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efdss dances at Sharp House

The Sandman 15 Dec 06 - 04:56 PM
Alan Day 15 Dec 06 - 05:42 PM
The Sandman 15 Dec 06 - 11:09 PM
GUEST,GUEST 16 Dec 06 - 10:12 AM
Ruth Archer 16 Dec 06 - 02:47 PM
DMcG 16 Dec 06 - 02:57 PM
Alan Day 17 Dec 06 - 04:22 AM
Manitas_at_home 17 Dec 06 - 05:08 AM
Alan Day 17 Dec 06 - 07:10 AM
dermod in salisbury 17 Dec 06 - 10:37 AM
Alan Day 17 Dec 06 - 04:21 PM
Ruth Archer 17 Dec 06 - 05:46 PM
Blowzabella 18 Dec 06 - 03:26 AM
GUEST, ... 18 Dec 06 - 05:30 AM
DMcG 18 Dec 06 - 05:36 AM
BB 18 Dec 06 - 06:24 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 06 - 08:42 AM
Scrump 18 Dec 06 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 18 Dec 06 - 02:27 PM
dermod in salisbury 18 Dec 06 - 02:35 PM
The Sandman 18 Dec 06 - 04:53 PM
Alan Day 18 Dec 06 - 05:53 PM
Liz the Squeak 18 Dec 06 - 05:57 PM
GUEST, Topsie 18 Dec 06 - 06:03 PM
GUEST 19 Dec 06 - 02:40 PM
The Sandman 19 Dec 06 - 03:32 PM
Liz the Squeak 19 Dec 06 - 05:12 PM
GUEST, Topsie 19 Dec 06 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Jim Martin 19 Dec 06 - 11:45 PM
GUEST 20 Dec 06 - 03:41 AM
Liz the Squeak 20 Dec 06 - 05:10 AM
Scrump 20 Dec 06 - 05:28 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 20 Dec 06 - 09:00 AM
Alan Day 20 Dec 06 - 09:08 AM
Scrump 20 Dec 06 - 09:24 AM
Mo the caller 20 Dec 06 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 20 Dec 06 - 12:45 PM
GUEST 20 Dec 06 - 03:05 PM
GUEST 20 Dec 06 - 07:09 PM
Alan Day 21 Dec 06 - 04:21 AM
johnadams 21 Dec 06 - 05:14 AM
BB 21 Dec 06 - 05:59 AM
johnadams 21 Dec 06 - 06:48 AM
Scrump 21 Dec 06 - 06:52 AM
manitas_at_work 21 Dec 06 - 07:41 AM
The Sandman 21 Dec 06 - 09:02 AM
The Sandman 21 Dec 06 - 09:20 AM
johnadams 21 Dec 06 - 09:28 AM
manitas_at_work 21 Dec 06 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,Theres a big issue with the homeless 21 Dec 06 - 11:20 AM
Scrump 21 Dec 06 - 11:50 AM
The Sandman 21 Dec 06 - 12:02 PM
johnadams 21 Dec 06 - 12:40 PM
BB 21 Dec 06 - 02:32 PM
johnadams 21 Dec 06 - 02:54 PM
The Sandman 21 Dec 06 - 04:15 PM
Ruth Archer 21 Dec 06 - 04:37 PM
dermod in salisbury 21 Dec 06 - 05:09 PM
BB 21 Dec 06 - 05:12 PM
johnadams 21 Dec 06 - 06:12 PM
Alan Day 21 Dec 06 - 06:13 PM
Scrump 22 Dec 06 - 05:42 AM
GUEST, ... 22 Dec 06 - 07:38 AM
Alan Day 22 Dec 06 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 22 Dec 06 - 08:38 AM
Scrump 22 Dec 06 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 22 Dec 06 - 09:13 AM
The Sandman 22 Dec 06 - 10:06 AM
Scrump 22 Dec 06 - 10:18 AM
johnadams 22 Dec 06 - 11:24 AM
johnadams 22 Dec 06 - 12:23 PM
Ruth Archer 22 Dec 06 - 02:50 PM
johnadams 22 Dec 06 - 04:14 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 22 Dec 06 - 05:38 PM
johnadams 22 Dec 06 - 07:00 PM
GUEST 23 Dec 06 - 02:22 AM
Alan Day 23 Dec 06 - 04:26 AM
johnadams 23 Dec 06 - 05:19 AM
Ruth Archer 23 Dec 06 - 05:58 AM
The Sandman 23 Dec 06 - 02:36 PM
The Sandman 23 Dec 06 - 03:18 PM
Ruth Archer 23 Dec 06 - 04:47 PM
johnadams 23 Dec 06 - 05:59 PM
dermod in salisbury 23 Dec 06 - 06:07 PM
johnadams 23 Dec 06 - 06:59 PM
Mo the caller 24 Dec 06 - 10:08 AM
Fidjit 24 Dec 06 - 10:30 AM
Fidjit 24 Dec 06 - 10:34 AM
GUEST 24 Dec 06 - 11:55 AM
Fidjit 24 Dec 06 - 05:29 PM
Alan Day 24 Dec 06 - 06:40 PM
GUEST 25 Dec 06 - 05:14 AM
The Sandman 25 Dec 06 - 07:34 AM
Fidjit 25 Dec 06 - 09:15 AM
GUEST 25 Dec 06 - 11:50 AM
Folkiedave 25 Dec 06 - 01:17 PM
The Sandman 25 Dec 06 - 03:09 PM
Folkiedave 25 Dec 06 - 03:53 PM
oggie 25 Dec 06 - 04:07 PM
The Sandman 25 Dec 06 - 05:09 PM
Fidjit 25 Dec 06 - 06:03 PM
GUEST 26 Dec 06 - 04:12 AM
oggie 26 Dec 06 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,Johnadams in Changi Airport 26 Dec 06 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,JA in Singapore 26 Dec 06 - 09:06 AM
Folkiedave 26 Dec 06 - 10:18 AM
Ruth Archer 27 Dec 06 - 11:22 AM
Folkiedave 27 Dec 06 - 11:51 AM
johnadams 27 Dec 06 - 11:02 PM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 28 Dec 06 - 07:14 AM
Ruth Archer 28 Dec 06 - 08:01 AM
manitas_at_work 28 Dec 06 - 08:06 AM
GUEST 28 Dec 06 - 08:46 AM
The Sandman 28 Dec 06 - 10:37 AM
The Sandman 28 Dec 06 - 10:53 AM
Folkiedave 28 Dec 06 - 12:09 PM
Ruth Archer 28 Dec 06 - 02:14 PM
The Sandman 28 Dec 06 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 29 Dec 06 - 06:33 AM
Ruth Archer 29 Dec 06 - 06:52 AM
The Sandman 29 Dec 06 - 05:41 PM
GUEST 30 Dec 06 - 04:34 AM
Fidjit 30 Dec 06 - 04:56 AM
The Sandman 30 Dec 06 - 05:53 AM
The Sandman 30 Dec 06 - 06:49 AM
The Sandman 30 Dec 06 - 06:56 AM
GUEST 30 Dec 06 - 12:10 PM
The Sandman 30 Dec 06 - 02:28 PM
The Sandman 30 Dec 06 - 03:37 PM
The Sandman 30 Dec 06 - 05:42 PM
GUEST 31 Dec 06 - 04:38 AM
The Sandman 31 Dec 06 - 05:51 AM
johnadams 31 Dec 06 - 06:33 AM
Folkiedave 31 Dec 06 - 07:02 AM
The Sandman 31 Dec 06 - 08:18 AM
The Sandman 31 Dec 06 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 31 Dec 06 - 09:34 AM
The Sandman 17 Apr 07 - 07:39 AM
Downshift 18 Apr 07 - 07:05 AM
The Sandman 04 Jun 07 - 12:53 PM
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Subject: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Dec 06 - 04:56 PM

Is it the job of efdss to promote weekly dances at cecil sharp house.
I believe it is part of their job, Since their remit is to promote english dance and song, it doesnt seem illogical. any views.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Alan Day
Date: 15 Dec 06 - 05:42 PM

I agree Captain in fact our band GIGCB are at Cecil Sharp House Tomorrow Sat 16th for a Euro Ceildh.(French ,Breton and English Dances)
There are some wonderful events organised for Cecil Sharp House and a lot are poorly attended.The Big Hall takes a lot of filling and to create an atmosphere you need about 250-300 people it has been a long time since I saw that sort of crowd there.It costs money however to advertise and Cecil Sharp House has not got it and it is left for each individual event organiser to advertise their own event.The recent interest in Ballroom Dancing may be the lifeline to this old building.Ballroom Dancing may not be everybodys cup of tea on this site, but a recent event there indicated that this may be taking off
in a big way.Any interest in any type of dancing leads to interest in all dancing and the other fringe events that occur in the building.
Al


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Dec 06 - 11:09 PM

your last point is a particuarly good one.
a similiar point was made about the occasional booking of trad jazz bands in folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,GUEST
Date: 16 Dec 06 - 10:12 AM

And I'm there on Sunday for "Carols and Customs".

<<
On 17th December 2006 we have a day packed full of delights with our regular line up of customs and choirs and plenty of singing for the audience. The evening will include Handsworh Sword team who will be giving their version of the 'Derby Tup' as well as dancing, Headington Quarry who will be dancing Cotswold Morris as well as performing their Mummers Play, East Saxon Sword with their spectacular rapper and the London Gallery Quire will be singing West Gallery Carols. Denis and Jenny Smith will give their usual haunting rendering of the Symondsbury Morris tune and Denis is also to act as our overall MC for the evening.
>>>>>


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Dec 06 - 02:47 PM

As an EFDSS member I always feel a bit alienated by the London-centricity of its programmed activities. While it's been explained to me how this has historically evolved, I don't think the situation is particularly helpful in the here and now, especially in terms of attracting new members.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: DMcG
Date: 16 Dec 06 - 02:57 PM

And I'm there on Sunday for "Carols and Customs".

So am I, Guest, Guest. Now how will we recognise each other?


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Alan Day
Date: 17 Dec 06 - 04:22 AM

Cecil Sharp House may be an old building in need of a bit of modernisation,but the dance floors have got to be amongst the best.
The large hall and the small hall floors beneath are absolutely immaculate.
Enjoyable night last night, but once again not a massive turn out.
The Hall's position I agree does it no favours, parking is a nightmare.The bar is understocked and catering is erratic if non existant.Surely in this area it could sell a catering licence or even a bar licence,this would cost the Society nothing and they may even make some money on it and improve that part of the facilities.
Al


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 17 Dec 06 - 05:08 AM

I'll be there tonight as well. I'll be wearing brown shoes.

I was under the impression that the catering and bar were already contracted out albeit to an individual but I'm not sure any commercial organisation could take the catering on and provide a service at the odd hours required.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Alan Day
Date: 17 Dec 06 - 07:10 AM

If that is the case there is a very erratic service as far as catering is concerned.A caterer has to take on a franchise offering a service "swings and roundabouts" it is no good going to a venue expecting to buy a meal and somedays they are serving and other days not.Most people going to C Sharp House live a long distance away and would expect at least a bit more than a packet of crisps to eat.
Brown Boots I ask you, fancy going to Cecil Sharp House in Brown Boots.
Al


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: dermod in salisbury
Date: 17 Dec 06 - 10:37 AM

As a youngster I sat on a wall and watched a limousine bring Princess Margaret to open the brand new Cecil Sharp House. My uncle used to borrow my toy pistol when he acted as a caller for barn dances there. Later,the BBC used it as a rehearsal hall for radio programmes. Its library is considered a great resource. But since moving out of the area (40 years ago), I also began to realise that it is in a ridiculously bad position. One poorly serviced bus route (the awful No 74) passes by outside. The nearest tube station is a ten minute walk away and the direction is far from obvious. How did it come to be built there at all? There may be a good reason. Maybe a legacy. (Also, Vaughan Williams lived nearby). But by now this issue should have been properly addressed. The centre of English folk music and dance archives should be sited at least somewhere central to good transport connections. Prxximity to London Zoo and the Regent's Canal does not exactly fit the bill, picturesque (and pricey) as the neighbourhood may be.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Alan Day
Date: 17 Dec 06 - 04:21 PM

Cetainly it is on a VERY VALUABLE site.You raise a very big discussion point as to whether it should be sold off,a new C Sharp House be built with the proceeds and enough to provide a new centre for Folk Tradition with possibly enough money for it to be professionally run and not on a shoestring budget.
I would prefer to listen to the arguments for and against on this one before I make my decision.
Al


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 17 Dec 06 - 05:46 PM

And a bit of government acknowledgement and support (funding) wouldn't go amiss...


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Blowzabella
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 03:26 AM

Haven't ever been to Cecil Sharp House, cos I rarely visit London, being a northerner but the prospect of a ten minutes walk from a Tube doesn't seem excessive to me. It's a 25 minute walk to my nearest pub - doesn't stop me going there!


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST, ...
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 05:30 AM

I used to go to dances there regularly, but more recently I found the atmosphere around Camden tube station intimidating, and the thought of having to go there on my way home puts me off going at all unless I have a lift arranged in advance. The alternative is taxis but that gets expensive.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 05:36 AM

I found the atmosphere around Camden tube station intimidating

For example, last night there was a fight brewing in the entrance of the tube station itself as we left C# house. One person was desperately trying to calm things down, another clearly determined for something to break out. And no route to the tube station without walking right next to them.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: BB
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 06:24 AM

The possible sale of CSH was discussed at length and with much acrimony some twenty years ago, and resulted in the formation of The Friends of Cecil Sharp House. I think most people who were members of the Society then would be reluctant to visit the argument again, however much it might seem to be needed.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 08:42 AM

I always thought geographically the midlands was a better situation.AND TWENTY YEARS AGO I voted for that, but we were defeated.,and I accepted the will of the majority.
However the friends and e.f.d.s.s MEMBERS, should consider seriously, whether its positioning and the problems of camden tube station is a millstone around their neck.
ideally it needs to be close to a railway station, and easlily accessible by road, and in a low crime area .


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Scrump
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 09:40 AM

I agree that C#H is not in a good position regarding public transport links. I often used to walk up there but I don't know what it would be like these days, especially if you are carrying valuable instruments.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 02:27 PM

Nice to hear from my old mate Alan Day. Hello, Al. I was also in GIGCB about 10 years ago. The second date I took my now-wife on was one of our gigs. She later confessed that she had considered binning me afterwards because my mates were so weird.

Sorry that things haven't improved at Cecil Sharp House. I played there several times with GIGCB and other bands. It's a great room but I never liked the place much, apart from the Library. The bar always seemed like a very bad student union bar in the 70s and there was always a lot of pettiness about concerning publicising other people's gigs. I'm reliably informed that the organiser of one of the regular 'themed' dance nights used to go round tearing down flyers for other venues holding similar themed nights until the organiser of the 'rival' event pulled him up on it and asked him to step outside. He apparently went running off like a puppy. (Allegedly).

This sort of occurrence, and the fact that there are apparently still people around who are prepared to behave like that, probably has at least as much to do with falling attendances as the location or the state of the building. I invited some friends to some gigs I played there and although they had a nice enough time, they weren't too keen on the place, the atmosphere or some of the people.

I live in Liverpool now and I'm still active in Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. My daughter is learning Irish dancing and we recently had a very successful ceili at the St Michael's Irish Centre, where every Monday we have around 40 kids learning whistle, flute, accordion, fiddle, banjo and concertina. The Irish Minstrels branch in Glasgow has around 150 students and they usually walk off with most of the silverware at the All-Britain Fleadh. Why is English folk dancing apparently falling in popularity or is it the venue? And would the EFDSS be better off reinventing itself as a competitive, youth-oriented body like Comhaltas, promoting the music through local branches full of kids and young people?

If people young people get into the music, the dancing is often not far behind - and vice versa. This was part of the problem with the UK Cajun circuit. Dancers thought it was all about them and musicians started to get pissed off with them. At one point, the Cajun band I was in were apparently boycotted by something called the 'Cajun Dancers Association'. Can't say I noticed at the time. Oh well.

Shirley Collins, in her book about her travels in America with Alan Lomax, talks about Cecil Sharp House being a very forbidding and unwelcoming place in the 50s but emphasises that this is not her recent experience - and she should know. My own experience of the place when I lived in London was rather mixed. I often got the feeling that the EFDSS had succeeded in hanging on to the place but didn't really have any idea what to do with it.

As far as relocating is concerned, I think a lot of the problems with the area would affect the value of the site and how much EFDSS could expect to get for it. It might not be worth quite as much as you think. You could move to a more salubrious area but there's no guarantee that it would continue to be so in 20 years' time. My own feeling is that EFDSS should continue to hang on to the place if possible and maybe get someone from outside to sort out the bar and the catering. Maybe allowing drinks and food in the main room should be considered, along with some club-style seating like Vicar Street in Dublin and the option of table service (for a premium). This might have the effect of creating a more sociable atmosphere as well as attracting people who might not have come before.

It would also, not to put too fine a point on it, raise the tone of the place and remove some to the air of cheapness, shabbiness and 'making do' that characterised a lot of events there in my day. If I wanted to continue living in the 1970s I'd have moved to the West Midlands.

Fact is, you'll never fill the place if people don't want to go to dances there and they won't want to as long as it's such a shabby experience, if Alan's account of what it's still like is to be believed. I have no reason to doubt him. I think people will want to go there if they are familiar with folk music and dance and have positive experiences of it. That's where local activity and activity in schools comes in.

Looking at the folk scene, the number of young performers indicates to me that the folk community has largely succeeded in replenishing the supply of performers in a way that I would not have thought likely 20 years ago. However, it has not yet succeeded in replenishing the audience to anything like the same extent.

Answers on a postcard, please.

Nice to hear from you, Alan. Say hello to the guys for me.

I understand the CDs are still available. If anyone is interested, the first one is the best. That's the one I'm on.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: dermod in salisbury
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 02:35 PM

Discreet by nature, I didn't like to mention in my earlier comment that the tube station in question was Camden Town. True, ten minutes walk is no great shakes, admittedly. But once you walk clear of the concentration of drinking establishments, you hit a totally different environment in Regent's Park Road. It is very residential and feels remote. It is illogical place to put a dance floor. I have often wondered who turns up at its music workshops. There can't be that many budding melodeonists in Primrose Hill. The publishing aspects of efdss are mainly mail-order so could run just as successfully from a warehouse. But the site must be worth millions. A review of the situation, at very least, must make sense.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 04:53 PM

hi alan, what does gigcb stand for.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Alan Day
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 05:53 PM

Hallo Chris nice to hear from you.That night you took your Girl
friend was the only night I couldn't make it !!
The George Inn Giant Ceilidh Band normally consists of anything between 8-15 players (all weird) and was formed from musicians who attended the once a Month Session (1st Monday).(The pub forms part of the London Tour of pubs and is one of the oldest in London).
I like your suggestions Chris.
The Main Hall has a very High ceiling and a large dance floor and unless there is at least 250 dancers there is no atmosphere.The best idea is to actually put tables a chairs onto the floor reduce the dance floor size lower the lighting and for a smaller number of people it is less intimidating to get up and dance.
I have played at the hall to large audiences and it is great,go downstairs and that is packed as well,sadly it was about ten years ago.I am only speaking from experience as I have seen it recently,perhaps at other times it is more crowded,I hope someone will confirm that.
As a band we are going to stick it out, we have events at C# House for the whole of next year.Constant events at constant times attract crowds and we intend to give it a go.We get more at the dance at each event so it is worth a try.We do not make any money and barely cover expenses ,but it is great fun,it is a hobby not a business and the odd night now and then is worth all the effort.
Al


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 05:57 PM

I'm not very happy going to C# House at this time of year, for that very reason. Camden Town Tube is not a nice place to be. The police periodically sweep through it removing the beggars, ticket touts and dealers who hang around there, but it's not a permanent solution and they return again after a few weeks. It's also a pig of a place to get a cab from should you miss your last train.

There are lots of things that could be improved about the place, there are many things it needs, but no matter how much they could get for the building, where else could they get such a large building and such beautifully sprung floors for dancing. I've yet to see a modern hall with a decent floor.

LTS


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 06:03 PM

George Inn Giant Ceilidh Band


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 06 - 02:40 PM

Dermod of Salisbury,
Go and wash your mouth out - the last time anybody made such a suggestin the Society ade the front page of The Times because of the ballot rigging.
Liz,
What shall we do with all those beggars - re-open Van Dieman's Land maybe!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 06 - 03:32 PM

did you mean; made, jim


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 19 Dec 06 - 05:12 PM

The first time I went to C# House, I got out of the tube station to be greeted by the sight of a large and none too clean woman squatting to pee in the gutter with her skirts hoisted up over her back and shouting obscenities to the general assembly... being a naive little thing from the sticks, it was quite a shock. I've not seen anything at Camden since to make me change my mind.

LTS


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 19 Dec 06 - 05:57 PM

I seem to remember that Camden was OK about ten years ago - a lively atmosphere, and maybe a few beggars but nothing scary. If it can change for the worse in just a few years, it could change back as quickly maybe.
(I'm not sure how long ago Liz was a naive little thing, but I rather thought it might have been longer than ten years.)


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 19 Dec 06 - 11:45 PM

Pity about Camden Tube Station, used to pass through there frequently on the way to C#H and hated it (often running like mad, partly to get last trains home out to the sticks in wild Bedfordshire and partly to avoid intimidating atmosphere!).

C#H floors are fantastic for dancing, never found anywhere else like it!

Also found the catering very spasmodic, not the way to run a business or service to the community!


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 06 - 03:41 AM

Cap''n - did mean made - I also meant suggestion - keyboard trouble.
Camden Town.
Despite efforts by the great and the good, Camden Town has always been rough and has always resisted efforts (unlike neighbouring Islington) to gentrify it (I was one of the hoi pol-loi who lived there once). Who knows; if the powers that be persist, maybe it will one day become a place fit for a prime minister to live in!. Or maybe they could adopt the current solution that has recently been adopted here in Ireland and start executing undesirables!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 20 Dec 06 - 05:10 AM

If we started executing undesirables, there'd be no-one left to run the country!

LTS


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Scrump
Date: 20 Dec 06 - 05:28 AM

It would make sense to flog the C#H site as others have suggested, and use the proceeds to open a new venue near a main rail link in the midlands or northern home counties, to make it easy for people (including musicians with equipment to carry) to reach via public transport. It can't be impossible to reproduce the dance floors elsewhere (that seems to be the main objection to moving).


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 20 Dec 06 - 09:00 AM

We seem to have got off the point slightly. I suppose the place could be sold, but while it's still there how can it best be made use of by the greatest possible number of people and how can people be persuaded that it might be somewhere that they might want to go and have a dance? I think you're right, Alan, about sticking with it as far as the GIGCB dances are concerned. You never know, if word of mouth gets round they might start to pick up again. Just try not to let 'Willow Express' go on more than about 12 minutes. I remember losing the will to live about half-way through last time we played it.

By the way, the London Irish Centre is also in Camden Town and they don't seem to have any problem filling that. Maybe English folkies are more delicate.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Alan Day
Date: 20 Dec 06 - 09:08 AM

As you know Chris the other Chris (Shaw) wrote "Willow Express" and he seems to go off into a trance when he is playing it.It is only when the ambulances turn up to take the dancers away and the sirens are louder than our playing he comes out of it !!
Al


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Scrump
Date: 20 Dec 06 - 09:24 AM

It can't be beyond man's ingenuity to rip up a few dance floors and re-lay them elsewhere, can it?


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Mo the caller
Date: 20 Dec 06 - 09:58 AM

Chris (scouser) I'm starting a new thread re Liverpool, as I can't PM you.
No, NO, NO! to your competitive suggestion. That's not what folk dancing is about. Yes to excellence, but not by setting someone up to judge someone else's style.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 20 Dec 06 - 12:45 PM

Mo, I take your point about folk dancing not being competitive but competition doesn't seem to have killed Irish Set Dancing. And part of the point I was making was that dance and music go together. If you promote the music it can't do dancing anything but good. Plus, on the music side, kids love competitions. Even if they don't win they get a buzz out of being there.

Perhaps part of the reason Irish music and dance seems so much healthier is because it belongs to an emigrant community that is determined to hang on to its identity in a foreign environment. Maybe that's the answer - move Cecil Sharp House to Dublin.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 06 - 03:05 PM

Competition may not have killed Irish dance, but for those who follow the Comhaltas path it has put it in a straightjacket and re-invented it so it bears little resemblence to traditional dancing.
When I lived in the UK I witnessed hundreds of youngsters forced into competitions by doting parents who then ran a mile from the music as soon as they were old enough to say 'no'. Ireland is at present enjoying renaissance in Irish music, but it is taking place without, and often in spite of Comhaltas and it's competitions.
I agree totally, NO, NO, NO.
The battle for and against selling C# House was fought and lost years ago (I mean both sides lost). It was bitter and underhand and at one stage the police were called in to investigate a break-in when ballot sheets were tampered with.
For me, the situation is now as it was then, only worse.
The House a horrendously expensive white elephant, totally inadequate for the purpose of serving folk music and dance. It is unwelcoming and unfriendly - is there anybody who would claim they would be happy to introduce it as the headquarters of taditional music in the UK? It cannot even house a book/record shop The jewel in the Society's crown - the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, is full to capacity and is now turning away valuable collections because it has no space to house them. The majority of the people who use the building have nothing whatever to do with traditional music. It seems to me that it is kept open solely for the benefit of a rapidly diminishing handful of London based dancers and a handful of privileged researchers who can afford the time and the fare to travel to London to use the library (I say that as somebody who lived in London for thirty years).
I believe now, as I believed back then, that the building should be sold, the Society should find an administrative centre and the Library should be re-housed elsewhere (there have been a number of offers in the past where it could move to, retain its individual nature and have the space to expand as it desperately needs to). Outside premises could be hired to hold singing and dancing events and the Society could concentrate on making its activities truely national rather than a Capital based body.
It didn't happen at the time of the split and I suppose it won't happen now, so it will continue to go down the tubes. Now, I'm off to a wedding - were's me albatros!
Jim Carroll
P S Enjoyed your 'undesirable' comment Liz - think that's what must have happened to the Government over here - the Charlie Haughey scam just hit the papers!


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 06 - 07:09 PM

Interesting thread. Jim catalogues the main criticisms that people put forward about the Society's ownership of the House.

As a trustee of C#H I'd make the following comments.

Jim described the House as being "totally inadequate for the purpose of serving folk music and dance. It is unwelcoming and unfriendly - is there anybody who would claim they would be happy to introduce it as the headquarters of taditional music in the UK?"

I don't disagree - I find the House very austere after some of the other arts centres I've visited but it has to be said that those other places had considerable support via funding and/or membership. Is there a folk centre out there run by 4000 committed members, with a couple of halls, a cafe/bar (quality immaterial) and an important heritage library, that is better than C#H? I'm genuinely interested to hear of one. There's a lot that could be done with C#H if the support were there.


Jim also said " The House a horrendously expensive white elephant" which implies that the House costs money rather than generating it. Not so. The House generates income for the Society which it uses to fund the core activities of education, publishing and maintaining the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

He goes on to say " The majority of the people who use the building have nothing whatever to do with traditional music." It would be nice of the people who ran traditional folk music events were really rich and paid their bills on time and came back week after week with rebookings but it ain't so. The people who have the money aren't the folkies and the management have to pay OUR bills so what are they to do? Turn away paying customers and sit with empty premises waiting for folkies to arrive with fists full of green stuff? At least we have the satisfaction of better funded orchestras and dance groups paying money which cascades down to subsidise some folk activity rather than going to some other destination like a corporate organisation's share holders. Whatever we get from those non-folk people we reinvest in folk music.

Another comment - "It cannot even house a book/record shop" .   If Collets can't survive in Oxford St, London if Decoy Records can't survive in Deansgate, Manchester, do you really think a folk record/book shop can survive in Regents Park Rd? I don't think so. That's why I started the online folkshop for the Society. It's only a modest affair but it's growing slowly and I have a new version in preparation. It IS 2000+ and many of the specialist shops are giving way to the internet. I don't think we're far out of line here.

Further comment: "It seems to me that it is kept open solely for the benefit of a rapidly diminishing handful of London based dancers and a handful of privileged researchers who can afford the time and the fare to travel to London to use the library "
I agree that the House should be for the benefit of all and not just for the "North London Barn Dance Club" but every resource is of most physical benefit to those who live nearest. If the HQ were in Birmingham or Bristol then the same geographical restriction would apply (except the parking might (might) be easier. It wouldn't be so in Manchester that's for sure! There's sod-all parking!). But the House is used as a National Centre as well. The Cyril Tawney Memorial Day will be happening in the Spring, there have been CD launches, conferences, etc. OK, it's not as often as any of the trustees would like but it's not really the parochial picture that some people try and paint.

And in answer to the comment "the Society could concentrate on making its activities truely national rather than a Capital based body.", that's exactly what the Society is doing with its publishing and education outreach projects. Just because it;s not waved under people's noses doesn't mean it's not happening. There are local AND national projects.

Personally, I would not shed a single tear if the House were to be sold, and I hold no affection for it as a venue or a listed historic building ( I know quite a few people who are older than the House and a lot better looking). However, selling the House is not presently an option for a variety of reasons, including the wishes of the membership (at least those who vote at AGMs or serve on the Council). While it provides an income and allows us to slowly develop the library and services then it has a useful function. It may be that hundreds of people join the Society, propose to sell the House, turn up to an AGM and vote for it to be so, and that will be that. Feel free. That's the way these things happen.

My own vision would be to turn the large hall into a really big library but that's not going to happen given the general lack of support from the people who should care but don't. In the meantime I'm working to get as much of the library converted to an on line resource as I can with the budget I've got as I know that libraries are now so much more than bricks and mortar.

I don't know why Captain Birdseye started this thread - he seems to have a peculiar fascination with a Society he doesn't support - but at least it's given me some good indications of what people think and given me a chance to put a point of view forward.

Jim. This is not a personal attack. I shared many of the above opinions until I volunteerd for council and started to learn of the reality of the Society and its members. As an organisation it's highly flawed, but nevertheless has done and continues to do some amazing work, albeit quietly and in the face of some open hostility.

Johnny Adams
EFDSS Vice Chair - Director of Web Services
Expressing a personal; view rather than that of the efdss nc.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Alan Day
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 04:21 AM

I would like to thank you for your input Johnny and the very balanced way you presented it.Also for all the work you do for the society.
I would feel saddened if the place was sold off,ten years ago was just about the turning point for the building the wonderful crowds started to diminish,the packed dances started to become half full.Only exceptional nights drew in the crowds.The building then was adequate we as folkies excepted the place as we found it.The bar area was just right for a sing around or session the decor was of no importance.Do they sell beer ? Yes then that is OK. Things have moved on however,very fast in ten years,people expect to have nice surroundings a welcoming atmosphere.A nicely presented bar ,a small restaurant,open all day where you can sit and discuss anything in good surroundings.Nice toilets in clean and modern condition.
Even if I lived around the corner I certainly would not go there now for a cup of tea/beer and a chat.The cost of providing these services is not astronomic, just a small makeover would improve things there.
The building provides a massive service to Dance particularly across the board from Folk Dance to Ballroom Dance to Ballet etc.
The booking for Cecil Sharp House used to be the highlight of my Folk activities,something I could look forward with excitement.It will never be the same unless the events are supported.We are doing our bit please do yours.
Al


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 05:14 AM

Thanks for those comments Alan. I've passed them on to National Council.

If I lived in London I would have taken on the House as a project instead of the web. By now it would have piped folk music and would smell of coffee and would be the place that somebody from the north meeting somebody from the south would quite naturally nominate as a meeting place. One of the problems is that the people who do use the House have a bit of an affection for it and this makes them blind to its deficiencies. Those of us who meet in places like Manchester's Cornerhouse are used to better things.

Having said that, I note that my email this morning contains several confirmations for online sales, mostly from teachers, and I know that the staff will pull those items off the shelf and they'll be in tonights post.

Also, yesterday's emails contained confirmation that the new English tune book compiled by Barry Callaghan with the help of the Tradtunes discussion list is proofed and now on its way to the printers for release in the Spring.

There are two more English tunebooks being reissued next year and the new book of Travellers Songs is starting to sell.

So despite the tatty building there's still activity in the engine room and it does benefit the nation (and beyond) rather than just North London.


Johnny Adams


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: BB
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 05:59 AM

Talking of the Travellers' Songs book, when I saw it advertised in EDS, I thought, "That'll be a nice Christmas present for someone!", looked it up on the EFDSS site, but found it wasn't possible to order it through there, so rang CSH. I was dismayed to find that it wouldn't be available until 19th December - too late to be sure of getting it in time for Christmas.

Piss ups and breweries came to mind! What a lost opportunity! And I've been a member for more years than I care to think about, so it's not that I don't support the Society, year in and year out.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 06:48 AM

Sorry if it didn't fit in with your plans but the Society never claimed that the book would be ready for Christmas and it was not aimed at a Christmas market. It was to be ready when it was ready and it was ready on the 19th of December and as usual advertised in the quarterly magazine prior to its release. We're an all year round publisher and don't take too much notice of commercial imperatives like Christmas. There are several other of our books which make good Christmas presents.

I understand your frustration and value your long term support, but I think this particular comment is perhaps a tad unfair.

J


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Scrump
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 06:52 AM

It's all very well asking for people to support events at C#H, but the point others have been making is that its location makes it difficult to get to easily by bus or tube, and that it is not a pleasant area to walk back from late at night while carrying valuable instruments, etc.

Hence the requests to stop dithering, sell this valuable site, and open a better facility elsewhere. The only objection seems to be that people think the dance floors could not be recreated elsewhere, to which my response is "poppycock" (or words to that effect).


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 07:41 AM

I've been going to the House for years as well as other sessions in the area and have never had any trouble. I don't know what you consider late at night but events at CSH don't finish late by big city standards and I've left other events in the area far later than CSH closes, loaded down with valuable instruments, and not had any problems. Any alternative location could not be in a nice leafy residential area as there would be complaints about the noise, the suburbs of any city would be harder to get to and from and a location closer to a city centre would be more expensive, have parking problems and be more likely to be unsalubrious.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 09:02 AM

john adams, I started this thread,because I thought it needed to be discussed., YOU said it was an interesting thread.I do not have a pecuiliar fascination for the society, I am concerned because I care about folk song and to a lesser extent folk dance,You could at least be gracious enough to acknowledge,and thank me for the thread,. I find your humour PUERILE[pecuiliar fascination, and Previous childish jokes about my name]and uncalled for.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 09:20 AM

oh yes, I was a member of efdss for many years, I now donate my money to comhaltas ,because I live in IRELAND,. I am not a member at this present moment,I might be convinced to rejoin if more was done for English Song.I FEEL comhaltas acheive more [ AND ITS NOT JUST DUE TO FUNDING]and that efdss would do well to study why they are more successful,I also think their examination system works quite well 8/10 and the competion system 7/10.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 09:28 AM

Abject apologies Captain!

How ungracious of me to fail to acknowledge your deep and meaningful contribution to this thread.

.... and to fail to understand why someone who can't get to C#H on a regular basis and who cares about dance "to a lesser extent" can also have a deep motivation to worry about the dancing opportunities in North London.


........ and to use the 'handle' that appears on all of your posts is the height of bad manners!

(Wanders off shamefacedly..............)


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 11:14 AM

Johnny, I think perhaps that Dick owes you an apology and not the other way round. I can see nothing in your post that pokes fun at him or his opinions.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,Theres a big issue with the homeless
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 11:20 AM

What makes me ashamed is the attitude of folkies to the homeless of Camden.

'a large and none too clean woman squatting to pee in the gutter'

Would a small clean person have been more acceptable? Obvously Camden should be cleaned up to make it a place fit fot folkies to sing of ummm beggars say?


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Scrump
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 11:50 AM

That's true, these poor folk could at least wash before peeing in the gutter.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 12:02 PM

manitas.... a pecuiliar fascination for the society,implies all sort of things[in a previous thread, john adams made the remark referring to my name[[ dick miles]],never mind the width feel the quality.
it was quite unecessary to the discussion,to talk about[[ pecuiliar fascination for the society]]or to mention that I dont support the society by being a member.one doesnt have to be a member to have views,and my views are not against the society and not against dances at the house.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 12:40 PM

OK Captain Birdmiles, I'm in festive mood so I'll fall for this one!

You write...... I am not a member at this present moment,I might be convinced to rejoin if more was done for English Song

What exactly did you have in mind that the EFDSS should do for English Song?


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: BB
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 02:32 PM

John, I apologise. The ad. in EDS indicated that it would be available in December, and I took that to mean *by* December. In addition, the website indicated that it was available, but it wasn't there (and still isn't!) when you go to the online shop. And sorry, but I didn't want to buy any other book!

Even in the folk scene it seems that many releases *are* timed to coincide with the Christmas market, or the festival season or whatever, and I did make an assumption that EFDSS was trying to do the same - and failing.

So yes, I was perhaps a tad unfair, but I refrain from *abject* apologies!

Happy Christmas.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 02:54 PM

Barbara - No apologies necessary, abject or otherwise. We'd like to be fully sorted out on these things but sometimes there are too many priorities. As it happens one of the new directors has taken responsibility for the Marketing and Promotion part of my previously too-wide portfolio of responsibilities so we should be able to put more effort into getting it right. That means I can concentrate on the web site developments.

The new song book should be on the web shop site but we've had a few difficulties with updating it. There is a new shop site under construction which will be content managed by the staff at the House and they will be able to add new items as soon as they are available.

These things take time, unless you can throw lots of money at them.

J


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 04:15 PM

TO ANSWER that, I need to have details of what efdss has done to promote english folk song over the last year,.
I need to know the amounts spent on english folk dance, compared to english song,I need to know the size of the grant for english dance, and whether english folk song has the same amount of money available in grants
.o congratulations on the job,nice one.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 04:37 PM

I don't know what a proper analysis will show, but I reckon that EDS magazine has been a big boost in terms of promoting English song (and dance) this year.

It's become a lot more attractive, with features of interest to a wide variety of (current and potential) members. It's been on sale at lots of festivals, so it's available beyond the current membership.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: dermod in salisbury
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 05:09 PM

'What makes me ashamed is the attitude of folkies to the homeless of Camden.

'a large and none too clean woman squatting to pee in the gutter'

Would a small clean person have been more acceptable? Obvously Camden should be cleaned up to make it a place fit fot folkies to sing of ummm beggars say?

Anonymous guest's post above is probably trying to make a valid point. The proper response to misery or deprivation is to try to do something to alleviate it and introduce more social justice in the world. But I fear he has missed the point on this one. A person who urinates in the street while shouting obscenities at passers-by (unless mentally ill) is behaving badly. It insults the homeless and the underprivileged to make the assumption that those misfortunes equal bad behaviour of this kind. Brutishness can and does occur in every level of society and may take many forms. It should shock and inspire disgust wherever it is encountered.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: BB
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 05:12 PM

I'm sure John A. will correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I'm aware, there has been/is no grant aid available for English folk song, whereas the dance side has had Sports grant aid for years! It may seem inappropriate, but dance, in terms of education, has always been regarded as part of the sports, rather than the arts, programme. Who taught us social dance at school? The PE teachers!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 06:12 PM

CB

We don't do grants! We apply for them. Barbara is right. Core dance has been funded by Sport England but this will not be for much longer. There is no equivalent for song although the Lottery does fund individual song projects rather than core funding.

We haven't spent anything directly on English folk dance or English folk song (not sure what you mean anyway).


We are running a young persons Song Writing Competition right now which currently has 28 entries. Prize is £100 plus a life membership to the Society. finals are at Cheltenham Festival.

We have published several English song books in the last couple of years.

Traveller's Joy Book and CD
Songs of English and Scottish Travellers and Gypsies 1965-2005
Compiled by Mike Yates; musical transcriptions by Elaine Bradtke; editorial assistance by David Atkinson and Malcolm Taylor; audio recordings by Mike Yates.

Dear Companion: Appalachian Traditional Songs and Singers from the Cecil Sharp Collection. That's English in the sense that the Appalachians is reckoned by some to be a great repository of English song.

Folk Song: Tradition, Revival and Re-creation. (Research based)

Classic English Folk Songs (formerly Penguin Book of English Folk Songs - newly annotated by Malcolm Douglas)

Still Growing: English Traditional Songs and Singers from the Cecil Sharp Collection

We are currently bidding for money for a 5 year song project called Take Six. Hopefully we'll be successful.

There are several other song projects on the drawing board.

On the dance side we have done a couple of dance CDs - including The Bismarcks - and republished the Community Dance Manuals. Not much for a "dance obsessed society" as we have been described in the past.

What job?


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Alan Day
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 06:13 PM

It sounds as if this urinating lady has got a home,but she has escaped from it.
Thinking further about improvements ,it would be possible to provide catering facilities at Cecil Sharp House with very little cost.Food need not necessarily be cooked on the premises a catering company with a franchise could easily prepare all the food in their premises and reheat it in a fairly small kitchen area. This is being successfully achieved at a hall in the Crawley area and four or five course meals are being served with no problems. With a bit of modernisation, a removable carpet to cover part of the big dance hall where tables and chairs could actually be used for eating and drinking on.(the carpet protecting the dance floor underneath).The area then lends itself to cater for Wedding parties requiring Folk Orientated Dances, which most of us at one time or another have played for.Introducing a new audience for Folk Dance and providing bookings for Folk Bands.
With a bit of thought the place could actually start to be exciting again .
Al


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 05:42 AM

I think we should commend the 'lady' in question for urinating in the gutter - she showed great consideration for others by choosing that location. It would be more objectionable, IMO, to do so on the footpath or in the tube station.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST, ...
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 07:38 AM

Liz doesn't seem to have been put off going to C Sharp House by the large lady, even though she claims that at the time she was both naive and little.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Alan Day
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 08:12 AM

Sadly after this event Liz started squeeking.
Al


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 08:38 AM

Alan, it appears that thee and me are out on our own in trying to think of practical ways of making the place more popular and pleasant. Maybe that's just not what some people want.

Websites and song books are great, as are on-line sales, but they aren't necessarily going to get people into the building. And as regards the urinating lady at the tube station, I've seen plenty of large and none too clean women - and men - inside the building in my time. Stones and glass houses?

Some responses to the comparison with Comhaltas. Comhaltas is far from perfect but it does function at a grass-roots, local level outside of London in a way that EFDSS seems not to do. Maybe I'm missing something. And as far as kids being put off music by being taken along to lessons by their parents: well, maybe, in some cases. But a lot of kids get music lessons that they don't particularly want at the time but they are often grateful for it later on in life. One of our teachers in Liverpool was brought along as a kid and drifted away from it as she grew up. Now she has kids of her own and she wants them to have to same contact with their roots that her own parents made sure she had. So now, she's got seven or eight kids gathered round her (other peoples as well as her own) learning the whistle every Monday night.

Maybe Comhaltas is an old-fashioned, conservative organisation (how very unlike the EFDSS!) but for a long time, until Irish music became 'trendy', it was almost alone in keeping it alive, especially in England, and it will still be there when all the folkies who only came to Irish music after they heard the Bothy Band, Van Morrison and the Chieftains or the Waterboys have drifted off in search of the latest craze in 'Roots' music.

I should emphasise, however, that Comhaltas is mainly concerned with music rather than dance - which is what this was supposed to be about.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 08:48 AM

And as regards the urinating lady at the tube station, I've seen plenty of large and none too clean women - and men - inside the building in my time. Stones and glass houses?

But I assume these people were not urinating when you saw them inside C#H? I would certainly hope not, anyway. Unless of course they were in the C#H Ladies and Gents (respectively) at the time.

I think it was the urination that was being objected too, rather than the size or cleanliness of the woman in question - primarily, at least.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 09:13 AM

I dunno, Scrump. Might explain some of the dancing.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 10:06 AM

to bb .our folk dancing and folk singing at my primary school was not by the p e teacher.,but the head master.
JOHN ADAMS.Iwould like to see efdss get involved in the folk festival scene again, as you know they used to run Sidmouth ,chippenham, whitby,and many others.I would like to see them do the sort of thing that the Hallamshire traditions have done[I believe they were involved in promoting either the hallamshire or a similiar event in yorkshire[[THIS HAS BEEN DISCUSSED PREVIOUSLY,but i cant find the thread]]
I know they have financial burdens,But the involvement in schools needs to be encouraged as much as is possible,Comhaltas appear to have political influence which helps their funding.
efdss might well approach Andrew Rosindell mp for romford who seems to want to promote StGeorges day[with folk events][ idont agree with his politics],but if he is keen on promoting folk music for whatever reason,he is a possible ally,and someone with some influence,who may be able to help e.f.d.s,s.
In the meantime PROMOTING CONCERTS AT CECIL SHARP HOUSE,booking acts that are going to put bums on seats, and providing adeqate facilities, is something that if efdss isnt doing they should be.
to accumulate you must speculate.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 10:18 AM

Why don't the EFDSS lobby TfL for a spur line from Camden Town to C#H, similar to the one between Earls Court and Olympia? This could be used on days when events are being held there. It would make getting to and from the venue easier, and avoid people having to walk from Camden Town tube.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 11:24 AM

Scrump. Brilliant idea though that undoubtedly is, I think audience numbers might be a bit of a barrier here. C#H is not quite as big and busy as Olympia.

..... and I think something happening in East London in 2012 might also have priority - can't think why though!


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 12:23 PM

CB
I would like to see efdss get involved in the folk festival scene again, as you know they used to run Sidmouth ,chippenham, whitby,and many others.

That's not going to happen. It's not what efdss does any more. It is a support and resourcing organisation. Anyway, why would it seek to duplicate or compete with what others are doing so well?

CB
I would like to see them do the sort of thing that the Hallamshire traditions have done[I believe they were involved in promoting either the hallamshire or a similiar event in yorkshire[[THIS HAS BEEN DISCUSSED PREVIOUSLY,but i cant find the thread]]

You mean like the Take Six Project I described earlier, which covers nine counties?

CB
I know they have financial burdens,But the involvement in schools needs to be encouraged as much as is possible,

Yes of course they have financial burdens which is why we can't afford to do them without funding - which is why we are applying for funding.


Comhaltas appear to have political influence which helps their funding.
efdss might well approach Andrew Rosindell mp for romford who seems to want to promote StGeorges day[with folk events][ idont agree with his politics],but if he is keen on promoting folk music for whatever reason,he is a possible ally,and someone with some influence,who may be able to help e.f.d.s,s.


Do you assume we're not talking to government agencies? Of course we are. DCMS, MLA, EDMP, anyone who has the slightest bearing on folk music in education. And we recently contributed to the DCMS Committee Evidence Session on Caring for Collections with regard to connecting education with resource materials in our possession. You also have to realise that the government and cultural institutions in Ireland have a different attitude to traditional music than over here. In UK it seems to take longer to get things done and there's more competition for funds. It's getting better and a lot more folk development agencies are making successful bids than before, but we're not there with the big stuff yet.


CB
In the meantime PROMOTING CONCERTS AT CECIL SHARP HOUSE,booking acts that are going to put bums on seats, and providing adeqate facilities, is something that if efdss isnt doing they should be. to accumulate you must speculate.

Interesting isn't it that on the one hand people can say that the Society is London-centric and then someone like you can say "promote concerts at Cecil Sharp House" and if we do then someone else will say why don't you do it up North, and so we go on. Yes of course it is nice to put stuff on for Londoners and we do run concerts at the House but that's incidental to the business of providing resources nationwide, which is what we really aspire to do. As for speculating to accumulate, concerts in London are notoriously difficult to get to break-even stage and speculating with members money is maybe not a good idea, especially when the majority of members wouldn't be able to benefit by attending (it's that London-centric thing you see!!).

All in all, everything you've suggested we're already doing or have made a conscious policy decision to avoid because it doesn't coincide with our strategic plan or somebody else is already doing it effectively.

J


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 02:50 PM

Personally, I particularly agree with two points there, John. EFDSS should not be in the business of running festivals. What would be the point?

Secondly, that it shouldn't be EFDSS's job to be promoting concerts in London. Unless these are special events, such as the Nibs Matthews or Cyril Tawney memorials, I would again question the need and suggest that it would merely be duplicating provision. EFDSS should be working at a strategic level, not on delivery of events.

I think it is a real shame that there isn't more of a presence in the regions - I have been approached by my local EFDSS committee (though I'm given to understand that such committees no longer officially exist) with regard to offering support for our "folk into schools" project. Now, there's not a lot they'd be able to do at this stage as funding and facilitators are all in place, but I was still glad to hear from them. It seems to me that perhaps EFDSS's education remit should put a strong emphasis on partnering the delivery organisations around the country who are working in the area of folk song and dance development, especially in schools. This would certainly help to move the society's profile into one of contemporary relevance. The question is, what can EFDSS bring to the table? I'd be delighted to list the society as a partner in our projects, but it's a queston of what benefit such a partnership could bring to the work. Maybe it's simply exposure. Or maybe there are background resources that could be made available to enhance the work in some way. But it occurs to me that this would be one way for the society to be having regional impact without having to maintain a regional presence. And that future funding bids might concentrate on this area.

Just a thought. And well done for all your hard work - it must seem pretty thankless at times.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 04:14 PM

Ruth Archer (fresh from the farm) wrote:

I think it is a real shame that there isn't more of a presence in the regions - I have been approached by my local EFDSS committee (though I'm given to understand that such committees no longer officially exist) with regard to offering support for our "folk into schools" project. Now, there's not a lot they'd be able to do at this stage as funding and facilitators are all in place, but I was still glad to hear from them.

I couldn't agree more. The efdss shot itself in the foot when it disbanded the regions. I wasn't a member then and I've no idea what the motivation was, but it clearly had an effect on what members could contribute to the Society. The present National Council recognises the problem and would like to stimulate more regional involvement with the centre, particularly with regard to educational initiatives.

RA
It seems to me that perhaps EFDSS's education remit should put a strong emphasis on partnering the delivery organisations around the country who are working in the area of folk song and dance development, especially in schools.This would certainly help to move the society's profile into one of contemporary relevance.

In the last four weeks we have been through a planning exercise which included the use of an excellent education consultant who is from the folk scene, and culminated in a full education business plan which is not yet in the public domain. The above point was included in a list of seven aims. Our present Education Officer retires next year and we hope to appoint an Education Director to drive our strategy forward.

RH
The question is, what can EFDSS bring to the table? I'd be delighted to list the society as a partner in our projects, but it's a queston of what benefit such a partnership could bring to the work. Maybe it's simply exposure. Or maybe there are background resources that could be made available to enhance the work in some way. But it occurs to me that this would be one way for the society to be having regional impact without having to maintain a regional presence. And that future funding bids might concentrate on this area.

Exposure and networking via our Education Director (pending), links with the academic world (including teaching and learning), paper and audio-visual publishing, web publishing, shared resources and best practice,.......
I'm working on an efdss education web site at the moment and am putting together a panel to advise on content and a team to populate the site with cross curricular material relating to Key Stages and based on folk arts. I'm involving some regional development agencies and talking to some of our best customers, teachers, to identify what they need. This is to be rolled out in late Spring but it's a lot of work to get through.

RH
Just a thought. And well done for all your hard work - it must seem pretty thankless at times.

Thanks. There are a few brickbats from the folk scene but they are more than neutralised by the goodwill from other places. My colleagues on the National Council are excellent hard working people who have an amazing breadth of experience, both on and off the folk scene. We all give our time voluntarily so we're anxious to make what we do count.

Thanks for an interesting post.

J


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 05:38 PM

I notice that Comhaltas was mentioned in this discussion. In my capacity as Chair of the (Vaughan Williams memorial) Library Advisory Committee, I attended the re-opening of the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin last month. The Minister for the Arts in Ireland made mention in his speech about the level of funding given to Irish traditional music, and also said that in the last 2 years, he had awarded 5 mill euros to Comhaltas for its development plan .... and 165,000 euros to the Archive's capital expenditure, and a further 3mill euros to traditional arts and another half a million euros to .... you get the picture .... he wants to make the traditional arts amongst the top 3 best funded arts forms in the next 3 to 5 years.......
Do we have a political party in ther UK that would make the same commitment ....?
full report of the opening in the next issue of EDS!!!
Derek Schofield


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 07:00 PM

Derek Schofield wrote:

The Minister for the Arts in Ireland _snip_ said that in the last 2 years, he had awarded 5 mill euros to Comhaltas for its development plan ....

Captain Birdseye - are you taking notice? That's £3.34 million! $6.5 million!

..... and you want to give Comhaltas your subs and still want to tell efdss members how to spend their money?


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 06 - 02:22 AM

John Adams,
Whenever criticism of EFDSS (or any public organisation for that matter) is made, the knee-jerk reaction is, more often than not, 'become a member and help change things'. We did, and things remained the same!
Our period of membership was an extremely educational one for us; the main thing we got out of it was the knowledge that what went on within the hallowed portals of C# House had little, if anything to do with traditional song and music as we knew it. We might as well have been speaking Mandarin Chinese for all the communication there was between us and the officials and activists with whom we had discussions.
A highlight of our learning curve was the night we were requested to organise a singing evening in the basement as part of the A.G.M. knees-up. After a while it became obvious that the situation was that there we were doing our thing in the basement (we were part of the West London Tradition Club at the time) and there were them upstairs doing their thing – and ne'er the twain shall meet! During the evening we were asked to provide a singer to entertain the suits and long frocks in the large hall while they got their breath back – so we sent up our guest, West Clare farmer and fisherman, Micho Russell, a very fine traditional musician and a singer. From the bemused response, he may as well have just stepped out of a space-ship: I think we had encountered what Captain Janeway refers to as a 'parallel universe'.
After a while we left EFDSS, having come to the conclusion that what was being promoted had nothing to do with the music we considered 'folk' or 'traditional' – no acrimony, no pique, just a decision on our part to move on.
We continued to work with the library; I did some work on the BBC collection, we gave a couple of library lectures and helped put on an event which involved field musicians and a singer we knew. We were proud to have helped produce three cassettes of field recordings for the Library. During this period of non-membership we were probably more active than the average member.
One telling incident was when we wrote an article on a Traveller storyteller for Dance and Song and offered to follow it up with three more based on singers and musicians we had recorded. We thought we had made a half-decent job of this until, with one flourish of the illustrator's pen adding a couple of twee drawings, our article was turned into something more suitable for Hamley's Toyshop than for an organisation seriously claiming to be promoting the traditional arts. We were given no say in the matter, so we abandoned any further projects.
The crunch came for us with the proposed sale of C# House fiasco which convinced us that the 'Over My Dead Body' school of thought was firmly in control and would remain so for the foreseeable future. We have no reason to believe that things have changed significantly since those balmy days (except then we could get a cup of coffee and a sandwich at C# House.
You ask the Cap'n what he expects of the Society; I assume this to be a rhetorical question. Perhaps the first thing it should be doing is to ask whether it does exactly what it says on the tin! Is it acting as a body bearing the title THE ENGLISH FOLK DANCE AND SONG SOCIETY? Is it living up to the legacy left by its founders? I often think that, despite the problems of their having been pioneers in the field, Sharp, Broadwood, Kidson, Grainger and Vaughan Williams had a clearer picture of what was meant by FOLK and TRADITION than we do now. I have to confess that a shudder ran down my spine when I read the suggestion that ballroom dancing be included in EFDSS activities!
It has become obvious to me that traditional song and music in the UK (in England at least) has reached a crossroads and that its future depends very much on what we all do now. The Society should not just be part of any discussion on the future of traditional music, it should be leading it.
As far as I am concerned, it is fitting that a national body like EFDSS should have a presentable and functional headquarters; I have no problem with their being sited in London, though I do believe that they have to be relevant and accessible to all members, whether they live next-door at 4 Regents Park Road or at 74 Boggart Hole Clough! I question whether C# House is suitable to fulfill such a role. Of course the AGM is not going to respond positively to a bland proposal to sell the House; nor should it. What needs to happen is that a comprehensive plan has to be worked out as to where EFDSS goes from here, and if selling the House is part of the solution, that has to be considered; if not, what are the alternatives.
So the library, by far the most important of the Society's achievements, is not going to be housed in the main hall; fair enough, what actions are proposed to solve the problems that now exist? Has any thought been given to developing a comfortable, accessible and expanding sound library? On a personal note, we have now reached the stage in our lives that we need to consider what is to happen to our collection; should we decide to donate it to the Library, will it be turned away as others have? On the question of publications, in many ways, what with the Greig-Duncan, the Sam Henry and the eagerly awaited Carpenter collections, there has never been so much traditional song available to those interested – wouldn't the Grainger collection be a magnificent addition to these? As you say, all this needs finance, and the way to raise that is to build on what you have,
With respect; it is not fitting that you ask a non-member what he expects of the Society. As an official, you should know what is expected of an organisation bearing the title ENGLISH FOLK DANCE AND SONG SOCIETY. If you are satisfied that your house is in order and that the Society is fulfilling its role, it is up to you to set out your stall and attract us non members so that we cease to be such.

Comhaltas - B.A.Scouser - unfortunately they don't restrict their activities to music; they also present a form of singing that has as much to do with the tradition as their version of traditional dance does (or not - as the case may be).

Irish Traditional Music Archive - We were also at the opening of the new premises and have been supporters of the Archive for quite a few years, and we know that the grants that have been given have been got by hard work on the part of Nicholas Carolan, his staff and committee fighting every inch of the way to have Irish traditional music recognised as a serious art form - therby hangs an valuable lesson!

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Alan Day
Date: 23 Dec 06 - 04:26 AM

It is only by discussion and constructive critisism that members of a committee can make progress,it is very easy to sit on a fence as many do and with hindsight say what should or should not have been done.I have nothing but praise for people like John Adams who give up a hell of a lot of their valuable time to put back into a society or activity that they have enjoyed all their lives.Many who do this are ex proffessionals and can do a fine job.My concern is that although well meaning some cannot and reading between the lines John would agree with this.Also an organisation like this dealing with considerable sums of money.Is anyone accountable? Could it be possible that another ten years down the line we can say that all that money and now nothing?
You mention Jim that Ballroom Dancing fills you with horror Why? Ballroom and Tap Dancing are traditional forms of dancing.They are successful at Folk Festivals as workshops.Come on Jim surely you are not getting snobbish over dancing that has been a progression from Folk Dances.If it helps to fill up Cecil sharp House creates an interest in other activituies going on there, it is progress,the very thing you are asking for.
Al


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 23 Dec 06 - 05:19 AM

Jim.

In considering your post I don't find anything which is untrue or even undeserved.
In fact, I can quote similar instances and my own story with the efdss closely matches your own.

However, you are describing something which happened decades ago. While people who have had experiences such as you and I can quote (and there are hundreds of them) constantly parade that history then people like me who are still trying to get the Society on the right track will struggle. It's like being thought to be a criminal because your brother robbed a bank thirty years ago. That was then and I'm not that person anyway.

You talk about communication and you're not wrong, but things change. Here am I, talking up the Society to the best of my ability, vulnerable to the whims of a potentially global audience and even vulnerable to the disapproval of my colleagues on the National Council if I say the wrong things. I'm debating the Society in an open way, sometimes a bit defensively I'll own, but not in a dishonest or disingenuous way.

In the six years I've been on National Council I think I've made a difference. In the two years I have left before I become ineligible for re-election I hope to achieve even more. I see the Society taking steady if often painful steps towards being the organisation it should be, servicing many of the areas that are not being effectively addressed by others on what is a large and diverse scene. It's hard and sometimes you make it harder.

I am dispirited when people trot out old history like you have.

I am dispirited when people concentrate on what we get wrong instead of what we get right.

I am dispirited when the EFDSS is constantly measured against people who have more financial and moral support.

(I'm so dispirited I'm going to have to drink a lot of whisky over Christmas!)

Former Chief Officer Phil Wilson addressing the AGM six years ago gave them an option of closing the doors, winding up the Society, considering the job done as far as we could do it and marching off into the sunset. It's still an option I suppose, but if the Society stopped operating what would replace it?
Is anyone rushing forward to institute an English National Folk Archive such as the Irish have?
Is anyone trying to address education on a national level?
Is anyone dedicated to nationally publishing a wide range of English folk titles plus a magazine and research journal?

If they are then great - I can stop banging my head against this wall and concentrate on my tune research and audio archive.

I wish I could start from somewhere else but the letter I have in my file, from Kim Howells when he was Minister at the DCMS, saying that there was no funding for such as the Doc Rowe Collection and we should approach the EFDSS for assistance because that's the sort of thing they do convinced me that I have to start from where we are.


On your point about the library, yes, we have plans to expand. We have invested money in a capital project. We have a volunteer director driving the project (and bloody marvellous she is too!). We have architects plans which look really exciting. We have a strategy to raise the funding. Given the competition and the certainty that the Olympics will soak up the available funding I don't know what our likelyhood of success is. There are myriad difficulties in our path, but we're putting the effort in and have been for some time.

I don't blame you for giving up on the Society but I haven't and it would be helpful if people like you (ie. with your stature and experience) didn't periodically pull the rug out from underneath my feet with old news.

There's more I could say but I've been boring enough so I'll lighten up and go Christmas shopping.

J


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 23 Dec 06 - 05:58 AM

While what Jim Carroll says about the hard work of those at the Irish Traditional Music Archive to achieve their grants is no doubt spot on, it's still not really comparing like with like, is it? Irish traditional culture is treated with far more respect in Ireland by the powers-that-be than can be said of English tradtional culture, which often seems to be viewed by ministers and grant-making bodies in this country as outdated and irrelevant at best, and a bit of an embarrassment at worst.

You can work your buttocks off to achieve grants, but if those holding the purse strings do not value what you do it's so much piddling in the wind. I suspect that the reasons for the prioritisation of Irish traditional culture have less to do with romantic notions of national pride, and a lot more to do with an acknowledgement of the significant role traditional music and dance plays in tourism and therefore in the economy. Of course this is probably a circular argument, and someone who knows a lot more than me will turn up in a bit and say, "Ah - but how did Irish music and dance achieve that tourism profile to begin with? Government investment!" Feel free to educate me.

I'm not trying to offer solutions. It would be brilliant if one day we had a well-resourced centre such as the one recently opened in Dublin. It would be wonderful if Tessa Jowell demonstrated a commitment to traditional culture by turning up at prestige events - or even just by chucking some money around. But there are all kinds of reasons why that's not likely to happen, and why it's important to support the people within EFDSS that are trying to make changes from within. I think this is a very important time for the society, and deciding its future role, and how best to carry out that role, with a council of volunteers and little support from the government, cannot be easy.

BTW, Kim Howells should be shot.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Dec 06 - 02:36 PM

John Adams, yes I am happy to give comhaltas my subs[Although i am still critical of them.]I dont wish to tell efdss members how to spend their money , I was trying to answer your question, perhaps you would answer mine, how much does efdss recieve from the sports council,and how does that compare to the money spent by efdss on folk song.
the EFDSS is supposed to be promoting english folk dance and international folk song,and in my opinion could improve what its doing , you asked me my opinion ,I gave it.,if you dont like it ok but I am not telling efdss members how their money should be spent, You need to ask yourself why ex members, are ex members.
knowing you as a performer who is interested in song ,i am sure your doing your best to improve things,all i am trying to do is get a discussion going, out of which improvements can be made, I hope MY criticism is constructive.DickMiles


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Dec 06 - 03:18 PM

Ruth Archer ,isnt putting on song concerts at sharp house, promoting english and international folk song,which is part of e,f,d.ss   .point of being.
in the days when they ran successful folk festivals[which they did for many years]they did it because they rightly thought, they were promoting folk dance and song,[why the change of view],if other people can do it and make it commercially viable,efdss if they were more business like should be able to too.,and make money out of it.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 23 Dec 06 - 04:47 PM

But my feeling, Dick, and I think it's also the feeling of John Adams from what he's said, is that so many dedicated organisations have emerged who can do the job really well. Yes, festivals promote folk dance and song, but surely when EFDSS were doing it there simply weren't that many festivals or festival organisations around? So they were filling a certain gap. Now that there are something like 350 folk festivals in the country every year, why does EFDSS need to do one? What would it accomplish? It would be one amongst many.

Plus many of those organisations have year-round teams devoted to doing that job well...if EFDSS was doing that, wouldn't it detract from their ability to do other things?

I'm also not sure about the commercially viable part. Most festivals I've ever been involved with aimed to pay for themselves - cover the staffing costs, arrtists, and infrastructure. Any leftover cash (if there is any) usually gets re-invested into the following year's event. So the idea that this might prove to be a revenue stream for the society seems unlikely. Running one-off events and concerts would present similar issues in terms of whether they'd actually generate new revenue, and whether the amount generated would make it worthwhile...So again, I'd wonder what the point was.

There's also the issue of these events presumaby taking place at C# House, and feeding into that sense of London-centricity which is off putting in terms of attracting new members in the regions.

As I said earlier, I think the society (and this is purely a personal opinion) would do well to be working on a more strategic level: trying to attract large-scale funding for the House and VWML to improve the facilities and turn it into a signnificant national resource; raising the profile of traditional artforms with the DCMS, trying to get some long-term financial support and acknowledgement; and partnering delivery organisations in the regions, moving toward a cohesive national strategy for education and development.

Well, that's what I'd do if somebody died and made me king. :)


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 23 Dec 06 - 05:59 PM

Thanks Ruth Archer. That's a very cogent synopsis of the pertinent issues. (note to self: Hope I get an un-dictionary for Christmas).

Dick,

To answer your queries, I think the grant from Sport England is in the region of £15,000 but I haven't the time to find the published yearly report with the accounts as I'm trying to pack my bags for a trip to Australia on Monday.

I'm not quite sure why you think the figure to be relevant. I don't think it helps you very much as it's just an input into the education budget and doesn't necessarily map directly onto the Society's investment in promoting dance.

Likewise, if you look at the accounts, there is no budget line for 'dance' and similarly no budget line for 'song'. There's no reason why they would be broken down in that way. So it's difficult to give you a meaningful answer.

If you remember my previous post, I stated that over the past two years we had published five song books and a song CD as opposed to one dance book and two dance CDs. Logic would dictate that we had invested more in song than in dance in that period. There will be other comparisons buried in our activities but it would be very time consuming to extract them. So that's the best answer I can give you.

With regard to the idea of promoting song, I'll add to Ms Ruth Archer's comments and say that a concert at C#H doesn't constitute 'promoting song'. It entertains a limited number of people who are able to attend a London concert. It doesn't improve their singing skills and although it might give them some songs to copy it doesn't really add to their repertoire.

The same could be said of dances which is how you started this thread.

When _I_ think about promoting song I think about a number of resourcing initiatives like providing singers with books of raw material, CDs of performers who illustrate style and technique, enabling workshops, preferably nationwide, where people can address things like voice development, style, repertoire, performance, recording techniques, etc etc. Similar thing with dance.

In this, it is important to not just assist people directly, but to also 'train the trainers' so that the skills permeate further into the culture. It's the old adage, "give them wheat and you feed then today, teach them to grow wheat and you feed them for a lifetime' - corny (forgive the pun) but true.

This is where I personally want the Society to concentrate its efforts and at all levels from school children to pensioners. To be honest, this is the sort of issue I expected you to raise, rather than a quantitative analysis of how much we are spending on one or the other.

J


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: dermod in salisbury
Date: 23 Dec 06 - 06:07 PM

In the light of this most interesting discussion, I suggest efdss policymakers agree on two watchwords to decide their way ahead.

Preservation.
Participation.

If anything impedes, bin it.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 23 Dec 06 - 06:59 PM

dermod in salisbury.

In the light of this most interesting discussion, I suggest efdss policymakers agree on two watchwords to decide their way ahead.

Preservation.
Participation.



I'll buy that!

...and to keep the alliteration going add in proliferation because we want to expand and develop the traditional arts and not merely to participate in what we've preserved.

And if I can just make a comment, we have decided our way ahead and this has guided my responses within this thread.

J


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Mo the caller
Date: 24 Dec 06 - 10:08 AM

I'm not a singer, but I found the 'Singer and the Song' series in the magazine, interesting and informative. details here, and listento the song


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Fidjit
Date: 24 Dec 06 - 10:30 AM

Oh listen to yourselves.
Here we go again having a shy at "Aunt Sally" Most of us missing badly. Like the theme about the dancers on the front cover of EDS a while ago.
Squeaky Liz, Which side of the tracks are you from? Camden town. Fights. Pee-ing in the street. I wouldn't expect much else. I used to do gigs in the Dublin Castle, just down the road from C# house, before it became a rock music venue.

I do agree that the house is a forboding place. Spooky even. The furniture in the Sharps Folk club must be from the original inventry. The toilets the same (Better to pee in the street)

However they The people at the house are doing a fine job albeit not at the top of the present range of whats "IN" on the folk scene wherever your centre of the scene happens to be. But, just look at what they have coming up on thier coming program (even at The Albert Hall!) Get up off your arses and get there.

A ten minute walk? No problem. Fights? Whatever.

You have to be a member to have a say in whats going to happen. So rejoin and have your say.

Chas


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Fidjit
Date: 24 Dec 06 - 10:34 AM

Oh yes. And A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all.

Chas


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Dec 06 - 11:55 AM

John,
I apologise if my comments have spoiled your Christmas in any way; that certainly was not my intention. Truth to tell, there is never a good time to make such criticisms, but I didn't start this thread, I had no intention of joining it and I came to it when it was well underweigh.
My comments were not meant to be a blanket condemnation of The Society; in fact I believe that without EFDSS's existance the future of traditional music in England would be very bleak. I would very much like to believe that my somewhat negative experience is an example of the past and that things have changed; believe me, I am very willing to be convinced, and if it is so, everybody involved in traditional music will have benefited immensely. If I have been over-harsh or unfair in my comments I apologise unreservedly. Perhaps it is time you started trumpeting your achievements from the rooftops; potential supporters like me really need to know what is happening.
I have the greatest respect for many members of the Society I have known, (and worked with, in some cases) people like Nibs and Jean Mathews, who I also valued as friends, also Roy Judge, who was a pleasure to meet and discuss with, are examples who spring to mind immediately. In the past, the work of members like A L Lloyd and Pat Shaw have very much contributed to my knowledge and enjoyment of traditional music, as did the Folk Song Journal editor, David Atkinson's recent book on the English Ballad. Their and many other's contributions are the up side of the work done by Society members. They didn't get a mention in my over-long letter because they didn't fall under the subject in hand, namely Cecil Sharp House.
My comments on that still stand; as far as I am concerned suitable premises are, or should be, a means to an end - that of the promotion dissemination and progression of traditional music. I believe that those who made C# House an end in itself did great damage to both the music and to The Society.
On the subject of an English National Folk Archive, yes, some of us did rush forward and try to establish one, and we succeeded to some extent with the help of The National Sound Archive. The last manifestation of this was the 'Bright Golden Store' project which is covered on the British Library web-site. I have long believed that the answer to many of the VWML problems lies in co-operation between the Library and the National Sound Archive – here's hoping! If it is already happening, let's hear about it.
The Irish Traditional Music Archive.
Yes, it is true that things here in Ireland are very different regarding traditional music, culturally, socially, politically and economically; I certainly did not claim otherwise, nor did I raise the subject, Derek Schofield did, and you followed it up, I reacted to both of your comments.
If somebody had told me twenty years ago, when we were regular visitors here rather than permanent residents, that Irish Traditional music would be enjoying the popularity it now is, I would have suggested that they were 'away with the fairies' as they say over here.. Whatever the reasons, it appears that the music will survive for at least a couple of generations (not too sure about the songs!).
The establishment of a national archive has been an uphill slog for Nicholas Carolan and his team and the public money has been earned by bitter fighting (sometimes with people from within the traditional music community). Those involved have persevered, withstood the 'diddley die music' sneers of some of the media and the indifference of others and have achieved what they have inch by inch; though there is still a long way to go. A recent supplement to the Irish Times entitled 'Music In Ireland' comprehensively covered the classics, ballet, opera, country and western, middle-of-the-road, rock, jazz etc., and managed to totally ignore traditional music completely, so there are still plenty of hearts and minds to be won.
The lessons to be learned that I referred to lie in how what has been achieved, has been, and I would stress that much of this lies in treating traditional music as a serious art form, a severe shortcoming in some quarters of the folk community in the UK, I do not include anybody involved in this present debate, I hasten to add. Kim Howell is certainly no friend to traditional music, but he, and those who think like him have been given plenty of ammunition by people involved in traditional music who have consistently refused to take it seriously – do I hear cries of 'finger-in-ear', killjoy, purist – please feel free anybody and make my point for me. The mantra often trotted out claims that the music is to be enjoyed and not taken seriously – as if one is an antithesis of the other. Nobody is going to take us seriously if we don't take ourselves so – not enough to give us money anyway. It is this that has made the difference in Ireland, god knows, we don't have a generous, culturally inclined government; we have our own share of Kim Howells thank you very much.
Alan Day,
I certainly did not say that ballroom dancing fills me with horror; what consenting adults get up to in their spare time is completely their own business. It is an activity for which my feelings are totally neutral. What I said was that is should have no place in EFDSS activities – aren't the waters surrounding phrases like 'traditional' and 'folk' muddied enough without adding another activity which can by no stretch of the imagination be described as either? Ballroom dancing does not even have the dubiously opportunistic merit of drawing much needed young blood into traditional activities. Judging by the attitude of young people I know, some of whom may or may not be attracted to traditional song or dance, and certainly may be persuaded to take up an instrument, it would have the exact opposite effect.
Another over-long posting – sorry folks.
Seasons Greetings to all – please have a whiskey on me John.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Fidjit
Date: 24 Dec 06 - 05:29 PM

Dancing at the house.
So whats wrong or untraditional about Ballroom Dancing? My mum did the Valetta at the, Tottenham Royal, as it was known as then, when I was four years old. I also remember that there were American Square dances at the house too in the fiffties. Now if American Square dances get in then so does Ballroom dancing. Come on we've had everything else there. Irish Step, Sufolk tap, Morris, Molly, Rapper, Sword, English Country, you name it. Bring on Bruce Forsyth.
Now there's a tradittion.

Enjoy it.

Chas


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Alan Day
Date: 24 Dec 06 - 06:40 PM

Sorry if I mis-represented you Jim, but there are many who feel that a line has to be drawn somewhere where dance is concerned,perhaps you are one.Why? Some would draw it at Playford.Some would rule out made up Country Dances which are not traditional.Some Ballroom Dances are traditional.American Swing and Rock and Roll is now traditional.A line cannot be drawn, there is no reason to do so.Lovers of all types of dance need to be encouraged,they are the future.
A Happy Xmas to you all
Al


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Dec 06 - 05:14 AM

In which case, you need to remove the words 'folk' or 'traditional' from your organisations and activities - both of which have perfectly understandable and well documented definitions; in this way you will be doing 'exactly what it says on the tin'. Of course, the problem with this is you will then be entering the applications for grants bunfight in direct competition with all other dance and song organisations - and no responsible grant-giving body is going to take seriously an organisation which is not clear about its own identity - unfortunately you don't get grants just for enjoying yourself.
The other alternative is to re-define the terms officially (as did the International Folk Music Council); but to do this, you will have to achieve a consensus among all involved. I don't know if you have read the thread on this forum entitled (something like)'What is traditional folk music', if not, I suggest you do. It indicates the confusion that has risen up around our activities.
The Irish Traditional Music Council is not the only organisation to receive large grants for work in traditional music over here, there was a list of others recently published and the over-riding factor in all of them is they do exactly what they say they do. This has long been a problem in England, and one of the reasons I and thousands like me stopped going to 'folk clubs' - we no longer knew what music we would be listening to - Fidjit's posting is a perfect example of this. Sorry - I wouldn't walk down the road to King George's Park for a free Bruce Forsyth show - now Sheila Stewart - that's another matter.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Dec 06 - 07:34 AM

to john adams,.
I am not a mamber of efdss,however I would be prepared to sponsor with a prize of 200 sterling, a competition for traditional unaccompanied singing[PATICIPANTS UNDER 18]. AND COME from IRELAND, AT MY OWN EXPENSE,to judge it .
if you or efdss are interested ,please contact me here at mudcat.Dick Miles.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Fidjit
Date: 25 Dec 06 - 09:15 AM

Jim Carrol
We all have our own hang-ups. I wouldn't go to a BF thingy either.

Dick Miles
Don't bother.
We already have Mike Harding buggering that up for the BBC.

Alan Day
A Dance is a Dance

Enjoy what you enjoy

Chas


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Dec 06 - 11:50 AM

Cap'n
Wonder who will decide the winner and with what authority?
Why vandalise English traditional music in the same way Comhaltas had vandalised Irish music. Surprisingly enough, I find myself in total agreement with Fidgit on this one.
Would reccommend you spend your money on a good book on folksong,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Dec 06 - 01:17 PM

Me too.

Dave Eyre, Bookseller.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Dec 06 - 03:09 PM

logically,if efdss can hold a song writing competition,why shouldnt they hold a competition for traditional unaccompanied singing.
2.I dont think the bbc award,is for traditional unaccompanied singing.
3.I am not concerned about your opinions,only efdss and john adams opinions[my offer is genuine and I feel it is a better way of using my money to promote english song,than joining efdss]
4,I know quite alot about unaccompanied traditional singing.,and am qualified as well as anyone to judge[bearing in mind all judgements have a certain degree of subjectivity]
5, I dont need anyone to tell me how to spend my money.
6.I have loads of good folksong books.
7 . I suggested that I should decide the winner[ Iam considered by many to be a good unaccompanied singer]however that is open to negotiation between myself and EFDSS,if they are interested. there are plenty of other good unaccompanied singers and I am sure we[EFDSS AND MYSELF] could NEGOTIATE that.
8.I am not spending, efdss members money but my own,so please let me decide how I wish to spend my money .DickMiles.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Dec 06 - 03:53 PM

I have loads of good folksong books

In that case, Dave - bookbuyer............just in case you understand..........

Dave


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: oggie
Date: 25 Dec 06 - 04:07 PM

In the past few months this forum has knocked (in no particular order) -

EFDSS
BBC
Mike Harding, Folk Awards etc
Peter Kennedy
Ewan MacColl
to name but a few.

Why? and why can't we seem to get on with making and sharing our love of this music (whatever it may be, that's another set of rants) and concentrate on spreading and keeping that enthusiasm and knowledge base alive and vital. I come and go in this forum and every so often I feel that 'if that's what it's come to I'll go and watch our local council bicker instead'.

All the best (and season's greetings)

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Dec 06 - 05:09 PM

I am attempting to help EFDSS, by a specific donation, this I feel will help english folk song,AND GENERATE ENTHUSIASM and knowledge,and hopefully a love of this music. Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Fidjit
Date: 25 Dec 06 - 06:03 PM

I agree
Something to do with Mr D. Miles' wooden spoon.

Oh listen to yourselves.
Here we go again having a shy at "Aunt Sally" Most of us missing badly. Like the theme about the dancers on the front cover of EDS a while ago.

Chas


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 04:12 AM

Cap'n said
"I suggested that I should decide the winner".
I certainly hold no brief for competitions, nor do I believe Comhaltas know very much about traditional singing, but at least they have a PANEL of adjudicators to decide the winners. I don't care how you spend your money, I do care what happens to traditional singing, and it would be gross irresponsibility (and totally unprecedented) on the part of any organisation to allow an individual to decide what is good and what is bad - let alone pick winners.
Steve;
Unfortunately that's what discussion is about - I was pleasantly surprised to find when I joined, that this forum wasn't all back-slapping sycophancy and, although quite often criticism wasn't accurate or justified, at least much of it was well thought out and well-meaning - viva la difference!
Apropos of nothing really, I assume that people are aware that the Peter Kennedy collection has been purchased by an American.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: oggie
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 06:31 AM

Jim,

There is constructive and destructive discussion, unfortunately there seems to have been more of the latter than the former in some recent threads.

Steve


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,Johnadams in Changi Airport
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 09:01 AM

Greetings from Singapore Airport.

Having spent Christmas Day in the air and a portion of Boxing Day crashed out in the transit hotel, I'm just trying to kill an hour or so before my next onward flight.

Jim. I'm drinking that whisky! Thanks for your concern. If I wasn't robust enough to deal with the flack I wouldn't join the discussions in the first place. As always, I value your opinion as well as the opportunity to disagree with and complain about it. Although we may differ on the detail of many issues, I guess we are all in the game for similar reasons.

There are a few issues accumulated which I may well respond to in due course. For now I'll make a comment on the ballroom dancing one.

Well before the term 'folk' music was invented (by Victorians with an odd take on popular culture??), many of the tunes and dances that we now accept as part of the 'traditional' repertoire existed in 18th century assemblies (ballrooms to you!). The couple dance 'tradition' morphed into the Old Time Dancing scene in early 20th century UK. Just given these two propositions, it would be a bit dangerous to just dismiss 'ballroom dancing' out of hand. I must agree that 'Strictly Come Dancing" (which I must say provokes so very odd images in my brain during unguarded moments) doesn't quite belong at C#H just yet but let's keep some of our babies when we throw our bathwater out.

Dick.

Thanks for your offer 'putting your money where your mouth is'.
Personally I don't subscribe to the notion of traditional singing as a competitive sport but that's just a personal opinion. It's not ny decision of course, to accept or reject it, so I'll forward it on the National Council. Would you like to couch it in more formal terms for them?

There's a queue for this public machine so back to the bar!

Cheers, J


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,JA in Singapore
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 09:06 AM

Jim Carroll wrote:

Apropos of nothing really, I assume that people are aware that the Peter Kennedy collection has been purchased by an American.

I'm not sure where that's come from. As I understood it the etxt material had gone to the Margaret Grant Library and the recordings to the National Sound Archive. I'm interested to hear more.

J - really off to the bar now!


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 10:18 AM

I assume that people are aware that the Peter Kennedy collection has been purchased by an American.
Jim Carroll


Jim,

That is simply not true as far as I know and I have been closely involved with the book part of the collection (only) and with David Kennedy (Peter's son) since September.

What is your evidence that this is true?


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 11:22 AM

Re Peter Kennedy: whatever happened to Halsway Manor?


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Folkiedave
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 11:51 AM

Nothing happened. The legal owners of all Peter Kennedy's folk material, except films and video - books, records, recordings, etc. are Halsway Manor. This was done by Deed of Trust.

Best regards,

Dave


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 11:02 PM

Ruth Archer wrote

Re Peter Kennedy: whatever happened to Halsway Manor?

Just to clarify, the Margaret Grant Library is at Halsway Manor. As far as I know it does not have a full time staff so curating multimedia collections would be difficult.

J


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 07:14 AM

I dunno. This thread has been quite illuminating, I suppose, but in a rather depressing way. I suppose a country or a culture gets the folk heritage it deserves. I would love to know more about how Comhaltas has 'vandalized' Irish music. If the damage has been that severe I can hardly imagine what sort of state the music would be in by now had it not been subjected to such appalling treatment by musicians, singers, dancers, parents, volunteers and other sundry undesirables. Perhaps it might even have been almost as healthy as English folk music and dance.

Let's face facts, shall we? People don't get involved in English folk dancing because they don't want to. It's as simple as that. Why don't they want to?

Birdseye, if you want to sponsor something useful the next Comhaltas All-Britain Fleadh will be at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston on the 31st June and the 1st of July. If we haven't vandalized the place before then.

I suspect that 'Guest' is hostile to Comhaltas because in his view, it doesn't promote Irish music in a way that is to his taste. Either that, or he feels the sort of Irish people who run it are not his sort of Irish people, or at least they don't conform to his preconception of what Irish people are supposed to be like, how they are supposed to behave, or what sort of attitudes they are supposed to espouse. There's a word for that sort of attitude. It's called racism.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 08:01 AM

Thank you, john. There's me, waving my ignorance like a flag yet again.

Chris B, you're right: people don't get involved in English folk dancing (and other aspects of culture) because they don't want to, and we need to adress the reasons why. But I'm not sure if Comhaltas is solely responsible for the current popularity of Irish traditional culture, nor if they provide a model for best practice in folk development.

I can only speak from personal experience, based on a venue (in the UK) where I used to work, where we did quite a lot of Irish music and dance. The perceptions of Comhaltas (amongst many of the Irish people with whom we worked closely) were not dissimilar to accusations sometimes made against EFDSS: stuffy, rigid, old-fashioned, stuck in its ways, insular, unwilling to adapt or be forward-thinking. I never found them particularly open or welcoming.

I don't think it's racist to suggest that there are many different kinds of people involved in the support and development of Irish traditional music - and many of them will find Comhaltas a difficult or irrelevant organisation.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 08:06 AM

Except that Guest has lived in Ireland for many years and has worked with Irish traditional music for many years before that, hardly the lifestyle of a racist, eh?

Lots of people complain about the way that Comhaltas, and various branches of it, are run - mostly to do with putting the tradition in a straitjacket. At least the EFDSS can't do that these days as it doesn't supply teachers anymore.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 08:46 AM

It is difficult to compare Irish Folk culture to English.Irish Traditional music and Dance has continued in Ireland.The music is played on Radio Stations as part of the daily music scene.Irish Traditional Dance is encouraged by parents for their children.Local Irish dances are supported by the whole family.If you compare that with England we have virtualy no traditional music played except on the radio for a once a week Folk programme.If a Barn Dance is held the locals turn up with full cowboy kit on,they have no idea what English Tradional dance is about.When people hear it, most like it.They love the dances.Even youngsters will leave a disco and join in the folk dances if two events are being run in parallel.We have a lot to offer.Sadly even our pub sing arounds, which packed pubs after the war were killed off by the introduction of Juke Boxes.We had our Folk revival ,it is about time for another.
Al


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 10:37 AM

TO CHRIS B ,I am amember of skibbereen comhaltas,so every year for the last ten years they have had my subs[ 20 euros this year].
so to be even handed to efdss I made this offer[unfortunately I am not a millionaire]and christmas is now over, so I am making no more offers of sponsorship.
yesterday I was out wrenning, and raised 170 euros for the Ballydehob Jazz festival.Dick Miles.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 10:53 AM

to manitas ,in fact comhaltas dont put the tradition in a strait jacket,they unfortunately, alter it with their obsession with marks for ornamentation in their competitions.
but at least their competitions encourage youngsters[ many many more than those they put off]and the introduction of examinations,is an alternative with a focus for the less competetive minded.
now I think the take six project[ song writing competioin] by efdss is laudable.Please can anyone tell me why its ok to have a song writing competition,but not a traditional unaccompanied singing competition, those songs entered in the song writing competition may be tomorrows folk songs,so whats all the row about.
now those people, who are also against a song writing competition[ok ],but efdss clearly isnt ,so logically they shouldnt be against a tradional singing competition.Dick Miles.[new website www dick miles. com


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 12:09 PM

We had our Folk revival ,it is about time for another.

My own experience of this is different.

In the late fifties and throughout the sixties we had an expansion. I am unhappy with calling it a revival. The Straw Bear Festival or Jack-in-the-Green events at Hastings on May Day are revivals. Singing and playing never died.

Our folk music came to us in different forms - it was was sung spontaneously in families or sometimes in pubs. We changed that to folk clubs. It has now changed again to sessions and festivals. Sheffield, a city of over 500,000 people has loads of sessions and a festival but has difficulty supporting a traditional style folk club booking guests on a regular basis within the city boundaries.

There are dozens of highly talented young musicians and singers around, far more than there ever was when I first started listening in the early sixties.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 02:14 PM

Dick, the Take Six project is not a songwriting competition. From what I understand, it's about getting EFDSS resources out into the regions.

I'm not best placed to talk about it, as my knowledge is sketchy, but others (John? Derek? You there?) will be able to talk about it in much more detail, and explain how it's part of EFDSS's strategy of having a stronger regional impact.

How does a songwriting competition differ from a singing competition? Maybe EFDSS feels that there are lots more young singers than songwriters in the traditional style, and hopes to stimulate songwriting.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 02:38 PM

yes, that is perfectly valid,what I am saying is that the objections [ if there are any]should not be its ok to judge songwriting, but not traditional singing.
In fact if efdss reject my offer ,I would be quite happy to sponsor a song writing competetion.But Iwould like to donate any sponsorship specifically to song. Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 29 Dec 06 - 06:33 AM

Ruth Archer, yes, you're quite right that many people have found their way to Irish music through other routes besides the Comhaltas route - and that's fine. But think about what those other routes have been: records, folk clubs and festivals, sessions and so on. Now that's all well and good, but what Comhaltas does, with varying degrees of success, is to locate Irish music within the Irish community.

Folk club performances and pub sessions comprised of folk musicians who have come to Irish music later in life don't seek to fulfil that function.   For many Irish people, therefore, those versions of 'Irish' music are as irrelevant as you say that Comhaltas is for many musicians.

Since the formation Comhaltas in the 50s and for most of the time since, that community, at least in England (and we're talking about the state of folk music and dance in England so I think there's some relevance) has been homogeneous and cohesive enough to support clubs and Irish centres across the country where traditional music and dance have been supported. Perhaps that's the real challenge in promoting English music and dance: there isn't the same degree of common understanding, particularly among thoughtful, educated people who grew up during the 60s and 70s and who now represent the 'Folk Establishment' (for want of a better word), about what 'Englishness' itself means.

I think many of the criticisms of Comhaltas you refer to are very valid, though I think you need to consider them in context: many Comhaltas breanches still have members and committees who have been involved since they first came over from Ireland decades ago. To some extent, part of what they are doing (whether consciously or not) is to preserve a community and a sense of Irishness that itself stems from the Ireland they left.

I think this is something that many emigrant organisations tend to do. The US Senator and former UN Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote a couple of very perceptive essays about this tendency of the Irish community to get itself organised soon after its arrival in a new country but then to settle into a very conservative pattern, reproducing the society it came from as well as acting as a group upon the new, host community. Edwin O'Connor's novel, 'The Last Hurrah' about city politics in Boston, also gives a strong sense of how Irish people tended to organise themselves socially and politically in the new setting. It's not just Comhaltas. And I don't doubt that many of the Irish people you knew had their own criticisms of Comhaltas. Plenty of Irish people in Liverpool do, including me.

What bothers me (and I've encountered this many times) is when English folk musicians profess to be attracted to Irish music on an aesthetic level but are clearly uncomfortable being around Irish people whose lifestyles or attitudes are not congruent with their own. Or when people profess to want to promote Irish music and culture but make a point of avoiding or excluding organisations like Comhaltas because it's comprised of the 'wrong' sort of Irish people. By the way, when I mentioned Racism earlier on, it wasn't Birdseye I was referring to. Just wanted to make that clear.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 29 Dec 06 - 06:52 AM

I recognise the pattern you're talking about: I'm American, and worked for an Irish arts centre in Los Angeles for a couple of years in the 80s. There we had the "Irish Ethos Committee", not a million miles from Comhaltas as I've expreienced it in England, and similarly made up of migrants whose interpretation of their own culture was frozen in time. I guess this is a pitfall of any similar organisation: it will only be relevant to certain people at certain times, particularly as preserving that interpretation of the culture becomes central to its reason for being - hence the charges of insularity. I don't think that's the same thing as the implied racism of English people perceiving them as the "wrong sort" of Irish people - in fact, there are people from their own community who are probably thinking the very same thing...


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 06 - 05:41 PM

to jim carroll,26 dec 4 12 am.
the county COMHALTAS competitions, regional COMHALTAS competitions,and some national competitions[comhaltas]have one judge,the g,a.a scor competetions for music have one judge.
the glor na gael music competitions have one judge[ I know because I have judged for both glor na gael and g a a scor competitions, and have performed in comhaltas competitions.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Dec 06 - 04:34 AM

Whichever way they are judged, the idea of competitions is detrimental to the music. Competitions are for winners; they do nothing for those who just wish to play music for the love of it. If, as you say, one person has the sole decision in what is 'the best' this is even further proof of this. While everybody has a right to an opinion, nobody should have final say - this is what MacColl was often accused of (wrongly).
Comhaltas, by adopting the competition ethic, has produced a set of rules in order to decide what is good and what is bad. This has led to what I have often heard referred to (particularly by older musicians) as 'Comhaltas players'.
It has produced a form of dancing which has nothing to do with the tradition - a natural fore-runner to Riverdance (Riverdance was listed by Labhras O Murchu as a great achievement in his 1999 report).
The singing favoured by CCE is more akin to Victorian parlour singing than the traditional styles, and when they refer to 'the ballads' they are invariably talking about the 'parlour ballads' (I've had discussions with their members on a dozen occasions on this subject).
Their dancers are expected to dress up in pseudo medieval costume and this 'Darby O'Gillism' is extended to singers and musicians who often appear in the pages of their magazine in Georgian dress. All this has nothing whatever to do with the performance of traditional music, let alone making it relevent to the 21st century.
There is no doubt whatever that Comhaltas members (and others) kept traditional music alive during the decline, but somewhere along the way their leaders dropped the ball. Nowadays their activities are represented almost entitely by the Fleadhs, large, uncomfortable festivals which have little impact on the music as a whole. The modern upsurge in Irish music is taking place without Comhaltas, and in some cases, in spite of them.

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Fidjit
Date: 30 Dec 06 - 04:56 AM

I have to agree with Jim. Music is not meant ot be a competion. Competition kills. Religion, cricket. Look how sad the English cricketers are at the moment.

River dance was the flavour of the month in the ninties. Which in turn brought an upsurge of Irish music out of the closet (A good thing) Now the Irish sessions are a competition as to who can get to the end or into the next tune first. It's gone over to Celtic Muzac (A bad thing) Fotunatly it's (Itrash) is on the wan. Sorry that should have been (Irish). The real music will like cream rise to the top.

Happy New Year to you all.

Chas


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 06 - 05:53 AM

Jim your entitled to your opinions ,but you should also aim this criticism at the g aa scor and glor na gael,.IN RELATION TO COMHALTAS, I still think their contribution is an overall plus,[ in my experience their judges are better than the g a a]and that the examination system is a progressive step.
are you against examinations for classical music ,and are you against song writing competitions. I have seen lots of children enjoy thegaa scors and the comhaltas fleadh, they seem to like the examinations too.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 06 - 06:49 AM

I agree with some of your criticisms, jim ,particuarly [dressing up].
in relation to the fleadhs,they do have a large impact as they are televised,they also attract many musicians, who have nothing to do with the competitions,but who go for the craic, and seem to have a good time and make lots of good music.
in my opinion the best competitions are the ceilidh bands[ the music is still danceable, and sounds like dance music because the rhythym instruments[ often pianos] play on the beat.,rather than just filling in the sound ,the music still has lift[something frequently missing on geanntrai tg4 programmes, and also with players who never play for dancing].


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 06 - 06:56 AM

I enter competitions because I love playing music,. also the report sheet from someone like Denis mc mahon[ cork fiddle adjudicator]might throw light on possible improvement. I have the attitude rather like the amateur, corinthian casuals Soccer Team that I am doing it purely for the craic, the enjoyment of doing[ in fact i normally trow their ghastly medals away] DickMiles


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Dec 06 - 12:10 PM

Cap'n,
If you haven't read O'Murchu's 1999 report, I suggest you do - it sums up perfectly where Comhaltas stands at the moment,
I would aim my criticisms at GAA if they were under discussion.
Competitions are for winners, which should npt be what music is about.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 06 - 02:28 PM

jim ,I pay no heed to o murchu,
what i prefer to do is, go and help my branch[skibbereen comhaltas] once a month,and skibbereen comhaltas og,by playing music along with the children, round the fireside,fortunately our committee, realise that it is not all about competitions,.
its wonderful to see the children socialising, and enjoying playing music in a non competitive way,enjoying dancing the seige of ennis,and having fun while learning about their culture.wassail Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 06 - 03:37 PM

JIM,the point I am making is that,Local branch committees are left to get on very much as they please,fortunately my two local branches skibbereen and Bantry,are what I would call progressive[E G realising that the social and fun part of playing music is as important as competitions].wassail.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 06 - 05:42 PM

To bring us back to e.f.d.s.s,in camden town.
I bet that if anyone is doing anything like this in the area it will be comhaltas.
no i;m not having ago at e.f.d.s.s, they are doing other praise worthy things,im just stating facts.
as I understand it efdss no longer have local branches[If this is correct this is a mistake],comhaltas strength lies in the commitment of its members at local level[ getting involved with music in their local communities]and at the same time providing a social club atmosphere[ much in the same way folk CLUBS can do[ Swindon carrington ]etc.
I would suggest that approaching comhaltas to see if they would be interested in hiring the house with its excellent dancing floors would be a good idea[it would hopefully break down barriers between the two folk cultures].the excellent room downstairs used by sharps song club could be used as well by comhaltas as a song venue etc etc.
if e.f.d.s.s has already thought of these things my apologies.




                                                 '----------'


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 04:38 AM

Cap'n,
Unless things have changed radically in the last eight years Comhaltas has kept a very low profile in London (virtually all the branches there were either dead or in need of the last rites being read). The most active branch in the capital was in West London - unfortunately it was expelled for refusing to participate in a political fund-raising event (on the basis that the branch was made up of all denominations - and even atheists like myself). It changed its name to the West London Irish Traditional Music Association - and thrived, with support from such members as Bobby Casey, Danny Meehan, The McCarthys, John Bowe, Raymond rowland, Roger Sherlock...et al.
I agree entirely about the value of the branches, unfortunately them upstairs are carving a reputation for CCE which is, to say the least, unsavoury. I suggest you visit Brú Ború sometime and see what your money's being spent on, or maybe read the reference in Fintan Vallely's Companion To Irish Traditional Music.
The subject only became relevent to EFDSS when somebody came up with the hare-brained suggestion of organising singing competitions!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 05:51 AM

yes jim .it was me that suggested singing competitions,its no more hare brained than having a song writing competition.[you still havent answered my questions]
let me remind you that Julia Clifford won the all ireland fiddle competition,That EDEL FOX recently won a comhaltas competition. two musicians, who deserve respect, that had no problem with competitions,.
however efdss could extend the invitation to hiring the house[ if they havent done so already ]to other comhaltas branches[after all they are supposed to be international when it comes to song],the same could apply to welsh music societies,and scots or any other nationality.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: johnadams
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 06:33 AM

Dick,

Can I clarify something with you? You keep saying that the efdss "are supposed to be international when it comes to song" . I don't know where this comes from or exactly what you mean by it?

It's the English Folk Dance and (English Folk) Song Society. Of course people who research under the efdss banner consider English song in context (ie. with regard to how it relates to Scotland, Wales, Ireland, US/Canada, Oz and the Caribbean, etc - ie. where the variants are found) but that's different from being 'international'.

With regard to 'hiring the house to other comhaltas branches' , we certainly wouldn't turn the trade away. We 'invite' as many people as possible to hire the House but surely it's up to the Comhaltas to hire if they have a need - I don't know if they even need to hire a venue. It's a nice idea but it's beyond our control.

You seem to have an odd idea of how things work.

It's approaching midnight here in Oz and as I write this, a kookaburra is competing with the sound of a blues band playing at a neighbour's barby. Happy New Year to you and all Mudcatters who are reading this thread.

J


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Folkiedave
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 07:02 AM

John hits the nail on the head, anyone can hire C#house - within the usual legal restraints. Last time I was there it was a youth theatre auditioning people. If CCE need a venue all they have to do is ask.


And a happy New Year to all Catters.

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 08:18 AM

thankyou john,in a previous thread in discussion with Malcolm Douglas he pointed out to me that I was erroneously calling it the english folksong society,that when the two societies merged, the english dance society and the folk song society,that efdss stands for english dance society and folk song society,the folksong society,being still the folk song society and therefore international[NOT EXCLUSIVELY ENGLISH.]
either you or Malcolm Douglas is right,Ihave now had the privilege of being corrected by you both.
Before I was a professional musician 30 years ago, Iwas a supervisor/manager of a chain of retail oulets, during my training Iwas taught to be aggressive about seeking business,not to wait for the business to come to me but to go out and seek it[thisis the approach I am suggesting].WASSAIL AND HAPPY NEW YEAR.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 09:26 AM

correction, it was not malcolm douglas,but folkie dave .
the thread was[ what has efdss done to promote english folk song]
4AUG 06, 5 29 AM he said,
THE EFDSSwas formed in 1932,when the folk song society and english Folk dance society were amalgamated,The English part of the name refers only to dance, the folk song side was never restricted to England or the English language, nor is it now.
he then said[what would be good is people read before posting wrong information].
now who am I to believe NOW.FOLKIE DAVE OR John Adams, if it is in fact international, there has clearly been a misunderstanding for many people for many years and I would suggest many lost opportunities. Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 09:34 AM

Dick Miles and folkie dave are both correct in their statements about the purpose of the Folk Song Society. It was international in its outlook, and not specifically English. The Journal published a small number of articles about non-English song, including a significant issue about Gaelic song.
If anything, the dance side of EFDSS became more international in outlook (dance groups invited to the Albert Hall festivals, Sidmouth etc) and the song side became less international.
Derek Schofield


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 07:39 AM

cheap tramadol,Idont think anyone attending dances at Cecil Sharp House needs drugs.


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: Downshift
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:05 AM

Although, to be honest, if they wanted them they wouldn't have to walk far to get them!


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Subject: RE: efdss dances at Sharp House
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jun 07 - 12:53 PM

paracetomol is also a dangerous substance,foranyone that has alcohol in their system.I am sure the dancers at cecil sharp house just get high on dancing.


This thread is a major spam magnet. Contact a moderator if you need it reopened to post anything. ---mudelf


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