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Folk Music and Class

Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 21 Oct 07 - 06:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Oct 07 - 07:08 PM
mg 21 Oct 07 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,wordy 21 Oct 07 - 07:21 PM
Scorpio 21 Oct 07 - 07:58 PM
topical tom 21 Oct 07 - 09:41 PM
Folkiedave 22 Oct 07 - 02:31 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Oct 07 - 03:16 AM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 22 Oct 07 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 22 Oct 07 - 03:35 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Oct 07 - 04:22 AM
peregrina 22 Oct 07 - 08:21 AM
John MacKenzie 22 Oct 07 - 09:01 AM
Fidjit 22 Oct 07 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 22 Oct 07 - 09:33 AM
The Sandman 22 Oct 07 - 09:44 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Oct 07 - 09:47 AM
wysiwyg 22 Oct 07 - 10:28 AM
The Barden of England 22 Oct 07 - 10:42 AM
The Barden of England 22 Oct 07 - 10:42 AM
Folkiedave 22 Oct 07 - 11:13 AM
Wesley S 22 Oct 07 - 11:14 AM
The Villan 22 Oct 07 - 11:28 AM
Jeanie 22 Oct 07 - 11:47 AM
Folkiedave 22 Oct 07 - 11:55 AM
Wesley S 22 Oct 07 - 11:59 AM
Folkiedave 22 Oct 07 - 12:06 PM
The Villan 22 Oct 07 - 12:07 PM
Jeanie 22 Oct 07 - 12:10 PM
Folkiedave 22 Oct 07 - 12:12 PM
John MacKenzie 22 Oct 07 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,albert 22 Oct 07 - 01:31 PM
Mary Humphreys 22 Oct 07 - 01:33 PM
Emma B 22 Oct 07 - 01:35 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Oct 07 - 01:50 PM
Stu 22 Oct 07 - 01:51 PM
John MacKenzie 22 Oct 07 - 02:18 PM
Wesley S 22 Oct 07 - 02:21 PM
John MacKenzie 22 Oct 07 - 02:22 PM
Wesley S 22 Oct 07 - 02:32 PM
Stu 22 Oct 07 - 02:47 PM
M.Ted 22 Oct 07 - 03:06 PM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 22 Oct 07 - 03:07 PM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 22 Oct 07 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 22 Oct 07 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 22 Oct 07 - 03:19 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Oct 07 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,tom bliss 22 Oct 07 - 05:47 PM
Richard Bridge 22 Oct 07 - 06:08 PM
peregrina 22 Oct 07 - 06:13 PM
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Subject: Folk Music and Class
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 06:54 PM

On another, now closed, thread, there were a number of posts that seemed to be suggesting that you really shouldn't be allowed to listen to, play or have an opinion about any aspect of folk music unless you could absolutely prove your working class credentials. Probably going back several generations. You know, what with folk music, rather than Dizzee Rascal, the Streets and 50 Cent, being the music of the people.

So my question is, does this mean as the manager of a community mental health team, I should make a big bonfire in my garden of all my folk CDs and faithfully promise never to besmirch its reputation again by attempting to do something as downright impudent as listening to it?

Because it seems that us middle class people (especially the Guardian reading, leftie, union member variety) are spoiling folk music for everyone else.

Can I be the first to say sorry?

Cheers,

Nigel.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 07:08 PM

You can't go polluting the atmosphere with a bonfire like that, not if you're a Guardian reader etc!

(Sounds like a typical manager to me...)


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: mg
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 07:10 PM

Well foolish is foolish so don't listen to them. Sing and play what you like,with respect for those who inspired it. mg


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: GUEST,wordy
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 07:21 PM

The whole folk revival for the whole of the 20th century was purely middle class. No working class collectors to my knowledge. The 60's revival was powered purely by the "educated" working class who became the middle class. Every folk club was awash with students.
The working class got on, and it's only those left behind, or those nostalgic for a lost world that never was, who are unhappy about it. However, roots are roots, so I'm still working class, but educated, and therefore researchers consider me middle class because of earnings and inferred status.
It's all bo****ks really!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Scorpio
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 07:58 PM

Dear Nigel -

I must have missed the thread you refer to. All it proves is that some people don't think very far. Folk music in its origins was the music of the people in the sense of 'ordinary' people, the hoi-poloi, the rank and file, the ones whose lives didn't matter much in history. They sangs about working on the railroad or being drafted into the army, yes, but there were also songs of outrage, injustice, poetry - things common to every class. Many songs today regarded as traditional had middle class authors. Nobles like Wallace, Bruce, and Bonnie Prince Charlie were immortalised in Scottish folk song. The educationally privileged have been responsible for most revolutions, anyway.

Folk music has never been that popular with the Powers-That-Be, just because of this taint of sedition. Finer classes of people listened to something else. Finer classes of people also tended to have a great deal of power over the less fortunate, who have, historically, had little opportunity to change the situation. The working class are one such group. African-Americans are another. Women another.

People, of whatever social class (God! Isn't this British?), who try to do something to improve the situation of others tend to be those who care about other humans in the first place, and are probably attracted to folk for the same reasons as me: folk is just about the only place the story of the ordinary person is remembered.

So keep listening, Nigel. We need all the help we can get.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: topical tom
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 09:41 PM

Beautifically said, Scorpio! What does it matter the socio-economic class of the folk music fan/performer if he or she espouses the folk principles of love, peace, freedom, and the betterment of man?
       A truly humanitarian man of fortune equals a working class humanitarian, no better, no worse.
       Forget about class and concentrate on the struggle for the ideals of the folk movement


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 02:31 AM

As for no working-class collectors in the 20th century to your knowledge - I have to tell you your knowledge is not complete. Try looking up Alfred Williams.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 03:16 AM

Wordy, you have not (it seems) read the studies about the stats on those who "rise" from working class to middle class. The vast preponderance were "sunken" middle class.

And on another tack, if anyone sees Tom Bliss, tell him to get a cookie so I can PM him as he and I were in mid-conversation about this when the censorship thread was closed.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 03:29 AM

I like it, McGrath of Harlow! So to backtrack, I'll COMPOST rather than burn those CDs...

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 03:35 AM

Sorry, can't do cookies at the moment, but would be interested to read your reply here Richard. (im not 'tom' above btw)


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 04:22 AM

Morning Tom

I think Joe will blow a fuse if I post the residue of that discussion on yet another thread (and he will or may then consign me to outer darkness with Mad Lizzie).

I have re-activated one of my disposable email addresses at Bhurmabum@shiftmail.com. If you email me there I should get it and I can email you, without either of us publicly posting an email address for the spammers to latch onto. Or, I think you are in touch with Barden, and you can send me a message with your email address via him and also get mine from him (sorry to put you as piggy in the middle John).


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class: Derek Walcott & Omeros
From: peregrina
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 08:21 AM

Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his poem Omeros a few years back. Omeros is a retelling of the Iliad in a new context.

Some people said: why have you, a black man from the caribbean, written a version of the Iliad instead of 'your' stories.

Walcott in a TV interview (wish I could find where he published this) said:   the Odyssey and the Iliad don't just belong to the modern Greeks, nor do they belong to the European and other scholars who've done all these studies on Ancient Greek. They belong to everyone who reads them, studies them, even learns the language.

Everyone may not agree; and of course the analogy between the Iliad and its ancient/dead traditional transmission and the folk music of the last two centuries is inexact. But I think it's a nice point about how these things can be shared and stay alive that way....Can you make it your own? The Iliad can withstand all manner of retellings. Are the ballads and traditional songs any less robust?


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 09:01 AM

Class as a label is outmoded, often derogatory, and usually Socialist, claptrap.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Fidjit
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 09:33 AM

Dear oh dear. Only Cd's Nigel?

Should have been Lp's and tapes. You're obviously to young to be considered in the census.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 09:33 AM

Ok Richard. Will do, tho I'd prefer the debate to be in the open, here, just low key and amicable so we can all maybe learn something.

I was just posting on the 'speaking ill' thread to agree with you about Lizzie' rights when Joe closed it, so will post that thought here.


Joe? I think Lizzie should have right to reply - apart from the legal and moral aspect it's counterproductive from a moderation point of veiw to leave those kind of comments up. In other cases like this the complainant is allowed to refute anything defamatory but not allowed to add new comment. Any new comment is deleted/edited.

Could you at least do that?

Thanks

Tom


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 09:44 AM

I did make a previous comment that I thought Ninety percent of the folkscene was Middle class,I did not mean this in any derogatory manner.
Class Structure is difficult to define,but certain professions are often regarded as middle class,likewise living in council rented property,is often used as away of defining, someone as not middle class,I realise this is only a start at defining class ,and now anticipate an attack from Folkie Dave.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 09:47 AM

I think I agree with you Tom on both those points, but if we do it by email then it is your choice whether to re-put up here, and that will not look like me going on (and on, and on, and on, if you remember the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah band) as Joe's blood pressure is probably getting a bit alarming right now - Lizzie can be very frustrating and hard to engage in a low-key rational way.... (NO, Lizzie, that is NOT libel, please believe me, I used to do libel clearances for several TV companies)


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 10:28 AM

I haven't been looking at whatever controversies y'all are referring to, but I was thinking about music in a related way last night and now this AM, here's a thread titled right in that line of thought!

What I was thinking was, folk music is music of the blue-collared that is collected and perpetuated in many cases by the white-collared. I was thinking that here at Mudcat we, who are mostly whiter-collared than bluer-collared, are at that place in our lives where we stand with the collectors AS WELL AS the originators, and that UK folk in particular is one of the world's folk musics that is very much in that middle place-- new and old music, both folk, so it's confusing around that class issue.

THEREFORE as I skim the above posts, I'm thinking (now) that it might be helpful not to worry so much about who or what is "right," because music transcends our narrow huiman ability to agree on what is right, or even to maintain it in one's own mind as a fixed quantity because human beans have the annoying tendency :~) to keep thinking and learning even whilst arguing, hammer and tongs, about who or what is "right."

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: The Barden of England
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 10:42 AM

Richard - You can give my blueyonder email address to Tom Bliss if you want or Tom you can contact me at jbarden@ then just add the blueyoder.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: The Barden of England
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 10:42 AM

And of course   .co.uk

John Barden


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 11:13 AM

Dick, people can define class in all sorts of ways and it would be nice to know which one you use. I have never suggested that the term "middle-class" is derogatory by the way.

If you believe that 90% of the folk scene is middle-class you are free to assert that - it is just people would take more notice of you if you had some sort of citation, a survey for example would be regarded as good evidence. If it is anecdotal evidence then say so. (It would have little value IMHO but that is your privilege).

Define class by income, by occupation, by education, by housing or by authority position are all ways that are used depending on circumstance. When it was done by occupation there were major problems since women were virtually excluded as was unpaid work in the home - for example. By income - I know plumbers (generally regarded as working class) that earned a lot more than I did as a lecturer (generally regarded as upper-middle). There are similar difficulties with all definitions.

We live in a complex society and most people who have studied the subject at any level find "class" a difficult subject.

I am not attacking you. I just asking how you know that 90% of the folk-scene is middle class. And to tell me that, you need a definition of class. And so far you have said it is difficult to define.

I couldn't agree more!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Wesley S
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 11:14 AM

In the UK - and other places as well - how is it determined that someone is working class vs middle class or even upper class? Is a specific dollar amount of earnings involved? Does one have to have their hands inspected for signs of work? Is there a test? Certifications that can be framed and mounted on the wall?

And why do you care?


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: The Villan
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 11:28 AM

class is a load of bollocks. You are who you are and you can damn well like what you like, be it folk, opera, rock & roll, rap.
What the **** has it got to do with anybody else.

Anyway we all know that 99% of folkies are or were teachers at some point in their life. LOL :-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Jeanie
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 11:47 AM

Wesley S: I don't think you can differentiate between classes in the UK any more by looking at their earnings, occupation, education or housing. The big determining factor, I think, is the way that people speak, jest like wot that Enry Iggins fahnd...

....oh, and whether they have net curtains or not....Jilly Cooper, years ago, wrote a very funny piece about "the haves" and the "have nets" ;)

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 11:55 AM

Lecturer - do you mind. I am very class conscious about that.

err......were did Velux windows fit in?


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Wesley S
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 11:59 AM

And I always figured that class was determined by the size of your guitar {proud owner of a Martin D-18}.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 12:06 PM

Two families in one car. A test of class.

Two men in front, two women in back, working class

Man with his own wife in front of car, man with his own wife in back of car - middle class.

Man in front of car with other man's wife, man in back of car with other man's wife, upper class.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: The Villan
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 12:07 PM

AS long as you wern't a letcher FolkieDave :-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Jeanie
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 12:10 PM

Velux windows, Dave ? Wooden frames: more likely to be middle class; UPVC frames: definitely working class !

Any occupation: depends on the accent. Received Pronunciation: Decidedly middle class. Slightly detectable regional accent: Reasonably acceptably middle class, but of the lower echelons. Strong regional accent: working class (no matter what the income or profession).

"I look down on him, because he doesn't speak properly."
"Ee finks I oughta be lookin up to im cos ee speeks proper."

Eeh bah gum...

- jeanie (I do hope you realize this is tongue in cheek and plum in mouth !)


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 12:12 PM

Moi? lecherous? The very thought. That was why I got into folk music - to avoid meeting members of the opposite sex.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 01:11 PM

Well of course if I used class as a label, I would say that the UK folk scene is Middle Class, and left wing.
The only working class people I ever met, told me they were! Funny how ALL of the people who have described themselves as working class, have held down middle class jobs, and led fairly affluent lifestyles.
I suppose it's only when you reach such a state of financial security, that you can boast about being working class?
G.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: GUEST,albert
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 01:31 PM

The marxist definition of class is useful to the above discussion.Marx basically argued that a person's class was determined by his/her relationship to the means of production.Some people are virulently dismissive of class as a concept but try getting into Eton or Fettes College without paying the huge fees and you will class conflict in action.
I am writing as a council house kid with a steelworker dad and a nurse as a mother ,educated in a sec mod but now a teacher.
The premise of many seems to be that if you are working class you must be a cultureless clod but surely the great songs collected by Cecil Sharpe came from the rural working class in the main and a load of others came from the industrial working class.Also much of the driving force in popular music has come from the most disenfranchised members of the working class and I am thinking of the blues,gypsy music and rocknroll.
albert


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 01:33 PM

I was told in sociology lectures during my PGCE course ( yes - I did teach ) that the crucial defining factor of the Middle Classes was deferred gratification.
So never mind the low fees now, think of the brilliant well-paid future you will have when you have practised/gigged for years and years .......


with tongue firmly in cheek,
Mary H


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Emma B
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 01:35 PM

By education and occupation I suppose I would be considered and would probably define myself as "middle class" although born and raised in a "working class" family where singing around an old piano on high days and holidays was very much part of our culture.

I regard myself as "left-wing" too as it was the policy of equal opportunities in education that enabled me to make that transition.

It has been my personal experience to find that music and talent has little to do with the "class structure" however we define (or refuse) to define it!
True those who have 9-5 physically undemanding jobs may have more time and energy to relax and enjoy whatever music they prefer most.

btw - are the other 1% Social Workers Les? :)

That's the best definition I've heard yet Folkiedave! LOL!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 01:50 PM

So many people keep saying class is all bollocks.

Bloody incredible, in a country where we still have a monarchy, an aristocracy, a meritocracy (people who feel they have sufficient merit to be considered superior), and a 'folk' music which alienates most of the population.

I only know that the when I first started out in folk music, I wasn't a comedian. So the pressure was on to conform - the vocal styling of Carthy, Waterson etc, modal guitar tunings, songs with with 'fa la la' choruses. (In the 1950's, in some places men who wore wrist watches and sat with their legs crossed were still considered effeminate). All of which would have seemed like an act of class betrayal to me - my own family didn't belong to that tradition - it wasn't what was handed down to me.

Similarly when I took my parents to see Gary and Vera Aspey (an act that was to me very entertaing), they were really shocked and offended at the apparent portrayal of working class northern men as chauvinist insensitive loudmouths. It was like I'd taken Martin Luther King to the Black and White Minstrel Show.

I could cite a few dozen other instances. Let's just leave that its all bollocks to you, but to some people the class system in this country, is a hurtful reality. Look at the Jeremy Kyle Show sometime - see middle class people getting a real buzz out of the antics of the lumpenproletariat.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Stu
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 01:51 PM

"Class as a label is outmoded, often derogatory, and usually Socialist, claptrap."

Spoken like a true member of the modern bourgeois society.

I think if Marx were alive today he'd be rethinking his definitions of the bourgeoisie and proletariat. You can still basically divide it along the lines of the owners and makers, but with the decline of manufacturing and the rise of service industries these lines need to be redrawn.

I've been giving some though about this and here's my take so far:

Bourgeois class: All owners of business with employees, middle managers upwards, land-owning (rather than tennant) farmers (these days).

Proletariat: Sole traders, manufacturing workers etc, service industry employees and tennant farmers.

Of course there is now a super-rich class that trancend these and are included in the ruling classes.

Obviously there is more to it than this, but my tea's ready and I'm famished.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 02:18 PM

Illegitimate child, brought up in a one parent family, by a mother who was a cook.
Yes Stigweard, your powers of deduction are truly amazing.
Care to guess how much my state pension is?
GF.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Wesley S
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 02:21 PM

What about the concept that there are only two classes? Green and not-green. You have it or you don't.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 02:22 PM

We hold this right to be self evident, that all men are created equal, etc etc.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Wesley S
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 02:32 PM

Easier said than done.......


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Stu
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 02:47 PM

Back from my middle-class tea.

"Yes Stigweard, your powers of deduction are truly amazing."

It was only a joke - sorry, didn't mean to offend. Bet your state pension is more than mine will be when I retire though (if I ever can afford to).

Class is a wonderful subject - everyone has an opinion because as WLD states it's still very much with us. I love it when people try to shove their working-class credentials up your nose, that wonderful inverted snobbery George Bernard Shaw parodied so well in Pygmalion. Like toff's slumming it, it's all a load of cobblers.

As Marx and Engels said "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles".


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 03:06 PM

It's far from clear that "folk music" and "folk songs" were created by "the proletariat"--more unlikely, in fact, because creating music and writing verse imply a degree of education that has tended to be more common in the middle class.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 03:07 PM

All of which is very interesting but a bit of a thread drift, no? My OP wasn't so much about trying to spark a debate about 'what is class?' or 'who's best, the middle class or the working class?' but a slightly tongue in cheek attempt to raise the issue about where class comes into folk music now it's ceased to be 'the music of the people' and become 'the music of the people who like folk music'.

My contention in the OP was that the real 'music of the people' - at least in the western, English speaking world - is probably rap (with stadium rock for the older generation). If it then follows that folk music is no longer 'the music of the people' - and some would say it hasn't been since the start of the twentieth century - does it matter if the audience, like the audience in the UK for jazz, classical, exporatory, world, avant garde and some rock music, is predominantly middle class? At least someone's keeping it alive.

I think it was a post of the WLD on another thread that got me thinking about this - something about traditional music and middle class elitism. I was (still am!) a longtime listener to loud guitars played by loud young men (the first band I ever went to see was the Clash - fronted by the very middle class but wonderful Joe Strummer) and I only started listening to folk and traditional music seriously in the past three or so years. So with no history of being part of the past forty years of folk wars, I do find it odd that any music can be described in this way. Surely it's there for anyone who wants it? How does some middle class people liking it make it elitist or take it away from anyone else who wants it?

Any answers?

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 03:09 PM

Ooops - 'thread drift' comment not aimed at your post, M. Ted.

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 03:10 PM

So, it seems that the majority view here is that most folkies today are middle class, either by birth or by occupation, yes?

If so, why are some folk artists dismissed and/or attacked because they is middle class innit?

Or is the problem more that they are professional(s)?

Is it the same problem, or two different ones, to two different groups of critics?

Confused of Alderney


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 03:19 PM

The Rolling Stones got very, very rich performing Rhythm & Blues - Black American music. Should the Rolling Stones have been Black and American?

I, on the other hand, am the son of an English Sheet-metal worker who has spent his life working in laboratories. I enjoy singing English traditional songs - but have never made a penny from doing so. Does my background exclude me from singing such songs?


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 03:26 PM

This is the society we're stuck with. You have to do what feels comfortable for you.

For some of us, the only comfortable thing is to try and change it for what we see as the better.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: GUEST,tom bliss
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 05:47 PM

And how would you seek to change the folk world, Al?


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 06:08 PM

There is still some "old money" and some long-term inherited landholdings and titles. These define the upper class, who are not to be judged by speech habits or manners.

Then there are those who bought all their own furniture, as the Tory grandees used dismissively to say of Micheal Heseltine. But those can still be part of the ruling class, as, it seems, can some who would roundly fail other normal criteria from above of class, to judge by some MPs.

Class is otherwise largely about speech habits, table manners (NB, only the upper classes may throw bread rolls), the residual parts of U and non-U, and not being naff, these days.

"Posh" Spice will never be upper middle class because she is naff, and does it very well, but NAFF. Likewise Mr Beckham. And all the other premiership footballers, who have raised unacceptable ostentation to an artform.

Courtiers used (probably rightly) to say that Sarah Ferguson was "Vulgar, vulgar, vulgar", and not many can still tell the difference.

Tony Benn probably does have class, and is not vulgar.

Tony B Liar is vulgar.

The (original) Rolling Stones were good lower middle class grammar schoolboys.


Buggered if I know what it has to do with the "right" to listen to or to sing folk music.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music and Class
From: peregrina
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 06:13 PM

I'm committing the newly invented mudcat sin of repeating my post from above (see below--flame away or just ignore).
The discussion is going round and round definitions of class, confessions of class identity, of folk legitimacy, of who owns the music--   I'm repeating to ask:   does class have to be relevant to traditional and folk music? Or does the music have a life and relevance of its own that stretches beyond the class of a particular performer? I like to think that the long transmission of the most powerful songs attests to they way they express something that goes beyond one person at a single moment.

The repeat:
Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his poem Omeros (a retelling of the Iliad) a few years back.
Some people said: why have you, a black man from the caribbean, written a version of the Iliad instead of 'your' stories.

Walcott in a TV interview (wish I could find where he published this) said:   the Odyssey and the Iliad don't just belong to the modern Greeks, nor do they belong to the European and other scholars who've done all these studies on Ancient Greek. They belong to everyone who reads them, studies them, even learns the language.

And that reminds me of the North American versions of some of the old ballads where someone, say, rides along with all his lawyers instead of his men at arms, even while the emotional core of the story remains the same.


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