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Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)

GUEST,workingclassfolkie 23 Jul 06 - 04:44 AM
GUEST 23 Jul 06 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,working classfolkie 23 Jul 06 - 05:11 AM
The Borchester Echo 23 Jul 06 - 05:28 AM
John MacKenzie 23 Jul 06 - 05:33 AM
clairerise 23 Jul 06 - 06:36 AM
Leadfingers 23 Jul 06 - 06:42 AM
GerryMc 23 Jul 06 - 07:07 AM
Les in Chorlton 23 Jul 06 - 07:27 AM
John MacKenzie 23 Jul 06 - 08:25 AM
jacqui.c 23 Jul 06 - 08:39 AM
Ernest 23 Jul 06 - 08:41 AM
freda underhill 23 Jul 06 - 08:49 AM
JamesHenry 23 Jul 06 - 09:51 AM
clairerise 23 Jul 06 - 09:59 AM
JamesHenry 23 Jul 06 - 09:59 AM
number 6 23 Jul 06 - 10:19 AM
Doug Chadwick 23 Jul 06 - 10:55 AM
DMcG 23 Jul 06 - 11:15 AM
Bert 23 Jul 06 - 09:03 PM
GUEST,Tradfan 24 Jul 06 - 05:08 AM
stallion 24 Jul 06 - 05:41 AM
Georgiansilver 24 Jul 06 - 05:41 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 24 Jul 06 - 06:13 AM
Betsy 24 Jul 06 - 06:55 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 24 Jul 06 - 08:13 AM
jojofolkagogo 24 Jul 06 - 11:12 AM
Big Al Whittle 25 Jul 06 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 25 Jul 06 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 25 Jul 06 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,Penguin Egg 25 Jul 06 - 06:32 AM
Big Al Whittle 25 Jul 06 - 06:59 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 25 Jul 06 - 07:06 AM
The Borchester Echo 25 Jul 06 - 07:16 AM
Scrump 25 Jul 06 - 07:35 AM
Richard Bridge 25 Jul 06 - 07:55 AM
Kevin Sheils 25 Jul 06 - 08:01 AM
Mr Fox 25 Jul 06 - 08:39 AM
Big Al Whittle 25 Jul 06 - 09:33 AM
Richard Bridge 25 Jul 06 - 09:49 AM
Grab 25 Jul 06 - 09:58 AM
Scrump 25 Jul 06 - 11:04 AM
countrylife 25 Jul 06 - 11:26 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Jul 06 - 12:06 PM
Folkiedave 25 Jul 06 - 12:55 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Jul 06 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,Russ 25 Jul 06 - 05:31 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Jul 06 - 06:28 PM
Snuffy 25 Jul 06 - 06:28 PM
Tootler 25 Jul 06 - 06:58 PM
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Subject: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: GUEST,workingclassfolkie
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 04:44 AM

Is it any wonder why young working class people are not drawn to Folk and Traditional music. I often frequent folk clubs in and around London and they are not the most comfortable places to be in. There seems to be an air of complete intellectual snobbery (or attempted intellectualism!!!!) amongst the people who attend these sessions. Most are middle aged (like myself,) who I think have a responsibility to pass on this music to the younger and also disadvantaged generation. No, this does not seem to be the attitude of many (not all) at all. Whilst singing the songs of earlier working peoples, gypsies, sailors etc, they seem to be oblivious to the songs/music's origins. Or perphaps, they disdain the origins because of their privilidged white middle class background.

I recently attended a folk festival in London, and I have never experienced such snobbism and patronronising attitudes in my life before.

Perhaps us lower down the social scale need to set-up our own clubs to retain what is (maybe) rightfully ours. I hope not, as music is suppossed to break down barriers, not erect them!


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 05:03 AM

You're not Lizzie Cornish in disguise are you?


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: GUEST,working classfolkie
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 05:11 AM

No I am not. I am seriously concerned about this issue. I don't really know who Lizzie Cornish is or what her stand is on things, although I've seen her postings a few times on here and the BBC site.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 05:28 AM

I recently attended a folk festival in London

The only festival to take place in London for many a year is happening this weekend at C# House and as far as I can see, Lizzie Cornish has not (yet) put in an appearance. She (or anyone else) could have participated in a John Spiers melodeon workshop yesterday or a voice class with The Devil's Interval and a fiddle one with Pete Cooper today, for which no social or economic disclosures are required. These tutors are dedicated musicians who pass on their musical expertise to those who want to know, whether young, old, 'disadvantaged' or not. But for those who want, for reasons best known to themselves, to flaunt their inverted snobbery, there are many premises formerly known as 'working men's clubs' standing empty up and down the country. They could open them up as 'folk clubs' with fulfilment of the entry requirement measured by the amount of mud adhering to boots. Though this has been tried before . . .


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 05:33 AM

Don't mention mud Countess, people in here have been known to sling that stuff at each other.
G


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: clairerise
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 06:36 AM

Is it any wonder why young working class people are not drawn to Folk and Traditional music. I often frequent folk clubs in and around London and they are not the most comfortable places to be in. There seems to be an air of complete intellectual snobbery (or attempted intellectualism!!!!) amongst the people who attend these sessions. Most are middle aged (like myself,) who I think have a responsibility to pass on this music to the younger and also disadvantaged generation. No, this does not seem to be the attitude of many (not all) at all. Whilst singing the songs of earlier working peoples, gypsies, sailors etc, they seem to be oblivious to the songs/music's origins. Or perphaps, they disdain the origins because of their privilidged white middle class background.

I recently attended a folk festival in London, and I have never experienced such snobbism and patronronising attitudes in my life before.

Perhaps us lower down the social scale need to set-up our own clubs to retain what is (maybe) rightfully ours. I hope not, as music is suppossed to break down barriers, not erect them


Most intelligant post on the issue i have read.

I agree, the snobbery is incredible. It is as you say, 'attempted intellectualism!!!!', and it is off-putting. It comes down to ego, everyone loves to be a character at the end of the day, so everyone is pushing their character as much as possible. Everyone is the folk scholar. I have been put off by a lot of folk clubs like that.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 06:42 AM

I normally ignore posts from people I cannot contact privately ( a Private Message to a member doesnt cause unnecessary upset on the forum) but in this case I would like to know exactly where our      
guest has experienced this 'snobbery' and where this London Festival was ! I am most definately working class , and I dont think very many of my Folk Singing friends think of themselves as anything else !


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: GerryMc
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 07:07 AM

Sounds like a case of inverted snobbery to me. Music, generally, transcends class, culture, background, earning potential, race etc etc.

There isn't any of the.........ahem.......snobbery of which you speak at our folk club.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 07:27 AM

Although folk clubs are public they can have the atmosphere of a private club. I have enjoyed them for around 40 years. Singing, playing tunes, dancing Morris, organising barn dances and mummers plays and clubs of various kinds. I recognise what 'workingclassfolkie' says. Many clubs have a strange set of codes which to the outsider are difficult to understand. Sometimes an unwritten set of assumptions about the sorts of songs that are valued. Class is an aspect but not a simple one or the whole story. In some clubs the importance of working clas culture is made a high priorty and not always from club organisers who have a solid working class origin. Dose it matter? It does if it excludes.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 08:25 AM

What the f**k has class to do with music?
G.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: jacqui.c
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 08:39 AM

I'm a little puzzled as to which clubs GUEST,workingclassfolkie has been to around the London area.

My experience of clubs in the area north east of London has never left me feeling that way and I'm a relative newcomer to the folk scene. I now get the opportunity to visit clubs in various parts of the country and have always found a welcome and a group of people enjoying themselves by entertaining themselves. I must admit that some of the younger singer songwriters leave me cold as they seem to concentrate on the teenage angst, but that is just my point of view. I don't think class really comes into the equation in most places - I couldn't tell you what the background of a lot of the people I have met might be and it doesn't really bother me. So long as there is music and song to enjoy I'm happy.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: Ernest
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 08:41 AM

I always undestood that the middle class is also part of the "folk". If someone limits folk to working class he/she is excluding too...
And the idea of classes belongs in the 19th century. Couldn`t it be that the transportation of those ideas in the 21st century simply doesn`t appeal to a lot of people?

The snobism is probably existant in all kinds of interest-groups, not only amomg musicians. As much as I dislike it too it is something one has to get used to.

Oh - Claire: do you really think it is necessary to copy a post that is only 5 messages away?

Regards
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: freda underhill
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 08:49 AM

my experience of folkies in the UK was great - lovly, interesting, talented people. the quality of the music was wonderful!!

freda


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: JamesHenry
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 09:51 AM

Folk music is the "peoples' music" and that includes all "classes" of people.
However, once those well intentioned collectors (who were in the main middle or upper class) began saving it for future generations the process of "intellectualising" it began. Working class singers more than likely took their songs at face value and sang them simply because they and their listeners enjoyed them and were familiar with them.
Folk music and song unfortunately became an "industry" once the collectors began archiving the material and housing it in institutions like Cecil Sharp House where it came under the domain of those very same middle and upper class intellectuals.
Today the keepers of the flame, if you like, are predominantly middle class who don't sing the songs for enjoyment after a hard days work but do it for a living which would probably totally bemuse the originators of the songs.
The intellectual snobbery that the original poster experienced is probably a by-product of the economic monster that the folk indutry has become. The middle classes are still debating what it all means while the working classes have moved on.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: clairerise
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 09:59 AM

snobbery doesn't inherently mean class. There is intellectual snobbery, artistic snobbery, etc, these facets are readily visible in MANY folk clubs.

As humans are walking ego's, ego is to be expected, but sadly, at folk clubs, everyone is a 'character' and revel in that, and so it gets sillier and sillier each week, everyone pushing their caricature ever more in people face.

There are some wonderful people at folk clubs, but you can always spot the creature thus described by working class poster.

Oh ernest, your wife is calling.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: JamesHenry
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 09:59 AM

PS to workingclassfolkie

Don't despair - you are the sane one.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: number 6
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 10:19 AM

"As humans are walking ego's, ego is to be expected"

clairerise ... (unfortunately) that is so true.

sIx


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 10:55 AM

Or perphaps, they disdain the origins because of their privilidged white middle class background.

So, how did you recognise that all these people were middle class? Were all the men wearing suits and ties? Perhaps they were working class but had taken off their overalls before they left home.

And is it their fault that they are white?

Your sweeping generalisation reveals much more about snobbery and patronising attitudes.

DC


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: DMcG
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 11:15 AM

Suppose I introduce a song by talking about its origins. I suspect you would consider me guilty of attempted intellectualism. On the other hand, if I don't, you may well accuse me of either being oblivious to or distaining the songs/music's origins.

Perhaps you are a little difficult to please!


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: Bert
Date: 23 Jul 06 - 09:03 PM

That wouldn't have been an EFDSS club you went to by any chance?


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: GUEST,Tradfan
Date: 24 Jul 06 - 05:08 AM

I bet it was!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: stallion
Date: 24 Jul 06 - 05:41 AM

Ok, lets start with young people, an old saying "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink". Young people will do what they want, indeed, most of us will, and generally don't like to be told what to like (I hated sprouts for years, i was made to eat them!!!) So when they turn up at a session if they like what they hear and see they will stay, if they don't they leave. On the other hand making music is an uplifting theraputic experience (well for me it is a de stressing tool) it isn't neccessarily a crusade. For whatever reasons "folkies" do what "folkies" do. I don't really buy the camaradiery thing, not with strangers any way, I don't expect to be treated like a long lost relative when I enter a strange club or session, perhaps I expect a little amount of respect until they know otherwise! I went to the Scarborough Sea Fest on saturday and went to a session which was cordial and welcoming if a little contrived (they only had one and a half hour for a session which could have lasted all day) My old mates Colin, Allan and Ian from monkeys fist and Jeff and Ian from keepers fold were in and they did greet me like a long lost relative but then we all know each other really well, the others treated me, and others, politely and respectfully, couldn't expect more.
Not everyone are gregarious outgoing egomaniacs and because people are uncomfortable in strange company it shouldn't be seen as a negative. So, it is true that different venues have levels of hospitality one shouldn't expect that there is a roaring extrovert in every club waiting to throw their arms around you and give you a hug! Ask, why don't i break the ice and go and talk to someone and then you will probably have answered the question, "why hasn't someone come to talk to me" Otherwise my only crit is clubs that insist on "trad" only, heaven knows what i think of introspective singer/songwriters who sing endless songs about their marriage break up but in the spirit of the inclusivity of it all there has to be room for everyone to express themselves.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 24 Jul 06 - 05:41 AM

Much of the traditional Folk music/songs in the UK have come directly from the working classes, who used to band together to perform in barns or on ships etc usually with quarts of real ale. Unfortunately those days when people who worked together, lived and played together as a community are gone. Families, due to the so called 'progress' in society, are now much more isolated than 100 yrs ago and beyond, so they do not 'group' together in the same way or make up songs/tunes as they did in those days of yore.
Nowadays Folk music/singing/performing has become something which the middle/lower middle classes tend to keep going in an effort to uphold tradition. Many traditions...not just to do with music...have died out....so Let's keep Folk music alive! however we do it or whoever does it.
Best wishes, Mike


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jul 06 - 06:13 AM

Sounds like the original poster did something that went down like a lead balloon and is trying to use class to explain why.

What actually happened?

Maybe they just didn't like what he/she sang.

For any kind of music you can find somebody in any class who thinks it sucks.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: Betsy
Date: 24 Jul 06 - 06:55 AM

Someone(s)took the fun out of Folk music . Anoraks ,wierdos ,pseudo intellectuals , for a start, trying to move the genre to a studious type of poetry-reading position .
Young 'uns don't see us enjoying ourselves , so why would they want to buy into it?
If I was 20/22 years old, I wouldn't want to hang around a Folk club these days ,but when I was going to Folk clubs at that age; fun, song, music, beer and laughs mixed with "serious songs" which were very often educational,were the name of the game.
I appreciate that some lovely souls will be affronted at my critique because they ARE part of a vibrant healthy and friendly club, and to them , I apologise , but for the rest of them, complete with their internal politics and hang ups are not an attraction to the young. Witness any young performers who exhibited any talent these last couple of years , they're whisked away from the club circuit to concerts , Tours and Festivals and the young'uns don't get a chance to see them at a local folk club where they could perhaps become stimulated into emulating or giving a go to playing music or singing.
At least they would be watching someone from their own peer group.
Contrast that situation with all the revival Folk who had to hammer it out , year in / year out before they reached any reasonable or national acclaim . Imagine Christie Moore , Barbara Dickson, The Furies, Maddy Prior, Mike Harding , Tony Capstick , Martin Carthy and other greats, being on your club guest list on a regular basis.
Can't turn the clock back, but unless we make space for the young 'uns to get some of their own songs out of their system in front of a live auduience and make Clubs more welcoming to them...... Is it any wonder why ...!

Cheers,

Betsy


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 24 Jul 06 - 08:13 AM

In 47 years of organising, and performing, at folk clubs I have seen the same things happening at some (a tiny minority).

All the clubs I have been involved with as an organiser have maintained a deliberate policy of treating every newcomer (no matter how good, or bad) as a welcome guest whose performance is respected and enjoyed. I have always made a beeline for unknown faces (especially the young ones) and enquired whether they perform, and I have always made sure that they get a good chance to show what they can do. The same welcome and respect has been offered to those who came to listen. After all, they are the ones we perform for.

This, to me, is the main function of an organiser, period. It isn't a matter of ego, as I am perfectly happy to drop myself (and thereafter, my residents) to make room.

As a performer, I don't expect to be treated as some kind of God, but simple good manners and a measure of respect will decide whether my first visit will also be my last.

If I am travelling some distance to a club, I always consider it courteous to let them know in advance, and if this is not possible I don't get annoyed if they can't fit me in.

I suppose I fall into the category of "working class", but this has absolutely nothing to do with my musical activities.

I would suggest that the originator of this thread has been rather unlucky in his choice of venue, and, from experience I am sure that the majority of London Clubs are very different from that description.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why ...!
From: jojofolkagogo
Date: 24 Jul 06 - 11:12 AM

I just CANNOT BELIEVE that you all fell for this posting ...

it was just a silly way to get you all going, and s/he has done a terrific job !!


I go to many many many many clubs, all around the country and as you ALL KNOW there is definitely no snobbery -


s/he just did not bother to speak to anyone - probably walzed in, played a song and walzed out again because no-one took any notice of him/her in the first five minutes !!!


Jo-Jo
PS will someone PLEASE respond to my "Longford" thread, feeling very lonely ....


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 05:38 AM

well for my money, the fault lines were pretty much in English folk reveial from day one. from that first day Cecil sharp heard that bloke singing in his garden.. you can bet your ass, he wasn't the sort of bloke he would have invited round to a supper party.

similarly when the guys like Lonnie Donnegan and Donovan were interesting a mass audience in expressing themselves through folk music - the middle classes soon put a damper on that.

History will I am sure will write up that episode as merely one set of artists being jealous of the commercial viability one another set of artists. The 'English folk music for the English' is utterely transparent nowadays when we can see how eclecticism, and indeed fashion, is the very motor that drives along the voice of te people.

Class infects every facet of your life, if you're English. the folk revival was just another casualty.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 06:00 AM

I've heard this one before: 'The middle classes have killed traditional music with their snobbery and intellectualism (cause you don't get snobs or intellectuals in the proletariat, do you?). To some extent, I'll even go along with it, especially with regards to the folk scene and the 'Arts' circuit.

But I wonder how many of the people here have ever heard of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann? Not a perfect organisation, but one that has been promoting Irish traditional music amongst largely working-class kids (and their kids) in Britain for over 50 years. A lot of people don't like it as it is characterised by what many might describe as the 'faults' within the Irish community (which usually boil down to Irish people not all being socialist, literary, philosophical, poetic, agnostic sociology graduates) but it does its job of locating Irish music within the Irish community and by and large does it rather well. Plus it does it all year round, which is more than a lot of so-called 'Arts Festivals' do. Which is probably why the Arts mafia chooses to ignore it (if they are aware of it at all).

A good friend of mine (as well as a very fine accordion player) once said to me that traditional music is played by two types of people: those who love it and those who do it for the attention. I wonder which category the people who get most aggravated by this subject fall into.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 06:06 AM

One more observation: there have been a lot of great young artists come along in the last few years but the audience doesn't seem to have changed. So at something like a Kate Rusby or Kathryn Roberts gig you have a young woman in her twenties playing to an audience largely comprised of men in their fifties. You couldn't really blame any newcomer to the folk scene having mixed feelings about that sort of spectacle. We know it's not wierd (of course) but...


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: GUEST,Penguin Egg
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 06:32 AM

I don't know about snobbery, but whenever I go to a folk club, which is rare, I always feel that I am gate-crashing a private party. Everyone seems to know one another and while there is usually a good atmosphere, if you are not a part of the group, then you feel left out. It makes you feel conspicious. Not only that, in order to get in, you have to become a member. Why? It is a shame that folk clubs can't be just venues where you pay your money, go in, and listen to whoever is being advertised outside. That's another thing, folk clubs are damnable hard to find and they never advertise.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 06:59 AM

Maybe so, but has the Irish parallel love of country music and the way they have incorporated it into ballads really done the music of say The Chieftains any harm. No, it has just added a populist strain to their music which gives it universal appeal.

my Irish friends tell tell me that their class system is more subtle and less 'in yer face' than ours, but just as deadly. I just have to take their word for that.

Seems to me their music fares better under whatever class system prevails over there.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 07:06 AM

Hi Penguin Egg,

In answer to your questions:-

1. Membership. Some clubs HAVE been run as members only, as a defence against the "two in a bar" law, a private members club having been exempt until the Licensing Act 2003.

This situation may change, as this type of club is no longer exempt, but it was necessary in areas where councils were heavy handed and PELs were very expensive (over £4000 per year in some cases).

2. Most clubs cannot afford to advertise in newspapers, and, given that ads in many cases have to be changed weekly, it is a heavy burden on the person handling publicity, who also works full time and most likely has a family to consider.

Clubs DO advertise in local magazines run by volunteers, usually on a bi-monthly basis, but this of course doesn't help out of area people, as they have no way of getting copies. Also some local newspapers do operate a free "What's On" listing (with varying standards of accuracy) which includes folk clubs.

Also, a visit to www. folkandroots.co.uk will open up a nationwide listing of those which have taken the trouble to inform the webmaster of their existence.

Taking your first point about feeling left out, my answer would depend on more detailed information about your experience. There are always two sides to every story, and although my first instinct would be to say you should have been greeted and welcomed, it is also true that when there are numbers of people at the door, paying to get in, this doesn't always happen. If in this case you take a seat and keep to yourself, you may well be overlooked, not snobbery just lack of attention.

I have been in this position (very rarely), but I soon learned the trick of buttonholing someone (before the music starts) and asking for details of the club. Once you do that, you will find that the result will be that you are drawn int the circle, and become part of the proceedings.

There ARE a tiny number of clubs which are dedicated to one type of music only, and I only visit those once. I don't see that as snobbery of any sort, it's just their choice and they are entitled to run THEIR club however they choose, but it's not what I'm looking for so I go elsewhere.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 07:16 AM

In the first place, the original poster was talking about some festival in London (of which no-one else seems to have heard), not a club. I seem to recall that 'Penguin Egg' lives in Canada, so perhaps the above remarks apply there, but it is no longer so in London. Under the old licensing laws, it was a necessary evil for 'clubs' to be just that: open only to private members and their guests in order to get round the ridiculous 'two in a bar' rule governing live music. For this reason, they were not allowed to advertise club evenings as public events. Under the new legislation. a venue is either legal or it isn't, depending on whether it holds a Public Entertainment Licence. Club membership is unnecessary, therefore 1960s revival-stylee 'clubs' hidden away in dingy pub backrooms peopled by tankard-clutching, grey-bearded, tie-die-clad cliquey bores and long past their sell-by anyway, can and are fading away. To quote from the publicity from one of a new type of gatherings springing up all over, it provides 'an evening of acoustic/traditional/nu-folk music featuring the best talent from London and beyond. Current, qualified and credible artists in an intimate venue'. And no, it's not one of those appalling open mics for spotty teenagers emerging from their bedrooms with songs about their introspection and woes and an attitude that the world owes them a living if not an immediate worldwide deal, recent guests have included Tom Paley and Tim Van Eyken. And at the risk of letting out a few cats among the pigeons (though possibly not driving said birds from their holes, the most unfriendly club I ever went to was about ten years ago during a visit to my long-left-behind native city of Newcastle. Not a single person spoke to me (other than to tell me I could go on second after the interval). They were all busy inviting each other to each others' ceilidhs and sessions but not one (even BEFORE I'd been on!) said 'hey, you're new, would you like to come along to . . .' Places I tend to drop by at now are those where the organisers take a real interest in who is there, welcoming newcomers and asking why they've come and what other music they like, and making sure anyone who arrives with an instrument is asked if they want to play.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: Scrump
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 07:35 AM

Guest Penguin Egg makes a generalisation that doesn't fit with my experience. Sure there are some folk clubs that are a bit cliquey and if you're an outsider you may feel you're not welcome. But many others are friendly to strangers - I went to one recently and the organiser made a point of asking me if I sing, and then invited me to do a floor spot. He needn't have done this as there were more than enough other performers to fill the bill. The regulars were very friendly. I've been to more friendly clubs than cliquey ones, on balance. Don't think they're all the same, GPE, try more clubs until you find one you like!


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 07:55 AM

I thought I just posted here. Did I get censored and if so why?


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working cla
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 08:01 AM

We may not always get it right but, at my own club in Walthamstow, I usually (always!) try to notice any newcomers and find time to chat to them during the evening.

Apart from the fact that we should have a natural desire to make strangers welcome to our music and hope that they return, it's a good chance to

a. find out how they discovered the club, check that your hitting the right targets (if any) with your publicity

b. discover new singers, musicians, general helpers etc who can add to the club

c. possibly discover new artists that they may like that you never thought of booking

etc etc

Can't understand a club that wouldn't do that.

Of course I said we may not always get it right so if you turned up on a particular night and felt we hadn't greeted you properly well I guess that the "other" Kevin Sheils was on that evening!


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: Mr Fox
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 08:39 AM

I don't know about folk clubs but I like to think I'm working class and I heard my first folk songs (Daddy Fox and The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies) from my mother - who was certainly working class.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 09:33 AM

oh to be a spotty teenager....


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 09:49 AM

I don't think folk clubs are dominated by the middle class.

When my late wife Jacqui, our son's young friend Royston (who would then have been in his early 20s), and I formed Roger the Chorister (there was a fourth founder member but he left almost immediately) several of the stalwarts at the then Rainham Oast club dubbed us "the Shinyarses" because we all had desk jobs which was the exception rather than the rule. I guess that would have been about 15 years ago but I don't see much change.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: Grab
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 09:58 AM

whenever I go to a folk club, which is rare ... Everyone seems to know one another...

Perhaps if you went more often then they'd know you too? And let's face it, if there's any club where people get together but never get to know each other or have a chat, most of us would avoid it like the plague.

Re membership fees, it depends on where the club is. I was fortunate enough to be taken to the Windsor folk club by DDW when I was in town, and that takes place in a rented hall. Great acoustics, but you obviously don't get the hall for free, so there needs to be some kind of entry charge to cover that. Some also hire pro or semi-pro performers, so entry/membership fees pay them directly (as a percentage of the door) or indirectly (adding up over multiple sessions to a fixed hiring fee). Some just take place in pubs, and any pro/semi-pro musicians are paid for by the pub (and made back in the beer price), in which case entry will be free, but the quality may be uncertain. You get what you pay for, and if you choose not to pay then you can hunt around for an alternative.

You're right about the advertising though - it's bloody hard finding them. But the same is true for any non-professional group. Good luck if you want to go looking for clubs for folk dance, amateur dramatics, cycling (especially offroad), rock-climbing, hill-walking, rollerblading, etc - in fact, any activity that can take place in a public space. I don't think folk clubs are anything different there, and they may actually be easier to find, because at least you know they're likely to be happening in pubs so you can get the phone book and ring round.

Back to the original poster, as far as the "middle classes" putting a damper on the "mass audience", you might want to check which class is the majority these days. Of all the people saying they're working-class, how many currently have a job involving manual work? Farmers, welders, mechanics, gardeners, that kind of thing. And how many have houses bigger than a two-up two-down terrace? If you work in a shop or an office, or if you're living in a nice semi (or even detached), then you're almost certainly some variety of middle class. I don't care who your parents were or what your accent is or how you consider yourself, you've become middle-class by virtue of your own finances and occupation. Most of Britain has been middle-class by this definition since the last half of the 20th century, with the advent of automation in industry and farming.

For some reason it's popular to claim "working class credentials", presumably in the mistaken belief that other classes don't work, but that's the purest self-deluding bullshit of "I'm in touch with my roots, man". As an extreme example, Jennifer Lopez released a single saying "I'm still Jenny from the block". Oh yes? with your multi-million-dollar house and your dozens of servants? I think not. And vice versa, if you automatically put someone down for their "privilidged white middle class background" regardless of their musical abilities, you're more biased than anyone else. Take the log out of your eye first.

Not that this matters for a folk club - I've not seen any kind of class-conscious bullshit myself. There's definitely people like that out there, but that's just a symptom of general bastardry.

And Lonnie Donegan and Donovan as exemplars of the working-class tradition?! I beg to differ. Lonnie Donegan was the son of a professional violinist, so that's about as "privilidged white middle class background" as it's possible to get without having a peerage. As for Donovan, he recorded his first demo at 18 and was on national TV by 19, so he wasn't exactly someone who put in years of "hammering it out". What they had was a love for the music and plenty of talent. If you don't have both of those, it doesn't matter a damn how working-class you are.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: Scrump
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 11:04 AM

I forgot to say earlier - IME, most folk clubs that offer membership don't give members any priority over non-members when it comes to getting in, apart from members being a discount on the entry fee. There may be clubs that give their members priority over non-members to get in when they have a popular guest, but I don't know any.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: countrylife
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 11:26 AM

>>There seems to be an air of complete intellectual snobbery (or attempted intellectualism!!!!) amongst the people who attend these sessions.<<

It was precisely this attitude that caused Ashley Hutchings to state, that perhaps it was time to take folk music back to "the garage".

After all in my opinion, that exactly what folk music is...a much older form of garage music


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working cla
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 12:06 PM

There are some clubs where you are made to feel welcome and some where you are not. I started a thread about this myself not too long ago when 2 clubs I entered while on holiday completely ignored me:-( Or perhaps I was so short they didn't see me under the table? ;-)

We all like to think our own clubs are best but hand on heart I can say that whenever I see a new face at mine I will go and speak to them, find out where they are from, if they want to sing etc. etc. It is nothing to do with snobbery or class. It is just manners.

I know a lot of people from London and count them amongst my friends so I will not hopefuly alienate them here? London is a large, bustling, cosmopolitan city. In any such city, including Manchester where I live, you will seldom get the informality of the suberban clubs. I must say the 2 clubs I mentioned earlier were both provincial and I have been made welcome in at least as many London clubs but generaly speaking big cities are not places to make friends.

As to the old/young divide. We have young people at ours and I have seen many young people at others. I don't think snobbery or aloofness is anything to do with it. As th eprevious poster said if a young person likes it they will stay. If not they will go.

Just my tuppence worth.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working cla
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 12:55 PM

I have just returned from a Folk Festival too. Warwick this weekend.

There were teaching workshops on rapper dancing; stepping; story telling fiddle playing; pottery; concertina playing at various levels and styles; songs; playing bones; guitar tunings; shape note singing; tai chi; cotswold morris; tenor banjo; french dancing; bones playing; writing tunes; harmonies; bodrhan workshops etc.....

Music included: groups of various types; music hall; crumhorns; didgeridoo; harmony;singer-songwriters;irish; scottish; comedians who played and sang; folk rock bands; chunky spanish guitar rhythms; afro-fusion; shanties; hurdy gurdies; accordions;asturian music; english dance tunes; irish dance tunes; scottish dance tunes; chartoppers;satirists;samba; slavic rhythms etc etc.....

There were hundreds of younger people (which I define as under 30), some came for the music, some for the dance, some to learn, some came to teach and many came to perform. Some came to meet up with mates and some came to keep me up late at night with their incessant melodeon, guitar,fiddle, whistle, bodhran, flute, saxophone, oboe and accordion playing.

In my opinion most folk festivals are like this to a larger or smaller extent. I went to my first one in the 1960's and have been to dozens since then.

I am not sure where the original poster is coming from - but since he or she suggest setting up a club of their own - different to the ones that now exist presumably - would he or she be kind enough to let us know when and where it is, how it is different form what has gone on so far, and I for one would love to see it succeed.

Do let us know how you get on.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 01:16 PM

The point about Donnegan and Dylan is that they inspired working class people to take an interest in expressing themselves through folksong.

And boy did that stick in the craw of the upholders of the tradition.

And my Old man's a Dustman still sounds more the native English tongue than anything on the topic label to me. And I suspect it does to most English people.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 05:31 PM

Club members are clannish and snobbish and standoffish and offputting and treat nonmembers differently from members.

Which is eactly as it should be.

That is purely normal group dynamics.

If you want a total stranger to treat you like a long lost friend, visit an auto dealership.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 06:28 PM

nice one russ!

I think most folk club people are good eggs......

However upholding a tradition that never really existed has made them insular, and defensive.
Take The Watersons for example.
I really admire the Watersons and I loved that early Frost and fire album - played it to death. However thirty years on, I can see that The Watersons was a great creative achievement - a bit like Ziggy Stardust. And I DO respect that.
they got us to believe that there were these bohemian looking people encamped on the edge of society. the music with its outlandish harmonies held the key to our inner national identity.

And of course the whole thing soon had adherents - it was bloody exciting stuff, and everybody likes to be in an esoteric gang.

Its not The Watersons' fault, but now as I'm getting older - I realise that that music expressed very few of the truths of my life.

And perhaps that is what people are entitled to look for in a genuine art form.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working class)
From: Snuffy
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 06:28 PM

And my Old man's a Dustman still sounds more the native English tongue than anything on the topic label to me. And I suspect it does to most English people.

And if you sing it all through to the tune of Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy with half a dozen singers harmonizing, "most English people" think it's great, and may even join in.


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Subject: RE: Is it any wonder why! (folk & the working cla
From: Tootler
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 06:58 PM

Is it any wonder why young working class people are not drawn to Folk and Traditional music

Not really. It's not the current top twenty and has not been for more than 100 years.

Make of that what you will, but I am not passing a judgement, rather making an observation.

At the time that C# & Co were collecting, much of what was sung in the pubs and so on where they collected the tunes was essentially the popular music of their day. Things have changed since then.


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