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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Tom Bliss Is traditional song finished? (621* d) RE: Is traditional song finished? 09 Mar 10

"I take it you've carried out your survey Tom - when can we have the results?"

No need to be sarcastic Jim. The evidence of popular cultural influence I have placed before you is empirical.

" never claimed at any point in my arguments to have supported '54 only clubs - perhaps you would like to point out where I did?"

I don't have time to trawl through - but your robust defence of the 54 against subsequent definitions leaves an indelible impression. I'm very very surprised to now read that you allow modern songs written in a traditional style to be Folk (these being of course outside of the 54). In which case, why do my songs not qualify?

"...99% of the songs you'll hear in every club in Britain." Another survey - not my information from this forum nor my personal experience - read this thread and others on the same theme."

Err - how many UK clubs have you been to in the last 10 years Jim?

I speak on these issues because I believe I have a reasonable handle on the national situation. There are of course others who are far better placed than me to do so, but for various and very good reasons they don't want to talk publicly on these issues - whereas I feel some of the opinions expressed here need to be challenged because they are manifestly unfair, and I'm not afraid to say so.

Why do I think I have a handle?

1) I have performed as a paid guest at well over half the current UK folk clubs.

2) I have performed as a paid guest at all types of club; very trad, contemporary and anything goes, something not many artists get to do.

3) I have canvassed by telephone pretty much every single club in the land at some point in the last 6 years, usually more than once. (This was for the purpose of securing bookings, but necessitated a discussion on the type of music preferred there).

4) I started and moderated the Folk Club Organisers forum, where discussions on what goes and doesn't go in a folk club were not uncommon (as others here can verify).

5) I kept a weather eye on ALL the UK folk web forums (not just Mudcat) during my career, and especially during the period when I was a director of folkWISE.

6) I have talked at great length on a very regular basis with touring musicians of 30 and more years standing, and read a lot more from colleagues on the private Britfolk forum.

7) I've been to a lot of clubs, sessions and other folk gatherings all around the country as a consumer/participant.

So, no I haven't done a survey, and no I'm not an expert, but I think I'm as well placed to provide educated guesses as anyone else.

"The definition is NOT redundant. Merely, the word used to describe it has changed."
Right - potatoes are still potatoes as long as you don't call them potatoes - I think I've got that."

Ever heard of spuds Jim?

"I'm not sure where 'anything performed in a folk club' fits in with all this though."

We live in a democracy. If people wish to organise, or happen to inherit, events where anything goes, or where anything now goes, and then apply or leave the label 'Folk Club' to it, they are breaking no law. A majority of UK clubs have a relaxed policy on material (a gentle hand on the tiller), and a significant minority have a very relaxed policy (no hand on the tiller). Taken as a whole, this adds up to a genuine community. And if a community is using a word for a specific purpose then that use is valid in the language, and anyone who denies it is being unfair. Granted this particular definition has not reached the on-line dictionaries yet, but there is so much evidence for it that I suspect it will soon.

"I said quite categorically, that the occasional folk spot of this sort was acceptable"
Sorry if I misunderstood you Cap'n - was responding to the original statement that anything performed at a folk club was 'folk' - still got no feedback from Tom on this one I'm afraid.

I've said it many times Jim. Please read the previous sentence.

"If I ever had doubts about my stance on clubs (and have occasionally had a few during these arguments) your "Caveat Emptor" dispelled them with one flick of the typing finger. Any performer or club organiser who places the onus on the audience for what they are given by a club in the name of 'folk' or 'jazz' or 'chamber music' or blues'...... needs all the protection they can get from such sharp practice."

I'm glad you have doubts Jim. I sometimes fear you are painting yourself into a corner out of sheer obstinacy.

Caveat Emptor is universal. It applies to music events as much as soup or vacuum cleaners. Jazz venues present radically different types of Jazz (you need to check it'll be a style you enjoy), Ralph's comparison with RnB is another - in fact it goes for every rock venue in the country. This is NOT sharp practice (and it is insulting to organisers to suggest it is). It is the legitimate use of generic terms which happen to cover more than one style of music.

Jim the reason I'm not giving up on this this because I want you to understand one thing.

I know you'll not change your mind on the Folk / Traditional swap. You can't teach an old leopard new spots. It would be great if you would allow songwriters like me who use old styles and elements in their work to play in folk clubs without being blamed for the collapse of the folk movement, but I think that may be beyond you too.

What I would like you to understand (because I hope it'll reduce the number of insults coming from your keyboard) is that those who use the word 'folk' in ways that you don't agree with are doing so for adequate reasons.

They are not doing so because, like Humpty Dumpty, they just want to be awkward.

They are doing so because their friends, colleagues, mentors and other influences are doing so. And as such, because we live in a democracy where only legal language is fixed, they are using the word as correctly as you are.

Its called plurality. And it really is not a problem.

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