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Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding

The Borchester Echo 13 Dec 06 - 03:09 AM
greg stephens 12 Dec 06 - 06:41 PM
GUEST 12 Dec 06 - 03:53 AM
Ruth Archer 12 Dec 06 - 03:27 AM
GUEST 12 Dec 06 - 03:18 AM
GUEST 11 Dec 06 - 06:21 PM
AlexB 11 Dec 06 - 05:11 PM
Les in Chorlton 11 Dec 06 - 05:11 PM
greg stephens 11 Dec 06 - 05:10 PM
Ruth Archer 11 Dec 06 - 05:09 PM
Ruth Archer 11 Dec 06 - 05:08 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 06 - 04:59 PM
Ruth Archer 11 Dec 06 - 04:50 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 06 - 04:41 PM
Ruth Archer 11 Dec 06 - 04:19 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 06 - 04:00 PM
The Borchester Echo 11 Dec 06 - 03:36 PM
AlexB 11 Dec 06 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Dan 11 Dec 06 - 03:05 PM
Ruth Archer 11 Dec 06 - 02:40 PM
AlexB 11 Dec 06 - 02:04 PM
GUEST, PRS Member 11 Dec 06 - 11:22 AM
Dave Hanson 11 Dec 06 - 07:40 AM
Dave Hanson 11 Dec 06 - 07:38 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Dec 06 - 07:37 AM
Pete_Standing 11 Dec 06 - 07:08 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Dec 06 - 06:09 AM
Folkiedave 11 Dec 06 - 06:06 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Dec 06 - 05:46 AM
Folkiedave 11 Dec 06 - 03:48 AM
Dave Hanson 11 Dec 06 - 02:45 AM
Folkiedave 10 Dec 06 - 08:20 PM
Declan 10 Dec 06 - 07:29 PM
Folkiedave 10 Dec 06 - 07:26 PM
greg stephens 10 Dec 06 - 07:20 PM
greg stephens 10 Dec 06 - 06:54 PM
Folkiedave 10 Dec 06 - 06:33 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 Dec 06 - 05:24 PM
Folkiedave 10 Dec 06 - 03:32 PM
GUEST 10 Dec 06 - 03:03 PM
greg stephens 10 Dec 06 - 02:45 PM
GUEST 10 Dec 06 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,Dan 10 Dec 06 - 02:25 PM
GUEST 10 Dec 06 - 02:24 PM
GUEST 10 Dec 06 - 02:15 PM
GUEST 10 Dec 06 - 02:11 PM
The Borchester Echo 10 Dec 06 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Dan 10 Dec 06 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,Dan 10 Dec 06 - 12:53 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 Dec 06 - 12:42 PM
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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 03:09 AM

Folk Awards - open & clear

Folk Awards Part II


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 06:41 PM

Interestingly, i have achieved a slight movement. i wrote to Smooth Ops and said the V-sign picture response to anyone wishing to complain was a disgrace to the BBC and an abuse of power, given the current controversy. And John leonard has agreed to remove the picture. Which I entiely agreee might have been funny a few weeks ago, but is now sick..
   He has also released a very verbose response to those asking questions about the reaward procedures. Unfortunately, I do not have the technology to put a clickie to it here(it is on the BBC message board). The intiguing thing about his response is that it purports to answer the question "Did Lakeman's the White Hare come in the top four of numbers of votes for best tarditional track". However, if you read his answer closely (with the benefit of the thought that he might have taken legal advice), you will realise he does not answer with a "yes".
    So I ask the question again.
John Leonard, did Seth Lakeman's recording of the White Hare actually come in the top four numbers of votes cast for "Best Traditional Track"? It's a simple yes or no answer.
    I don't know the answer this question. I am a boring old git who has been a professioanl folk musician for forty-odd years, and I have has some strange communications from people who prefer to remain anonymous. I am not going to win the Prettiest Folk Singer award in the immediate future, so I am not thretaened in this situation. But all of us in the folk world are threatened by the general suspicion.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 03:53 AM

"You can choose to opt out and languish in relative obscurity.... or opt in and take your chances with the others"

Actually it's not our choice. Some only sign people they can exploit (just ask some of the good young acts how much money they really make from folk music).

Some of us are already too experienced, or we went there before and got burned (cf CM).

"No one ever said it was fair" Not in business no, but the BBC actually insist on fairness.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 03:27 AM

and as it's been said before, that would be an acceptable argument (just) if we were talking about commercially-sponsored awards. This is the BBC - they can't just make up the rules, they're accountable to all of us. I, for one, don't want to opt out: I love the fact that the folk awards raise the profile of the music and help us to sell tickets and CDs, especially to those beyond our own small circle. But if the awards are going to continue to fulfil that function, they've got to have crdibility. What we've discovered this year undermines that credibility. Is that so bloody hard to understand?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 03:18 AM

and that's the way the world turns. You can choose to opt out and languish in relative obscurity....or opt in and take your chances with the others. No one ever said it was fair - but that's life.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 06:21 PM

" THOSE WHO DO A GOOD TURN, GET THE GIGS AND SELL THE CD'S ."

No - it's those who sign away their rights to the svengalis of folk who get the 'breaks.'

This is all about percentages.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: AlexB
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 05:11 PM

Guest, all people want is transpareny and for a non trad song to be removed from the trad category. That is all this boils down to. Sure there are people who show up time and again when some people that others think deserving don't get nominations, but if Smooth Ops can show that it is above board people will accept it. The fact that the White Hare was nominated in a category it doesn't belong in despite the fact that the 150 panel members are folk experts just makes it worse. Show us how its decided and people will be happier.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 05:11 PM

Guest, why won't they simply admit the White Hare is not trad and then explain how Awards are awarded? That's what we want.

We have asked lots and lots of times and they won't.

This is the central issue. It leads to other issues but I want to stick with these two.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 05:10 PM

Recent GUEST: I dont really mind if John Tams, God Almighty, Seth Lakeman, Elvis Presley or me end up as winners. That is irrelevant here. The general discussion here concerns allegations that the winners have not corresponded to those with the highest numbers of votes cast. That for various reasons(obviously unclear at this stage) votes have been adjusted to ensure that certain acts/songs win, irrespective of whether they received a majority of votes cast. This would be very disturbing if true. Now, the allegations may be malicious and totally unfounded, but I must confess after a lot of thought I don't see how the votes could possssibly have led to the announced results, unless some secret processing has occurred. the matter can be very easily cleared up, by someone at the BBC looking into it, and issuing a statement. Which is what should happen right away, otherwise the process becomes tainted by suspicion. And the winners, who should have every right to be delighted by their success, will instead be the subjects of a whispering campaign. Somebody must explain what happened.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 05:09 PM

And John Tams got three awards last year.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 05:08 PM

It's NOT ABOUT whether we like Seth Lakeman or not. FFS!

It's about whether Smooth Operations should be massaging the votes to ensure that Seth Lakeman, who already has plaudits coming out of his perfectly-formed arse, gets YET ANOTHER nomination, and one for which he is patently not eligible. And the fact that someone who WAS eligible for the nomination has been kept off the podium as a result.

That works for you, does it?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 04:59 PM

OK - sorry for shouting. Lower case. Lower voice.But same point. I do think the market finds its' level. These awards aren't perfect but if you scroll back a few years, its not as if they've handed out the gongs to non-entities is it? No one's ever going to agree on who deserves an award ( and ,for Pete's sake, John Tams got one last year and he's always set my teeth on edge) but isn't that the point? There is no oracle, least of all in the ramshackle, informal, multi-disciplined world of folk music. Your cup of tea isn't necessarily mine. Even in the comradely world of folk music, egos rage.We all want to be in the tent. I wish I bloody was.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 04:50 PM

*sigh*

The point is actually that we're suggesting that the nominations are fixed, and not the result of a fair and transparent voting system. How does that benefit folk?

And do please stop shouting.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 04:41 PM

BUT ISN'T THAT PRECISELY THE POINT, RUTH? THAT MARKET FORCES - EVEN WITHIN THE BENIGN CONFINES OF FOLK MUSIC - FIND THEIR LEVEL? THOSE WHO DO A GOOD TURN, GET THE GIGS AND SELL THE CD'S . THERE'S THE ODD GLARING OMISSION - BUT BY AND LARGE, THE TOP TURNS GET THE GIGS AND THE EXPOSURE. FOR THOSE WHO DON'T WANT TO ENGAGE AT THAT LEVEL, THERE IS NO COMPUNCTION TO DO SO.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 04:19 PM

As a programmer (and sometime dairy farmer), I don't agree that this is the issue at all. It's my job to pay people for making music. Apart from concerns about the appropriation and undermining of the "tradition", I like to see folkies do well. What is frustrating is seeing certain artists receive the support and exposure of mainstram folk radio, while other (no less talented or deserving) artists are excluded, or receive fewer of those opportunities. If this were purely driven by the market, you could maybe say "tough - that's the way it is." But when some artists receive a disproportionate amount of support (even to the point that maybe voting processed are "assisted" to ensure that they receive a maximum number of nominations in various categories), it doesn't seem very fair to those artists who miss out on valuable exposure and record sales as a result.

I don't object to commerce - I want to see more of those deserving artists getting their bite of the cherry.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 04:00 PM

I THOUGHT THIS WAS A PARTICULARLY LUCID OBSERVATION, VERY WELL EXPRESSED ,AND SORT OF ADDRESSES SOME OF THE UNDERLYING NIGGLES IN THIS THREAD, WHICH FOR ALL ITS DRESSED UP IN RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION ABOUT WHAT'S TRAD AND WHAT'S NOT, IS REALLY ABOUT WHO'S IN THE INNER CIRCLE AND WHO'S NOT, WHO'S SELLING AND WHO'S NOT,WHO GETS ON THE AWARDS SHORTLIST AND WHO DOESN'T. I'VE CUT AND PASTED THE FOLLWOIGN FROM THE BBC WEBSITE. BTW, I'M NOT A SEAN LAKEMAN GROUPIE NOR AN APOLOGIST FOR SMOOTH OPS....JUST A FAN OF THE MUSIC, AND SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T SEE FOLK MUSIC AND POPULISM/PROFESSIONALSIM AS MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.


As someone else who makes a living from folk music I'm with magicgillian on this one. And I'm a bit flummoxed about why making money from folk music is viewed as radically different ("tainted") to making a living from the many other skills, talents or human exchanges that used to be unpaid in communities. I mean what do all you folks who're so scornful of musical commerce actually do to pay your bills? Are you living in communes?

I'm also with the folks who point out that all of the visible folk music professionals started out playing or singing for craic or because the music connected with them on a deeply personal level. At almost any session you care to call upon in any part of Scotland you're likely to fall upon a healthy mix of amateur, semi pro and pro musicians playing for the sheer enjoyment of it. There are also unknown numbers of weekend house parties, weddings and other celebrations where the music is right at home in its "original" context.

If you don't like the idea of commerce in folk music then stop buying CDs and going to ticketed gigs. Find the music that's on your doorstep or make it only with your friends and families and be happy to let the rest of us pursue our shallow, mercenary paths.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 03:36 PM

I was talking about 'gateway' in the context of that particularly nauseating BBC term for leading listeners from Keating to Krusby and saying that most people. but especially young ones, don't like being told what to listen to but want to discover it for themselves.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: AlexB
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 03:26 PM

Sorry Dan, mixed up your just "people" with Countess R's "especially young people". My apologies.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 03:05 PM

I didn't say "young people" - I said "people". The demographic that spend the largest amount of money (and so bring the most trade into the industry and are most likely to splash out on further stuff) are those with the largest disposable income, and that means 30-somethings up to the fabled "£50 man" - those that leave their local branch of HMV with £50 worth of stuff every time. Its them that might hear Seth/Kate/Cara and decide to investigate and end up earning money for Nic Jones.

I once heard that John Peels show had the largest early-teen listenership of all the shows on Radio1. Thats the age when teenagers are deciding if they are going to be a goth, raver, metaller, folkie or whatever and they are the least set in their ways because they are still forming thier 'ways'. All folk music needs to do to reach them is to be visible - and on that note, Lisa Knapp has been played on the Huw Stevens show (in John Peels old slot) two or three times this week - a surefire bet for the 2008 folk awards, surely? I am 25, I think that just about still counts as 'young'.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 02:40 PM

I can't do that, Dave. I'm stll hoping for an invite to the do.

*removes tongue from cheek*


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: AlexB
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 02:04 PM

For those who talk about the whole gateway for young people to get into folk I have to ask how many they actually asked. I'm nearly 21, I think that puts me in the today's youth category. Were I not already interested in folk music I highly doubt Seth would get me interested. I'd probably have seen him as a pop singer and not looked to deeply into it. However feel free to do a survey, I for one would find it interesting how many people do find it a gateway into folk.

I have nothing really to add to the main discussion as all my views have been gone over ad infinitum by others already.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST, PRS Member
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 11:22 AM

Just for the record you get the same money for Trad Arr as you do for a fully-written song.

It's all based on percentages. Trad doesn't get a percentage, you get the lot.

So
Music: Trad arr 'PRS Member'/Words: 'PRS Member'
is the same as
Words and Music: Trad arr "PRS Member
is the same as
Words and Music: 'PRS Member."

I've just double-checked


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 07:40 AM

Sorry, we've already got that.

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 07:38 AM

What about a new category for the next BBC Radio 2 Folk awards, ' The award for the traditional song that's traditional cos Johb Leonard says it is award '

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 07:37 AM

I have to say they were quite quick at "moderating" me and clearly finding me moderate!

I suspect that one reason they maybe refusing to respond is that the Noticeboard has lots of different threads and this issue is only one amongst many. As such it doesn't look very important.

Maybe, more of us who feel it is, need to keep asking for openess and not get side tracked into other related issues and personalities, although the two-finger John photograph is a bit difficult to missunderstand.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 07:08 AM

Hey folkiedave, I don't know if your post contravened the "House Rules", but it certainly must have touched some raw nerves. I saw it last night night and thought "WOW!".

In their silence, Smoothies and the Beeb have a whiff about them.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 06:09 AM

I suppose I can't join. My post has stayed up. Well, it's my thread, after all.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 06:06 AM

Les I think you have been moderated!!

Perhaps we should set up a small exclusive dining club.

Come on Joanie - you are lagging behind me and Les!!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 05:46 AM

Seems fair enough to me Dave.

I have just posted this on the BBC Radio 2 Noticeboard.


"We are in great danger of losing our way here.

The central issues are two:

1. The White Hare, by any current deffinition, is not a traditional song.

2. The method of deciding who gets awards is unclear, unavailable and not trusted by lots of people who are the natural and continuing supporters of folk music.

If these points do not matter then neither do the Awards. Since the Awards are the BBC Awards, the BBC should:

1. Remove the song from the traditional catergory

2. Tell Snooth Opps to reveal the details of exactly how Awards are given

3. Organise a system that is open, transparent and trusted"

I cann't see why, well maybe I can, we cannot have "a system that is open, transparent and trusted".

If the BBC Noticeboard is the genuine route to something or other then maybe if we keep asking this simple question we may get a BBC answer?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbradio2/F2142825?thread=3721133


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 03:48 AM

Let me rephrase that last letter.

To end this controversy Smooth Operations should publish the nominations received and the number of nominations of each track.

They should then publish the number of votes that each nomination received. They should indicate if anyone pointed out that this track is not traditional and if so why they were ignored.

They should still explain how a recently written track became to be regarded as "traditional" and not as part of the "original" category.

Hardly rocket science.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 02:45 AM

The BBC Radio 2 website is heavily ' moderated ' for fear of litigation, the boards are only open when the mods are in position and ready to censor, sorry I meant moderate.

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 08:20 PM

Thanks for that Declan. What I said was that it looked like a fix.

Easily solved. Say how the nominations were chosen. Publish the nominations that were sent out to the 150 people, publish their votes. Explain how a recently written song became traditional. Tell us why no-one on the panel managed to point this out or tell us why they were ignored.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Declan
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 07:29 PM

I can understand that they might take down a message alleging that the competition is 'fixed'.

From what I have read so far, it was undoubtedly wrong to nominate Sam's composition in the traditional category, but is a large leap from there to allege tha this was done in an attempt to deliberately manipulate the result of the competition.

I would be very careful about making an assertion like that on a public forum without being in posession of substantial evidence that that is in fact the case. (This is just a piece of neutral advice, I have no interest in this debate other than as an onlooker).


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 07:26 PM

The system closes down from around 9.00 or 10.00 pm.

It will open up again in the morning.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 07:20 PM

Well, I located the site, but it says you can't register to leave messages, the system isn't working.
   The Smooth operations site is interesting. Given the current controversy, I think the picture with the V-sign displayed in the "complaints" bit is a touch on the foolhardy side. JL migfht well come to regret that in a few days.
   If people are having difficulty registering their complaints with John leonard, perhaps they should try Nick Barraclough? As a partner in this business, I imagine he might take the current situation quite seriously: if the situation is not clarified quickly, he might suffer a lot. It is so sad, all this, for those of us who love folk music. How has it come to this, you can't help wondering?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 06:54 PM

What's the link to that BBC message board? I tried to find and couldn't, I have a cabletv internet access and it doesnt always work.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 06:33 PM

I must be making a difference Les, I have just had a post on the BBC message board taken off!!

All it said was that it was a fix!!

Dave


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 05:24 PM

Stick with this people and keep bombing the BBC. We have a good case and and Smooth opps is on the run. The know they have a dodgy set up.

Time for a programme busting shanty?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 03:32 PM

I'd like to add another pint to that which is to be granted to the first of the nominees to admit they voted for White Hare.

The fact is that a number of those people have a vested interest in seeing "their" artists succeed. And there are so many linkages between people it would be very hard to avoid vested interests .

"Apologies if it sounds like I'm defending Smooth Ops. I disagree with their decision to include a newly written song in the trad song category. But I do think that there isn't a better practical way of running the awards".

I accept that you are not defending Smooth Ops but you are defending the system which you admit to having a vote and an interest in. I am not convinced there is much difference.

There has to be a better way of running a system which arrives at a self-penned song winning in a category for a traditional track when there is a perfectly good category for it elsewhere in the awards.

Would you be kind enough to tell us if you recgnised this as a self- penned song; pointed out to Smooth Ops that this was a self-penned song; and if so what their reaction was?

Finally the more is revealed about this the more it stinks.

Frankly if it walks like a fix, talks like a fix and in this case smells like a fix - then the chances are it is a fix.

And if you honestly believe that this sort of thing acts as a gateway - that is your judgment and I can do no other than respect it. But I most certainly do not have to agree with it.......................

Finally I am happy to put my full name to my postings. I think it is about time in this most contentious of arguments others do the same.

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 03:03 PM

Dan said this:

"I disagree with their decision to include a newly written song in the trad song category"

But it's not supposed to BE their decision at all.

It's meant to be the panel's decision.

However, it looks like it must have been the management not the panel (do you know for sure?) - which, if true, makes a mockery of the whole thing.

If not true, then under BBC guidelines, they should prove it happened honestly.

But they won't.

Now why is that?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:45 PM

GUEST Dan: you claim to know a bit of what's going on. A couple of questions. Firstly, do you believe that the White Hare got in the top four of actual votes casts for the best individual traditional track? Secondly, do you believe that the White Hare actually got any votes at all in that category. And if so, would you care to tell/guess how many?
    But what we really need are official answers to these questions, and of course similar questions about other nominees: this is of course not about Seth Lakeman, he is merely an example.
   Personally I'm all for folk awards. But my belief is that if people are given votes, the votes should be counted and used to decide the winners. The allegation going around is that they weren't. And these are publicised as the BBC Folk Awards, by the way. Not Smooth Ops, nor Mike Harding, not Radio 2.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:32 PM

I don't want to replace anyone on the shortlist for goodness sake! NO-ONE's suggesting that!

They're ALL fully deserving. I like all of them, and I wish them all luck - (some of them are personal friends, and they're all colleagues).

You're missing my point and the points made by the majority of people here.

Others have said this better - but we NEED to be proud of these awards - even the winners need that. And to be proud we need to have confidence in the process.

But the process is deeply flawed - and it shouldn't be.

They set up a system in 99 and they can't be bothered to improve it.

And that's just not good enough


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:25 PM

"I won't name names, but I can think of dozens of top quality full-time life-long pros, who are not even on the 'suggested' list - even though they've had albums out this year which have been played frequently on BBC local radio stations and had glowing reviews in the National and local folk press - and some even write regular articles in the folk press too."

No, do name names... Its an innocent question.

Who would you rather see on the shortlist, and who should they replace?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:24 PM

"I feel happy with it, but mainly because there isn't an alternative."

But there IS an alternative.

Here are some obvious improvements:

A panel from which people with vested interests are excluded.

A panel which has a balanced UK-wide distribution (hell, anyone can drive to London for a gig)

A 'suggestions' list based on something open and sensible - such as BBC airplay (all stations)

Publication of the 'suggestions' list - together with a description of how it's made up.

Publication of ALL the nominations, and the votes for each.

A MUCH bigger panel

Dropping the panel and using a 'chart' system based on radio plays, or record sales or something else.

Dropping the panel system and going for a public vote.

Having a public vote on the panel's nominations.

Lots of other ideas I haven't thought of yet but I will!

For heaven's sake - it's an Awards show. How hard can it be to make it good?!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:15 PM

"A flawed folk awards is better than none"

A good folk awards is better than a flawed one.

And in any event, BBC licence payers have a right to ask questions and get answers. People have been asking serious questions for weeks now.

We are deafened by the silence.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:11 PM

I respect your views Dan, but how are the other professional touring artists, the ones who never get a look in, supposed to feel?

I'm talking about those who are ignored year after year after year even though they are on the road four or five days a week, though they headline festivals and get bums on seats, though they make wonderful albums (which MH never plays), and work hard to be advocates for Harry Cox and Baring-Gould in clubs, schools, pubs and other places.

I won't name names, but I can think of dozens of top quality full-time life-long pros, who are not even on the 'suggested' list - even though they've had albums out this year which have been played frequently on BBC local radio stations and had glowing reviews in the National and local folk press - and some even write regular articles in the folk press too.

Why are these people excluded?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:07 PM

gateway to the harder stuff

Dan is, of course, largely right in his realism but I'm far from being happy this is how things are. It's far too 'safe', leaves Smoothops sitting prettily and lazily on its perch and smacks of the lowest common denominator.

And if there's one BBC-speak expression I loathe more than 'follow through' in terms of music programming, it's 'gateway'. People, especially young ones (Yes, I can remember) know very well when they're being patronised. They prefer to discover music they like by themselves and if it's a bit obscure, that's all the better. They do not appreciate being led through a gate into a field with Ronan Keating in it, with or without Ms Rusby.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 01:29 PM

"1) Are we - the licence fee payers, and therefore the owners of the BBC, and therefore the owners and sponsors of the Radio 2 Folk Awards - happy with that list? Are we comfortable that these people actually know about what's going on, and are not just feeding eachother in some self-contained London-based media ecosystem? Are we at ease with the fact that a good many of those people, (if they are indeed on the panel), can be reasonably expected to vote for artists that they represent, and via whom they may benefit financially from that nomination?"

I feel happy with it, but mainly because there isn't an alternative. Are you sure that anyone not on the list knows better "whats going on"? I think the same artists names come up over and over again (in the case of the Carthys, Martin Simpson, John and Jon etc) because they DO represent the cream of performance of traditional music in this country. Its not a closed shop - witness Jim Moray, Julie Fowlis etc doing well at the awards with their first albums. However, it is (quite rightly IMO) full-time pro musicians who get the the nominations - mainly because they are out working hard to be visible and promote their music. In a voting process, of course the ubiquitous names do well. Its because they've worked hard to be at the forefront of peoples minds.

Also, its London-centric because in order to work for the mainstream media you need to be in London. And by "mainstream media" I don't mean the people trotting out the same old stereotypes, I mean people like Colin Irwin and Colin Randall who are solely responsible for what little good quality coverage we get in the 'outside world'. These are THE GOOD GUYS, honestly.

Apologies if it sounds like I'm defending Smooth Ops. I disagree with their decision to include a newly written song in the trad song category. But I do think that there isn't a better practical way of running the awards.

As if you can't tell - I have a vested interest here too (no, I didn't get my own vote, and no artist I'm connected with is on the shortlist this year for the first time in five years). I work hard because I love traditional music and I want more people who might not otherwise get to hear it to get hooked. To those who suggest that the BBC is 'dumbing down' by promoting only 'easy' artists - think of it as a gateway to the harder stuff. I'm glad that the awards are as they are because through Kate Rusby people might discover Harry Cox or through Seth Lakeman the Baring-Gould collection.

A flawed folk awards is better than none and I don't think biting the hand that feeds (writing to the director general or using the official BBC complaints procedure) is a good idea...


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 12:53 PM

OK, I personally know the votes of one of the people I listed (because they asked my opinion on their choices before sending their votes in). They did not vote for "The White Hare"...

My "safe guesses" are fairly safe I think. Its not exactly secret - its just that these people do not post on Mudcat (for the same reason that Ian Anderson no longer reads Mudcat).

The final votes (for the winner from the shortlist) are already in, and the trophys are handmade and are specific to the winner - e.g. a melodeon and fiddle for Spiers and Boden, or two figures playing guitars for Show of Hands. Perhaps Smooth Ops don't want to drop 'The White Hare' from the shortlist because its won...

That'd be interesting wouldn't it?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 12:42 PM

Is anybody on the list prepared to say they are in fact on the list and that they voted for said "White Hare"?


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