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UK club regulars - look after strangers!

Dave the Gnome 17 Jun 06 - 11:35 AM
Georgiansilver 17 Jun 06 - 11:59 AM
Keith A of Hertford 17 Jun 06 - 12:01 PM
Keith A of Hertford 17 Jun 06 - 12:06 PM
Dave the Gnome 17 Jun 06 - 12:19 PM
John MacKenzie 17 Jun 06 - 12:54 PM
Metchosin 17 Jun 06 - 12:59 PM
The Villan 17 Jun 06 - 01:02 PM
Morticia 17 Jun 06 - 01:11 PM
Northerner 17 Jun 06 - 01:17 PM
John MacKenzie 17 Jun 06 - 01:17 PM
Georgiansilver 17 Jun 06 - 01:18 PM
Leadfingers 17 Jun 06 - 01:47 PM
IvanB 17 Jun 06 - 01:54 PM
Valmai Goodyear 17 Jun 06 - 01:56 PM
Sonnet 17 Jun 06 - 01:57 PM
Richard Bridge 17 Jun 06 - 02:00 PM
John MacKenzie 17 Jun 06 - 02:56 PM
Dave the Gnome 17 Jun 06 - 03:08 PM
John MacKenzie 17 Jun 06 - 03:13 PM
Richard Bridge 17 Jun 06 - 03:49 PM
Dave the Gnome 17 Jun 06 - 05:41 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 17 Jun 06 - 05:59 PM
stallion 17 Jun 06 - 06:42 PM
Bev and Jerry 17 Jun 06 - 07:09 PM
melodeonboy 17 Jun 06 - 07:41 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Jun 06 - 07:15 AM
Nick 18 Jun 06 - 10:49 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Jun 06 - 10:55 AM
Ned Ludd 18 Jun 06 - 11:39 AM
BB 18 Jun 06 - 02:44 PM
Tradsinger 18 Jun 06 - 03:10 PM
Mo the caller 19 Jun 06 - 05:38 AM
My guru always said 19 Jun 06 - 09:27 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Jun 06 - 10:48 AM
GUEST 19 Jun 06 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,Wayne 20 Jun 06 - 09:02 AM
Paco Rabanne 20 Jun 06 - 09:09 AM
Tig 20 Jun 06 - 09:20 AM
GUEST 20 Jun 06 - 09:25 AM
Mo the caller 20 Jun 06 - 10:05 AM
Fidjit 20 Jun 06 - 10:20 AM
Scrump 20 Jun 06 - 10:46 AM
Georgiansilver 20 Jun 06 - 11:09 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Jun 06 - 11:26 AM
MoorleyMan 20 Jun 06 - 11:40 AM
Nick 20 Jun 06 - 11:48 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Jun 06 - 12:23 PM
Sooz 20 Jun 06 - 01:07 PM
Barry Finn 20 Jun 06 - 01:47 PM
Barry Finn 20 Jun 06 - 01:55 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Jun 06 - 01:57 PM
stallion 20 Jun 06 - 02:14 PM
MoorleyMan 20 Jun 06 - 02:49 PM
Sooz 21 Jun 06 - 02:46 AM
GUEST,padgett 21 Jun 06 - 04:29 AM
Sooz 14 Aug 06 - 12:03 PM
Tootler 14 Aug 06 - 12:07 PM
GUEST,George Hewitt 14 Aug 06 - 12:16 PM
Nick 14 Aug 06 - 12:46 PM
ossonflags 14 Aug 06 - 01:17 PM
The Villan 14 Aug 06 - 02:25 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 14 Aug 06 - 02:35 PM
Sooz 14 Aug 06 - 03:26 PM
Gervase 14 Aug 06 - 03:38 PM
Sooz 14 Aug 06 - 03:51 PM
Sorcha 14 Aug 06 - 04:09 PM
Myrtle 14 Aug 06 - 05:28 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Aug 06 - 10:12 AM
Lady Policeman 15 Aug 06 - 10:45 AM
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Subject: BS: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 11:35 AM

I'm just back from me hols and had a gradely old time:-) After my experiences with a couple of clubs though can I ask a favour of all club regulars and organisers please? If you see a stranger looking into your singaround in an interested manner try to see if they want to sing or not! I realy don't want to get into who did what and where so even if you do know where I was please don't mention them or I may ask the elves to delete the thread!

I am not particularly pushy - not good enough to even try that tack:-( I do enjoy an occasional sing though and if asked I will do my best to bring something to the party. In the first club I was in though there were some tables reserved for singers an musicians - with all the seats taken even though some of the people sitting there did not perform. I lurked about the edges trying to catch the attention of the organiser for 90 minutes before going home a little dissappointed at not being invited 'in'.

At the second club I had the good fortune of meeting someone I know and sitting with them. I still wasn't asked if I wanted to sing but on the advice of my friend I approached the organiser - to be told I didn't look like a singer! They did let me do a song though so I went home happier:-)

Now - I know there are clubs where floor singers are not guranteed a spot - This was not the case in either of these. I also know that it is difficult sometimes to know if someone wants to sing or not. I know because I am club organiser myself! The way I get round it? Any face I don't know gets asked if they want to perform. Any face I do know gets put on whether they want to or not;-) If we are on a singers night everyone who wants to do something is guaranteed at least one song - usualy 2 or 3. On a guest night we may not get a singer who turns up on spec to do a spot - but you can bet your life that one of us will still talk to them.

Please treat this as constructive criticism and not an excuse to have a go at anyone or any club in particular. Finaly, once again, can I ask all club organisers and regulars to look after strangers in your midst. Not only could it make them feel more at home but you could also discover some rare talent.

Not from me though;-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 11:59 AM

Dave, I sympathise with you and urge any clubs to just put themselves out that little bit to make peole...especially strangers welcome. I have to say that at Gainsborough Folk Club we are perhaps spoilt. The organisers have it well enough organised but relaxed at the same time. Everyone gets the chance to sing/perform and join in and newcomers are always welcomed personally by members. It is hard for me to imagine anything other than this now...but have been subject to the 'left out' syndrome many years ago. Make the effort Folkies...not everyone has the strength to push themselves forward so we should encourage wherever possible. Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 12:01 PM

Dave,
You obviously do not hump a guitar around with you.
You could invest in a guitar case.
Keith.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 12:06 PM

Also , if you do not have a beard, get a stick on one from the joke shop like everyone else.
Keith.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 12:19 PM

Hehehe - I have a lttle beard and nearly shaven head, Keith - Perhaps they thought I was a footy yob:-) I do have the beer belly though! A guitar case is definitely a good idea. Could fill it up with cans for those little emergencies when there is no beer available.

Aye, Mike - We like to think we are the same at Swinton. Perhaps we should get 'mystery singers' to do the rounds to check up on our clubs? I would be happy to volunteer to do it for little more than expenses. Mind you, a gallon or so could make that pricey...;-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 12:54 PM

I've been pretending to be a floor singer for years!
G ☺


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Subject: RE: BS: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Metchosin
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 12:59 PM

Why is this thread relegated to BS?


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Subject: RE: BS: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: The Villan
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 01:02 PM

Dave
Could it be that Red Hat you wear :-)

I have to say, that although my club Market Rasen Folk Club is not singaround, but concert style, I can honestly say that everybody is made welcome including new people (especially). I always feel it is important to thank people for coming.

Whats the point of putting anything on, if you can't make people feel at home.
Les


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Subject: RE: BS: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Morticia
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 01:11 PM

back in the days when i ran a club, i made a point of asking people i didn't know if they wanted a turn, after all, you might get them to come back again.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Northerner
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 01:17 PM

I've recently returned to folk clubs after a long absence. I find the easiest approach is to ask someone (usually whoever takes my money on the door) who the MC is for the evening and ask the MC if I can do a spot.

Sometimes I can't get a spot though if there a lot of other performers. Uusually now I do get asked though.

I'd agree that it is harder if you don't carry an instrument; I've just about been missed out a couple of times for that reason. I'm thinking of investing in a "I'm a Storyteller and Singer" badge!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 01:17 PM

I used to ask girls who came to my club if they did a turn!
G..


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Subject: RE: BS: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 01:18 PM

O.K Giok and did you have any luck with your requests....NOOOO don't answer that!


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 01:47 PM

The dividing line between Polite and Pushy is quite narrow in some places ! I recall when I spotted an American singer in my club who HAD asked politely if there were spaces and was told the list was full ! Gave her MY spot - Not JUST a singer from a long way off , a PRO on a night off AND a better singer than me - AND prettier !!
Just happened that I knew who she was , and the guy on the door just thought 'Another floor singer' !
We always tried to get visitors on though , and I regularly get stood down on guest Nights at Maidenhead when we get an influx on 'Good' guest nights !
Its a bugger when you turn up to show your wares and get ignored though


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: IvanB
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 01:54 PM

One thing intrigued me about Dave's first post: just what does a "singer" look like??


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 01:56 PM

Come to the Lewes Arms Folk Club on any Saturday night at The Lewes Arms, Mount Place, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1YH. We make a point of always giving visitors a floor spot, and if necessary the residents stand down to give them the opportunity. I sometimes don't sing there for weeks on end.

We keep going all through the summer, too. Contact details and website below.

Valmai

Valmai Goodyear
20, St. John's Terrace, Lewes, BN7 2DL

01273 476757

Lewes Arms Folk Club
www.members.aol.com/lewesarmsfolk
Residents: Bryan Creer, Dave Earl, Sandra Goddard, Valmai Goodyear, Steve & Diane Nevill, George Oakley, Robert O'Mahony, Derek Seed

LEWES ARMS FOLK CLUB WORKSHOPS 2006
Workshops last a full Saturday and the tutor performs at the club in the evening. Booking forms are available from the club and can be printed from the website.

Mick Ryan & Pete Harris - Songwriting & folk drama, 18th. February
Coope Boyes & Simpson - Vocal harmony, 1st. April
Georgina Boyes - Early song collectors in Sussex, 1st. April (p.m.)
Gavin Bird, Melodeon, 3rd. June
Martin Carthy - Guitar & song, 10th. June
Sandra Kerr - Concertina (all systems) 8th. July
John Kirkpatrick - Anglo concertina, 16th. September
Nancy Kerr - Fiddle, 7th. October
James Fagan - Bouzouki & cittern, 7th. October
Alistair Anderson - Concertina (all systems) 28th. October (a.m.)
Dave Townsend & Phil Humphries - West Gallery Carols, Saturday 18th. November
Dave Townsend - Sacred Harp, Sunday 19th. November
Phil Humphries - Early Music for Folk Musicians, Sunday 19th. November
Brian Peters - Melodeon, 2nd. December
Gordon Tyrrall - Whistle & Flute, 2nd. December
Brian Peters - Ballad Forum, Sunday 3rd. December


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Sonnet
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 01:57 PM

Just want to say how welcome we were made on our first visit to the Topic Folk Club, Bradford on Thursday night when we travelled over from Penistone to see CrossCurrent. Quite a long run for us for anything mid-week, but well worth it. The organisers and regulars are a grand lot.

Jay


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 02:00 PM

Sigers watch a singaround differently from non-singers (or non-players).

You can also often tell a singer by watching what they join in with.

Safest is to ask.

Don't however, make the mistake (as I have done) of asking one of the booked guest's band (who I hadn't seen before) whether they want to do a floor spot. Embarrassing!


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 02:56 PM

I once chauffeured Noel Murphy to a club in High Wycombe, and asked to put my name down to sing. Embarassment ensued when Noel was announced as, 'Noel Murphy and Jock MacKenzie' More of an embarassment for him than for me I think.
Giok


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 03:08 PM

Mmmmm - Interesting to see this go into the premier division:-) I chose the BS tag myself because it is, basicaly, non-music, which I understood meant it was BS! Anyhow, ours is not to reason why etc...

Asking whoever is on the door is always a good idea and that is exactly what I would have done but... (Didn't you see one of those coming!) There was no door! Both singarounds were in open rooms with a bar inside that anyone could go to.

Good point about regulars giving up their spots as well, Valmai, we often do that at Swinton as well. Interesting name btw - where is that from?

Remember, all I want to do here is make sure that most, if not all, folk clubs make strangers feel welcome. Let's not forget that one of the prime reasons for us singing and playing folk songs is to include everyone! By being music for the common people we should be for ALL folk. I think:-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 03:13 PM

This thread is as musical as any other, and certainly belongs 'upstairs' more than many.
Giok


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 03:49 PM

It's about making music (or wanting to and not getting the chance...


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 05:41 PM

It's about making music?

You have obviously never heard me, Richard;-)


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 05:59 PM

I've always made it clear to whoever was on the door (if they didn't already know), that they were expected to ask everyone if they would like to perform.

If the list was full, I made it a rule that the first resident dropped would be me, followed by other residents as necessary, to give the audience a chance to hear people they did not ordinarily have the chance to hear.

The change from the norm always seemed to me a matter of good sound business practice, and many of those who performed were later booked for full gigs on the strength of the audience reaction.

It did mean occasionally sitting through a mediocre, or even bad, performance but the effect on the club's reputation made it well worthwhile.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: stallion
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 06:42 PM

The session at the "Tap" in York is a free for all in terms of singing and playing, most, if not all, the songs are chorus songs therefore most people have time to ease into it. No one is in charge so no one asks anyone to sing, just pipe up if you want too, a bit like skipping, jump in where you can. We are a friendly lot, especially towards the end of an evening!


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 07:09 PM

We have visited at least a dozen clubs, probably more like two dozen, throughout England and Ireland and, as Americans, we are immediately recognized as strangers. Without exception, we have been greeted by someone and asked, "Do you sing?" After our affirmative answer we have always been asked to sing at least once during the evening.We won't name the specific clubs but we've always felt most welcome.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: melodeonboy
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 07:41 PM

When I returned to Britain after many years abroad, I went to The Old House At Home folk club in Maidstone for the first time (knowing nobody there) and was warmly welcomed, immediately involved and not only was I asked to perform as much as the regulars, but was also asked especially to finish the evening. Needless to say, I returned.

By the way, the chap who was running it was Don T (above). Take it from me; he's as good as his word.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 07:15 AM

Nice to see that so many clubs are already doing what I suggest and even nicer to see that people have kept withing my guidlines and not slagged off anyone! Well done one and all:-)

Rememeber to pass on your good works to anyone who slips beneath the radar on this. The best way to lead is by example. Still no-one want to take me up on the offer to be a mystery folk club visitor? How about professional festival atendee then?

Cheers

:D (tG)


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Nick
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 10:49 AM

You'd always be welcome to visit and sing if you are in North Yorkshire Dave - and I know you can sing because I heard you when I came to Swinton last year.

Ours is a very informal thing on an 'if you come and want to get involved do' basis and everyone is encouraged to have a go if they want to. Lucky to have two very fine regulars who are women (one of them my wife) who are particularly good at going up and chatting to new people and making them feel welcome. Being in the middle of nowhere really and depending on people coming to keep it going (which we have done weekly for about 3 and 1/2 years now) perhaps that's the incentive to be nice to people!!

One of the additional bonuses of the approach is that you often unearth talents that are lurking there waiting to be found. A guy came and was encouraged; since then he first took up the bodhran; then started singing; then started playng the guitar; now is surprisingly competent in a short period of time and is playing in Scarborough later this year! We also have two fiddle players who come who again were 'unearthed' - dusted off their classical violins and started reeling and jigging.

And if you are ever in or around Beverley and have the plaeasure of going to one of the singarounds organised by Mick McGarry (Ossonflags on mudcat) watch and see someone do it wonderfully!


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 10:55 AM

Thanks, Nick - Very nice of you to say so to:-)

Come and demand a pint from me if you get to Swinton again this October. Or possibly Fylde in Sept?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Ned Ludd
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 11:39 AM

Folk club organisers always think they do this. I am guilty on occasion of missing a new face, particularly on a busy night, but I have a couple of 'guardians', regulars who help me to keep an eye out. It does help though, if those who want to sing make themselves known. I don't regard this as pushy at all.
Ned.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: BB
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 02:44 PM

The problem with people 'jumping in if they want to' is that some people are not confident enough to push themselves forward like that. I think it's preferable to have someone guiding the evening and making sure that everyone gets a chance to perform, even in an informal session.
Barbara


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Tradsinger
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 03:10 PM

I was made very welcome in the Lewes club this week - I was even allowed extra songs as a visitor. The MC made a point of asking everyone in the room if they wanted to perform and even some inexperienced singers were given encouragement to 'have a go'. I suppose you can do this when there are 20-odd in the room but is more difficult when the numbers are larger.

I recall going to another club (no names, no pack drill) and having got there early and put my name down, I got one song in the whole evening whereas all the 'regulars' got at least 2. Even though I had come from a long way away I was not made to feel welcome in that club and will hesitate to go back. I don't think I sang too badly, either!

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Mo the caller
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 05:38 AM

Yes, they are a friendly lot in Beverley. I stayed there for a while, and was made very welcome in the White Horse club and at Hull folk dance club, and spoken to in the street afterwards, very heartening (I was wishing I could be at home, then found that I was among friends).


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: My guru always said
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 09:27 AM

A few years ago when I first pushed myself enough to try singing in public (as it were), I found that if I had a Penny Whistle sticking out of my handbag I was asked to join in. Then I had the opportunity to explain that I couldn't play it but that I'd try a song - that worked!

Several years on I'm still unable to 'jump in' and am always very glad when an organiser asks newcomers if they'd like to sing. Knowing this I always ask everyone who came to any Sings or Sessions that I organise and am pleased to hear that so many others here do the same.

Good thread Dave, but sorry to hear of your experience!


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 10:48 AM

Thanks MGAS - glad you liked it and heres hoping that it has done some good:-)

I must try the whistle ploy - bit lighter than a guitar case. I also have a tiny little mouth organ on a neck pendant - That could well work as well!

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 11:12 AM


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: GUEST,Wayne
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 09:02 AM

Another angle: Some friendly and well meaning folk who run clubs sometimes find it hard to take no for an answer. When you've come specifically to listen or haven't had much time to practise you don't always want to sing but you can be made to feel like a spoilsport if you refuse. It's always nice to be asked but it is also nice to be listened to when you reply "no thank you".


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 09:09 AM

Grow a beard, you are bound to be asked to sing then!


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Tig
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 09:20 AM

I know that having not sung for many years the first few times I was feeling brave enough I tended to be passed over because of past history (at both clubs and festivals). It didn't do a lot for my confidence!

On the subject of the 'Storyteller and Singer' badge - I know of a club in a busy seaside town which frequently has visitors that invested in a whole lot of 'I'm hear to listen' badges for anyone who DIDN'T want to perform (or be asked to that night) to pick up at the door and wear. Maybe some 'Performing Stranger' badges might work :-) (Yes this is also an ad!)


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 09:25 AM

I guess I'm resonding to Barbara's point about some people finding it difficult to 'jump in' - it's a tricky one as I also know people who find being asked & saying no very stressful and who won't go to an event if they think they'll be asked to sing because they feel like they're being pressured into it, no matter how gently the asker tries to say 'but only if you want to'. I guess it's a question of trying to get the balance right and accepting that there will always be times when its not perfect for everybody...

... must admit though that I also think the individual can and maybe should take some responsibility for making things turn out the way they'd like. Yes it's nice to be asked & welcomed & invited, but sometimes in an informal setting the people who are already there find talking to a new face just as intimidating as the new face does. I've been in plenty of situations where I know this is the case...


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Mo the caller
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 10:05 AM

Another request for organisers. When someone who has come along and listened for several weeks finally plucks up courage and comes nervously in and says "I've practised a tune" please put them in a suitable place in the programme.
Not first, but not too long to wait and quake. You can't enjoy the other singers and musicians if you are panicing that you will forget how it goes. Better to get it over with before too many people arrive.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Fidjit
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 10:20 AM

Visiting from Scandinavia, as I do a few times a year. These internett days I check out the websites and e-mail first to see what's on etc. so's I can plan where to visit.
Most reply. Some don't. (Not everyone checks their mails)
It's usually positive.
But then Dave, I carry a guitar case, melodeon case and concertina case. Also have a beard.
Waltham Abbey upgraded me to a "Special Spot" And paid me! Very gratefull to that.
I've made a note that Lewes Folk Club is open all summer so might look in as I'm over from 15th. August to 5th. September this year. From Broadstiars to Wallingford via Wantage and Towersy.
See you perhaps.

Chas


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Scrump
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 10:46 AM

I agree that it's best for the organiser to ask everyone attending a singaround if they want a turn, but it's also a good idea if you want to have a go, to speak to the organiser first to make him/her aware.

I went along to a club session first as a non-performer, partly because I wanted to see what standard the performers were, and how it went, etc. I found the standard varied from excellent to terrible, so I felt OK as I just fitted into that range ;-)

If everyone had been brilliant, I might have thought twice before pushing myself forward.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:09 AM

TED not all the women can grow beards mate. Best wishes, MIke.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:26 AM

Gnome women can...

:D (tG)


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:40 AM

Glad you started this thread, DtG, and it's thrown up some pertinent observations that mirror my own experiences travelling about. With any intent to visit a new club or session I always try to find out how it's run (whether you need to book a spot, even) beforehand. But this ain't always possible, and turning up on spec can be a waste of time. Although in general organisers/door-people are very welcoming or at least do the right thing, there are notable exceptions all over the country. My own worst experiences have been in these categories:
(i) being told when enquiring in advance "no problem, we normally manage to fit in everyone who wants to sing, especially if you've come a long way" then having travelled a long distance getting missed out, just to fit in one or two of the regulars or locals who turned up at half-time - and worse, then not even getting an apology...
(ii) being given one song only as a token gesture, right at the start of the evening when there was hardly anyone there, when the in-the-know residents turned up a little later and then got at least 2 apiece and a healthy audience for their songs,
or (iii) being allotted one song again as a token gesture, when the regulars had priority.
In the last two cases, it was known or obvious I'd travelled some distance - but like DtG in those cases I'd hesitate to go back again.

Actually, my two "pet hates" at the moment are
(i) those clubs where the "resident group/s" have such a stranglehold that nobody else short of a Carthy gets the chance to perform, ever --
and (ii) those clubs where nobody can be bothered to start the singing for ages after the advertised start-time, or else the regulars prefer to chat lengthily before or between instead of getting on with the music. It's just not worth travelling a long distance to a club where you end up with less than 90 minutes, often barely an hour, of singing-time (of course, allowing for beer-breaks, raffles, etc). There are ways of keeping it friendly and informal (and yes, chatty) yet getting plenty of songs sung too. If the evening was better run then more songs would get sung and everybody would be happy - wouldn't they?

Like DtG (have we met I wonder?) the above remarks are intended to be constructive and hopefully also informative. As an occasional organiser myself I'm only too aware of the balance and fine line that needs trodding!


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Nick
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:48 AM

I think 'jumping in' is hard though I would probably have a go these days having gained a bit more confidence over time but I prefer the relative formality of a singaround where everyone gets a chance if they want it.

I've been and sung in the Tap and Spile (and will do again one day I'm sure) but it definitely favours the alphamale/female, the brave or the loud. The last time I was there I noticed a number of singers and players who did nothing - either they were resting or found it hard to fling them. Not saying you are any of these of course, Peter - but you also have the benefit of doing it for years; singing as a threesome usually and being in an environment you know well.

The first mudcat thing I ever went to was in the Globe at Guisborough and was so overwhelmed by the confidence (or was it ego?) of the people who continually threw themselves in (or did they hog the evening?) that I went away without playing singing or doing anything - it was all too much. Might just be my shy retiring self that feels this way.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 12:23 PM

We probably have, MM. With that moniker I am guessing a Yorkshireman? Or perhaps a big fan of Keith Marsden:-) The most likely places to have met would have been either at Cleckheaton, Morley or my own club, Swinton. We are, unfortunately, one of the clubs who ramble on a bit and don't get much singing done some nights - But usualy only when there are only a handful of people in. If you came to us on one of those nights you may not have come back but give us another try - we are not always like that:-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Sooz
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 01:07 PM

mmmm some points to comment on -
At Gainsborough Folk Club we advertise our start time as 8.30 and rarely begin singing until 9. However this half hour gives our regulars chance to catch up and for new faces to be chatted up and welcomed. (I hope we do this rather well.) Once we get started we try to maintain a brisk pace with no more time given to chats except at the interval.
We have a singaround format except on guest nights and choose the starting place and direction so as to bring a newcomer or less confident performer in sooner rather than later. (Subtle that - wonder if anyone has noticed!) If it looks as if we will run short of time regulars usually give up their turn so that visitors get another go.
If we have 20 minutes or so to spare at the end, we draw for the extra goes (assuming people haven't thrown their raffle tickets away) If your number comes out, you can sing a song or request someone else to do so. If a newcomer has pleased the crowd they will almost certainly get an extra song.
I have to say that Mike and I haven't had any bad experiences as strangers in other clubs. We are hoping to get over to Swinton sometime soon. (Can we park the camper in the pub car park overnight, Dave?)
If we turned up at the sort of club where you had to jump in to get a turn, we would most probably remain silent and not return for a second visit!


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 01:47 PM

Here in the US it seems that we don't have near the singing venues that most of you here have in the UK & Ireland. Our shame (sigh). Local to me is the Press Room in Portsmouth, NH run by Tom (Curmudgeon) who does a wounderful job. Newbies, I think (or hope) are welcomed & encouraged to sing. I know that if I see any strangers singing along I'll ask them or mention to Tom to ask them if they'd like to sing, though he's pretty good at spotting anyway. I used to help with the Traditional Singers Club of Boson when it was running, though small it was a great bunch that always warmly recieved & asked everyone who attended to sing. This one went in a circle & was small enough so that everyone got a good few songs to sing & lasted maybe 3hrs +/-. The Press Room is much larger, runs maybe 41/2 +/- hrs so again everyone who wants to gets to do a good few, newbies included. This is also a mix of instrumentals & songs but still there's a good bit of singing. There's also one in Glouchester, Mass which I've only been to once (it seems to be a free for all), & a few timesyrs back, that's really good where there's no set leader but the whole of the group are more than welcoming & friendly. I've been to one weekly & one monthly in New York City where it seems that a few of the mainstay regulars do the running of. The weekly is run by circle & the monthly seems the same only it's a jump in though all are asked to sing. Out of the above the Boston Trad one, the Press Room one & the Glouchester one are run in bars & the others run in large rooms, one in a church basement, you could bring your own drinks (I think). The shantey sings are all singing no instrumental stuff(actually the Fri nite Press Room session is the only one that's a mix) & pretty much are all (the 4 that I know of) open & easy to sing in but are very far apart (San Francisco, Baltimore, NYC & Portsmouth NH). Only 2 are run on weekends, both in Portsmouth, a weekly on Fri nite & a monthly Sea Music session) on Saturday, mid-day till early evening. There is a weekly sing held in Boston by & pretty much for the Folk Song Society but is so boring that it's not worth it IMHO, this one is rum in various houses. For some reason over here we don't seem to be able to get the number of singers that would support a singers session or club like what I'm hearing from in the UK & Ireland, but we do have the numbers. I'm quite green reading & wish I could visit & see how it is done & enjoy & join some of it. It's been a pet peeve of mine. Thank God for the one in Portsmouth (about 50 minutes away) I aways wanted & tried to get a singers only club going in Boston (also 50 minutes away) & did (with the combined efforts of others), that only lasted about 2 1/2 yrs. I know there are quite a few good singers in the area but have never been able to get a group large enough to get it to run under it's own steam, which it sounds like you folks across the pond have figured out. I know that things are at a far greater distance apart here than it is over there but still we have the number of singers to make it happen. Maybe we'll just have to move farther east.

I haven't heard much from the Irish here but I'm amazed at what I've have heard in the past about the singing clubs/session there too.

A few questions; are most of your sings held on the weekends & does that lead them to become more of a local social (aside from singing) event?
And do your venues consit of lots of others that aren't there for the singing or do you sing in seperate rooms away for a regular pub/bar crowd?

This is a really nice thread & it's nice to hear what it's like from afar.

Thanks
Barry


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 01:55 PM

One other question. Do people bring any type of material to read/sing from & to keep this from happening, how or is it widely known not to do this as the excepted norm, provided that it doesn't happen. It sounds like that with the amount of good singers you have it just wouldn't be tolarated.
Barry


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 01:57 PM

Parking a camper at the back of the Lion is no problem at the moment, Sooz, but we are in for a change of Landlord soon. We are hoping things will stay the same but I can't promise they will:-(

Cheers and hope to see you soon anyway

DtG


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: stallion
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 02:14 PM

Barry, we visited new york last year and met up with loads of people, al and barbra, charley, the Johnson's et al, they were wonderful hosts. The South Street Chanty sing was excellent.
I think one of the problems in the US (or maybe New York?) is that to be tolerated in the bars you have to be very good or the punters get upset, we witnessed this both singing in bars like Chumleys and a poor pianist getting short shrift at The Greenwich Village bistro on Carmine Street and then finishing the evenings entertainment there! Had we known before we went I think we would not have been so brazen! As it was we "punched above our wieght" and pulled it off. Here people sing and play for the joy of it not neccessarily to please everyone in the place and often in spite of everyone else, Nick may confirm, the Tap sessions are really noisy and they are not for the fient hearted or voiced, we get big chorus', we get by that way.
Peter


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 02:49 PM

MMM indeed Sooz -
Don't you get in a fret there - I've been to Gainsborough, several times, and have felt very welcome. You and Mike do a grand job and yes it is obvious that newcomers are greeted with very open arms. And in an atmosphere like that, a 9 o'clock start is no problem. Yes you "do it rather well" and maintain a brisk pace, so I've absolutely no complaints about your club and would recommend it to anyone.

Those clubs where you have to jump in to get a turn - they can be quite fun (but not if you're feeling knackered after a hard day at work and just want to relax with a song or two), though sometimes quite intimidating if the "hoggers" are there in force. I tend to find that the more keen you are to sing or play, or if you have a new song you need to sing out, then the less chance you'll get in those clubs, that's just how it seems to go.

The biggest problem for those who have a quieter style of performance or a less forceful voice that needs listening to, can lie in the noisier non-separate-room pub environment. It does help if the organisers can make folk aware when they enquire of the type of room/ etc to expect before they turn up.

DtG - as it happens, I've not made it to Swinton yet, but certainly plan to do so in the near future. Your club has a good reputation, and it's been on my list of ones to visit for some time. See you soon.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Sooz
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 02:46 AM

Thanks for those kind words MM.
Barry, any night of the week or indeed every night of the week if you are so inclined! Usually in a separate room of a pub, but often in a sports club or similar or even in a village hall.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 04:29 AM

Obviously dont ask to sing in a 'concert club'unless you really are very good

I have many experiences of visiting new places and will not hesitate to name names (but not here) as to clichey (that how to spell it?) clubs

If you travel a distance to a new club for the first time the organiser should be able to tell a singer or at least ask (and no I wont got the trouble of phoning first)needless to say the regulars should stand down (I do) ~ some regulars are a bl**dy pain and full of self importance

and its no use saying come on a singers night as distance may preclude ~ summer is a good time unless the club is closed for the summer!

Everyone gets asked at Barnsley Folk Club to tap dance, tell a joke, sing, monologue or party piece

And the old joke 'we could do with more ladies in the club'

Is often trotted out

Ray


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Sooz
Date: 14 Aug 06 - 12:03 PM

Well we are just back from our holidays and have visited two clubs that we haven't been to before.
First one - warmest of welcomes (still chatting in the car park at around 00.45am!)Great night although a problem with the smoke. (Message to self - always check in advance to avoid disappointment!)
Second one - arrived early and introduced ourselves and were told they could probably fit us in. None of the organisers spoke to us again until nealy 10.30pm when we were invited to do two songs. The organiser and his mates had all done 30 minute sets by then! We got a very warm reception from the large audience. The organisers filled the last forty minutes or so between them.
Takes all sorts I suppose. I know which one we will be going back to even if we have to wait for the law to change!


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Tootler
Date: 14 Aug 06 - 12:07 PM

How about naming and shaming (or praising in the first case)?

After all others going to the same area will know where to go and where to avoid.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: GUEST,George Hewitt
Date: 14 Aug 06 - 12:16 PM

I went to a folk club in Eltham (S London) it was like walking into the last chance saloon - all the heads turned - nobody talked to me' except this big menacing looking bloke with tatoos who growled "two quid" I got to do one song and most of the people talked through it and a woman went round selling raffle tickets - won't be going there again.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Nick
Date: 14 Aug 06 - 12:46 PM

One (or two) that hasn't/haven't been mentioned here that I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone for a nice welcome is/are Wigan on a tuesday and a thursday. Joan who runs it was lovely and people pretty much universally friendly. Nice places.

And (shameless plug) we always try and make people welcome at Thompsons Arms Flaxton N Yorks on a Wednesday night (and hopefully succeed as they usually come back sometime). Not as big as many but hopefully the welcome is and EVERYONE gets treated the same - if it's your turn to sing or play you can.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: ossonflags
Date: 14 Aug 06 - 01:17 PM

Thanks for them kind words, Nick.

Glad to see this subject refreshed.

My humble opinion is, you aint gonna please everyone whichever format you choose.

I do believe that to make any singaround/playaround more inclusive is to have someone leading/organising it in a fair, consistant and positive manner.From past experiance not the easiest task, but it works for me.

As someone who is little louder than others I have no problem with the old "free for all diving in session" but I do try and encourage people who look a bit lost to have a go.I think a few of the more confident and seasoned hands among us should do the same.It never ceases to amaze me the amount of musical talent out there and if not encouraged we are going to lose it.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: The Villan
Date: 14 Aug 06 - 02:25 PM

I still like the one mentioned to me from Sue Dewsbury.

Two sets of cards all numbered.
As people come in they are asked if they want to perform whatever.
If yes they get a number from the one pack of numbered cards.
Once all the cards have been handed out, the same numbers from the other pack are shuffled.
The MC then draws a number and the person with that number does their party piece. At the same time as drawing the first number, the next one is drawn to allow that person to be ready.
It carries on until all the numbers have been drawn.
They are then shuffled agin and the same procedure is carried out.
If some body comes in the middle of the singaround, they are given a number and go into the draw.
The locals can drop out if they would like somebody from afar to have a better chance to sing.
No favouratism.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 14 Aug 06 - 02:35 PM

"One other question. Do people bring any type of material to read/sing from & to keep this from happening, how or is it widely known not to do this as the excepted norm, provided that it doesn't happen. It sounds like that with the amount of good singers you have it just wouldn't be tolarated.
Barry"

Can't speak for any but my own, Barry, but my attitude has always been that if it's good enough for the Royal Philharmonic, I'm not about to outlaw music stands or sheets.

One of our regulars is a bloody good singer with a very poor memory, and I think that letting him read his songs is much the best of the bargain for the audience.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Sooz
Date: 14 Aug 06 - 03:26 PM

OK - the first one was Swinton.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Gervase
Date: 14 Aug 06 - 03:38 PM

Sooz - that second night out wasn't at the dire Cardigan Bay Folk Club was it?
I was delighted to find that there seemed to be a regular folk club near me, and when some friends (also singers) came to stay we made an evening of it.
What a mistake!
It was like no folk club I've ever experienced before. The two organisers had a PA set up, and proceeded to churn out blue-grass (played very well, it has to be said) for an hour before inviting a friend up from the floor. The audience seemed to be recruited from the local old folks' home, and all sat there without a sound as the amplified guitars reverberated around the room.
When one of our group asked during a break in hostilities if there would be any chance of a spot for visiting floor singers, the organiser evasively said: "You know this is a performance venue - I don't know that unaccompanied singing would go down well."
Our friend asked again and was grudgingly told that we could each sing a song at the end of the evening - which duly happened (with the organiser pointedly ignoring us) before we were hustled off and the evening closed.
So that was our first and last visit to what we all agreed had to be the rudest, most unwelcoming folk club it had ever been our misfortune to visit.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Sooz
Date: 14 Aug 06 - 03:51 PM

No, Gervase but thanks for the tip if we ever visit Wales!


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Sorcha
Date: 14 Aug 06 - 04:09 PM

Been there, done that in instrumental sessions. :(


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Myrtle
Date: 14 Aug 06 - 05:28 PM

Swinton is a great club Sooz, I've been there many times, in fact it was there I plucked up the courage to sing for the first time....yes, they have a lot to answer for!!!
Regards,
Myrtle.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Aug 06 - 10:12 AM

well I took me harp to a party quite recently, and had the same experience as D the G. After about two hours sitting there, I thought to myself............ well they DO need the practice.


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Subject: RE: UK club regulars - look after strangers!
From: Lady Policeman
Date: 15 Aug 06 - 10:45 AM

I can second Gervase's remarks about the Cardigan Bay Club I was there with him that night. A woman appeared half way through the session clutching a guitar and the organiser announced "Oh good another singer!" and invited her up to sing. Obviously the advice about taking a guitar case along would have helped us out on that occasion but we shouldn't really have to! The organiser's wife did show interest when I sang and asked me about the song afterwards but we were left with the impression tha twe were interrupting their practice session!
At Pennymoor in Devon we make a point of welcoming strangers and all get a song. I remember the first time I went there I was immediately approached and welcomed by Len the MC and asked if I sang. They hold a very friendly singaround with a jam session to start and finish it off. Another friendly session was Bodmin Club where we were welcomed and even given a extra song at the end of the night as visitors!


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