“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

I’ve just been reminded of this old quote from Mark Twain….

As you know, there are no shortage of "dos" and "don’ts" debated at great length on this board but I believe most of us here have only developed proper etiquette, musical skills etc through practical experience and even by mistakes along with several indiscretions on the way.

What have YOU learned the hard way by visiting sessions?

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

If you try to be clever, it usually shows that you’re not.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

I’ve learnt how to play Trad Irish music appropriately- or on the way to.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

To start off, almost twenty years ago now, I was within a well known Edinburgh session pub and I knew even fewer tunes than I do now.
So, like many others, I thought the answer was to "join in" on the guitar….although that particular day, I had an octave mandola but still incorporating the same subtleties(NOT) into the proceedings.

Everyone was very nice and patient but a piano accordion player sitting next to me finally flipped and shouted
"If you’re gonnae "f—-ing strum, use a softer pick!"

So, I daresay I must have been a little little loud if a PA player was complaining about the noise. However, Lesson Learned.
:-)

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Oops, cross posted.
You were quick off the mark there, lads.
;-)

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

My whistles are not as loud as my neighbours’ complaints might suggest.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Playing live with other people at sessions is the ONLY way to learn this music.
You cannot do it listening to recordings, reading dots or poncing about with ABC or MIDI.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Don’t start a tune you have no idea how to finish or no clue what you are going to follow it with.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Always try to sit to the left of a flute player.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

but to the right of an accordion player.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

As a right handed flute player the right hand-end of a row is best for seeing and hearing. A corner on the other end is dire.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Don’t sit either to the left or to the right of a fiddle player.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Never rub bottoms with a porcupine


(Ashanti proverb :-).)

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

The tables are always wet with spilled drink, so make sure you bring your own music stand

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Sessioners can sometimes be like porcupines. But I don’t think I have ever intentionally rubbed bottoms with any.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, know your song well before you start singing.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

The more tunes that you learn, the more you come to realise how many tunes there are that you *don’t* know.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Therlandais: Music stand?! At a session?! I can feel the disbelief and bristling of indignation coming on!

Music stnad

It probably has a cup holder.

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Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

The music stands are always wet with spilled table, so make sure you bring your own drink

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

I thought of one thing I’ve learnt the hard way.
Questioning the session host, even when you’re right, usually puts one at odds with the other musicians.

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Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

"Always try to sit to the left of a flute player." "but to the right of an accordion player."

And also to the left of the Uilleann piper. And, for that matter, to the left of the Bodhran player, so you can just pull the drum out of their hands without getting whacked :-)

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Avoid sitting near flute players who have just had a curry for tea. Yikes!

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Always tip the wait staff, even if the drinks are free.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Nobody really cares how it is in O’Neill’s.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Never translate An Phis Fhliuch to the folks across the table.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

A shaved parrot knows no bounds.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

A man’s Vulcan arse flute is his Piccadilly destiny…

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Go East, young man, for there are Gardening Centres in Essex full of sheds to see…

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Everybody has already heard the “My Darling’s A Sheep” joke but not everybody has heard “Hey McCloud, Get Off of My Ewe.”

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Is that a supersize tube of SyrupStik in your pocket? Or are you just pleased to see me?

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Does your chewing gum lose its flovour on the bed post overnight?

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

If someone says "Jesus, you’ve some tunes on you!", they probably mean, "For Christ’s sake, play something we can join in with!" (…and they *know* your name isn’t Jesus).

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

There’s no such thing as curry.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

"There’s no such thing as curry."

What, not even as in, "to curry flavour with someone"?

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Could be a Portuguese bloke called Jesus.
S’funny that most Muslim bloke are called Mohammed and loads of Hindu geezers answer to Krishna but there are (in UK & Ireland anyway) few Jesuses…
Yes! What is the correct plural for Jesus? Jesus’s,?Jesi? Jesuss?

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

A session is not a performance unless you want it to be.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Jesuses

As in, there is a line of plastic Jesuses across the dashboard of my car

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Is that the first line of a truch driving counrty tune a la Dave Dudley for instance?

Ther’s a line of plastic Jesuses
Across the dash board of my car…

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Or one could rewrite the Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen classic starting with yur words

http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en-GB&source=hp&q=youtube+down+to+seeds+and+stems+again+blues&gbv=2&oq=seeds+and+stems+again+blues+youtube&gs_l=heirloom-hp.1.0.0i8i30.4281.6203.0.7999.7.7.0.0.0.0.124.656.6j1.7.0…0.0…1c.1.s5DXC1_Oq8s

I’m sitting alone on a Saturday night, watching the late, late show
A bottle of wine, some cigarettes, I got no place to go
Well I saw your other man today, he was wearing my brand new shoes
And I’m down to seeds and stems again too

Well I met my old friend Bob today, from up in Bowling Green
He had the prettiest little gal, that I’d ever seen
But I couldn’t hide my tears at all, ‘cause she looked just like you
And I’m down to seeds and stems again too

Now everybody tells me, that there’s other ways to get high
They don’t seem to understand, I’m too far gone to try
Now these lonely memories, there all that I can do
And I’m down to seeds and stems again too

Oh, my dog died just yesterday, left me all alone
The finance company dropped by today, and repossessed my home
That’s just a drop in the bucket, compared to losing you
And I’m down to seeds and stems again too
Got the down to seeds and stems again blues

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

[*What have YOU learned the hard way by visiting sessions?*]

The bad ones : best not to turn up at all.

The good ones : blend in and be discreet.

The excellent ones : don’t play. Just listen. In some the music is so good, you simply can’t add anything of value. No-one can ….

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Oh, my dog died just yesterday, left me all alone,

The finance company dropped by today and repossessed my home,

And that and all the other stuff put me in such depression

That I composed this Irish tune and sent it to The Session :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Oh, the Name above all names:

I believe Hispanics call it (or themselves) "Hey-THOOOTH!.." The Virgin Mary wouldn’t know it.

Male nomenclature in the English-speaking world seems to have fought shy of candid self-identification with the second person of the Trinity.

Billy, in NI, must surely be as close as a UK name gets to signifying a member of the Godhead.

Other contenders are likely to be mere patron saints.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

I’ve always been fascinated by phrases that infer learning with various methods of cat discomfort. The heading of this thread of course is only out done by the "there’s more than one way to skin a cat" idiom. What is it about the English language and it’s love of kitten persecution?

A deaf man who swings a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way

If he’s in a session and finds there is no room to swing it, it will indicate that the session is probably a very good one :-) :-) :-) :-) :-).

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

I crossed posts with Jusa Nutter Eejit, above.

It would seem to reinforce his point!

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

There is always drama at a session, even when it is not obvious to the casual observer.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

1. listen

2. be confident

3. dont be cocky

Re: “A man who carries a diamondback by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

I guess puns & one liners are always dos at most sessions.
They’re each popular with the Mustard Crowd.

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Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

"I believe Hispanics call it (or themselves) "Hey-THOOOTH!"

No, Nicholas, The ‘TH’ sound (as in THING, BATH) in (European) Spanish is represented by the letter z and by c when it precedes i or e - never an s.

So ‘cinco’ is pronounced ‘THEEN-ko’,
and
‘Zaragoza’ is ‘tha-ra-GOTH-a’
whilst
‘seis’ is pronounced ‘SEH-eess’.

A final D is pronounced somewhere between a soft ‘TH’ (as in THERE, BATHE) and a ‘D’.

American (N, C & S) Spanish does not have a ‘TH’ sound at all: ‘cinco’ is pronounced ‘SEEN-ko’, not ‘THEEN-ko’.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

"Castellano (the form of Spanish spoken in Spain) has the ‘th’ sound while other dialects don’t…"
http://dan.hersam.com/2006/08/01/the-spanish-lisp/

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Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Whislt in spain, I heard a story of how the Spanish ‘TH’ came about: Sometime in the distant past, there was a Spanish king who had a lisp. As a mark of deference to their leader, all his courtiers were obliged to speak the way he did. In due course, this became the standard pronunciation within the Spanish aristocracy, and then, over generations, it filtered through into the vernacular.

It sounds rather like a tale of how the leopard got its spots. If it were true, then surely there would be no ‘S’ sound in Spanish.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

@CreadurMawnOrganig Interesting Spanish speech stuff!

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

"Sometime in the distant past, there was a Spanish king who had a lisp. As a mark of deference to their leader, all his courtiers were obliged to speak the way he did. In due course, this became the standard pronunciation within the Spanish aristocracy, and then, over generations, it filtered through into the vernacular."

Man: Doc, doc! I’m having terrible trouble pronouncing my Fs and THs!

Doc: Well you can’t say fairer than that then.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Ignore pedants and non drinkers.
play as competently as you can
smile a lot.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Interesting link, Weejie. So, I stand corrected - there *are* areas of Spain where even an s is pronounced ‘TH’. But it still doesn’t explain how the sound came about.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

@mcknowall Love it! That’s all the wisdom you need, neatly encapsulated in three lines of text.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

CreadurMawnOrganig´s pronunciation notes above are spot on.
The story about the pronunciation of "c" before "i" and "e", and the letter "z" as "th" originating in the imitation of a Spanish king´s lisp is an old one. The Telegraph article in the link above attempts to debunk it, but offers no evidence other than mentioning that an earlier king had a lisp - hardly conclusive !

The story had it that it was one of the Borbon dynasty monarchs, and their courtiers were notoriously sycophantic, so the legend could still be based on facts. We just don´t know.
The pronunciation rules of Spanish state that "c" before "i" and "e", and the letter "z" anywhere, should be pronounced as "th" .

I understand "seseo" to mean the pronunciation of "c" before "i" and "e", and the letter "z", as "s".

"Thetheo", on the other hand, is the pronunciation of the above category of letters, as well as any "s" wherever it appears, as "th".
It sometimes happens that in the rural parts of Andalucía, people who normally speak with "seseo" and who have a low level of literacy, will switch to "thetheo" when they are trying to impress those who they think are better educated.

Among those whose mother tongue is Basque (euskera), there is a certain amount of "seseo" when speaking Spanish , but only in the province of Vizcaya and usually by older people.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

"The Telegraph article in the link above attempts to debunk it, but offers no evidence other than mentioning that an earlier king had a lisp - hardly conclusive !"

Likewise, the reference to some unknown king is about as weak as it gets. It apparently stems from a certain López de Ayala who suggested that Pedro of Castile spoke with a ‘lisp’ (even though, technically speaking, the ceceo is not a lisp).
Problem is that Pedro was hanging out in the 14th century, and the ceceo (according to linguists) did not exist as a phoneme until the 16th century.
It would stand that, in order for this story to have any merit, the ceceo would need to have been in place in the 14th century.
Of course, if there was another monarch with this faux ‘lisp’ then there might be more merit to the tale. Unless any evidence comes to light confirming this, then the logical conclusion is to label it a myth.
There is no logic in coming up with a story without evidence and saying "prove otherwise". The burden of proof lies with the person putting forth the theory. In the absence of any evidence, the story can only be taken with a pinch of salt.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

From my erstwhile sea-trawling session mate — "Never carry an odd number of crabs."

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Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Some people are not keen on partin’ with their partans.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Weejie, I agree with you to a large extent. The legend about the king´s lisp and his courtier´s copying him is about as reliable as Seamus Ennis´s stories about tune names and the little people ! Although the idea of courtiers imitating a king´s style (clothes, speech, mannerisms, etc) in order to curry favour with him is not so far fetched as all that.

I´m intrigued as to how linguists could date the introduction of ceceo to the 16C. Apart from the obvious fact that no recordings exist, spelling was (and perhaps still is) notoriously unreliable as a guide to pronunciation.

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

Thanks to CreadurMawnOrganig and others for putting me right on Spanish pronunciation! Also the lairy tale of the origins of the Spanish lisp:

("Sometime in the distant past, there was a Spanish king who had a lisp. As a mark of deference to their leader, all his courtiers were obliged to speak the way he did. In due course, this became the standard pronunciation within the Spanish aristocracy, and then, over generations, it filtered through into the vernacular.")

There’s the same tale about the throatal Northumberland ‘r’ - or rather, "hrhrhrhrhrrrh…" A Duke of Northumberland in the back whenever had this peculiarity of speech and again, this was adopted out of deference by those around him.

North-Eastern folk tales are often manifestly off-the-peg versions of widespread fables whose relationship with local fact is casual or non-existent. The one about the Northumbrian ‘r’ is probably in this category.

But often enough, one can never quite know!

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

There are places in Spain where they don’t ‘lisp’. Try tuning into one of those football programmes where they go round each stadium getting an update on the match from a local reporter.

(I don’ t watch football, but I was once in Spanish bar that had the telly on)

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

[*What have YOU learned the hard way by visiting sessions?*]

• A bad night in a session is still better than a good day at work.

• If you start up The Rakes of Mallow and nobody plays along, it’s not because no one knows it.

• It’s not how many tunes you know, it’s how many you play well

Re: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way?”

"• A bad night in a session is still better than a good day at work…"

I’m not so sure about that one!

Perhaps your session consists of trad gods who unconditionally welcome your presence, and a bad night is merely one when you start a set and fluff it…:-).