trying to play the bodhran…

trying to play the bodhran…

i have recently decided, i am going to play the bodhran. well, about 6 months ago now.

what standard do i have to be to fit in at sessions, and what should i try to avoid, or not do in sessions?

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Re: trying to play the bodhran…

Standard?, I wouldn’t worry about that too much coz you are going to get slammed anyway

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keep really smelly farts to a minimum

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Oh, only 15 y.o. do whatever you like, they will let you get away with it coz you are cute.

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Simple, you should avoid playing the bodhran in sessions.

Do what you like at home, though why you wouldn’t just want to put more effort into playing tunes beets me.


(Is it just me or is the standard of discussions way off the mark lately?)

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Re: trying to play the bodhran…

Llig,

There does seem to be a lot of "what shall I play on my bugle at the local session and would my rendition of Val Doonican’s Paddy McGinty’s Goat go down well?" stuff at the moment.
I thought it was all just a warm up for a "prahper jahb" from someone on April 1st!

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

Sheet, samh, you are a musician - if you’re not already playing at sessions on your chosen instrument, why not?
Sensationally, I have to agree with liig here.

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You need to apprentice yourself to a master bodhran player. They are hard to find, usually a surly, aged hermit living on a lonely scrap of land with only a herd of goats for company, subsisting on a diet of black tea and cabbage leaves. You will have to live with him for, oh, six to ten years, who knows? In the early days your only jobs will be to make the tea, care for the cabbages and probably put up with a lot of verbal abuse. There’ll be no direct instruction. But watch him carefully, listen to him play. The odd day you may get an opportunity to practice on his drum while he’s away at the market or fair. With time you’ll absorb the unspeakable art. And, when he determines that you’ve learnt all you can from him, a mysterious ceremony takes place. A goat will be selected and slaughtered, the master will let you watch as he fashions a bodhran from it’s hide which he will present to you. And then he’ll throw you out on the highway. From then on, you’re on your own.

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Ah, I see now. clouding the water, so when the big one comes next Wednesday it will be harder to spot. Yeah, very clever. I’m gonna have to be on my toes. It’ll be something like:
"I found this video of Bob Dylan on youtube playing the bodhran in Ennis with Richard Thompson and a bunch of yank kids playing guitars, but he’s not playing tunes, he’s just jamming."
And if you click on the link, your computer is attacked by the "Wurzel" virus that converts your entire itunes library into midi files.

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Sam
You’re already pretty competent on the violin - channel your efforts into learning and playing the tunes!

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

so there is not so much confusion, i play violin, fiddle, what ever you want to cal it in sessions. i also play mandolin in sessions and decided i would start bodhran

i do play classical, but do not have to learn off sheet music, i can learn by ear.

i also was a former member oh hycc, a trad music organisation that got shut down

i am not strictly a classical violin player

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Re: trying to play the bodhran…

Well, it depends on the standard of the session! I would suggest finding a couple of other beginners and having your own kitchin session. If you take it out, actual real life sessions are generally more welcoming than you might get the impression here! Just be aware of dirty looks! and conversely of course , smiles directed your way.
Personally I feel to do justice to the music you need to be familiar with the tunes, so go to a session without your drum and see if you can record it to play along with at home. . try Seamus Creigh’s new cd for learners. you want to be able to sing/hum the tune to your self, ie; know it.
You can also simply ask the guys at the session if you would be welcome. The wont be welcome at lligs session even if you were Tommy Hayes !

So I would recomend more intense practice for a couple of years and get your standard as high as you can. Dont neglect your other instruments!

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

yeah, put that useless fiddle thing down. That thing where you can play the tunes, lead them, be a part of the music. Instead, spend a couple of years intense practice learning the tunes in your head (instead of on the fiddle).

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Re: trying to play the bodhran…

what does grade 4 on the fiddle mean? (from the OP bio) is it a UK rating system for music? where can I find a link to learn more about it?

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

samr:
It seems to me that, if you really are all you say, and really have been doing all you claim, that the answers to your questions, in the main, should be fairly self-evident. Getting some additional pointers is always handy, but mostly it is common sense and courtesy.
Ie, Make certain you are welcome, do not play too far over your head when jamming, and make sure you are joining in with them, not demanding them to join in with you.

The rest you will learn in the Drum Cave of Hammurabi.
😉

I suggest you do all that, and search and read through the legion of previous threads available here on arrogant musicans, hostile sessions and cussed drums.

Best of luck.

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Re: trying to play the bodhran…

If you play so many instruments already, stick to them. Leave the bodhran out of it🙂
If you want to play percussion really badly, bring a stick to sessions with you and bang it against the ground🙂

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You have an advantage over the majority of Bodhran players in as much as you can play other instruments. Therefor you should have an excellent idea how the rhythm of the tune goes and not end up playing the same old bumpity bump that seems to be the downfall of many bodhran players.

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Good luck Sam. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t play the drum in sessions. They have no right. They’re just jealous because they don’t like green eggs and ham.

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OK, the original posting looked like One Of Those, but a quick check showed that samh not only supplied background info, but also plays melody instruments; and in sessions, it was later revealed. So how about a bit of kindness towards someone who may well, in the not-so-distant future, be helping one of us hobble into a session?

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

think of the rhytym as "rashers and sausages"…

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

Play whatever you want if you like it and if you think it sounds good. I personally love good bodhrán playing in sessions, and I hate the haters.

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

Since you already have a regular session, and they know you and your level of musicianship, you’re in pretty good shape. It varies from session to session whether bodhrans are accepted, and how advanced you’d need to be to fit in, so I would suggest finding a good moment to talk to a friendly member of your regular session, and ask them the same question you’re asking here. That person will be more familiar with your level of dedication than the posters here, and more likely to give you a useful answer.

By searching some old threads, you’ll at least get a flavour of the common pitfalls to avoid, many of which you’ll already have figured out from your previous session experience. Here are two big ones I can think of offhand: Don’t play every set, and don’t play tunes you don’t know.

Good luck!

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

Learn a basic jig rhythm, boom diddle le de, and a basic reel rhythm, boom boom diddle de de, and practice.

But beware, many melody players cannot master a bodhran, so cast disparaging remarks, and ALL of them resent the attention a good bodhran player gets from an adoring public.

Prepare for a life where thousands are jealous of you, resent your prowess, and try to belittle you. Simply retain your modesty, and carry on, with the bodhran players motto engraved in your memory "father forgive them for they know not what they do".

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priceless

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Mr Bodhran Bliss is incisive and correct as ever. If you want an adoring public, forget the fiddle

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I concur with Pere and Bodhran Bliss. Despite the fact that I’ve loved and played celtic music for many years, I am acutely aware of the fact that I apparently don’t know sh*t from shinola as it applies to Irish music - at least according to the Trad. elitists in this group .

Having said that, I must to confess that I think a well-played bodhran adds a wonderful texture and excitement to certain tunes. Not every tune, mind you - some. It often seems to be you prima donna fiddle players who, as Bodhran Bliss pointed out, don’t want the spotlight taken away from you.

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What’s shinola? And what came first in Irish music: the drum or the vioiln?

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Shinola was, according to my late father-in-law, a brand of (brown) shoe-polish, common in the States in the ’50s’ and ’60s’ I would guess.
So, if you couldn’t tell……..you were pretty dumb.

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

Pete - yup. A work buddy of mine got a chunk of Guano and a can of Shinola off of Ebay and proudly displayed them on his desk…I suspect that it (the Shinola, I mean) was around earlier than the 50’s though, as my Dad used to use the "S&S" phrase regularly and I think that most of his, erm, "colorful" language came from WWII or before.
It’s still nice to hear it being used, though!

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Presumably the Shinola had a distinctive aroma - or lack of it, so one would not have to examine the texture too closely to differentiate….

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I’m doing my best to resist retelling the old "…good thing I didn’t step in it…" joke.

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In music the drum always came first, easiest instrument to make.

Fiddles are not traditional instruments, just happened to precede ‘zouks and mandolins.

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

I think Sam is being a little unambitious. Check out the old recordings of Kilfenora Ceili Band. Who is that guy bashing 7 grades of hell out of a full drum kit, snares, high-hats, bass drum - the lot? That’s the way to go!

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

I don’t give a shinola whether something is traditional or not. A lot of traditional stuff is rubbish, and a lot of contemporary stuff is good. You should be making choices on a quality basis, not some abstract concept of tradition.

(having said that, often, tradition is a reasonable bench mark, not least because you are not just trusting your own judgement, but those of previous generations also.)

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Re: trying to play the bodhran…

Ah - but what is "quality", llig?
I love a good bodhran beat, you don’t.
Both are opinions of quality. Just because you’re neurotic about yours doesn’t make it wrong. Or right.

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

There is no wrong or right, of course, but certain things are without contention. That it is extraneous to the tunes, and that punters who know little of the music prefer it.

(Though I’d advise - take it or leave it - not to bother trying to extoll it’s virtues when it’s all that you do. For example, if you played the guitar, would you heed the protestations from a "guitar hero" expert that what they did had value?)

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Llig is right. Idiots like Matt Molloy love the bodhran.

I mean, how could you?

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I’m certain that any professional musician must like the bodhran. Especially one whose living comes largely from punters who know little of the music.

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Reel= Black-and-decker rhythm
Jig=Rashers and sausages rhythm!

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

What things are without contention llig? certainly not your statement that the Bodhran is extraneous to ITM. That is highly contentious.

Llig, you are trolling. please stop. You tell us that ‘punters’ know little of the music, you must be speaking for yourself, as you can hardly speak for the entire population of ITM loving people. Your arguments get sillier and sillier, more desperate by the minute. You are now telling us that Jackie Daly, Sean Ryan, Paddy Keenan, Matt Molloy, , The list could go on to include the great majority of Trad musicians, living and dead, are all playing with bodhran players, because they are professionals? and you, as an Amateur, An English man Living in Scotland, who has possibly never even been to Ireland are right, that the bodhran, the traditional drum of Ireland, that has been a part of the traditional music of ireland for hundreds even thousands of years, is extraneous? Perhaps it is extraneous to your sessions, which would make sense because it is an Irish drum. But it is not extraneous to Irish music in Ireland.

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Yes, exactly.
What ARE llig’s qualifications to speak on ITM ?
Any more than mine.
At least my great grandmother was a Riley…..

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Its not a question of qualifications as you know, though I too am curious. , Llig says that the bodhran is extraneous . It is not extraneous to ITM anymore than the pipes, whistle, fiddle, flute are, so therefore if he is correct it must mean that it is extraneous to his session, which I can understand and makes sense. Perhaps he means something else?

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Mr. Ionannas,
It is often said that punctuation is what gives rhythm to the written word. Your punctuation is horrid. Therefore, you have no rhythm, and cannot speak with authority on matters relating to drums and other rhythmic instruments.
That makes about as much sense as anything else in this tedious argument.

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Not at all, it means I can not speak with authority on matters of punctuation, which i would agree with ‘😉 and apologise for.
There is sense here Al, Some people enjoy playing music with a good bodhran player, some dont, thats about it really.
I am not trying to convince anyone that they should enjoy something they dont! just making a point that the Bodhran is as traditional an instrument as they come. We hear here , from llig, how the flute fiddle and pipes are ‘the core traditional instruments, as if it made some difference,and that the banjo, box and concertina arent. Well We can add the bodhran to that trio quite legitimately[ and tin whistle]

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

Actually, it means you find it hard to speak, period. And you obviously find it hard to read also.

For example, I said the bodhran was extraneous to "the tunes". If you think there is more to "the music" than the tunes, then by al means, include the bodhran.

And I said that punters not familiar with the music like the bodhran. It’s your lack of language skills that led you to believe I said, ALL punters are not familiar with the music.

It’s hopeless debating with you.

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Re: trying to play the bodhran…

<,I’m certain that any professional musician must like the bodhran. Especially one whose living comes largely from punters who know little of the music.>>
and
>> but certain things are without contention. That it is extraneous to the tunes, and that punters who know little of the music prefer it.<,
You make such grandiose statements such as these? and you expect to be taken seriously? Im sorry but its just trollery. If you are ‘certain’ then you are deluded.
I did not say that ALL punters are not familiar with the music. ”punters who know little of the music prefer” the bodhran? Once again its hyperbole, You simply make a generalisation that has no basis in reality. It is certainly contentious.

You are quite right, if you come out with statements like that it is hopeless trying to debate with me. If you wish to have an intelligent debate, without rancour, as I do, then its best to think before you type. ” Does what I say make sense, can I provides any justification? supporting evidence,am I expressing an opinion, is what I say true and factual etc”
Perhaps you dont mean extraneous?
Do you mean that the tunes have a ‘life’ outside the people who play them? outside the instruments they are played on? I might be inclined to agree with you but surely they can only have this life in some form? You dont, I think, mean on paper, That they have form in the brain? Which could raise an interesting philosophical debate?

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

ex⋅tra⋅ne⋅ous
[ik-strey-nee-uhs]
–adjective

1.introduced or coming from without; not belonging or proper to a thing; external; foreign: extraneous substances in our water.

2.not pertinent; irrelevant: an extraneous remark; extraneous decoration.


Is the bodhran extraneous to the tunes? How can it be anything else when one cannot play tunes on it?

And don’t ask me about punters liking it, Ask Bodhran Bliss. He’s the best bodhran player in the world, He’s qualified.

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Re: trying to play the bodhran…

Yes, I am the best bodhran player in the world, but I also know something about playing professionally.

A good point about Matt Molloy maybe encouraging bodhrans and singers in his pub, but when you end up back at someone’s house Matt still likes the bodhran.

As for professionals, right I have a three piece, a booking is paying £1.200. That’s £400 each. So why would I have a fourth, a bodhran player, as it is costing me £100 a booking?

Unless I think the bodhran is adding something, such as a "pulse" to the heartbeat of the music. Poetic or what?

So I cannot understand why Matt and Jackie Daly and De Danean and all those others had bodhran players taking the bread from their mouths.

Unless they like bodhrans.

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Yep, thats what I mean, it stems from the same root as stranger, in Spanish, Estranjero, Meaning Foreigner. . External.
But the tunes developed within the culture that includes dance, the Bodhran, the language and culture. I agree its possible to approach the tunes as independent entities, divorced and separated from the culture and context but is it a good idea? The context, is one of the things that we stress here,. That includes performance style, we propound the philosophy that the performance, the style of playing, ‘ought’ not be separated from the music to be played. So we consider that its not authentic to play the tunes on Electric guitar. or in a Classical style, etc etc. These are all aspects of the music’. I dont go as far as you to suggest that the banjo , box and concertina are not ’ core ’ instruments, in fact I argue against that, but I can understand where you are coming from, as you have explained succinctly your reasons and motivations. I dont agree but I understand.
So the common ground that I think we agree on is that the style and performance matters, to us, and to the tradition and the continuation of it.
This is why I can not agree that the Bodhran is external to the tunes, because they developed in tandem, you simply can not say that the tunes were composed without the bodhran, unless you have specific evidence to support your contention. I can accept that , say Charlie Lennon composed tunes at home with no drum in sight, but only if he says so!
I think that the tunes can not be separated from the likely situation they were composed in, the session, playing music around the fire, Kitchen and crossroad dances. These all are likely at one time or other to have included the Bodhran. There is certainly no reason to think otherwise. We have plenty of evidence to support this .
So I can accept that if you narrowly define the tunes as inanimate concepts divorced from their real life context, that the drum, the style of performance, the instruments,etc are all external. But I dont accept that the tunes can be separated from their context in this manner and still be played authentically. This is how we get performance of Drowsy Maggie by the London Philharmonic with guest solo by Eddie Van Hallen is it not?

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unless they are playing the long term game?

Or, more seriously:
I’ve never had anything personally against the bodhran. I’ve stated many times that there are occasions where I’ve enjoyed performances on the thing. And the fact that I personally have never gotten anything out of playing with one is irrelevant to whether anyone else does.

The fact remains that there are people who like playing with them, and those who don’t. And if you couple that fact with the fact that punters like the thing, it’s no surprise that musicians who like the bodhran have had more commercial success.

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Ionannas, get it into your thick head that I don’t give a sh*t whether anything is traditional or not.

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It’s traditional in the middle east to stone women who’ve been raped. It’s traditional in certain parts of Africa to butcher young girl’s genitalia.

Do not respect tradition for tradition’s sake, Do not do it. It is a moral and intellectual dead end.

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OK, so then do us the favour of standing by that and dont come on with comments like this>>Non of his twiddley bits even approach traditional. The way he bends the strings are from the blues, The way he draws out the first note in the triplets iis not traditional. etc etc etc>>

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

Yet again, when I say, "Do not respect tradition for tradition’s sake", you interpret this as me saying I do not respect tradition.

I respect and adore this music’s traditions of tunes, its articulations, its melody. Not because they are traditional, but because they are great,

Christ, you really do have a problem with basic language.

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How on earth do you know how I interpreted your statement? you dont, you are setting up a straw man to tilt at
Llig perhaps they are traditional, because they are great? Which is one reason why the bodhran is also traditional; because it has stood the test of time and earned its place in the sessions, stages and kitchens of numerous traditional musicians from the greatest to the humblest. As have the fiddle, pipes, Flute, concertina, etc.
Yes it cant play tunes, but there is a lot more to the music than the tunes.

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

"running over the same old ground"
"running over the same old ground"


Not only is your language disastrous, your memory is also.

If you think there is more to the music than playing the tunes, then make, bake, and eat your cake.

And I’ll just repeat that, just in case your short term memory loss kicks in:

If you think there is more to the music than playing the tunes, then make, bake, and eat your cake.

And if you want to defend the bodhran on the grounds that it has stood the test of time, I’ll remind your short term memory loss that female circumcision has also stood the test of time.

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Please continue this entertaining discussion. I just love it when anonymous people with false names argue about nonsense on public internet forums. It gives me a deep sense of joy and spiritual happiness.

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No false name from me Joel. It’s spelled out clearly

(all be it in a way that is not easily goggled, but not in the slightest bit concealed from anyone who might know me, play with me, or want to get in touch with me)

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What makes you think I was talking about you? Best regards from ttomredcm leoj

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sorry , what did you say?
So, sinking to personal derogatory comments? guess you have no argument left. I am happy to continue enjoying playing music with my friends and compatriots which include an excellent Bodhran player. I had better stop wasting my time debating with you llig, once you start being insulting its all down hill, i have no wish to follow you there, Yawn. bye now.

Re: trying to play the bodhran…

ttomreDcM leoJ

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Do such conventions work in reverse? Eh leahciM?

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according to google you’ve been dead since 2005, so maybe you are Jesus??

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Ionannas, I appologise if you really do suffer from short term memory loss. I didn’t mean to demean a genuine handicap. That was wrog of me.

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Who’s been dead since 2005?

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ha, I sincerely hope that that’s a different Michael

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me too cos I’m an atheist

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wrog… ! LOL
Yes Llig , how could you be so wrog? Jeez man, do you never read your own posts before you press ‘post’ ?

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Right, I really am out here.

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Out where?

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I think he meant "out of here". I suspect he just didn’t check his post before hitting "post".

🙂

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Maybe he (or she) really is out there? But where?

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I’d like to think he’s (and it certainly is a he) is out of this website. But unfortunately, I seriously doubt it.

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Englishman: ‘Doctor I get a terrible pain in my eye when I drink a cup of tea.’

Doctor: ‘Have you tried taking the spoon out?’

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unfortunately, it’s not my cup of tea

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Finally I agree with Ion, or with what he meant to type—he really is out there. Bound to happen sooner or later, with such a negatively charged Ion….

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