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Clock-watching during performance

Marion 29 Oct 02 - 01:45 PM
MMario 29 Oct 02 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Kim C 29 Oct 02 - 01:52 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Oct 02 - 01:53 PM
wysiwyg 29 Oct 02 - 01:53 PM
C-flat 29 Oct 02 - 02:05 PM
Clinton Hammond 29 Oct 02 - 02:09 PM
Rick Fielding 29 Oct 02 - 02:52 PM
Skipper Jack 29 Oct 02 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,Willie-O 29 Oct 02 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,harvey andrews 29 Oct 02 - 03:19 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Oct 02 - 03:29 PM
EBarnacle1 29 Oct 02 - 03:32 PM
kendall 29 Oct 02 - 04:00 PM
GUEST 29 Oct 02 - 04:14 PM
Harry Basnett 29 Oct 02 - 04:16 PM
Clinton Hammond 29 Oct 02 - 05:13 PM
JedMarum 30 Oct 02 - 08:54 AM
greg stephens 30 Oct 02 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Kim C no cookie 30 Oct 02 - 09:58 AM
Rick Fielding 30 Oct 02 - 11:31 AM
lamarca 30 Oct 02 - 11:41 AM
Clinton Hammond 30 Oct 02 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Harvey Andrews 30 Oct 02 - 02:14 PM
Rick Fielding 30 Oct 02 - 02:38 PM
GUEST 30 Oct 02 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,harvey andrews 30 Oct 02 - 04:28 PM
Art Thieme 31 Oct 02 - 01:49 PM
JedMarum 31 Oct 02 - 05:39 PM
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Subject: Clock-watching during performance
From: Marion
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 01:45 PM

Hello all. I've heard it said - here and in real life - that it's not a nice thing to see a performer check his or her watch, because it suggests that they're just counting the minutes till they can go home.

It seems to me, however, that it's necessary to know the time, so you can plan your set as you go along, and to avoid going overtime and messing up whatever might be planned for after your set.

So what I want to know is, do you agree with me, or are you offended to see someone looking at a watch? And how do you monitor time when performing? Do you wear a watch and sneak glances at it? Put a little clock on the floor? Ask someone to signal you, or ask between songs how much longer you have?

Thanks, Marion


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: MMario
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 01:49 PM

If there's an MC arrange to have them signal you. If there isn't - to heck with what people think.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: GUEST,Kim C
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 01:52 PM

We watch time because we're usually on a schedule where other people are playing too. And because we don't usually have a fixed set list, where we know how long it's going to take to play X number of songs.

Mister has a pocketwatch. Sometimes he wears it and just takes it out as necessary, other times it may get put on a nearby table or chair. If we were to put something on the floor, it would have to be BIG enough to actually see it! :-)

I don't have a problem seeing other people watch the time. If they're having a good time on stage, they're probably sorry (and surprised!) to see the time go so quickly! I know I usually am.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 01:53 PM

It's just as likely, and in fact probably a great deasl more likely, the guy is thinking "Have I got time to squeeze in another song". Most people enjoy performing, when it's going well.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 01:53 PM

We time the songs we plan to do, add some time for introductions and chat, and estimate the set length long before the gig. You can also stick a little clock on your guitar or mike stand, or on top of your tuner... I've seen stick-on's as small as a quarter. Although it is good to ask the MC to signal you near the end of your planned material, so that you can go to your closing songs if you've run long, IMO it's less obtrusive to watch the time yourself, but discreetly.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: C-flat
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 02:05 PM

We usually work out how long a particular set is going to run for (allowing time for some banter) and then decide on an extra couple of songs in reserve if we get the nod from whoever is running the evening.
I suspect, as McGrath says, that rather than wondering if they can go home, the clock watcher is just making sure they're not over-running.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 02:09 PM

Time is relative... just play!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 02:52 PM

Whooooo.....Hi Marion. In my opinion it's very bad form , almost as bad as barfing on the wah, wah pedal. To my mind it is the epitome of rudeness, and even if I end up being the only hard liner in this thread, I gotta stick to my principles on this. Yes, sometimes it's important to know what time it is...and I have a little clock from a dollar store in my bag. Sometimes I've used it.

I worked with a friend who played old folks homes a while ago. He is a fine entertainer, and I've known him for many years. He started getting into the habit of looking at his watch during shows, and I freaked. I asked him whether he thought it might be seen as a bit rude...He didn't. So I quit (and turned the gig over to my friend TQ) Yeah, I'm obsessive about some things....and that's one of them.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 03:10 PM

Well I am responsible for planning the sets for my group. If we are performing in a folk club, you can rely on the club MC to signal when there's one more song to go. This is the case in festivals too. But the exception in our case is when we have pub gigs or do the occasional charity gig, it is then that I do check my watch as discreetly as possible. But that is only when we come to the last but one song in the set. Though I say it myself, my timings have proved to be fairly accurate!I put this down to my radio days when I had to be "spot on" with timings in my show.

Yes, I do think that openly checking the time during the performance
gives a bad impression.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: GUEST,Willie-O
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 03:15 PM

I have a $1 alarm clock. If I figure it's important to time my sets, I can place it in the gig bag artfully placed beside my feet, tick tick tick, nobody knows what I'm glancing at. I don't wear a watch, so the visible clock-watching is not an issue. And there is NEVER a clock in sight when I want to see one.

Bill


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: GUEST,harvey andrews
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 03:19 PM

I think overruning, particularly if another act is to follow you, is the height of ignorance. A simple way to keep track of time when on stage and playing a guitar is to have your watch face on the inside of your wrist. Just pull it round. Then you can check the time whenever you wish as you play, finish a song, etc and the audience will have no idea.It's the glancing down and the turning of the wrist that gives clock watching away. With this method it looks as though your just checking your fingering. I THINK I got this wrinkle from Dave Swarbrick very early on in my career at the Jug O Punch folk club in Birmigham.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 03:29 PM

Anything that George Bush, Sr. did is offensive to me...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 03:32 PM

Many of the venues I play have a clock posted where I can see it. Of course it is always nice when I hear "Keep it going for a couple more." Generally, the stage manager keeps me posted.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: kendall
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 04:00 PM

I'm with Harvey Andrews. Been wearing my watch with the face under my wrist for as long as I've been performing. I don't know how many times I have waited in the wings while some amateur ran way over getting off on the sound of his own voice and pissing other performers off. These clods dont know or care that they have screwed some other act out of their allotted time.
A certain promoter in eastern NY state used to warn performers to stick to the schedule or face being removed. And, he did it too! If it was a man, he would come onto the stage and escort the clod off, and, I remember one case of a woman running over her time, he came on stage and unplugged her mike. She said "I'm not finished." he said "Yes you are."
While these are certainly not common acts,(he never did it to me, because I have some smarts) he was able to keep things running, and every performer got his/her alloted time.
I know what some of you are thinking, "I'd like to see him remove me"
believe me, at 6 foot 6'' and 260 pounds of muscle, he would have!

The rest of the story is, he was so unpopular that that venue just died out.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 04:14 PM

I second, third and fourth the suggestion about turning your wrist watch to face the inside of your wrist. Makes it easy for me to keep track of time.
When you are only one of a number of scheduled acts, time IS important; but when you are the single act, time is just one factor. You have to gauge your audience: are they getting tired? this is important when you are playing to seniors! If the audience is enthusiastic and wants more, I generally speak (from the stage) to aske the person responsible if we can play a tune or two more...or if they aren't present, I ask the audience.

Rich McCarthy


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: Harry Basnett
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 04:16 PM

When Martin Carthy played at the OpenDoor recently he kept a little timepiece on a table just off to right hand side which wasn't noticable to most of the audience...he was able to keep a check on his set without making it glaringly obvious.

Speaking of the OpenDoor, Mr. Andrews, I believe we have you booked for Extravaganza 4 next March!!

            All the best......................Harry.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 05:13 PM

Well, bar gigs around here tend to run 3 sets, an hour on, half an hour off...

I've started doing 2 hours on, 1 hour off, 1 one hour on and that's the end... for which I keep my watch on my belt... an occasional quick glance down just to see how things are going (It's ALWAYS later than I thought it was gonna be) and well, if the glance down offends anyone, they have yet to make it known... and even if they did, tough...


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: JedMarum
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 08:54 AM

I'm with Rick on this one. I think it is rude for a performer to be seen "watching the clock," or at the very least distracting for the audience. On the other hand, as a performer, under most circumstances you need to be aware of the time. Even when I'm the only one playing that night - I need to be aware of the time to pace the evening.

I don;t bring a watch/clock - and it would make sense if I did (I alway seem to have lots of music paraphenalia (how do you spell that word?) so adding a watch to the capos, picks, harmonicas, glasses of water, etc - would be a good idea. BUT normlly there is a clock within view OR a stage manager with responsibility to keeo you aware of the time.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: greg stephens
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 09:16 AM

I think it looks terrible if performers look at watches. I use a small alarm clock which I just pop on the floor behind my monitor, next to my pint and DI box. Unobtrusive, bob's your uncle.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 09:58 AM

At historic sites we don't have the luxury of wearing a wristwatch or having a clock on the wall in plain sight. I prefer to sit the pocketwatch on a table or chair near our water glasses. But sometimes that don't work either...


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 11:31 AM

Jeesus, I started turning my watch "inside" about thirty years ago, and I've rarely noticed anyone else doing it....just goes to show that I don't look at wrists. (look at a lot of fingers though, while stealing chords!)

Many years ago at a place called Steel's Tavern in Toronto, a guy came up to me after a set and said, "I noticed your watch"....you ARE gay, aren't you? "Duh....no" says I. Didn't know that at the time (and in that area) it was a 'signal'. Always thought you had to have some kind of handkerchief sticking out of your left (or right) back pocket.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: lamarca
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 11:41 AM

I work crew for the National Folk Festival (USA) and the late, lamented Washington Folk Festival, where keeping performances on schedule is critical - when you have seven or eight stages running simultaneously, and people expecting to go from one place to another and hear someone in particular, timing is important. We try to keep stages on time by buying a bunch of cheap clocks, and mounting one on each stage where the performers can easily see it. Before an act goes on, the stage manager says "You have to finish at 2:40" - NOT "you have 40 minutes"... then the stage manager usually gives them a 5 minute sign from the wings, too. This helps the performers know clearly what the limits are, and keeps everything going smoothly.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 12:27 PM

According to the poetry of Milton Acorn, wearing yer watch on the inside of yer wrist is a carpenters trick... I used to wear mine there until a permanent piece of jewellery made that impractical... now it hangs from my belt, where I can very easily glance down at it while changing guitars or what have you...


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: GUEST,Harvey Andrews
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 02:14 PM

Jeeeesus Rick....that explains a lot!!!!
(only kidding!)


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 02:38 PM

EXCUSE ME MR. ANDREWS!

Although I Do prefer your current 'upsweep' to the 'blue rinse' you had a few years ago.

Actually the only blue rinses around these days are in our audiences Harvey!

P.S. Did you see the thread on "singer-songwriters" last week? (can someone bring it back up?)

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 04:27 PM

Not sure which one you mean Rick. I did check out "Sexiest folksinger" and noticed that neither of us warranted a mention in over 100 posts.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: GUEST,harvey andrews
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 04:28 PM

Not sure which one you mean Rick. I did check out "Sexiest folksinger" and noticed that neither of us warranted a mention in over 100 posts.


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 01:49 PM

I had the best of intentions usually. But I rarely planned sets other than the beginning ksong-----and maybe the last one. If I got into a real state of psychic FLOW, where time diminishes and after two hours it seems like you've been up there only for 20 minutes and you have inadvertantly missed four or five "signals" for you to end your set, well, by then it's probably too late. Now, how to make that great FLOW situation happen all the time would be a great state of affairs. It sure do feel like one is doing the best possible set ever.

...And then one day Bob Gibson told me, "Art, we are much more "even" in our performances than we would like to believe probably. Our best sets are never as good as we thought they were. Conversely, our worst sets (we thought) are never as bad as we might've thought those were."

FLOW ia like great sex; time just dissapears----and then it's over. To me, that is what the theory of relativity is all about.----- As I've mentioned before, that is why for over 35 years I had the words, "THIS MACHINE KILLS TIME" printed around the head of my banjo.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Clock-watching during performance
From: JedMarum
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 05:39 PM

I with you Art. I try to "feel" my way through a set. At Pub gigs I can play my sets as long/short as I like. At festivals and most concert shows, the clock is the master! I find that when I write a set list and try to develop the set before I'm on stage, I always change my mind and let the audience and the music tell me what to play next - but I find that the mental preparation of developing a set list helps; it's like studying, you know mental prep even if you change your mind later - it also helps if an when you're stuck by nerves or distractions etc.


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