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Why folk clubs are dying

Faye Roche 14 Dec 08 - 01:57 PM
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olddude 14 Dec 08 - 03:48 PM
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The Sandman 14 Dec 08 - 06:49 PM
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Richard Bridge 14 Dec 08 - 07:25 PM
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Richard Bridge 14 Dec 08 - 07:56 PM
Nick 14 Dec 08 - 07:58 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Dec 08 - 09:19 PM
Art Thieme 14 Dec 08 - 09:54 PM
romany man 15 Dec 08 - 02:39 AM
Peter T. 15 Dec 08 - 02:49 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Dec 08 - 02:56 AM
The Borchester Echo 15 Dec 08 - 03:13 AM
Folkiedave 15 Dec 08 - 04:22 AM
Waddon Pete 15 Dec 08 - 04:45 AM
banjoman 15 Dec 08 - 05:00 AM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 05:04 AM
theleveller 15 Dec 08 - 05:04 AM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 05:07 AM
Folkiedave 15 Dec 08 - 06:01 AM
Jack Campin 15 Dec 08 - 07:15 AM
Betsy 15 Dec 08 - 07:16 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 15 Dec 08 - 07:25 AM
Leadfingers 15 Dec 08 - 07:26 AM
Folkiedave 15 Dec 08 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 15 Dec 08 - 07:31 AM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 07:50 AM
Acorn4 15 Dec 08 - 07:56 AM
Dave Sutherland 15 Dec 08 - 07:58 AM
Dave Sutherland 15 Dec 08 - 08:03 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Dec 08 - 08:13 AM
RamblinStu 15 Dec 08 - 08:15 AM
Folkiedave 15 Dec 08 - 08:16 AM
Joe G 15 Dec 08 - 08:18 AM
Ruth Archer 15 Dec 08 - 08:23 AM
Janice in NJ 15 Dec 08 - 08:33 AM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 08:40 AM
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Jack Campin 15 Dec 08 - 09:17 AM
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The Sandman 15 Dec 08 - 09:49 AM
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Chris Green 15 Dec 08 - 10:32 AM
Will Fly 15 Dec 08 - 10:55 AM
Will Fly 15 Dec 08 - 10:57 AM
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Chris Green 15 Dec 08 - 10:58 AM
Marje 15 Dec 08 - 11:02 AM
VirginiaTam 15 Dec 08 - 11:12 AM
Will Fly 15 Dec 08 - 11:14 AM
manitas_at_work 15 Dec 08 - 11:23 AM
manitas_at_work 15 Dec 08 - 11:27 AM
VirginiaTam 15 Dec 08 - 11:28 AM
Andy Jackson 15 Dec 08 - 11:32 AM
greg stephens 15 Dec 08 - 11:38 AM
Richard Bridge 15 Dec 08 - 11:39 AM
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Gedi 15 Dec 08 - 11:47 AM
The Villan 15 Dec 08 - 11:48 AM
The Borchester Echo 15 Dec 08 - 11:52 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Dec 08 - 12:02 PM
Phil Edwards 15 Dec 08 - 12:09 PM
Chris Green 15 Dec 08 - 12:15 PM
The Borchester Echo 15 Dec 08 - 12:19 PM
Gervase 15 Dec 08 - 12:20 PM
Chris Green 15 Dec 08 - 12:20 PM
Andy Jackson 15 Dec 08 - 12:22 PM
John Routledge 15 Dec 08 - 12:24 PM
Folkiedave 15 Dec 08 - 12:32 PM
The Borchester Echo 15 Dec 08 - 12:39 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Dec 08 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 15 Dec 08 - 12:48 PM
Gervase 15 Dec 08 - 12:49 PM
Gervase 15 Dec 08 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 15 Dec 08 - 12:55 PM
The Sandman 15 Dec 08 - 12:57 PM
goatfell 15 Dec 08 - 12:59 PM
Nick 15 Dec 08 - 01:02 PM
The Villan 15 Dec 08 - 01:25 PM
Musket 15 Dec 08 - 01:28 PM
Folkiedave 15 Dec 08 - 01:45 PM
The Sandman 15 Dec 08 - 02:10 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 15 Dec 08 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 15 Dec 08 - 02:28 PM
Effsee 15 Dec 08 - 02:36 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Dec 08 - 02:36 PM
VirginiaTam 15 Dec 08 - 02:45 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Dec 08 - 02:52 PM
Ruth Archer 15 Dec 08 - 02:55 PM
Nick 15 Dec 08 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,Captain Swing 15 Dec 08 - 03:00 PM
The Borchester Echo 15 Dec 08 - 03:01 PM
Gervase 15 Dec 08 - 03:05 PM
Nick 15 Dec 08 - 03:09 PM
Art Thieme 15 Dec 08 - 03:12 PM
Sleepy Rosie 15 Dec 08 - 03:15 PM
Waddon Pete 15 Dec 08 - 03:28 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 15 Dec 08 - 03:33 PM
VirginiaTam 15 Dec 08 - 03:41 PM
Folkiedave 15 Dec 08 - 03:42 PM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 04:02 PM
Gervase 15 Dec 08 - 04:09 PM
The Borchester Echo 15 Dec 08 - 04:11 PM
Joybell 15 Dec 08 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 15 Dec 08 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 15 Dec 08 - 04:26 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Dec 08 - 04:28 PM
VirginiaTam 15 Dec 08 - 04:34 PM
Andy Jackson 15 Dec 08 - 04:39 PM
Ruth Archer 15 Dec 08 - 04:42 PM
VirginiaTam 15 Dec 08 - 04:52 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 15 Dec 08 - 04:56 PM
The Villan 15 Dec 08 - 05:02 PM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 05:07 PM
The Sandman 15 Dec 08 - 05:13 PM
Desert Dancer 15 Dec 08 - 05:20 PM
Gervase 15 Dec 08 - 05:23 PM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 05:40 PM
Gervase 15 Dec 08 - 05:42 PM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 05:47 PM
Banjiman 15 Dec 08 - 05:47 PM
Gervase 15 Dec 08 - 05:48 PM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 06:04 PM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 06:06 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Dec 08 - 06:08 PM
Stringsinger 15 Dec 08 - 06:13 PM
Gervase 15 Dec 08 - 06:15 PM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 06:31 PM
The Borchester Echo 15 Dec 08 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 15 Dec 08 - 06:39 PM
The Sandman 15 Dec 08 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 15 Dec 08 - 07:05 PM
greg stephens 15 Dec 08 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Ancient Briton 15 Dec 08 - 07:43 PM
Herga Kitty 15 Dec 08 - 07:46 PM
fumblefingers 15 Dec 08 - 07:56 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Dec 08 - 03:42 AM
Andy Jackson 16 Dec 08 - 03:44 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 16 Dec 08 - 03:54 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 08 - 03:55 AM
Folkiedave 16 Dec 08 - 04:16 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 16 Dec 08 - 04:23 AM
goatfell 16 Dec 08 - 04:29 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 08 - 04:42 AM
evansakes 16 Dec 08 - 05:12 AM
GUEST,redmax 16 Dec 08 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM
folkwaller 16 Dec 08 - 06:14 AM
Ruth Archer 16 Dec 08 - 06:43 AM
GUEST,arran 16 Dec 08 - 07:02 AM
The Villan 16 Dec 08 - 07:03 AM
folkwaller 16 Dec 08 - 07:52 AM
Banjiman 16 Dec 08 - 08:02 AM
Acorn4 16 Dec 08 - 08:04 AM
The Villan 16 Dec 08 - 08:17 AM
Ruth Archer 16 Dec 08 - 08:27 AM
Vin2 16 Dec 08 - 09:01 AM
Folkiedave 16 Dec 08 - 09:04 AM
TheSnail 16 Dec 08 - 09:55 AM
Musket 16 Dec 08 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Dec 08 - 10:56 AM
Terry McDonald 16 Dec 08 - 10:57 AM
Leadfingers 16 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM
Leadfingers 16 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Dec 08 - 11:51 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 08 - 11:52 AM
Musket 16 Dec 08 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Dec 08 - 11:59 AM
The Villan 16 Dec 08 - 12:06 PM
GUEST 16 Dec 08 - 12:12 PM
Marje 16 Dec 08 - 12:45 PM
Acorn4 16 Dec 08 - 01:16 PM
Acorn4 16 Dec 08 - 01:58 PM
BusyBee Paul 16 Dec 08 - 02:13 PM
VirginiaTam 16 Dec 08 - 02:17 PM
VirginiaTam 16 Dec 08 - 02:34 PM
Marje 17 Dec 08 - 04:24 AM
burntstump 17 Dec 08 - 06:29 AM
Banjiman 17 Dec 08 - 06:37 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Dec 08 - 06:59 AM
Dave Sutherland 17 Dec 08 - 08:39 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Dec 08 - 08:49 AM
Stringsinger 17 Dec 08 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Ian Fyvie 17 Dec 08 - 03:03 PM
Faye Roche 17 Dec 08 - 03:30 PM
The Sandman 17 Dec 08 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,PeterC 17 Dec 08 - 04:06 PM
Dave the Gnome 17 Dec 08 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie 17 Dec 08 - 05:44 PM
Faye Roche 17 Dec 08 - 05:47 PM
The Borchester Echo 17 Dec 08 - 05:52 PM
Faye Roche 17 Dec 08 - 06:16 PM
The Sandman 17 Dec 08 - 06:16 PM
The Sandman 17 Dec 08 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,Faye Roche 17 Dec 08 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Dec 08 - 06:44 PM
Betsy 17 Dec 08 - 06:57 PM
The Sandman 17 Dec 08 - 07:02 PM
Phil Edwards 17 Dec 08 - 07:06 PM
GUEST 17 Dec 08 - 09:02 PM
Maryrrf 17 Dec 08 - 10:37 PM
Andy Jackson 18 Dec 08 - 12:45 AM
The Villan 18 Dec 08 - 02:11 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 08 - 03:03 AM
Gervase 18 Dec 08 - 03:04 AM
Dave Sutherland 18 Dec 08 - 03:10 AM
Will Fly 18 Dec 08 - 03:57 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 18 Dec 08 - 04:24 AM
burntstump 18 Dec 08 - 04:28 AM
Waddon Pete 18 Dec 08 - 04:36 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 18 Dec 08 - 04:41 AM
Folkiedave 18 Dec 08 - 05:14 AM
Andy Jackson 18 Dec 08 - 05:19 AM
The Borchester Echo 18 Dec 08 - 05:41 AM
burntstump 18 Dec 08 - 05:43 AM
mattkeen 18 Dec 08 - 05:50 AM
The Borchester Echo 18 Dec 08 - 05:53 AM
Folkiedave 18 Dec 08 - 06:12 AM
burntstump 18 Dec 08 - 07:10 AM
Folkiedave 18 Dec 08 - 07:40 AM
Dave Sutherland 18 Dec 08 - 07:44 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 08 - 07:45 AM
Terry McDonald 18 Dec 08 - 08:17 AM
The Borchester Echo 18 Dec 08 - 08:53 AM
VirginiaTam 18 Dec 08 - 09:06 AM
TheSnail 18 Dec 08 - 10:23 AM
Chris Green 18 Dec 08 - 10:39 AM
Musket 18 Dec 08 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Dec 08 - 11:53 AM
Spleen Cringe 18 Dec 08 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,arran 18 Dec 08 - 01:05 PM
VirginiaTam 18 Dec 08 - 01:15 PM
Will Fly 18 Dec 08 - 01:24 PM
The Borchester Echo 18 Dec 08 - 01:28 PM
Spleen Cringe 18 Dec 08 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Dec 08 - 02:35 PM
Spleen Cringe 18 Dec 08 - 03:16 PM
The Villan 18 Dec 08 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Arran 18 Dec 08 - 03:30 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Dec 08 - 05:25 PM
Tim Leaning 18 Dec 08 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 18 Dec 08 - 05:51 PM
Murray MacLeod 18 Dec 08 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 18 Dec 08 - 06:04 PM
GUEST 18 Dec 08 - 06:09 PM
Spleen Cringe 18 Dec 08 - 06:30 PM
The Borchester Echo 18 Dec 08 - 11:21 PM
GUEST,My Oldbugger 19 Dec 08 - 12:28 AM
GUEST,Mr Oldbugger 19 Dec 08 - 12:38 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 08 - 03:31 AM
Will Fly 19 Dec 08 - 03:35 AM
Musket 19 Dec 08 - 03:41 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Dec 08 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Dec 08 - 04:57 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 08 - 05:02 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 08 - 05:12 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Black Hawk on Works PC 19 Dec 08 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Dec 08 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Black Hawk on Works PC 19 Dec 08 - 06:31 AM
The Borchester Echo 19 Dec 08 - 06:50 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM
Will Fly 19 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,Mr Oldbugger 19 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,Mr Oldbugger 19 Dec 08 - 07:22 AM
Musket 19 Dec 08 - 07:34 AM
The Sandman 19 Dec 08 - 07:54 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 08 - 08:15 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Dec 08 - 08:18 AM
VirginiaTam 19 Dec 08 - 08:29 AM
Will Fly 19 Dec 08 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Dec 08 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,Ian Fyvie 19 Dec 08 - 09:03 AM
Will Fly 19 Dec 08 - 09:08 AM
Spleen Cringe 19 Dec 08 - 09:44 AM
Nick 19 Dec 08 - 10:27 AM
evansakes 19 Dec 08 - 10:40 AM
Acorn4 19 Dec 08 - 11:07 AM
Ian Fyvie 19 Dec 08 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Dec 08 - 12:47 PM
GUEST,Joe G 19 Dec 08 - 01:17 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Dec 08 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Dec 08 - 01:53 PM
The Sandman 19 Dec 08 - 02:15 PM
The Borchester Echo 19 Dec 08 - 02:32 PM
BB 19 Dec 08 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 19 Dec 08 - 03:05 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 08 - 04:23 PM
Stringsinger 19 Dec 08 - 04:27 PM
Phil Edwards 19 Dec 08 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Dec 08 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Ancient Briton 19 Dec 08 - 07:40 PM
The Sandman 19 Dec 08 - 08:56 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Dec 08 - 09:55 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 08 - 04:16 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 20 Dec 08 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,TB 20 Dec 08 - 04:45 AM
evansakes 20 Dec 08 - 05:36 AM
Sooz 20 Dec 08 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 20 Dec 08 - 06:12 AM
TheSnail 20 Dec 08 - 06:35 AM
Acorn4 20 Dec 08 - 10:19 AM
Ian Fyvie 20 Dec 08 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,Indrani Ananda 20 Dec 08 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,Avatara 20 Dec 08 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 20 Dec 08 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 20 Dec 08 - 01:09 PM
Stringsinger 20 Dec 08 - 01:34 PM
The Borchester Echo 20 Dec 08 - 03:23 PM
Spleen Cringe 20 Dec 08 - 04:57 PM
Acorn4 20 Dec 08 - 05:53 PM
Richard Bridge 20 Dec 08 - 06:25 PM
romany man 21 Dec 08 - 03:32 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 08 - 04:17 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss (wearily) 21 Dec 08 - 05:53 AM
greg stephens 21 Dec 08 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 Dec 08 - 06:15 AM
GUEST 21 Dec 08 - 06:16 AM
Richard Bridge 21 Dec 08 - 07:50 AM
Richard Bridge 21 Dec 08 - 07:51 AM
Dave the Gnome 21 Dec 08 - 08:41 AM
Ian Fyvie 21 Dec 08 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 Dec 08 - 09:56 AM
GUEST 21 Dec 08 - 01:53 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Dec 08 - 02:04 PM
The Villan 21 Dec 08 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 Dec 08 - 02:57 PM
Spleen Cringe 21 Dec 08 - 02:59 PM
Spleen Cringe 21 Dec 08 - 03:03 PM
Ian Fyvie 21 Dec 08 - 03:12 PM
VirginiaTam 21 Dec 08 - 03:27 PM
Waddon Pete 21 Dec 08 - 05:02 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Dec 08 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,Avatara 21 Dec 08 - 05:21 PM
Melissa 21 Dec 08 - 06:17 PM
Melissa 21 Dec 08 - 06:17 PM
Indrani Ananda 21 Dec 08 - 08:39 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 22 Dec 08 - 05:19 AM
Faye Roche 22 Dec 08 - 05:22 AM
TheSnail 22 Dec 08 - 06:03 AM
GUEST 22 Dec 08 - 09:10 AM
Backwoodsman 22 Dec 08 - 11:59 AM
The Villan 22 Dec 08 - 12:30 PM
Ian Fyvie 22 Dec 08 - 02:53 PM
TheSnail 22 Dec 08 - 07:34 PM
Ian Fyvie 22 Dec 08 - 09:55 PM
Folkiedave 23 Dec 08 - 03:46 AM
Aeola 23 Dec 08 - 07:32 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Dec 08 - 07:41 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 23 Dec 08 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,Avatara 23 Dec 08 - 06:28 PM
Melissa 23 Dec 08 - 06:46 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 23 Dec 08 - 07:09 PM
Maryrrf 23 Dec 08 - 07:36 PM
Ian Fyvie 23 Dec 08 - 10:15 PM
Melissa 23 Dec 08 - 10:29 PM
Will Fly 24 Dec 08 - 03:44 AM
Melissa 24 Dec 08 - 03:49 AM
Folkiedave 24 Dec 08 - 03:49 AM
Sooz 24 Dec 08 - 03:54 AM
Will Fly 24 Dec 08 - 03:56 AM
Melissa 24 Dec 08 - 03:58 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 24 Dec 08 - 04:19 AM
Melissa 24 Dec 08 - 04:23 AM
Nick 24 Dec 08 - 04:57 AM
Nick 24 Dec 08 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,Faye 24 Dec 08 - 10:52 AM
TheSnail 24 Dec 08 - 11:38 AM
The Sandman 24 Dec 08 - 04:56 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Dec 08 - 03:45 AM
Folkiedave 29 Dec 08 - 05:33 AM
greg stephens 12 Jan 09 - 12:16 PM
Will Fly 12 Jan 09 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,Ian 12 Jan 09 - 01:52 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Jan 09 - 01:59 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Jan 09 - 02:05 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 09 - 02:30 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Jan 09 - 02:47 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Jan 09 - 04:53 PM
Phil Edwards 12 Jan 09 - 05:14 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 09 - 10:06 AM
Phil Edwards 13 Jan 09 - 10:48 AM
melodeonboy 13 Jan 09 - 07:42 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 09 - 03:31 AM
GUEST,Ian 14 Jan 09 - 06:57 AM
Jack Blandiver 14 Jan 09 - 09:39 AM
Phil Edwards 14 Jan 09 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 14 Jan 09 - 11:07 AM
Banjiman 14 Jan 09 - 11:42 AM
Banjiman 14 Jan 09 - 11:46 AM
Jack Blandiver 14 Jan 09 - 02:46 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jan 09 - 04:00 AM
Banjiman 15 Jan 09 - 04:24 AM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jan 09 - 04:36 AM
GUEST,Cliff 15 Jan 09 - 04:38 AM
Mavis Enderby 15 Jan 09 - 04:53 AM
Banjiman 15 Jan 09 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 15 Jan 09 - 04:58 AM
Sleepy Rosie 15 Jan 09 - 05:11 AM
Banjiman 15 Jan 09 - 05:18 AM
Phil Edwards 15 Jan 09 - 06:02 AM
Banjiman 15 Jan 09 - 07:58 AM
GUEST,Cliff 15 Jan 09 - 10:42 AM
Banjiman 15 Jan 09 - 11:22 AM
Aeola 15 Jan 09 - 12:53 PM
Spleen Cringe 15 Jan 09 - 05:15 PM
Jack Campin 15 Jan 09 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Cliff 17 Jan 09 - 05:25 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Jan 09 - 06:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Jan 09 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Maggie in Marske 17 Jan 09 - 10:46 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jan 09 - 11:05 AM
Gervase 17 Jan 09 - 11:20 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Jan 09 - 03:37 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Jan 09 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Jan 09 - 06:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jan 09 - 11:06 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jan 09 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Jan 09 - 12:03 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jan 09 - 12:18 PM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 12:28 PM
wyrdolafr 18 Jan 09 - 12:34 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jan 09 - 12:43 PM
VirginiaTam 18 Jan 09 - 12:52 PM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 01:07 PM
Will Fly 18 Jan 09 - 01:45 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Jan 09 - 02:43 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Jan 09 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Jan 09 - 03:37 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Jan 09 - 03:44 PM
Aeola 18 Jan 09 - 04:24 PM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 04:41 PM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 04:55 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Jan 09 - 05:31 PM
Jack Blandiver 18 Jan 09 - 06:00 PM
TheSnail 18 Jan 09 - 06:05 PM
Ian Fyvie 18 Jan 09 - 08:56 PM
Ian Fyvie 18 Jan 09 - 09:14 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jan 09 - 04:18 AM
Backwoodsman 19 Jan 09 - 04:25 AM
Will Fly 19 Jan 09 - 04:29 AM
Howard Jones 19 Jan 09 - 04:45 AM
Banjiman 19 Jan 09 - 04:46 AM
melodeonboy 19 Jan 09 - 04:55 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jan 09 - 05:09 AM
melodeonboy 19 Jan 09 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jan 09 - 05:43 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jan 09 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jan 09 - 07:02 AM
Sleepy Rosie 19 Jan 09 - 07:07 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Jan 09 - 07:14 AM
Will Fly 19 Jan 09 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge 19 Jan 09 - 09:24 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jan 09 - 09:43 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 09 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,John E. 19 Jan 09 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,Somebody else wearing a wig 19 Jan 09 - 11:53 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 09 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jan 09 - 03:07 PM
Aeola 19 Jan 09 - 04:22 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Jan 09 - 05:03 PM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 09:59 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 10:01 AM
The Sandman 20 Jan 09 - 10:20 AM
melodeonboy 20 Jan 09 - 10:32 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 11:58 AM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 12:02 PM
Jack Blandiver 20 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM
Jack Blandiver 20 Jan 09 - 12:10 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Jan 09 - 03:00 PM
Phil Edwards 20 Jan 09 - 03:04 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Jan 09 - 07:43 PM
The Barden of England 20 Jan 09 - 07:58 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 09 - 03:15 AM
Sleepy Rosie 21 Jan 09 - 04:42 AM
Sleepy Rosie 21 Jan 09 - 04:46 AM
Will Fly 21 Jan 09 - 04:49 AM
Sleepy Rosie 21 Jan 09 - 04:53 AM
Will Fly 21 Jan 09 - 04:57 AM
Banjiman 21 Jan 09 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Phil Beer ( In Glasgow) 21 Jan 09 - 05:57 AM
Sleepy Rosie 21 Jan 09 - 06:10 AM
Jack Blandiver 21 Jan 09 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 21 Jan 09 - 08:16 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 21 Jan 09 - 08:35 AM
Banjiman 21 Jan 09 - 09:07 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 10:50 AM
Phil Edwards 21 Jan 09 - 11:45 AM
Richard Bridge 21 Jan 09 - 11:52 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 01:24 PM
Phil Edwards 21 Jan 09 - 02:13 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 09 - 02:24 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 02:44 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Jan 09 - 02:56 PM
Banjiman 21 Jan 09 - 03:10 PM
Phil Edwards 21 Jan 09 - 03:17 PM
Banjiman 21 Jan 09 - 03:30 PM
melodeonboy 21 Jan 09 - 04:41 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 09 - 06:10 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM
Folkiedave 21 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM
Phil Edwards 21 Jan 09 - 06:34 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jan 09 - 07:34 PM
Banjiman 22 Jan 09 - 03:18 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Jan 09 - 04:10 AM
Folkiedave 22 Jan 09 - 04:58 AM
Sleepy Rosie 22 Jan 09 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 22 Jan 09 - 05:33 AM
Banjiman 22 Jan 09 - 05:42 AM
Folkiedave 22 Jan 09 - 05:47 AM
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Subject: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Faye Roche
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 01:57 PM

OK I know that this is going to be a bit contentious, but here goes.

Most of the clubs that I've frequented, since I became interested in this music two years or so ago, have been populated by people aged from about 50 upwards. I'm not being ageist or morbid, but it's a fact that in thirty years or so most of them will not be around.

I'm 30 and my friends are all about my age, so we are, are we not, exactly the sort of new blood that the folk world needs if it's going to survive. So why aren't we going to folk clubs?

Here's a possible explanation:

I took a group of friends with me to a club not very far from where I live, but not in my home town (no names, no clues, no accusations of trolling please.) The guests were a band that I wanted to hear and my friends were keen to hear what I've been up to since I started singing this stuff.

The band were disappointing, but no more of that; it was not them that made my friends vow never to grace a folk club again. It was the rest of the evening.

First a selection of floor singers ambled on and after the usual false starts ("oops- a bit high; I'll try that again", etc.- haven't these people ever heard of pitch pipes?) a singer came on who stumbled to the end of the first verse of her chosen song, then forgot the rest and had to be helped through it by members of the audience. As she sat down, to cries of "Well done" and "We got there in the end", one of my friends whispered to me "People actually PAY to listen to this???" in astonishment.

I was so angry that, like my friends, I almost vowed to give up folk music and do something else. Why is it that this sort of thing is tolerated in folk clubs when in any other music venue the performer would be taken off?

So, four people who may have been converted to this music have now decided to steer clear of it. And people come on this message board and debate about where the deckchairs whould be while the ship sinks lower and lower in the water.

Sorry about the rant- it's most unlike me, but I couldn't contain it. FFS- why can't club organisers impose some kind of quality control; ban crap singers from appearing again, or at least only invite known good singers on guest nights?

I'll close with a personal message to any singer who thinks that it's OK to stand up in public and hack his/her way through a song without learning and rehearsing it properly first: YOU'RE WASTING MY TIME AND MY MONEY! GET IT RIGHT OR STAY IN THE AUDIENCE!

Phew.

Before I took up folk music I sang with a pop covers band. Yes, you may laugh (justifiably so) at this kind of outfit, but I've never seen a band of this type stop halfway through "Dancing Queen" and ask the audience how the next verse goes.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:17 PM

Well....there's also an interesting subculture of hobbyists who get together over their common interest, which is building plastic model kits of planes, ships, armoured vehicles, figures, etc...and they are also mostly people in their 50s and over. The reason for it is similar. Plastic model kits were something that EVERY young boy (and a few girls) built in their spare time back in the 1950s and 60s and into the 70s. Those were the days long before Nintendo and computers, so kids liked building models. Some of the same people who were kids back then liked the models so much that they have continued building them ever since...so it became an adult pursuit as the decades went by. It's mostly middle-aged adults who build models now. Why? because they loved models in their youth, when the local hobby shop was in its heyday. They'll all be gone in another 20 years too. So what?

Okay...so us folkies got to love folk music when the local folk club and the folk scene was in its heyday. That was from about 1958 to 1972. The scene remains...just as any other scene does...because of the lingering affection of people remembering the days of their youth, and there are always a few new young people who also become attracted to various past trends, so it never dies out entirely....but it's not the mainstream anymore.

A folk club now is just that....a "club" for people...a place where a few local people get together with their friends to relax and share in a common interest. If they have a more informal attitude to the music than you do, that may bother you, but if you want to be part of that scene then you either have to put up with it, or else BECOME the change you wish to see. In other words, YOU learn to play some stuff really well, without screwing up any of it, and get up there onstage and do that. It should give you much satisfaction, and it should entertain other people as well. You will be personally building the future for the kind of folk club you want.

You have to understand that after a certain age when friends get together with other friends they may become a lot less demanding of performance perfection than they were in the days of youthful ambition. They're no longer trying to conquer Mount Everest, you see. Mountain climbing is for the young.

(I might add, though, that some people go on being very competitive and perfectionist no matter how old they get...and from them you will get that standard of professionalism you are expecting.)

So take the good with the bad. There's gotta be stuff happening in the folk scene that you would like too. Try going to a major folk festival in the summer. You will see some absolutely amazingly good performances there, I guarantee it.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Acorn4
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:25 PM

I think there's going to be quite a lot of overlap here with the "what kind of club is yours?" and "folk club manners" threads of recent - I've got a choice of five or six clubs within driving distance to go to tonight, so it's not dying -the age balance is a bit of a problem though - perhaps all those intense punk/ heavy metallists will eventually drift folkwards - look at what Robert Plant's doing now!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave (Bridge)
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:28 PM

Folk clubs will change, as they have over the years already. Gone are the days when all folk clubs were heaving every night. There are still a lot of young performers about but they have different ways of expressing themselves and don't want to be amongst the old fuddy duddies, I suspect. Having said that we can all still learn a lot from each other, if we want to. Imagine the wealth of knowledge about the material, the tradition, how to perform (or not in some cases)that abounds in the minds of some of these 'old' folk. I do believe that folk music will continue for ever, nut not necessarily as we know it 'Jim'


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:28 PM

The main problem , apart from L H 's excellent point , is that despite the obnoxious types who post here , your average UK Folkie is NICE ! And being nice , they find it very difficult to say to someone who has just done a Crap floor spot that that is what they have just done ! We ALL have off days - Even well established Professionals forget their lines - but there does seem to be a requirement for clubs to have a member responsible for quality , who can tactfully ask if a singer IS happy with their performance ,and suggest possible improvements .
Of course that is totally against ALL the Inborn Qualities that the Average Englishman (OR Scot , Irishman or Welshman) are brought up to exhibit .


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:34 PM

I agree with some of your points.
but,[Before I took up folk music I sang with a pop covers band. Yes, you may laugh (justifiably so) at this kind of outfit, but I've never seen a band of this type stop halfway through "Dancing Queen" and ask the audience how the next verse goes.]
a few facts,Elvis Presley forgot the words to: are you lonesome tonight,the Beatles were frequently out of tune,when they played in Hamburg, as were The Rolling Stones on occasions in their early days,the Dave Clark Five,had a drummer who[well the less said the better],many pop groups of the sixties could not be heard live,because of the screaming[and a good job too].
many of the pop covers bands are playing crap[just my opinion].
I would rather hear folk music performed not very well,than a professional competent pop covers band.
however, I think there is room for improvement,and some floorsingers,could do with more rehearsal,before performing in public,there are also some very good floorsingers[some of them do gigs and support their local folk club by doing floor spots Gary and Vera Aspey spring to mind
http://www.dickmiles.com .


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: SunrayFC
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:35 PM

but some clubs are thriving.

It is possible.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave (Bridge)
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:47 PM

What is the definition of 'dying'? Is this a numbers thing?
I am regular at at least two clubs which vary in numbers, weekly. Often the best nights are the quiet nights when we have a chance to chat about things folkie. Quiet night are also useful for letting the less talented have a go and hopefully improve.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ann N
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:57 PM

Some people who can sing or play really well just get a bad attack of 'stage fright' when they stand up and it's a rare performer who has never forgotten a tune or song halfway through. Beginners have to start somewhere to build up confidence and with encouragement most (though admittedly not all) get better :)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:01 PM

I must be lucky, Faye. In the last few weeks I've been to a mixture of clubs, sessions and singarounds in Cheshire, Sussex and Surrey, where the standard of performance - on the whole - was excellent. The acoustic sessions, in particular, produced some excellent young singers and instrumentalists. I know what you mean, though - there are certainly one or two fairly deadly places around the place. However, whether all this means that the scene is dying or flourishing, appears to be in the eye of the beholder. I echo the wise words of Little Hawk:

A folk club now is just that....a "club" for people...a place where a few local people get together with their friends to relax and share in a common interest. If they have a more informal attitude to the music than you do, that may bother you, but if you want to be part of that scene then you either have to put up with it, or else BECOME the change you wish to see. In other words, YOU learn to play some stuff really well, without screwing up any of it, and get up there onstage and do that. It should give you much satisfaction, and it should entertain other people as well. You will be personally building the future for the kind of folk club you want.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:06 PM

In my experience nothing could be further from the truth - I regularly attend folk clubs & singarounds from Chorlton-cum-Hardy to Byker, via Preston, Blackpool & Fleetwood, and I'd say they were thriving.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:29 PM

I'd say they were thriving too -and we don't pay the club members to perform Other than guest nights when we pay professionals-for most this is a hobby -if everyone was perfect they would probably be doing it as a profession -we get together through a shared interest have a mixed audience including students from the university and we try really hard not to patronise each other- If I watched a sunday league football game I wouldnt winge saying the standard wasnt that of Manchester United, i might just be pleased to see some real stars amongst the also rans and pleased that they were enjoying themselves- .


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:30 PM

Can't see where sing arounds/sessions come into it so lets start off by missing those out. Different animal. Faye never mentioned them.

As I understand it what she was complaining about was that she had PAID to go into a club which presented a lesser performance than she thought she was entitled to expect for the money she had paid. And from her description she is correct. I recognise the type anyway.

Can I suggest that instead of going to a folk club Faye - you check locally where some festival is presenting your favourite band(s) - and if you can't afford a ticket, volunteer as a steward.

You should find a load of people around your age.

Don't give up on the music though because of one bad experience - there are far too many good ones to go around to compensate. Get into the festival scene - IMHO far more rewarding.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:32 PM


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:36 PM

Can't see where sing arounds/sessions come into it so lets start off by missing those out. Different animal.

Yes, but one sort of gathering feeds the other. The same people who populate our session and singarounds are also those who turn up in clubs - they aren't totally divorced and are part of the same overall scene.

I've also been to concerts (not folk) - at a rare old price - where the main act was substandard. It might have put me off ever seeing that act again, but it hasn't put me off concerts per se.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:37 PM

I know exactly what you mean, Faye. Trouble is, by posting that you'll probably get umpteen of the usual suspects pitching up to say it ain't so, or that their particular club would never do that, so all's rosy in the garden of folk.
You're right, though - your average trad club is pretty well doomed, and deservedly so; it seems to have become a support group for the musically or emotionally challenged. There are some good ones about that I know of, but even those aren't really the sort of places you'd take a friend to. It would involve far too much explaining...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:45 PM

I believe on one occasion recently Rod Stewart sang "Maggie May" from a cheat sheet.

When doing sound for some local heavy-ish bands round Medway I've seen some really amazing electric shit.

I've seen plenty of kids unable to tune a guitar.

I've seen plenty of bands too drunk (or otherwise enhanced) to stand, much less play.

Hells bells, I've seen Amy Winehouse totally incoherent on stage, and Babyshambles truly live up to their name.

Oh, does anyone remember Sly and the Family Stone?

I'v seen a four-guitarists (killer guitarists, all four of them) set at Cambridge when I still went there at which TWO of the guitarists could not find, much less ascend, the stage.

I've never heard anyone say "this is why electric music is dying".


It's a pretty simple riposte. If your friends are so great, why aren't they stars?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: olddude
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:48 PM

Because people have become deaf ... listening to the rap music in the car at 180 DB

that is my theory. Folk is normally acoustic so no one can hear it anymore


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:52 PM

listening to the rap music in the car at 180 DB

I do that too, travelling to & from singarounds!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:59 PM

Yes, but one sort of gathering feeds the other. The same people who populate our session and singarounds are also those who turn up in clubs - they aren't totally divorced and are part of the same overall scene.

The difference is that at all the sessions I go to - you don't have to pay - she did.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:59 PM

I know exactly what you mean, Faye. Trouble is, by posting that you'll probably get umpteen of the usual suspects pitching up to say it ain't so, or that their particular club would never do that, so all's rosy in the garden of folk.

I don't have a particular club - I merely repeat that, in travels around the country over the past 4 weeks or so where I've attended several clubs, singarounds and sessions, there's no sign that anything is dying. But that's just my personal experience. Other posters here will have their own experiences - which might be the same as Faye's or the same as someone else's.

The point is that the name of this thread is "Why folk clubs are dying". But you can't draw a general conclusion from singularity of experience. The only conclusion you can draw, so far, is that some clubs appear to be good and some appear to be crap...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: filidh
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 04:04 PM

the real question is what is folk?

some are looking for something very professional and some want a social atmosphere. and of course some want very traditional music and some see bob dylan as folk.

these debates have gone on for years. i have found folk clubs are cliqueish and often have very set ideas about what is folk--often based on little real knowledge, but then i have also met some of the best musicinas i have ever known at folk clubs.

i wish they were friendlier to new commers and other ethnic groups. and i wish that there were less middle class bigotries and more real rootsy people , and i especially wish there were less selfrighteous amd narrow minded "organizers". those kind of people often set rules that are thinly veiled class and ethnic bigotry. .but lifes tough and i have found lots of good fun and good music at many folk clubs.

much better music than at :professional " gigs. i do both and i see a lot of very good looking and coolly dressed twenty ssomethings sharing gigs(i have often done gigs with several acts) who can barely play an instrument and have a the singing range of the scottish bagpipes.

folkies tend to be older i guess and the young have their own movement. in canada its heavily bluegrass and mountain music that circoles around regular bars and not folk clubs--well i go to those more often than folk clubs .

so what the complaint really is is that there are not enough "folk police" to keep up standards. whewh!! that would be a nightmare


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: greg stephens
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 04:05 PM

I may be biassed, but I have started various sessions, clubs, events etc over the years, and have also been involved in the running of long-standing clubs which existed before me, and after me. If you go to something, and have a strong feeling it is not entirely to your taste, well there are two sensible options. One, stay, and change it. Two, go and start something new.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 04:18 PM

If you pay to hear a particular group/singer that's one thing. Between you and them. Attending an existing club is quite another. I'm with Folkiedave -- choose a different place to hear your favourite performers.
A club runs itself for itself. It has the right to do that any way it wishes, including asking for payment. Nobody is forced to attend.
I have also played all types of music. I set myself high standards but I don't impose my tastes or standards on others. I choose the places I attend carefully. If our way dies with us old folkies -- well that's sad for us -- but we have the right to be the way we are.

Thing is -- here I go getting all cranky -- We were once young. We remember it well. Young people were never old. You can't possibly understand old.
Cheers, cranky old Joy


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 04:50 PM

Soooo -- Here's what I reckon:
If you don't like my peaches don't ya shake my tree.
Grow your own.
Form your own clubs.
Run them as you want.
We did.
We do.
Anyone want to come to Joy's Folkoff Festival?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Peter T.
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 05:01 PM

I would say from a few years experience that the number one problem is that in places like that -- open mikes, etc. -- people are getting up to entertain themselves and not the audience. As soon as your attention shifts to what you think an audience wants to hear, then you are on the way away from carelessness, laziness, and narcissistic introversion.   

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Sarah, Barnsley
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 05:12 PM

"but it's a fact that in thirty years or so most of them will not be around"

yeah I agree, but look at it this way, Barnsley Folk Club might 'only' have another 20-30 years to go. In the last two years in Barnsley two Acoustic nights have started and disappeared without trace, (and another two started and hopefully going strong).

At the rate pubs are clising in the UK, as long as I have somewhere to be a amateur musician in an encouraging, non-judgemental atmosphere and get a decent beer at the same time I won't care whether its a folk club or not. (I'm 35 by the way if that makes any difference)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Rafflesbear
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 05:17 PM

I find myself split down the middle here

the other day I went to a carol service and because the carols were not all those of my youth I was disappointed

on the other hand with folk music I have a particular interest in one up and coming young professional duo that is blowing the cobwebs off folk music and presenting it in an exciting fashion. They appeared recently at a South-East London folk club and attracted not only folkies visiting the club for the first time but by the end of the evening they had pulled in some very unlikely looking youngsters from the other bar

however they have made approaches to another very well established and 'respected' folk club not a million miles away and have been unable to get even an unpaid floor spot!

I appreciate that any folk club organiser has the right to run their folk club in exactly the way that they wish but I also have the right to reserve my admiration for those who keep their finger on the pulse and see that such a band will broaden the appeal not only of their club but of the whole genre


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 05:22 PM

I take exception to Folkie Daves comment[well meaning as I am sure it is meant].
he seems to suggest that festivals are more likely to provide a higher standard than folk clubs.
I am not sure that festival singarounds are any higher in quality than singarounds in folk clubs[they are often the same people singing].
Folk clubs are about communities,Festival are about bums on seats[or lack of them in the case of Pickering]and how many people are still owed money by Pickering festival?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 05:57 PM

Oh dear. I'm sure Dave is well able to speak for himself but (looking slightly desperately for a way in here), he said nothing about "better", Dick.

What he meant (or certainly what I mean) is that festivals are usually considerably more accessible for young people. I have my own store of horror stories, many of them peppering this sort of thread, of taking people met at festival ceilidhs to (often but not always) moribund "f*lk" venues to see artists they have glimpsed at said festivals. I'm tired of being embarrassed at cliquey atmospheres and hostile receptions for potential punters. I'm never in the slightest bit surprised when people I have tried to introduce to these "f*lk non-communities" turn round and tell me "well if that's yer fuckin' "f*lk club", fuckin' sod it.

Good grief, we've even been shushed at the Union Chapel when Spiers & Boden and Faustus were onstage. I'd have thought they were noisy enough to overlook a bit of verbal background explanation . . .


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:03 PM

At least you folks in England have enough folk clubs to ask the question... I notice that very few responses are from folks over here from the Far Side.

I wonder why Barber Shop quartet music is no longer popular?

All semi-kidding aside, folk "clubs" are more of an English than an American term. Over here, we have a diminishing number of Coffee Houses, with an atmosphere left over from the 60's. I've loved that atmosphere all of my life, and still do, but the numbers they're a diminishing.

Last night, my wife and I went to a Paton family concert at an area coffee house (area meaning within fifty miles.) It was a wonderful night, with a good turnout. Sandy and Caroline Paton are justly beloved over here, and even though Sandy couldn't come, their two songs David and Robin were a good presence. We haven't been to the Coffee House in five years. The couple that sat with us were old, familiar faces who used to regularly attend the concert series I ran. I hadn't seen them in over ten years. The first couple we met hadn't been to the coffee house in fifteen years. I wonder how many other people who were there came because they love the Patons. And how many won't be back for another ten or fifteen years, if the coffee house survives that long. There is a folk music society that sponsors the concert series, and people do join in order to get a discount at the gate. It's the small band of loyal members who keep the coffee house going. But, if you only come once every five or ten years, a discount at the door isn't much of an enticement. I support the coffee house out of appreciation for the commitment of those who go regularly. If we don't support it with our regular attendance, I can at least help support it a little, financially.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:19 PM

Answering for myself it's a bit of both - he said sitting on the fence a little.

I believe the music is far more accessible to younger people (NB Faye tells us she is 30 so not young)at a festival than at a folk club. I certainly wasn't comparing festival sing-arounds with folk club sing arounds and I am not (as the poster wasn't) looking at sessions and "club nights".

I believe that with reasonable seats, good amplification and a decent audience then the chances are anyone with a passing interest in folk music stands a good chance of being hooked. Couple that with the friendly atmosphere at a festival, the occasional singaround/session in a beer tent and the rest of the whole festival experience - Pickering notwithstanding - and you have converts to folk music. The weather helps of course.

Send them to a folk club where people can't sing in key, need a cheat sheet for "The House of the Rising Sun" - and I have seen it - forget words and frankly are not very good - then you put people off folk music?

As Faye seemed to indicate. I know which side I am on.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:30 PM

I'm in Aus. We don't have many choices here either, Jerry. However we moved to a remote area and it's to be expected. We did have coffee houses and folk clubs, both, in Melbourne. They're diminishing now too. We too financially support a club we only attend rarely.

We have the right to form ourselves into groups of special interest while we still have time. The music we love won't die. There are plenty of recordings, books, films. If future generations want to tap into it they'll be able.
Encouraging people by changing something is a weird idea to me. Let he/she who has ears...
Joy


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:37 PM

"Good grief, we've even been shushed at the Union Chapel when Spiers & Boden and Faustus were onstage. I'd have thought they were noisy enough to overlook a bit of verbal background explanation . . . "

Hee hee. I was charged recently with taking some new converts to a folk club-ish gig featuring Martin Carthy; one of those at our table was doing this sort of (very quiet) explanation of a particular piece and got sharp looks and shushing from the local worthies. It must have been very galling to the worthies to see Martin come and join us during the interval...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:46 PM

At the risk of offending a lot of my close friends (I'm over 60 and a singer/musician) I much prefer to be at a mixed (song & tune) session than be in a folk club nowadays. Yes, they are mostly full of people my age, so I much prefer the sessions and festivals where there is a healthy mix of all ages.
Also at festivals like Whitby & Sidmouth there is an enormous range of activities to take part in, catering for all ages.

Bugger it! There goes my few meagre bookings for next year.


    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:49 PM

yes,Dave,I did state that there was room for improvement in some cases,but there are also folk clubs,where the standard of floor singing is high.
I remember a few months ago on this forum,someone mentioned a folk club was it Ryburn?,and the singers from the floor,were all people who have done guest spots.
I got the impression from our crustaceous friend from Lewes, Bryan Creer,that the standard is high in his club too.
when I last guested at the Wilsons club the standard was high,as it was at Robin hoods bay,and Swinton[floorsingers included Gary and Vera Aspey]
Faye is generalising from the particular,a big mistake.
if every pro folk singer was to do a floor spot once a month the standard would soon go up,its a question of use it or lose it,if we want to keep the venues there for us to perform in,we have to get up and put something back in.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Ebor_fiddler
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:55 PM

Same experience here. I was with a bunch of sixties folkies at a Waterson-Carthy gig here in York and we were glared at for joining in the chorus (and Norma was waving her arms to encourage us too!) !
Some clubs seem nowadays to be more like mini concerts than what we ran 30 years ago (but the past was always better then the present day - we have Roman and Ancient Greek documents attesting this).


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:25 PM

There seem to be separate planets here. I, of course, am on planet Antedeluvian, but my daughter is not. She went to a stage school where they always wanted her voice for the dramatic musical interventions. Her then band was not wholly comprised of people on the music course (she wasn't, nor was the drummer) - but the course director was heard to say at one sessional concert "At last we have produced a band".

So why do I say this? Well, since then she has had three electric bands, and she knows lots of electric musos. And so far she is a smidgeon over mid-20s.

Never mind whether she likes "folk" (or knows the difference - she does - but then both her parents were skanky hippy old folkies): the point is this.

Not wholly infrequently some of her electric muso friends (google "Redshift" for some, google "Endless Summer" for others, google "Death Cats" for yet more) blow into a folkie song/session - and the pretty universal view (unless she is lying to me) is "Wow! People actually play music together! This is great! Someone does something, another puts a bit in here or there. The massed harmonies!"

It is the musicians supporting the break from the consumer society in which the couch potatoes consume pap.

No, participative music is not dead yet. And Simon Cowell will kill it before we do.   

Yet the "standards" brigade tell us that we are killing the music. I think that planet is on an eccentric orbit.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:26 PM

Is there ANY point me posting anything ?? I thought I had made a sensible comment - 5th post 02.28 pm , and generated not a single response !! If I am posting crap bloody well tell me !!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Captain Swing
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:43 PM

Folk clubs will die because they have no relevance other than as a preservation society of something that has no need to be preserved. Traditional music, by nature, must exist as a contemporary form and flow naturally with contemporary culture.

The folk club has little to do with traditional music and even less to do with contemporary culture. Music that is truly traditional will also be contemporary.

Try playing your new found music to a live audience at a pub gig. Your expertise as a performer will ensure that you communicate it well and you may be surprised at how well it is received.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Amos
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:55 PM

Terry:

Why are you being so cranky?

Would you care to survey the number of well-reasoned, germane, articulate posts on this forum which go by completely unacknowledged and unaddressed because of the chimes of others with different tacks of their own invention they want to pursue? You'd run out of numbers, I bet.

Did you think it was about you, then? Silly man!!!

A


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:56 PM

Leadfingers - your point, exactly?

Captain Swing - what you say seems (if the first two paragraphs have any meaning, which I rather doubt) incompatible with your name. I say burn the ricks.

If you are who I think you are, shall I play the drum some more?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Nick
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:58 PM

>>Is there ANY point me posting anything ??

There, there. People are probably still pondering it's inner depth. Sorry couldn't help it.

It's a nice thought but I have recently been through an exercise like that following similar advice on standards in Folk Club Manners thread etc and doubt I'll go through it again. In the context of a singaround- session perhaps it's inappropriate.

I thought I would try and 'help' by making some comment. It's driven two people away who now think that I'm a complete pillock. The other two it has made not a happorth of difference to (the hide on one of them is of the proportion of several rhinoceroses). So I won't be doing it again as it hasn't improved standards at all and just served to piss a few people off.

Still it'll save on Xmas cards this year so it can't be all bad


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 09:19 PM

why are folk clubs dying - probably cos they didn't book me. serves the bastards right


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Art Thieme
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 09:54 PM

'Tis sad if it is the reality now. I've nothing else to add.

Art


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: romany man
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:39 AM

I vowed many years ago never to attend a folk club again, after almost a year of going to different clubs both near and far, in each and every one, the whole scene was based on, come in give us your money sit down and shut up, you are not here to enjoy yourself but to sit in silence and listen to some demigod of dubious standing, you go to the loo at your peril, if someone is singing or at best making the effort, you go to the bar if you dare, then at the end you go home, what a difference at the various festivals, where the pubs are packed and noisy, singers and players seem to be better, audience noise is great, people come and go, not a shh or tut tut to be heard, is it that folkies are killing the clubs if that is your view, or is it that folkies are so bloody vain in a club context that they are demanding silence and reverance, that wont work in the outside world, this weekend i went to a real romany get together, with real romany singers and players, bum notes, out of tune singing, real good time had by all, none of the rules and regulations of folk clubs, it ws cold wet, and a bloody good time !


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Peter T.
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:49 AM

No one has stated the obvious, which is that folk music is dead. The taproot is long withered, and so it is of necessity either a museum culture, or people are playing new musics. So clubs are -- and were -- a weird hybrid already.

(I know, I know, folk music is whatever folk are playing, blah, blah, I never heard no horse playing music, blah, blah).

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:56 AM

"A folk club now is just that....a "club" for people.."
And who knows - one of these days they may even become venues where one can go along and listen to folk music - that we should all live so long!!
Dave,
If we have to go to festivals to hear the music well performed - isn't it time we swiched off the life-support machine?
Have to say that Faye Roche's experience mirrors my own exactly.
What we appear to be getting here is a list of reasons why we should just lay back and accept the crap we are being dished out.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:13 AM

Switching off the life support machine on the term is well overdue. Crunch it in the secure trash and begin describing music by its origins, influences, arrangements and instrumentation.
Obviously, festivals are a good place for hearing music well-performed and there are even a handful of well-run clubs (someone cited the Ryburn 3-Step as a shining example).
It's the smug "I know what's good for my audience" MOR crap-peddling organisers with tone-deaf, floor-singing mates you need to wield the barge-pole against.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:22 AM

The problem with switching the life support machine off is that there are some good folk clubs still in existence and they have been quoted on this page. But generally speaking I am with Jim and Diane on this one.

I am looking for the young organisers - we seemed to have trained the melodeon and fiddler players etc etc. We have a number of good singers emerging. But where are the young organisers?

Part of the problem (explained to me) was that there is a lot more bureacracy than there was, and frankly landlords are greedy when it comes to room hire.

I suspect there is a window of opportunity with the recession to get rooms for nowt.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:45 AM

"No one has stated the obvious, which is that folk music is dead."

No it isn't.........


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: banjoman
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:00 AM

What most people dont understand is that Folk Music is probably the only gendre where the audience/supporters are allowed and often encouraged to actively take part rather than sit and listen. This will always mean that some who are not as good as others will accept the invitation. Imagine going to a Jazz club or the Ballet and seeing people from the audience get up and "perform" some might get away with it but very few.
Participation should always be encouraged in Folk Clubs, and if a particular artist doesn't want or need it then they should say so before thet start. My favourite Tom Paxton story is of seeing him at the Philharmonic Hall Liverpool many years ago when he made it clear that he would tell us when he wanted us to join in as people had paid good money to hear HIM. Otherwise he may as well go and sit in the pub across the road and let the organisers know by phone what the audience should sing next.

Folk Clubs are not dead nor will they die so long as there are people good or bad performers who support them

Keep singing
Pete


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:04 AM

Folkiedave

I am looking for the young organisers

Yes. People like Sam Lee and Ed Hicks who gave us a fantastic show on Saturday night. They run the
The Magpie's Nest and embrace traditional music while adding something of their own.

I think Matt Quinn and Dogan Mehmet who we've got booked on 27th December will be making huge contributions in years to come.

And Faye... if you think you know how it should be done, put your time and energy (and possibly your own money) where your mouth is and set up a folk club the way you think they should beFolkiedave

I am looking for the young organisers

Yes. People like Sam Lee and Ed Hicks who gave us a fantastic show on Saturday night. They run the
The Magpie's Nest and embrace traditional music while adding something of their own.

I think Matt Quinn and Dogan Mehmet who we've got booked on 27th December will be making huge contributions in years to come.

And Faye... if you think you know better, put your time and energy and possibly your own money) where your mouth is and set up a folk club the way you think they should be.
.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: theleveller
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:04 AM

These discussions never seem to lead anywhere except to a retrenchment of well-established positions. The reason there is no answer is probably that folk clubs are as diverse and eclectic as the people who frequent them, and the music itself. As a general rule, thought, people get the folk clubs they want. I used to frequent two folk clubs regularly but now don't go as often as they seem to have turned more into 60s and 70s pop revival sessions and, although polite and welcoming, the people tend not to 'get' what we do (mostly self-penned songs based on the local area with a strong traditional theme that are a bit heavy for some people). Nevertheless, I don't feel angry about this – many of the people who attend regularly are my friends and if they enjoy it, that's fine, and when we do go, maybe 4 or 5 times a year, we get a warm welcome.

The point is, though, that they certainly aren't dying. They are well-attended and have been for very many years. Whether they can be called 'folk' clubs is a different matter.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:07 AM

Sorry about that. Something went wrong with cut-and-paste.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:01 AM

Hi Snail.

I am well aware of the Magpie's Nest and of Sam.

There are a couple of others that exist too.

My point is that when I was involved in running a folk club everyone else was about 23-26 years of age and so were all the organisers of all the other folk clubs and festivals I went to. (Except the National)

There are some wonderful professional or semi-professional musicians around nowadays. But the way to see them at their best and not have to sit through the "here is a song I only wrote this morning so I may not sing it right" syndrome is in the small concert venue and the concert hall and festival and not the club.

If you want to sing a song you wrote that morning in front of other people by all means do so - but not in front of paying customers.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:15 AM

Which has increased more in the last few years?

- CD sales?
- Viewings of amateur performances on YouTube?

YouTube is effectively the biggest singaround in history. Its users go for the participatory aspect in the same way that the participants in a village folk club do. And most of the people posting comments are nice in the way Leadfingers described (until you trigger a dispute about Balkan or Caucasian nationalism, anyway). Nor are YouTube users all over 50.

I'd much rather have been at the gathering "romany man" was at than any professional's concert. And it looks like a few million people agree with me.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Betsy
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:16 AM

Oh dear! I find myself agreeing with bits of everyone's postings.
Why not try reducing (personally I'd ban them) the use of music stands and crib sheets by performers.
Perhaps it would assist in removing a certain type of performer who seems to upset some of the subscribers.
How can anyone sing with emotion, passion, conviction or gusto when they're reading the words?
I am probably in a vast minority, but when I see music stands in a folk club it instils in me all sorts of negative thoughts about the performer.
Also, the people who stand up and recite (e.g.) Les Barker's poems (without mentioning that Les wrote them) and haven't got a clue where to place the humorous emphasis.
And the person who appears to know only 2 songs, and has been singing them badly every week for the last ten years.
And what about the people who have been playing the guitar / instrument for a relatively short time yet attempt songs and accompaniment which is FAR too complicated for them.
Most of us started at the "bottom" with 3-chord songs and worked our way up, why don't they learn to do the same.
Finally, I also being at the wrong end of the age scale, note with interest the warmth of subscribers in relation to the folk scene in the 60's & 70's which I share.
Please remember that (generally) two things were missing from a folk club in those days which now exist – microphones and music stands, both of which I believe have combined to form an unhealthy barrier between the performer and the audience.
Should we consider going back to purely acoustic nights for smaller clubs? although, naturally, I appreciate bigger clubs and concerts may still require them.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:25 AM

they certainly aren't dying. They are well-attended and have been for very many years. Whether they can be called 'folk' clubs is a different matter.

When I first started going to Chorlton FC, there were five or six regulars singing to a room of about 12 or 15 people, mostly 50+. You'd get two songs in the first half and at least one - maybe two - in the second half; there were a couple of weeks when I got to do three plus two. Everyone worked hard on what they presented - it was pretty uncommon to see a crib sheet, and almost unknown for anyone to try to sing who basically couldn't - and about a quarter of what you heard was traditional.

These days anything from 15 to 20 acts get one song each all night (apart from whoever gets to finish the night - they get a couple). The place is regularly packed out, with a big contingent of the temporarily age-deprived. Crib sheets abound, the range of abilities is very wide indeed, and about one song in ten is traditional.

From comments by Will and theleveller, among others, I gather Chorlton's not the only club like this. It's certainly not dying - it's looking good for years to come. But if a stranger asked me where they could hear folk music around here, it wouldn't be the first place I'd mention.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:26 AM

Betsy - Even worse than the music stands is the A4 sheet of paper held up between the singer and the audience , so that the singer is singing to the word sheet and not to the rest of the room !


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:30 AM

this weekend i went to a real romany get together, with real romany singers and players, bum notes, out of tune singing

I'd much rather have been at the gathering "romany man" was at than any professional's concert. And it looks like a few million people agree with me

Jack let me ask you this, would this have been as much fun if they hadn't been romanies? Because I can find you plenty of places where singers and players can all do bum notes and out-of-tune singing. With ease. And what is more - they will be delighted if you do the same. IT makes them feel wanted.

And I have told you ten million times don't exaggerate.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:31 AM

Just to clarify, the rise in amateurishness and the influx of younger people are two different things - the younger performers who've turned up recently range from 'good' up to 'give this man a recording contract'.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:50 AM

Folkiedave, folk clubs are folk clubs and concerts are concerts. Different things with different pleasures. Countless times I've heard someone in concert and thought "Very nice, but it would be so much nicer to hear them in a folk club." and then been proved right when we booked them.

the "here is a song I only wrote this morning so I may not sing it right" syndrome

and other mythical beasts like the "John Lennon impersonator", "the teenage diary singer" and "the song strangler" who apparently dominate all the folk clubs in the land except the ones I go to. OK, I'm sure they exist but perhaps they are the price you have to pay for hearing J who turns the interpretation of Child ballads into a labour of love and S who, in her sixties, sings like an angel and looks like a young girl as she does so. Then there's M who has only been singing in public for two or three years and, yes, he was a bit shaky when he first started and still has a limited repertoire but his voice has matured wonderfully. He had a cake at the club on his eightieth birthday. None of these have ever been near a concert stage.

And then there's the satisfaction of seeing the Folk Prom at the Albert Hall on the telly and thinking "We gave that bloke his first solo booking and I've seen that other chap perform a few feet in front of me with no PA in front of an audience of fifty."

Not to forget N who remembers the singers in his grandparents' Sussex pub when he was a child and now turns up with his eleven year old grandson who sings and plays banjo.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to write this. It's helped me realise just how much I value folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Acorn4
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:56 AM

With reference to the chap who reads Les Barker poems.

Les actually normally reads his own from the books, and is ,of course, hilarious.

I think this is a question of timing rather than whether you read from a sheet or not.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:58 AM

Ariving late at this thread I am alarmed that some posters (and by the identity of them)who are citing that the basic folk club rules, those employed by successful folk clubs since the movement began, are to blame for this vaunted demise. "Please regulate your visits to the bar or toilet to in between songs/tunes. Please do not talk while someone is singing/playing." simply come under the folk club manners debate. Surely no point is so academic that it can't wait until the end of the song and in the case of loud bands, where no order exists, only encourage those who feel this way to "whisper" all the louder. I had to battle to hear Edward 11 the other week against some gobshite who was intent on bellowing to his mate and their partners throughout part of the gig.
As a member of the organisation of a traditionally based folk club, which will celebrate its eighteenth birthday in February I would have been deeply embarrassed had any of our residents or regular performers presented themselves in the manner that Faye describes as we have all been around the scene long enough to know what standards are acceptable.
In my experience it has been they type of folk club that cares niether for good order or high standards that goes to the wall the quickest; hopefully those clubs who are interested in their audience and treat them and the music with the respect that it deserves will be the ones to survive as we old organisers get ever older.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 08:03 AM

sorry - the type of folk club.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 08:13 AM

"You know you're getting old when you start to say
I wonder what's the matter with the kids today."

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: RamblinStu
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 08:15 AM

Folk Clubs are in general run by well meaning well intentioned people who put a lot of time and effort into offering an invaluable service to Folk Music.

But

There are some clubs out there that are, to put it mildly, awful. These are the clubs, usually run by some blinkered old folkie who insists they know what "Real" folk music is, and often discourage other musical styles.
More importantly, these people have forgotten that they should be providing entertainment. An entertainment that should attract an audience, not a small collection of fellow performers, who sit in silence, listening to someone murder a song, again.. and again..and then praise them….

Folk clubs will die out if standards are poor and they fail to attract, and keep, a wider audience. It is no use clubs relying upon "names" to attract an audience. If that club can't provide the proper support for the "Name" then that audience is lost to the club.

Finally it is very easy for me to criticise, and I am the first to admit that I couldn't organise any function in a brewery, so I do have admiration for those who run folk clubs, but let's try to raise the standards and give folk music the status it truly deserves

Stuart Pendrill


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 08:16 AM

And sessions is sessions and singarounds are singarounds.

The OP went to a folk club to see a band and paid good money. She got as she described it:

First a selection of floor singers ambled on and after the usual false starts ("oops- a bit high; I'll try that again", etc.- haven't these people ever heard of pitch pipes?) a singer came on who stumbled to the end of the first verse of her chosen song, then forgot the rest and had to be helped through it by members of the audience. As she sat down, to cries of "Well done" and "We got there in the end", one of my friends whispered to me "People actually PAY to listen to this???" in astonishment

If that did not reperesent folk clubs I have been to then I would have contradicted her as Dick Miles has done and said generalising from the particular. I disagree with Dick, that descrition is far too common.

I am happy to give people chances; but I would prefer them to sing in tune and know the words to the songs they are singing. Especially when they have written them themselves.

Is that really too much to ask?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Joe G
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 08:18 AM

Just to add my tuppenceworth (or slightly more than), the editor of our local folk magazine, Tykes News, asked a little while ago about the apparent decline of the folk club and I replied as follows:

This is an issue that concerns me as I am sure it does anyone who remembers the great days in the 70' & early 80's (and presumably before but I wasn't around then!) when clubs were full and the atmosphere was buzzing (at least it was in my native north east). We still have some great nights but all too often the enjoyment of a great performer or group is diluted by the fact that one has to sit through some dreadful (and I make no apologies for using the word) floor singers.
Don't get me wrong here, I believe the folk club is an essential place for young and/or inexperienced singers and musicians to get some exposure and build up confidence. I enjoy singarounds at festivals though I must confess I rarely attend these at clubs. I've heard some stars of the future make their first hesitant steps in clubs but I've also sat through renditions of tiresome songs by people who simply cannot sing and should have realised, or been told, by now. What I find inexcusable is that, having paid a reasonable sum to see a favourite artist, I have to listen to people who plainly have no talent at all for performance eating into the main artist's time on stage. I would dearly love to perform my own music in front of people but I am well aware that I have no aptitude for performing live, due to an appalling lack of sense of rhythm (just ask anyone who has danced with me!) and would not presume to foist myself upon an audience.
At a recent club night I attended, which heavily featured the aforesaid talentless floorsingers and a deeply drab venue, I suspect that there was there was nobody under the age of 40. Yet youth in abundance is evident at many relatively traditional festivals and at events such as the Demon Barber Sessions in Bradford. We need to get these people, and others, into the clubs. With the large number of other attractions on offer, particularly in the urban parts of our area, this is going to be an uphill task.
I believe, though I suspect there will be several who will disagree (!), that there needs to be a change in format of many clubs to have some form of quality control and limit on number of floor singers on guest nights. Maybe adopting the Topic's and other clubs' approach of having regular featured support acts is the answer. This would give you some confidence that, having dragged yourself away from the comfort of your CD collection, you are likely to have a good night out and not a rollercoaster ride from the sublime to the sometimes, frankly, ridiculous.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 08:23 AM

Dave - I agree that politeness and respect for the artists is very important. On this same visit there were two chaps stood chatting at the bar throughout the second set - now THAT was bloody annoying and wanted a telling off. But there's a certain kind of stultifying reverence that can be the opposite outcome, where even a few whispered words during tuning up are met by an OTT response from one or two of the "gatekeepers". Maybe it's something to do with so many folkies being school teachers (she said, tongue firmly in cheek...)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 08:33 AM

We have plenty of folk clubs here in North America, but with just a few exceptions they follow a very different model than in the United Kingdom. What North American clubs generally do is have entirely separate evenings for featured guest artists. These are actual concerts, and depending upon the size of the audience, they can be in someone's house, a church, a school auditorium, or even a small concert hall. There may be an opening act, possibly a talented club member, but there are usually not any floor singers as in the UK. The clubs then have other evenings for members, and these can be singarounds, pub sings, jam sessions, house parties, or whatnot. This separation addresses the issue raised aboved.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 08:40 AM

Folkiedave

I am happy to give people chances; but I would prefer them to sing in tune and know the words to the songs they are singing. Especially when they have written them themselves.

Is that really too much to ask?


Nope and in my experience, it's what you get. I think you may be going to the wrong clubs.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Essex Girl
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 09:10 AM

The club that I am involved in running will accept any singer/musician of any age (we have had some excellent young musicians recently), and/or talent. We have a great variety of music, not all to my taste but that would apply at any club folk or otherwise. However we do draw the line when we have a paid guest and only invite a couple of our regular floor singers who can sing/play reasonably well and will not forget the words. I have heard a few moans on these occasions (why can't we have a spot? etc etc) but we feel that a paying audience and the guest deserves the best we can supply.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 09:17 AM

Edinburgh Folk Club seems to have a pretty successful formula - no floor spots at all, instead there is a support act (or sometimes two) who have practiced a bit.   (The support act is usually a dreadfully dull singer-songwriter with a sidekick, but they are dependably competent and probably appeal to the sort of person who likes that sort of thing. At least they don't go on too long). Leith Folk Club does the same thing. They don't need to have floor spots since there are plenty of other session/singaround/open-mike venues in the area.

Their audience is about as old as those other posters are describing, though. Younger people go to a more heterogeneous range of venues - the session or open-mike scenes for participants, and for listeners, "alternative" clubs like Out of the Blue, the Bongo Club, the Forest Cafe. I'm not sure we have a generic name for those yet. Typically they don't run two successive events are in the same format and genre, though organizers may set up a series of events, like the regular "Balkanarama" things (Balkan concert with food and Balkan disco).


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 09:31 AM

No wonder its 'dying' As a young type person I don't even know exactly what a folk club is...or what its for... All I know is it gets a lot of debate on here.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 09:49 AM

hi LDT,just keep fingering your buttons and squeezing your box.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 10:03 AM

hi LDT,just keep fingering your buttons and squeezing your box.
oo-er! *shocked face*


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Chris Green
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 10:32 AM

I've mentioned this in another thread, but since I think it's germane to the point that Folkiedave raised, I'll reiterate it here if no-one minds.

The lack of young (ie - under 40) organisers is something that's been raised several times on this forum. You can't throw a stick at festivals these days without hitting virtuoso teenagers (about which I'm certainly not complaining!) and as far as young performers go, I think there's an embarrassment of talent out there. What there isn't are people of a similar age running venues.

Accordingly I decided a couple of months ago to put my money where my mouth is and this week Maudslay Thursday opens its doors for the first time. Our policy is to put on the best artists we can afford and instead of the floor spots system we'll have three resident bands who will take it in turns to fill the support slot and who will also get paid for their efforts. The room seats up to 150 people, the pub does Bombardier, Pedigree and a couple of guest ales and there'll be proper light and sound. A couple of people have sniffed and said things along the lines of 'well, it's not a folk club if you don't have floor spots' but in my defence, all I've tried to do is put on some really good music in pleasant surroundings! I also happen to think that if you're charging £10 a ticket, it's an insult to your audience not to impose some kind of quality control over what you ask them to listen to.

All we need now, however, is that audience, so if you're stuck in Coventry with nothing to do on a Thursday night (a ghastly notion, I admit) then nip down and see if it's your bag. We're also having a raffle, the prize for which will be two free tickets to every concert in 2009.

Hope to see you there

Chris Green (aged 31)
Maudslay Thursday


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 10:55 AM

Great stuff Chris - I wish you the very best for your venture. Anyone who tries to put on live music, of whatever kind, in a pub setting gets my vote. My only comment would be: you might want to try a little variety if you're going to recycle the same three bands on a weekly basis. But who am I to butt in - the best of luck, and I hope it goes well! Keep it live...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 10:57 AM

Whoops - I see it's monthly!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Chris Green
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 10:58 AM

Hi Will

Good point and one that had crossed my mind! However, the club only runs once a month and a couple of the acts we've got don't want a support at all, so each band is only doing two or three supports a year, so hopefully it won't get too samey!

Thanks for the good wishes

Chris


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Chris Green
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 10:58 AM

Crossposted! Oops!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Marje
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:02 AM

I do know what you mean, Faye. I've seen the very type of embarrassing performance you describe. I've also been to club evenings where all the floor spots were of a good-to-excellent standard - it all depends largely on who turns up.

And that, of course, is at once the weakness and the strength of many UK folk clubs. They like to be "inclusive" and kind to people (this is the point you were making, Leadfingers) and this is why many of them tolerate second-rate or downright dreadful performers as well as those that are good or promising.

The trouble is, of course, that it may be perceived as being kind to Fred - with his feeble voice, his out-of-tune guitar and his music stand - to give him a spot, but it's NOT kind to the rest of the audience to expect them to sit through Fred mumbling his way through the same two songs, with the wrong chords, in a key he can't sing in, yet again. And before someone says that Fred has to start somewhere, I'll reply that "Fred" (apologies to any real Freds out there!) is typically about 55 and has been performing like this ever since he realised, about 20 years ago, that he wasn't going to make it as a rock singer.

I'm not sure it's even in Fred's best interests to allow him to continue like this - isn't it rather patronising to pretend it's OK when it's not? If might be kinder for someone to suggest a few ways in which he could polish up his performance, and encourage him to stop deluding himself. It would certainly be kinder to the audience.

I'm not talking about novice singers who are just a tad nervous. And I'm not talking about the occasional slip-up - we've all seen experienced professionals stumble on their words or do a quick key-change betwteen verses. I'm talking about consistently sloppy, lazy and inadequate performances from people who are old enough to know better.

So I think you've every right, Faye, to feel angry and embarrassed when a club lets you down in this way. I hope any club organisers reading your comments will perhaps look a bit more critically at what they're asking people to pay to hear, and be a bit more selective, particularly when there's a professional guest singer or band.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:12 AM

BEGIN RANT

God this thread has my hackles up.

Faye - I am a new folkie and grateful for every experience I get. I appreciate even those who "hack" their way through songs. A pit into which I have fallen more than once and expect to do again.

I'll close with a personal message to any singer who thinks that it's OK to stand up in public and hack his/her way through a song without learning and rehearsing it properly first: YOU'RE WASTING MY TIME AND MY MONEY! GET IT RIGHT OR STAY IN THE AUDIENCE!

Well that statement (bellowed as it was in part) is enough to put off any new folkie who maybe "hacking through songs" for various reasons including nerves, or having come perfectly prepared to sing to see their planned pieces done by someone else before their turn comes and so are forced to go with less practised ones.

You mentioned age. So what if ability to remember lyrics is fading? You in your precocious 30's surely knows better than us dinosaurs, right? You wait! The time is coming when someone will be saying the same unkind things about you.

Before I took up folk music I sang with a pop covers band........... but I've never seen a band of this type stop halfway through "Dancing Queen" and ask the audience how the next verse goes.

Well good for you. A semi-professional and we all now bow to your expertise. But singing in a cover band to a paying audience is a completely different animal to the informal setting that is the Folk Club. If you have, as you say, been visiting clubs for a while now then you should have known what it might be like prepared your friends accordingly. Seems to me this rant is about you being embarrassed in front of your friends.

I have been reading on the Mudcat only a short time and the theme of ridiculous expectations placed on folk hobbyists is a surefire killer of the club. Kill the club and you will kill the music.

Floor singers are dues paying members of the club and entitled to their slot. If you don't like it then stay the frig away. Set up your own club and good luck to you in running it exactly as you wish. If you are successful then more power to you. But don't be surprised if it dies the death due to tyrannical organisation.

Be careful you don't destroy the very thing you wish to nurture. Those expectaions may scare away the old and new folk.

Betsy - Why not try reducing (personally I'd ban them) the use of music stands and crib sheets by performers.
Perhaps it would assist in removing a certain type of performer who seems to upset some of the subscribers.


This is intolerance and exclusivity. Only perfect singers need apply! You must meet certain criteria to join this club. Might as well join a fundamental religion or extreme politcal party. Folk terrorists.

Yet the "standards" brigade tell us that we are killing the music.

Right on Richard Bridge.

END RANT!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:14 AM

I've also been to just the sort of duff evening described by Faye - though composed totally of floor singers (£2 on the door) at a weekly club "not a million miles from me" - as I've said in other posts. I've also been to many excellent clubs.

The point is that the thread title is "Why folk clubs are dying" - and we've seen from the very varied replies that you can't draw a general conclusion from a particular example. Whatever they might be in terms of attitude, content and standards, they're certainly flourishing in many parts of the country.

The ironic fact is that in my oft-quoted example of the club "not a million miles from me", although I personally think the standard at this place is crap and the evenings often tedious in the extreme, it's packed out each week! Whether you think this to be a Good Thing or a Bad Thing, there it is - large as life.

Quod Erat is not necessarily Demonstrandum...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:23 AM

"put off any new folkie who maybe "hacking through songs"

But don't forget folk music isn't just about the performers - it's also about the listeners.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:27 AM

"Betsy - Why not try reducing (personally I'd ban them) the use of music stands and crib sheets by performers.
Perhaps it would assist in removing a certain type of performer who seems to upset some of the subscribers.

This is intolerance and exclusivity."

Of course it isn't anything like that! It's merely asking for a bit of respect for the audience who have also paid their dues.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:28 AM

Guess I should mention that clubs fade away in part due to aging membership, but also due to pubs unwilling to cater to that aging clientele.

More and more pubs are turning into watering holes for Yoof, who only want popular music and a place to get stinking drunk. Who can blame the pub owners? They are in business to make money.

Since there are fewer folk clubs they are farther afield from would be members. Not stumbling home distance any more. So those who were once and would be still folking are not any longer. No designated drive, high petrol prices on pension or no bus service late on week nights. All these things contribute to the death of the folk club.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:32 AM

I am about to do what I hate others doing..... replying before reading all.
I read the first message and thought "well a bit strong but fairly accurate"
Then I read the first reply, and for me that says it all. We go to CLUBS, we are FRIENDS, we enjoy each others company. I get far more enjoyment from being in the company of a friend as they do their best as a less than perfect performer than I ever get watching a polished performance from a "stranger".

The Club I am helping with now, (Newport, Isle of Wight) is still in its infancy but we already have a strong Club feel. We don't charge entry or book stars but by heck we enjoy our evenings. All this under the banner of Traditional Folk and Sea songs.
Now I'll go and read the rest of the thread, see you later!!!!

Andy


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:38 AM

Faye Roche: you say you perform professionally in folk clubs. Under the name Faye Roche, or do you have another name?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:39 AM

Thank you VT. I would add that both VT and I do (separately) practice, tune, seek to improve, research our respective songs and in some cases their history (and we are in no way associated save through acquaintance) and have been told that we are not too bad (indeed in some cases people have been kinder to us than that)

But we are not prepared to have some self-important pillock (or pillockless) tell us we are not good enough for them. It's not an exam. It's not a driving test.

Ironically, some of them are even worse than we are...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:45 AM

Here in our area, a very few coffee houses may be found which encourage live music. Entertainers such as Jewel have sprung from the local coffee house scene, but one could hardly label them folk singers. Most of the folk music I have heard in the past few years has been at annual events, such as the Adams Avenue Roots Music Festival, where performers come from far and wide to sing and put on clinics and share stories and songs at several venues, indoors and out, in one of our older neighborhoods. Such festivals represent an endangered species, since money must be raised to continue support. Most of the music is free to the public.

I'm very much a product of the 1950's and early 1960's coffee house scene on the west coast. I loved the opportunity we had, then, to try and fail in front of mostly supportive and forgiving local audiences. Some of us pursued music more seriously and some of us even had some modest success on "the coffee house circuit." But, those days and those venues belong to another time. I still love the music, and the memories. But, as Thomas Wolfe has said, "You can't go home again."


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gedi
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:47 AM

"No, participative music is not dead yet. And Simon Cowell will kill it before we do." - Well said Richard.

I live in Old Trafford, Manchester, and as Pip Radish has pointed out there is the Chorlton FC which has a very eclectic range of performers, some of whom are admittedly a bit dubious, but many of whom are very good.

Then there is the excellent Beech Singaround (again in Chorlton) where more traditional songs (and music) can be enjoyed to a generally high standard, and which has just celebrated its 1st Birthday.

And more recently there is the Sale FC which again has a wide range of musical types, much American material in evidence, again all to a fairly high standard. This club has been going for about 3 months or so now and is a good night out.

All these are within a couple of miles of where I live so as far as I'm concerned Folk Music (in it's widest sense) is certainly not dying, but thriving.

And long may it continue.....

I think that with Folk, as with many things in life, it pays to 'shop around'.

Ged


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:48 AM

>>But we are not prepared to have some self-important pillock (or pillockless) tell us we are not good enough for them. It's not an exam. It's not a driving test.<<

Maybe not, but it is a judgement of you. Did you get an explanation why you were not good enough for them?
What people think of themselves, does not mean other people have to agree.

Normally, it boils down to the style of the performer not suiting the style of the club.

We alll know how so often people say that somebody is crap, but really mean "I don't like that style of singing or music or something like that"


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:52 AM

put off any new folkie who maybe "hacking through songs"

Good. So they should be deterred from practising in public. Don't play out till you can should be Rule No 1 out of respect for (a) the music and (b) the punters.

singing in a cover band to a paying audience is a completely different animal to the informal setting that is the Folk Club

No, it bloody isn't.

The mistake lies with that horrific,patronising word "folkie" (yeuk) in the first quote. Substitute "aspiring musician". Beginning to get it?
Duelling Bouzouki's new venue is an example of the way to go. Hope it turns out well.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:02 PM

Virginia,
I was fascinated by your rant - perhaps you might advise.
How would you suggest we, as audience, react to a singer who can't hold a tune and can't remember words without holding a crib sheet, and so is incapable of interpreting a song because they have to read it?
What sets me on a rant are people who are determined to have their five-minutes-of-fame in spite of the effect is has on the audience, the club or the music - am I being 'exclusive'?
.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:09 PM

Duelling Bouzouki's new venue is an example of the way to go.

Sounds great if you want to pay concert prices to see established acts. (That's not meant sarcastically - it does sound great, and I'd be happy to support a similar venture round here.) But it surely isn't the way to go, unless you wanted to carve the amateurs out of the folk scene completely - and if you did, where would the next lot of professionals come from?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Chris Green
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:15 PM

You're right, of course, Pip. There's space for everything. But the reason I decided to go down this particular route is that the local area already has lots of sessions, singarounds and folk clubs where you can go and see local singers and musicians, a lot of whom are excellent. What there wasn't was what I'll call for the sake of argument a 'concert club'.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:19 PM

carve the amateurs out of the folk scene completely

Well, that's not what I said, nor do I think Chris implied it.
These "aspiring musicians" (who will become tomorrow's professionals) need to keep on practicing in the shower, their bedrooms and then in sessions / singarounds. In short, until they are good enough to stand up in front of a paying public.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:20 PM

If you have, as you say, been visiting clubs for a while now then you should have known what it might be like prepared your friends accordingly. Seems to me this rant is about you being embarrassed in front of your friends.
Well, for me it certainly is. I would love the average folk club to be the sort of place one could take a friend and have them pleasantly surprised, even delighted, by what they found. But I have to confess that I'd rather stick pins in my scrotum than subject my friends to some of the dire stuff that one finds at the average club.
To generalise sweepingly, folk clubs are a bloody embarrassment. Every third person is someone you have to make excuses about, "Oh so-and-so's a great singer, so do forgive...," or "she used to be brilliant, but...", or "No, really, he's doing really well, given that..." It's like introducing a perfectly normal friend to a convention of train-spotters or any other slightly obsessive-compulsive and socially-inept hobbyists. You really don't want to do it.

Perhaps we have two parallel universes here - in one the clubs are all grand, every singer is pitch perfect and nowt's wrong with the world, and in the other one finds sort of clubs that Faye mentioned and that I've encountered. In my universe the folk clubs are going the way of the skiffle clubs, and - sad though it may be for those who actually like to sing and play - I think that's a good thing. There are too many talentless old bores who regard themselves as 'keepers of the holy flame of folk', and the sooner their cold dead hands are prized from the torch the better.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Chris Green
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:20 PM

Oop, posted before I'd finished!

What I was going to say is that I don't think folk clubs are dying, I just think the term is becoming increasingly meaningless. Or perhaps that it's taken on too many meanings - to some people it's an evening of traditional music where people take it in turns to sing unaccompanied songs, to some it's a gig where you go and see a band or singer, to some it's an open mike in a city centre pub where you get people with guitars belting out 60s pop songs.

I have nothing against any of these things. But I do think lumping them all in under the term 'folk club' is a bit misleading, as they're all utterly different and will attract different types of audience (or participants).


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:22 PM

Ok so now I've started at the end without reading all.
Dueling B is, it seems, maintaining the balance that surely we need. In an area luckily rich in sessions and singarounds a concert type venue should do well, and good luck.
I shouldn't respond to Diane E, but how is she always so wrong? Ah yes, she practises.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: John Routledge
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:24 PM

Thanks Gervase. I always wondered why I never took friends out for a night in a folk club.:0(


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:32 PM


The Club I am helping with now, (Newport, Isle of Wight) is still in its infancy but we already have a strong Club feel. We don't charge entry or book stars but by heck we enjoy our evenings. All this under the banner of Traditional Folk and Sea songs.


I cannot imagine that would be a problem to the original poster.

You can also raise money by raffles, collections, selling fund raising scratch type cards or whatever. You don't even have to raise money if you don't want. Plenty of sessions and sing arounds don't.

She was objecting to paying good money to see rubbish. And I don't blame her.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:39 PM

A person on the Isle of Wight is trying to tell me I'm "wrong".
I was addressing the issue raised by the OP of shelling out to listen to shit.
The OP was quite specific that she did not mean a singaround complete with bowline hauling and Ranzoing which has free entrance (or possibly from which you need to pay to exit.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:43 PM

Not to be immodest, Villan, but people don't tell me or VT that we are not good enough. Indeed sometimes the reverse.

But whether they do or whether they don't they don't ahve that right.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:48 PM

"lumping them all in under the term 'folk club' is a bit misleading"

First prize to Chris for the understatement of 2008!

Half the people responding to the OP are applying Singaround Club ethics to Concert Club standards.

There is a half-way house - the Guest Club, and the club movement was built on it - but it only works it the organisers are willing to be tactful but firm.

Luckily there are hundreds of unsung heroes out there who run the gauntlet week after week to maintain that delicate balance.

The rest are happy further to sit further out towards one end of the seesaw or the other.

But I think that across the UK there does seem to be long term trend developing. The balance seems to be tipping towards the 'participation ethos' side (with it's downside of ghettoisation), which must impact on the 'application of standards' side (with it's downside of exclusion).

If so, then 'Guest Clubs,' if not Singaround Clubs or Concert Clubs, are indeed dying. And if they die, then maybe the other two will eventually ossify too (I explain why in my forthcoming, lengthy article in Living Tradition)

There may be life in the old dog, but only as long as the old dog lives.

Meanwhile - how about we all try to move half-way towards the other guy's position for once, and see if we can come up with some practical suggestions?

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:49 PM

If anyone is expected to fork out many to hear something, then they have a right either to hear a competent rendition or to call is shite if it is.
As has been said by many people, if you're going to bugger a song it should only be done in private and between consenting adults.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:50 PM

Sorry about the typos below - cold hands and a keyboard clogged with clag don't help.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:55 PM

perhaps folk clubs should hand out bags of rotten fruit and veg
as the audience pay up and enter..
that'd encourage positive audience interaction
with wilfully shite [coz its their 'right'],
or sad deluded, 'outsider art' singers and musicians..

Debate the theories & idelogies of 'exclusivity' versus 'inclusivity' as much as you like..
lifes too short and moneys too tight
to constantly put up with rubbish nights out.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:57 PM

the way for singers/ musicians to improve is to rehearse and go to workshops etc,.
I can only speak from my own experience,which is generally[ singers at clubs where I have been guesting],and they have all been pretty good recently.
I have strong opinions about people reading words and using crib sheets[although one singer at Robin Hoods Bay ,did give a good rendition while surreptiously using a crib sheet].
nobody is forced to go to a particular club,there are generally choices,so why not let all the shit performers congregate together,and let others go elsewhere[just joking].
seriously,it is up to performers who expect to make money out of clubs to put something back in,one floor spot once a month by competent performers,would go some way to improving standards.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: goatfell
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:59 PM

well I sing with the song words infront of me, because I use it as an aid that is all, I know the song, but when you're in front of people you sometimes get nervous and you either forget the tune or the words and sometimes both, and when I'm really nervious I just don't sing because I just don't feel right, so maybe I'm wating your money and time but no asked you to come to the folk club did they, so it is your choice and not theirs or mine.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Nick
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 01:02 PM

FolkieDave - My point is that when I was involved in running a folk club everyone else was about 23-26 years of age and so were all the organisers of all the other folk clubs and festivals I went to. (Except the National)

Not sure when that was. When I was at University in the 1970's the Folk Club was very well attended and full of young people (perhaps because it was a university to state the obvious). I dare say that a number of people involved at that time then went on and continued their involvement as they had got an interest. The 1970's interest no doubt looked back to the folk boom in the 1960's.

I'm sure that there are a group of people who have been involved all the way through but I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't people of a similar age to me (I'm mid 50s) who have growing children or grown children, have some time on their hands and an interest in music; I play in a rock band too but that is a lot to do with my son's interest in music and a group of friends who are somewhat younger than me, but I still have my interest in acoustic music and my concept of what folk music is (sorry all let's not go there again...) and it's easier to start a 'folk club' or acoustic thing than get a rock thing going.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 01:25 PM

Hi Richard
I have no doubt you are good, but you know what the folkie world is like.
If they don't like you, you are crap.

Les


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Musket
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 01:28 PM

I got up in the late '70s for the first time and was given a polite round of applause.

All was well till I did a set in somewhere other than a folk club. Nearly made me stop performing. I had been in a rock band or two as a guitarist before folk clubs, but folk clubs made me think people actually liked my songs.

So... Folk clubs are great in that anybody can get a polite audience for their attempts at being outwardly artistic, and they are good places for that if for no other reason.

They are not the best apprenticeship for entertaining per se though. Far too polite!

The average age is keeping track with calendars though. Pot replaced by sanatogen and what does the future hold?

Err.. Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy, Spiers & Bowden etc etc etc.

Something must be right? Not everybody in UK folk started by trying to change the world in the early '60s.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 01:45 PM

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Nick_ - PM
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 01:02 PM

[....]

Not sure when that was


I first started going to folk clubs in about 1962 (19 years of age) inspired by CND marches and I wanted to hear more political songs.

When I went to my first folk club (memory starting to fade here) it was one of Harry Boardman's clubs in Manchester and they were singing "traditional" music. A couple of years later I moved to Hull and went to the local folk club. The previous organisers had just turned professional and a committee had been formed. I helped put the chairs out - so I became part of it.

And despite my boyish good looks and distinguished grey beard (well designer stubble) I am over 65.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:10 PM

But, is Faye, comparing like with like,was she paid to perform her competent pop crap?if she was,she is comparing herself to Amateurs who play/sing for the craic/fun.
ok, so there was an admission charge,but there was presumably a guest /guest band,were they not worth the admission charge,were they incompetent?or were they not to her taste?
how much was the charge?
The strength of the folkscene has always been that it is a place where perfomers learn their trade/
Barbara Dickson,Paul Simon,Long John Baldry,Bob Dylan,Roy Harper all learnt the art of performing on the folk club circuit.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:17 PM

Ooh heck, don't mention poor Barbara Dickson....or all hell may break loose.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:28 PM

...too late!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Effsee
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:36 PM

Why is that Lizzie? She sure ain't poor! http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/spectrum/Welcome-to-my-world-.4786497.jp


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:36 PM

"But whether they do or whether they don't they don't have that right. "
Sing in public and es they do - you don't like criticism, stay at home and sing in the bath.
NO PERFORMER IS ABOVE CRITICISM - NO MATTER HOW GOOD THEY BELIEVE THEMSELVES TO BE
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:45 PM

Jim - How would you suggest we, as audience, react to a singer who can't hold a tune and can't remember words without holding a crib sheet, and so is incapable of interpreting a song because they have to read it?

How about with patience and tolerance? I mean there but for the grace of (insert your favourite supreme being here) go any of us. Talented and un, well rehearsed and not, lucky and un.

A folk club should not be a bloody fraternity. What's next? Hazings?

Can you sing and / or play up to "OUR" specs?
Is your repertoire to "OUR" tastes?
Are you entertaining enough for "OUR" group?

"WE" don't care if you love what you sing.
"WE" don't care about your content as much as your form?
"WE" do care if you make "US" look good or bad.


To anyone else who is interested -

Nobody is going to tell me the lovely older (and I do mean old) gentleman in my club should not be there, because he doesn't play his banjo very well or forgets a lyric now and then. Or that another bloke shouldn't be there because month in month out he sings the same few songs, especially when eveyone loves singing along with him. Or the lady who self-admittedly does not sing very well but writes and performs the most touching and compelling poems about growing up in a coal mining town. Or that I shouldn't be there because I am a Yank singing traditional English songs, when so many of my English fellow members sing Americana.

Don't confuse a sad desire for five minutes of fame with a shared deep abiding love of singing and playing music of a certain vein. It is a place where we hope to be accepted regardless of talent, ability, stage presence, simply because we love what we are doing.

Diane - responding to issues raised by OP of shelling out to listen to shit

If non members decide to attend a unknown club because they have an interest in a paid guest performer that is fine. They paid to see the guest. They got their monies worth. This does not give them the right to complain about the abilities and performances of any member of that club taking up other floor spots.

That is just bad manners.

Gervase - But I have to confess that I'd rather stick pins in my scrotum than subject my friends to some of the dire stuff that one finds at the average club.
To generalise sweepingly, folk clubs are a bloody embarrassment. Every third person is someone you have to make excuses about, "Oh so-and-so's a great singer, so do forgive...," or "she used to be brilliant, but...", or "No, really, he's doing really well, given that..." It's like introducing a perfectly normal friend to a convention of train-spotters or any other slightly obsessive-compulsive and socially-inept hobbyists. You really don't want to do it.


Chrissakes! Then don't! Are you telling me that second rate singers and musicians are good enough for you to sit through but not your friends? Maybe you are selling your friends short? Why do you go? Is there not something that draws you? Makes it worth your while? How do you know it wouldn't be the same for friends?

p.s. thanks RB for backing me.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:52 PM

By all means tell me I'm crap, Jim. I'll probably agree (but some don't). Or I might tell you you're rude. Don't tell me I'm not allowed.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:55 PM

"NO PERFORMER IS ABOVE CRITICISM - NO MATTER HOW GOOD THEY BELIEVE THEMSELVES TO BE"

And thus speaks a former member of the Critics. Agree or not, but I think you're unlikely to change his mind. :)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Nick
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:58 PM

>>But, is Faye, comparing like with like,was she paid to perform her competent pop crap?

Competent pop crap. No judgements there then.

>>if she was,she is comparing herself to Amateurs who play/sing for the craic/fun. The strength of the folkscene has always been that it is a place where perfomers learn their trade/

Have you changed sides on this argument, Dick? It's not a flame but an observation; and I temper it with saying that your behaviour in folk clubs to those who don't come up to the standards that you would LIKE are exemplary (by your admission and others confirmation)

but

I could have sworn you presented a diametrically opposite view on the long Folk Manners thread * (see below - I hate to quote people but it did seem rather clear; it's much like my wife reminding me of things - when I do it is in entirety) - ie at a paid gig you shouldn't be presented with rubbish. I'm often wrong so I may have misunderstood. Alternatively Damascus arrives to many in the strangest places.

I thought that Faye went along with friends and it was crap and you should expect more. And I thought that you were saying the same thing.

>>Barbara Dickson,Paul Simon,Long John Baldry,Bob Dylan,Roy Harper all learnt the art of performing on the folk club circuit.

I didn't think this lot were folk performers and they all came from those roots but let's not go there again (eg first chapter of Dylan's Chronicles Vol 1)


* this is the problem,if clubs allow large numbers of extremely bad singers,[tone deaf,unable to hold a key],without offering workshops,the singers will not improve,the club will suffer,and the music will suffer,in as much as it will not be an enticement to listeners because the standard is awful.
if I was running a club,I would allow singers providing their instruments were in tune,they could hold a key for the length of a song,that is a pretty low standard,I do not expect amateurs to be as good as professionals.
I prefer if they didnt use word sheets,particularly on guest nights,a goal for new singers to aim towards,to try and work hard to memorise one song for a guest night,its not asking much is it?
if they dont want to do this then they dont sing on a guest night,people pay more money on guest nights,so its not unreasonable to expect a better standard.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Captain Swing
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:00 PM

Richard Bridge
I was trying to say that traditional music will only develop as part of a culture and within that culture. In that sense, it remains truly contemporary.

Sadly, so many people in the folk clubs seem intent on keeping the tradition preserved as it was, or they think it was, at the turn of the last century or whatever. They are effectively killing the tradition.

Perhaps that's incompatible with my screen name, but who cares? Don't know who you think I am though?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:01 PM

On the contrary.

It is bad manners as well as being disrespectful to the music and to paying punters to put on a poor performance.
As Jim Carroll says, do your tuneless singing in the bathroom and duff playing in the bedroom until to are fit to sing or play out.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:05 PM

Are you telling me that second rate singers and musicians are good enough for you to sit through but not your friends? Maybe you are selling your friends short? Why do you go? Is there not something that draws you? Makes it worth your while? How do you know it wouldn't be the same for friends?
Good point!
I suppose because I've got more than 30 years' exposure to such things, so it doesn't come as a shock to me, and because there still burns a small ember of hope in my breast that, on the rare occasions when I do go to a club now, it will confound my expectations. It's not something I'd inflict on friends.
Interestingly, my wife was bowled over the first time she experienced a rousing session in full swing at Chippenham, and again at Sidmouth, where the youth and energy of the Late Night Extras made her thing that folk was fantastic. Sadly she then encountered the club scene, and has now become wholly disenchanted with it - seeing traditional music as, intrinsically, a good thing, but practised by odd people. From being something we did together, it became a solitary vice.
And now, by and large, I just don't go to clubs at all.
When I lived in London I was fortunate enough to have a couple of excellent clubs that I hugely enjoyed, and the same in Buckinghamshire. They were rare oases, however, and experience has taught me that it probably isn't worth a 50-mile round trip from where I live these days to bring home to me how bad things are.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Nick
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:09 PM

Jim - I actually agree with you 100% on that one.

However I'm not sure that people understand the meaning of the word let alone how to react to it.

At the moment people are going with the 'find fault' part of the (generally accepted) definition of the word 'criticism' rather than the 'discuss the merits and...' definition.

Just goes to show that the meanings of words are only dictated by the partiality of ones view.

I can think of another word that suffers from that too but hey-ho


(nonny nonny - sorry I couldn't help it it just slipped out)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:12 PM

Possibly, those that don't make it are getting what they deserve.

Art


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:15 PM

Surely if you go out for an evening and shell out the cost of a pint to join in a social gathering of fellow amatuer enthusiasts, that's one thing. Same as going to the local Am Dram Society or Writing Group?

And if you spend a tenner to go and watch a professional act perform, that's another.

So long as the organisers make it fully clear to punters what to expect, then can't everyone enjoy what it is they choose to?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:28 PM

Music stands and crib sheets......

There was a lovely band playing outside our local supermarket tonight...of course their interpretation of the music was dreadful because they all had music stands with music one. One trumpet player even had the temerity to have a little music stand clipped to his trumpet! So of course I was outraged.

Further down the street there was a choir singing songs of the festive season. They didn't, of course, put any feeling in to what they were singing as they were too busy reading the words to give them any true musical interpretation. So of course, I was outraged.

A guy came to do a spot at our club. We should have chucked him out as he had a music stand and a crib sheet. Were outraged! Until he played and sang everyone's socks off. We were still outraged....but we asked him to do another one!

Peter


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:33 PM

The folk club is a unique institution - I'm not sure any other genre of music has anything quite like it. However there seems to be a huge difference of opinion over whether a folk club should just be a support group for the untalented or whether there should be some quest for higher standards.

Perhaps this is just looking back through rose-tinted spectacles, but when I started going to clubs in the late 1960s there did seem to be a desire to achieve an acceptable standard. But this was largely self-imposed - our own self-respect drove us to try to do better. In my recollection the organisers of the clubs I went to were very encouraging to new singers but would not hesitate to refuse you a floor spot on a guest night if you weren't up to it. Being offered a floor spot on a guest night was seen as a privilege to be aimed for, and was an incentive to get better.

It's fine to have the sort of club that VirginiaTam talks about, "where we hope to be accepted regardless of talent, ability, stage presence, simply because we love what we are doing". That can be lovely, and there's a place for it - just don't expect to hear much good music. The danger is that these sorts of clubs become polarised - the good musicians get fed up with it and go off to find other good musicians they can play with, leaving the rest to group together for comfort and mutual admiration, but with nothing to measure themselves against.

The other sort of club, which puts on guests and presents itself as some kind of entertainment, has in my opinion a duty to its audience to put on a good show. That means only the best floor singers, and if the club doesn't have anyone capable, then book a support act.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:41 PM

Diane

Would you tell the lady who delivers the heart rending songs about coal mining town of her childhhood "tunelessly" that she is not welcome? Her lyrics are amazing, powerful, not at all maudlin. Though she is no "singer" by the "standards" proving evident in this thread, her stories and performances move listeners (and me to tears in one instance).

If that is not the purest example of folk process I don't know what is? What she performs in public today will one day be traditional as it is accepted, encouraged and carried along by others following in her wake. What a loss if these songs had lain mouldering in her journal never to be heard. Is this not what the clubs should do? Encourage the process?

I am a novice here, but this concept has been taught me recently on other threads. Am I wrong?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:42 PM

Floor singers are dues paying members of the club and entitled to their slot. If you don't like it then stay the frig away. Set up your own club and good luck to you in running it exactly as you wish. If you are successful then more power to you. But don't be surprised if it dies the death due to tyrannical organisation.

RANT
Floor singers should be allowed to sing in public if they can remember words, hold a tune, and have a modicum of understanding the meaning of the words of the song so they can sing it with some sort of understanding.   

The fact they have "paid their dues" is totally irrelevant. They have succeeded in putting people off folk music and contribute to its poor media image.

Tyrannical organisation is one where people are allowed to sing regardless of quality.

END OF RANT


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:02 PM

Could some one tell me where to find a folk club where significant numbers of floor singers can't "remember words, hold a tune, and have a modicum of understanding the meaning of the words of the song so they can sing it with some sort of understanding."?

It would be worth seeing just for the novelty value.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:09 PM

Many places outside Lewes, I should imagine.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:11 PM

What I (and others) keep on bringing to your attention is that what the OP was talking about was a venue where she and her friends paid good money to see a headline act but had really crap floor spots inflicted on them, so much so that the newcomers are unlikely ever to bother again.

She did not take them to a singaround or session consisting of amateurs (not that this necessarily will or might indicate lower standards).

This means that the event was, presumably, advertised as professional entertainment. Money changed hands yet new potential supporters, far from being encouraged to return, have been repelled, not by "amateurism" but by "amateurishness". They were insulted, and rightly so and in fact robbed and cheated. Even more importantly, the music which some of us care about has been demeaned and diminished.
Should an organiser have exercised quality control? Emphatically yes.

If your woman who composers songs about her pit town has aspirations to perform them before a paying public, then your organiser should persuade her to learn how to sing her songs in tune first. And not put her on till she can.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Joybell
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:17 PM

Over a hundred years ago Flora Thompson -- "Lark Rise to Candleford" - noted the attitude of the young people to the old songs and the old singers. They were shown respect, though, even though their songs were considered old-fashioned and boring. There's a place for us all. It's not necessarily the same place at the same time.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:20 PM

The idea that anyone, good or bad, is "entitled" to their slot is part of the problem. It should be up to the club organiser(s), who in most cases are risking their own money, to decide who gets to sing.

Snail, I could have pointed you towards a number of clubs which fit that description, but as I have stayed well away from them for several years because they were so rubbish I have no idea whether they are still going. If your experience of clubs is otherwise, count yourself lucky.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:26 PM

"If non members decide to attend a unknown club because they have an interest in a paid guest performer that is fine. They paid to see the guest. They got their monies worth. This does not give them the right to complain about the abilities and performances of any member of that club taking up other floor spots."

This is one of the most interesting posts I've ever seen on the internet.

It is obviously passionately believed and for myself I can understand why. I do understand and support those who champion the idea that things like passion, participation, personal development, repertoire, and story can and often do outweigh musical ability and presentation.

But bad experience can easily outweigh good. Will people really feel they've got their money's worth if they've spent nearly half the evening being, err shall we just say, a bit uncomfortable?

It's hard to get people away from telly and merlot at the best of times.

As someone who attracts people to my mailing list from folk clubs and non-folk venues such as village halls in equal numbers, I have a particular problem.

The folk club people will not pay to see me in a non folk venue (plus some want a chance to sing or play themselves).

The non-folk people will come not come to see me in a folk club because they are not comfortable there (for various reasons, with floor spots at the top, they tell me).

Result: plenty of fans, but not enough will turn out at either gig for the job to work.

End result: not possible to be a full-time musician.

Now, Virginia Tam, you may think that's not a problem - quite a few of the people posting on this thread as it happens think 'good riddance' :-) but those people on my mailing list are quite unhappy about it.

I don't want clubs to change. But I want people like me to be able to go on doing it for real.

Is there anything we can do?

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:28 PM

"And thus speaks a former member of the Critics."
Sorry Ruth - this one's totally above my head.
The whole basis of The Critic's Group was in working on singing by criticism, analysis and suggesting ways of improvement within the confines of the group. Despite all the flak we got from outside we never took that work outside the confines of our meetings. That was the method used throughout the life of the group because it worked.
Please explain your comment.
Virginia - no suggestions as to what we do while the bad singers strut their stuff (not that I expected one); so we just lay back and think of England I suppose.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:34 PM

Think I am going to have to respectfully disagree on this. It is still a folk club and as such will have floor spots meted out to members whatever their abilities.

Most of the clubs that I've frequented, since I became interested in this music two years or so ago

By her own admission the OP knew what the potential was before she went and got embarrassed in front of her friends.

I am not happy that there is rubbish going on in clubs and I agree it does give the genre(?) poor street cred. But I can't (or maybe won't in my pollyanna way) believe it is right or good or healthy to exclude anyone (except for BNPers - but that is another thread).


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:39 PM

"..........and can't remember words without holding a crib sheet, and so is incapable of interpreting a song because they have to read it? "
Everyone who knows me, knows that I ONLY sing or verse with the words in front of me. Not a "Crib Sheet", bacause that implies cheating. From London Symphony Orchestra to Les Barker, there is a well set precedent for words/music.
To presume lack of interpretation as a natural follow on to having words is an insult. I spent many years running and attending Folk Clubs before I ever sang. I decided that the worst public failing was not getting the words out. Once the performer is seen to falter all the audience confidence is lost, they worry/feel for the performer, getting to the end. Any thought of following the story or getting into the song is lost.
If a singer is using words this at least assures the listener that there will be an end!

As for interpretation this is so much easier to perfect when the printed word is in front of you. I can also read the words of the following verse and if necesssary drop and or alter as I go along. I still have the problem occasionally of seeing the words through the emotion of some of my favourite songs.

As we can see from this thread, we all have different ideas of perfection v performance, and although some may need a humour transplant we are all singing the same song really.

Happy ******mas


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:42 PM

Jim, the point of my comment is that I assumed that music with no standards would have been anthema to the Critics Group. My impression has been that the reason the Critics believed in criticism within the group is because there was a desire to improve the general standard of folk music.

Happy to be corrected. :)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:52 PM

Jim

I did answer your question how should we react.

I replied with patience and tolerance.

If you are happy to approach poor performers to offer constructive criticism and advice and can do it kindly and spirit of helpfulness (which I guess from reading you elsewhere on the MC is the case) that is fantastic. Go ahead and do so. I would love it. RB instructs me and I am taking it on board. Slowly, but I am.

It is just Richard said. Please don't tell people they may not sing.


Tom - I wish I did have the answer to your question. All I can say is keep plugging away mate. If I was a billionaire I would make a musician's paradise, where people could make a living doing what they loved and were good at and all wanna be's could learn and hone skills without reproach.

My own planet Folk. Sigh. Then I would be the tyrant.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:56 PM

"I am not happy that there is rubbish going on in clubs and I agree it does give the genre(?) poor street cred. But I can't (or maybe won't in my pollyanna way) believe it is right or good or healthy to exclude anyone"

But you can't have it both ways. Either you exclude the rubbish, or at least confine it to occasions when it won't frighten the horses, or you have to be happy with it.

There used to be an expectation of reasonably high standards and whilst new singers would be encouraged, there was an expectation that they would try to improve. When I started out, I went to a singers club (where the standard was on the whole pretty good) and a guest club. I'm not sure the first one actually excluded anyone, but there were so many singers that anyone really poor might have to wait some time! At the second I took it for granted that I couldn't expect a floor spot on guest nights. After a while I reached a standard where the organiser would give me a spot - and I was pretty pleased with myself.

I actually don't think it's healthy to offer unqualified applause and encouragement to people who aren't any good. It gives them a false sense of their abilities and removes the incentive for them to improve. It's seen at the extreme in those deluded souls on X-Factor who've been assured by friends and family that they're wonderful and talented and end up humiliating themselves on prime-time TV.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:02 PM

I would like to add something to this debate.

As my venue is a concert environment, I need to make sure that the main guest can entertain for 2 x 45 minutes.

The support act is allowed 30 minutes. Why as an organiser would I want to put somebody on that was incapable of doing 30 minutes. I normally expect that they can at least handle 45 minutes or indeed 2 x 45 minutes. They are mainly acts that have a job and do the music in their spare time. What I would call, very good folk club performers that do it for the love of it. The other type are performers who are trying to make it on the scene, who want to platform their abilities. They still need to be competeant singer musicians.

I happen to think that if people are paying decent money to get in, the least I can do is try to make sure they enjoy the evening. They have an expectation and we should do our very best to achieve it.

However, if I go to a folk club, I take what comes and do not have an expectation as I would at my venue. I see a folk club as more of a family type environment, where people are friendly to each other and everybody is allowed to sing. I love those evenings as they have characters and there are lots of good humour and fun. My favourite is Gainsborough Folk Club.

I went to a session once,and felt so out of it, as I am not a singer or musician. It was like sitting on the outside looking in. I understand the issues with a session and have no problem with them as they do a great job for musicians. However that was the first and last time.

Back to the statement "Why Folk Clubs are dying".
I don't beleive they are. If you don't like the folk club style, you probably should be watching concerts.
Folk Clubs are all over the place, but generally have smaller groups of people attending.
I think the statement "Why Folk Clubs are dying" is put by somebody who did not take enough care about ensuring that the people they took along would enjoy that style of music.

Although I run a concert style venue that is mainly folk music, my wife and daughters don't like folk. So I go to folk music on my own. I wouldn't dream of taking somebody to a folk club, unless I was sure they would like that sort of thing.

Hope that all makes sense.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:07 PM

Gervase

Many places outside Lewes, I should imagine.

Curious that considering we have a policy of giving a floor spot to anyone who wants one.

GUEST,Howard Jones

but as I have stayed well away from them for several years

Yes, I'd noticed that's a common property of people who slag off the current state of folk clubs.

If your experience of clubs is otherwise, count yourself lucky.

Ah, but is it luck?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:13 PM

Nick ,I have not changed sides,I believe performers should rehearse before performing in public.
I am pretty tolerant towards other performers,there are only a few floor singers that I thought were so bad they shouldnt have been allowed on.
the secret is for the club to be run well,by that I mean the mc exercises some skill,by knowing who his better performers are,and after a weak performer puts on a better one*
this is the problem,if clubs allow large numbers of extremely bad singers,[tone deaf,unable to hold a key],without offering workshops,the singers will not improve,the club will suffer,and the music will suffer,in as much as it will not be an enticement to listeners because the standard is awful.
if I was running a club,I would allow singers providing their instruments were in tune,they could hold a key for the length of a song,that is a pretty low standard,I do not expect amateurs to be as good as professionals.
I prefer if they didnt use word sheets,particularly on guest nights,a goal for new singers to aim towards,to try and work hard to memorise one song for a guest night,its not asking much is it?
if they dont want to do this then they dont sing on a guest night,people pay more money on guest nights,so its not unreasonable to expect a better standard..
From: Captain Birdseye - PM
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:10 PM

But, is Faye, comparing like with like,was she paid to perform her competent pop crap?if she was,she is comparing herself to Amateurs who play/sing for the craic/fun.
ok, so there was an admission charge,but there was presumably a guest /guest band,were they not worth the admission charge,were they incompetent?or were they not to her taste?
how much was the charge?
The strength of the folkscene has always been that it is a place where perfomers learn their trade/
Barbara Dickson,Paul Simon,Long John Baldry,Bob Dylan,Roy Harper all learnt the art of performing on the folk club circuit.
NICK,I dont see where I have contradicted myself.
I do believe there should be standards,my standards are probably more tolerant than some others on this thread,but I do believe that if there are only a few bad singers and there are also good ones thats ok.
it is really up to organisers to sort this out,and to give some thought to their presentation of floor singers,however I would still prefer a night of badly performed folk songs to an evening of competent Britney Spears imitators[or whatever FAYE used to imitate],I am not overkeen on either,but one is marginally preferable to the other,its a bit like a choice beteen cold tapioca and cold semolina.
organisers , have to use discretion,folk clubs are the learning ground for novice performers,the organiser has to be able to spot people with potential who are likely to improve,and encourage them,he /she also has to note that maybe a mediocre performer,may go down well with the majority of the members because they are popular people,even if the newcomers [faye and friends] dont like the performance.,the whole shebang is a minefield,does the organiser indulge his members who support him every week,or the disenchanted newcomer.
I think he should allow a few of the not so competent regulars on a guest night,providing he has good singers to intersperse,but make it clear that on a guest night no one has a god given right to perform,but are welcome on a singers night,if there are not many good singers on the guest night,have fewer singers.
I have in the past seen ridiculous situations,where the mc has put the guest on so late,because he thought he had to accomodate floor singers ,that people have had to leave to catch last buses and trains,and the guest has had to play to a reduced audience


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:20 PM

Faye sure put the cat among the pigeons -- then took off, never to return...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:23 PM

Mr Snail, I can only conclude that you live inside that parallel universe I mentioned earlier. I have visited many folk clubs. A few are are excellent, many leave something to be desired, and some are simply dire. I do suggest you leave that little bubble of wondrousness in Sussex and walk around a bit.
If you do, I can only infer that you are a pretty undemanding sort of chap with Van Gogh's ear for music.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:40 PM

Captain Birdseye

if clubs allow large numbers of extremely bad singers

WHAAAAT?

Gervase

I have visited many folk clubs. A few are are excellent, many leave something to be desired, and some are simply dire.

So go to the good ones.

I do suggest you leave that little bubble of wondrousness in Sussex

Why? It's nice hear.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:42 PM

So go to the good ones.
I'm buggered if I'm going to give up an evening and drive maybe 50 miles on the off chance of finding a good club!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:47 PM

Gervase

I'm buggered if I'm going to give up an evening and drive maybe 50 miles on the off chance of finding a good club!

Move to Sussex.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:47 PM

I'm with Jim, Diane and The Villain on this....... if you are advertising a folk club as professional entertainment and charging people to get in they should get professional standard entertainment.



A singaround or session is a completely different thing....fun but different. Never the twain shall meet......if we want to attract a new "audience" for folk music anyway.

We've taken to having a session/ singaround AFTER the main acts at KFFC. This means on the occaisions that we have had none clubbies in they see the "professional" entertainment (usually a headline act + a good quality support) first and we can explain what happens next..... the audience has had its moneysworth and can decide for themselves if they want to stay for the informal stuff or go home.....

Seems to be working OK.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:48 PM

Move to Sussex
You couldn't afford me!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:04 PM

Banjiman

if you are advertising a folk club as professional entertainment

We aren't, we're advertising a folk club which, for as long as I can remember, has meant a mixture of floorspots and a booked guest (who may or may not be a professional).

Seems to be working OK.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:06 PM

Gervase

You couldn't afford me!

I wasn't offering you a booking.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:08 PM

Please VT - don't elevate me to any sort of guru. I just believe that folk music is important and deserves to be researched and replayed and re-arranged and enjoyed - and that we should all do it as well as we can, trying to do better, keeping life in who we are and where we come from. That does not include stopping other people from doing it.

I am deeply saddened to see one who does deserve to be a guru (at least in terms of research and scholarship) want to shut people out.

I am not surprised to see some others pour acid. They do little else.

As to the rest of you - the bulk of you - I remind you of the prayer of the Pharisee. "I thank thee Lord that I am not as others". Get over yourselves. AFAIK Martin Carthy can always find something nice or encouraging to say. 99.99% (or more) of you are not as good as he is. That includes some of you who seem to think you are. Wake up. Smell the coffee. You aren't. What qualifies you to judge others?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Stringsinger
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:13 PM

Jim Carrol,

I think the answer is two-fold. Education is the first one. People who are not exposed to
traditional folk music need to have it explained to them. The environment has to be right.

Point two, the best environment is not in a coffee house but in a small living room type
gathering where there is intimacy and NO sound system. A sound system is antithetical
to the experience of folk music. When it is introduced, then it becomes a "performance" and not representative of how folk music has traditionally been transmitted. There is nothing
wrong with this, but it is different than the atmosphere necessary to communicate folk music.

The audience must be intimately part of the experience.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:15 PM

Sorry Brian, I'm afraid that went right over your head.
Anyway, I'm certainly not good enough to warrant a booking, or possibly even a floorspot at your club.
The thing is, you don't have to be a very good musician or singer to know when someone else isn't very good. If I'm going to pay money, I want to see people at least make an effort to be half-decent, and I don't want to pay to support some sort of care-in-the-community hobby convention. I can go to singarounds and sessions for that, and even join in!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:31 PM

Gervase

I'm afraid that went right over your head.

I may not have been paying a lot of attention.

If I'm going to pay money, I want to see people at least make an effort to be half-decent,

Move to Sussex.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:33 PM

Exactly what Gervase said. I'm not nearly as good as Martin Carthy or lots of others for that matter. I realised that a very long time ago and I'm far too lazy to practice much and so it's been a long time since since I got up and did something in public and the gaps are becoming longer. But just because I'm not doing much performing these days does not mean I'm not qualified to know what's good and what's crap. Quite the reverse, actually, having watched and listened intently for so long and in so many places. Alongside writing, managing and promoting I think I can managed to separate wheat from chaff. Now that I've just heard that Davy Graham has left this planet I think I'll just weep into a soundhole while playing to remind myself why I gave up.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:39 PM

There is no reason why a club organiser cannot say nice or encouraging things to a would-be performer while at the same time letting them know that they need to improve to deserve a floor spot on a guest night at the club.

I'm not saying that the floor spots on a guest night need to be of professional standard, and I agree that anyone going to a folk club needs to understand how the format works, and that it may be a bit different from anything else they've experienced. But it's not unreasonable to expect that the floorsingers should reach a certain level of competence. Singers nights are a different matter.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:41 PM

What qualifies you to judge others?[quote Richard Bridge].
nothing, its called subjectivity,it cannot be avoided.
while we may admit certain performers are competent,liking/disliking others[ie making judgements]is often subjective,there are some professional performers who are very competent,but they do nothing for me,thats making a judgement.
the folk club organiser,has every right to decide who he books[thats making ajudgement]and also who he puts on to do a floor spot[thats making a judgement]because he finances the club,he is ultimately responsible for paying the guest.
[As to the rest of you - the bulk of you - I remind you of the prayer of the Pharisee. "I thank thee Lord that I am not as others". Get over yourselves. AFAIK Martin Carthy can always find something nice or encouraging to say. 99.99% (or more) of you are not as good as he is. That includes some of you who seem to think you are. Wake up. Smell the coffee. You aren't. What qualifies you to judge others?]quote Richard Bridge.
sorry, mate, you have just made a judgement yourself.
but thats ok,Richard Bridge is allowed to make judgements, we are not.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:05 PM

I don't think anyone, not even Jim Carroll, is saying that someone should not be allowed to sing at all (although I can think of one or two...)

What I am saying is that there is a time and a place. There are the situations VirginiaTam writes about, where everyone is very friendly and supportive, and the fact that the singers aren't very good, or very talented, or very confident is overlooked. Believe me, I'm not knocking these clubs, they are an important part of what folk music is about. But there is another side, where people visit a folk club expecting to hear good music. If you want to get up and perform in that environment, then you should have a certain amount of ability.

They are different sides of the same coin, but they are different. The problem with some folk clubs is that too many people want to carry the attitude of the first sort of club into the environment of the second sort. It's this which results in floor singers thinking they have a God-given right to perform, and organisers thinking they have to get through all the floor spots before they can put on the guest who people have paid good money to see. It's this which results in the situation the OP complained of, where someone who's gone to listen to good music has to sit through a load of crap.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:18 PM

I sense (as usual) that this thread is a bit of a troll wind-up situation. Faye Roche, the instigator and keeper-going, is a professional folk singer apparently, acording to herself. A litle more information please?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Ancient Briton
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:43 PM

I always thought that most folk clubs were comfort zones where music came second to folk, but I would be sad to see them go as they offer an accessible platform for new talent to perform in a programmed entertainment in front of a wholly attentive audience - something not possible at a session.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:46 PM

Lewes is amazing, because it's not a very big town and it has 2 folk clubs, but it's benefited from a long heritage of local singers and musicians (eg the Copper family). One reason folk clubs are dying is because the rooms they met in are being turned into restaurants, (including the Lewes Arms).

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: fumblefingers
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:56 PM

Leadfingers: "Is there ANY point me posting anything ?? I thought I had made a sensible comment - 5th post 02.28 pm , and generated not a single response !! If I am posting crap bloody well tell me !!"

Terry,
I read every word and agree with everything you said. Most people, even rednecks like me, are too polite to tell someone they ought to hock the guitar and take up hog calling.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 03:42 AM

I can't believe people still don't get it.

The judgment that is impermissible is denying people the liberty to play/sing.

Tell me I'm crap if you want to.

Don't say I'm not allowed to play/sing.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 03:44 AM

Your Crap, and you're on next. Oh can you do four, the artist hasn't turned up.

Cheers mate,

Andy


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 03:54 AM

Richard, I can't believe that you don't get it.

A folk club which puts on guests is, like it or not, a commercial enterprise. Someone, an individual or small group of people, is risking their own money to hire a room, advertise it, and pay a guest. In most cases they do so not in the hope of making a profit but because they love the music.

What gives you the right to demand that they let you sing?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 03:55 AM

I find all this discussion on how to improve the clubs extremely encouraging - but I do wish we could lose this 'two-tier system' mentality
The punter deserving of your best evenings is the one who drags him/herself out in the pissing rain when there ISN'T a guest on - that's when a club becomes a club (and not a concert) and that, as far as I'm concerned, is where the future of the music lies.
I have NEVER at any time advocated excluding anybody from performing; I simply ask that they have enough respect for me (the audience), their fellow performers, the music and themselves to put in enough work beforehand so as not to send me home embarrassed on their behalf. If they are not prepared to do that they have taken the decision to exclude themselves - just as they would have done in any other public-performance based activity.
Virginia - perhaps you might explain why I should have to to be patient and tolerate of bad singing when it lies well within the abilities of most people to become good ones - or don't you believe that to be the case?
By turning clubs into places where people go to practice you are in fact putting the music into the hands of concert organisers - shame on you.
Ruth;
The Critics were working just on their own singing - they never advocated or suggested anything for other singers or clubs (a weakness as far as I'm concerned), but they did pass on as many ideas and experiences to anybody who showed an interest. I set up a workshop in Manchester on the basis of recordings of Critics Group meetings and I know there were others who were assisted to do the same.
In the end, all this boils down to whether you consider the music worth putting in the time and effort to perform it well - some people do, many don't, and some people obviously don't even like it and consider it outdated and irrelevant and use the term 'folk' as a cultural dustbin to bung whatever their own flavour-of-the- month might be. To this latter group - I do wish they'd go away and practice their George Michael/Amy Winehouse impressions and leave the rest of us to get on with it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:16 AM

Richard - you are allowed to play and sing as much as you like.

But once in a club I do not have the right not to listen. So I would want the standard to be reasonable - in tune and words remembered and preferably not a crib sheet.

The perfect floor singer would take regard of what has just gone before and thus would want a decent repertoire.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:23 AM

A club which has a good average standard of singing can probably accommodate one or two poorer singers. The clubs I started going to in the 1960s were all like that. It's when you get a whole evening of mediocrity or worse that it gets depressing. Furthermore, when those singers are being congratulated and applauded simply for getting up, they won't feel any need to improve, and won't have any standard to aim for.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: goatfell
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:29 AM

I love it when these people come up to me and tell me that it wrong to have the words to a song in front of me, and then they go up and make a pigs arse of the song/tune, and i'm the one that did all right. and the ones that don't believe in using a song sheet, make an arse of the song by forgetting the words or the tune, and yet I'm the one in the wrong. I mean you have orchestras that have music stands and yet people don't mind that and they get paid for playing music, and opera singers as well sometimes have song sheets along with choirs, then why can't we.

People the object to this are prudes, and think that they are better than the rest of us.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:42 AM

"People the object to this are prudes, and think that they are better than the rest of us."
No we're not - we just think you are better than that - and so is the music.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: evansakes
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 05:12 AM

I organise a (reasonably) successful club and having trawled through most of the above would just like to acknowledge some excellent contributions above from Howard Jones. As far as I'm concerned his analysis is spot on (especially in his posting of 15th Dec at 7-05pm)

The only thing I'd like to add is that it doesn't have to be seen in such black and white terms (ie singers night vs guest night). There can be many shades of grey between two different extremes. At TwickFolk we like to put on many different types of night and no-one who wants to perform is ever excluded from doing so.

At our place these various forms can include (and in the last few months HAVE included) all of these levels below

a. a very basic and totally informal 'singaround' where anything goes (and cribsheets aren't frowned on),

b. a 'singers night' without amplification...again informal but you have a 10 minute slot of your own to "perform"

c. a singers night WITH amplification....a small but not insignificant step-up for inexperienced performers who suddenly have to confront how to operate with a microphone. Entry level performers might struggle to get onstage on these nights.

d. a low-key guest night (by talented club resident or other locally based act) which may not be very well attended. Usually 3 or 4 floor spots in total (sometimes in cluding one or two beteen the guest sets) but only poing to performers of known abilities

e. a medium guest night featuring a nationally known up-and-comer with professionally made CDs/merchandise and where an average/good attendance is expected. Usually floor spots are pre-arranged and by invitation only.

f. a well-known, well-established, highly respected guest who get their music released on established labels, reviewed in the magazines and played on the radio. Floor spots DEFINITELY invitation only and of high standard.

g. a semi-legendary artist who's won a few awards and gets booked at the top festivals. Here floor spots are replaced by a booked support of good standard and who will be paid (doing one 25-30 minute set). Sometimes the support will come from people who headline in categories 'd' or 'e' above.

h. a bona fide legend who is known worldwide and who headlines the best festivals and wins all the top awards (including Grammy etc). Tickets cost £15 or more and the paid support is sometimes a well know professional too. Occasionally on these nights there won't even be any kind of support spot (especially if the artist wants to (and merits) performing for two hours plus.

They simply have to be realistic and self-aware enough to know on what type of evening they will get their chance. If they aren't aware of the level at which they're capable of performing they to be gently told (and perhaps occasionally bluntly so if they get above their station). Performing at everything above entry level is not a right...it's a privilege.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 05:15 AM

I speak only from limited experience, but when go to local clubs and singarounds I'm almost always the youngest person there, and I'm no youth at 38. I've found the standard of singing to be fairly poor overall, forgetting words seems to be the norm rather than the exception, but the spirit is usually positive and friendly. It's the singers who only seem to know 3 or 4 songs that put me off, they sing the same bloody songs week in week out.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM

Wise words Gerry - as ever. Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: folkwaller
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 06:14 AM

Some excellent points in this threadand and here are a couple of mine. How many folk club organisers go out of their way to attract young performers eg making the local college/upper school aware of the existance of the folk club and taking folk music into these establishments. Not all youngsters can get to clubs held in the evenings, for many reasons, especially in rural locations. As for forgetting words, some of the most famous international folk singers have stumbled when performing at our club in Bury St Edmunds, it is their experience that enables them to overcome their mind blank. Floor singers can only aquire this experience by performing and learning to cover their mistakes. Lets have some tollerance.

This Friday, 19th, in Bury St Edmunds I am starting an afternoon folk drop in session in a cafe. This will be available for players and listeners alike and is aimed at youngsters, the unemployed, mums with babies et al. I may even play myself, mistakes and all.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 06:43 AM

"How many folk club organisers go out of their way to attract young performers eg making the local college/upper school aware of the existance of the folk club and taking folk music into these establishments. Not all youngsters can get to clubs held in the evenings, for many reasons"

And for most folk club organisers, who do this as a hobby rather than as a career (and who are probably managing day jobs as well), this would be a lovely idea if only they had the time and the resources to do it.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,arran
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 07:02 AM

I total agree with Goatfell, because these people are prudes and the do think that they are better than people like me and goatfell.

but their heads are so far up their their own backside that they can't see or realize what they are I just wish that they would just leave people like me and goatfell, and as they say memeory is short is it.
they tend to forget that they must practise as well with songbooks/songsheets, but myself and goatfell and people are the same as us can't.

they still think that they are better than us.

and there are they are just the same as us but a frightend to show that there are leraners the same as me and goatfell


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 07:03 AM

I phoned up our local school to see if they might be interested in having the Demon Barber road show at their school working with some of the pupils for a week with a show for the school and a show in the evening, If I got a grant.

Their comment was something like this "You will be lucky to get approval for one day"

So that was it. Why should I waste my time, when it was obvious they weren't interested.

Good point from Ruth.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: folkwaller
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 07:52 AM

First, the Demon Barber RoadShow is the most fantastic outfit and I am certain that if the person who showed no interest from your phone call was given a complimentary ticket to see them they would have a change of mind. I am assuming it was only that one person who was not interested.
I am fully aware that time is precious but one phone call seems to me a little lacking in commitment. How about approaching the education authority or going to the school in person.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 08:02 AM

Audience at last KFFC night:

0-10 yrs 2
11-20 yrs 2
21-30 2
31-40 3
41-50 7
51-60 4
60 + 4

Not the best attended night we've ever had (2nd worst actually!) but fairly representative from an age point of view........ I don't call that dying!

Under 16s free, we've also organised for touring artists to run workshops in the village school. They really liked Jeff Warner!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Acorn4
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 08:04 AM

I think it may well be that it is not the fact that the school is not interested, but that everything is so high octane these days due to innumerable pressure - with a primary school, the time in May after SATs are finished could well be the best time to approach the scholl as the Year Six are in no-man's land a bit before they go on to secondary.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 08:17 AM

It was a secondary modern school and I was talking to a key player/decision maker of the school


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 08:27 AM

Paul: well done.

When we started the Demon Barbers project in Loughborough, I invited all of the schools in the LEA to a meeting. 9 schools turned up; all 9 got some sort of folk activity in their school, and several got more than one bite of the cherry in the first year of funding.

But I wasn't running a folk club; I was the programmer at a subsidised arts venue, and did this as part of my day job. It's much easier to do this stuff when you're gretting paid to.

In terms of getting schools interested, there are a few ways in - Extended Schools and after-school activity is one, and you may find there's funding for it in your area. Avoid times of year or year groups who may be in preparation for SATS, etc; Acorn4's suggestions here are good, unless you're in an area where year 6 does the 11-plus(as they do where I live). You just need to be aware of these things. Overall, I find that the schools who are interested will be VERY interested, and will offer you the cooperation and support you need. Focus on them.

By the way, part of my (relatively new) freelance portfolio is being the outreach coordinator for the Demon Barbers. So hopefully we'll continue to be able to bring them into schools in many places.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Vin2
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 09:01 AM

This debate, interesting tho it is, will go on for ever. Nowt wrong wi that tho.

I have some sympathy with your mates in a way Faye, with their first encounter of a folk club.

Remember someone once saying that the first time you go fishing, if you don't catch a wopper and instead catch nowt (especially if it's raining) you probably won't go agin.

I'm 57 and have bin to all kinds of gigs (even saw Hendrix in Manchester on the same bill as the Floyd and Nice) but usually when i've bin to folk club night where there's a booked guest on, the organiser will start off with a couple of 'residents' who they know to be quite good and leave poeple, like meself, for the singarounds which i think is probably fair. A lot of now famous acts on the scene started at 'singarounds'.

I really feel that a first 'bad' experience shouldn't stop em going agin tho; maybe try a few different clubs. They're not all the same.

At the end of the day, i think it's about taste and tolerance.

Went to the 'Frost & Fire' Waterson/Carthy gig in Bury last week and as experienced as they are they still fluffed a couple of things, got a bit out of sync with each other at times and used reminder sheets on music stands but the evening was still fantastic !!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 09:04 AM

I saw the result of the Demon Barbers project at Gate to Southwell Festival. All those young people on the stage, parents were gobsmacked.

Dave - who once booked a steelpan band for a folk festival. But then I am a purist.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 09:55 AM

Folkiedave

The perfect floor singer would take regard of what has just gone before and thus would want a decent repertoire.

The BBC Radio 2 Perfect Floor Singer Award. Now there's an idea.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Musket
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 10:22 AM

So, there you have it in a nutshell.

Folk clubs are dying because the average age keeps tabs with the calendar, as I said above.

HOWEVER, I did then pose the question that if that is so, why do we have the likes of Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy, Spiers & Bowden etc? Surely something must be right?

So the thread continues mentioning Long John Baldry, Bob Dylan, Barbara Dickson.... No wonder younger people feel they are intruding on other's nostalgia. The above were long past folk clubs as a career move when I started going as a teenager in the late '70s.

(Our local bits included Barbara Dickson used to play here. See him over there? He refused Paul Simon a gig in 1964 etc etc etc etc.)

I love folk clubs for the inclusive and spontaneous singers nights, for the platform they provide for emerging talent still awaiting that big contract in mainstream circles, for the many mates over the years; but please don't expect me to actually enjoy a sandalled weirdbeard sticking his finger in his ear, crooning through every key known and then some, about the hardships of being a Norfolk reed cutter.

Mind you, I will applause politely, make a mental note to have an empty glass ready the next time he gets up and tell all the others at the bar why I still have an infinite capacity for turning up.

I watch football, but don't expect the manager to throw me a shirt, (although this season....) but folk clubs aren't like that. I never saw them as a spectator sport. Far more inclusive than that.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 10:56 AM

"why do we have the likes of Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy, Spiers & Bowden etc? Surely something must be right?"

These oft-mentioned 'Young Tiurks' did get a start in the clubs - when they were more numerous and healier than they are today, along with some other very talented youngsters. The J's do still do clubs, but not Kate and seldom I think Eliza. Certainly none of them could sustain a living worth having if they relied too much on club work.

There are usually some younger artists working the clubs - usually with a bit of media backing generated by one award or some other achievement, but you may notice that not many of them do so, exclusively, for long. Because there is not enough work available. A few do manage to heft up the ladder to the theatre circuit, a majority go back to the day job and merely do occasional gigs and trips - and festivals, of course.

There are almost no new 'older youngsters' entering the job - for reasons I could write a book about.

The end result is that there are very few new people becoming career club performers - developing the skills and profile that only full commitment to the circuit can generate. (There are quite a few new retired performers, but that's a different thing again, involving a different type of commitment and different implications for the industry).

So the average age of the full-time guests is keeping tabs with the calendar too.

You can plot the long term projections for yourselves.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 10:57 AM

I've just recorded a CD entitled 'The Secret Diary of a Floor Singer' - perhaps I should start lobbying the BBC now for them to consider me as one of the nominees for this new award!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM

The Clubs are dying in the same way that WE are all dying !


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM

And 200


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 11:51 AM

Wasn't there a piss-take of Tommy Roe's "the Folk Singer" called "the Floor singer"?

Folkie Dave - I'm with you! There is at least one person for whom I will leave the room, and indeed if I know she is going to be present I will not go at all.

But I won't try to stop her playing (fat chance, she thinks she is great and has her own ceilidh band!)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 11:52 AM

"a sandalled weirdbeard sticking his finger in his ear, crooning through every key known and then some, about the hardships of being a Norfolk reed cutter."
And it's generalised and offensive shite like this that will split us down the middle and continue to convince me that the average non-folk folkie couldn't find their collective arses with both hands.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Musket
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 11:58 AM

Must admit, yes, the young turks do not always play clubs, but they do play festivals and these are showcases that do still get people curious about folk clubs.

What got them interested? Ok, family ties with certain aforementioned, but not all. The interviews on Mike Harding's Folk on 2 suggest a resurgence.

Mind you, the folk clubs themselves have altered over the years. It must be a differing picture around the world, let alone across one county here the UK.

if a club is either not benefiting from a resurgence or the resurgence is happening in the club down the road, organisers need to ask themselves a few questions.

I was a vote back in 1982 to close a huge, nationally known, (the guest list always got national BBC plugs) folk club. We thought their time had ended.

Then came the resurgence (part 1.) The Pogues and the Irish connection (FECK?)
Resurgence (part 2) the young turks.

Let us hope if resurgence (part 3) is gifted to the movement, it is embraced with open arms, rather than rebuffed.

Dunno what that may be, but looking at politics, I am sure the protest song movement could use some "what goes round comes round" airing.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 11:59 AM

apart from the usual typos I meant to clarify this better:

"developing the skills and profile that only full commitment to the circuit can generate"

By skills, I don't mean musical ability, I mean sales and marketing skills, and some other survival skills which you don't find out about till you've been three months in the jungle!

Increasingly, artists are being expected to help to ensure that there will be a decent audience - in fact some clubs nowadays maintain that this is entirely the artist's responsibility. The skills required to do this, specially in the current climate, are not easy to come by - and only the totally committed are likely to give them their wholehearted attention (coming as they do on top of all the artistic things that artists have to do).

They include things like mailing list building and management, graphic design, finding and engaging with remote media outlets, developing web communication skills and so on.

To have even a chance of reaching out over the shoulders of your employers to potential punters (specially if those punters happen not to be fans of clubs) takes time and massive tenacity - something few musicians want to apply to anything other than music.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 12:06 PM

>>in fact some clubs nowadays maintain that this is entirely the artist's responsibility<<

That is not acceptable.

If I book an artist, I consider it my job to promote it. Why put these artists on if you can't be arsed to promote it. Its a thankless task promoting, but its a job that has to be done.

If an artist has a website and mailing list situation, it does help as they can possibly generate extra income for themselves (if they are on a % of the door).


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 12:12 PM

I'm astonished that some club members (e.g. RB and VT, above) seem to be demanding the right to sing or play, at whatever standard they please, at any club, without anyone's permission.

Folk club organiser make the decisions about many other issues - they decide what guests to book, how much to charge, how many people to admit, how to publicise the event, etc - why on earth should they not have the right to decide which singers should have floor spots?

If I thought that a club organiser who'd heard me sing previously decided that I wasn't good enough, or simply wasn't suitable, for a slot in a particular evening's entertainment, that's fine by me. I'd rather they didn't include me than let me be an embarrassment to the club, or deny slot a spot to someone better. The only thing that would annoy me would be if they overlooked me and then gave spots to other singers whom I thought were rubbish. As long as the spots they did include were of a high standard, I'd be happy to sit back and be entertained.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Marje
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 12:45 PM

Woops, that was me above. I've just changed from OE to Mozilla because of the security worries and seem to have mislaid my cookies. All sorted now.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Acorn4
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 01:16 PM

Are many young people not attracted because folk is not seen as "sexy", rather like politics isn't, so they won't vote.

Of course we all are, aren't we ?

Of course we all no folk music can be, but it is not probablyperceived as such.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Acorn4
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 01:58 PM

Sorry about typo "know" "no" - in a rush!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: BusyBee Paul
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 02:13 PM

OP said: ".. a singer came on who stumbled to the end of the first verse of her chosen song, then forgot the rest and had to be helped through it by members of the audience. As she sat down, to cries of "Well done" and "We got there in the end", one of my friends whispered to me "People actually PAY to listen to this???" in astonishment."

You may not have all the facts - I know of one guy who, after years of sterling work running a folk club and being a regular floor singer, suffered severe ill-health. He now occasionally attends clubs, sings from sheets because he can't remember all the words and sometimes forgets the tunes BUT we would have no hesitation in joining in if need be to help him out and yes, we would shout Well Done! and We got there in the end!.

Folk is about Folk - and quite rightly so in my book.

Deirdre


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 02:17 PM

So difficult to keep up with this thread. Work life no balance.

Maybe the problem is that I have not had the experiences of many on this thread. After 40odd years never going anywhere or doing anything that wasn't child, church or work related, I feel so grateful for every chance to sing and listen. I am able to glean the good and say ah well to the not so good. I am able to listen beyond the lost key, missed verses and find what is good. But to be truthful, I have not had that many bad experiences.

I am in no position to tell a singer that song would have been really good if only you had memorised it perfectly and had some voice lessons and had stage presence and maybe sung it in another club where I wasn't. In fact I doubt there is anyone on this thread that would actually do that.

If I were confident and competent enough and had those precious commodities time and energy, I might offer and invite practice sessions at my home between folk club sessions. Maybe in my retirement, if I live that long.

In the meantime, I will go and enjoy all I am able to and try not complain when something or someone did not meet expectation.

Life is too short to waste dwelling on disapointment.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 02:34 PM

Marje

I am not demanding the right to sing for myself, especially in floor singers surrounding paid guest. A position to which I would never aspire.   I just don't think the OP should whinge about the quality of performance by floor singers (club members) where she paid to see a specific guest singer. She self admitted that she had been attending clubs for two years. She should have known what she might be in for. The whole thread has evolved or devolved into rights of club members and rights of paying audience.   

Maybe the word "right" is too strong. Maybe I should not have used it. One's throat can get cut on the Mudcat for smaller slips.

I just feel it was quite harsh of the OP to air her disappointment (embarrassment in front of her friends) so vociferously. It felt as though she just needed to offload.   

Re the devolution of the thread.... it seems there is a large contingent that believes it is OK to disallow "substandard" members singing/playing. RB and I don't believe this is right.

I really need to leave this thread now.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Marje
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 04:24 AM

If you're still there, Virginia - sorry if I misinterpreted what you (and Richard) said.

I can, though, understand how Faye felt when she took friends to a folk club. When you hold something (like folk music) very dear, and it's an important part of your life, you don't expect everyone to share your enthusiasm, but you'd like them to have some understanding of why you care about it so much. You really want to be able to be proud of your local club and local musicians in front of newcomers, and it's disappointing to be let down. I can see why Faye felt the need to explain to her friends that this was not representative of the music she loved, and that it could be so much better.

I don't often take my husband to folk clubs with me any more, for those reasons. He, like Faye's friend, has been heard to mutter, "I can't believe I'm paying to sit through this!" So I know how she feels. A club policy of uncritical "inclusiveness" does mean that the regulars may hesitate to bring friends along, and casual visitors are unlikely to come back, which is undeniably one of the reasons why some clubs are struggling.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: burntstump
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:29 AM

Interesting subject

Being an ex club organiser who came through the seventies when clubs and floor singers were not just good but the majority were very good, I now ask myself the question why don't I frequent the clubs that still run near to where I live in Nottingham in the UK.

I can only answer the question based on my own views of the problems faced by club organisers who had a duty to try and give a genuine and honest pounds worth of entertainment to the paying public, many of which sadly failed.

Sadly, over the years, those performers that were any good priced themselves out of the market and the budget of most folkies, this left the influx of the not so tallented, who thought they were good but in reality were no better than the average floor singer. I know the club organiser should vet any booked act prior to booking them, but the reality is that a demo tape can be somewhat misleading and tour schedules fabricated.

One club that I used to visit on a regular basis moved from a comfortable pub back room to a morbid upstairs attic, they stopped allowing the floor singers to get up and perform a set of songs and went to a singaround, everyone got to sing one song from where they sat and hopefully another later in the night.

Being a musician, I need one song to warm up and to get into my performance, so the singaround didn't help me to perform at my best,nor did the singaround encourage performers to practice and polish their act, they could sit at the back in some dark corner and perform from there, very often with a crib sheet because they hadn't really learned the song or the tune.Another point was the club was supposed to start at 20.30 but very often didn't start until 21.00. This meant a lot of sitting arround waiting for the evening to start encouraging people to turn up late. At my club we started at 20.15 regardless of the number in the audience.

A lot of the people I used to know from the folk scene are no longer with us, and yes we can all reminisce about the good old days, but on this occasion they genuinely were the good old days and I for one would not have missed it for the world!!

I still have my guitars, and who knows one day.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:37 AM

Burntstump........ is there really a lowering in quality of "guests"?

You could see this at The Woodlark F.C. near Nottingham on January 5th.

Can you honestly tell me this is no good and the performers aren't talented?

Woodlark Folk Club.......next guest


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:59 AM

No its not a lowering of musical standards - although some of the unique talents that we lost were simply irreplaceable - Capstick, brimstone, Gerry Lockran.

The point always was that they would invariably be asked to finish off the evening - because yer actual 'serious' folk musicians couldn't follow them. They were entertainers. they had the 'big finish' - the thing that makes an audience discount the fact they could have home listening to cds with their feet up, and drinking at supermarket prices.

People think that just cos you've got something 'interesting' (yawn) to say about the origins of the song, or even if they just perform it brilliantly - its enough.

It ain't. It never was. And these 'serious' musicians are all that's left and they have pretty much emptied every venue entrusted to them.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 08:39 AM

Similarly, Burntstump, I could invite you to our club in Long Eaton. We run monthly and normally have a guest each month, however,due to the quantity and, dare I say,the quality of the floor singers it is unlikely that you'll get more than one song per visit.

www.tigerfolk.com


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 08:49 AM

Well that's true dave - there have always been the serious clubs, like your own.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 03:02 PM

folk clubs tend to be insular. They are sinecures for insiders. There are "favorites" and often those emperors have new clothes.

People tend to be clustered. When the circle becomes too small and outsiders are subjected to overdue scrutiny and criticism, then the circle dies.

Hence, folk clubs die.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Ian Fyvie
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 03:03 PM

We have a brilliant opportunity with the recession to rebuild folk clubs from the base.   People with reduced incomes might stay at home and consume more from the tele etc but there will be many more itching to get out - but spend on good value rather than overrated hypestars of the Music Industry.

So - in we come with Folk Clubs. Enjoy an evening of live music - FOLK - in a local pub - for the price of just your drinks. This could help save you local pub and pull more people into love music generally (There's a boom in Open Mic sessions locally by the way.)

The great thing is that it's a low risk adventure for people who had never thought of folk as entertainment before - and as long as it's a good atmosphere they should come back next time - with more recruits!

I'm not so bothered about the PayClub scene as I don't frequent it - but organisers here should obviously be promoting the benefits of seeing a "Folk Star" in an intimate club atmoshphere at a fraction of the price of a large impersonal concert hall.


Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Faye Roche
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 03:30 PM

Phew- what a hornets' nest. I don't have time to do more than skim through all these posts but here goes with my responses:

"A folk club now is just that....a "club" for people...a place where a few local people get together with their friends to relax and share in a common interest. If they have a more informal attitude to the music than you do, that may bother you, but if you want to be part of that scene then you either have to put up with it, or else BECOME the change you wish to see. In other words, YOU learn to play some stuff really well, without screwing up any of it, and get up there onstage and do that. It should give you much satisfaction, and it should entertain other people as well. You will be personally building the future for the kind of folk club you want."

That's what I do- perform to the best of my ability.

"You have to understand that after a certain age when friends get together with other friends they may become a lot less demanding of performance perfection than they were in the days of youthful ambition."

Fine- if it's just friends getting together with friends. But a music venue that charges the public for admission?

"Try going to a major folk festival in the summer. You will see some absolutely amazingly good performances there, I guarantee it."

I went to three festivals this summer, all of them excellent, including the "club" stages. That's how I'd like folk clubs to be. Does anyone disagree?

"Folk clubs will change, as they have over the years already."

I'm frequently told by people who were around when it was all happening of the golden age of folk when the clubs were packed and you had to audition to get a floor spot. That was before my time, but wouldn't everyone like it to be like that now? I would.

"Elvis Presley forgot the words to: are you lonesome tonight,the Beatles were frequently out of tune,when they played in Hamburg, as were The Rolling Stones on occasions in their early days,the Dave Clark Five, had a drummer who[well the less said the better],many pop groups of the sixties could not be heard live,because of the screaming[and a good job too]."

Yes, we all make mistakes, and there have been instances of artists in all fields going a long way on a little talent. However, I'm sure that all the people described above rehearsed and did their best. Anyway, you can't use the odd poor performance by one artist to justify atrocious singing by someone else.

"Many of the pop covers bands are playing crap [just my opinion]. I would rather hear folk music performed not very well, than a professional competent pop covers band."

I wouldn't. I don't like listening to crap singers who can't be bothered to learn a song before they try to perform it.

"But some clubs are thriving."

Yes, they are. I've visited about 20 clubs since I got involved in folk music and I'd say that about 5 of them are doing well. They're the ones who have good floor singers, thereby being able to book good guests, who bring in audiences, who pay money wo book more guests and keep the club going. Higher standard floorsingers also attract other singers of the same calibre; I've usually found that most of the singers in any venue are about the same level.

"Can't see where sing arounds/sessions come into it so lets start off by missing those out. Different animal. Faye never mentioned them."

I've had many an enjoyable night at a singaround, and one of the most thriving clubs that I attended has nothing but singarounds- it doesn't book guests. The standard there is mostly excellent. I accept that singarounds are different though I always rehearse a song to the same level regardless of where I sing it. They're a great place to start out, but there's no excuse for joining in one if you can't be bothered to rehearse what you sing. Why not do so anyway- do people who don't bother really have so little respect for their audience, the music and themselves?

"Don't give up on the music though because of one bad experience - there are far too many good ones to go around to compensate. Get into the festival scene - IMHO far more rewarding."

You're right about festivals- see my other comment. And I'm certainly not giving up! The sad thing about the demise of the clubs, though, is that for newcomers, festivals and other venues like arts centres are virtually impossible to get into as performers.

"It's a pretty simple riposte. If your friends are so great, why aren't they stars?"

Because they're not musicians. They are paying members of an audience. That gives them the right to form an opinion about what they're paying for. If I go and see the Royal Shakespeare Company I'm entitled to say whether I think they're good or bad- I don't have to be an actor myself to do so.

"Faye is generalising from the particular,a big mistake."

Never trust people who generalise! I was referring to a particular club, but I've seen this kind of thing all too often at other ones.

"Faye... if you think you know better, put your time and energy and possibly your own money) where your mouth is and set up a folk club the way you think they should be."

Why the hell should I? My point is that if you pay to be entertained anywhere (oops, the e-word just slipped in), you should not have to put up with unrehearsed crap. If there is a virtue in the sort of club that encourages people to drift on stage and sing any old half-remembered song that takes their fancy on the spur of the moment, you'll have to explain it to me, 'cos I'm *****d if I can see it.

To the various people who posted on the topic of crib sheet; I don't use them but I've no objection to those who do, if it helps. When I saw Bellowhead live most of them were reading from scores and it made not a whit of difference to the audience's appreciation.

I must go now- I'll come back to this when I can. Thanks to all of you for your views.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 03:50 PM

Faye, if you prefer to listen to cover bands playing crap well,your clearly concerned with form rather than content,why bother with the folk scene,why not earn a lot of money imitating Elvis.
when you quote me please have the decency to give the full quote.which was .
[it is really up to organisers to sort this out,and to give some thought to their presentation of floor singers,however I would still prefer a night of badly performed folk songs to an evening of competent Britney Spears imitators[or whatever FAYE used to imitate],I am not overkeen on either,but one is marginally preferable to the other,its a bit like a choice beteen cold tapioca and cold semolina].


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 04:06 PM

Clubs dying?
If you define "folk club" strictly as the "booked guest every week" format then yes they are. When I first became interested in folk music in the late 60s there were four clubs meeting every week in my area, three booked a guest every week and one was a singers club with an open stage rather than singaround format. I never heard a pub session mentioned in the area at that time.

The same area now has three weekly and one monthly club with no more than occasional guests but there are a number of bar sessions and singarounds.

The end result seems far more introverted and less welcoming to strangers but judging by the posts here most people don't want to promote the music but prefer private little gatherings where nobody is bothered about their vocal shortcomings. Nothing wrong with that as long as you aren't promoting it as a public entertianment at the same time.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 05:20 PM

I've been on long shifts since this started but I am off on Friday and will get chance to have a peruse:-)

First impressions - good to see that some other people would like some folk clubs to get their act together and put on stuff that people would be happy to pay for!

I'll leave it at that for now. Another 16 hours tomorrow...

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 05:44 PM

Faye, what a wonderful woman you are, you'd get on really well with my wife who has on many occasion said everything you said at the beginning of this post. There is far too much shite out there which ends up being tolerated because of the 'we must include everyone, and be nice to everyone' policy.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Faye Roche
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 05:47 PM

"Faye, if you prefer to listen to cover bands playing crap"

Not what I said.

"well,your clearly concerned with form rather than content,why bother with the folk scene,why not earn a lot of money imitating Elvis."

It should have been clear from my last post that I am concerned with form AND content- that's why I respect this music so much. You obviously don't respect it- that's why you're happy to listen to crap singers.

"when you quote me please have the decency to give the full quote.which was .
[it is really up to organisers to sort this out,and to give some thought to their presentation of floor singers,however I would still prefer a night of badly performed folk songs to an evening of competent Britney Spears imitators[or whatever FAYE used to imitate]"

...and that was not the post that I quoted. I don't think that I had read that far.

And by the way, even when I used to sing covers I did NOT imitate anyone- I brought my own style to everything that I sang. It's possible to sing pop music well you know! And before you form the deckchairs in a circle to go off on another tangent, the reason I stopped singing pop is that I developed a LOVE for folk music as soon as I discovered it. That's why I play in scruffy pubs for nothing as opposed to singing in 4-star hotels for £200 each a night and a personal changing room.

And, much as I dislike everything I've heard from Britney, I'd rather hear her music (or anything else) done well than folk music (or anything else) done badly. Why is that so hard to understand? Is it a kind of inverted snobbery?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 05:52 PM

I'd rather hear her {Britney's) music (or anything else) done well than folk music (or anything else) done badly

Indeed. Hurrah to that.
Both Jon Boden and Richard Thompson anyway cover Britney.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Faye Roche
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:16 PM

"From: greg stephens - PM
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:18 PM

I sense (as usual) that this thread is a bit of a troll wind-up situation. Faye Roche, the instigator and keeper-going, is a professional folk singer apparently, acording to herself. A litle more information please?"

No it isn't, and no I'm not, and have never claimed to be, though I do try to perform to a professional standard- sorry if that offends you. And this thread has kept itself going with very minimal input from me.

I'm not trolling anyone. I'm just passionate about upholding a music form that I love and which I'd like to share with as many as possible. If you can't see that it's your problem not mine.

There are several rather better-reasoned posts in this thread but it's time for bed- not being a professional folkie I have a job to go to in the morning.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:16 PM

It should have been clear from my last post that I am concerned with form AND content- that's why I respect this music so much. You obviously don't respect it- that's why you're happy to listen to crap singers.
for fuck sake read some of my posts,
I have never said I am happy to listen to crap singers,I said:[it is really up to organisers to sort this out,and to give some thought to their presentation of floor singers,however I would still prefer a night of badly performed folk songs to an evening of competent Britney Spears imitators[or whatever FAYE used to imitate],I am not overkeen on either,but one is marginally preferable to the other,its a bit like a choice beteen cold tapioca and cold semolina].
I AM NOT OVERKEEN ON EITHER,cant you read.
Diane,I dont care who covers Britney Spears music,I think it is crap.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:22 PM

Faye Roche,you have some cheek to say I dont respect this music.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Faye Roche
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:41 PM

And you have more than some cheek, Captain to swear at me.

Despite what I said about half and hour ago I stayed up to read the other posts in this thread. I think that it's all been said. Some of you, (Diane, Marje, Tom, and others) got my point.

I wonder how many other newcomers the folk world has lost this week?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:44 PM

Faye,

As someone who's been going to folk clubs for over 40 years now, I have to agree with everything you say - there is too much crap around these days. Poor, unrehearsed, lazy singers clog up too many evenings, take up time which could be devoted to better, more enjoyable singers and alienate audiences.

As 'Marje' said above: "A club policy of uncritical "inclusiveness" does mean that the regulars may hesitate to bring friends along, and casual visitors are unlikely to come back, which is undeniably one of the reasons why some clubs are struggling."

"Inclusiveness" is another one of those good ideas, like political correctness, which has been turned into an unthinking dogma and ends up doing more harm than good. It has been assumed that everyone has a 'right' to sing but I maintain that that right should be accompanied by a RESPONSIBILITY to sing well and to do the material justice.

At this point someone will bang on about different abilities, "what about beginners?" etc., etc., etc. Well, frankly, if you don't think that you can sing well or do the material justice or are not prepared to put the work in then just shut up and stop wasting my time and everyone else's time!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Betsy
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:57 PM

I don't think all the above subscribers would fit nicely into the same sort of Folk event - apart from a Good Festival.
We all seem to have different needs and levels of expectancy from a Folk club night, so,given that most of us have lots of experience in more than one club - can't we understand that someone visiting for the very first time and being asked to pay good money, and gets served up a load of tosh, surely this action contributes to the perceived "dying" process.
I'll go to see someone that I know , but, if I decide to drift along without knowing - I wouldn't dream of taking someone along who didn't know what might be served up - which is a sad thing to say.
Twickfolk seems to have thought this whole thing through and I congratulate him /her.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 07:02 PM

Faye ,if you read my posts properly ,you could have avoided all that.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 07:06 PM

I'd rather hear her music (or anything else) done well than folk music (or anything else) done badly

When I go to a folk club, I want to hear something new, something different, something surprising, something that doesn't sound just like everything else. Failing that, I want to hear folk music done well in unsurprising ways. But failing that, I want to hear folk music done not particularly well - even if it's a lousy performance, I might hear a new song or get a new angle on a familiar one. When I go to a folk club, I don't want to hear the same old pop music, however well it's done.

Back to the top:

As she sat down, to cries of "Well done" and "We got there in the end", one of my friends whispered to me "People actually PAY to listen to this???" in astonishment.

No, they don't. They pay to be a part of it, week in and week out, and they pay a bit more on guest nights.

I work hard on my own performances, try not to do anything everyone knows already and always try to make sure I know the words, start on the right note, etc. I put the effort in because I think it matters - and if I could wave a wand and make every floor singer perform to my exalted(!) standard, I would. I do think organisers can do a lot to encourage preparation and discourage p***-taking, but at the end of the day you've got to remember that a folk club isn't just an entertainment venue - it's a *club*, it's the sum of the regulars who turn out week in, week out. If some of those regulars have a burning desire to have a go, despite not really being up to it, the chances are they're going to have a go - and the chances are a lot of the other regulars will support them, because of who they are. And that's a feature, not a bug. (Keeping them away from the paying punters on a guest night might be a kindness all round, though.)

Apart from that, I don't agree with the premise - all the evidence available to me suggests that folk clubs aren't dying.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 09:02 PM

My last posting was hastily submitted whilst getting ready to go to a singaround.

Interesting comment from a couple of supporters who arrived a bit later was that they'd been around the city and passed many pubs with about one drinker - that included an open mic session with about one singer; and a supposedly rival session (cooler than ours? - the place to be?) - where NO singer/musician was in evidence - again just a solitary drinker and his dog!

So they ended up at our albeit small gathering and shared a few songs.

Being realistic, this is the run up to Christmas - things go a bit unpredicable this time of year; AND the recession is affecting numbers who go out to pubs at the moment - that's clearly coming back to us from all over.

But I repeat my original point - we now have a brilliant opportunity for folkies to get into the media - and tell people there is a whole world of low cost entertainment out there in folk clubs (singaround and guest clubs; free and PayClubs) where people can enjoy live British* based musical culture in an intimate atmosphere.

*if in Britain -I'm talking in a British context - but the point is the same wherever you live in the world.

The folk scene is an antidote to a parade of hyped "Stars" who are obviously competent but generally unremarkable - for which you may pay bloated amounts of Pounds/Dollars. And at most Folk Clubs/sessions I've been to it is not long before you see singers/performers/songwriters BETTER than than the so called Stars which you've been told are the best since... [add name as applicable]. It's purely a case of persuading people to recognise the multidollar hype for what it is and realise that good can be "local" - and people who live locally can be just as good as someone who's just "flown in".

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Maryrrf
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 10:37 PM

I'm in the US, but visit folk clubs in Britain whenever I get the chance. So I'll throw in my two cents.

I can understand what Faye is talking about having seen some people who really didn't have any redeeming qualities about their singing do floorspots in folk clubs. I didn't enjoy it and I doubt if anyone did, and I agree that people who want to do floor spots ought to rehearse till they can sing the song competently if they want to perform in public. If I were a club organizer I'd try not to put known poor singers on when there was a guest night which would presumably attract people who were not members. It's a valid opinion. But I was very put off by haughty and imperious all caps YOU'RE WASTING MY TIME AND MY MONEY! GET IT RIGHT OR STAY IN THE AUDIENCE! Was that necessary?

If you are at all acquainted with the folk club scene, you know that, before the main act and during intermission there will be floor singers, most likely residents of the club, and that they're not professional performers. If you came to see the main performer, and had to sit through a couple of less than acceptable floor spots, you still got what you paid for, which was the booked act. There is rarely more than 15 or 20 minutes of floor singing in the beginning, and another 15 to 20 minutes at intermission - at least that was the case in the folk clubs I attended.

A folk club is a very particular type of venue. It's open to the public and there is a charge that is slightly more for non members. But it is still a club that is run for its members, and not a commercial venue. There is a sense of cameraderie and community among folk club regulars, and if the members choose to support and encourage somebody who is not a good singer/performer - that really is the club's decision.

Incidentally, a quick search revealed a "Faye Rochelle" on myspace described as Alternative/Acoustic/Folk. Might that be you?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 12:45 AM

Just a mild observation in the middle of an insomniac night.....
Is it just me that's almost allergic to the term "Punter". I'm afraid that any post refering to my friends and I as such, gets my hackles rising. Punters go to betting shops and frequent ladies of the night don't they?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 02:11 AM

I agree with you Miskin.
I don't like people using punter. Makes it sound like the audience is not important, when they are.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:03 AM

Apart from that, I don't agree with the premise - all the evidence available to me suggests that folk clubs aren't dying.
yes, thats my exprience too,I can rember people coming up with this line,25 years ago,and folk clubs are still here,furthermore when I was last on tour in England all the folk clubs I played at were, well attended,and had a high standard of floor singers.
here is why Fayes original post is an over simplification,if folk clubs are dying,there are several[not just one] contributory factors.
I.economic recession.
2,drink drive laws,and lack of available public transport[particularly in rural areas].
3.cost of travelling.
4.cost of entry
I agree that it is a good idea to try and raise standards of floor singing,but this is the prerogative of the folk club organiser[not us].
one way this can be done,is through workshops[ clubs like Lewes Elephant do this already]
he/she finances the club, he/she has the final say in who appears as a guest and as a floor singer,if an organiser wishes to let anyone sing or not sing regardless of standard that is his/ her right.
if people like faye dont like a particular club,they dont have to go.
Faye,I was playing this music professionally, before you were born,when you try to say I have no respect for the music,you are just showing how unknowing you are.I suggest you visit my myspace site,and visiut my you tube videos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItcBocS_x_M


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:04 AM

I'm completely with Faye. There seems to be an element of complacency from the club regulars that borders on the bizarre. It does, however, sum up why you rarely get new 'converts' at folk clubs and why few people do bring their friends.
(Cue 30 posts from outraged club organisers insisting that their club is near perfection and that there are a dozen new faces every week at their club, and anyway, how dare anyone criticise the folk club scene if they haven't paid their dues and served a decade as a floorsinger, and it's not for the public anyway so no-one has a right to criticise, and everyone has a right to perform, and it doesn't matter if people, sorry, punters, are paying to hear stuff, cos the material's not as important as the fragile ego of the fledgeling performer, and...)
Zzzzzzz.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:10 AM

40 years ago we on the committee of South Tyne Folk and Blues agreed not to use the word "punter" in relation to our audience. It sounded like they were gullible people ready to be ripped off!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:57 AM

Punters go to betting shops and frequent ladies of the night don't they?

Well, as often as I can, which isn't much these days...

Gervase, I can understand and accept your point of view about where you think clubs are or aren't, but you can't simply just pre-empt any ripostes to that viewpoint by saying things like Cue 30 posts from outraged club organisers insisting that their club is near perfection.... This doesn't bolster your argument.

The fact is that many clubs are doing OK, and you've had plenty of statements from posters to this thread who are saying just that - and I don't see any sense of outrage, just plain statements of fact. What seems to be emerging from this thread is that the state of folk clubs, in terms of vibrancy, simply varies from place to place. In some areas, for whatever reason, they appear to be doing well; in others, for whatever reason, they appear to be crap. I said early on in this thread that I'd recently been to clubs in Cheshire, Surrey and Sussex and that, without exception, they'd been very good experiences (and I'm not an uncritical person). Well - all I can do is pass comment on my experience, and I'm sorry if it buggers up part of your thesis - but there it is.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 04:24 AM

Perhaps part of the problem is that no one can agree what folk clubs are for or how they should be run, so no one is quite sure what to expect when they visit one.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: burntstump
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 04:28 AM

In response to the couple of comments made from my previous posting, a club that only opens once a month is somewhat different to a weekly venue, most clubs open every week and only have a guest on once a month so there is a need for floor singers. I tend to agree with weelittledrummer as much as the word entertainer should be considered.
If you can get away with only giving good floor singers just one song that's great, but open every week and I think your views would change. I for one would not travel 20 miles to perform one song.



The Woodlark at Lambley,I have been told is well worth a visit, I used to run the original folk club in Lambley back in the 70s.
I agree there are still some very talented professional folk acts and if you want to pay a lot of money to see them that's fine.
But please remember I am reflecting on the folk schene of the 70s and 80s, 99% of the so called professional artistes lasted no longer than an icicle in the Arabian desert.

Getting back to basics, when the folk clubs first started you were lucky to get a paid preformer twice a year.




A well run club must appeal to both the audience and the performers alike, if there is no audience you may as well stay at home and sing, likewise if there are no performers there isn't an audience anyway.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 04:36 AM

Well said, gentleman from Miskin!

IMHO if you refer to the people you are hoping to play to as "punters" this shows disrespect for them. (Could be that's why they are subjected to some questionable performances?)

Howard...quite right!

Let's have a thread defining......nah..let's not go there!


Best wishes,
Peter


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 04:41 AM

The word 'punter' is widely used in the entertainment business affectionately to mean 'consumer' and has no negative or pejorative connotations whatsoever.

I'm genuinely shocked to hear of folkies being offended by it.

My apologies to anyone I've upset. I'll try to remember to use 'paying customer' in future.

Tom Bliss


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:14 AM

Getting back to basics, when the folk clubs first started you were lucky to get a paid preformer twice a year.

Err........not where I was in the mid sixties.

We had an artist each week, singers club once a month.

Singers included Ian Manuel (Two records for Topic); Jim Eldon (who still has his own apppreciation society; John O'Hagan (Cockersdale and still singing floor spots as well as with Cockersdale). There were plenty of artists to go around. Many are still active if they are still alive.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:19 AM

You'll have to work harder than that to upset me Tom. I just don't like the term,.
What a fascimnating thread this has been thouigh withsome very erudite chat. Only one outcome of course which we all already knew. Folk Clubs are as different as our definitions of what is Folk Music.

Perhaps that is the added spice of a new Club to visit. I don't suppose the music is very different in Discos around the country, or even Jazz clubs come to that. I consider us very lucky to have such a wide spectrum of interests and yes, talents.

Andy


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:41 AM

Ah, I see Tom has beaten me to it.

"Punters" are paying customers, that is to say those who come along to a venue (possibly for the first time) for a specific purpose (i.e. to see the booked performer), as opposed to the organiser and his / her mates who may or may not have handed over the door fee but, nevertheless, consider it their god-given right to do a floor spot usually without any preparation.

Punters are the very people that an organiser ought to be seeking to impress, provide them with their money's worth and encourage to come again. At a well-run club, that organiser MC is out there talking to faces, especially new ones, seeking feedback and gathering ideas on what else should be done to boost the venue's popularity.

As for the 60s / 70s, yes there was many a venue with headline acts booked each week, with the overflowing diaries of top performers showing over 300 gigs a year. Oddly enough, that same organiser I had in mind in the previous paragraph is the same one who was running a legendary club circa 1972. There's a tiny handful of them left, scattered around the countryside.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: burntstump
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:43 AM

If you think folk clubs only started in the mid 60s no wonder you are so out of touch


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: mattkeen
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:50 AM

I whole heartedly agree with just about everything Faye has said.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:53 AM

If you mean me, no I don't. I was referring to the big boom, the heyday, when I worked on compiling the Folk Directory.
As it goes, I used to get into pubs when well under age, first with my morris musician grandfather and later (secretly) after school orchestra practice to pretend to play in sessions. Only we didn't call them "f*lk clubs. Never heard of the term. It was just what you did. And it's not what we are talking about.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 06:12 AM

f you think folk clubs only started in the mid 60s no wonder you are so out of touch

And if you mean me - you are simply wrong. I started helping to run a folk club in the mid sixties - I started going to them around 1962. I am well aware of their history.

This year I have been to festivals as far apart as Moniaive in Scotland, Cheltenham in Gloucestershire and Ottawa in Canada. Sessions in Sheffield, and Newcastle. Concerts all over the north of England. Record launches, and special projects.

I have a radio show. It keeps me up-to-date.

Now how come you are so up-to-date and I'm not?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: burntstump
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:10 AM

I didn't realise this thread was about blowing your own trumpet.

You must be well out of breath!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:40 AM

Er.....you started it.

But I am sure no-one will mind if you tell us why you are up-to-date and I am not.

Go on.........................


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:44 AM

Burntstump - why should I change my views? Since getting actively involved in the music, in the early sixties, I have been part of the organisation of three other clubs all of which ran weekly and, if there were time constraints, both residents and visiting floor singers would be asked to contribute one song/tune etc. I can't remember anyone complaining!
As recently as last Monday night I drove around twenty miles to visit Grand Union Folk, Barrow on Soar, a club I hold in high regard, to see Benny Graham and Bob Fox. I was asked, like the other floor singers, to do one song but it wouldn't have upset me not to have been asked; I had gone to visit the club.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:45 AM

If you mean me, no I don't. I was referring to the big boom, the heyday, when I worked on compiling the Folk Directory.
As it goes, I used to get into pubs when well under age, first with my morris musician grandfather and later (secretly) after school orchestra practice to pretend to play in sessions. Only we didn't call them "f*lk clubs. Never heard of the term. It was just what you did. And it's not what we are talking about. quote DianeEasby.
I first went to a folk club in 1965,it was called a folk club,as were all the other folk clubs I went to.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 08:17 AM

All the clubs that I was involved in, from 1963 onwards, were called folk clubs. Strangely, all the clubs I used to go to in the late 50s where jazz was played were called jazz clubs. Seems a simple system to me.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 08:53 AM

My grandfather died in 1959 not knowing what a "f*lk club" was (lucky him). He took me into country pubs because I wanted to try and play along with the big boys (and a few girls). I never consciously entered a "f*lk club" till the early 60s and that was to see Jansch / Renbourn / Graham / Dylan / Simon and that ilk. Playing tunes in the pub was something else, as were dance classes, competitions, the choral society and the orchestra. The "f*lk club" was a phenomemon of its time, as had been the jazz and skiffle club. Today there's a multiplicity of other ways to experience music, many considerably better and preferred by the young people who run them. And good on them for doing it for themselves.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 09:06 AM

Perhaps part of the problem is that no one can agree what folk clubs are for or how they should be run, so no one is quite sure what to expect when they visit one.

So far, I have not seen the problem put so succinctly as this. Thank you Howard for economising your thoughts and using plain English.

Now I suppose I will amble over to the Standards thread and see what proposals are there.   I don't want to argue anymore. I want to be part of the solution.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 10:23 AM

Faye Roche

"Faye... if you think you know better, put your time and energy and possibly your own money) where your mouth is and set up a folk club the way you think they should be."

Why the hell should I?


Well, why the hell should I, for that matter? Or any of the hundreds of others who DO put their time and energy and possibly their own money into trying to promote the music they love?

But we do. If you've got anything constructive or positive to offer, we'd be interested to hear from you; if all you can do is tell us we're responsible for the death of folk clubs then please excuse us if we don't pay you a lot of attention.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Chris Green
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 10:39 AM

Erm, just a nudge to say our first outing is tonight and we still have some tickets left! The guest is the incomparable Keith Donnelly, with other acts Alfresco and Mick Bisiker & Chris Green (me!)

Cheers

Chris

Maudslay Thursday


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Musket
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 10:44 AM

Obviously, some of the comments here make me think twice about getting back to going to folk clubs. (Got a bit bored years ago, but missing it a bit if truth be known.)

I fear that one person's interpretation is different to another's.

I started going to clubs in the late '70s as a teenager. As I was in a rock band at the time, I enjoyed how playing acoustically improved your levels of instrument and voice, because you don/t have your reverb, wah wah or echo unit to mask your shortcomings.

I have had a good read through this thread and if clubs are as described, and attitudes prevail, then I might think again. I remember a local club I went to once, which failed to have a notice saying Warning - traditional music only, so I got up and sang my latest song, written a few days previously. If that had been my first folk club, it would have been my last. Never went back, and for the sin of singing my own song, I doubt I would have been welcome. A regular there came to another club, saw me and apologised for his mates.

As I said earlier on this forum, if I don't like something, I don't like it. Full stop. However, I will sit there, smile, clap at the end and make a mental note to go for a beer the next time he / she gets up to sing badly about being a Norfolk reed cutter.

Live and let live. Seems fair to me.

If a club has lots of singers and musicians who know their stuff, I might even bring some friends along. If most of the floor singers make me cringe and wish I was somewhere else, I will do just that. But I won't say why. That would be rude.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 11:53 AM

" ... next time he / she gets up to sing badly about being a Norfolk reed cutter."

So what is this song about a Norfolk reed cutter? I think we should be told.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 12:59 PM

So what is this song about a Norfolk reed cutter? I think we should be told.

I am a reed cutter, I come from the Broads
I chop with me sickle and fence with me sword

I went up to Norwich to sell of my reeds
Spent me takings on pottage and flagons of mead

Oh a reed cutter's life it is simple and hard
As we float on the waters all a-covered in lard

Oh the lard it is slathered all over our thighs
It stops the pike biting as they slither by

For pike and reed cutters they are mortal foes
Each time they meet they must ere come to blows

Reed cutters are bearers of standards of old
While those dastardly pike are all brazen and bold

With their nu-folk and psych-folk and acid-folk slop
The buggers all smoke crack and snort alco-pops

They ate Walter Pardon, they ate Harry Cox
They ate poor Sam Larner right down to his socks

And the reed cutters job is to whup the pikes' asses
And make the Broads safe for the huddled folkie masses

A-roving, reed cutting, bold cutters we came
When the pike are all gone we will start a new game

Singing songs of the old days - we'll nere see the like
When the Broads were a-teeming with crack smoking pike.




Yeah I know it's shit. I was bored


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,arran
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:05 PM

I hate when you're up performing these people that just walk by you as if you're busking, why can't they wait until the song/tune is over?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:15 PM

Love it Spleen. Was it the thread that bored you or just generic boredom?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:24 PM

Spleen - the tune for the Norfolk Reed-Cutter please? I intend to perform this at the first possible opportunity...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:28 PM

When A Knight Won His Spurs (used by some for Sweet England) fits as a tune.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:39 PM

Yes Diane, that would work. I was thinking something along the lines of "Poor Fellows" from the Transports, so same ballpark.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 02:35 PM

Errrr ... thank you, Spleen. Ummm ... that's quite nice-ish, really ... possibly ... Have you got a day-job, by any chance? Hope so ...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:16 PM

Don't worry, Shimrod. I don't intend to do anything rash...

Yes, VT, it was generic boredom. Or possibly genetic.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:18 PM

>>I hate when you're up performing these people that just walk by you as if you're busking, why can't they wait until the song/tune is over? <<

Maybe they have bladder problems. After all we ain't getting any younger.

I'll get me Urologist :-)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Arran
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:30 PM

I usallly play at the begining of the night, so how would they like it I came and sang when they performing in the bedroom

Hello Mummy, Daddy can I play at horses as well?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:25 PM

Good heavens, I'm going to have to agree with the Cap'n quite a few posts back.

I now see why Diane does not know what folk is.

But the post that shocks me to my core is: -

"The word 'punter' is widely used in the entertainment business affectionately to mean 'consumer' and has no negative or pejorative connotations whatsoever. I'm genuinely shocked to hear of folkies being offended by it. My apologies to anyone I've upset. I'll try to remember to use 'paying customer' in future."

My GOD Tom don't you hear the sneer as the "entertainment industry professionals" say "punter"? Punters and "paying customers" are there soley for commerce. Absolutely nothing about the integrity of the music at all.

Somewhat like ministry of religion (if you believe in the merits of religion) the making of music and song (and in my view particuarly folk song) is not a trade or profession or business, but a calling.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:28 PM

"I don't like people using punter. Makes it sound like the audience is not important, when they are"

Here here!
Punters,Mugs?
When you go to Faldingworth live as a member of the audience you are treated as being important and made welcome.
It makes a lot of difference.
That and providing good music is what makes a venues reputation.
Oh and like the good landlord a good organiser is invaluable.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:51 PM

The idea was to have a noun which could refer specifically to people who are purchasing entertainment, as opposed to being involved for some other reason.

I recognise that this transaction is not the only reason that clubs exist, and do take pains to remind people of my understanding in almost every post - to the point of tedium, really - because i know if I don't I'll be jumped on (not that it's worked this time, obviously)!

Being a full-time musician is certainly a calling - it involves a great deal of commitment and sacrifice - but it also demands commercial skills too. I am a Schedule D sole trader, a small businessmen with a responsibility to my dependants to do my job professionally and make what money, fairly, that I can. Just like a solicitor, really. Only I'm lucky in that I sell (and so share in the consumption of) joy rather than beans or A levels or suspension bridges.

It saddens me that there is so much ill-will in some sectors of the folk world towards what is really an honest trade.

The music we all enjoy making and sharing, along with the paraphernalia which makes it possible - instruments, CDs, amplifiers, web sites and so on, causes us to dip into our wallets at some point - and it always has done. I don't see why people have a problem with seeing some aspects of the folk world in business terms. Not to do so would be to deny the elephant in the room.

Folk clubs operate along business principles too - not quite those of a profit-making venture, but many of the principles do still apply. And most are very professional in their approach - thank goodness!

No. I may be an artist, but like all artists I'm also an "entertainment industry professional" and proud of it.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 06:00 PM

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Tim Leaning - PM
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:28 PM

"I don't like people using punter. Makes it sound like the audience is not important, when they are"

Here here!


Tim , you have just stood on my most sensitive internet bunion.

IT ISN'T "HERE HERE" , FFS, IT IS "HEAR HEAR "


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 06:04 PM

Bother even this isn't clear enough:

"The idea was to have a noun which could refer specifically to people who are purchasing entertainment, as opposed to being involved for some other reason."

I mean "to refer to that part of the transaction with IS about purchasing entertainment, even if those individuals may also have other reasons for wanting to be involved."

Find me a performer who does not think the audience is important, or understand what they're there for, and I'll show you a man with no gigs.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 06:09 PM

<quote>
Find me a performer who does not think the audience is important
</quote>

Seen a few, normally singing to their A4 folder.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 06:30 PM

I am a punter. I pay to get into concerts and for my CDs. What's the problem? Please don't get self-righteously offended on my behalf or pretend Tom Bliss is saying something he isn't.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 11:21 PM

Well, well well.
So someone decides they have seen why I don't (allegedly) know what "f*lk" is. Because I refuse to employ such a blanket, meaningless term when there's a multiplicity of more accurately descriptive musical expressions, I suppose.
What I do know, unfortunately, far too much about is the extraordinary range of oddballs and weirdos the highly non-specific genre throws up.
That very same (highly experienced) organiser to whom I referred earlier got an email from a would-be floorspotter asking whether he'd get on that evening and thus justify a round trip of x hundred miles.
Said organiser replied that he'd not guarantee more than one, which prompted peeved person to start a thread on here about "unwelcoming" clubs.
Had this person (who knows who he is) turned up, he'd doubtless have expected not to pay at the door because, in his estimation, he wasn't a "punter" but a stalwart of what he calls "the f*lk scene".
Tough, mate. You're a punter in the music industry, just like anyone else.
And unless the cliquey club regular who thinks practicing is non-traditional and that pros have nothing to do in the daytime wakes up to this, the quicker the past sell-by "f*lk club" dies out and disappears, the better.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,My Oldbugger
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 12:28 AM

ok, if some over-sensitive folkies are a bit touchy about being referred
to quite fondly as 'punters'..


maybe they'd prefere the alternative expression
used just as much by many diverse event organisers..

"Bums on seats" !!!!???


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Mr Oldbugger
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 12:38 AM

"My Oldbugger"

bugger.. can't even spell my own name.. I am getting old !


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 03:31 AM

"Punter",
According to Partidge's 'A Dictionary of Historical Slang' one of the definitions is "An auctioneer's decoy or mock-bidder" - not the same as, but pretty much in the spirit of those unscrupulous organisers who would lure us into folk clubs on the pretense that folk music is taking place there.
Never associated it with money when I've used it, but I suppose that comes into everything nowadays - must think more carefully before using it next time!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 03:35 AM

For heaven's sake, let's not get all self-righteous about the term punter. I've been paying professionally and semi-professionally for over 40 years and the term "punter" for a paying customer has always been in use and is not at all pejorative. Every band I've ever played in has loved the music they've played, and been determined to give the audience - yes, the punters - their money's worth. Their entrance money for the gig has been our wages, and we always gave our best - even when playing for just a handful of souls at gigs where the promoter hadn't got the faintest clue. And we didn't just do the same old act, night in, night out - we took the measure of the audience, calculated (or tried to as best we could) what they would appreciate most, and varied our set to suit. Always appreciated - and the audience was always respected.

So let's not get precious about a term that's commonly used. If some people choose to use it in a patronising manner, that's unfortunate. To take a punt is to take a risk, a bet, a chance. And that's what paying customers do when they go to a gig. They're taking a chance that the gig will be good - our job is to make it good - so that their punt is a good'un.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Musket
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 03:41 AM

Wow! Great! Somebody wrote a song about being a reed cutter! I promise to learn it and tell the sad tale...

So... Why did I pick on being a reed cutter when making a generalisation about people singing about activities that are not exactly indigenous?

Well, one of my friends in the old days was the singer Tom Brown. Tom was a Norfolk lad, from Caister originally. Many people may remember Tom and Bertha Brown on the circuit in the '70s and up to the mid '80s till Tom eventually passed away in 1989.

Tom used to sing a song called "The Reed Cutter's Daughter." He claimed he learned it at his mother's knee. Good enough for me. The only person I knew who you could listen to an unaccompanied song about reed cutting and feel a heritage was being lived out. (Ok, I met Fred Jordan a few times...)

To be fair, it was one of his longer songs, and once you were word perfect yourself, you envied those whose pint pot was empty and justifiable to go to the bar just before he started singing it...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 04:05 AM

The proper importance of the audience is that they are there and listening - not that their money is being paid and taken. If the converse is the accepted view, I would not be in the least surprised if many resented it.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 04:57 AM

Richard, you are being obtuse and unfair, and I think it's fair to say, insulting. Not just to me but to everyone who has ever taken money for a performance, who has ever facilitated a performance, or who has paid to enjoy one.

This thread has been, in part, about value for money in the sale of music. The point is of course not that money has been taken, but that it is a factor in whether audience and indeed performer will (can) be there - and therefore able to play and be played to.

At the clubs you frequent no doubt money is not as issue, and I'm as aware as anyone of that value system, where it comes from and what it's importance is. I call those gatherings singarounds, (though even that word is open to various definitions, some of them very different to the meaning I'm groping for), and I would never seriously use a word like punter to describe the participants thereof. I might as a kind of slang, just as I might call my spot a gig, but I wouldn't do it on a web forum where choice of words matters.

I've not been taking about singarounds when I've talked about gigs or punters or fees etc.

This thread has always been about concerts. Though that has not stopped people wongly and unfairly applying singaround values to comments made by others about concerts.

We do have folk concerts in this country. Legally. And you have no right to criticise us for doing so. We have true concerts and also hybrid singaround/concerts and in both cases an ELEMENT of commerce applies. Sometimes of major importance, sometimes of minor - but it is there, and it does matter, for the preformer but also for the promoter who is taking the financial risk and the audience who are giving time and money for what they hope is a good experience.

I have been addressing that element. Not to set it above other issues, but because that element needs to be done well if it's to be done at all, and we all have much to learn from each other concerning it.

What you have to understand is that concerts also have a long and honourable history in this country, and though it may not be obvious to people of your belief system, here, commercial theories do apply and always have done. Not one model, but many - for many different types of event. And each model will contain some element of commerce. And if the artists and promoters who apply those systems are no good at it, then the model will fail. And there will be no concert. And if they fail often enough neither will be involved in concerts in future. And if there were no concerts at all, a huge amount of the music that people who take a pride in dismissing concerts enjoy in other forms would simply not exist.

You have been careful what you say but your implication is clear. You have never seen me perform, or met me, so you may not be aware of my passion and commitment to music. If you were I hope you'd not keep chipping in with suggestions that imply that I'm only in it for the money.

I'm in it for the music. But the music we love won't survive if we don't do the business part well, and then we'd be left with just the stuff that IS purely a product made for consumption.

To resent this honest transaction is unreasonable and in the long term dangerous.

Thank you

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 05:02 AM

Tom,
The problem for me has always been in confusing genuine folk material which is covered by public domain, and self-composed material, which is not.
It is this that has opened the door to the IMRO and PRS jackals, not your motivation for being in the music, which is irrelevant to the discussion.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 05:12 AM

OK - Off long days now and back to the normal slobbery. Sat here at 10am still in my pyjamas...

Lots of sense talked and crap expounded from the usual suspects as was bound to happen in a thread of this sort. I am NOT saying my views are either sense or crap, just my views. That's all:-)

Firstly, I think the type of folk club that Faye is talking about is dying, deservedly so, for the very reasons she mentions. What do we do about it though and how do we improve the situation?

Looking at the views of various people on umpteen threads over the course of the last few months we can get a distinct idea of what everyones views are but no-one has ever agreed a single thing. Maybe because everyone is partialy right and no one person has the whole picture? I am hopeless at the helicopter view, using managerial bollock-speak, but maybe we need to look at the following points -

Some folk clubs are no longer concerned with traditional folk music but have become a platform for anyone with an accoustic guitar and half a brain. Maybe these should no longer be called folk clubs.

Some folk clubs have excellent acts on who do not perform traditional folk music. Maybe these should not be called folk clubs.

Some folk clubs have a mix of traditional and contemporary music. Maybe they should advertise the type of music they are going to present.

Some singers of traditional songs believe that they do not need to sing in tune, practice or learn the words. Maybe they should stay at home until they improve.

Some singers of traditional songs are in tune, know their craft and can entertain people. Maybe we should help, encourage and, dare I say it, even pay them a living wage.

Some singers believe that everyone is interested in their teenage lost loves, dull childhood experiences and clever use of the diminished minor 4th inversion of A flat. Maybe they should get a life.

Some singers write and perform wonderful songs about injustice, lost loves and real life. Maybe they should be celebrated and enjoyed alongside the tales of times gone by.

What do we do about it? Hmmmm - I'll leave that one to people cleverer than me but I will tell you what I agree with

- Folk has become an abused term for a huge variety of music
- Perhaps it should either be dropped or re-defined
- Standards need to be high to maintain an audience
- Traditional music needs to be performed well, kept and celebrated
- Good contemporary singers and songwriters need to be supported
- Clubs need to be precise in what they advertise
- They need to be selective in what they present

Dunno if thes helps or hinders but at least I have had my two pen'urth:-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM

I agree that the confusion is unhelpful, but this discussion has been about the wider genre of music, and the presentation thereof, which is now commonly (and therefore reasonably) lumped under the term folk. We are not talking about purely traditional material presented only in an informal, non-commercial manner, and you do know that, so it's unreasonable to apply those standards to the discussion and pretend that we are trying to usurp or undermine those values. We are not. And I for one will defend those values just as strongly when necessary - and I will make it clear what I'm talking about when I do so. Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Black Hawk on Works PC
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:00 AM

This thread has always been about concerts.

Sorry Tom - This thread WAS about clubs.
Read the thread title.

I usually agree 100% in your postings but cant let that one pass!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:10 AM

The OP referred to a concert at a folk club. Most Folk clubs do present concerts - for that is what a guest spot is. If there's a paid performer, and at least some of the audience have come and paid money to hear that performer, then it is de facto a concert. A hybrid, yes, but still a concert none the less, and therefore the issues we have been discussing do apply.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Black Hawk on Works PC
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:31 AM

Sorry Tom

If you think a guest night at a folk club is the same as a concert then you have a diffent view to anyone I know involved in organising clubs or putting on concerts.
You yourself have mentioned the different pricings for the different event 'styles'.
But you, like me, are entitled to your opinion & I respect that.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:50 AM

Enter stage left loads of mythical winged creatures who proceed to dance on pinheads.

A club which books and pays guest artists and whose audience (the punters) pays to enter is a concert club. What the hell else can you call it? That a lamentably large number of them are shambolic and unprofessional and disrespectful to the music, to hired guests and to chance punters alike is what is under discussion. This was cited by the OP as a reason why this form of venue is on the way out. Some people are trying to pretend that the concept of singarounds and sessions are under attack. These are entirely different beasts and are not. Quite simple, really.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM

We have a sliding scale in the folk world. From 'pure' concerts at arts centres and festivals to near-concerts at larger clubs like Nettlebed and the Red LIon, to hybrid concert/guest spots at a some of folk clubs to pure guest spots at others to no concerts at Singaround clubs.

Maybe we need a different word for the 'concert' element in each case, but it'll do for me because the basic principles of an advertised performance for money (a concert) do apply to one extent or another in all but the last case.

It doesn't really matter what we call it, as long as everyone accepts that isues like value for money, promotion, viability, quality and sustainability will be relevant for the survival of this element of folk club phenomenon.

The OP made it clear it was the concert element which drew her and her friends to the club, and the non-concert element that gave them a problem.

This thread has been about striking a balance between the two, which also means getting both sides of the equation right. My contributions have largely been about the issues on the concert side, because that's where my personal experience lies, and getting that wrong can lead to the death of a club as easily as getting the community aspect wrong, or failing to strike a balance.


Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM

There are, of course, several differences between a guest night at a folk club and a full-scale concert in, say, a theatre or arts centre or whatever. There are all sorts of administrative and organisational differences, quite apart from the scale.

However - the basic principle of customers paying in good faith for a musical performance by a paid guest or artist is the same. It is down to the organiser of the event to do their best to ensure that the people who have paid get a decent "do" for their cash. So - Faye was quite right to feel pissed off when she and her friends got a bad deal.

The issue at hand is not whether she ought to have put up with it because it was a folk club (which she shouldn't), but whether "Folk clubs are dying" because of this. The fact is that clubs such as these, which don't have good standards of performance, often don't die - they might, perversely, be thriving. There's a club 30 minutes away from me where - apart from nights when they have a paid guest - the standard of support from the members/residents/floorsingers is utter crap, but the club is packed to the gills every week. The reason for this is that the club is friendly, welcoming, a little community in itself, tolerant, uncritical, slightly smug. It's that factor that makes the folk club world different from any other milieu in which I've played. I don't know of many other milieus, apart from pub open mic events, in which novice performers can cut their teeth - though it's sad that some of them can't or won't improve. Let's be thankful that this kind of platform exists and do our best as individual and experienced performers to try and make it better.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Mr Oldbugger
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM

Actually, if as a member of an audience for any event
at any 'venue', [wherever it may be]
I'd pay good hard earned money to travel to,
pay to enter,
and possibly even as a last resort [if the 'Entertainer' merits it],
pay for overnight accomodation;
then surely, more than just a matter of mere opinion,
I'm reasonably entitled to regard that event as a 'gig /concert'
and have reasonable expectations of the quality
of the whole 'entertainment package' provided !!???


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Mr Oldbugger
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 07:22 AM

meant to say "[if the advertised 'Entertainer' merits it]"

Any 'pay for' Event organisers must surely meet some reasonable standards of responsibility and obligation
for provision of quality audience/consumer service,
to justify the cost and travel effort entailed in attending..

and perhaps more importantly.. re-attenting their venues
advertised 'entertainment events..


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Musket
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 07:34 AM

Hoist by your own petard eh?

If folk clubs are about tradition, then consider the following;

They have been called folk clubs for a long long time now, since before I was born apparently.

So they are TRADITIONALLY clubs where people sing, and overt the last 30 years, I have heard everything from reed cutting to Black Sabbath in clubs, played acoustically, electric, blah blah blah.

Whether anybody likes the idea or not, both sides of this debate fall into the category folk club.

It isn't what you set out to be, it is what you are perceived as that matters....


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 07:54 AM

the point is that folk clubs are not dying.
because they are clubs where people socialise and play music.
despite the following adversities,lack of available rooms,drink drive laws,lack of public transport,the allowing of people regardless of standard a platform where they can sing.
I am all for, the improvements of standards,but the route to follow is the Snails,provision of workshops,so that people have the opportunity to improve.
I can only speak from my own experience,but at all the clubs at which I have been recently booked,the floorsingers were all good.
it is the organisers right to put on whoever he/she pleases,no one has a god given right to sing,a good organiser will have the sense to intersperse a weaker singer,with a better singer,that is the way most of the clubs ran when I first started going in 1965,and is MrPunch would say,that the way to do it.
if however an organiser decides to allow everyone to sing regardless of standard,that is his /her right,he/she is financing the club,nobody is forced to attend,if they dont like it they can toddle off somewhere else and start their own club.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 08:15 AM

"which is now commonly (and therefore reasonably) lumped under the term folk."
It may be accepted by you Tom, but certainly not commonly so - go and look at the number of books with 'folk' in the title and try to square that particular circle. We've been here before, but your definition/non-definition exists only in your head and in those of your fellow singer-songwriters - it certainly is not 'common' and has no substance, therefore, no validity outside of your small puddle.
It is very much part of the damage done and continuing to be done - not the least of which is the financial drain caused by lumping together public domain and copyrightable material.
I can't find the quote but at the risk of being accused of misquoting you, I'm pretty sure it was you who said you had tried persuading the leeches-that-be to separate the two, but they had refused for fear of letting some pennies slip through the net (rather like locking up innocents at Guantanamo for fear of letting a guilty terrorist escape) - so the leechs continue to leech.
Maybe it's time for a civil disobedience campaign were we get to tell the parasitic bodies such as IMRO and PRS to sling their hook and go and live off somebody else's back.
It may be a means of earning a living to you Tom, but to most of us it's a calling (and a life-long one at that).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 08:18 AM

Paid performers should be properly paid. That does not make the audience "punters". I don't know of any professional performer of folk and similar music who went into it for the money - always AFAIK for the love of the music.   I think that treating it as "entertainment" for "punters" does great disrespect to the music.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 08:29 AM

it's a calling   Too right Jim and RB said just this a few posts above.

Wonder about ressurecting the Guild System to protect traditional and perpetuate new music. Any patrons out there? Michael Eavis? Maybe not.

Well it was a bad idea. Likely get subsidised by the BNP, then the music produced would be little more than thinly disguised parody of the patron.   How traditional is that?

Is there any hope? Yes so long as we have free exchange of ideas and opinions from people who feel passionately about what they believe in and are prepared to act in defense of it.

Best wishes to all who have posted on this thread and others. Go extend your "puddles" and make rings in others.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 08:35 AM

No - we don't go into it for the money - but we should see to it that every performance we do is as professional as we can make it, paid or not. That's the point - and it's certainly not being disrespectful to either the music or the audience to have that attitude. All my paid work is in bands and I do solo spots at clubs, etc., for the hell of it - but I put everything I can into my floorspots, just a much as if I were being paid. There's no difference in my attitude.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 08:40 AM

Richard:

"I think that treating it as "entertainment" for "punters" does great disrespect to the music"

Well I don't. Not in the least, so we'll have to agree to differ on that. I personally believe that treating music as "entertainment" (WHEN it's appropriate to do so) merely reduces the risk of being self-indulgent, and therefore disrespectful to the music. That's all. Maybe you have to have been there to understand.

Jim:

"It may be accepted by you Tom, but certainly not commonly so - go and look at the number of books with 'folk' in the title and try to square that particular circle. We've been here before, but your definition/non-definition exists only in your head and in those of your fellow singer-songwriters - it certainly is not 'common' and has no substance, therefore, no validity outside of your small puddle."

The books were, I presume, written a while ago. The Grammy nominations, the iTunes list of folk artists, the guest list at most folk festivals, the CDs listed under folk in HMV, and many other markers all suggest that NOW it is only a relatively small group of die-hards (I could have put 'puddle' but I'm a nice person ;-) who have it the other way about.

I have no idea what your quote about leeches and Guantanamo Bay may refer to, but I doubt I used either word. If I did I'm reasonably confident that I didn't mean anything like what I think you're saying above. (Sorry, it doesn't makes sense to me from either perspective).

You are completely wrong when you suggest that earning a living at something means that it cannot also be a calling (and a life-long one at that). Staggeringly wrong. But I know you'll never even try to understand, so I won't even try to explain. As with Richard, we shall have to agree to differ.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Ian Fyvie
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 09:03 AM

I was attracted this thread because I disagreed with the premise.

A variety of folk club models operate successfully in our area - and there are lots of folk gatherings over weekly and monthly cycles.

The difficulty I had with some postings is the assumption that a Folk Club is an event you pay an entrance fee - and see a guest. I call these PayClubs to differentiate from the Singers' Clubs (which may also charge - but your going to share music rather than as the Punter* consuming the Star and perhaps some twee self-overrating Residents).

Singaround clubs are also valid Folk Clubs - and these are probably the nearest form of Folk to the original Folk gatherings -people getting together to share songs and each others' company - from before people started using the term Folk.

It is the Singaround Club and the Singers' Club which are best placed to weather the Recession.   That's because by their very nature they're open to people to participate rather than Punt - and at low cost/no cost; bar a drink or two. They give the chance to people who might have sung folky songs to themselves or after a few drinks at Parties - to get a bit more serious about the songs they like - and share them. They are a great forum for people who've grown out of Pop to try something more serious / meaningful.

Indeed my route into folk was as a bored cover band musician with a few songs thet were not appropriate for pop/rock - wrong timing 3/4, 6/8; wrong lyrics for my band; ie not about 'Love Lost in LA'. The local Singers' folk club was extremely welcoming - with other former pop/blues musicians who'd grown up!

But we need to make people aware we exist. Ther will be millions hitting the dole queue in the next few months and will be at a loss to afford commercial entertainment with their with their incomes slashed.   Here's the chance for the folk world to become popular again as it was in the sixties/seventies.

*Punter - sorry to offend some, but I use the word a lot to describe the expectation of people who run the West that the role of the majority of us is to work hard and spend it on what the advertisers tells us is good.

My experience in Folk has shown time and time again that the Stars peddled by the Music Industry (and it's Folk music wing) are not the best singers/songwriters/performers - on God's Earth.   You can see really excellent people in your own area at folk gettogether if you bother to look - free!

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 09:08 AM

Ian - good post. Is your singers night the one in Kemptown in Brighton? If so, I shall try and get along!

Will


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 09:44 AM

Ian Fyvie - good post, but this model automatically excludes those who have to punt because they can't sing or play. I am living proof of the existance of the latter.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Nick
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 10:27 AM

Coming at this from a slightly different angle - why aren't FOLK CLUBS in their traditional, proper meaning opening up and flourishing in ever increasing numbers?

Every time I dip in to one of these threads I think of all the places that I have been to which had the word 'Folk' in the title and realise that pretty much none of them are Folk clubs by definition. I'll pop a list a bit further down and some of you may also have been to some and may view things differently.

So it strikes me that if there is such a huge demand for the pure, unadulterated, 100% folk club - why on earth is noone starting them? Or are they underground? Are they a secret that not even Mudcat is allowed to know about? Or perhaps it's just me moving in the wrong circles.

In a world which is increasingly segmented and narrow why aren't they opening and people create tiny specialised little niches and create commercial (or non commercial) things off the back of it - logic would suggest that this huge demand would rapidly fill this vacuum. I don't think it is happening.

Here's a list of some places I've been which come to mind quickly:

Flaxton
York Folk Club
Wigan Folk Club (Tues and Thurs)
Railway at Lymm when it was there
Swinton Folk Club
Malton Folk Club
Various venues at Sidmouth Folk Festival
Arran Folk Club
White Hart at Mickleby
Beverley Folk Club (when it was at Nellies)
Plough at Whitby
Guisborough Folk Club
Burneston Folk Club
Kirkby Fleetham Folk Club
Dunstable (can't remember name)
Stokesley Folk Club
Lots of organised sessions, and ad hoc things

Probably a few others. The ONLY one I would reckon was a proper folk club doing only folk was the Railway at Lymm - and that only on one of the nights. The White Hart at Mickleby is close but there is a lot of copyrighted material sang there rather than the solely traditional - I saw Toms Bliss and Napper there some while back and you got disqualified further up the thread, Tom, for being part of a puddle rather than the real waterway :) !!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: evansakes
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 10:40 AM

A couple of questions that I'm darned if I can begin to find answers for.

Why does the exchange of money in return for the provision of good music and song appear to be so undesirable (even evil) to some people in the folk fraternity?

Why do the people who like to attend free singarounds and singers nights appear to resent so much those who
a. like to promote well-run concerts
b. like to attend well-run concerts
c. like to perform at well-run concerts


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Acorn4
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 11:07 AM

Streets of Blunder:-

This parody was written by a friend of mine called STEVE CUSACK. It seems to echo one or two of the postings on this thread.

1.Have you always thought
That you've not been blessed with talent?
Is it forever someone else, who always takes the stage?
Well, I've got good news for you,
There are places you can go,
Regardless of ability, intelligence or age.

CHORUS:_

So you think you're the only one who's tone deaf
No sense of rhythm or of rhyme
Let me bring you out tonight
And take you into any folk club
I can show you plenty
That will make you change your mind!

2. Have you been to the *******Arms,
Where we meet sometimes on Mondays,
All of us are hopeless,
And we do it for a laugh.
Singing awful ancient songs,
That were naff when they were written
Or rubbish like this parody,
That I though of in the bath

CHORUS

3. It does not matter if you're good or bad,
You need have no fear or shame,
The audience won't notice,
'cause the music's all the same.
And even if you practice hard,
To sing and play quite well,
Like the rest of us you'll end up sounding
Like bloody Ralph McTell

CHORUS

4. So, don't waste your life just wishing,
Feeling lonely and blue,
If they will listen to you,
They will listen to me.
So, step right up and do your best,
Your confidence will grow,
For if they notice that you're crap,
They will never let you know

CHORUS

Well, I guess what I am saying
Is that we can all do something,
All you need's the idea
And a little bit of nerve.
Remember that folk club audiences
Have very low expectations
You will always get the 'clap'
You so richly deserve.

CHORUS

So if you want to be a star,
Get a whistle or a jokebook
Or conjure up a poem, instrumental or a song
Take it to the folk club,
If you think it's worth a listen.
They're far too nice to tell you
That they all think you are wrong.

CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 11:39 AM

Re - Twickfolk's recent posting

Certainly run as many Folk Concerts as you can sustain - it all brings folk to the attention of a wider audience.

My whinge on this is those who tell us that only they who put on folk Concerts for; and take money from Punters are running proper 'Folk Clubs'.

As to my experiences of Punterfolk clubs etc; been there, as they say; dunnit - got bored with hearing more jokes than songs from many of the so called guest Folk "Singers".   Also got bored with monotonous clawhammer on expensive guitars in the hands of unemarkable bottom-rung middle class Residents!

But most nausiating of all was the "Johnny Famous" telling you that he has just written the next song - which invariably was the biggest load C**P you'd ever heard - but were you have the Host and Residents dutifuly singing along as if it had been written by a world class songwriter.

The joke is that one of these Old Hands is still being called one of the best folk songwriters around by our folk establishment - yet unlike the true top quiality folk writers (John Connelly, Dave Gouder, Leon Rosselson for example), I found this artist's songs totally unmemorable - despite seeing him three times!

Indeed an early observation when I first started getting about a bit around clubs was that the big names worshopped by the Club organisers were nearly always rubbish songwriters. I catch BBC Folk on Two sometimes and I see things havn't really changed - there have been some pretty dire tracks played recently "written" by Big Names of today - just like main stream pop music.

The brillaint songs to be heard in the folk scene, in my experience are by people who are not professional - don't want to be professional and not jostling to be the PunterClub Resident/Favourite floor singer who gets heard by the Star of the night waiting in the wings to come on.

These are the folk singer-songwriters who write because they've something to say - not because they've got to fill the next album or get more PRS income rolling in.   And you'll find these excellent writers more often at a friendly sharing folk club than one based on commercialism - in my view.

That's my view on Punter vs Singer clubs but good an anyone who can get their preferred model folk to more people.

And.... WILL FLY - Yes Tuesdays at the Round Georges with an extra unadvertised session in the same venue on Boxing Day evening. Look forward to seeing you!


Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 12:47 PM

I do hope, Ian, that you don't think I have been saying that only they who put on folk Concerts for, and take money from, Punters are running proper 'Folk Clubs.'

If you do, please go back and read all my posts MUCH more carefully.

I have merely been referring (using plenty of caveats in a vain attempt to avoid being misunderstood) to those aspects of those clubs which DO do those things.

Actually, I don't remember anyone esle saying anything of the sort on this thread either.

It is a massive tragedy that when some people see the word 'folk club' they think only of the model with which they are most familiar and then offer only that template to the argument in question - even when the point being raised concerns a very different kind of club, and that this has been pointed out firmly in. words. of. one. sill. a. bell.

I repeat. There are lots of kinds of club. All valid. All important. We need all those kinds, and freedom to move between them as we wish, for folk music to flourish.

But as has been pointed out many many times by many many people, this discussion was not initially about singing clubs or sessions, and merely talking about the issues that do affect Concert Clubs or Guest Clubs does not say we think they are more important than Singer Clubs. Singers Clubs are vital too and I agree most a lot of what you've said about those - but I don't think they're dying, so I've not been addressing them.

I agree with you about singer-songwriters who write because they have something to say too (but don't call them 'folk singer-songwriters' unless you want Jim to ask you to step outside!), but please don't assume that those of us who do have albums to fill are any less inspired, committed, driven, even.

I'm so driven I gave up my day job to do it!

And your phrase "a friendly sharing folk club than one based on commercialism" needs answering. These things are not mutually exclusive, you know.

Most friendly sharing clubs run on a sound financial footing, and do the many things necessary to maintain that footing. That's all commercialism means. Don't take the word to mean anything bad. It's not.

And just a final thought on this 'entertainment' lark.

Are people thinking that when I talk about being an entertainer I'm talking about dumbing down to some crass comedy level? If so, please reserve your judgement of me until you have seen me playing. That is not what the word implies. I may crack a few jokes and tell some funny/interesting stories, but to hold an audience spellbound with an ancient traditional song, to make 700 people cry with a topic story about child murder, to deal with issues like adoption, gay relationships, abortion - to stimulate thought without making everyone want to leave in despair means you have to put your soul on the line. Some of you have seen me do it, and I know scores of other performer (some who post here) who do the same. This is still entertainment. That is what it is called.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 01:17 PM

I wrote this last night but my server crashed - I think it is still relevant so here goes -

I'm perfectly happy to be one of Toms 'punters'. It is a financial transaction - you pay money to go to a concert and you hopefully (and in Tom's case, always) get a good performance in return - fair swap.

Though I also agree that for some artists music is a kind of calling - it must be for them to haul themselves round the country earning relatively little - it is still a service to those of us whose lives would be much poorer without their efforts - and for that I am glad to pay provided that I get what I have paid for and not an endless stream of incompetent floor 'singers' who simply seem to have their egos to feed and eat into the time allocated for the guest. Before I get jumped on, many floor singers are superb and complement the night's entertainment (for that is what it should be however serious the subject matter) but there are also many who have proved that they will never be able to perform well as they never improve from week to week. They do the whole folk scene a diservice and if they want to sing they should keep to those free events where no one has paid for entry and can thus feel short changed.

Sorry if that is a bit harsh but I know one club at least that I would never go to again because of the appalling standard of the floor singers and their dominance of the evening. And if I think that way as a folk fan of 30 years what would a young person think who chanced on such a club?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 01:41 PM

I think it is encouraging (whatever else causes rows) to see so many agreed that the amateur and paid singers or players of folk music and song are driven by the will to try to interpret and convey the music as well as possible. I think most are. At the other end of the scale I don't think anyone wants to screw it up.

I don't think it would be good to have a general competitive aspect. I know of an excellent player and singer who used years ago to frequent the "soup" and who used then rather to resent a slighly older figure he often saw in the soup - for the latter never seemed impressed. The younger would go and learn say "Bluesleeves" and play a ripping version, but the older would not seem impressed. It later turned out that there was a reason, but my point is that it being a competition to impress is not the right reason either.

I wish that I could manage to stop giving the impression (as, it seems, I do) of in some way denigrating Tom's ability. That is not my intention. I still don't think that "entertainment" is the best descriptor. I find that that word implies an undesirable venality about the provision of music.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 01:53 PM

Thank you for that Richard. The point is, though, that I don't feel you are denigrating my ability - if you did I would say nothing for that is the risk I take in presenting myself as a performer. Rather, you seem at times to denigrate my motives and my integrity, with is far more difficult to ignore (though I probably should do so)!

I'm sorry if you find words like commerce and entertainment to be loaded in some way. I don't. Commercialism is word I find loaded, but I've never championed that. Folk music exists somewhere between the stage and the church. The church part could never be called entertainment, but the stage bit can - and the stage part is the part that will kill a folk clubs if not done properly. The church bit will survive - though it wouldn't get as many new hymns!

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 02:15 PM

what everyone seems to be overlooking here,is that the people in the folk club,that FAYE alludes to were having a good time ,they were enjoying themselves[apart fromFaye and her friends],they were not in a church,they were enjoying themselves.
folk clubs [imo]should not be like a miserable church of england congregation,attending out of some sense of duty.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 02:32 PM

No, the OP didn't say that. She makes no reference to whether the other people there were having a good time or not. For all we know, they all (apart from the dire floorsingers) thought it was extremely naff waste of a night out but they haven't all come here to start threads about it. Now this is the role of a good organiser (such as referred to earlier) who spends the interval out there talking to the punters and asking what they like, what they'd like to see done differently, and so on. Then acting accordingly.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: BB
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 02:37 PM

"I am all for, the improvements of standards,but the route to follow is the Snails,provision of workshops,so that people have the opportunity to improve."

Dick,I couldn't agree more, which is the very reason why on occasions we put on workshops - however, you can get a horse to water but you can't make it drink! There are times when I despair, because the very people I would like to see at the workshops, BECAUSE THEY NEED THEM, are often the same ones who don't come. The workshops that we put on, led by artists who will be 'in concert' later the same day, are not expensive, particularly when compared with the cost of the Lewes workshops, and we quite frequently have people coming from miles away to attend them, but so often the local performers who need to learn the skills to improve their performances don't come. They have the 'opportunity to improve' but frequently don't take it!

But we'll keep trying...

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 03:05 PM

The sad fact is that Folk Clubs are no longer relevant to the mass audiences of young or youngish people.We, who read and write on Mudcat, are a very small minority of the general population and, although our comments may have some bearing on the success or failure of our local club, we are not a significant force in popular culture.
The nearest there is to popular culture Clubs are the 'acoustic' clubs where the performers are invariably young singer/songwriters of a fairly high musical standard. The last one I heard sang a song by The Kings of Leon and the kids related to that.
We must accept that we have had our day and be thankful if we can find two or three others of a like mind to sing and play together and not slag each other off for forgetting words or other seemingly unforgivable misdaminors.
We are, and always were, an amature organisation and must accept we will die and take our place in the history of music.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 04:23 PM

Tom:
"The books were, I presume, written a while ago."
Over the last few years we have added to our collection A History of European Folk Music (1997), the completed set of The Greig Duncan Folk Song collection (8 vols. - 1981-2002) and Folk song tradition, Revival and Re-creation (2004).
Shortly we will be receiving the latest copy of The Folk Music Journal from the English Folk Dance and Song Society (1899 - ongoing)
If anybody asked me for my definition of Folk music I would refer them to the 1954 one; if they wanted it in more detail I would give them the one from the Funk and Wagnall Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend; and if they wanted a fuller explanation I would hand them a copy of A L Lloyd's Folk Song in England. If I wished to put it into a social format I would give them David Buchan's The Ballad and The Folk. These are the circles you have to square to call yourself 'folk'.
I still don't know how you are going to resolve the copyright/public domain dilemma - or doesn't it concern you?
Q   "Why folk clubs are dying"
A   "if we can find two or three others of a like mind to sing and play together and not slag each other off for forgetting words or other seemingly unforgivable misdaminors."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 04:27 PM

the trouble with clubs is that they tend to be used to beat others over the head.

Or as Groucho used to say, "I wouldn't join any club that had me as a member."

Frank


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 04:58 PM

The nearest there is to popular culture Clubs are the 'acoustic' clubs where the performers are invariably young singer/songwriters of a fairly high musical standard.

Chorlton FC, last night. Last club night before Christmas and it was buzzing. 13 acts on before the break and another 8 after; a couple of people reappeared in various combinations, but there were at least 20 individual performers, several of them younger than me. One song each; by my reckoning, between a third and a half of those 21 numbers were traditional, and most of those were from these islands. Most of the rest were covers (e.g. John Prine, Wynonie Harris); some singer/songwriter stuff (mostly very good), but not much of it. Two acts had music stands and one a discreet crib sheet.

So: not all clubs are dying; some are doing very nicely, thankyou.

And: not all the clubs that are doing well are succumbing to GEFF, or using the non-horse definition. (In the past I've thought Chorlton was doing both of these, but last night made me feel a lot better about the place.)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:12 PM

First: There's really no point in debating this with you Jim because it's obvious that your mind is closed. But my explanation would be that the definition in those books is an academic one which still has currency 'within the creed' so will continue to be used by that sector (for a while yet anyway). It also lies fully within the new popular definition, so there is no problem for those who know what they are talking about.

But I - and most artists, promoters, journalists etc who don't want only to converse with the converted - have to reach OUTSIDE the creed. And to be understood there we must use common parlance. The people we are talking to accept a wider genre to be described under that term - as do, I think a majority of people on this forum (Max, could we have a survey feature do you think?). To avoid confusion most of us have replaced the academic word 'folk' with the word 'traditional.' (Lord, how many times will I have to type these words)? We didn't do it - bigger boys came from America and made us.

I notice you never respond to my evidence for force majeure. From now on, when you bring this dispute into a discussion to which it is irrelevant I shall merely type the word 'Grammy' (or maybe 'Young Folk Awards' if the divil is in me) and leave it at that.

Second: I'm not sure that it's up to me to resolve the 'copyright/public domain dilemma' (I'm not actually sure which of the many dilemmas in that territory you're referring to)*. I'm flattered that you think I can have any influence, though. I have in fact raised various anomalies with PRS, and occasionally write to them urging change for fairness sake and further clarification, but there's not a lot one individual can do. Shouldn't you be leaning on EFDSS or someone with a bit more muscle?

*I do know you have the wrong end of the stick about some of it, and won't be handed the business end, but there's not a lot I can do about that either.

Three: I'm also confused as to why you weighed in so heavily abut the need for standards in the presentation of traditional music, yet attack me for seeking to find and promote best practice - but then a great deal of what you say confuses me.

Goodnight from Leeds.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Ancient Briton
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 07:40 PM

In 1971 I began to ask myself the kind of questions that this debate has developed around, and formed my own view. I haven't attended a folk club since April 1972.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 08:56 PM

Diane Easby,the audience were supporting the singer,who was struggling,that suggests interaction,a spirit of camaraderie and friendliness,which to me indicates people enjoying themselves.
when people are not enjoying themselves,they often sit pofacedly,not making contact with others.,not interacting with other people.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 09:55 PM

The alleged "singer/songwriter" sang a song by "The Kings of Leon". We must infer that he was then more singer than songwriter. Was it then a "cover", a "version" or an "arrangment"?

99/change hands.

There is a difference between saying that we should all strive, in every day, in every way, to become better and better, and saying that those who don't should be prevented from participating.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:16 AM

I fully believe that I would be prevented from participating in a concert that people have paid £5 each to watch. Yet I am striving to be better. Those people that are preventing me from performing are absolute bastards aren't they? I have the right to sing whenever and wherever I want! I am glad you support that view Richard. You are a lawyer aren't you? Will you represent me when I am up before the magistrate on civil disturbance charges?:-P

DeG


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:43 AM

Richard, can I just clarify something?

You say no-one should be debarred from performing.

I'm curious to know how far you think that should go, because you've not said.

Does it only apply if the word folk is used in the title of the event?

I think you're saying that at a free/cheap-entry folk singaround or folk singers club everyone should be free to have a go, and therefore JIm and others are wrong to seek to apply any kind of quality threshold in this type of gathering. (If so you seem to be in a majority here anyway).

I think you're also saying that at any gathering labelled as a folk club, even when there is a booked guest and a door charge, everyone should have a turn that wants one, regardless of ability - because it's a folk club (is that right?). So policies such as booked supports, MC-led quality control or no-cribs rules are morally wrong. Is that right?

Are you also saying that folk concerts should not exist, because there's no participation in the mix? If so, would that apply to Arts Centres, or only to events that had the word folk in the title, namely festivals and clubs? How about places that are included in the folk listings, but avoid the word folk in their titles and use words like 'acoustic' or 'roots' or 'live' instead? Should there be unfettered participation offered in all of these?

I'm not having a go, I've just seen nothing from you apart from a very genuine championing of freedom of expression, and I'd like to know how far you would take it.

Thanks

Tom


Would you actually seek to enforce that at Concert Clubs (i.e. do away with


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,TB
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:45 AM

Sorry - missed that bit at the bottom, ignore.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: evansakes
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:36 AM

Tom asked

"How about places that are included in the folk listings, but avoid the word folk in their titles and use words like 'acoustic' or 'roots' or 'live' instead?"

In many ways it saddens me to say this, Tom, but after reading many of the postings in this thread (and other similar ones) I'm fast coming to the conclusion that the only way forward for small venues who like to put on quality professional acts, charge accordingly and assert quality control of the 'opening acts' is to completely drop both the words 'folk' and 'club' from the name.

At our place we've already long since stopped actively using the word "club" anyway. It might be still there in the website but that'll most likely change soon. The main catalyst for this was so many people phoning and emailing asking if the events were exclusively restricted to members only. We decided the best way to avoid any confusion (and potential lost audience) was to ditch it. Round the same time we also ditched the raffle which had become a farce and laughing stock anyway. So Twickenham Folk Club became TwickFolk...

Now, after reading all this squabbling and pontificating over ownership of the F word I think the only way to move forward while maintaining a degree of self-respect is to disassociate ourselves completely from any connection with the formal 'folk' scene. As we've seen the word itself carries a huge ammount of emotive and negative baggage in the minds of many people who have had bad experiences attending folk clubs and wouldn't dream of asking their friends to go with them.

Is this an over-reaction? Is there another way? As an articulate and reasonable man, Tom, I'd value your honest opinion on this...

Thanks, Gerry


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sooz
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:47 AM

Last night we had Hannah James and Sam Sweeney as our guests. They were absolutely superb and supported by two carefully chosen floor spots so that they could have a fair whack of the time. We could perhaps have squeezed half a dozen more people in (sadly a few of our regulars are struggling with really serious illness) but it would have been tight.
We did have a raffle, well supported with ticket buyers and prize donors and it was a good laugh - not a laughing stock. The takings help us to pay the artists what they ask for every time we have a guest. As we are a club and charge a low entry fee to members, those who can well afford it buy more tickets. It works for us.
I do worry that artists do not always ask for a sensible fee and we have been known to add a top up at the end of the evening!
We are a folk club and you get what it says on the tin, with a warm and friendly atmosphere to go with it.
I wouldn't want it any other way.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:12 AM

Interesting posts from two very different clubs who in my opinion both get it bang on, but with quite different solutions.

Sue's club in Gainsborough, maybe because of where it is, and its history (never underestimate the history of a club in projecting its future), works very well indeed with the standard FC format. I'm not bullshitting here, it's honestly one of the very best in the land. But that hasn't happened by accident. They've done some very clever things like providing cushions for everyone (that is SUCH an important problem solved), but mostly the success is down to Sue and Mike (and the other's) personalities and fighting spirit. Sue said (was it here or in one of the other threads, Sue) that they did have a problem getting people to turn out on guest nights, and solved it by having half and half nights so the regulars could sample the standard of guest that Sue was presenting. They soon came to trust that judgement (a factor seemingly missing at many clubs) and now they come for everyone even if they've not done a half and half, and even though Sue does ration the supports. (That correct Sue)? With great singers nights too (and very generous fees found though sound commercial practice which are, yes frequently topped up - thanks darling mwah) Result all round.

Likewise Gerry's club has a fantastic model - that model being flexibility. Again, I think location is a factor. Twickenham is basically London, with all the competition that implies. The normal FC model is less unlikely to be so successful there, so, as Gerry has explained they run almost every different kind of night at Twickenham, matching the method to the level of the guest. But with a good sprinkle of bigger names, a nice large room, with stage and backdrop etc (and comfy chairs I think!) - I'd put TwickFolk further towards the concert end of the spectrum than Gainsborough, and as such yes, Gerry I'd tend to take it that way myself if you feel the clubby element is not working so well in Town (can't remember all the spotters when i came, but one woman was stunning IIRC)!

That said, TwickFolk is a brilliant name and you've been building a good brand there. I can't think of anything better right now, so no I wouldn't change it unless i could think of something equally snappy, that still told everyone what you do.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:35 AM

While I am grateful for the kind words that have been said about the workshops we have been running at the Lewes Arms (and will be running at the Elephant and Castle) I must make it clear that these are not aimed at the poor performers who (allegedly) are driving audiences away from the folk clubs. There are far too few of them to make it a viable market and it would be a waste of a professional performers time.

I would not want our potential customers to think that our workshops are full of people who can't sing in tune, tune their instruments or learn their words. The standard of the participants generally varies from competent to brilliant. Even the best want to get better.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 10:19 AM

There's also the point that floor spots don't only have a duty to keep the audience engaged, but also have a function as a warm-up for the guest slot. Most guests appreciate a good warm-up rather than having to dig things out of a trough.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 11:04 AM

Tom - we're stuck with a thread which includes the words 'Folk Clubs' and 'dying'.

Despite welcome qualifications on what is meant by 'folk club' here, i'ts good to remind contributors who may have dropped in after only a brief look at what's gone before (It's a Long Thread now!) that there are various sorts of club.   As you infer, Singers' Clubs are not vulnerable in the same way as concert clubs during this time of slashed incomes and surging unemployment. Much of what's being said has, indeed, less weight in the Singers' Club context. Nevertheless many contibutors are taking the Thread title to mean all Folk Clubs and much of what is being said does relate to all Folk.

Because of the terminology problem above I've always tried to use different terms for the Concert Club and the Singers' Club. The problem is that the thread title here does not.

On your own style - if you have support and a full gig list for a comedy + folk type performance, if that's what you do - fine. But it's not my cup of tea - I prefer songs at a folk club rather than a comedy show with songs combined. I've seen too much of that.

And..... I'll add here I am easily bored by amazing musicianship for the sake of it (ie. it's used as the virtue of the performer rather than as the tool to convey folk songs). I see an here an advantage of a Singers' Club/Song Club - you don't generally get the flash musicians ego tripping with their microsecond fingers. The top quality musicians who come along are also mature artists who are with us to entain with folksong rather than Wow us with technical skill.   

I must add here the last guests we booked; for they match my expectation of folk club performers perfectly.

They went from one song to the next very professionally with a brief but nevertheless interesting introduction. They put a lot of skill and energy into their performance and they obviously enjoyed every song they sang. They were almost totally vocal: no tiresome tuning as a background to a comedy routine; and they had intellgent, original arrangements of both traditional and newer "Folk genre" songs. Perhaps more artists like our recent guests and less folk comedians might help stop Concert/guest clubs dying!

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Indrani Ananda
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 11:51 AM

Hi,Folkies, I am from another planet - the name is Originality; where I write my own songs. The rest of my repertoire is traditional.
            
             How does one define what is "good", "dire", "mediocre", or just played out hackneyed rubbish? It's a subjective thing. I've lost count of the number of times I've
played in clubs and been told to "liven it up a bit" after singing a song like The Dowie Dens
of Yarrow; yet if I bash and bellow in a raucous way it is seen to "go down well!" Go down well is what they like.
   
             The fistfulls of bluesey notes cascading from the Gibsons of overhyped guests at
most clubs are enough to put even the most competent floor singer off after they see how
the audience is primed into that kind of mood. If I go to a club I want to do my own thing
along with like-minded people with a genuine interest in real folk music - not be expected
to entertain punters conditioned by Radio 2. There's too much entertainment and not enough culture in most clubs - hence those tone-lowering piss artists so favoured by the
organisers.

             All clubs have organisers, but too many organisers have cronies. Indeed, many
are the times I've been to folk clubs, well rehearsed and waiting to go on, only to be
confronted by the "can't fit you in" syndrome which occurs when the cliquey friends of the
organisers turn up and are put straight on at the expense of floor singers who were there
early. That's not a warm welcome, is it.

             I seem to have perpetrated an overlap of two threads here - folk club manners and dying clubs - could one be causing the other by any chance?

             Indrani.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Avatara
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:27 PM

Scroll back to somewhere around th 14th, and you will read a paragraph in which
Gervase has slagged off train spotters as "a socially inept kind of hobby," or such like.
Well, maybe the proverbial nail has been hit on the head here. It seems that some kinds of
activities are held in contempt by society - e.g. Ufology, Sci-fi conventions, Morris dancing,
yes, and even going to Church! Sadly, I have found that Folk music is too.

                   Maybe this is why clubs founder. We can't compete with all the "slick-Dick"
electronica that passes for music in every nook and cranny we pass. Tell someone you sing
folk music - and watch their dead-pan expression!

                   Sorry, but I write this from experience.

                                                                            AVATARA


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:41 PM

Have you seen me play Ian? Or maybe visited my website? If so you may only know about some of what I do - which varies a lot according to circumstance.

There is usually some humour - but I'm certainly not a comedian (except when specifically asked to try to be). I don't think my shows have any more humour than most other touring types, there's usually as many tears and thought-provokers as guffaws. And a fair bit of background (which is universally popular), not to hide tuning (though they do provide time to get the metal to relax when necessary) but because they're a key part of the stories. I also do gigs that are mainly trad (specially when I'm with Tom - that can be 90% trad including 50% tunes). If you've visited my site don't confuse the Village Hall show (Tales of Time and Tide) with what I do in clubs - that's a specific show designed for a different market. I go to sessions and singarounds too by the way.

Does your moniker mean you're involved with the Fyvie club? If so - come to Stonehaven on June 19 and you'll see what I mean.

If we're categosising clubs I'd have four:

1) Concert club (no participation, selected supports, maybe a committee but few members)

2) Guest club A (Guest artists with selected supports - usually singers nights on other occasions).

3) Guest club B (Guest artists with floors spots - frequent singers nights which are club's primary activity)

4) Singers club (No guests).

There are more, but most would fall into those four. I separate them because there are key differences in terms of prognosis. There seems to be a trend for the 3s to become 4s, and that may have know-on effects for 1 2 and 4, but the reasons are complex.

Tom

Richard, are you there?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 01:09 PM

PS Sorry about the advert(s), but there's nothing worse than people potentially getting the wrong idea of what you do from someone else's post!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 01:34 PM

The fact that folk music in UK clubs is not part of the popular culture doesn't concern me
because I think that the future of folk music is in communities that support it, not in it's efficacy in general show business. The popular culture suffers from a kind of one-size-fits-all and a traditional orientation in folk singing is a pleasant departure.

Listening to traditional singers require developing a kind of ear for it. It requires slowing down the attention span to appreciate the value of a narrative story-song with merits such
as specific images, references to past times, and a chanting style that conveys this hypnotically through a serviceable and sometimes plain melody. Vocal ornaments also
adorn this style in the manner of the Irish Sean Nos (old style).

There are some instances in which this approach can be very stage-worthy by performers
who have a sense of theater (not in the sense of Las Vegas) but have a commanding
presence that can convey this type of performance. I think that when a smaller group of
people hear this type of performance, they rally to it and encourage it.

I don't think folk clubs in this sense will really die. They may become smaller groups
but still a focal point for this type of performance.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 03:23 PM

A somewhat more sustainable sort of venue with some connection to reality is that run on village halls lines, whether or not in an actual building constructed for this purpose. From Dingles in Central London in the early 70s to Ryburn 3-Step in West Yorkshire today (there are others but I'm not intending to make lists but merely point to examples), "the community" has been drawn into dance, song and tunes as relatively normal activities.

Those artists who embark on village hall tours in rural areas encounter the real deal: actual ordinary people going out to the one place of entertainment in their vicinity. If these artists are lucky there's not a "f*lkie" in sight but an audience open-minded, curious and interested in where they can see and hear more of often multimedia productions that the average stick-in-the-mud "f*lk club organiser" balks at and won't book.

This, in conjunction with the ceilidh circuit, is popular culture and of infinitely greater relevance than gangs of old blokes huddled in some pub back room, probably with "Private Keep Out" on the door. I've really no idea if such places exist or if Stringsinger made it up or if he hasn't a clue what actually happens in England, but for chrissake, what's the bleedin' point of that scenario?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:57 PM

"slick-Dick" electronica

Not entirely sure what a slick Dick is (or even if it's safe to try to find out), but hey! Sign me up... I'll try anything, me.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:53 PM

I think a lot of the problem is caused by people of (holding my hand up here!)my generation, who, when their careers are winding down, decide to relive their youth or even live a youth that never actually existed. Instead of wrapping ourselves around a tree on a powerful motorbike, we take the safer route of becoming "born again folkies" - although some of us can be actually quite good, it leads to a glut of "menopausal men with expensive guitars".

Young intense singer/songwriters tend to get discouraged relatively quickly if they are not up to scratch and only the good determined ones can survive the slings and arrows. A glut of bland mediocre performances of Neil Young songs, or self penned numbers which are derivative and cliche ridden, can have a more stultifying effect than a bad singer, who at least gives a performance with character.

Too many of this kind of performance of this kind can be a bit of a turn -off for the uncommitted neutral.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:25 PM

I have today concluded that the music is not dying.

See my very recent post here


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: romany man
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 03:32 AM

at the end of the day and cutting all the pompous sanctimonious crap on this thread, face it, the general public is not harming folk, most love it, as the festivals etc show, ie broadstairs, witby and others. folkies are killing it . face it.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 04:17 AM

Tom
"First: There's really no point in debating this with you Jim because it's obvious that your mind is closed". "But I - and most artists, promoters, journalists etc who don't want only to converse with the converted"
Bit of arrogance here Tom - neither of us have given ground on our original stance - doesn't this indicate that if one mind is closed, both are?
"academic...."
Funny word, 'academic', often used as an insult. For me, as a non-academic, it has always implied somebody who is prepared to lift the corner to see what's underneath - not sufficient in itself, but certainly has made an enormous contribution to my understanding of the music - (Bert Lloyd, Cecil Sharp, Francis Child, Vic Gammon, Bob Thomson, Hugh Shields, Hamish Henderson.....). Most of the 'academics' I know have risen through the ranks and have just as much, if not more experience as I have as singers and club organisers.
However, the suggestion that it is 'academic to continue to use the term 'folk' in the way that is is used by the researchers, writers and collectors is pretty nonsensical (if a bit of an improvement on your earlier suggestion of 'a thing of the past).
"It also lies fully within the new popular definition, so there is no problem for those who know what they are talking about".
So you know what you're talking about - but the rest of us (academics included) don't? - hmmm!)
Perhaps you might be able to tell us who gave us this new "popular definition" - is it still the countless millions you originally cited or is it the "'Grammy' - or maybe 'Young Folk Awards'"
"(Lord, how many times will I have to type these words)?"
Probably about as many times as I have to repeat; THERE IS NO POPULAR DEFINITION OUTSIDE THE GREENHOUSE ENVIRONMENT OF THE FOLK WORLD, at least not a commonly agreed one.
Throughout the time I have been involved with the music I have made a point of discussing it with workmates, family members, drinking companions, whoever.... whenever the opportunity has arisen. For me, your appeal for a survey has always been an essential part of what I do. The over-riding impression I am left with is one of total confusion, general ignorance and above all indifference. Where opinions have been offered they have ranged from the Sharp songs taught in schools, the Clancys, Dubliners, Robin Hall and Jimmy McGregor and The Spinners of the folk boom and Dylan (before he moved to the fresh fields and pastures new of the Pop world). It seems to me that all of these have far more of a foothold in 'folk' than your arbitrary application of the term to the the singer-songwriters who owe nothing whatever to real folk.
If you are basing your claim on folk on "common parlance", I'm afraid you are building your house on sand.
" most of us have replaced the academic word 'folk' with the word 'traditional.'"
Is not 'traditional' an 'academically conceived term?
"Second: I'm not sure that it's up to me to resolve the "copyright/public domain dilemma"
Didn't suggest it was up to you - Just think that you need to be aware of the financial burden you are imposing on the folk scene by your presenting your self written (and copyrighted - so it can never belong to 'the folk') material to folk clubs, thereby, as I said, opening the door to the PRS jackals. Maybe there is not much that an individual can do, apart from accepting responsibility. Putting the onus on us is rather like demanding that we wipe up your mess.
Didn't understand your last point about standards and best practice, though, but then again, a good deal of what YOU say confuses ME.
I understand your own standards to be double ones - "Jim and others are wrong to seek to apply any kind of quality threshold in this type of gathering."
I have always believed that standards should apply equally to both guest and residents evenings; otherwise, you have a series of concerts and not a club and you are guilty of passing on shoddy goods to your regulars - always been the principle of the clubs I've been involved with I'm proud to say.
"Goodnight from Leeds."
And good morning from Miltown Malbay
Jim Carroll   




Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss (wearily)
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 05:53 AM

I'm sorry I'm don't know how to do bold and italic etc here so I'll put * by my replies.

"First: There's really no point in debating this with you Jim because it's obvious that your mind is closed". // Bit of arrogance here Tom - neither of us have given ground on our original stance - doesn't this indicate that if one mind is closed, both are?

* Fair point. Apologies for my arrogance. I was frustrated that this thread had reverted to the old debate and been taken off track by it.

"But I - and most artists, promoters, journalists etc who don't want only to converse with the converted"

* Not arrogance. A turn of phrase intended to suggest the outward-facing stance of those who seek to draw in new converts.

Funny word, 'academic', often used as an insult.

* Not intended as such.

However, the suggestion that it is 'academic to continue to use the term 'folk' in the way that is is used by the researchers, writers and collectors is pretty nonsensical (if a bit of an improvement on your earlier suggestion of 'a thing of the past).

* I meant that it's not a problem for those who wish to use that word in that way to do so (I've never said it was). It's only a problem when they attack innocent parties for using it, correctly, to mean the new definition.

"It also lies fully within the new popular definition, so there is no problem for those who know what they are talking about".

* See above.

So you know what you're talking about - but the rest of us (academics included) don't? - hmmm!)

* That's not what I said. Read my sentence again. The people who 'know what they are talking about' ARE the academics etc.

Perhaps you might be able to tell us who gave us this new "popular definition" - is it still the countless millions you originally cited or is it the "'Grammy' - or maybe 'Young Folk Awards'"

* It arrived slowly by media coverage and popular usage over 40 years, and is accepted in most online dictionaries (I've not bought a paper one for decades).

Wikipedia has: Folk music can have a number of different meanings, including:
        •        Traditional music: The original meaning of the term "folk music" was synonymous with the term "Traditional music", also often including World Music and Roots music; the term "Traditional music" was given its more specific meaning to distinguish it from the other definitions that "Folk music" is now considered to encompass.
        •        Folk music can also describe a particular kind of popular music which is based on traditional music. In contemporary times, this kind of folk music is often performed by professional musicians. Related genres include Folk rock and Progressive folk music.
        •        In American culture, folk music refers to the American folk music revival, music exemplified by such musicians as Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, and Joan Baez, who popularized and encouraged the lyrical style in the 1950s and 1960s.

Here is another from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language:         
1.        Music originating among the common people of a nation or region and spread about or passed down orally, often with considerable variation.
        2.        Contemporary music in the style of traditional folk music.

"(Lord, how many times will I have to type these words)?"
Probably about as many times as I have to repeat; THERE IS NO POPULAR DEFINITION OUTSIDE THE GREENHOUSE ENVIRONMENT OF THE FOLK WORLD, at least not a commonly agreed one.

* Err, see above.

Throughout the time I have been involved with the music I have made a point of discussing it with workmates, family members, drinking companions, whoever.... whenever the opportunity has arisen. For me, your appeal for a survey has always been an essential part of what I do. The over-riding impression I am left with is one of total confusion, general ignorance and above all indifference.

* Have you spent much time around teenagers in a city like Leeds lately?

Where opinions have been offered they have ranged from the Sharp songs taught in schools, the Clancys, Dubliners, Robin Hall and Jimmy McGregor and The Spinners of the folk boom and Dylan (before he moved to the fresh fields and pastures new of the Pop world). It seems to me that all of these have far more of a foothold in 'folk' than your arbitrary application of the term to the the singer-songwriters who owe nothing whatever to real folk.

* It is not MY arbitrary application. It is many people's and it's not actually an application. It's an inclusion, along with all those you list, their ilk, and a lot of other stuff. And they're not being included WITHIN the old definition. The tin remains undiluted. The word from the tin has merely been stuck on the larder door.

If you are basing your claim on folk on "common parlance", I'm afraid you are building your house on sand.

* Err, ok. Let's meet in 100 years and see if it's still standing.

" most of us have replaced the academic word 'folk' with the word 'traditional.'"
Is not 'traditional' an 'academically conceived term?

* Yes. That's precisely why we use it. Because unlike 'folk' it's not been eroded. Yet.

"Second: I'm not sure that it's up to me to resolve the "copyright/public domain dilemma"
Didn't suggest it was up to you - Just think that you need to be aware of the financial burden you are imposing on the folk scene by your presenting your self written (and copyrighted - so it can never belong to 'the folk') material to folk clubs, thereby, as I said, opening the door to the PRS jackals.

* Fair enough. I'm sorry you see it that way. I hadn't realised that's what you felt - it does explain a lot. But don't worry, only 6 months to go then I'm a reformed character.

Maybe there is not much that an individual can do, apart from accepting responsibility.

* In that case, I do.

Putting the onus on us is rather like demanding that we wipe up your mess.

* I'm not sure I did that, I didn't mean to. But if you tell me where you keep the mop I'll take care of it at once.

Didn't understand your last point about standards and best practice, though, but then again, a good deal of what YOU say confuses ME.

* I have explained this before, Jim. As a board member of folkWISE I feel I have accepted a responsibility to help protect and develop opportunities for 'folk' musicians in the UK (but without damaging anything else in the process). That means making what contribution I can to debates around topics which impact on potential work for 'folk' musicians. But I also care about this music very much for itself, and, as an individual, would champion many of the values that you hold dear. There are some massive contradictions around, and I'd like to see more consensus and less conflict - which will require debate and open minds. I want to see a healthy 'folk' scene, at all levels, and believe that it operates as a kind of ecosystem, which requires all levels and species within it to be healthy for the system to flourish. Not many working musicians with a national remit feel able to engage publicly about things like fees and floor singers. I don't enjoy it, and frequently scare myself witless, but I believe passionately that our experience and knowledge needs to be in the mix along with that of experts like your good self, because I see some terrifying misconceptions around the very concept of the trade musician, which need to be redressed for the sanity of all. I'm also concerned that we may be about to loose a vital cog in the current system. Not soon, but within the next 15 years - with a major impact on the whole shebang, including the parts you care about. I have therefore spent a fair amount of time talking to people, setting up talking shops and writing, in a specific effort to seek out what works for people up and down the land - so we can maybe share those ideas (or 'best practice') for the potential good of all. That effort is the sole reason I engage in discussions like this. If you want to see one of the results of it, go here (I've posted links to it many many times, as have others - have you seen it?). See also my forthcoming article in Living Tradition.

(end of my bit)

I understand your own standards to be double ones

* I can't think why. I do try to avoid them, but no-one's perfect.

- "Jim and others are wrong to seek to apply any kind of quality threshold in this type of gathering."

* Err, actually would you retract that, please, Jim? That's a deliberate misquote. I asked Richard to confirm that he was "saying that at a free/cheap-entry folk singaround or folk singers club everyone should be free to have a go, and therefore JIm and others are wrong to seek to apply any kind of quality threshold in this type of gathering. (If so you seem to be in a majority here anyway)." I very carefully did not voice an opinion myself.

I have always believed that standards should apply equally to both guest and residents evenings; otherwise, you have a series of concerts and not a club and you are guilty of passing on shoddy goods to your regulars - always been the principle of the clubs I've been involved with I'm proud to say.

* I don't understand this part, but never mind. You don't like people like me playing in folk clubs, fair enough. I shall desist on the 17th of July at Gainsborough. Can you hold your breath till then?

Sorry to everyone else - but I hope you'll all agree that I did need to address this one.

Tom Bliss


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: greg stephens
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:05 AM

Tom Bliss, you are making life very complicated for yourself. Your suggestion that the old fogeys should retreat from the outer walls of "folk" and hid in the inner keep of "traditional" makes a sort of sense, but you blow it all by saying, apropos of the word "traditional":
"Yes. That's precisely why we use it. Because unlike 'folk' it's not been eroded. Yet."

Now, maybe I've got a longer memory than you Tom, but I remember well a couple of years back you were definitely a powerful member of the anti-Smoothops brigade, because of the classification of Seth Lakeman's White Hare as a "traditional folk song". And if that isn't an erosion of the word traditional, I don't know what is. The trouble with giving up your frontline and making a tactical retreat is that your new front line can become very shortly just like the old one: breached. Or, as Kipling put it in another way, once you have payed them the Danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:15 AM

Touché Greg. Yes, it IS being eroded - hence my comment about trenches and the Grammys.

But at least there is still a sort of consensus on trad (though there are conflicting definitions even here).

Most here seem to think 54 folk is a lost cause. I wish there was a better solution. Maybe we'll find one, but trying to cram the genie back into the bottle ain't it. Nor is heaping opprobrium on younger people who learned the Wikipedia definition at their Mother's knees.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:16 AM

sorry 56


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 07:50 AM

I don't see why it is wrong to be right just because others are wrong.

If anti-racist campaigners can reclaim the word "black" and seek to reclaim the word "nigger" and if anti-homophobia campaigners can seek to reclaim the word "queer" I really don't see why those with an interest in folk music and song (and arts, etc) cannot seek to reclaim the word "folk". It's nothing like such a tainted brand as those others once were.

And I still say that it is not my place (or yours) to stop another singing or playing - but right now I'm off to the Good Intent (as linked to above) in the hopes it will be as good as yesterday. I'll probably do two or three contemporary songs (the protest songs we all used to know and love seem to have a new piquancy at present, and anent reclaiming the word "queer" one of the contemporary songs sung yesterday was the very fine "The Gipsy Boy and I") and four or five traditional (or -ish).

Folk music is dead? My Royle family!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 07:51 AM

PS I will continue to heap opprobrium on those who learned to say "'ambag" in stead of "handbag" at their mother's knee too.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 08:41 AM

Isn't ambag the folk process, Richard:-D


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 09:25 AM

Tom - I'm winding back to before your recent marathon posting to answer a brief point or two:

*I'm not connected with the Fyvie folk club in any shape of form - i't's my real name!

*Re: your gig at Stonehaven - never been to a Club in Scotland but I heard complimentary comments from Rab about his local Stonehaven Club when Rab visited one of our singarounds several times during 2008. If he's at your gig - my regards!

*I will certainly look at your website when I get a chance. I don't intend to sleight any individual in what I post: so nothing personal when I'm criticising aspects of the Folk Scene that you may recognise. Despite differences in this thread it's obvious everyone (almost everyone perhaps...) is contributing because they care.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 09:56 AM

Hi Richard,

I've never told people they should not use the word folk for the 56 def. I have merely asked them please not to be nasty about others for using it differently. I've have also suggested that if they could substitute the word trad then the problem would largely evaporate.

If we could reclaim 'folk' for the 56 that would also solve the problem, and maybe we can. But I think it's easier for 'folkies' to go with the flow here, than try to mount a worl-wide PR campaign to people who are not really interested anyway.

I did read your linked post. I know a lot of those folks and I'm sure it was a grand night. But what was the average age of the group? Those of us who are concerned for the long term health of the club movement take this as a primary marker. And was it partially a gig with a main act and a door charge? This is the type of event where people have identified the potential problems being discussed in this thread.

"I still say that it is not my place (or yours) to stop another singing or playing"

I'm with you in spirit Richard, but you haven't answered my question. I do hope you will, because I think your view has much validity (I'm 100% with you in theory), but I'm unclear how it pans out in practice. I assume you'd not suggest that you or I should be allowed to turn up with our guitars at a U2 gig or Royal Philharmonic concert and insist we be allowed to perform. Equally obviously everyone must be allowed to make music in his own home. But in the folk world we have a sliding scale between the two extremes, and club organisers up and down the land struggle (we've seen posts here expressing their difficulties) to know where and how to draw a line.

As someone with passionate views who's not afraid to express them I think your advice on this could be very useful. So I'll repeat:
_____________________________________

You say no-one should be debarred from performing.

I'm curious to know how far you think that should go, because you've not said.

Does it only apply if the word folk is used in the title of the event?

I think you're saying that at a free/cheap-entry folk singaround or folk singers club everyone should be free to have a go, and therefore JIm and others are wrong to seek to apply any kind of quality threshold in this type of gathering. (If so you seem to be in a majority here anyway).

I think you're also saying that at any gathering labelled as a folk club, even when there is a booked guest and a door charge, everyone should have a turn that wants one, regardless of ability - because it's a folk club (is that right?). So policies such as booked supports, MC-led quality control or no-cribs rules are morally wrong. Is that right?

Are you also saying that folk concerts should not exist, because there's no participation in the mix? If so, would that apply to Arts Centres, or only to events that had the word folk in the title, namely festivals and clubs? How about places that are included in the folk listings, but avoid the word folk in their titles and use words like 'acoustic' or 'roots' or 'live' instead? Should there be unfettered participation offered in all of these?

I'm not having a go, I've just seen nothing from you apart from a very genuine championing of freedom of expression, and I'd like to know how far you would take it.

_________________________________________________________________

I once worked with a film editor who genuinely thought the word was 'hang bag' - and why not?!

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 01:53 PM

"...folk clubs are dying" - thank folk I manage to get to the other folk clubs then!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 02:04 PM

The GI was not quite as good today - but not bad. VT was spectacular on a couple of songs, I have to say. There were maybe three real "tingle moments" today alone. Over the two days - there were a number of babies and toddlers seen - some of who seemed surprisingly interested, probably three under 20 present (maybe one was a little over) (none performed but one had guitar, declined invitation to have a go) probably no other under 40, four or five a little under or about 40, most of the rest 50 to 60 and a few who had reached the age of discretion. Over Sweeps festival one can expect up to 20 or 25 around 20s up to 30s in the room as well as us old farts, but it is vertical matchstick packing.


When I have been involved in running folk clubs (ie "clubs") if I have my way then if there are "floor singers" it's anyone who wants to sing goes on the list and if that takes it down to one song each without shortening the guest's slots so be it. I don't think I've ever been unable to get everyone on but if that were the situation I'd say "first come, first served" - but would entrench those I knew had come a particularly long way. I have been known to apply compere's privilege if someone I particularly want to hear turns up, but not regularly. By and large I don't put on people I prefer to hear and bump those I don't want to hear.

If on the other hand it is "booked guest, booked (even if unpaid) support" then there are no "floor spots" so the above rules do not apply.

As far as singarounds go, joining in is (I say) the norm (but I did donate some filthy looks today to a bodhran playen who had not spotted that a particular song was "free" (or as our leader says, in the time signature of "one") and a guitarist who thought that an unaccompanied song was in "B" when it was "Bb". I wasn't the chair of the song, but both stopped. Floor singers I'd expect to need to make it clear if they did NOT want joining in


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 02:46 PM

Just to add water to the fire.

If it is a singaround folk club, then everybody is entitled to participate. Good or Bad.

If you put a performer on (guest) at a singaround club and charge an entrance fee, I think you owe it to the paying audience to put on the best quality you can. To put somebody on who is poor quality is only going to alieanate people who have paid to see the guest. they have an expectation and they don't want to listen to somebody who obviously cannot sing or play an instrument reasonably well. OK you would not expect them to have the stagecraft that a Guest is expected to have.

I went to Gainsborough Folk Club last week to see Hannah James & Sam Sweeney as guest, in what would normally be a singaround folk club. I knew who the 2 support acts were going to be and they would grace any folk club. They got it right. They made the complete evening a great pleasure. Unless you didn't like the style of music, you would have been very hard pushed to make any criticism.

I have been to other guest nights at other singaround folk clubs and wishing I wasn't there, becuase the support spots were pretty poor and soured my experience, to the point that I was finding it hard to enjoy the main guest. That is definately not good practice.

I think I can say the following without making this performer seeming full of their own importance. This man speaks words of wisdom and twice I have changed my approach to putting on Main Guests, becuase of his wise words of experience and my reflection on what he said.
He puts things in a very simple way.

I will mention his name becuase wherever he goes, he sells out. Vin Garbutt.

It was about 4 years ago I tried to book Vin for what is now known as Faldingworth Live. This was about a year before he became very ill.
I told him that I planned to put a support act on and was that OK. he said "People will be coming to see me, not the support act". At the time, I thought "You big headed bugger". However I went away and thought about it and realised that he was right. People who pay good money to see a main Guest are coming primarily to see that act. Anyway he became ill and the gig didn't go ahead.

Finally I managed to book him for Jan 17 2009. This time I asked if it would be alright to put a 30 minute floorspot on a what I considered good quality that would enhance the evening. I sent a song for him to listen to of the act. he approved it.
We discussed the layout of the room, and I mentioned that we liked to put tables out and that our max audience would be just over 60.
Vin being a man of business and knowing his trade, just said "If you look down on the floor, over one third of the room will be taken up with tables, when they could be taken up with audience, who you may well have turned away"
I went away thinking about that. From that day, we work on the basis of "if the audience looks as though its going over the 70 mark, then we do not put tables out."

All I can say is if you want to succeed, have a listen to what Vin says. He talks sense and by god he is right.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 02:57 PM

Thanks for that Richard. I'd got a totally different impression from your earlier posts, as you may have gathered. (And I hadn't realised you were visiting a festival this weekend - very different kettle of fish in my experience).

Yes Les - Vin talks a lot of sense. Touring with him in the early days gave my the game plan that I've stuck with ever since and has allowed be to survive and thrive this far. Re tables - I do a similar thing in village halls, and always wait until the night to see how many tickets have been pre-sold before deciding if it's rows or tables.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 02:59 PM

I really don't understand where this certainty comes from that there's a whole cohort of people out there who want to destroy village greens. I've googled it and can't find any evidence to back the myth up...

Even my little bit of Urban Northern has got one. Right next to where we have our traditional music singaround. People sit on it is summer and drink beer and play music and even juggle. Morris dancers have been spotted on occasion. Can I say that bit again? It's urban. It's northern ... and here it is


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 03:03 PM

Yikes! Wrong thread...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 03:12 PM

Croneyism - the biggest killer of Folk Clubs (Guest/Pay Clubs) of all time? (re: Indrani 20 Dec).

It's only lightly touched upon - too close to home perhaps for a lot of orgamizers?

It amounts to an elite running things in their own exclusive and perpetuating image. It may work. There may be enough Punters (or their booking policy is effective) - that they pull in enough siimilar people who actually like a good middle class chortle.

The damage is done through those who's faces didn't fit. They may have tried Folk, concluded it was just a bunch of MCWs and joined the anti-folk brigade; purely through a bad experiece - or run of them.

Damage is also done through those quite happy with the Club as Punters, but observe the unfair treatment dished out to floorsingers who have been waiting for their promised spot most of the evening - to find a Chum of the Organizers (Johnny Famous - staying in town a few days with his dead grandmother) waltz in and get that instant spot ("Darling!", "Darling!". Sorry Floorsinger - can't fit you in.")

Yes the club sustains as long as its booking poilicy produces - but the Punter nevertheless talkes down the club from other angles.

Perhaps the successful croney club developed into the local festival....??

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 03:27 PM

VT was spectacular on a couple of songs, I have to say

Thank you Richard... err if you really are Richard Bridge (some of us are wondering). That is high praise. Wonder if CAMRA will knock up some posters and coasters with your? pic and the caption... "have you seen this folkie?"

The young one carrying around the guitar did finally play Saturday night. I was gobsmacked. She has only been playing for a week. Ask Steve May? for a report. Amazing for only one week playing. I hope she does not give it up. I think she was there with her parents who were all that showed from the sadly flu infected Wolfshead and Vixen Morris Side.

I echo RB's opinion. If this weekend at the Good Intent is any indication, folk clubs are definitely not dying.

Same goes for the two I attend in and near Chelmsford. Both growing exponetially in membership, though a bit on the aged side.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 05:02 PM

Just a small, last post from me on this subject ad its related threads.

I wonder how many people we drive away from Mudcat by......nah...let's not go there!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 05:07 PM

aR! It's those pagan rituals. One catches the lurgy, they all catch the lurgy!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Avatara
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 05:21 PM

SpleenCringe is curious, is he - what kind of fantasy games does he think I play in folk clubs? By "slick-Dick" electronica I meant the mind-numbing pop cacophony blasting out from every shop, pub, club and even dentists and doctors' surgeries,   (in some instances!)

                                 People's brains are being addled beyond all hope by this awful din,
i.e. they are being/have been conditioned to crave this noise wherever they go. If they should happen to hear a folk song with a lovely melody, meaningful lyrics, simple guitar playing and a civilized voice singing it, their bass-pounded skulls can't cope with it. So,
comments of "not cool; too laid back; dirgey; wot's this crap?" are forthcoming.

                                 I don't know what the remedy is. It's a sad fact that hearts and minds are being blanked out at an alarming rate by all this button-pressing electronica; by the
X-Factor, or by young people obsessed with singing pop-covers at open mic sessions. Folk singing is being eclipsed by this, and clubs are being decimated because there are not enough of us left either to carry on the tradition or to appreciate those who do.

                                 I've just had a thought! Maybe if we could persuade the managers of supermarkets to play folk music while we shop in there instead of the horrid catawauling scramble of pop we're forced to endure, we might feel less aggressive when we come out!

                                 Just a suggestion,

                                                            AVATARA


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Melissa
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:17 PM

Waddon Pete,
This Folk stuff doesn't happen where I live. Our Music doesn't fit the category and I've been a little bit folk-curious for several years. It seemed to me that it might be something I'd fit in and like. I had been watching around for a chance to give it a whirl.

I was looking for something else when I ran across Mudcat but stayed around to read/learn...and now I would rather bite out my own eyes than put myself in a Folk situation.
Mudcat is my only experience with a group of folkies and having read these threads has put me off entirely.

The nit-picking, sneering, mean-spirited comments here are NOT good advertising. This site pops up in online searches. Strangers come here and look around..some of them are surely curious enough to go ahead and browse the threads while they're here. I'm certain plenty of people have gotten their impression of folkies here.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Melissa
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:17 PM

(sorry for being off-topic)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Indrani Ananda
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 08:39 PM

There's one sort of club Tom Bliss apparently has not discovered - the kind where long supporting "low status" floor singers have to grovel to the organisers in hopeful attempts to bypass the cronies, (aforementioned).

                        Some of us have played in pubs and such like round here for nearly 25 years now, so we're well practised; but with the exception of three clubs, we're not welcome at any of the rest. Consequently after all this time, still no-one's heard of us. we've neither the time nor the money to organise a 'big name' folk concert just so that we can sing three songs to some sort of audience.

                        When I say 'low status' I do not mean this in a derogatory way - I mean unsigned and unsung (if you'll pardon the pun) players who are just as good as a lot of well-hyped singers, but still unknown. These are the ones who are competent, but they are used as seat fodder when guests get a poor turnout, and are only welcome when the organiser's chums fail to materialise.

                         Now how many more are there out there like this? We need more new names in festivals instead of the return of the same old names year after year stealing all the spots. Are they trying to save on printing posters, or what?

                         Variety is the spice of folk - fat chance the way things are here! And I've heard from friends who have gone to live elsewhere in the land - it's just the same where they are.

                           Indrani.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 05:19 AM

In the days when I was a regular floor singer, I never had any problems with being asked to give up my slot because "Johnny Famous" has turned up. If a visitor to the area turns up, and particularly if they are known performers, it would be madness to turn them away. I'll be back next week, the visitor won't, so by all means give them a spot.

The clubs which I do have difficulty with are those which seem to be run as an ego-trip by the organisers, who fill up the evening with themselves and their cronies and never give anyone else a chance.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Faye Roche
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 05:22 AM

Must be quick today- loads to do. I don't have time to read all the posts since my last, so sorry if I've overlooked anyone.

Apologies also to those whom I upset by shouting in my original post- I was well p*ssed off at the time. Won't do it again.

In reply to those who said that I should try running my own club, it hoped that it would be clear that I was not slagging off club organisers, who work hard and invest their own money in getting clube going and keeping them running.

Neither was I angry with singers who try hard but are less than perfect. The amateur nature of the club scene is part of its makeup and one expects to hear a mix of abilities.

My ire was directed against those who get up to sing without having bothered to learn or rehearse the song first. It seems from an earlier post that there is at least one club where people cram in to hear crap singing by people who can't be arsed, but this is the sort of thing that sends the good singers and discerning audiences away. It is, really; as I said earlier, the standard of singing in most clubs levels out- it's either mostly good or mostly awful. Yes, the good clubs thrive, but the bad ones are an insult to those who run them as well as those who pay their money to be entertained. (Sorry- there's the e-word again.)

If I ran a club I'd have a sign on the door; underneath the ones about not entering when someone's singing and turning off your mobile I'd have one that said: "Out of respect for the audience and club organisers, please rehearse your material before performing." If that caused a few crappos to slink away muttering about fascist dictatorships, that would be fine by me. Those of us who stayed would enjoy some good music.

Happy Christmas all.

BTW I'm not Faye Rochelle.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 06:03 AM

Faye Roche

In reply to those who said that I should try running my own club, it hoped that it would be clear that I was not slagging off club organisers, who work hard and invest their own money in getting clube going and keeping them running.

In your original post you said -

FFS- why can't club organisers impose some kind of quality control; ban crap singers from appearing again, or at least only invite known good singers on guest nights?

I answered that question in my post of 15 Dec 08 - 07:50 AM


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 09:10 AM

We discussed the layout of the room, and I mentioned that we liked to put tables out and that our max audience would be just over 60.
Vin being a man of business and knowing his trade, just said "If you look down on the floor, over one third of the room will be taken up with tables, when they could be taken up with audience, who you may well have turned away"
I went away thinking about that. From that day, we work on the basis of "if the audience looks as though its going over the 70 mark, then we do not put tables out."

Making the extra cash while you can is fine, but folks may well feel the ambience of the venue is compromised by the absence of tables. One of our local clubs looks about to bite the dust after many successful years, and the demise is more than partly due to the practice of putting high profile guests on in a larger venue and setting out the room like a classroom from the 1950's.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 11:59 AM

I think the prospective paying customers would rather do without tables than be told they couldn't attend because tables were taking up space that their chairs could occupy.

And more attendees means you can keep the price of a ticket down.

It's not Rocket Science.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 12:30 PM

Spot on Backwoodsman.

Poeple get so upset when I have to tell them we are full. What we do is allow sufficient space for all long legged people. That ios one thing I will not economise on. Poeple need to be able to stretch their legs out.

We are only allowed to have 100 people in the hall and we restrict it to 90 (which includes performers and the people running the event) for safety reasons.

One thing I will never do is have standing.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 02:53 PM

A bit off message but the Lewes Arms folk Club has featured in this thread a lot - and now has to move.

What a shame - it's a fantastic club room with a distinctive shape.

I'd add though that the format at a Fundraiser Event I played support for in the Summer (not connected with the Lewes Arms Folk Club) worked better than the format used by the Club by having the stage at the opposite end of the room to the Club night.

I'm sure The Folk Club also used to have the stage at the wider end in old days.....

Hope the new venue worked well.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 07:34 PM

Ian Fyvie

A bit off message but the Lewes Arms folk Club has featured in this thread a lot - and now has to move.

What a shame - it's a fantastic club room with a distinctive shape.


The same has been said of some of the residents.

Last night at The Arms on Saturday 27th December with Matt Quinn and Dogan Mehmet and as many as we can cram in. Let's make it a night to remember. First night at thr Elephant and Castle on 3rd January, an open night ironically on the theme Great Escapes which we honestly chose before we knew any of this.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 09:55 PM

Howard - re Johnny Famous.

If a well known singer showed up at our singaround, of course we'd want to recognise the fact he may not be in town again for a while and see if we could get them an extra song.

If they arrived late and unannounced however - they'd have to take their chances to a degree with anyone else arriving near the end of Club Night.

It would involve a quick consensus on fitting them in AND ALWAYS with the concent of anyone who had already been lined up to sing soon.

In practice things would work out. But one could imagine a singer rolling up who thought that they were more famous than they are, or had a "superior" attitude which simply generated resentment. Such visitors would be advised to try again next time they're in town - but ring first.

And Snail.....

Best wishes for Saturday's farewell at the Lewes Arms - I'll announce it at our Boxing Day Special Singaround. Your new venue. the Elephant and Castle also has excellent beer I seem to remember!

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 03:46 AM

I am not sure which "well-known singers" you have around you way - but around here they are the most unpretentious bunch of lovely people you could ever wish to meet.

And would no more think of wanting to do a spot at a singers club in front of others than they can fly.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Aeola
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 07:32 AM

The beginning of this thread sais that '' the audience seemed to be aged 50 and over!'' I went to my first folk club in 1988 and the audience was exactly as quoted, however, I am still going and funnily enough the audience locally seems to be generally aged 50 and over!! Some things never change.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 07:41 AM

Tom and all,
Sorry Tom, still have things to say if this thread is still alive in five days time (hope this doesn't spoil your holiday too much 'Tom wearily').
Am off to try out a bit of sun, sea and - malt whiskey (Edinburgh)
All the best to you all,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 08:33 AM

I `ad a bloke in my cab the other day with a squeezebox.
`e said, "Would you take me up "The Old Maltshovel" please, its Folk Club Night?"
I said, " You got a gig there, then?"
`e said, " Nah. I`m just one of the "punters". We `ave a good old sing-around until they wheel out some tedious "gut-strangler" for the lions share, but it aint so bad. Gives us time to get our breath!!"

What`s `e like??


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Avatara
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 06:28 PM

Melissa, this is a digression but you seemed quite shocked! People do need to know the truth; I sincerely wish folk clubs could be all sweetness and light, but what you have to bear in mind is that, like it or not, artistic pursuits are competitive - especially the performing arts. You'll always get the prima donnas and organisers' favourites.
             If you really want to see the feathers fly and dodge the claws then go along to any local drama group. They are ten times worse!

                                                    AVATARA


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Melissa
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 06:46 PM

nah, I'm not shocked.
I just can't figure out why anyone would like being involved in something that's populated by such obnoxiousness..and if the repetitive threads here are in any way an accurate reflection of the way things are, I just don't see the charm.

I've spent plenty time around theatre folk. The competitive crap there made sense because there are limited parts available and they didn't pretend to hide their egotistic strutting and they didn't point hateful fingers at their audience to blame them for bad productions.
Music is not limited..there's enough for all of us.
Theatre is competitive.
Music can be cooperative.

Sneering with superiority at organizers, performers, audience and such doesn't shock me..it revolts me.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 07:09 PM

I've just come home from one of my regular "BULLSESSIONS" at the Bull in Snodland.

We had a mix of performers ranging from twenty to myself at sixty seven.

We had singer songwriters with material to make any folk club organiser want to hear more. We had traditional folk, sixties and seventies contemporary, and newly composed, in roughly even measure.

It was the best evening we have had, BAR NONE.

Folk clubs dying?.....B*****ks.

Our audience tonight (non singing) was in the region of thirty, most of whom had to stand all evening, due to limited space.

They loved all that we did INCLUDING TRADITIONAL MUSIC, and in fact we gained a new traditional singer who surprised us all, because he is a regular who has never performed in public before, but realised tonight that he WOULD be welcomed.

INCLUSIVITY works!!

Try it
Don T.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Maryrrf
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 07:36 PM

Hi Melissa,
I agree that if you just judge by these threads it sounds like the entire folk world is rotten, but that isn't the case. I have visited several folk clubs in the UK, both as a performer and as a 'punter'. The atmosphere has always been welcoming, the standard of performance in the floor spots varied but I can't recall any evening when I didn't hear singers I enjoyed. On occasions where I called the organizers ahead of time and said I was a visiting American folkie they invariably and graciously offered me a floor spot. Turning up as a stranger I was always warmly welcomed and I enjoyed every folk club I went to or performed at. I think there is a lot of venting going on in this thread and you're hearing about everybody's 'issues', but if you were to attend a folk club you probably wouldn't run into any of that. On the contrary at most of the folk clubs there seemed to be a lot of camaraderie and fellowship. A great deal of hard work goes into organizing a folk club. Not all organizers are perfect but I really think most of them make a concerted effort to provide great entertainment at a reasonable price for club members and anybody else who wants to drop in and pay the modest admission fee. They aren't in it for the money and I sincerely doubt that the performers are either - there really isn't a lot of money to be made on the folk club circuit. There's a good side to folk clubs too. I wouldn't stay away from folk clubs or venues based on these discussions.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 10:15 PM

FolkieDave

"I am not sure which "well-known singers" you have around you way - but...."

You're probably right in the vast majority of cases with well known singers.

The problem more likely stems from organizers who knew Johnny Famous was around - and said "Darling come along and sing for us any time you want". Johnny perhaps gets his parachute spot in all innocence (but of course with an 'oven ready' Resident's guitar neatly placed in his hands at an appropriate moment).

Where a club is run by a status driven clique then its going to happen more often; where they're trying to peck their way up the folk ladder - gaining favours and kudos wherever they can.

Last point whilst here!: another stunt to watch out for. He who fancies himself sits in the circle at the singaround - has his song - then launches straight into a second one. It's more aggro than its worth to stop him and get the next listed singer started - so he gets away with it.

Any answers to this except miss him out completely next time?

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Melissa
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 10:29 PM

Ian:
Why can't the next person be primed and ready to start their song immediately when the too-long-turn guy finishes his first one..jumping before he has a chance to begin another?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 03:44 AM

Hi Melissa - it's always remembering that this is the internet - not real life! Many discussions forums are disputatious - many so much more than this - and one of the effects of cyberspace communication is that people are far more outspoken with each other than they perhaps would be in real life.

The fact is that many people in the folk/traditional world are passionate about what they do and what they believe in, and will defend their position vehemently - even to the point of personal rudeness - and you need a bit of passion sometimes. I've never yet been to a folk/traditional, be it a club, simgaround or session where I wasn't welcomed and made to feel at home - that's real life.

Anyway, does us good to have a real rant occasionally - before we're sent off to bed...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Melissa
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 03:49 AM

I (mostly) agree Will...can you guess what my rant is?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 03:49 AM

Or before the nurse comes.........


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sooz
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 03:54 AM

We paid a visit to Louth Folk Club last night and were surprised to find the room already full when we arrived about half an hour before the start time. We had a cracking (if crowded) night.
The club was forced to find a new venue at short notice recently and on the first night a few of the pub regulars poked their noses around the door to see what was going on. They have been to every club night since!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 03:56 AM

Melissa:
I (mostly) agree Will...can you guess what my rant is?

This forum, I would guess... by the way - have you bitten your own eyes out yet?

Now THAT would be a show-stopper. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Melissa
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 03:58 AM

Not yet, but I'm still thinking about it.
I might just try biting out one to start with..to sort of see how well it goes.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 04:19 AM

"Anyway, does us good to have a real rant occasionally - before we're sent off to bed..."

Hi Will - yes it probably does an individual good to have a rant, but it doesn't do us as a group much good, at least not when that rant rudely attacks other people's innocently held beliefs, or seeks to deny them some basic rights and freedoms.

I fear Melissa is in a minority, not in her revulsion at some of the things she reads here, but in her willingness to stay around long enough to tell us about it.

The internet may be all you say it is, but as you correctly say 99% of people involved in the music championed here are charming, inoffensive, reasonable, polite and broad-minded in real life.

Given the general state of things today, it would be good if people who care about this music could try to remember that whenever they drop into their chairs in front of the glowing screen.

"Hangman stay your hand..."

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Melissa
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 04:23 AM

That's my basic rant, Tom..I like to call it "This is Bad Advertising!"


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Nick
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 04:57 AM

Ian

The 'I'll start a second one' type (relative of the 'you know this one don't you, Steve?' as they launch into another one of their own favourites) gets dealt with very simply where we have our singaround. Almost in unison he/she will be met with about half a dozen plus people going "whooaa, hold on a second that's not how we do things here" and life continues along as we want it to be. United we stand etc etc And at the end of each time round the room we make sure that anyone who has been missed or just come in can tag on the end.

Melissa

Why can't people be ready? Search me. It's a complete mystery. It's a difficult concept to grasp isn't it, this "have a go after the person on your right has gone" thing?
Personally I like music to fill the evening rather than an evening of conversation interspersed with occasional music which battles against the well of noise that builds up when the music stops, but that's just me. A typical evening probably sees us get through 40 or 50 tunes and songs so I do like to keep things moving. Hate raffles which get in the way (surely it's easier to stick a quid in a bucket?) and carry on playing tunes through the food...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Nick
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 05:23 AM

We probably don't have many 'famous' people visiting us but we have a reasonable number of people who play regular gigs who come and visit our singaround. I think without exception they just fit into our ways. Looked at from the other side it's a bit much to expect them to give you a free performance. From my experiences where we play - and other similar places - most of the 'famous' people just fit in and play and enjoy themselves. I had a lovely evening in Sidmouth this year in the company of a highly respected music person, who didn't know me from Adam, who was there to play his bodhran and have a few beers.

We had a guy from Canada who came and visited earlier this year called Dan Mackinnon (fine singer and player). He was playing a gig in York the following night and came and joined us for a sing and a play and 'got it' immediately. Joined in with the choruses, joined in on the tunes and took his turn as it came round; played one and moved on to the next. From what I gather had a thoroughly enjoyable evening and it probably swelled the audience for his gig the following evening!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Faye
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 10:52 AM

Yes, I think that organisers should impose quality control. That's not a criticism though. I am aware that organisers have to allow the crap singers to get up and sing because they come every week and bring their mates and family with them.

OK, I wrote my first post at a time when I was feeling very heated. Sorry about any misunderstandings. I'll cool down before I post next time, promise.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 11:38 AM

Is that the real "Guest Faye" or someone pretending to be "Guest Faye"?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 04:56 PM

ubject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Faye - PM
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 10:52 AM

Yes, I think that organisers should impose quality control. That's not a criticism though. I am aware that organisers have to allow the crap singers to get up and sing because they come every week and bring their mates and family with them.

OK, I wrote my first post at a time when I was feeling very heated. Sorry about any misunderstandings. I'll cool down before I post next time, promise.
yes, always a good idea to calm down before posting,and also to read posts properly.
to accuse me of not having a respect for the music is laughable,still I dont expect I will get an apology.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 03:45 AM

Don't panic; don't panic - it is not my intention to re-open a subject which I believe has been given a sufficient enough airing to suggest that arguments such as this do not change anybody's minds - it would be extremely naive to suggest that they do. After all, most of us have given the subject enough thought and gone through enough experiences at the 'folk face' in the past to have fairly firm opinions and knowledge on whatever we discuss on these forums.
The best we can hope for is that we arrive at some understanding of each others opinions and bear them in mind when forming our own - that's how it has usually worked for me anyway.
"The nit-picking, sneering, mean-spirited comments here are NOT good advertising"
It is this, and similar statements I wanted to comment on.
The world of folk - 'folk' even - includes one of the friendliest, co-operative, generous and dedicated group of people it has ever been my good luck to encounter (try the theatre, or classical music, or thumb through some of the pop-mags if you want snide, backbiting, self-interest/promotion/indulgence/importance - whatever).
This forum is full of contributions which offer advice, help and material - often to a staggering degree in my experience.
For me, and I suspect, for a few others, the music that we have spent quite a long time attempting to promote to a position we believe it deserves, is under threat of disappearing as a performed art. That some of us feel passionate enough to be prepared to risk ruffling feathers and frightening a few horses on occasion, is a strength and nothing to do with nastiness or mean-spiritedness - it means we care enough to speak our minds - long may that continue to be the case.
I am extremely grateful to the original questioner for her thought-provoking question - the only disagreement I have with her is that she felt it necessary to apologise - it wasn't; nor has it been for those who have gone before and hopefully, will come after.
A Happy New Year to all - including those whose noses we have got up.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 05:33 AM

As ever Jim, an excellent post and I echo all of the sentiments. It must be the Edinburgh air!

I have been extremely fortunate in my own life (thus far - though I suspect more is behind than in front) to have met some wonderful people and shared some memorable times with them. The vast majority of which have involved some sort of generous hospitality.

I hope in some small way to have reciprocated.

You wanna see backbiting at its best? Try sport at any level.

And a happy New Year to you all.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 12:16 PM

Here is an interesting fact of relevance to the discussions on the moribundity of clubs etc.
I have just had an email from two trendy young twenty-somethings asking for advice on acts to book: they are going to OPEN A FOLK CLUB! In London!
So, how about that eh?
A Happy New Year to one and all.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 01:41 PM

Well, I wish them every success! I hope you remembered that charity begins at Stoke, and mentioned a certain band to them...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 01:52 PM

I have had a good read through this (and other) threads on similar subjects.

there are many dedicated people, who thoroughly enjoy their hobby, lifestyle and cultural relaxation, and work hard to ensure others have a chance to enjoy it also.

That said, if venting your spleen on these pages is to have some benefit, then it is a good idea to try and sum up (ok, based on my views which may not be everybody's..) what the observations have highlighted.

There are some subscribers who if they re read their posts, may perhaps accept they are a little precious? Rather than ask why clubs are not the tour de force of 30 years ago, defend things that others criticise. No problem with that, it would be awful if we all agreed.

But ask why people do not attend in the droves they used to? Perhaps they have moved on. Perhaps they sometimes feel uncomfortable with the sentiments in many popular songs? Perhaps they look for nostalgia but find they are a different person now, so the nostalgia is for a different them as well as a different time?

Perhaps we have been replaced by Virtual Folk CLub II, available for PSIII, PC and X Box. From the comfort of your own home.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 01:59 PM

I have this theory.

We all used to go folk clubs in the 1960's because we didn't want to stay at home and watch Rolf harris, Val Doonican and The Younger Generation.

The shadow of the threat of Jake the Peg (with an extra leg) has been lifted for ever.

We have been delivered.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 02:05 PM

And the threat superseded by the threat of SKYTV the brainkiller.

Run!

While you still can!

While you still realise that you should!

You have been delivered from ennui to brain death!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 02:30 PM

"We all used to go folk clubs in the 1960's because we didn't want to stay at home and watch Rolf harris, Val Doonican and The Younger Generation."
Another theory bites the dust.
Some of us took to folk music because we liked it - some of us still do no matter what kicking it gets from 'wannabe folkies'.
jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 02:47 PM

Personally I figured I looked good in check shirt and sandals, and with a beard. You can put up with any amount of folk music to make the right fashion statement. It was 'ban the bomb' chic

With all this shite music going (long ballads, jigs and reels) I thought - this is my chance to strike a pose and look moody, sexy and interesting - give the room a chance to focus on something attractive, but with unmistakeable allure of depravity - me.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 04:53 PM

Gosh Al, what happened since?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Jan 09 - 05:14 PM

Actually, I can answer that. It was a holiday, a holiday, the first of all the year, and Al to the church had gone, all moody and interesting in check shirt and sandals, to see fair ladies there. Unfortunately, his well-established aversion to long ballads left him ill-prepared for what happened next. Fortunately for Al, Lord Barnard eventually saw the funny side, but the post-traumatic after-effects of the experience left him permanently unable to strike his trademark check-shirted moody pose, or to so much as look at a pair of sandals.

Kids! Don't let this happen to you! Learn a Child ballad today!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 10:06 AM

"Kids! Don't let this happen to you! Learn a Child ballad today! "
Many of them already know at least one- Weela Weela Walya - and maybe even Henry My Son,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 10:48 AM

"Oh Mum come quick 'cos I feel very sick and I want to lay down and die..."

I first heard that one from my younger sister, when she was in the Brownies.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: melodeonboy
Date: 13 Jan 09 - 07:42 PM

"All you have is nostalgia."

Speak for yourself!

I've only been back in the country for three years, having spent most of my adult life abroad. I didn't go to folk clubs thirty years ago, so nostalgia doesn't come into it for me. And I'm having a whale of a time.

Not everything out there is good, but if you can be arsed to make the effort and look around, there are great times to be had!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 03:31 AM

"Oh Mum come quick 'cos I feel very sick and I want to lay down and die..." - Lord Randal, Child 12.
"Steamin Willie Hardonn" - who was that arrogant prick?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 06:57 AM

"Weird beards and coffin dodgers"

Thanks, I was looking for a good name for a band we are setting up!

Hope there are some pubs left for us to play in...

What worries me is that whilst I don't know where Steamin' Willie Hardonn is coming from with his views, he does have one point. Audiences aren't getting any younger in general, despite some of the amazing younger talent on the professional circuit.

Dunno about the squirmingly embarrassing bit though. A mate gave me a tape of me playing at a club in 1980 recently, and I wasn't too impressed, despite taking myself more seriously then than now. (Didn't have a beard then either!)

Melodeonboy has it right. If you get out, you see more and may like what you see. Too right. some clubs are on my list to avoid in future, whilst I can't wait to go back to others.

There is no such thing as a "club" as there is no such thing as a "pub." The variety itself should be enough to keep people at least curious, and if you like the music, you are more than half way there to a great night out.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 09:39 AM

We all used to go folk clubs in the 1960's because we didn't want to stay at home and watch Rolf harris, Val Doonican and The Younger Generation

Born in 1961 I had little choice to stay home and watch Rolf Harris, Val Doonican and The Young Generation. In fact, it wasn't until 1976 that I made my first forays into folk clubs, aged 14, curiosity if not killing the cat then giving it a right good kicking; thus finding myself the youngest in the back room though by then I was already well equipped with the archive - going straight for the Trad. Jugular, the big ballads and the brutal old songs; the Lucy Wans and the McGintie's Meal an' Ales, leaving the Dylanesque guitar crooners & singer-songwriters to what I hoped would be a merciful extinction not too long in the coming. By 1976, the sixties were finally over & the game was well and truly afoot, and over the next few years I saw The Damned, The Ramones, Derek Bailey, Peter Bellamy, Jim Eldon, Evan Parker, The National Health, Rene Clemencic, The Watersons, Lol Coxhill, June Tabor, Sun Ra, John & Sue Kirkpatrick, Joy Division and The Fall, though not all of them in folk clubs I admit, but cultural life in the late seventies / early eighties was pretty cool.

Scroll on 33 years & at 47 I'm still the youngest in the Folk Club room, and still bored shitless by the Dylanesque guitar crooners & singer-songwriters who still think the answer's blowin' in the wind. I still sup from the unfailing blood of the Trad. Jugular - the real meat of folk, which, then as now, I regard as the pure essence of the thing; the Muckle Sangs and the real Traditional Singers, who were always more than fecking source singers for revivalists to plunder, as any self-respecting revivalist would admit. These days I take heart that anyone sings this stuff at all; these exacting enthusiasts and devotees so glibly dismissed as elitists purely because they are in a minority.

There's no point to this by the way, just an autobiographical note from a non baby-boomer Traddy for whom Traditional Song is but one small part of the cultural landscape, however so revived and exclusive that may be, and not without good reason. I often ponder why the folk-revival happened at all - and why it did nothing to encourage, engender or otherwise facilitate a second wave until comparatively recently. It is enough, however, that it happens at all, however so small a thing it might be, however so intimate, however so human, however so defined as much by context as it ever was by content, but there it is, big enough for me. Another 33 years down the line however... feck, now there's a sobering thought!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 11:00 AM

at 47 I'm still the youngest in the Folk Club room,

I wish I could contradict you, but I'm 48...

and still bored shitless by the Dylanesque guitar crooners & singer-songwriters

Amen to that.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 11:07 AM

45. Same room (last week, anyway).

Put that in yer pipe, oh bearded one...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 11:42 AM

43 (but 44 tomorrow!)..... don't mind a bit of a croon (as long as it sounds somewhat traditional).

We're starting to get a few more youngsters in at KFFC (2 teenagers, 3 x 20 somthings and a smattering of 30 somethings)..... they don't seem to mind the odd snigger/ snogwriter either. Balance, that's the thing!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 11:46 AM

p.s. nobody seems squirmingly embarrassed (or squirmingly embarrassing) either.

"Weird beards and coffin dodgers"..... we actively encourage goths!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 02:46 PM

Now you're just making me feel old - I get enough of that of Rachel. Folk Clubs - the one place a 47-year-old bloke can go to feel that priceless sense of sparkling youthfulness - a veritable elixir so it is!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 04:00 AM

"43 (but 44 tomorrow!)....."
Happy birthday Paul
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 04:24 AM

Thanks Jim!

Going to the wife's gig at the (undead) Topic Folk Club in Bradford tonight to celebrate...... might even be allowed to provide a little banjo backing for a few songs as it's a special occasion!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 04:36 AM

And a very fine little banjo it is too - have a lovely 44th!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Cliff
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 04:38 AM

Paul,

Happy Birthday!

Hope you use your present at tonights gig!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 04:53 AM

Paul,

I think you're maybe taking the goth thing a bit far if you're going to a folk club for the undead!

Happy birthday

Pete


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 04:54 AM

Thanks guys,

Touch and go about using my present (a superb new banjo strap made by GUEST,Cliff) as my banjos have been away having pick ups fitted and haven't re-appeared yet so I might be on a borrowed one.

Meanwhile, let's do something (CPR maybe?).....apparently the folk clubs are dying!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 04:58 AM

Happy Birthday Paul. I did actually think of popping over to the Topic tonight, till I remembered I'm up your way in Darlington myself! Flash if you spot my van on the A1 :-) Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 05:11 AM

"We're starting to get a few more youngsters in at KFFC (2 teenagers, 3 x 20 somthings and a smattering of 30 somethings)"

That made me laugh out loud! Can you be "30 something" AND "a youngster"? Just joining this board has taken a good decade off me.

Silliness apart. I'm sure there is an audience for traditional song amongst my peers and younger. Perhaps it's a case of there not being sufficient exposure outside of folk clubs? I've said it before, but I stumbled on trad. by accident. How many others are simply unaware like I was?

Now I've learned a little, I'll be taking traditional unaccompanied songs for Open Mic tents, to any (non-folk) Hippy Fest I go to this Summer. It'll be interesting to see what the experience will be like.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 05:18 AM

Rosie,

As with most people, anyone younger than me is youngster!!!

Trad unaccompanied (or accompanied) singing (yes we do some of it, amongst self penned but trad sounding stuff) goes down pretty well at "non-folk" venues in our experience..... but it has to be done very well, there isn't the "politeness" that you get in the folk world. If you're crap, you soon find out.

Go for it. I think you'll get a good reaction.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 06:02 AM

That made me laugh out loud! Can you be "30 something" AND "a youngster"?

You are new round here!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 07:58 AM

"Happy Birthday Paul. I did actually think of popping over to the Topic tonight, till I remembered I'm up your way in Darlington myself! Flash if you spot my van on the A1 :-) Tom"

Cheers Tom hope your gig up here goes well. Do you mind if I wave rather than flash when we pass you on the A1?..... I'd rather not get arrested!

Banjos have turned up..... new strap is great!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Cliff
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 10:42 AM

Glad you are pleased Paul.
Bit of a rush job 'cos of timing :-)
Best wishes to Wendy for tonights gig!

If everybody was as welcoming as Burneston Folk Club was to me last night, there would be no fear of clubs dying!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 11:22 AM

Thanks Cliff,

Glad you enjoyed Burneston, it is a great singaround club. Sorry only one of us could get there but babysitting gets expensive if we both go to everything. Still, it meant you avoided the banjo!

Cheers

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Aeola
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 12:53 PM

18 years ago I found folk music and have been enjoying it ever since, but then of course I was one of the over 50's, but strange thing is I look at other members and some of them will be like me in 18 years time. Like I have said ' some things never change!!'


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 05:15 PM

Happy birthday Paul!

May your banjo long continue to duel...

Spleen


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 06:02 PM

"Unplugged Undead" just has to be a name for an event, venue or band.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Cliff
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 05:25 AM

Hi Paul,

Someone wants a guitar strap but they stipulated I had to disinfect my hands after making a banjo strap:-)

Cliff (who loves the sound of a well-played banjo)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 06:59 AM

Where do you find that?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 10:22 AM

the answer was blowing in the wind.

the only reason your folk club was there in the first place was those despised dylan crooners. well done! you got rid of them,and all that generation who thought they might have something to say about their own lives. the truth and three chords.

I'm sorry you've found youself in an empty room biting into the jugular. Just at what point did you feel the jugular biting might pan out as an evening's entertainment.

derek Brimstone told me one time about a prominent traddy who was getting monster reviews from Karl Dallas and because melody maker in 69 had a readership of 4million plus a week the place would be packed for them - but the clubs that had been doing well up then for about five years, the week after, were empty. people felt they had been conned.

the traddy thing is a very specific taste. It provides some moments of exquisite music. But it has damn all to do with the generality of the English population - which ALWAYS has a folk music relecting the people on the street. the language and the culture of our nation is too vibrant for it to be otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Maggie in Marske
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 10:46 AM

Now then, who says Folk Clubs are dying? They are getting smaller than they were back then (in the 60's & 70's)but IMHO, they are still there, all you need to do is to seek them out. Now then, as to the standard presented - well, we all start somewhere. I agree that a good organiser will pick the best to do support sets on a guest night and if he/she doesn't then they should, but then sooner or later all the regulars should be encouraged to aspire to the best performance they can give, at all times.   Personally I was told at school that I was tone deaf (some might say I am) but what I learned in later life is that I have a somewhat limited range, and couldn't carry the tunes in the high "virgin voice" keys used in the High School!   Having found my range, I do feel I can put over a song if its played in the right key for me. Maybe that is something that more should experiment with. God gave us capo's for a reason!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 11:05 AM

Al,
We listen to and promote the music we like, not what happens to be 'in'.
If it fails, it fails - tough, no reason to put on music that doesn't interest you - we're folk music enthusiasts, not ******* juke-boxes. The 'people on the street' listen to Amy Winehouse and Beyonce and all the other mind-numbers - shall we save our pennies to get them down to the clubs???
Dylan pissed off to follow the big money - and never pretended otherwise.
Maggie,
The clubs have shrunk to a minuscule size, the audiences have dwindled and the organisers are prepared to tolerate - nay, promote crap performances of a music that is no longer recognisable as folk music - sorry, if it were our cat I'd send for the vet.
Why not try singing unaccompanied, helps to concentrate the mind, and the pitch no end.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 11:20 AM

Jim's right - if you can crack singing unaccompanied, you'll have got the measure of it. Not for nothing do those hideous talent shows on the telly make the contestants sing unaccompanied - it's the best measure of voice quality there is. If you can train your voice to hold a note and to work comfortably in a range (even a limited range - just pick your material carefully) then you've won 90 per cent of the battle.
Would that every would-be singer bothered to work on his or her voice, so go for it, Maggie.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 03:37 PM

I know that i can't sing unaccompanied - a few other people ought to realise that it is very difficult and jack it in.

i don't feel the need to sing standing up in a hammock either.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 06:25 AM

"I know that i can't sing unaccompanied"
Probably explains why you don't like folk music.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 06:46 AM

WLD! Have you heard the news!

Apparently all the 'great and the good' of English Trad. singing (Martin, Norma et.al.) were at a big folk festival last week when ... it's very sketchy ... lights were seen in the sky ... and well ... they all seem to have disappeared. Reports of "alien abduction" are, of course, absurd ... but what other explanation is there?
If that weren't bad enough several of the traddies on here ('Insane Beard', Richard Bridge etc.)have simultaneously decided to take up alternative interests (apparently 'Beard' has decided to become a Buddhidst monk in Bhutan) and even one of our newest recruits, 'Sleepy Rosie' has seen the error of her ways and is taking up crocheting. And then the Government is widening and deepening its attack on civil liberties by banning anything that doesn't make 'acceptable' levels of profit. All police stations are to be provided with special bins where you will be required to hand in all copies of Topic's 'Voice of the People', and other trad. CDs, along with books like 'Folk Song in England', Child's 'English and Scottish Popular Ballads' etc.

But every cloud has a silver lining, WLD! Now the way is clear for you to start your great Folk revolution! At last you can nurture a folk music which appeals to the " ... generality of the English population - which ALWAYS has a folk music relecting the people on the street."

Go to it, WLD! No more pesky traddies to stifle your noble ambitions! I look forward to you publishing your manifesto on here in the next few weeks!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 11:06 AM

Don't need a manifesto.

the clarity of the situation is there for all to see it.

I started writng folksongs because I realised I came from a class that would not be published any other way. I could take my song to a folk club and publish in an evening to more people than could follow the abstruse shite poetry published in The Listener and Encounter.

Similarly all the folksongs come from the great underclass.

You have tried to change it into chamber music soothing to the middle classes. It was ever thus. Your class have always one more territorial ambition, and you have got your mitts on folkmusic - but by its very nature - it will break free.

The motherlode lies with the proles. Not the old travellers in caravans and rural traditions that no one remembers.

All the proles - who wouldn't get a look in at the Radio 2 awards for musically moribund - its blowing in the wind, man!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 11:41 AM

Anyway - you'll all be dumbfounded when my latest work 'Witchfinder General - the musical' gets an Emmy and a Radio 2 Folk record of the Century Award.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 12:03 PM

What do you mean, "your class"?!

I'll have you know that my Dad was a sheet-metalworker. He made sacrifices so that me and my brothers could get further education after we left our shite secondary modern school. I ended up working in a lab., in Industry. Perhaps that makes me 'middle class' - but I've never felt like it - I just got some modest breaks at a time of maximum social mobility (mid to late 60s) that's all. I eventually got 'thrown on the scrapheap' at 57 - bit I survive OK.

it's a strange thing, 'class' in Britain, isn't it? When I was growing up, in a city in Eastern England, it was made very plain to me that I was from the 'wrong-side-of-the-tracks' (quote from one of my teachers: "I get fed up with you kids from secondary modern schools getting a few 'O' levels and getting big ideas about going to university"). Then when I moved to a Northern city I found myself being 'accused' of being 'middle class' - usually by the school teachers who packed my local Labour Party branch!
Nowadays some of those teachers are on the City Council - where they're still claiming to be 'prolier-than-thou' whilst doing dodgy deals with property developers behind the scenes.

To me Folk Music is not primarily about class (shocking as that admission might be to some people). It's about an interesting medium with a rich heritage which I find to be a lot more exciting and entertaining than much of the 'post-music noise' that passes for popular music today.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 12:18 PM

Shimrod - if you've never felt excluded maybe its cos you have nothing to say that they would want to exclude.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 12:28 PM

You're clearly a smart and astute man WLD. But I also find something somewhat patronising in the assumption that trad song and suchlike can't speak for 'me' or 'my class'. There seems the teeniest presumption amongst some postings (not necessarily yours specifically I add) I've seen on the 'Cat, that a working class person somehow isn't capable of appreciating or enjoying something which is somehow supposed to belong to the wealthy and highly educated? I'm still perplexed as to how come I've managed to completely miss English trad-arts all my life until now (another thread). Wish there was a higher profile out there for it, for other possible curious working-class parties like myself. I know I'm wading into a long laboriously wrung out debate, about which I know virtually nothing. And yet, I am working class, and I don't see why trad music and song can't (or isn't supposed to) appeal to other people like me.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: wyrdolafr
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 12:34 PM

Weelittledrummer, not everyone. Some of us will be saying: "it's the first time I've felt music's really spoken to me. At last, someone truly understands me and why I killed those people".


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 12:43 PM

Rosie

try this

Put a martin carthy album on the cd player. Wait til your Mum comes round, or the girl who does your hair, or your best mate who you used to work with.

Turn on the cd.

Wait how long before good manners gives way to impatience and they say - turn this shit off!

Not that martin is shit. On the contrary. he's a musician of genius. However he performs in a style which confronts - and frankly to many seems perverse.

He doesn't communicate with working class people because he doesn't want to all that much. anyway - its not top of his agenda. Preserving a vision of english folk music is. you pays your money - you takes your choice.

he's made his - his constituencey are happy. i never found my constituency - but at least I tried.

that makes me ridiculous to Shimrod. i'd rather be ridiculous and know i tried to kick down some of the doors leading to rooms full of smug bastards.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 12:52 PM

le sigh.

Hands up, I am guilty too. I am from US a lower mid working class boring background with little exposure to American folk much less English tradtional.

I was really introduced to Trad English music by my daughter when she was 15(some 13 years ago) and I (as she did) fell head over heels in love.   I only discovered the political folk music of my native land recently as a result of trawling through Mudcat. Yes I sang Guthrie's This Land is Your Land in elementary school but we were not taught what it meant.

Don't think it is fair to deny anyone's feeling for any type of music. If the song and the story moves you, they move you. If one can perform them so that they move someone else... where's the harm?

I can't believe I have been sucked into the vortex of this thread again.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 01:07 PM

OK WLD, I get your point.

My Mum would probably say, 'What's this?' and be interested when I told her (I learned a lot from my Mum who left school at fourteen, lived her life working low-paid jobs and teaching herself everything she ever came to know anything about). My Dad, would pull a horrible face and say 'It's not the bloody Beatles is it?' and I probably would have to turn it off for him! I do my own hair. But the girl who used to do my hair might prefer it to some of the Drum n Bass, or Old Skool Rap I listen to... And the same is true of both my Mum and Dad, who while both working class, absolutely despise that stuff (though 'the mate I used to work with' would like it plenty, and indeed utterly hate the trad).

A class issue, a cutural issue, a generational issue?
I can't know. But I think I'd have liked to learned something about English Traditional Arts before now.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 01:45 PM

This discussion - like many before it - has mutated from the issue of whether folk cubs are dying or not (the OP's initial proposition) to the wider question of whether "folk" has any relevance or not. And - yet again - it is almost (but not quite) entirely focussed on song rather than the more inclusive song & melody aspect of folk.

I attend a monthly acoustic session at a pub a few miles away. This, in turn, has spawned a monthly session - which I run - in my local pub. In both cases, the music us held in the bar, not in a private room. We have guitars, mandolins, fiddles, whistles, free reeds, saxes - a variable mixture from month to month. The non-playing drinkers in both venues nearly always come up to us at the end of the sessions, saying how much they've enjoyed it, and ask when are we playing again. We play a mixture of music with a big emphasis on traditional tunes - which gets feet tapping and sometimes stamping.

We're not trying to put a message across, or to reach out to a "class", or to do anything other than just play great music and enjoy ourselves. No political, moral or social agenda. No breaking down of doors or slamming of doors. The problem with all these discussions of "folk music" is that they constantly emphasise the stereotype of the guitar-slinging folkie. There's more to the music than that. I saw John Kirkpatrick and Chris Parkinson (the Sultans of Squeeze) at a club recently. What did I get? Bloody good music, great tunes and songs, superb performances and stacks of belly laughs. I guarantee I could have taken my Mum, windowcleaner, hairdresser, mates from down the pub - virtually anyone - to this event, and they would have loved it.

The argument is grey, not black and white - and there are too many shades and sides to traditional music to make overall pronouncements. We should just get on and do it - as best and as passionately as we can - and bugger the carpers.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 02:43 PM

WMD I thnk you perhaps ought to wait until Martin Carthy is around and then say to him "Of course all you middle class ponces live off teh backs of teh workers and never dun them no good nohow" and then duck. You may be bigger than him in terms of height of weight, but I'd really, really, like to be a fly on the wall.

And I thnk I'd quite like to be there when you're giving it the "Romanies, don't give me that crap about traditions, you're really just a bunch of pikies innit?" to Romanyman.

And I thnk it's quite extraordinary that you assume that the current working lass, MacJobsclass, adn underclass have no connection to thier roots. Around here, the one song I can count on the travelling boys to ask for is "The Innocent Hare".


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 02:53 PM

"and they say - turn this shit off!"
As they would possibly say about classical music, jazz, blues....... or any other music that didn't appeal to them - what's your point Al?
You're pretty keen on insisting that because folk music says nothing to you, then it can't possibly be relevant to anybody else.
I find myself pretty much in agreement with Will Fly - up to a point.
I came into folk music because it pushed the right buttons with me - as a listener, and eventually a singer, it gave me a huge amount of pleasure and it still does - above any other form of music.
At one point I decided to lift the corner to see what was underneath, and guess what - that gave me pleasure too - and still does. My concern for the clubs is based on the fact that I would like to pass on that pleasure to others as the people who introduced me to folk music did for me.
Unlike Al, I am not going to try and legislate that anybody should be interested in the same things I am, and I expect the same courtesy from others.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 03:37 PM

"Shimrod - if you've never felt excluded maybe its cos you have nothing to say that they would want to exclude."

-I felt excluded at school and college because I came from a working class family.

- I felt excluded during my brief stint in the Labour Party (c.1980) because I couldn't do the 'prolier-than-thou' thing with a straight face - or master the jargon.

- I have been excluded twice from workplaces (ie. made redundant).

- But I have never felt excluded from folk clubs. Possibly because I sing English trad. songs (presumably well enough to exclude the possibility people throwing stuff at me). In fact I have been invited to become a resident singer in three different clubs over the years. I have met a lot of my very best friends through folk clubs - people who, I know, are always there for me if I ever need them - and that is, surely, the complete opposite of exclusion.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 03:44 PM

At one point I decided to lift the corner to see what was underneath

This to me is key. There's a Radiohead track I'm particularly fond of called Fifteen Steps. The thing is, when you've heard Fifteen Steps by Radiohead, you've heard Fifteen Steps by Radiohead; it's been recorded, it's there, it's those notes & beats and no others.

Contemporary songs in the tradition are different, but perhaps not all that different. When you've heard three different versions of the Moving On song, you've heard three different versions of a song by Ewan MacColl; different people can make it their own in different ways, but it's those words and that melody and no others.

When you've heard three different versions of Lord Bateman, you've opened a door on a huge range of variants, and just as huge a range of possible interpretations. It's endless. Traditional songs are asking to be sung, and they're asking to be reinterpreted and rearranged. Speaking as a singer (floor-level), that fascinates me.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Aeola
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 04:24 PM

Why do people generalize, ' middle class', 'working class' etc., and assume that they all either like this or that? We are all individuals and happily what one likes another dislikes and so on ,, this results in a diverse universe of genres where there is something for everyone. As for being excluded, surely there will always be someone who isn't liked by somebody but at the end of the day we all get along, sort of!!( religion and politics are different!!)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 04:41 PM

Agreed Aeolea. It's one of the things that really bugs me - and ironically moreso from working-classes than middle-classes. The assumption that because I come from a low-income blue-collar (and indeed classically defined working-class) background (as I do), that somehow my cultural interests must therefore be defined and delimited by my socio-economic conditions... This IMHO is utter bollox and buying into thee olde class game, which keeps us all in our safely defined little box. Fuck the poxy British class system up it's tight arsehole, and all that it *still* stands for.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 04:55 PM

I was kinda stunned to find no Tubeys of Stand Up, Nigel Barton


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 05:31 PM

Put a martin carthy album on the cd player. Wait til your Mum comes round, or the girl who does your hair, or your best mate who you used to work with.

Turn on the cd.

Wait how long before good manners gives way to impatience and they say - turn this shit off!


I'm intigued by the message behind this! Does it mean that if it is folk music it is shit? Or does it mean that your Mum or the girl who does your hair or your best mate who you used to work with think that Martin Carthy is shit? Is being able to play any CD that aforementioned army of proles think it is OK a measure of good music? In which case does this mean that Britney Spears, Sloop Dog and the Archies are 'better' than Martin Carthy, Miles Davies and the Manchester Halle?

Maybe popularity and 'listenability' is a measure of good - I don't know but I am willing to accept that it is. I for one am more than happy to walk out of a room when there is something on that I do not like. Either my own living room or a folk club! What I will not do though is brand things I do not like as 'shit' and try to justify my views by pretending that 'my music' holds some sort of wonderful poilitical message.

I am happy for other people to do so though. Jus don't expect me to take them seriously:-D

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 06:00 PM

Alarming stuff.

The worrying thing it just why the working-class have this proclivity to lap up such common-minded shite by the rancid gutterful? I knew that much early in my (working class) childhood when I began to find meaning in things that my peers looked upon with complete and utter bafflement. When I was twelve I was creating abstract electronic experimental landscapes using tape loops and synthesisers at an arts centre in Whitley Bay, and whilst prog was tolerated and to a certain extent indulged, it was when I began to pick up records of free improvisation and field-recorded ethnomusicology that one by one old friends fell away as I broadened my cultural horizons to such an extent that might be regarded as enriching my very soul, yeah, even unto biting into the Trad. Jugular of Ceremonial Song & Balladry at folk clubs, there to transfuse my watered down proletarian blood with what I still regard as the pure drop. This is not a Folk Epiphany - Folk is simply part of the glorious equation; neither is it a case of embourgeoisement, rather an idiosyncratic seeking after that which in whose presence, as Camus once said (and famously quoted by Scott Walker on the cover of Scott 4), my heart first opened.

Three chords and the truth? Bollocks. The medium will always be the message - thus might I do something like This or even This in faith that the only truth that matters is that which you accord to yourself.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 06:05 PM

the working-class have this proclivity to lap up such common-minded shite by the rancid gutterful

I think I might do that up in cross stitch.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 08:56 PM

Dropped into mudact for the first time this year. Lots to catch up on. Must say this has been a brilliant thread over the months and some good new debates have emenrged in the last 20 days.

Immediate point: A new singer has been coming along to Cellarfolk since moving to our area for University. He's the youngest by some years on a normal night but his style is very similar to that of Tony, a collegue I co-host another singaround with.

Mentioned this to Tony at tonight's singaround. This led on to a discussion about what new generations might like about folk, musical stylewise, and what might be turnoffs. We concluded that the main style of the last 30 years (prissy clawhammer stuff ) might actually seem dated - therefore unattractive. New generations are more likely to want the more rhythmic - but nevertheless intricate - playing.

True, I'm really unimpressed with the clawhammer stuff - it seems to represent all that I thought was bad about the folk scene I remember from the days I did the trendy formal clubs. But its worth considering that the stuff I simply dislike could be the actual turnoff for young entrants to the folk scene - simply because it's a dated style. A new thread?

Ian Fyvie    PS - I'm working class WITH BA.(Hons) from a leading University.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 09:14 PM

Re - Fingerpicking comment last posting - Created the new thread as mentioned!

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:18 AM

Jim - I would never deny anyone's right to lift the corner, find a new style of music attractive - worthy of a lifetime's devotion, like you have done yourself.

Its just that i feel the folk music of today must be out there somewhere - out there on the housing estates, in the workplaces, in the hearts of the people.

this old stuff is your desmesne - fair enough. it makes you happy.

But think - did Brennan on the moor, and stuff like that come from teachers and social workers, and retired executives and librarians. Did Just as the Tide was Flowing come from an ardent lover who could have published his verse in a little magazine. No these songs came from the unlettered - who had no other way to express themselves than to SING.

And you know life is like that for a lot of people nowadays. Send your demo in - and if you're not one of the boys, or one of their offspring - in the bin it goes, unlistened to. the sounds of silence.

where are the songs about how we live? life in some shitty comprehensive, doing some mind numbing insult to your intelligence job, the insincerity of all commercial relationships - the have a nice day ethos..... I can think of maybe Jarvis cocker's Common People that has that texture - but that was ten years ago, and the world changes every time you turn on the tv.

yes you lot have won. i suppose the middle class always do. Check out the festival line ups and yup! surprise surprise - the traddies have cornered the market.

But its my 60th birthday today. Go on give me a present. tell me about a song that has something to do with the eras, i have lived through.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:25 AM

Happy Birthday Al.
JB


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:29 AM

But think - did Brennan on the moor, and stuff like that come from teachers and social workers, and retired executives and librarians.

Well Al - I might be one of these - but you don't know a thing about me, so what does it matter? And if I was, why stereotype me with attitudes I might not actually have?

Anyway - try this for size: What A Waste - Happy Birthday!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Howard Jones
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:45 AM

WLD: the middle class didn't steal folk music from the working class. The "proles" (to use your phrase) long ago abandoned their traditional music and became mostly passive consumers of commercial entertainment - along with most of the rest of society. If you want the authentic voice of the working class you'll have to look elsewhere. For a while it was punk, now perhaps its rap or hip-hop, but it's certainly not folk in any form.

No one pretends that traditional folk music is the voice of the working class today. Some find it significant that it once was, but others are simply interested in it as an art form for its own sake. Folk songs address the human condition - love and loss, loyalty and betrayal, trying to find an identity in a changing world - matters which affect all classes.

Some Mudcatters apparently know your real identity but I don't so I can only go on what I read here. I find it surprising that you chose to take your songs into the folk clubs, filled with the middle classes you seem to despise, rather than find some other medium which would speak direct to the working class.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:46 AM

Happy Birthday WLD!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: melodeonboy
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:55 AM

"tell me about a song that has something to do with the eras, i have lived through."

Well, just off the top of my head:

Another quiet night in England - Oysterband

Perfumes of Arabia - Martin Carthy

A beggin' I will go - Martin Carthy

A place called England - Maggie Holland

City of Angels - Vin Garbutt

Coal not Dole - Oysterband

There are countless others, but then some people would rather have a chip on their shoulder about not being able to find something rather than actually go out and look for it!

Less axe-grinding and more common sense, please!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 05:09 AM

proles - george orwell , not me - an old etonian - you should approve Howard!

round here in ex-mining country Nottinghamshire. there are lots of folk clubs, mainly working class people, mainly into Americana. Merle travis's dark as a Dungeon was always bigger with miners than Ewan's Big Hewer.

By an large these are the folk clubs that aren't approved of by local folk toffs.

i didn't say middle class stole folk music - just locked it away in the past.

they made it so that it bears roughly the same relationship to proper folk music as shortbread tins with Bonny prince charlie does to Scottish nationalism.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: melodeonboy
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 05:15 AM

........cont. on p. 94


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 05:43 AM

Happy Birthday, WLD!

I have to agree with the posting from Howard Jones. The working class, and most members of every other class for that matter, have turned into passive consumers of commercial entertainment.
As for your endless ranting about 'middle class' traddies hi-jacking folk music and denying the working class the opportunity of creating their own 'contemporary' folk music - it just doesn't ring true to me. For a start, quite a few of my traddie mates are from working class backgrounds - just like me! And, I suspect, if there were people out there who were/are creative enough to create a 'new folk music' they would be doing it and wouldn't give a monkeys about the views of a handful of traddies. No doubt you will tell me that they are out there and that their creativity is being stifled. Well, possibly - but it's more likely to be 'market forces' that are doing the stifling - and not a few people who like old songs.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 06:28 AM

well there might be some new folk music out there amomgst the passive mindless lower classes. sullen brutes that we are.

i'm just pointing out that they provided you with all the traditional classics. maybe that's where the new classics will come from.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 07:02 AM

I fully and completely acknowledge, and am proud of the fact, that our traditional songs were passed on by, and often created by, MY working class ancestors, as well as yours, WLD.

And I never said anything about the lower classes being "passive mindles ... sullen brutes" - you did! For the record what I said was (in agreement with a previous post from Howard Jones):

"The working class, and most members of every other class for that matter, have turned into passive consumers of commercial entertainment."

In fact the working class have a proud history of self-improvement and education in this country - often in the face of overwhelming odds. You just have to think of many of the traditional singers themselves, rural poets like John Clare and the great self-educated scientist/naturalists of 19th century South Lancashire. In fact I still know quite a few people from 'humble' backgrounds who are in this tradition (particularly in the field of Natural History). So why doesn't this tradition produce the great works of 'contemporary folk music' which you yearn for? I doubt whether it has anything to do with a few middle class AND working class people singing old songs.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 07:07 AM

I'm not exactly where this fits into this discussion because I don't know how pertinant to the OP it is... But there are some pretty working class sounding names here:

The Imagined Village

I've only just been introduced to them - all old news to everyone else here no doubt, but here's their fantastic performance on Jools


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 07:14 AM

Funny you think the traddies have the market in festivals cornered, Al.

Down here in deepest Kent we are up in arms at the absence of folk at Broadstairs, and the booking of a band called "the Funking Bar Stewards" who are thought to be less than wholly couth.

Maybe I should move to Grottingham, and you to K*nt?

Shimrod does however have a point - the traditional socialists had a considerable commitment to education and self-improvement, seen in the WEA movement and the Fabian society, and many debating societies formed by the unemployoed inthe 30s etc etc.

Are you saying that the modern working (or not-working) class (a) rejects such or similar things and (b) is right to do so?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 07:38 AM

I took my old 11+ exam (remember that?) at a local Mechanics' Institute in Lancashire in 1955. The building was a reminder that there was a huge self-improvement programme for working-class people that started in the 1820s - often philanthropically funded by industralists on the premise that a better-educated workforce was a more productive workforce. That movement gave birth to the Public Library movement, with the "penny rate" that funded it.

One factor has changed since those days: there was no benefit if any kind for those with no money. No sick benefits, no unemployments benefits, no housing benefits - until the Means Test in the 1930s (subject of "Love On The Dole"). So, it may be that the incentive to lear, to better oneself, to "get on" was more urgent than today - when, if one so chooses, one can just about live off the State.

Please note: I'm not necessarily saying that we live in a more feckless society than of yore, but life is easier now than then for those who do reject education and self-improvement.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:24 AM

I don't feel very attracted to a principle of less eligibility. Most people surely then and now pursue(d) betterment for its own sake - don't they?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:43 AM

I hope you do come to Nottingham someday soon Richard. I'm really looking forward to hearing you and meeting you.

melodeonboy - i have had many opportunities to hear those artists. i will give the individual songs all a listen. But the fact that you have quoted them at me shows you're not grasping the nub of my argument.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:51 AM

Al,
The first thing to say about the 'old' songs is that they are not just 'old', they are timeless; the themes, love, lust, passion, hardship, loss, injustice, pride in work, hatred of authority, triumph.... whatever, all are, or have at one time been part of my life, and, I suspect, most other peoples. I can't think of any single emotion or experience covered by folk song that I can't relate to in some way or other.
I can still laugh at the predicament of a cross-dressing ex-suitor hiding from the Duke of Athol's Nurse's brothers, or get caught up in the chase of the eloping Earl Brand and his lover, or say "serves the bastard right "when the Outlandish Knight gets thrown into the sea. I still listen with a lump in my throat when Sheila Stewart tells the story of Tiftie's Annie being beaten to death by her family because she wants to marry a servant. The idea that Henry Harbutt could have been sent to the other side of the world for taking a few rabbits from what was almost certainly enclosed common land by a magistrate who was almost certainly one of the people who carried out the requisitioning still makes me angry.
The universality of the themes, stories, people and situations that gave rise to thesongs are as relevant and as enjoyable and involving as they were when they were made, they are a part of my history and my culture, and of many like me – that's why they lasted as long as they did and continued to entertain right into the 20th century.
Also, the straight, narrative form in which they were composed makes them accessible to anybody who is prepared to take the trouble to listen; that's how I came to them in the first place, and I still passionately believe that if we do our job properly and take the trouble to present them well and thoughtfully enough, that's how they will survive for future generations – but that, of course, is the problem we are faced with.
I am not an antiquarian; I'm not particularly interested in 'authenticity' – I don't know what is 'authentic. We came to our song tradition when it was on its last legs and when (with a few notable exceptions) our singers were past their best and remembering the songs rather than interpreting them. I was lucky enough to be introduced to the singing of MacColl, Lloyd and others, who were, in their way, modernising and re-creating the songs WITHOUT BETRAYING OR ABANDONING THEIR BASIC FUNCTION – THAT OF NARRATIVE INTERPRETATION AND COMMUNICATION.   
Unlike modern songs which appeal to the 'yoof', THEY DO NOT COME WITH A SELL-BY DATE. If you discard them because of their age, or because they are not relevant to the younger generation, be sure you leave enough room in the bin for Aeschylus, Homer, Shakespeare, Johnson, Boccaccio, Fielding, Chekov, Hugo, Zola, Hasek, Dickens, Hardy, Joyce, Graves, Greene, Hemmingway, Steinbeck.... and all the others who have given me a great deal of pleasure during my lifetime.
Having said that, my interest is not confined to the 'old' songs; you know about The New City Songster, edited by Peggy Seeger, which went into 20 odd editions and made available hundreds of newly written songs (including one of your own). It has always been my belief that the creation of new songs is possible – even necessary to the future of folk music – I'm not talking about the navel gazing masturbatory, 'private - keep out' compositions which masquerade as 'folk', but songs that say something to us all, and can be used by all to express our own opinions and emotions. I believe the universal form of the tradition is one form that can achieve this; personally, I can't think of any other that can do the job half as well, but I'm open to suggestions. Modern forms don't work for me, not because they are inferior, but simply that they are not narrative enough to hang an idea or an experience on.
Best – and again – happy birthday,
Jim Carroll (ELECTRICIAN)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,John E.
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 10:32 AM

Having skimmed this thread I think the content largely answers its own question.

If folk clubs really are dying it's because too many (not all) of them seem to deliberately choose not to appeal to anyone outside their own clique, especially not to younger people. As a result they have become self-centred, boring and sometimes more concerned with navel-gazing, politics and sociology than the music. If you doubt me just skim back up the thread!

I've been involved in folk as modest performer and enthusiastic gig-goer since the mid-60s and I was lucky, when I was young folk music WAS pop music. I love the music, in all its forms from "finger-in-the-ear" trad to modern folk-rock, and I am interested in the history and background to the songs I sing, but what really matters is the music itself first and foremost.

If I hear a song I like, it doesn't matter where it comes from, I'll work to arrange it in a way I can handle; and if I can't do a song justice, I'll set it aside rather than butcher it.

If we just set out to have fun with our music and to enthuse and entertain a wider audience maybe we can get back into the mainstream and re-invigorate live acoustic music in all its forms. Here's hoping ...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Somebody else wearing a wig
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 11:53 AM

Unfortunately, admitting who you are tends to make the discussion seem a bit weird, as the moderators have taken down all my postings, which makes interesting reading as people refer to posts that are no longer there...

Even if I were to say who I was, the IP address of my computer would probably be barred, which does tend to shut me up, (for about four seconds, as it doesn't take a rocket scientist to get past the access denied screen.)

I love the person who says he has credibility because his dad was a sheet metal worker, and I especially love how Jim Carroll called me an arrogant prick.

Sadly, fold clubs are dying, and it ain't old Willie's fault. He just notices all and laughs at the preposterous claims that folk clubs are not dying, black is white and don't enter the room unless you fit our profile that we all set up amongst ourselves on this forum. (Look at some of the hilarious tosh that came out when somebody innocently posed the question the other day, "What is a floor singer?"

Anyway, best not to block me too often, as I do come on to get lyrics or see a chord sequence from time to time. Also gives me material for the jokes I tell about folk clubs and other time warp nonsense when I play theatres and arts centres etc. (I would play folk clubs, I do get asked, but couldn't be arsed to tip toe around the politics and people who get up in a morning just so they can be offended by others.

S.W.H.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 12:25 PM

No,
I called you arrogant - you called yourself a prick - and then went and proved it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 03:07 PM

"I love the person who says he has credibility because his dad was a sheet metal worker,..."

I claimed no such credibility! WLD assumed that, because I like traditional song, I must be middle class. This is factually incorrect - I was merely putting the record straight.

Take that sneer off your face, Lizzie, and pay attention!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Aeola
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 04:22 PM

Whilst there is a lot to be said for the more trad folk music, as with trad jazz, there is room for progression. I'm sure that in years to come there will be comments about the 'classic' songs from the 60's, 70's, 80's, etc., you know' they don't write them like that anymore'.Time moves on and everything will progress accordingly and some people will prefer one type to another.A bit like a bottle of wine!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 05:03 PM

Why bother taking the piss out of people who wear wigs?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 09:59 AM

i feel the folk music of today must be out there somewhere - out there on the housing estates, in the workplaces, in the hearts of the people

I think you're wrong there, I'm afraid.

The problem is, people (of all classes) don't like making more effort than they have to. Give them washing machines and they won't wash the sheets by hand*. Give them TVs and they won't go to the pictures twice a week. Give them jukeboxes and they won't sing around the piano in the pub. Give them recorded music and they won't buy sheet music. Make it easy to listen to music and they won't go to the trouble of making music.

And what happens when people stop making music is that they stop passing it on; the folk process stops happening. All of this happened in Britain forty years ago or more - the lid was probably closing on the folk process around the same time the Revival got going. Folk music - music of the people - just isn't out there any more; we traddies are curators of our own little museum. I think it's a fantastic museum, which could give a lot more to a lot more people than it is doing at the moment; if there are cliques, and if there are people getting turned away on the door (or looking in the door and turning away of their own accord), then that needs fixing. But it's still a museum.

(Al - I held back a day on posting this. Hope you had a good 'un.)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 10:01 AM

Oops - forgot my footnote.

*Apart from my late mother-in-law, who used to fill the twin-tub then switch it off and do the actual washing herself. But she was unusual even for her (1920s) generation.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 10:20 AM

500.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: melodeonboy
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 10:32 AM

Much of what you say is true, Pip. However, there are people (myself included, I like to think!) who do make more effort than they have to. Certainly, they're in a minority, but they do exist.

Also, from my point of view, I'm not playing music in a museum. I understand that the relatively bland, uneventful and secure lives that many people lead in the western world in the 21st century may not provide such great stimuli for the development of new songs, but there are still a lot of people out there writing songs (many of them good ones), and many others interpreting older songs/tunes in their own way. I've never seen what I do as static or just a lame reproduction of what's gone before.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 11:58 AM

However, there are people (myself included, I like to think!) who do make more effort than they have to.

Me too!

I've never seen what I do as static or just a lame reproduction of what's gone before.

And me neither. It's a living museum - with room for the likes of this and this as well as this.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 12:02 PM

Oops - clickie trouble. Clickie 2 and 3 OK but clickie 1, he dead.

First clickie should be this.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM

It's a living museum - with room for the likes of this and this as well as this.

I said this once:

We lovers of traditional song are not so much the keepers of a tradition, rather the volunteer curators of a museum, entrusted with the preservation of a few precious, priceless and irreplaceable artefacts: hand-crafted tools we no longer know the names of (let alone what they were actually used for) ; hideous masks of woven cornstalks (which are invariably assumed to be pagan) ; and hoary cases of singular taxidermy wherein beasts long extinct are depicted in a natural habitat long since vanished.

Not only is such a museum a beacon for the naturally curious, it's a treasure in and of itself, an anachronism in age of instant (and invariable soulless) gratification, and as such under constant threat by those who want to see it revamped; cleaned up with computerised displays and interactive exhibits and brought into line with the rest of commodified cultural presently on offer.

But not only is this museum is our collective Pit-Rivers, it is a museum which, in itself, is just as much an artefact of a long-vanished era as the objects it contains. It is delicate, and crumbling, but those who truly love it wouldn't have it any other way - and quite rightly so.   


(for the rest see my blog: The Liege, The Lief and the Traditional Folk Song over at my Myspace page.)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 12:10 PM

The lesson being, always check your links before posting:

http://www.myspace.com/sedayne


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 03:00 PM

God Pip - they were bloody awful - no wonder someone shot Jim Moray (from the look of the photograph).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 03:04 PM

I prefer Nic Jones's Bateman, but I liked it being in 5/4 - and I'll not hear a word against Sedayne's King Henry.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 07:43 PM

no need to hold off saying what you think.

I've been a bit short of time recently - but I am always interested by other peoples views - particularly people who care about folk music. Even if I disagree with you about the nature of folkmusic.

I think the balance of probablity is that there is life on other planets and that there in this vast population - people denied all access to other forms of expression - by reasons of not knowing the social mores attached to poetry, drama, novel writing etc - and I believe some of them will be writing folksongs.

the reason I believe it.

I go to folk clubs andd I meet these people. They never get the nod from the folk establishment. But take it from me - theres a lot of creative effort out there going on.

And I side with with the living over the dead every time. The thing is, its easier - it takes less creative effort to rework a traditional piece, than to start out with a blank piece of paper - particularly when there there's no end of clever dicks telling you this is how tradtional music should sound. The tramlines are laid out for the for those who can do no other than ride life's tramlines.

Like I say. I understand perfectly that mine is a minority view on Mudcat. But I think it valid and its the basis of my approach to making music. Works for me.

my grandad was a 19th century miner (born 1880 went down the pit aged twelve). I would never have the arrogance to pretend I understood what made him the kind of bloke he was. And to be honest I haven't come across many songs that shed light on the matter.

However you must do as you wish and if you think the folksong movement is best served by singing about ranting roaring colliers, etc. - go ahead.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Barden of England
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 07:58 PM

My Paternal Grandfather was a born to fairground people - and ???
Maternal Grandfather - first generation Scot - so what?? Should I sing about 30 foot trailers, or warble about my sporran? Hell no!!!
John Barden


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 03:15 AM

"I prefer Nic Jones's Bateman, but I liked it being in 5/4 - and I'll not hear a word against Sedayne's King Henry."
As the man in that lovely jazz film 'Round Midnight' said - "Your notes are fine, but where's your story?" (with any of them)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 04:42 AM

"As the man in that lovely jazz film 'Round Midnight' said - "Your notes are fine, but where's your story?" (with any of them)
Jim Carroll"

That's quite interesting, I enjoyed all three, but the first and last most.

The first time I heard Lucy Wan was in Jim Moray's version: Jim Moray And maybe it's because you don't often hear songs about incest and sibling murder in a pop/hip-hop musical context, but I was genuinely rivited by the story. The taboo, the violence, the love and distress, the flight into the unknown. The lack of conclusion. Maybe because the contemporary context counterpoints a story which comes from so long ago. And yet through this, gives it life blood, and immediacy. I like those no-doubt synthesised anxious rising pipes over the rap.

I've heard a few of Sedayne's pieces since I've been here. And it's a bit like Lime Pickle for me (Lime Pickle like Stout or Danish Blue, being something that I had to aquire a taste for.) This piece however, which he posted up on another thread yesterday, is by far the most 'living story' version of this song I've heard. I've heard a few 'Gently Johnny's' (being a bit of a fan of the Wicker Man, and having been on the quest for so-called 'Pagan' songs lately) but I've not heard the real and intimate story of seduction and foreplay in the lyrics as sucessfully expressed in any other (it's got a nice wedge of Whitman in the middle too): Gently Johnny

In a way I think I'm very fortunate, coming as I do to traditional song, with completely virginal ears - and a personal curiosity for experiencing unfamiliar things, which don't conform to what I might expect to enjoy. Does a story have to be told in a way that we are familiar with, to impress itself upon our imaginations or our responsive senses? I probably don't know enough about traditional song or storytelling to judge, but I supsect that my 'not knowing' is itself a blessing of sorts.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 04:46 AM

And just to clarify, although I really enjoy this as a piece of music, the story is, for me, utterly lost underneath. They could be singing about almost anything. A very modern take on 'Cold Haily Rainy Night' by The Imagined Village


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 04:49 AM

with completely virginal ears

There's a ballad in there somewhere - "The Virginal Ears Of Sleepy Rosie", perhaps? Pencil and paper please...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 04:53 AM

Will Fly...!
Now I've really heard some things here...
What websites have you been visiting lately!?

>virginal ears of poster in mock shock<


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 04:57 AM

You wouldn't want to know...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 05:15 AM

Jim Carrol,

Would you be able to put a link into a recording/ video of someone (in your opinion) who is really telling the story of a song?

The reason why I ask is that I have been having a conversation with another ultra-traddie (honestly not meant as a derogatory label, just can't think of a better way of describing) about the same thing.

I like quite a lot of modern/ unusual takes on traditional songs....either ones that turn the song into a thing of beauty (think Eliza Carthy, even Kate Rusby on some things)and make it very listenable or create an unusual sound (such as Sedayne/Insane Beard's).

I find either of these approaches pull me in and makes me listen to the words/ meaning of the song. I'm not sure that is is true (for me) of some of the more difficult to listen to "traditional" renditions of songs.... I'd really like to hear something that you consider a sublime example of this genre (as someone who's view on trad song I respect). I'd really like to have my mind changed on this one.

BTW, I'll be putting Sedayne on at KFFC at some point this year.... a club that's not dead yet!

Thanks

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Phil Beer ( In Glasgow)
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 05:57 AM

Sorry folks. No time to read the thread in full but just an observation. My local folk club is on a sunday in Topsham and runs the usual combination of singarounds and gigs with pro artistes.It's five minutes from my home and I go whenever its humanly possible given the amount of touring and recording work I do which keeps me away from home for over half the year. The guest nights are well attended and so are the singarounds. The same crowd tend to populate the singarounds but are often noticeably absent from guest nights which attract a widely varying audience. Some of the people who run the club are the same people that first got me in to all this 40 years ago. Still singing and still going strong!! I went last sunday to record Jackie Oates and James Pemberton and the gig was absolutely sold out. All the gigs I got to last year were either sold out or very well attended. Back in the late sixties/early seventies, we could go to a folk club or a session of some kind every night of the week. This appears to now be almost the case down here again after all this time. There's a new singaround just started in Ide and a whole bunch of other things going on. The open mike night at the Barnfield studio theatre is packed on fridays with young and old and has now extended itself into a series of extra concerts as a spin off. I got to several major concerts before christmas in larger venues. Seth Lakeman at the university, Cara Dillon at the corn exchange and so on. All big gigs with good crowds. If folk,acoustic, roots, world, (acid,surf,disco, funk, reggae, blues,house,hip hop,jazz,rocknrooool, oh and country) is dying in your neck of the woods, move to devon cos its all happening here!
Happy musical new year.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 06:10 AM

"You wouldn't want to know..."
Well, I do hope you're not growing those thick wiry hairs on your hands again..

And I second Banjiman there, I'd too very much like to hear something considered truly excellent storytelling in "ultra traddie" stylee.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 08:05 AM

A couple of years back I immersed myself in the studio to record an extended ensemble version of King Henry / Child 32 bookended by ambience recorded in the medieval Chapter House of York Minster a few days earlier. The ensemble (Eleanor's Visceral Tomb) comprises Crwth, Doromb (Hungarian Jews Harp), Clarinet, Indian Harmonium, Flowler Calls, Animal Bells and Frame Drum. Clocking in at a hefty 17.45 I dare this stretches the listening attention of even the most dedicated Sedayne fan, but it remains a personal favourite which I like to give away free as a MP3 for those who feel such a thing might be an enrichment to their lives and / or their appreciation of a particularly No-Age approach to the tetius auris of traditional balladry.

Here it is anyway, gratis, as a secure download via YouSendIt:

King Henry / Child #32 / Eleanor's Visceral Tomb, July 2007


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 08:16 AM

Well, if I've done nothing else in my time on Mudcat I've found something that WLD and Jim Carroll agree on: they both think contemporary interpreters of traditional material are rubbish. Sedayne, Jim Moray, June Tabor, John Kelly - they should all either step aside and make room for real traditional singers (Jim), or else stop being so idle and learn to write their own songs (Al).

And if that sounds like a caricature of your positions, gents, all I can say is that at the moment you're doing a good job of caricaturing them yourselves.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 08:35 AM

Incidentally, my granddad was also a miner, although he only went down the pit after the tileworks closed down; he was out on strike for ten months in 1926, surviving on charity for most of that time & eventually going back to work to a pay cut. My granddad on the other side of the family lied about his age to join up in 1914, and got gassed for his pains. I don't think I've ever heard anything that I felt spoke to me about their experiences - be it traditional, pseudo-traditional or contemporary-in-the-tradition - and I wouldn't presume to write about them myself.

I still think Little Musgrave's a bloody good song.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 09:07 AM

Sedayne, that is bonkers. Put a smile on my face!

(I repeat) just the right amounts of eccentricity & respect..... and certainly not dumbed down.

Good stuff. Will it be enough to keep the folk clubs alive though?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 10:50 AM

'And if that sounds like a caricature of your positions, gents, all I can say is that at the moment you're doing a good job of caricaturing them yourselves.'

I had my 60th birthday party the other day. Loads of people there who had pursued a lifetime in music because they'd taken lesson from me, or gone to folk clubs I organised.

jim Carrol's work is recognised by none other than peggy seeger -on this thread.

Both of us have doen valuable work - fuelled by our beliefs - which happen to be different. if we believe something different from you - tough. At least we didn't settle for the received knowledge.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 11:45 AM

if we believe something different from you - tough

If everyone believed the same as me there'd be no point me coming here, or anyone else for that matter. I get riled when you come out with stuff that you don't believe, for the sake of making a point. This stuff -

"I side with the living over the dead every time. The thing is, its easier - it takes less creative effort to rework a traditional piece, than to start out with a blank piece of paper - particularly when there there's no end of clever dicks telling you this is how tradtional music should sound. The tramlines are laid out for the for those who can do no other than ride life's tramlines."

It makes a good rant, but you wouldn't have put so much effort into getting John Kelly's music a hearing if you really believed that traddies were lazy and unimaginative. But I guess you didn't mean traddies like John Kelly, and you didn't mean traddies like Capstick - you meant those other traddies...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 11:52 AM

An unusual choice, maybe, but I was overwhelmed by the sense of narrative in Martin Simpson's performances at teh Folk Proms.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 01:24 PM

I know what you're saying Richard - but its what I believe.

I don't think traddies are lazy or unimaginative - on the contrary I think the creation of traditional persona like The Watersons - this weird family, singing in strange accents, on the edge of civilisation and filled with ancient knowledge - is a great imaginative creation - a bit like Ziggy Stardust.

I just wish traddies could see it as such, instead of accepting it as an orthodoxy.

If you could see how clever and how much artifice went into becoming a waterson I would respect more of you. Brian Peters for example hits the stage running - he's damn good. I just hate these buggers who claim to be part of an ancient brotherhood of traditional music and claim the right to bore the arse offen me, or read lyrics at me from an exercise book.

John Kelly defies description. he stayed at my place a couple of days before he went in the tent. he said to me - you know - you're even more obsessed with music than I am.....

I'm not.

John's one on his own. he would be unique, whatever music he was doing. One of his biggest fans is Jack Hudson. its a fellowship of the obsessed.

the field of endeavour is almost irrelevant - compared to the creative effort.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 02:13 PM

I think the creation of traditional persona like The Watersons - this weird family, singing in strange accents, on the edge of civilisation and filled with ancient knowledge - is a great imaginative creation - a bit like Ziggy Stardust.

I like it.

I just hate these buggers who claim to be part of an ancient brotherhood of traditional music and claim the right to bore the arse offen me, or read lyrics at me from an exercise book.

Yes, I hate them too. To be honest I never seem to meet anyone like that, but if I did I would hate the blighters.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 02:24 PM

Banjiman
Sorry, don't know my way around the internet well enough to give you a clip. Perhaps somebody else can help - would suggest anything by Walter Pardon, MacColl (singing a traditional song), Sheila Stewart (try Tiftie's Annie), Texas Gladden, Bert Lloyd...... hundreds of names spring to mind. You want to hear Lucy Wan in all it's viciousness, dig out Terry Yarnell's version.
Please do not confuse taste with definition - what people like or dislike (me included) is entirely their own business. None of those clips of emasculated folk songs appeal to me in any way, but that is a matter of my personal taste, not an argument against anybody else enjoying them. Personally, I love 'cowshit music' (Vaughan Williams, George Butterworth, Delius.... et al - all of whom used folk songs and tunes, but I would argue that, played they way they are, they are no longer folk. Would Beethoven, Mozart or Handel still be classical played on tenor sax or uillian pipes or synthesizer, or does 'classical' suggest a style of playing as well as a collection on notes?
English language folk songs (on this side of the pond anyway) are, by their very function, narrative. The singers tended to pitch their songs around their speaking range and make sense of the narrative by not breaking words up, taking a short breath with the commas and a longer one with the full stops. They did not interrupt the narrative flow with instrumental breaks, their main purpose being to pass on a story, or at least, a body of information. Every traditional singer we interviewed said (in one way or another) that they considered themselves storytellers whose stories came with tunes. Most of them totally identified with the songs; they could provide descriptions of the characters and of the locations where the action took place. Singers like Walter Pardon envisaged some of them taking place in his own locality.
Alan Lomax and his Cantometric team back in the 70s descibed English language songs as "wordy" ie, having a lot of words. In all the clips provided I would be hard-pressed to be able to make out the words of any of the songs, let alone follow them. I could find no interpretation in any of them - even though I knew them all. Perhaps I am missing something and somebody would supply with one? To me, they are all indifferently performed pop songs, to which my first reaction was 'thank god the government is considering a noise-limitation bill'.
Pip,
Thank you for oversimplifying both my and Al's attitude to music. I am not, as Banjiman suggested an 'ultra-traddie', I love traditional music, but I also see no sense in just singing the 'old' songs. I adimired MacColl's singing - for many an arch-traddie for whom the term finger-in-ear was invented. MacColl wrote more songs than any other singer in the folk scene - all of them relevant to the time in which they were made. Compared to his songs, I find the output and performance of today's singer-songwriters 'public masturbation'. They concern nobody but the singer/writer.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 02:44 PM

'I just hate these buggers who claim to be part of an ancient brotherhood of traditional music and claim the right to bore the arse offen me, or read lyrics at me from an exercise book.

Yes, I hate them too. To be honest I never seem to meet anyone like that, but if I did I would hate the blighters.'

you've done bloody well!

MacColl was another great character.If you had a traditional song - you knew you'd get one of his songs before long. and as jim said - it wasn't about sod all. It would be about something. also he and Peggy seemed to do traditional songs from all over the place - a bit like Pete Seeger really - so it wasn't all on one note - monotonous is the word I'm searching for.

'I find the output and performance of today's singer-songwriters 'public masturbation'

Yes I'll admit to being a bit of a wanker. I've never really worked it into the act, but who knows it could be just the climax to the first half, that will catapult me to stardom.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 02:56 PM

I think I have to disagree a bit with Jim, while bowing of course to his superior knowledge.

To start with, public masturbation does indeed concern other people - hence the offence of indecent exposure, and some chagrin of George Michael.

MacColl, I fear, I find, at least on the recordings of him that I have, dull. Compare his version of Henry the Poacher with the Young Tradition's. The latter coveys the horror, resignation, and thrill far more vividly. The only time I heard Lloyd live (well, I think he was just still alive) it was hard to figure out what notes he was trying to sing, and there was no force to the songs.

I'm not sure that I can even agree that English language (or even English) folks songs are all narrative. Where does that leave shanties, marching songs, or songs sung to dance tunes or for dancing. I'm sure it would exlclude a quantity of Scottish and Irish material.

Also,as I think I have said before, the 1954 Karpeles definition does not deal with style of performance. The genre "folk" is unlike any other in that. So the mere fact that Nice's "Rondo" or Love Sculpture's "Sabre Dance" would probably be called "rock" not "classical" does not mean that Vaughan WIlliam's renditions of folk tunes were no longer folk tunes.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 03:10 PM

Jim,

I don't think there's anything available on the web about Terry Yarnell singing Lucy Wan. The way you describe it I would like to hear it..... can anyone help?

Ewan McColl..... yes I've heard plenty (pretty much brought up on it, along with Accordion Dance Tunes). I completely respect what he did for folk music and am happy to listen to him any time.... but he doesn't completely blow my socks off (saw Peggy Seeger a couple of months ago, she did..... until she started playing the piano, luckily only on a few songs!).

I've managed to find a 30 second sample of Tifty's Annie by Sheila Stewart (along with 30 second samples from the rest of The CD "From The Heart of The Tradition). I guess it is unfair to judge her story telling qualities on a short sample. I think I'll buy the CD though I rather fear it will be "good" for me rather than wholeheartedly enjoying it! Some great songs though.

Put Walter Pardon into a search engine and you get this . which is just plain scary! I did then find some similar 30 second samples. Do you really find the lyrics easier to understand on this than on some of the "emasculated folk songs" referred to above? I don't..... which makes the story hard to follow. Happy to accept that my ears are untutored.

I'll keep listening..... anyone else got any suggestions of this type of genre that might completely blow me away?

Thanks

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 03:17 PM

Thank you for oversimplifying both my and Al's attitude to music.

Well, I won't say it was a pleasure... Thanks for giving us a fuller version.

I take the point about the style[s] of singing in the performances I linked to; I think maybe they work best for people who listen to the sound first and the words second. Where I part company with you is that I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing - I think it's another way for listeners to get into the songs, and another way to keep the songs alive.

Incidentally, I agree that there have been some superb songwriters on the folk scene, and that there are a lot of mediocre ones. My repertoire's almost exclusively trad these days, but there are songs by MacColl and Lal Waterson, to name two, that I could never chuck out.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 03:30 PM

"I take the point about the style[s] of singing in the performances I linked to; I think maybe they work best for people who listen to the sound first and the words second. Where I part company with you is that I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing - I think it's another way for listeners to get into the songs, and another way to keep the songs alive."

I think you've got a really good point there Pip...... but I find it far easier to listen to the words of a song if I am enjoying the "sound". Musical accompaniment I also find can help the narrative..... it doesn't always get in the way.

I'm on a drive to get the "normal" (non-folky) people in and around our village to come to some of our folk events in the village Hall..... I really don't think that traditional music presented in an unaccompanied, "authentic but hard to listen to" way will keep them coming back. 200 leaflets delivered today (only another 350 to go!).

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: melodeonboy
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 04:41 PM

"The Watersons - this weird family, singing in strange accents"

Do what????

In what way are they weird? 'cos they sing together at home or what is it?

And what's strange about their accents? They're from the North Country (in case you hadn't noticed) and they sing with a northern accent. What accent are they supposed to sing in, for Christ's sake! Welsh? Received Pronunciation? Solomon Island Creole?

If anyone's weird around here, I think it's you, WLD. Take that bloody chip off your shoulder and stop wasting everyone's time.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 06:10 PM

Paul,
Unaccompanied singing is an acquired taste, as is Dickens, Beethoven and Shakespeare; the decision has to be whether you think it worthwhile to make the effort to acquire it. I'm lucky enough to have done so for all of them thanks to the people I've known.
Terry Yarnell made a CD for the Living Tradition 'Tradition Bearer' series - he also makes a stunning job of Sheath and Knife' - also worth looking out for.
PM me an postal address and I'll see what I can do. Can't claim to give you something you will like, but it will explain my point far better than I can.
Richard;
I should have said mostly narrative - there are a few exceptions, but not many that I can think of.
Even the shanties are mostly versed narratives;

Little Sally Racket,
Pawned my best jacket,
She's gone and lost the ticket.

A three-line narrative. The point I was making was that they are word based.

"Karpeles definition does not deal with style of performance."
Don't think it's a question of style, which can vary; more one of function - ie the passing on of information via ideas, emotions, descriptions, stories via words - none of the clips do that - not for me anyway, as the texts are either buried under an avalanche of (un) musical sound or so disjointed as to be meaningless.
MacColl's singing is a matter of taste – he worked for me, not for you. As far as 'Henry The Poacher' is concerned, MacColl's rendition worked to an extent but was far outstripped by Harry Cox's.
The Young Tradition didn't even enter into the running; I found everything they did bland and samey. I admit I believe that folk song relies very much (with a few exceptions) on singular interpretation, but I found YT one of the worst of them.
Pip
Can't see how it is possible to disconnect the sound from the words in a piece of narrative - particularly as a single performance of a song is quite often all you are going to get.
Al - onanism.
Not referring to you - haven't heard you sing (or watched you.... whatever)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM

Its you who's got a chip on your shoulder....

I gigged Yorkshire for about thirty years. I NEVER heard anyone talk in the sort of gurning style of All the little flowers in the garden.

You simply can't grasp that they do is artifice - as false as the phoniest country and western accent.

Listen for godsake to the early albums - the first two were great favourites of mine. i loved those albums - but the harmonies and the strange accents gave a great theatricality to what they they did. It was wonderful!

they are not horny handed sons of the soil - they are pro gigging musicians.

I bet you walk round thinking that Arnold Scharznegger would be a terrific cop - sort out all the problems, and that Sly stallone would be beat Taliban hands down.

your take on folk music is that bloody naive.

it reminds me of the story of Tim hart who retired to the canary islands, and the spaniards heard his records and he was asked - what is that strange English accent you sing in, where in England do they speak like that?

To give Tim his due, he admitted - i was stumped for an answer.


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