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What is Happening to our Folk Clubs

GUEST,Mudcat Moaner 09 Oct 17 - 01:51 PM
Jack Campin 09 Oct 17 - 02:00 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Oct 17 - 02:29 PM
Tattie Bogle 09 Oct 17 - 04:09 PM
Johnny J 09 Oct 17 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,G-Force 09 Oct 17 - 06:14 PM
Tattie Bogle 09 Oct 17 - 06:20 PM
Mr Red 10 Oct 17 - 03:08 AM
GUEST,Orson Trap 10 Oct 17 - 03:35 AM
Richard Mellish 10 Oct 17 - 03:56 AM
GUEST,rewster 10 Oct 17 - 04:53 AM
Johnny J 10 Oct 17 - 05:42 AM
TheSnail 10 Oct 17 - 05:44 AM
Johnny J 10 Oct 17 - 05:55 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 17 - 05:59 AM
TheSnail 10 Oct 17 - 06:19 AM
Johnny J 10 Oct 17 - 06:30 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 17 - 06:35 AM
TheSnail 10 Oct 17 - 06:58 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 17 - 07:10 AM
TheSnail 10 Oct 17 - 07:38 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 17 - 07:39 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 17 - 10:39 AM
Jack Campin 10 Oct 17 - 11:30 AM
The Sandman 10 Oct 17 - 12:27 PM
The Sandman 10 Oct 17 - 12:35 PM
TheSnail 10 Oct 17 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Mudcat Moaner 10 Oct 17 - 01:11 PM
GUEST 10 Oct 17 - 03:24 PM
Mr Red 10 Oct 17 - 04:19 PM
Johnny J 10 Oct 17 - 05:33 PM
Tattie Bogle 10 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Jerry Crossley 10 Oct 17 - 06:20 PM
TheSnail 10 Oct 17 - 07:24 PM
Joe_F 10 Oct 17 - 08:40 PM
Jack Campin 10 Oct 17 - 08:47 PM
Mr Red 11 Oct 17 - 03:19 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 Oct 17 - 04:01 AM
GUEST 11 Oct 17 - 04:21 AM
Johnny J 11 Oct 17 - 05:26 AM
TheSnail 11 Oct 17 - 07:36 AM
Johnny J 11 Oct 17 - 07:49 AM
Jack Campin 11 Oct 17 - 08:27 AM
TheSnail 11 Oct 17 - 09:55 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 Oct 17 - 11:17 AM
Jack Campin 11 Oct 17 - 11:53 AM
Johnny J 11 Oct 17 - 12:08 PM
TheSnail 11 Oct 17 - 12:45 PM
Mr Red 11 Oct 17 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Peter 11 Oct 17 - 01:37 PM
Allan Conn 11 Oct 17 - 07:10 PM
Ged Fox 11 Oct 17 - 07:20 PM
Tattie Bogle 11 Oct 17 - 07:22 PM
Jack Campin 11 Oct 17 - 08:48 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 17 - 04:19 AM
Mr Red 12 Oct 17 - 04:29 AM
TheSnail 12 Oct 17 - 04:44 AM
GUEST 12 Oct 17 - 04:45 AM
Johnny J 12 Oct 17 - 05:03 AM
The Sandman 12 Oct 17 - 05:22 AM
GUEST 12 Oct 17 - 05:40 AM
Ged Fox 12 Oct 17 - 06:43 AM
The Sandman 12 Oct 17 - 07:54 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 17 - 08:19 AM
Ged Fox 12 Oct 17 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,Mudcat Moaner 12 Oct 17 - 12:56 PM
TheSnail 12 Oct 17 - 01:36 PM
Ged Fox 12 Oct 17 - 01:42 PM
Ged Fox 12 Oct 17 - 01:53 PM
GUEST 12 Oct 17 - 02:23 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 17 - 03:08 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 17 - 11:12 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 17 - 11:23 PM
Dave Sutherland 13 Oct 17 - 03:32 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Oct 17 - 03:57 AM
Will Fly 13 Oct 17 - 04:06 AM
GUEST 13 Oct 17 - 04:33 AM
Mr Red 13 Oct 17 - 04:54 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Oct 17 - 05:19 AM
GUEST 13 Oct 17 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,Mudcat Moaner 13 Oct 17 - 06:55 AM
GUEST 13 Oct 17 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,Mudcat Moaner 13 Oct 17 - 11:29 AM
GUEST 13 Oct 17 - 01:01 PM
TheSnail 13 Oct 17 - 07:53 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Oct 17 - 12:17 AM
GUEST,Mudcat Moaner 14 Oct 17 - 05:49 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Oct 17 - 08:00 AM
Mr Red 14 Oct 17 - 12:25 PM
TheSnail 15 Oct 17 - 04:01 AM
GUEST 15 Oct 17 - 05:18 AM
The Sandman 15 Oct 17 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,Mudcat Moaner 15 Oct 17 - 06:08 AM
The Sandman 15 Oct 17 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Mudcat Moaner 15 Oct 17 - 09:42 AM
GUEST 15 Oct 17 - 11:27 AM
The Sandman 15 Oct 17 - 11:38 AM
GUEST 15 Oct 17 - 01:21 PM
mickthemiller 15 Oct 17 - 01:32 PM
Raggytash 15 Oct 17 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,Mudcat Moaner 15 Oct 17 - 03:20 PM
Tattie Bogle 16 Oct 17 - 05:29 AM
Johnny J 16 Oct 17 - 06:25 AM
Paul Reade 16 Oct 17 - 09:21 AM
Johnny J 16 Oct 17 - 09:40 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Oct 17 - 12:22 PM
GUEST 16 Oct 17 - 12:24 PM
akenaton 16 Oct 17 - 12:38 PM
Tattie Bogle 16 Oct 17 - 01:15 PM
TheSnail 16 Oct 17 - 01:26 PM
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Subject: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 01:51 PM

Has anyone else noticed the gradual decline in performance standards amoungst floor singers. It used to be the case that some degree of ability was required but it now seems we have breed floor singer who turns up with his printed word sheets, sings unaccompanied and thinks that's all that necessary


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 02:00 PM

Has anyone noticed the decline in quality of whining on Mudcat? Used to be that peeves had some originality to them, but nowadays people just repeat the same whines we've had on dozens of threads before.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 02:29 PM

Whining on Mudcat? Never!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 04:09 PM

Just the reverse in our area, re floor spotters, that is! They seem to get better all the time. Some of them otherwise sing semi-professionally as festival guests, even if it's not their main day job. On occasion, some have been known to outshine the main guest!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 06:06 PM

Balerno FC(if you're talking about there) is very much "old school"...... Morag, Janet, the late Maggie C and others from the past would never have dreamed of using song sheets. It's obviously rubbed off on the newer floor spots too.
I'm not sure it's so good in other folk clubs though and certainly not in more informal sessions and gatherings.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,G-Force
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 06:14 PM

I'm surprised to hear you consider standards are lower than before. Certainly our Club has many excellent performers: lots of enthusiasm and talent. Of course there is the possibility that none of us are exactly in the first flush of youth so have been performing for a good many years, some semi-professionally as with the previous post. Frankly if we can't turn out a decent performance now we should be ashamed of ourselves.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 06:20 PM

Johnny J, I was meaning Edinburgh & Lothians generally, and beyond in other areas of Scotland.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 03:08 AM

Personally I have found that the average may have changed, but what has happened to some events is that the young dynamic singers/instrumentalists that would otherwise replace the ones at the other end of the conveyor belt have, by and large, followed a different fashion. Aspirations to be famous & rich is the current trend, which diminishes the pool of potential performers.

Add to that the club attendees & organisers have settled into a pattern and the organisers with flair have had to decamp. In one case I can cite, the driving force always had a project. The club cassette, folk plays, theme nights etc. He had a sabbatical and came back with a different venue and is doing the same kind of thing elsewhere. And the new club has a dynamism that the old club doesn't. Personalities play a big part - if they grow tired the drive dilutes with them.

My singing/wrongciting morphed into social Folk dancing, video documentation, audio history collecting, journalism and websites. After 120 written songs you notice a repetition/re-use that lacks freshness. Creative people may have butterfly minds!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Orson Trap
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 03:35 AM

Musicians (not folky strummers) have their music in front of them in orchestras, brass bands, jazz bands etc. Lots of Folk artists (?) have music stands in front of them on stages at festivals...even the likes of Bob Dylan etc. Ok, I don't like it when it sounds like they are 'singing by numbers' but does it matter if they are putting over the song in the right spirit?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 03:56 AM

As with so many things, there is a spectrum.

At one end is the singer for whom knowing the song perfectly is a point of honour and who would therefore rather not sing at all than have any kind of prompt sheet. Unfortunately they may nevertheless sometimes forget the next line or the next verse: then they improvise, go "la-la", get a prompt from someone else in the room or just stop in the middle of the song.

Then there's the singer who refers to a prompt sheet (or a smart phone) if it becomes necessary.

At the other extreme is the singer who reads the words as if they've never seen them before, struggling even to make them fit the tune.

We can all have our points of view on this, but I know where I personally draw the line of acceptability.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,rewster
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 04:53 AM

The Moaner is spot on for round here. People are running their own sessions to escape the crap in the clubs.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 05:42 AM

Was it Karl Dallas who once said "Folk clubs exist so that one day they no longer need to exist..."?

Personally, I still see the value of folk clubs but there are so many other arrangements out there these days including "Open Mics", all manner of sessions, workshops..to learn your craft, Ceilidh nights, folkie concerts in Art centres and small venues and so on.

As such the format of many remaining folk clubs have changed somewhat. The larger ones adopt more of a concert style and often rely on "hand picked" floor spots or supports. Smaller clubs rely more on resident singers and musicians of varying standards. While they do have occasional guests, they don't tend to rely on "big names" may even book local amateur performers on occasion.

As such, the quality of both flor spots and guests is bound to vary but, thankfully, we can still pick and choose where to go...in my area, anyway.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 05:44 AM

Lead by example, GUEST,Mudcat Moaner. Show them how it's done. Give them something to aspire to. If you really can't bear to spend time with these inferior people, stay at home and watch yourself playing air guitar in the bathroom mirror.
Glad to hear it, GUEST,rewster. Most people who complain about how terrible the organisers/performers/floor singers/audience are tend to scuttle back under their stones when you suggest they try and organise something themselves.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 05:55 AM

"Most people who complain about how terrible the organisers/performers/floor singers/audience are tend to scuttle back under their stones when you suggest they try and organise something themselves."

True, but it would be nice if the more constructive complainers had the opportunity to get their "foot in the door" and make suggestions and change within the organisation. Unfortunately, most clubs and organisations tend to be resistant to change. So, newcomers to committees etc often face an uphill struggle and either tend to give up and quit or, alternatively, conform and go with the flow.
So, nothing much really changes..sadly, I know from experience.

Setting up in competition is not always practical especially in a smaller town or where there already a surfeit of clubs and sessions. You really need to have a few good original ideas and lots of motivation. Not everyone can do this but their opinions should still be considered by existing organisations as long as they are presented tactfully and constructively


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 05:59 AM

Many venues are being dominated by singer-songwriters ,many of whom are very bad at both.i don't go to sessions much these days because of these people who write political rants or songs about how the girlfriend left them. I would like to see certain nights designated for this sort of thing, then I could avoid them and go and enjoy those other sessions which present a wider variety of music.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:19 AM

I think we all probably have very limited experience of what goes on in folk clubs and think that our experience is universal. I don't recognise much about the problems described here nor much in the way of "constructive complainers".
Going back to the beginning "Has anyone else noticed the gradual decline in performance standards amoungst floor singers."
No.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:30 AM

"constructive complainers"

Not the best description, I suppose, and it was a bit tongue in cheek. ;-))

However, there are lots of people with good ideas out there whose input would be worthy of consideration. However, they might just not have quite enough motivation, ability, or experience to start their own club or whatever and it might not even be practical.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:35 AM

Snail , I don't quite follow your reasoning! Are you suggesting that people who regularly attend folk clubs have very limited experience of what goes on there ?
Your post seems a bit unclear, perhaps you could have just stuck with "No".


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:58 AM

Sorry Johnny J but I have a bit of a history of getting pissed off with the moaners who don't seem to be prepared to actually do anything themselves. Folk clubs only exist because of the people who DO have the motivation (most importantly) to actually do something. I don't feel that people like GUEST,Mudcat Moaner are actually coming up with good ideas worthy of consideration. In my experience, most organisers welcome ideas and contributions.

Anonymous GUEST, people who regularly attend folk clubs have a lot of experience of the folk clubs they regularly attend. I attend one club every week (I help to run it) and others when I have the time along with quite a few sessions and festivals. From that experience I would not be prpared to make sweeping statements about the state of Folk Clubs as if they were a single entity. For instance, "Many venues are being dominated by singer-songwriters" may well happen but it not something I have ever encountered in the last forty years.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 07:10 AM

Well, Snail, that does not mean that it does not happen. You seem to be the one who is assuming that your experience is universal! But many others seem to feel differently, I do know that many people also make "constructive" suggestion, or work hard to improve things. not all criticism is mere moaning, is it ? anyway, I have probably said enough .


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 07:38 AM

Anonymous GUEST, try reading what I've actually said.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 07:39 AM

I have read it, thanks!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 10:39 AM

An old fellow was resting on a rock just outside Athens.
A passing traveller stopped to chat, saying that he was on his way from Corinth and wondered what sort of people he'd meet in Athens. "What are the Corinthians like?" asked the old fellow. "Pretty dull, on the whole, when they're not being unfriendly or unhelpful." "That's a pity, I was thinking of moving out of Athens 'cos they're just like that there too."
A bit later, another chap passing by stopped to chat, saying that he was on his way from Corinth and wondered what sort of people he'd meet in Athens. "What are the Corinthians like?" asked the old fellow. "Oh, they're a great bunch, full of go, always willing to muck in and help." "You're in luck," said the old man, " that's just how I'd describe the Athenians."


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 11:30 AM

In my experience, most organisers welcome ideas and contributions.

At the club local to me (which I haven't been to for years) you could go regularly for 10 years and never be told who the committee were, when they met or how to contact them. The whole process of organizing guest nights was made completely obscure to outsiders, so there was no possibility of making any suggestions.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 12:27 PM

ok, Jack but it is a mistake to generalise from one particular example


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 12:35 PM

"True, but it would be nice if the more constructive complainers had the opportunity to get their "foot in the door" and make suggestions and change within the organisation. Unfortunately, most clubs and organisations tend to be resistant to change"
simple go off and try running your own club, when you have done it for over forty years like vic smith or ted poole or john taylor or clive pownceby, then you will have something to be proud of in the meantime ,if you are not prepared to do it,stop whingeing


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 12:36 PM

At the folk club I help to run, the residents are listed on the website and our flyers as are the main contact details. All the committee were recruited from the audience (including me). The original founder has long since gone to the big singaround in the sky. Existing committee members range from 30 years service to two or three. We would welcome more.
Neither your example nor mine entitle either of us to make sweeping generalisations about what folk clubs are like.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 01:11 PM

My initial post was a genuine observation of what I see at several Folk Clubs in my area. If clubs are to survive beyond being just a venue for floor singers, singing to each other, then quality needs to be encouraged and the unaccompanied word sheet holder is not the way to do it.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 03:24 PM

Agree.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 04:19 PM

Sorry to denigrate singing from music/lyrics sheets. But....

It is a lot harder to project with your head looking down, simple fact of mechanics of the lower jaw determining the sound chamber and the resonance of the larynx. It is harder to enact, embellish, illustrate - prettify the music if your eyes are demanding the biggest portion of your brain.

It is not about fashion - not about arbitrary rules, it is about functionality, it is .......... lets be honest, artistry.

And on the subject of "musicians" who read from music - soloists don't. Period. True - they practice 8 hours every day (that Aston Vanilla** are not playing).

If you are up there on your own, you are a soloist.



** easily licked.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 05:33 PM

"simple go off and try running your own club,"

I've done that too or, at least, monthly folk nights which I ran on the same format as a folk club.
Also, I've been on committees and helped out in other folk clubs, festivals etc over the last 40 years myself. It's not always easy to change things although, most of the time, things worked fairly well. So, I didn't complain that much.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM

Jack's local club, which he hasn't been to for 10 years (I might take a guess at which one).....so who do you think it is who does the MCing, announcements and thanks, sells tickets on the door, raffle tickets, distributes raffle prizes, brings in the noticeboard, puts out the chairs, returns glasses to the bar?
And if you bother to take out membership, you'll get a membership card, which lists Committee members and their phone numbers on it. And they have an AGM where you can meet these elusive Committee members, and even vote them back into office.
AND 10 years on, they have a website (probably for the the last 6 or 7 years) and (more recently) aFacebook page, where you can find the same info.
Plus if you really wanted to know who was on the Committee, you could always have just asked!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM

'i don't go to sessions much these days because of these people who write political rants or songs about how the girlfriend left them'

you've obviously heard the latest folk classic what I have written

My girlfriend's gone away
And I don't like Theresa May
the thought of them, it really makes me sick
Theresa is prime minister, but the girlfriend's much more sinister
Anyway - they both get on my wick

then the refrain (written in the tradition)

So heave away me hearty
we're bound for the Conservative Party
Even now the Boris Johnson flies aloft
Down by the rolling sea
There I will have a wee
for the aching in my ball means I'm pissed off.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Jerry Crossley
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:20 PM

Whilst it's not the main point of this thread, another problem with crib sheets is that you cannot engage properly with your audience if you are staring down at a piece of paper or iPad. Anyone who has done public speaking and presentation training will know that if you ignore your audience, by avoiding eye contact, then they will ignore you too.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 07:24 PM

GUEST,Mudcat Moaner - "what I see at several Folk Clubs in my area"
Just so. It's the sweepung generalisations that I'm objecting to.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Joe_F
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 08:40 PM

I have finally decided on the antecedent of "our" in the title.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 08:47 PM

The people who made the bookings at our local club were just about never seen at it. I can't recall their names. It was a very weird way to operate.

The pub they meet in has a large free noticeboard. The folk club doesn't use it except to announce their fundraising ceilidhs. (The accordion and fiddle club doesn't use it at all). I'd been in the village a few years, and a regular at the pub, before we discovered the FC even existed - when we were told about it in a folk club in Bristol. Why on earth would you want to conceal your existence from everyone in your host village? How hard can it be to pin up a sheet of paper with the next few months' listings and a contact?

I have occasionally looked in the door, but I've usually got something else on that night.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 03:19 AM

if you ignore your audience, by avoiding eye contact, then they will ignore you too.
Being an engineer I came at it from the mechanistic side, but I like this emotional aspect too. I will add it to my mantra.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 04:01 AM

yes - wait til you see the whites of their eyes, or the colour of their pantiees...

then get out the ringbinder and sing Streets of London.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 04:21 AM

The pub they meet in has a large free noticeboard. The folk club doesn't use it except to announce their fundraising ceilidhs. (The accordion and fiddle club doesn't use it at all). I'd been in the village a few years, and a regular at the pub, before we discovered the FC even existed - when we were told about it in a folk club in Bristol. Why on earth would you want to conceal your existence from everyone in your host village? How hard can it be to pin up a sheet of paper with the next few months' listings and a contact?

Publicity? That might mean that you get an audience who actually expect to be entertained.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 05:26 AM

I agree with some of what Jack says. It does make sense to advertise to the local community and not just within folkie circles.

Many folk clubs are guilty of this including Edinburgh FC at different points over the years. The sticking up of posters and delivering hand outs is, of course, a much more arduous and time consuming job in the city although you hire agencies to this for you these days. However, this comes at a cost.
In a local community, however, I suggest this is much more manageable. I don't know how much of this happens in Jack's village. Things may have changed in recent years.

Most clubs now tend to concentrate on social media these days to spread the word but I've not noticed that much difference in attendances as result. Many of the audience who read the publicity online would be coming anyway whatever the method of publicity. Of course, the posts gets loads of views and "likes" from meaning well meaning and often "wonderful" people but most of them won't bother to attend in a million years.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 07:36 AM

"Many folk clubs are guilty"

For F*%$#S SAKE! It makes you wonder why we bother.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 07:49 AM

"Many folk clubs are guilty"

Do you have to take the literal and most extreme meaning out of the above comment?

And, anyway, there's a big difference between being guilty of a murder and a parking offence.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 08:27 AM

In a village like ours, about 2000 people with a compact centre, it doesn't take much effort to publicize with paper. A notice at each of the pub, library, post office and supermarket will do it. That will reach essentially everybody local who might be interested.

We also have village Facebook pages, as I suppose every village does, and a local radio station. I don't listen to the radio, but if there'd been a notice on the village FB pages of what the FC is up to I think I'd have seen it by now.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 09:55 AM

"Do you have to take the literal and most extreme meaning out of the above comment?"
Er? Yes. What else am I supposed to do? I can only work with what I read. "most extreme"? I quoted exactly what you said. Nice to know we're only guilty of minor offences.

Jack, if it doesn't take much effort, why not offer to help?

If you'll excuse me, I've got some work on the website to do and I'm getting behind on the bookings admin. Not to mention the small festival we've got coming up this weekend. It's being covered by the local paper.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 11:17 AM

Take my word for it! Its an alien invasion from the Planet Ringbinder. Quite often they fire their deathrays and then get the mothership to beam them up and away.

Its folk music Jim - but not as we know it!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 11:53 AM

Jack, if it doesn't take much effort, why not offer to help?

I did. They weren't willing to tell me anything so I could produce any leaflets or posters.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 12:08 PM

The Snail,

I've been involved in working for folk music clubs and events, on and off, for many years although I'm "resting" these days. Of course, I probably haven't done anywhere near as much as yourself but everyone's contributions differ.

However, even if involved with an organisation, one is quite entitled to make observations and criticisms.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 12:45 PM

No Johnny J, I don't have wide experience. That was the point I was making. I know the club I help run and a little about a few others. That is why I would never make sweeping statements about "many clubs are like this ", "many clubs are guilty of that". How many? How do you know?
Of course everyone is entitled to make observations and criticisms but try and be constructive and just a little positivity every now and then would be nice.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 01:05 PM

social media alerts the undecided. Keeps people interested. But attracting new faces - not so sure. Paper posters, local papers, local radio, libraries, TICs, shops you shop at. All free publicity.

Mr Red
Hon publicity Stroud Ceilidhs .co.uk


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 01:37 PM

"For F*%$#S SAKE! It makes you wonder why we bother. "

I wonder that sometimes. But editor of a local folk magazine it is because a significant minority of organisers seem determined to keep their events secret.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Allan Conn
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 07:10 PM

We use social media as well as a web presence and it does seem to attract new people. Not just visitors to the town but locals too. I share the event every week to the 247 people who follow our web FB page. So yes it keeps us in the minds of locals but we often get visitors through that too.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 07:20 PM

"If clubs are to survive beyond being just a venue for floor singers, singing to each other,"

That's a perfectly valid folk tradition.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 07:22 PM

The club that I think Jack, Johnny J are all talking about is pretty well attended almost every night: it runs every week throughout the whole year, with a monthly guest night, the other nights being sessions. Why would you need to do more publicity if it's already comfortably full and not in the red? Of the three of us, I'm probably the only consistent member. Ok to fire off criticisms provided they are based on fact! And we do get occasional very long distance visitors who have found us on the web, and are prepared to journey a bit out from the big city lights 10 miles away.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 08:48 PM

Was it Karl Dallas who once said "Folk clubs exist so that one day they no longer need to exist..."?

That day has come. The kinds of music that were, for a time, most easily heard in folk clubs, are not their monopoly any more. You see it most clearly in the careers of younger performers: many folk club members stil think that performing on one of their venues is an important first career step. In practice it's no so much harder now for a new act to get a booking in a folk club that most don't bother at all, or leave it long after they've ceased to be any sort of new act. For a performer under 30, a folk club gig is a pretty irrelevant career move compared with pub bookings, open mikes, festivals and CD or download sales.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 04:19 AM

i think maybe. folkclubs are a victim of their own success.
when i was a young boy, there wasn't a quaker meeting where we lived. we went to the nearby little town of spalding. we'd go there every week, and i knew the people there. i knew what they were going to be moved to get up and say.

then when i was fifteen i got a scholarship to a quaker school in Reading. Reading meeting was a real eye opener. all kinds of weird people getting up and saying bizarre things.

i think it was good training for being a folk club organiser. i learned to be tolerant. my own convictions about religion had to take a back seat. and in a similar way when i organised folk clubs - i learned that my deeply held convictions about the nature of folk music my own business - people who came to my club and offered to sing were, as much as possible, entitled to respect and their time under the spotlight,

in a way it's the toughest commandment from the sermon on the mount. judge not lest ye be judged.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 04:29 AM

well judged!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 04:44 AM

I'm a little surprised to discover that the purpose of folk clubs is as a launch pad for the careers of professional performers although we're very glad when it happens. I can think of several we booked as teenagers who have gone on to stardom. Folk clubs offer a different product from pub bookings, open mikes, festivals and CD or download sales and exist in their own right.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 04:45 AM

"If clubs are to survive beyond being just a venue for floor singers, singing to each other,"

That's a perfectly valid folk tradition."

That's a suicide note.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 05:03 AM

The subtle difference between Folk clubs and the better sessions as opposed to Open Mics and the like is, or should be, that it is usually a more "sharing" experience. The audience and members usually encourage and appreciate(or at least pretend) what other singers or musicians are doing.

In the Open Mic/pub gig scenario, it's all about self promotion and singing or playing "at the audience". Quite often, the performers simply "B-gger off" after they've done their song, poem, or whatever and don't even have the courtesy to listen to the other acts or performers. Thankfully, such behaviour is still rare in folk clubs although some pre booked support performers sometimes do this. Of course, some may have other commitments so I maybe shouldn't generalise.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 05:22 AM

folk clubs are there[imo] for people to listen to songs ,not for songs to be background wall paper music


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 05:40 AM

Agree with that, "Sandman" - the difference between a folk club and a pub gig, or even "Open-mic" nights [ neither of which are what the original post was about ].


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 06:43 AM

"That's a suicide note."

Folk clubs are just one manifestation of folk getting together to share music. The phenomenon of the folk club format is a mere blip in the history of folk music and of music in general. When folk clubs go the way of parlour gatherings or glee clubs it will be because they are no longer relevant to folk.

If folk clubs are reverting to a place for musicians making music for each other then that is a return to the roots of folk music, and far less a violation of their trade description than being a venue for professional and wannabe professional musicians to earn their crusts.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 07:54 AM

"If folk clubs are reverting to a place for musicians making music for each other then that is a return to the roots of folk music, and far less a violation of their trade description than being a venue for professional and wannabe professional musicians to earn their crusts." Too simplistic,Musicians can and do make music in their own homes without going to folk clubs, the roots of folk music are varied and have always included exchange of music for money or food, take a look at medieval troubadours or itinerant harpists like o carolan. the worrying thing is that standards are so low in some[not all] singaround clubs that no one would pay money to hear the unrehearsed songs tunes etc.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 08:19 AM

it isn't unknown for folksingers to have zero interest in their fellow performers.

my first paid gig bout 75/76 was three quid as a support to Nic Jones.
Nic stayed in the bar downstairs till it was his time to perform. it dismayed many local acts who had wanted to get a nod of approval from their hero.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 09:04 AM

Of course, Sandman, any line drawn about any aspect of music making is just a line drawn in sand waiting to be blurred by wind or tide. The essential element of folk music, however, is not that it be good music, only that it is performed by folk. Such music can be created at home or for profit, but the trade description of a folk club is only that the music is performed by folk together with other folk. The activity of making music together is much more important than insisting on an entry level quality based on whether or not anyone would pay to listen to it.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 12:56 PM

I would suggest that making music together should be termed a Session, where we do all play together. However, many would argue that a Folk Club is a performance situation where you are expected to sit quietly and listen to the performer. My initial post was trying to make the point that the standard of performer is slowly going down. There are many reasons for this I just happen to think unaccompanied word sheet hold is one reason.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 01:36 PM

"what I see at several Folk Clubs in my area"
Since we don't know that area, it is impossible to comment. I and others have reported that it is not true in our experience.
I'm not sure what you are trying to achieve.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 01:42 PM

You may be right, I've no means of judging. Alternatively, since use of crib sheets implies a certain lack of experience then maybe an increase in crib sheet users might imply an increasing number of new people coming into folk clubs; people whose knowledge, confidence and expertise will improve if we are welcoming and supportive. Maybe folk clubs will, through them, continue when the sixties generation has finally fallen off the perch.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 01:53 PM

Sorry, TheSnail, you are right, of course. I was replying to the Moaner.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 02:23 PM

Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 08:19 AM

it isn't unknown for folksingers to have zero interest in their fellow performers.

my first paid gig bout 75/76 was three quid as a support to Nic Jones.
Nic stayed in the bar downstairs till it was his time to perform. it dismayed many local acts who had wanted to get a nod of approval from their hero.
.

Al, I'm not sure that I can go along with your disapproval of artists who choose to be absent during opening spots. I can think of dozens of top level performers I have seen in the club which I helped run until recently, who prefer not to be in the audience during the opening act.

In many cases, I think it may be that they think their very presence might unnerve an inexperienced performer. In other cases, it might well be that they want to "psych" themselves up right up until the last minute before they take the stage.

I have no way of knowing for sure , but I would guess that the latter would have been the case as far as Nic Jones was concerned.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 03:08 PM

"then quality needs to be encouraged and the unaccompanied word sheet holder is not the way to do iT"
TRUE,unless prformers have practised with their sheets, and know what they intend to do before they get up, for example a good actor would be able to perform with word sheets, because he is experienced and practised at performing with them. the truth is.. it can be done but rarely is because frequently performers use it as an excuse to be unrehearsed.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 11:12 PM

i didn't suggest there was anything wrong in what Nic did. several folk clubs didn't want floorsingers at all.

obviously its up to you whether you want to listen to other singers.

i remember the boldmere in sutton coldfield used to occasionally get this trio who trotted out their 'funny' folk songs - in particular the one about the coachman in tight trousers and then they'd bugger up the evening for everyone else. Gerry Lockran was was virtually inaudible, as they talked drunken bollocks very volubly.

they even wore down Nick Fenwick, and he was bloody good with the heckler put downs.

min you some floorspots are very bizarre. one that always sticks in my mind is this bloke who , when it was his turn producer a ghetto blaster thing from a carrier bag, and said listen to this...he played a xassette of jack hudsoc


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 11:23 PM

dunno why it did that - the bloke played a cassette of Jack Hudson. out of respect to Jack - they let him play one track - but when it transpired that he intended playing the whole album - things were said.

in Ilkeston, I remember this bloke , getting out a bit of paper from which he solemnly read the words of Crystal Chandeliers.

i think its like some people just want to be the centre of attention. in years gone by the church would let the read the lesson or ring the bell, calling folks to worship - nothing complicated. they could fit into a team of bellringers.

all these people have heard somewhere that any old shit is if not acceptable in folk clubs, not grounds for ridicule, ejection - or physical attack.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 03:32 AM

Puzzled about the situation regarding Nic Jones Al; not saying that it didn?t happen, but the numerous times that I went to see Nic or booked him at whichever club I was running I always found him most interested in the club and the floor singers/musicians that it presented.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 03:57 AM

I dunno - perhaps he had toothache that night. who knows? It was Toni Savages old club at The Three Barrels Ampersand.

I can remember recording one of Derek Brimstone's albums one night - Northampton or somewhere down the MI.

There was this posh bint onstage with three toadies singing Home James and Don't Spare the Horses. Every verse, remembered perfectly, accompany herself on coconut shells for the clip clopping....we even had a clip clop solo.

After about seven or eight minutes, Derek whispered, "Oh for godsake please shut up!"
I suppose they get to see a lot of that sort of thing.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 04:06 AM

I seem to have read threads like this for the last decade or so - none of which really come to any conclusion. However, I?ll just add one comment, which is that folk clubs, like everything else in our world, change. Why should they not evolve over the years - or not evolve, as the case may be.

Three of the clubs in my area have either closed or altered their character over the last 2-3 years. My advice: either live with it, stay away or do something about it.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 04:33 AM

"Change" can go in 2 directions. I'll take your 1st and 2nd option.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 04:54 AM

crib sheet users might imply an increasing number of new people coming into folk clubs

some never leave the "newbie" stage then? But at the end of the day it all hangs on the performance. And that we can't see from this parish, but in person it is obvious who has practiced well. But giving yourself a chance includes learning the words/music.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 05:19 AM

why only two directions?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 06:03 AM

Better or worse ?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 06:55 AM

The Snail: Folk Clubs in my area ie Birmingham, have and are struggling for many reasons, Pubs closing or going up market, Open Mics syphoning off younger performers, the word Folk putting people off, the generally unwelcoming attitude of some clubs towards new people, the constant battle with where you can and can't sit. If you don't believe me go and ask them, they quite often will tell you they are struggling to keep their audience numbers up.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 09:05 AM

"the constant battle with where you can and can't sit."...???????


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 11:29 AM

Yes. It is a fact many people in the Folk Club audiences, being well stricten in years like to sit in the same seats every week, you cut across that at your peril.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 01:01 PM

... and people are asking why the clubs are struggling for audiences ?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 07:53 PM

Birmingham is a foreign country, they do things differently there. And this is all down to floorsingers using printed word sheets?
Apart from Moaning on Mudcat, what positive efforts are you actually making about this?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Oct 17 - 12:17 AM

he's keeping the tradition alive... i suppose that's the theory.

its alright to be in a minority. its alright that English people cannot relate to their own folksong (remember Carthy's dictum - just because you're English, it doesn't mean you understand this stuff).

Its where this set of beliefs has taken us. And the public has voted with its feet. They want folk clubs. but they don't want what the intelligentsia has decided is their folk music.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner
Date: 14 Oct 17 - 05:49 AM

My point is that if Folk Clubs don't raise their game, they will eventually cease to exist in anything other than small groups woolly jumpered eccentrics, which just what a lot of people think they are anyway. If your happy with that fine, personally I'm not.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Oct 17 - 08:00 AM

well i think its karma really. the river of life moves on.

you have to realise that the people who gave the folk clubs their artistic importance and position in our consciousness were people of charisma and talent.

to change the direction of the strange trajectory they are now following will take the emergence of equally charismatic and revolutionary thinkers.

be careful what you wish for!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red
Date: 14 Oct 17 - 12:25 PM

what positive efforts are you actually making about this?
taken up dancing.

It is a very firm policy at our Stroud Ceilidhs that we dance or we socialise. There is no song/morris spot normally because we want people to commune, to socialise and the man in red makes sure that people get the flyer for next month and new faces certainly get a conversation. It is social dancing and we want it to be just that - a scial event.
Another policy is to allocate a certain number of dances to plucking wallflowers off their seats. We like to dance with our chosen partners but for the series to buzz, we want everyone to have a dance.

I might add with a certain modesty (on our collective behalves) - it is working. That and copious publicity.

I always remember my first night at the local FC (I was new to the area too). It was with a neurotic wife (soon ex) and was attempting to cheer her up, it may have worked. But two of the organisers came up to me and asked if I wanted to sing. Well, apart from not having ever, imagine the embarrassment, on my behalf, that ex-wifey would have suffered. But the point is they cared, and both of them are no longer part of that club, and it shows.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 04:01 AM

I don't need to be happy with it Mudcar Moaner because it is not within my experience.
I'll ask again. what are YOU actually doing to raise the game apart from moaning on Mudcat?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 05:18 AM

Snail, give it a rest . Moaner has stated his/ her case . You disagree, fine we get it!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 05:40 AM

mudcat moaner has not answered the question, what is he/ she/ it/ doing apart from being the hurler 0n the ditch


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 06:08 AM

In answer to your question Sandman and Snail, I am not doing anything about it. I was involved with my local Folk Club many years but eventually realised that nothing will ever change so I gave up, and moved on. I still occasionally visit and after 20 odd years they are still sitting in the same seats, singing the same old songs, telling the same tired jokes, the bottom line is Folk Clubs don't want change, so they will eventually cease to exist.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 09:13 AM

"they are still sitting in the same seats, singing the same old songs, telling the same tired jokes, the bottom line is Folk Clubs don't want change, so they will eventually cease to exist."
generalising from one particular example, moaner, you are negative inaccurate anable to put forward an intelligent point of view genralising from the particular is idiotic


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 09:42 AM

My observation and point is that the standards of Folk Clubs have deteriorated and that cannot be good in the long term. We have lost several clubs over the last few years, and many are just about surviving, if that is not the case what is Folk 21 all about?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 11:27 AM

"Mudcat Moaner's" post - 3 up - mirror's my experience exactly. I'm playing as much music as ever - just not in folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 11:38 AM

guest, your experience is different from mine and i have been playing in folk clubs for 43 years,i play folk music i do not what you play guest, my worst experiences are not in guest booking folk clubs but in some singaround type folk clubs, mainly unrehearsed performances from amatuers


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 01:21 PM

"i have been playing in folk clubs for 43 years" - not quite as much as me, then.
"i play folk music i do not what you play guest," -   I play traditional music.
" my worst experiences are not in guest booking folk clubs but in some singaround type folk clubs, mainly unrehearsed performances from amatuers" -   Agree 100%, the reason for my post above, and that I believe is the whole point of "MM's"original thread.
There's nothing new in any of this - all fairly pointless. Bye.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: mickthemiller
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 01:32 PM

If thar thinks tha can do better then tha should get thee sen up and do a turn. That's what I was once told anyway.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 01:55 PM

Its strange, when I first ventured into a folk club aged 14 in 1969 the entire audience seemed ancient to me. Here I am 48 years later and now find myself one of the ancients.

During that time to standard of performance has increased tremendously, semi pro's of that era would be hard pushed to get a floor spot in some clubs today.

My tuppence worth!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 03:20 PM

Thank you Guest, nice someone sees my point.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 05:29 AM

At a couple of our local clubs (SE Scotland) there is only one pre-arranged support or floor act per night: at the one, this will be the first half hour of the first half of the night, and at the other, 3 or 4 songs or tunes each half. These people may be professional, semi-pro, or amateur, but will come well prepared and be of highly acceptable standard.

At my own local club, there was a time when the MC tried to fit in anyone who was known to do floor spots, with the result that there was less time to hear the main guest: the Committee decided to restrict it to 3 or 4 "spots" per night, each doing only 1 or 2 items: anyone missed out should not feel aggrieved as they'd probably get a turn next month. The standard is fine, and we have a great mix of singers, accompanied or not, and instrumentalists to call upon.

As for clubs shutting down: I'm not sure I've heard of any in recent times, but I am aware of some rising above serious challenges (finding new venues, sudden unexpected death of key people) and if at least 3 new clubs starting up in the last 10 years. So all in all, our experience does not correlate with Moaner's.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 06:25 AM

At the "other one", the 3 or 4 songs each half club, this practice was introduced some time ago due to the dearth of good local clubs singers and musicians who had tended to turn up late if not at all. So, the committee at the time thought it a good idea if someone was always there to start off the night.

When I started going to this club, we had loads of resident performers albeit of varying quality. There was never any need to pre arrange a support spot although visiting singers and musicians always received a welcome.

Things started to change in the eighties for a variety of reasons. There was a rise in more informal and session type opportunities in the Edinburgh area, competition from more rural clubs... many of the older hands actually resided out of town or moved there.

Also for a few years, EFC moved a lot from venue to venue though no fault of its own. This also put many of the regulars off.

Last, but not least, the club began to focus on a more "concert format" and it was felt that the support should reflect this too. After all, many people were coming to see a specific act and weren't as tolerant as the regulars when the likes of Senga McGlumpher and co might wish to do a turn.

Actually, the club still does feature one or two resident singers usually in the second half although our new compere likes to do a song or two himself these days. So, this also takes up time!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Paul Reade
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 09:21 AM

Heigh-ho, here we go again - the problem with folk clubs is floor singers. Readers of "Tykes' News" will know I've been banging on about this for years - this is an extract from a piece in 2012:-

Time to ?nail my colours to the mast?. I?m a floor singer, and have been since 1965. A lot of my friends are floor singers, very talented musicians who can hold their own with any audience. Let?s not forget that some guests may not be all they?re cracked up to be ? on more than one occasion I?ve sat through some quite well known act and thought ?local singer / guitarist so-and-so could do as well as, if not better than this?. Yes there are floor singers who are not as good as others, but in my experience a lot of them are well aware of this and prefer to only perform on singers? nights, and a good club will provide encouragement to improve. As for my own performances, I let the audience decide.

The festival scene in the summer is already more-or-less a ?closed shop?, so do we want to end up with only concert clubs in the winter with no audience / local singer participation? All we would have to do is pay our entrance fee, sit quietly like good little boys and girls and listen to the pearls of wisdom from the stage above. Well I?m afraid the folk scene isn?t like that, and never has been like that. Participation, including floor singers, has always been what differentiates a folk club from other forms of entertainment.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 09:40 AM

In my experience, it's still quite rare for floor singers and support to be better musically and professionally than the main act although it happens occasionally.

Of course, the main act may not always be our cup of tea and a good floor spot can be a welcome distraction. However, in most cases, floor singers would be unlikely to sustain the same level for a whole night...i.e. two 45 minute sets or whatever.

So all this "better than the main act" stuff isn't necessarily so unless it's a professional or regular performing act appearing while "off duty".


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 12:22 PM

well maybe you don't approve of the way folk clubs are going, but i'm sure it would be sad if they weren't there.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 12:24 PM

Not at all.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: akenaton
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 12:38 PM

Paul's right, it was participation that made the clubs "fun",
I went to one last year and it was a dreary concert type of thing the audience were incidental and all of a certain social strata.

Society has changed and folkies didn't help much ...most of them wannabee's..... but the public made them because they thought these people were genuine.   In a lot of cases they were 100% wrong, now we are left with the folk snobs.

Sorry Johnny....Gie me Mrs McGlumphur and full hooses onny day!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 01:15 PM

Following on from my previous post, which mentioned just 3 clubs that I go to, there are perhaps more opportunities for "floor singers" in some of the other clubs around here, that have session nights for 3 out of 4 nights, and guest nights on the 4th. There are some among those that never come to the guest nights (mainly because they want to sing or play themselves), whereas others who support both (as they don't mind listening to professional guests!)
So, each club is on fact run in different ways, and each has its afficionados: some people prefer one format, other another, but all of them are, on the whole, well attended and much enjoyed.
Personally, I enjoy them all, and am flexible enough to do so and not worry about - "fings ain't wot they used to be" - as Will Fly said, accept that change happens.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Oct 17 - 01:26 PM

Mudcat Moaner, I'm not sure what period the "20 odd years" refers to (since you last went?) but it suggests a degree of success.
As I have said several times, none of us can generalise our own experience to all folk clubs. Things are not going well in MM's neighbourhood but a number of other people have reported very different experiences.
Mudcat Moaner has made no contructive comments and clearly has no intention of doing so.
Just one last thing... "what is Folk 21 all about?". Folk 21 is about the idea that the purpose of folk clubs is to provide a living wage for professional folk performers. Floor singers are seen as detrimental to that purpose.


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Mudcat time: 16 October 6:20 PM EDT

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