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BBC4 folk - what would YOU do

GUEST,banksie 16 Dec 10 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,glueman 16 Dec 10 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Ed 16 Dec 10 - 06:19 AM
Bounty Hound 16 Dec 10 - 06:28 AM
theleveller 16 Dec 10 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,LDT 16 Dec 10 - 06:33 AM
theleveller 16 Dec 10 - 06:50 AM
Will Fly 16 Dec 10 - 06:59 AM
Mo the caller 16 Dec 10 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,LDT 16 Dec 10 - 07:14 AM
GUEST,Baz parkes 16 Dec 10 - 07:56 AM
Marje 16 Dec 10 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 16 Dec 10 - 03:25 PM
Edthefolkie 16 Dec 10 - 07:34 PM
Jack Campin 16 Dec 10 - 09:09 PM
theleveller 17 Dec 10 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Dec 10 - 04:29 AM
GUEST,Ed 17 Dec 10 - 04:41 AM
nickp 17 Dec 10 - 05:56 AM
GUEST 17 Dec 10 - 06:57 AM
theleveller 17 Dec 10 - 07:19 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 17 Dec 10 - 07:36 AM
theleveller 17 Dec 10 - 07:59 AM
mikesamwild 17 Dec 10 - 08:19 AM
Andy Jackson 17 Dec 10 - 08:26 AM
Alan Day 17 Dec 10 - 08:31 AM
mikesamwild 17 Dec 10 - 08:35 AM
theleveller 17 Dec 10 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 17 Dec 10 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 17 Dec 10 - 09:55 AM
Alan Day 17 Dec 10 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,FairEllender 17 Dec 10 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 17 Dec 10 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,FairEllender 17 Dec 10 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 17 Dec 10 - 08:30 PM
Ian Burdon 18 Dec 10 - 04:11 AM
mikesamwild 18 Dec 10 - 07:03 AM
SPB-Cooperator 18 Dec 10 - 07:20 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Dec 10 - 07:40 AM
Bounty Hound 18 Dec 10 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,glueman 18 Dec 10 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,FairEllender 18 Dec 10 - 08:57 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 18 Dec 10 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 18 Dec 10 - 09:27 AM
Effsee 18 Dec 10 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,X Factor marks the spot 18 Dec 10 - 12:07 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 18 Dec 10 - 12:33 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 18 Dec 10 - 12:36 PM
Alan Day 18 Dec 10 - 12:37 PM
The Sandman 18 Dec 10 - 01:01 PM
Alan Day 18 Dec 10 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 18 Dec 10 - 01:47 PM
Stu 18 Dec 10 - 01:47 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Dec 10 - 01:53 PM
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Subject: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,banksie
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 05:59 AM

The current thread on the BBC4 Christmas Sessions has raised the inevitable debate based around `great to have these programmes on' versus `the programmes are shite'. Both views of obviously valid because we're all different and therefore have very individual, subjective views.

This got me thinking: someone obviously produced those programmes, made the selections of old TV clips, and/or booked current artists to video new material. So what might be the result if mudcatters had the chance to be the producer? Who would you select from both past and present?

Having asked the question I'll admit that I'm not even too sure of what my answers would be yet, except to say that I would want a lot mnore English music (if one can say that these days without appearing to sign up to the BNP or EDL). I like Scottish and Irish music, but I do feel there is a current school in the `meeeja' where Cletic = good and Crap = everything else.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 06:10 AM

You have to understand that the revival is predicated on a mysterious and largely mythical notion of the 'ultimate performance', one to which every other rendition is crap in comparison. It's a fleeting thing this peerless song and impossible to pin down but it informs every debate on the subject.
The BBC, or any other broadcaster will get nowhere trying to please advocates of this myth. You could stick a £10m budget in and have three years in the making and someone would pipe up that Fred Slagg's spoons epiphany of 1973 wasn't mentioned and they'd thrown the TV in the canal as a result. What's needed is a folk revival historian, someone who's outside of vested interests, to anchor a weekly series on where English folk is really at today.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 06:19 AM

a weekly series on where English folk is really at today

And where would that be, glueman?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 06:28 AM

'Fred Slagg's spoons epiphany of 1973' Wow, I'd vote for that!

What would be really good would be to see 'grass roots' performers, rather than just the current media darlings.

Trouble is, of course, we live now in a celebrity obsessed culture and that is pervading the folk world too. Glueman's idea is excellent, but the danger would be that the 'someone who's outside of vested interests' ends up falling into the same trap.

John


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: theleveller
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 06:32 AM

I'd commission someone like Will Hodgkinson, author of Ballad of Britain, to travel round the UK with maybe just camera and sound persons, doing 'field recordings' of some of the myriad of superb but lesser-known singer/songwriters who are creating the new local folk music. It should be recorded at folk clubs, local concerts or in people's homes, so nothing overproduced - just 'warts and all' recordings in the spirit of Cecil Sharp and the other early collectors.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 06:33 AM

Proper in-depth coverage of folk festival like they cover glastonbury and other 'mainstream' festivals.

If I'd not seen Bellowhead Cambridge folk festival on the TV I'd never have stumbled on this folk music lark.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: theleveller
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 06:50 AM

Cross-posted with Bounty Hound - great minds! LOL!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 06:59 AM

One of the reasons that the Unthanks folk dance programme was so good was that all the people in the various recorded sections - cloggers - step dancers - morris dancers - all showed a passionate enthusiasm for, and knowledge of what they were doing, and were very good at it too.

I was genuinely moved by that passion, and thought as I watched it, this is what it's all about. Ordinary people, young and old, being a part of their community, keeping the tradition in their community alive and kicking (literally), without media exposure or the cult of personality.

Wonderful stuff - more please!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Mo the caller
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 07:06 AM

I haven't got round to watching the programmes I recorded yet, but all the people I've seen at ceilidhs and folk dance clubs who have seen it were disappointed that it the dance programmes were all about DISPLAY dance and none about what we do. I think there were some good programmes on social dance (were they for schools?) about 10 years back, showing the same dances danced at adult ceilidhs and by children, lively fun.
I would rather dance or play that watch it on TV though.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 07:14 AM

(as someone who watches a lot of TV - 5hours+)
I prefer the format of enthusiastic newbie or amateur being shown some aspect of folk culture by an expert. I think that helps an audience that's unfamiliar with a subject feel engaged with the subject.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,Baz parkes
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 07:56 AM

What would I do? Complain incessantly that it was no good, out of touch,etc etc...


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Marje
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 08:48 AM

I agree that folk festivals are largely invisible to the BBC. Cambridge, which is somewhat pop/rock-influenced and is not typical of British folk festivals, is the only one that gets regular airings.

Just think of all the stuff that goes on in a typical day at Sidmouth, or Towersey, or Whitby - there are great-quality performances by big national names, as well as lots of grass-roots contributions by the wider folk community, who spend their time not only attending concerts but dancing, playing and singing their hearts out. A season of programmes from festivals across the UK would do a great deal to show the wider public what the folk scene is really about.

Of course, a determined producer could fill the show up with out-of-tune singers, pewter tankards, flamboyant wackiness ("Ooh, look at me, my socks are different colours!")etc, but it would be hard to ignore the enthusiastic participation of young people and families as well as the older traditional folkies at these events.

It would be a good place to start.

Marje


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 03:25 PM

"Go around the country recording singer/songwriters" ??

Not my idea of folk in Britain today any more than when people like Donovan Leitch and Stevie Adams were performing in the sixties. I have always felt that singer/songwriters (the majority of them) were really just frustrated would be pop singers trying to get a foot in the door. Several of them including the two above succeeded.
The fact that many "Folk Clubs" even now allow abysmal would be "singer/songwriters" to get up for a floor spot doesn't help.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 07:34 PM

I would film a few more people in a similar manner to the superb vignettes of Andy Irvine, Paul Brady, Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson, Peggy Seeger etc in "Folk Britannia". Simply presented, nothing to hide behind, the absolute antidote to Cowell Crapola.   

Obviously we can all think of suitable candidates but Swarb is a no brainer for a start. And from the Mudcat side of the pond, The Dixie Bee-Liners spring to mind although there are rather a lot of them!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 09:09 PM

Use the equipment to broadcast a jamming signal that would shut down all television broadcasting across the entire UK, and keep it going until every tellybrain victim in the country realized thay could do something better with their lives.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: theleveller
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 04:20 AM

"I have always felt that singer/songwriters (the majority of them) were really just frustrated would be pop singers trying to get a foot in the door."

Hey Hootenany, you really do need to get out more. It's exactly people like you that my programme would be aimed at.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 04:29 AM

British Folk (apart from the recent programmes on BBC4) seems to be largely invisible to the mass media - and - given the toxic nature of much contemporary mass media - long may it remain so! In my opinion we don't need mass 'recognition'!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 04:41 AM

the toxic nature of much contemporary mass media

What on earth do you mean? In what sense is it more poisonous than 30 years ago?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: nickp
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 05:56 AM

I think that I would put them (whatever/whoever and whether I like the acts or not) straight on BBC2 rather than going for BBC4 with the vague chance of them goind mainstream in the future.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 06:57 AM

Well Leveller,

I have been getting out a little since the mid fifties and still do. I have been involved in and worked in several parts of the "music industry" - not as a performer I might add.

I believe that the question is BBC4 Folk - what would YOU do ?

It would seem that what YOU would do is make a programme called BBC4 Singer/Songwriter.

If so the please be honest with the title so that I and others that have heard so much abysmal material under this banner can avoid it.

Thank you for you time.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: theleveller
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 07:19 AM

No Hoot, it would be BBC 4 Folk - Singer/Songwriters. People who are continuing the long-established tradition of writing folk songs. Ever listened to the work of Mike Waterson, Dave Goulder, Chris Wood - the list goes on and on? Some of the local (to me) folk singer/songwriters I would feature would be people like Richard Grainger, Wendy Arrowsmith, Anna Shannon, Brother Crow, Ray Hearne... look them up and have a listen. Goodness knows, you may actually like them!

Alternatively, you may prefer to listen to the 10000023rd version of John Barleycorn.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 07:36 AM

Thanks leveller for making clear that you would be making a different programme to that under discussion and labeling it correctly. So many threads like so many forms of music get mis-labeled. I saw two performances by Donovan Leitch last week-end I wonder if they would fit into your category.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: theleveller
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 07:59 AM

No Hoot - I've no idea what Donovan is doing these days, but I was never a huge fan in his heyday. If you read my original post, I said "doing 'field recordings' of some of the myriad of superb but lesser-known singer/songwriters who are creating the new local folk music". I don't think Donovan comes into that classification, so I've already answered your question.

I've given you some examples of who I would include - people who are creating the new folk songs. You may wish to take the attitude of 'I'm not going to listen because I know I don't like them' but, believe me, you'll be missing out on a treat. Personally, I agree with Frank Zappa that "the mind is like a parachute - it only works when it's open".

Anyway, instead of sniping at my suggestions, maybe you'd like to adopt a more positive approach and tell us what you would do.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: mikesamwild
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 08:19 AM

Doc Rowe must be a great candidate for a true look at the roots and continuity and he has some superb matrerial crying out for public showng, his edited film at Whitby was superb.

I woud also like to see a progranme that juxrtaposed great modern singers of all ages, either of self composed or trad material with some of the people who inspired thdem and get some informed discussion.

I thought AA Gill's piece in The Sunday Times was encouraging , he obviously wanted more.


By the way Kerfuffle's Christmas Clog piece from lymm versus X Factor for number 1. See YouTube


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 08:26 AM

Marje

"... a season of programmes from festivals across the UK would do a great deal to show the wider public what the folk scene is really about. "

Oh yes indeedy! Back in 1972 BBC South made a film at Christchurch Festival. With some very good locals but also High Level Ranters, Songwainers and a young looking Vin Garbutt. I think Johnny Collins also features, he was certainly there. As it was film it won't have deteriorated like video recordings of the day and would be a superb start to a series.

Andy


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Alan Day
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 08:31 AM

My idea is as follows
I would approach a number of top Folk Musicians and form a consortium (equal share of profits). The musicians would form the basis of about five to six shows,with a small number of additional guest artists to create variety eg Clog Dancer, Rapper side. It would be a fast moving programme with no introductions,only graphics to the performer and what is being performed. All the recordings would be done by each artist for the total number of shows (say 5 or 6 )this would reduce costs. Each programme collated from these recordings.
The programme sold as a total package.
I have approached a major (known to you all ) Folk Musician with this idea which he agreed with in principle and the format suggested.
Al


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: mikesamwild
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 08:35 AM

Good idea Al!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: theleveller
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 08:41 AM

"I woud also like to see a progranme that juxrtaposed great modern singers of all ages, either of self composed or trad material with some of the people who inspired thdem and get some informed discussion."

Yeah, that sounds great.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 09:38 AM

In the 70's my dream was to have a hit record, become a tv personality and introduce a series of programmes showing the amazing talents that were there in the folk clubs at the times.

Sadly when the hit record came it was in Germany. So the programmes never got made. The powers that be just weren't interested.

in a way I feel its come full circle. They make these dull but worthy programmes about what the heavy betting is on what's going to be the next great thing in folk music. Put them on BBC4 - not a hope in hell of getting on an mainstream channel - cos the music is pretty much an affront - totally unmemorable.

I fell aggrieved for all those 70's people who never got seen. Brownsville Banned, Downes and Beer, Steve Adams (already mentioned - did he make it?), Gerry lockran, Nic jones, Tony Rose, Derek brimstone....probably many more.

Youngsters today piss away creative opportunities that the 70's generation never got. some of thats to do with the fact that there ain't enough clubs for them to hone their skills in.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 09:55 AM

Come to think of it -t wouldn't be a bad starting point.

Start with people capable of doing a club gig. Not a festival gig - 45 minutes of jigsand reels to a field full of the half pissed.

Bernard Wrigley - has he ever done an hour special on telly. you could a technical wizard on for ten minutes - for folk music with real substance - Anydy Cutting or Ken Nicol. More than that just is too much for a general audience. Accrington Stanley to lighten the mood. a couple from a songwriter like Alan taylor.

the talents there alright, but BBC execs won't find out about it reading bullshit from record companies - you have to go out there and experience it.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Alan Day
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 10:36 AM

I agree Alan
One of the major sales mistakes is assuming that everyone knows about the product you are selling.Perhaps the BBC are not aware of all the various artists that may form a good watchable , entertaining programme.
Al


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,FairEllender
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 02:04 PM

It has been lovely to read so many intelligent and inspiring ideas here - I can probably pick three separate series from the suggestions thus far. Alan Day's idea strikes me as both viable and valuable - I would like to see a show that is varied, fast moving but totally simple - ie one or two camera angles trained on dancers/players/singers. Just pure music that captures the kind of pub session performances one may experience at Whitby. Such a show would be inexpensive, not particularly time consuming and relatively simple to edit and produce. More of this!

I also like the leveller's idea of a 'field recording' programme. Whilst I have to say I agree heartily with Hoot on many aspects of the age-old 'singer songwriter' issue, I do think that there are very many talented songwriters out there who have contributed to 'the tradition' by being well informed by it and by writing *within* it. This includes people like Mike and Lal Waterson, Archie Fisher, Ewan MacColl, etc. However there is a need to be very careful else we slip down the route of calling something 'folk' when it really isn't. Quality 'folk singer songwriters', ie people writing (arguably) 'within the tradition' are unfortunately far rarer than 'average/below average singer songwriter with a guitar', who belongs to a totally different sphere and many people (though not nearly enough!) are rightfully strident about making this differentiation.

To conclude, I would also strongly argue for a series of excerpts from Doc Rowe's video archive, as Mike suggests. His Whitby presentations were always festival highlights - he has countless gems in his archive which it is such a shame are not more widely available.

So come on, let's get started then! ;-)

FairEllender


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 03:32 PM

Oh dear ellender - you're part of the problem not the solution. Nobody knows where the party is to be held, or even if there is enough support for it to be held .

But already you're drawing up a list of the people who aren't invited. None of those nasty singer songwriters.

Its precisely this sort of bias, and exclusivity that has made Folkwaves such an easy easy target.

thers guys who have been running folk evenings over twenty years (giving young folksingers a start) not a stones throw away from Derby and they don't fit the definition of folk so they don't get a mention - lots of other sins of ommission.

Try including people. Look on folkmusic as an artistic movement - like painting. they don't exclude people from art classes because they're not surrealists.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,FairEllender
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 07:18 PM

Alan, with all due respect, I totally disagree. To put it simply - would you go onto a similar thread about making an informed jazz programme and say 'you fascists, why are you not including opera singers - it's no wonder you're not successful!'? We are comparing apples to oranges here. If you actually take the time to read my message I was very careful *not* to infer anything like your 'nasty singer songwriters' tone - in fact I make the point that quality songwriters who are working within and around the tradition should be encouraged. However, I *am* unashamedly excluding those songwriters, who use 'folk' clubs as a platform for material that bears literally as much resemblance to 'folk' music as jazz does to opera - valid and valuable as both genres are. You wouldn't sing a Dylan song at a Gilbert and Sullivan Appreciation Society (or, for that matter, paint a surrealist picture in a sculpture class). I really don't see the argument here, and Folkwaves - a worthy and criminally treated institution - has absolutely nothing to do with it. I'm a bit mystified why you think it has - or do you think 'folk' mean 'anything a horse doesn't sing'?

This debate is - thankfully - set to continue among 'folk' and non folk crowds ad infinitum, and that's all part of life. Let's just agree that we're not likely to be attending each other's clubs in the near future.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 08:30 PM

I just wrote an extensive reply and its been swallowed for some reason.

I've no idea which clubs you attend. I've attended a fair few in my time.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Ian Burdon
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 04:11 AM

None of the above. Were it me I would revive something like The Old Grey Whistle Test. I would put on live, location or archive footage of any singer/musician or group of singers/musicians who were interesting and I would not reference at all the supposed musical genre in which they are alleged to operate (or variously accused of not operating!)


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: mikesamwild
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 07:03 AM

Bring back Peel, Kershaw and Bob.


The old grey was supposed to be a doorman at the BBC who, if he liked music, it passed his test.

We've got enough O.G. Folkies to set the test. Line up the artists and we could give em a Britain's got talent or X Factor. Or Marlene from Brum 'Oi'll give it foive'


Actually as a piss take it would make a great comedy show.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 07:20 AM

What I would do is massively increase the amount of folk-related output, covering folk from as many different perspectives as possible/practical, including archive material, folk in the community, current performers, both prominent, and lesser known/forgotten, cross-over,festival coverage, live performance, folk activities in regional news, regional customs etc. etc. etc.

I would look towards commissioning a range of producers so that the output would not be a narrow perspective.

That way although someone would be displeased by some of the output, hopefully, there would be something to please everybody.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 07:40 AM

Like it or not, there is a historical element to folk music and it is usually ignored. IMHO it could be used to base a strand working the repeated elements week by week - shanties (one week only please! - not that I dislike them but they get more airing than most folk) - broken tokens - the cruel par -i -ents - off to war - incest - oppression by the church - oppression by the rich(including landowners) - the occult - harridans (sometimes outwitting the devil, sometimes outwitting men) - the seasons of the year - the itinerant seducer - nonsense songs (the Cutty Wren and Nottamun town spring to mind) - imbibition! - the grand tragedies - transporation - songs of rebellion and religious bigotry - "industrial folk" - and so on.

A limited number of the usual suspects each week, some of the arrivistes, some trawled from the here and now - and some recordings of the late greats.

Maybe even a bit of talking headitus from some people who have some idea of folk music in its historical context, preferably with no horses.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 08:23 AM

Ian Burdon: Brilliant idea, Bring back Whispering Bob Harris!

A folk version of something like the Old Grey Whistle Test is an excellent idea, as long as it could be kept 'real' and not just the usual suspects appearing.

John


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 08:36 AM

To answer Ed at the top of the thread, I'd like to see a series that began with the historical folk song, troubadours through broadsides. The collectors, their ambition, motivation and legacy. The impact of music hall and tinpan alley. The revival of the 50s and 60s, the rise and fall of clubs. Political songs and religious folk songs. The singer songwriter and their identification with folk. Living folk - football chants, playground songs, etc. That would do for starters.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,FairEllender
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 08:57 AM

"Maybe even a bit of talking headitus from some people who have some idea of folk music in its historical context, preferably with no horses."

Good idea Richard Bridge - you have restored my faith that there are some Catters out there who don't just think that because they can misappropriate some out-of-context Louis Armstrong quote they can tell those with a commitment to 'folk' that they are biased.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 09:07 AM

Not wanting to pour cold water on some interesting ideas, this is mainly for Alan or anyone who is seriously thinking about trying to make some shows for broadcast.

You need to be aware that there are two basic approaches for getting programmes on the television - commissions and acquisitions.

To get a commission you need to

a) either pitch a show to an existing strand like BBC4 Sessions (or Later etc), in which case it must 'fit' with the designated brand, style etc of that strand (if it doesn't it won't be commissioned, full stop).

b) harder still, pitch a whole new strand - which means going further up the food chain for the commission, and you will have to make a reasoned and informed case for that strand in the schedule (this is a specialist skill with it's own rules).

In either case, if you're successful, (and then manage to retain ownership and control of your ideas) you'll get a realistic budget to make the shows - which, to do properly, could run to hundreds of thousands of UKP per hour (last series I did - long time ago now - was 350k per half hour - and we struggled to do it in within that). You'll need to think about crew costs, £2-5k per day single camera (broadcast standard kit is VERY expensive, as are the highly-skilled people who operate them) 10+ times that for a multi-camera location shoot like the xmas show, pre- and post-production, plus all your research and clearances and (a deal-breaker for many music shows) MU rates for ALL music-making participants.

The other option is an acquisition.

If you scrape together the kit and people to make a decent show AND the broadcasters decide that it does fit somewhere in their carefully researched and planned schedule, they may buy a singe or double transmission off you. Fee - about £5k if you're lucky. (They won't take it if you haven't paid MU rates etc and bought the necessary licences etc).

So the rule is, NEVER make shows on spec unless you have another outlet that's paying all the bills, or a chum with very very very deep pockets.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 09:27 AM

Looks like you're invited to Unfair Ellender and Sour William's party Richard - lucky you!

don't forget the arran sweater!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Effsee
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 11:32 AM

Aran!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,X Factor marks the spot
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 12:07 PM

MU rates for all participants?
Interestingly, that a certain programme (I have never watched it), has been accused by the MU, of illegally advertising for "camera-friendly violinists" who are not in the MU, to play on this "under-rated" programme (under-rated from the dosh point of view).

So if you want to watch "eye-candy" female violinists who toss their hair around, show their legs and other bits, and writhe about whilst playing, you know which one to tune in to.
If not, stick to the excellent folk programmes on BBC 4


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 12:33 PM

'if you want to watch "eye-candy" female violinists who toss their hair around, show their legs and other bits'

Well as long as its 'in the tradtion'.....


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 12:36 PM

Well I may be out of date on this one - I've not asked the MU for an SP recently (I've been a musician these past 10 years, not a TVian) but the last time we tried to do a (bluegrass, actually) folky/sessiony/festivaly thingy the rules where that everyone had to be paid the MU minimum no matter for how long they appeared on screen, and regardless of whether they were members or not. Being a long-standing MUist myself I tried all the obvious angles, but we just couldn't bring it in within the budget, so the show was never made.

They may have relaxed that now. My niece was in one of those fiddle groups - did ToTP with both Robbie and Elton IIRC. They got union rates back then for sure.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Alan Day
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 12:37 PM

Thanks for the information Tom, it is appreciated and it is something you can move along with .It is the musicians that I take notice of,If a number of top artists agree in principle with an idea then that is a positive step and worth pursuing.If the idea is rejected by those artists as a stupid suggestion,I can accept that and I take my idea out of the ring and possibly throw in another.There are always the doubters that try to dampen any enthusiasm, but these are to be ignored and you have to try and achieve your ambition. I admire you Tom for going the whole hog with your idea,you are an achiever the doubters never are.
Al


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 01:01 PM

I would ensure it featured the singer Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Alan Day
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 01:38 PM

Nice one Dick
Al


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 01:47 PM

2 votes for Dick Miles. A man driven cruelly into exile in foreign parts.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Stu
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 01:47 PM

An alternative might be to pester the makers of the best programmes. For example, I'd love to see a version of the transatlantic/highland sessions exploring the common threads running through the music of all the home nations. It could be called:

The Island Sessions

or

The Isles Sessions

or

The Atlantic Sessions

© SFJ. 2010.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 folk - what would YOU do
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 01:53 PM

All-union production died the death for ITV in the 80s.

AFAIK it did so for the Beeb too. Unions not allowed to "black" shows thanks to the Tatcher anti-union legislation.

But yes Tom, those are the routes. However given that a fair bit could be archive, talking heads are cheap and a fair dollop of the musicians will be amateurs, I'd have guessed that a 5-way co-production (A US PBS station, maybe NDR from Germany or something Canadian, UK and either NZ or Aus) could get a lot of its budget out of subsidy.


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