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EFDSS and competitions

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The Sandman 29 Jul 08 - 06:00 AM
MartinRyan 29 Jul 08 - 06:13 AM
greg stephens 29 Jul 08 - 06:14 AM
greg stephens 29 Jul 08 - 06:28 AM
MartinRyan 29 Jul 08 - 06:29 AM
Ruth Archer 29 Jul 08 - 06:35 AM
MartinRyan 29 Jul 08 - 06:45 AM
Tootler 29 Jul 08 - 05:52 PM
The Sandman 29 Jul 08 - 06:17 PM
The Sandman 29 Jul 08 - 06:31 PM
The Sandman 29 Jul 08 - 06:51 PM
The Sandman 29 Jul 08 - 07:10 PM
Ruth Archer 29 Jul 08 - 07:27 PM
Ruth Archer 29 Jul 08 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,Russ 29 Jul 08 - 08:15 PM
The Sandman 30 Jul 08 - 06:34 AM
The Sandman 30 Jul 08 - 07:36 AM
Ruth Archer 30 Jul 08 - 08:26 AM
greg stephens 30 Jul 08 - 09:46 AM
The Sandman 30 Jul 08 - 10:01 AM
Ruth Archer 30 Jul 08 - 10:10 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Jul 08 - 10:43 AM
The Sandman 30 Jul 08 - 11:28 AM
RTim 30 Jul 08 - 12:14 PM
The Sandman 30 Jul 08 - 12:15 PM
The Sandman 30 Jul 08 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,fiddle4me 30 Jul 08 - 01:08 PM
The Sandman 30 Jul 08 - 01:17 PM
GUEST,fiddle4me 30 Jul 08 - 01:32 PM
The Sandman 30 Jul 08 - 01:50 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Jul 08 - 02:15 PM
Bert 30 Jul 08 - 02:20 PM
Surreysinger 30 Jul 08 - 02:52 PM
Bert 30 Jul 08 - 03:30 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Jul 08 - 04:20 PM
The Sandman 30 Jul 08 - 05:02 PM
greg stephens 30 Jul 08 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 31 Jul 08 - 01:47 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Jul 08 - 02:57 AM
Richard Bridge 31 Jul 08 - 04:04 AM
The Sandman 31 Jul 08 - 08:11 AM
MartinRyan 31 Jul 08 - 10:29 AM
Surreysinger 31 Jul 08 - 10:39 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Jul 08 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 31 Jul 08 - 12:14 PM
billybob 31 Jul 08 - 12:24 PM
The Sandman 31 Jul 08 - 01:53 PM
The Borchester Echo 31 Jul 08 - 06:28 PM
Gene Burton 31 Jul 08 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,Link follower 01 Aug 08 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 01 Aug 08 - 07:45 AM
greg stephens 01 Aug 08 - 11:13 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Aug 08 - 02:35 AM
The Sandman 02 Aug 08 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 05 Aug 08 - 07:02 AM
greg stephens 05 Aug 08 - 07:36 AM
The Sandman 05 Aug 08 - 11:51 AM
The Sandman 05 Aug 08 - 01:02 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Aug 08 - 05:00 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Aug 08 - 05:06 AM
The Sandman 06 Aug 08 - 06:55 AM
The Sandman 06 Aug 08 - 07:01 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Aug 08 - 07:30 AM
Banjiman 06 Aug 08 - 07:36 AM
The Sandman 06 Aug 08 - 08:35 AM
Peace 06 Aug 08 - 08:39 AM
Banjiman 06 Aug 08 - 08:55 AM
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Peace 06 Aug 08 - 09:03 AM
Big Mick 06 Aug 08 - 09:22 AM
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Subject: EFDDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 06:00 AM

when are EFDSS going to reintroduce competitions?.
Comhaltas have been responsible[amongst other things] for strengthening the music through their fleadh system.
what logical reason is their for EFDSS,not to copy their success.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 06:13 AM

I suspect Comhaltas' success in this respect has had a lot to do with its ability to tune in to, for example, parish rivalry and pre-existing structures at that level e.g. GAA clubs etc. Not sure the trick could be replicated in modern England.

Regards


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 06:14 AM

The trouble with competitions is they are great for the winners, but not so good for the losers


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 06:28 AM

All-England competitions could be absolutely dreadful. I have just spent forty years researching trad music in the northwest of England. I can just imagine the London judges dismissing the Cumbrian entrants(far too Scottish), the Lancastrians(far too Irish), the Cheshires and Shropshires(far too Welsh).And just imagine the arguments. Are fiddle ornaments English, or a dreaded foreign importation?Is that tune really called Yorkshire Lasses, or is it called the Top of Cork Road or Father O'Flynn? That D/G melodeon: is it traditional, or was it invented by Peter Kennedy?
And what about the Geordies? The EFDSS CD "Hardcore English" didn't have any NE musicians on it at all, as far as I can remember.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 06:29 AM

Greg

I know what you mean about the impact of competition, but..... I sometimes think there are fewer losers than one might imagine in these things. The kids who drop out of tin whistle classes or who rebel at having to sing set pieces in a competition style or get tired of weeping at having come 14th yet again, still end up with a better sense of what the music is about than the perenially passive listener. They provide the core of a knowlegeable audience because they can tell the difference!


Regards


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 06:35 AM

you can introduce kids to music successfully and not have to make it a competition, Martin. Look at Kathryn Tickell's Folkestra, Luke Daniels' Gael Music project, and the numerous successful folk music tuition projects around the country which have as their outcome high-quality ensemble performance, not competition.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 06:45 AM

I don't disagree, Ruth - of course. I'm simply outlining my own observations on what has happened in the context of Irish traditional music. In my opinion, Comhaltas effectively tapped into a pre-existing community rivalry and ultimately produced what many people regard as the monster of competition. My point is that, along the way, they also produced an audience.

Regards
p.s. Another of the Hydra's heads, of course, is what amounts to competitive drinking at Fleadhs!


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Tootler
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 05:52 PM

Competitions are not unknown here in the UK.

They are common in the brass band world and also in piping.

Folk Festivals in Northumberland often seem to include competitions.

Nevertheless, I understand Martyn Ryan's reservations about competitions. They can introduce distortions by rewarding particular styles of performance over others. OTOH, I sometimes look at video clips on the Comhaltas website and am generally impressed by the high standard of musicianship displayed by the young players featured.

Another road that could be explored is the graded music exams used in the classical music world and which are now being extended into Jazz. They are not perfect, and also can result in distortions by focusing on some aspects at the expense of others, but the system is well established and understood and, done properly, could help to raise the status of folk music in England.

This page is worth a look.

Geoff


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 06:17 PM

hi ,Geoff,Comhaltas operate an examination system,which works well.
when all is said and done, Comhaltas have been successful.,they have acheived their primary aim,which was in 1951,the prevention of the disappearance of traditional Irish music
they are the only organisation[as far as I know] that provides instrument tuition in most areas of England.Dick Miles.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 06:31 PM

GREG ,you appear to not know how Comhaltas competitions are run,the competitor has to play a selection of tunes,generally a hornpipe a reel a jig and one other,names are not of importance.,so arguing about whether a tune is called Father O Flynn or Top ofCork road,just doesnt happen.
Comhaltas have a set of rules that are very clear.
thereis nothing to stop another organisation having rules that are perfectly clear.the competitor checks the rules ,if he/she doesnt like it he/she doesnt have to enter.
you are making problems that dont exist,Comhaltas have been running competitions for 57 years.
music is judged subjectively,but the criteria does not have to be ornamentation,it can be musicality,danceabilty,lilt.
with song it can be other things,and with songwriting different criteria again.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 06:51 PM

as recently as 1967 the EFDSS organised a group competition,won by the Puritans,and a solo competition,which was won by someone still performing on the national folk circuit.
I have just found this piece of recent information.by googling EFDSS Competitions.
       Traditionally-focused music, song, and dance competitions? [xposted]
As part of my work for EFDSS, I've been asked to put together a list of traditionally-focused music, song, and dance competitions in the UK, with an eye to those with a national scope (although we'd like to look at healthy regional competitions as well).

We're interested in sponsoring some prizes for these awards, but we can't do that if we don't know what they are!

Is there a listing anywhere (various google searches haven't come up with one, so I'm not hopeful) of competitions? Even a listing of competitions for specific instruments would be great.

If you know of a list, or of a competition I might not have heard of (or even one you're sure I msut have heard of!) please leave it in a comment?

Thanks,
Gwen Knighton
Marketing and Publicity
English Folk Dance and Song Society.

well, when I suggested competitions 18 months ago,I was criticised and ridiculed by members of this forum ,who were members of the EFDSS.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 07:10 PM

why not take a look at Comhaltas,
eg solo singing,duo singing group singing,set dancing,solo violin, solo tin whistle, solo concertina, solo northumbrian pipes,solo two row diatonic accordion,english country dancing, playford dancing, solo broom dancing,solo one row accordion,solo piano accordion,trio ,duos etc etc,then divide it into age groupings.under 12, 12 to 18,over 18.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 07:27 PM

I'd like to point out that Gwen no longer works for the society. If anyone wants to know the society's current priorities, they might do well to contact the Chief Exec, Katy Spicer.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 07:29 PM

by the way, Dick - have you joined EFDSS yet? I think I remember pointing out some time ago that EFDSS is a membership society, and that if you want to have input into its strategic direction, the best way forward is probably to become a member.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 08:15 PM

What Greg said.

National Competition = homogenization.
Interestingly diverse regional traditions get replaced with some sort of meta-"tradition."
Gresham's law in action.
I've seen it happen in the states.
The distinctions between regional fiddlers and "contest" fiddlers, regional styles and the "festival" style are well known.

Russ (Permanent GUEST and traditional musician)


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 06:34 AM

Russ,I agree competitions using ornamentation as a priority does lead to a homogeonised style,but competitions using other criteria wont necesarily.
an emphasis upon danceabilty instead of ornamentation will not.
all irish styles whether they are Donegal ,Sliabh Luchra,or whatever,are danceable,that is the purpose of the music to dance to it,and that should be its criteria when its being judged.
Sliabh Luchra polkas are dancey so are Clare reels.The same applies to Northumbrian music and East anglian music.
another alternative is not to have national copmpetitions ,but just regional competitions,so Northumbrian music is judged seperately.
East Anglian music is judged seperately.
north west music is judged seperately etc etc.
that way regional styles will be encouraged and preserved .DickMiles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 07:36 AM

Ruth,there are people on this forum who are not members of Comhaltas[Jim Carroll,BonnieShaljean?],who comment upon its various antics,I have no problem with this.I am not a member of EFDSS,and see no reason why like them I cannot comment on an organisation,even though I am not a member.
neither am I a member of the Labour party,but the best thing Gordon Brown can do,if he wants to win the next election,is exempt petrol and Diesel from vat,reduce the duty,that will bring the price down considerably,help to reduce inflation,to make up the loss of revenue,reintroduce Gambling tax,and put extra tax on non essentials[ alcohol and cigarettes].but he wont because hes a penny pinching dunderhead.
Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 08:26 AM

"I am not a member of EFDSS,and see no reason why like them I cannot comment on an organisation,even though I am not a member."

But your concern with its future direction is ever so slightly obsessive, Dick...

It's not really fair to expect the right to contribute to any membership organisation's strategic direction without accepting the responsibility of membership - even if that responsibility is a relatively minor financial one. It's a matter of constituency.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: greg stephens
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 09:46 AM

Dick: I am with Ruth on this, if you really want the EFDSS to organise national competitions, join up and propose it. Human nature being what it is, members of a society are unlikely to react favourably to being lectured incessantly about what they ought to do, if the lecturing is coming from an outsider.
    You accuse me of not knowing how Comhalts organises competitions: I wasn't talking about Comhaltas, I was talking about the kinds of arguments that would inevitably arise if a committee of the EFDSS tried to organise a national competition in England. Now, in a modest way I have acquired, by plugging away for forty years, a reputation as someone who knows a bit about English fiddle tunes and suchlike allied subjects. So I might well be in line to be considered as a judge in such a competition: well,if so, I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole!
    There is a kind of competition I would welcome. If organisations like the Grasmere Sports, or county agricultural shows, or village fetes, or family fun days in parks, or similar, had a fiddling competition, or a clogging competition, with a £100 prize, or whatever: well, then I think I'd be all for it. As long as some self-appointed knowall(or knowalittlebutnotall) wasn't prescribing the details of the "national style" the entrants were meant to be adopting. Because that way madness lies.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 10:01 AM

Ruth,Obsessive?
I have not started a thread on this subject [the EFDSS] since 23 JAN 2008.,thats six months,hardly obsessive,you are factually inaccurate.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 10:10 AM

Dick, you know I like you and respect you as a musician. But I think the way you keep returning to the subject of EFDSS, and specifically competitions, is a bit bizarre.

My suggestion is simple, and an honest one: join EFDSS. It's about thirty quid for a year's membership. Then e-mail the new Chief Exec, and put your proposals to her as a member with a vested interest in the society's future.

If you are sincere in your wish to make this proposal a reality, I think this will be your most productive course of action. Who knows? She may agree with you.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 10:43 AM

EFDSS needs competitions like a fish needs a bicycle - the mess that is Comhaltas, and the number of young people who have been driven out of the music by their competitions should be proof enough of that for anybody.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 11:28 AM

on the contrary Jim,look at all the young people who are playing traditional music in Ireland,thanks to Comhaltas,you obviously dont go to regional or national fleadhs,it is a minority that drop out.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: RTim
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 12:14 PM

To hear the Capt. talk - it looks like there are NO young people performing English Music - and that is Wrong!!! Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 12:15 PM

Jim,are you Comhaltas bashing again?or perhaps you could explain,the phrase the mess that is comhaltas.
Comhaltas were formed in 1951,for 57 years they have successfully encouraged and promoted fleadhs,from which hundreds of thousands of people/musicians have derived pleasure,as they will do again this year. they have acheived their original aims,these are all facts.
however ,you come along and just make wild unsubstantiated statements,are ther finances in a mess?how are they in a mess?,sounds to me like your talking predujuiced unsubstantiated fiction.DickMiles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 12:49 PM

R TIM,please substantiate your comment.I have never said that
. you are not hearing or seeing what I have said on this thread,please go back and reread my posts.
these wild statements get tedious .Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: GUEST,fiddle4me
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 01:08 PM

As an Irish fiddler who's been playing sessions since the age of 8 Im glad that my folks never encoraged me to take part in competitions. I learnt young that all the best musicians stay well clear of Comhaltas and the nasty side effects it has on peoples musical ability and understanding of he music! I dont think a blow-in like Dick Miles should be commenting on this.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 01:17 PM

guest fiddle 4me,
good to see Intolerance and xenophobia,are high on your priorities.
presumably you think Irish people are not entitled to comment on the EFDSS,or English folk music,Martin Carthy,Northumbrian pipe music,reminds me of the days of NINA,No Irish need apply.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: GUEST,fiddle4me
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 01:32 PM

I made my comment because you Dick Miles as I assume an English man have not gone through the ridiculous rigamarole of a Comhaltas competition as ateenager or less. If you did then I take it back. If you didnt then Id rather rely on the views of my frends who did than you. You seem to be one of those people whos tongue is never long enough to lick the last drop of jam from the jar.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 01:50 PM

1.Jim Carroll is also a blow in.
2.I have entered comhaltas competitions.
3.Ihave lived in Ireland for 18 years,and can tell you what I see with my own eyes,many[95 per centof the children] enjoying the fleadhs
your remarks are xenophobic ,intolerant and anti English.
goodnight Geoff.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 02:15 PM

Cap'n
As you say, Comhaltas has been in existence since 1951.
It has no accessible library, it has no sound archive, its magazine Treor is a joke on par with the Beano, it has no academic standing whatsoever, and its visitors centre, Bru Boru at Cashel is a musical Disneyworld.
It is totally devoid of any form of democracy, with a leadership that can expel branches without either consulting the membership beforehand or informing them after the event. The lifeblood of the organisation, the membership, is treated with contempt by the leadership.
Irish music is blossoming at present, not because of CCE, but in many cases despite it (read O Murchú's's report).
I saw hundred of youngsters in the UK driven out of the music because the motivation they were given was not love of the music, but the winning of medals - when they didn't win they left.
One of the strongest and most influential areas of traditional music in Ireland at present is here in West Clare, Miltown Malbay in particular. The main driving force behind the Irish music renaissance has been The Willie Clancy Summer School which has been in existence for three and a half decades and which CCE refused to participate in because of the refusal of the locals to hold competitions.
On the last 3 St Pat's Day parades there were well over 60 youngsters of school age playing Irish music here in Miltown, and playing it well - Comhaltas only re-opened a branch here last year after 25 years absence.
One of the main causes of the disappearance of regional styles has been the standardisation of the music in order to win competitions.
Comhaltas once played a vital part in the survival of Irish music; it no longer does so - As Breandán Breathnach once said "It is an organisation with a great future behind it".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Bert
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 02:20 PM

I don't think that organised competition has a place in folk music.

If you want to see what competition does to music just take a look at The Eurovision Song Contest.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Surreysinger
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 02:52 PM

Don't think I necessarily agree Bert - I went in for a singing competition some years ago... for the purposes of obtaining honest feedback on my singing at a time when I was a little unsure whether to believe family and friends' opinions. It was an incredibly useful and confidence boosting experience (in my case) ... and I also ended up making several friends amongst the other competitors. I think it may have some place ... but it would depend on the purpose and intent of the competition.

On the other hand some of the masterclass courses organised by people like FolkSouth West attain exactly the same ends, but without the competitive element (which is obviously not something that everybody would actually want to put themselves through!)

And I'm totally bemused that a thread headed up EFDSS and competitions seems to have evolved yet again into one about Comhaltas !!!


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Bert
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 03:30 PM

I guess you were lucky Surreysinger. I was just pointing out the effect that an internationally known contest has had on the quality of songs.

But I must admit that the Eurovision Song Contest is vastly superior to the Eisteddfod in Llangollen that I went to once.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 04:20 PM

Surreysinger
Sorry about introducing CCE into a thread about EfDSS, but I really do believe that everything that could go wrong has gone wrong with a music organisation has gone wrong with Comhaltas, and much of it is due to the fact that virtually everything CCE does is aimed 'The Glittering Prizes' (the subject of this thread).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 05:02 PM

jim ,the Beano is funnier.
EFDSS has in the past organised competitions.
CCE organise Fleadhs based around competitions these are a great success,particularly the regional and national fleadhs.a spin off of which are the many fine sessions.
CCE also organise exams,For those that are less competitive minded.
they are the only group who teach instruments on a national basis in England[something EFDSS dont do].
CCE also organise workshops with tuition in regional styles.
During the summer they organise sessuins[ traditional musical gatherings that are not competitive]these can be very good
during the winter some branches[Skibbereen CCE is one]organise musical get togethers for children,in a safe environment these are non competitive.,many children love these.
so Jim ,is Incorrect, CCE is much more than an organisation aimed at glittering prizes,that is part of it but that is not its entirety.
when did you last attend a Comhaltas branch meeting Jim?
your information is out of date,and your opinions misinformed.
I have my reservations about Comhaltas and consider them a Curates Egg,good in places.
now to EFDSS,
competitions do not have to be based on the comhaltas model,there are many different possible formulas.
I suggested earlier, one possibility,regional competitions judging regional styles,with no national competition.
another is a national songwriting competition[efdss did this recently]
another could be something akin to the Fred Jordan competition cup[Saltburn Festival]for unaccompanied traditional singing..
another possibility might be a northumbrian pipe competition.
a lancashire clog competition,as part of a Lancashire night etc
if these were all held in CecilSharp house,they would draw people into the House. of course a Lancashire night would be more succesful if it was held in lancashire .Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: greg stephens
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 08:09 PM

Surreysinger, in your last post you said:

"And I'm totally bemused that a thread headed up EFDSS and competitions seems to have evolved yet again into one about Comhaltas !!! "

In point of fact I should point out that this thread was started by Dick Miles specifically as a discussion about Comhaltas competitions(try reading his opening post in the thread and you will see what I am saying)


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 01:47 AM

I hear that the BBC is considering "Strictly Folk Dancing" in a prime time slot on Saturday evenings.

Can't Wait!


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 02:57 AM

Cap'n,
My information on CCE - see Comhaltas-Interruptus thread to judge their malignant influence.
CCE aside- how about outlining the criteria by which you would judge competitions - and who would be the judges - how would they be chosen - what would be their qualifications - how and where would the competitions be staged?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 04:04 AM

Well, let's put it another way. If the Comhaltas competition sytem is adverse, what then has produced the rish revival from 1951 to date?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 08:11 AM

when are EFDSS going to reintroduce competitions?.
Comhaltas have been responsible[amongst other things] for strengthening the music through their fleadh system.
what logical reason is their for EFDSS,not to copy their success.my original post.
Jim,if EFDSS,decided to reintroduce competitions,how they proposed to run them is up to them.
They ran a song writing competition,last year,which was successful,so they probably have a good idea how to do it.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: MartinRyan
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 10:29 AM

I repeat (for the last time - I promise!). Both the "success" and "failure" of the competitive basis of Comhaltas derive from the type of community in which it developed. If CCE did not exist now, any attempt to produce something like it in Ireland - not to mention in England - would be doomed to failure. It's a child of its time and place. The ambivalence of many Irish musicians and music enthusiasts towards the organisation is just that - ambivalence. They recognise the amount of good work that has been done and regret the classic excesses to which the organisation has on occasion, gone.

Regards


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Surreysinger
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 10:39 AM

Greg ... I think you and I might have to differ on that ... the thread title was about the EFDSS, and so was Dick's opening sentence .. albeit that the second reintroduced Comhaltas as an example of what he considers a success ... but nevertheless the thread title and opening sentence suggest the discussion should be about the EFDSS, and competitions. Probably depends on how you read it, I suspect.... but nevertheless we seem to be on to whether or not the Irish system works, instead of the question of whether the EFDSS should introduced competitions. (Speaking as a member, I don't think that they're the right sort of organisation for that... and again I think it depends on what the competition is supposed to achieve.) Anyhow, I'm out of this one...

and Ralphie "Strictly Folk Dancing" ... surely you jest???


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 11:16 AM

Cap'n,
To put all this in a historical context.
It's tends not to get bandied about too much but back in the fifties the EFDSS ran competitions. They put elderly singers like George 'Pop' Maynard in front of a panel of judges and humiliated them by telling them what was wrong with their singing. They alienated a great many people by their crass behaviour; dig out some of the people who were there if you don't believe me. Knowing how you feel about the older singers, perhaps this doesn't bother you too much - it does me, and it appears just as crass to suggest repeating the exercise.
I wasn't there, so I only have this information second hand; however, I did attend some of the 'Fiddler of London' competitions where some of the finest and most important source musicians were (for the best reasons in the world) humiliated in more or less the same way by setting them against youngsters with all the skills (and their youth) at their command.
What on earth could possibly be achieved by reintroducing such 'inquisitions'.
"Jim,if EFDSS,decided to reintroduce competitions,how they proposed to run them is up to them."
No - you suggested this idiotic idea; how do you propose it should be run?
Some time ago you offered to finance such competitions and proposed yourself as a judge - do you really think you are qualified?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 12:14 PM

I think we should leave Jim and Dick to carry on locking horns.

For the rest of us, we should move on, crying softly.

Life is far too short.

Ralph


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: billybob
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 12:24 PM

"Strictly Folk Dancing" what an idea! Will this be for teams or solo competitors? It will brighten up my Saturday no end! :)


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 01:53 PM

no comment.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 06:28 PM

Strictly Come Folk Dancing has been done before. And look at the convoluted mess it got into.
Actually, I remember Comhaltas competitions happening downstairs in C# House. And so does Maggie Boyle.
The EFDSS has a long history of "competitions", as does the BBC. The oddest people get entered, and indeed, win.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Gene Burton
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 07:29 PM

Did somebody ring for me?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: GUEST,Link follower
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 07:01 AM

Well Gean Burton having followed your link to your page and had a listen, I assume that the list of influences you have listed are those artists you have not been influnced by.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 07:45 AM

Oh dear. Here we go again. How come every time someone opens a thread about the EFDSS it turns into a shouting match about Comhaltas.

Still, while I'm here...

Martin, I'm not sure about 'Parish Rivalry' having a lot to do with music. Football or hurling, perhaps, but if that were the case you wouldn't expect people to travel to play at sessions, which they have been doing for years.

I agree that traditional music isn't about being the winner or the loser at the fleadh, but the great thing about the fleadhanna is the social side. Kids (and adults) form and rekindle lifelong friendships. I don't know that EFDSS provides that opportunity.

I've got a lot of time for Jim Carroll but his attitude seems to be 'Comhaltas is corrupt and who needs it anyway'. On the first point, maybe some individuals are - I don't know and I haven't seen any information on this thread or any other that has conviced me one way or the other. On the second point, well, yes, Irish music can get along perfectly well at the moment without it - Comhaltas is no longer the only game in town and the only point of entry into the music for those who want to learn it. This wasn't always the case, however.

Lately I've been looking hard at the Scottish Feisean movement. This, it seems to me, to be one way forward without the excesses and obsession with form, style or 'correctness' that you get in both Comhaltas and some areas on English music. I was at the London Feis in September 2007 and it was brilliant. No competitions, no adjudications, just the chance to learn and play music with people from all sorts of backgrounds united by their love of it, without all the baggage we sometimes carry round with us in Comhaltas.

There are also feisean throughout the year in Scotland, including junior feisean. The London event comprised lessons, workshops, a ceili, a concert and a dedicated 'slow session' where everyone (including the tutors) played sets at a slower pace to give everyone the chance to be included. It was the best weekend's music I'd had for years and I'd recommend it to anyone. Also, check out www.feisean.org.

For me, as a Comhaltas branch chairman, this is increasingly looking like the way to go and we're making preliminary plans at the moment to hold something similar in the North-West of England next summer - early days yet, though - with the intention of encompassing both Scottish and Irish traditions, bearing in mind the region's proximity to the North of Ireland (which sends hundreds of students to the North-West of England each year). I'll let you know.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 11:13 AM

Chris B (Born Again Scouser):maybe if you are having an open and welcoming trditional music event in the northwest of England, you should consider involving the musical traditions of the northwest of England as well? Especially as they are closely linked with those of Ireland and Scotland(obviously).We have a fantastic array of fiddle tunes, you know.Several thousand were collected in the area, and I feel you would enjoy welcoming them.(Non-competitively, of course!).


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Aug 08 - 02:35 AM

Born again Scouser,
Just to set the record straight
"Comhaltas is corrupt and who needs it anyway'"
This is not my attitude to Comhaltas - Irish music needs all the friends it can get, and I have the deepest respect for the work carried out by branches such as your own, and for the rank-and-file membership who have kept the music alive when it could easily have disappeared. My antipathy towards CCE is purely reserved for a leadership which I believe has treated such branches and such people with contempt.
My first introduction was through the branches and anything I might know about the music came from such people. The first people we recorded here in Ireland were founder members of Comhaltas - they are the ones who inspired us to carry out the collecting we did, and they were the ones who were largely responsible for us taking the decision to live here.
I was part of the London Branch which was expelled for not obeying a political directive, and we have just seen similar behaviour with regard to Clontarf Branch - surely nobody can be happy with what has happened there and how it has been handled (I don't really expect an answer to this one).
My present attitude to CCE was summed up perfectly by Martin Ryan's posting on 31st July.
My concern here is on a question which has been raised on numerous occasions on this forum - that of competitions.
When I lived in London I saw the the initiative of players stifled and the heart ripped out of the music in order to please adjudicators. I saw the children of friends turned away from the music forever because competitions were the driving force behind many of the branches.
Elsewhere somebody said that competitions "are a bit of fun if you don't take them seriously" - a bit like telling an Everton supporter that "it's only a game" after his team have been thrashed 6-0 by Liverpool in a derby game (or the highly unlikely case of the opposite happening).
Competitions destroy everything that is good and communal about the music; they stir up bitterness and rivalry and introduce aspects into the music that should not and need not be there; I've seen it happen time and time again. They kill the love of the music as surely as Woody Guthrie's guitar "killed fascism".
However, this is no longer an issue as far as traditional music in general is concerned; Irish music has now found its own feet and is thriving purely for the love of it; as you rightfully say "CCE is no longer the only game in town". The question of whether or not to hold competitions is purely an internal decision.
I wish yours, and every other branch the greatest success, however you choose to approach the music, but whenever the suggestion of introducing competitions outside of CCE is raised, I can't promise to sit on my hands and say nothing.
Best wishes,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Aug 08 - 04:52 AM

there was a competition for the best sea song,at Scarborough sea fest this year the winner was Wendy Arrowsmith.
Competitions do not destroy evertything that is good about music.
   I think that is a sweeping generalisation,last year EFDSS ran a song writing competition,I have not heard any stories that bitterness arose in either[Seafest or Cheltenham Efdss] of these two competitions.
it really depends upon the attitude of the competitors, most adults are mature enough to realise that all judging is subjective.
I am quite closely involved with children who enter competitions,I had a pupil who won the all ireland CCE harmonica competition,this year he didnt progress beyond the Munster,he is not bitter, because his parents and his teacher[ME] have over the years,explained that Winning is not the be all and end all ,that learning from adjudicators comments, participating,and all the practice beforehand is just as important,a lot depends upon the parents attitudes,and in my experience the majority of parents handle the situation well.
so we have two different scenarios, competitions for adults and competitions for children.
we also have the spin off from CCE competitions,e .g. the meeting of thousands of musicians in sessions at the fleadhs.
finally competitions can be a way of raising funds for EFDSS,This is of course one reason why CCE will not drop competitions because it brings in a lot of money. Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 07:02 AM

Woody Guthrie's guitar killed fascism, did it?

Well, that's alright then.

I think the problems in some Comhaltas branches are more than a preoccupation with Competitions - though that can be part of it. Like any voluntary activity, Comhaltas, EFDSS or your local WI tends to attract people who just like to be in charge of things. I suspect that's at least as much of a problem as the existence of competitions (which of course, are often run by the exact same people).   I think the moral is if you actually want to be in charge of something like Comhaltas - you shouldn't be (I didn't, as it happens).

Greg, fair point about the traditions indigenous to the North-West of England. If this thing comes off, though, it'll depend on who or what is available at the time. I'm wary of trying to incorporate too many styles or traditions in one event, especially first time out of the traps. Plus I'm probably not the right person to talk about the North-West tradition (though my old mate John Offord is).


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 07:36 AM

Chris B: would very much like to talk to you about your very interesting fleidh/feis Irish/Scottish NW England get-together plan.
Could you get in touch: either sign up a member and send me a PM, or chase me up via the Boat Band section of Harbourtown Records


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 11:51 AM

Unfortunately, Woody Guthries guitar hasnt killed fascism.
If I was running a competition I would try to get competent judges,for a song writing competition,someone who was experienced in song writing.
at Scarborough Sea Fest,the judge was Matt Armour,who has written some fine songs, one of which was sung by Ewan Maccoll.
Jim, asks whether I consider myself qualified,well I would have thought the answer to that question was obvious,I have judged song writing competitions before,and written songs that other people have recorded,so Yes I do consider myself qualified,but as I say if I was running a competition I would prefer to ask someone else.,somebody totally independent.
Jim generally speaking my self composed songs have been well received,as have my folkclub/festival performances ,over the last 35 years.
http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 01:02 PM

on the subject of fascism,one good thing Mussolini[apart from punctual trains] did, was beat the hell physically out of the Mafia.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 05:00 AM

Woody Guthrie wrote on his guitar
"This machine kills fascists".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 05:06 AM

Tell you what Cap'n
You have said in the past that criticism of singers should take place in private and only when invited.
As far as I am concerned competitions - choosing the best from all participating - are criticisms of all taking part.
How about putting say half-a-dozen of your songs up on your web-site and inviting all of us to comment on your performance openly?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 06:55 AM

Jim,if you visit dickmilesmusic on youtube you will see that I have 18 videos,you can also visit www.sound lantern .com where I have 50 audios.people are free to comment on all these.
as regards my suitability to judge songwriting competitions,I have received compliments from song writers such as Richard Grainger and John Conolly regarding my compositions.
here is one which I hope people will like.
when the lads come back to port,
   they spend their money free,
its rattle the cash,jack the lad,
the boys are on the spree.

weve been to sea six weeks or more
out on deck with fingers sore
cold and wet unto the bone
waiting for the day when we get home.

its gut em and ice em down the hole
just one more net and then well go
homeward bound for yarmouth town
pockets full of gleaming siver crowns

and when to sea we do return
for beer and lasses then we yearn
the silver herring jumpin the light
its haul in the nets boys good and tight.

siver shadows in the pale moonlight
gleaming silver crowns so bright
thinking of the crack when we get home
its haulin the nets were yarmouth bound.

and now our cash is almost gone
i swear the herring hear us come
the shoakls are getting hard to find.
its haul in the nets boys one more time.

and now the fishings getting poor
we follow the sight of the whales blow
watch the gulls to find the shoals
its haul in the nets then head for home.

and when to town we do return
we swear our oilskins we will burn
but when the rentman comes around
its seaboots on for the fishing grounds copyright DickMiles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 07:01 AM

http://www.dickmiles.comhttp://www.youtube.com/user/dickmilesmusic


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 07:30 AM

Thanks for that Cap'n.
Nasal - gappy - accompaniment too loud - and very, very flat and samey.
I'd give it two, but i wouldn't buy it.
Next
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Banjiman
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 07:36 AM

Forget the EFDSS....we could have Mudcat song writing and singing comps. Jim and Dick could work together as judges.....it would be good for both of you to heal your differences!

Cool....who's going to put the first video up then?

Paul


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 08:35 AM

well, if we all liked the same thing,life would be boring.
I am not sure to which of the 18 videos Jim Carroll is referring,quite frankly I dont care.
the proof of the pudding is in the eating,there are 18 videos,that show both my concertina and guitar playing, and my vocal abilty.
the majority of people like what I do and I frequently get complimented on my voice /singing and concertina playing,I enjoy making music,and have enjoyed writing songs.
when recording with one mike in a home environment,it is more difficult to get a balance, than when one is in a recording studio,most people understand this and appreciate performers sharing their music on you tube.I believe that this is what music is about, sharing.
http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Peace
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 08:39 AM

This kinda horseshit between musicians is why we wrote off any attempt to seek a British market for the CD. Too many jealous and pompous assholes. Just not worth the postage.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Banjiman
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 08:55 AM

Dick.....yes, I like what you do having had the privilege of seeing you live.....I'm just having a bit of fun!

Peace....we ain't all like that, you should try for a British market. What's with all the anti-British stuff recently?

Paul


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 08:56 AM

As a point of clarification, both Jim and Dick are residents of Ireland.
Ireland is not Britain, though geographically ONLY, it is the second biggest island of the group that comprises the British Isles. I've no idea why residents of the Americas are in continual confusion over this. Possibly you are attempting to refer to the UK market where goods are paid for in GBP. In Ireland they use the Euro. But who knows?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Peace
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 09:03 AM

That is exactly the kind of pompous horseshit I mean.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Big Mick
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 09:22 AM

Second you on that, Peace. Diane is so damned arrogant at times. Trouble is she probably believes that the culturally inferior colonials don't realize that Ireland is an island unto itself, or that it has a different monetary system, unless, of course you are in the North of Ireland. But what do us continually confused residents of the Americas know. But as a point of clarification, I wonder if Diane understands that "the Americas" comprise two continents, and 33 countries (if one throws the Indies in) and many cultures, and levels of education. So the vast generalization that this resident of the British Isles puts forth is just as asinine as that which,in her arrogance, she complains about.

Mick


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 09:36 AM

the Americas" comprise two continents, and 33 countries

Indeed I do know this, unlike some British people who think that the land mass to our west is an amorphous "US of A". That is why I used the term "the Americas" deliberately.

The British Isles, however, are not "England" nor even the UK as a great many transatlantic residents appear to think (when they engage in this activity at all).

The two people who "Peace" is attempting to slag off and does not wish to sell some CD or other to because they are Brits are neither UK nor England residents.

Certainly sounds confused and / or ignorant to me.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Peace
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 09:40 AM

Every single time you post you prove the point.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 09:50 AM

The point being, presumably, that an unfortunate number of people (yourself included), neither know nor care that the peoples of Ireland and England, divided for centuries on ethnic, economic, religious and political grounds at the behest of a class-based elite, are nonetheless residents of two different countries.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 09:54 AM

A person is Irish simply because they live in Ireland?

There is a small group of folks of English persuasion (and possibly Irish) who consistently put others and their music down. If they didn't have music and musicians to publicly disdain and denounce, they'd have little to say. Everybody has opinions, but what turns me off the most is that a FEW folks think it's actually acceptable to go on at length about their hates.

Those who engage in this sort of slamming make music look as though it's a bloodsport. One hound catches a scent and then the others join in.

There are good people in the UK, I know, but they're less insistent and much less prolific, so guess what comes through to the observer.

As long as you keep trying to tear people down here, you will be proving his point, to him and to others.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Peace
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 09:55 AM

Lemme guess what class you are from . . . .


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Big Mick
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 09:56 AM

Needless picking of nits, Diane. We are speaking of a geographical marketplace. Just as a British band would market to the North American market. There was absolutely no need for such a broad generalization, other than to demonstrate your disdain and demonstrate some sort of self perceived intellectual superiority.

My last word.... back to the discussion of EFDSS and competitions.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Peace
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 09:57 AM

The voice of reason. I am off this thread. Paul, I sent you a PM. Thanks all. Now Jim and Dick can get back to the spat.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 10:11 AM

I hold no particular brief for either Jim or Dick. I know them slightly and know that they live in Ireland. It seemed thus more than faintly ridiculous that someone who has taken a dislike to them was using this as an excuse not to sell some product in the UK where they are not resident.

Someone who is trying to imply that I think the two musicians in question are Irish because I have said that they live in that country is plainly demented. I am fully aware of their provenance and careers. My knowledge of Irish political history stems from having reported (both news and music pieces) from Belfast in the early 70s. I stayed not in the Europa along with other journos but with my friends, the McPeakes, off the Falls Road.

So will all you loud-mouthed, pretendy know-all transatlantic shits put that wherever you feel like and do want you want with it, preferably setting fire to yourselves in the process.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Big Mick
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 10:13 AM

Yep, Peace, you are right. She does prove the point every time she posts. Now I really am out of this one.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Peace
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 10:22 AM

Watch your blood pressure, Diane.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 10:29 AM

Well, I could draw you a map. But I really can't be arsed.
Suggested reading: the cartoon book Ireland For Beginners.
Though it's probably far too advanced for Murkans who don't recognise self-determination for any nation but their own.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Newport Boy
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 10:39 AM

I'd stopped reading this one a while back, thinking it had got bogged down. I just had another look, since it seemed to be busy.

I wish I hadn't - I won't again.

Phil


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 10:46 AM

No.

The thread should have a warning sticker: only for those who know nothing whatsoever - culturally, economically, politically or geographically - about Britain / the UK / Ireland but want to sound off incomprehensible misinformation and prejudices anyway.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 10:49 AM

http://www.dickmiles.com I have not slagged anyone off,in fact it is me that has been slagged off,but I am not worried.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: GUEST,watching 1
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 10:58 AM

Not to put too fine a point on it, Diane, but Big Mick is a resident of the United States and Peace is a resident of Canada. Seems to me that you decided to show your fabled attitude and these lads nicked you on it. And what was the point of you running your Irish credentials, and the idiotic name dropping (McPeake's)? You just look the prat in all of this.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 11:04 AM

Sigh.

The point is, Dick, that somebody slagged off both you and Jim for having your usual little disagreement and announced this was why some merchandise or other was not being marketed in Britain . . . to punish you both. Now what this particular product is, or whether you'd want it in the first place, I know not. Neither of you, however, live in Britain. And in any case, IF you wanted it, you'd find out how and where to obtain it. Wouldn't you?

We are, today, fully globalised, whether we like it or not, thanks to US-inspired global capitalism. Still doesn't make Ireland part of "England", though . . . Nor does it mean the EFDSS should operate exactly as Comhaltas does.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 11:11 AM

BM lives in the US. I know.
P lives in Canada. I know.
Your point is?

However, Dick & Jim live in Ireland. Which is not "Britain".
BM (and especially P) apparently do not know this.

I do not have "Irish credentials" Not one.
I've spent time there working.
And I've worked for the EFDSS.
I stayed with the McPeakes.
They stayed with me in England.
No one's dropping anyone's name.
Who are you anyway?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 12:17 PM

your right. Diane,on several points
EFDSS do not have to work like comhaltas,they could if they wished operate competitions which would raise money,but there are other ways of doing it.
they had a song writing competition,which didnt operate on the comhaltas model[local ,regional ,national],in fact regional styles are more likely to be preserved,if the competition is, for example, best northumbrian piper,or best north west fiddler etc.
so that one regional style is not being judged against another.
of course, all competitions are subjective,and not always the best person wins,but they are good focus points and they normally produce good spin offs[musicians getting together]Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 02:49 PM

Sorry folks,
Having a bit of fun myself - while trying to make a point.
Better or worse - good or bad are, as you say, subjective opinions which have little or anything to do with what is under discussion.
Dick (or me, or anybody) judging a singing or songwriting competition would be expressing his (or our) own personal opinion at that moment - nothing else. Quite often your judgement on a piece of music or a song is entirely dependent on the mood you are in at that time - not a good reason to hand out the Glittering Prizes.
For me, this is what invalidates all competitions connected with something as transitory as music.
Competitions are more likely to divide and alienate musicians rather than bringing them together - note Dick's reaction to my comments on his singing.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Gene Burton
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 07:15 PM

Well, having heard Dick's singing online it sounded pretty damn fine to me...I understand he tours in the UK quite regularly, and I for one certainly intend to check out his live set next time he's anywhere near me.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 05:31 AM

Dick wants to set up competitions to assess the singing of others with himself as chief judge.
I express an opinion on Dick's singing and he regards it as being 'slagged off'.
Game, set and match.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: greg stephens
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 06:01 AM

Dick: don't suppose you can get it in Ballydehob, but if you get the chance take a look at the BBC Competition series "Last Choir Standing", introduced by Mylene Klass(sp?). Then come back and tell us you would like to intoduce more competitiveness into English musical life!


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Peace
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 06:55 AM

At no time did I say that Ireland was part of Britain. The self-appointed Queen of English Folk Music and All Matters Thus Connected chose to interpret it that way. You folks gotta be less afraid of her.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 08:07 AM

At   08:39 on 6 August, someone called "Peace" declared, à propos of a mild, though on-topic, spat between two residents of Ireland, that a market for some CD or other was not being sought "in Britain", a sanction unlikely to affect or be of any concern to the combatants who are not resident in that country.

This "Peace" person appears to regard discussion of the issue of musical competition within the English and / or Irish traditions as "kinda horseshit".

Highly constructive - not - (and far from being any of his concern as he is in no way aligned to either tradition, nor indeed any at all, as far as I know. On the other hand, both Dick Miles and Jim Carroll are eminently qualified, as a consequence of their extensive experience, to expound on whether or not competition is Good or Useful in trad music. From what I know of both Jim and Dick, they are far from being "jealous, pompous assholes", as the oddly-named "Peace" dubbed them.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 09:03 AM

as a mature adult,I have entered competitions.
I entered one as a member of the group, The New Mexborough English Concertina Quartet,we were the winners,as far as I know the other competitors,were happy with the decision,no one stopped playing the concertina as a result.
I have [when I had nothing else to do]entered comhaltas competitions I havent been too bothered if I won or not,sometimes I have sometimes I havent,I just regard it as another opportunity to play music[whatIhave found most useful is the preparation,the working on detail of specific tunes,in fact I think that is more useful],than the end decision.
Jim seems to think I am bothered by his comments I am not,as far as I am concerned Jim has no more qualification to judge my singing,than anyone else whose singing I have not heard.,
most Comhaltas Judges that I have encountered[EdelFox who is amighty concertina player was one]had generally favourable things to say about my concertina playing[particularly of airs],its these people and people like Martin Carthy[who played guitar on one of my lps],Lou Killen,Peter Bellamy,whose opinions I value,because they can do/did the business.
if I want an opinion on building I approach a master craftsman,If I want an opinion on bird song I would approach Percy Edwards.
in fairness to Comhaltas their judges are good exponents of thier craft,either good players of their instrument,or good singers.
Jim Carroll has collected some songs,I dont see that that gives him a qualification to judge my singing /concertina playing/songwriting,or any reason why I should take his opinions any more seriously than Pavarotti,Tom Jones or Joe Bloggs.
Comhaltas judges are selected on their ability to play an instrument well or sing well.[as ar as I know Jim Carroll doesnt play amusical instrument and does not sing any more]so what qualification does he have.
all that I know of Jim Carroll is that he used to collect traditional singers and their songs and he used to be friend of Ewan Maccoll,and that he used to be a member of the Manchester Critics group,am I supposed to be impressed?well Iam not ,which is why I dont value his opinion any more than the local dustman.http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 10:51 AM

Cap'n,
Your arguments get sillier by the minute.
I am not promoting myself as anything - you are.
I am not in the slightest bit interested in 'judging' anybody's performance - you are.
What qualifies you to be a judge rather than me, Countess Di, Greg, or anybody involved in the music?
You are proposing to appoint yourself as a judge over the singing of others, yet when your own singing is judged you describe it as being 'slagged off' - whence the difference?
I believe competitions are destructive and create bad feeling - as amply demonstrated by your own reaction.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 10:51 AM

Dick,

You're both music people. Not self-appointed critics, but music people. Be nice. I hope to meet you both at some point, and I would love to hear more of your work. Why don't you two just agree to disagree and let the other shit go? Easier that way. Better for you, too.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 12:48 PM

Peace,
Thanks for that - agree entirel.
Truth te tell, we're waiting for the decree absolute to come through.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Big Mick
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 01:53 PM

Yeah, Peace, I am with you. It kills me to see folks argue over this aul load of shite when there is so much that is important to argue about. Jim Carroll is a knowledgeable and respected muso. I don't know as much about Dick Miles, although he surely loves the music. I could do with a little less of his self promotion, but what the hey, the guy is supporting himself.

Competitions, we might agree, are a two edged sword. While I don't think they are inherently bad, as Jim does, I surely get tired of the stage parents I see at some of them that act as though their kids are contenstants in a beauty pageant. Yet when I see the piping competitions and I see the young Uilleann Pipers striving for excellence, I know that the future will honor the past, and continue to evolve in sophisticated, and beautiful, ways.

So how's about it, lads. Can we leave this, agree to disagree, and move on?

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 02:11 PM

Mick,If you dont know, ask, I have been active in the English folk revival over the last 35 years.,in fact more active than Jim Carroll.Iam a professional musician
Competitions are ok for adults,in fact why should adults be deprived of competitions if they wish to enter,just because some dont like them,no adult is forced to enter a competition.yes Iagree to disagree.and 100.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Peace
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 02:45 PM

Man, I love you guys--in a platonic one-guy-to-another kinda way.

I'd love to read what you both write about music in Ireland. I have never had the pleasure of visiting the British Isles or IRELAND. (And I apologize to you both, because I really didn't know you were in Ireland.)

I have heard Dick Miles work on the i'net, and I was wondering if there is a place to hear Jim. Truthfully, I have heard much about Jim Carroll (all good) and I want to hear the man himself. Despite me being a songwriter, I was and still am aware of the importance of traditional music in the lives of us all. It seems to mean something different in every country, and I can live with that. But I want to hear singers of the songs in a way with which they are comfortable presenting themselves.

If I insulted either of you two, I hereby apologize. If I haven't, save the apology until such time as I do. (That's a joke. I'm a colonial!) And thank you both very much for 'letting it go'.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 03:01 PM

Bruce,
No insult taken.
I don't sing any more I collect and research, but I really don't want to get into a pissing competition with Dick as to whose work is the most important - it really doesn't matter (and maybe we'd have to call in an adjudicator to decide!!!!)
Nuff sed that we all try to do our bit.
Dick and I have been arguing for yonks - put it down to our being stubborn old gits.
Nice to hear from you again Mick - are the dancers in your part of the world into the wigs yet; been trying to drive the thought of some of our singers competing in ringlets.
Best to you all,
Jim Carroll
PS Just one more argument and we'll quit - promise.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 03:55 PM

Jim,I agree with you about the wigs.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Big Mick
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 05:17 PM

I hate those damn things, but I bought one for my daughter. The damned adjudicators seem to think that that one is not properly attired without it. We have one school that uses a very plain uniform, and doesn't dress their dancers like little mannequins. Despite the fact that their instructor is an excellent dancer, choreographer, and teacher; despite the fact that their kids can step it out with the best of them, and technically are right on the mark, they lose points for not wearing certain things. Much of the dance scene here is about getting yourself noticed, so the thinking goes, so the kids all seek the edge in these useless accoutrements.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 03:52 AM

It is not a question of importance.,we work in different but related fields.
Jim Carroll is a collector,his work is outside the Folk Revival.
I am a musician/singer,my living comes from the Folk Revival.
Those people[adults or children]who wish to enter musical competetions should be catered for,those who dont should not be forced.
My experience is that a large majority of competitors,enter competitions willingly.
I believe Comhaltas and any other organisation that runs competitions,should state in their rules,that the wearing of wigs is forbidden,the emphasis should be on musical content,or in the case of dance,abilty to dance.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 06:31 AM

"Jim Carroll is a collector,his work is outside the Folk Revival."
Cap'n - if you are going to insist on taking my name in vain!!! please, please, please try and get your facts right.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 07:41 AM

Jim and Cap'n: now, never mind the EFDSS competitions. I have been examining a map and the Boat Band schedules, and the nearest I am going to get to you gentleman in the immediate future is Sixmilebridge Festival, Co Clare, in Jan 09.A bit nearer Jim than the Cap'n, but I guess you wouldn't mind a litle hike, Dick? Anyway, I will sponsor the Pan-European Arguing Competition, we will find a suitable pub in Sixmilebridge, I'll stand you each of couple of pints to get you going, and from then on the floor's your own. I will judge the winner, and supply the prize. Costumes etc will be entirely at the discretion of the entrants, so Jim is welcome to wear a ringletted wig if he reckons it will enhance his chances, and as Cap'n Birdseye so loves that kind of thing, maybe a little green dress with leprechauns, bodhrans and Celtic knots stitched on lovingly? As '09 is a bit of a trial run, entries will be limited to Jim and the Captain. If it goes well, I may broaden it out a bit in 2010, and perhaps invite Diane Easeby and Lizzie Cornish.Not sure about suitable trans-Atlantic entrants, Gargoyle doesn't seem to be around much these days. Big Mick's a bit nimby-pimby placatory. Perhaps CarolC or Spaw?
Anyway, Jim and Dick, how about it, gentlemen?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Banjiman
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 07:44 AM

I'd pay to see it!

As long as Dick promises to sing a few (chosen by Jim) to soothe frayed nerves afterwards.

Great idea.

Paul


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 07:59 AM

Jim, do you collect within the folk revival?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 09:14 AM

Cap'n
"Jim, do you collect within the folk revival?"
No we don't, but we were still involved right up to leaving the UK, visiting clubs and quite often taking the singers we were recording around to them for bookings.
Since then we have been involved over here, attending singing and music week-ends, both as singers and speakers - we are doing talks on Travellers at The Clare Festival of Traditional Singing and at Knockcroghery (Roscommon) later this year.
We've helped organise a number of music events here in Miltown and hope to be doing so in the near future.
Our main interest has always been, and continues to be the song revival - hence our Clare and Traveller CDs, and others we have contributed material to.
Look Cap'n
I honestly don't want these arguments with you - and I'm sure innocent bystanders enjoy them even less than I do. I find them embarrassing and totally unnecessary - but your bulldozer approach really doesn't help.
Greg and Paul,
What a great idea - as long as I get the dress and the ringlets.
Greg,
Don't know where I'll be in Jan, but would like to be at Sixmilbridge (always assuming I'm not floating face-down in a lough somewhere in Kerry!
Best to all,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: Banjiman
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 01:13 PM

Greg,

Which set of rules will you be judging this with?

The traditional ones or the contemporary ones?

As we know (well if you don't you should!) the traditional ones date back in an unbroken line to Ethelblood the Dirger, the arguist champion of King Arthur (though clearly they have been adopted and modified by the Arguist community since then).

The contemporary ones were invented by 4 bearded chaps (with tankards) from Loughborough University Arguist club back in the 1960's .... and though accepted by the populous as "Real Arguing" some authorities (admittedly who have scoured the terraces and pubs of England looking for true arguments)   reject these rules as just not argumentative enough.

Both of these arguments end up sounding the same but the true "trad arguer" would argue that you just know which set of rules contestants are arguing to....most of us couldn't give a monkeys though.....as long as the argument is a good one.





I wished they hadn't cancelled Pickering Festival then we would be playing there, instead I'm sitting in front of the computer writing sh*te!

Paul


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 01:29 PM

I will certainly not be allowing any "contemporary" or "relevant" arguing. Strictly 1954 definition arguing only; phrases and techniques that have stood the test of time will earn bonus points. If people want to write new arguments, they can sod off as far as I am concerned.
Kicking will be allowed, eye-gouging not. Any reference to (a) horses, or (b) Ewan McColl, will earn instant disqualification.
When I give the final adjudication, I shall say "And the winner is....," and then pause for a long long time so the camera can linger on the taut and worried faces of Jim and Dick. Then I will annmounce the winner, and he will expected to jump up and down and shout a lot. The loser will be required to burst into tears.
I think this has got a lot of potential as a spectator event, better than what they normally have at Sixmilebridge Festival; in previous years it has just been a load of old timers playing fiddles and mouth organs and singing and drinking black stuff and all that malarkey. There may actually have been a bit of freelance impromptu arguing going on in some of the pubs, but nothing properly organised ,as this is going to be.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and competitions
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 16 Aug 08 - 06:25 AM

Greg,

Chris here. Thanks for your message a while back. I haven't been ignoring you - my computer at home's been on the blink and I can't get on the mudcat at work. We're off to Ireland for 2 weeks - I'll give you a shout when we get back.

Cheers,

Chris


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