Mudcat Café message #3186501 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #138735   Message #3186501
Posted By: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
13-Jul-11 - 04:31 AM
Thread Name: Do purists really exist?
Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
I am tempted to ask, then how did you know it was deliberate rather than poor judgement and thoughtlessness, but please don't bother.

The Folk Song & Ballad Club in Newcastle was never so casual, much less spontaneous. When I used to go it was held in a featureless basement room (rather than the characterful upstairs clubroom it was held in originally & in which a Bridge Folk Club still meets, but it's nothing like the old one) which was laid out with very specific intention as detailed above. This is not some malicious rewriting of history for some dark nefarious ends; I have no agenda here, other than to report on the most ghastly folk club set up I have ever encountered, and one that was hardly formative of my love of communal music-making based around a shared loved of the Old Songs and Shanties. Despite the stellar calibre of the residents, the set-up was hardly conducive to either fostering an interest in their various idioms (which, to be honest, I doubt was on the agenda back then anyway) or reflecting the egalirarian political ends which were always a prominent aspect of the New Testament Folk Revival. I heard some very good singing there, and grat music, which is why I used to go, but remain eternally baffled by the set up. As to why they did it, I've no idea. I'm not even sure if anyone else felt intimidated by it; as I say, it was an accepted aspect of the club.

That surely, is your own choice

Indeed so, one born of long years of bitter experience. The more openly egalitarian & essentially rule-free a club is, so more encouraging it will be on any number of levels and the more potential there is for reaching Trad Nirvana (in my experience, certainly I've never reached it in any other sort of club). In my current club there is no Trad Only policy as such, but that tends to be the way things happen. Not even sure if you would call it an Unwritten Rule - rather it's just the consequence of what happens when you get a few like-minded souls gathered together who just want a good old blow. It effects the rest of the pub too, and kicks off in rare old style on a regular basis.

Back on thread.

These days the Folk Remit is very wide, even on Mudcat, and I've tried to be accepting of this but (in the words of one old storyteller I one had the privilege of getting drunk with) it's rather like shoving your own shit back up your arse: as unpleasant as it is, ultimately, impossible. Does that mark me out as a Purist? Thing is, I often get called a Purist myself on account (I suppose) of being fond of Old Songs & Old Singers. I once even said to one young singer-songwriter (thus paraprasing Peter Pan) for every new song you sing, and old one dies. Granted I was very drunk at the time, and her repertoir of Old Songs was impressive (and she couldn't have been that offended because she would later become my wife) but in my heart I still carry this notion that Folk is all about the Old Songs, and that the new ones are somehow missing a very essential point. I own, however, that this is very much My Problem, and that to dictate to others is rather like King Cnut (careful with that spelling there) trying to turn back the tide.

Tides are a good thing.