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I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.

GUEST,jim bainbridge 28 Jan 16 - 02:40 PM
GUEST,Bert D 27 Jan 16 - 03:07 PM
GUEST,Folk Boy 27 Jan 16 - 04:09 AM
The Sandman 12 Jan 16 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 12 Jan 16 - 01:35 PM
The Sandman 11 Jan 16 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,Musket 11 Jan 16 - 01:10 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 16 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Raggytash 11 Jan 16 - 01:06 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Jan 16 - 12:52 PM
Vic Smith 11 Jan 16 - 11:39 AM
Will Fly 11 Jan 16 - 11:05 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jan 16 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 11 Jan 16 - 10:08 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 16 - 10:05 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 16 - 09:42 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Jan 16 - 09:19 AM
Vic Smith 11 Jan 16 - 09:18 AM
Vic Smith 11 Jan 16 - 09:15 AM
GUEST 11 Jan 16 - 06:29 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jan 16 - 06:02 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 11 Jan 16 - 05:55 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Jan 16 - 05:09 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 16 - 04:50 AM
GUEST 11 Jan 16 - 03:37 AM
GUEST,Musket 11 Jan 16 - 02:41 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 16 - 08:28 PM
GUEST 10 Jan 16 - 07:24 PM
GUEST,Musket 10 Jan 16 - 07:26 AM
Vic Smith 10 Jan 16 - 07:13 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Jan 16 - 07:10 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 16 - 07:01 AM
The Sandman 10 Jan 16 - 06:26 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Jan 16 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,Jim Bainbridge 10 Jan 16 - 06:05 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 16 - 12:34 PM
Vic Smith 09 Jan 16 - 10:02 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 16 - 09:58 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 16 - 09:31 AM
Les in Chorlton 09 Jan 16 - 09:19 AM
FreddyHeadey 09 Jan 16 - 09:14 AM
Vic Smith 09 Jan 16 - 09:14 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 16 - 08:50 AM
Vic Smith 09 Jan 16 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,Lou Judson 08 Jan 16 - 08:40 PM
The Sandman 08 Jan 16 - 02:11 PM
Les in Chorlton 08 Jan 16 - 02:09 PM
GUEST,Musket 08 Jan 16 - 01:37 PM
The Sandman 08 Jan 16 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,Raggytash 08 Jan 16 - 09:40 AM
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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 28 Jan 16 - 02:40 PM

The Assembly Rooms in Surbiton was, when I look back, just the kind of concert-style club I avoid (with some honourable exceptions)but Derek Sergeant the organiser and MC knew his stuff and it had a very varied guest list. In late 1963, it was was also the first place I heard Bob Davenport and the Rakes, who were a total revelation, and an inspiration ever since.... Thanks Derek!


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,Bert D
Date: 27 Jan 16 - 03:07 PM

The folk club they held in the Phoenix in Leicester was really let down by the thin lavatory walls. Who remembers the time that old bird from Pentangle could be heard straining through the walls - and then she started singing! Good days.

Bert D


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,Folk Boy
Date: 27 Jan 16 - 04:09 AM

The Windward club in St Albans run by John Breeze was a hot bed of talent and nurturing, Redbourn & Bedford folk clubs have always been good, but the folk club scene in Herts and Beds + Cambs has always been excellent - Google the unicorn magazine - folk music has always been what everyday folk, sing down the pub - only commercial corporations want you to believe differently


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 03:43 PM

I really used to to enjoy one club in nottingham because they always served a good curry at half time the beer was good and the atmosphere friendly, however I understand the curry maker has moved away.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 01:35 PM

No Jim, not accusing you of anything except knowing what folk music is- which must be very gratifying for you! It doesn't really have a lot to do with how many tomes you have on your bookcase though, does it?
I can't compete with such self-confidence on the subject, and have no intention of reading your books- I probably have some of them myself, nor am I interested in name-dropping those singers I have come across over the years.

I can't understand why you are so abrasive to anyone with a view you don't agree with, but it seems this is a regular situation in these discussions- you seem to have so little understanding of what the music is about that I will gladly let you have the last word you accuse me of seeking... carry on carping without me please.
To get back to the subject, I really enjoyed the Grove club in Leeds because it's in a smashing and characterful old pub, with an eclectic and tolerant approach over many years by the organisers.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 01:32 PM

I really enjoyed that folk club because I thought I played and sang well, it was the Wilsons club a couple of years ago, the audience seemed to like it too.
I mention it because I tend to be very critical of my own performances and it is rare for me to feel happy with the whole night.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 01:10 PM

I've always been bemused to see those who quote folk as a living tradition that evolves seem to put the brakes on at about the time they decided "hey, this is folk." Whether that be '50s, 60s or 70s. (Or '30s eh M?)

I go some weeks to a venue that books folk, blues and acoustic roots, by their advertising. When we had Martin Carthy last spring, I was delighted to see the large number of people in their twenties to whom he was a musical hero, ditto Martin Simpson last month. Yet I never see these people in local folk clubs. Their knowledge of the genre makes a joy to speak with them. When Johnny Dickinson asked for requests, those shouting out songs didn't have err.. high waistbands. 😇
Folk music is alive and kicking. Vic makes a good point.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 01:08 PM

"I'm afraid you're on your own there as you seem to know what it is"
Not really Jim I have several bookcases full of books telling me exactly what it is and have spent forty years talking to source singers who knew exactly what it is - in return I have been told there are hundreds of alternatives - so far - not one other than the old Humpty Dumpty "words mean what I say they mean" (to paraphrase.)
"over the years and never found any of them make any attempt to categorise songs"
Then our experiences differ - I have put up chunks of direct quotes from Walter Pardon, Tom Lenihan, Mikeen McCarthy and Mary Delaney, and have explained in full Mary's attitude to her non-traditional songs so unless you would like to suggest I made it all up or fed these people their scripts.....
Our work is all publicly archived with full access (though the British Library seem to be taking their time to get their arses into gear) - it's all out there somewhere.   
If you believe this thread is not for discussing such matters, then stop discussing them - or have you gone down with a nasty dose of "last wordism?"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 01:06 PM

Back to the plot.

The first club I ever was the Duke of York in Eccles way back in the late 60's. Over the years of going there, and to other clubs, I found that a club could be great one night and not so great the next time. Very much a case of horses for courses. I did see some great acts during the period though.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 12:52 PM

Ah. Get it now. Thanks for elucidation, Will & Vic.

≈M≈

But you must admit the original statement was maybe just an itsy-bitsy bit ambiguously expressed!


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 11:39 AM

Mike quotes me and then goes on:-
"Young people do not seek out folk clubs to hear folk music."
I generally regard Vic's posts as among the rewards of reading Mudcat. But I can make no sense of this statement whatsoever. What else would anyone seek out a Folk Club for but to hear Folk Music?


My point, Mike, (perhaps not well made) is that there are many young people who have developed a taste for folk music but do not seek out folk clubs to hear it. The loosening up of genres and venues that I mentioned in the post that you quote from indicates that a lot of young people do not seek out specialist music venues to hear their music but will go to festivals and urban music venues where the music is usually of high quality but covers a wide range of types of music.
I have mentioned this before on Mudcat but it is very relevant here. A couple of years ago, I went to a venue beneath Brighton rail station, black painted walls and hardly any seats. Alasdair Roberts was in concert with one local support act. The crowd of about 80 was young and stood and listened with rapt attention to his programme with included a good proportion of Scots traditional ballads sung, some unaccompanied, with great skill and understanding of the genre. At the interval, I went round handing out copies of the local listings magazine The Folk Diary of which I am joint editor. It seemed to be of interest to them, but very few claimed that they had seen it before. It was a real eye-opener for me. There was a generation of potential enthusiasts that were not even aware of what the folk scene was doing.
Whether, my giving them the magazines made them attend any of local folk music venues, I would not like to say. It helped to convince me, however, that there has been one great social change. 50 or 60 years ago young people defined themselves to quite a large extent by the music they listened to. If you asked what sort of music do you like and the answer was skiffle, modern jazz, folk music, pop music, trad jazz, country music...... the answer told you a lot about that person.
My point is that this is no longer the case.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 11:05 AM

Perhaps you're slightly mis-reading this, Michael. There are many other venues other than folk clubs, these days, where traditional music (among other things) can be heard - festivals, singarounds, open mics, and tunes sessions in particular.

Folk clubs may perhaps be the least popular of these venues for young people, who often prefer a more participative and informal environment. We have plenty of lovely traditional tunes at our local sessions - and a real mix of ages, from old codgers like me to young performers just old enough to order a pint!


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 10:28 AM

"Young people do not seek out folk clubs to hear folk music."
.,,.,.
I generally regard Vic's posts as among the rewards of reading Mudcat. But I can make no sense of this statement whatsoever. What else would anyone seek out a Folk Club for but to hear Folk Music?

Puzzled to the nth ° in ♠♠!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 10:08 AM

Jim C- am not aware that this thread is for talking about 'what constitutes 'folk'?-At least that's not what the originator, Les said a while back. I'm afraid you're on your own there as you seem to know what it is- all I did was to try in a general sense to summarise 'why I (PERSOALLY) really enjoyed that folk club' while giving examples.
The nature of the Singers' club is well known and in my dictionary, 'prescriptive' says...'having a pre-defined set of rules or precedents' which seems to be a fair description, and is not the insult you have inferred from the word. I have no wish to discuss that with you, nor to justify what material I perform as 'folk'- it's YOU who makes these distinctions and definitions, not me!

I don't think I've met you, and no doubt we'd disagree over a pint if we did- hope so anyway. You have had apparently plenty of contact with source singers, but so have I over the years and never found any of them make any attempt to categorise songs as folk or pop, not until analysed and guided by less sympathetic collectors anyway.

So let's have a bit less sensitivity and intolerance and a little more reaching out to the people whose music it is after all.
Come up to Drumkeeran for OUR singers's sessions and we can continue this- there'll be pint waiting.. Jim B


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 10:05 AM

"most generally neglected and most misunderstood art form there is"
Sorry - missed a bit - should have added "despised" and pointed out that much of this comes directly from the present "folk" scene.
Back to the back of the class!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 09:42 AM

Vic - promised Les I would finish, but you've brought up a number of points worth responding to.
Is presentingfolk songs really "holding back the tide" - if so, my point is made - the music we have dedicated our lives to no longer has a place in folk clubs and attempting to perform it in those venues can only damage any understanding of what and how important it is, which is what has always interested and motivated us.
I am frankly not interested in presenting watered down versions of folk songs, nor am I interested in filling clubs with people by putting on music that I know is not folk because the real thing isn't a draw any more.
I've described how far we pushed out the barriers and I've also said that I believe we never abandoned our reason for being there.
For me, Folk Song remains the most important, most generally neglected and most misunderstood art form there is and replacing it with something else really isn't going to change that.
Never realised Fred wrote Music Hall Songs - would have thought the genre had long departed the scene long before he started writing song.
Fred was a long-time member of London Singers Workshop and, while we had our differences, I enjoyed Fred's singing of traditional songs and most of his own compositions that I got to hear.      
Sorry Les - shall I sit at the back of the class?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 09:19 AM

I presume that people who go to see the 'famous' know more or less what folk is and are capable of using the net to find clubs with good guests - after that they can decide if a Singers night is worth the bother.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 09:18 AM

My apologies to Jim C. I quoted something by Jim B. and credited it to him. Too many Jims for my poor brain.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 09:15 AM

Jim C,
I have no wish to argue with you. I admire the work that you do, I have never met you but going back decades I used to work with you and Pat in booking the traditional singers that I was arranging tours for into the Singers' Club. I would agree by and large with your definition of folk song.
However - and I am really not trying to be rude or accusative here - I find that there are elements in your statements that are inconsistent and somehow stuck in a time warp and not aware of the rapid changes that have taken place in the music scene in England, both in folk clubs and in the broader scene.

Let me just make a point here as an illustration of what I mean.
You wrote:-
If I want Jazz - one of my other interests, - I seek out a a jazz venue, somewhere advertising jazz - If I don't find it there, I don't go back.
Well, there is something else we share; a love of jazz. I went to a concert at the London South Bank complex in November 2014 as part of the London Jazz Festival. It was given by Kassé Mady Diabaté, Makan Tounkara, Lansiné Kouyaté & Ballaké Sissoko. This concert by four Malians was by some distance the best performance that I attended that year and I go to many concerts, festivals and clubs and hear a lot of live music. The other big sell-out concert at the festival was one of the leading Cuban 'Son' performers; again excellent - but not jazz. Looking through the programme the majority of the events were what I (and I suspect you as well) would call Cocktail Jazz or Jazz Funk. Why is this? Well, the audiences for what you and I would regard as jazz has collapsed and the experimental modernists have left their audiences behind. If you wanted to go to hear a beefy sax player leading a small group playing be-bop or mainstream jazz in a small or medium sized venue in the days when you lived in London you would have been spoiled for choice. Not so today.
It would be futile to try to point this out to the festival organisers. They need to make ends meet financially and still put on a modicum of the music that they love. I am pretty sure that without strong Arts Council Support and BBC Radio 3 broadcasting a high proportion of their events that the festival would not be there at all.

I have taken the example from outside folk music in the hope that it will be less contentious but the same thinking exists with folk music promoters. Barriers between genres are breaking down, the whole wide availability that the information revolution has brought about has contributed to making people looser in their thinking about music. There are many crossovers. Young people do not seek out folk clubs to hear folk music. One of the greatest singers of traditional ballads of his generation is Alasdair Roberts, a professional and and outstanding performer. We booked him several times at our folk club but very few others do and nearly all his gigs are in mainstream venues.
You praise great friends of mine, Ken Hall and Peta Webb for their work at Whitby Festival and I have been fortunate enough to have been booked in take part in these. They also run the superb Musical Traditions club in London and there is an article by me on 25 years of their club in the current issue of English Dance & Song.
Their club is one of the most dedicated to traditional song in the country. Let's ask some questions about this lovely pair and the club they run:-

Is their repertoire exclusively traditional?
Well, no, when they sing together they sing a lot of songs that derive from the 'brothers' duos of early country music. Ken favours singing comic songs, many by the late, lamented ex-mudcatter Fred McCormick

Do they only have floor singers who perform traditional songs?
Well, no. One of their regulars is an Irishman who I would describe as a performance poet. Two other regulars draw their repertoire from the London Music Hall.

Is their booking policy to book exclusively traditional singers or those who sing traditional songs?
Well, no. In December their guest was that great singer/songwriter Pete Morton and their regular guests include top English eccentrics like Jim Eldon and Tony Hall whose repertoire we might call 'eclectic'. They even book (and whisper it gently) Jim Bainbridge.

Are there evenings at their club and at their Keith Summers Memorial weekends when a minority of songs will be traditional?
Yes.

I reckon that in all my years of organising folk clubs the vast majority of the guests that I booked were either traditional singers or those who loved the tradition, but it would be no good me sitting on my throne at low-tide shouting at the incoming tide. "Go back! Don't are come into my folk club with your watery non-traditional songs!" because very soon my feet would be wet and I would be drowned.
All I can do, as I have tried to do all through my life as performer and organiser is to promote good performances of traditional song and music and then let the material weave its own magic charms.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 06:29 AM

Heartfelt thank you Mike and apologies to Les.
Thread drifts of this sort as an inevitable as "it's going to rain tomorrow" here in Clare.
Elsewhere, somebody (is it you?) has asked that performers appearing in concerts should promote folk clubs - were I a performer in such a position I would be very hard pushed to think of many clubs I would be prepared to promote nowadays.
I cut my research-interest teeth on the club scene, as did many other researchers I know - for a long time the clubs served both worlds of knowledge and pleasure - sadly, the last place I would send somebody who wishes to learn about folksong to is a randomly selected club - (Ken Hall's and Peta Webb's 'Musical Traditions Club' would be high on the small list of clubs I would recommend btw Jim - it's still possible to hear folksongs well sung there)
I would agree with 'The Empress of Russia' - with the added rider that it presented good folk music during the visits I made to it.
As I've said elsewhere, 'prescriptive' has become an abusive 'get-out-of-jail card for clubs who have no interest in the promoting folk music - as equally inaccurate and unpleasant as 'purist' or 'finger-in-ear' or 'folk police/fascist'.
"Sam Cooke, Homer & Jethro & Guy Mitchell"
Wonder which of those you consider folk - and why - we are discussing what constitutes folk, not what we as individuals listen to or sing.
Unless anybody has anything new to add, that's me done.
Sorry again Les.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 06:02 AM

I haven't always agreed with Jim Carroll; we have differed over many things, largely due to our not·always·entirely·identical political & social views & orientations. But I would like to record here that his is by far the most intelligent, and most relevant, post on this thread, and the objections to it registered by sillisods like Unohoo & Popguntitz & Anon·Pusillanimous·GUEST are eminently ignorable.

Keep up the good work, Jim. You are outgunning the rest of them put together!

Best

≈Michael≈


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 05:55 AM

Just to clarify Les, I hope I have not started a 'folk row'. My view that the Singers' Club, whatever its merits, had a serious political aspect is surely non-arguable. You say you started this thread to collect good practice?
I'd say that, in any field, TOLERANCE is extremely good practice, and the clubs I have enjoyed over the years(listed earlier) all had the great virtue of tolerance, and that's what I'd seek to defend! It doesn't mean turning folk clubs into a jazz or blues club, just an ability to recognise that most songs have something to say to the folk who are listening.
I said in my last post that I was being relevant to the thread and I'd repeat that I really enjoyed the 'Empress of Russia' because it promoted good music in a convivial, non-prescriptive atmosphere. By the way, the tradition is continued annually at Ken Hall & Peta Webb's Football club nights at Whitby Festival, probably the most in0demand tickets of the whole week!
    cheers Jim B
misprint in my last post- correct version is.....
''material I include in my pub/club repertoire are by such as Sam Cooke, Homer & Jethro & Guy Mitchell''- this just to clarify


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 05:09 AM

Well, thanks for for that. Further evidence for three rules of Mudcat:

1. Given half a chance people will turn posts into a what is folk row
2. By post 20 it will become rude, personal and unpleasant
3. Almost nobody will read the first 20 odd posts and simply go on repeating themselves.

Thanks folks.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 04:50 AM

"Proof certain that Mr Carroll is not on the same planet as the rest of us"
I'm being as polite as I can here anonymous guest - I would be grateful if you did the same - it helps keep the air smelling sweet.
If you have an alternative definition (other than "anything anybody cares to say it is" or "if I enjoy a night of it and am comfortable with calling it folk, it's folk", which boils down to the same thing - feel free
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 03:37 AM

'I am arguing about (a) The dishonest practice of filling a folk club evening with songs that are patently not and (b) Seeking to de-define folk song, without explaining exactly what you mean by folk.
You know as well as I do what folk is, at l;east, when I have asked for an alternative definition, you nor anybody else has come up with one - not one single person.'

Proof certain that Mr Carroll is not on the same planet as the rest of us, Although you can't argue with the last line, that's absolutely correct, it's not 'one single person' that has come 'alternative definition'.... it's hundreds!


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 02:41 AM

"Patently not (folk)"

There you go Jim.

It patently might be by someone else's opinion.

Your opinion is one of your time and experience. My opinion is one of my time and experience. The difference here is that I never call yours "not folk." It is. Librarians might have different sub genre sets to classify it all, but as far as I'm concerned, if I enjoy a night of it and am comfortable with calling it folk, it's folk QED.



Silly sausage.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 08:28 PM

"that evolution you keep wittering on about."
Huhhhh!!
"Stop telling usability bloody rules. "
Huhhhh!!
"When did folk songs become fragile flowers that had to separated from all others and only performed on their own away from other music as if they were museum pieces?"
When did anybody ever make such a suggestion Vic? Certainly not me.
We had poetry and song evenings; feature evenings, agit prop theatre evenings and various other structured forms, but whatever we did, we ascertained that the audience went home having heard a good number of folk songs well sung.
The Radio Ballads were combinations of traditional song, newly written ones, jazz at times, pop at times, songs made using Gilbert and Sullivan forms and human speech - hardly "separated from all others".
Please stop putting up straw men - you're better than that.
Folk song may be robust" - it will probably survive in archives when folk clubs are no longer venues for it.
I am arguing about (a) The dishonest practice of filling a folk club evening with songs that are patently not and (b) Seeking to de-define folk song, without explaining exactly what you mean by folk.
You know as well as I do what folk is, at l;east, when I have asked for an alternative definition, you nor anybody else has come up with one - not one single person.
Your loaded "siphoned-off situation, doesn't make sense.
If I want Jazz - one of my other interests, - I seek out a a jazz venue, somewhere advertising jazz - If I don't find it there, I don't go back
The same with classical music, or Country and Western, or light opera,...... or any other musical form you care to name.
Wonder how a pop audience would react if they turned up at their local venue to be given an evening of selection from the Joe Heaney songbook - love to be a fly-on-the-wall that night!!
Yet we seem to be told - by long term folk club organisers - that we have to take pot luck and accept whatever type of song, pop, music hall, opera..... whatver the organisers choose to give us.
That is sharp practice - if that'; what you want to do call your clubs music clubs.
I didn't become involved because of what music my family liked - I did so because I became interested in a certain type of music - which later extended to listening to and trying to make songs using the forms of that music.
I became more deeply involved when I realised the social and historical implications of that music - how it related to various aspects of my family history or that of the people around me.
I have always been aware that our traditional singers sang and listen to all types of music
When we started collecting we found that the singers we met differentiated between the different types of songs they sang - maybe not using the same terms as we did, but they slotted their songs into categories as (or I) do.
Walter Pardon filled tape after tape with talk of how he regarded his songs and how they differed from one type to the ther.
It transpires from his notebooks that he had been doing so from the late 1940s.
Walter wasn't by any means alone - Blind Traveller, Mary Delaney, gave us over 100 traditional songs - she refused point blank to sing her dozens of Country and Western songs because "they;'re not the type of songs you are looking for - I only learned them because that's what the lads aske for in the pub".
Similarly, we have Walter on tape when we tried to record his Victorian parlour and early pop songs saying, "what do you want them old things for?" - tey differentiated - it seems the 'more enlightened' folk clubs no longer do..   
When I lived in Manchester, I regularly used to visit a pub on the Stretford Road that ran a competitive singing talent night - Tom Jones - Elvis - Harry Lauder - Pat Boone - John McCormack.... soundalikes; a free nights drinking for the winner
I thoroughly enjoyed those nights and looked forward to them and I knew what to expect and what not to expect.
That, it seems to me, is what is being argued for here.
Fine - no problem as far as I'm concerned, but don't call yourselves folk clubs or your songs folk songs - neither is a fair description.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 07:24 PM

I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.......

a) people sang, played and enjoyed themselves without anyone saying 'that's not folk'

b) No one was critical of the old boy who struggles to remember his words using a crib sheet.

c) No-one mentioned Mudcat!


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 07:26 AM

I wondered how long it would take.

Sorry Jim. Folk clubs have been part of, ironically enough, that evolution you keep wittering on about. There is nothing proscribed when it come to folk. It's a subjective term.

Stop telling usability bloody rules. I've been going to folk Cubs almost forty years and the only time I have ever come across such twaddle has been here on Mudcat, mainly by you. I've seen MacColl many times in his later years and heard him sing combinations of traditional and contemporary songs he and Peggy wrote, and I doubt a single person in the place thought "Oh, I wonder if that's folk?"

I know what folk is, everybody on here knows what folk is and the fact we may have different explanations just proves that folk is a process. The irony of a few weird beards trying to carve a living process in stone back in 1954 would be worthy of a comedy song in its own right. The snag is, you'd have to know about it to find it funny and I doubt many outside of these threads give such tosh a second thought, or even care.

It's music. It's a living tradition. It evolves. In two hundred years time, Neil Innes songs will be used to explain social values in the 1960s. (My Pink Half of the Drainpipe springs to mind.)

In respect for Les's plea. "I enjoyed that folk club because... We kicked the folk police out and enjoyed an evening of folk, with our waistbands firmly down near our waists."


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Vic Smith
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 07:13 AM

This contribution from Jim Bainbridge reads like a breath of fresh air to me. I agree totally with everything that he says.
One Jim writes:-
I would find the practice of including them in a folk song evening dubious
and the other responds:-
I would contend that such tunnel vision is nonsense.
and I would have to agree with the latter opinion.
I am probably wasting my time here but let me ask what I think is are two important questions:-

* When did folk songs become fragile flowers that had to separated from all others and only performed on their own away from other music as if they were museum pieces?
* In all the contacts and encounters with traditional singers and musicians (probably amounting to thousands of meetings) that Jim B. Jim C. and Vic S. have had outside of folk clubs, how often have traditional songs & tunes been in a 'siphoned off' situation?

My answer to the the first one would be that folk song is robust, Its strength is in its fundamental functionality whether this is in telling a story, describing feelings or situations that the listener can empathise with or fulfilling a convivial or ritual role. Folk song and music is strong and can hold up its head in any company.

My answer to the second one would be 'none or very few indeed'. Yes the singers usually realised that difference and the value of traditional items and might not bring them out in every situation but they lived in a world where there was a great deal of other music, some of it very good indeed and they would adopt some of it and here, as Jim B. has suggested, is where style comes in. It was what the Copper Family brought to the singing of Mills Brothers songs, what Jane Turriff brought to the songs of Harry Lauder and Jimmy Rogers, what Irish travellers brought to Country & Western etc.etc. that was interesting.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 07:10 AM

Thanks you, I think


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 07:01 AM

Point taken Les and Vic in regards to the arguments with people like Dick, but setting up a thread that only discusses the clubs we like is a little like producing newspapers that only print good news - an exercise in self-indulgence.
Unless a serious, friendly and informative and informed discussion can take place on the club scene, it is my opinion things will continue to decline.
I have said what I have to say about the necrophobic attitude to MacColl and his work - I doubt if Dick's new thread will ring any change
The idea of opening a thread to take down the work of a club without being prepared to discuss that work in full.... well!!!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 06:26 AM

The singers club was proscriptive.
The club had certain rules, which meant certain things were not permitted.
I not alone in stating this,I am sure Martin Carthy said the same in an interview.
I chose not to go there, you went there and enjoyed it,fair enough, it suited you
.I think Ewan was a very professional and good performer For the record I think MacColl was the finest songwriter the uk folk revival has produced,The Radio Ballads were in my opinion extraordinary and ground breaking
MacColl had good points and bad points,dont we all.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 06:23 AM

OK, I will say this only one more time: I started this thread - "I really enjoyed that Folk Club because" to collect good practice.

I feel sure we all know that the songs collected from mostly agricultural working people at the end of the 19C form the core of what we call Folk Songs. Those same people sang hymns, popular songs and all sorts of others stuff that was largely ignored by collectors.

What most of us want when we go to "Folk Clubs" is mostly what was collected.

Now, if you want a long personal row about what Folks Songs are, what was the policy of the Singers Club, and all that other stuff go and do it in a thread of your own and leave this thread alone for the purpose I intended.

Best wishes


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,Jim Bainbridge
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 06:05 AM

I disagree so much with Jim Carroll's posts that maybe I'll start by saying that MacColl was an excellent songwriter and that he certainly was not against contemporary songs, in the 'tradition' as defined by himself and the Critics Group- Ed Pickford, for one, was encouraged by by him and Peggy Seeger. I visited the Singers' Club a few times in the sixties, and recall the restrictions were political rather than anything else. It'd have been a brave singer who sang or said anything in favour of the apartheid regime at such a time!

Other clubs applied restrictions of a non-political kind- Louis Killen and Johnny Handle emerged from the jazz/skiffle scene in Newcastle and when the new Bridge club was set up in 1958 they decided that only UK/Irish material was allowed. This choice was entirely justifiable in its time- remember this wasn't long after a time when Seamus Ennis had been commissioned by RTE to head off to the West of Ireland on his rusty bicycle and 'collect all he could before the next wave from the Atlantic washed it all away'.

Re material performed in folk clubs, I can only repeat that even if Jim C knows what is appropriate in such places and can even define 'folk' and pop music, I would contend that such tunnel vision is nonsense. I may well be already sought by the folk police for singing songs by such as Cooke and Homer & Guy Mitchell (last of the ballad singers) so I must be another very bad person?

September Song is a wonderful composition and for me is quite acceptable in a folk club. However an acceptable performance may be a lot more difficult to achieve by your average floor singer than by a quality singer like Frank Sinatra's.
I have a lovely memory of one night at the 'Empress of Russia' folk club of a song performed by Nick Havell, trombone player with Flowers and Frolics at that excellent club in the 70s. Nick was a great opera fan, unlike me, and his version of 'La Donna e mobile' backed by the Flowers band will live long in my memory. (this is relevant to the thread, incidentally!).
So you'll gather that while I accept there are vague genres of music like folk, pop. jazz, classical, trad if you insist, and opera , I would say that the performance is everything , and that blinkered views of the 'tradition' as defined by such as Jim C may be one reason why the UK folk clubs are now so reduced in number. Mind you, in my experience, mind you, today's clubs seem a lot more tolerant than that.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 12:34 PM

"but I am probably a very bad person."
Why Vic?
Plouter around our record collection and you'll find anything from Count John to 'ol Blue Eyes, via wonderful sets of Callas and Gili - still get a buzz from all of them.
I would find the practice of including them in a folk song evening dubious - I find claiming that any of them are folk songs either sharp practice or ill-informed especially when they have edged out the real thing to the extent that it becomes necessary to check in advance before I go to a folk club.
Urban Spaceman does not have a Roud number, not because Steve has stupidly overlooked it but because it is a pop song written by Neil Innes and performed by the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band.
Similarly, Kurt Weill's September Song does not have a Roud number because it is not a folk song.
If I want to hear a tuneless rendition of it I would dig out the exquisitely rendered Walter Houston version rather than the one I have heard being passed off as 'folk' in a "folk club".
Used to own the B.D.D.B. rendition of Urban' at one time, but unfortunately, it got lost in one of our moves.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 10:02 AM

Jim Carroll wrote:-
" songs that in some way or other fitted the documented and long tested description of folk songs and weren't Urban Spaceman or September Song - in fact - what it said on the tin."


Serendipity....I am going to a folk club evening of Wassailing Songs tonight and Tina and I have been practicing the songs that we will contribute. Aren't there some wonderful songs in this category? It was good for me to be singing something different because in the last few weeks, all I have wanted to sing has been the Charlotte Higgins version of Lord Bateman which I am totally mesmerised by.
Thinking of tonight made me think of Lea Nicholson singing Here We Come a-Wassailing. We used to run a club with him in the 1960s and continued to book him after that for as long as he was involved in the the folk scene. I went to find an album of his to play. I listened to all of it. It's great, a lovely variety of stuff but I particularly enjoyed Here We Come A-Wassailing (Roud 209), The False Knight on the Road (Roud 20), Greenland Bound (Roud 970) and I'm The Urban Spaceman (No Roud Number). They are all great songs and listening to the album brought back all the joy of listening to Lea live.
Then I came back to the computer and read Jim's mention of September Song which sent me back to the record shelves to find one of the six LPs from my mother's record collection that I kept after she died (3 by Frank Sinatra, 3 by Jimmy Shand), I played September Song. What a beautifully constructed, meaningful song that is! Surely it is one of the best pop songs of the 20th century?
Speaking for myself, I would like to listen to well-performed versions of any of the songs mentioned in my post in a folk club or elsewhere... but I am probably a very bad person.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 09:58 AM

By the way
The Singers Club policy was never"proscriptive"
The policy was to present traditional sons and new songs that had been made using traditional forms.
Unlike 'purist' clubs, instrumentation was an essential part of what went on there.
The idea that The Singers ever restricted itself to traditional songs is one of the great myths, often deliberately circulated.
MacColl probably wrote more songs than anybody on the folk scene, with Peggy probably a close runner up, yet, despite this fact, when the programme on Topic Records, 'Little Red Label was broadcast some years ago an interviewee claimed that "MacColl didn't like contemporary songs"
MacColl always argued that a folk scene that didn't create and generate new songs was little more than a visit to a museum.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 09:31 AM

"Now how much fun would that be?"
It might be a bit more informative Les.
It would be a boring old world if we all agreed with each other.
"If the rules coincide with what you enjoy hearing then it means the whole evening might be bliss. "
Doesn't work like that Freddie - you put a label on your product to identify what you are promoting, whether it is to your taste or not.
Whether we like it or not, Folk song is a long identified, researched and recorded type of song - nobody "imposes" that fact, there is enough literature and recorded examples to make just that - a fact.
If the things that make folk songs folk are no longer viable or valid, than the term should be redefined if it is still going to be used.
I still maintain that the success of Irish traditional music is due to there being no (serious) doubt what the term 'traditional' means - I honestly long for the situation when British music can be almost guaranteed an at least two generation future, as has happened over here.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 09:19 AM

Sorry if you found it patronising Jim - maybe at my age it is inevitable. I started this thread "I really enjoyed that Folk Club because ...." In an attempt to collect good practice and also to escape the negative arguing that goes on in the folky world. It's amazing how many bitter disputes can break out in such a small aspect of life.

Maybe I should be more interested inwhat annoys other people about the clubs they have been to but if I did I would start a thread called "I really didn't enjoy that Folk Club because....... "

Now how much fun would that be?

Best wishes


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 09:14 AM

GSS ..."Nobody took away your choice.
In fact one of the clubs that restricted choice of folk music was The Singers Club its rules were proscriptive, the dictionary definition of proscriptive is imposing restraint or restriction, thus restricting or taking away choice."

I suppose that cuts both ways.
If the rules coincide with what you enjoy hearing then it means the whole evening might be bliss. And you know to avoid it if the style doesn't suit.
But I'm not sure if I'd prefer
an evening of good/bad/mediocre performers sticking to the style rules
... or an evening of mixed styles from good performers.
Though, not being an organiser, I don't know how they restrict the lesser performers for either format.

~~~~~

Les in Chorlton Jan 7th 
Yes

and
Good beer
Friendly barstaff
Warm in winter
Cool in summer


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 09:14 AM

Thanks for that explanation, Jim. That was more or less what I thought the intention of the statement was. My suspicions that this what you intended to say were aroused because this is one of your repetitious arsenal of comments that you treat us with on Mudcat and my mind strayed back to the times that you have made it previously.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 08:50 AM

"It's surprising how often Dick & Jim's sparing is enjoyed on here isn't it?"
Hope you don't mind me saying I find that a little patronising Les - I don't enjoy my pointless arguments with Dick, on the contrary, I'm somewhat embarrassed that I allow them to get out of hand and nause up good threads.
They happen on subjects I find important enough to respond to and invariably end up as unpleasant shouting matches.
I keep saying they won't happen again but they probably will - my apologies to all.
It was my original intention to respond to Vic's question
"Well, let's hope that Jim B. is wrong. Could Jim C. give an explanation of what he means by this sentence because its intention is not clear to me."
Up to sometime in the late eighties it was possible to go to a 'folk club' and be guaranteed to come away having heard something resembling a folk song - that is no longer the case.
Nowadays it appears necessary to send out an advance scouting party to find out exactly what any particular club means by "folk song" - the de-definition of the term has taken away my right to choose, simple as that.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 06:47 AM

Lou, I think that a lot of people said the same when The Grand Ole Opry was moved from its original home in a deconsecrated church to a plush but somewhat sterile new venue.... and then complained again when it left the Ryman Auditorium in 1974 its present home.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,Lou Judson
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 08:40 PM

Freight and Salvage in Berkeley CA USA used to be a folk club, until they got grandiose ideas and raised 11 million dollars and built a 15 million dollar facility, with many things left out, and so large that they are booking rock and blues to pay the bills, throwing out many local tried and true folkies. It's the end of an era.

*I* really enjoyed it before 2009 because it was, well, a folk club! Now, I dunno.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 02:11 PM

I really enjoyed the grapes in sheffield because i did a gig there to a full house.
I do not mind clubs having rules, but having rules means the club becomes proscriptive, I had the choice not to go to the singers club, there were and still are plenty of clubs in london and the uk that put on "songs that in some way or other fitted the documented and long tested description of folk songs and weren't Urban Spaceman or September Song - in fact - what it said on the tin."
Jim, if you are in teeside I think you would enjoy Billingham folk club,


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 02:09 PM

Thanks Musket, one of my favourites among the many genre(s) amongst the living tradition of folk songs is "Daft". Clearly the Urban Spaceman sits happily in there.

It's surprising how often Dick & Jim's sparing is enjoyed on here isn't it?


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 01:37 PM

Hi Les

I live in North Lincolnshire these days. I help run singarounds in Epworth and Belton, try to get as often as I can to local clubs such as Owston Ferry, two in Doncaster, Tickhill etc. Although I spend a lot of my time back in Derbyshire during the day so am popping into a few old haunts around Chesterfield and Sheffield after slaying dragons.

(Be careful. Three Muskets! The other two are in Argyll and London respectively but we knew each other from Sheffield many moons ago. (Grapes on Trippet Lane.))

All together now!

I'm the urban spaceman baby, here comes the twist
I don't exist!

Of course, Neil Innes took a brilliant swipe at protest folk

Rain on a tin roof sounds like a drum
We're marching for freedom today!

Something or other about

Of french cigarettes and chemistry sets
And Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Or some such bollocks...


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 01:26 PM

"Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 06:51 AM

"Real folk songs,presumably you mean songs that fitted the rules of the singers club"
No Dick - songs that in some way or other fitted the documented and long tested description of folk songs and weren't Urban Spaceman or September Song - in fact - what it said on the tin.
Jim Carroll"
Plenty of Folk Clubs from the sixties through to the present day that in some way fitted the documentation and long tested description of folk songs in London and throughout the UK, Nobody took away your choice.
In fact one of the clubs that restricted choice of folk music was The Singers Club its rules were proscriptive, the dictionary definition of proscriptive is imposing restraint or restriction, thus restricting or taking away choice.


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Subject: RE: I really enjoyed that Folk Club because.
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 09:40 AM

After years of going to and running folk clubs I was taken to Bracknell Folk Festival in 1978. The singing in the cellar bar was simply stunning! Opened my eyes a lot.


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