Pet hates at sessions.
Probably all of the things I’m going to mention have been covered seperately in various other discussions, but there are a few things which make me lose interest in one particular session over another. Call me a perfectionist if you want - I know I’m not - I just feel like a good ole moan - and some of these will probably contradict some other ones.
Pet hates (not necessarily in any order):
1. Too noisy a pub where you can’t hear yourself (or anyone else) play.
2. Too noisy a session where the quieter instrument, regardless of how good the player is, hardly gets heard.
3. Members of the actual session talking at normal volume while a player of a quieter instrument does a solo.
4. Too many donkey tunes - one blast at The Kesh or whatever, fine, but when tunes of that calibre are played all night….yawn…
5. Too many obscure tunes - again, one or two is fine. But what happens when no-one else knows a whole night’s worth of tunes - it’s no longer a session then, is it?
6. Related, but not the same - too many tunes from outside of the tradition - when some classically trained person takes over doing several pieces…or it could be some Breton or Gallego dance, or a bluegrass thing…OK if it’s at the end of the session, then maybe one or two.
7. Hijacking: a) A quieter instrument starts a tune, but some loudo bozo breenges in with their set without checking someone else hasn’t started a set - or even worse - doing it deliberately, cos they know they won’t know the set - that has happened to me!
b) You start off a set, then loudo bozo takes off on the second tune, not the one you intended.
8. Too much smoking near you. If your playing involves breath control, you could be coughing half way through a tune, and I hate coming home with my clothes stinking of smoke.
9. Drunks coming up and asking for dumb requests…even worse, while you’re actually playing… then even worse, proceeding to sing it themselves in god knows what key. In fact, TOO many songs is another turn-off for me. About 1 song to 6 tunes sets is fine.
10. Bad session feng-shui, where the self-appointed leaders have managed to group themselves in a way that slightly excludes other players.
Whew! Got that off my chest - no doubt I’ll be in for a good slagging from some of ye’s after that lot, but, right now, that’s what I feel is wrong with a fair few sessions. Kinda puts me off a fair percentage, then doesn’t it? Feel free to add to or to question my list. As I said there’s a few contradictions in there. BTW you may notice I have said nothing against novices. I don’t go in for giving out about someone who is just starting,as long as they are genuine and enthusiastic. But mostly, I just like a nice BALANCE.
Outraged of Catford.