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more session rudeness

GUEST,charley o'neill 16 Jun 08 - 05:36 AM
Howard Jones 16 Jun 08 - 05:41 AM
Gedpipes 16 Jun 08 - 05:55 AM
treewind 16 Jun 08 - 06:06 AM
Ruth Archer 16 Jun 08 - 06:23 AM
greg stephens 16 Jun 08 - 06:28 AM
Zen 16 Jun 08 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,Suffolk Miracle 16 Jun 08 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,Jon 16 Jun 08 - 06:46 AM
Ruth Archer 16 Jun 08 - 06:55 AM
GUEST 16 Jun 08 - 06:58 AM
Ruth Archer 16 Jun 08 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,Jon 16 Jun 08 - 07:11 AM
Ruth Archer 16 Jun 08 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,Jon 16 Jun 08 - 07:19 AM
GUEST,Jon 16 Jun 08 - 07:20 AM
Jack Campin 16 Jun 08 - 07:21 AM
GUEST,Jon 16 Jun 08 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,charley o'neill 16 Jun 08 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,Jon 16 Jun 08 - 07:35 AM
Ruth Archer 16 Jun 08 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,Betsy at work 16 Jun 08 - 07:50 AM
Gedpipes 16 Jun 08 - 08:04 AM
kendall 16 Jun 08 - 08:47 AM
Leadfingers 16 Jun 08 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Jon 16 Jun 08 - 09:11 AM
Mooh 16 Jun 08 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,Trev 16 Jun 08 - 09:32 AM
lady penelope 16 Jun 08 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Jacques 16 Jun 08 - 09:55 AM
Jack Campin 16 Jun 08 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Joe 16 Jun 08 - 10:28 AM
theleveller 16 Jun 08 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,jaques 16 Jun 08 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 16 Jun 08 - 11:22 AM
Paco Rabanne 16 Jun 08 - 11:37 AM
irishenglish 16 Jun 08 - 11:40 AM
Ruth Archer 16 Jun 08 - 11:45 AM
Jack Campin 16 Jun 08 - 11:56 AM
Ruth Archer 16 Jun 08 - 11:58 AM
Acorn4 16 Jun 08 - 12:09 PM
Ruth Archer 16 Jun 08 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,Jon 16 Jun 08 - 12:20 PM
Ruth Archer 16 Jun 08 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,Ewan Spawned a Monster 16 Jun 08 - 12:36 PM
irishenglish 16 Jun 08 - 12:39 PM
Ruth Archer 16 Jun 08 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,'cool as folk' brigade 16 Jun 08 - 12:49 PM
Ruth Archer 16 Jun 08 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,Phil J 16 Jun 08 - 12:59 PM
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Subject: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,charley o'neill
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 05:36 AM

I know that previous threads have covered such topics, but I just wanted to get this off my chest and maybe see what people think.

I returned last night from a British outdoor folk festival. I was looking forward to seeing some of the big acts and checking out lesser known artists on the bill. Aditionally, the festival advertised 'open sessions' and the blurb encouraged folk to bring their instruments and join in . I was well up for jamming, learning tunes, meeting nice people and all the other pleasant vibes which are generally associated with a good session.

However, the one session that I attended put me off playing for the whole weekend. It was dominated by one little gang of twenty - something mates who insisted on playing their own material. Maybe they are a band - don't know. Said characters played perhaps their fastest, flashiest and 'show-offy' tunes to the total exclusion of everyone else. They totally blanked me when I tried to exchange pleasantries.

Initially I was encouraged to play a solo on a song that the guy who was supposedly running the session was singing.Without blowing my own trumpet, I think I made a reasonable fist of this. However the 'cool as folk' brigade did not enjoy my offering (wonder why?), making sly comments, making faces and then immediatly excluding me with two sets of tunes in their aforementioned arrogant style. Said tunes went on forever and were maybe supposed to impress with their Paganini type modulations. ..And to put the tin hat on it, when I stood up for a few seconds, one of the tossers nicked my chair!!!

That was it, game up for me ! I left the session, never to return, confidence knocked. I am not saying, 'how dare these young 'uns not respect me and my music'. The whole thing just knocked my faith in the sociable and communal nature of these things and left a bad taste. The guy running the session should have kept things in order, yeah let people play the odd party piece, but do not let arrogance dominate!

And boy, were this lot arrogant!, I should have realised this earlier, as they seemed to spend most of the rest of the day playing informally - IN FRONT (!) of one of the stages where people were booked to perform!

I am not a beginner, I have nearly 20 years gigging experience with a wide range of people. I am paid to play every weekend. Yep, they suceeded in driving me from a session and I wouldn't mind betting that they are extremely pleased with themselves. I will not stop playing. However, it does take a fair bit of confidence, as a lone player to enter such things. Someone with less experience may in the long run have had their confidence knocked irrepairably

Sorry to go on, maybe I've got too worked up, like I said, I just wanted to get it off my chest...


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Howard Jones
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 05:41 AM

Some sessions are run by, or get taken over by, arseholes. They're too full of themselves to care about seeming arrogant. There's not much you can do about it. Ignore them and go and find another session. Life's too short.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Gedpipes
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 05:55 AM

Hi Charley
You've got it off your chest! I don't think from what you experienced you had many other options other than to walk away. You'll bounce back.
Come up to Beverley at the weekend and you'll have a great time.
Cheers
Ged


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: treewind
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 06:06 AM

Two good answers already from Howard and Ged.
You really don't need to hang out with people like that, so walking away from the session was no great loss.

One of the things that always comes back to me when session etiquette is discussed on Mudcat is that ALL SESSIONS ARE DIFFERENT! A really good one that suits your own musical style and has nice friendly people in it is a good thing to find, but there's no guarantee it will happen where and when you want it to. That's part of the magic of a really good session - it's so lucky when it happens at all.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 06:23 AM

I'd be really interested to know which festival it was. Not for salacious reasons, but just because I have a theory that some festivals are more likely, because of lineup and target audience, to attract this sort of behaviour...

I also suspect I may know the culprits. Was it self-penned stuff? Mostly guitars? Or lots of boxes and suchlike?

I think what happens (and this does NOT excuse the rudeness you experienced) is that certain groups of young players meet at a series of festivals each summer - they know each other, they know each other's playing, they like playing together. It can feel a bit exclusive, to be honest. At festivals where there are a number of sessions, that doesn't really matter, because you can go and find another group to play with and leave them to it. But at a festival which doesn't feature many alternatives, I imagine it can be off-putting, as they seem to dominate things.

Just my observation. As i say, it sounds like they were horrid to you, whoever they were.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 06:28 AM

The thing is, at festivals, there are always people trying to make names for themselves. This is completely understandable, but it is the antithesis of what a session should be about. It's tough, but that's the way it is. People are desperate to get attention, they want gigs, a foot on the ladder, whatever, and they can turn a session into their own showcase. So if you happen to fall in with such a crowd, the best thing to do is what you did: walk away.Don't be too angry, people being hungry for recognition doesn't make them behave very considerately!
And good luck with finding some non-competitive, friendly sessions somewhere and somewhen else.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Zen
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 06:37 AM

I had this very thing as well at a "session" connected to a festival here in Scotland this weekend. The afternoon session was fine but the evening session comprised the aggressive and arrogant behaviour from a couple of "important" individuals like you described. Nothing was said to me, but it was to others, with an "inner circle" clearly being formed and it was reason enough to pack away the instruments and go. Fortunately, though, I still find this sort of behaviour to be in the minority with the vast majority of sessions being welcoming.

Zen


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Suffolk Miracle
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 06:38 AM

"The best thing to do is what you did: walk away."

Actually no: the BEST thing is to empty their own drinks over them, bend those of their instruments which bend and cram dog ordure into those that don't.

Sorry. Did I say that out loud?


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 06:46 AM

I find it increasingly difficult to have an idea what to think with session reports here but with this one I'm a bit concerned with the combination of

"the one session that I attended put me off playing for the whole weekend", "I am not a beginner, I have nearly 20 years gigging experience with a wide range of people" and (from what I can gather) the knowledge that there were other sessions.

My own 25+ years of experience might well have told me to forget that one (and I might not have thought much of those involved) but it would not have put me off playing for the whole weekend. If I was a beginner, it might but these days I know enough to keep looking and am confident enough to believe I'm in with a chance of finding something where I might be able to fit in.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 06:55 AM

this is why I was asking which festival it was, Jon. If it's the one I suspect, it probably was the only session.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 06:58 AM

It was 'The big session' and yes, it was the only session


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 07:06 AM

I thought that might be the case.

Some festivals attract a more passive crowd, and some a more participative one. Big Session has tried to create a more participative vibe, but so far is a more passive festival - fewer players and fewer sessions. I don't think they do much in the way of adult workshops or events other than concerts, which is probably partly responsible. They also have the big oysterband presence and probably attract punters from the more commercial end of the folk scale.

Maybe the solution is to go with a group of friends and start your own session!


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 07:11 AM

OK, what's the big session "about"?

--
While I do play regularly in sessions (and seek out what suits me best), I rarely get out to festivals but I guess setting up one session to please all can be awkward?

I only got to one this year and doubt I'll get elsewhere. There the sat night when it got going, I think we had 4 more looking to and expecting join in jigs, reels, etc. One I think looking for taking it in turns and giving their ("solo") songs, a guitar willing to join the tunes but not familiar with the territory, etc.

I could see for example that with no ill will intended and if a few more moelody players had turned up, the "solo singer" would probably have felt very left out,.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 07:13 AM

'OK, what's the big session "about"?'

not sure what you mean, but it's here:


the big session


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 07:19 AM

OK, I was wondering how mixed or otherwise it was with its range of folk music.

--
Only "Big Session", I used to consider going to was Sesiwn Fawr


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 07:20 AM

Sesiwn Fawr


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 07:21 AM

Looks like the answer would have been to bring a set of bagpipes, then.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 07:23 AM

But which ones?


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,charley o'neill
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 07:30 AM

In all seriousness, bagpipes were not allowed ! They were listed in the 'do's and don'ts' as being too loud ( not that I can play them)


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 07:35 AM

Bit silly that. Pipes range from instruments that could sort of overpower everyone else to the gentle.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 07:40 AM

x thread - there was a whole discussion about this, hence the ironic comment from Jack Campin!


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Betsy at work
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 07:50 AM

You've got it off your chest Charley - I'm with you 100 % - now take GedPipes advice.
In addition , you will have a switch on your body somewhere.
Switch it to " Positive ", then start smiling, and shout "Fuck'em all ", by which time you should be feeling considerably better .


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Gedpipes
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 08:04 AM

...Betsyatwork
what do you do when you are at home? You never seem to be doing any feckin work ;-))
Blue skies
Ged


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: kendall
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 08:47 AM

I encountered one of those egomaniacs at a bluegrass festival. He was playing fiddle for a band, and the mandolin player was new to the game, but she had her break all practiced and could hardly wait for her break to come around. When it did, this fiddler stepped right up to the mike and started sawing away. She was heartbroken, I could see that and it pissed me off. I stood up and yelled "Back off asshole".
He hasn't spoken to me since, but she has.And so has the rest of the band.
If you allow this sort of behavior it only gets worse.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 08:49 AM

Its Funny , but I always thought the whole point of a 'Session' is for it to be Inclusive , NOT exclusive ! Hopefully we will continue to be Inclusive at The Newt in Sidmouth this year .


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 09:11 AM

I always thought the whole point of a 'Session' is for it to be Inclusive

I don't think so and for regular events I tend to aim for more specialised (Irish instrumental), don't enjoy the worst you can get from off beat thumpers, shakers, prefer that 1/2 the night is not taken up by singing, etc.

I think of them as places for people shared interests and tastes to get together and with each having it's own ways.

It could well be that a festival session might be better by or need to cater for everything but I don't see that as the way all sessions should be.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Mooh
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 09:21 AM

In my limited experience, when a session is a group of individuals it seems to run more democratically, but when it's dominated by a group, a band, with their own agenda, it's hard to get a note in. Walk away.

As for loud instruments, the ever present guitar has a hard time soloing with banjos, pipes, whistles, and others who won't give way. Sometimes it doesn't matter what instrument one plays, there are just too many players at a time, and too few with the good grace to sit one or two out. Walk away.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Trev
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 09:32 AM

I once went to a session in an Irish pub in Helsinki. I was invited and I still asked for permission to join the session. Myself and the resident bodhran players took turns so as not to upset the others.

I hadn't played for a while and so I was amazed when I kept losing the rythym which the piper was playing (what do you mean "how did I notice?"). Eventually I put the drum down and said to the other player that I wasn't going to play as I was obviously so out of practice and I was probably putting the others off.

He replied, "Oh, don't worry, he always does that. That piper hates bodhran players so he messes up the rythym to make you look bad". Well, it worked. I didn't bother sitting in on another session.

Another time, in O'Donoghue's, Dublin, I asked if I could join a session and was permitted to. At one point there was a break and I asked if I could sing a song. As I did it turned out another singer was about to as well. A whistle player snapped "No!" at me, but the other singer (possibly the session leader) said it was OK and let me sing. After the song I spoke to the whistle player and apologised if I'd interrupted anyone. He snarled back that I should have said which key I was going to sing in so the others could accompany me.

I told him that I didn't know what key I was in... I'm a singer, not a musician... He snarled back that a "Real" singer would have known. I thanked the other musicians for their hospitality and left them, and the man who has the key of his instrument printed on it, to go out and busk (rather profitably) in Grafton Street.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: lady penelope
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 09:39 AM

If a session is specifically advertised as being open to all (as the session in question was) it really should have been kept along those lines.

No one session can satisfy every musicians tastes or wants, eg being a singer who doesn't play an instrument, I don't tend to go to sessions that are dominated by instruments. But that's the point. If I'm given the idea that what I'm attending is a singers session and it ends up being dominated by instrumentalists, I'm gonna be p*ssed off. Same goes for the Session Charley was at.

It's a poor show by the the session organisers. If it put Charley off, how many other people did it put off? It can put people off entire festivals, as they'll go away with the idea that the place is unwelcoming. Because at the end of the day, if the session organisers aren't going to bother their backsides, no one indvividual will feel as if they can say anything either. There isn't much else you can do but walk out.

Bit sad really.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Jacques
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 09:55 AM

So, who were these big session upstarts ? Anyone know 'em ? Two sides to every story and all that, maybe they'd like to state their case...


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 10:11 AM

I usually carry an instrument or two around with me that can function as an equalizer.

When there's an egomaniac who likes showing off how they can go from G minor to E major in every set, I'll get out something that can play a blindingly fast reel in E flat minor and look at them pityingly when they can't follow.

Or when they're going way too fast for most of the players in the room, get out the C melody saxophone and play a few simple waltzes in easy keys, very slowly and VERY LOUDLY. That thing can shout down an accordion.

Sometimes the show-offs get the point if you can do something that both gets all the players involved and catches the appreciative attention of the audience. If your two-minute tune or song gets silence and a round of applause when their preceding half-hour of amphetamine-fuelled hyper-syncopated Irish-Quebecois-Balkan reels was received with nothing but disinterested chatter, they may come round to the idea of letting other people in.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Joe
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 10:28 AM

20 mins solid of Shepherd's Hey always comes in useful. If they ruin your night why not ruin theirs?


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: theleveller
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 10:38 AM

On the other hand.....

...mrsleveller and I aren't used to playing and singing in sessions and singarounds so, at Rydale Folk Weekend, we just slipped in to have a look and sat on the edge to listen. No way! We were practically dragged into the circle, handed instruments (before I went out and got our own) and made to have a go, given huge applause and interested questions were asked about the stuff I'd written from a couple of reasonably well-known professional singer/songwriters (to the extent that I was encouraged to enter the song competition later in the day).

A totally wonderful experience.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,jaques
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 11:17 AM

No word from the big session rotters to whom this thread was about, stand up & be counted!!!


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 11:22 AM

Be of good cheer. It takes some folks a painfully long time to learn that they are, in truth, NOT the center of the universe. While they are gaining this bit of intelligence, however, it is sometimes necessary to shun them and, if they persist beyond tolerance, throttle the bastards with used guitar strings and the like.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 11:37 AM

Use explosives...... works for me!


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: irishenglish
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 11:40 AM

Rudeness and frustration aside-how was The Big Session Festival itself, or did this spoil your fun of the whole thing?


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 11:45 AM

"It's a poor show by the the session organisers. If it put Charley off, how many other people did it put off? It can put people off entire festivals, as they'll go away with the idea that the place is unwelcoming. Because at the end of the day, if the session organisers aren't going to bother their backsides, no one indvividual will feel as if they can say anything either. There isn't much else you can do but walk out."

this is what I was trying to convey earlier. The nature of a festival like Big Session is that it provides space for people to start sessions, and may prime a few musicians to get things started, but it tends to be a more spontaneous affair than the organised or "led" sessions you'll find at many festivals with a less high-profile and commercial line-up. So there probably WASN'T a session organiser.

"No word from the big session rotters to whom this thread was about, stand up & be counted!!!"

That's a bit of a hiding to nothing, Jaques. It isn't like the whole of the folk world reads this forum. I'm pretty sure I know who the group of young musicians were - and know they wouldn't be caught dead on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 11:56 AM

So what forums DO they read? Their own blogs?


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 11:58 AM

they don't really participate in any folk forums that I know of. Or blog. Or even talk about the politics of folk. They are too busy playing. :)


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Acorn4
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 12:09 PM

I was at the "Big Session" on Saturday and attended the session in the marquee for a couple of hours -on that occasion the people mentioned were only there in smaller numbers - I did manage to get talking to them in between tunes so they were not completely anti social-often sessions don't exchange too many niceties- they were very young (and VERY good!)and obviously not fully into session etiquette as yet so they will mellow with age. I get the impression they will "get noticed" before long and this will cause them to ease off the throttle a bit. It was bad mannered but I was prepared to make a few allowances.

The "Big Session" is only two years old and it normally takes a fringe a bit of time to develop - there were signs of informal things getting started in the main bar.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 12:15 PM

Acorn, several of them have already been noticed.

And yes - they are VERY good.

As you say, the session doesn't really lend itself to a lot of chat, and i'm sure they weren't being deliberately rude. As I said at the beginning of the thread, they meet at festivals over the course of the year. And when they meet, they play together almost constantly. There's going to be a synergy there which may come across as insularity.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 12:20 PM

I don't know about not being caught dead on but while most people I know from clubs and sessions know of and make use of resources such as John Chambers and the dt on the Internet, few (I can't think of one off hand) participate regularly in folk forums.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 12:22 PM

well, the chaps in question are a bit young for all this palaver.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Ewan Spawned a Monster
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 12:36 PM

"well, the chaps in question are a bit young for all this palaver"

I have it on good authority (well, a couple of 'em told me) that some of the younger trad musicians and singers do occasionally read Mudcat, but doing so quickly makes them lose the will to live...

Jack:"So what forums DO they read?"

Gave me my first decent laugh of the day. Not everyone's as sad as we are, you know! And not everyone's got a day job they need to escape from for a few moments. Eh? Eh?


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: irishenglish
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 12:39 PM

A few moments escape? How about my entire working day! Especially these days!


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 12:44 PM

Several younger folkies were following a thread a while back about Morris Offspring (several of them dance or play for morris - it gets you into festivals for free). But unless it's a special thread, the ones I know don't really bother. I know they're now aware of this one. Whether they choose to contribute is another matter.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,'cool as folk' brigade
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 12:49 PM

Bovvered!!! We were actually booked there to sit and play in the bar all day cos dare i suggest some pople enjoy our music? Sorry we ruined your life, Wasn't intentional but if you'd like a complimentary "cool as folk" T-shirt send your address to bookedtobe@thebigsession.net and dont forget to mention your size. :-)


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 12:55 PM

Ah - i guess they have decided to respond.


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Subject: RE: more session rudeness
From: GUEST,Phil J
Date: 16 Jun 08 - 12:59 PM

I also attended this festival, if you were booked to play in the bar all day, why were you posing on the grass with instruments strewn around you and thinking you were the bees knees half the time. well done, from what I saw of you and from what I have now heard,you have now proved yourself as very rude, immature and selfish individuals.


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