Pet hates at sessions.

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.

Danny.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

My pet hate.
Speed, so many players think that if you play a tune fast, you are playing it right! aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Theres a rhythm people!
P.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Yep - good one - I agree - conversely, sloth is excruciatingly boring.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Yeah, balance is good, Daniel — have to agree with you there. Really, though, it all sort of just comes down to it all being about people, though, doesn’t it? People getting along with other people? I mean, like obscure tunes — well, that’s a matter of finding out what everyone actually does know, right? And hijacking — that’s just manners, really, right? And smoking? And talking during somebody playing or singing their guts out?

dang, I need to go back to bed.

Sleepless in Denver

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

I hate it when the barman comes over to tell me my playing’s crap and I can’t have any more free guinness. Bah.

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Re: Pet hates at sessions.

I’d agree with ALL of the above plus —- too many tunes in a set, 3 or 4 is enough to set my tendonitis screaming. God only knows what it does for the wind instrument players.

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And then there’s tunes that just are an uphill climb if you play them more than twice — I LOVE Bunker Hill, adore that tune, but three times through it is like slogging through a lake of molasses on the third time…especially if it’s the last tune of a set of a lot of other tunes…

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Oo-er - I’m guilty of that one - I quite like sets with 5, or 6, or even more tunes….sorry…

:~{

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

I guess we’re lucky here in California: It’s been illegal since 2000 to smoke in bars or restaurants. Now, spread that word around and we’ll get all the flute players here…

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

What’s a donkey tune? The Irish Washerwoman or something? I shudder at that one.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

My vote for pet peeve goes to those players who always play the same sets of tunes, especially sets taken straight from a recording. The exception would be any Micheal Coleman sets. His sets seem to have stuck together for more than half a century. When I realize a player is stuck with a set, I’ll try to start a set with his/her second or third tune as the first tune of my set. Promotes creativity.

Richard

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Oh, I just thought of another one! Sessions that are soooo big in places that are sooooo noisy that you can’t tell what’s happening on the other side of the room. I was at a local session (with people in it that I love dearly and really enjoy hanging out with) that’s just gotten too big — at one point, one end of the table was playing one tune and the other end of the table was playing another tune, and it took us the third time through to figure that out!

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

I agree with most of what’s been said so far. Another one is the musician who always tries to dictate the tempo - someone starts the tune at a nice steady speed while this individual, on his louder instrument, comes in after about 8 bars and tries to ramp the whole thing up a notch! Playing too many tunes in a set is also frustrating - you’ve just played the 4 part Lark in the Morning, the 3 part Humours of Ennistymon and Wandering minstrel (all 3 times each) when a musician launches into another set of 3 tunes; however good the next set is you can’t do justice to it as energy levels will have been sapped at this stage.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

15 min breaks between tunes, because the musos who are being paid are more interested in the money than the music and other people are too afraid of starting for fear of being frowned upon (normally out of experience !!!) …..this is where thick skinned pipers come in handy !!!

I used to live in Barna near Galway and frequented (not for long) The Crane Bar, Galway where every night of the week 2 or 3 people are paid to keep the session going ……..it is the most bizzare thing to witness people being subservient to these musos and sitting quietly for 10 - 15 mins between tunes …it becomes so stagnant !!. The very last time I was there i was in the company of three belfast based uillean pipers who were freaked out by this and our parting shot was a 30 min set of northern powered reels.

I apologise to anyone who goes to The Crane and enjoys it, …it is not my cup of tea !!!

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

To deal with loud bozos - if they’re *just* load then no problem .. but if they are out of tune, out of time, playing a different but similar tune because they are so loud they haven’t heard the change : simply stop playing and walk up to the bar. You can always give a civil explanation to them if asked. (But we don’t kill people anymore since the start of 2004).

Sloshed in Southampton (no I’m not really!)

Jim

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Fair point about the paid musos in Galway in the Crane, Taffs and the like … one is made to feel ill at ease when attempting to start tunes …

Jim

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Three cheers for the Belfast Pipers!!
I agree with most of the above, but would just like to add, that if every session was a perfect session, can you begin to imagine just how boring it would all become?? So I say, long live the cranks, speed’os, slow’os, noise merchants, dominants, etc etc etc. Lets face it, we only really appreciate the odd brilliant session if we have to endure the flawed ones, most of the time. Usually, even the brilliant sessions have their peeks and troughs, so lets just be realistic & admit that variety is the spice of life.
All those writing above, give off an air of - we are all perfect session musicians - Oh really _ollocks!!! Do you really know what folk around you really think about your own playing or attitude - you might be surprised.
What was it Burns said? Oh, to be able to see ourselves as others see us - or hear us!!!

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

1 - yes
2 - yes
3 - yes. A session is a social occasion, but it’s not a cocktail party. If you want to talk, step away from the musicians who are actually trying to play. The session I run has gotten so big that there’s often not enough seating for everyone. Noise is a big problem in the room. When you get people chattering away next to each other, it only gets worse.

Sometimes a player will get up and leave their instrument in the the chair, and not come back for several tens of minutes. Proper etiquette is you get a seat if you’re playing; if you’re not playing you give up your seat, but these jerks just refuse to be considerate to others.

4, 5 - yes, but obviously these two are opposing issues. You do need to strike a balance, especially in a supposedly open session where a broad spectrum of players may attend. As was already said, it’s all a matter of taking your fellow players into consideration.

6 - This is tricky. The session I run is at the Celtic Arts Center in LA. The Center is devoted to advancing the arts and culture of "all the Celtic Nations" - we don’t get much beyond Irish and Scottish usually, but if someone wants to haul out a Galician tune, more power to ‘em. There are some folks who give a scowl when non-Irish tunes come out, but I think they’re just missing the point. On the other hand, anyone who launches into "Stairway to Heaven" is asking for trouble…

7 - yes
8 - Thankfully this is no longer a problem in Californa. It’ll be interesting to see how Ireland fares with their own smoking ban.

9 - songs - I guess. Too many solo songs bring the session to a grinding halt. Participation songs are better for the overall energy, but a lot of them seem to require being drunk to appreciate. Or something. It’s a shame, because songs do belong in the session, it’s just very rare for a singer to come along and deliver them well - meaning not only is the song sung well, but it keeps the entire session involved.

10 - our session actually has an appointed leader. This unfortunately is me; unfortunate especially because the previous session leader died suddenly at far too young an age. Any long-running session needs someone to be in charge of making sure it continues week to week. Leaving it to random chance is a recipe for disaster, and the hosting location (e.g.pub)won’t appreciate that. But yes, from what I’ve seen, any time you encounter people with the egos to self-appoint, it naturally follows that they set themselves up in exclusive positions and behavior in the session. Sessions themselves may not be harmful to the tradition, but these people definitely are.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

It sounds, a Dhomhnaill, as if you had a bad night … or is this something that’s been gnawing at your gut for a long time?

I take up my pen at this time to come to the defense of two groups you have maligned above, although neither made it into your top 10. I am referring to the sloth and the singer.

I was particularly surprised at your castigation of the sloth, a little fellow that I had thought quite harmless. Moreover, it was my understanding that most of them were residents of South America and that they didn’t stray too far from their trees. Perhaps this is a sequel to the Falklands business?

In any event, we have here in Canada a related arboreal quadruped with which I am sure you are familiar, the beaver. These lads are extraordinarily well equipped in the dental department and have a penchant for fine woods. Unwary session players have been known to lose all of their wooden instruments to these denizens of our waterways, and let me tell you if that were the fate of yourself and your fellow sessioneers you’d be very glad to throw out your chest and call for a song:

Come all ye lads and lasses and listen to me a while,
I’ll sing for you a verse or two that will cause you all to smile
It’s all about a young man and I’m going to tell you now
How he lately came a courtin’ the maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe

Now aren’t you intrigued? Don’ t you want to know where this one goes? How yer man makes out? Sure, you do.

mairtin

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

A bad backer…. Even a good backer that happens to have different chord ideas from me.

Multiple backers that don’t realise they have to listen to each other, as well as to the tune players, if they want to play at the same time.

People with ideas about how others should play their instruments.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Pets at sessions - I hate them too - especially yorkshire terriers.

The best trick is to feed them copious amounts of inappropriate food (a large bag or two of pork scratchings) so they will throw up in the owners car on the way home, and not be brought again.

Dave

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Petty sessions - hate them!

Hate it when there are two different tempos going at the same time (does my head in!) AND runaway acceleration that just cycles faster until someone crashes and burns…..

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I played the local session on Saturday, and realized that 5 bodhran players is more than I can handle. I also realize that I can get really cranky when I’m hungover.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

You start a tune, and someone else thinks "OOOH I know this one", and gets so excited about joining in that they come in too fast.

It takes a will of iron at this point to hold the speed you were playing at, and keep it from speeding up.

Dave

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Dave & Mairtin: yeah and pet sloths are even worse, hanging upside down on people’s flutes and fiddles.
I actually saw a sloth once in the Ecuadorian rainforest - no kidding, and they are cute wee things. But you know of course I’m referring to the abstract noun of the biblical deadly sins. Not so much a bad night as a bad week - I’ve a wee pain, which has meant administering strong painkillers and two types of antibiotics - no alcohol for eight days, and no training for ten. Just as well I had the music to keep me going. This thread probably came about as a massive spleen venting exercise, but there are truths here nonetheless. I really don’t mind the odd bit of chat, or Czech Scottische, or even smoke - just a little. It’s all down to things coming at you in *moderation*.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Danny, were you able to get up to any serious sloth-tipping in Ecuador?

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Re: Pet hates at sessions.

What, Q, you mean putting them the right way up? But then they just fall back down again. So a man on the telly, a sloth tipping expert, said…..

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Danny - jeez!!

Hope your insides are better soon and that you’re able to rebalance the blood/alcohol ratio soon!! Cos your spleen venting makes you sound a little bit like the Session’s "Goldilocks"

I feel a visit from the 3 Bears of Moderation is in order 🙂

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Danny

Sounds like me on Friday nites session - full of dihydrocodeine and diazepam, kept falling asleep in the middle of sentences, tunes, on the way to the bog …

Dave

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Diazepam?!? - careful with that - it has many contra-indications and side effects!

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

In one of the sessions I go to the landlord has a pet dog that wanders round while we play and peers mournfully at us up through our legs from under the tables. Lovely old chap of indeterminate make, we certainly don’t hate him.
Trevor

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

I have to disagree with Emmaline’s comment about the Irish Washerwoman - have a lsiten to Liz Doherty’s rendition and you will find it’s a nice tune. Just because it appears in every stage oirish film doesn’t make it bad.

My pet hates??? Being asked to play the Lonesome Boatman [although I do play it occasionally so as not to offend], people assuming that because you play irish music that you automatically want to hear their rendition of the Broad Black Brimmer or similar.

Oh! and I nearly forgot - the smoke police.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Pet hates at sessions - dogs, snakes, spiders, goldfish….

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Nell Flaherty’s DRAKE, Old Horned SHEEP, BO na Leath Adharca, CAT in the Corner, GEESE in the Bog, KID on the Mountain …
mairtin

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Sounds like sessions bring out the worst in everybody - or at least in pub owners’ pets 😉

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Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Spiders! Auuugh! I am deathly afraid of spiders, and I have no idea why. I know with my head that I’m way bigger than they are and that they really (unless it’s certain ones, of course) can’t hurt me very much, but there’s something about them that makes me scream and go flying. Someone once thought it would be funny to put a rubber spider on me as a joke, but rethought this when, while reflexively trying to get away, I accidentally gave them a black eye and winded them with an elbow to the tummy…

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I always found that people don’t like it when I fart at sessiuns….I tell them that it’s part of the tune.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Like when you play the Farty-Two Pound Cheque?
Trevor

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Does that count as a wind Instrument?

As long as you do it for real and don’t just go through the motions..

Coat……

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Don’t mention Martin Wynne

Also coat…..

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

…Fanny Flaherty’s FERRETT, Samuel SALMON’s Reel, Bobbing for EELS, Polly the PILCHARD, Clint Eastwood’s Oran-Utang (ok, so I made the last one up….) 🙂

Jim

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

What about the bloke at the bar who always asks us to play "Capt Pugwash"

Great bloke - but there’s always a collective groan when he starts to walk over, or a sudden urge to go and pee!!!

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Capt Pugwash might sound *cool* if you play it in two different keys, like neighbouring strings on the fiddle. F.e. one part in D, the other in A.
dadadadaaa….dadadadaaa….

Posted by .

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

I know how to play "Capt Pugwash Me Arse" in the key of stink.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

The thing to do with "Captain Pugwash" and tunes of that kind is NEVER to play them, under any circumstances, and to deny all knowledge of them if you’re asked.
Trevor

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

I’ll bet you that you’ll never get asked for "The trumpet hornpipe", Mike.
:>))

By the way, before we get on the subject, all these characters like Roger the cabin boy, Master Bates, and Seaman Staines never existed. Just an urban myth. Can you remember any more?
:>))

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the barman at one of my sessions is anextremely grumpy and reluctant host most of the time but he has ringtone on his mobile phone of -you guessed it-Captain Pugwash. How naff is that?

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Hugh G. Rection

sorry………….

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Ironically, one of my pet hates is people at a session who gripe about how bad the session is while the session is actually happening. The time for griping is later—like now—not while I am trying to salvage a bit of enjoyment from it. Except in the most dire of circumstances, a session can be fun if you blind yourself to the unavoidable.
Bad bodhran player? Listen harder to the excellent guitarist.
Bad bodhran and guitar? Attempt to focus on good fiddle player.
Everyone bad? Maybe drinking alone on a Wednesday night doesn’t sound so depraved after all…

When people gripe in the midst of it, I almost feel guilty for enjoying what I can; it’s as though I am not being esoteric enough.
If I go out to have a good time, I’ll put up with the smoke and the crappy songs and the bodhrans and have a good time. If I want some hardcore tunes in a quiet place, I’ll ring one of my musician friends to come over for a few sets in my living room. It offsets all the gripes I have about public playing. My traditionalista side has been somewhat sated and I can enjoy the experience without griping.

On the other hand, griping is fun. I have a lot more gripes than I have space to write them. 🙂

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Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Oh dear I hope it wasn’t my first appearance at The Blyth that has caused Danny to vent his sloth ….sorry spleen! Hope the happy pills are working!

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

No worries, Sarah the Flute - happy pills have been taken, which, in this case, as I said above, comprised of 2 types of antibiotics and strong painkillers. I should be able to cope with a full Blythe session on Thursday, including any of the aforementioned misdemeanours.

Danny.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Another way of avoiding unwanted requests is to say something along the lines of not having permission to play copyright stuff in the pub. As long as the requester isn’t a copyright lawyer 🙂
Trevor

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

People who insist on playing some tunes that the non-combatants like.
Some of these sick folks will even play tunes when requested and not bugger them up for the amusement of the players.
But by far the worst thing is people that consider themselves to be in a public space and don’t get all fired up when they play and non-players talk.
Would you Adam and Eve it?

TTFN
PP

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

More than anything… people who honestly believe they are better than most anyone there…… and insist on trying to ‘push’ their will onto everyone out of turn.

Example? I started up our local hoolie and I came up with really simple ground rules… everybody just takes a turn calling out a tune, and off we go. We just go in a circle, easy.

I hate people that constantly try to ‘help out’ and ‘suggest’ what to play for the next person, or just start playing.

More than once I’ve had to just stomp my foot and give a very big smile, look directly at the person who’s turn it is while ignoring the idiot and ask them "NOW THEN!! What would YOU like to play my friend?)

Some people! (The worst part is sometimes the people that think they are better are the most out of tune players, off key singers, make you want to cringe people you’ve ever met. Ironic.)

Take care,
John

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Not all that keen on "The Circle" type of session, John, although I do attend such things. The advantage is that everyone gets their turn and it’s a good chance to try something a bit different. However, some people try to be just that bit too obscure/exclusive and it can sometimes be a bit nerve wracking waiting for your turn. You might botch it up, and have to wait another half hour to get another tune. This type of session seems to work better for singers and is preferred by them but I don’t think it’s ideal for tunes.

John

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Circle Of Death sessions are no good for flute players. Your flute just about gets warmed up and then you have to sit around letting it go cold again.

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

7th Circle of Hell more like. Good grief!! Never heard of such a thing and it would get very short shrift over here. Go with the flow, encourage the quiet to play, let it rip regardless of what others think, and tell the truth to the gabshites if they get too greedy.

On the Cap’n Pugwash theme - there was of course that other famous TV show Muffin the Mule. This has been illegal in this country for many years but perhaps still performed in part of the good ole USA?

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Sure, but then you’d have to go sit in the corner with the rest of us, Shannaquay. I think going round a circle is fine for beginners and in learning situations. Sort of not really a session, though, in the quote, traditional, unquote style of fing….

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Our sessions get pretty chaotic and there are several players who seem to believe that no set is complete without at least 8 tunes of their choosing. At the beginning of the evening I run the circle to make sure all the beginners get a shot at playing something, then as things pick up I let it go back to its free-for-all self. It’s not perfect but at least no one goes home feeling like they made a completely wasted trip.

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When someone asks ‘What’s the tune you just played?’ and you say …………………… And then they say, ‘Well, sort of.’

Why oh why do some people find the need for the put down?

Re: Pet hates at sessions.

Hi all
Here is another pet hate:
Most the audience is talking and the musicians can’t hear one another play but when it comes to a singer to start singing, they a shout ‘hush’ and be quiet! DEAFLY SILENCE!!
Arrrrrrrrrrgggggggh…………………………….