Mudcat Café message #2515816 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #116964   Message #2515816
Posted By: Marje
15-Dec-08 - 11:02 AM
Thread Name: Why folk clubs are dying
Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
I do know what you mean, Faye. I've seen the very type of embarrassing performance you describe. I've also been to club evenings where all the floor spots were of a good-to-excellent standard - it all depends largely on who turns up.

And that, of course, is at once the weakness and the strength of many UK folk clubs. They like to be "inclusive" and kind to people (this is the point you were making, Leadfingers) and this is why many of them tolerate second-rate or downright dreadful performers as well as those that are good or promising.

The trouble is, of course, that it may be perceived as being kind to Fred - with his feeble voice, his out-of-tune guitar and his music stand - to give him a spot, but it's NOT kind to the rest of the audience to expect them to sit through Fred mumbling his way through the same two songs, with the wrong chords, in a key he can't sing in, yet again. And before someone says that Fred has to start somewhere, I'll reply that "Fred" (apologies to any real Freds out there!) is typically about 55 and has been performing like this ever since he realised, about 20 years ago, that he wasn't going to make it as a rock singer.

I'm not sure it's even in Fred's best interests to allow him to continue like this - isn't it rather patronising to pretend it's OK when it's not? If might be kinder for someone to suggest a few ways in which he could polish up his performance, and encourage him to stop deluding himself. It would certainly be kinder to the audience.

I'm not talking about novice singers who are just a tad nervous. And I'm not talking about the occasional slip-up - we've all seen experienced professionals stumble on their words or do a quick key-change betwteen verses. I'm talking about consistently sloppy, lazy and inadequate performances from people who are old enough to know better.

So I think you've every right, Faye, to feel angry and embarrassed when a club lets you down in this way. I hope any club organisers reading your comments will perhaps look a bit more critically at what they're asking people to pay to hear, and be a bit more selective, particularly when there's a professional guest singer or band.

Marje