Namedropping

Namedropping

<rant>
Hate it. Starting to hear a lot of it. You know the scenario, session around the table, some fella talks about the "few tunes" he had whenever with "insert name of obscure but famous musician, usually from Clare or Galway, here". It’s always followed with a split second pause to allow the enormity of it all to sink in with the listener. I guess it helps people feel more inside the tradition or something. More authoritative. It’s right up there with the whispers about the exclusive session that’ll be taking place later but we’ll let you know in a bit ‘cause we don’t want certain people to find out. Can’t stand that sort of malarky.
</rant>

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I have never had the opportunity to play music with anyone famous. I don’t know if I should feel lucky or unlucky that I have never performed with anyone famous. I have played music with musicians who used to work as backup musicians/sidemen with famous and well-known musicians and entertainers. If anyone wants to know the names of these famous musicians and entertainers, I will be glad to tell them in private but not in public on a web site such as this one.

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C’mon, you can’t help it, friend. Some people are just like that, they need something to buttress their feeling of importance. In true, you shouldn’t hate it (as hate costs a lot of energy and gives no or little positive result, hence is not ergonomic). Hating is of no much use in such a situation, it’s like hating bankers for being greedy or politicians for bigotry.

Such behaviour is annoying, but it’s best to publicly make fun of it.

First of all, making fun of others is, well, fun.
Secondly, it makes you feel better and you can’t really get angry if you are not serious.
Thirdly, it "dispels the charm": puts things in right perspective and helps others to see the real value of such behaviour.
And fourthly, its the namedropper who starts to hate you, In this way, the result is reversed: you feel better and he uses up energy that he would otherwise devote to namedropping.

Q.E.D.

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ha ha, yeah. "I’ve played with musicians who’ve played with famous musicians". ha ha

I had to ask a fella sat at the bar the other day to stop playing his feckin spoons. He got quite confrontational. He sais he’d played with "all the famous musicians all over Ireland". ha ha. Then he gave me his card and said for me to look him up on the internet. And you know what, I’m such a nerd I very very nearly did. But thankfully sense got the better of me and I threw it away.

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Did it ever occur to you that maybe the person is trying to convey some wisdom that they got from said obscure but famous musician? And that you’re just having a knee jerk reaction to the name drop?

Some of the most important tidbits of information about playing this music that I’ve ever gotten were from "famous" people. (or infamous, in the case of willCPT & llig :-P) If I pass on that information, which is a good thing to do, why shouldn’t I include the source? That helps lend credibility to the idea, and maybe the person will listen closer to what I’m saying because of it…

Just another perspective…

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If you´re in a session with 4 or 5 people and one of them is a well-known-musician, can you say that you have played with the well-known-musician ?
If there are about 20 people at the session, you´re sitting on the perimeter but in the middle is a well-known-musician, can you still say you have played with him/her ?
Is there a cut off point in terms of number of people at the session ?
It´s a bit like learning a tune from a recording by a well-known-musician, and then telling people that you got the tune from the well-known-musician.
If the message that you´re sending out is that you are a better person and/or musician because you have played with the well-known-musician, then it´s a bit sad to say the least !

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The whole concept is preposterous. Even the most famous diddley musician on the planet (I’d guess it would bePaddy Maloney) is no where near in least bit famous. It’s so stupid.

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That´s true. If Paddy moloney were to go shopping in our local supermarket, nobody would recognise him.

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@ Reverend,
There’s a world of difference between rightfully acknowledging a mentor and tossing on in hushed tones talking about musicians like they’re high priests at some alter or something. As a fella once said to me in Galway Town about another erudite character, "don’t worry, he can smell sh*t coming from Tuam".

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Hahahaha,
Jeremy’s put a phrase translator up. "Tossing on" is not what I wrote.

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Lol, yes, it’s the intent behind the person and action.

Are they legitimately trying to convey some piece of knowledge or what-have-you gleaned from the luminary in question?

Or, are they simply being a self-aggrandizing prick, intoxicated by their own unwarranted self-importance? ;-)

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Pat, I think it’s part of the "I have arrived" syndrome so very prevalent nowadays in some circles (and, by implication, YOU have not). The message meant to be conveyed is "exclusivity" — real or imagined. It is used as a social weapon that will humiliate and marginalize the reciever. It usually masquerades as ‘casual’ conversation, but is anything but, since it can only have any effect if its intended target is him/herself likely a decent musician who will know/get the import of the name drop in the first place.

Perhaps the ultimate tactical blow off is to appear to not register the name in the least. It leaves the boaster in total quandry….

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"Most famous diddley music player on the planet ?" More probably Michael Flatley. Probably best not to drop his name around a session, but I still think he’s a great flute player.

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It’s not really a big deal to have played with a well known and respected musician in the traditional music scene. As Llig says, "Even the most famous diddley musician…… is no where near in least bit famous".

So, it’s perfectly possible to end up in a session with a well known player. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she would seek to have a tune with you out of choice but just that they are prepared to tolerate you for a limited period under certain circumstances.

Of course, if you do happen to end up in the company of a really good player it can be a very special experience. However, it’s still not something to boast about as such. It ought to be considered a privelege.

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Well, when I met Zina Lee in London a while ago she kissed me on the cheek. Now that’s better than just playing with someone isn’t it ?

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When I mentioned playing music with people who used to work as sidemen/backup musicians with famous musicians and entertainers, I was talking about people who are (or were) semi-retired professional musicians. They left Arkansas seeking fame and fortune as professional musicians and they found it. They all came back home for family reasons or because they got tired of life on the road and not because they got fired for being drunk and/or high on illegal drugs too much of the time. These people were mentors whom I played music with regularly on a weekly basis either at a music session of some type (such as a blues jam) or in a band. If you are smart enough (as I was) to keep your eyes and ears open and listen, it is possible to learn a lot from working with more experienced musicians.
Reverend mentioned "tidbits of information" which you can learn from mentors. One of these "tidbits" which I learned was not to boast or brag about how good or talented a musician you are. However, if someone gives you a chance to show them whether or not you can actually play your instrument, to take advantage of that opportunity and show them how good or how bad you are. If they compliment you and say nice things about your playing, then maybe you can drop a name or two to explain why you know how to play your instrument so well.
I also learned not to play that "exclusivity" or "I have arrived" game as well because that might ruin the pleasure and the joy that some of the other musicians are deriving from the session.
This is why I try to avoid name dropping and refuse to mention names unless someone insists on asking me privately.

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One of the great things about Irish trad is that even the most famous of living legends might show up in your company since they are so accessible and you might be at a session they’re participating in, or you might meet them and even have a conversation. This isn’t as likely with other music genres like various forms of pop. I have met and played tunes with Paddy Keenan but not with George Harrison. But if you were in a group with these people, recorded or toured with them — that’s significant. But if that were the case you probably would have no need mentioning it unless it came up in conversation.

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Well ive played with Kieran hahrahah and john carty and enda schill and they all played my banjo and said how nice the sound was BUT it was at the Willy Clancy week and they were my teacher .Does that count Des

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It is a pet peeve of mine when people drop a name to show how cool they are, or how good they are, because they have played in a session with so-and-so. It all gets a bit pointless after a while because if you play this music for long enough, live or spend time in certain regions where there tends to be a lot of Irish/Scottish music, or get out to festivals, you sooner or later end up at a session with a Name. It’s a small community, so these things are inevitable It’s not a big deal.

That said, it is standard human behaviour. Jesus, you want to see people with name-dropping-itis, spend five minutes in academia.

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SS has got that right. Nothing like university for big egos.

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I’ve got to session with Paddy Maloney a couple of times over the years and I’ll tell anyone how great it was…I even have pictures!… I mean how many people actually do this anymore. I think if the curtain actually came up on the mustard board and everyone had to post a picture..Im sure in a round about way we would most likely recognize most everyone? So ya I sessioned with Paddy Maloney, chances are you did too! I hope to do it again soon. I’ve even played with Mick Moloney chances are you did as well..

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For my money, a person who shows respect for their mentors deserves some respect in turn, so I can’t make a blanket condemnation of "name-dropping".
Usually it’s pretty clear whether the name is mentioned from respect for that person - "I got this idea from so-and-so, they should have credit for it, not me" - or for reasons of self-promotion - "I’ve spent quality time with Jimmy the Famous Fiddler, and I should get credit for that". And usually you can draw your own conclusions from that judgement.

One night after the sessioin….

Paddy Moloney is carrying my love child.

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‘Paddy Moloney is carrying my love child.’

Are you sure it’s yours?

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Can you name-drop the leprechauns? Do they have names?

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I personally know many musicians who would not turn up to a session because ‘so and so’ is likely to be there. Somehow I always found that Trad musicians are inclined to stick with those that they know. If you’re in the loop…great….if not…tough. Have a look at the musicians who are featured on The Fleadh Ceol TV Programme year after year. The programme seems to be built around the Smith girl who plays the tin whistle. She sits in with everybody, but it always seems to be when the camera is on her. On the other hand fiddle player Osin MacDiarmada seems to be going for the Guiness Book of Records for the most appearances with different players. As for name dropping……well,Gerry O’Connor sat in with myself and another guy one night, about 15 years ago…………I bet he is still talking about it??????

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I agree with Jon Kiparsky - in the right context it can indeed be useful to know the e.g. the reference to by whoom a tune or a good tune was learned from.

One of my friends have amazingly funny stories to tell about e.g. the one of the Russel brothers showing up in London without anything but the maiden name of a sister where he is planning to lodge… Storytelling is part of the irish culture and without the proper reference such stories would lose their value and impact… (I´ll have to check my friend whether it was Gus or Micho)

I myself do "name dropping" as often as I can - in the purpose of stimulating some interest amongst co-musicians to listen to my sources which usually are available recordings, living far away from the irish crossroads. Having learned a tune from so-and-so "live" should also be valid and useful information, in my opinion.

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Have to say that I’m not in the loop, nor was anybody else in the session where I appeared on that programme, FR. I was just enjoying tunes with some folks who all just met moments earlier.

Though I did know Breda’s brother in college….. ; )

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Thing is, if you’re famous like me and all your friends are too, it’s hard to avoid!

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I feel your pain Rob.

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I was just chatting to Paddy Maloney and Kieran Hanrahan there over a pint and a tune and they told me about this thread. Interesting topic….now I must get back to the session, apparently Matt Molloy and Tommy Peoples are going to drop by for a tune………..

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The "I’m not name dropping, I’m merely mentioning the fact that I got such and such a tune/anecdote form …" then name drops, is a smoke screen. A name drop is a name drop.

What ever’s wrong with, "Someone said something to me once ….". If the something was worth saying, it doesn’t matter who said it.

I wish people wouldn’t loose sight of the fact that the vast majority of good players do not make albums and tour dreary folk clubs. A lot of them don’t even play regularly in sessions. The best of your so-called famous diddley players are merely a tiny proportion of those who can play. And a heck of a lot of your so-called famous diddley players can’t even play that well at all.

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The argument from authority is the weakest form of argument, according to Boethius. — St. Thomas Aquinas

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Ah yes… the Appeal to Authority fallacy… of course.

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Given that no one in this music is actually famous, can it really be name-dropping?

I don’t see what the problem is with using real people’s real names when talking about the folks you play music with. If someone else thinks I’m name-dropping, that’s their insecurity or case of celebrity worship, not mine.

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But you’re just covering your back there Will, with your "Kevin Burke told me this, Kevin Burke told me that, Kevin Burke said to me this and that." etc etc etc.

Will, what’s wrong with, "Someone said something to me once …."? Do you really think that telling people on an internet chat forum that the advice you are giving them came to you from Kevin Burke gives that piece of advice more kudos? Do you (of all the people here) really think that you need to name drop?

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*they* do it all the time - in press releases and CD liner notes (e.g., John Doyle played guitar on tracks 2 and 8) and on their websites (have you checked out the Chieftain’s photo gallery? Either it’s a double standard, part of the culture, or they’re just setting a poor example?

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I played my harmonica in three Dublin pubs, including the most famous ones, with some brilliant musicians, I haven’t a bloody clue as to whether any of ‘em were famous or not. I didn’t think to ask.

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I once had the center seat on an airplane between Bob Dylan and the Pope. I asked Dylan what he thought about name-dropping. He talked for five minutes, but I couldn’t understand a single word he said. Then I asked the Pope, but he was watching the movie and didn’t hear me. Then my alarm clock rang.

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it’s not all that …

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I think you have to distinguish between stating a source and ‘name dropping.’ If I’m telling someone where I learned a particular technique, tune, bit of info, etc., then that’s stating my source. Whereas if I drop someone’s name to enhance my own sense of self importance… that’s a different story.

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I would drop some names but I am afraid they might break when they hit the floor.
Speaking of posting pictures, lamh trom, there are some pictures and videos of myself and my partners-in-crime from the local sessions on the web site of our local Celtic Music Society and on Youtube. I mentioned the pictures and the videos yesterday on this web site.

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‘The "I’m not name dropping, I’m merely mentioning the fact that I got such and such a tune/anecdote form …" then name drops, is a smoke screen. A name drop is a name drop.’

I suppose you’re right, if the person only seems to have learned anything from people you’re supposed to have heard of. But there are a lot of people who talk about where they got this tune or that one, and I expect if they learned it from playing with someone you’ve heard of, they might as well mention that. But if the only sources they cite are the famous people they’ve played with, yeah, they’re probably the latter type that I mentioned above.

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Accurate attribution for words worth repeating isn’t a bad rule; including quotes from ‘Famous’ musicians on those times when they took you aside to read you the riot act.

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Name dropping can only annoy if one gives consent to it.

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Pat, I’m not trying to be funny, but perhaps they just had a really great memory of that session and couldn’t help mentioning it. I know there are a couple of venues that bring back great memories for me. Or it could just be they were a complete toss*r, of course.

And "I myself do ‘name dropping’ as often as I can" from someone with the call sign MrGanAinm. Priceless!

Eno

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I’ve played tunes with llig

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Michael, I can’t help it that I’ve spent time with Kevin. I’ve also mentioned loads of other people I’ve played with and learned from over the years. I don’t se what’s wrong with that. We’re all just people sharing a common interest in the music. I can’t help it if other people are star struck.

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I’ve played tunes with Dow

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We’ve probably all heard (of) ‘famous’ old players giving ‘the fairies’ as source of a tune (as Neilidh Boyle does at one point on Floss’s recent upload.) Seems fair enough- and no name dropping involved.

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A few people on this thread have played tunes with ME.

Bwah ha ha ha,

huh?

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" I spend most of my session time going outside to smoke a fag with the smoking police 100 ft. from the pub door." - Japhy.

Wow…that sounds like a lot of smoke. I didn’t think you’re allowed to smoke fags in the States, let alone the police doing it too! What’s the world coming to.

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I fear that that dreaded disease that afflicts such a large portion of the population, the Diana/Jade thing, where you actually think you know people you’ve never met, Has afflicted the diddley world.

But here it takes an even sadder twist. People expose themselves to so much of a particular musician, listening to recordings day in day out for years, that when they finally do get t o meet them, and their idol actually speaks to them (or more often, merely replies to a fumbled question), they think they are now best chums.

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Jon K’s right.

It depends on what is actually being said.

If the focus of the story is on something of interst that the Famous Seamus said/did. Or if one of your mates if just pleased to have heard someone they really like up close and wants to tell you then that is normal.

OTOH if the focus of the story is on what the teller did/has done*: "Hey man I’ve played with…, I remember when I used to jam with….". Then it is a real bore. We’ve all met those windbags that used to play with Hendrix back in the day.

*exception.: it is acceptable/fun to have story focus on the teller as main character when it belongs to the subgenre How I Fecked Up when I met Famous Seamus.

- chris

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More importantly Llig is also right.

The big majority of great players of this music have never recorded professionally and are less likely to be famous.

It is typical of the modern age that people will focus on professional musicians/performers as being at the heart of a form of music. Makes sense for "pop" and "rock" perhaps as their focus is (it seems to me, feel free to put me right) the market. The aim is the hit single/lp/cd/download etc.

Not all music exists purely as a market phenomena.

Nothing wrong with trying to make a living at music. But don’t equate commercial "ITM" with the music. They overlap of course, but aren’t synonymous.

- chris

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Will:
>Michael, I can’t help it that I’ve spent time with Kevin. I’ve also >mentioned loads of other people I’ve played with and learned >from over the years. I don’t se what’s wrong with that. We’re >all just people sharing a common interest in the music. I >can’t help it if other people are star struck

By "other people", you mean Kevin, right? :-)

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I went to hear Tommy Peoples last year and A few of us were outside half way for a smoke and out comes your man. He goes and stands by himself and sure enough, it doesn’t take long for the horse flys to gather. I was watching him and a few of the flys were asking him stuff and he never spoke to any of them, just looked at the ground and went back in.

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And all this business of calling people by their first names

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Jonathan Ross had a good one on that, he was interviewing U2’s The Edge and after a couple of questions he asked, "Do you mind if I call you The?"

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It is "Th" to his cloe friends, so Bono tell me anyway.

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I played Eleanor Plunkett once with Pol Brennan. Thing is, I picked up the wrong bloody harmonica and made a pig’s ear of it. Felt a right tit I did.

There. The perfectly-balanced name-drop post. I dropped a name then instantly revealed myself to be an idiot. Let this be a shining example.

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I’ve played tunes with ramblingpitchfork. I guess he should be Mr. Pitchfork then. :)

Citing sources… There seems to be a fairly standard practice in Irish music of announcing where you got a tune. People, especially in performance settings, frequently say, "I got this tune from the playing of so-and-so." And not just the struggling amateurs but top class professional musicians. Sometimes it is Seamus Ennis, sometimes it is the playing of someone local or a parent or whatever. I think it gives a kind of lineage to the music and situates the performer in a broader context. Or that’s the nice, non-egoistic explanation, which I have no doubt is true for many musicians. I also think this standard practice gets abused by the insecure, who take it into "name-dropping." What’s the difference? Probably how you say it.

I played a couple tunes on my mate’s Irish music radio show on Tues and followed the above procedure of stating where I got them. One of them was Seamus Ennis — a recording — and the other was "a session in Fife." Probably not name-dropping (although it’s obviously a world famous session in Fife :))

Another time I was playing Trim the Velvet with a friend and I have a slightly odd way of playing the first part, which I got from a fairly well known piper in a class at a festival. My friend, who quite liked it, asked where I learned my setting and it would have been daft to not say the name of the fella who taught me to play it that way. So it’s all about context.

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By all accounts, Tommy Peoples is a modest man. He was probably just plucking up courage to ask for llig’s autograph.

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Unless he was sulking because someone had just called him Kevin.

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Boasting is boasting. Name dropping is name dropping. That’s just the way it. Even if you "can’t help it."

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"it is"

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Trying to make sense of this in light of my experience.

The session I play at is attended by some "local luminaries." I like to give them credit by name because I think the more local PR they get, the better. I like to "name drop" among people who don’t know them so their names will get better known and they might gain a bigger following. But maybe the difference is that I know the folks I am talking with probably don’t know the folks I am naming, or maybe only vaguely recognize the name. It’s not for my benefit, but for theirs - the musician and the potential audience member.

Although sometimes I have to squee to my friends about the stardust in my eyes when some really amazing players show up at the session. I want them to know that we have quite a high caliber of local musicians attending. I want them to be enticed to come by for a pint and a listen. I want them to think about bringing their whistle (and their ears, of course). I want to share my excitement.

And I have, on several occasions, found myself complimented on my repertoire choices, and felt it was the right thing to deflect that praise to my local teachers/mentors, who handed me that repertoire directly. They chose what tunes to teach me and, I feel they should have credit for that. This seems to me to be an expression of humility, not bragging.

Maybe it’s the same when people say where they got a tune or who they got it from - whose version it is - so it’s clear that the others know they shouldn’t have credit for that version. Credit where credit is due, right? "I learned it from so-and-so…" or "I learned it off so-and-so’s recording…" Then if others in the group are looking to learn that version they might do the musician the favor of picking up the recording.

I did get a bit taken aback once when I played a jig (heck, here I shouldn’t say which jig, right?? okay, here goes…) and some of the other players asked what it was called and I said it’s "So-and-So’s Jig" and they said "Oh, So-and-So, I know him, he lives in Not-too-faraway-town and often plays in the sessions there. I have played gigs with him, he’s a good fellow." (Now aren’t you curious whose jig it was?)

I am just so in awe of the folks I play with. I want other people to know how amazing I think they are. Is it wrong to name them so others can know of and better appreciate them?

I guess when I ‘name-drop’ it’s in the spirit of wanting to acknowledge that I am well below the folks I’m learning from, and that those folks deserve to have their names known and credit given for their gifts.

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When someone has spent the evening rubbing their drones up and down my legs, they can call me "Rambling", Emily :-)

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Do I want to know who’s jig it was. No. I haven’t even heard the jig, it’s ridiculous.

Knowing a tune’s source will always colour the appreciation of it. If it’s a player you admire, it will make you think too much of it, and vice versa. Tunes should stand on their own. There should be no room for personality cults.

The reason that the vast majority of the great players and composers of this music are anonymous is precicely because they are not interested in having "credit given for their gifts". They are not interested in "having their names known". And they are not interested in people who think they "deserve to have their names known and credit given for their gifts."

And long may this continue

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So now diddley music only is as good as the "name" person you got it from? Well, that’s sad. To be honesy amy, no I’m totally NOT curious…why should I be? It’s not the PERSON that’s important in this music, it’s the music itself. Sadly the cult of personality seems to have infected trad music…but why not, it’s infected mostly everything else these days I guess.

Say you didn’t get a tune from Kevin Burke but some equally good anon fiddler who is not ‘famous’ or rather not a household name who has sold cds in a record store [as opposed to from a suitcase after some concert in a local church]. And say it was as fine a version as that Burke might have passed on. Would you name drop then? Probably not.

I really think we should focus less on the name dropping I know so and so etc and more on the music. People don’t last, the music will. The music will preserve people’s legacy if it’s worth preserving [eg. padraid o’keeffee et al] in things like tune titles or tune versions.

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xpost a bit there with Llig. he got there first.

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Is it, mtodd?

I guess I could have answered "I got this setting from some dude, like you know, man."

Haha, Chris. Aye. :)

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There’s a great story about the girl who was playing at a festival with her band. They’d all made t-shirts with the names of "famous" people drawn in sequins, like the Madonna t-shirts. (Irony, of course - just in case there are Americans reading this). This girl had Liz Carroll on her shirt and low and behold, who turned up at the bar. so "Liz" came over and said to this girl, "Hey wow, what a coincidence … My name’s Liz Carroll."

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SS…and Chris a married man! lol. watch those chanters Em….

but to answer your question, uh huh. I think it is important…but here’s the rub maybe….perhaps it’s one thing to talk about where you got a tune with someone you know well, a friend. Someone you’ve played with or have a relationship with over time. So if you ‘name drop’ in that scenario really it isn’t the same because you’re not out to impress I shouldn’t think. You’re both already on common ground sharing tunes and tune sources and then it’s a matter of documentation or tune background..

In other words you’re not dropping to impress or boast. But amongst people you don’t know well…or anonymously for the most part…take this Board for instance, then throwing names of ‘famous’ people you supposedly play with colours the whole thing. One has to be a bit suspect about the person’s motives in that case.

You and I know each other to some degree. So between us it would be different, right?

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Name dropping to strangers is pointless, idiotic and boring. But name dropping to your mates? Jesus Christ, it’s wonder you have any mates

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I like to name drop my friends all the time.

"Oh, I got this tune from the playing of Dave McGrath."

"Who?"

[feigns horror & shock]

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Seanchais is a tradition, clear in it’s terms and conditions. It involves the connecting of names. characters, occasions, families, friends and visitors. It’s purpose is to keep people up to date with those living and deceased.
Scenario 1: Fiddler, "Where did you get the second part of that tune ?". Fluter, "I got it from [name older musician]. Accordion, "I played a few tunes with him last year in [name village or pub]. Fiddler, "It’s great to hear he’s still alive and playing". This is seanchais and an integral part of the whole thing.
Scenario 2: Fluter, "Where did you get the second part of that tune ?". Fiddler, "I got it from an old fella back in Roscommon. Fluter, "[famous players name] wouldn’t have it like that.
That’s not seanchais.
I wonder if people are confusing the two. In the same way that musicians new to the tradition might not have the rhythm of the tune right even though all the notes are in place they are participating in the banter but without the benefit of understanding the nuances and it comes out clumsily.

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Motive depends on social context Michael.

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Pat’s got it right. Passing on for the right motive is diff from merely naming to impress. It’s different and the motives are not the same.

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Scenario 3:
Fiddler, "Where did you get the second part of that tune?"
Fluter, "I got it from an old record of my dad’s, [such and such].
Accordion, "I think I’ve got a CD of that, [names player] lent it to me yonks ago, I must give it a listen.
Fiddler, "It’s great to hear that old record is out on CD now".

Is this seanchais?

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Scenario 3:
Fluter, "Where did you get the second part of that tune?"
Fiddler, "I got it from Tommy Peoples".
Accordion, "When did you meet him?"
Fiddler, "Last year at that folk club."
Fluter, "Hey, I remember you asking him about that and he just blanked you and went back inside. You lying git".

Is this seanchais?

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Scenario 5 (I forgot to add 1 to the scenario above):

Fiddler (unsolicited), "I got that last tune from the playing of Tommy Peoples."
Fiddler, "Feck off, you got it from the playing of a Bothy Band CD through Amazing Slow Downer."

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Scenario 6:

Fluter, "Where did you get the second part of that tune?"
Fiddler, "How the feck should I know, I haven’t a feckin clue where I got the first part."

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Scenario 7:

Fluter, "Where did you get the second part of that tune?"
Fiddler, "Which tune?"
Fluter, " [insert name of tune that happens to be the snome of a person] number 2."
Fiddler, "Which tune was that?"
Fulter, "[lilts a b it of it]"
Fiddler, "Is that what ithat’s called? Who’s he?"
Fluter, "Dunno, but I have the second part a bit different. [lilts it]"
Fiddler, "That’s not different mate, that’s just plain wrong."
Fluter, "How the feck do you know?"
Fiddler, "I dunno, it just is"
Fluter, "Feck off, you don’t even know who [[insert name of tune that happens to be the snome of a person] is?"
Fiddler, "Neither do you."
Fluter, "Yeah id do, I met him once in ……."
Accordion player, "AAAARRGH, WILL THE PAIR OF YOUS SHUT THE FECK UP WITH YOUR FECKIN WORKSHOP S H I T E?"

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why didn’t you talk to Tommy Peoples llig? You could have kept some flies off him, and you probably had something more interesting to say than " what’s the difference between a fiddle and a violin" or "my great-grandmother’s cousin’s friend was from Clare"

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Yeah, I should have asked him how he does those triplets?

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that’s still better - then you could tell your friends that your new best friend Tommy Peoples taught you how to do triplets

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But he did teach me. Or rather, I got them from the playing of Bothy Band records

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No no, you’re supposed to just say "I learned how to do triplets from Tommy Peoples" and then just leave it at that so everyone around you falls into a reverent hush.

…unless Scenario 5 crops up, then you’re doomed.

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Kevin Burke, Paddy Moloney, Frankie Gavin, Bob Dylan, Barack Obama and Jesus Christ have all told me never to name drop. So I don’t. Ever.

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Context, context, context. I wasn’t name dropping to my mate. She asked where I got my setting of the tune and it so happened that I knew (I usually don’t) and that the guy who taught me it is fairly well known (usually doesn’t happen, either). For 99.999999% of the tunes I play, the answer to that question is either, "a recording of something," "I don’t know" or "my friend X who I used to play with in Y." It’s like the only setting of a tune I remember from a piping class because there were only two of us in the class and I wasn’t horribly hungover.

Christ, how am I defending this sort of thing. It’s a pet peeve when people name drop pointlessly, I guess I am saying there are times, once in a blue moon maybe, when a well known player’s name comes up in normal conversation. Next time someone asks me where I got my setting of Trim the Velvet I’ll be sure to say, "I don’t know, man. Just this dude."

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For 99.999999% of the tunes I play.

There’s another bloody annoying one, people who claim they know a hundred billion tunes. (100,000,000)

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well now I’m no mathematician, but I don’t think you can assume it’s 99.999999% of a hundred billion - it could be 99.999999% of 5

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maybe not 5 - I said I wasn’t a mathematician

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Many famous musicians boast about playing with me.

Now many of them actually know me, so perhaps they are not name dropping.

I mean when Tiger woods says "I was talking to Arnold Palmer" is he name dropping, or talking about someone he knows?

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oooh yes, the esoteric, I love it.

When Magritte says has painted a pipe, did he know the pipe, or was it just a representation of an unknown pipe?

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I touched one of the Bachelors once. It was in 1964 and it was at the entrance to the central pier on Blackpool prom. He brushed past me but it was deliberate. So put that in yer bloody pipes and smoke it.



I think it was one of the Bachelors anyway.



Eamonn Andrews winked at me in London once.


I had dinner with Thora Hird once. In Wapping it was. I bloody did as well. She complained to the waiter about the cheese. This is genuine, I assure you. I have witnesses, though they may all be dead for all I know.

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There is nothing wrong with citing sources, it helps us put things in context, know where they came from—on this website, which is full of good information mixed in with some bad advice, while famous names should not be the only factor we consider, it helps us sort the wheat from the chaff.
Some people like the tunes for themselves, but like a lot of people, I like to know a little about the tune, like to know its name, where it came from, how different people approach it, etc, etc.
One way you know that people are mentioning names in an appropriate manner is when they mention all the sources of their tunes, whether famous or not. Also, I am also suspicious of people who say "I got this tune from so and so," implying they learned it at his or her knee. I myself will say, "I heard so and so play this at a concert," or "I fell in love with this when I heard it on so and so’s record," not wanting to imply a familiarity that is not there.
One of the joys of this music is that it is so easy to rub elbows with such mighty and well respected players. Attend a few workshops or music weeks, and you can learn from the best players in the world.
And finally, let me just drop the name of young TIm Livernois, who is mentioned in the thread that sits beside this one. Cancer took Tim from us far too early. He was a great musician, a pleasure to play with, and had a wonderful sense of humor. He was not a star, not world renowned, but was one of the thousands of fine musicians that keep this music alive around the world, and make it such a pleasure to be part of the session scene. Those of you who are so inclined can drop his name and thoughts of his family in your prayers……

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Sad to hear about young Mr Livernois.
As for actual name dropping, I know I have done it on this board not too infrequently, and it is naff and I know it, nor does it make me anything above an average player. All I can say in defence is that there are resident or semi-resident in London many very good musicians, and always loads of great players passing through, so it isn’t difficult to regularly find yourself in the company of classy musicians, if you so desire. It just happens. so that just naturally comes out in posts here or in pub session conversations.
It’s like you live in Paris and you say, "Oh as I was walking past the Eiffel Tower yesterday"…that’s not *trying* to name drop, it’s just how it is.

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I bloody hate name-dropping. Andy Irvine, Dick Gaughan, Kevin Burke, Liz Carroll and Tommy Peoples have all told me personally over a pint, which they bought me of course, that they fully agree with me. Who wouldn’t? But I refuse to show off about it. Humility is my middle name and I’m bloody chest-puffed proud of it.

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I once played a tune
played by a once famous player
once
but it was too repetitive

and instead now I play
non famous tunes
played by infamous players
often
and I’m satisfied

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Having a bad day, Michael? I never said I could play one hundred billion tunes. I said "99.999999% of the tunes I play…" As Airport astutely pointed out, that could be like five tunes. Sheesh.

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Michael doesn’t have bad days. It’s us who have bad days with him.

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Michael’s just upset because long ago he drove off from Sandy Belle’s any Irish player worth knowing, or knowing about….


:-P

Given that this music is just folks—friends and neighbors—playing it, no stars or celebrities, I think it’s hilarious that some of youse get yer trousers in a twist over mentioning certain people’s names. Why can’t I mention someone’s name who also knows me on a first name basis and upon meeting again is as likely as I am to reach out to shake my hand or give me a hug? Geez, the musicians I know are no different than any of my other friends, thank goodness for that.

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By not naming names, you’re treating certain people like celebrities. Which most of them abhor. And it makes you look like an arse.

Plus, if I said, "someone I know once showed me this way to do a roll," I might as well be talking about Ed the baker down the street who’s never played a lick of music in his life. There’s nothing wrong with revealing a source who has a demonstrated ability for doing the thing you’re discussing.

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You can’t get 99.999999% of 5 tunes. Presuming you are talking about whole tunes then you would have to know 100,000,000 tunes (100 million). If you are talking about parts of tunes and stretching it to say they are all 2 part tunes then you could have 50 million tunes.

You can’t get 99.999999% of 5 tunes though. You just can’t.

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I don’t mind hearing stories about who people have played with it. It’s often more interesting than the tunes. Not that I know many of the names anyway, I just nod my head.

Will, I bet Ed the baker does very good rolls

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I have more important things to be annoyed about.

But they are nothing to do with tradtitional Irish music, so I won’t mention them here.

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Well you probably did, John

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"Given that this music is just folks—friends and neighbors—playing it, no stars or celebrities,"

Sorry to burst your bubble here Will harmon but in certain circles there’s a lot at stake for a lot of people, particularly in Ireland, you know, where ITM comes from. The glass ceiling was shattered by a young accordion player from Clare 20 years ago and it’s been an upward expansion ever since. Everyone wants a slice of the pie now and rightly so.

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I was speaking to Van last night and he mentioned the time he played with the Chieftains. He commented on Maloney.

"Are you name dropping Van, I said".

Was he?

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Much of this thread reminds me of the infamous London cabbies’ remark ‘I had [insert celebrity’s name] in the back of my cab once’, followed by a short narrative about how the cabbie had pulled one over his passenger. There was a Peter Cook and Dudley Moore sketch in which Cook, as a cabbie, claimed to have had Bertrand Russell in ‘the back of his cab’ and asked the philosopher "So what’s it all about then?", the punchline being something like "And, d’you know, what, he didn’t have a clue!"

Continuing Steve’s strange encounters, I once sat next to Crimewatch’s Nick Ross during lunch at an NHS conference. Ross declared that his beef had been served raw and told all and sundry that the chef was trying to poison him.

I once shared a table in a Notting Hill cafe with Bjork and Tricky, during which they bickered about shopping arrangements.

A famous Dublin musician (whose name I won’t mention for fear of embarrassing him) with whom I drank several pints remained convinced throughout our entire two-hour conversation that I was Les Battersby from ‘Coronation Street’.

Walking home one day from Archway tube station I literally bumped into Barry Humphries as I turned the corner into Giesbach Road. Barry was dressed from head to toe in salmon pink, from his fedora to his shoes and, as he told me, was about to attend the poet Stephen Spender’s funeral in Highgate.

And then there was the time that the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, Norman Lamont, leapt out of a cab on Charing Cross Road, intent on buying a copy of ‘The Evening Standard’ and ran across my path. This was the day before the infamous ‘Black Wednesday’. If I’d tripped him up, then maybe the UK’s then economic meltdown would have been delayed for a few days.

As for namedropping in sessions, well, jayz, Ireland’s a small country, with a small trad scene. The chances are very high that any musician is at some point going to play in a session with or receive tuition from somone in the Pantheon. But, there’s always the ‘begrudgery’ element endemic in Irish society - http://www.beerandloathing.com/glos_b.htm.

I had that Andy Irvine round for lunch once.

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"there’s a lot at stake" - if you’re after fame and glory with this music, well then you deserve to be name dropped, eh?

:-)

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More like very comfortable livelihoods rather than fame and glory. I could name dozens of highly skilled and highly paid professionals who make more out of playing a few tunes and singing a few old songs and have left their jobs to pursue music full time. But this is about name dropping so I won’t !!

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See, what difference does it make if they’re professionals AND your friends? Come to think of it, all my friends are "professionals" (in various occupations), and I’m not coy about using their names. So why are musicians any different?

Seems there’s a myth on this board that no one who posts here could possibly be actual friends with a "name" player. Silly.

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"all my friends are "professionals" (in various occupations)"

Some of us can’t afford to be quite so fussy. I do hope you won’t ignore me if we ever meet. Perhaps we could get to be acquaintances some day if not friends?

:-)

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Heh, well I include carpenters and construction workers and cooks and farmers in that group.

Oh and students too. Some good friends are professional students…..

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Ok, well I still don’t fit in as I’m now retired. :-)

Sorry, Will.
It just sounded a bit "elitist" but I now realise that your interpretation of "professional" is slightly different from me. You obviously mean someone who is full time and/or qualified at what they do whereas I was thinking of people such as doctors, lecturers, lawyers and so on.

I’m glad we cleared that up.

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oops, *slightly different from mine*

I had meant to say…….

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Jon, I’m just tired myself. Can’t wait to be retired….

;-)

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I was waiting for someone to tell me my math was faulty. Luckily I never said I was good at math, either.

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what if you just got one amazing note from [some dude]? Then if you calculate based on the number of notes in the tune and the number of times you play it (and the number of occasions you use that one note)…

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Haha…. Aye, then it would probably work.

You could the be like, "I got this fantastic note from some dude" but by not saying the note or the dude, you avoid any accusations of name dropping.

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Rather you than I speaking to that Grumpy Old Get… :-(

# Posted on June 20th 2009 by Jon Jay


That’s true enough.

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By "professional musician" I mean someone who is good enough to be able to make a living entertaining audiences by playing music. I don’t know whether or not I am a good enough musician to make a living at it and I don’t care whether or not I am good enough. I would just like to be able to spend my free time when I am not working as a professional medical secretary (excuse me—administrative assistant) enjoying myself by trying to play music.

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By "professional musician" I mean someone who is good enough to be able to make a living entertaining audiences by playing music. I don’t know whether or not I am a good enough musician



Being good has very little to do with it.

Being prepared and willing to do so is the key.

Go into any pub in Ireland nowadays and see a bloke with a guitar and 4 music "machines". Could be "miming" on the guitar.

But making a living.

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Tommy Peoples had a gig in Dublin last year.

A similar scenario as mentioned above. One travelling fan had the poor fella pestered about a tune he had composed.

I’m not too familiar with many of Peoples’ compositions so the following sounded odd to me. However I liked the response…

Fan: (Generic overthetopness) ‘…like, the *feel*…the *groove*…. Wow Tommy, did you like compose that whole tune (toon) in the 2’nd position?’

Peoples: ? I composed it in bed.

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ha, brilliant.

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… as i said it’s not all that, either playing with ‘em or name dropping ‘em


‘Success depends on three things :
who says it, what he says, how he says it;
and of these three things,
what he says is the least important.’

John, Viscount Morley of Blackburn (1838-1923)
British Statesman and critic

‘em?

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Bodhran bliss, here in Arkansas where I live, if you can’t play your instrument well enough to entertain the audience and keep up with the other musicians, nobody will perform with you and nobody will come to listen to you. Yes, the local audiences are tough and difficult to please if you are in a place where they have live music.
Unfortunately, we are "civilized" enough to have a few places which offer karaoke nonsense similar to the example which you mentioned of a man with a guitar and some music machines.

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Where I play, if you can’t play your instrument well enough to entertain the audience, nobody cares, because there is no audience. If you can’t keep up with the other musicians, we’ll slow it down for you. Not all night, but for a few sets. We don’t care to please the locals … or the tourists

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Where I play, if you can play your instrument properly at all and you know tunes you are risking unpopularity.

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It sounds as if I am living and trying to play music in the wrong place or places then.

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Could have told you that years ago

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Just some of the famous people I’ve played with:
Barry Smith
Aidan Smith (Barry’s less well-known brother)
Derek Carville
Seamus McGlone
Pat Madog
Micheál O Duibhir Fatharta Jones
Conor O Flute
Paddy O Drone
Paddy O Doors
Sean DeLear
Jimmy Ribsh*te
Feargus McArgos
Hank Wangford
Eric Cantona
Kerry Cantona
Kerry Blue
Jimmy Horseplay
Mark O Polo
Randy Rhoad’s ma
The slightly shop-soiled Seekers
A turd that plays the banjo
Pat Sharpe’s mullet
Idi Amin
The principality of Monaco
A small ferret
Next door’s upstairs carpet
The moon


Paddy Moloney still eludes me

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Any man who has not played with Barney O’Shamrock is a nobody in my eyes. Or at least bought one of his cassettes for £1.99 on Holsworthy market. Did the ferret get over it?

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"Could have told you that years ago"
I wouldn’t have listened because I like living in a place where I can frequently go hiking in the middle of the winter and I can play music almost every day of the week if I want to.

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>Barry Humphries

A fine man that is Flossie.

Honorary president of FOAM (Friends of Arthur Machen), he also edited and introduced "Night Voices", a posthumous collection of Robert Aickman’s "Strange Stories".

Can’t be faulting his literary taste, them being two of the finest writers you’ll find in english.

- chris

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Do not call me feckin’ ‘Flossie’!

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Just for the record he doesn’t like to be called either ‘Flossy’ or ‘Flosster’ either. I just thought I would say that right now as I wouldn’t want someone to call him either of these names by mistake.

I don’t know about any other names though. Perhaps ‘Tetherino’ would be ok?

:-)

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It would have to be Las Ataduras, NCFA.

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Macacos me mordam? Isn’t there a danger of folk calling you Mac again?

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‘Isn’t there a danger of folk calling you Mac again?’

Not if they pronounce it correctly! :)

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Fine - how about Macca then?

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already taken (Paul "Macca" McCartney)

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:-)

Is that don’t call me "Feckin Flossie", or just a very definate don’t call me "Flossie"?

Would "Tethie" be ok? As in What Jonathan Ross calls the titulat cahracter of Ms Austen’s book.

Not calling you it, doesn’t mean I’m not still thinking it :-P

- Chris

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Picture the scene:

Quite a few years ago - Willie Week - my first visit - wet behind the ears. I had about 10 tunes more or less. I was camping and my friend said - take your fiddle with you wherever you go.

Walked into a bar - it was empty except for a lone piper - sounded good to me, but what did I know? He noticed the fiddle over my shoulder in its case and said, "Come on, let’s have a tune". I was really nervous, said I wasn’t very good etc., but he was very persuasive so out it came. He said, "You start and I’ll join in."

So I did, and it was marvellous! Like being lifted up and carried along by this wonderful wave!" I very quickly exhausted my meagre stock of tunes but he was full of encouragement and I will always remember it.

Anyway, the evening went on and I put my fiddle away and just listened. Before long the place was packed to the rafters with players and listeners. I was still sat next to the guy, and chatting once in a while, when someone leaned over and said, "Hey, how long have you known him?" To which I answered absolutely truthfully, "Why, who is he?!

You should have seen his face… "Geez, he’s only the finest piper in all of Ireland!" came the reply.

Name dropper? Not me…

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i like the bit where you say ” … he was full of encouragement and i will always remember it ”

listen yellow-boarders and take heed, that’s a vital thing just said by Rhod

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Aye…. and now I am dreadfully curious and want to know who it was. :)

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You put me in a difficult position because that would be, well, namedropping! :)

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Will this piper’s name break if you drop it, Rhod?