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Why folk clubs are dying

burntstump 18 Dec 08 - 05:43 AM
mattkeen 18 Dec 08 - 05:50 AM
The Borchester Echo 18 Dec 08 - 05:53 AM
Folkiedave 18 Dec 08 - 06:12 AM
burntstump 18 Dec 08 - 07:10 AM
Folkiedave 18 Dec 08 - 07:40 AM
Dave Sutherland 18 Dec 08 - 07:44 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 08 - 07:45 AM
Terry McDonald 18 Dec 08 - 08:17 AM
The Borchester Echo 18 Dec 08 - 08:53 AM
VirginiaTam 18 Dec 08 - 09:06 AM
TheSnail 18 Dec 08 - 10:23 AM
Chris Green 18 Dec 08 - 10:39 AM
Musket 18 Dec 08 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Dec 08 - 11:53 AM
Spleen Cringe 18 Dec 08 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,arran 18 Dec 08 - 01:05 PM
VirginiaTam 18 Dec 08 - 01:15 PM
Will Fly 18 Dec 08 - 01:24 PM
The Borchester Echo 18 Dec 08 - 01:28 PM
Spleen Cringe 18 Dec 08 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Dec 08 - 02:35 PM
Spleen Cringe 18 Dec 08 - 03:16 PM
The Villan 18 Dec 08 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Arran 18 Dec 08 - 03:30 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Dec 08 - 05:25 PM
Tim Leaning 18 Dec 08 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 18 Dec 08 - 05:51 PM
Murray MacLeod 18 Dec 08 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 18 Dec 08 - 06:04 PM
GUEST 18 Dec 08 - 06:09 PM
Spleen Cringe 18 Dec 08 - 06:30 PM
The Borchester Echo 18 Dec 08 - 11:21 PM
GUEST,My Oldbugger 19 Dec 08 - 12:28 AM
GUEST,Mr Oldbugger 19 Dec 08 - 12:38 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 08 - 03:31 AM
Will Fly 19 Dec 08 - 03:35 AM
Musket 19 Dec 08 - 03:41 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Dec 08 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Dec 08 - 04:57 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 08 - 05:02 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 08 - 05:12 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Black Hawk on Works PC 19 Dec 08 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Dec 08 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Black Hawk on Works PC 19 Dec 08 - 06:31 AM
The Borchester Echo 19 Dec 08 - 06:50 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM
Will Fly 19 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,Mr Oldbugger 19 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM
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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: burntstump
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:43 AM

If you think folk clubs only started in the mid 60s no wonder you are so out of touch


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: mattkeen
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:50 AM

I whole heartedly agree with just about everything Faye has said.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:53 AM

If you mean me, no I don't. I was referring to the big boom, the heyday, when I worked on compiling the Folk Directory.
As it goes, I used to get into pubs when well under age, first with my morris musician grandfather and later (secretly) after school orchestra practice to pretend to play in sessions. Only we didn't call them "f*lk clubs. Never heard of the term. It was just what you did. And it's not what we are talking about.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 06:12 AM

f you think folk clubs only started in the mid 60s no wonder you are so out of touch

And if you mean me - you are simply wrong. I started helping to run a folk club in the mid sixties - I started going to them around 1962. I am well aware of their history.

This year I have been to festivals as far apart as Moniaive in Scotland, Cheltenham in Gloucestershire and Ottawa in Canada. Sessions in Sheffield, and Newcastle. Concerts all over the north of England. Record launches, and special projects.

I have a radio show. It keeps me up-to-date.

Now how come you are so up-to-date and I'm not?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: burntstump
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:10 AM

I didn't realise this thread was about blowing your own trumpet.

You must be well out of breath!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:40 AM

Er.....you started it.

But I am sure no-one will mind if you tell us why you are up-to-date and I am not.

Go on.........................


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:44 AM

Burntstump - why should I change my views? Since getting actively involved in the music, in the early sixties, I have been part of the organisation of three other clubs all of which ran weekly and, if there were time constraints, both residents and visiting floor singers would be asked to contribute one song/tune etc. I can't remember anyone complaining!
As recently as last Monday night I drove around twenty miles to visit Grand Union Folk, Barrow on Soar, a club I hold in high regard, to see Benny Graham and Bob Fox. I was asked, like the other floor singers, to do one song but it wouldn't have upset me not to have been asked; I had gone to visit the club.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:45 AM

If you mean me, no I don't. I was referring to the big boom, the heyday, when I worked on compiling the Folk Directory.
As it goes, I used to get into pubs when well under age, first with my morris musician grandfather and later (secretly) after school orchestra practice to pretend to play in sessions. Only we didn't call them "f*lk clubs. Never heard of the term. It was just what you did. And it's not what we are talking about. quote DianeEasby.
I first went to a folk club in 1965,it was called a folk club,as were all the other folk clubs I went to.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 08:17 AM

All the clubs that I was involved in, from 1963 onwards, were called folk clubs. Strangely, all the clubs I used to go to in the late 50s where jazz was played were called jazz clubs. Seems a simple system to me.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 08:53 AM

My grandfather died in 1959 not knowing what a "f*lk club" was (lucky him). He took me into country pubs because I wanted to try and play along with the big boys (and a few girls). I never consciously entered a "f*lk club" till the early 60s and that was to see Jansch / Renbourn / Graham / Dylan / Simon and that ilk. Playing tunes in the pub was something else, as were dance classes, competitions, the choral society and the orchestra. The "f*lk club" was a phenomemon of its time, as had been the jazz and skiffle club. Today there's a multiplicity of other ways to experience music, many considerably better and preferred by the young people who run them. And good on them for doing it for themselves.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 09:06 AM

Perhaps part of the problem is that no one can agree what folk clubs are for or how they should be run, so no one is quite sure what to expect when they visit one.

So far, I have not seen the problem put so succinctly as this. Thank you Howard for economising your thoughts and using plain English.

Now I suppose I will amble over to the Standards thread and see what proposals are there.   I don't want to argue anymore. I want to be part of the solution.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 10:23 AM

Faye Roche

"Faye... if you think you know better, put your time and energy and possibly your own money) where your mouth is and set up a folk club the way you think they should be."

Why the hell should I?


Well, why the hell should I, for that matter? Or any of the hundreds of others who DO put their time and energy and possibly their own money into trying to promote the music they love?

But we do. If you've got anything constructive or positive to offer, we'd be interested to hear from you; if all you can do is tell us we're responsible for the death of folk clubs then please excuse us if we don't pay you a lot of attention.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Chris Green
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 10:39 AM

Erm, just a nudge to say our first outing is tonight and we still have some tickets left! The guest is the incomparable Keith Donnelly, with other acts Alfresco and Mick Bisiker & Chris Green (me!)

Cheers

Chris

Maudslay Thursday


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Musket
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 10:44 AM

Obviously, some of the comments here make me think twice about getting back to going to folk clubs. (Got a bit bored years ago, but missing it a bit if truth be known.)

I fear that one person's interpretation is different to another's.

I started going to clubs in the late '70s as a teenager. As I was in a rock band at the time, I enjoyed how playing acoustically improved your levels of instrument and voice, because you don/t have your reverb, wah wah or echo unit to mask your shortcomings.

I have had a good read through this thread and if clubs are as described, and attitudes prevail, then I might think again. I remember a local club I went to once, which failed to have a notice saying Warning - traditional music only, so I got up and sang my latest song, written a few days previously. If that had been my first folk club, it would have been my last. Never went back, and for the sin of singing my own song, I doubt I would have been welcome. A regular there came to another club, saw me and apologised for his mates.

As I said earlier on this forum, if I don't like something, I don't like it. Full stop. However, I will sit there, smile, clap at the end and make a mental note to go for a beer the next time he / she gets up to sing badly about being a Norfolk reed cutter.

Live and let live. Seems fair to me.

If a club has lots of singers and musicians who know their stuff, I might even bring some friends along. If most of the floor singers make me cringe and wish I was somewhere else, I will do just that. But I won't say why. That would be rude.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 11:53 AM

" ... next time he / she gets up to sing badly about being a Norfolk reed cutter."

So what is this song about a Norfolk reed cutter? I think we should be told.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 12:59 PM

So what is this song about a Norfolk reed cutter? I think we should be told.

I am a reed cutter, I come from the Broads
I chop with me sickle and fence with me sword

I went up to Norwich to sell of my reeds
Spent me takings on pottage and flagons of mead

Oh a reed cutter's life it is simple and hard
As we float on the waters all a-covered in lard

Oh the lard it is slathered all over our thighs
It stops the pike biting as they slither by

For pike and reed cutters they are mortal foes
Each time they meet they must ere come to blows

Reed cutters are bearers of standards of old
While those dastardly pike are all brazen and bold

With their nu-folk and psych-folk and acid-folk slop
The buggers all smoke crack and snort alco-pops

They ate Walter Pardon, they ate Harry Cox
They ate poor Sam Larner right down to his socks

And the reed cutters job is to whup the pikes' asses
And make the Broads safe for the huddled folkie masses

A-roving, reed cutting, bold cutters we came
When the pike are all gone we will start a new game

Singing songs of the old days - we'll nere see the like
When the Broads were a-teeming with crack smoking pike.




Yeah I know it's shit. I was bored


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,arran
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:05 PM

I hate when you're up performing these people that just walk by you as if you're busking, why can't they wait until the song/tune is over?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:15 PM

Love it Spleen. Was it the thread that bored you or just generic boredom?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:24 PM

Spleen - the tune for the Norfolk Reed-Cutter please? I intend to perform this at the first possible opportunity...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:28 PM

When A Knight Won His Spurs (used by some for Sweet England) fits as a tune.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:39 PM

Yes Diane, that would work. I was thinking something along the lines of "Poor Fellows" from the Transports, so same ballpark.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 02:35 PM

Errrr ... thank you, Spleen. Ummm ... that's quite nice-ish, really ... possibly ... Have you got a day-job, by any chance? Hope so ...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:16 PM

Don't worry, Shimrod. I don't intend to do anything rash...

Yes, VT, it was generic boredom. Or possibly genetic.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:18 PM

>>I hate when you're up performing these people that just walk by you as if you're busking, why can't they wait until the song/tune is over? <<

Maybe they have bladder problems. After all we ain't getting any younger.

I'll get me Urologist :-)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Arran
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:30 PM

I usallly play at the begining of the night, so how would they like it I came and sang when they performing in the bedroom

Hello Mummy, Daddy can I play at horses as well?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:25 PM

Good heavens, I'm going to have to agree with the Cap'n quite a few posts back.

I now see why Diane does not know what folk is.

But the post that shocks me to my core is: -

"The word 'punter' is widely used in the entertainment business affectionately to mean 'consumer' and has no negative or pejorative connotations whatsoever. I'm genuinely shocked to hear of folkies being offended by it. My apologies to anyone I've upset. I'll try to remember to use 'paying customer' in future."

My GOD Tom don't you hear the sneer as the "entertainment industry professionals" say "punter"? Punters and "paying customers" are there soley for commerce. Absolutely nothing about the integrity of the music at all.

Somewhat like ministry of religion (if you believe in the merits of religion) the making of music and song (and in my view particuarly folk song) is not a trade or profession or business, but a calling.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:28 PM

"I don't like people using punter. Makes it sound like the audience is not important, when they are"

Here here!
Punters,Mugs?
When you go to Faldingworth live as a member of the audience you are treated as being important and made welcome.
It makes a lot of difference.
That and providing good music is what makes a venues reputation.
Oh and like the good landlord a good organiser is invaluable.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:51 PM

The idea was to have a noun which could refer specifically to people who are purchasing entertainment, as opposed to being involved for some other reason.

I recognise that this transaction is not the only reason that clubs exist, and do take pains to remind people of my understanding in almost every post - to the point of tedium, really - because i know if I don't I'll be jumped on (not that it's worked this time, obviously)!

Being a full-time musician is certainly a calling - it involves a great deal of commitment and sacrifice - but it also demands commercial skills too. I am a Schedule D sole trader, a small businessmen with a responsibility to my dependants to do my job professionally and make what money, fairly, that I can. Just like a solicitor, really. Only I'm lucky in that I sell (and so share in the consumption of) joy rather than beans or A levels or suspension bridges.

It saddens me that there is so much ill-will in some sectors of the folk world towards what is really an honest trade.

The music we all enjoy making and sharing, along with the paraphernalia which makes it possible - instruments, CDs, amplifiers, web sites and so on, causes us to dip into our wallets at some point - and it always has done. I don't see why people have a problem with seeing some aspects of the folk world in business terms. Not to do so would be to deny the elephant in the room.

Folk clubs operate along business principles too - not quite those of a profit-making venture, but many of the principles do still apply. And most are very professional in their approach - thank goodness!

No. I may be an artist, but like all artists I'm also an "entertainment industry professional" and proud of it.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 06:00 PM

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Tim Leaning - PM
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:28 PM

"I don't like people using punter. Makes it sound like the audience is not important, when they are"

Here here!


Tim , you have just stood on my most sensitive internet bunion.

IT ISN'T "HERE HERE" , FFS, IT IS "HEAR HEAR "


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 06:04 PM

Bother even this isn't clear enough:

"The idea was to have a noun which could refer specifically to people who are purchasing entertainment, as opposed to being involved for some other reason."

I mean "to refer to that part of the transaction with IS about purchasing entertainment, even if those individuals may also have other reasons for wanting to be involved."

Find me a performer who does not think the audience is important, or understand what they're there for, and I'll show you a man with no gigs.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 06:09 PM

<quote>
Find me a performer who does not think the audience is important
</quote>

Seen a few, normally singing to their A4 folder.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 06:30 PM

I am a punter. I pay to get into concerts and for my CDs. What's the problem? Please don't get self-righteously offended on my behalf or pretend Tom Bliss is saying something he isn't.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 11:21 PM

Well, well well.
So someone decides they have seen why I don't (allegedly) know what "f*lk" is. Because I refuse to employ such a blanket, meaningless term when there's a multiplicity of more accurately descriptive musical expressions, I suppose.
What I do know, unfortunately, far too much about is the extraordinary range of oddballs and weirdos the highly non-specific genre throws up.
That very same (highly experienced) organiser to whom I referred earlier got an email from a would-be floorspotter asking whether he'd get on that evening and thus justify a round trip of x hundred miles.
Said organiser replied that he'd not guarantee more than one, which prompted peeved person to start a thread on here about "unwelcoming" clubs.
Had this person (who knows who he is) turned up, he'd doubtless have expected not to pay at the door because, in his estimation, he wasn't a "punter" but a stalwart of what he calls "the f*lk scene".
Tough, mate. You're a punter in the music industry, just like anyone else.
And unless the cliquey club regular who thinks practicing is non-traditional and that pros have nothing to do in the daytime wakes up to this, the quicker the past sell-by "f*lk club" dies out and disappears, the better.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,My Oldbugger
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 12:28 AM

ok, if some over-sensitive folkies are a bit touchy about being referred
to quite fondly as 'punters'..


maybe they'd prefere the alternative expression
used just as much by many diverse event organisers..

"Bums on seats" !!!!???


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Mr Oldbugger
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 12:38 AM

"My Oldbugger"

bugger.. can't even spell my own name.. I am getting old !


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 03:31 AM

"Punter",
According to Partidge's 'A Dictionary of Historical Slang' one of the definitions is "An auctioneer's decoy or mock-bidder" - not the same as, but pretty much in the spirit of those unscrupulous organisers who would lure us into folk clubs on the pretense that folk music is taking place there.
Never associated it with money when I've used it, but I suppose that comes into everything nowadays - must think more carefully before using it next time!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 03:35 AM

For heaven's sake, let's not get all self-righteous about the term punter. I've been paying professionally and semi-professionally for over 40 years and the term "punter" for a paying customer has always been in use and is not at all pejorative. Every band I've ever played in has loved the music they've played, and been determined to give the audience - yes, the punters - their money's worth. Their entrance money for the gig has been our wages, and we always gave our best - even when playing for just a handful of souls at gigs where the promoter hadn't got the faintest clue. And we didn't just do the same old act, night in, night out - we took the measure of the audience, calculated (or tried to as best we could) what they would appreciate most, and varied our set to suit. Always appreciated - and the audience was always respected.

So let's not get precious about a term that's commonly used. If some people choose to use it in a patronising manner, that's unfortunate. To take a punt is to take a risk, a bet, a chance. And that's what paying customers do when they go to a gig. They're taking a chance that the gig will be good - our job is to make it good - so that their punt is a good'un.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Musket
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 03:41 AM

Wow! Great! Somebody wrote a song about being a reed cutter! I promise to learn it and tell the sad tale...

So... Why did I pick on being a reed cutter when making a generalisation about people singing about activities that are not exactly indigenous?

Well, one of my friends in the old days was the singer Tom Brown. Tom was a Norfolk lad, from Caister originally. Many people may remember Tom and Bertha Brown on the circuit in the '70s and up to the mid '80s till Tom eventually passed away in 1989.

Tom used to sing a song called "The Reed Cutter's Daughter." He claimed he learned it at his mother's knee. Good enough for me. The only person I knew who you could listen to an unaccompanied song about reed cutting and feel a heritage was being lived out. (Ok, I met Fred Jordan a few times...)

To be fair, it was one of his longer songs, and once you were word perfect yourself, you envied those whose pint pot was empty and justifiable to go to the bar just before he started singing it...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 04:05 AM

The proper importance of the audience is that they are there and listening - not that their money is being paid and taken. If the converse is the accepted view, I would not be in the least surprised if many resented it.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 04:57 AM

Richard, you are being obtuse and unfair, and I think it's fair to say, insulting. Not just to me but to everyone who has ever taken money for a performance, who has ever facilitated a performance, or who has paid to enjoy one.

This thread has been, in part, about value for money in the sale of music. The point is of course not that money has been taken, but that it is a factor in whether audience and indeed performer will (can) be there - and therefore able to play and be played to.

At the clubs you frequent no doubt money is not as issue, and I'm as aware as anyone of that value system, where it comes from and what it's importance is. I call those gatherings singarounds, (though even that word is open to various definitions, some of them very different to the meaning I'm groping for), and I would never seriously use a word like punter to describe the participants thereof. I might as a kind of slang, just as I might call my spot a gig, but I wouldn't do it on a web forum where choice of words matters.

I've not been taking about singarounds when I've talked about gigs or punters or fees etc.

This thread has always been about concerts. Though that has not stopped people wongly and unfairly applying singaround values to comments made by others about concerts.

We do have folk concerts in this country. Legally. And you have no right to criticise us for doing so. We have true concerts and also hybrid singaround/concerts and in both cases an ELEMENT of commerce applies. Sometimes of major importance, sometimes of minor - but it is there, and it does matter, for the preformer but also for the promoter who is taking the financial risk and the audience who are giving time and money for what they hope is a good experience.

I have been addressing that element. Not to set it above other issues, but because that element needs to be done well if it's to be done at all, and we all have much to learn from each other concerning it.

What you have to understand is that concerts also have a long and honourable history in this country, and though it may not be obvious to people of your belief system, here, commercial theories do apply and always have done. Not one model, but many - for many different types of event. And each model will contain some element of commerce. And if the artists and promoters who apply those systems are no good at it, then the model will fail. And there will be no concert. And if they fail often enough neither will be involved in concerts in future. And if there were no concerts at all, a huge amount of the music that people who take a pride in dismissing concerts enjoy in other forms would simply not exist.

You have been careful what you say but your implication is clear. You have never seen me perform, or met me, so you may not be aware of my passion and commitment to music. If you were I hope you'd not keep chipping in with suggestions that imply that I'm only in it for the money.

I'm in it for the music. But the music we love won't survive if we don't do the business part well, and then we'd be left with just the stuff that IS purely a product made for consumption.

To resent this honest transaction is unreasonable and in the long term dangerous.

Thank you

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 05:02 AM

Tom,
The problem for me has always been in confusing genuine folk material which is covered by public domain, and self-composed material, which is not.
It is this that has opened the door to the IMRO and PRS jackals, not your motivation for being in the music, which is irrelevant to the discussion.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 05:12 AM

OK - Off long days now and back to the normal slobbery. Sat here at 10am still in my pyjamas...

Lots of sense talked and crap expounded from the usual suspects as was bound to happen in a thread of this sort. I am NOT saying my views are either sense or crap, just my views. That's all:-)

Firstly, I think the type of folk club that Faye is talking about is dying, deservedly so, for the very reasons she mentions. What do we do about it though and how do we improve the situation?

Looking at the views of various people on umpteen threads over the course of the last few months we can get a distinct idea of what everyones views are but no-one has ever agreed a single thing. Maybe because everyone is partialy right and no one person has the whole picture? I am hopeless at the helicopter view, using managerial bollock-speak, but maybe we need to look at the following points -

Some folk clubs are no longer concerned with traditional folk music but have become a platform for anyone with an accoustic guitar and half a brain. Maybe these should no longer be called folk clubs.

Some folk clubs have excellent acts on who do not perform traditional folk music. Maybe these should not be called folk clubs.

Some folk clubs have a mix of traditional and contemporary music. Maybe they should advertise the type of music they are going to present.

Some singers of traditional songs believe that they do not need to sing in tune, practice or learn the words. Maybe they should stay at home until they improve.

Some singers of traditional songs are in tune, know their craft and can entertain people. Maybe we should help, encourage and, dare I say it, even pay them a living wage.

Some singers believe that everyone is interested in their teenage lost loves, dull childhood experiences and clever use of the diminished minor 4th inversion of A flat. Maybe they should get a life.

Some singers write and perform wonderful songs about injustice, lost loves and real life. Maybe they should be celebrated and enjoyed alongside the tales of times gone by.

What do we do about it? Hmmmm - I'll leave that one to people cleverer than me but I will tell you what I agree with

- Folk has become an abused term for a huge variety of music
- Perhaps it should either be dropped or re-defined
- Standards need to be high to maintain an audience
- Traditional music needs to be performed well, kept and celebrated
- Good contemporary singers and songwriters need to be supported
- Clubs need to be precise in what they advertise
- They need to be selective in what they present

Dunno if thes helps or hinders but at least I have had my two pen'urth:-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM

I agree that the confusion is unhelpful, but this discussion has been about the wider genre of music, and the presentation thereof, which is now commonly (and therefore reasonably) lumped under the term folk. We are not talking about purely traditional material presented only in an informal, non-commercial manner, and you do know that, so it's unreasonable to apply those standards to the discussion and pretend that we are trying to usurp or undermine those values. We are not. And I for one will defend those values just as strongly when necessary - and I will make it clear what I'm talking about when I do so. Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Black Hawk on Works PC
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:00 AM

This thread has always been about concerts.

Sorry Tom - This thread WAS about clubs.
Read the thread title.

I usually agree 100% in your postings but cant let that one pass!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:10 AM

The OP referred to a concert at a folk club. Most Folk clubs do present concerts - for that is what a guest spot is. If there's a paid performer, and at least some of the audience have come and paid money to hear that performer, then it is de facto a concert. A hybrid, yes, but still a concert none the less, and therefore the issues we have been discussing do apply.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Black Hawk on Works PC
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:31 AM

Sorry Tom

If you think a guest night at a folk club is the same as a concert then you have a diffent view to anyone I know involved in organising clubs or putting on concerts.
You yourself have mentioned the different pricings for the different event 'styles'.
But you, like me, are entitled to your opinion & I respect that.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:50 AM

Enter stage left loads of mythical winged creatures who proceed to dance on pinheads.

A club which books and pays guest artists and whose audience (the punters) pays to enter is a concert club. What the hell else can you call it? That a lamentably large number of them are shambolic and unprofessional and disrespectful to the music, to hired guests and to chance punters alike is what is under discussion. This was cited by the OP as a reason why this form of venue is on the way out. Some people are trying to pretend that the concept of singarounds and sessions are under attack. These are entirely different beasts and are not. Quite simple, really.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM

We have a sliding scale in the folk world. From 'pure' concerts at arts centres and festivals to near-concerts at larger clubs like Nettlebed and the Red LIon, to hybrid concert/guest spots at a some of folk clubs to pure guest spots at others to no concerts at Singaround clubs.

Maybe we need a different word for the 'concert' element in each case, but it'll do for me because the basic principles of an advertised performance for money (a concert) do apply to one extent or another in all but the last case.

It doesn't really matter what we call it, as long as everyone accepts that isues like value for money, promotion, viability, quality and sustainability will be relevant for the survival of this element of folk club phenomenon.

The OP made it clear it was the concert element which drew her and her friends to the club, and the non-concert element that gave them a problem.

This thread has been about striking a balance between the two, which also means getting both sides of the equation right. My contributions have largely been about the issues on the concert side, because that's where my personal experience lies, and getting that wrong can lead to the death of a club as easily as getting the community aspect wrong, or failing to strike a balance.


Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM

There are, of course, several differences between a guest night at a folk club and a full-scale concert in, say, a theatre or arts centre or whatever. There are all sorts of administrative and organisational differences, quite apart from the scale.

However - the basic principle of customers paying in good faith for a musical performance by a paid guest or artist is the same. It is down to the organiser of the event to do their best to ensure that the people who have paid get a decent "do" for their cash. So - Faye was quite right to feel pissed off when she and her friends got a bad deal.

The issue at hand is not whether she ought to have put up with it because it was a folk club (which she shouldn't), but whether "Folk clubs are dying" because of this. The fact is that clubs such as these, which don't have good standards of performance, often don't die - they might, perversely, be thriving. There's a club 30 minutes away from me where - apart from nights when they have a paid guest - the standard of support from the members/residents/floorsingers is utter crap, but the club is packed to the gills every week. The reason for this is that the club is friendly, welcoming, a little community in itself, tolerant, uncritical, slightly smug. It's that factor that makes the folk club world different from any other milieu in which I've played. I don't know of many other milieus, apart from pub open mic events, in which novice performers can cut their teeth - though it's sad that some of them can't or won't improve. Let's be thankful that this kind of platform exists and do our best as individual and experienced performers to try and make it better.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Mr Oldbugger
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM

Actually, if as a member of an audience for any event
at any 'venue', [wherever it may be]
I'd pay good hard earned money to travel to,
pay to enter,
and possibly even as a last resort [if the 'Entertainer' merits it],
pay for overnight accomodation;
then surely, more than just a matter of mere opinion,
I'm reasonably entitled to regard that event as a 'gig /concert'
and have reasonable expectations of the quality
of the whole 'entertainment package' provided !!???


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