Thoughts on our webpage…

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Ouch.

Danny,
As a web designer, I’d have to say, I’m not a fan of the ‘look’.

But its the content you are talking about right?

I think you should take this site down, and tell people when they come into the pub, that saves you.

Out of curiosity, are bouzouki’s allowed?

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I was wondering that. You say strummed "yokes" aren’t part of it, but there are pictures of said yokes (or bits of)… so that would leave me confused, to be honest. Why not a simple list of "core" instruments - with encouragement to bring along non-core instruments at their own peril?

Also just too many words!!!

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Have you thought of doing a "blog" style site - with a front page about the session style, and weekly updates on who was there, what went on etc. Don’t know - just my 2 euro - as the software is relatively easy to find / sign up to.

If the point of your site is for people to feel informed, so they arrive with roughly the right expectations, then a front page of a blog could do that, and you could have a separate page for hiring out yourselves as a "band".

The main issue I have with the "all on one page" look is that you set out what’s OK / not OK, and also say you hire yourselves out as a band. To me that looks incredibly clique-y and would put me right off!

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Spoons/bones OK but guitars not OK ???
hmmm….

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Thanks so far. Hugo, your banjo would be welcomed. Personally, I quite like tasteful bouzouki. Even tasteful guitar! But I think we are unique for a local session in that we are known to be almost guitar-free. That in itself is worth preserving. So, sorry if that stung. But I must disagree about a quiet worrd in a strummer’s ear once they’ve turned up. They can read about session expectations right here before setting out on a fruitless journey.
As for blog style, look at the Blythe Hill Tavern entry on here that is almost bloggish
https://thesession.org/sessions/451
But as I know very little about web design I would welcome further constructive comments in that regard. But I think I have very little scope with the AOL webpage design constraints.
I take your point, though, my spiel probably is a bit verbose.

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D,
Do you have something musical of interest you want to part with?

I’ll redo the page for you in an hour.
S

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KML, on my Firefox browser all the type was justified hard left, right on the edge of the window. Legible but disconcerting. I prefer more content than less, I didn’t find it too wordy. And I like the way you plainly state your preferences and expectations, straightforward. I’d avail myself of Hugo’s offer for design, though.

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The message has a similar tone to the time their had a gourmet night at Fawlty Towers and Basil had put "no riff raff" in the local paper advert much to the bemusement of Sybil his wife.

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very amateurish and shoddy, but perhaps that’s what you wanted

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Thanks michael.
Hugo what do have in mind?

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Why don’t you just state it as "Guitars and other strummed instruments are allowed by invitation only." You could make a statement that, "Many guitar and rhythm players are not familiar with the unique style of playing required to accompany Irish music." That would make your policy a bit clearer than stating that no guitars are allowed, but then saying don’t be surprised if you see one being played there.
I am not keen on such limits, but can understand it. I have seen too many accompanists join in sessions, sometimes outnumbering the melody instruments, who think they are contributing to the sound, but are really just cluttering it up. I am an accompanist (primarily) myself, and am amazed how many of my bretheren think that every moment of the music must be accompanied, and accompanied by everyone present, instead of taking turns, listening, and letting things breathe.

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Well if the point of the webpage is to try to put people off going to your session then it works very well, I’m sure I’m not the only one who wouldn’t be bothered going to play with such an elitist bunch of idiots!

Guitars are just as much part of the tradition as mandolins by the way. If musicians of the calibre of Michael Coleman, Matt Molloy, Martin Hayes, James Byrne, Danny Meehan, Seamus Tansey et al are happy to play with good guitarists then that’s enough for me to know that the guitar is now firmly part of the tradition.

‘Though proud, we remain true to the tradition, and we guard our ‘treasure’ to ensure it remains as hugely popular as it has become in recent years in South London.’

If you believe you are being true to the tradition with your elitist stance then you really don’t have a clue.

This tradition is an ever evolving inclusive tradition and most decent musicians couldn’t care less what instrument someone plays so long as they play it well.

So if you want your session to remain a smug ‘we’re real traditionalists" guitar-free zone good luck to you but don’t think for a second that that makes your session any better than any others, it actually makes it a lot worse.

To make matters even worse you have the gall to advertise your ‘session’ for hire. Sounds more like a band you’ve got going there than a session.

I always wondered what it was that made you and me disagree so much on this mustard board Danny, now I know…………

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I’m not sure I agree with your statement about guitars not being a part of the tradition, but bodhrans are (and note: I PLAY the bodhran). The bodhran has been a recent addition to the tradition, just as guitars and bouzoukis are.

I understand not wanting to be overrun with guitars and especially with the sort of people who just bang on them and think they’re playing music. I’ve been to those sorts of sessions and they’re nothing but an exercise in frustration. But to say "no strummed instruments allowed" (not that people should be STRUMMING anyway) seems a bit much. I mean, would you turn away the likes of John Doyle or Andy Irvine? Perhaps a note that only one guitar can be playing at the same time or only those guitarists/bouzkouki players who understand that playing backup is not about strumming chords are allowed? I’m not sure how to word it best, but you might chase away some damned good musicians and that would be regrettable.

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If it keeps you away that’s the job done.

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at least we agree on something Danny, I’ll gladly stay away from your session anytime I’m in Engerland, I just hope you’ll stay away from any sessions I’m in cos with your attitude you’re just as likely to ruin a session as a bad guitarist!!!!

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Perhaps as well as listing the instruments you don’t want, you should list all the actual tunes that you don’t think are suitable as well. Then you’ll know exactly what you’re be getting at your exclusive little club.

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The pictures need work, in my opinion. The collage contains graphics that are of too varying quality. Also, I would avoid stretching or squashing photos just to make them fit into the design.

Two of your links at the bottom are dead.

If your content doesn’t scare people away, certainly the link to the mustard board should do the trick. Kidding.

Lastly, the URL is way too long.

There could be more said (as we prove over and over) but I would like to congradulate you on the effort. Session web pages can really increase the feeling of community.

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Here in the boonies, we take all comers, and we try to educate them at the same time. We try to do it all, because we’re in the hinterland, we have to. If I was running a session in the big city, well, I may be a little more selective, like Danny is here. It’s probably a necessary thing in big, urban areas, so you don’t have every novice strummer who knows the chords to "The Wild Rover" show up and torment you en masse.

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Danny I think you could elucidate further by saying:
1. Bodhran players permitted if wearing shirt and tie
2. The DLR is not the fastest way to get there from central London despite what the ticket window gadji says
3. Take that pint of Guinness off my back! It’s not clever and it’s not big. OK, it is big, but it’s not funny.

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Not a bloody word about harmonicas. Just as well, as I’m in your neck of the woods soon with ten of my harmonica-playing mates…😀

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The language of the website makes it sound like one of those sessions leaning more towards being a gig than a session. If I were in South London I think I’d be hesitant to go there. I guess I’m not sure what you want the website to do. Is it there to promote the session as a session, promote it as a gig, to encourage passing musicians to come to the session, to encourage anyone passing through to stop by to just listen to the music, or as a website for the session musicians themselves to communicate.

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I’ve just looked at the page again.
"Many of these pieces date from hundreds of years ago, and are played on acoustic instruments, the way they were played by our Irish and Scots ancestors."

Are you all of Irish & Scottish ancestory then?
Are you implying a racial exclusivity for the players at your session?

"When you sit in on a session with our group of friendly musicians, you may well make that connection to your own Gaelic ancestry, whilst witnessing part of an ongoing thriving musical heritage."

Again, are you only inviting a certain racial group?
Or are you forgetting that "the music" is played all over the world by all types and categories that may not have "Gaelic ancestry"?
This all stinks of "you have to be Irish to play Irish music"!

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here is our session home page..

http://www.nogirishsession.com/

I like the way it is layed out, has session news and announcements, a tune page with mp3’s, and dots

and it’s Ours!

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I won’t comment upon the design because my own website needs a very rigorous overhaul. However, I did experience similar problems to fidkid regarding textual alignment.

One key criticism would be that you’ve left a vital part of your information until the very end (the venue details) and you haven’t made it exactly clear who (or what) is being hired. I spent years teaching people how to write press releases and these two details should be given far more prominence.

The actual link to your page is somewhat shorter - http://hometown.aol.co.uk/cruiseroisin/. Does the AOL set-up allow you to make sub-pages? If so, I’d strongly consider doing so and offer links to those new pages from the home page. Doing that would corral the information into various sections, e.g. the music, the musicians, hiring, etc.

Lastly, re. your three closing links - the first only leads to this site’s home page (I’m not sure what that achieves), but both of the other two are dead. You ought to have a link to a map and the best are provided by various London pub review websites such as http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/clubs_bars/venue-4669.php, though you can easily search for others.

As someone who has witnessed far too many sessions blighted by inane strummers I reckon you’ve been a little too mild (and you haven’t mentioned shakey eggs!).

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Quite a few people here seem to be taking offence at the content of the site. I doubt if this is Danny’s real intention and I don’t believe he wishes it to be that "exclusive" either apart from the obvious exceptions.

He and his musical friends who are regulars within this particular session have the right to run it the way they wish, to be as welcoming as they wish etc. They may choose to discourage participants for a variety of reasons but I don’t believe for one moment it would be on "racial grounds".
However, I’m sure that they could probably manage to do this naturally (At the location) and the session would probably "manage" or even "police" itself without advertising the various stipulations.

In fact, I don’t really see the need to advertise it at all…. or any other session, in fact. I feel it’s sufficient just to mention it in listings or state that "It’s happening".
Perhaps, some indication could be given as to whether it’s Irish, Scottish, Instrumental, Mixed etc but anything more isn’t really necessary and probably best avoided.

People can surely suss out for themselves whether they will "fit in" or not. Sometimes I feel there’s too much organisation these days especially for events which are supposed to be relatively informal.

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Hey Sunnybear - I like your website too - I find it more inclusive and welcoming. However, it took me a while to find out where your session actually is (I cant find it on your webpage at all and had to click through to the pub’s website, from where I deduce its in the USA somewhere!).

Apart from that minor grumble - a nice job.

Key Maniac’s site - good first attempt, but I’d work at the look, get some decent photos and try to sound a bit more friendly.

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just to clarify, it is not "my" website, but was initiated, designed and maintained by our super star session leader Julie..

she has put a lot of work both into the site and the session…I publicly thank her

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Far too Cheesy, Elitist, and Snobby. Not sure why anyone would want to go to a session like that. The ridiculous statements on the site gave me a good laugh though.

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It’s not worthwhile, really, to get into a discussion/argument here about the place of guitars or other fretted-string instruments in "the tradition." And, as has been stated time and again, certainly session organizers can and do exercise their prerogative to limit numbers of musicians and types of instruments.

But my feeling is, you can state your case in a way that doesn’t raise hackles needlessly. In one of your replies on this thread, you mentioned:
>I think we are unique for a local session in that we are known to be almost guitar-free.

That would be a good "selling point" _and_ rationale for your session, in my view. Something like this:

"We recognize that many people nowadays view guitar and bouzouki accompaniment as a legitimate, even desirable, part of Irish music. But in our session we prefer to keep the focus on melody instruments, such as the fiddle, flute or accordion. We think this brings a unique quality to the session that is increasingly rare these days, and we hope those who play guitar and bouzouki, or other fretted string rhythm instruments, will understand or at least respect our point of view."

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Of course to be truly traditional the fluteplayer would carry a large pint of Guinness on their *left* shoulder.

More photos and maybe recordings of the session would be a nice addition.

And what are the chords to the The Wild Rover anyway?

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What about a guitarist who plays the tunes?

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Just to follow up and clarify on my previous post: For the record, I find this attitude toward guitars and bouzoukis disappointing, but I do recognize that, hey, it is your (collective "your") view — which is unlikely to change — and, most importantly, it is your session.
I don’t doubt that you probably produce some great music at the session. But for me, given the choice of going to a session where because of my choice of instrument I am relegated to listening, or a session in which I can participate (which over time will hopefully contribute to my improvement as a musician), I will unfailingly choose the latter.

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And what about bouzouki players who play melody? Are they also undesirable?

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I think it’s great that people who put up session web pages are unambiguous about what their session is like and what they expect from visitors or newcomers. It makes it really easy for people who travel to sort out which sessions they’d like to visit and which are given a big miss altogether. Does a session come across as a big "anything goes" jam session? Does it come across as a pretentious "we’re more Irish than the Irish and we’re going to prove it to you" thing? Or does it come across as sensible, inclusive but not " djembes and 5 guitars at once" inclusive? Or something else entirely? So, I’m all for being honest when putting up a session web page.

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I dunno Danny…Have you a cheap flute?
Or a good recording I don’t? Email if ya want.

*Off topic* - actually most people are off topic on this page, so I’ll join…

I like guitars in sessions.

In fact I took up backing, cause I liked guitars, but hated the Dublin/ John Doyle techno trad thing that used to ruin so many swinging sessions. I still play guitar at my own sessions. I’m sure no one could stand my bonky bonky banjo for too long, so I often switch.

What would ye be like if Arty Farty McGlynn walked in?

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KML I don’t think your site is too harsh about your preferences.

You’re goning to take all kinds of flak from fretted strings players but I applaud your courage and support your determination to keep your session the way you want it.

If inexperienced, overconfident, stylistically clueless or otherwise incompatible guitarists stay away in droves that’s FINE. They can go away angry as long as they just go away.

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As regards the perceived "elitism" thing, sts put it so well a bit earlier that I don’t have much to add, except to echo his comment about the emphasis being on traditional melody instruments. Perhaps a sound clip might help; if folks don’t hear "Rocky Top" or "Feeling Alright", maybe they’ll get the clue that it’s not a Bluegrass thing or a Blues Jam. Just my HO.
KML - as regards the look, design, etc, you might want to check out feardearg’s site, http://www.sessionite.com/. A non-musician freind of mine who’s in a position to know about such things was very impressed with your site. Gary, I’ll tell you about that in a PM, it might lead to a bit of work for you.
Cheers,
Tom

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Just out of curiosity, if KML’s web site had been from "Dancing Zorba’s Greek Restaurant" and they said they were there to play exclusively Greek music using accepted Greek instruments, celebrating their Greek ancestry, and further cautioned that guitar players unfamiliar with the music should not attend - I doubt anyone would bat an eye or raise the slightest fuss. (I apologize for the run on sentence)

Once again, the reason so many are put off by the strummer contingent is because of all the session instruments that make a regular showing (djembe, shaky eggs, and other non-trad noise makers aside) it is more often than not the guitar players who walk in cold to this genre and expect to play on every tune whether or not they have the foggiest notion as to what the tune is or the direction it is headed. This DOES NOT suggest that there aren’t thousands of talented, wonderful, guitar players out there who add great lift and drive to every session they attend. I am blessed with with several sessions in my town that have excellent guitar players - but I have also been in a few where "Dude, is it cool if I jam with you guys?" guitar players roll in a make a muddy mess of it all.

KML - I’d be inclined to take up Hugo Chavez on his web design offer - yours could use a little sprucing up…. 😉

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Actually, I think the guitar is pretty much accepted in Greek music now.

Carry on, though…

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"Guitar players unfamiliar with the music" was the key phrase there, Grego.

"Hey bro, I know a totally killer Led Zep riff that would go with that funky Greek dance you’re doing…"

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It’s not the content that bothers me, say what you like, it’s the tone. It’s painful. And the thing about hiring out for a gig would frighten millions of people away, guaranteed. If you want to encourage people to a session, make a friendly session website. If you don’t, make a "band" website to get bookings. The two don’t gel.

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Fair enough.

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Fair enough, JNE, I meant.

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Ooops! Was very impressed with Gary’s site. My bad…

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Hire a pro. The photos are hard to look at, and you could say what you want to say in a lot less verbiage. Stop bein’ so cheap, y’ old git.

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KML, great to see the debate you’ve opened about how to advertise sessions etc… while I stand by the comments I made earlier, I have tried to use AOL hometown (years ago, mind you) and it is, in my considered opinion, a really sh*tty piece of web software. There’s so much better available out there which won’t constrain you, web design-wise.

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Reminds me of the old days in London when it used to say on the pub door "No Irish".

Now it just says "No guitars".

Obviously the law hasn’t considered this.

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I would never even think of publicising our session for fear of guitar-toting tossers turning up. Kudos to you for putting it out into the public domain!

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And I typed a word that rhymes with spankers, not one that rhymes with flossers.

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It’s hard for me to see it as snobby because I’ve been there and it’s anything but. I even "strummed" a set of "non-Gaelic" (i.e Shetland) tunes.

Whether you need to say anything about guitars probably depends on the likelihood of too many bashers turning up.

Like up here or further north, they actually welcome the occasional appearance of bluegrass players as a refreshing change, which is probably not the case in, say, West Virginia.

Anyway, anyone who goes to the trouble of finding Danny’s web page probably doesn’t need to be told, so it’s preaching to the converted.

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Hi there,

It’s not often I post here, but since you are welcoming views / comments re your website……..

If I were a member of your core group of accomplished solid players, I doubt if I would subscribe to your viewpoint.

It sounds as if your just advertising yourselves as accomplished musicians for hire.

Just out of curiosity, how competitive are your rates….ie what / who do I get for my money…

We are simply talking `Tradional` music and the sharing of tunes at a session etc.

In other words, get a life! and start by removing your heads from your own arses!………but you obviously need to do this cos you are insecure and need the comfort! and don’t know how to deal with someone who walks in with a Guitar or Shaker….

Feck sake, is this what trad sessions are coming to…

Just my tuppence worth
pkev

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I am another one of the many people on the yellaboard
who do web stuff for a living.

I actually like the crudeness, but could you put in 10px or so of left
margin, cut way back on the number of words and
show the images at their natural sizes — don’t try to force them bigger.
They are a little _too_ rustic looking.

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I understand why you might need a ‘no guitar toting tossers’ policy.
Where I am, they suss out the situation and pack up in 15 minutes
or so. There’s no need.

The free beer might might be too much to resist at some other places.

But y’know, if you get a guitar toting tosser / solicitor, you might
have a problem …

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I think a better website for giving an insight into Key’s knowledge and right to make calls on guitars in sessions can be found here:

http://www.iop.kcl.ac.uk/staff/profile/default.aspx?go=10487

not really a cv that inspires confidence in his opinion in irish music. As Floccinaucinihilipilification so correctly pointed out, if it’s good enough for the likes of Coleman, Meehan, Tansey and most of the leading exponents of Irish Music, living and gone, then it should be good enough for you and your 2-row melodeon!

So if Cooney, Arty or Blakey turned up at your session with guitars, you wouldn’t be pleased? If fact would make a musical call that their instrument for backing was ‘untraditional’? I think you should stick to microbiology, and leave judgement calls on Irish music to people who know what they are talking about.

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Thanks for (most of) the comments. I now know there is a lot wrong with the webpage. It’s too verbose, too cheesy, the pictures need improving and the layout (on the AOL format) is crap. I’ll make loads of amendments at some point soon, when I have time.

I don’t know why my so-called CV has anything to do with how good or bad is my opinion on Irish music. I haven’t linked that to this site for ages so you must have taken a bit of time out to rummage around looking for that, not that I care. But to do that seems pathetic, small-minded and mean spirited.
Very strange how some people take this personally. Then get very abusive. In fact it has reinforced my view that I could do without their type at our session.

I’m only going to say that in a suburban area of a big city it is easy to attract all sorts of wannabe and has-been rock stars wielding their axes, in fact they do congregate at many other so-called traditional sessions. At the Blythe we try not to encourage them too much, hence my strong wording (which I’ll tone down).

I am aware that many great traditional musicians have *recorded* with guitars. They may even have guitars in their sessions. I know that to discourage guitars is "pretend-traditional",and as I said above, I myself quite like wellplayed bouzouki or even guitar accompaniment, but if you are outraged at my comments, you are missing the whole point. Which is that The Blythe Thursday night session sounds very strong on melody purely because there are no guitars obscuring the melody. And if you want a session where you can bring your guitar along to, there are dozens of others throughout London, Kent and Surrey.
But no doubt these comments will produce more outrage.

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Great idea to find out a better way of doing the site - I fired up AOL Hometown yesterday and anyone would struggle with that. I think it’s an application that they had in the late nineties and it looks as if nothing’s happened to it since then. There are definitely some great free blog sites to sign up to and you can build a pretty professional-looking and interactive page for nothing. Plus, I think a home-grown site is somehow appropriate to the music.

A suggestion - which might get the message across - is to have a bit for guitarists, mentioning / linking to the guitar-friendly sessions in the area, so they can enjoy their vice and feel OK about it.

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Thanks Mark. Your comments are appreciated. Your right about AOL Hometown, it’s crap and limited by today’s standards. BTW in answer to your earlier "strummed yokes" query - Aidan was, I believe, playing melody in that picture, not "strumming".

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So, Daved, you’ve done some investigative digging and discovered – shock!! horror!! – that Danny is a microbiologist with a day job, and on that basis you reckon he should “stick to microbiology, and leave judgement calls on Irish music to people who know what they are talking about.”

Who are those people, exactly, would you enlighten us?

Full-time Irish music professionals, perhaps?

How “traditional” d’ye think that notion is? Yep, they exist in this century and in the latter half of the last, but wasn’t John Doherty a tinker? I assure you there are a few people in these parts who have day jobs – professions, even - who quite definitely know a thing or two about Irish music. Or are serious musicians supposed only to flip burgers or drive trucks to make ends meet – is that somehow more heroic? Does working towards a profession disqualify you from being Real Musician?

Danny asked for comments on the web site, you after about two posts here had a go at Danny personally. I agree with the comments suggesting the web site is a too homegrown and the message needs rewording and editing. But I’ve been to that session as a visiting beginner, played about one tune all night but I was made welcome, and I echo Bren’s comment that this session didn’t seem at all elitist. It is being wilfully thick to suggest that this session would turn away any of the known expert guitarists you list. It is crystal clear to anyone who’s remembered to wind their brain up in the last 24 hours what these people are protecting themselves from, and it’s not the known-quantitiy players and Steve Cooneys of this world.

And, y’know, it’s *their session*. If they want to decide that only one-legged dwarfs named Arbuthnot who turn up wearing a green sock on each ear can join in – guess what, they can.

So, did you have any comments to make on the web site?

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KML,

Many guitarists and bouzouki players who love ITM get a bit of abuse for their choice of instruments, sometimes from people who have never heard them play, so perhaps some of us can get a bit sensitive about that. The no guitar wording struck me as being a bit over the top.

The people who hold the session can certainly determine how they want the session to go and feel and one way to do that is to place restrictions on the types of instruments that are allowed. Some of the wording on the website makes the session sound a bit less welcoming than I personally would prefer (not that my personal preferences have anything to do with anything). If I were in the area, I might grab my whistle and show up. Perhaps the actual session is more welcoming than the impression I got from the website.

Daved: I don’t see why anyone’s CV has anything to do with the issue. I’m a molecular biologist and a microbiologist, but I can still be well informed about other topics, including musical ones.

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OK, I’ve trimmed it a bit. Still a long way to go though. I’ve even buckled under the pressure from irate guitarists, not that I have any respect for them judging from some of the comments they’ve already posted on this thread. Anyway, it’s as yet just a slight improvement, so here goes:
http://hometown.aol.co.uk/cruiseroisin/myhomepage/makingmusic.html

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Looks good, Danny, but I find the ‘toothmark’ dividers a bit distracting.

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Danny

Sorry to be blunt but it is crap in all regards.

Let me rant a little about the ‘no guitars rule’ first and then i’ll deal with my critique. If a 14 year-old (providing they’re allowed in?) came to the pub with a relative in the early part of the session with a guitar and had practised the kesh-jig chord sequences, it was the only tune he/she knew what would be your response? Would it not be better for the music (and the young person’s confidence) for someone to indulge them and play through the kesh slowly, and enthuse them with the massive leaps and bounds that trad guitar has come on over the last 20 years. Tell them that the 3chord-trick style is going to hold them back as a player and say you’ll find out the name of a good trad guitar teacher near them and encourage them to stay interested in the music. Just a thought?

Design ain’t my bag mate but then again it obviously isn’t yours either.

I’ll move on to content shall i?

"When you sit in on a session with our group of friendly musicians, you may well make that connection to your own Gaelic ancestry, whilst witnessing part of an ongoing thriving musical heritage. If you have no known Gaelic ancestry you’re still just as welcome to sit with us, or play along with us!!"

You haven’t a clue who you want to communicate with via the site?

Why invite people to play along with your session if they could be absolute new-comers to ITM? illustrated by the total use of elementary explanation of what ITM is and what the bloody instruments are even called?

"The Music is a huge collection of tunes such as jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas and slides… and traditional songs. Many of these pieces date from hundreds of years ago, and are played on acoustic instruments."

In short pick an audience and stick with it, if you want muso’s to come along and play they won’t need to be told what a jig is, and if you want johnny tourist to visit i’d suggest you remove the invitation to ‘play along’ given the following

"NB: Some other local, more ephemeral, sessions like to have an ‘anything goes’ philosophy, with a bit of classical, rock and roll, or Gipsy music thrown into the mix, but the Blythe Hill Tavern Session repertoire is predominantly Gaelic - Irish or Scots - in origin. That’s the way it has evolved at our session and that’s the way we want to keep it."

You are a poor communicator.

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What you’ve done with the photos certainly ‘evens them out" and makes it look like a planned graphic rather than thrown-together happy snaps.

On my screen (IE 6.0) all the text is displayed absolutely hard left which is annoying - you keep trying to scroll left to get a bit of margin but you can’t.

The tooth dividers being wider than tham the picture divider above them doesn’t look tidy - they should finish level or be removed. I don’t think you need them anyway.

I agree that the target audience of the first part of the text isn’t clear. I think you could just most of it without altering your chances of chancers.

Re the we’-re-available-for-hire bit … there’ve been bazillions of comments here about how the great unwashed don’t get it that a session is not a performance and a bunch of sessioneers is not a band. Maybe if you said, "Some of our session stalwarts are available for hire as a band" or similar, it might make the difference clear?

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"I think you could just CUT most of it", I meant …

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Ow!
OK OK, points taken. Thanks for your…erm….help.
So I have to decide whether I ‘m advertising to punters, potential hirers, posible joiner-in learners or other seasoned musos. Catch-alls and falling between stools doesn’t work then.
Oh, this learner curve is a steep and painful one!

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Looks good now. And as for your pitch, you have to do whatever’s
appropriate for your environment. I have noticed that UK sites tend
to be more verbose; it must be a cultural thing.

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I’d recommend cutting or rewording the part about "Gaelic ancestry." Maybe that’s a cultural thing as well but I guess to me a person’s individual "Gaelic ancestry," or lack thereof, is one of the least important aspects of playing, enjoying, and connecting to this music.

The layout, however, is much better.

I agree with jfiddlerh that you have to work out who your audience is and sort out the purpose of the site. At the same time, there are ways to address several audiences. I think Gary’s website does this extremely well. There are links for beginners explaining the different instruments, session etiquette, and so on. There are also pages for the session regulars to communicate about stuff and other interesting information for the procrastinatorily (is that word?) minded.

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Yeah the Gaelic ancestry bit is twee. On thinking about it, this webpage did used to be very much shorter, then I got the offer of some gigs (only a couple of which actually materialised…maybe now I see why….) so I decided to make it more "hirer-friendly" with all the romantic Celtic sh!te. I then truncated it, then cut it again and that’s what’s up at present. And it still needs radical surgery. Thanks all for taking the trouble to lead this blind fool along this rocky path.

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Gaelic ancestry means next to nothing to the tunes. The only way Gaelic affects the tunes is if you live with or are brought up with Gaelic. I can’t stand seeing bands going on about their Gaelic ancestry. We constantly see American bands with Scots/Irish decent blabbering on about their Gaelic past. Get real.

Anyway, apart from that, well done KML for having the guts to try and keep your session the way you want it. Any more than one guitar is pish and the average guitarist who turns up at sessions is not John Doyle. We are extremely lucky at our session in that we have very talented mandola player who is a great accompanist and only very good guitarists would try to join in. Elitist? No IMO. We love our session. We don’t want it watered down and if that doesn’t suit everyone then thats just tough.

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Americans are obsessed with their Scots/Irish ancestry. It’s the second most frequent question usually American tourists ask me at sessions (the first is, "What IS that instrument?"). I always say no. The follow up is then inevitably "So how did you get into this music?" Oh, feck off. That’s why I winced at the reference to Gaelic Ancestry on Danny’s website.

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Hey, KML, it’s getting a lot better. And kudos to you for being brave enough to pitch your question to this board - and stick with it.

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"A few points about the Blythe Hill Tavern session

~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~

NB: Some other local, more ephemeral, sessions like to have an ‘anything goes’ philosophy, with a bit of classical, rock and roll, or Gipsy music thrown into the mix, but the Blythe Hill Tavern Session repertoire is predominantly Gaelic - Irish or Scots - in origin. That’s the way it has evolved at our session and that’s the way we want to keep it.

~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~¬~

Random guitar and ukelele strummers are not really encouraged at the Blythe session, but that said we may appreciate skilled and sympathetic guitar accompaniment. However, in this part of London, skilled guitar accompaniment to Irish music is a rarity. "

Very well put. Who could be offended by that? I especially like the way you get folk to consider if they are up to it on the guitar by saying " skilled guitar accompaniment to Irish music is a rarity. " 🙂

BUT - no pipes????? Are you mad? 🙁 🙁 🙁

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Pipers are of course welcome….but again good ones are a rarity, though! But maybe I should add that pipes, concertinas and so on are welcome; but the instruments I did mention are those which are regularly played at our session.

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Yes, bad pipers are hellish for a session. Luckily round here you don’t really hear bad ones - certainly not at sessions.

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+"So how did you get into this music?" Oh, feck off.+
Definitely Scottish then!

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It’s your thang. Do what ya wanna do.

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