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Open mic acts that completely blow

The Fooles Troupe 29 Mar 11 - 06:20 AM
Don Firth 28 Mar 11 - 05:00 PM
frogprince 28 Mar 11 - 02:18 PM
Skivee 26 Mar 11 - 01:37 PM
reggie miles 26 Mar 11 - 05:26 AM
Skivee 25 Mar 11 - 09:21 PM
GUEST,steve 25 Mar 11 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Desi C 25 Mar 11 - 07:40 AM
Tim Leaning 25 Mar 11 - 07:14 AM
reggie miles 24 Mar 11 - 08:01 PM
Little Hawk 24 Mar 11 - 04:50 PM
Amergin 24 Mar 11 - 03:05 PM
Genie 24 Mar 11 - 03:31 AM
Genie 24 Mar 11 - 02:19 AM
Little Hawk 24 Mar 11 - 01:20 AM
Amergin 23 Mar 11 - 11:32 PM
GUEST,999 23 Mar 11 - 11:10 PM
The Fooles Troupe 23 Mar 11 - 07:56 PM
josepp 23 Mar 11 - 12:33 PM
Ron Davies 23 Mar 11 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 23 Mar 11 - 03:37 AM
Ebbie 23 Mar 11 - 01:24 AM
Little Hawk 23 Mar 11 - 01:17 AM
Ebbie 22 Mar 11 - 08:18 PM
Little Hawk 22 Mar 11 - 04:55 PM
SINSULL 22 Mar 11 - 04:53 PM
PoppaGator 22 Mar 11 - 04:43 PM
Smokey. 22 Mar 11 - 02:51 PM
Herga Kitty 22 Mar 11 - 02:49 PM
Ebbie 22 Mar 11 - 02:42 PM
goatfell 22 Mar 11 - 01:29 PM
Jeremiah McCaw 22 Mar 11 - 12:34 AM
reggie miles 21 Mar 11 - 11:23 PM
Leadfingers 21 Mar 11 - 10:01 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 21 Mar 11 - 09:26 PM
Dorothy Parshall 21 Mar 11 - 08:05 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 21 Mar 11 - 04:40 PM
reggie miles 21 Mar 11 - 04:23 PM
Little Hawk 21 Mar 11 - 04:15 PM
Don Firth 21 Mar 11 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 21 Mar 11 - 03:52 PM
Little Hawk 21 Mar 11 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 21 Mar 11 - 12:40 PM
josepp 21 Mar 11 - 12:30 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 21 Mar 11 - 10:23 AM
Bobert 21 Mar 11 - 08:46 AM
Roger the Skiffler 21 Mar 11 - 06:49 AM
Roger the Skiffler 21 Mar 11 - 06:40 AM
Nigel Parsons 21 Mar 11 - 04:52 AM
Little Hawk 21 Mar 11 - 03:26 AM
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Subject: RE: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 29 Mar 11 - 06:20 AM

Amen frogprince!


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Subject: RE: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Mar 11 - 05:00 PM

Amen, reggie!!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: frogprince
Date: 28 Mar 11 - 02:18 PM

I know this isn't a serious, constructive contribution to the debate, but I just came across it an hour or so in James Patterson's
"You've Been Warned":

"I turn to the stringy-haired guy plucking away on his guitar, every
other chord off-key. His ragged guitar case lies open at his feet,
and I glance at the torn black velvet lining sprinkled with spare
change. And I do mean spare. A quarter or two is the mother lode for
this troubadour.
   "I'm serious, lady," he barks. "Beat it! Get out of here!"
   Before I know it, I'm right up in his face too. "Listen, you
sorry-assed Kurt Corbain wannabe, did you ever think that maybe it's
your playing that's hurting business and not me?"


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Subject: RE: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Skivee
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 01:37 PM

Reggie, I congratulate you on making a much more measured and constructive post than my "I wanna kill 'em with a sharp stick" approach.
Perhaps your advice would work. I hope so. So how about it, josepp?
Are you up to the task, or do you know anybody who is?


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Subject: RE: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: reggie miles
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 05:26 AM

Are there those who are blind to their own shortcomings, musically and otherwise? Yes. Should we openly or publicly ridicule them for being that way? I think, that by doing so, you run the risk that the person being singled out may find out about what is being said and will be hurt by the negative comments. The resentment that might accompany that outcome could manifest itself in any number of unpleasant ways, not the least of which is his continuing to play, because he knows that it's getting under your skin and he wants to get even with you for your unkind treatment toward him and his musical efforts. You know, a tit for a tat.

If you think that the guy is knowingly singing poorly because he knows, that by doing so, he's going to reap your angst, well, that's a bit twisted. There has been more than one television show that was based on exactly that premise. There have been a number of hidden camera shows where the point was to captured the reaction of folks who are getting their buttons pushed by some actors or actress doing something irksome or weird. Smile! You're on Candid Camera!

It didn't sound like that was the case in the initial description of the fellow here. It sounded more like he was clueless and didn't know it. Then, to top it off, he took the same negative posture, as others were taking about his act, toward other player's performances. That would make him clueless and rude. His rudeness, toward other players, might be a learned attitude, a byproduct of him being exposed to others, in the same scene, treating fellow players the same way.   

Musical folks, being creative sorts, I can't help but believe that there certainly are more constructive and creative approaches to alleviate or lessen the situation to the benefit of all. Should we be polite and hope that our example of tolerance might be influential in those that we find are less than capable of coming to some understanding of their need for growth? That course certainly seems like a decent way to respond.

The path that many take toward musical growth is via emulation. They hear something that they like and it strikes a chord within. Many then come to the realization that it is their desire to echo that style of music in their musical efforts. So, they try, in any number of ways, to gain the skills and techniques needed to become proficient in that pursuit. Some pay for private music lessons. Others are exposed to music in their school programs. Some, like me, have learned, almost exclusively, without the aid of anyone to guide their steps.

There are advantages and disadvantages in every form of learning. The study of proper time honored techniques in the study of music can help a student to advance and master a great many styles of playing. The freedom in self taught directions can lead players into never before paths of enlightened artistry. However, without adequate guidance, either approach can hinder players and cause them to become mired in common pitfalls.

Music plays such a prominent role in so many different aspects of our various cultures, is it any wonder that so many wish to become involved with playing, writing, singing, arranging, composing, producing, recording and performing it? The internet has played a huge part in the proliferation of music of all kinds to a greater number of people on the planet than ever before in recorded history. This exposure, along with the availability of relatively inexpensive instruments and learning tools of all kinds, has caused an unprecedented number of people, of every skill level, to want to jump on the band wagon, so to speak and jump up on stage to share their musical expressions. In this stampede, for the glitter and glamour that the limelight of the stage offers, it's inevitable that not every act will be to everyone's liking and some will be a challenge to experience.

It sounds as though, this fellow could really use some helpful guidance. It doesn't sound as though anyone is willing to befriend him and offer him some friendly advice about how to improve his abilities. Turning him into an arch fiend or anything worse that what he is, isn't helping. So, why don't you, and all of the other musicians who know about him, draw straws to decide who is going to buy him a drink after his next set and talk to the guy. Get to know him and share some of that vast wealth of info, that you possess, about how make his performances work better.

If he takes the advice to heart and he may, if it's being offered in a friendly and helpful manner, he may come to realize his error(s) and learn how to improve. I think that most folks are willing to increase their ability to accomplish any particular enterprise. The one thing that holds them back from that goal is they simply don't have any idea about "how" to go about it.

For instance, I'd love to know how to find a great agent or agency that would help me to book shows all over the world but I simply don't know how to go about finding one. I don't actually know anyone that uses an agent or an agency. If I did, I could just ask them how they managed to locate one. Without specific knowledge about where to go, what kinds of questions to ask, who to talk to, I probably seem like a bumbling idiot to those who have already managed to find an agent.

Much like those on the one side of this discussion, there are those who know me and have heard me play, who might possess the information that I'd like to have but they will never share that with me. They might think me haughty, or that my eyes aren't green enough, or that I don't play enough like this or sing enough like that. Who can say for certain exactly why? There might be any number of reasons why they are unwilling to share what they know with me but the fact that they aren't willing to do so means that, in all likelihood, I may not be able to progress, to move on from where I am now.

I'm not saying that, if everyone I knew sent me a great agency recommendation, I'd necessarily find a good one. What might be good for one friend might not work for me at all. I might just choose to ignore every suggestion sent my way. Or maybe, I'd stumble across my own lead to that end, just as I've stumbled my way through every aspect of this pursuit. However, the chances are greater that I'll succeed if I have the support of those around me.

In this world, there are lots of barriers that keep us from progressing. The sharing of knowledge is an important key to breaking those barriers of understanding that hold us back. There is no end to what can be accomplished when we say yes to to the idea of sharing knowledge with one another.

Just think of how many would regard your efforts, at changing this one person's abilities for the better, as a huge and wonderful gesture on your part. You would be regarded as a hero among all those that had previously murmured their discontented groans about his abilities. You would win the praises of all who thought that it couldn't be done.

So josepp, you've just got to ask yourself one question. Are you up to the challenge?


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Subject: RE: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Skivee
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 09:21 PM

Man,oh man. I'm with the OP.
He's not talking about some poor young waif who's struggling to find his voice in the world; but some fellow who's proud of using the path less practiced.
This isn't a newcomer who should be nurtured like a flower, but a guy who takes a perverse pleasure in making the poor unfortunate listeners uncomfortable.
The clues are that he does the longest versions and sings the loudest.
He's proud of watching them twitch.
We all started out as beginners. We all benefited from the forbearance and assistance of fellow performers, club sponsors, and audience members.
(I once played most of a tune during a group jam with the capo one fret too high. I kept wondering what that awful sound was. This is one of many such experiences that inform my playing today.)

There are those who can't get better. We should applaud their effort to express the music inside them at the level they can produce.

This guy sounds like he knows and is playing a cruel joke.


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Subject: RE: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: GUEST,steve
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 03:54 PM

there has been an open mic/community running in philadelphia for more than 30 years. I ran it in the mid-late 80s. local performers called it home. it was a talent incubator. John Gorka, Susan Werner, sarah McQuaid, the late Jim Couza were regulars long before they started touring, among many other now nationally known performers. a fast folk record was made out of the scene about 1989.

I made it very clear that
"in my house", everyones' musical art was unique, personal, precious, fragile, deserving of respect, and not subject to ranking or judgement.

you do it my way, or you don't play

I never heard a "bad" performer.

Lou Gehrig's disease took away my music.

I've seen and heard it all..and my opinions about music and community are unchanged.

s.


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Subject: RE: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 07:40 AM

Wow Josepp he really got to you didn't he. As co host of an open Mic club wjho attends lots of other clubs, the one thing we have in common, is at least one person just like yer man. not bad singers so much as bad singers who think they're great. When one of our members, as happens, says to me "I can't stand listening to X any more" I always tell them I know how they feel, but I make a point of listening, just to remind me how good I am! Very bad though if he's going round criricising others, none so blind as them can't see eh

Desi C
The Circle Folk Club
Coseley West Midlands
Every Wed night
Mail me for details or to join our twice weekly newsletter
crc778@aol.com


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Subject: RE: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 07:14 AM

Enjoyed this thread...Glad the o p wasn't likely to be around here so it wasn't me that upset him.
A in the uk and the stories form the other side of the pond sounded so familiar to me too.
Cheers


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Subject: RE: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: reggie miles
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 08:01 PM

After running an errand on Tuesday, I knew that I would be in the neighborhood of a long standing open mic. So, I made certain to pack my Nobro and hand saw and I planned to make a stop at the cafe on my way back home. I arrived late and inquired, when I entered, whether I would be allowed to sign up or if I was too late. The fellow working the list said that there was room. So, I brought my things in from the car and waited my turn.

It had been years since I had played this event. The place wasn't crowded but there was a good show of performers. Most seemed to be middle-aged performers that had solid foundations in the musical approach that they offered, original and/or folkish acoustic songs. However, there were some younger players that also braved the stage.

I was last on the list. A lot of the players played their sets and then left. Only a handful stayed until the end.

Just before me, there was a young man on stage. He wasn't a real strong player. Nor was he a great song writer. Like so many young players, he was still in the process of discovering his voice and gaining confidence.

By the way that the MC introduced him, it was apparent that he had played there before, perhaps regularly. I could hear a lot of elements in his style that were characteristic of a musical approach that I've heard many other young players using. We all are influenced by the music we listen to and our individual styles of playing and singing then becomes infused with some of those traits.

I was seated way in back, as far from the stage as I could and trying to very quietly prepare, because I wanted to be ready when it was my turn. While in the middle of scraping my bow hairs clean, on the edge of my hand saw, one of the older players came over to where I was seated and said, "I've got another good use for that saw. Why don't you use it to saw that guy's guitar to pieces? He's up there trying to sing in a French accent and he's not even French." I explained that he was a young player, still trying to find his voice and style of approach.

I didn't counter this older player's comment. The young man wasn't trying to sing in French. That's not what was going on at all. His singing style was just influenced by another singer, that used a certain vocal affectation in the way he sang. It's very common to have our musical expressions influenced in this way.

The older fellow mumbled some apology about being jaded and wandered back to his seat. What was going on, in this brief exchange, is a perfect example of how a more experienced player has lost all memory of his own first footsteps along this musical path. Instead of giving his attention to what was happening on stage, it was easier to not listen closely to what the young player was offering and then characterize it as being something that it wasn't and deride the player.

The thing that bugs me about seeing this thread and reading the comments being posted is that many seem to be doing exactly the same thing as this older player that I met at the open mic on Tuesday. Many seem more than willing to scoff or jeer at those that don't meet their expectation of competency. Well folks, guess what, we were all young and inexperienced at one time in our lives and I'm not just referring to our musical endeavors, but no matter how bad we were, through practice, diligence and determination, most everyone got better, more skilled and more capable of functioning adequately if not excellently.

I should also bring up this point. There was at least one of those rather inexperienced American Idol or America's Got Talent guys that were belittled by the judges and the media on national television, who later went on to reap some rather huge free publicity and success via his less than stellar performance.

"At another venue, I walked up on several performers talking about him and I didn't even have to ask who they were talking about. I coud tell by their comments who it was and I was right."

josepp, just as you pointed out, the other performers were all talking about this guy and you didn't even have to ask who it was, because you knew. I'd say that the guy has managed to make quite a name for himself, via simple word of mouth advertising, among those who have heard him. That kind of word of mouth advertising is a huge part of gaining name recognition. Name recognition is a big, and some would argue, very necessary part of this business.

In the advertising business, there's a saying that goes like this. "Any advertising, even negative advertising, is good advertising." So, by sharing your negative views about him with others, you and those who are doing the same, are actually helping him gain attention for efforts. Yes, negative advertising works just as well as positive advertising to draw attention, as you have admitted in your comment above.

I can recall the first time that I played my musical saw in public. It was around Christmas and I had tried my best to learn some slow paced Christmas songs to offer passersby down at our local outdoor Market. Being a novice player, something that I didn't consider was that the cold weather would make my saw blade less cooperative.

I can remember making lots of mistakes and nervously laughing a big guffaw after each rather monumental blunder. Those listening started laughing along with me and the entire experience turned into one giant laugh fest for everyone involved. After more than twenty years, I can honestly say that I still make some bad moves as I bow my saw blade. However, today folks tout my efforts as the best they've ever heard, by anyone, anywhere.

My point is, that if, along the way, I would have succumbed to the negative reactions that a few folks have offered my explorations in this pursuit, and allowed their negative attitudes and comments to turn me from that path, I would not have gained the ability that I presently have. What's kind of sad is, after all these years, there are still some, though few in number, who feel that offering negative comments about my playing is going to alter my commitment to this pursuit. That just ain't gonna happen.

The above can also be said of any of the other instruments that I've enjoyed playing. No, you can't please everybody. Like my experience in this thread, I've found that there's little that can done to dissuade those that love to stew in their negative juices. So, I don't often try to do so. Instead, I stay focused on my path.


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Subject: RE: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 04:50 PM

Absolutely, Amergin! And that's what makes them so great. They are songs about all of us.

I think what people are objecting to here is those dreary "songs about me" that have sprung from an immature personality who doesn't write very good songs anyway, and who has never given a moment's thought to what life is like for anyone else, but is simply obsessed with his or her own importance. ;-) I've heard a few of those songs, and I bet you have too.


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Subject: RE: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Amergin
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 03:05 PM

Maybe so, LH, but those "songs about me" are really "songs about us" as something in them tend to resonate with the audience, like a shared experience, instead of just standing there, admiring one's own navel.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Genie
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 03:31 AM

[[" "God, I hate it when someone explains what a song means."]]

Hmmm.   I recently heard Si Kahn in concert, and, while Si has a nice voice and writes some very memorable songs, I have to say that, for me, what made this concert a standout was Si's 'banter' about the songs between bursts of playing guitar and singing.   Totally engaging, informative, and often humorous.   The concert would not have been half as good without that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Genie
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 02:19 AM

OK, Josepp, I really will take the time to read all the replies to your original post, but, for now, let me just say the following:
1. Oy! I can really relate!
and
2. LMAO!   (I think - because "performers" like this either make you laugh or cry, and I prefer the latter.

Genie


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 01:20 AM

True, but many of the best songs ever have been songs about "me" (meaning about the person who is singing the song)

Consider, for example, any number of great songs by Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bob Dylan, Jackson Brown, Joni Mitchell, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and any number of such notables. They do sometimes sing brilliant songs...about them!

What separates that stuff, I suspect, from the songs people are poking fun at and complaining about here is...

1. They're way better quality songs.

2. And those people I mentioned above also have written any number of fine songs about stuff other than themselves, so they can't be called just one trick ponies... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Amergin
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 11:32 PM

I've seen this on more than one occasion: The Song About Me


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: GUEST,999
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 11:10 PM

I have done similar things. Started a song by missing a slide up to fret five and seven, then compounded it by nailing a slide up to C#m (I was in an open tuning). I stopped and said, "I've heard people try to play it like that, but I've decided this sounds better." I hit the slides this time. Audience laughed or smiled.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 07:56 PM

"so this guy just stopped playing and somewhat apologetically said to the audience, "Sorry, but we tune because we care""

Once started playing the accordion at my turn - you might notice that the left hand has all these different rows (al the other (wrong) keys)... well it's not hard, especially if a bit nervous at the first appearance at a new place to grab the wrong row!...

I thought it sounded a bit 'off', so stopped and said "well, I stuffed that up didn't I? I'll just start again and push the right buttons this time!"

The looks on people's faces was priceless. Some nearly even fell off their chairs!

And if you haven't heard me in full flight on a good night, don't display the true nature of your soul by making negative comments!

:-P


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: josepp
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 12:33 PM

///Hell, maybe some people find this guy entertaining.///

I don't and none of the other performers do. At another venue, I walked up on several performers talking about him and I didn't even have to ask who they were talking about. I coud tell by their comments who it was and I was right. That's how bad this guy is. My words are obviously NOT conveying how utterly stenchful this guy's performances are. Unbearable. Unbearable.

////The first couple of weeks of American Idoi, for instance, are in fact great fun--full of clueless coddled people who must have been told forever they are God's gift to music--and therefore who each think they can't help but win--but in fact can't even stay on pitch. it's even better when they argue with the judges, along the lines of:   "Who are you to keep my talent from the world?"////

This isn't American Idol so we don't get to oslag the guy to his face. We're forced by good manners to give him a polite applause--although I stopped a long time ago. When the guy starts singing and you see someone in the crowd plug their ears because he's as LOUD as he is OUT OF TUNE--that tells you something. This is not run-of-the-mill bad. Two songs from this guy feel like an eternity. You just want it to be over.

////And he obviously gives the rest of you a chance to feel superior to him--which, human nature being the way it is, you probably do.////

I don't have that much of a need to feel superior to anybody. I'd gladly trade my feelings of superiority to this guy to him not showing up at all. That's a no-brainer.

///My only question would be:   does he have his songs memorized? I don't think you addressed that.   If so, good for him.   Just roll your eyes and wait.///

You mean go outside and wait. Even in winter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Ron Davies
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 07:32 AM

Hell, maybe some people find this guy entertaining. The first couple of weeks of American Idoi, for instance, are in fact great fun--full of clueless coddled people who must have been told forever they are God's gift to music--and therefore who each think they can't help but win--but in fact can't even stay on pitch. it's even better when they argue with the judges, along the lines of:   "Who are you to keep my talent from the world?"



And he obviously gives the rest of you a chance to feel superior to him--which, human nature being the way it is, you probably do.

My only question would be:   does he have his songs memorized? I don't think you addressed that.   If so, good for him.   Just roll your eyes and wait.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 03:37 AM

Well then, if all the 'voices' in your head are confusing you, perhaps you should take your own advice!!

What I meant by part of the quote you posted, was, it has been said that black performers, as opposed to white performers, are more into getting the audiences involved in the performance, and they are one...where white performers are often more into , "Hey, look at me, I'm a star"....a trip to a black church should indicate this pretty well. Now, before everyone gets the knickers in a twist, about racism, it has nothing to do with race, so much, as the way of what is traditional. That being said, these days everybody is imitating everything, that tries to look 'hip', but, in traditional black churches, where 'gospel music' and certain blues, have their roots, the person up front, tries to get more audience participation, and the place gets 'rockin'..and everyone is expected to really 'get into it'. White entertainment, traditionally has everyone just glued to watching the guy up front.
If you know what I mean, then you know..if not, perhaps a little travel, would expose you to expand your influences, and knowledge.
That is what I meant by, "We are One"...not only with God, but each other, as well...as in, All getting involved into the same spirit of what's going on!

I think that said it....

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Ebbie
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 01:24 AM

Nope. I don't think so. A good deal of dialogue takes place in my head alone. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 01:17 AM

Well, then I must've been the one who missed the mark, I guess. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Ebbie
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 08:18 PM

Boy, LH, did I miss the mark. You totally misunderstood what I was saying.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 04:55 PM

Do you feel that there is any sacred factor in life, Ebbie? I mean, any unseen inner quality in people's lives that is sacred?

If so, doing your craft well serves it by serving yourself, your craft, and others.

Why should it bother you that someone else refers to that factor as "God"? That's just their way of labelling it, and that springs out of a long cultural tradition that considerably predates Christianity itself, not to mention the Jewish and Muslim faiths. It's not an indication of insanity or mental problems, it's simply a certain cultural way of expressing the idea of perfection. And we ALL strive for perfection in our own particular fashion, do we not?

To do that is to strive for what is sacred.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: SINSULL
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 04:53 PM

Reread my post and have to add: I am never put off by a sincere performance. I am put off by intense naval gazing of the most personal variety and rudeness. The two acts I described exemplified each.
An off key song sung with love is fine even on a stage. An open mic is an opportunity for the less talented and famous among us to have our chance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: PoppaGator
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 04:43 PM

(Slight) thread drift:

My two sons run a comedy open mike each week. They routinely promote the event as a chance to see and hear "some of the best comedic talent in the city, even in the state, and some of the very worst in the world." Audiences seem to understand that not every performer will be spellbinding.

I know, I know: I'm comparing apples to oranges; comedy is not music, nor vice-versa. To put oneself forward as a musican/vocalist requires some training and specialized talent, or at least pretense of same. Anyone with enough nerve can stand at a microphone and talk. The worst of the open-mike comics just rant at the crowd and spill their guts, almost as thought they were talking to a therapist.

Some of the most interesting cases are those just a bit off-kilter mentally, who cheerfully allow the crowd to laugh at them if not with them. One young fellow fitting this description keeps coming back again and again, obviously enjoying himself as the regulars in the crowd have gotten over their initial discomfort ("Should I be laughing at this guy, or feeling sorry for him?").

Part of the open-mike experience is reacting to less-skilled performers. Yes, the recommended response is to be encouraging, hope the new kids start developing greater skills, etc. But there's also something to be said about getting some enjoyment, however perverse, from those who are "so bad that they're good."


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Smokey.
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 02:51 PM

I do all my practising with an 's', but I don't know whether it's any more effective.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 02:49 PM

Saw this thread and wondered why it was below the line. Have now read it all and still wonder (as did previous posters) why it's below the line...?

Kitty


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Ebbie
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 02:42 PM

The first part of this final Commandment is valid, I think (21 Mar 11 - 02:48 AM), but I sincerely hope the rest of the paragraph is not part of the published 10:

"Thou shall PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, so when you perform, you can listen and speak to God, with your heart, and not be 'SELF-conscious', but GOD conscious'. Those who commit the sin of SELF consciousness, shall make mistakes."

Editorial comment: 'shall' in this connection is an exhortation. 'Will' would be the recognition of a fact.'

But this part? Whoa.

"Your PRACTICE will set you're abilities free! Let you mind and heart be upon God, and let Him play through you. (See 1,2,and 3.) Play to God, thanking Him for HIS gift to you. The audience is only your witness, and they'll think its to them, and then you bring them with you....and remember, WE ARE ONE"

As they say, this person should not be on medication when he/she writes; if this writer is not on medications s/he should be.

Heree's winkin' at ya.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: goatfell
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 01:29 PM

if you talk then you can sing, now it might not suit everyone but at lest has a a try, some of the proffionals that come to my folk club are I call dull, but everyone to their own. I cnan sing a wee bit but I'm not as good as some people but at lest like this guy I give it a try.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Jeremiah McCaw
Date: 22 Mar 11 - 12:34 AM

... the guy who played mostly instrumental stuff on a 12-string - played quite well - hard to tell as the guitar was badly, BADLY out of tune. Started his 2nd number with the intro "I know I'm out of tune, but I can't be bothered retuning it right now." Even though I was practically in the front row, I stood up and buzzed off downstairs for a pint. You can't be bothered to tune for us, pal, we can't be bothered to listen to you. Regret to this day I didn't say that out loud!

... an 'open stage' hosted by a performing duo who did extended feature sets (nearly an hour each time) with the open stagers filling in when they felt the need for a break. And the loudest chattering in the place while the other performers were up? Yep, the duo and their friends. Haven't and ain't goin' back.

... woman who continually disrupts sessions while others are performing with chatter and fluttery movement and then actually has the nerve to stop in the middle of her own performance and lecture the audience about be courteous and attentive while she performs! (Quite seriously think she should be on some meds.)

I could go on at length, but then there's the others - people who get up looking like they couldn't possibly have anything to offer, unlikely-looking performers who proceed to tear your heart out with a song you've never encountered before, or just plain get the place rockin'.

Bad with the good, I suppose; just wish the proportion was a bit different sometimes.   :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: reggie miles
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 11:23 PM

How constructive and friendly! While we're bashing singers and players we don't care for, let's also throw a few jabs at those that don't choose to write in "text bites" on public forums.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 10:01 PM

A Poor Performer CAN inspire another guy to 'Have a Go' , and the next thing COULD be Major ! but I agree its a pain if someone CONSISTENTLY is Crap ! We can ALL have bad nights - Fumble the Chords , lose a line of lyric - but be better next week .
After all , its all 'music' so lets have a bit of give and take , and perhaps take the guy who IS Crap every time on one side and try to suggest improvements to his act


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 09:26 PM

If it is an original song, try to keep the intro brief, the song should say what it's about. But what is really a bummer, is endless diatribes about how 'special' the song is, and how 'special' you are, because you wrote it. Let the song, if its 'special' speak to the minds and hearts of people. If the song gets a long intro about every nuance that you went through writing it, all the way back to when you were in the womb, and the song sucks, you look like a pretty big dork!...and need to spend MORE time doing homework! A short word or two, is all that is necessary. IF the song goes over well, and I mean REALLY well, a word or two AFTER the song may interest the people, more than a long 'pre-song' intro.

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 08:05 PM

In Quaker Meetings for worship, messages are meant to be fairly brief and mostly spiritual. My favourite quote from a pamphlet on vocal ministry is "We need to remember that vocal ministry is always of value, if only to the person who gave it.

The same is probably true of the open mike, and hence, I can endure or simply phase out - just as I do when people write posts that are too long.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 04:40 PM

I mostly sing at fund-raising events with an open mike format, and they are plentiful here with several going on each weekend. I have little interest in commercial venues, and I sing to an older audience who,like myself, loves the older country and folk. Over the years I have seen many performers who suck develop into wonderful entertainers as they gain confidence. Encouragement is vital for first timers and please look back to the day that your knees would knock standing before a group of people. If you give some polite applause and encouragement you may be amazed at what may develop before your eyes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: reggie miles
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 04:23 PM

Thanks Little Hawk, the verbal parts in between the songs, intros, in betweentros and outros, seem as important as the song parts to me as well. They require as much, if not more, practice. It helps to have an audience that is willing to be patient toward those that are in the process of leaning how to offer those 'other' parts, just as it's important to have places where folks can come to learn how to offer their music.

Many open mics are open to all kinds of expression. They don't limit what can and cannot be offered. So, you might hear anything from stand up comedy to poetry or anything in between. The two ideas, words with music and words without music, need not be separate and I find those that can combine both in a performance are usually very entertaining.

I've always been surprised by how many venues are merely looking for that juke box mentality from their performers. While that is their right, to ask that of those who play at their venue, I don't feel that there is anything inherently wrong with combining storytelling with music. At their heart, songs are just stories with music.

I've also been surprised at how some performers are all about the music and have no interest, whatsoever, in anything that doesn't have music included. Everyone has their specific focus and I wouldn't demand that it be any other way. I'm just surprised by the lack of patience that some, who play music, would offer those that choose to also play with only words.

My performances started including both songs and stories long ago, once I obtained my artistic license. ;o) Since then, I've had some folks that seemed incapable of fully grasping the non-musical part of my presentations. All they wanted to hear was the musical parts and nothing else.

I've wondered why that was the case. This area, being so dominant with coffeehouses, made me surmise that perhaps the impatient types were strung out on too much of that bean juice. There's an awful lot of caffeine junkies in this neck o' the woods.

Of course, the changing compositions of modern advertising may also play a role in how folks react. Sound bites and video clips are the rule in most mass market advertising these days. If an image is displayed for more than 5 seconds on a television screen, most viewers become bored and lose interest. That's why most commercials alter or change the images they show every three to five seconds.

Most stand up comedy has been based on one liners. Most songs, featured on air, cover only about three minutes. We have become programmed by these limitations and the way that the industry has formulated time constraints on what we hear and see. In the same way, we've also been programmed in our response to those that would choose to offer something different.

Many folks long for sameness and tend to shy away from anything that represents something different or unconventional. They have favorite things, favorite hats, shoes, jeans, foods, drinks, favorite sport teams, books they read, places they go, things they do, TV shows and favorite music too. While there's nothing wrong in that, it's puts limits on what those folks may become willing to experience. These favorite things can become cultural traditions that can identify a region's history and a population's national origins. Hey, if it wasn't for this tendency, we'd have no fans. So, this isn't a bad thing. It's just how it is.

Maybe that's why ol' Abe said what he did about not being able to please everybody. The way I see it is like this. We all have three responses to that which we aren't interested in experiencing. We can adapt, migrate or die.

Now, that last option is not a popular one, among a great many folks, when it comes to having to put up with an open mic act that doesn't fit into their range of acceptability. So, that leaves just the first two options, to either adapt or migrate. The author of this thread has said that he has tried to migrate to other open mics. It has also been suggested that he take a break during that particular performer's stage set and get some fresh air. Both seem like reasonable actions. Imbibing in some refreshment with a higher percentage of alcohol might be a way to adapt.

I have one more suggestion. Have you tried offering some constructive criticism of the performer's vocals? Be friendly and nice about it. Be tactful. If this truly bothers you, why not try to do what you can to help this fellow singer/player to improve by offering hints or tips that you might have used in developing your own abilities. Mention that you hear that he may be having some difficulty in vocally reaching certain notes and ask if he's considered playing that particular song in a different key, a key that might be better suited to his range.

We are not all created equal. We are each born within a specific gene pool. That means, some may be gifted while others are not, but even those that struggle in their efforts may learn to become better through the sharing of knowledge.

Every voice has it's own range. Not all songs can be offered in the same key by every voice. Different melodies may need to be offered in different keys, depending upon the capability of the voice offering them. I think that's part of the reason why someone invented the capo for guitarists.

Trying to sing a song in a key that your particular voice cannot hope to offer it will lead you to reach for notes that your voice is incapable of producing. For any given vocal range and melody structure there is a best key, or the key that a particular voice will be best able to offer the melody structure of a specific song. That's not to say that every song can be offered by any voice by simply finding that best key. Again, we are not all created equal. Nor do we all have the luxury of being offered the same training or education.

I can imagine what kind of courage it would take to approach this person and try to befriend them, in order to then kindly offer your help, pointing out ways and means that they could explore to help to improve their performances. It certainly would take a lot more energy than it does to anonymously bash him on a public forum. There are two roads to take in life. One is easy and the other is tough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 04:15 PM

Quite so, Don. ;-) I have occasionally seen some folk performer deliver a spoken intro that was way too long, and I think they did it mainly because they can't get over how glorious it is to listen to the sound of their own brilliance....

I once met some large, fat, bearded guy (typical UK folkie?) at a folk festival, and made the mistake of mentioning that I really like Buffy Sainte-Marie and her songs. He launched into a very lengthy complaint about how long some song of hers is (I believe he was referring to "My Country 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying"), what a tedious bore it is, and how nobody wants to listen to someone droning on endlessly about something one has no interest in anyway...bla, bla, bla!

Apparently he could not relate at all to the history of North American Indians nor anyone's interest in it. He was from the UK.

Okay, fine, so he couldn't relate to it. But here's the thing...

When this same fellow took the stage, he proceeded with an almost interminable intro to some trad song from the 1600s that he was about to perform. He talked for at least 10 minutes about it, and was obviously besotted with his exquisitely detailed knowledge of the subject at hand, not to mention his incisive wit, his charm, and his mastery of the entire situation....

He finally played the damn song, and it turned out to have about 35 or 40 verses...

I'll never know how it ended, because I got up halfway through and went out to get a hot chocolate. ;-D


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 04:01 PM

Right on, Little Hawk!

Many songs are self-explanatory. But others in the realm of traditional song can benefit from a few brief and to-the-point comments.

I think the late Richard Dyer-Bennet had a good balance in his live performances. He would often introduce a song with a short comment or two, putting it in its proper context, often historical, and from time to time including a brief anecdote, generally no longer that the note on a song on the back of one of his record jackets. He was a very judicious and entertaining performer, and his remarks always enhanced his audiences' understanding and enjoyment.

It also depends a great deal on the audience. To general audiences, I do brief program notes as Dyer-Bennet did. But to, say, a coffeehouse audience comprised mostly of people whom I see frequently, or whom I know are already familiar with the songs, I usually reduce comments—if any—to a minimum.

One should never fall into the pattern where someone can say of you, "I knew he was a folk singer because he spent fifteen minutes introducing a three minute song!"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 03:52 PM

a bit of intro etc helps the flow but sometimes its longer than the song, and thats thoughtless of others waiting to perform.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 12:49 PM

"God, I hate it when someone explains what a song means."

Why?

Do you have no interest at all in what other people think about anything? Or is it that you came with the very SPECIFIC purpose in mind of ONLY listening to music, and you can't stand anything else delaying that process?

I'm asking quite seriously. Some people are very good entertainers, in the sense that they have an engaging personality, they're witty, charming, and enjoyable to listen to (when they talk, I mean). In a case like that, I thoroughly enjoy the chitchat they do between songs, because I'm not sitting and watching a jukebox, I'm watching another human being.

If I wanted to hear NOTHING but the music, I'd put on a CD or I'd put coins in the jukebox. Get it?

If I'm watching another human being, then I'm interested in them as well as in the music they produce, therefore I will probably enjoy hearing them talk between songs as long as they are capable of doing so in an entertaining and interesting manner. It's part of the act. If, on the other hand, they are incapable of introducing a song or talking in an entertaining or interesting manner...then, yes, the time drags a bit while they're introducing the next song...but chances are that the next song may drag a bit too in that case. It depends on the performer.

You're wise not to ask people if they liked your performance, cos if they did...they'll tell you so.

Back to the songs again. Do you care what any song means? Or is it just the general overall sound of it that you're concerned about? I think I'm virtually incapable of not focusing on what a song means, because I pay great attention to the words, and I think about them. Some songs need to be heard more than once to figure out just what it is that they mean.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 12:40 PM

Thanks Bobert. I'm glad to bring back something that you shared about that!!..It sure beats trying to play the song, bugged, as shit, that it doesn't sound right, because its out of tune...Jeez, that's irritating!!!!

Regards, to you, and the Misses.

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: josepp
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 12:30 PM

My own rules are:

-I never talk during others' performances except when someone starts talking to me and I have to reply but I never initiate a conversation. I sit quietly and listen.

-My intros are usually limited to a sentence and often just a couple of words. It's not unusual at all to hear me start a song with no introduction whatsoever. God, I hate it when someone explains what a song means. I don't care--just play!!

-I NEVER ask anyone if they liked it--they might just answer. If they liked it, they'll tell me after my set. All I care about really is that when I leave the stage I'm feeling satisfied rather than thinking, "Goddammit, I fucked up all three songs! I'm hopeless!" I've done that enough times.

That's about it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 10:23 AM

I helped run an open mic for a few years. On some nights, there'd be more people wanting to play than there were slots for. On others, hardly anyone would show up, in which case we's usually let whoever was willing play for as long as they wanted. It was these slow nights that really seemed to attract the totally talentless. It was like we'd hung out a sign that said "Nobody worth a shit playing tonight! If you can't sing, can't play, and don't know how to tune an instrument, tonight's YOUR night!" Putting up with some three-chord goober with the voice of a bandsaw for fifteen minutes is one thing, but having to endure him for forty-five minutes is excruciating. And when you're playing soundman, you can't escape. You can gain a bit of relief by wearing a pair of headphones and unplugging them from the board so they act as mufflers, but they need to be really heavy-duty ones to do much good.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Bobert
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 08:46 AM

One of GfinS's Ten Commandments reminds me of something I learned about 40 years ago playing at an Open Mic in Richmond and something that I have used over the years with so level of success...

We've all at one time or another found ourselves in the middle of and intro or first verse to only to discover, to our utter horror, that one string is flat or sharp and having to make the decision whether or not the song can be done well by playing around it, quickly surmising that the answer is "no" and...

...so this guy just stopped playing and somewhat apologetically said to the audience, "Sorry, but we tune because we care" before dealing with the tuning problem ... It seemed like such an honest, yet professional, way to deal with the problem and...

...I have had to resort to using that trick a few times over the years and it is comforting knowing that there are these tericks fort getting outta pickles...

Just thought this thread might be a good one to pass that trick along...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 06:49 AM

....Bert, usually they talk through everyone else's act as well!

RtS


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 06:40 AM

To be serious for a change, and from limited experience, I have been impressed with the standard of singing and playing of the young people (and some not so young) at our local acoustic Open Mic (every Tuesday 8.30 main bar Jagz, Ascot, UK). I'll draw a veil over some of the "here's one one mine" songwriting quality, but performance-wise they all seem very good & one can see people growing in confidence. Jagz policy is to encourage young talent to develop performing confidence. That's why I don't perform, just listen- I am no longer young, have bags of confidence but no talent. Mind you, when hardly anyone turns up to perform there is always the danger that the Kazoo of Doom, the Voice that Talent Forgot, or even, G*d forbid, the Washboard of Mass Destruction, might be tempted to grab a mike!
Tomorrow Kelly (daughter of Bill)Boazman will headline on keyboard and vocals, hopefully other acts will turn up.

RtS


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 04:52 AM

If it's "two songs" they'll pick the longest two songs they can find
For the final night of the BBC club in Cardiff there was such a turn-out that the limit was one song each.
The singer who said he would do "One thousand bottles of beer on a wall" was joking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Open mic acts that completely blow
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 03:26 AM

Yes!


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