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Steamfolk

Bonzo3legs 16 Sep 11 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 14 Sep 11 - 04:35 AM
mikesamwild 13 Sep 11 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 07 Sep 11 - 03:51 PM
mikesamwild 07 Sep 11 - 08:11 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 05 Sep 11 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Jul 11 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,guest Jim Younger 18 Jul 11 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Jul 11 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Jul 11 - 05:11 AM
Ian Fyvie 17 Jul 11 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jul 11 - 11:14 AM
Spleen Cringe 11 Jul 11 - 10:52 AM
theleveller 11 Jul 11 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jul 11 - 09:53 AM
Tootler 11 Jul 11 - 09:08 AM
theleveller 11 Jul 11 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Jul 11 - 08:33 AM
Edthefolkie 11 Jul 11 - 08:14 AM
Ian Fyvie 10 Jul 11 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jul 11 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jul 11 - 04:19 PM
Edthefolkie 10 Jul 11 - 02:17 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Jul 11 - 06:04 AM
Tootler 09 Jul 11 - 05:37 PM
Charley Noble 09 Jul 11 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Jul 11 - 04:05 AM
Charley Noble 08 Jul 11 - 08:53 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 Jul 11 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 Jul 11 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 Jul 11 - 10:01 AM
AlexB 08 Jul 11 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 Jul 11 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 Jul 11 - 09:10 AM
Spleen Cringe 08 Jul 11 - 08:44 AM
SteveMansfield 08 Jul 11 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 Jul 11 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 07 Jul 11 - 07:12 PM
Spleen Cringe 07 Jul 11 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 07 Jul 11 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 07 Jul 11 - 04:55 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 07 Jul 11 - 02:29 PM
SteveMansfield 07 Jul 11 - 02:22 PM
Tootler 07 Jul 11 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 07 Jul 11 - 10:51 AM
Dave Hanson 07 Jul 11 - 10:34 AM
Brian Peters 07 Jul 11 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 07 Jul 11 - 09:45 AM
VirginiaTam 07 Jul 11 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 07 Jul 11 - 08:48 AM
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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 09:27 AM

Talking of steam, I passed by Coulsdon South station yesterday morning at about the same time that "Tornado" went through pulling The Cathedrals Express, wish that I had looked at the steam tours website this week - would have been a good test of my new Raynox teleconverter lens. It was dark for the return journey unfortunately.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 14 Sep 11 - 04:35 AM

I think 'traditional folk' is best expressed in a recent post from Jim Causely on Facebook where he speaks of a tendancy for folkies to refer to non-folkies as 'Muggles'. I suggested that in such a context hard-line Traddy Purists might be considered Death Eaters, with the much feared 'folk police' (not the label!) as Dementors. We see (very occasional) instances of that here on Mudcat with persons being readily (and religiously) equipped to denounce this-or-that music as Not Being Folk because they have elected to abide by a very orthodox reading of something as archaic (and irrelevant*) as the 1954 Definition. The psychology of salvation is a strange one - but hardly a matter of social or economic constraint; on the contrary, the only limits on the mobility of the Folk Class are the creaking limbs of Generation One.

* Irrelevant? For sure most Folkies I know have never even heard of it and refuse to be drawn on the issue of 'What Is Folk?'. They just get on and do it. From hard-line Traddies to experimental Neofolkers - they follow their instincts with respect of their particular calling, as we all must... Like me the other day when I found a very fine first edition paperback copy of The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs in an antiquarian bookshop in Southport for £6. My heart leaped with pure joy; the same joy with which I persue my folkish passions...

When we did our Kipling:Bellamy show at Fylde this year for the poster I used the stap line: The Folk Songs of Rudyard Kipling and Peter Bellamy: from Oak, Ash & Thorn to the Road to Mandalay. One person quizzed me on how such songs could be considered Folk Songs; needless to say I gave them a full and unabridged answer thus outing Rudyard Kipling as the Godfather of Steamfolk, and Bellamy's settings as icons of the revival now every bit as Traditional (with respect of both faith & process) as anything else co-opted by both cause and community.

http://soundcloud.com/earthboundkiplingbellamy


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: mikesamwild
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 11:09 AM

So is traditional 'folk' muisci strongest where people are constrained by various forces and limited in mobility or opportunity. Traveller culture is pretty strong it appears.
We can pick and choose and live in our own little worlds and live in our own little enclaves in upstairs rooms in pubs.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 03:51 PM

We are free to dream; we have the Means, Motive and Opportunity...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: mikesamwild
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 08:11 AM

I think a musician or singer with an open mind will pillage all sorts of sources to express themselves. Fusions have alwys moved the music onwards and sometimes new genres have emerged.

I choose mainly 'folk' idioms and work within them.. It is not a constrictive form and gives a disciplibe within which to learn how to sing and play but once adopted you have the freedom to move in your own way. I recon most artists go through a period of imitation and assimilation and , if lucky, learn from experienced musicians and others in their community to express the aspirations of that community.

All song and music expresses a world of imagination and we all dwell within an imagined mental world. It's when it becomes forced on people as a norm that it can become a vehicle for social control.

You are as free to become a Steamfolky as much as a Goth a Jazzer or a Rocker and your lifestyle may reflect that strongly and the genre will be as phony as Fakemusic but probably as valid..


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Sep 11 - 02:10 PM

With reference to the other thread (ominously closed without explanation; what a crock of shit Mudcat can be at times!) all of the Stirrings article can be found in my above posts. The complete selection of collected musings & responses on Steamfolk will be hosted by Evening of Light at a future date. I'll post here when that happens in case anyone wishes to have a look - unless this thread is closed too of course. Meanwhile for an interview with the author on Evening of Light from 2008 see:

Interview: Sean Breadin (Sedayne)


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 08:46 AM

Still haven't got into Harker's Fakesong yet, but from what I've read so far the most provocative thing about it is the title. I would say the whole notion of Folk is Fake by default - from the aloof academic gloss, the imperfect science, the taxonomy, the taxidermy, the deference, the reverance, the pure blood-lines - all of which are a million miles away from whatever their natural habitats might have been. What remains, however is an astonishing canon of songs and latter day saintly singers of same that have created something very wonderful as a result. I choose to see this as Steamfolk because it remains a fantasy construct arising from the ghosts of an earlier romance, itself operating at a significant remove from the source of the thing. Not sure how any of that relates to Harker's thesis at all, but then again I'm an artist, and not an academic.

As I said on another thread, the only way Folksong Study can ever become a science is when the technology exists to send a team of crack invisible musicologist back in time to record every single utterance of of every single song and every single singer and subject the results to intense metaanalysis so we might understand just how these things existed in the wild and with respect of their wider cultural context. As it is, the very best we can do is taxonomise the taxidermy of long extinct species and speculate on why one version of any given song type is different for another.

Like Race, there is only one sort of Music; like Race, that Music exists in a myriad of near infinite possibilities. To call some of these musics Folk is an afterthought from on high born of a theory, or a theology, all of which is natural enough in the way human impulse to contain and theorise and believe in stuff real or imagined. I keep coming back to the remit of The International Society for Traditional Music which includes popular, classical and folk forms. There are many musics called Classical - from Ragas to Piobaireachds - and Popular Music lives and thrives on its traditional idioms from R&B to - er R&B. Folk, in this context, becomes the more purposeful visions of those individuals moved to seek amongst their cultural roots, be it of the Old Songs or the vestiges of an older music altogether in drones, modes and monophonies, or else the pure aesthetic of the arcane and archaic which then becomes the creative springboard to something else altogether. Bellamy did this with Kipling Songs; The Unthanks do it with songs Old & New; Brian Peters does it with the Child Ballads. People do it as a matter of course. As individuals though, and always without concensus...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,guest Jim Younger
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 07:55 AM

Coming rather late to this entertaining and provocative thread I note references to Harker's Fakesong. Brian Peters wrote on 5 July: "Just because one academic with an agenda a mile wide chose to call his book Fakesong doesn't actually make it all a fake." You can say that again! One memory of that book that I cherish is Harker's seeming delight in Alfred Williams's sad latter days:if only Mr Williams had been a member of the Socialist Workers' party ... (Ironic smiley face, winking.)


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 05:31 AM

PS - Interesting therefore that Fiddler's Dram later went on to become the Oyster Band who would folk process New Order's Love Vigilantes - which I once heard sung by a floorsinger who'd never heard the original. Here they are doing it live in '85:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vPt8LnkQ3g


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 05:11 AM

Steamfolk is predicated on the notion that Folk is essentially a bourgeois / middle-class fantasy based on various selected high-lights of working-class culture that have been dismanted and reconstructed / reinvented elsewhere for ease of consumption, though seldom by the lumpen proletariat themselves for whom the whole Trad/Folk thing tends to be pretty much anathema. I love it myself, but then again I love libraries, galleries, museums, antique shops and hoary academic contexts as much as I love hedges, ditches, and the filthy old public houses which are now vanishing fast before a wave of creeping cultural blandness. Real Working Class Folk culture these days (i.e. Blackpool) is of little interest to the middle-classes except in terms of patronising irony. Plus ca change!

Here's a thing, in the freezing sleeting rain of Blackpool yesterday we passed a side of rudely liveried hens arm in arm in sisterly unity as they kicked through the puddles singing Didn't we have a lovely time the day we went to Blackpool in perfect approximation of the Macrame Beat classic which was a hit for Fiddler's Dram in 1979 (same year as THIS, BTW, just to give it further contextual consideration). Didn't catch much more of it, but it struck me as oddly relevant to the various conundrums going down here (& elsewhere) as cultures clash and such elements are adopted / discarded / debased along the way.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 08:17 PM

second try.... think I pressed the wrong button.....

There's much confusion over Class.

Folk context? Definitions are dictated by the middle class types who often control folk clubs.

Over simplified I know, but I suggest they judge a singer on which way they associate the person sitting in the classroom!

Ian Fyvie BA(hons), and still working class.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 11:14 AM

To which I might add my all consuming sense of high-born dignity and composure is any crisis, great or small; my cheerful disposition and my detachment in all matters emotional is legendary; likewise my stiff upper lip. I'm also noted for my open indulgence in such traditional blood-sports as huntin', shootin' and fishin', and my fondness for all the little Hobdens of this world. You may add to this my professed enthusiasm for the Indeterminable Beige Thing worn by the very lovely Princess Beatrice at the recent Royal Wedding which I now see has fetched - How much on ebay???? I trust it's all going to a good cause.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 10:52 AM

my noble bearing...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 10:05 AM

In the village where I live I'm considred a peasant because I don't own a castle. As only one person does, we're all peasants of one sort or an other.

Oh, and I'm well down the list because my 4x4 is 9 years old.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 09:53 AM

The steaming landscapes of my childhood I still might visit in my dreams:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odEByoOnhBY

*

I don't think having academic qualifications has anything to do with class; I know plenty of working-class people with all manner of MAs and PhDs, and I know plenty of middle-class people with none. It's cultural, and residual, and probably more obvious in my native Northumberland / Durham than it is over here where I'm often (mis)taken for being middle-class on account of my noble bearing, my airs and graces, my love of Traditional (as oppose to contemporary) Folk Song, and my general disregard for authority, convention and political laziness. My rabid anti-racism and opposition to all forms of Homophobia often upsets the local folkies too, where such things are entenched by way of their non-PC view of their very small universe - ideas with are complete anathema in every other area of folk I've ever been part of, though last year in Durham they allowed a side of so-called Morris Dancers to dance with black faces, no doubt by way of so-called Tradition.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Tootler
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 09:08 AM

Folk's as much a label as anything; but Tootler's train's a beauty.

Yes. Those 2-10-2 tank engines were superb. Beautifully maintained, immaculately turned out and well up to the job. The route up the Brocken, the highest mountain in the region is a star. 1100 metres at the summit and all adhesion - no use of rack at all. Pity about the weather on the day we went up, though :-(

Definitely steamfolk heaven :-)


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 08:55 AM

I find class definitions even more difficult and imprecise than folk definitions. I know a former steel-worker with a Masters in English and someone with an engineering degree who is a very successful plumber. Many people who might be considered middle class themselves have distinct working class antecendents just one or two generations back. It's all about roots, innit?

On a totally different tack - I was watching a Harry Potter DVD yesterday with my kids, in a rare moment of repose after a hectic festival weekend, when it occured to me that here is a bastion of Steamfolk and Steampunk. Some wonderful outfits!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 08:33 AM

Creep away (threadwise that is) the remit of Steamfolk is as broad as Folk itself. Funny, in Lancashire, Folk Clubs are predominately working class and very contemporary in their tastes. I must admit I haven't met many working-class Traddies in my time...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 08:14 AM

Oh blimey Ian. How precisely do I identify a "working class person"? Burberry baseball cap? Battered Vauxhall Corsa? Reads the News of the World? And where, these days, are these working class types, gagging for a floor spot? In the downstairs bar drinking Stella and watching Ingerland lose again. There you go, another few arbitrary labels. I enjoyed that.

The problem isn't "middle class folkies" worrying about some horny handed son or daughter of toil hawking coaldust and mucus onto the front row. It's folkies, full stop. Heaven knows how younger people ever become interested in their own music, given some of the attitudes they meet from the old farts. Thank God for those who do get past the Folk Police though. Lucy Ward, anyone?

As for the middle class portraying the working class, I thought all that went out with Terence Rattigan. Ladeez'n'gennelmen, I give you Albert Finney as Arthur Seaton. Bookie's son portrays lathe operator...

Sorry Suibhne, thread creep alert.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 06:41 PM

Lots of angles to go on in this thread!

I've skimmed virtually every posting and would highlight Brian Peters as taking some sensibles lines. I'll pick up on the class angle.

If the 'Folk' we participate in is a middle class construct, then that helps explain some other features of folk, clubs; and many people who run them - they carry baggage!

That baggage is the relationship between themselves at leisure, and the working classes. They don't really want the working classes there!

Most horrific of all for these middle classes is when a working class person wannts a floor spot!. You can almost read their minds; "Gosh - what an uncouth accent" "Will he swear on stage?" "Will she make lewd references?""Will they fart between verses?"

The idyllic construct of course would have no place for such things, but they have this percieved fear of workng class behavior. The Subjects of their songs may be fresh off the trawler, the farm or the factory floor; but they can only trust their own middle class kind to portray 'The Workies' on stage.

Yes I know there are tangents here I should have rounded, but if anyone reading this comes along to one of our singarounds, I'll sing them a song called "Guy with the Golden Finger in his Ear" which makes the main point better than here where I'm trying to be brief..

Ian Fyvie.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:20 PM

PS - 100!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:19 PM

Folk's as much a label as anything; but Tootler's train's a beauty.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:17 PM

I don't see how a few people slapping an arbitrary label (or, er, "construct") on something makes that label valid. I've seen exactly the same thing happening with science fiction (oops, another label)- starting with H G Wells, moving along through Keith Roberts and arriving at China Miéville. And of COURSE there is the supreme arbitrary label, "World Music".

I must admit that NOBODY is better at labels than yer average folkie. Look at the way Cecil Sharp is becoming nearly as persona non grata as Ewan MacColl. I've just been watching the new "Barley Mow" DVD which includes pre WW1 clips of Sharp, Maud and Helen Karpeles, and George Butterworth performing morris dances. How disgraceful. Rich people corrupting the innocent diversions of the working class and creating a construct bearing no relation to the original pristine article. I just found it charming, sad (George was killed in WW1 before he write much music) and a nice picture of female emancipation (Maud and Helen are wearing rather short outfits and bell pads at the KNEE).   

Look, the damn thing's supposed to be FUN. That's why we sing, dance, listen, and argue innit? Oh dear, another label - "Fun". B*gger.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 06:04 AM

What a waste of time. I'd call it ALL a waste of time but Brian Peters says many sensible things.

I won't be back on this thread, it was as bad as I expected, maybe more so.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 05:37 PM

Here I am with other steamfolk in the Harz Mountains in Northern Germany a couple of weeks ago.

We did sell out and went diesel but we saw the light and quickly returned to fold as pure unadulterated steamfolk.

I thought this video might appeal to other steamfolkies :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOnHd84yVZ4

This was strictly participant with spectators.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 10:12 AM

S O'P-

"old hand-forged nails" and rusty at that!

They're keeping some treenails company from the abandoned 5-masted schooner Mary F. Barrett here in my studio.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 04:05 AM

My generation was the one that folk music skipped, Charlie. In folk I'm either feeling (at least) ten years youthful or twenty-years decrepid depending on which generation I happen to mix with. In any case I very much doubt I'm speaking for anyone but myself here, which was the point all along.

Still, folk remains both a reconstruction of a thing and a thing in itself; in moves in the hearts of those of us for whom knocking old hand-forged nails out of a rotting wooden hulk of an old fishing smack is to touch the very lives of those who went before...

Holy relics indeed!

S O'P


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 08:53 PM

SA-

I'm actually finding this thread educational, a window into how another generation is thinking through the stuff we play. Thanks!

May this thread live long and prosper, until the next generation tears it down.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 10:52 AM

Furthermore - if you think that by arguing that Folk Song is the consequence of the living creativity of the individual working-class men and women who made the songs in the first place (rather than the well-heeled enthusiasts who collected and fantatised over it) is being INSULTING then - well - what is there to say?


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 10:16 AM

You insult people's interests, and then tell them that they should be cringingly apologetic just because you feel you are right.

If you think that then you've misundertood it completely - what I'm asking for is for Steve to apologise for insulting me personally. As for the insulting of interests - you're coming across dangerously fundamentalist there yourself. Indeed, by turning this into some sort of personal analysis of my motives you're making it into something it really ought not to be. And you missed the concertina stuff by miles. Still, that's fair enough - just don't do in the same sanctimonius tones you assume I'm using - because I'm not, and, unlike you, I'm not addressing anything I say here to any one person (unless answering the points they themselves have raised). So, stick to the objective facts and enter into to the spirit of the debate without resorting to personal attacks, then we might talk, eh?

You are not debating. You are trolling.

Now I really have stopped reading.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 10:01 AM

more actual interaction

Sorry, but seeing stuff like that just makes me stop reading. I've been collaborating now for 10 years with musicians from all over the world and have come to regard them as dear friends & crucial colleagues even though I've NEVER MET THEM FACE TO FACE. The MUSICA FIUTO album (Hic Sunt Leones 2008) I did with Italian film-maker Francesco Paladino is a case in point. This is the reality of modern life & music-making - it is no more or less ACTUAL than any other sort.

Now, I'll start reading the rest of your post.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: AlexB
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 09:52 AM

I get MP3 downloads and all sorts of stuff like this - sharing music with people of similar passions which might never happen otherwise

I'm pretty sure that singing together involves more actual interaction.

I spend half my time on the computer. I have a lot of good friends I rarely or never see offline. I interact with them through text based media. I have a sibling who talks to a community of friends over Skype. Occasionally, music gets shared, but it is no big thing. When music sharing is a big thing, it doesn't have much of a community aspect. YMMV, but from what I see of music sharing on the internet, I fail to see any social context.

If I go to a pub and we have a sing and share songs, that is instant social. Even the people who don't sing are involved. Listening to cds and mp3s is not the same, even if you are listening in a group. On my own I might just listen to a cd and focus on nothing else, in a group setting is is usually background.

Do I think one way is better than the other? Of course not. And perhaps in Brian's example people sang because they actually liked to sing, and when working it helped them focus better? I don't know, and unless you were there or knew someone who was, you don't either. I certainly find I get through work faster and more happily if I sing than if I have music in the background. The latter distracts me. I know that isn't the same for everyone, but it does invalidate the idea that singing is a substitute for better forms of musical delivery. And to impose your own modern view on people from a different generation is no different to what you are accusing others of doing when you claim they are fantasising about a fictional past.

As for the music itself... I like it. My reason for liking it has nothing to do with some idealised notion of the past, although I do find it interesting how songs were collected and have changed over time. I just like it for reasons that cannot be pinned down. Although strangely, the sound of it does play a large part.

Suibhne, I'm sorry, but this thread reads like you are trying to start a new religion, but claiming your new religion is the old religion, and that it follows your arbitrary notions. There are several people here who have said it isn't so cut and dried, and you tried to shoehorn their views to fit what you are saying. This may not be your intention, but you are pretty much telling people you understand their interests better than they do. Never a wise move.

Actually... I just refreshed before sending. I think that is exactly your goal. You insult people's interests, and then tell them that they should be cringingly apologetic just because you feel you are right. No facts are mentioned, only conjecture based on your own understanding of other people, an understanding which originates from your own biases on the subject. Your concertina comments were bogus and you claim yourself it was because you don't 'get' the instrument. Likewise you don't 'get' the rest of the things you are talking about. It does make those comments insulting. You are not debating. You are trolling.

View folk as you wish, especially if it allows you to get more enjoyment out of it, but don't start treating your view as gospel and those who disagree as the unenlightened masses.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 09:17 AM

I don't think the notion of folk as a fantasy construct is insulting. It makes me like it even more, personally

Me too. Steamfolk is the epiphany that enables me to love this stuff even more than I do already. Just I'd bought those John Renborn / Nick Drake / Bert Jansch / Pentagle CDs at Fopp the other day... Still, we did come away with a tidy hawl of Caravan, Miles Davis, Gillian Welsh and Kanye West. Maybe next time, should they still be there...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 09:10 AM

Steve - nothing I have written here (much less the bits you have seen fit to use as examples) has been a personal insult against anyone, rather, purely and simply, a discussion (however so polemical at times) of the facts of the case and my feelings arising from them. To call me a Fool for saying so (much less imply that you are somehow wise in making this observation) IS a personal insult and runs contrary to the spirit of both this discussion, and of Mudcat itself. It also runs contrary to the spirit of Free Speech, which does not extend so far as insulting, or indeed censuring, others.

I am prepared to accept your (cringing) apology with the same good grace in which I feel you are now obliged to offer it.

S O'P (feeling thoroughly & joyfully invigorated after rehearsing Frankie's Trade all morning, though I bet the neighbours might not be so happy...)


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 08:44 AM

I don't think the notion of folk as a fantasy construct is insulting. It makes me like it even more, personally. Authenticity was always overrated...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 07:48 AM

Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray - PM
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 04:57 PM

IAFWAFIAWMWQ

Not long before the insults start here is it?


Oh, indeed not - looking back through the thread I make it post #6 :

Steamfolk is a way of accepting & celebrating the fact that Folk has been a fantasy construct from the off and continues to be so in perpetuation of its own carefully founded Myths, Orthodoxies, Assumptions, Attitudes and Aesthetics with respect of both The Tradition (that it first invents then claims to represent) or else the New Folk Idioms arising therefrom.

Straight after that there's

I reckon most Folkies think it already is. In their fondness for the Authentic Folk Instrument vintage Contertinas fetch sums way in excess of their actual value or musical usefulness. Why? Because Vintage Lachenals and Wheatstones are articles of a very particular sort of faith that insists on the genuine artefact, provenance and all. I think this is cool - I'm the same with the random ethnography that clutters up this place; exotic cargo cultism.

and so on

Folk is a myth predicated on a Bourgeouis Fantasy of working class culture;

and so on

a projected collective fantasy reaction to the horrors of modern life

and so on

Both mawkish and voyeuristic, it becomes a myth.

and so on

It's a pure Paternalistic Colonialism visited upon the grubbier members of one's own society who have failed to appreciate their own culture by letting it go to wreck and ruin.

and so on

this class-ridden shit-hole of a country of ours

and so on. I was just joining in the spirit of this
fun thread and good humoured passion.

But now, I'm going to take my own advice and quit this particular argument. One more thing though - really like the Oak Ash and Thorn song you posted the link to BTW, good luck with the project.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 05:46 AM

Damn right too.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 07:12 PM

I am absolutley not saying that anyone's appreciation of music is compromised because they are not themselves musicians or singers, nor am I saying it's inferior. All I am saying is that it is a different way of engaging with music. Moreover, it is one which allows the individual to play a part in shaping and forming the music itself, which a listener, no matter how passionate, is unable to do.

I must confess that I went through a brief period of believing I was continuing the tradition, but I soon realised that was nonsense. I very much doubt that "traditional" singers and musicians thought of "the tradition" in those terms (although there is evidence that some at least distinguished between these songs and those from other sources), and that the idea of "the tradition" is a retrospectively invented term. However the thing it attempts to describe was real enough. We may argue over definitions, boundaries and processes, but somehow out of this has come a body of music with characteristics which are recognisably different from other genres, sufficiently different in my opinion to be worth continuing.

Continuing to perform old music because you recognise and enjoy its qualities is not the same as continuing "the tradition". I also cringe at the notion that our singarounds and folk clubs are somehow perpetuating and replicating some golden age, although I don't think this view is as widely held as is sometimes suggested. And whilst I recognise the value of participation, I also agree that it is often over-valued, as if participation alone is enough and quality is not also important. However sometimes sitting through a ropy performance is the price you pay for music being something a community is actively involved with, rather than it simply being entertainment. Being part of a group of people making music together is undoubtedly a different experience from sitting in an audience, which is not to say that both cannot be electrifying.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 05:09 PM

I'm not a musician and can't really sing. Yet I am passionately engaged with music and have been since my early teens. There's absolutely nowt wrong with music as a spectator sport. As long as there have been performers there have been spectators - even in the 'good old days' of rural poverty and making your own entertainment, I would wager that there were as many, if not more, people listening as playing and singing: not everyone has it in them, just as not everyone can be a blacksmith or a carpenter. And of course, for most rural people up until the invention and mass production of radios and the introduction of improved public transport links (if you had the money or inclination to go to town to see a show, that is) their main experience of music would have been church, pub or family home - I can't imagine people had much choice but to make their own music or listen to music made by those around them. That's one of the reasons why I kind of agree with SO'P's comments that the 'tradition' is a retrospectively invented concept to describe an everyday activity of agrarian life that was born out of necessity (at least I think that was the gist). I think we have a tendency to hold this state of affairs up as some grand ideal and try to replicate it with our sessions and singarounds - which can never be anything but a fleeting re-enactment of the real thing, minus, of course, the grinding poverty, high infant mortality rates, rickets, limited diet, lack of education and healthcare and so on.

One of the downsides of the folk scene's insistence on participation as a core element of what the music is about, is that it can sometimes lead to some excruciating listening experiences - whatever the therapeutic value may be to the perpetrator! I don't think any other music scene overvalues participation to the same extent - though I tend to avoid open-mic nights and karaoke bars if I can... That's not to say I don't enjoy a good singaround - I was at one last night - but if that was my only choice, my musical life would be deeply diminished.

And finally, I'm not convinced that my appreciation of music is compromised because I'm not musically talented. To imply such a thing would be condescending, but sadly it is something I've heard many times over the years. In fact, it was the sort of crap my school music teacher used to come out with years back - as he busily attempted to turn the children in his class off music for life. But that's another story...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 04:57 PM

IAFWAFIAWMWQ

Not long before the insults start here is it?


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 04:55 PM

The fact that most people listen rather than play does not automatically make it better.

Of course it does; you can hear far more different musics that you can ever play. It's part and parcel of our whole musical culture.

We have become a nation of spectators rather than participants and that is to the detriment of the social fabric of the country.

In your own words mind, Tootler - what rubbish!

*

What cannot be denied (although I'm sure Suibhne will find some way) is that they are different ways of relating to music.

Well, everyone has their own unique experience of music, as they do of life, so there's billions of ways potentially.

I happen to think that directly participating in something is always going to be more rewarding than passively experiencing it.

Can experiencing music ever be passive? I don't think so - as long as you're experiencing it then you're far from passive. And it's not always more rewarding - I've been involved in live shows and was bored shitless for hours on end (despite the enthusiasm of the audience); these days I'm happiest with my record collection which always rewards me. I love my Folk Club too, where some nights I just sit back and bask in the beauty of it all (unless it gets too diddlededee then I'll hit back with a ballad or two).

and part of that difference is the direct influence those people had on shaping and changing the music they performed.

You see this is where the Collective Process does come into play otherwise musical styles wouldn't change and evolve, which they do, and at some condiderable pace. Indeed, Traditional to some is synonymous with Old Fashioned (as in Traditional Fish & Chips) and Unchanging, which runs contrary to the cultural dymanics that gave rise to the idioms of Traditional Song. Get up close enough though, and it's human individuals doing this stuff; trending with glorious chaos & creative unpredictability.

The great thing is though NO MUSIC EVER COMES OUT OF NOTHING.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 02:29 PM

"So listening is 'better' than singing, eh?"

Maybe, maybe not. What cannot be denied (although I'm sure Suibhne will find some way) is that they are different ways of relating to music. I happen to think that directly participating in something is always going to be more rewarding than passively experiencing it.

I don't why I am accused of being condescending. I fully recognise the importance of music in people's lives today, and I'm not suggesting that their response to it is in any way inferior. It is however different from the way the people Brian was talking about related to their music, and part of that difference is the direct influence those people had on shaping and changing the music they performed.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 02:22 PM

What Tootler said, with a side order of Brian's viewpoint as well thanks.

As the editor a certain monthly magazine is occasionally fond of saying, IAFWAFIAWMWQ ...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Tootler
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 02:10 PM

So listening is 'better' than singing, eh?

Of course it is; most people would rather hear music than try and do it themselves.


What rubbish!

It's far better to take part than to be a passive spectator. Listening, at least to recorded music, is fundamentally a passive activity whereas playing, even for yourself, makes active use of the brain and keeps it alive. I find playing therapeutic and I play more than I listen these days.

The second part of your statement is a non-sequitur. The fact that most people listen rather than play does not automatically make it better.

We have become a nation of spectators rather than participants and that is to the detriment of the social fabric of the country.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 10:51 AM

So listening is 'better' than singing, eh?

Of course it is; most people would rather hear music than try and do it themselves. Most people do listen more than they play anyway. If I played more than I listen I'd be a physical & nervous wreck. Right now I'm back on the Purcell Sonatas in Four Parts. No way I could play them myself. Same goes for pretty much anything else really, be it old recordings of Harry Cox & Sam Larner (better still, The Video) or old recordings of Bird & Birks, or the new Kanye West album...

social context

Oh come on - even sitting here typing this is a social context; I get MP3 downloads and all sorts of stuff like this - sharing music with people of similar passions which might never happen otherwise. Then you have church, choirs, discos, night clubs, raves, parties, fun fairs, shopping centres, like the Trafford Centre where even I might shead a tear for Karen Carpenter in the food hall for all sorts of reasons, social, personal, cultural, which is what music is.

Holy Writ of Suibhne

I'm thinking of real lives here - not fantasy folk lives authenticated by Cecil Sharp as genuine. Musical experience lives and breathes in each and every single human heart that's ever lived as Sacred. To me that's about as Holy as it gets really.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 10:34 AM

The Gospel according to Saint Suibhne eh ?

I don't think so.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 10:20 AM

People only sang back then because they didn't have better ways of hearing music; these days they do.

So listening is 'better' than singing, eh? What about the beneficial physical effects on the singer, that we're learning more about all the time? Or the fact that sharing songs in a social context is a completely different kind of transaction from hearing them on a phonograph or mp3 player?

the worst of the Fundamentalist Folk Myth writ in tones so condescending...

Be of good cheer, Howard, those who defy the Holy Writ of Suibhne are invariably cast as 'condescending' and 'fundamentalist'. If the 'condescending' bit was the "jolly old sing-song", that's no more than the kind of phrase Bob Copper would have used. If it was the claim that not many people these days can sing a song all the way through, I wouldn't have thought that was a matter of doubt. After all, there are 'better' ways of hearing music these days.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 09:45 AM

Nice on VT, though if you go from the OP my idea here is that Folk is already on the same sort of cultural level as Steampunk - i.e. Eccentric Minority Life Fantasy, and a lot of fun to boot.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 09:36 AM

It was me who introduced CrowSister to steampunk. Wish I could brwse 2 sites at same time so to copy links to some steam stuff here. I am currently looking at music hall and burlesque music to folkify and folk music to steam up.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 08:48 AM

Really? I'm not denying the importance of music in people's lives now, but for the majority of people I know outside folk circles it's music they listen to rather than perform themselves.

People only sang back then because they didn't have better ways of hearing music; these days they do. No matter how one experiences music - any music - it still has supreme personal meaning to the life and culture of the listener. Even a performing Folky (like me) experiences more recorded music than any other, and the music that means most to me personally, culturally, exists on records, including CDs & MP3s. Right now it's Caravan's live version of For Richard recorded at The Fairfield Hall in 1974. Previously available on the long vanished (from my archives anyway) Canturbury Tales album, I found a copy of the live CD in Fopp in MCR the other day for £3. I could write pages of what this recording means to me, my life, my culture, my people, my spirtuality and general sense of joy (certainly a good deal more than any Folk Song ever will) but this is neither the time nor the place.

What I will say is that your post is the worst of the Fundamentalist Folk Myth writ in tones so condescending I would sooner there was no Folk that to hear such talk. For shame. Think on this, when they play someone's favourite music at their funeral, what your hearing is the story of their lives, be it Barry Manilow, Frank Sinatra, Lieutenant Pigeon, Blondie, Enya, Bowie, Free, whatever. But still, no doubt the Folkies know better, eh?

*

And regarding my earlier post - the mirror was concave.


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