in their face before they had hardly begun then I don't think they would have done that. And for those who will never get to that level it is as satisfying to see that they have battled against all sorts of stuff and done as well as they could.

But I do share some of the frustrations voiced here (and, yes, there are people I race for the loo as their turn approaches) :- of people who never get any better (but I guess that's their choice) who feel they have reached their best even if others know they haven't; of people whose ego and self confidence far outweighs their talent (and there are a LOT of them out there); of people who impose their view of a song or a tune on others rather than use their ears and listen to the singer or soloist; people who can't play in time; people who spoil other people's music by imposing their own; narrow minded bigots and those who 'know what is right and what is the only way to do things' etc

When some friends and I played recently at a hall in a local village to a group of people they commented afterwards how they noticed how many times various of us would close their eyes as they sang and wondered why. What is perhaps curious about this is that a good half of the people that evening had the words written out 'just in case'. I suppose it comes down to that strange phenomenon of see through eyelids or perhaps some of us just like a safety net there in case we should fall.

I enjoy singing and playing in singarounds and sessions but doubt that I will ever get booked as a solo act in a folk club (so as people know where I'm coming from I sound roughly like this - it's recorded in my car during lunchtime at work as I wanted to sing it at our singaround so it's full of mistakes and only the third time I'd sung it and the guitar is very basic and and ... all the usual excuses :)!!) but I sing and play in a couple of groups and am happy in that environment and people seem to like us because they invite us back (we do have a mighty good lead singer though!). But I must be like hundreds or thousands of others who do the same and just enjoy doing it for the fun of it all; for the social bit of it all; for the joy of making music TOGETHER rather than apart; for the hope of improvement; for how happy it makes me. For me that is also something about what folk music should be about (though I totally realise it isn't a definition of it lest we bounce off at a tangent into oblivion)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 10:41 AM

You won't hear the applause just playing on Youtube.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 10:46 AM

From: GUEST,LDT - PM

"'Do you have trouble whistling a melody?.'
Yep. I even have trouble whistling! lol! (usually I get a long whistle so high only dogs can hear it.) And don't suggest humming or singing either...I can't hold a tune to save my life.
;)

I am unfortunately not naturally musical....and envy those who take to it naturally. For me its a lot of hard work and concentration."

Okay, so that might not be the right approach. However, what I first wrote still applies. The way to memorize _anything_ is frequent repetition.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 11:13 AM

Hi Nick, just listned to your link - very nice indeed, I could listen to singing like that all night - really.

If you have a novice who is prepared to put a bit of effort in and practice and have some idea of where he is trying to get, he would have my support and the support of most people I know. Its the lazy bastards who just about manage to string three chords together, have a looseleaf binder with 100 or more songs in that they don't know and have probably never played who set out to 'entertain' us. They never practice any song, they can't sing in tune, their timing is all over the place.

Life is too short to be bothering with shit like that.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,James H
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 11:17 AM

I've read the thread so far and am currently cogitating on my biggest frustration with a regular folk club I go to.

said club is quite small - 10 or so 'regulars', another 20 or so 'occasionals', and once in a blue moon everybody turns up at once. It's a far more fun evening when there are more people there - more voices to join in the choruses, a bigger variety of material... but when it's quiet it gets dominated by one of the regulars who seems to do most of the things listed above as pet hates - she reads off the words, stumbling and forgetting the tune as she goes, does songs that she happily announces she's only just found (or written) and then stops half way through... I'm sure you can imagine.

Now, we're a friendly club. Nobody has actually said anything bad to her (that I'm aware of) about her performances and we all listen carefully, try and join in the places she wants us to join in, and clap, politely if not enthusiastically. Various of the people who know her fairly well have, I think, made gentle supportive suggestions along the way, about type of material or delivery or whatever, and over the 5 years or so she's been coming a long she has improved a little tiny bit, and seems to really enjoy herself. She starts fewer songs, proportionally, than any of the other regulars, which is I think because she's self aware enough to realise that the applause for her stuff is sometimes a bit... polite shall I say.

Now, I don't have a problem with her coming and I want to be supportive... but I do worry that she puts other people off coming. The club is only just sustaining itself in terms of attendance, and we'd love there to be more regulars who are strong singers, so that every time it could be like the fun nights when all the regulars and occasionals turn up at once. But if someone new turns up and their first impression is that they'd have to sit and listen to bad songs done badly... they may well not come back. I do know quite a few local folkies who only turn up *very* occasionally and I know that in some cases it is precisely because of this woman. So the club suffers for the sake of being nice to one person.

so what do we do? unless she changes her attitude to the whole thing, I don't see her having got any better in the *next* five years either - maybe a tiny bit, but she's got a long way to go. The club might have folded by then for lack of numbers... or we bite the bullet and are a bit more bluntly honest with her, which might upset her and she might stop coming, which would probably be better for the club, although we'd all feel like horrible people – and I get the feeling half the people on this thread would condemn us for being cruel & unsupportive. Or am I wrong?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 11:18 AM

"If you have a novice who is prepared to put a bit of effort in and practice and have some idea of where he is trying to get, he would have my support and the support of most people I know. Its the lazy bastards who just about manage to string three chords together, have a looseleaf binder with 100 or more songs in that they don't know and have probably never played who set out to 'entertain' us. They never practice any song, they can't sing in tune, their timing is all over the place."

Silas, those words should be pasted up on the walls of every folk club in the land!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: John Routledge
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 11:22 AM

Nick - you would have survived because you are prepared to put the effort in and you care.

The rest of this post would have been what Silas just said but longer :0)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 12:31 PM

because I have a different opinion,I am subjected to a personal attack from Richard Bridge.
right Richard Bridge here are some facts,I have ben professional for 35 years, made 4 cds ,5 lps,one of which Martin Carthy played guitar,one of which A Concertina Compilation,featured John Kirkpatrick.
neither of these two would associate with me on a recording if they did not rate me.
Dave Bryant regularly booked me at clubs he ran.
Iwas gigging before Eliza[that doesnt mean I am any better,just different],but I have had long experience,so I am reasonably well qualified to talk about changes in folk clubs over 40 years.
both you and Amber have completely over reacted to my opinion,at what point have I been ungracious?
as Jim Carroll says its not about being better than someone,its about feeling at ease with songs so that youcan perform them well.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Drowning Fish
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 12:39 PM

Our local club is probably a bit different in it's attitude to audience noise. As long as it's kept to a decent level nobody minds. Many people come to the club who would not step over the threshold if it had a 'silence when the artist is performing' policy. This isn't to say that sometimes you can hear a pin drop in the place! I've been a regular for the last couple of years and prefer the relaxed atmosphere that exists, rather than the way clubs were in the late 70's and 80's where everyone sat so silently it was almost funerial. Harvey Andrews loved it! Anyone who so much as whispered to the person next to them was withered by the glare of 'The Organiser'. Give me real people, real ale and a vibrant folk club anyday. All performers of all abilities and musical skills are encouraged and enjoyed at our club and long may it continue!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Girl Friday
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 12:50 PM

What do you suggest we melodeon players can do to stop guitarists joining in with the wrong rhythm(Grin)?

For that matter, what do you guitarists do about the piano accordions? Or the man with the bag of whistles?

Mumblin' Len's advice. Use the singing cowboys's tequnique(Roy Rogers?) in Son of Paleface. Rifle inside the guitar.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 01:01 PM

in one of my earlier posts,I stated clearly,that we all make mistakes.everbody [ myself included occassionally forgets words]ElvisPresley forgot are you lonesome tonight,but no one cared because Presley handled it right.
that is what performing is about.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 01:40 PM

No, captain, you got attacked because you made some very conceited remarks.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 02:22 PM

"I think flicking through folders of words to decide what you're going to sing next when others are doing their bit can be a bit offputting."

Guilty as charged. Panic makes me rifle through my little binder o'songs even though I typically put a number of planned songs in the front, just so I won't do this. And yes I need the words because brain will freeze in mid song.   I do get fearful through out the session that maybe I don't know a song well enough or feel the mood isn't right for what I previously selected. I try to do my searches for another song on the sly though not always successful.

As to noise and talking and crisp munching, though I typically pay attention to performers, I like it kind of boisterous when it comes to my turn (only in sing around sessions - no floor spots for me). The busier and noisier it is the less inclined I am to panic. I feel kind of hidden in the crowd and that lends me confidence. I tend to really belt out in that "safe" environment.

Quite daunting though, when the room shuts up and people start filtering in from other rooms and from outside the pub once I start singing. This is precisely when I find I need the words.   

Moral of the story? Please go easy on us toddler and/or doddering folkies. We are learning and/or fogetting how to behave in folk settings.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 02:39 PM

The question remains unanswered as far as I'm concerned.
Should there be a standard beneath which a club does not drop? - it really doesn't get any more complicated than that.
I wonder how a local amateur dramatic or light opera society would react to somebody knocking on their door demanding a part in their latest production - it seems acceptable behaviour at folk clubs, judging by some of the responses here.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 02:50 PM

"Over the past couple of years I have had some of the most enjoyable times of my life playing music and singing and I owe a huge debt to the people who have encouraged and put up with my improving efforts over the last 6 years. I think that had I been faced with the attitudes of some of the people on this thread then I would probably not have had the resilience to have kept trying because I spent the best part of forty-eight years not playing in front of people. Earlier this year I sang at a beer festival in front of a few hundred people and there is no way in the world I would have - or could have - done that five years ago."
And having experienced that from others having the generousity to extend the same kindness and encouragemnet to others.
Thank the big capo in the sky there are more people around like Nick
than there are the others.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Aeola
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 02:55 PM

I saw Les Barker reading from a book, He didn't half make it sound good!!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Amber
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 02:56 PM

It seems very clear to me that there are different sorts of folk clubs - those who welcome performers of all standards and are ready to give encouragement, support and help when needed - then those which insist on a standard which many can never reach,although not through the want of trying.For heavens sake whats wrong with giving EVERYONE who is keen enough to attend a song or two if they want - with or without the words, which so many catters are saying they find helpful? I don't mean we don't want to encourage people to develop and improve as singers but we are not talking concerts here!

Yer pays yer money and yer makes yer choice!

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 02:57 PM

RichardBridge,please show what these conceited remarks were.here are my posts.
From: Captain Birdseye - PM
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 05:09 PM

The objective, really for the singer is to create a situation where when he starts to sing he's no longer worried about technique, he's done all that, and he can give the whole of his or her attention to the song itself she can give her or he can give his whole attention to the sheer act of enjoying the song".
Jim Carroll.
EVERYONE, PLEASE TAKE NOTE.
If you are serious about encouraging new singers run a workshop.[jim carroll].
yes,and perhaps instrument workshops too.
The sign of a good club [imo]is among other things good organisation,it is perfectly possible and can be acceptable if a weak singer,is followed by a good singer or a resident,so this is the reponsibilty of the organiser or mc.
in this way singers who may or may have potential[but need help] can be encouraged,and sandwiched between good performers,making it more acceptable for the paying public.
Bad Manners,does come in all shapes and sizes,it is the responsibility of the organiser,to have a decent mc,so that everyone gets a proper introduction,and gets the guests name correct[it happens more frequently than one thinks]
some while ago,I was guesting at a folk festival.and the MC[a professional performer himself,introduced me ;now we have Dick Miles,what sort of a bloody introduction is that.
this MC was paid to be at that festival,whether he likes the performer or not,he is paid to present and introduce people properly,this involves at the very least,stating what the performer does [plays concertina sings traditional songs is over here on tour from Ireland etc etc]and convincing the audience that the person is good.
3.From: Captain Birdseye - PM
Date: 19 Oct 08 - 04:45 PM
4 .Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Captain Birdseye - PM
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 09:01 AM

running workshops is good but running workshops successfully requires skill and diplomacy and tact.
firstly singers should not be told they must sing in a certain way[stylistically],
workshops should concentrate upon improving technique,suggestions can be made,directing the singer to recordings of differing singers that the person might benefit from listening to.,and then let the person chhose their own direction,suggestions can be made that a singer might be more suited to singing shanties or whatever,but that is about as far as you should go.
the singer has to make their own decisions,telling people what to/ or how to sing will often be counter productive and is bad manners.
it is also bad manners,to say to a performer while they are on stage: we dont allow political songs here,or you must only sing songs from your own culture or in your own accent[ Ibelieve this is what happened to Lisa Turner,a fine blues singer at the ballad and blues club,or was it Maccoll/Seegers singers club].
A club may have rules,but the time to sort that out is not on stage,but during the break or afterward

Songs should be performed without any crutches.
if a performer forgets the words,they should keep cool, ad lib,and/or carry on to the next verse,that is what performing is all about,
5.Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Captain Birdseye - PM
Date: 20 Oct 08 - 11:13 AM

,when I started as a floor singer 1971,the competition was tough,nobody ever sang songs with words in front of them.
I can remember going out to the toilet to run through words ,to make sure I had it right,if you werent any good you didnt get a chance to sing the next week,if a performer forgot a word they carried on,we had to learn how to perform,as we were doing it,and that[ imo] is the only way.
I experienced all those things as a newbie performer,but I got up and did it,I practised a lot before I went on,if i played a wrong chord aor sang a wrong word [I let it go ,and made sure I got the next verse right].
making a mistake can happen to anyone,the most important thing is to learn to feel at ease,whilst performing,[this is what the alexander technique is about],throw away your word sheets,if you make a mistake,make it up or make a joke.,carry on,nerves have to be conquered.
on the other hand Iwould never criticise anyone in a club if they were singing with words [if I was guesting,or whatever],Iam not that bad mannered,I am just stating my opinion
those are my posts to date Richard Bridge,what the fuck are you on about,you may be having a bad day,but you want to get your facts right,what is conceited in those posts.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Nick
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 03:45 PM

>>I wonder how a local amateur dramatic or light opera society would react to somebody knocking on their door demanding a part in their latest production - it seems acceptable behaviour at folk clubs, judging by some of the responses here.

My experience of amateur dramatics is very much that people come along with a wide spectrum of talent and are usually found a spot somewhere within a production which echoes that talent. Much like folk clubs though they rarely DEMAND (your words) but ask.

Where things perhaps differ is that in some folk places the people who run things seem to have no mechanism for dealing with people who have a surfeit of confidence and/or a dearth of talent. Places that are clear about what the are trying to do (whatever that might be) rarely seem to stumble at that minor hurdle, and my experience seem to deal with it quite easily.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 04:07 PM

I urge everyone to go back and read 'Treewind's wise words of 21st October, 7:31 am. To quote him:

"It's not about how good you are, it's about how much effort you make."

Exactly!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 04:10 PM

If you can't see the conceit, the only reply I could make would appear rude, and as yet you have not quite driven me to that.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Marje
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 04:13 PM

In many of the posts above, there's an assumption that the inept and badly prepared singers are new, inexperienced performers who would appreciate an older singer's advice, or would be glad of a workshop to hone their skills. But in my experience it's often the other way about - the occasional new, younger singer will often be very good, or at least appear to be making an effort, whereas the worst offenders are older members who've been at it for years and are not getting any better, learning new songs, or even trying to improve. The club could put on a singers' workshop but they wouldn't be interested in attending.
As Shimrod has said above, it's laziness that's at the root of it, and I don't really know what clubs should be doing to address this.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 04:44 PM

NO I cant,I am stating my experiences,these include running several folk clubs,and having been professional for 30 plus years.,
these are facts,they have nothing to do with my ability as a performer,now I would appreciate it if you stopped attacking me personally.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 04:46 PM

my comments are adressed to Richard Bridge,you have been rude,already.now stop wasting everyones time.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 05:13 PM

Ok this seems to be getting a little heated,with or without reason.
Which is a shame.
So if I get the next round in can we be nice while we drink to each others differences?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Bruce M. Baillie
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 05:21 PM

I'm with Captain swing and wee little drummer on this one, far too many precious people around these days who are fucking useless and demand people to be quiet while they perform something boring, crap, or just plain uninteresting. Why shouldn't you yawn if someone is boring? As long as you do it quietly it's OK by me. I've played in plenty of pubs and bars where I've not been listened to and frankly, not been expected to be listened to! you put up with it! If you are any good you transcend it!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 05:52 PM

"now we have Dick Miles,what sort of a bloody introduction is that.
this MC was paid to be at that festival,whether he likes the performer or not,he is paid to present and introduce people properly,this involves at the very least,stating what the performer does [plays concertina sings traditional songs is over here on tour from Ireland etc etc]and convincing the audience that the person is good."

Introduction not good enough for the captain.

"Songs should be performed without any crutches.
if a performer forgets the words,they should keep cool, ad lib,and/or carry on to the next verse,that is what performing is all about"

Other performers not good enough for the captain.

"running workshops is good but running workshops successfully requires skill and diplomacy and tact"

Workshops not good enough for the captain.

"workshops should concentrate upon improving technique"

Other people's singing not good enough for he captain.

"when I started as a floor singer 1971,the competition was tough,nobody ever sang songs with words in front of them.
I can remember going out to the toilet to run through words ,to make sure I had it right,if you werent any good you didnt get a chance to sing the next week,if a performer forgot a word they carried on,we had to learn how to perform,as we were doing it,and that[ imo] is the only way.
I experienced all those things as a newbie performer,but I got up and did it,I practised a lot before I went on,if i played a wrong chord aor sang a wrong word [I let it go ,and made sure I got the next verse right"

The rest of us are not as good as teh captain.

""The objective, really for the singer is to create a situation where when he starts to sing he's no longer worried about technique, he's done all that" EVERYONE, PLEASE TAKE NOTE. "

The rest ofour techniques (is that what folk song singing is about?) are not as good as teh captain.


"Here are some facts,I have ben professional for 35 years, made 4 cds ,5 lps,one of which Martin Carthy played guitar,one of which A Concertina Compilation,featured John Kirkpatrick. neither of these two would associate with me on a recording if they did not rate me.
Dave Bryant regularly booked me at clubs he ran. Iwas gigging before Eliza"

Yes, no-one has as much respect as the captain


"please show what these conceited remarks were"

I think so. Remember, the recordings of your performances are out there on youtube. Are you really sure you are as good as you seem to say you are? If not, how do you justify looking down on so many?

I can't say I've found Jim Carrol's performances electronically preserved on the tube for posterity (yet) - so he might be as good as he seems here to assert that he is.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Rafflesbear
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 06:20 PM

Hey ! for a while I thought this thread was getting boring - now it's quite entertaining - a punch-up on a thread called Folk Club Manners what more could you want ? - I'm quite looking forward to the next installment !

:-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Gervase
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 06:21 PM

I think Mr Miles and Mr Bridge should each post one song on YouTube and we can vote for it. Winner gets to stick his tongue out at the loser.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 02:56 AM

Nice one Gervase, any takers?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 03:50 AM

Richard,
"I can't say I've found Jim Carrol's performances electronically preserved on the tube for posterity (yet) - so he might be as good as he seems here to assert that he is."
Please read what I wrote about my protracted but highly enjoyable career as a singer (21 Oct 08 - 03:40 AM ) - I am no longer a singer and I have never claimed any great merits for my singing when I was doing it regularly.
Nowadays my interest is confined to the survival of the music I have devoted over two thirds of my life to.
I have always argued that folk song will only survive if it is taken seriously as a performing art (please read my quote of MacColl on work and pleasure before howling about po-faced singing). If people think that the way ahead is to throw open the floor for wannabe singers to practice in public - sorry - beg to differ.
Nick has the right of it when he says about amateur dramatic societies - "people come along with a wide spectrum of talent and are usually found a spot somewhere within a production which echoes that talent" - rather a far cry from turning up with your crib sheet and automatically assuming that you will be given a spot. I would have to take both shoes off to count the number of sing-around clubs I have never re-visited where the wannabes outnumber the singers who remember the words and the tune and sound as if they know AND ENJOY what they are singing about.
I spent twenty years involved in workshops being helped with my singing and hopefully helping others to become better singers - I even started one in Manchester many years ago.
Surely the way forward is the same as the reply the lady received when she asked "How do I get to The Carnegie Hall" - "Practice lady, practice".
Jim Carroll
PS Have just re-read my posting - not very well put together I'm afraid, but it's very difficult to concentrate over the sound of clashing egos - and not just Richard and the Cap'n's


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 04:13 AM

I wold like to make clear that I make no claim to be better than the captain, nor even as good. What I object to is his claim to be able to tell everyone how to do it better. Not many people have earned that right.

It's rather ironic in that I do practice quite a lot, and do make a point of seeking to attain a standard in what I do (and I may or may not succeed) - but I don't think that those who simply "have a go" deserve the condescension, and I am certainly prepared to go to bat for them.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 04:31 AM

Quite often the situation occurs where you get a good singer/performer who brings along their partner/wife/husband who can struggle through a song with a bit of help.

I think that it is only fair to let these folk have a go, rather than have to sit around passively all night. Part of the attraction of a singaround for me is its interactivity - they may even get quite good in the end.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Alan Day
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 04:34 AM

I do think that quoting performances on Utube is a bit unfair.These are put there free of charge for others to listen to.They are normally home made performances and not studio recordings.OK some use them for promotion of themselves,but mostly it is a bit of fun,with beginners attempting to perform in public for the first time.The same applies for Folk Clubs a scared person gets up on stage in front of an audience to start off a possible Folk career.All performances no matter how bad are accepted ,they get applause and from that beginning we get many of the big stage names we know today.If a great big hook yanks them off the stage a minute into the act or someone shouts out "It's Crap ,get off the stage" then that performer will never be seen again.
The latter will be the way to kill off all future talent.
Al


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: fisheye
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 05:25 AM

If musicians in an orchestra can have their music in front of them, why the hell can't folk singers. Over a number of years playing I have a quite a collection of tunes, chords and rhythms buried in my memory.
As for words I cannot even remember the name of the place I am playing in half the time,
as my eyes are getting bad it looks like i will be printing my word sheets on A3 paper.
As my style of playing is finger picking i do tend to make songs a little more complicated than the plectrum basher. So until i need braille to read the words i for one will continue
with relying on the printed word.

fisheye


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 05:28 AM

RicharBridge
at no point have I said that I am good,I have stated an opinion,which is that I think it is better to perfotrm without a crib sheet.
I said I was gigging before Eliza,[ that doesnt make me better,just different]but it does give me experience.
if you are going to quote me, please have the good manners to quote,without editing.,and thus altering my meaning. here is that post.Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Captain Birdseye - PM
Date: 21 Oct 08 - 12:31 PM

because I have a different opinion,I am subjected to a personal attack from Richard Bridge.
right Richard Bridge here are some facts,I have ben professional for 35 years, made 4 cds ,5 lps,one of which Martin Carthy played guitar,one of which A Concertina Compilation,featured John Kirkpatrick.
neither of these two would associate with me on a recording if they did not rate me.
Dave Bryant regularly booked me at clubs he ran.
Iwas gigging before Eliza[that doesnt mean I am any better,just different],but I have had long experience,so I am reasonably well qualified to talk about changes in folk clubs over 40 years.
both you and Amber have completely over reacted to my opinion,at what point have I been ungracious?
as Jim Carroll says its not about being better than someone,its about feeling at ease with songs so that youcan perform them well.
now richard bridge,get off my back.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 05:47 AM

I'll risk answering fisheye's question, though I don't want to decry those who prefer to have words in front of them, because I personally don't mind people having crib sheets.

That said, those who do use them might find it easier to understand the criticism above if they take on board this fact: There is a big difference between musicians, who are communicating non-verbal sounds, reading from paper, and singers reading from lyrics.

The reason is simple. When you sing you are in fact also speaking. Songs are in reality only modulated speech, and when you are speaking to someone it's considered polite to look at them. This is why politicians go to great lengths to memorise their speeches, or use 'invisble' autocues.

And it's why so many people are - in purely animal behavioural terms - 'offended' by orators or singers reading their words. They can't help it - it's a subliminal reaction. It's also why people like me who sing with their eyes closed are occasionally pilloried. It's the same reason people are offended, and also the same reason I have to do it.

When you are speaking to an individual, he 'mirrors' your expression - again, instinctively. But audiences don't do that. Some hold the most unexpected expressions - because the normal dialogue is not, in fact, working properly, and they are in a different place, mentally. It can be very unsettling. (I used to be alarmed by people - quite a few, usually - who frowned crossly throughout the gig, so I assumed they were hating it - only to have them come up at the end to wring my hand, praise me effusively and buy three CDs)!

So If I can see the audience (as one can in most folk clubs) I close my eyes, and take the stick. If there is stage lighting and the audience is invisible I can leave them open - and people are much happier.

Reading words has the same effect - accepting, of course, the other points raised above by both sides of the debate.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Banjiman
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 06:40 AM

Tom, Dick, (where's Harry?)

I really wouldn't expect professional musicians such as yourselves to be using crib sheets or music.

However, there is a world of difference between expectations of top professional entertainers and those in a singaround. Let people use whatever they need to use to make their music (except pianos obviously!!)....we should all applaud their efforts.

....But only let the competent appear in front of a paying audience...... especially when this includes non-folkies.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 07:13 AM

Iwould like to make my opinions clear.
Ihave been character assasinated by Richard Bridge,firstly he has mis quoted my posts by careful editing,then he has claimed that I have said that Iam good[which I havent]
I prefer to see performers, amateurs or otherwise not using crib sheets.
however recently I was at Robin Hoods Bay,folk club and a woman sang Wahitby Whaler,from a crib sheet[i think]and sang it well,but she was in my opinion an exception,most people I have seen using crib sheets have not performed very well[and in my opinion would perform better without, even if they forgot the occasional word].
I am entitled to an opinion [just as Richard Bridge is]without being called conceited.
I if I was guesting in a folk club or a punter ,I would never PASS ANY PUBLIC COMMENT ON A PERFORMER,that is bad manners,IF they asked me for my opinion,I would try and explain my viewpoint,and encourage them not to use printed words,that is how Ifeel and Iam entitled to state my opinion on this forum,without my words being twisted and edited to have adifferent meaning,
my comments are not SUBSTANTIALY different from some others here like Will fly and Breezy[another long time gigging performer].
So why has Bridge singled me out for this unpleasantness,are we no longer allowed to have different opinions.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 07:57 AM

"If musicians in an orchestra can have their music in front of them, why the hell can't folk singers?" Yes, but the soloist standing in front of them doesn't normally. They practise, practise, practise in preparation for a public performance.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 08:29 AM

Tom Bliss,
Thanks for that insight - never thought of it that way. Even when a singer closes his/her eyes to sing, they tend to turn the head towards the listener, giving the impression of eye-contact.
Richard
"What I object to is his claim to be able to tell everyone how to do it better. Not many people have earned that right"
My old mum used to say "Stick your bum out of the window and somebody is sure to come along and paint a face on it".
Perform publicly and you invite comment. On the whole folk criticism and self-criticism is gentle enough to be anodyne almost to the point of non-existence, and therefore useless. Have only ever come across two critics in the folk world who can be described as 'vindictive', both being 'career reviewers' attempting to make up for their own shortcomings by tearing down the work of others, but they are rare enough to be ignored (as they largely are). Don't really think any of us is above criticism and advice, do you? You don't have to agree with it and surely it's better made in the open than behind the back. Having said that, as the Cap'n inferred earlier, criticism needs to be delivered with a modicum of sensitivity (Cap'n?).
Re standards.
How is this for an idea? Why can't clubs organise the occasional unpublicised casual singarounds apart from the set club evenings in order to get new singers used to singing in front of audiences. Should they feel that the new singers are up to it, they might extend it to include advice sessions.
As I see it, the future of folk song depends on drawing new people on to the scene, and that is almost certainly going to have to happen through the clubs (certainly not concerts).
If the standard of singing is so low (or even so varied) as to merit the description 'professional amateurism' (Alex Campbell used to call it 'Near enough for folk music) it will deserve all the derision it attracts and will remain the poor relative of the performing arts.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 08:30 AM

They are exact quotes, without editing.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Northerner
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 08:43 AM

Well, I may as well enter the fray.

I had a long time out of singing at folk club because of health problems. I still am a bit nervous so do use a crib sheet when singing a song that I am working on or that I haven't sung in a while. It's more about being nervous, really, than lack of rehearsal. Once I am comfortable with the song the crib sheet goes. I never, ever use a crib sheet on a guest night, only on a singaround night. I am perfectly happy to see performers using crib sheets or dots on singaround nights - that's the place where we are trying out material or improving it. But crib sheets from anyone on a guest night, definitely not. If I don't have material at a suitable standard on a guest night then I sit quietly and listen. Of course, I would like a guest to hear me, and hopefully enjoy it, so that is a good incentive to bring material up to a certain standard of performance.

What really annoys me is people who are not good listeners to my stories and getting comments that they are children's stories. None of my stories are children's stories. All of them are of suitable length and well-rehearsed. I put in a lot of time looking for stories that I hope people will enjoy. I am no longer a novice but am now doing some professional work, including work with some top performers during the summer. I believe there is a lot of ignorance in folk clubs about storytelling but other performers should at least try to be reasonably professional in their comments - particularly if they are also trying to do some professional performing work.   I have recently started a storytelling circle but don't know yet if this is a viable long-term venture - we are a fairly small group. I am always professional in my conduct towards other performers - I just wish I got the same treatment from others. It is only a few people - why do a few people have to spoil things? Most people are very supportive.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 10:29 AM

I was a member of Jim Carroll's "Mutual Improvement Society" (The Manchester Critics), and I considered it a privilege.

I don't want to name names, at this stage at least, but it seems to me that if "you" (or 'one', if preferred) need your ego balmed before you get your instrument out of its case ; or if you have to present a CV in the hope of being taken seriously ; then in my (admittedly) limited experience as a singer of folk songs before the booze got to me -
IMABHO, as a denizen of the folk demi-monde, you're in the wrong box.

It was my experience that a thin skin, or an over-inflated ego, was a recipe for a good piss-taking.

Played for and got, I think - if the cap fits, wear the fucking thing.

(Seven to two I get accused of trolling. Any takers ?)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,woodsie
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 11:53 AM

Well Captain Birdseye is famous for his fish fingers anyway - or was it frozen peas?

As the eye of a fish says, an orchestra has sheet music in front of them as well as a conductor.

Mind you I don't think the argument was about sheet music. and come on the orchestra are probably playing something with more that 3 chords and there are dozens of 'em playing together.

It was about having the words in front of you whilst performing. I don't see anything wrong with it, if the performance is good. Mind you when you see a bloke perform the same song 3 or 4 times a week for 10 years still with a crib sheet you begin to wonder ... and it's only got 2 verses!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Villan
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 12:03 PM

"I have been busy this week and only managed to learn the tune. So I have brought along with me the lyrics on paper. I am going to give you all one and whilst I play, would you mind singing it."

As ours is concert style, we now tell poeple to turn their mobiles off and refrain from talking whilst a song or tune is being performed.

Our MC has now got to talking about crisps before we start. She says "If you must eat crisps whilst the performance is on, can you please suck them in order to keep the noise down" or something like that.

It can be a bit awekward telling somebody to shut up in the middle of a concert. I did it once to a guy who was constantly talking and his voice was quite loud. I was across the other side of the room and waited for the song to finish and then shouted to the guy to please be quite during songs. He just looked at me. So I shouted it again. Again no response. He just looked at me. Suddenly his daughter said "Do you mean my dad". I assumed the bloke was her dad and said yes and was just about to say something more, and she said "Oh sorry, he's deaf, so he can't hear you".


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Girl Friday
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 12:58 PM

We've got books full of songs. It's just not practical to learn every one of them, but we don't use them on guest nights unless a particular song is requested and we don't know all the words.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: jacqui.c
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 01:04 PM

LOL Les - if his hearing was that bad why come to a concert?

I use a crib sheet when I'm not quite sure of the words but do try to only glance down when really neccesary and, for the main part, do try to sing out to the audience. For me, it spoils the whole mood of a song to have someone stop part way through because they can't remember the next line, particularly when they labour the point and keep going over and over until they remember it, or go back and start the song again.

Woodsie - you ain't far wrong - I've been at a couple of clubs where they have someone like that and that really is taking the biscuit IMHO.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 01:20 PM

Sorry folks - don't understand this 'only on guest nights' bit.
As far as I'm concerned a club should stand and fall by its regular singers - they are the constants who shape the club and set the standards (or not, as the case may be) and it is in their hands that the club/revival/music will stand or fall.
Wouldn't dream of asking a guest not to use a crib sheet - on the other hand he/she wouldn't get a booking in any club I had anything to do with if they did.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: rodentred
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 01:34 PM

I do wonder if someone gives a folk club a try how they might be expected to assimilate all these opinions on manners before putting a foot wrong. I think each club essentially defines its own code of conduct by majority opinion and what is right for one (eg a back room singaround) won't be right for another (eg concert based). But here's a couple of things that I think are important that I tell newbies:

1 If you are listening show common courtesy, don't talk during performance, fiddle with noisy things, switch phone off and only enter the room if you can do so invisibly.
2 If performing - learn the song or how to play the instrument in your own time (use words as a prop only), sing and play loud enough for people to hear and ensure you speak clearly enough that anyone trying can actually hear what the song is about.

Bugbears: 'drummers' who join in with rhythm when not invited; people who say I just learned this today (my heart sinks and is rarely disappointed); guests who don't stay in the room to hear the performances of others

I believe Folk Clubs are fantastic to give a stage to people who are just starting out and generally newbies are given a warm welcome. We all have to start somewhere. What they don't seem to be good at is telling people they're never going to be any good and in continually providing a stage to people who should be kept off it. However, speaking personally it was one of those 'well I can do better than him' moments that got me performing.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 03:23 PM

So what motivates people to stand up a sing in a folk club? Is it because they want to sing? It will sound better in the bath. Do they want to feel more "involved" with the club? There are less stressful ways. Or do they want to put on a performance which they hope will be appreciated by their audience?

Of course everyone has to start somewhere. But there's more to it than just being able to hold a note and remember the words - you have to learn the techniques of performing. These include tricks for remembering elusive lyrics, or facing that familiar situation where the next verse is approaching fast and you've no idea how it starts ... moving smoothly into an instrumental break if the words don't come asif it was always intended, or making up the words convincingly on the spot. If you always have the words in front of you, you'll rely on that crutch and you won't develop skills to help you cope in these situations.

Nerves - everyone has them, the trick is to learn to use the energy positively. Again, practice brings confidence, but if you're always relying on props you won't gain that confidence.

Mistakes - everyone makes them. The best performers learn ways to disguise them so that most of the audience don't even notice, or they may have the confidence simply to laugh them off.

Not everyone can be a great performer. However many can attain a satisfactory level of competence, but to do so they need to learn the techniques of performing, which they won't do if they continually rely on props.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Oct 08 - 07:13 PM

I agree completely with Rodentred's particular bugbear: "guests who don't stay in the room to hear the performances of others". I've occasionally seen this happen, and sometimes their entourage goes out with them !


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 03:52 AM

Howard Jones just said everything that needs to be said.
Why do people want to sing in a folk club? - because (they believe) they're worth it, and if you believe that, there's a good chance you are.
You have to like the songs enough to want others to like them with you, to value them enough to have done the work so you won't make a hames of them, to respect your fellow-performers enough not to put them in a position of having to pick up the pieces after you've made a balls of them, and above all, to look forward to that buzz when your songs work, for you and your listeners- that is what singing (and the enjoyment of singing) should be about - nothing less.
A high level of technical skill - even virtuosity, might or might not come later, depending on how much time you are prepared to devote to it, but I believe that the above will put enough petrol in your tank to make a good start to the journey, and hopefully you'll never have to look back and say "Jeeze, I wish I hadn't done that!!!"
Jim Carroll
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 04:52 AM

When we first got back into the folk scene, a few years back we went to a club which was run by a couple who did about half of the evening, but had a "bit in the middle" where others could do one song. This may not sound like the ideal format for many singers , but it had the advantage that you really learned the song that you were doing well.

Unfortunately the club folded some time ago, and we got into bad habits of not learning the songs properly and using words. This can be OK for an initial exploration of if a song is likely to work or not, or finding if you're doing it in the right key (you can't always do this just by practising at home), but it doesn't really get you performing the songs as opposed to just singing them.

I write songs as well and have a huge backlog of ones that I haven't memorised the words of.

Hence a resolution for a moratorium on writing until I've learned the words of the ones written already. I do this by using that time when you're laying in bed waiting to fall asleep, and in the morning when you've just woken up to go through words in my head. You can use advancing age either as an excuse, or as exercise to try to keep the brain active. Having said this, I do find that it takes a few performences to get a song right -it has to "mature in the cask " a bit.

I don't object if other people use words though. It's up to them.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 05:11 AM

Driving the car. Don't play the radio or CD, sing aloud - 20 times through. It not only teaches you the words, but it sorts out the breathing, the muddly bits of melody and/or words that need a bit of editing - and if it's one of your own songs it teaches you where the weak points in the tune are - where you're relying too much on a chord change, or whatever, so you can add ornamentation or variation to imply the chord change. If you usually sing to an instrument it'll improve your melodies massively. Oh, and drink lots of water. The air blower and heater will dry out your throat much more than normal singing will (actually that goes for just talking too - if you're driving somewhere to sing, don't talk a lot, and do sip water). Tom


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: mattkeen
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 06:26 AM

Quote
Jim Carroll
Jim Carroll



So good they named him twice


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 07:17 AM

Tom Bliss,
          I would rather you concentrate 100% on driving and learn to sing the songs in a much more appropriate place such as at home or diddling about in the garden.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 07:24 AM

I used to know some members of a society with secrets who practised their lines while driving - using a cassette player as a prompt. It did not work for me because too much of my mind was on my driving (I am a rather obsessive driver) and so I failed to learn the words well that way.

The best place I have found to practise songs for words (not useful for guitar or mandolin parts, but then neither is driving the car!) is walking dog in empty field - but again it is easy to blow your throat out.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,woodsie
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 07:25 AM

Yeah, those paid guests that sit in the other bar 'til it's their turn get up my nose too.

On some occasions certain the floor spots have been better than the said "guests"

Another thing is the "resident" who struts around with the airs an graces of a superstar and has little time to talk to the young struggling musician/newcomer.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 08:13 AM

Yes, I should have said only on nice long empty-motorway journeys - like the one to Kings Lynn I'll be doing shortly :-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Gedi
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 08:39 AM

When I got back into the folk scene a few years back after a long absence, I went to a folk club I heard about to do a song or two. What threw me was when everyone joined in the song, but singing it their way, not the way I sang it. I quickly got lost in the song and my frayed nerves got even worse. I went a couple of times but then stopped.

It's ok to join in verses, or even the song, providing that you can be sure your singing the same tune/words as the singer. Otherwise, better to wait til you know how the song is going to be sung before joining in.

Happily I have now found a club where there is a good atmosphere and a sensitive audience.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 08:49 AM

"We've got books full of songs. It's just not practical to learn every one of them, ..."

Why not? It is said, 'Girl Friday', that Henry Burstow knew 400 songs and could sing them, one after the other, over several days (without notes).

I probably know about 50 (I'm no Henry Burstow!), including a few 20 verse ballads. I know them all by heart and never use a crib sheet. I don't find learning songs particularly easy - but who said singing should be easy? If you care enough about the songs and your audience you'll put the effort in.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 08:50 AM

Going back to folk club manners - Being noisy during someone elses performance has to be one of the most rude things to do. There are many ways to do it - talk, eat crisps, go in or out, mobile phones etc. The other one that annoys me, as doorman, is people who just walk in without paying! They are often regulars who know very well that they should pay and seem to get annoyed when I have to ask them for the money! What is that all about?

Poor performance is of course as discourteous as anything the audience does and, at the risk of getting shot down in flames as I have been before, I find some peoples performances can be downright embarasing. I always explain to anyone new to the club on a singers night what the singers night is all about. I am more than happy to explain that we can get anything from Martin Carthys guitar to Les Dawsons piano! I was ridiculed for this by another mudcat member who now seems to believe that Swinton Folk Club is the worst in the world but we have just celebrated our 25th anniversary at the same venue so I guess we must be doing something right!

On a guest night there are soem floor singers I would not dream of putting on and, bearing in mind that on a guest night we cannot get more than two or three support singers on, it has never been a problem. Jim is quite right - poor performers can destroy a club. I think we may have got round it by making sure they do not appear on high profile evenings and, where they are encouraged to perform on a singers night, peoples expectations are always set correctly.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 08:55 AM

Sorry, just re-read and don't think I quite got my point over. On a singers night at our club anyone there will expect there just MAY be the occasional poor performance. We accept this and because there is no way we would ever 'ban' anyone on a singers night we accept that, very occasionaly, we do have to live with some poor performances. I think, just as in life, shit happens! We just try to avoid getting covered in it:-)

D.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 09:10 AM

I find that there are a couple of songs that I do differently from the way people expect, and it sometimes helps to warn people in advance


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 09:11 AM

Hi Dave

I think you've got to the nub of it (as others have above).

It helps enormously if someone sets out the club's stall at the start of the evening if there are new faces in, or maybe has a little chat at the door with any new people as they arrive.

Even a very informal singaround will benefit from a little 'hosting.'

People have radically different ideas about what is and isn't acceptable in a 'folk' 'club.' The problem being, as we've discussed here before, that those terms can legitimately be attached to some massively different standards, values and philosophies.

Much of the rancour above is, of course, caused by the application of a personal value set (by assumption) to an activity which is actually about something else entirely.

Many very different events and philosophies are lumped together under the terms 'folk' and 'club' (plus a few other non-specific terms) so you can't do much to differentiate in your promotion (assuming there even is any) between a community-based come-all-ye and a concert with a house band or paid support, for example - or the many other permutations in between.

But you can explain the group's approach. Then people will be more likely to buy into it themselves, or if they don't, at least they might leave feeling it's not for them, but without feeling short-changed.

A lot of the problems arrive purely because no-one has taken the trouble to explain what's going on and why.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 09:38 AM

I'll endorse that, Richard. Not that I sing in public very often these days, but my version of 'Yellow Handkerchief', learned from a Romani singer, is slightly different from the versions most often sung.

I, too, make a point of saying this prior to singing it. I think of it as common courtesy.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 09:43 AM

I should perhaps have added that because I run a fairly aggressive mailing list policy I quite often have people from village hall gigs turning up at clubs for the first time. But it's quite rare to hear an MC explain what floor spots are. (I usually have to explain myself at half time when they come and ask me what the heck's going on - and I sometimes forget to warn them it's all going to happen again in a minute)! Tom


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Nick
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 09:56 AM

I've found the car to be a good place to learn because I am terrible at remembering words - goodness knows why as my memory is generally good. I have a little Zoom recorder and recently have been playing and singing the songs into it and then record to cd and then learn as I go (rather than just having a backing track and singing to it). It seems to be working as I've added three songs that I now can do without stabilisers in the last ten days.

However, with safety in mind, before I set off in the morning and put a CD on I carefully check where Tom Bliss is performing so that we don't drive into each other. If he is playing in North Yorkshire I listen to the news.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:06 AM

If I were to be killed by a person driving a car and not paying attention I would not find it comforting if I knew that it was because he was memorizing a song. This is no better than talking on a mobile phone, in my opinion. I believe strongly in the importance of music, but it's not more important than road safety. I live in a university town where the students ride their bicycles talking on their mobiles. Yet another reason why I've rather gone off bicycles.

There's no trick to memorizing. As I said before, it's just breaking up whatever needs to be learned into manageable chunks and frequent repetition. I probably know a couple of hundred songs _mostly_ by heart, but singing one all the way through with no errors, or being able to recover quickly, is another matter and requires practice. I don't know what would happen if performing in front of other people again after not having done so in a long time. I never found it that easy.

It's no good knowing 200 songs if they all sound the same.

Better five songs really well. Just my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:11 AM

No, you dont wanna be singin when yer drivin, takes too much concentration - Balls. You will listen and sing along to the radio, you will have conversations with your passengers - get real!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: MartinRyan
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:16 AM

Mind you, I do remember meeting a (very) well known traditional singer just before the opening of a singing festival in the West of Ireland some years ago. He was looking rather "shook", as we say, - and announced that he'd nearly had a head-on collision with another car on his way down. He'd been learning a new song at the time - with the words propped up on the steering wheel... Not to be recommended!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:22 AM

It depends how much one concentrates on the different activities. How much are the 20-and-under-year-olds concentrating on driving, with music so loud the bass rattles my apartment with all of the car windows closed? How aware are they of what's going on outside their car?

Seeing or being in a car accident can make one much more aware of how fragile our lives are and what the consequences of irresponsible driving are. In the town where I grew up, a woman died because someone drove up on the sidewalk because he was trying to swat an insect in his car. He got his license the day before.

I might have a little conversation with someone, but I'm sure not going to treat driving like a singing practice session, working out where to breath, and so on. That goes too far for me.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:24 AM

Piers, you have shamed me.

I won't sing in the car any more, because, yes, you're right. It's not safe to drive and sing at the same time. If a tricky corner came up, I might be trying to remember some line and fail to go round it, because I'd be concentrating so hard on the lyrics that I wouldn't be able to tear myself away and release a part of my brain to rotate the starring wheel ;-)

More seriously, I wasn't suggesting learning new songs in the car (with the lyrics taped to the windscreen?) I was talking about honing them for performance - something you can interrupt instantaneously if something dangerous like a mobile-phone-wielding-student should hove across the bows.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: melodeonboy
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:30 AM

For what it's worth, I can drive safely and sing simultaneously!

Thank God the health and safety people weren't about when sailors used to sing while working, or we wouldn't have any shanties!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:30 AM

Piers the whole point is that you DON'T think about the breathing. You just sing. That's why the car is a good place, precisely because you're doing something more important, and you're NOT concentrating on the singing. That's what combs out all the tangles and fixes the song in you brain. That's why it's better than sitting in a room with the words in front of you. You're accessing the automatic areas. Works for tunes too. Just hum them and next time you go to play - bingo.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:32 AM

My singing teacher had a head-on collision with someone. I can't imagine that she was doing anything stupid or irresponsible. There have been lots of musicians who've died in traffic or travel-related accidents; presumably not because they practiced in the car, but because musicians have to travel. I wonder whether the punishing schedule of a touring musician might have something to do with it; driving when tired, driving too long, etc.

I haven't driven since 2001, not having a car. I never drove very often in Germany and I've never gotten used to the aggressive way people drive here and the carelessness of drivers toward pedestrians.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:38 AM

Well Piers, why am I not surprised that you don't drive.

You think here is bad, try Italy!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:40 AM

Tom, I really wasn't trying to get at you.

Let me tell you one of my favorite stories: The animator Richard Williams wrote a very good book called _The Animator's Survival Handbook_ (or something similar). He had hired some old-time animators, excellent artists and craftsmen who had been thrown out like old typewriters when the Hollywood studios closed their animation departments. One of them was named Milt Kahl. Willams once asked Kahl in all innocence, "Milt, do you ever listen to classical music when you're drawing?" Kahl replied, "What? Are you crazy? How dare you ask me such a damn fool question? _I'm not smart enough to concentrate on two things at one time_."

It's up to you how you drive. I don't want to sound preachy (something I criticize folk-style singers for), but if you took what I said seriously, it might save your life or someone else's. End of sermon and thanks for not having a go at me for what I already said before. I know what one risks on messageboards when one criticizes something someone says.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:45 AM

From: Silas - PM
"Well Piers, why am I not surprised that you don't drive."

I have an (expired) US driver's license and an unlimited German one. I got my driver's license when I was 17 and drove as long as I lived in the US.

I can't afford a car and wouldn't want the hassle of caring for one, anyway, and can get by without one.

"You think here is bad, try Italy!"

If I had to, I would.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,James H
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:49 AM

Piers,

nice little story that. But I think though the point Tom was making is at that stage of practicing the song, you're *not* concentrating on it at all - you're concentrating on driving. It's that 'singing while not actually thinking about it' which helps (some people) cement the song, *after* they've done the heavy concentrating on getting the words in their head... Running through the song at that satge shouldn't take any more concentration than listening to a cd or the radio, and may take less, depending on what's on!

Kahl may have not been able to listen to music 'in the background' without giving it his full attention - fair enough. But some people can.

Different strokes, different folks.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:59 AM

I think Milt Kahl's point was that if one is going to do something, it's worth devoting one's full attention to it. It does not just apply to drawing, but to any activity.

When I read that, with a couple of exceptions, I stopped listening to music when I drew and I noticed a big improvement in my drawing. I do sometimes listen to music when I draw when I'm making drawings that are meant to go with that particular music, or occasionally when just doodling when listening to the radio as a way of just doing _anything_ when things have been difficult. These are just exceptions, though.

On another board, I read something about things guitarists can do when a guitar isn't at hand; visualization and things with your fingers. People can do whatever they want, but my personal opinion is that that sort of a thing is a waste of time. When I draw I draw, and when I practice the guitar, I practice the guitar, and when I makes tea, I makes tea, and when I makes water, I makes water (just not in the same pot!).


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 11:02 AM

Silas,
      There is a school of thought in the land that considers, yes, even the radio is an un-acceptable distraction and should be discouraged or even dis-abled while the vehicle is in motion. Also, and I daresay a number of correspondents here would agree, engaging the driver in conversation can be a hazardous practise. As for not concentrating on the signing whilst driving, surely that is the perfect recipe for getting it wrong or not getting the best out of yourself. No, go to a safer place, record what you wish then and adjust accordingly.
    I apologise that my words above have absolutely nothing to do with Folk Club Manners.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 11:11 AM

A story about Seung Sahn, a Zen teacher:

"Do not eat and read the newspaper at the same time," he said. "When you eat, just eat. When you read the newspaper, just read the newspaper."

The next morning, a student saw the teacher eating breakfast while reading the newspaper.

"I thought you said not to eat and read the newspaper at the same time," the student said.

To which Sahn said, "When you eat and read the newspaper, just eat and read the newspaper."


So Tom, when you drive and sing, just drive and sing.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 11:12 AM

David,
      Do the people who would not be considered good enough to sing on guest nights know their status and do they come back to the club?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Pete Mariner
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 11:19 AM

There is a line missing from Working Radish`s story.
"A look of pain spread across Sahn`s face as he spoke those words. He had bitten his tongue!"


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 11:27 AM

From: GUEST,Working Radish - PM
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 11:11 AM

"To which Sahn said, 'When you eat and read the newspaper, just eat and read the newspaper.'"

Interesting that you brought up Zen. The idea of concentrating on what one is doing at a given moment is an idea from Zen. I don't care what any teacher says, if you're doing two things at once, you're doing two things at once, and if you're concentrating on one thing at a time, you're concentrating on one thing at a time and nothing in the world can change that. Most people don't practice Zen 24 hours a day and sometimes one feels like doing two or more things at once. If one wants to do one's best work, one concentrates on a single thing. And if one wants to get better on the guitar, one goes home and practices, and that's what I'm going to do know.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 11:28 AM

Err --- I mean "now".


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 11:34 AM

So, Piers, one should never instrumentally accompany oneself singing? Curiously, my daughter ascribes to that view, and so gave up the guitar, but many do not.

What about walking and chewing gum?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 11:39 AM

for me playing an instrument involves doing more than one thing at a time....that takes a lot of concentration. I have to remember what each hand should do as well and the right speed...I think that;s why I don't do well if I think someone is listening...its just another thing to concentrate on not thinking about..


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,James H
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 11:57 AM

Piers,

well done you for having such a single minded approach. If that is what works for you, go for it.

Doesn't mean that's what works for everybody though, surely?

Plus, if I'm singing a song I've practiced at a folk club, however much I am concentrating on singing the song, I'm doing other stuff too - blocking out the noise from the bar, coping with the irritating tickly cough I've just developed out of nowhere, blatantly ignoring the rude b*****r who came in and slammed the door in the middle of my second verse and then sat uin the front row flicking through his floder of songs with one hand and checking his text messages with the other... so one of the things I need to practice, after I've done my initial learning of the song, is how to sing it while other stuff is demanding my attention. And so while my delivery whilst concentrating on driving is probably not live-performance-worthy and in itself probably doesn't do the song justice, it does do what Tom described in getting it into the automatic bit of my brain. (and when performing, even without irritating distractions of any kind, I still want to be concentrating on my communication with the audience, primarily, not a navel-gazing focus on getting the words & breathing right... so that still means I'm concentrating on several things at once)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Marje
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 01:05 PM

I sing in the car sometimes. It's totally different from using a mobile phone - for one thing, no one is listening, nor am I listening to anyone else. This means I can and do stop singing instantly if there's a need for particular concentration on the traffic etc (or if I 'm listening to the radio, I switch it off at such times). I think one of the main problems with a mobile is that a driver is trying to communicate with someone who's not present, and that requires a different sort of concentration and continuity.

There are times, like driving on quiet roads at night, when I find it actually helps my alertness to sing. Driving can be monotonous, and I find my concentration can lapse because of mental under-stimulation as well as over-stimulation. Singing or listening to the radio keeps me from getting dozy while driving.

Anyway, maybe it's a male/female thing - we women are simply better at multi-tasking, aren't we?

Marje


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Nick
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 01:30 PM

Where I work people are on the telephone most of the time. Some when talking can only concentrate on that call and are completely oblivious to everything else around - if the fire alarm went off there is no guarantee they would notice it they are that uni-focussed. At the other extreme are people who happily listen on the phone, browse the internet, doodle, pass messages to others, write emails and get involved in other conversations - it's just different ways peoples brains work. My wife wonders why my son and I play guitar while we are watching the TV (the answer is because the two things don't conflict for me or him) or read and watch things. Just how we are. It's not a male:female thing as usually depicted though as my wife and I are back to front on this.

There was an interesting comment that (I think) Barry Finn made on a thread about accompaniment some while back that being a good accompanist perhaps is easier for people in the second category. If you can simultaneously listen and react to what others are playing and doing whilst still concentrating on your own playing then it's perhaps easier than having to focus on one activity at a time. It's an interesting idea that I've often pondered about.

I play with one person who I don't think can do it - I don't think it is because he is a poor player just that he finds it hard to listen to what others are doing because it competely throws his own playing. It makes it hard to have much freedom when playing with him - which is ok as long as one is aware of it.

I play with other people though who spark off each other and ideas lead elsewhere because they listen and react and constantly pick up ideas, riffs, rhythms etc from each other - for me that's more fun and why I like playing in sessions as well.

Just different stuff.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Nick
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 01:32 PM

And I'll be driving and singing on my way home from work in about 10 minutes so just watch out if you are in North Yorkshire...


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Amber
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 01:55 PM

Going back to the deaf man. It does seem a little odd for him to be at the folk club, I suppose, but pehaps he was just enjoying the friendly (I hope!) atmosphere and a drink with his daughter.

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 02:28 PM

"What about walking and chewing gum? "
And where better is there to park your chewing gum while you're singing than on the back of your Martin.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 02:37 PM

I knew the Gerry Ford school of multi-tasking would crop up eventually.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Villan
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 02:53 PM

He wasn't completely deaf (she said that) - he was very hard of hearing, and yes he was enjoying it with his family.
I apologised after the concert, as I hadn't realised. As it was they never came back again.
So maybe we have to learn a lesson sometimes and maybe a bit of tolerance is needed at times.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 02:58 PM

I have hesitated to join this thread because it is a very complex subject and I have mixed feelings about some aspects. I do have reservations about reading from the words or playing from the music but I'm unwilling to condemn those who do. I know a few, mostly elderly, and I know that it is not because they can't be bothered to learn but because they genuinely have trouble doing so. Never the less, they have a genuine love for the music and want to make their contribution. If they need a safety net to do it, so be it.

Really, I think Nick in his post at 21 Oct 08 - 10:37 AM said it all. That describes the folk scene as I know it where friends get together to make music and offer each other mutual support in doing so. It is not about being a "performing art" or getting to Carnegie Hall. It's about wanting to do it better as an end in itself.

Jim Carroll says -

When I started to sing it was usually on CND marches or such like; some people who heard me were kind enough to encouraged me and it became my major interest. I worked at my songs and became a little better; I was invited to perform regularly, till eventually I was asked to join The Critics Group.

Would he have achieved that without the encouragement from his friends?

A consequence of this is the need to show good manners to performers, be they stars or enthusiasts, who, with the best will in the world, will never make Carnegie Hall.

Something like -

"And now here's Bert who needs no introduction for our regular audience. For newcomers, this is the bloke I warned you about when you came in so now might be a good time to go for a piss."


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 04:15 PM

Couldn't agree with you more Snail. Its about the doing. Some comments have implied that people who don't learn the lines are lazy and in some way inferior. Some of us just CAN't learn lines or ad lib or make a joke of it when we are out there. It may be what being a performer is all about, but we are not all made of such strong stuff as some of the admirable??? characters who have posted.

Don't worry Villan, it was probably a one-off for them anyway. We have all done that sort of thing and does make you feel awful. As you say, it is a reminder to be tolerant.

Regards to you both

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Girl Friday
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 05:15 PM

Hello Shimrod. We( TDL) are song writers who need to sing our songs. One of us, (me) mostly doesn't sing. The other one who plays guitar and sings has little short-term memory due to nearly dying in a road accident, so any songs he does manage to learn is an acheivement.He does know at least 50 songs, and I probably know 15. We have around 200 songs all told.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Girl Friday
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 06:04 PM

Can't believe how many posts got on page five before mine. My comments refer to Shimrod's post at the very end of page four.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 06:13 PM

In a long singaround you do need to go to the toilet.

As a matter of courtesy I always make sure that I don't go out for the same person's turn in the second half as I did in the first, should I need to go twice.

Thought I'd just share that!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Pete the Hat
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 07:00 PM

Thank god I go to a friendly club. where applase is appreciated. We are strict on noise has I stated we ring a bell if someone is trying to start and noise is still going on .Its better then loads of folk hollering out QUIET and Shut up which only adds to the Par-larva.

I tried a new Woodie guthrie song at the last meet and I sung with head bowled down and it was ok but I forgot the last verse which I had written down but forgot to remove from under the four pack before I started. But I got a round of applause which I was happy with.

It was a singaround so I was confident but to hastey in regards to preparation before I started. Funny I played it perfectly scores of times in front of the Cat before I left home that evening. At the singaounds I flatly refuse to partisipate first time stick comes round and thats common for me both at the club and at Knockholt. But that my choosing and no one minds.

Then the stick comes around again 2nd time I try a new song which is not always perfect. Then IF the stick comes around again I do a Dylan number which I have to perfection has far has perfection goes with me and I sing with my head up high and bellow out has tuneful has I can.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: rodentred
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 07:03 PM

It just goes to show the problem of having any manners in a folk club. Most of the people who have replied in the last few days can't even stay on topic and only talk about how they should or shouldn't learn songs. WTF has singing in a car got to do with how you bahave in public? Just learn the song before you sing it to me for Christ's sake


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: paula t
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 07:35 PM

I love the type of singers night where everyone takes their fair turn and no-one is judgemental. I've always thought the folk scene was special because everyone's contribution was valued . I find it a bit disheartening when people do not show respect to someone making a contribution to the music.I feel that this this disrespect can take many forms and the ones I see most are those people who talk over performers who do not "do" the type of material they feel is to their taste,or who place negative value judgements openly on others performances.The mobile 'phone issue is a difficult one. When Sarah and Kathryn were performing and the guy's 'phone went off I would not have been annoyed if he had answered it there and then and gone outside as quickly as possible to have his conversation. After all, it could have been an emergency.As it turned out it wasn't but we were all subjected to his loud conversation(perhaps he was speaking to someone a long way away?)He was on the front row in a small room.Ho hum.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Pete the Hat
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 08:24 PM

Ok re Mobiles.
People take there mobile phones out with them. understandable. I put mine on vibrate and place it in a place where i will feel it go off like down me pants.
Seriously though place it in a brest pocket of a shirt where you feel it go off common sense. people need to have mobiles with them for emergencies.. ?

There is one issue that has no excuse and that is continuous bloody texting.which is happening with frightening regularaty at present at the club I attend by the younger folk and some who should know better to. Its rude and off putting to see folk doing this while you are in the auldiance it bad manners and it worse when you are playing.

I wouldnt mind but the folk who text continueously at the club I attend are all players themselves
so it very selfish,.Take mobiles with you put them on vibrate and save you texting for when you get home.


Place a small LAMANATED note on the tables at singerounds and p.a. nights
PLEASE PUT YOUR MOBILES ON VIBRATE NO TEXTING. It works.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 09:29 PM

Tom - interesting what you said re closing your eyes while singing. I do that now and then, but mostly I find I need to look at/around the audience to stay feeling connected and communicating, plus sometimes it really helps my performance if I catch the right person's eye, however briefly. And yet... last night while playing a challenging gig supporting a fairly wellknown folk band, I suddenly got rather unsettled by becoming aware of a few young people sitting right at the front who suppressed uncontrollable giggles throughout most of our set. I discovered later that one of them was the virtuoso fiddle-player who we'd got in for free on our guest list as he'd recently expressed interest in joining our band. Like you, I might've completely wrongly interpreted what was going on in their minds. Maybe one can harden oneself to this kind of thing! I think closing my eyes would be a last resort - but I understand why you do it!

Ah, Jim... that "beautiful moment when the song takes over" - indeed, what a feeling! and how hard to deliberately recreate!

Sue


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Pete the Hat
Date: 23 Oct 08 - 10:54 PM

I shut my eyes lightly so I get a blurred effect and I try to sing across a mic rather then directly into it.Only P.A. I think it sounds better.

It the same with the radios we use at work we are trained to talk across them rather then talk stright into them.across from 4inches away.

I sing from the right because I am right handed but that optional. Examiners tell me to talk across a mic /radio It stops spittle spray HITTING THE MIC which is unavoidable and causes blips   .

Has for singing across a open mike again the old school may scoff but I find it works. so what.but I have only used it twice because I rarely play on P.A.Nights but I tried it at a friends bithday party held at our club ON THE p.A and from the response I got FROM CLUB MEMBERS it was the best I had EVER sounded so there you go.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 02:16 AM

Snail,
"Would he have achieved that without the encouragement from his friends?"
No I wouldn't - I was never asked to sing in clubs from the word 'go' and I never assumed it to being a god-given right - thankfully, neither did anybody else. I was asked to sing in public when people thought I'd done enough work, and not before - but that was in the days when clubs had standards. Are you suggesting that the only way to encourage people is to get them to practice in public (which is what we are talking about here)?   
So far, none of the "I took my harp to a party' school of thought have addressed the question of standards, of responsibility to the audience/fellow performers/music, but have consistently fallen back on "This is what it did for me-me-me", how about what it does for the rest of us?. The only concession to standards seems to be that the 'practicers' are hidden away in the cupboard when the guests arrive and are only allowed to strut their stuff on residents nights - how ******* patronising can you get!
Audiences are, by and large, very supportive; they want you to succeed. On the other hand they can be very fickle; they tend to remember the bad performances just as clearly as the good ones; even more clearly if the bad ones are reeaaaaly bad - so that is the impression which is taken away, and more fuel is added to the "near enough for folk song" image.
Paula t wrote:
"I love the type of singers night where everyone takes their fair turn and no-one is judgmental."
Don't you believe it - everybody is judgmental - they may not express an opinion to your face, but this doesn't mean that they don't have one and are not happy to give it elsewhere.
I ask again (and direct my question to the anything goes crowd); do you believe that there should be a minimum standard for performing in public?
(Un)fortunately, I won't be around to receive an answer (in the unlikely event of one being given) as I'm off to the South Roscommon Singing Weekend at Knockcroghery (tr. The Hill of the Hangman - lovely name).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 02:51 AM

Should there be a minimum standard for performing in public? - Bloody right there should!

You don't have to play the guitar like Martin Simpson or Sing like Bob Fox, but you should, as a minimum, know the words to your song, know how to accompany yourself without having to stop the music to change chord (I am quite serious here)and the song should be appropriate for the venue - 'Hungry Heart' in a folk club - i mean....


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Lil
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 03:45 AM

I am glad my cat doesn't attend my folk club. He is very rude and makes for the door whenever I pick up my autoharp!

Lil


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 04:11 AM

so who is going to decide what is an acceptable standard- what I think is good may be crap to you. This sounds like a request for the setting up of 'The Folk Police' - how well will that go down!!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 04:52 AM

I suggest that whether a performer is good enough should be decided by an audition by a panel of four people, two men ,one of whom is capable of reducing potential performers to a quivering wreck by vicious put-downs, the other slightly more gentle , but still capable of being cutting where necessary.

There should be two females on the panel, one of whom should preferably be married to a famous footballer, and one who should be capable of being reduced to blubbering on behalf of the rejected performers.

Spice to the proceedings would be added by the judges continually arguing among themselves.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 05:04 AM

"I suggest that whether a performer is good enough should be decided by an audition by a panel of four people, two men ,one of whom is capable of reducing potential performers to a quivering wreck by vicious put-downs, the other slightly more gentle , but still capable of being cutting where necessary.

There should be two females on the panel, one of whom should preferably be married to a famous footballer, and one who should be capable of being reduced to blubbering on behalf of the rejected performers.

Spice to the proceedings would be added by the judges continually arguing among themselves. "
brilliant idea ;) Then it could be filmed and make loads of money.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 05:36 AM

Silas's suggestions will do for me - remembering the words, singing the tune accurately, liking the song and being proficient on your instrument will do fine - no need for inquisition.
But that appears to be far beyond some people's capabilities - and lets face it, the songs are crap and not worth the effort anyway!
Isn't it amazing how far round the houses some people will go to avoid answering a question?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 05:38 AM

Jim Carroll

I ask again (and direct my question to the anything goes crowd); do you believe that there should be a minimum standard for performing in public?

Yes, the desire to perform. We wouldn't pressure anyone to perform if they didn't want to although, usually, everyone is asked if they'd like to do a spot as they come through the door.

I never assumed it to being a god-given right

Never met anyone who did.

The only concession to standards seems to be that the 'practicers' are hidden away in the cupboard when the guests arrive and are only allowed to strut their stuff on residents nights - how ******* patronising can you get!

That would, inded, be disgraceful. We don't do it. What actually tends to happen on busy guest nights when we can't get everybody on is that residents and regulars hold back and priority goes to visitors some of whom we may never have heard before.

Are you suggesting that the only way to encourage people is to get
them to practice in public (which is what we are talking about here)?


You can practice your words or your notes in private for ever. (I know, I've done it.) The only way to practice performing in public which is a whole other skill is to perform in public.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Marje
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 06:33 AM

Rodentred, you were talking a lot of good sense in your first post up there, but why get so irritated about discussion of singing in the car?

We identified in this thread that it was important to make an effort to learn songs. Most of us agreed on this, but as some people still seem to be saying "But I can't learn songs", it's perfectly salient to go on to share some tips about how we do this learning.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 06:41 AM

I am surprised that 'should there be a minimum standard' is even a matter for discussion.

At MSG - Manchester Sports Guild, of late and happy memory there was, on a Monday evening "Singers' Club", where I and many other
denizens of the Manchester scene served our apprenticeships, and,

having become reasonably competent and established, could rehearse newly-learned, or freshly-learned, songs and/or tunes. The audience, largely composed of singers and/or wannabees, was reckoned as
one of the most critical in the North West.

Oh, nothing was stated expressly, but by christ you were left in no doubt as to a substandard preformance. There was an unwritten rule that if you were going to fuck it up, fuck it up at Singers' Club and
not on a gig you were being paid for.

Anyone could have a spot, under the gentle hosting of the late Frank Duffy (RIP) and later the ineffable Drony (John Dronsfield).

Guest nights were Saturday and Sunday, and no floor spots were permitted then. There was the MC

(of which squad I was a member, with Paul Reed, 'Spider' John Graham, Pete Smith, Eamonn Clinch (of the Buggermen)[there may well have been others, but their names have gone from my memory - it's an age thingio])

the support, and the principal guest.

One evening, tho', David Whatsisface (Folk Club Secretary, under that grisly old bastard Jenks, who ran the gaff) made an exception to the 'no floor spots' on Guest night rule, and some woman was

introduced. I can't remember her name, and I am just grateful that I wasn't MCing on this night.

She banged a tuning fork on her head - to get the note, and it seemed to me that she must have had a wonderful time before keys were invented. Sotto voce I said to David words to the effect of

WTF is going on. He said you don't know the best of it - she's on audition.

This occasion was the first, last and only time I have heard disapproval vocalised in a Folk Club. She was murdering 'The Ship Carpenter', and someone at the serving hatch started giving it

"Shit ! Shit ! Shit!", which didn't take long to spread round the room.

You know those occasions where you yourself could die with embarrassment for another person ? Guess what ?

Minimum standards - why is it being discussed ?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 06:42 AM

Snail,
Haven't got time to cover all you points, but re your "hidden away in the cupboard" point - suggest you read the postings of those who adopt such practices.
"Folk Police"
Meant to say, while I may not agree with all the points raised, but so far I have been impressed with the mostly of the thoughtful, well argued replies.
"Folk Police" is a somewhat nasty knee-jerk piece of juvenalia which is usually resorted to by those devoid of argument - but sadly for them, can equally applied to those who would want to impose their shitty non-standards on the rest of us.
Maybe we should leave such unpleasantness to the schoolyard where it belongs - what do you think?
Off to The Hill of the Hangman - 'bye all.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,The referee
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 06:47 AM

You lot have lost the plot. This is FOLK music we are talking about. FOLK sing/play folk music there are no standards, that's the fun of it. You bunch of prats that think otherwise should try classical, Jazz, Rock or indeed anything else where standards do apply.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 07:38 AM

Jim Carroll

Snail,
Haven't got time to cover all you points


So you pick on the one where I agree with you?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 07:46 AM

Sniff sniff, anyone smell troll at all?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Aeola
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 08:17 AM

singing along whilst driving is ok with me so long as you don't have to think about it! And if it is something you may wish to learn the more you play it and singalong ( subliminally ) you will probably learn it. As for using a wordsheet whilst performing, it is much better not to, but, in the early stages is again ok with me. The main problem as I see it , is that no matter how well rehearsed you are the nerves can set in when you stand up in front of an audience.Nerves of course affect people in differing degrees. And you all know the story of the guy who stammers when speaking but sings beautifully!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 09:53 AM

I don't know that I can smell 'troll', Silas, but there's a nasty niff from a a referee . . .


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 01:04 PM

If we had started at some of clubs which seem to apply such draconian standards about who or who is not 'permitted to sing' a lot of us would never actually have GOT started. Me, I would prefer a supportive, friendly club where people are encouraged to have a go and people appreciate it, rather than a club with such high standards, yes perhaps with very superior singing and playing, but filled with a load of rude, arrogant individuals (no names mentioned).

You can keep them

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Villan
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 01:30 PM

Amber
If you ever get the chance, get to Gainsborough Folk Club. They are one of the best inclusive singarounds that i know of.
Les


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: paula t
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 01:37 PM

Jim Carroll,

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I'm not naive enough to think that people don't make a judgement of a performance to themselves. We all do - otherwise we wouldn't listen to or perform music. What I meant was I didn't feel that anyone should undermine a person or undervalue their contribution to the social aspect of the evening just because we didn't happen to enjoy that performance.I feel that the attraction of a folk club is the sheer cameraderie of meeting together for the "odd pint" and a sing.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Amber
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 01:45 PM

I certainly will go to Gainsborough Folk Club if I get the chance. Thanks Les.

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Alan Day
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 02:11 PM

Residents and regulars hold back and priority goes to the visitors some of whom we have never heard before.(The Snail)

What a refreshing change to attend your Folk Club and discover your policy.I have visited a number of clubs where the reverse is the case.One where the resident and presenter made sure he got in twenty five minutes, ten of which was trying to make jokes that did not work,one song that he learnt that day and gave up half way through as he forgot the words,a poorly sung song with a guitar out of tune and the rest of the time tuning it up.One song by their star regulars the rest by the booked group.An offer of tunes during the interval was rudely turned down,this is by a club who's rules policy was that there were no rules and no apologies to any visiting musicians offering to do just five minutes. Suddenly a Club has no visiting musicians and they wonder why.
Al


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 02:25 PM

Yes, it's the difference between organisers who care about the music and about people and those who are "up their own a***s!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Villan
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 02:31 PM

Gainsborough go round in a circle, and everybody is asked if they would like to contribute something, whether it be a joke, verse, song, tune. However if you say no, they respect that, but will still ask you second time round.
Some of the regulars, will miss a turn, in order to allow a visitor a chance.
Its a lovely family environment and a lot of laughs are had over the night.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: jacqui.c
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 02:34 PM

I can attest to Gainsborough being well worth a visit. It has become my 'local' when I'm visiting the UK and I'll always make time to get to at least one session while I'm there.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 02:46 PM

We're actually going to try to get to the "Eight Jolly Brewers" some time tomorrow, because, of course, it's the festival.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Villan
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 02:49 PM

The eight jolly brewers is not normally where the singaround is. Its in a much quiter location. 8 jolly can get very noisy, but it should be good fun.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 02:52 PM

We'll play it by ear!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 02:54 PM

Endorse entirely what V says re Gainsbro and If you are near Flaxton Nth Yorks on a wednesday ther is awonderful club there too.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 03:04 PM

Gainsborough go round in a circle, and everybody is asked if they would like to contribute something, whether it be a joke, verse, song, tune. However if you say no, they respect that, but will still ask you second time round.

That's how it works at the Beech, too. I haven't got much experience of the jump-in-when-you're-ready style of singaround & have to say I find them a bit intimidating - being an unaccompanist, I haven't got any equivalent for the prefatory strumming that tells people there's something coming, so I just have to leap in with both feet or else keep shtum.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 04:07 PM

The other disadvatage with the "leap in" system is that melodeon players ony need a nanosecond to "leap in".


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: BB
Date: 24 Oct 08 - 04:52 PM

Our club meets twice a month, one a singaround-style evening with a collection, the other a concert with a guest where everyone has to pay admission. Everyone is encouraged to perform in some way at the singaround, and if someone needs words in front of them, that is accepted. There are four 15 min. support spots on the concert nights, and if someone is unable to perform without a crib sheet, they are not invited to perform on these nights; likewise if they are not of a 'reasonable' standard, i.e. they can stay in tune, rhythm, or whatever is appropriate. There is a somewhat different audience for the concerts, and we feel that a paying audience is entitled to a certain standard. When the concerts were started, it was also a way of encouraging inexperienced performers to put a set together, rather than just doing one item at a time, and to work towards that requisite 'standard'.

We do occasionally run workshops, but that doesn't necessarily mean that those who need them most will attend...

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Villan
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 04:48 AM

Acorn4
Mudcatters who support Gainsborough folk club will be at the concerts
i.e. Mr & Mrs Sooz, BBP, Pwitz, Travelling Audience, Georgiansilver etc

So if you get a chance to drop into the concerts!!!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 04:53 AM

"We do occasionally run workshops, but that doesn't necessarily mean that those who need them most will attend...

Barbara "

And Barbera has hit the nail on the head!

Some of may have come over as being unwelcoming to new talent - this is far from the case, most of us welcome newcomers and are happy to encourage and help beginners. However, it is not unreasonable for us to expect them to have done a little homework before attempting to play and sing in public, and nearly all of them do and good for them.

Some, however, will, after two years or more, still be at the abysmal standard they were when they started - making no effort to improve, learn the words, sing in tune, practice the music and are arrogant enough to think we actually enjoy listening to this shite week after week. We don't, and despite efforts to diplomatically offer advice and assistance, it ends up with a bad feeling in the room (to which the 'artist' is quite oblivious in most cases) and people thinking that if this is what we can expect from this club, there is not much point in coming - we have lost many a good performer because of this.

Another thing that gets on my tits is treating it as an acoustic club when it is a folk club. Do we want to hear sixties pop songs all night? Not me, I can live with the occasional one or two, it can be a bit of a laugh playing 'Honky Tonk Woman' towards the end of a good evening, but I don't want to be hearing Beatles songs all bloody night.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 05:17 AM

'I am all for encouraging people with even the slightest amount of potential, but some folk are clearly not cut out for it and need to be jumped on from a very great hight.' writes Silas.

This could be a new feature to bring a bit of excitement back into folkmusic.

Each folkclub could employ a jumper - on a sort of diving board. And if the singing gets really bad the crowd could start chanting - jump! jump! kersplattt! If the jumper missed. We could let him finish the song. We could raffle chances to jump on your favourite folksinger.

Beatles songs all night! Yum! Yum! sounds like my sort of night!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: evansakes
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 05:21 AM

"I don't want to be hearing Beatles songs all bloody night"

There's nothing you can sing that can't be sung (with a little help from your friends).

It's easy!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 05:58 AM

"Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,James H - PM

Piers,

well done you for having such a single minded approach. If that is what works for you, go for it.

Doesn't mean that's what works for everybody though, surely?"

(And in response to other postings)

Yes, people do more than one thing at the same time. The point of the story about Milt Kahl and Richard Williams is that one does one's best work when one concentrates on one thing at a time. I have found this to be confirmed in my own work. It's just a piece of advice, one can take it or leave it.

Richard Bridge, I play the guitar and sing at the same time, and I also play the guitar and the harmonica at the same time. If I could figure out how, I would do all three at once. It is a compromise. Life is full of compromises. I can play more complicated things if I'm not singing, and I can certainly sing better if I didn't play the guitar, because I play a classical guitar seated and one doesn't really sing well seated. I don't really practice singing anymore because of physical problems with my voice, but I love songs.

The consequences of eating and reading the newspaper at the same time are usually not serious (though the printer's ink may not taste very good). The consequences of not paying enough attention while driving can be fatal. One can twist and turn and justify and relativize all one wants, but there are traffic fatalities every day. One is free to do with this information what one will; I've said all I can think of on this subject.

I was rather annoyed about the quote from Seung Sahn, which I looked up and found in the internet. I could imagine that it was meant facetiously, as a rueful admissions that he had been caught out not practicing what he preached. However it was meant, I think it's likely to confuse people and not promote their practice of Zen. Yes, I sometimes do two things at once, without paying proper attention to either. Yes, I live in the real world and not a Zen monastery. However, if anyone is interested in my opinion on this subject, I don't think it's a good idea to do two things at once and call it "practicing mindfulness". One would only be fooling oneself.

As far as the (in my opinion, annoyingly trendy) expression "multitasking" (a.k.a. "multishirking") is concerned, I am a computer programmer and what multitasking means on a system with a single processor is that the multiple tasks are performed successively, but only one at a time. True multitasking can only take place on a system with more than one processor. There, multiple tasks can really be performed simultaneously. There is a significant overhead involved in a multitasking application. Lecture on POSIX threads and UNIX system calls available upon request. For a person, I think "multitasking" comes with a considerable cost, too. In life, one often has to concentrate on more than one thing at a time. It's not really conducive to doing one's very best work, though.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 06:21 AM

Do the people who would not be considered good enough to sing on guest nights know their status and do they come back to the club?

Simple answer - yes to both.

Complex answer. On a guest night we want to give the paying audience value for money, so we put the guest on for as long as possile - Usualy at least 2 x 45 minute slots. This means we are limited to letting 2 singers on in the first half and two in the second. As we have a wealth of excelent singers and residents plus regular visitors including such notories as Stanley Accrington. Geoff Higginbottom and Gary and Vera Aspey there is never any question of someone with a poor performance record even wanting to do a floor spot.

I really cannot understand why anyone but the most insensitive and dense people would feel that their poor performance warrant priority over paid artists. Particularly when people have parted with their hard earned cash to see someone good. There has never been anyone at our club, as far as I know, who has not understood that there may be people better suited to the circumstance than them and has not had the good grace to stand down when the need arises.

Does that answer your question John of Kemsing?

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing.
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 08:50 AM

David el Gnomo,
               Referring to your second paragraph, I don`t remember you saying that floor singers were claiming priority over paid guests. I recall you saying that on guest nights only those who you considered competent enough were invited to perform; do you feel their presence would upset your guests?.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Calm Voice
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 10:10 AM

What puzzles me is that surely most of these clubs will have some kind of committee? Here is where issues should be discussed like whether or not people should have mobile phones switched to a silent mode and whether people are allowed to talk while a performer is performing. The club organisers and in particular the MC for the evening, will then know what club policy to try and enforce.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 10:39 AM

Hopefuly when we visit any of your clubs
all this apparent snobbery and sillyness would not be obvious to us.
It seem to me that the atmosphere must be awfully uncomfortable with all this unpleasentnes going on behind the scenes.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 10:43 AM

Well Tim you would be most welcome at our club. Just have a little consideration for the poor bloody fools that have to listen, and do your best.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 12:24 PM

From: David el Gnomo - PM
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 06:21 AM

"As we have a wealth of excelent singers and residents plus regular visitors including such notories as Stanley Accrington. Geoff Higginbottom and Gary and Vera Aspey [...]"

That must be handy, if anyone needs something notorized.

"There has never been anyone at our club, as far as I know, who has not understood that there may be people better suited to the circumstance than them and has not had the good grace to stand down when the need arises."

Stand down? Does this mean someone who had been told or led to believe he or she could perform a song or two might get "asked" to stand aside? If I saw a musician being treated with such discourtesy, I'd be out the door before you could say "Jack Robinson".


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 12:30 PM

"Well Tim you would be most welcome at our club. Just have a little consideration for the poor bloody fools that have to listen, and do your best."
LOL CHeers mate.
I guess you heard me before.
I never had the misfortune to be made to feel uncomfortable at any of clubs we have managed to get too,but reading the thread could give the wrong impression(or maybe the Right one?)to anyone thinking of being brave and having a go.
Honestly any would be performers out there,give your local club or group a try and I bet you will never look back.
We all have to start somewhere and at some level.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Amber
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 12:37 PM

You've said it Tim. Good for you!

Amber


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 03:18 PM

Al - (23rd Psalm for those who don't know it)

As I was walking down the street one day
I saw a club on fire
There was a singer standing on a table
And he was sore afraid
Jump, you fucker jump
Jump into this tankard wot we are holding
And you will be all right.

He jumped,
Hit the stage
Broke his guitar's neck
For we had drunk the tankard

Laugh? We nearly shat!
We had not laughed so much since Lonnie died
Or Martin Carthy tuned his guitar in a trice
We are judgmental folkies
Aran jumpers
Ah -ah -ah -ah -ah soles.

WIth apologies to Derek and Clive live!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Geoff Wallis
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 04:54 PM

Just for the record, Knockcroghery does not mean 'hill of the hangman'! The 'hanging' element of the name refers to a ring-fort perched on a hill.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 05:53 PM

Piers, I presume you did realise thet notorieties was the word and that you will forgive my sticky keyboard and poor typing skills. I can laugh at myself and my mistakes but really do consider it poor form to mock those less than proficient. In social skills as well as technical:-)

And no, it doesn't mean that someone who has been told they can perform is then asked not to. It means that our club residents and regulars all have enough common sense to understand that they cannot all get on on a guest night so they don't ask. Anyone who is ever invited to perform always gets to do so.

John of Kemsing - where do I say only those considered competent are invited to perform or that it may upset the artists? All I am saying is that when a very limited mumber of support spots are available we owe it to the majority of he audience to put on the best available. How else would we have been able to run the club sucessfuly for over 25 years?

I heard a good phrase yesterday. It's a shame that common sense isn't...

Hope this answers your questions but if anyone is ever in Swinton on a Monday just make sure that it is on a singers night if you want to make sure you perform:-)

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 06:36 PM

well Tim, I think you just have to face facts. Its not just folk clubs where people say nasty things behind your back - its life itself.

Take that David Cameron - nice chap, but some people think he's a bit of a tosser.
Gordon Brown - not content with a career as a number one song title for the Stranglers, he keeps popping up on telly. What a twat! he never makes me laugh.

If either of them came round our folk club and asked for a floorspot - well I suppose it would depend on whether the usual gang was on holiday. But really I'd say no! You're not in the tradition, and I don't like the cut of your jib.

Frankly, I wouldn't trust either of them with the raffle ticket money.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 05:48 AM

On the question of being well practised.

One or two postings on this thread have refeered to malking sure that you're well rehearsed before a singaround.

What I find is that, more often than not, I don't decide what I'm going to do before going to one.
Singarounds often have their own momentum and you can practice up a couple of songs to perfection only to find that they just don't suit the particular mood at the time, or perhaps you want to link to a subject someone else has done in a song.

I think, once you've got a reasonably broad repertoire, it's better to choose one that suits the mood of the moment, as long as you can make a reasonable job of it, rather than "I'm going to do this one and this one whatever..."


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 05:56 AM

Oh yea - Tim says We all have to start somewhere and at some level.

I agree entirely. Some could start by practising a bit more but, be that as it may, that is exactly why we have singers nights on 28 Mondays a year. What amazes me is that even though there is ample opportunity to 'practice in public' on these singers nights there are people here complaining that we should put everyone on on the other 24 Mondays as well!

Walks of shaking his head disconsolately...

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 06:41 AM

There you are,I knew you all couldnt be as grumpy,or as elistist as some of the posts read earlier.
Seems reasonable to try and please a paying audience dont it?
And all those other nights for the rest of us.
I think those that organise our music and venues for us deserve a bit more support and gratitude than we often give them to be honest.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 06:45 AM

I agree with the last post. When I go into a club I always aassume that it's the organisers' prerogative to run things how he/she/they want. If you don't like it there are plenty of other clubs.

Those that show respect and support for all do tend to get the bigger attendance though.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 07:15 AM

Thanks Tim, spot on acorn and...


300!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 07:34 AM

I `ad that Dave el Gnomo in my cab the other day and `e was looking well disturbed.
`e said, " take me to `arley Street please, I gotta` get some counselling"
I said, "What, working stress or something?"
`e said "Nah, it`s all them on that Mudcat. They want me to put tossers on the nights we got paid guests. They`re doin` my `ead in. What would you do with `em, eh?"
I said ,"What, the tossers? Charge `em twice the ante. You might get a few punters and guests rattled for a while but at least you`d be quids in!!"

Whaddam I like??


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: BB
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 08:33 AM

Talking about manners, last night a woman who had won a 'free entry' in the raffle at the last concert, duly arrived with two teenagers for whom she happily paid admission, plus a toddler of two or so. They stayed at the back of the room and the toddler played on the floor, so there was obviously some thought being taken. Unfortunately, it's not possible for a child of that age to stay quiet, or understand why it should do so, for the best part of three hours, nor can you tell them to just whisper, so frequently a serious or quiet song was totally destroyed by said child's voice.

My own feeling is that children of that age should never be taken into this sort of situation where inevitably other people's enjoyment will be spoilt. What do the panel think?

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: jimslass
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 08:36 AM

when I began learning fiddle, I was encouraged, quite early on, to play at our folk club. I was desperatley nervous, scraped through my number and received rapturous applause. The members were and still are extremely kind and supportive. Other 'not perfect by any means' folks take their turns along with some very accomlished performers.

I've practised and improved (loads of room for more improvement) and now do a regular turn. Recently one of the 'accomplished' performers told me he remembered my first 'scrape' and said how well I was coming along. Can't describe how good thast felt.

I now play with a number of other folks in various settings - and I wouldn't be at the stage I'm at had it not been for those first awkward attempts and the kindness and encouragement with which they were received.

There are often people who sing or play at our club who you think really ought not, but they deserve their chance, and are greatly outnumbered by great performances and 'join-in-alongs'

If things get too excruciating, then the organisers should have a quiet, supporive, diplomatic word, but on the whole, let's give people chance to express themselves and do our bit by being considerate while others are performing, and prepare ourselves by practising and learning our 'spots'.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 08:56 AM

I was the MC last night when John Kirkpatrick was the guest. It took a bit of organising but I managed to get everybody on for a floorspot that wanted one.

Nobody walked out demanding their money back. John didn't complain. A good time was had by all.

One new face said he'd like to sing next time. We didn't thrust an application form into his hand demanding three references and a demo DVD, we said "Great. See you next week." He may be awful; he may be brilliant. From past experience of such things, he'll probably be OK.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 08:58 AM

B%$*&^! Somebody eat my cookie. Last Guest was me.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Villan
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 09:20 AM

We had kerfuffle on last week and I had 2 families bring along a 6 year old and a 10 year old.
I talked to them about keeping quite whilst the acts were on. I said that if they made too much noise, they would have to leave. The parents accepted that and I let the children in for nowt.
They werte well behaved and consequently no problems.
So it is possible Barbara, but the parents need to be made responsible and understand the terms that their children are allowed in.
Les


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 09:34 AM

One problem with children is that with evening sessions some folk humour can become rather ribald. Should watershed rules apply?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 10:22 AM

From: David el Gnomo - PM
Date: 25 Oct 08 - 05:53 PM

"Piers, I presume you did realise thet notorieties was the word and that you will forgive my sticky keyboard and poor typing skills. I can laugh at myself and my mistakes but really do consider it poor form to mock those less than proficient. In social skills as well as technical:-)"

I finished what I wrote below and I've been sitting here wondering how to apologize for my "poor form" and for mocking at what you wrote, and perhaps it's not nice of me, but I don't feel very apologetic. The truth is, I think you have some rather harsh words for poor performers   , or ones you consider poor and I think someone who's ready to dish it out should be prepared to take it. On the other hand, you didn't name any names and some people are sensitive about mistakes in spelling, grammar, etc., so I can see that you might have found my comment below the belt. So, I do apologize, though I still have some objections to what you've written, as I say below. I'm sorry that this isn't more gracious, but it's honest.

******

No, I didn't. I thought it might be a cross between "notables" and "luminaries" with perhaps an element of "notorious" or "notoriousness" thrown in. I'm sorry if this hurts your feelings, but I don't think "notorieties" is a word, either, nor do I believe that "notoriety" is a word that can refer to a person and "notoriety" isn't really something positive.

On the subject of hurting peoples' feelings, your postings rather left me with the impression that you might be a bit thicker-skinned, considering a couple of things you wrote, such as these quotes, which I have just cut and pasted, not edited:

"Poor performance is of course as discourteous as anything the audience does and, at the risk of getting shot down in flames as I have been before, I find some peoples performances can be downright embarasing."

"I really cannot understand why anyone but the most insensitive and dense people would feel that their poor performance warrant priority over paid artists. Particularly when people have parted with their hard earned cash to see someone good. There has never been anyone at our club, as far as I know, who has not understood that there may be people better suited to the circumstance than them and has not had the good grace to stand down when the need arises."

I do understand that a person running a club has to make sure he or she makes money and I can see the sense in some of what you write. However, to call it "discourteous" to get up on stage and try to perform or to use terms like "insensitive" and "dense" doesn't encourage me to seek out a folk club to perform. Nor does the idea of "being jumped on from a great height", for which, of course, you're not responsible.

"And no, it doesn't mean that someone who has been told they can perform is then asked not to. It means that our club residents and regulars all have enough common sense to understand that they cannot all get on on a guest night so they don't ask. Anyone who is ever invited to perform always gets to do so."

People who are invited. Perhaps I wasn't following the discussion, but I got the impression that it could be open-mike or a singaround (something I wasn't familiar with before), so that I wasn't referring to people who had been _invited_ to perform, but rather people who had shown up in the expectation that they could and perhaps had put their names down on the list. I imagined some "big-name" folk musician walking in the door and people being put to the end of the list. Sorry if I got the wrong end of the stick.

"I heard a good phrase yesterday. It's a shame that common sense isn't..."

I think most people show plenty of "common sense" when it comes to their own interest. I wish that kindness and tolerance were more common. I don't think anyone goes into the business of running a club with the idea of making a fortune and I do understand your point of view --- up to a point.

For various reasons, I haven't gotten out much in recent years and don't have friends to play music with. I love to play and have practiced a lot and would quite like to perform at an open-mike night or something similar. I do suffer from stage-fright and have some other problems so that this goal is not my top priority. Some of the postings in this thread have made me feel a lot less like doing it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 10:34 AM

From: David el Gnomo - PM
"As we have a wealth of excelent singers and residents plus regular visitors including such notories as Stanley Accrington. Geoff Higginbottom and Gary and Vera Aspey there is never any question of someone with a poor performance record even wanting to do a floor spot."

Sorry to keep on, but I wanted to explain what really got my back up about this comment. It's the idea that someone wouldn't _want_ to do a floor spot because "excellent" performers, including several people of whom I've never heard, but may be fine people and wonderful performers. Nor do I know what a floor spot is, but I assume it involves performing and I'm sure I could find out without too much trouble. But why on earth should anyone expect that a person wouldn't want to sing his "Jimmy Crack-corn" or his "Big Rock Candy Mountain" just because someone "better" was in the room? That's not what music's about, for me, and certainly not folk music; at least, I'm clinging to the hope that it isn't.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 10:57 AM

You are quite right, Piers. I am indeed thick skinned and was in no way offended by your comment. I must disagree with your assetion that noterieties is not a word though -

no⋅to⋅ri⋅e⋅ty
   /ˌnoʊtəˈraɪɪti/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [noh-tuh-rahy-i-tee] Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun, plural -ties.
1.         the state, quality, or character of being notorious or widely known: a craze for notoriety.
2.         Chiefly British. a notorious or celebrated person.

The acts I mention would be quite pleased to see themselves refered to as notorious I assure you:-)

Perhaps I wasn't following the discussion, but I got the impression that it could be open-mike or a singaround Yes, you are quite right again. You was not following the discussion, but I am happy to shoulder the blame for that - I did not make it clear enough. Absolutley anyone who asks will get a performance spot on singers night. Whether they play guitar like Martin Carthy, sing like an angel or recite Vogan poetry while farting the theme from Eastenders. On a guest night however we cannot get any more than 4 support singers on. If five people ask to perform then we have a decision to make. Is it so wrong to decide to put on the ones who will provide the best entertainment?

Sorry, your last post doesn't make sense to me. It has nothing to do with people not wanting to sing big rock candy mountain because there is someone better in the room. Anyone and everyone can do what they want in front of whoever they want on a singers night. On a guest night however I am one of the organisers and have to occasinaly say no. Oh - and I have said no to notorieties as well as poor performers;-) How does that make me the villain of the piece?

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 11:16 AM

Ah, caught out by "chiefly British" again. Never heard of a person being a notoriety. And so, I suppose two would be a pair of "notorieties". It's a fair cop, guv.

"If five people ask to perform then we have a decision to make. Is it so wrong to decide to put on the ones who will provide the best entertainment?"

I don't know; I'm sure it's a tough call. It's your club, you can do as you see fit.

"How does that make me the villain of the piece?"

I don't think you're "the villain of the piece". My point wasn't the songs; someone "better" there wouldn't make me not want to perform, if that's what I went for and I would be disappointed if I couldn't. And I have been on the receiving end of snobbery in various kinds of situations. This phenomenon isn't limited to music.

You have your way of doing things and you're perfectly entitled to run them the way you like. You've got your audience and your patrons and if they're happy with it, that's what counts. I don't even live in the same country, so I couldn't visit your club even if I wanted to.
I get the impression that the "folk scene" is very strong and widespread in Great Britain and people there have a good chance of finding something to their taste.

It's somewhat different here (a medium-sized university town in Germany).

What you describe doesn't really sound like my sort of thing and I think it's quite possible that I'd be one of the ones who was asked not to perform or "jumped on from a great height". Why should I expose myself to that?

Sorry for having a go at you. I wish you continued success at your club.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 11:22 AM

Not wishing to start a new argument, or revive this one (laid to rest, I hope), but I recently heard a program on the radio about Jacques Brel. Apparently, an early review after he came to Paris read:

"Would someone please tell M. Brel that there are excellent train connections back to Brussels?"


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 04:15 PM

I love Jaques Brel stuff - There was a bloke called Cockney Eric at the Hare and Hounds who used to sing them in French. He was neither Cockney, French, or called Eric but there you go!

D,


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 04:23 PM

With regard to kids at folk stuff.
They can be a pain in the butt at times due to being....KIDs.
We took our grand daughter to a few of V's happenings at Faldingworth LIve. SHe loved it, he was great with her, and because he made her feel welcome I think she settled down better even than she usualy does.
I do find it annoying when you get those parents who make the kids behavior everyone elses problem though.
(Tarquin, Jolian,Brittany take note.)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 04:47 PM

David - yes, I used to love Nigel (CE)'s Brel songs, although I remember him doing them in English. Haven't seen him in ages - don't know if he's still doing them.

Incidentally, I documented Jacques Brel's connections to the netherworld of George Formby impressionists here. "Where Heswall led, the Left Bank could only follow."


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Villan
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 04:49 PM

Wher do I send the ten quid Tim :-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 04:52 PM

Tim,

I think I've met Tarquin as well!

He was the one whose favourite amusement at Priddy Festival a few years back was shouting abuse at people through the doors while they were in the portaloos.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 05:01 PM

He he keep the £10 towards your charity for battered and misunderstood club organisers V.
Acorn4
We are so proud of you for not shouting back at him.
LOL
The little darlings!!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Girl Friday
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 08:18 PM

Kids at Folk Clubs? I'd sooner they stayed at home with a baby-sitter. I have been approached nicely by families wishing to come along, and always ask their age and if they are well behaved. It used to happen when I ran ticketed events. I asked for the full ticket price for the child. If the parents were prepared to pay, then you could bet that they would sit quietly and listen. Well behaved toddlers and babies usually went to sleep under the table when we had a reesident with a young family. They grew up with an appreciation of folk music. Parents who allow their kids to run free ... I think they just want a cheap night out.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Melissa
Date: 26 Oct 08 - 09:31 PM

I'm sure glad the old folks thought it was ok for me to be around when I was very small..otherwise, I doubt I would have grown up interested in being musical.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 12:08 AM

Kids, eh?

We used to take our duaghter Rachel to our "home" club, the Rainham Oast, and I suppose she sarted coming with us when she was 6 or 7. In due course she told us she wanted to do song (on a singers' night). We made her practice it at home. She was then 8.

I'll never forget Keith Pearson's face (for it was his PA rig at the club). Up went young ginger, looking a little on edge. Ah, he thought, sweet little girl, and edged the mic gain up a bit - and Jacqui started the guitar line and people could see it was going to be "Whip Jamboree".

"WHIP!" started Rachel - and Keith dived for the controls as the speaker cones bade fair to hit the opposite wall!

After that, she always got a slot, and he always said that she was the only singer in the club who it up ALL the overload lights on his little desk.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 04:15 AM

Completely barking mad you are, Pip. Now did I ever tell you of my great uncle, Blind Willie Higginthorpe, the only Lancashire coal mining blues man. Used to play the blues on spoons and paper and comb because he thought he was black? No? Ah well, another time maybe...

Yes, anyway, I think you are quite right. CE had a French wife or partner who used to translate for him so I do believe a lot of his Brel stuff was done in English. I do remember though him taking the Mount in Fleetwood by storm. I am not so sure if it was because he did 'The port of Amsterdam', in French, with choreography, or because the singaround had actualy finished two hours earlier. I suppose we will never know.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Mrs Banjiman
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 05:18 AM

"With regard to kids at folk stuff.
They can be a pain in the butt at times due to being....KIDs."

We take our kids to a lot of stuff, especially during School Hols and at Weekends. They are aged 7 and (just) 9. Alot of you have met them, you can decide how well behaved they are.

If we couldn't sometimes take them to the folk club we run, it wouldn't be viable as it would cost us £20 for a babysitter each time. We let anyone under 16 in free to any events we run, we reckon it is important to look after the future. This has not caused us any problems yet...... this is supposed to be community music....when did kids stop being part of the community?

We quite often take them to other clubs/ festivals etc where we are performing....they both have a little part in the act if they feel like joining in.... the reaction to this seems overwhelmingly positive. But again, you judge.

They usually enjoy coming along and look forward to seeing other "folky kids".

I've just asked the kids if they have a message to the old grumps who think kids should not be allowed at folky happenings.......they said they should be allowed and they'll be good! They said they'll join in if you're any good or sit quietly and read their books or play on their DS's if they're not so impressed.

Paul (using Wendy's cookies)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Mrs Banjiman
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 06:40 AM

This is now me and not Banjiman using my name!

Re kids...would also point out that for some parents if they are single it is nigh on impossible for them to attend occasionally if they don't bring their kids with them. I am thinking in particular of a friend in our village who has only come along a couple of times to our Folk Club events for exactly this reason. She loves folk music but is sensitive to the audience (and to her children).

As a performer one just needs to learn to sing/play without being distracted, and as an audience member one needs to remember that we have all been children! If kids don't hear folk music when young then they are unlikely to suddenly get into it as adults...think of the number of folk performers who come from a heritage of folk performance in their parents, grandparents, etc..!

It is like all things - be reasonable, sensible and tolerant.

Wendy


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 07:56 AM

I went to a folk event last year where there were a lot of children ranging from infants to teens. I thought that they were all very well behaved. Many of them also joined in and some of them were remarkably good singers, dancers and musicians.

I think that, in general, we all have a responsibilty to ensure that children grow up to be happy and well-balanced adults. Most of this responsibility falls on the shoulders of parents and teachers of course. As a fully licensed (childless)'old git' my reponsibility only extends as far as trying to be a bit tolerant and not seeking to exclude kids from things unnecessarily.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Gedi
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 09:18 AM

Pip Radish, I came across Cockney Eric in Chorlton Folk Club in Manchester fairly recently. What a perfomer - brilliant. I think he does his own translations though from what he was saying.

The first thing I saw him do was 'The Port of Amsterdam', in English. It was the first time I had heard anything by Brel and It was really good.

Ged


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: jacqui.c
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 10:30 AM

Kids at folk clubs

I'm all for encouraging children to take an interest in the music, but the onus is on the parent(s) to ensure that the children do not cause a distraction, not only for the performer but also for the rest of the audience, who may have paid to come a listen to the performer and ten find their enjoyment lessened by a noisy child.

We were at a house concert at the weekend and one family came with three children. They were fairly well behaved, but one particular child was clearly not interested in the performance and spent a good part of the evening chattering away at the back of the L shaped room in which the performance was taking place. Kendall finds it difficult to concentrate on the music if there are outside distractions and I know that this child did irritate him somewhat. I don't know if others felt the same way and the child's mother did tell him to be quieter as he could be heard throughout the room. He did quieten down but continued to chatter for the remainder of the evening.

Now, maybe at a song circle that might be tolerable, although I do believe that, whenever someone is performing, they should be given the respect of being listened to or, if you really don't like the performance, go outside and chat. However, in a concert setting, I do feel that children should not be brought in unless they are capable of sitting quietly and listening to the performer.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Mrs Banjiman
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 10:44 AM

.......or maybe the onus should be on the performer to be capable of coping with a chattering child? It's really not that hard!

It doesn't sound like the chld was screamng or running about......

Paul (still using Wendy's cookies)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 10:54 AM

Who was it in Hollywood who said never work with children and animals?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 11:02 AM

The height of good manners, I was always taught, is to model them--without expecting them back in return. Therefore I urge people concerned about "folk club manners" to differentiate in their thinking between what they expect of themselves and what they hope/expect/want from others. One can only control the former; the latter you must negotiate or, I think, be showing very bad manners oneself.

Also-- the more we welcome diversity, as a society, the more we open ourselves up to different formulae for what may constitute "good" "manners."

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 11:25 AM

Paul - while I do welcome older children at my gigs there's no doubt that a small child - or anyone of any age who's not willing or able to give their full attention to the show - can be a problem if you aim to spellbind an audience at any point. Even a small noise at the wrong moment can completely break the mood you've worked so hard to create. I prefer to have kids at the front where I can engage them, and hopefully keep their attention, than at the back where they may not be listening and so might do something distracting at an unfortunate moment. At one village hall gig last year a small toddler made it impossible for anyone to concentrate on anything, picking the exact worst moments to cry out (just as I was trying to deliver the 'wings' line in God Speed, for example) and the gig had no tension or magic at all as a result. If the rest of the audience had asked for their money back I'd have sympathised. I had a grim night. Tom


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 11:51 AM

Hey - Jim K! How yer doin'? I dropped something in your cab - did you find it? Now, I reckon you ae realy onto something there. We cound go a step further and charge massive ammounts for people who are realy crap and just want to song pop songs! I'm sure it would go down well in Japan. They probably already have a name for it...

:D


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: jacqui.c
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 01:49 PM

.......or maybe the onus should be on the performer to be capable of coping with a chattering child? It's really not that hard!

But why should other members of the audience have to be distracted by a chattering child, when they have paid to listen to the performer? If this was to happen in a theatre or cinema you can be sure that someone would want it stopped. Why should a concert be any different? A few years ago I got tickets for an open air concert by Jose Carreras and had to ask a group of people sitting near us to stop talking as I was more interested in the music than in what they were talking about. Where's the difference? If children don't understand from an early age the respect for a performer they are unlikely to change as they get older and will just take it for granted that they can spoil the enjoyment of those around them in this way.

There have been a number of times when I have wanted to listen to the music and someone has wanted to chat to me. I make it clear that I'm there for the music, but it is annoying and frustrating to be disturbed in that way.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Colin Randall
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 02:50 PM

Never mind fractious children. When I ran clubs in basic North-eastern England pubs - Darlington, Bishop Auckland and Shildon - my problems were with adults

Darlington (The Spinning Wheel club) was pretty well behaved. Shildon was probably too small a town (though my town) to support a club at all, though we had our moments. But Bishop!

At our first venue, the Castle Hotel, the landlord complained about the state of the Ladies after our club nights. I cannot shed light on that! And guests/floor singers moaned about the noisy crowd. Tom Gilfellon called it the worst club he'd ever encountered. The bar was in the folk club room which didn't help, even though the room was big, and the landlord saw no benefit in closing it during performance.

When I saw the conditions imposed by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger for respect and order (and no bar) during their sets,   I realised I couldn't possibly have them at the club.

If only I had waited. Soon, we had a lad on the committee who was, well, a lad. V bright, v engaging but hard as nails. One night, someone started blowing at a mouth organ in the Gents - directly behind the makeshift stage - during a guest spot. Big Pete went in,
and suggested the youth be quiet. Youth gave one last, defiant blast. Pete responded quite forcefully. It is close on 40 years ago and I no longer remember whether it was a butt, and punch or a slap. But it ended with Pete telling him: "You're a good turn, but you were on too long."

I disapprove of violence, naturally. I approve of the fact that it seemed that night to work.

Colin

Salut! Live



,


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 05:06 PM

Snail
"So you pick on the one where I agree with you? "
More than a little snide I thought - have come to expect more of you; ah well! I answered what I was able to of your points minutes before we left - that's all I had time for. Will comment on the crass idea that all you need is the will to perform when we've unpacked and had a nights sleep.

And to our resident career critic who spends most of his time correcting spelling and replacing missing punctuation (of others, of course) -
"Knockcroghery does not mean 'hill of the hangman'!"
'Irish Names of Places P W Joyce' 1902
Knockcroghery, the hangman's hill, is a village in Roscommon, where there is a station on the Midland Railway; and there are places of the same name in Cork and Mayo.
'The Anglicisised Words of Irish Placenames Tom Burnell' 2006.
Knock - Hill, Croghery - The hangman
Of course, they could both be wrong, as could the residents of the area we have spent an extremely enjoyable three days visiting - what do the Irish know about Ireland anyway!!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: BB
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 06:19 PM

Re children in clubs, concerts, etc. Please note that I was talking about a toddler who was too young to understand about being quiet and why.

I brought up two children through the folk scene, but did not take them into situations where they might disturb others' enjoyment unless I was in a position to remove them pronto if they did. The one who now has children of her own does exactly the same thing in her turn. *Of course* we should encourage children to get involved, but in a way and at a time when it is appropriate to their age. That was not so in this particular case.

As to the 'watershed', my attitude was always: if they don't understand it, it doesn't matter, and if they do, it's too late anyway!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Nick
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 06:26 PM

There's a coincidence! I'm sitting reading Ben Harker's book 'Class Act' and there's Jim Carroll on page 185 and here on the internet. If I go downstairs will he be on the TV I wonder?

Even more curiously the passage I was reading at is relevant to this thread - it's in a section about the Critics Group from the mid 60's and I quote:

"From the outset, public relations weren't the groups strongest suit. There was confusion about how one joined, and some who expected to be included felt put out when they weren't asked. The entrance criteria were also unclear. Creating better singers was always central to the group's stated remit, and yet some who passed through the group could barely carry a tune - a contradiction that inevitably raised the eyebrows of MacColl's many adversaries."

Still you can't always believe what you read in books.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 07:07 PM

Hey I wasnt saying keep the kids out just advocating the parents are made to take their responsibilities on re keepin em in order.
Re Mr and Mrs Banjiman (The Von Trapps) case in point the children compensate for the Banjo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
LOL;-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Oct 08 - 07:46 PM

Well, I will say keep the kids out, Tim. I've had dogs who are better behaved than some of the children I've seen inflicted on what is basically an adult evening; all too aften the parents (or PARENT -because they nearly always come with a single parent) don't give a stuff what anybody else thinks.

Simon (sorry - my cookies won't let me sign in)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 05:26 AM

Nick:
"If I go downstairs will he be on the TV I wonder?"
Do you mean to say you missed the three Traveller programmes - tsk - tsk.
Re the Critics Group;
I'm afraid that - with the best will in the world, Ben made numerous wrong assumptions in 'Class Act' - I filled three pages of notes of them while reading it.
"There was confusion about how one joined,"
No there wasn't; people were invited to join if it was thought that the Group's work would benefit them - and vise versa. There were numerous people who felt that they should have been invited and weren't, just as a number of people who were asked declined.
It was Ewan's group and he had the final say in who should be invited. He kept the numbers down to what he believed was manageable for the method of work he was using; the fact that we met in their living room was also a consideration.
If Ben had asked any of us he interviewed we could have cleared up this 'confusion' for him.
"yet some who passed through the group could barely carry a tune"
While the group's main role was work on singing, there were a small number who didn't sing, but who took on other work, research, organisation etc. Everybody was given a chance to sing, but some non singers were valued for their abilities and enthusiasms in other directions.
The group was a private workshop not a public club so the question of reaching a standard for performing wasn't a consideration.
An honest na accurate assessment of the work of the Critics Group has yet to be carried out.
I will happily send you a transcript of the presentation on the group's work I gave at Ewan's 70th birthday symposium.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Black Hawk on works PC
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 05:43 AM

An honest na accurate assessment of the work of the Critics Group has yet to be carried out
Why dont you post one Jim?
As a 'dabbler' in folk music I keep hearing of the Critics Group - some good, some bad.
Everyone NOT involved seem to have conflicting theories which they usually put forward to 'back up' some claim they are making at the time.
As with the songs, the 'source' needs to be tapped & recorded before its too late.
I believe Diane was involved (& possibly others on this forum) & so a true picture should emerge.
Those of us too young, too far away etc. to be actively involved need the truth.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 05:56 AM

Guest Simon
Thats a load of bollocks.
I have only had Mom & Dad with child at my place.
You must be unlucky.
The majority of kids are well behaved, but once again, the minority ruin it for the rest.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 06:04 AM

I only learned about the work of the Critics Group many years later (doing other things). I recall getting drunk with Alex Campbell at a northern folk club in the mid-60s, and he made some very disparaging remarks about McColl and the Group, which I didn't understand (he was much drunker than me). However, this article seems as good a description of the Group's work as anyone could want. I can't say the ethos appeals to me, but I can see that the intention of preserving what was perceived as tradition was a worthy one to those participating in it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Guest Samuel Wild
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 06:43 AM

Richard Bridge,has mis quoted Dick Miles.Dicks post read .Iwas gigging before Eliza[that doesnt mean I am better just different]Richard   omitted the words in brackets.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 07:23 AM

Black Hawk - Will,
The Critics Group was in existence for around 8 to 10 years.
It got through a great deal of work, mainly singing, but also including songwriting, instrumentation, acting, research.... and related subjects.
It was NEVER the intention of the group to "preserve what was perceived as tradition"; the main aim was to help singers develop their abilities and understanding of folksong and to create new songs using the old forms.
I have something like 250 tapes covering the work the group did and numerous others relating to Ewan's ideas. It would be extremely difficult, nigh impossible to sum up the work on this forum, though there are murmurings of putting something together in the not-to-distant future by some of us involved.
I include everybody interested in my offer of the symposium notes - they're by no means comprehensive or anything like perfect, but they're as accurate and honest an assessment as I could manage.
Ewan's feelings on the Group were summed up well in Peggy's introduction to the Ewan MacColl Song Book.
Incidentally, Alex Campbell was one of the leading members of the "near enough for folksong" school of thought; don't think he was ever asked to join the group - doubt it somehow!.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 07:55 AM

Jim - I'd be interested in seeing the symposium notes - if they're available online at some stage, it might be easier for you to let us know where they are than email them out.

No - Alex was definitely a "near enough" man! He was a rough diamond, as I recall. He was very much a hail-fellow-well-met chap in many ways but - and this was one of his less pleasant traits - he hated being upstaged by people he thought were better than him or more likely to steal his limelight. Particularly guitarists.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 09:15 AM

We probably go to about a dozen clubs around our local area. We returned to the folk scene about ten years ago having been uninvolved for a number of years due to family/work.

A lot of the people in these clubs have become personal friends, and the social aspect of going to clubs is very important to us - virtually the whole of our social life centered around music.

The level of skill of these people varies enormously, but as they are friends we do not criticise if the performance is a bit on the weak side - I think many people who go to clubs subscribe to what we used to refer to in teaching as the "hidden curriculum" , and a lot will be lost if level of skill is overemphasized.

I you are listening to a paid guest that is different of course.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Nick
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 09:38 AM

I'd be interested Jim - it's always interesting to get a view of something from more than one perspective. The Harker book is quite interesting as at least a view on those times whatever his given perspective is. I must admit to have dipped in and out of it quite a bit.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 10:43 AM

Jim Carroll

More than a little snide I thought - have come to expect more of you; ah well!

Sorry, Jim. I don't really know the correct response when apparently being called on to defend someone else's point of view that I don't share.

Will comment on the crass idea that all you need is the will to perform...

Concerned that by voicing my own opinions here I might be bringing The Lewes Arms Folk Club into disrepute, I mentioned my suggestion that the minimum standard for performing in public was the desire to do so at our committee meeting last night. The general response was "Of course. That's what it's about. That's why we do it." followed by reminiscences from everybody about how they would not have got where they were without being encouraged to stand up and give it a try.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 10:52 AM

Wild Guest, I see you type like The Captain. But my quote ended entirely before the words you say were omitted. That's what quotes do. They begin where they begin, and they end where they end.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Colin Randall
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 02:28 PM

Richard! That's the argument people like me - journalists - use. Are you not an academic? Don't academics jump down the throats of journalists for doing what you just describe (as I often describe, case by case) as perfectly legitimate?

Colin

Salut! Live


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 02:50 PM

SO what is the veiw on Belching in folk clubs?
Is it mandatory in some societies?
Is it just bad manners?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 03:12 PM

Belching! Disgusting, Yeuch! Give me a good honest fart any day. Provied it is in the appropriate key of course...

:DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 03:19 PM

This thread has covered quite a range of topics.

To pick up on the point about using crib sheets: I suppose that the line is drawn in different places in different circumstances. A classical orchestra would not be expected to play its entire repertoire from memory, but a soloist in a concerto probably would be. Jazz musicians often read from scores, even if they go off into improvisations. A singer who read from a score might look a bit naff- abit like those pub singers who go out with their backing tracks and all their songs and chord charts stuck on a music stand infront of them, but if you have a singer who's accompanied by a brass section or a string quartet, I think that it's acceptable for the musicians to read. I saw Bellowhead a while ago and, if I remember correctly, some of them were reading from scores- not surprising as they have some quite intricate arrangements.

Regarding performance standards; I have enjoyed many a singers' night and singaround, though I've also been to some that have been pretty dire.

I've only walked out once- this guy sand a self-written song that consisted of seven minutes of rambling lyrics over disjointed guitar chords. He then launched into a second song, stopped after thirty seconds, said "sorry, I f*cked that up" then started again. By this time I couldn't take any more, so I went out of the room until he'd finished.

A friend of mine only goes to clubs when they have a guest that he likes. If a bad floor singer comes on he walks out. His view is that he hasn't paid his hard-earned,over-taxed money to have his time wasted.

So it's a question of where you set your tolerance level.

Some clubs have a policy of running singers' nights that are open to all, and only having invited floor singers on the guest nights. This seems to work- certainly in my experience, these are the clubs that can more easily afford to pay guests, as they attract the largest audiences when they have one.

On a slightly frivolous note, there is a fine line between "bad" and "so bad it's good". In the latter genre, I've thoroughly enjoyed the guy who sat at the piano in the corner of the roomand bashed out "Off to California" in the style of Les Dawson, then followed that with "Deck of Cards". (Yes, he was serious!) Then there was the bloke who performed "Another Brick in the Wall", accompanying himself on a mandolin. (By "accompanying" I mean playing more-or-less in unison with his singing.) I'd have paid to listen to these two all night.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 04:33 AM

No, Colin, One is taking a quote out of context, the other is misquoting. I was accused of misquoting. Not guilty.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 05:08 AM

Snail,
I find the suggestion that the only standard required to perform publicly is the desire to do so totally crass; be it from you or the Lewes committee.
We have heard a great deal about what being allowed to perform in public has done for the individual, no matter what stage has been reached, and precious little on what it has done for the audience/fellow performers/music - "me, me, me".
I'm sure that in some cases it is true that "if I hadn't been allowed to sing I wouldn't be where I am today.....etc". If it hadn't been for the army of 'practitioners in public' performing indefinable material they appeared not to think important enough to have worked it to an acceptable stage of performance, I might have continued going to folk clubs -as it was, I slung my hook and went off and did something else.
In my first posting on this thread I described a situation we were faced with at our club where somebody totally unable to sing in tune or remember the words of songs came back week after week and asked to sing. Over the year she did so she never improved; she ignored all offers of private tuition or assistance from our workshop.
She certainly wanted to sing - enough to write a letter complaining that we didn't give her enough floor-space. I'm sure if we'd offered her a six-song floor spot she would have leaped at the chance.
She met your criterion- she wanted to sing, the fact that she was incapable of doing so appeared to be beside the point - from her, and from your point of view.
Should we have allowed her to continue - should we have given her more spots - how about a six (or more) song spot - if not, why not? The desire was certainly there.
As far as I'm concerned, your 'wanting to sing' criterion is no different to Guest Referee's point:
"This is FOLK music we are talking about. FOLK sing/play folk music there are no standards, that's the fun of it."
For folk music, or any performance activity to survive there have to be basic standards. Is it being a Blue Meany to suggest that performers should be able to hold a tune and remember and make sense of the words BEFORE they take to the floor. If they use an instrument they should be able to tune it and play it competently. I am not asking for virtuosity, and I am not, as some people have suggested, talking about different levels of ability - I am talking of a minimum standard. Surely our music is worth that much effort?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 05:36 AM

Imagine being able to call on the talents of someone like Alex Campbell, and then not doing for some silly ass idea you've got about what is the doctrinaire approach to folk music.   Alex was extaordinary. He had charm by the bucketload and he lit up nearly every stage I saw him on. Towards the end, maybe not quite so much - but he could have taken Ewan's projects to a whole new level of public acceptance. In retrospect - what a dumb decision for anybody to make!

Incidentally - its history who decides whether you've got a 'silly ass idea about about what is a doctrinaire approach to folk muic'.

I have noticed that actual combatants in this war are stuck with the rectal thermometer view of the situation.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 05:58 AM

"We have heard a great deal about what being allowed to perform in public has done for the individual, no matter what stage has been reached, and precious little on what it has done for the audience/fellow performers/music - "me, me, me"."

More wise words from Jim Carroll - I totally agree. Of course everyone has a 'right' to perform in public, if they are so moved, but with that right comes a RESPONSIBILITY not to alienate the audience. If a particular performer is a bit rough round the edges in the early days that's OK, and completely understandable, and even, more or less, acceptable. BUT if that performer is still ragged and unlistenable to a year (or two or three!) on, and it is obvious that he/she is not even attempting to develop his/her art then, I insist, that is NOT acceptable. It is also inevitable that more discernible audience members will be alienated - especially if the performer attempts to hog the stage (as far too many do).


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 06:39 AM

I started playing in folk/folk & blues clubs in the mid-60s, played in them in the north and in London, on and off, for about 15 years, and then did different musical things for over 20 years. So I've come back to that scene in the last 2-3 years, I suppose. What struck, me when I ventured back in, was the huge difference in range of style of clubs, and range and style of performers. To generalise a little:

Then: unamplified; no music stands; material ranging from US/UK traditional unaccompanied to acoustic accompanied; blues; the odd jazz bits; some jug band-type stuff; "folk baroque" (remember that?)

Now: PA systems here and there; music stands here and there; wide range of material from traditional unaccompanied to Abba; anything goes policy in many clubs; much more general "open mic/open stage" events in pubs

In short, the whole scene now is really quite different in many respects from what it was 40 years ago and, as a listener and performer, it's up to me to find the environment I find the most congenial. There's one club, not a million miles from me, which has the atmosphere of a social club, rather than a folk club. Almost everyone brings their music from which to perform their two songs. The songs range from popular folk (fill in your own blanks here) to Abba songs and are, on the whole, undemanding and cosy. The standard or performance ranges from reasonable to incompetent. I find the whole thing insufferable BUT - for those people who go and meet each other, week after week, at this club, it's a warm and supportive environment. I just prefer a different ambience and luckily, in my area, there's enough variety for me to find it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 07:05 AM

WLD
Why is applying standards to what you do and like equal 'doctrinaire'?
Please explain.
Jim Carroll
PS Alex Campell - I remember him vomiting over the piano at MSG - now there's applying standards
Jim Carrol


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 07:12 AM

Well, I'm gutted.

We had a guy who had been banned by the landlord of our pub from singing as it was driving his customers away (and our members). He is actually a pretty nice guy, but he can't sing and he can't play.

He has been turning up regularly as a member of the audience and it has been nice to have him there in that capacity.

Last night he turned up with his guitar again, and proceeded to murder 5 perfectly good songs. As soon as he starts the room empties, people go to the bar, the toilet or outside for a fag - its is so obvious yet he seems not to notice at all.

What would you do in this situation. I think I am going to have to tell him bluntly that he cannot be allowed to sing.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 07:20 AM

"PS Alex Campell - I remember him vomiting over the piano at MSG - now there's applying standards"
Come to think of it - it was applying carrots and turnips.
I'm with Silas (again)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 07:21 AM

I think in some ways, its to do with how much music is available these days. You can get most kinds of music on Youtube nowadays and - there ia lot of music available on podcasts, budget cd's etc....

But in the folk clubs of those days - if you met someone who had mastered or who was attempting to master a Bert Jansch song, or a Martin Carthy melody - it would be of genuine interest to meet someone else from another region of planet folk - the rest of the world was anaesthetised at home listening to the Val Doonican show.

Automatically you were brothers under the skin - because of your presence in a folk club - it was like a meeting of subversives and extra terrestials. The traddies broke all that up with their theories of having an exclusive vision of what is folk music. But I still feel the same way a lot of the time - we are still the last best hope of the world..

Nowadays - you can get any amount of recherche stuff sitting in front of your computer. The main thing about the people in folk clubs is - have they had the decency to at least try and not to bore you fumbling about with some unrehearsed crap - which they expect you to applaud and appreciate, because they once had an Abba or a Fred Jordan album. Really if they know most of the words and some of the tune - its about as much as you're allowed to expect.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 07:48 AM

My previous post on minimum standards refers. I am largely impressed by the arguments advanced in this thread, and would endorse Jim C's post of 05.08, supra.

Wanting to sing is not enough. The basic ability to play your instrument in tune ; to have a reasonable command of the words, from memory ; to empathise with and 'read' your audience

    (e.g., in a folk club which might specialise in contemporary
    song

    [dreadful term - don't misunderstand me - I am
    not condemning this style of song, just that descriptive term]

    there's not a great deal of point in singing from the
    Tradition ; and if a club be principally a club which
    specialises in song from the Tradition, it might not be a good
    idea to sing that song wot I wrote on a piece of shit paper
    during the first interval)

without it seems like you've the poker up your arse; are the minimum standards, for me. I add another criterion which you may read later in this post.

I have never understood this 'good enough/near enough for folk', even from Alex Campbell in his heyday. The music which we all, on the 'Cat, love, deserves a leetle more reverence than this approach ; and, no, I ain't saying that you have to be a fucking Segovia before you play guitar in a Folk Club.

I can cringe, now, thinking back to when I first started. As the result of having had a "Sam Larner" moment (infra) I packed in playing bass guitar in a beat group (that ages me, don't it ?). Having had my "Sam Larner" moment - seeing Martin Carthy at The Navigation, Lancashire Hill, Stockport, October 9th 1966, I borrowed a guitar, but hadn't a clue what to do with the two extra
strings :-).

It might be, it almost certainly is, that perhaps audiences weren't as critical then as they seem to be now. Note that I speak only for myself, here. Perhaps it is as well ; I can remember times I got down off the stage thinking "I made a right balls of that and I don't half feel a big tit because of it".

I think, though, that by dint of hard graft and much practice, and a burgeoning love for songs from the Tradition which endures to this day, I did attain the minimum standard (above, and Jim's post of 0508).

Another part of the minimum standard, again, only for me : If you have an ego, the folk scene ain't a good place for it. I have heard Ewan McColl described as having an ego. I never saw this - respect and love of, and for, OUR music, yes ; and the expectation that those who had come to share it, when he and Peggy were in concert, would by their sheer presence, share that love and respect.

At the risk of thread drift, I have noticed that kids, dogs and farts have one thing in common : everyone thinks that their own are wonderful.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 08:30 AM

Hell's Bells if the standard of "instrument in tune" is applied then virtually all banjo players, about the same proportion of 12-string-guitar-players, and nearly as many other guitar and mandolin players are going to have to be excluded. God help trombones.

Or maybe you mean "close enough".

And bingo, we're back. What is "close enough for folk"?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 08:30 AM

Jim

we all have ideas. and we have to back them. But equally I think we must be aware that our ideas may be wrong, that new information may come up, or something....?

Be suspicious of anybody who's certain about everything. didn't Adolf Hitler and Margaret Thatcher's reigns teach us anything?

What was it Cromwell said, consider in the bowels of Christ, perhaps you are wrong....something like that. He had a point. Not a lot of self knowledge, but a point!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 08:41 AM

at risk of being attacked personally,yet again,and having my posts edited to mean something different.
I agree 100 per cent with Jim Carroll.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 09:05 AM

I agree with Jim, standards are important. However the level of that standard must vary according to context.

A club which runs as a singaround for all-comers, and which exists to provide a aupportive environment for novices to gain confidence and experience must inevitably expect some poor performances, and these will be accepted by the audience as part of what the club is about. On the other hand, on a guest night when a floor-singer is called upon to support a top-flight professional, it is not unreasonable for the paying audience to expect better-than-average-amateur standards. On those occasions the inexperienced and incompetent should not be expect to be given a slot - unfortunately, far too many on the folk-scene seem to believe they have a God-given right to perform in all circumstances.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 09:10 AM

Well, I don't see any club, wether its a singers club or whatever should be used as a platform for bad singers, why should it, and why should people have to put up with it?. Its fair enough to give new talent a chance and support and nurture it, but people who are bleedin hopeless should just accept that they can't do it and go and do somthing they can do.

I would love to be ably to draw and paint, but I accepted a long time ago that I would never be able to, so what is the problem?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 10:21 AM

Slight thread drift here but I once heard of a singaround session in which one of the participants claimed to be so shy and nervous that she played a tape of herself singing! This could be apocryphal - but considering some of the weird and self-indulgent crap that I have heard recently ... perhaps not?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 10:22 AM

Maybe manners are better here in S.Wales. Nobody has yet told me not to sing, or that I'm crap.
I sing unaccompanied, sometimes with a sheet of the words, sometimes without. Sometimes I sing with my eyes closed (reviewing the coming lines!).
If I have to leave the room to get a pint or two (it has been known to happen) I don't walk out on some newby, or during a song, I wait until a singer I know is being introduced, and who I know will not think it's a comment on his singing/playing ability.

Different strokes for different folks!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 10:47 AM

well everybody's got better manners than us English. Actually I think it goes with the territory - peoples feelings getting hurt. others being being disabused of the idea that everything that they emmit isn't pure gold.

Sometimes I've been hurt, sometimes I've been the hurter. As you get older and fight more campaigns - you get less vulnerable. No matter how one walks on eggshells though, theres always some bugger taking offence more times than the Horse of the Year Show. Sometimes they nurture a grudge for decades cos you went for a wee at the climax of their act.

On the other hand, you can sing Abba, Abba dabba Honeymoon, unaccompanied songs in Gaelic, Woody Guthrie - anything you want, most places. and I rather like that aspect.

I think its nice when you can tell they are singing the song because they can relate to it and they like it. Rather than they are doing their duty to the great tradition of boring everyone shitless.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 10:48 AM

Last night he turned up with his guitar again, and proceeded to murder 5 perfectly good songs.

Five? Five???

Did everyone there who wanted to sing get five songs? Did everyone there who wanted to sing even get one song?

I think the answer to this one is to be a bit more assertive with the MCing. Call on people one by one & see that everyone gets the same amount of exposure. At least that way the poorer performers don't get more exposure than the good ones.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 11:04 AM

yeh five songs! it does seem a lot. On singers nights we have time for a couple each. One guest nights just the one. To actually hold the stage for five songs requires minstrelsy skills of a fairly high order.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 11:05 AM

Well, Pip, it was a quieter than normal night and the bugger kept jumping in everytime there was even the slightest lull. WE don't have an MC - but the bastard will be jumped n the moment he arrives next week! I am auditioning jumpers this week, if anyone is intertested, we supply the step - ladder...


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 11:10 AM

Oh for the simple joys of a rock concert... pay your money, listen to the band, get drunk, go home. Folk music is so goddamned complicated...


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 12:23 PM

Oh, for the simple joys of a folk concert . . . pay your money, listen to the act(s), get stoned, go home.

What's complicated about this ?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 12:29 PM

Bryn, agreed. That's concerts, though. The other stuff is the people who are tying themselves in knots on this thread... what I mean is that when you pay your money to watch a rock band, there's no-one worrying about raffles and residents and floor singers and when to go for a piss and how to eat your crisps and who'll be insulted about when you go to the bar and what the organiser thinks and who's on the committee and the age of the audience and whether Bert's sung a song Bill likes to sing and ... need I go on?

It's just a bunch of people listening to some music. It's ok!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Aeola
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 01:06 PM

Everyone should be given a chance but it soon becomes evident whether there should be a welcome return, and that's the point of 'no return'. If you are paying for a performer then you expect certain standards. I have paid to see some performers (never having heard them before) and having heard them decided not to hear them again. As previously mentioned ,different strokes for different folks.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Nick
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 02:11 PM

I'm not sure there is very much disagreement on the point of standards underneath it all.

Outside of a paid concert performance or paid guest night I reckon pretty much anyone who has contributed here would accept that people, while they may not have a right, would at least be allowed one or two goes at singing in public - otherwise how would anyone start? And a percentage of them/us move from that small beginning to become performers at some level or another. And if it's good - or if people recognise a smidgeon of something there - they will no doubt be encouraged.

The problem seems to lie in dealing with the people who reckon that that the quality of that first (usually pretty shakey) performance is something to try and aim for in the future (and not really be too concerned if they drop short).

What's really hard is telling people. We are pretty accepting where we are - but I think it true to say that the standard is reasonable, or rather has become reasonable over time - but have drawn the line on occasions. Most notably 'the mandolin player'. I won't bore you with details but loud mandolin playing out of key and out of time across everyone's singing and playing was so out of line that it needed to be said. He didn't come back.

Most people do and know what the unwritten rules are where we play and hence choose if they return or don't. Most do. The people who want to be the centre of attention and be the only one playing all night probably don't. But we've had evenings with a full room of people who have joined in ensemble when appropriate, made a lot of noise singing choruses, romped through some session tunes but still have the good grace for the most part to shut up when someone sings an unaccompanied song.

It's just manners. And manners and the ethos of places are set by who runs them, what they care about and what they choose to enforce.

If someone comes to us and decides to sing out of turn or whatever then it will be met (by everyone not one person) with "whoa, hold on it's not your go. This is how it works here..." And we go from there.

The first time I ever sang outside of my local environment was at the White Hart in Mickleby. I doubt I have ever been more nervous in my life and it was 'just' a singaround. At the stage I had probably played the guitar for something like 35 years and had played in a band in the past. Nerves (and too much to drink caused by those nerves) led to me forgetting all the words; the guitar part; and in the end I folded into an embrrassed heap and gave up (it was Ewan MacColl's 'Fathers Song' which I thnk I'll sing tonight). But I didn't get banned or prevented from playing and I'm glad of that, and people were very nice and understanding.

I have to agree that it's strange where people stay at the same level of competence year in year out. And it's hard to know what to do with them. I think we are quite lucky in that of the group of people who come to Flaxton most are reasonable and the very odd one who has been grim have tended not to return (the guy who did Rikki Don't Lose that Number on a very out of tune guitar and matching voice hasn't been for a long time - he at least had the gift of allowing us to play the 'guess what he's singing' game with quite amusing results; the look on people's faces when the penny dropped that it was a Steely Dan song was precious).

I am not a wonderful singer, player and performer and there are oodles better out there so it's hard to sit in judgement (though I did have the balls to stick a link in this thread to me singing!). There are people I hear who are no doubt good but who I really don't enjoy because of choice of material, or delivery, or tone of voice or whatever - I put up with them because they put up with me and as a group we do what we can for standards by trying to demonstrate a reasonable level. Most of the people who have stayed with us have got better so it seems to work. The feedback I have from people outside is that it's decent place to come and that the singing and playing is at least competent pretty much across the board.

I do think that there is a bizarre thing that goes on though which is to overpraise people who are frankly grim. From my own experiences I know that it is hard for some of us to get up and do things even if we feel reasonably competent and practiced, but occasionally someone will play a faltering simple tune on something like a mandolin badly and be met with that curiously exaggerated roar of approval that is normally reserved for four year olds or virtuosos. Always found that one weird. If they thn come back for the next five years and play the same old bollocks I do think you only have yourself to blame.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Nick
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 02:17 PM

Fish Fingers with chips!! A favourite.

Captain Birdseye I'm sure noone is looking to attack you but I think you've made your best effort with that post to almost guarantee it.

Mea culpa. Take this as a lighthearted bit of amusement at your expense and an opportunity for a terrible thing that I just couldn't resist - especially as I 42.5% agree with your post.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Banjiman
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 02:30 PM

"I am not a wonderful singer, player and performer".... actually Nick, I think your pretty good!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 03:38 PM

Jim Carroll

I find the suggestion that the only standard required to perform publicly is the desire to do so totally crass; be it from you or the Lewes committee.

Really? We find it fundamental to what we do. If you weren't so out of touch with what's happening in the UK, you might realise that we are a well respected club that does a lot to promote traditional music. We love folk music (and I think you would find our definition not far from yours) but we also love people. I get the impression that some of the negative views on this thread come from people who don't like people very much.

I'm sorry Jim but the woman who plagued you at The Singers Club forty years ago doesn't come to the Arms so we can't use her as a basis for our policy. We can't suppress the many who may have much to contribute for fear of the occasional bad egg.

Neither do we have Silas's song murderer. I think that that experience vindicates our attitude; if you make it clear that everyone is going to get their turn then you keep the pushy types under control.

We have heard a great deal about what being allowed to perform in public has done for the individual, no matter what stage has been reached, and precious little on what it has done for the audience/fellow performers/music - "me, me, me".

No, Jim. "Us, us, us". Every floor singer is a member of the audience. Every member of the audience is a potential floor singer. Every booked guest was once a floor singer.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 04:36 PM

One other thing which can happen sometimes is that when a performer is on the weak side, but is , nontheless , making a gallant effort, they often get a bigger round of applause than an experienced performer to take account of the struggle that is going on and the bravery, perhaps, of performing for the first time.

I have known some peeople to misinterpret this and think that they are a "superstar born"!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 11:08 AM

We can't suppress the many who may have much to contribute for fear of the occasional bad egg.

Absolutely agreed, Bryan, even though we have disagreed many times on similar points. There is no suggestion or even any justification in Jims argument, or my earlier ones for that matter, for excluding anyone based on not having seen them or fear that they would be a 'bad egg'. What we are saying is that there are certain performers who, for the sake of the 'wider picture' should be restricted to singers nights etc. until such a time as they get to this very easily achieved minimum standard. There is nothing difficult at all about holding a tune, remebering words or playing an instrument acceptably well. It is just down to practice.

You are very lucky at your club in that, somehow, you manage to get everyone on all the time, even on guest nights. We, for instance, do not want to do this for various reasons. Neither of us are right or wrong. Just different. Because we have more singers nights than guest nights then our philosophy is to allow singers nights to be 'come all ye' but insist on this minimum standard on a guest night when we only ever get 4 support performers on at most. No-one minds. If we get to the situation where a newcomer comes on a guest night we have to play it by ear. More often than not, provided we have not already 'booked up', they will get a spot. Often they are invited back as guests.

As I said earlier - You seem to be particularly well blessed at your club and seem to be able to get it right all the time. Not all of as are that lucky but, after over 25 years experience of running the Swinton club, I can honestly say that we must be getting it right most of the time. I cannot speak for Jim but I suspect that with his experience he must be getting it right as well. Remember that there are different ways of getting it right and yours may not be the only one.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 11:42 AM

Bryan Creer,at the risk of being called a nodding dog,YOUmake avalid point,we all had to start some where.this is where good organisation and good mcing comes to work,a weak singer should be followed by a strong singer or resident,there is as you undoubtedly know a skill to running a night.http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 12:55 PM

Sorry Dave but you don't seem to have read either what I have said or what Jim has said and I really can't be bothered to go through your post correcting all the misrepresentations. I'm sure your club is excellent and I have never suggested otherwise.

You - Remember that there are different ways of getting it right and yours may not be the only one.

Just so, which is why I object to Jim telling me that our way is "crass".


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 01:10 PM

I didn't say your way was crass- I said the criterion for anybody singing in public was that 'they wanted to' was crass.
Nor did I suggest that singers should be excluded "based on not having seen them"
Please don't put words in my mouth - talk to the hand boys, talk to the hand!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 01:30 PM

Jim Carroll

I find the suggestion that the only standard required to perform publicly is the desire to do so totally crass; be it from you or the Lewes committee.

and for Dave's benefit -

The only concession to standards seems to be that the 'practicers' are hidden away in the cupboard when the guests arrive and are only allowed to strut their stuff on residents nights - how ******* patronising can you get!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 01:39 PM

I must say, Bryan, I did read both Jims post and yours thoroughly and I did interpret Jims comments pretty much as he describes them himself.

I really can't be bothered to go through your post correcting all the misrepresentations

Oh, please do. It is very unfair of you to say I am misrepresenting something and then not say what! I am not sure what I did in my post to warrant such a negative reaction as I was I was trying to be possitive and non-confrontational. If the post did offend you in some way I need to know how to put things right. I am very much a people person after all:-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: John Routledge
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 01:45 PM

I find it difficult to believe that in Snail's club nothing is done to discourage a singer who was quite rightly allowed to sing for the first time simply because he/she wanted to but sings very badly and then proceeds to do nothing whatsoever by way of practice (outside the club)over the subsequent weeks/months to improve their performance


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Joe Steel
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 02:09 PM

We have run a successful club in Trosley, first at "The Two Kings" and then " The Full House" for over 30 odd years and we haven`t lost our capacity audience at all. We overcame the "dodgy" singer business by learning from the ice skating competitions when they were first on t.v. Three committee members have white numbered cards, from 1 to 10. After each artist sings or plays they display their card that they feel gives a score out of 10 for performance. An average is calculated and anyone not reaching the aggregate of 7.5 is invited ted speak with our professional music master( £22.5 per hour). As I said we have grand audiences, but there again, it could be that the best bitter £1.33 a pint!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 03:15 PM

£1.33 a pint!!

Wow! Sounds like my sort of club. Where was it again?

Off to the Royal Oak FC soon. You never know I might get a floor spot so I'd better do some practice.

I'll get back to you.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 05:15 PM

Bryan (there are enough insults flying around without silly names)
Thank you for providing such an excellent example of "me, me, me" – or - if you insist "us, us, us".
"the woman who plagued you at The Singers Club forty years ago doesn't come to the Arms"
Well, aren't you the lucky ones – she came to our club for over a year, met your non - criterion more than perfectly by wanting to sing to the extent of complaining that she wasn't allowed enough songs. I know she went to other clubs (though I couldn't help but notice she wasn't offered a spot any of them - it seems they adopted the standards that you seem to find objectionable, or at least unnecessary).
You seem to have overlooked the fact that this is a general debate on the application of standards, not a discussion on the Lewes, or any other Club.
You skated neatly around the question under discussion, so I'll ask it – what would you do if she turned up at your club? What if she turned up with a handful of mates equally unable to sing but desirous of doing so? Would you turn over a substantial slice of your club evening to a group of non-singers?
Sorry, a rhetorical question – of course you would." That's what it's about" (isn't that what your committee said?)
Anyway; how do you know she never visited your club – I never named her or described her. Do you never get bad singers turning up and asking to sing?
Incidentally, I had no intention of criticising your club or its policy; I've never been there, and have always heard good things of it. I repeat – the idea that 'all it needs is the will to sing' is crass, whoever says it – that's as far as it goes.
"Every floor singer is a member of the audience. Every member of the audience is a potential floor singer. Every booked guest was once a floor singer."
No argument with this whatever as long as 'potential' is the operative word. Realising that potential by putting enough work in beforehand is the deciding factor for me, not practicing in public until you it right.
"I get the impression that some of the negative views on this thread come from people who don't like people very much."
I can't speak for those who wish to see standards established at the clubs, but personally I find this (once again – from you on this thread) deeply insulting. Can you please tell us what has led you to this extraordinary conclusion?
In fact, the opposite is the case; as far as I'm concerned, it is those who don't see the need of some level of 'quality control' who show contempt for the audience, the singers, and the music.
I believe that it is out of respect for the people who make the effort to turn up, for the singers who put the work in beforehand, and even for the wannabe singers who seem prepared to throw themselves to the wolves before they have got their singing together, that it is essential that club evenings are not allowed to fall below a certain level.
It is also out of respect for the music that I would suggest that it is brought up to a reasonable level of performance before it is presented publicly (and not laid open to ridicule, be it by the media or just by any stray passer by who might drift in (and who knows, who might just become a regular – and a 'potential floor-singer) – for me, the music is at least worth that.
Walter Pardon spent about forty years loving putting his family repertoire together, memorising and writing down the songs and recalling the tunes with the help of a melodeon.   When asked to do so, it took him about four months of fairly consistent work to fill a tape of songs to be presented to Bill Leader. On numerous occasions when he appeared at clubs in the south of England he stayed with us. He carefully prepared his list of songs and sang them through again and again till he was satisfied with them. If he gave what he considered a bad performance (I never saw him do so) it upset him – in other words, he applied standards right up to the point of his stopping singing in public. He stopped singing in public when he felt ho coul;d no longer maintain that standard.
One of the hardest parts of collecting was not getting the singers to part with their songs, but invariably it was persuading them that they had something worthwhile to offer and that by singing into the microphone they weren't going to humiliate themselves. They constantly apologised for "not being able to sing"; "you should have been here forty years ago when I had a voice", "You should have heard my brother, he was the singer of the family".
All of the people we met who passed down the songs to us valued them enough to do their best to 'get them right'.
If they thought it worth making an effort for, why can't we?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 06:09 PM

I have been involved with music and singing for over forty years.
I cant think of a day[apart from when I was ill],that I havent played or sang,today I must have spent three hours playing and practising,I consider myself privileged to still be able to do so.
not everyone is as fortunate as myself.
it is great to see people making their own music,but it is important for all performers to set themselves standards.
if someone occassionally forgets a word[it happens to everyone],it is acceptable,we are not machines ,but I feel it is much better not to have a set of printed words.
lets cast our minds back to the heyday of folk clubs,you had to get to the club early to get a floor spot,you had to be good to get a floorspot the next week.
furthermore no one had crib sheets,or performed with printed words.
standards were high,clubs were full.
clubs were well organised,a weak performer would be followed by a strong resident,it was a system that worked.
I would like to repeat that as a guest at someones club,I would consider it ill mannered to say anything to any performer,who used printed words.,IF they asked my opinion,I would try and explain my viewpoint.
admittedly the scene has changed,there are a lot more singaround clubs than there used to be,but even in this more amateuer environment, isnt it better to strive towards a higher standard.
To make the effort to perform without a script.,and fail, is better[In my book] than not trying at all.
I would rather hear a performer with a limited repertoire perform the same songs if he/she did them well,than see someone give new songs a lifeless rendition from a script.
I am not saying that it is impossible,to perform well with a script,it is in my experience rare.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Captain Swing
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 07:49 PM

And I don't know how they can disagree with you both (Dick and Jim) but sadly they still keep going with their ringbinders and music stands making a complete mockery of a once vibrant medium.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 07:50 PM

Some of the posts on this thread are beginning to sound like the dreaded OFSTED!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 07:56 PM

it looks like the thread has gone off on a tangent, then gone on/off and on/off ........

it was originally about how people in the venue behave while 'artists' are performing. Should standards of performance be a separate thread?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: John Routledge
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 07:57 PM

Oh that OFSTED could sum up a problem in one sentence like Captain Swing :0)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 08:08 PM

How you doing, John? Not seen you at Swinton for some time. Mind you, with all then undecypherable Geordie sings I'm not quite sure if you are good enough...

:D


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 08:08 PM

I claim 400 AND page 9:-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 08:11 PM

???? 401 = 400 some ground-breaking maths here


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 08:20 PM

Ahhhhh - I got the 400th and 401st post so the end of page 8 ad the start of page 9 are both mine. Today Mudcat, tomorrow the world...

:D


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 03:43 AM

Surely there is a difference between believing that people should care enough about the music they sing or play to practise and to seek to improve (on the one hand) and on the other hand believing that one is sufficiently superior to sit in judgment on others and exclude them.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 04:31 AM

Richard,
It's been asked numerous times, here and elsewhere, and has yet to be answered - would you apply the same criterion to painting, acting, sculpting, opera, jazz (or even being an electrician)....... if not, why not? Is the singing of folk songs an inferior pursuit to all of these?
I believe that it lies within the abilities of most people to sing - as long as they are prepared to put in the time and effort.
'Superior', 'judgement' and 'exclude' are all loaded words that only
serve to avoid the main issue. Nobody, as far as I can see, is attempting to "sit in judgment on" or be "superior to" or "exclude" anybody - we are simply asking that a performer reaches a certain (not particularly high) standard before they sing in public - what is wrong with that?
For me this whole question revolves around a piece of contempt that has plagued the revival from the word go - "it takes no effort, thought or talent to sing folk songs". Do you believe this? If the answer is 'no', why is it unreasonable to expect that a new singer first puts in the effort, thought and time in order to develop their talents to the level where we can all sit back and enjoy their singing?
Again I ask, don't we owe at least that much to to the people who made and passed down the songs.
Folk song has yet to find its place in the sun in Britain, it will never get that place without the work being put in.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Cliff
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 04:31 AM

A poet who comes to a local club never practices a reading because it removes the spontaneity (so he says).
He misreads words, cannot scan correctly & cannot perform even a limerick without a book.
He asked my partner how many songs I know from memory.
She said she didnt know but it was at least 200.
He said,'Is that all, I have about four hundred'.

I did feel I was wasting my time learning the words & practising guitar before performing if I could satisfy the audience just reading from a songbook.
Individuals have their own personal standards & its up to the organiser to decide if the audiences tolerance level matches the performers.

To get back on thread - manners in folk clubs should be based on 'Do unto others ....'
If I was at a rock concert I still would try not to disturb others with my activities.
Manners really!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 05:30 AM

Jim - ask what you owe - that is your decision.
I ask what I owe - that may be a different decision.
Who gave you the right or power to decide what someone else owes?

Take our own Tone Deaf Leopard for example: the bel canto brigade recoil in horror, but that is not the point of what they do. At their best they can be side-splittingly funny, at least one of their tunes to a well-known song adds well to the darkness of the events in the song, and others do perform their words to well-known songs.

If you apply "standards" as you seem to wish to do, you do indeed exclude them - as Sue has explained above.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 05:30 AM

Richerd - There is indeed a huge difference between the two. I don't believe anyone on here is suggesting they are that good that they can exclude anyone. There is also a huge difference between excluding someone altogether an restricting where they perform, which is all I am saying. Let us say for instance we have someone at our club who cannot hold a tune, cannot remember words and cannot keep time. Let's call her Mureil to protect the innocent (My Mothers name).

Now, Muriel is more than welcome to strut her stuff at any one of our singers nights, of which there are 28 a year. She can also go to a host of other clubs, including Lewes, and get on anytime she wants. What I will not do is put her on main stage to support Bellowhead in front of an audience of 300 people who have paid £15 a ticket. Now if that is being exclusive or superior to anyone then I'm afraid I am guilty as charged. So are most of the music promotors in the country.

There should be no difference in quality between the Bellowhead concert and a guest night at or club. OK, we only charge £3 and only get 40 in but the quality should be just the same. On a singers night with free admission and the where the auience understand that anything goes it is a different kettle of fish.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Musket
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 06:20 AM

Perennial subject...

I always used to say that a folk club is somewhere you can get up and enjoy yourself and always get an appreciative audience who actually listen rather than treat you as background entertainment. It is great for that, but when you do branch out to other types of performance, you get a bit of a shock...

Many years ago at a folk club I was involved in, a locally well known performer who shall remain nameless did his bit and then, sat at the front, got his book out to read whilst others were performing! Didn't even get the message when he was asked, from the stage, if he had ever been chucked out of a library for singing?

Folk club audiences are a broad church to say the least, but just like any other artistic endeavour, you get people who are too focussed on themselves to notice the bigger picture.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 07:09 AM

Richard, you are asking; 'Who are we to sit in judgement'. You may as well ask, "Martin Carthy, who does he think he is, giving master classes, what does he know". Some of us do KNOW a bad performance when we hear it.

Well, we, or at least I, am someone who has been involved in folk music for many years and this does help, but it does not take a genius to recognise a poor singer. However, poor singers can improve if they are prepared to practice, practice, practice, but some, sadly, don't. Some will not accept and constuctive critisism or advise and some, no matter how hard they try just cannot sing.

You seem to think that the Folk Club is just for singers, it isn't. Most of the audience is made up of listners, not performers and it is not fair on them to allow rubbish turns who can't be bothered to do any preperation to inflict their personal egos on them.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: trevek
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 07:34 AM

I don't really have a problem with people using word sheets as long as they know the song already and it isn't just th first time they've sung it. After all, would you go and listen to the London Philharmonic and complain that all the string section have the dots in front of them.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 08:02 AM

Good Grief! I can't keep up. Thanks for the breath of fresh air, Richard and thanks Captain Birdseye for the comments about MCing. I'm not sure that I'm very good at it but the only way to learn is by getting up and doing it. It's not something you can practice alone at home.

I don't think I have the energy to go through every point but since Jim seems to think I've insulted him, I'd better reply to that -

I can't speak for those who wish to see standards established at the clubs, but personally I find this (once again – from you on this thread) deeply insulting. Can you please tell us what has led you to this extraordinary conclusion?

All the talk about "jumping" on people, all the loathing poored out by some people for those not seen to come up to the standard. Your own attitude is, to say the least, unsympathetic. The woman you described sounds as if she had mental health problems. If she has ever been to Lewes, she must have radically changed her behaviour because I've never encountered anyone like that.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 08:14 AM

The great debate rages on and on, as it has for years. Folk club manners is at the heart of it. Being very adult, polite, friendly and supportive, we duly applaud everyone who has the bottle to stand up and sing in front of an audience. Anyone who has done it will testify to the buzz - that's what gets you up there in the first place, and that's what ensures you return for more.

Being able to distinguish between polite and enthusiastic applause is (for some) the difficult bit. If folks displayed their true feelings and refused to acknowledge something they know to be truly awful by not applauding, or by reacting in a similar way to that of football fans in response to a lousy offside call, then the poor performer would soon get the message.

Is that what we want for our community? Maybe we should reach out for perfection - root out the weakest performers and show them the door; we should raise the minimum standard level and apply some points system for determining position in folk league tables?

Way to go .... Hmmm


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 08:40 AM

You are fortunate Snail, and I think we help run similar clubs, usually the lesser the talent the greater the aggression if this particular person is refused a spot.
I may have mentioned this elsewhere but at a club I help run some thirty odd years ago we had a lady, who was a good friend of us all, who turned up one week with her guitar. Naturally we gave her a spot and it was quite obvious to all, except her, that she had nowhere near mastered her instrument. She came a few months later with her guitar and the results were the same; this became more frequent until members of the audience began complaining to us. So on one occasion she was deliberately passed over for a turn; rather than sending out the message she was waiting for me to open up the next week so that she would be sure of a spot, I explained that we had a guest but I'd see what I could do thinking that I was on pretty safe ground. The guest didn't turn up but I still missed her out and at the end of the night she demanded to know why and I had to explain as gently and politely as I could that she was nowhere near the standard to play in public where an audience is paying good money and expects something good in return. She really wwent off on one at me saying how far ahead of unaccompnied singers she was and much better guitarist than some of the bluesmen (we had two of the best in the North as regulars) who "just strum" she was. Plus the last time that she played at our club the room was dark and she couldn't see the notes.
After that, plus a letter to my home from her husband saying pretty well the same thing only in a more temperate manner, she never came back to the club and certainly never spoke to me again prior to me leaving the area.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 08:46 AM

its when they wipe their bum on the raffle tickets before throwing them at you, then you have to worry.......


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 09:30 AM

Sorry to go on about this Bryan but in a couple of posts now (yesterday - 1255 and 1330) you allude to me misrepresenting you and then post something completely beyond my unerstanding 'for my benefit'. Would you please do me the courtesy of explaining exactly how I have misquoted you and why the quote you gave at 1330 is for my benefit.

I realy am trying to be positive here but it is getting very difficult in the face of hints and allegations. Us Gnomes are not known for subtlety or getting hints. Tell is at it is so we can all understand :-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 09:32 AM

DaveS

You are fortunate Snail,

Then I'll just have to accept that I'm fortunate. In my experience, the vast majority of people who want to sing or play can; many are good; a few are excellent and one or two get bookings on the strength of a floorspot. The duds are rare. I note that you have to go back 30 years for your example and Jim 40. They are not the basis for our poliy on who can or cannot sing.

If someone I don't know turns up and expresses a desire to sing I can't say "No. I have no way of knowing if you are any good and I can't take the risk of putting you on in front of a paying audience." I and the audience would have missed many excellent performances if I had done so. Perhaps we would have missed a few poor ones as well but the alternative is to stick to the same safe and known performers.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 10:08 AM

I'm sorry David el Gnomo but you mangling of what I said was so transparent that I assumed it was deliberate and needed no explanation so, if you insist -

There is no suggestion or even any justification in Jim's argument, or my earlier ones for that matter, for excluding anyone based on not having seen them or fear that they would be a 'bad egg'.

If we haven't seen someone before, all we know about them is that they want to perform. According to Jim, to give them a floorspot on that basis would be crass. We have to be sure that they have put in the necessary practice and achieved the right standard. How we are supposed to know that remains unclear.

What we are saying is that there are certain performers who, for the sake of the 'wider picture' should be restricted to singers nights etc. until such a time as they get to this very easily achieved minimum standard.

Are you including Jim in that "we"? It is not what he is saying. What he actually said was -

The only concession to standards seems to be that the 'practicers' are hidden away in the cupboard when the guests arrive and are only allowed to strut their stuff on residents nights - how ******* patronising can you get!

I don't think he approves of your policy. I think he's telling you that you are ******* patronising.

Back to you -
You are very lucky at your club in that, somehow, you manage to get everyone on all the time, even on guest nights.

Never said anything of the sort. Here is an example of what I have said -

What actually tends to happen on busy guest nights when we can't get everybody on is that residents and regulars hold back and priority goes to visitors some of whom we may never have heard before.

I have said similar things on previous threads.

You again -

As I said earlier - You seem to be particularly well blessed at your club and seem to be able to get it right all the time.

If I have to explain what is obnoxious about that remark, I don't think I'll ever get through to you.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Bru
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 10:17 AM

I'd like to pick up on something Captain Birdseye said at the end of one his last posts.

I can't sing to save my life - I know that - and nothing (other than a massive bribe) would induce me to get up in front of a paying audience and sing, because I'm a long way from good enough. But that doesn't stop me having a go in the anything-goes-pub-singaround environment, and I'm rarely the worse singer there.

It's the issue of reading from a sheet/score/whatever that I find interesting. Due to a combination of a fairly good memory and sheer bloody-mindedness I tend to learn everything I play or sing; this isn't snobbishness, because I honestly don't go puce green with rage everytime I see the same singers reading off lyrics/chords sheets. But I've found that - for me,anyway - reading/glancing/staring at any sort of sheet music or lyrics while I'm trying to sing, usually has an inhibiting effect that's harder to break than actually learning the song in the first place.

The one terrifying point about doing it this way, though, is that when your mind does go blank, and the words have disappeared like frost in strong sunlight - there's no escape route, other than singing another verse, or even another song. But - of course - just try remembering one.

Glad I'm a rank amateur.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 10:17 AM

Tell you what Mr Snail, let me know where your club is and I'll send all the shite your way and see how you feel then...


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 10:52 AM

Jim, for evidence to support my comment that "I get the impression that some of the negative views on this thread come from people who don't like people very much." please see Silas's last post.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 10:56 AM

Sorry???
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 11:03 AM

Referring to your fellow human beings as "shite" suggests you don't like them very much.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 11:04 AM

Hello Snail.

My my, how easy it is to jump to silly conclusions. You have adequetly demonstated that to have a reasoned argument with yourself is fairly pointless.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 11:06 AM

Some performances ARE shite, you cannot get away from that, and that is what I was referring to. Mind you, some human beings are shite too, I can name names if you want....


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: stormalong
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 11:17 AM

This thread seems to have drifted from manners to who should or shouldn't be asked to perform...

I've very rarely encountered bad manners in a folk club. In one instance a guest appeared only for his own slot and spent the rest of the time outside, but he was essentially a pub entertainer rather than a folkie, so that may be down to culture rather than intentional rudeness. The same may be true of those who chat too much while others are singing, but I do agree with an earlier post which suggested that it's the responsibility of the singer to dominate the room, although that's easier to do with a loud voice or a big squeeze box.

As regards who should or shouldn't be called on to sing, it's good to have singaround nights where everyone gets an equal chance, but on guest nights a good MC will exercise some discretion after, ideally, giving everyone at least one opportunity to sing.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 11:57 AM

Can I address each of your points by number please, Bryan. Saves time all round. I am refering to your post directly adressed to me and timed at 10:08 today.

1. That is indeed what I wrote. How does it mangle anything you had previously said?

2. No, I am not including Jim. 'We' refers to Swinton Folk Club.

3. Pointless considering point 2 above.

4. Quite true. I accept that you did not say that you get everyone all the time. What you actualy said on 26 October at 8:56AM, as an unnamed guest, was I was the MC last night when John Kirkpatrick was the guest. It took a bit of organising but I managed to get everybody on for a floorspot that wanted one. Apologies for assuming that you can do the same thing every night. It does raise a question if you cannot, though. How do you get round not being able to fit everyone on those occasions when there are too many?

5. If 'you seem particularly well blessed at your club' is an obnoxious insult then I welcome such insults with open arms. When people behave obnoxiously towards me I usualy expect things like 'Fuck off you short arsed git' or 'Stick that fucking squeeze box up your arse'. Maybe in Lewes people are more gentile and behave obnoxiously in a way I don't understand. Please enlighten me:-)

Now, back to my original point. Can you tell me where I have misquoted you, other than the slight misunderstanding I have apologised for in point 4. What I should have said, although to me this sounds more insulting than the first, is "You are very lucky at your club in that you sometimes manage to get everyone on, even on guest nights. I have never achieved that." Can you also tell me why, as a people person, your posts to me are seemingly confrontational while all I have done is said good things about your organisational skills?

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Calm Voice
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 12:26 PM

I went to a concert at a festival. Two performers on stage. One of them read his newspaper while the other performed. The one who was reading immediately went down in my estimation.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Villan
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 12:32 PM

I personally think that Folk Club manners should really be called Folk Club aims & rules.

Each venue decides what they expect from an evening and should make that very clear at the start of the evening and certainly to newcomers. Better still, if you have a website, put it on there also (that way people who are coming along for the first time, know what to expect). Put posters up on the walls of the venue stating the rules & aims.

We state what our requirements are on our website and on the front of the diary which is handed out at each event. The MC also mentions it at the start of the evening.

Above all enforce it.

I had a young couple come along one night, who as the night wore on, started to get louder and louder, to the point where they were distracting people in the room. I walked quitely over to them and explained the situation. They decided in a nice way, that they didn't like having to be quite, so they discretely left, shook hands with me and have never been back. That's life. It would have been nice if they had come back, but I would rather have the 98% of the audience happy, than bowing down to the minority.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 12:36 PM

In support of the esteemed Senor El Gnomo, can I add my tuppence in that when Pip Radish and I visited his folk club on the night that Captain Birdseye was strutting his enjoyable stuff, both Pip and I (at least one of whom was sporting a most unseemly tank top), despite being untried, untested outsiders on a guest night, were offered the opportunity to cough our way through a tune. Pip rose to the challenge admirably, whilst I declined, recognising that whilst I might get away with my harmonically-challenged qwarbling for one short song at a singaround, I wouldn't wish to abuse my hosts' generosity by inflicting my shortcomings on their paying public.

As a result of many factors, but not least my timely self-censorship, a grand night was had by all. As a member of the listening public and an avid self-censor, I welcome such reciprocal self-restraint in others of my bruisingly limited ability. I don't particularly think it's the job of the club to impose a musical omerta on the impoverished of tunefulness but I do believe a little bit of insight into one's own strengths and deficits goes a long way.

In essense, had I sung in response to Dave's kind invitiation, I would have been the one with the bad manners.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 12:47 PM

Thanks, SC. Can I give you the tenner later. I'm a bit skint at the mo...

:D


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 01:25 PM

Mr Gnome, if I have to explain what I actually said rather than what you think I said every time, we'll never get anywhere. Please go back and read all my posts.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 01:34 PM

Nice post Mr Cringe. It's interesting to find that the policy at Swinton is actually very much the same as ours despite el Gnomo's insistence otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 01:40 PM

I have read and re-read them Bryan. I still don't undertand why you are accusing me of misrepresenting you. If you cannot explain it to me can someone else please?

At least give me a clue as to what is obnoxious about You seem to be particularly well blessed at your club and seem to be able to get it right all the time and tell me how If I have to explain what is obnoxious about that remark, I don't think I'll ever get through to you. fits in with your record on tollerance.

Thanks in advance.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 01:42 PM

Oh - BTW - I have never insisted that our policy is to exclude newcomers. Where on earth did you get that idea? Can you show me where I said it or is this, heaven forbid, some sort of misrepresentation? :-)

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 01:53 PM

Or maybe. to make matters perfectly clear I should re-state our policy.

1. On a singers night everyone who wants to perform gets on.

2. On a guest night we have decided that we will only put 4 support spots on. 2 in the first half and 2 in the second. This is to ensure that the guest gets a fair crack and that the audience who have paid to see them gets good value.

3. In the event that the 4 spots are taken and someone asks if they can perform we have to decline them purely on the grounds that there is no time.

5. When anyone new arrives in the club on a guest night they are asked if they perform and if so would they like to do a support spot.

6. If more than four new people arrive it is on a first come first served basis except when someone has phoned in advance - as has happened.

Hope this makes it clear. I have never said we do anything different.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 01:57 PM

I keep forgetting things - Like Columbo on the TV:-)

If, at the start of the night, we have four well practiced performers and my earlier theoretical Muriel, I have no qualms about asking the for well practiced ones. Muriel, in one or two different guises, has never complained and is quite happy to carry on performing on a singers night. Everyone is happy. No problem.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 02:00 PM

OK Dave, one last pull.

It is the "and seem to be able to get it right all the time" part that is particularly annoying. Since you only know what happens at our club from what I have said the implication is that I am claiming that we "get it right all the time". I make no such claim. We have a policy and a philosophy which we try to implement as best we can. I think we do quite well but nobody is perfect. Your tone comes over as sarcastic and paints me as arrogant.

That is what I found obnoxious.

At least I am not alone. I wonder who it was you were getting at in your post of 23 Oct 08 - 08:50 AM when you said "another mudcat member who now seems to believe that Swinton Folk Club is the worst in the world".


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Villan
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 02:07 PM

>>You seem to be particularly well blessed at your club and seem to be able to get it right all the time <<

That sounds very complimentary to me Dave.

I think Bryan has got the wrong end of the stick and in all honesty, you should both stop posting about each other as that is getting very close to flaming which is not really acceptable.

Unless Bryan thought you were saying he had big breasts or that the audience were well blessed. <

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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 02:14 PM

You either have good manners....or you don't....

Folk music has nothing to do with it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 02:29 PM

What about good folking manners, Pete:-D

Ahhhhh - OK. I understand. You think I was being sarcastic? Well, honestly, I wasn't. I was complimenting you on your efficiency and ability to achieve what I have been unable to do. I don't know how my tone can come over as sarcastic in written word but, hey, who am I to judge. I am very rarely sarcastic but should I ever lapse I will always use emoticons to indicate I may be saying something other than what is written.

The Villan seems pretty much to have got the gist. I still don't know where I misrepresented you.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: GUEST,Girl Friday as a Catfish
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 02:36 PM

It seems that Amber has opened a huge can of worms on which shoals of mudcatfish have bitten. The length of this thread rivals that of TDL's,and in only a month or so!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: BB
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 04:20 PM

Dave eG,
I'm curious - there seems to be a fundamental problem with two of your statements above:

"On a guest night we have decided that we will only put 4 support spots on. This is to ensure that the guest gets a fair crack and that the audience who have paid to see them gets good value...

When anyone new arrives in the club on a guest night they are asked if they perform and if so would they like to do a support spot."

How can you be sure that the audience gets good value if you've never heard the person you put on? And surely, if you put four complete unknowns on, there is a danger of getting four completely crap spots. Unlikely, I would hope, but it is there.

I am not trying to be confrontational here - I run a club, but on guest nights, the support spots (four, like yours) are pre-arranged, and I would only change that if the person arriving unexpectedly was known to me or others in the club to be of a sufficient standard to be good value to the paying audience. I am not saying that all our support spots are brilliant, but they are known to be capable to the point of not embarassing themselves, the club or the audience. And I do believe that poor performers are embarassing to the audience as well, and that may be part of what drives them away.

Our open nights are just that - open to anyone to perform, even if they are of a poor standard. In my opinion, it is up to the MC to make the atmosphere such that everyone enjoys themselves whatever the performances are, although that would probably not be possible long-term with a majority of poor performers.

By the way, I thought you were being sarcastic to The Snail as well. I now take your word for it that you weren't intending to be. :-)

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 06:19 PM

How can you be sure that the audience gets good value if you've never heard the person you put on? And surely, if you put four complete unknowns on, there is a danger of getting four completely crap spots. Unlikely, I would hope, but it is there.

We can't, Barbara. That is what makes running our folk club so exciting:-) If I knew what was going to happen every week I probably would not turn up!

More seriously - we generaly know who is going to provide support - Just like at your place. And like your club we always assume that anyone asking for a support spot is going to be good. On the open nights we do, as you suggest, leave it open to anyone to perform. It sounds like our clubs are run on a very similar basis - Where abouts are you so I can all in when passing? :-)

As to me sounding sarcastic - how can anyone deduce that from the written word? I realy need to know!

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 06:23 PM

And I just posted 444 - two thirds of the way to 666. How good is that for Haloween:-) I am at a party where I am a pirate, Mrs el Gnome is a mad woman (nothing new there...) and we have various moths, scary dolls, wizards, witches and even a snake charmer!

Just off to sup some more green goblin.

:D


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 08:12 PM

Well, call me old fashioned but i think its a lapse of etiquette when someone lets out a loud smelly fart, says 'better out than in!', sniggers, and then slaps you on the back in an over familiar manner.

How will we ever attract fragrant people like mary Archer into folk clubs, with behaviour like that. We have mudcatters who meet people like that, and her very talented husband. What a first it would be if Jefrey would write us a folksong!

I think this is where tradtional folk music could learn something from Leonard Cohen, who never does anything coarse or unpleasant in public - in fact he always looks very nicely turned out.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 08:57 PM

The Villan

Unless Bryan thought you were saying he had big breasts or that the audience were well blessed.

Didn't realise you'd been to our club, Villan.

Come on Dave. Tell us who you were getting at in your post of 23 Oct 08 - 08:50 AM. I need an ally.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 09:38 PM

Bring back Avril Betts


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 04:37 AM

I hung on to see if there were any answers to the questions I asked Bryan and Richard in my last few postings - there weren't of course, and I should have known better than to expect any.
I'll have to assume that the Lewes Club would turn a large proportion of their evening over to non-singers, after all isn't that "what it's all about".
Similarly, I'll have to take it as read that Richard believes folk song to be inferior to all the other preforming arts I mentioned (or maybe that should be 'activities' - for the benefit of those who "reach for their gun at the mention of the word 'art'"). In the absence of information to the contrary, I'll also have to assume that he feels he owes nothing to the people who have taken the trouble to keep our folk songs alive and pass them on to us.
Incidentally Richard, whether we care to admit it or not, we all exercise judgement on other singers "That was a nice piece of singing", "She could have done this/that to it to make it work better", "That accompaniment was too loud", "Jesus, where did he get that crappy/superb text?.....". It's called having taste, and we'd stop thinking and feeling without it. Whether and how we give voice to that taste is a debatable point, but lets not pretend we don't have good/bad opinions on others' performances.
So if we apply standards we lose people - tough - if it means we improve our clubs maybe that's not altogether a bad thing. Do we really need people who are going to 'take their ball home' if somebody comments critically on their singing, or suggests that it might be necessary to hold a tune or learn the words before they stand up in front of an audience?
It's threads like this that make me realise how much we have lost over the last few decades. For all the shite thrown at MacColl and Seeger and their 'influencees', they really did 'bake exceedingly good cakes'. I never failed to come away from one of their evenings without my head and my ears buzzing with well researched (or thoughtfully written), excellently sung songs - all worked on in advance and brought up to a (at the very least) presentable standard. Admittedly, they didn't turn their clubs over to non-singers - they were selfish bastards like that, but, in order to make up for their selfishness, they did establish, help set up or or encourage the setting up of workshops to bring on new singers. I can't recall being involved with a club since the the late sixties which hasn't either organised a singers workshop or had one on hand if required.
The alternative here seems to be that we throw the clubs open to any 'Florence Foster Jenkins' who turns up "wanting to sing". After all, what does it matter if the resident evenings are made abysmal with poor singing; there'll be a guest along in a couple of weeks to pick up the pieces.
All this convinces me that it is not so much a case of 'dropping the baton', but more a competition to see how far into the ditch you can throw it.
It seems to me that unless standards are applied to improve the performances and the image of folk song at the clubs, where it matters the most, it will (deservedly) continue to have the piss taken out of it, will remain as a fifth-rate activity, and will die as a performing art (sorry - activity). Sure, it will survive in archives such as the V.W.M.L. and The National Sound Archive; it might gather a bit of dust there, but hopefully in a few decades time somebody might come along with a duster, clean it up and realise what a diamond we've thrown away.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 05:36 AM

good points Jim.
workshops are an excellent idea.
I notice Lewes Folk Club,are one of the few clubs that do this.
recording oneself,is a way that singers can learn to improve.
in my opinion workshops are useful for singers/ musicians to improve their technique,a good starting point.
it is debatable whether singing with interpretation/ feeling can be taught,[imo]it can to some extent.
of course all singers performances will vary every time.
Pat Mckenzie made a very valid point[some months ago]about a singers interpretation of Lord Randall,how the traveller singer was putting all her feelings about being settled into the song she was singing.
singing is about expressing[whats happened to you] and I am not sure that can be taught.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 05:47 AM

Spot on Jim - is there anything else to say - I doubt it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 06:11 AM

I can't remember, Bryan, sorry:-( It was on one such discussion when I mentioned that I told people to expect anything on a singers that someone told me I was not doing a good job of selling the club! If I could remember I would tell you but it is too far back to look up now.

You have not said where and how I misrepresented you yet. I suppose paying a compliment that went a little far is misrepresentation to a certain extent but surely that is not what you are refering to is it?

Jim - You are right. To perform properly you do need to achieve a minimum standard and if all performances at folk clubs fell below that then I would be 100% behind you in saying that poor performance will kill off folk clubs. However (there's always one of them isn't there:-) ) There is only a very small proportion of people at our club who fall below it. I can honestly say that amongst the dozens and dozens of people who have sung at our club only two have fallen well under. There are a number who will also sing self penned angst driven dirges and other stuff that is far from my cup of Earl Grey but they do, at least, perform them well.

Funny thing is that, of late, we have been getting more people at singers nights than on some of the guest nights! And I would say that over half the audience changes between the two. I would suspect that we get far more Critics Group on guest nights and far more Muriels on singers but I have not yet confirmed that theory!

Anyway, point is, I find myself in the position of agreeing with you entirely about the minimum standard but running a club that does offer a bit of flexibility for the untrained. Maybe our singers nights are more like workshops? They are certainly very informal and people can either 'Take the stage' (Well, empty bit of carpet) or perform from where they sit. We chat a lot and have offered help and advice to a number of people. Some ignore it. Some improve. None have, as yet, taken offense. Well, maybe the guy with the electric guitar turned up too loud took the huff when told to turn it down. But even he returned a couple of weeks later:-)

At the end of the day some clubs run for years. New ones open. Old ones close. All for different reasons. The standard of performance may have a lot to do with it but the style of the club, it's organisers and guests play a part. More importantly, it's audience decide it's fate in the end.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 06:16 AM

well i don't agree.

Its the human dimension and the absence of 'standards' (sounds like a bloody OFSTED report!) that make it edgy and worthwhile and something dufferent from all those other middle class pools of iniquity and mediocrity that get all the arts council grants.

When someone's shite, they look for the escape clause in reality and sure enough they wash on the shores of the folk club. Then true enough you get the nightmare scenarios where you have ask them to piss off and torment someone else - eventually.

the whole bloody point of folkmusic though, is that its made by people who couldn't stick to four beats in a bar if their life depended on it.

And yes, I DO think that 'wanting to' is important. In fact I think if you don't wake up every morning wanting to do folkmusic (even if life has other activities mapped out for you) how the hell do you hope to hit the ground running when you do stand up there to sing.

And I love that bit:-

if we lose people ...tough!

We have lost people! - the entire population of england has pissed off whilst these clever sods dig up some rubbish from the library at Cecil Sharp house, run it up the flagpole and expect salutes all round.

Folk music without the folk is nonsense. And live with it - a lot of 'em can't sing for toffee! But its still worthwhile.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 06:24 AM

We have lost people! - the entire population of england has pissed off whilst these clever sods dig up some rubbish from the library at Cecil Sharp house, run it up the flagpole and expect salutes all round.[quote Wld]
so why havent the whole population of Ireland, pissed off?why is it that in Ireland, traditional music is appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 06:24 AM

But surely wanting to on it's own isn't enough is it WLD? It should be accepted that those who want to sing should be allowed to but somewhere along the line they will want to be good as well won't they? They should want to please other people shouln't they? OK - they may do it just to please themeselves but there is a word for someone who uses self-satisfaction extensively isn't there? :-)

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 07:10 AM

Sorry, I didn't think that there was anything I needed to answer.

"would you apply the same criterion to painting, acting, sculpting, opera, jazz (or even being an electrician)....... if not, why not?"

The case of an electrician is an obviosity (or so would a driving licence be). Some activities require things to be done in particular ways for safety reasons.


Painting - (I assume you mean picture painting not house-painting) - I'd let anybody do it any time for anyone - I am wholly uninterested in it. Indeed every so often one does see exhibitions and I think "Why is this here?", but if someone wants to put thier piece up, whynot? Indeed if one applied "standards" there would be large swathes of artists whose visions were it seems wholly unaccompanied by any standards of draftsmanship or depictive ability, and whose work was rejected and condemned by the established of their days, but are now hailed as genius.

Acting - again I don't give a damn, but what I have seen of amateur dramatics again shows that if someone wants to participate they are permitted and encouraged. My late wife used to run the youth section of an Amdram thing and I recall two young wannabee actors (actually they were there becase the girl/boy ratio was such that it was like shooting fish in a barrel) who were dyslexic. Ordinary standards of "read this and recite it" would wholly have excluded them. One turned out to be a gifted comic who stopped one musical he appeared in so that the audience could laugh themseles nearly sick, adn the other won a best actor award at a Duncan Rand festival for a sinister and subtle portrayal of a yong hoodlum (adjudicator's words, pretty closely).

Sculpting - again I don't give a damn, but the whole modern sculpture movement depends on rejecting the "greek statue" approach and does not I think depend on technical ability but upon some vision (that I wholly fail to see).

Opera - its function is the bel canto. In that it differs from folk music. But if one applied standards of appearance or acting ability to opera singers many would fail.

Jazz - in general today technique seems to be much admired, but do you remember the experimental jazz of teh 60s? It was impossible to discern melody or rhythm, and I certainly would - if asked "is this music" have answered "No" - but in retrospect it is (in parts) hailed as of excellence. Was it not said of Charlie Bird Parker that if one deconstructs his work much of it is out of time and out of key?

The fact of the matter is that folk song is different. It is not just history (although I am keen to know if the historical element - whereas many others are not). It is not just performance. It is the outlet of the community, and in fact you geld it if you do not take it (like Cromwell's portrait) "warts and all". Or, to put it another way, "Let the people sing".


"Is the singing of folk songs an inferior pursuit to all of these?"
No. But it is different and it does not depend on "standards". If it did, and one had to smile like a beauty queen, dress from Brooks Brothers, intone like Pavarotti (who, incidentally, I think was often sharp), enunciate like John Gielgud, emote like Nirvana, it would not be folk song.


"I believe that it lies within the abilities of most people to sing - as long as they are prepared to put in the time and effort."

Some can sing better than others. I would kill for John Barden's golden tonsils or Ian Bruce's driving ring to the voice. But I do what I can with what I ahve got and mostly I think I have found ways. But I know one snooty bitch whowhen running a song session will call at least two morons before me because they have been members for longer - and she alleges I sing through my nose. Not her call My singing. I'll do it how I want (and I am shedloads bette than she is anyway, much as I disapprove of self aggrandisement). But it's not my call or yours or hers to say that someone may not sing. It intrinsically involves placing the decider in a position of power over the singer, which power may be wrongly used.




"'Superior', 'judgement' and 'exclude' are all loaded words that only serve to avoid the main issue."

THe are words of disapproval in this context - but they are the right ones. You, like that bitch, are putting yourself forward as the arbiter - and that can only be on the basis that you know better (which you may, but that's for someone else to say, not you). What you exercise is undoubtedly judgment. And the consequence is that you plan to and do exclude those who do not do it your way. You in particular have paid your dues, and I value what I know of your work, but it is so long since you have walked in the shoes of someone with less history that I think you have forgotten the trepidation involved when one starts. Your judgment, and it is the only word I can think of for it, does shut others out, and thereby wounds their feelings.

"Nobody, as far as I can see, is attempting to "sit in judgment on" or be "superior to" or "exclude" anybody - we are simply asking that a performer reaches a certain (not particularly high) standard before they sing in public - what is wrong with that?"

It is internally self-contradictory. You will bar those of whom you do not approve.


"For me this whole question revolves around a piece of contempt that has plagued the revival from the word go - "it takes no effort, thought or talent to sing folk songs". Do you believe this?"

What an aunt Sally! The better you are, the better you are - although the polish should not replace the content.

"If the answer is 'no', why is it unreasonable to expect that a new singer first puts in the effort, thought and time in order to develop their talents to the level where we can all sit back and enjoy their singing?"   

I would accept "wish". The word "expect" is wrong. In the light of what you say about the standards of young singers these days (yes, that is me putting up an aunt Sally too, but you see how it looks) plainly you do not in fact expect any such thing. You expect that many will NOT do the things you wish they would. Me too, but I don't say that I have any right to stop them doing as they do. You in fact go further than expecting. You seek to impose your view.

"Again I ask, don't we owe at least that much to to the people who made and passed down the songs."- asked and answered.


"Folk song has yet to find its place in the sun in Britain, it will never get that place without the work being put in."

Actually I think it did, probably in about the early or mid 60s (when I was not interested, far too keen on rock then) one it had sloughed off the fascination with Americana and we ahd got the Young Tradition and Martin Carthy etc getting into English folk song. Now Martin Carthy's work was always technically excellent, but if you listen critically to the first Young Tradition album, it would not be cmmercially released today without a lot of technical cleaning up - ragged beats, wobbly pitch, Peter Bellamy missing falling closing notes time and again, verses omitted from well known songs.

It wasn't the work that made it great then, and it isn't "standards" that make it marginal today. As I said, listen to karaoke nights, plenty of dross there and words on a TV screen, but thronged.

It would be so nice if we were all bettter than we are. But it does no good to dump on people because it was better in your day.

Sorry, Jim. I admire you and what you have done. But there are other judges or wannabee judges who do not merit the same respect, and if you take the power to judge so will they.






And as for you Al - as a good socialist I utterly condemn your view that the working class cannot achieve academic excellence, or that it ought not to interest them. Folk song is set in and springs from the foundation of what made teh working class. Remove it and they are one step closer to rootlessness, altough we all need our roots and to knwo them. I wish I could sing and play like you, but I wish you thought like me!


Sorry to go on so long.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 07:47 AM

I'm confused. Why is the above from Richard Bridge signed Jim Carrol? :-S

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: melodeonboy
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 07:59 AM

Could they, perchance, be one and the same person??????!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 08:25 AM

Agggghhhhhh
(The real) Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 08:37 AM

Jim Carroll

I hung on to see if there were any answers to the questions I asked Bryan and Richard in my last few postings - there weren't of course, and I should have known better than to expect any.

And a while ago YOU accused ME of being snide.

I'll have to assume that the Lewes Club would turn a large proportion of their evening over to non-singers, after all isn't that "what it's all about".

I give about as much thought to this question as I do to how I will spend the money when I win the lottery. It is so unlikely that there is no point worrying about it.

But... just for the sake of argument, let's look at this scenario in detail. A group of people we have never seen before turn up one evening and express a desire to do a floor spot each. There are quite a few regular floor singers but we might manage to get everybody on for one each, especially if the residents hold back. What would you have me do? Demand references? Subtly question them to try and find out there background? Take them out to the loo for a quick audition? Refuse to put them on in case they weren't any good? Or say "Welcome. Glad to see you. (That'll be £3 each.)"?

I can't recall being involved with a club since the the late sixties which hasn't either organised a singers workshop or had one on hand if required.

Workshops

Ooops! That page needs updating.

I agree with Richard when he says "Sorry, Jim. I admire you and what you have done." but a lot of us have been answering you questions for a long time and are beginning to realise the complete futility of trying to persuade you of anything.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 08:44 AM

WMD
"We have lost people! - the entire population of england has pissed off whilst these clever sods dig up some rubbish from the library at Cecil Sharp house, run it up the flagpole and expect salutes all round."
No - they/we (I was one of those soldiers) pissed off when we were offered a diet of badly performed material at 'folk clubs' which could range from The Beatles to Borodin - not because of the imposition of standards.
"the whole bloody point of folkmusic though, is that its made by people who couldn't stick to four beats in a bar if their life depended on it."
Must tell that to Tommy Peoples the next time he turns up at our local session.
Thanks for that; it sums up perfectly all I was trying to say about the contempt folk music is held in (even by some of its so-called advocates)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 10:19 AM

Can I presume that the accusations of misrepresentation and sarcasm are over now? Thank you. No apology required.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 10:26 AM

David el Gnomo

Can I presume that the accusations of misrepresentation and sarcasm are over now? Thank you. No apology required.

Whatever.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 11:07 AM

What does 'whatever' mean in this context? I am never sure. I have noticed that kids say it a lot but with me being an old fogie it seems to loose something in the translation:-( I suppose I am out of touch with teen culture. Maybe you can help me out, Bryan. Are you dismissing me? As in go and do whatever you want? Or are you agreeing with me? Whatever you say is correct for instance. It is important to me to ensure that I don't misrepresent you but if I don't understand what you mean it does make things rather difficult!

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: BB
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 12:05 PM

"the whole bloody point of folkmusic though, is that its made by people who couldn't stick to four beats in a bar if their life depended on it."

Wld, where on earth did that idea come from? Who are these 'people'?

Dave, I'm involved in running Shammick Acoustic in Combe Martin, N. Devon - you'd be welcome any time. Where are you? n (I'm sure you mentioned it somewhere in the last 450 postings, but life's too short... :-) )

Jim, I know you and The Snail rub each other up the wrong way, but I have to say that there are so many good singers at the Lewes club that The Snail is involved with that the odd poor singer would not destroy the night. In addition, the club puts on workshops on just about every subject within folk music that you can think of, and I'm sure that any not-so-good singers would be strongly encouraged to attend any suitable ones. And they are certainly not dependent on guest nights to keep people coming to the club!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 12:22 PM

I'm in Salford, Manchester, Barbara. I will keep details of your place for future reference and if you are ever up our neck of the woods be sure to visit Swinton Folk Club

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 12:27 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Barbara.

Barbara was too modest to say that she and Tom will be running a ballad forum for us in November next year.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 12:59 PM

Phew is it getting warm in here?
My personal experience of "folk clubs" is limited.
I have been to about 40 music venues of the kind where loud PA is not used.
I have once been made to feel less than welcome when I overheard the organiser say,in what I thought might be a derogatory way" oh its not traditional then?"
But even there at the end of the evening a very elderly gent who told me he was a club member of long standing said he had enjoyed my songs and that his wife particularily liked one of them and thanked us for turning up,would we please come agin if we got the chance.
All the others are brilliant and welcoming and accomodating and supportive.
They vary a lot in the way they organise the time available.
And I am not one who would sulk a the chance of listening to music instead of playing.
Some are more based on traditional old songs and tunes,some have a more mixed set of regular performers.
I have even been allowed to play at the Villans excellent club Faldingworth live.
The point I have so long windedly been trying to put is that manners in a folk club should be the same as they are in the rest of life.
seeing each other as equaly important and treating your fellow music lover with the respect you would wish them to show to your mum ,wife,daughter or yourself.
Its a shame, but although you can make the club the bastion of the music you prefer,the manners are going to be largely the same as those outside.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 01:11 PM

Barbara
Sorry to have given the wrong impression.
I may not/don't agree with Bryan, but I certainly don't wish to offend him, or take our points of disagreement personally. I've always enjoyed our arguments and have come always away with knowing more that I knew when I started out.
Vigorous discussion is not animosity - not as far as I'm concerned anyway.
I know there are two clubs in Lewes; in my Singers Club days we always co-operated with the one Vic Smith was involved in, but based on what I've heard I have the greatest respect for both of them.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 01:23 PM

Bryan,
Quickly - in middle of something.
"Take them out to the loo for a quick audition? Refuse to put them on in case they weren't any good? "
Sorry, crossed wires - the case I cited was of somebody who came back week-after-week for a year - I (mis?)understood that your policy was to allow people to sing whether they could hold a tune or not as a point of policy.
For me there has to be a point where you say - "go off and do some work".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 02:36 PM

So, instead of a question left unanswered I now have two! Will someone let this poor little stupid gnome know whether I have mirepresented anyone and whether 'whatever' is a put down, an agreement or just a random phrase?

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 04:10 PM

"the whole bloody point of folkmusic though, is that its made by people who couldn't stick to four beats in a bar if their life depended on it."

Wld, where on earth did that idea come from? Who are these 'people'?"

Martin Carthy and Robert Johnson are the first two that spring to mind.

its not four beats to a bar music. Its better than that. Take as many sodding beats as you need!

why hasn't the population of Ireland pissed off. perhaps they didn't know about the cheap Ryanair flights....


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 04:33 PM

Funny, a post of mine has disappeared. Jim's name in my post was bad editing on my part. I needed to quote what he had said to respond sensibly to it, and I quoted a bit too much.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Girl Friday
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 04:38 PM

You are all going round in circles. Louis Armstrong said "All music is Folk Music. I ain't never heard a horse sing" I think the aim of this thread is just self perpetuation. Mr Bridge, do you agree? Tone Deaf Leopard were slammed for doing just that! I'm getting my coat, how about you?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 05:38 PM

How wuld he know? He was not a folk musician.

I ahve been quite sparing in my comments - look at how few times I ahve posted.

But if you want to start on the horse definition I WILL TURN UP THE VOLUME and query your rationality.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: BB
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 05:52 PM

Wld, sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying, but there is a profound difference between not *choosing* to keep a strict beat, i.e. rhythm, and not being *able* to do so. I am quite certain that Messrs. Carthy and Johnson, along with many other able performers, *choose* not to do so.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Girl Friday
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 06:00 PM

Well, I did think I'd finished with this thread and yes- you were quite sparing - and I thought I was being THE voice of rationality here.
That's why I used that quote. Forgot that even that's contentious so, goodbye and thanks for all the fish.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 06:38 PM

I've seen seriously good artists rejected by audiences who simply couldn't understand where they were coming from.

I just think we need to be as accepting and appreciative as possible. What was it Oscar Wilde said, the truth is rarely pure and never simple - and I think that goes double with this music.

To be honest there is a lot of recorded folk, and I simply cannot understand wherein the greatness lies. Only this week I saw an artist I had been looking forward to seeing for months and hated what he did.

He wasn't bad at what he did, got a standing ovation - but I didn't get it, and I couldn't wait for him to shut up.

we can all be wrong.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 08:42 PM

But do we all have to be wrong together in the same time?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 04:11 AM

I think the thing is Tim, we're all wrong about a variety of different things.

Take BB's point about trad musicians not 'choosing' to play in strict rhythm.

if you want to see a man suffer, take a look at Alistair Russell's excellent dvd on how to play Celtic guitar. he plays all thse jigs and reels really slowly so beginners can see what he's doing - and you can just tell that every little muscle and ligament in his hands is straining to do 'do it properly'.

Of course, when he goes up to speed. the whole nature of the thing changes - there are all sorts of uneven sustains, and mutes, and sudden brilliant slashes with a plectrum. the guys brilliant.

is he choosing? I don't think so - the music is choosing. the melody drives it. He can do no other.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 04:34 AM

This point is so fundamental to what we/I do that I'm happy to pursue it until it rides off into the sunset.
I read through Bryan's posting of the Lewes programme of workshops with enormous admiration. Why the hell is he even suggesting giving floor space to non-singers when his club obviously has the wherewithal to make them in to good ones. It seems a totally lemming-like bloody-mindedness to me.
Some time ago on another thread somebody took this argument to its logical conclusion (I think I remember who it was and I'll look it up if necessary). They suggested that not only should bad singers be given a platform, but good singing was detrimental to folk song because it put off the not-so-good ones (where's me cyanide pill!).
Bryan
".....but a lot of us have been answering your questions for a long time and are beginning to realise the complete futility of trying to persuade you of anything."
Ten years or so ago I would not have dreamed of taking part in any of these arguments - I would have sat on my hands and said nothing. I walked away from the revival rather than staying and arguing for what I believed to be right.
Shortly after Pat and I started to collect we realised that we knew very little about our singing traditions (there is virtually no information available from the traditional singers point of view). So we switched our emphasis from head-hunting songs to gathering information which we believed was rapidly disappearing. Our recordings are as much a body of information as they a collection of songs.
As far as I am concerned arguments such as this one are part of my learning curve. I am certainly open to persuasion, but it has to fit in with what else I have learned elsewhere over the last (jeeze - has it really been 47 years). No - I'm not going to roll over on command and have my belly scratched (well - maybe if you ask me nicely!), but please don't suggest I'm not open to new ideas; I most certainly am if they are logical and well made.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 05:32 AM

Don't be sily Al - that's the way he hears it. It is his interpretation of the music that drives, not the music itself. If it was the music itself then everyone would hear it the same and the way we play or sing the songs would never alter, whereas we know that excellent musicians can interpret songs differently.

Take (not a folk song) the Freddie and the Dreamers interpretation of "If you gotta make a fool of somebody" with the wrenching Bonnie Raitt version

Or take the established practice of doing "Ride On" slower than a snail and compare it to John Barden's driving version.

Or in folk music, consider the previous versions of pretty well everything (folkish) that Fairport or Steeleye recorded with those later recorded versions.

It's the musician who chooses. Do you really think all those songs were in 5/4 before Martin Carthy decided he liked that time signature?

But to go back to manners - it is of course bad manners for someone to stand up and screw up. It is equally bad manners or worse to tell him/her so.

And so to standards. I screwed up "The Derby Ram" badly yesterday(in public). The guitar riff (yes, I mean riff) is not wholly easy, and just as I was having to divide my concentration between that and remembering the start of the next verse, I was tapped (with the best of intentions) on the shoulder to warn me that Ken's ferrets were about to fall onto the floor with their cage behind me (seriously). I lost it big style. I fell off the guitar riff in "Knight William" too (although I got that one back), but I still had non-folkies coming in from the bar next door to listen. I made NO mistakes with "Come Away Melinda" (see, I'm not completely anal about doing only "folk" songs) at the end of the afternoon, and I think it went down pretty well. But if you tell me that I'm going to have to audition, or to have others sit and tell me whether I am good enough or not - include me out of your place. You may think that a good thing, or a bad thing, but I am clear that it is a bad thing and that it inhibits the recollection, assimilation, and continuation of folk song in circles outside the hard core.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 05:42 AM

Richard - please tell us who (apart from those of you championing crap standards) has mentioned 'audition'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 05:47 AM

Well Jim, I was about to pose just that question...


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 07:02 AM

I believe that the the organisers of Westhoughton Fok Club did audition support spots - or at least ask for samples of their work. My apologies to them if that was not the case. Westhoughton was however a purely 'concert club'. All the top names were booked and they sold out of tickets (yes it was ticket only at times) for almost every night. They went on to win the Radio 2 Folk Club of the year award some time back but have now closed because the organisers could find no-one to take over from them:-(

Not sure what the point is but I am sure half the contributers here will interpret it one way and the other half chose the polar opposite:-)

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 07:05 AM

Incidentaly - going back to folk club manners - Westhoughton had a 'season ticket' policy as well and a certain number of seats were reserved for season ticket holders - Just like at a football stadium. It was very frustrating when you could see empty seats and still not get in because they were 'sold out'. Wouldn't you think that the holders of season tickets would have the manners to show up or, at least, allow their season ticket to be used by someone else!

D.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 07:10 AM

Richard Bridge,you have imagined,that anyone here has talked about auditions,in the same way you imagined that I said I was good,you have accused me of being conceited, because I have a different opinion to you.
your problem is that you are interpreting other peoples posts,to mean something,that they dont mean.
I have said at least twice,that if I was guesting at a folk club,I wouldnt mention my opinions[on word sheets]unless someone specifically asked,I would then try to be diplomatic in my explanation.
   Isnt the most important thing ,that people [as well as/other than the perfomer] enjoy music that they pay to go and see.
the club organisers have to make some sort of decision ,about what music is provided[they dont need to audition people],if someone does a floor spot and is bad and shows no sign of improvement,the organiser hopefully can suggest ways of improving[hopefully in a tactful way]then in a couple of weeks give the performer another song,and sandwiching them between stronger performers.
to use the words of Mr Punch[thats the way to do it]


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 08:43 AM

After Barbara's calming intervention and Jim's assurance that he didn't wish to offend me, I spent some time this morning looking back through this thread and analysing what has been said so that I could prepare a reasoned presentation of our clubs policy, philosophy and motivation. It would have started with a description of the fantastic evening we had last night with the first booking of The Twagger Band.

Twenty people out of an audience of thirty performed (including fellow 'catter Will Fly) and not a dud amongst them.

Then I refreshed the thread to find -

Richard - please tell us who (apart from those of you championing crap standards) has mentioned 'audition'.
Jim Carroll


Do you mean me, Jim? If so, sorry, but I'm not prepared to engage with you on that level.

This thread is supposed to be about manners.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 08:52 AM

What was that about context?

Here is the quote

"audition, or to have others sit and tell me whether I am good enough or not"

That's exactly what you want to do - to tell other people whether they are good enough or not.

When I was in Chester in the 70s the "Mucky DUck" had all wannabe floorsingers come early to audition.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 09:07 AM

This is what amazes me, Bryan. 20 people performing. An average of 5 minutes each to do justice to a song and intro = 1 hour and 40 minutes just for the floor spots, assuming they did only one each. A break of about 15 minutes? Most clubs do the same, to sell raffle tickets, let people go to the bar, to the toilets etc. 10 minutes or so for doing the raffle, general introdcutions, parish notices etc. We are now up to 2 hours and five minutes in which the artists, who people have paid to see, have not had a sniff! If you start at 8:30pm and finish at 11:30pm that is hours, less the two hours and five minutes we have accounted for, give the artists 55 minutes in which to perform.

Don't get me wrong - I am not doubting you in the slightest. I just want to know how it can be done!

To counterpoint I will give you a (very rough) running order at Swinton. Firstly, we don't start until 9pm usualy - Our fault, we have pandered to the audience who don't seem to arrive till then! Hello and welcome from the MC, introductions, two floor spots - Say 15 mins in all. Artist is put on at 9:15 for, say, 45 mintes. It is now 10:00. 15 minute break (usualy extends to 20 minutes - again our fault) now at 10:20 Two support slots in the second half - 15 minutes again. Raffle and 'parish notices' - 5 minutes. It is now 10:40. Artist goes on for second half - 45 minutes takes us to 11:25. Goodnight, clear your glasses, encore - 5 minutes - 11:30 and the bar staff want to go home!

OK - we have had 90+ minutes of the artist but surely that is what people have paid their money for isn't it?

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 09:09 AM

To be fair, I used the word audition in a somewhat rhetorical question when I was asking how I was supposed to know whether a floor singer was any good or not before I put them on.

That's why I assume that Jim's "those of you championing crap standards" was aimed at me.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 09:10 AM

Tell people if they are good enough or not?

Well why not for gods sake, sometimes judgements have to be made.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 09:16 AM

Good point, Silas - Maybe it is good manners not to comment on a poor performance but is it good manners to subject people to poor performances on a regular bases by not advising the perpetrator what they are doing wrong? I don't know which is the greater evil but personaly I would tell them. In the nicest possible way of course:-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 09:22 AM

Richard ,but that is not what I am saying is it?
I am saying that club organisers,have a right to decide who sings in their club,they have an audience, they know their audience,they are the ones who have to pay the guest at the end of the evening,if they think a performer is going to have a negative effect over a period of time,thus making their club less successful,they have a right if they are financing the club themselves,to not let someone sing.
I have run folk clubs,in the past,and I can honestly say,I have never refused a singer a spot,but maybe I was lucky,or maybe in those days standards were higher.I can remember some very good floor singers who went on to higher things.,or who were established at that time but still did spots.
Pete Castle,Dave Walters,Julia Clifford,Steve Turner,DaveBryant spring to mind.
I do not wish to tell people whether they are good enough or not[which is why I dont run a club anymore]neither do I find it pleasant that other people have to do so.
but a club organiser has a right to decide who sings at his/ her club and that also includes their right to decide what guests they book,and other matters of club policy,including singing from scripts,that is up to club organisers not me,which is why I never say anything about songreaders when I am guesting at a club,it is not my business to comment on a club,providing they pay me at the end of the night.
my job as a guest is to provide a professional performance.
I am entitled to have an opinion here on Mudcat,without being called conceited etc.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Silas
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 09:23 AM

Well, it really is the right thing to do, for their sakes as much as anything. Apart from the poor buggers who have to listen to the caterwauling, is it fair to allow them to carry on making arses of themselves week after week?

No, a polite but firm appraisal of their abilities is sometimes the only way to go.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 09:31 AM

David el Gnomo

Don't get me wrong - I am not doubting you in the slightest. I just want to know how it can be done!

Well I wasn't the MC and I wasn't counting so I have to take Sandra's word for it but that's twenty performers not twenty spots. There were several duo's who, all except one, only got one song/tune. Although all the members of the band are very experienced, they haven't been working together long so they haven't built up their repertoire yet and only wanted two half hour slots. We offered them a booking after their first floor spot at the Royal Oak.

When I arrived only just before 8.00 the atmosphere was already buzzing. Sandra got things started promptly by starting to sing. Everybody sat down, shut up and listened. The interval was so short I almost blinked and missed it. Sandra is a very good MC and would never, in a million years, tell anybody they weren't good enough to sing.

We over ran 11.00 a bit but the pub doesn't close till midnight on a Saturday so that was OK.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 09:47 AM

Cool, that all makes sense - Thanks. We tend to give inividual artists one song and duo's two. Heaven help us if a seven piece band turn up on a guest night:-D I guess it goes a long way to explaining why your club can get more on than ours. I don't think that either way is perfect and no other will be all things to all people.

I don't think the comment about Sandra never telling anyone they are not good enough to sing is necessary - If you can get everyone on then do it! We have chosen a different way, no better or worse than yours, of running our club and yet we never tell anyone they are not good enough either. It may seem a little harsh to you that we do not get everyone on but I can assure you that the performers who do not get a spot on a guest night are well mannered enough to take it in good grace:-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 09:55 AM

BTW - I have decided I know what to do when I visit Lewes. I just happen to have this Chinese song in 11:6 time, key of almost f, that runs for about 23 and a half minutes...

:D


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: TheSnail
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 10:15 AM

David el Gnomo

I just happen to have this Chinese song in 11:6 time, key of almost f, that runs for about 23 and a half minutes...

Looking forward to it as long as it fits the Sao Paolo 1954 definition of folk music although it would mean you were singing a song from outside your own tradition, you being a Spanish Gnome and all.

Last night was exceptional but it was a cracker.

I don't think the comment about Sandra never telling anyone they are not good enough to sing is necessary

It wasn't aimed at you.

Right! Session to go to. Trevor Arms, Glynde. 3.30 - 5.30 first Sunday of the month. Run by Valmai's husband Meic. "No bloody singing".


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 10:42 AM

Jim Carroll said
I'll have to assume that the Lewes Club would turn a large proportion of their evening over to non-singers,
and elsewhere
on the Lewes, or any other Club.
and elsewhere
I'll have to assume that the Lewes Club would turn a large proportion of their evening

David El Gnomo said
She can also go to a host of other clubs, including Lewes

Dick Miles said
I notice Lewes Folk Club,are one of the few clubs that do this.

BB said
I have to say that there are so many good singers at the Lewes club

Please note that there are TWO folk clubs in Lewes that operate on a very friendly and mutually supportive basis. These are:-

1] THE LEWES ARMS FOLK CLUB - Saturdays -
Website http://www.lewesarmsfolkclub.org/
Contact Valmai Goodyear at ValmaiGoodyear@aol.com

2] FOLK AT THE ROYAL OAK - Thursdays -
Websites
http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~tinvic
and
http://www.myspace.com/royaloakfolklewes
Contact Vic Smith at folk@brighton.co.uk


Otherwise, I have nothing to contribute to this turgid discussion.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Gervase
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 10:45 AM

No, a polite but firm appraisal of their abilities is sometimes the only way to go
Would that more people were more forthright and less bloody happy-clappy and welcoming to the care-in-the-community brigade!
I'm with Silas - some people are utterly dire and need to be told that they're really not ready for public performing.
Sometimes, in very small doses, it provides a little light relief in a folk club, but it's rude to snigger too much, and it's probably not what the organiser actually had in mind. At other times I just feel a sense of frustration and emptiness - thinking to myself as the will to live ebbs away, "Why the f*ck did I waste one of my all-too-rare evenings out to listen to this drivel?"
If only every club was as perfect as the one in Lewes. Never been there myself, but we keep being told that it's a paragon, so I'll have to make the 300-mile trek one day to find out.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 10:50 AM

Gervase said
the one in Lewes

AAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Gervase
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 10:56 AM

Sorry, I meant the one in Lewes with a mollusc as ambassador. The other one doesn't seem to need so much hyperbole.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 10:59 AM

I haven't much more to add to this discussion either - except to say that I was in the audience at last night's session at the Lewes Arms and it was an excellent evening. There was a guest band - "The Twagger Band" - and, if memory serves, 21 floor singers. With a couple of exceptions, every floor singer performed one song/tune and the standard of performance was extremely high. The club room was packed to the rafters and the whole atmosphere was great. I don't believe the club organisers would claim it as a "paragon", but it was certainly what I expected of a good, well-run, committed folk club. I can't speak for other areas of the country, but Sussex in general - and Lewes in particular - has a wide variety of clubs to go to. There's something for everyone, which is as it should be.


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 11:03 AM

Enjoy the session, Bryan. Nowt on for me today (Apart from the new 'Sharpe' episode on the box which I am, (sad git that I am) realy looking forward to. Jon Harvison at Swinton tomorrow should be a cracker though:-)

My song fits in with no known definition of music whatsoever. I hope you are not going to tell me it is not good enough for your club just because of that are you:-P

Even if the remark was not aimed at me it was still redundant. Sandra managed to get everyone on, so there was no question of cutting anyone for any reason. Hence it was unnecessary to remark that she would not tell anyone etc. That's all I was saying.   

Sorry Vic - When I refer to the 'Lewes club' I think(!) I am refering to the Lewes Arms, I presume that is the one that Bryan refers to as well. Apologies for not making it clear.

Son #2 just rang - I have got an appointment tonight after all. Anyone fancy singing a lifting a 73kg cast iron stove out of a car and carry it to the house shanty? :-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 11:03 AM

Bryan,
My 'crap standards ' comment was not aimed at you or anybody specifically (though it was prompted by a comment by Richard) - it was an opinion that if you don't apply standards you throw the floor open to singers who can't sing - that is my opinion based on my experience.
If you are allowed to use 'audition' rhetorically aren't the rest of us afforded the same privilege?
I have no doubt now that the Lewes club is a good one - how could I - but suggesting that this is the case throughout Britain flies in the face of the evidence to the contrary, again based on my own experience and, I suspect by the number of hits on this thread, by many others.
Saying that all's well as long as my club is ok is more than a little like - as we used to say in Liverpool - "Ding-ding; I'm on the bus".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 11:33 AM

'some people are utterly dire and need to be told'

tip 'em the black spot matey! Deposed! by the powers!


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 11:40 AM

I have no doubt now that the Lewes club is a good one

Hello? Is anybody there?


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Subject: RE: Folk Club Manners
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Nov 08 - 12:17 PM

yes Vic,there are two folk clubs in lewes,one partly organised by a belogerent Snail,and the other one organised by Vic and Christine Smith,my apologies.


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