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Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?

Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 24 May 09 - 03:13 AM
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Subject: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 May 09 - 03:13 AM

I hope the posters in question will not be put out too much by me cutting and pasting this tangential thread of comments debating the relevence or otherwise of Folk Arts to the masses (posted on Folk Activism! thread.). I thought this discussion pertinent to this board, and thus might warrant a thread of it's own?

From: Richard Bridge - PM
Date: 23 May 09 - 07:37 AM

In the main however I think we need someone like Joanna Lumley to ram it through to the powers that be and the ministry of Culture that THIS culture merits promotion - indeed far more so than things like opera and ballet which are of no relevance to most of the world, and for which there is no major tradition in the UK anyway

***

From: glueman - PM
Date: 23 May 09 - 07:56 AM

"more so than things like opera and ballet which are of no relevance to most of the world"

You were doing so well till that point. I can hear Joe Public saying the same thing of Morris dancing and Maypoles. Never understood this high/low art snobbery. I'm happy to do Glyndebourne and football terraces - at least in the places terraces still remain. All art is mine, all mine!!!

From: glueman - PM
Date: 23 May 09 - 08:49 AM

The point is campaigns like these so often define themselves by what they are against, or name other genres they believe have unfair advantages. The idea of promoting folk is a valuable one without dissing other art forms.

***

From: Crow Sister - PM
Date: 23 May 09 - 09:04 AM

Sure, I like early English music and contemporary dance too and I doubt either of these are particularly important to the majority of people.
I don't think RB was saying ballet and opera are 'crap', just that - very much like folk I guess - they are of little interest or consequence to the public at large.
Irrespective of this however, what they do have - unlike folk - is a whole lot more funding and promotion. While these arts may well be entirely worthy of receiving the recognition and support that they do, I personally see that *key disparity* as relevent and worthwhile to recognise and consider.

So long as we don't fall into err 'dissing' innit.

***

From: Richard Bridge - PM
Date: 23 May 09 - 12:41 PM

Gg - I left the issue of "taste" right out of it. Opera is in the main not "relevant" (the word I actually used) because it is not rooted in the experience of the bulk of these isles - or indeed any other. It is a wholly elitist pursuit. Folk arts are rooted in the historic experience of the masses.

Further, those who in the main like opera have enough money to support it for themselves.

***

From: glueman - PM
Date: 23 May 09 - 03:05 PM

Rooted in what experience? Elitist how? 'Folk arts' are as elevated as Billy Budd. Try buying a Shaker cabinet or some Staffordshire flat backs to see how down-home the folk arts are.

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***

From: Rifleman - PM
Date: 23 May 09 - 03:13 PM

"Folk arts are rooted in the historic experience of the masses."

sounds like one of those phrases"leftie" to me.
It's certainly rooted in the experiences of people; but the masses, nope

and folk arts are NOT elitist? If not elitist then they certainly are a special interest, every bit as much as opera, and classical music

***

Didn't bother with the last Guest post, as he seems to be largely a figment of his own imagination. If anyone isn't happy about me pasting their comments here, I'll ask the Mod's to delete this thread.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 24 May 09 - 03:34 AM

The Opera House at Covent Garden gets a grant of 16 million pounds a year from the Arts Council. Now I don't begrudge that, however - how much do the Folk Arts of this country get each year? I honestly don't know, but if somebody does I just wondered if they could let us all know.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:19 AM

I don't think folk arts are elitist, more middle class. That has become a perjorative term, indeed I'm happy to use it as such if it suits me but here it's plain fact. The 'working class' - or those who've inherited the tag have little time for the folk arts by and large and generally speaking the toffs have other interests so it's left to 'informed enthusiasts' with enough spare time and wonga to indulge themselves in hand crafted music and product in a mass produced age.

That's the elephant in folk's drawing room and most of us live with the reality we're not horny handed sons of the soil but have the pleasure and leisure of pretending. The game is up for the tradition as the immediate musical enterprise when kids can buy mixers and emulating software for their computers so folk has to work out what and who it's for without the hotline to the past it always presumed to.

I'd argue there's a contemporary folk sensibility, music and craft that needs to re-evaluate its direction in the light of William Morris, Rambling Syd Rumpo and the commodification of folk.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:19 AM

If English Folk Arts are now 'elitist', I wonder why? Clearly socio-economic changes led to the working classes adopting alternate more 'consumable' and perhaps even 'aspirational' pass-times (based on the devaluation of traditional ones)? Not knowing much about social history perhaps someone else might take up those issues?

In terms of the elitism of Folk Arts in the present day, it reminds me of those rare bird egg collectors, the only reason they want that stuff is because the breed is dying out. They have little or no interest in the bird or it's well-fare - in fact quite the opposite. If the bird were to breed, those priceless egg objects, would suddenly become worthless, to the collector at least.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:21 AM

Cross-posted there.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:27 AM

"I don't think folk arts are elitist, more middle class."

Hmm... yet that's representative of those I've met at the sessions I've attended. I'd say the majority of participants - in my own admittedly limited experience - are actually working class.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:29 AM

Ooops meant: "NOT representative of"
Dunno what other people's experiences of the ground floor are though?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:43 AM

As someone who grew up working class and whose aspirations are now undoubtedly middle class, the kids I remember who had access to instruments were of more elevated stock than myself and those instruments were always acoustic. People who had to wait for their own wages to pursue music usually did so on electic gear.

Times have changed but it's still largely true that trained musicians - those from the middle or aspirational working class - are more likely to play traditional instruments and self-taught types use electric guitars and keyboards.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Lord O'May
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:44 AM

Didn't bother with the last Guest post, as he seems to be largely a figment of his own imagination.

Posts like that one are certainly elitist, Crow Sister.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 24 May 09 - 05:50 AM

Not "elite," in my opinion, but, as I've suggested here, more to do with the fact that folk simply doesn't get a fair go these days (it's now swamped by American-pop in most countries), such that only a few manage to "find it." And glad you've brought this up, CS.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 May 09 - 07:18 AM

"Posts like that one are certainly elitist, Crow Sister."

Bit more of a petulant foot stamping from me really. And infrequent Guest posts like your last look almost certainly like trolling to me. Though if you have something more a little more considered to add to the discussion, it would of course be most welcome.
Anyway's I really aughtn't get into online quibbling when there's such a glorious May day beckoning outside...!

Glueman - I'm not so sure about the acoustic V's electric division between middle classes and working classes? Admittedly I'm older now so I don't really know what happens now, but fifteen years ago all my mates were learning acoustic guitar or blues harp. And I'd guess that a cheap classical guitar, is still one of the first things that most working class kids pick up. I agree however many standard folk instruments, do cost dosh and require a dedicated interest (which due to the niche nature of folk) is possibly going to be more likely found with the middle classes. Though I'd guess with the tide changing and more folk artists getting seen and heard in the big wide world outside of folk clubs, and so forth, that we might see a gathering momentum of interest amongst working class kids for making the music themselves.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 May 09 - 07:51 AM

As someone who grew up working class and whose aspirations are now undoubtedly middle class, the kids I remember who had access to instruments were of more elevated stock than myself and those instruments were always acoustic. People who had to wait for their own wages to pursue music usually did so on electic gear.

Perhaps it's a little more complex than that. I bought my first (acoustic) guitar age 20 in 1964. Cost me £5 from my student summer job wages and was complete crap. Father: technical director of a paper mill in Lancashire with company house and company car. He just wouldn't buy me a guitar - didn't like them - and also objected when I bought my first upright, s/h piano (for £4.50) and brought it home! I didn't get a proper solid electric guitar till many, many years later, but went electric by fitting a De Armond soundhole pickup to my old Epiphone Texan...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 24 May 09 - 08:13 AM

As someone who grew up working class and whose aspirations are now undoubtedly middle class, the kids I remember who had access to instruments were of more elevated stock than myself and those instruments were always acoustic. People who had to wait for their own wages to pursue music usually did so on electic gear.

You should have tried growing up in the West Midlands in the seventies, G. All the working class kids wanted to play in heavy rock bands, whilst all the middle class kids wanted to, erm, play in heavy rock bands. Okay, bit of a generalisation, but I firmly believed at the time that the entire youth of Walsall were united in an abiding love of Purple, Zep, Sabbath and Heep. It was a moment of sheer truimph the day we got Gong/Here and Now's "Floating Anarchy" onto the school record player...

Sorry for the drift within a drift, CS. For the record I think folk arts are like everything else. They can be elitist but they don't have to be and they're not intrinsically so. I also think that elitism, for a whole host of reasons, is often in the eye of the beholder. There are many times I have felt as if I were on the outside looking in, but when I have come inside have been mystified I could ever have felt that way. There are other times I have headed, whimpering with gratitude, straight for the exit. Deep, me? You bet!


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 24 May 09 - 08:18 AM

yet that's representative of those I've met at the sessions I've attended. I'd say the majority of participants - in my own admittedly limited experience - are actually working class.

I wouldn't suggest class in the sessions I've attended regularly but I might suggest education. I'd say the majority of people I know from these Irish sessions have at least a bachelors degree, I've not noticed this as much in folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 24 May 09 - 08:48 AM

Ah Spleen but the West Midlands is a law enirely unto itself. My wife is a yam-yam who, because of the villages her family moved out to, knocked around with the kids of West Mids rock royalty and sometimes still does when er gows back. Anyone who has seen Reeves and Mortimer's 'Slade at Home' sketches will realise they are documentary of Humphrey Jennings' standards. Black Magic, impossible guitar solos and high comedy. You gotta love brummies.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 May 09 - 12:09 PM

"That's the elephant in folk's drawing room and most of us live with the reality we're not horny handed sons of the soil but have the pleasure and leisure of pretending."

But, 'glueman', most British Bluesmen are not black sharecroppers picking cotton in the Mississippi Delta - but I bet you don't go on and on and on about it! Class is not so much an "elephant in folk's drawing room" but more like a 'red herring in folk's sea'.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 24 May 09 - 12:20 PM

British bluesmen????

Never been such a thing. But, for a short time we did have Champion Jack Dupree by adoption.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 May 09 - 12:30 PM

ANY Minority music is going to lose out in the Grants battle ! How many people who look in here are aware of the Calypso Movement in UK for example ?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 24 May 09 - 02:12 PM

Given: "In-groups" seem often to exist to promote and enjoy a like preference -- in our case, for a musical form. They also can exist for the recognition they get from the "out-groups"--and, therefore, might be observed to be "elitist" by those who might want to denigrate them by pointing out the preferences as a negative trait that is worthy of the derision the word elitist could, and sometimes does, project!

Art Thieme--


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 May 09 - 02:26 PM

"more to do with the fact that folk simply doesn't get a fair go these days [...], such that only a few manage to "find it." "

I totally agree with you there Walkabouts, I think that it is 'hard to find' - or at least it certainly was for ME.
And none of my 30's working class OR middle class peers for that matter had a clue that this tradition of English trad. song ever even existed (let alone is being continued) either - at least until I started banging on about it...! And they're mostly very musical people in one shape or form, from the classically trained violinist, the regular alt. fest goer, the drum & didge maker, the the self-taught pianist and so-on.
Wonder why the dramatic generational cut-off in awareness? I'm actually pretty bummed off that I didn't stumble into this hidden stash many years ago - alway's loved to sing, just never found the right thang for me till now. It's a frustration and perplexing.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 May 09 - 02:41 PM

What's more, I feel there's something wrong with this picture, wrong enough to warrant efforts to right it. Hence the queries posted on Folk Activism! thread (which was the initial source of debate resulting in the creation of this thread), which while I'm sure some might consider somewhat hysterical or crusading, merely means I give a fuck. But then again I alway's have been kicking my heels waiting for a revolution - so this'll have to do I guess!


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 24 May 09 - 03:01 PM

Hows this for a controversial angle:

The working class invents music and the middle class takes responsibility for making sure it doesn't slip into obscurity ...

I wonder what the original blues men and folk singers and jazzers and medieval monks would have thought of middle class connoisseurs of their music?

We can thank the middle classes for the continuaton of these traditions as well as opera and ballet.

Remember that by the end of the 18th century, the middle class had taken over from the aristocracy as the market for these artforms too.

I don't think relevance has anything to do with it.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 May 09 - 03:14 PM

"The working class invents music and the middle class takes responsibility for making sure it doesn't slip into obscurity"

Yeah, I think that's fair comment Lox, except I'd replace 'takes' with 'took' (as in the collectors).

As I said earlier, I don't know what others ground floor experiences are, but mine suggest that there is a high percentage of working class folk engaged in the making of folk music - though there has been a generational drop off in *both* middle class and working class participation of ground floor folk music making.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Buzzer65
Date: 24 May 09 - 03:41 PM

Eee Bye Gum!! Thanks for the information!! I stared singing and playing in folk clubs twenty years ago. I didn't realise that I had gone up in class. I could have packed in my job at the factory and opened a little shop somewhere.

Folk music in essence is a record in song of history.

It doesn't matter what class you are...CLASS IS IRRELEVANT!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 24 May 09 - 03:58 PM

"But, 'glueman', most British Bluesmen are not black sharecroppers picking cotton in the Mississippi Delta - but I bet you don't go on and on and on about it! Class is not so much an "elephant in folk's drawing room" but more like a 'red herring in folk's sea'."

I'll take that bet. British blues bands need some hefty inverted commas to pull it off. Maybe Dr Feelgood (the canvey island act) could pull it off in their pomp though it works when it's adapted and transformed through Prog or Metal for instance into a domestic sound.
I fail to see how you can remove class from the equation when folk emerged as the voice of an oppressed underclass and has been collated and redistributed by Victorian and Edwardian connoisseurs.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Lord O'May (Sedayne Astray)
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:12 PM

And infrequent Guest posts like your last look almost certainly like trolling to me. Though if you have something more a little more considered to add to the discussion, it would of course be most welcome.

For various technical reasons I am posting as Guest: Lord O'May right now as Suibhne has Left the Building - but he will, hopefully, be returning soon. In any case I would have thought my response to Richard's comment Folk arts are rooted in the historic experience of the masses was both considered and in every way respectful to the author's general tenor around these parts.

Otherwise...

I don't think it's a matter of social-class or elitism, more a matter of the bucolic fantasy that is Folk per se, which exists on a similar cultural level as railway modelling & medieval battle re-enactment. In my more cynical moments I would say the only difference is that your average railway modeller would at least recognise a real train if they saw one; likewise the most hearty medieval re-enactor isn't going to complain if the government don't include them as part of our national defences.

Half the battle is simply accepting this - being happy with what it is rather than unhappy at what it isn't. You're a Folky now, Crow Sister - no one in the real world is going to take you seriously ever again.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:25 PM

Class only seems to be irrelevant to you because you have overtly and for your own interests changed it's name to UPSCALE instead of upper class. If you call a turd "merde" -- we all know what it truly is.

Wake up and smell the reality of it.

Here, in the USA, Lower class is and always has been a heinous reality to all of us who have had to descend into it's grip in order to have absolutely necessary medications and procedures paid for by a horrendously mutated public health-care system.

You are correct in saying that folk music is a way of recording history. My life in folk music has been devoted to that fact since I began doing it 50 years back.

I, for one, am totally sick of fighting the system that cannot see, and remedy, what Capitalist upscale upper class interests have done to create and maintain the lower class.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:31 PM

My post above was to Buzzer65.
Art


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:46 PM

To continue Lord O'May's theme (best incarnation so far) there is no sin in being middle class or even a connoisseur, neither a British bluesy pub rocker, nor the type who go round in a BMW motorcycle and sidecar in WW2 German military clothing, or indeed a folk singer - the error is in seeing yourself as direct inheritor of The Real Thing. Make believe is a valuable commodity and one individuals and the world at large might benefit from but is best undertaken with both feet firmly on the ground.

To that end when we turn out Macbooks into ploughshares of an evening an arched eyebrow is our best friend, especially when 1954 is on the menu.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 24 May 09 - 04:58 PM

What the Dickens?..GUEST,Lord O'May (Sedayne Astray)...a poet who doesn't know it?
It would be wrong to say he's called me every name under the Sun - he's used a multitude for himself!...still, he did keep that one about ancient pipe music for more than a week, I think.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Lord O'May (Sedayne Astray)
Date: 24 May 09 - 05:02 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBXyB7niEc0


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Lord O'May (Sedayne Astray)
Date: 24 May 09 - 05:31 PM

still, he did keep that one about ancient pipe music for more than a week, I think.

It's a Guest name, WAV - technical reasons, as I say. Rest assured, unlike MacCrimmon, O'Piobaireachd will return...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 24 May 09 - 05:50 PM

Buzzer65,

You are right that folk music is available to all who want it, and I share your point of view that class is irrelevant in terms of who folk represents or who it can or should be associated with.

That is my opinion about what should be and how I approach it day to day.

However, it is also true that when you look at history, you can observe clearly that there have been class divides in just about every culture in just about every era.

The UK and the USA are not exceptions.

There are many folk songs which, as recorders of history, have recorded this fact.

As it is possible to observe that there has been a class divide, so it is also possible to observe what kind of trends different class divisions have followed over the ages.

I don't pretend for one second that my post above is remotely authoritative, but I do think it is a realistic and interesting hypothesis.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: olddude
Date: 24 May 09 - 08:13 PM

I ain't never heard a Rock-E-Feller from the 1930's write a dust bowl song ...maybe wrote one about going to Paris or somethin


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 24 May 09 - 09:50 PM

I overspoke. Bad day. Clicked from the lip . Too easy to do before one ought.

Art


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:38 AM

The picture that 'glueman' and his ilk like to paint of the middle classes 'appropriating' (benignly or otherwise)the music and culture of the working classes is never quite as simple as it appears, especially if you look at who some of the Victorian and Edwardian collectors were and who their informants were.

- Hammond and Gardiner collected from elderly workhouse inmates in the South West (people who had been reduced to abject wretchedness by their society).

- Sharp collected from Somerset garment workers as well as agricultural labourers and gypsies etc.

- Baring Gould collected some of his songs from relatively well off Devon farmers.

- Kidson got some of his best material from wealthy Yorkshire mill owners.

- Williams worked as a labourer in the Swindon railway yards.

- John Clare was an early folk song collector and was himself a labourer. He recorded how local farmers participated in the local folk culture until the Enclosure Acts made them wealthy and impoverished their workers.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:42 AM

Ahh, so thoughtful of you Lo'May! Most affecting.
Does this initiation mean I will now grow a beard and sandles?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Lord O'May
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:26 AM

This is just a test as I don't seem to be able to post anything this morning...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:40 AM

I think that it is 'hard to find'

OK, might need to know you want "folk" but is "folk" in some form or other hard to find in the UK?

I wouldn't have thought it was difficult to find a folk club of some sort. It might be a touch harder (although having found the folk club, you are on route to getting some leads) to find more specific events but I'm not always convinced all events wish to be sort of published "everywhere"...

...Now this bit may sound elitist but... while trying to be open, a session for example might fear opening the floodgates to every out of time bodhran basher and egg shaker in the area.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:42 AM

The point isn't only where the music was collected from but who wrote it and who sung it, your sainted 'process'. The subject matter of folk music is almost universally anti-establishment and from the point of view of non-landowning 'peasant' classes. It may be an inconvenient truth for the centrally-heated, car owning, baby-booming meritocracy but a truth it nevertheless is.

Keep a bag full of wry for those choruses Shimrod. Or maybe the processes natural conclusion is God Speed the Volvo?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:44 AM

The subject matter of folk music is almost universally anti-establishment and from the point of view of non-landowning 'peasant' classes.

The largest chunk of "my" folk has no subject matter.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Lord O'May
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:47 AM

Okay - so that worked. So what's up with the Doc Rowe thread I wonder?

Meanwhile - whilst I'm here... What I should have said, CS was that no matter how seriously you take yourself, and the music, no one in the real world will ever take you seriously again simply because in the real world Folk Music is a complete & rightful irrelevance. Folkies (like railway modellers & battle re-enactors) take themselves very seriously indeed, which is why we have a folk scene, with singers both great and small, clubs, festivals, labels, websites, fora. As I said on the other thread, whilst that passion which keeps it afloat, it also appears decidedly bonkers from the outside where folk is seen, at best, as quaintly anachronistic hobbyism (which of course it is) rather than culture per se.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:52 AM

"The subject matter of folk music is almost universally anti-establishment ..." 'glueman'

No it's not! What ill-informed rubbish!

How are 'Searching for Lambs', 'The Banks of the Sweet Primroses', 'John Barleycorn', 'Lisbon', 'The Manchester Angel', 'The Furze Field', 'The Outlandish Knight', 'Scarborough Fair' or 'Bushes and Briars' "anti-establishment", 'glueman'?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 25 May 09 - 06:49 AM

Yep, anti-establishment by and large, ruralist, common, a touch utopian, nationalistic, romantic even in its realistic phases. Not ill-informed at all, reed the wordz.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:13 AM

I have read the words, 'glueman', and I've been singing some of these songs for many years. Kindly explain to me how any of them are "anti-establishment", "utopian" (if even just "a touch") or "nationalistic". If it's too difficult to analyse them all in these (absurd) terms, let's just pick one: how can 'The Outlandish Knight' (any version you like - but I suppose the version in the 'Penguin Book of English Folk Songs' is easily accessible) be described as, 'anti-establishment', 'utopian' or 'nationalistic'?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:14 AM

OK, forgetting opinions regarding its origins, how should it be now?

I suppose it might be difficult where political/protest songs are involved but I like to think of the music I enjoy as not knowing boundaries such as class, etc.

In sessions, I have played in the with a tax exile millionaire as well as unemployed. I have played with All Ireland Champions and professionals as well as (hopefully wanting to learn - joining in IMO does need people pulling together) beginners. I have played with phd research scientists as well as those possibly without any level formal qualification. I have played with people I'd guess aged between 14 and 70. (and except with age [I'm 48], I occupy "lower" positions in all this).

Isn't this how it should be?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Marje
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:29 AM

There are also quite a number of the rural songs that are implicity pro-establishment - they sing of accepting the daily duties with good will, enjoying the simple things of life (when that's all you can afford anyway,)thanking the farmer for his benificence at the harvest supper, etc.

I know that many of the old songs deal with a way of life that no longer exists in any class now. But the best of them have at their centre something that anyone can respond to, whether it's weariness at the end of a working day, celebrating high days and holidays, welcoming the spring or summer, being reunited with a lover who's had to be away (men still go off to fight and women at home still wait for them), despair at being abandoned by a lover, distress at an unwanted pregnancy - it all still happens, albeit in a somewhat different social setting. And the relevance of such universal themes is not limited to any one class.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:41 AM

Lo'May"it also appears decidedly bonkers from the outside where folk is seen, at best, as quaintly anachronistic hobbyism (which of course it is) rather than culture per se."

Didn't Irish Trad music suffer a similar stigma until public interest was revived? Joe Blow wouldn't know where his dick was unless he had it shown to him. Cynical I am, but IMO it's just a case of the right kind of marketing (by which I mean any kind of publicity, purposeful or otherwise), as to whether *anything* is perceived as 'relevent to the masses.' Whatever, I still think that traditional arts should be more widely known about, so that individuals have the opportunity to determine how relevent it is - and make their own value judgements - for themselves.

Otherwise you're right, if I took myself seriously, I wouldn't be here... My boyfriend finds it hard not to laugh out loud.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:44 AM

Thanks, Marje, sense at last!

No doubt 'glueman' will be labelling you now as a middle class, elitist, kitten strangling Little Englander. He tends to resort to that sort of tactic when he's losing the argument.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:52 AM

So tempted to say

Yo damn straight it's elitist. It is too good for "common" people.

Well, I would say most everyone I have met and come to know that purvey the music are about as uncommon as they come. From all walks of life and varying socioeconomic past and present.

I just want the music to contiue. I don't give a bloody goddamn who keeps it alive, just so they do.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:53 AM

Bucolic bollocks? The immanent numinous? Fancy dress? The buzz of the hive unconscious? All of the above. Shimrod I could do a close reading of endless folk songs that fit my bill but you'd come back with some criticism it was 'arty-farty' and for someone who believes 'science is the highest calling a man can aspire to' it might be.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:59 AM

PS. Sedayne, I think that's the second time now that I've bitched at you for being a "Troll", when you've been Guesting under some festive ID!


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 25 May 09 - 08:00 AM

Didn't Irish Trad music suffer a similar stigma until public interest was revived?

I believe so but I'm not sure how you would apply that to the session scene in England and Wales. As far as I understand it, it grew from Irish communities in London, Manchester, etc.

Everything might be related in some way but there might also have been some "independence" to this one growing??? (I don't know).


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 25 May 09 - 08:04 AM

Joe Blow wouldn't know where his dick was unless he had it shown to him.

If played an English tune, Joe Blow would probably think it was Irish (as all diddle dee stuff is Irish isn't it? ;-) )


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 25 May 09 - 09:01 AM

Cynical I am, but IMO it's just a case of the right kind of marketing

Ah Crowsister, I've just thought of one aspect with the Irish tunes that I know did not only affect me in this forum that I don't think can be directly put down to "marketing".

Please don't get me wrong in this as I am neither putting any tune down or claiming any nations folk tunes are "superior". Nor am I'm claiming my own playing skills are any more than "get by" in events I go to or that there may not be plenty of English tunes I'd never get my fingers round.

I think what happened with some of us was along the lines of you had learned the Winster Gallop, Harvest Home, Jimmy Allen, etc. and perhaps wanted something to move on to as a player from there. Listening to the Irish music offered "challenges" that did not exist in the English tunes we knew so we wound up making musical decisions rather than decisions led by any "mainstream" lead.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 May 09 - 10:02 AM

'Glueman', may I draw your attention back to the following question?

" ... how can 'The Outlandish Knight' (any version you like - but I suppose the version in the 'Penguin Book of English Folk Songs' is easily accessible) be described as, 'anti-establishment', 'utopian' or 'nationalistic'?"

I promise that, whatever answer you come up with, I won't label you as 'arty-farty' (perish the thought!).

I'm not holding my breath or bracing myself for more insulting labels ("water off a duck's back" - as my mother used to say).


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 25 May 09 - 10:27 AM

So you pick one song in isolation as representing an entire genre of music? Shall I put Child 200 to prove my point?
Not very scientific Shimrod, you'll be out of the pedant's guild with that kind of intellectual legerdemain.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 25 May 09 - 11:20 AM

how can 'The Outlandish Knight' (any version you like - but I suppose the version in the 'Penguin Book of English Folk Songs' is easily accessible) be described as, 'anti-establishment', 'utopian' or 'nationalistic'?"

actually it's no more than one of the really great murder/revenge ballads


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 May 09 - 11:41 AM

'Glueman', in my post of at 7:13 AM I supplied you with a list of 10 songs to analyse for me. In your 'reply' at 7:53 AM you responded with a load of gibberish (luminous bollocks ... or something?). I simplified the question for you by picking one from the list (obviously a big mistake - mental note: don't supply 'glueman' with an inch as he takes the Mickey).

By the way I completely agree with 'Rifleman': The Outlandish Knight' is, "no more than one of the really great murder/revenge ballads".


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 25 May 09 - 11:45 AM

"I simplified the question for you"

This is neither the laboratory or the classroom. You don't make the rules. Marvellous, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:20 PM

My hypothesis would be that of all music festivals and events in the UK, if one corrected for the effect of age of attendees on the data, "folk" (in the non-1954 sense since there are no purely 1954 events) would contain the highest proportion of unwaged.

But it goes futher than that. A high proportion of 1954 folk songs and even non-1954 folk songs involve a re-telling from the perspective of those other than the elite. I do not see how that could be so if the participation in folk music were substantially to involve a parallel of Marie Antoinette's involvement in shepherding.

The elitist artforms like opera and ballet and even to some extent theatre in general do seem to involve a perception that the attendee is in some way "better" than the general run of mankind, and involve apeing the modes of the elite.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:26 PM

"You don't make the rules."

But you obviously do, 'glueman' - you make them up as you go along!


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:27 PM

This is neither the laboratory or the classroom. You don't make the rules. Marvellous, isn't it?

Yep, it's a free country and a free Internet; you get to say whatever you like. You can make whatever sweeping statements you like, and when people ask you questions you can refuse to answer them. And people will think... whatever they usually think about people who make sweeping statements and then refuse to answer questions. Marvellous, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:31 PM

ook


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:36 PM

And Pip pops up, not on the taxpayer for once. Well done that man! Sorry I wasn't aware this was a group interrogation by the gang of 54. What was the question?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 25 May 09 - 01:42 PM

Jon: "Listening to the Irish music offered "challenges" that did not exist in the English tunes we knew"

I've got no issue with anyone making an *informed choice for themselves.* So long as the info is readily available. It just seems to me, that the majority of English thitysumthing and fourtysumthings, simply don't even know that England has a history of traditional music and song.

"Folk" however, is a far more inclusive and generic term, which IMHO ironically obscures traditional English music and song (thus one of the reasons I'd prefer to see Trad Song out from underneath the oppressive weight of 'Folk'.) Plus I never actually liked 'folk' myself: until discovering trad song, 'folk' meant boring 60's hippy-chicks in floaty frocks to me. Everything my personality rails against!


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 25 May 09 - 02:18 PM

I must admit, Crow Sister, I'm not sure if I would have got into folk if all I had been aware of was the "Dylan/protest" type songs. My own liking for folk started with things like Singing Together at school, some songs at home, Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem on tv.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 May 09 - 03:29 PM

Hilarious, glueman. You made a sweeping assertion. Shimrod asked you to clarify it and you dodged the question. Shimrod asked again and you dodged it again. And so on. All very entertaining, if your idea of entertainment is crashing other people's conversations and ranting incomprehensibly. But it's no skin off my nose - if you want to turn into Foul Ole Ron, that's fine by me.

Jon - Listening to the Irish music offered "challenges" that did not exist in the English tunes we knew so we wound up making musical decisions rather than decisions led by any "mainstream" lead.

I can imagine that. So far my perception is that the Irish tunes are just too damn hard - after I've been up and down the Blackthorn Stick a couple of times I'm ready for a gentle stroll in the Rose Tree or Blue-Eyed Stranger. But I'm hoping that will change with time.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 25 May 09 - 03:36 PM

Just listening to the Ronettes Radish. I'm not crashing anything but your own ridiculous self-importance. Happy 1954. Shimrod is a scientist who's afraid of the future FFS, when he learns jack shit about art I'll answer his dumb question. He's a myna bird, a chorus monkey with a leather tankard.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 25 May 09 - 03:49 PM

Actually I'm listening to Sandy Denny's Gold Dust - Live at the Royalty at the moment. There was nothing elitist about Sandy


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:14 PM

Jon:
Listening to the Irish music offered "challenges" that did not exist in the English tunes we knew so we wound up making musical decisions rather than decisions led by any "mainstream" lead.

Pip Radish
I can imagine that. So far my perception is that the Irish tunes are just too damn hard

I think you're both talking nonsense. Irish tunes as a whole are no more easy or difficult than English tunes, or Scottish tunes for that matter. There are easy, moderate and difficult in the traditional tune repertoire of all three countries.

It also depends on the instrument you play. Some tunes that are easy on one instrument are tricky on another.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:19 PM

Guest, please read my whole post and this time take note of the facts I said:

"or that there may not be plenty of English tunes I'd never get my fingers round."

and in the piece you quoted I referred to the English tunes we knew.

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:36 PM

OT, but Pip, I know 2 tunes that go by the name of the blackthorn stick. I'd imagine you play the jig. The Dubliners call the second tune in this set the Blackthorn stick. This one is a reel.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:23 PM

Irish tunes as a whole are no more easy or difficult than English tunes, or Scottish tunes for that matter.

Most Irish tunes I've attempted are harder - more variation, more going up one way and down another - than most English tunes I know - although I make an exception for Northumbrian tunes, which are often insane.

Of course, the instrument makes a difference. I play whistle & find the Irish Washerwoman ridiculously hard; friends who play stringed instruments say it's quite straightforward. But I think you can say that some tunes are inherently more demanding than others - I can't imagine anyone who was learning the tunes finding the Boys of Blue Hill easier than the Rose Tree.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 May 09 - 06:38 PM

"I'm not crashing anything but your own ridiculous self-importance. Happy 1954. Shimrod is a scientist who's afraid of the future FFS, when he learns jack shit about art I'll answer his dumb question. He's a myna bird, a chorus monkey with a leather tankard." 'glueman'

What have you got against scientists, 'glueman'? How do you know how much I know about art? In my experience most artists know "jack shit" about science, but many scientists are remarkably well-informed about the arts.

And is my question "dumb", because you can't answer it, by any chance? At what point did your answering my question become conditional on my learning about art (I must have missed that)?

I've already admitted to being a myna bird (squawk!)- you must be awfully clever to see through my cunning disguise - but are you in the habit of arguing with birds? Could it be that the petulant tone of the post, quoted from above, is down to you coming off worse in a recent dispute with a sparrow or a rook?

And if I'm a mynah bird - how can I be a monkey at the same time?

So many questions - so few sensible answers!


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 25 May 09 - 06:38 PM

First off, they'd have to determine which "folk" they were supposed to be supporting: real traditional music performed in traditional style, traditional music "revived" (forced into modern garb), or contemporary singer/songwriter stuff that pretends to be old or just doesn't fit other genres?

"Folk" as we know it has been largely divorced from its original context. It used to be contemporary music (however old its origins) that people just sang and played to enjoy themselves or to accompany their work. Public performance was on a very limited scale: front porches, parlors, dances, weddings, funerals, local celebrations. No special funding was required to perpetuate the music--it was self-perpetuating.

Even in modern times, no special funding is required to perpetuate the music--whoever wants to perform it will do so, for whomever will listen. If they want to make a career of it, that's another matter entirely--and completely at odds with what folk music really was. Whatever the public wants to hear and preserve, it will spend money on. Consider how many people are willing to shell out $50-100(US) to hear some flash-in-the-pan band perform in an arena!--the money is there if the demand is. So really, we're talking about whether the government should spend money to artificially subsidize and popularize art forms which the public has turned its collective back on.

And should this money be directed to professional performers who choose to perform in these genres or not. If so, I contend that the "folk" performers who perform in contemporary styles should be excluded from this funding--they should have to contend with market forces and public demand for their chosen form of music just as all other commercial performers must. Preserving our musical heritage in its historic form is more worthy of governmental spending, since commercial entities have little interest in doing so. Viewed from the "historic" argument, governmental spending for art museums, opera and classical music is also justified. A separate argument must be made for funding contemporary opera and orchestral music--or modern art.

As for the inequity--funding opera but not folk music--you can't ignore that folk music can be performed anywhere by anyone; it takes no formal organization, no significant cash outlay or even publicity. The same can hardly be said of opera. And even though opera is typically attended by the wealthier sort, without governmental funding it would become virtually impossible for any opera house to survive in modern times; opera would very quickly disappear. (Nor can we ignore that wealthy people have a lot of pull to ensure governmental funding continues--an unjust reality.) Folk music may remain neglected, but it is in no danger of dying out for lack of funding. We'll probably see a resurgence of interest in the next ten or twenty years, another revivalist movement, particularly as times get harder and people start to rebel against commercial domination.

I also believe that if the government funds artists, the works they create should become the property of the people, free of copyright restrictions. It's a basic "work for hire" situation. Anyway, copyright and "folk" are inconsistent notions, so choose your poison.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 25 May 09 - 06:46 PM

Oops, I fogot PUBS as a common folk venue. How on earth...?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:03 PM

until discovering trad song, 'folk' meant boring 60's hippy-chicks in floaty frocks to me

That, or earnest singer-songwriters with a social conscience - that kind of thing has to be done very well if it's not going to leave me cold. (Although on reflection the kind of thing you're talking about tends to leave me even colder - the only thing worse than an earnest singer-songwriter with a social conscience is an earnest singer-songwriter without...) The stuff I grew up listening to always had a sense of mystery about it and a perverse, awkward individuality - both of which the well-meaning 'folkies' seemed to avoid, the better to get the message across. I've found traditional song much more rewarding.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Sedayne (Astray in May)
Date: 26 May 09 - 04:29 AM

Sedayne, I think that's the second time now that I've bitched at you for being a "Troll", when you've been Guesting under some festive ID!

Bitching's cool with me; in fact, it's all cool with me. As for trolls, I've loved them ever since a family summer in Norway in 1969 (aged 7 / 8) which opened my eyes to the presence of these mischievous amoral elementals for whom no punishment is ever too severe. Check out Askeladden's eating contest with the troll for one of the grimmest - no pun intended, though the story was collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe, often referred to as the Norwegian Brothers Grimm...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:11 AM

"So really, we're talking about whether the government should spend money to artificially subsidize and popularize art forms which the public has turned its collective back on."

Yeah, that's about right. Same as museums or libraries or any other socially funded stuff that the 'public' find boring and irrelevant! ;-)

But it's also only ONE small part of the picture. As Johnny Adams well points out on the Folk Activism thread, both what IS happening to promote public awareness of TradArts and what is NEEDED, is more ground floor folk enthusiasts pulling together, pooling their individual efforts and getting their shit together, to make it happen.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 May 09 - 04:01 PM

Throughout the ages cultural activities of all sorts have been largely made possible by patrons of one sort or another - the church, the nobility, the wealthy, and more recently the local and national state.

It's an imperfect way, and it has shaped (and at times distorted) what has been produced and handed on to us - but without that patronage we'd wouldn't have all kinds of wonderful creations.

And that has been true of "folk arts" as well as "high arts".


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:14 PM

CS
"Yeah, that's about right. Same as museums or libraries or any other socially funded stuff that the 'public' find boring and irrelevant! ;-)"
You might add Theatre, Opera, Classical Music, Cinema.... and a whole host of minority cultural activities which make us human.
Amazing how minority interests suddenly become unsupportable when you are not of of the minority who happen to think them important.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 26 May 09 - 09:13 PM

Folk arts have become elitist in the punters' minds because the people who tell the punters what to think, what is cool and WHAT TO BUY etc. generally reflect corporate US music culture and its clones outside the US.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 27 May 09 - 03:34 AM

I think it's a chicken and egg thing too. If people like myself (I consider myself pretty broad minded, and I've a fairly eclectic interest in music too) didn't realise England has a history of traditional song, then there's something wrong. Most of the members here belong to older generations (threads discussing where people hear trad song in the world and how they got introduced to trad song) indicate that the reason most of you are here, is because you were EXPOSED to traditional music and song in school, at home, and on TV. Or perhaps through the 60's revival.
Far fewer of us DISCOVERED it off our own backs with Zero prior exposure, and those who did so, stumbled on it by accident.
At least if there were some greater exposure and awareness of it's existance *in the world at large*, more people like me would have the opportunity to discover traditional song and music, and make up their own minds about it.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Peace
Date: 27 May 09 - 03:35 AM

Seek and ye shall find . . . .


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 27 May 09 - 03:42 AM

Seek what?
If you don't know that something's there, what are you looking for?
Would you 'seek' Opera, if you didn't know it existed and had experienced Zero exposure to it?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:56 AM

"the reason most of you are here, is because you were EXPOSED to traditional music and song in school, at home, and on TV."

Good grief, if I believed the stuff I heard and danced at school was folk, I'd have given it a very wide berth for the rest of me days! An enthusiasm from some curriculum body for formation dancing and cut-glass enunciation. Dead as mutton that stuff as was the wooly jumpers and hogmanay nonsense on the telly. Mine was hearing a few things I liked and working my way back up the conduit to work out what it was.

If you want to turn people on to folk give it some sex! More people are listening to the tradition through Bellowhead, Rachel Unthank, Kate Rusby, Jim Causley (if he tickles your fancy) than any amount of earnest proposals for state enlightenment. Some will hang around to listen to earlier incarnations of the same material, many will return to whatever it was they liked before.
Sadly there's a strand of thinking among folkies that if it's attractively packaged it is by definition Not Folk, which sort of excludes anyone a big phworr or racy from taking part or the public from thinking it's anything to do with normal people and their desires.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:08 AM

"Mine was hearing a few things I liked and working my way back up the conduit to work out what it was."

Not stuff from the Sixties revival - my impression was you are of that generation? Billy Bragg was about as much folk as I heard back in the early Nineties and it certainly didn't lead me to seek out Trad Song.

I agree that lot's of people are now picking up on the err current revival and a good thing too for sure. Though my feeling is that Traditional Song and Music shouldn't really be dependent on the variable fortunes of the contemporary folk scene or indeed how tasty the performers are (Jim Moray isn't my cuppa btw., though Benji Kirkpatrick's alright.) Any more than any err old art form aught - be it Drama, Poetry or Classical Music, or whatever.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:30 AM

If you want to turn people on to folk give it some sex!

Depends on your own interpretation of (musical) sex I suppose. Personally, I find far more energy in say the Clancey stuff I heard as a kid than say KR songs I've heard.

and cut-glass enunciation.

I don't remember thinking about that as a kid. I just liked singing. Didn't care whether it was Welsh songs (I'm English but had my primary school years from 7 on in N Wales) or English ones.

I'd have thought there where some were Welsh first language, there would have been even more grounds for objection to cut glass English accents but I've no memory of any such thing.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:34 AM

Oh, thinking of CS's comments about knowing things are there. One I was not aware of until I was in my 20s was of Welsh folk dance. Sure I knew of the choirs and of harps but I didn't know of that bit.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:36 AM

Far fewer of us DISCOVERED it off our own backs with Zero prior exposure, and those who did so, stumbled on it by accident

Nail on head time, CS. That was certainly my experience. Early memories of folk involved dreadful novelty hits like "The Day Trip to Bangor", "Matchstick Men and Matchstick Cats and Dogs", "Wake Up England"... which made me want run for cover amongst the loudest electric guitars I could find. To me it seemed like to sort of music that could only be enjoyed by slightly hippyish Christians with pastel-hued, home-knitted cardigans - and they'd only listen to it under sufferance, because Jesus would punish them if they didn't. It was only through a series of lucky accidents, involving, amongst other things, the Wicker Man, British psychedelic pop of the late sixties and a minor obsession with alt-Americana (leading me right back to Roscoe & Dock & co) that I became the f#lk-lovin' loon with a EFDSS membership card I am today. My non-traditional route into the music probably also explains why I would rather stick pins in my eyes than call myself a folkie and why the glory that is the UK folk club scene kinda leaves me mystified. My grounding in non-folk musical forms also leaves me slightly immune to some of the self-imposed mores and customs some folkies have woven around their world. Fair play to them, though.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:42 AM

CS I was at infant and junior school in the 60s and came of age as it were in the 70s. As I've mentioned before, my first folk exposure was Stripping the Willow to a strict tempo that would have had Victor Sylvester pleading for jazz, or listening to BBC schools radio songs of unimpeachable Queen's English.

It was folk I suppose, but with all the dirt and soil removed; folk as institutional behaviour and national sound and its spectre should be a warning to all who want to expose young minds to the stuff.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:42 AM

Another I'd not been aware of, this time until I was about 27 was the existence of Irish sessions. I had been involved with the Llandudno Folk Club since I was about 21 and been to bits and pieces before but it took that long to discover there was such a thing only 20 odd miles down the road in Bangor.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:48 AM

Spleen Cringe's experience and mine are very similar, though I thought some folkie chicks were hot while wanting to take them shopping for clothes and some hair product.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:57 AM

Interesting that a discussion of "folk arts" immediately turns into a discussion of folk song. If we're really talking about arts in the plural, what else might fall into this possible elitist category of activity - weaving? Folk dancing? Macrame? Poetry? Poaching?

Just curious.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:05 AM

Sorry Will! that's my fault probably. Traditional performing arts, I guess is what's properly meant - though unlike traditional song, even Morris get's seen *in the world*.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:06 AM

I really think, glueman, that the moronic "Dahn Wiv SKOOL" sloganising has no place in a serious discussion.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:14 AM

You could happily pull dahn the skool I attended, indeed it has been, and the nation's education in an anything including folk matters would be negatively affected not a jot.

At least we agree on the other's contribution being utterly moronic.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:15 AM

Perhaps we ought to have a What are Folk Arts? thread to clarify the issue. If it is Arts of the Folk, then we might include Digital Photography, Computer Film-Making, YouTube, Home Pornography, DIY, Allotment Architecture, Garden Sheds, Pigeon Crees, Railway Modelling, Outsider Art, Cross-Stitch, Flower Arranging, Gardening, Baking, Roadside Shrine Making, Grave Decoration etc. etc. etc. Such things, of course, aren't elitist in the slightest, but then again are they truly Folk Arts? And what about Trad. Arts?

*

And what is it with new folkies that the miracle of personal epiphany isn't enough for them that they then have to go on some crusade to convert the world to their new found religion? I've seen this happen so many times it's untrue - the zeal of the newly converted! Energy best spent in perfecting one's craft I would have thought... ;-]


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:21 AM

Will Fly there's a very interesting discussion to be had about what real folk arts are beyond performance, and I don't mean the stuff you're likely to find at your local craft market. The way they are taught and funded deserves more serious engagement than this board tends to if the musical aspects are anything to go by.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:23 AM

Yeah, Spleeny - Ditto Wicker Man there. Probably the very first (and indeed remains virtually the ONLY) folk album I ever bought (about five years ago) - though in my head the fact it was folk never actually figured, it was merely a Soundtrack to a great quirky film.

Have you noticed how influential The Wicker Man seems to be with young folk bands? It's an ambience thing. I crossed paths with these guys a couple months back - but there's more out there who cite The wicker Man amongst influences: The Hare and the Moon


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:23 AM

Cross posted with S o'P with whom as usual, I'm in agreement.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:27 AM

Don't forget front-of-house Christmas light displaying and sandcastle building. The latter in particular highlights the ephemeral nature of folk art...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:38 AM

"sandcastle building"

Now then. When my eldest was a nipper my wife and I began building what we called fairy grottoes on the beach. These used whatever was available in the way of materials; sand, pebbles, slate, discarded packaging, dead fish and crabs, whatever the beach threw up.
They began as modest sized constructions and finished up as huge endeavours with an on-going story to them and the development of every kid and often adult, within reach. Some are circular, others chambered, flat or monumental, whatever the group adds to their making as the idea grows. By their nature they are at the whim of the tide and donated and destroyed by the sea's so we film them as the are being built and erased by the waves.

If that isn't a folk art I don't know what is.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:39 AM

There's a whole subculture of WM inspired acts out there on the not-really-folk scene. I love 'em. My latest faves are Wyrdstone and Arborea and Trembling Bells. Check out the latter's awesome 'Carbeth'.

I still think elitism in folk arts is largely in the eye of the beholder. Anything that's not trumpeted as must-have-must-do by mainstream commentators runs the risk of being labelled as elitist... when it's not being labelled much worse things. If you want elitism talk to trainer* snobs and northern soul purists. There again, northern soul dancing is definitely a folk art!

*Sneaker, pump, plimsoll. You choose.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:44 AM

"crusade to convert the world to their new found religion?"

Oh poo to you! I've no interest in converting people or telling them how 'great' it is. It's as square as fuck of course, and definitely no chance of a shag going for anyone under retirement age either, and of course that's all fine(ish). But traditional song does exist in an hermetically sealed bubble, mostly populated by people as old or older than my parents. And utterly isolated from people like me, unless we happen to fall over it. All I think is that more people should have the opportunity to decide for themselves. Otherwise, I'm quite happy to disagree with you on the matter...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:45 AM

Don't forget the chalk bag. Ever noticed northern soul girls dressed like mill hands in navy pinafore dresses, puritan collars and thick tights? Until it all got 40s swing and big skirts and daft trousers anyway.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:48 AM

Don't forget front-of-house Christmas light displaying and sandcastle building. The latter in particular highlights the ephemeral nature of folk art...

Absolutely. And by extension, of course, Blackpool Illuminations becomes a Seasonal Folk Custom by default, though rarely is it considered as such. I made two films when we first moved over this way, one concentrating on the folkloric narratives of the illuminated tableaux themselves and the other of the peripheral events. Unfortunately the latter was lost when the laptop crashed, but the first one survives:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Isgwb_g66rU

At this time of year, Blackpool is bending down with Hen Parties - each group festively sporting a distinctive costumed uniform, or livery. Trouble is, you can't point a camera at them without risking multiple breast exposure, or worse...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:48 AM

"It's as square as fuck of course"

It isn't CS, those fuckers just nicked it.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:50 AM

PS - Some years ago I made a film called Luminos which documents the X-mas house lights in the villages around where we used to live. Hopefully soon I'll have this up on YouTube - maybe later today if I can figure out how to the necessary file transfer. Watch this space...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:52 AM

Glueman - I was merely commenting on the fact that what might have been an interesting discussion on folk arts as a whole was all subsumed into yet another thread on folk music - and no fault of the OPs, either.

The thread has now actually become far more interesting with the inclusion of christmas lights displays and sandcastles! I think these are true folk arts - and I don't think anyone could call these elitist. In a visual arts context, "folk" artists, e.g. painters, are often equated with "naive" artists such as Grandma Moses, Henri Rousseau, Alfred Wallis, etc. Naive,in this instance, used to describe artists who have no formal training but who - in the words of one book I have on the subject - bring a "refreshing view" of artistic subjects to the world.

By this definition, folk artists are far from elitist - they exist happily within their own world, uncaring perhaps about the opinion of others.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:54 AM

Incidentally though - err yeah I can be rather driven when I hit on something. A personality thing, not exclusive to this by any means :-/
Now, if I could only get passionate about something actually useful...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:57 AM

Perhaps we ought to have a What are Folk Arts? thread to clarify the issue. If it is Arts of the Folk, then we might include Digital Photography,
<snip>
Such things, of course, aren't elitist in the slightest,


Perhaps not but I'm sure you can find elitism there. eg. "I've got a Nikon with 1000 lenses and a Leica. You only have a point and shoot you found in an Argos catalogue."
    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: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:57 AM

Another self-generating folk art is we take a few stones from one place, say Rhodes and put them on the next beach we come to, perhaps in the Lleyn peninsula, which in turn gives a few stones to Normandy on to the Baltic, and so on, all photographed until a palimpsest of geography and psychogeography builds up tracing our journeys.

Folk art or high art? Does it matter?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:02 AM

Take nothing but footprints; leave nothing but photographs


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:04 AM

All art is folk art; I ain't seen no horse make a sandcastle...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:04 AM

Christmas lighting as far as I can gather, certainly can be competitive.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:05 AM

Really enjoyed that film, S. And a fabulous soundtrack. The Ha-Ha should collaborate with Jah Wobble. In fact, is there any mileage in conflating the sounds of the Ha-Ha with the sounds of Venerium Arvum? Sounds like a fab idea to me. We must talk!

Anyhoo, the new issue of English Dance & Song has just plopped through my letterbox, so I'm going to curl up on the sofa and read it whilst nursing my man-flu with more Lemsip. See y'all later.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:05 AM

"By this definition, folk artists are far from elitist - they exist happily within their own world, uncaring perhaps about the opinion of others"

I agree but the world of the folk revival would see such sensibilities as quite rare, 'exotic' whereas they are in fact common if you alter the definition to include contemporary manifestations of folk.
In the visual arts natural artists like Alfred Wallis have been codified in the same way as music into Art Brut, Outsider Art, Naive art or whatever to define them against the self-awareness of other artists but their kind of thing is everywhere if people care to look and don't formalise folk into insider and outsider commodities.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:08 AM

if people care to look and don't formalise folk into insider and outsider commodities.

Please explain. You have lost me. What would you propose with folk in practice?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:09 AM

(folk music that is)


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: theleveller
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:21 AM

I suppose all minority interests (which folk arts are) can be viewed as elitist by those who don't follow them, but I think that if elitism does exist in tradarts, it's probably localised and created by those who wish it to reflect their own social aspirations. I certainly don't think that it is universal.

I just got back from Ryedale Folk Weekend and there was no sign of any elitism there – just a lot of people sharing some wonderful music, offering help and advice, swapping songs, stories and the occasional(!) beer and having a wonderful time with others from a wide range of different backgrounds. Being able to chat to the likes of Dave Burland, Dave Goulder, Dick Miles and other folk 'gurus' was great. There were also plenty of young people around as well as us old-stagers. People who were just visiting the Folk Museum, where the festival was held, were given an opportunity to sample folk music and dance in a 'traditional' setting and talk to 'folkies' about it.

On the other hand, the one occasion we went to Towersey was the total opposite. It started in the campsite when people erected barricades and fences around their caravans and tents and the kids were told off for kicking a football around. The whole time we were there was like that – even in the beer tent when we tried singing some shanties and got black looks from the massed melodeon players who then proceeded to drown us out. The whole experience was redolent of an interminable vicarage garden party.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:23 AM

Jon, rather than acknowledge any common 'vernacular' response to music or art is a folk response, the revival, like the art market, has a strict set of criteria as to what can be considered folk based on a set of criteria that must be met. These criteria are fairly exacting and designed to keep things out rather than include, adapt, amend and change with time, thus retaining a status quo.

As myself and others have suggested the thread has gone some way to showing that folk arts are perceived as elevated things that can only be conveyed through education (in a modern sense), special pleading and pubic funds whereas these arts are all around and require little or none to participate.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:25 AM

Much repetition of criteria but you get the point.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:27 AM

Glueman - I'd love some "pubic funding". :-)


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:35 AM

Is that when the government pays for you to have a "downstairs haircut"?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:44 AM

These criteria are fairly exacting and designed to keep things out rather than include, adapt, amend and change with time, thus retaining a status quo.

OK. I don't agree with that.

Firstly I do recognise that there are different "what is folk" feelings, that some "folk" can in one way or other, even to listen to, be more or less accessible to an individual and that somehow the needs of the broadest definitions of folk need accommodating (and yes, even if it may not all be folk to me...).

I think changing with time happens anyway. It's just a question of the time scale. The repertoires in the Irish sessions I go to are traditional (including tunes that just sound traditional) but I don't think anyone seriously believes that the tenor banjo (c 1915) or the tenor mandola (1970s Irish Bazouki movement) are traditional instruments or that what we play in terms of style would be a carbon copy of say what was played in Clare in 1850. We know it moves on but at its own natural pace.

I also have difficulties with some "inclusion" arguments. Apart from my own specific interests (and perhaps selfishness), I feel we would dilute and limit the folk scene rather than enhance it if every event was to include everything. Diversity and opportunities for specialities (as well as for anything goes mixes) IMO are strengths, not weaknesses,


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:46 AM

Pubic funding will only arrive is when the wizened old gent in the town hall gets a good shake up and can be encouraged to splash out.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:50 AM

Dilute is always the scare word and while it is, folk will get on with the real stuff of making and singing and doing as they always have done and leave Folk to their own devices and checklists.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:55 AM

Dilute is always the scare word

I don't know why when everyone can get together as well as find more specialist events.

leave Folk to their own devices and checklist

I do and to date it seems to have resulted in the mix of more specialised events and anything goes events we have. It seems to be you not me that wants to change what you are saying leave alone.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 08:06 AM

I'm not going to engage in a long what-is-folk dialogue, I know what I believe it to be and it isn't defined by an historical category but is on-going and adapts to the resources that surround it. With open-mindedness Folk could find a new definition that retains pre-industrial roots and encompasses modern vernacular forms but there's no appetite for it among the orthodoxy so the barrier remains.

'Dilute' seems to be precisely what folkies believe will happen if ordinary people get a say.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 08:10 AM

I'll try to ignore you in future glueman.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 08:29 AM

Why? I've given you an honest response to your question. If it wasn't the one you wanted to hear I'm sorry, it is the one I believe however.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 08:30 AM

Sounds like Herr Bridge has been keeping everyone on message by PM because I can't see anything controversial in what myself or others have said.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 08:33 AM

Hmm failure to answer:

"How are 'Searching for Lambs', 'The Banks of the Sweet Primroses', 'John Barleycorn', 'Lisbon', 'The Manchester Angel', 'The Furze Field', 'The Outlandish Knight', 'Scarborough Fair' or 'Bushes and Briars' "anti-establishment","

Personal doubts (which may be wrong) about your school memory and your method of bringing "Open Mindedness" into this where I'm trying to discuss solutions that can work for everyone without putting anyone down.

Those 3 are enough for me. Bye.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 08:40 AM

You don't think one of the marks of folk music taken as a whole is lack of deference for self-appointed authority figures Jon? I'm not putting anyone 'down' as you put it, unlike the disapproval that was heaped on my first posts. If you want to learn more about my school experiences of institutional folk music I'm happy to discuss them. But perhaps Bye is best, eh?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 27 May 09 - 08:45 AM

"And what is it with new folkies that the miracle of personal epiphany isn't enough for them that they then have to go on some crusade to convert the world to their new found religion? I've seen this happen so many times it's untrue - the zeal of the newly converted! Energy best spent in perfecting one's craft I would have thought..."

I'm afraid that I have to say "amen" to that, S O'P - with apologies to 'Crow Sister, who I don't particularly want to offend. It has been my experience that some of the best things in life are those that one stumbles upon by accident. It's unfortunate that once those things become popular there is a tendency for them to be dumbed-down, diluted and commodified.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 08:48 AM

"It's unfortunate that once those things become popular there is a tendency for them to be dumbed-down, diluted and commodified."

Or, the music of the people was better as our little secret, hmmm?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 May 09 - 09:22 AM

Paranoia now too, glueman?

Folk arts include folk dancing, folk music, folk song, folk crafts and other plastic folk arts. Trade Union banners once were a splendid example of a folk art. The common features are that they are not driven to be "high art" (so the songs do not contain expressions like your words "palimpsest of geography and psychogeography") nor are they the product of consumerism (a "top down" process of manipulation of artificially created consumption). This correlates quite closely to the 1954 definition, and it is the antithesis of elitism.

It is unlikely to be true that folk arts have become dominated by the middle and upper classes. Even if that were true, it does not mean that the aspirational and judgmental qualities of elitism are present.

Leveller, the fact that people are protective of their possessions does not make those people elitist, nor does it make them middle class. If you were to go say to smokingtyrez.com you can imagine the reprisals if yoof were to start kicking footballs around near and potentially at those cars - and those cars are the badges of working class assertiveness (even perhaps rebelliousness), not middle class.


Competitive Xmas decoration, however (to take an example) is consumerism in display, and therefore not a folk art. I would accept competitive leek growing as a folk form, but I'm not sure it is an art. Coarse fishing is in an interesting cleft stick. Roaching for example was long a primarily working class pursuit, but now it is the market place for very expensive technical products - carbon-fibre rods, etc. I don't think that means it has lost its claim to be a folk pursuit.

Is earthenware pottery a folk art? I am undecided.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: theleveller
Date: 27 May 09 - 09:46 AM

"Leveller, the fact that people are protective of their possessions does not make those people elitist, nor does it make them middle class. "

Well, Richard, never in my life before have I seen people bring fences and barriers with them to a folk festival with the prime intent of excluding anyone else from their circle (which would, incidentally, have accommodated two more caravans or tents). If that's not elitist, I don't know what is. It seemed to be the norm at Towersey.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 09:50 AM

"Roaching for example was long a primarily working class pursuit, but now it is the market place for very expensive technical products - carbon-fibre rods, etc. I don't think that means it has lost its claim to be a folk pursuit."

Really? No, not really. You'll find usable carbon fibre rods available from a tenner upwards, £30-50 for something an adult might be happy to use, say a hundred pounds for something smart. If you want a cane rod, a 'folk' one, start looking from fifteen hunded quid upwards.
Are roach common and trout posh? I'd like to know as I went worming for some native speckled brownies on our local stream and need to know whether it was folk or not.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 10:21 AM

Again, a totally OT post but for anyone who likes Christmas lighting. It may be old hat by now but we got some electroluminescent wire last year. I thought it quite fun. Never really sussed out the tthe fixings but here is a photo of the little (I suppose) "folk shapes" we managed (for fun) on the porch window.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 10:55 AM

BTW, re the folk craft questions. I wish I could...

We sort of inherited a pebble grinder/diamond saw unit but I was never able to make much of it (except I did once manage to cut a couple of shapes out of malachite I quite liked). Soon found I'd buy a cabouchon so much better to glue in a bought fitting...

I've got an idea floating around in my head at the moment for a 4ft solar (not wind) powered windmill as a decoration for the garden but doubt if I'm going to have either the woodworking skills or alternatively metal working skills to do it.

I can sometimes handle a few of the more technical aspects of a project (eg. if needs must, I could program a PIC or an Atmel microprocessor to do something basic) but I lack the more practical abilities.

It's annoying in some ways... As with joining in with music in a session, I do feel there is a basic minimum standard needed but on so much of this I fail on the equivalents of playing in time and in tune. Not so bad as it's only to amuse the family but I can get frustrated I can't do it.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 May 09 - 10:58 AM

Dry fly is posh. Dry fly used to consider wormers (particularly downstream wormers) as little better than poachers. Salmon fly is posh.

My carbon fibre has come down in price. I remember when a good hollow glass rod (I have one still, but haven't used it for decades) was dearer than a combination cane roach rod. The first split cane roach rod was the Fred J. Taylor, and focussed roachers derided it because of its slow strike, due to the progressive action. A roach cane would have the first two sections of whole cane, and then a split-cane or hollow glass top joint.

One of my best mates had a greebheart trout fly rod that had belonged to his grandfather, and the action was gloriously sweet if you could live with the weight.

A good split cane or greenheart rod is still a thing of beauty. Building them would not have been a folk art, since the materials and techniques would not have been accessible enough. A reed roach-pole with reinforcing whippings could have been, at least in areas where good reed was available.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 May 09 - 11:05 AM

"Or, the music of the people was better as our little secret, hmmm? "
So the wider population is incapable of appreciating things unless they have been "dumbed-down, diluted and commodified" - hmm.
Somewhat elitist, don't you think - certainly bloody patronising.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 11:24 AM

Not patronising at all JC. You continually remind us that once the hoi-polloi get their hands on things they spoil it.

RB as you'll know trout are the most stupid creatures under the sun and can be caught on the corner of your hat, which is why the toffs had to problematise their pursuit with all manner of absurd social and technical stratifications.
I consider long trotting for rough stream trout one of the highest angling forms, certainly harder than fluff chucking nymphs upstream or down but it's uncommon because riparian owners don't generally allow it.

I'd like a cane rod like the one that was given me as a youngster by a workmate of my father's but the truth is old cane rods, with a few exceptions, weren't up to much and a modern Barder would knock spots off one - at a price. I'm quite happy with my carbon off the peg jobs. You seem to talk more sense about angling than folk, perhaps we can agree on something?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 27 May 09 - 11:32 AM

speaking of angling, wasn't it Izaak Walton who wrote that one of the first important lessons in fishing and the line that became his motto "Study to be quiet".


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 May 09 - 11:38 AM

"Not patronising at all JC. You continually remind us that once the hoi-polloi get their hands on things they spoil it."
If I have ever said that (can you please point out when that was?) it makes your comment no less patronising - in fact I find your whole approach on this thread patronising.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 12:47 PM

Competitive Xmas decoration, however (to take an example) is consumerism in display, and therefore not a folk art.

More bucolic fantasising I see, Richard! The key here is that FOLK is a secondary concept that has fuck all to do with anything - be it custom, tale, music, song, lore, film-making, art, or any of the other wonderful things FOLK might attach itself to as parasitical prefix. Folk is the simple fact that people do such things, seasonally, ceremonially, festively, ritually, by way of observance, remembrance, celebration, recreation, entertainment and devotion.

Anyway - I've sorted out my LUMINOS film which documents some of the non-competitive Christmas house lighting from in & around the Deerness Valley on the 21st December 2004, Wanking Santas and all. It's just as much about the darkness as it is about the light... a bit like Mudcat really.

Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBKpUHFe1BU


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 01:22 PM

Back to lights... SOP, I think I'm on a different wavelength to you but if you like Christmas lighting and ever found yourself in North Norfolk at that time of the year, take a look at Holt. There may be others like it but it seems unusual to me in that (at least the times I've been there) the town only uses clear lightbulbs, no colours. I think it is very effective.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 May 09 - 01:36 PM

Nonsense SoP. What I said cannot possibly be bucolic for there is no relevant referent. As Lloyd sought to demonstrate, there can be industrial folk-stuff too. You deprive the word of any meaning, but why should that surprise me.

Glueman, I have I think figured out that whatever it is you are against it, but is there anything (apart from long trotting among obstacles) that you approve or agree with? And why are you having this discussion if you think that anything that people do since people are folk, is a folk-thing? It would follow from that that folk arts were not elitist, for they would be universal. I say that folk arts are not universal, but are still not elitist. Are you reminded of any other parts of Gulliver's Tales?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 27 May 09 - 01:43 PM

"Or, the music of the people was better as our little secret, hmmm?"

That's your snidey little gloss on what I wrote, 'glueman'.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 01:54 PM

RB - No!

Shimrod - I love the word snide. Only you, Kenneth Williams and my Aunty Pat used it. Also the folk word - sniving, meaning to creep around or insinuate oneself.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jom
Date: 27 May 09 - 01:59 PM

Funny thing about that is I don't believe anyone wants to keep it a secret in that way. I'm not one but I do know a number of superb musicians. I can't think of one who would not raise a smile if they see someone sat at a table enjoying the music and would struggle to find any would would not bend over backwards to help someone who wanted to get started.

Sometimes (although I can't claim to always have been lilywhite on this myself and shudder at some of my own playing in thrashes in the past), I think "folk" can be it's own worst enemy.

The all free to join in together idea does not work out if the budding bodhran player will not accept his vague resemblance to a 4/4 rock beat does not fit say The Cliffs of Moher (a 6/8 jig).

I'd not dream of attending someones unaccompanied trad songs night armed with guitar expecting to do my Dylan number or to go to a contemporary singer songwriters night armed with melodeon ready to do my morris dance set...

But some will have it that because it's all folk, all of the above should be fine.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 02:07 PM

I think I'm on a different wavelength to you but if you like Christmas lighting and ever found yourself in North Norfolk at that time of the year, take a look at Holt.

Sounds beautiful, Jon. I've been to Holt - once anyway, a couple of years back when we staying in Tatterford, near Fakenham. I remember some antique shops with vintage shop dummies. Hard to think of Norfolk in winter though; my ideal summer is steeple-chasing around North Norfolk churches (Salle is my favourite). They used to do clear lights in Staindrop (nr Barnard Castle) and the effect was absolutely stunning - one night we were driving out that way listening to a tape of classic Rolf Harris & Jindabyne came on as we hit Staindrop - clear lights in the trees a the snow was falling. I was naturally transported! These days, alas, it's all colours - even blue!

It has been my experience that some of the best things in life are those that one stumbles upon by accident. It's unfortunate that once those things become popular there is a tendency for them to be dumbed-down, diluted and commodified.

Amen to that as well!   

As Lloyd sought to demonstrate, there can be industrial folk-stuff too. You deprive the word of any meaning, but why should that surprise me.

A little hyperbolic I admit, Richard, but even Lloyd's industrial stuff takes on a cosy glow when viewed through the retro-rosy folk-lens, especially as he made much of it up to suit his own folkish fantasising.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 02:13 PM

Sorry to continue my OT bit with SOP but, my parents have had interests in churches round Norfolk (even when I was in primary school in Wales and we used to visit grandad in Norwich). Salle is Pip's/mum's favourite.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 27 May 09 - 02:17 PM

"I love the word snide." 'glueman'

Why am I not surprised that you love that word, 'glueman'? According to my Oxford Dictionary it means: "Counterfeit, bogus; insinuating, slyly derogatory, ..."

If the cap fits and all that ...? Under the circumstances it looks like I have picked exactly the right word. Has your Aunty Pat ever applied it to you, by any chance? It could be that she's a very perceptive woman!


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 May 09 - 02:49 PM

Glueman
Didn't really expect any examples to your hoi-polloy accusation or an explanation to back up your denial of being patronising. Ah well - suppose I'll have to make do with the pleasure of seeing the mask slip.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:36 PM

I'd laugh if it all wasn't so sad. Jim Carroll and Shimrod never fail to disappoint and once more have done themselves proud, congratulations "gentlemen"!

Our bass player has just suggested we add Sandy Denny's Late November to the repertoire (at least it's not folk, but the lyrics are appropriate)


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:47 PM

The post brings up an interesting point. Is the study of folk arts elitist because of the image that people have for it in their minds?

Folk Arts cover a broad area of research and history.

I think that there are elitists in the folk music field but the study itself is anything but elitist because it deals with the national fabric of history and legend. People who created this form of expression were not themselves elitist but representative of various cultures, many who were working-class and some at the poverty level. The study of this form of expression is
analogous to the study of any social science which in itself can hardly be called elitist although there are academic elitists in every field.

I get it that there are folkie practitioners who are snobby or exclusive in their interest but to generalize like this makes no sense whatever.

The common denominator of the folk arts expression to me is that it reveals the cultural life of the people from where it comes. It is also an accessible form of expression which makes it anything but elitist.

For example, it takes not too much rigorous discipline to sing the chorus of a folk song.
It is available to any who enjoy it. This is more basic then the skills it takes to sing opera,
classical music or sophisticated jazz.

The question should be "are folkies elitist"? and I would answer some are and some are not.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:47 PM

Oh no, glueman, the word "cunt" should really not be used as a term of abuse. You came from one and usually spend the rest of your life trying to get back in. What's your problem with cunts?

Also, you have sought to abuse the concept of "folk" pretty much since your arrival, and heaped insult on all who tried to find any rationality in your gibberish. What's your problem with "folk".

You came, you offered insult, you sowed the seed and reaped the harvest. Good to see that traditions still inform your life.

You STILL have not offered any rational argument to establish that folk arts are elitist.

It seems to me that you are as much a troll as any non-member.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:50 PM

"You lot really are a complete bunch of cunts aren't you?" 'glueman'

Such 'charm', such 'eloquence'! Such petulant immaturity.

I've never called you names like that,'glueman' - merely challenged some of your opinions. Why is that wrong?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:00 PM

Folk is the simple fact that people do such things, seasonally, ceremonially, festively, ritually, by way of observance, remembrance, celebration, recreation, entertainment and devotion.

Folk as folk performance - that might work. But it would mean that lots of things that most people call folk aren't, and lots of things are folk that most people - including the people involved - don't call folk. (The Dylan night I went to last week was almost entirely folk by this definition.)

I think something definitive of 'folk' gets lost if the folk artform itself isn't continually evolving and changing - which is almost bound to be the case if you're using traditional material, but not if you're trying to sing the words Dylan wrote the way Dylan sang them.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:11 PM

"Troll" to me implies people who try to stir up a fight for the sake of it, especially in situations where there are really no differences that make fighting appropriate. Nothing to do with whether they are members or not.

I can't see any genuine differences in this thread which would make fighting appropriate. Except the differences between people who want to exchange ideas and those who are here to pass out and invite personal abuse.

I suppose if you want to do that it's safer doing it here than down the pub.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: glueman
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:22 PM

What you're unable to accept Bridge is people like the same music as you for completely different reasons, indeed despise your cod histories and hearty clubbishness but see enough value in the music to admire. People like you have put the music beyond the majority not through any deficiencies in the song but because of the corrosive little personalities who peddle it and make petty rules around it to maintain your own unpleasant fiefdoms. It has always been so but most are too polite to say. As you see, I'm not.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:29 PM

I think something definitive of 'folk' gets lost if the folk artform itself isn't continually evolving and changing - which is almost bound to be the case if you're using traditional material, but not if you're trying to sing the words Dylan wrote the way Dylan sang them.

Everything is change; it's in the nature of the Tao - nothing stays the same & no rendering of a song can ever be the same as any other, especially if you're trying to sing the words Dylan wrote the way Dylan sang them. There will always be a shortfall between the intention and the result; this is the empirical manifestation of the thing; not only is it empirical, it is also ephemeral.

This doesn't make it Folk though, it's just the way things are.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:39 PM

Well, the problem Gg, despite your immature abuse, is that I have yet to see from your postings any recognition of value in folk music, merely an intent to tear down and replace with nothing. I do however see that you are not polite, as you are neither rational nor constructive - and indeed I'm not at all sure that you actually have any idea what music I like since you seem fixated on the fact that I know the difference between "folk" and "not folk" whereas it seems you refuse to accept that there is any such difference (save possibly stylistic).

SoP - can you hear the sound of one hand crapping? That has got to be one of the most pretentious and meaningless things I ever read on here.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:47 PM

I think I'm with Pip on this. I suspect there is a difference between wanting to perform like the definitive recording and wanting to do stuff where the "original" could not even be recorded.

One that comes to my mind on this sort of thing is the use of the banjo. Maybe I'm wrong but with the 5 string and Bluegrass, most seem to want to get that definitive "Scruggs sound". On the Irish and the tenor where we are just playing tunes, it seems to me more a case of anything from Framus to Mastertone to whatever will do if the player likes the sound.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 27 May 09 - 10:28 PM

Two points of the last 24 hours which I find most interesting are from Crow Sister (just after my last posting) and Spleen Cringe not long after.

Respectively:-

Folkiies of the older generation (most of us?) generally had good exposure to folk music and dance - whatever we thought of it at the time (English School context here, 1950s/60s ) Later generations didn't.

Influence of the 'Wicker Man' film.

Living now in such a media dominated era I suggest the following:

that supporters of traditional folk seriously try to get more 'Wicker Man' style films made that draw heavily on folk tradition. It could be for TV or low budget cinema - but why not aim high as well!

There are always Producers looking for new idea (alongside those turning out the Puntercrap) so why not get to know who's thinking about producing what, and make a few suggestions which would use traditional fol music?

This is decidedly off thread, though inspired by serious comments on this thread, so I'm going to raise a new thread on Getting folk music into cinema - or similar.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 28 May 09 - 03:31 AM

Ian, I like it! A whole sub-genre of folkie-dokie "Wicker Man" type films. Samantha Morton must star in one of them.

Stuff aimed at kids too... who is making the equivalent of "Children of the Stones" today?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 28 May 09 - 03:50 AM

"People like you have put the music beyond the majority not through any deficiencies in the song but because of the corrosive little personalities who peddle it and make petty rules around it to maintain your own unpleasant fiefdoms."

More paranoid rantings!

There are no "unpleasant fiefdoms", 'glueman'. They're all in your unpleasant imagination.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 May 09 - 04:08 AM

Can I have my magic chest in grandmas loft? The one with all the yellowed broadsides in.. That come alive when you read them and then draw you back in time right into the parallel songstory-world. Especially the magical ones with selkies and talking crows and stuff. I'd dig that as a grown up frankly, and probably more than is healthy. Radio 4 watch out...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 May 09 - 04:22 AM

SoP - can you hear the sound of one hand crapping?

I'm assuming that's an attempt at humour rather than a typo, but whatever the case one is reminded of an anecdote in which a young James Jacson sprung the old koan on Sun Ra, who answered: a breeze, Jacson! A breeze!.

That has got to be one of the most pretentious and meaningless things I ever read on here.

Pretentious? Moi? Meaningless? Well, to an inveterate folky (such as yourself) maybe it is, but I was brought up as much on Davie Stewart's Dowie Dens as I was on Cage's 4'33", and more important to me altogether were the sleeve notes to a record called Alchemy by the Third Ear Band where dualities are discarded in favour of the Tao and each piece is as alike or as unalike as trees, grass and crickets. My first musical love is Free Improvisation & even to this day much of my free time is spent optimising configurations on a drumkit I call The Obelisk (just yesterday I added the 4 antique Burmese kyeezee gongs my father-in-law picked up for £8 at a car boot sale a couple of weeks back) or else exploring the acoustic resonances arising from playing my old Hofner Congress in conjunction with Nepalese singing bowls. In such a music change is the organic constancy of the entire narrative aesthetic - and it's a principle I abide by in my storytelling & traditional ballad / folk song singing too. So once a Free Improviser, always a Free Improviser; and all sound is found sound after all, even that of a Dylan wannabe.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 May 09 - 04:42 AM

This doesn't make it Folk though, it's just the way things are.

I'll have to agree to disagree with Richard on your discursus into the Dao, i.e. I dug it. But it does strike me as sublimely irrelevant (as well as irrelevantly sublime) - a distinction that makes no difference, just like the one about being played by people. If everything's 'folk' then 'folk' means nothing.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 May 09 - 05:55 AM

I am astounded SoP - each time I think you have reached the zenith of pretentious meaninglessness, you outdo yourself.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 May 09 - 05:58 AM

If everything's 'folk' then 'folk' means nothing.

You're learning fast, Grasshopper!

Seriously, Pip - all folk is to me is getting pissed in a roaring singaround in a filthy back-room somewhere and communing with something that has undeniable potency. I wouldn't go so far as folk is nothing, but I feel that, like the Tao, its essence is unsayable:

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.


Lao Tzu (trans. Gia Fu Feng)


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 May 09 - 06:02 AM

And perhaps I should add that couching your purported communications in the terms that you do, terms that will exclude the vast preponderance of the English-speaking world, surely demonstrates that whatever you are wurbling about is supremely elitist at least in terms of exclusion.

You will find however that folk song is expressed in ordinary words. They may in combination have an extraordinary effect, but there there is little attempt to exclude by obfuscation. There are of course the nonsense songs (like the Cutty Wren, or Nottamun Town - or Benjamin Bowmaneer) but even there what is said is in plain language even if the cumulative meaning is obscure.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 May 09 - 06:25 AM

And perhaps I should add that couching your purported communications in the terms that you do, terms that will exclude the vast preponderance of the English-speaking world, surely demonstrates that whatever you are wurbling about is supremely elitist at least in terms of exclusion.

Your brain is obviously addled with too much folk & mandoplanking, Richard. Let me know which bits have you a problem with and I'll do my best to explain them in civilian terms. Otherwise I have no problem with elitism - God knows I wouldn't be a traddy if I did.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Ringer
Date: 28 May 09 - 07:26 AM

"...each time I think you have reached the zenith of pretentious meaninglessness, you outdo yourself."

Wouldn't "nadir" be more appropriate than zenith?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 May 09 - 07:41 AM

Wouldn't "nadir" be more appropriate than zenith?

Don't dare diss The Bridge, Ringer - the man has spoken & henceforth it shall be written in the stars! Besides, if it was the nadir of pretentious meaninglessness then that would cancel out Da Bridge's negativism. Dig?


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 28 May 09 - 08:19 AM

All my zeniths have nadirs.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 May 09 - 08:42 AM

And all my nadirs have zeniths - even on this bastarding diet, like perfecting my porridge recipe...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 May 09 - 12:17 PM

I can see the argument for saying "nadir" but thought it worked better the way round I did it.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 May 09 - 12:30 PM

I can see the argument for saying "nadir" but thought it worked better the way round I did it.

Your phrase was the zenith of pretentious meaninglessness; if your have it the nadir of pretentious meaninglessness it means quite the opposite - i.e. that it isn't particularly pretentious or meaningless for that matter, on the contrary in fact. Stick to your guns there, Richard, otherwise you'll have the bastards walking all over you. Remember - on Mudcat - you are The Daddy.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 May 09 - 01:14 PM

I don't know, I think all you 'gents' are into virtual gay bollock torture... So if RB's top, who's bottom? I'm pretty sure there are non-family sites you could all retire to for this kind of rough role-play. Yours, charmed and delighted as ever Cx


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 28 May 09 - 05:19 PM

Now CS has suitably raised both the tone and the bar, maybe this is the place for me to suggest that Mudcatters consider pooling their resources to make a pagan transgendered folkporn flick. We could call it "The Wicker Mangina"...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 May 09 - 05:43 PM

With music by The Imagined Village People...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 28 May 09 - 05:53 PM

"I think all you 'gents' are into virtual gay bollock torture..."

What interesting circles you must move in, Crow Sister!


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 May 09 - 05:54 PM

Only if you play with your folk horn..
Though I only wanted to maintain the impeccable standard here of course. Y'know.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 May 09 - 06:03 PM

"What interesting circles you must move in, Crow Sister"

I wish Shimrod! This year has been the epitome of fecking shite in my life! Though the local boys have been right nice and all. Respec'


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 May 09 - 04:52 AM

What interesting circles you must move in, Crow Sister!

Crop circles I'll be bound! After all, circles don't come any more interesting, or genuinely folkloric, folk-arty, or yet wondrous to behold and ponder the method, terrestrial or - er - otherwise. Stone circles, magic circles, lunar cycles, solar wheels and unbroken rainbows...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 May 09 - 05:23 AM

What intelligent and helpful contributions I make when leathered!
I really wouldn't want to move in ANY circles today cheers So'P...


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: TenorTwo
Date: 29 May 09 - 05:26 AM

Look, Crow Sister and any other readers, why don't the rest of us creep away, leaving these gentlemen to carry on comparing the size of their dic................tionaries.

Shhhhhhhhhhh!

Do you think thesaurus?

T2


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: Amy_Florence_Nthants
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 08:24 AM

In relation to music...

Even though folk can't (debatably ) be defined

Folkies are elitist, but each in their own special way.

Some keep to one time period

Some favour some artists over others i.e Carthy over Rusby

Some love modern comic songs, and can't get enough out of parodies

Some won't sing a song or call it folk unless the author is unknown

Some refuse to acknowledge that blowing in the wind has the status of a modern folk song

Some will openly grown in Whiskey in the jar is sung because its too common

Some don't think you can properly understand or feel a folk song unless you are over the age of 60 and insist on giving positive criticism (Not that i'm sour or anything :-P)

Some won't go to a barn dance unless its Playford only

It is a very rare thing to find a folky that openly embraces all types of 'Folk' music and treats them all as equal, Tunng, Kipper, carthy, charp, child, , espers , Lakeman, LAU, Plainsong, DBR, Musical hall, greenday, dylan...


By the fact we have made it a genre in its self it is folk is by definition elitist. Only by scrapping all music genre's and treating all music as equal can you avoid the risk of becoming elitist. And i don't see anyone doing that soon


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 04:29 AM

Folk is different wherever you go, so I have problems joining this debate.

Then I looked at some of the BS threads, and some of the threads here on "what is folk?" Many of the regular contributors come over as being elitist, although not with any reason to be so...

My mate won't touch a pint unless it is "real ale." I prefer my beer less gassy and cold too, and love many brews that he raves over. However, I also call huge tankers of mass produced stuff "beer" as that is the word to describe it. When he says that isn't beer, I point out that internationally, Coors / Bud etc outsells "Firkin Old Growler" / whatever, by about a million to one each and every day, so at the risk of sounding pedantic, I reckon they have a right to the word if that is the word they use to describe their brew. Don't say I drink it much, but it is beer all the same.

Folk is similar. I sometimes state on these threads that if it played in a folk club, I reckon it stands a chance of being folk. At least by my definition. Others then rattle on about a 1954 interpretation. Huh, no. My interpretation is the real one! At least it is for me, same as yours is for you. So the elitist brigade are on a non starter because the word folk itself is subjective.

In fact, using my beer analogy, I notice in iTunes, when I buy an album, itunes has already inserted a genre. Well, as huge corporations own the world, perhaps Dick Gaughan is "celtic" on one album but "folk" on another? I smile at the thought of Dick being classified by the huge corporations he moans about...

Circular argument in my opinion, so this thread might not resolve itself.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST, Fido
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 04:50 AM

What, the ubermensch Willie talking to a pingbot?

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

I suppose that fits with his assertion elsewhere that all that matters is being "better off than yow" - so he can be elitist with cause, and define words. That way, reverting to Humpty, he can be the master and we and words the servants.


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Subject: RE: Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 05:49 AM

Excellent Fido!

You make my point perfectly.

As you say, I define words. As you say, I am "better off than yow." As you say, I am the master and you the servant.

Actually, you aren't.

I prefer my servants to be literate, sensible and had their chip surgically removed as their shoulder is better served helping make me richer and them poorer.

I'm an uber something or other too eh? Humpty Dumpty had a good point in that quote you have given. I call something folk and it is just that. At least in my opinion. You call something folk and it whatever you want it to be. if enough people turn up in a pub on a Friday night and sit graciously giving polite applause to a person singing a song, then that is lots of peoples' opinion of folk. See, a pattern is emerging?

Elitist is something I, like many don't hold much truck with. That's why Steamin' Willie has to prick the bubble of pomposity. the real me is far too unassuming.... In fact the real me indulges self styled elitist idiots (to their face at any rate.) Then goes home of an evening and thinks "What a tosser."

Sorry everybody else, some pillocks like to bring their bullying of anybody who isn't an armchair revolutionary away from the BS threads and onto the music ones.   You can't disagree with fantasy Utopia merchants without them trolling you around other threads. A pity, but there you go. Just wait for Dick the Shit to join in and we will have gone full circle.


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